Read her interview:
1.Tell us a bit about yourself or introduce yourself. Besides crafting what else do you love doing?
Hello my name is Gemma and I live in the northwest with my hubby. My shop is called Gem’s Jewels and I love making jewellery and my ever expanding collection of beads. I love going to bead shops and tend to find them randomly on every holiday. It's a bit like being a big kid in a sweet shop. My favourite was going to bead shops in Paris a couple of years ago.
My other hobbies include gardening, we have an allotment which allows us to grow our own veg (or at least try!) and in general I like to be outside. My other key interests are the environment and I’m a bit of a geology geek.
2. How did you start crafting and how long have you been doing it?
I started to make jewellery about 7 years ago (crikey!) I was in my last year of uni and had just got my ears repierced. I was very excited to start buying earrings but struggled to find items I liked or found they broke far too easily. I found a small shop run by a woman who made her own gemstone earrings and from then I was hooked!
3. What are the problems you faced as a crafter until now? Do you have any advice for someone that thinks to start or is new to the crafting business?
I think time is my main issue! I work full time so can struggle a bit. My main advice is to get out there – craft fairs, twitter, facebook etc It does take a lot of work but there is no greater feeling than when someone purchases one of your own designs. Another bit of advice is to have fun with it. I have enjoyed taking photos and extending the theme of my items. My Halloween items were especially fun, making some fake cobwebs for the background.
4. What's your favourite crafting category? Do you have in mind to start crafting something else (besides your usual crafting category)?
My favourite is definitely jewellery making, though I have recently started learning how to sew. I’m aiming to keep this just as a hobby really and the main things I’ve made are a dog draught excluder and some owl cushions. I’d love to make a dress but thats going to take some practice!
5. What is your main source of inspiration? How do you propel your creativity?
I love different textures and colours and a lot of my inspiration comes from setting my designs around a theme e.g. my shoe earrings which have a high heel and disco ball. As mentioned I like to be out and about and some of my favourite designs have a natural element to their design.
Mainly I make a design which I like and if I get a lot of compliments I make some for my shop!
6. Tell us about your crafting space. Do you have a favourite material and tool?
My crafting space is mainly the kitchen table with many cupboards full of beads!
7. So your crafting space transmutes to an online shop. How do you promote your e-shop, which social media you use?
I use Facebook & Twitter and I try to be on the MISI forums too (though thats more for fun!)
8. How long after listing an item into your e-shop you had your first sale?
My first sale was within a couple of weeks which was great.
9. Where do you see your business in 10 years from now?
Theres a question! I think I’d be happy as long as I’m still crafting and developing my skills, there are so many different techniques out there. I developed a repetitive strain injury a few years ago and recently has been the first time I’ve come back to beading. I’ve been moving away from wire work and trying macramé knotting as its easier on my hands but I’ve also found new tools to make wire work easier so I’m quite excited to what new designs I’ll be creating over the next year or so!
10. How did you find MISI? What else would you like to see being added to the site?
I found MISI via a newsletter from the Manchester Bead Shop which did an article on selling items you’ve made. It covered different sites but MISI is the only one I have had sales, is easy to use and I find the forums very friendly.
I’d like to see a way to incentivise feedback from buyers, maybe even a automatic reminder email? I always look at feedback before purchasing on other sites but on MISI I struggle to get buyers to leave feedback.
Thank you Gemma for taking the time to answer our questions, we wish you the very best.