Cami has some phenomenal jewelry in her Etsy store!!!
When did you start doing your craft?
I started making jewelry in 2000. I was living in downtown Portland, OR working as a telecommunications analyst for a big bank. At the time I felt overwhelmed by job and I was looking for creative outlets. I’ve always been crafty, but something felt different to me about making jewelry. I wanted to know all about it and be great at it all at once.
Who inspired you?
As a gift, my husband, then boyfriend, bought me a Swarovski crystal necklace and earring set from Nordstrom. One day while shopping I spotted the necklace and peeked at the price tag and was shocked and a little horrified since we were in our early 20s and definitely couldn’t afford those luxuries! I went on a mission to re-create that set. I bought some jewelry making books and magazines and browsed local bead stores for hours, and spent some time googling – although there wasn’t that much info back in the olden days! After replicating the Swarovski set (For about 5% of the price) I went on to develop my own style. About a year later I opened Camilee Designs and with my husband’s encouragement, left my job at the bank 2 months later to focus on my business full time.
I create in my home studio, which looks like a train wreck most of the time. It is functionally perfect – – everything is out in the open for me to reach for when I get inspired, and when I don’t have time to clean up (which I never do!) I just shut the door behind me…haha! Now that I have it where I want it functionally, I’m working on making my studio more beautiful. I get terrible artist block (or whatever you call lack of inspiration for a crafter). All of my ideas come flooding in all at once so I keep a design journal for when that happens and it is my go-to for inspiration during dry spells.
What is your favorite piece to create and why?
My favorite piece to create changes a lot. I get bored easily. Sometimes I worry that my shop lacks cohesiveness because I like variety. Right now I’m loving my one-of-a-kind mosaic pieces. Once I start them they seem create themselves. Plus, I’ve always loved anything mosaic.
What’s your biggest challenge owning an online store?
My biggest challenge in owning an online store is keeping my 4 year old’s hands off the inventory! No really, probably the pictures. I have struggled with photography for almost a decade! Just when I think the pictures are good enough I decide they suck again and want to re-take all of them…hello time-sink!
How do you promote your store?
I promote my store through facebook, twitter, and most recently, my blog – which I’m having a great time with! I also have very supportive friends and family who promote my shop via word of mouth/facebook shout outs.
What advice would you give to other Etsy Store owners?
My best advice is: Don’t give up! It takes time…sometimes a lot of it! Keep looking for areas to tweak, re-vamp and improve. If you genuinely love what you are doing other people will too.
Also, try to incorporate the trends into your designs. The best decision I made this year is to add some personalized items to my shop.
Use Coupon Code: TARADARA15 for 15% off at my etsy shop
You can find Cami here: