If there is one thing I admire about people it's their drive and passion. Merl is a one of a kind funny lady who has a spark for finding the right amount of cool to make an awesome statement necklace or ring, or whatever accoutrement she desires to make. If you have never visited her blog, please do! Her writing is funny, witty, and a tad on the crass, but that's what people love about her. She'll tell it like it is! So without further ado, I'd like to introduce you guys to my Blogger of the Month feature! I chose Merl for all the reasons above and I'd like everyone to get to know her.
What kind of job did you have before you started you own business? What inspired you to pursue jewelry design full time?
I worked at a local photography company here in Madison that specializes in sports, and graduation photography. Think back to your high school days when you got posed sport photos.. exactly. I absolutely loved the people I worked with, but the scheduling and subjects were driving me insane. I began tinkering around one weekend while visiting my parents, and started piecing together necklaces and bracelets from vintage materials and when I got a great reaction, I figured why not?' When I got back to Madison, I sourced more materials and opened my etsy store, and with a good number of sales under my belt, I decided to quit my other job and give it a real go.
Where does you inspiration come from? Your pieces always seem to have a story behind them.
Honestly, one of my biggest inspirations is The Glamourai. She creates these incredible masterpieces, and though she has years of experience and training on me, watching her unleash her creativity in such a tangible way spurred me to create my own one of a kind pieces. One of the best parts of venturing out on my own has definitely been the freedom to run things how I see fit. And that includes coming up with the descriptions for each piece. Since they are one of a kind, they obviously have a life of their own.. and isn't it more fun to read about a dream scenario where you can picture yourself rocking the crap out of the piece rather than a boring measurement and material description? As far as the inspiration.. you should see my doodle pad. Let's be kind and simply say I can't draw. However, at lot of times I'll get a rough sketch of a new piece, and then tweak it substantially once I start designing with real materials, mostly for practicality's sake. Sometimes I think a chain or stone will just float on it's own, and get upset when I remember that thing called gravity.
How would you rate your happiness, now that you work at home and basically work at your own schedule? How would you rate your kittie's happiness now that you spend more time at home?....(I had to throw that one in there since it seems like your kitties are like your children).
Ahhh the universal happiness rating system.. ranging from: Estatic!!! to eating ice cream while sitting in front of the fridge. I would say that during every week, I hit about every notch in between and including the polar opposites. When something sells, I jump for joy. When it's a slow week, I can be found laying on the floor whining to the cats and questioning my decision to begin this seemingly fruitless endeavor. Perhaps more emotionally stable people starting their own business have a better handle on things, but I'm quite mercurial when it comes to how I feel. It's also been hard to establish set hours of operation. I absolutely abhor alarms and have sleep issues as it is, so my days don't have a set start time, but often I'll be busy designing, listing, emailing, or blogging until 8-9 at night when the M gets home. I find that I am the happiest working on the weekends strangely enough. There's no pressure to keep busy, and I can take as many HGTV breaks as I deem fit without a feeling of guilt. The kitties are basically on Cloud 9 these days. Clyde can usually be found occupying the limited feet space under my desk, while Mo is spread eagle in the middle of the floor. The M's cat is hidden from all, because she is still suffering single child syndrome and likes to make us suffer with her absence.
What fears have you triumphed as a result of creating your own business?
As far as the fears go.. the business side is one giant looming beast over my shoulder. In a perfect world, all I would have to worry about is the fun sourcing, designing, photograhing and listing side. However, I don't much feel like getting audited so that means keeping diligent records and receipts, and employing an accountant who can understand numbers and what to do with them. I have a nasty habit of putting off things that aren't enjoyable, but finally getting the scary business side of my company in order allows me to sleep at night.