Chicago metalsmith Katie Lime of Moira K. Lime Jewelry hand-makes stunning inspired by nature. She recently talked with IndieMade about blogging for customers and herself, and finding time for creativity among her indie business tasks.
What attracted you to the metalsmith business? How did you get your start?
I started studying metalsmithing and jewelry design in high school. I was lucky enough to have a school that offered a great variety of art classes and I took them all. After my first jewelry class, I was hooked! I ended up at Indiana University studying art history, metalsmithing and jewelry design. I got a degree in both fields and decided to give the jewelry thing a serious shot.
I moved to Chicago and started working for another jewelry artist as a production and design assistant and had my own small online business on the side. After a few years, my boss decided to make a move out west and I decided it was the perfect time to take my small part time business full time...and so it began!
What piece of advice would you give someone starting out in the jewelry business?
Don’t give up, follow your heart and stay true to your vision. It gets tough being your own boss, trying to manage your time, finances and personal life but make sure you still set aside time to be creative and experiment and try new techniques.
How did you start selling your products online?
I first started selling online in early 2007 when a good friend told me about Etsy.
Besides on your website, where do you sell your stuff?
I sell my work through Etsy, through my website and at art festivals. I also like to have a few smaller, more intimate trunk shows throughout the year for close family and friends.
Works in progress, and one of Katie Lime's four-footed studio "helpers."
Why did you decide to expand your indie business beyond Etsy?
I also like to offer my work through my personal website as another option for customers who aren't a part of the Etsy community or don't want to sign up with the site.
How are you promoting your indie business online?
I use Facebook, Twitter and my blog to promote my business. I think it's nice to let my customers see a more personal side of me and my business. People like to see how things are made and know the person behind the product. I also like to show everyone what's inspiring me and what's new with my work and my life. I love it when someone approaches me at a show and mentions a photo or post from my blog, or sends me a lovely e-mail saying that they read my blog or follow me on Facebook.
Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to write a post, but I think it's worthwhile for my customers and even for myself. For myself, I use it like a journal that I can look through and see what was inspiring me at a certain point in time. And for my customers and followers, I like to share upcoming sales, shop updates, shows and works in progress that I'm excited about (and most importantly, I like to show off my two pooches).
Katie Lime's workbench and home studio. "I was once told that a true jeweler never really has a clean bench," she says.
How do you stay in touch with your customers?
I like to do shows to interact with customers face to face. It's so nice to see how lovely, sweet, and supportive people can be! I also very much enjoy that out of the blue e-mail from an appreciative customer that makes my day. When I think about it and can find the time, I send out an e-mail newsletter.
Why did you decide to try IndieMade?
I met Jennifer at the Creative Chicago Expo in 2011 and loved the philosophy of IndieMade. I thought that my jewelry would look great with their clean and simple templates and wasn't totally happy with the site I was using at the time. I decided to try IndieMade out and haven't looked back since.
What is your favorite part of using IndieMade?
It was so easy to get my site up and running. It's extremely easy to update, and Jennifer and the IndieMade team are always there to help with any questions or problems.
What's on the horizon for your metalsmith business?
I am constantly pushing myself to make new work and find new inspiration, so hopefully, lots more new collections for my customers to get excited about!
Do you have any tips for new users of IndieMade?
Don't be afraid to ask questions if you’re lost or need help (which you probably won't be, because the site is super user-friendly and fairly easy to navigate) and make sure to read the IndieMade blog and newsletters where there's tons of great info available.