Saturday, 19 October 2013

Feature Friday: Charmed By Wine CBW

Finally, it's FRIDAY! and we got a new artists to feature today! With us is Mary the maker and owner of Charmed by Wine, and as you all know I don't drink, but the little cute wine charms could be used for ANYTHING! (read answer 6 for details!), the story of how she started is cute and def a romantic way to start February (can you feel the love already! I am sharing it with cakes this year!). Now, over to the artist herself:

1. Tell us a little bit about your shop; how did you start? How did you learn your craft? Why did you start? What do you sell?
I recently got married in August 2012.  My husband and I had a beautiful wedding inspired by my Italian heritage, our love of clean and classy styles, Sinatra, food and wine.  As part of the planning process, I thought it would be a cute idea to give wine charms as favors.  The ‘wedding’ sets I was finding were so expensive, and they weren’t very personal.  I googled ‘how to make wine charms’ and found that it was really quite easy, and that if I used a certain kind of wire, they were actually more durable and less complicated to use!  So, I set to work…

Mary's Wedding Set
My original ‘wedding’ set (picture above) represented my husband and I with charms like ‘love’, ‘thank you’, a wine glass, a blue bead representing the college where we met, our initials, and a tag with our names and wedding date.  I made over 1300 wine charms (which took me the better part of 6 months to do!).  With about 400 charms to go, I realized that I enjoyed making them, but was getting so sick of the current design.  I started imagining other options and designs for wine charms.  I had a bunch of supplies left over at the end, and so I began researching online selling venues like Etsy and learning about how I could create and sell my wine charm designs to others – mainly because I knew that if I didn’t sell them, I’d end up with a houseful of wine charms!

I opened the shop in November 2011, however with the wedding plans, a house purchase and kitchen renovation, I didn’t really start creating items and putting time into the shop until about October 2012.

Speaking of the month of love, find these here
2. What inspires you? Is there a special place that you like to go to get inspired? What is it? Any favorite galleries or exhibits that inspire you?
I enjoy browsing beading websites and looking at all the types of beads, color combinations, charms, glass beads, etc.  I tend to purchase the items that look interesting to me and then play around with them in combination with all sorts of things until I come up with something I like.  Sometimes I’ll see a photo of a tablescape and wonder what I could make that would fit the theme.  For example: My own dishes are black and white…and when I pair that with black and white linens, I love how the ‘Vibrant Vino’ wine charm set can really stand out on the table!

3. Who is the biggest supporter of your craft/Art & business?
Definitely my husband.  He has constantly pushed me to express myself and take risks – first through blogging, and now my Etsy shop.   While I’m nowhere near doing this full time, he is supportive of me learning about running a business, and is a great sounding board for new item and marketing ideas.  He is a photographer on the side, so actually, many of my item photos were taken by him!  I’m learning a bit of photography now, too, which adds to the fun.

Find item here
4. Are you part of a crafting group?
Other than a few teams on Etsy… no.  Between my 9-5, work to be done on our home, and our other personal goals…there is little time to join other groups.  I would like to eventually get together with other sellers though!

5. What do you enjoy making the most?
Holiday designs are fun.  The supplies are more expensive, and there is a bit of a time crunch with creating/photographing/listing…. But the designs are fun to create!  My “12 days of Christmas” set was a huge hit and earned me my first sale (woohoo!).  It reminded me of the 12 days of Christmas water glasses that my grandma has, only in wine charm form.
12 Days of Christmas, find it here
6. What other uses could your Wine charms be used as? (for people who love your items but don't drink)
This is actually something that I had to stop and ponder a few weeks ago.  I was approached to have my items featured as part of a baby shower function and photo shoot, and all I could think of is “but she can’t drink!”  I wandered around the house and came up with a realization that my items can actually be used in various other ways, including:

- coffee mug/teacup charms (on the handle!)
- water goblets or any other stemmed glassware
- christmas tree ornaments, or other holiday décor
- plant décor (add a little sparkle to your house plants/tree branches)
- gift tags or part of gift wrapping
- tapered candle charms
- charms on any stemmed candle holders
- hair accessories (sounds odd, but I’m sure someone would make it work!)
- GIFTS! (hostess gifts, holiday gifts, party favors, wedding shower or wedding favors, etc)
….many other types of uses!

Some of those are a bit ‘outside the box’, however who am I to judge what other people enjoy putting in their homes!  Also, although the purchaser might not drink, my wine charms are GREAT for parties and holidays when guests might be drinking and would like a way to identify their glass.  Paired with a bottle of wine, they also make fantastic unique gifts.

find item here

7. What do you like to do for fun? 
I’m an athlete at heart, having been a gymnast and track and field sprinter/hurdler.  I’m a hockey and football fan as well.  Most times, I’m in front of the TV as I create charms – either watching a sporting event, DVR’d shows, movies, etc.  I even get into books on tape every once in a while!  As a newlywed and new home owner, there are also TONS of ‘house’ related projects that I’m enjoying as far as decorating, room planning, learning recipes, etc.  I like being active, making healthy choices, and learning/creating.

8. Do you have a crafty room?
Sadly, no.  But we do have a small spare bedroom and office loft space that are still ‘in progress’ as far as room layout, design and function.  I’m currently gathering inspiration and hoping that I can reserve some space in either one of those rooms to house all my supplies.  

Craft Room Inspiration from this blog 
Right now, all my supplies are in a cardboard box, and my over-organized self is hating it!

9. How do you find selling offline? How is it in comparison with selling online?
I actually have not yet sold offline.  Once I am a bit more settled, I have plans to research some local craft fairs and possibly talk to a few local businesses. I want to make sure my online presence is strong enough so that I can refer in-person sales to my online shops to encourage repeat business!

10. Do you have any tips for people who want to start making their hobby into their business?
Do a LOT of research and planning ahead. A LOT. Learn about all the tasks you’ll have to manage (financial tracking, taxes, inventory management, marketing, website design, creative /crafting time, packaging, shipping, tracking, pricing and listing, etc). Consult with other small business owners to learn about tools or tips that might help you.  Be patient and realize you won’t be great at everything right away.  Have a backup plan or an “if I fail” plan.
For me, the business end of things is still pretty vague.  I’ve learned SO much over the past few months, and am continuing to learn all I can. I definitely won’t make any huge business decisions or shop changes until I’m more comfortable and can handle what I already have. Baby steps!

find item here
Feel free to share any other comments you might have!
For me, creating wine charms is about adding that little extra something to a party, dinner, evening alone with a movie, whatever.  It’s about gathering with family and friends.  It’s adding a little personality to someone’s life, or sparking a conversation between two people.

So yes, it’s a relaxing hobby for me to dream up ideas and create sets of charms…. But it’s also a hope that perhaps my charms can bring a few more smiles and laughs to those who use them.  With all my charms, I send along a simple wish – That you have as much fun using them, as I did making them. =)

Make sure to checkout Mary's links for more exciting charms :)

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