I write this blog post as I sit in my kitchen, staring out at the massive amount snow that has accumulated. Is it going to be summer soon?
Thankfully I have the lovely jewelry of Hieropice to look at and help me escape, if only in my imagination. Between the tiny whimsical terrarium necklaces and the vibrant beaded Massai line that came out of her volunteer trip to Tanzania, owner Dara Cheek’s nature and globe-inspired jewelry is sure to transport you somewhere warm and beautiful.
How did you get started making jewelry?
I started out when I was in elementary school, a family friend who was a professional artist taught me, just for fun. I became obsessed!
What do you like most about having your own jewelry business? What do you find most challenging?
I love that I get to create for a living. I love getting to use my imagination on a daily basis, and try to design pieces people will love. The most challenging aspect is being designer, artist, marketer/promoter, webmaster, customer service, finance department, tech support, etc. all in one! It can be overwhelming at times, and I often wish I could clone myself.
What inspires you to create?
I am forever inspired by nature. I like to take long exploratory walks in the woods, look at tufts of moss, sprigs of ferns and sprays of lichen up close. The color palettes I discover as the seasons change, the patterns in the way things grow and complex designs within flowers, leaves and trees are the most inspiring things in existence! But I also get inspired learning about the varied cultures around the globe, particularly their traditional costumes.
What do you think motivates others to buy handmade?
I know a lot of my customers like that they can connect to me, the maker, directly. They aren’t stuck with whatever item happens to be on display at a store, they can customize a handmade purchase, receive something unique and different, and know that someone’s years of practice, skill, artistic eye and hours of labor went into it. It’s more meaningful, and heartfelt, than something pumped out by a machine.
What was the inspiration for the name of your shop?
It’s kind of silly story. It was my first screename, back when AOL first came out. I was very much into Egyptology, and wanted to incorporate “hieroglyphics” somehow. And I’m a pisces. But AOL had a character limit, so I had to drop a lot of letters. Hence, “Hieropice,” (“Hi-row-pie-cee”). It worked out well, since it’s a made-up word, I had no trouble securing the domain name!
What is your favorite handmade item you have bought or received?
Oh dear. I’ve given, and received, a lot of them. A friend of mine made me an IPOD case from old silk ties once, and I thought it was such a neat idea, and such a great gift for someone like me who tends to drop their IPOD on the ground regularly. It was also unexpected, so I really appreciated it. I use it religiously!
When you are not making jewelry, what do you like to do with your time?
I am a devotee of the radio show, This American Life, and spend a lot of time listening to episodes. I love hearing other people’s life stories. And I honestly watch a lot of tv, see a lot of films, and listen to a lot of music. I am also a foodie, and love to try out new restaurants. All of this sounds awfully sedentary, haha. I also love Zumba! If I lived in an alternate universe, I’d love to be a Zumba instructor.
What is one piece of advice you would offer to others with their own craft business?
It sounds super boring but, plan ahead, and research! The Etsy community has been an amazing resource for learning about craft shows, SEO for websites, packing and shipping, budgeting, inventory management, etc., all the things you need to know to be successful at your own craft business. When I started, I honestly didn’t have faith that I’d succeed, and didn’t have much of a plan. When the holidays rolled around, I got slammed with orders, craft shows, and inventory requests from brick-and-mortar shops. I learned a lot from that experience. I wished I’d had a plan, and think it’s helpful to make one ahead of time. Think of your best-case-scenario. If everything in your business worked out the way you hoped, what would that look like? What would it require from you? Knowing that ahead of time certainly helps you keep on track!
Thank you for joining me on my blog today, Dara! And be sure to check out her shop.