A PEEK INTO THE CREATIVE MINDS OF JEWELRY ARTISTS...
Kristy Hayes from Memphis, Tennessee is a legal secretary by day and unwinds in the evening creating casual beaded and wire jewelry. Her setting of choice is her den while watching or listening to movies with her cat Lulu by her side semi-relaxing, while she waits for the stray bead to drop! Kristy's designs often depict names or quotes from the movie influence behind the piece.
Also, Kristy's love for the rustic look makes for a great marriage with ceramic bead artists as you will see in the many designs below. Interested in something that you see? Simply click HERE to enter Kristy's shop. Easy searches can be done for specific items once you have entered an Etsy Shop.
Beady Keek Jewelry, hmmmmmm? Where did you come up with that?
That wasn’t really intentional. I first joined Etsy in 2006 as a buyer, so when selecting my user name I didn’t give it much thought or even attempt to be clever or cute. I bead and my nickname is Keek, so that was that. By 2008 when I decided to open shop and start selling my jewelry,
I had grown to like the name and decided to keep it. It works for me.
How did you get started with your jewelry business? Was it a surplus of jewelry or something that you thought you would want to do right from the beginning?
Business? No, no, no. I could never classify what I do as a business. That would take all the fun out of it! It’s a hobby, a creative outlet, it’s therapy, a fun way to spend my free time, or all of the above! About nine years ago my sister had purchased some wire and beads to make a few Christmas ornaments. I ended up helping and before I knew it I was determined to start making my own jewelry. My first attempts weren’t much to look at, but it didn’t take long for me to get the hang of it. First came earrings, then bracelets, necklaces and watches. I was hooked, or as I like to think of it---I was wire-wrapped from the start!
I noticed that you offer many bargains in your shop for first time buyers as well as sale items. Could you tell us a little more about that?
Making and selling jewelry is not a source of income for me, so I don’t really look at it as a way to make a profit. That lets me keep my prices close to cost and, in turn, allows me to offer a better value to my customers. As for the sale items, I want each piece of jewelry I’ve made to have a home. I’d rather sell it at a discount than let it just sit in my shop, so if an item has been around a while it may end up in the bargain bin at a reduced price. Anyone who has been to my shop knows I offer a free pair of earrings to all first-time buyers. That may sound like a gimmick to encourage sales, but quite honestly it’s just my way of thanking the customer for visiting my shop and purchasing my jewelry. I even gift wrap every purchase to make it a happy surprise when the customer opens their package. I think I’ve gotten as many compliments on that as I have the jewelry itself.
It'll Be Grand
Speaking of bargains, was your shop affected by the economy slump that seemed to go on forever? Are you noticing that people are feeling a little more confident about purchases these days?
There was a decline in sales, but I have noticed more traffic through my shop and more sales. Jewelry is more or less a luxury item and usually one of the first expenses that can be cut back. I don’t know how much the economy might be improving, but you can almost hear an audible sigh of relief from women everywhere who can start to pamper themselves again with jewelry. Buying jewelry remains one of the best pick-me-ups ever!
When using ceramic beads/pendants, what is it that you like about them that makes them different from other beads?
The varying styles, colors and options for making jewelry are incredible. Jewelry is available everywhere and in large quantities, so it can be difficult to come up with designs that haven’t already been seen in one form or another. If a jewelry maker wants their pieces to stand out and be unique, they have to use components that stand out and are unique. Ceramic beads and pendants are perfect for that! They spark the imagination and open up a world of design possibilities.
Are there certain pieces of jewelry that you like to create more than others. For example, are you drawn more to bracelets vs. earrings? Why?
I don’t know if I could choose just one. Earrings can fast become an obsession---and I mean making them just as much as wearing them! A pair of jingling earrings can put you in the best mood, can’t they? I always feel a need to bead (similar to a need for speed, I think!), and earrings are easier to make if time is limited. That’s probably why I make more of those than anything else. Even so, bracelets are the nearest and dearest to my heart. I especially love designing one-of-a-kind bracelets, but they are quite a commitment of time. I could spend hours and hours just selecting the right beads to use. (I love that part!) When I start one of my bracelets I know I won’t
be good for anything else until I’m done.
I can’t multi-task when it comes to making jewelry!
Do you often have a plan in mind when you sit down to create something or are you like me as just wing it, take it apart, wing it for round two, etc.?
You summed it up perfectly. Go with whatever idea pops into your head and if it doesn’t work, start again. A great design often comes about when a not-so-great one didn’t work out. I have found that mistakes can spur the imagination and take you to designs you might never have thought of otherwise. When I don’t have a design in mind, I like to keep my beads where I can see them all and then wait until a shape or color catches my eye. That’s how the majority of my designs are started. Every once in a while, though, you might catch me scrambling for a pencil and paper so I can sketch out an idea or write something down so I won’t forget it. When you’re out and about, you never know what sight or shape or sound might trigger a design idea.
I ask this question all the time. Most artists don't like the business end of this. What is your favorite part of this business and what is it that you like the least about it?
I must admit my favorite thing is customer response. Making jewelry is very special to me and it does my heart good when I hear how something I made has become special to them. As far as my Etsy shop goes, I’m not so crazy about the listing part. It can get tedious, especially if I’m listing several pieces at once. I wish I could snap my fingers---BOOM!---and have my listings appear.
Other than that, I have no complaints.
Are there other venues that you sell at other than Etsy? Is so, could you tell us a little about that? If not, do you think that there might be in the future?
I don’t actively pursue other venues, although opportunities do come about. I make bracelets for a local Christian ministry to sell at its events. I also take custom orders for bridal parties. The brides and/or bridesmaids have a hand in designing the jewelry for the wedding. This is especially rewarding for me when it helps the brides stay within or below budget---if you’ve ever had a part in planning a wedding you know what I mean. Referrals from family, friends or other customers play a part as well. I’ve recently been given the opportunity to have a booth at a craft fair this fall. This would be a first for me and I look forward to the experience.
Kristy~ Thank-you for the opportunity to get to know you!