When most people go to the hardware store, they see everything they need to repaint a wall, fix a broken table or build a deck for the backyard. When Valerie goes to the hardware store, she sees dangling earrings, exotic bracelets and elegant necklaces. Once in her expert hands, mundane washers and L brackets become works of wearable art.
It's time to chat with Valerie William of Wearhardware.
Tell us everything we need to know about you in 2 sentences.
Valerie: I have been designing and creating jewelry for almost 20 years. When I started selling online in 2008 my jewelry business was changed for the better.
What kinds of items do you make and sell?
Valerie: I create handcrafted recycled hardware jewelry.
Why did you choose that field or did it choose you?
Valerie: I stumbled into the world of jewelry making by taking a class on how to make earrings. I always wanted styles I could not find in stores, so I thought I would start making them. That one class got me started with love of creating jewelry.
Tell us about your favorite piece either currently in your store or in the past.
Valerie: It’s very hard to choose a favorite piece. I have created several pieces that I love. One piece that does stand out is my long mixed hardware necklace. This necklace is a collection of most of the hardware I work with, the mixed metals go with everything, and it’s a conversation piece. Plus it’s one of my best selling pieces.
Talk about the decision to start selling your work? Was it a difficult decision to make? What, if anything, was holding you back?
Valerie: When I started making jewelry I made it was for myself. I did that for a year before I started selling my designs. The start of my business happened very suddenly; I applied to a show and got in. The show went better then I expected, so I applied to more. Soon I was making more money and selling jewelry became my day job.
How do you market your business?
Valerie: I have been selling online for over 8 years. I have marketed my shop many number of ways.
- Social Media – Currently I use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest (@additionsstyle for all social media accounts)
- Blogging – I used to blog at Everyday Inspired (additionsstyle.blogspot.com), now just occasionally on my IndieMade site. (http://www.wearhardware.com/blog)
- Newsletter – I send these out a few times a year - Sign up at http://www.wearhardware.com/content/be-vip
- Advertising – On Facebook and blogs
- Facebook Trunk Show – I host once a year
- Art Shows – I do one show a month
- Postcards – I mail these out to wholesale customers
What inspires you?
Valerie: Many things inspire me, depending on what I am creating. When I am in jewelry making mode I love digging through my buckets of hardware, it fills me with ideas. I also really enjoy seeing the work of other artists. Books, social media, gallery visits, and art shows are some of my favorite things to get inspired.
What frustrates you?
Valerie: It can be very frustrating to put a lot of effort into a promotion or marketing campaign with little to no return. Even thought it drives me crazy, it’s also a learning experience. Next time I have a promotion or campaign I know what doesn’t work and what I should change the next time.
What’s something you’ve kept since you were a child?
Valerie: I don’t have anything physical, but the most important thing I have kept from my childhood is my love for art and creating.
If you could get up tomorrow and do anything at all, what would you do?
Valerie: I would love to hop in a RV and travel the country. There are so many inspiring things to see and do, and I want to experience new adventures. This is my ultimate goal in the near future.
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?
Valerie: First and foremost be passionate about your creative venture. When you love what you do you will be more dedicated to work your online store. Next be consistent about your branding on your website, social media, and offline. Most importantly you must be dedicated to working hard to get sales. You can’t just start a website, you have to work everyday to achieve the success you desire.