Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Etsy Seller: ChYMieRa

Etsy is a people's market, a giant global community of individuals who value self-expression, creativity, and supporting handmade items. No exception to that rule is ChYmieRa, an Etsian who stood out to me as a special individual when I received a series of positive feedback left by her at my supply store. Usually, buyers of supplies leave very generic comments or no comment at all; but ChYmieRa's comments were all different and genuinely personal. I think most people think of supply shops as impersonal, but I put as much care, creativity, and work into my supply shop as I do my finished jewelry shop. I see myself as a treasure hunter, and a big part of my art is to find rare, special, and unique supplies. I spend a lot of time taking the pictures, editing the pictures, and writing the listings, often to list an item for $1.00. ChYMieRa's feedback comments were the metaphorical kickintheass I needed to get back to work and listing away at my little supply shop. See my interview with ChyMieRa below:

ME: You have 275 feedback ratings at a rate of 100%. How long have you been a seller on Etsy to have such an extraordinary record?

ChyMieRa: About 2 years ago, a friend referred me to Etsy for "one of a kind" pieces(which I love), as I looked through listings, I realized that although many of the artists were very talented, the only way I'd be able to get something exactly how I wanted it was to make it myself. So, I did just that, started making "one of a kind" pieces for myself and wearing them. I received so many compliments that I decided that maybe I could also sell my items on Etsy. It was a hobby at this point and I figured if I couldn't sell what I make, I would keep it an wear it for myself. I opened my shop in September of 2009 and started out simple. I also listed a lot of vintage items that I had laying around that I failed trying to sell on other sites. I love to create things, and when somebody buys something from me, I look at other things they like and make a little something extra for them as a surprise. Someone buying a necklace will get maybe a surprise pair of earrings to match. I think it keeps fans coming back.

ME: There's a large variety in your store, but your items have a theme. Where do you get your inspiration?

ChyMieRa: Originally, I was hoping to have a shop with darker themed items, I love the natural, supernatural and I am inspired and fascinated by historical figures and events- fact or fictional. I read a lot of old books and I'm a big fan of black and white movies. I also offer several items in my shop that are on the lighter side as well so that no matter who comes to visit, there will be something for everyone. I love using bones, keys, and anything old or dead. Whatever I get my hands on is doomed to be in one of my creations.

ME: What piece have you made that you have been the most proud of? Did it sell or did you keep it?

ChyMieRa: There were two pieces -both are necklaces- in my shop that I was so excited to make once the idea was conceived in my head. They both started with genuine deer antler tips. I then hand cast sterling silver (using the lost wax technique) caps with bails that the antlers would fit into. One is called "Knot All Who Wander Are Lost" a nautical take on the original saying, and the sterling cap depicts a ships wheel on the front and the back is inscribed with that saying. This one hasn't yet sold. The other one which stayed true to the original saying "Not All Wanderers Are Lost" had a sterling cap with a fern leaf on the front and the saying inscribed on the back. This one did sell.

ME: What made you decide to give a percentage of your profits to Native American schools?

ChyMieRa: I had been giving a monthly donation to the St.Labre Indian School on my own for a few years. I have a tiny bit of American Indian in me from my mother's side and I have so much respect for America's truest forefathers. When I opened my shop, I realized that when I started offering tribal and Native American inspired pieces, that I could give even more back.

ME: What does ChYMieRa mean?

ChyMieRa: The meaning of ChYMieRa? In medical terms the word chimera means having two or more sets of complete DNA. Since I wanted to offer both dark and light items, I wanted to come across as having two sides sort of like a Dr. Jekyl and Ms. Hide, but I wanted just one simple word. I also wanted to be found in search engines across the globe. I knew if I used the original spelling of chimera hundreds of pages in search engines would show up. So I tinkered a bit with the spelling of it and the light bulb started to flicker in my brain. ChYMieRa was an incorrect spelling of the same word, and when I typed it into search engines nothing really came up, but I still wasn't set on it until the magical moment when I realized that it was also an anagram of me. (Im Rachey) Thus, I became myself- ChYMieRa. It was destiny.

ME: How many hours per week do you spend shopping, creating, listing, packaging, or doing other craft-related ventures? What do you do with the rest of those hours?

ChyMieRa: I spend about 5 hours a day sleeping, the rest of my time is dedicated to running a small private boutique (which is my real bread an butter), raising a lovely family, being secretary for my husband's business, walking, and then the rest in for crafting. I could be in the middle of the sweetest dream and think of something spectacular, jump out of bed and head to my craft room. In the winters, I also make candles and soaps that I sell in various small gift shops around us. That hobby started because my skin is allergic to everything and again friends would want some and so on that I had to start charging and eventually too one room in our house and made it into a little boutique not open to the public.

ME: To be or not to be?

ChyMieRa: To be or not to be? I think there is a happy medium. I make money, therefore I am able to give. I love to give. I love to help others. Therefore it comes back to be. Yeah, i live by 'The Secret", and always have. I'm a person of principal and live my life honestly and when I put my head on my pillow at night, I don't have to ask myself if what I did that day would make my mother proud. But, if I Had to choose one side or the other, I would rather be poor and happy than wealthy and miserable.

ME: Three things every shopper should know about you:

ChyMieRa: The three things that every shopper should know about me are as follows:
1. My art form is a tad dark natured, but, it’s just an art form; I am not dark or
2. Most of my pieces are derived in theory before they are ever tangible

and most will have story. Some retold, some original by ChYMieRa.
If there is a story or something that a shopper loves, I can turn it into
something tangible.
3. Every month I feature a listing that is a riddle. I scatter clues through

my other listings, you just have to find them. The first person to email "convo"
me the correct answer will win that listing- FREE. I pay all fees, even shipping.
There is no purchase necessary to win, however, for every purchase made, an
additional clue will be sent privately to the buyer- a clue not mentioned in my
other listings(an exclusive clue). I am the only shop on etsy that does. I have
been doing it now- this is the 4th month. There was no winner the 1st month, the
2nd and 3rd months had winners. I hope to have a winner for this month. Should it not be won, it gets offered for sale at 50% off. The "Riddle" listing has also helped in sales as people want that exclusive clue.

ME: What advice do you have for other sellers and crafters?

ChyMieRa: Some advice I have for other sellers is have a variety, offer free or low shipping,
send small thank you gifts to your customers along with a coupon for their next visit-
that keeps them coming back. I tried promotions, but that didn't seem to work any better than doing nothing at all. Use clever tags to draw in traffic. Don't just 'want' your items to sell, 'know' that they will. People love buying "one of a kind" and hand- crafted items because they know they are not mass- produced.

Join an Etsy team. It promotes camaraderie, I belong to the Metaphysical Team, where all the members get along. We swap promotional items and when someone has a sale, they will put one of my cards into their orders. That also brings in a lot of traffic.

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