This week's IndieMade featured artisan is Lisa Boland of Lisa Boland Designs. She's here to talk about how she honed her love of all things sparkly into a business and how she keeps the creative fires burning when there's always so much to do. An IndieMade "veteran" -- here's Lisa Boland.
Tell us everything we need to know about you in 2 sentences.
Lisa: I’m a mom, amateur chef, crafty girl, and jewelry designer. If I had one wish it would be for four more hours in my day, one to work on my jewelry, one to spend with my son with no worries about other responsibilities, and two to sleep so I could finally reach that magic number of eight hours of sleep per night.
What kinds of items do you make and sell?
Lisa: My primary design focus in on simple, clean, and modern jewelry pieces with a sentimental touch that makes them meaningful for the wearer. I craft my designs in sterling silver and some feature gemstones, pearls, Swarovski crystals, and glass beads. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity and I’m always striving to reflect that sensibility in my jewelry designs.
Why did you choose that field or did it choose you?
Lisa: Jewelry design most definitely chose me. I’ve always loved jewelry and I’ve been fascinated by jewelry design for as long as I can remember. My first stop in any museum I ever visit is always the jewelry displays. But it wasn’t until a friend took me into a bead shop for the first time that I thought about making my own jewelry. From that first visit to the bead store and the very first pair of earrings I created, I was hooked!
Tell us about your favorite piece either currently in your store or in the past.
Lisa: I have two favorite pieces. The first is my signature “Follow Your Heart” compass pendant. The sentiment behind the design is simple and lovely. Let your heart be your guide. It’s the perfect gift for a graduate, a new bride, a new mom, anyone really. I chose to accent the design with a little pearl, my son’s birthstone, so it’s especially meaningful for me.
My other favorite piece is my Faceted Botswana Agate Bracelet. The beads are so exquisite that they make the simple bracelet absolutely beautiful. I have one of my own that I wear often.
Talk about the decision to start selling your work? Was it a difficult decision to make? What, if anything, was holding you back?
Lisa: The decision to sell my work was an easy one for me because family and friends would see the pieces I had made and they would ask me to make the same piece or something similar for them or for gifts. That interest gave me the confidence to pursue jewelry design as a career. This was in the late 90s – before the internet was anything close to what it is today. I know…we’re going way back here! I hosted trunk shows at my home or friends’ homes several times a year and I also sold through an artist’s gallery shop.
When my son was born, I took a few years off from selling and when I re-launched my business I opened my first online shop on a popular artists’ marketplace. It didn’t take too long for me to become disenchanted with their business practices and I made the decision to create an independent website. Luckily, that’s when I discovered IndieMade and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been able to easily create a beautiful site without having to learn lots of technical stuff that I just don’t have the time for. Now, my focus is on building my online business as well as doing several in-person events every year.
How do you market your business?
Lisa: I primarily market my business through my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/lisabolandjewelrydesigns. I also have a growing email list for my newsletter. Followers of my work can sign up here, http://www.lisabolanddesigns.com/content/newsletter. Pinterest is another favorite tool of mine and here’s the link to follow me there, https://www.pinterest.com/lisasjewelbox/. I’m also working on improving my Instagram skills, https://www.instagram.com/lisabolanddesigns/.
What inspires you?
Lisa: Most of my inspiration comes from the materials I work with. When I see beautiful gemstone beads, I start imagining how I would use them in a new design. Meaningful charms inspire me to create pieces that turn into signature looks for my clients. I love the brilliant colors of Swarovski crystal and when I use them, I keep the designs simple to really showcase that one-of-a-kind sparkle. Adding to all of that, interesting architecture and bright-hued flowers have my head filled with more ideas than I have time to create.
What frustrates you?
Lisa: The most frustrating thing for me is simply a lack of time to accomplish everything that I want and need to do. Like many creatives, my business is absolutely a one-woman-show. Of course I do the designing and creating, but I also source all my supplies, shoot and edit all of my photographs, and produce all of my marketing and social media. I’m also my own accountant and shipping department. It’s daunting to say the least.
What’s something you’ve kept since you were a child?
Lisa: I still have my cherished Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls from when I was a little girl. They happily reside on an old family rocking chair.
If you could get up tomorrow and do anything at all, what would you do?
Lisa: I would grab my family and we’d fly off for a trip to Italy, Greece, and Egypt. My son is as fascinated by ancient history as I am and I know it would be an amazing experience for us. And I can’t even imagine the design inspiration. I’m sure I’d come home with a sketch book full of ideas.
Your friend is going to sign up with IndieMade tomorrow (while you’re off doing whatever you wanted to do). What advice do you have that will help her be successful?
Lisa: First, learn to take good, clean photographs of your products. While staged shots with creative backgrounds can be interesting, they can also be distracting. Clients need to be able to clearly see what it is they’re getting. Second, social media can be a great marketing tool but learn ways to streamline your time on all of those social sites. It’s far too easy to fall down the rabbit hole and lose hours at a time. (This, by the way, is something I’m still working on!) Lastly, (and this may not be popular but it’s the truth) don’t go into a handmade business thinking it will be an easy way to make money. It’s not. It takes long hours, hard work, and a lot of dedication. It can be the most frustrating thing you’ll ever do. But if you’re willing to put in the work, it can also be the most rewarding.