Friday, June 10, 2011

Featured Artist: Shawnna - garbaje

Our today's featured artist is Shawnna alias garbaje! She has pretty recycled jewelry in her shop! Please check out her shop!

Tell us a bit about yourself:

look at me!
What is your background?
I grew up in a little country town about an hour east of Cleveland, Ohio. After highschool, I attended a liberal arts private school where I graduated with honors and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and Business. I really enjoyed the business classes, however I always felt the urge to take advantage of the liberal arts education and branch out into other areas that the college offered that were unrelated to my major. So I enrolled in as many elective art classes that my schedule allowed for and wound up graduating a semester early because I maxed out my credits every semester. Come to find, this saved me a ton of money!

When I graduated in December of 2008, I immediately found a job and am still employed as a front desk manager of a salon and spa. I enjoy the people I work with and I enjoy what I do, however my favorite part of the day is when I get to be home with my family and set up my work area to make my bracelets after my son goes to bed.

What hobbies or interests do you have?
When I'm not making my recycled jewelry, I really enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, being outdoors, reading when I get the chance, Facebooking (best invention ever), recycling,  the casino, and I'm known to have an occasional glass of wine!

Is there a specific design style that you really like?
My style preference is a direct reflection of the items I make. I don't know if there is a formal design style name that I'd give them, though. Here's some adjectives that I'd use to describe them: fun, funky, bright, unique and ecofriendly. I hate purchasing anything (a shirt, a purse, shoes..) that will only go with one outfit that I own. I prefer to go for the items that I can picture myself wearing on an everyday basis. That's how my bracelets are -- they will add a little fun(ness) to any outfit.

look at me!
What drives you?
I am driven by all the successful people who were told that their dreams weren't realistic! I absolutely love hearing people's stories and listening to how they made it to where they are now. Whenever I am feeling unmotivated, all it takes is for me to revisit some of my favorite blogs (Gussy Sews is my absolute favorite) by young women who have accomplished, and are still working on accomplishing, their dreams.

I'm also very emotionally driven and I have a very strong desire to be truly happy during my lifetime and in my career. For some people, that may mean climbing up the corporate ladder, which I admittedly dreamed of at one point when I was in college. However for me now, I want to be able to combine my passion for creativity and my overwhelming desire to be a stay at home mom. 

Why did you choose your career / niche / topic / market?
I have been making beaded jewelry since I was five years old. I always told my parents that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I had a little shop in our basement where I drew pictures and hung them on the wall for display. The pictures could be purchased for 5 cents and were made to order. Let's just say that my parents where the most loyal customers ever. What's even funnier is that my display of pictures is still hanging in their basement! I'm actually "LOLing" right now :)
In summary, I have been a creative person my entire life. I didn't have to choose it, I have always had it. I've gained the business experience through college and my career and I just cannot wait to combine the two into a full-time passionate business that I'm determined to make it.
What are your goals?
My ultimate goal is to start a handmade business from home that earns me enough money so that I don't have to pay a babysitter everyday and work for somebody else. I feel like I have a very big opportunity to do something very exciting with the combination of my business background and my creative side.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I see myself running a successfully evolving handmade business.

Tell us about your shop:

How do you describe what you do and why are you doing what you do?
When I'm at my workstation, I'm doing what I was born to do. With every sale comes a huge amount of satisfaction to me, knowing that I created something that somebody else is willing to pay for and enjoy for themselves.

Describe your ideal customer & the world they inhabit.
The ideal customers that I'm trying to target would be women between the ages of 16-40 I'd say. Most of them probably appreciate the idea of purchasing something that is not only one-of-a-kind, but also affordable and ecofriendly. This said woman is not very hard to come by, therefore my opportunity to grow and gain exposure is a definite possibility.

What do you want to be known for in your business?
I want my items to be known for their originality, earth-friendliness, quality, and affordability. Nothing in my shop is over $20, which makes every item a realistic purchase for just about everyone.

What is about your shop that is unique? What makes your shop different?
My shop truly is one-of-a-kind. The recycled water bottle bracelets that I make are my most popular items and you can't come across them anywhere else. I hand-roll each plastic charm from water bottles and wrap them in brightly colored copper wire. I have another variation of the recycled water bottle bracelet, which is combined with recycled magazine pages and makes for an even more original and standout piece of jewelry.

What’s your story & why should I buy from you?
My story is simple -- I'm a woman/wife/mother who is trying to accomplish her ultimate dream of working at home doing something that she absolutely loves while earning an income and not missing out on a moment with her family :) 

Look at me!
What event or need causes them to search for what you offer? Which problem do you solve?  
People may stumble across my Garbaje when looking for an ecofriendly piece of jewelry. Or possibly just a fun and unique bracelet that boasts handmade. Every single item that is for sale in my Etsy shop comes from atleast one recycled item, whether it be a water bottle, a soda bottle, magazines, or pop tabs. Recycling is very appealing and when combined with fashion can be a very exciting trend.

What is your message?
My message is that it's entirely possible to rock a piece of recycled plastic and look good doing it.  Jewelry doesn't have to be super expensive or mass-produced. A handmade piece of jewelry (or any accessory for that matter..) is always something worth talking about and appreciating.

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