Hope everyone has had a great summer so far. After a short break we are back with another Friday Feature. This week we are featuring the Etsy Shop Adorn By Anita. Owner, Anita Bora makes jewelry and ceramics. She started crafting a couple of years ago and is extremely drawn towards the whole handmade journey. When friends started to ask for some of her work, it was really encouraging and that's how the passion grew. It gives her immense satisfaction to see something she has made being used or worn by someone. . She has a part-time job and persues this on the side.
SFEtsy: How did you learn your craft?
Anita: I chanced upon a jewelry store around 3 years ago when traveling in New Jersey and I found the whole process of putting beads and findings together really interesting. I didn't take any formal classes, but I started learning via videos on YouTube - there are so many wonderful people who share their ideas and techniques. I also learn a lot about polymer clay and began playing around with this medium too. Around the same time, I did a beginners ceramics class in India. When I moved to the US in 2015, I had some time on my hands and decided to renew ceramics journey and I was able to learn a lot more since I was able to focus on fine-tuning and practicing various skills and techniques. I also enjoy making ceramic jewelry - seeing clay transform into a piece of wearable art by shaping and glazing/painting it just fascinating and extremely fulfilling. I continue to learn everyday and right now I try and find as many opportunities to continue this journey!
SFEtsy: Tell us about your creative process, where do you begin and how does it evolve?:
Anita: I have various sources of inspiration. One is just things I see around me. For example, I was sitting at the airport and suddenly noticed a very interesting pattern. I sketched it. Or sometimes, I'll see something on the wall, art on the street etc. and I keep documenting them, taking pictures. I later try and see how I can incorporate them either into my jewelry or clay in terms of patterns, shapes and textures. Secondly, I also use ideas I see online as an inspiration, but then I try and put my own touch or twist to it. So, it's more of creative inspiration and evolution!
SFEtsy: What inspires your creations?:
Anita: Nature, people, places, things and just random thoughts and ideas I have - like images in my head in the night before I go to sleep!
SFEtsy: What's your work schedule / routine like?
Anita: During the week, I usually spend around 2 days at least working on various aspect of my creative process - whether it's actually making things, doing photography, updating Facebook and the Etsy page. I also work on weekends when I have special orders or a project I'm working on.
Tell us about your work space - where do you create?
I have a small working area at home and I try and manage in that space. So I work on my jewelry pieces there. With clay, it's more challenging so I go to a studio where I can practice anytime I want to. I do all my bisque, glazing and final firing there.
SFEtsy: What tools do you use that are absolutely essential and makes a huge difference in your day to day process?:
Anita: Every tool plays a part and there are so many that are invaluable. I think for jewelry, it's almost impossible to do anything without the pliers and in clay, it's the needle tool! But I think the greatest tool is one's hand!
SFEtsy: How did you get involved with Etsy?
Anita: Etsy has been a kind of aspirational marketplace for me and I always thought I should perfect my art before starting a store. But then I realized, that the craft journey itself is unending and a process of constant evolving and learning. One never really gets to a stage where they can say, "this is it, I don't have anything else to learn". So I just decided to jump in and kickstart the journey!
SFEtsy: What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?
Anita: As a beginner, and a newly launched shop, the challenge is obviously to get people to visit the shop. And buy! It's like being a small fish in a very big ocean, trying to get noticed. It's a bit daunting and challenging and sometimes I wonder what I should do next, but I'm trying to read, learn and absorb as much as possible from other sellers via the groups and forums.
SFEtsy: What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
Anita: I did a whole series of mugs around dogs and cats, and I really enjoyed making them. They are all hand-painted and took me a lot of time, but creatively I really enjoyed the whole process. I sold quite a few of them offline, but I'm hoping it catches the interest of more animal lovers online.
SFEtsy: What are your favorite tools or apps that help you with your business?:
Anita: I've been trying to make sure I participate in the forums and groups. I've joined quite a few teams and I'm hoping that will help grow the business as I go along. I definitely would like to do a physical event with the SF Etsy team soon.
SFEtsy: Share with us one lesson you have learned as an online seller.
Anita: Be patient, learn, ask questions and don't give up hope!
SFEtsy: What does buying and selling local handmade mean to you? Or Why should people support small business and handmade?
Anita: I'm passionate about handmade because I feel that you're encouraging creativity, passion and talent. I had a conversation with a buyer recently, who asked why a mug was priced as it was. I explained the whole process to her - and how much a handmade artist makes and she immediately bought the mug! I read this sign (and I don't remember it verbatim) but it said how you buying handmade helps put food on an artist's table, support their kids and encourage an art form. Personally, I would rather buy one $40 mug from an artist and have the money go directly to him/her than four $10 mugs out of a machine made mold, with no character (and in which case I have no idea who my money's going to). I'm not proposing that we fill our homes with handmade (which is also not a bad option!), but I think that we can definitely do our bit by supporting handmade artists.
SFEtsy: What skill or craft would you also like to become more proficient at and why?
Anita: As makers we all suffer from creative blocks - what do you do to unblock to let your creativity flow?:
One thing I've learnt is to walk away from something and come back to it later, when you have a creative block. And most of the time, it works. Do something else, tackle a different project. You'll find the diversion helps!
SFEtsy: What are you working on right now? (optional):
Anita: I'm working on a new batch of ceramic jewelry in May/June and I have some fresh ideas for it. Hopefully, I should be able to get some of them online on the Etsy store.
SFEtsy: What does the future hold for your Etsy Shop and you personally as a maker or small business?:
Anita: I wish I was a star gazer or a fortune teller! I would have loved to know where this journey will lead. Right now, my aim is just to keep making work that will appeal to people. I want buyers to start recognizing and wanting to possess my creations. I know that this will take time, but that's a place I would love to be. Even if it takes a few years, I'll keep working towards that goal.
You can find out more about Adorn By Anita at :
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We're a collective of over 2000 Etsy sellers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Like the San Francisco Bay Area in which it is located, SF Etsy is a vibrant and diverse community, full of creativity. We strive to support and promote local Etsy sellers by sharing expertise and advice, hosting local shows and events, and providing a valuable network of local talent and resources.