Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wonderstruck Inc on Etsy

My parents have traveled from the US to Johannesburg many times over the years. I have heard stories about their amazing voyages.In my daily tweets, I discovered a lovely Etsy shop keeper  from Johannesburg.  "CJ" (or "Zoocatty" as I came to know her on Twitter)  was kind enough to entertain a blog interview for her shop. Enjoy!

Bird & Cage
The best way to describe myself, would probably be as a 30 year old metal head, living in a small town called Meyerton. It’s south of one of South Africa’s most well known cities, Johannesburg.

I don’t have human kids, but I do consider myself the mother of several beasties that just fill my life with so much cuteness and mind-blowing madness.

I play keyboard and piano, and wish I played drums and violin (and maybe I’ll take some lessons one day). I drink a lot of coffee, while tea is my dirty little secret. I’m very otaku and indulge my inner child with anime EVERY DAY.I have a day job, but dream of crafting full time. 

Early in 2009, I took a wrecking ball to my life and by mid-2009 I had a new job, I was happier, I was writing again after YEARS of just not being inspired, and I found myself trying out beading. I’m not sure how I got around to it, but I do remember me and the step mother spending many a Saturday beading together in front of the tv, watching movies.

I don’t consider myself ‘self-taught’ when there is just SO MUCH information available on the internet to work with and learn from. I was never confident enough to take jewellery beading classes at a local crafting store, that I buy a lot of my “alternative” supplies from. So I battled on, learning as I went, consulting the internet whenever I was at a loss and in 2010 I started going to a monthly craft market in the next village.

Deadly Carnival
My confidence soared as my customer base grew…but the more I was scouring through my supply stores, the more I was picking up stuff that had very little to do with beading. By the end of 2010 I was experimenting with other types of “mixed media” jewellery. Painted wooden pendants, lace, ribbon, painted wooden beads, cameos, pictures and photos.
In 2012 my stall continues to attract people who “have never seen jewellery like it anywhere else”.

My biggest store discovery however, has been Etsy. The distance difference compared to a physical market, can be overcome by keeping in touch with people that buy or sell to you on Etsy.  WonderstruckInc is under constant construction.  I’m getting a new business logo and banner designed. I re-read my store description,editing  my listings as clearly as possible (though grammar issues always seem to slip in there).

The Etsy customs will be a learning curve for me, getting over that nervousness because of the distance.

Running your own business, no matter how big or small is A LOT of work, even if that means answering every little query, and really going out of your way to speak to people, just to let them know you’ve posted their package off, or let them know that you got their order and you’re busy packing it. Just one of those many things Etsians are always learning about and getting through.

I provide custom requests for people that visit my stall.  I’m confident working hands on with them on what they want.  I’m also working on pieces that I can do customs of  through Etsy as I get more confident. As my components are available, my ability to do customs will grow. 

See CJ's shop on ETSY here:
You can find CJ on twitter:

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