1. When did you first get into crafting and art? …
I recently had the honor of interviewing Melissa Drake, the wonderful woman behind Happy Go Licky, her reclaimed silver jewelry is breathtaking and totally unique. I stumbled upon her Etsy shop a few years ago, and continue to be amazed at the new creations she has in her shop. She works full time as a recycled artisan, and was even featured on Etsy’s “Quit Your Day Job” series, Melissa is an inspiration not only to recycled artists dreaming of having a full time job involving their art, she is also an innovator in eco friendly jewelry design that keeps us all on the edge of our seats excited to see what’s next!
When did you first get into crafting, was it in childhood or later in life, and what types of crafting do you focus on currently?
My need for creating is intrinsic. As long ago as I can remember, dabbling in crafts was what held my attention, from painting on clam shells I found at the beach to making little embroidered pillows for my dolls, holding a finished piece of any sort was magical. It still is.
Do you listen to music, podcasts, television or movies while you work on your crafts,
if so can you give us a few of the artists, songs, shows, movies or podcast names you enjoy?
Jack Johnson surely soothes my soul, and I listen to a little Ben Harper, too, soft & quiet, so I am still able to concentrate on my work.
Are there any crafters, artists or bloggers that you look up to, or ones that have inspired you throughout your journey?
My studio walls are covered from floor to ceiling with handmade works by other artists. I swivel back in my chair and inspiration swirls around me. Being surrounded daily by artisan pieces reinforces my drive, invigorates me. When I was first starting out in my jewelry business simple things like having my checkbook cover handmade by an Etsy artist, and carrying my packages to the post office in a custom upcycled tote fashioned from a burlap coffee sack reminded me that I share my plight with other kindred spirits. I felt bolstered up by this “pack mentality.” It’s truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Do you sell your items exclusively online or do you also sell at craft shows, and consign or wholesale to stores?
I have been swamped with unprecedented custom ring orders from my website causing my trade shows to be kept at a minimum this year, but I do miss them and look forward to gearing up for them again. With several HappyGoLicky wholesale jewelry accounts dotted across the U.S. I expanded internationally this year- Bahamas, Brazil, Spain, Crete, Italy. That was an important goal for me.
What were the major steps you took toward creating a successful eco friendly craft business?
I funneled all my profits back into my business. “Eco- friendly” methods and materials often cost a premium. Add a healthy dose of trial and error to that equation and expenses start to add up fast. Reinvesting was a key component to the growth of HappyGoLicky. This prudence enabled me to offer my clientele original handmade eco chic jewelry designs at an attainable price for which I am now known.
What are you currently most excited about in your craft business right now?
I am very excited about my new HappyGoLicky limited edition leather wrap bracelets. I have only recently discovered the colossal benefit of committing to small limited editions. It means I will always be propelled forward to branch out as there is no cause to linger. My jewelry is continuously changing so now I can leave a design behind guiltlessly, like a snapshot of my style evolving. And that’s very liberating.
What is the one biggest piece of advice you could give a crafter, blogger or designer just starting out, and what is one online resource you couldn’t live without?
Research everything there is to know about starting your own business, and work ardently towards a realistic goal. Be bold. Be confident. Know that you already have a spark inside you. Reframe disappointment to use setbacks as fuel.
My favorite online resource?
Top 10 lists! I love nice, concise, easily digestible information, like “Top 10 Marketing Tips.” It’s amazing how such quick little tidbits can keep you from getting overwhelmed. Give it a search and see for yourself.