It’s been WAY too long since we’ve had a new installment of the Exceptional Entrepreneur Series– since last September, in fact!
But the wait’s been worth it. I’m super excited about the entrepreneur featured in today’s post: Kristin Torres Gurule. I found out about her work when I was browsing one of my favorite local stores. She’s a great artist and excellent person. She’s here to share how she got started, what’s worked for her, and her advice to fellow artistic entrepreneurs. Feel free to leave comments below to welcome her and ask her questions you may have about her business.
I started working with polymer clay about 7 years ago. I saw a girl with [ear] gauges, and she told me she had made them herself. Anyone who has bought gauges knows they are extremely expensive, and most of the time you change sizes often. I bought some polymer clay to make gauges with and totally fell in love and have been pretty much addicted to it since I was 18 (I’m now 25).
I started selling my jewelry to local stores in Albuquerque, New Mexico, including Charlies 33′s and CD’s and Free Radicals. As of this year, I am selling to Charlies 33s and CDs, Free Radicals, 66 Pin-Ups, Masks y Mas, Santisima, Liliana Boutique, and The Octopus and the Fox. I also sold to Stllo, but they have since closed.
I always do my own inventory, which I would suggest to any other artist who sells on consignment, no matter if the store wants to do their own. I have found the stores are actually very relieved and pleased to have me do my own inventory, and I get to keep a record of what sells for future use. I also participate in many arts and crafts shows, which has really helped me make a little more.
The thing that I feel changed this from a hobby to a business was establishing my Etsy account. I only did it about a year ago, but since then my sales have increased immensely. As a result, I have learned more about the business aspect of my shop. I had to create a business name and logo, which took me tons of thought.
I chose The Boutique Bizarre as a play on words from a boutique bazaar, as well as to show the unique and different things my store has to offer. I made sure to mark every single image on the Internet with my logo, so no one can steal it, and believe me, they will try.
Starting the Etsy inventory was very time consuming- each item must have a description and 12 tags so your product can be found. I would suggest doing research, because these will make or break your store. I also had to buy jewelry boxes to ship the jewelry in so that my work looked professional and complete.
It has taken some time for my Etsy to gain momentum, but it will happen if you work on your pages and have lots for customers to see. I have about 220 listings. Go above and beyond, offer something that no one else has thought to provide, and make the packages special. Presentation is everything online.
The advice I would have for people trying to start their own business is to first research online. If you plan to use Etsy, there are tons of articles on how to create your listings, creating good pictures, and other things customers want. You will also have to put in a lot of time. When I am not at school or having some “me” time, I am pretty much working on some aspect of the business. I would say I am working on it 50-60 hours a week. I love this so much that I do it all day everyday, and it never feels like work.
I hope someday this will be a successful business that I can manage while teaching art at a school.
Thanks to Kristin Torres Gurule for sharing her entrepreneurial journey with us. It sounds like she has a bright future ahead of her. Her jewelry speaks to people and is a great outlet for creative expression, both for the maker and wearer. Make sure to check out her various handmade wares for sale. You can purchase online, and she ships all over!
Thanks to you for reading our Exceptional Entrepreneur Series. Look for more featured business owners soon!