Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Featured Shop: Z & Me Creations


Z&Me Creations is a shop I have know for several years, and bought her jewelry way more then I would like to admit. Here is just some of the beautiful jewelry pieces I have gotten from her.

She is also one of the handmade artists that supported and cheered me on to opening my shop! All of her pieces are very well made, and she made the set on the far right of the picture as a custom order for me and my daughter.

Let's get to know more about the artist and shop of:

Tell me a bit about yourself.

Just a small town girl, living in a...OOPS-hold up-That's a Journey song. LOL.
So you want to know about "me". Ummm. Well lets see. I'm a wife, a mother and a big grown up kid who grew up in the 70's when crafting was all the rage who had a mother who provided me with plenty of craft supplies and had an imagination I put to use, often creating "stuff" out of what other people may have thought as "junk" (yep-recycled art before it was known as "upcycling"-lol) Now I'm an adult with a husband who doesn't think I'm crazy for dragging him to craft stores on supply runs. Heck-he often helps find supplies :)
How did you get started with your shop?

Well before I ever started my  shop on storenvy I actually had sold at craft shows and a few in home shows displaying my work as kind of a "side" job for my hobby.
Little back story: I've worked retail sales and management for over 20 years, often in very "customer specific" areas like clothes, accessories even fine China and Crystal where I was an assistant to the Bridal Registrar. Areas where you interact a lot face to face with customers. I learned a lot from working with customers directly. Then after our daughter was born I had gone back to work when she was 15mo's old and went to work for JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts (to a crafter-that was like scoring a job in Craft Heaven). Well after a huge floor move I was assigned to in the jewelry making section I started to take an interest and began to purchase supplies, learned some basic skills and began to create jewelry. This was back in 2005.  It went from making items for myself and sharing gifts with friends & coworkers to people approaching me actually wanting to purchase my work.
Now fast forward to 2011 when I opened my online shop with Storenvy.
We moved state to state back in 2008 and for 3 years my supplies and some inventory I had from my craft show days sat in boxes. After meeting Melli (of Melli's Yarn Works) online on Cafemom she encouraged me to open up a online shop since I was pretty much stuck in a rutt not knowing where to market my work. After taking her advice and setting up shop I pulled out a rack of earrings I had from my craft show days. I then took pics, wrote up descriptions and posted my work with basically a "well, let's see what happens" attitude. No big expectations-just merely a wait and see approach.
Well within 2 months I nearly sold out of those earrings and found the inspiration to pull my jewelry pliers and beads back out of storage.
What inspires you to make what you make?
Hmm-this question always kinda sends me in multiple directions. Honestly-what inspires me is starting with a desire to create pieces I would  (and do) personally wear. That's honestly where it all begins. I'm sorta "Boho Chic...Ethnic Inspired...Inspired by Nature" type gal for all my general wear pieces. So when you purchase a piece from Z&Me you're actually purchasing a bit of "Heids style" as I've heard some friends relate to my work. It's a bit of my personality in every piece I create.
For the autism pieces it comes from my biggest inspiration, my daughter Zoë, the "Z" of Z&MeCreations. A beautiful, high functioning-now a teen aged autistic young lady. I wanted to make some Awareness pieces that weren't going to cost an outrageous price-I know the average autism mom is on a tight budget-but often they would like a piece of jewelry to represent their child. That's where the "Z" of Z&Me comes into play. Zoë inspires me and I translate that inspiration  into making some awareness themed pieces at affordable prices I hope other autism moms like myself can relate to.
And friends inspire me. Especially when I get stuck in a rutt, someone will come to me an say "how about you make..." or "I'm looking for" and next thing I know I'm back in a craft groove.Overall I'm a very eclectic jewelry maker. I don't tend to stick to one thing. Seasons influence me. Beads influence me. Patterns influence me.  My days of working in fashion and accessories influence me. And simply-my mood. One day it's "hey, I feel like wire work" the next it "Let's go grab the glitter"

Anything else you would like the readers to know about your shop or what you make.
I very rarely make anything in quantity. Once in a while I might "Feature" a "Special" on an item I may have come across and want to share at some crazy inexpensive price because I found a good deal and want to pass it on, but 9 out of 10 times the items I make and list are individual hand made pieces. Not recreated, or duplicated or mass marketed. When you purchase from Z&MeCreations that "unique" piece is just that "unique", "one  of a kind" in just about every category in my shop (Autism awareness is the exception as some items I do make duplicate items upon order)
People always tell me I need to raise my prices-and I disagree. Working in retail as long I did, I understand marketing, cost and retail pricing and I'm not going to raise my prices just because my items are hand made. I know what my costs are. I know how to get the best prices on supplies and I know how to keep my costs low and affordable for the average person shopping. I very rarely charge for labor unless it's a something that has quite a bit of time involved. I enjoy creating pieces, and I'd rather keep my business as a "paid hobby" then get to the point where I'm only making jewelry for production's sale and not enjoying the process of creation any longer.
I would rather have multiple repeat customers and small sales then occasional sales with large ticket items. That's me.
I'm open to custom requests. If I can create what you are looking for I will. If I cannot I will try to point you in the direction of someone I know who can. I WILL NOT duplicate the work of other artists. I might be able to make something similar with my own twist on the piece-but I will not ever duplicate another jewelry artists work.
Other than that-this is "me". A slightly eccentric jewelry maker and crafter who has more ideas bouncing around in her head than time to actually create them.

You can find her on Facebook at Z&Me Creations and her shop is on Storenvy at Z&Me Creations.

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