About a month ago I was browsing the Etsy front page when my eyes were instantly caught by a series of necklaces under the recent listings category. Quickly I clicked on one and entered Rhonda Michaels Jewelry, open since May 31, 2010, a newborn in the Etsy world. First of all let me say that I was so overwhelmed by the wonderment of the collection, the bold colorful pieces and the obvious style present in each design that I instantly contacted the store owner! I had to compliment her on her amazing store and the immense creativity and unique quality that was evident in every item listed and if I am being completely honest I was a tad bit curious about her. How did she put together such a great store and collection with such a defined style in two short weeks? Was she finding the Etsy experience easy to navigate and gratifying? Well I got my answers and a great new friend and now I am going to share her story with you!
Rhonda is a married mother of three wonderful, active boys between the ages of 8 and 14. Her background is in art and interior design and she is one of the lucky ones that works in her chosen profession, she is an interior designer. Rhonda says that in her spare time she loves to work with jewelry and has also been busy painting and has another Etsy store, Rhonda Michaels, with some of her canvases listed. She loves to spend time with her family and friends. Rhonda and I had a little chat about her jewelry designs and some other tidbits so read on for the interview:
S&V: In your jewelry designs what is your favorite material to use?
RM: Anything that has great depth and color!! I tend to use mother of pearl the most because of the great colors it comes in, but I truly can't resist a great glass bead, pearl, or stone.
S&V: Do you have a certain time of day or a particular place that you design?
RM: Since making jewelry is my creative passion (and not my day job) I tend to design pieces on the weekend and sometimes in the evening.
S&V: When you design do you watch T.V. or listen to music, etc.?
RM: I love to put on pandora radio and listen to music... usually pop music...I am 37, am I too old to rock out to a little Taylor Swift?!? In the winter I watch Hulu and catch up on Desperate Housewives or The Biggest Loser!
S&V:Where do you draw inspiration from and does your background in interior design ever lend inspiration to your jewelry designs?
RM: Generally my inspiration comes from the beads (though I should admit that I was scribbling necklace designs during church last week)! I usually put together strands with color combinations I love and twist the strands to see if I can envision a necklace...if I like it the design ideas jut flow from there. I think this is where being an interior designer helps me. I combine colors, textures and finishes for a living so doing it in jewelry comes pretty natural.
S&V: Are you involved in any groups in your hometown?
RM: Not at this point in my life. My husband and I lived overseas for 7 years while my husband played professional basketball (Turkey 1 year, Australia 7 years) and our life was full of ministry. When we moved back we started a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group for teens and we would regularly get 60-70 kids in our home each week. After five years we "retired" from that role. We have 3 boys aged between 9-14 (our eldest just got his learners permit last week...eek!!) who are very into sports, so if I'm not working or designing jewelry, my rear is usually stuck on a bleacher somewhere! :) lol!!!
S&V: Do you purchase your supplies from a local bead store or the Internet, or both?
RM: I LOVE shopping on Etsy for supplies, but I shop anywhere I can find great beads, from the Internet to my local bead stores.
S&V: Is there a signature item in your collection?
RM: Why yes, it is my Bloom design! 1 or more flowers on a necklace or bracelet.
S&V: Of all the designs you have made do you have a favorite ?
RM: Yes and I just sold it to a good friend this week! (picture below)
S&V: Do you have a most accomplished moment in your jewelry business?
RM: No, not really. Many of the people who have bought from me will tell me of the compliments they receive and that gives me so much joy! I try to create unique and feminine pieces because I think something as simple as a piece of jewelry can really transform the way you carry yourself...when you feel pretty your confidence shows!
Thanks Rhonda! I know that when someone wears your jewelry they couldn't help but feel pretty! Rhonda is offering a special to those who sign up for her facebook page. Between now and the end of July if you become a fan of Rhonda Michaels Jewelry facebook page you are automatically entered to win a $30.00 gift certificate for her Etsy store!!!