Tues. April 8, Etsy Feature: Patina Queen
I discovered Heather's Patina Queen shop just a week ago and I immediately ordered some of her goodies and I cannot tell you how happy I was when my package came. First of all the packaging is the most professional that's I've seen on Etsy so far, and the product was IMPECCABLE! I will be using Heather's beauties for a long time to come and so should you! Enjoy this interview!
1) Tell me as much or as little about yourself as you feel comfortable with…
I am originally from NC, but have been calling VA home for about 5 years now. I was made in the 70’s, married in Vegas, I’m tall for a girl, and have brown hair and blue eyes. I have two spoiled cats and a fish named Bob. I have great admiration for ALL things art. I am a right-brained creature, through and through. I consider myself a “Jill of all trades.” All the tools in the garage belong to me, not my husband-ha ha. Don’t get me wrong, I can be a girlie girl when I want. I was a ballerina for 15 years. I’m left-handed (big surprise). I am a recovering perfectionist. I could not possibly live without black coffee, grocery store birthday cake, or Steve Carell. I hate to measure things. That can pose a problem sometimes since I work with chemicals :) In my spare time (what’s that?) I am working on my back-up plan; a Masters degree in Counseling-9 credits left, yeah!
2) What inspires you?
A boring nine to five job in a cooped up office somewhere REALLY inspires me…seriously :) When I am unfortunate enough to have one of those, I am inspired and motivated to work harder towards my dreams of nonconformity and self sustenance through ANYTHING art related. Traveling also inspires me!
3) How would you describe your craft and style/ and or Process?
I work with mostly metals and patina. At the moment I prefer brass and sterling silver. I am obsessed with chemicals and chemical reactions on metal. I spend every day out in the garage with the gas mask, chemical proof goggles and gloves on. My neighbors probably think I am building bombs or something :) Did you know you can bury a piece of copper in the litter box and it will turn beautiful shades of blue and brown? See, even the kitties in my house are in on the creative process—ha ha :) Just kidding. As much as I appreciate the effects ammonia can have on metal, I prefer to buy mine from the store. All my Etsy customers are sighing in relief as they read this :)
4) How long have you been creating?
I became an entrepreneur in the late 80’s. I was in middle school. I opened up my first store in my grandmother’s beauty shop. I sold friendly plastic earrings. Remember friendly plastic? I was a huge hit! My grandmother, bless her heart still wears them :) I wish I could remember the name of the glue I used back then, talk about long lasting!! It was probably some powerful epoxy I borrowed from my dad’s garage—he is like MacGyver :)
5) Is this a job or a hobby?
Definitely, a job. I also participate in many fine art shows throughout VA, DC and NC. My main company’s name is Heather Michelle designs. My line has evolved so much over the years. I used to work with strictly sterling silver and gemstones. After discovering patinas, I started to incorporate more color, which has really added dimension and character to my pieces. My jewelry can be found on my website, http://www.blogger.com/www.HeatherMichelledesigns.net, and in a few local boutiques and galleries. I also have an agent in CA who sells my pieces to TV and film. That is the newest venture. She just recently sold a necklace to a Wes Craven film that is in production, “The Last House on the Left.” It is supposed to be a remake of the first film he wrote and directed, by the same name. That phone call was very exciting!
6) What are your Etsy goals?
Wow, good question. In my “spare time,” when I go to my counseling classes, we talk a lot about goals. They are SO important to set. I feel blessed to be a part of the Etsy community. I had no idea that my fellow Etsians would embrace me and my little shop like they have. It is a wonderful feeling to put so much hard work and love into something and have others appreciate it :) I have a goal to increase my items for sale in my shop to around 300. I am hoping to soon offer more findings like chain, clasps, bead caps, etc. I would like to be able of offer everything that is needed to make a necklace or pair of earrings. I have very high standards, so I have been shopping around to find the best suppliers. You will never find base metal or flimsy filigree in my shop. Patina Queen carries strictly solid brass, copper, or sterling silver. My ultimate goal would be to one day support my family through my little shop. I long for the day when it is a well oiled machine. I would like to have time to give back to the community… maybe run a counseling group for kids, teaching them how to make jewelry while discussing issues important to them.
7) What advice do you have for fellow Etsians?
It is hard to offer up a lot of advice because I am so new to Etsy. The one thing that has proven to be successful for me is…Relist, Relist, Relist. Also, good communication is key to any successful business. I am on top of my convos and ship really fast too; that makes a huge difference.
Thank you so much for participating Heather! It's been a real treat getting to know you!