Heya Everyone, pretty excited about this giveaway cos it come from one of my fav stores from the very onset of my Etsy fascination. Shop owner Virginie Millefiori is a friend in my head and on email. We’ve been meaning to get this together for you guys for a while now but there were so many unexpected delays. I can only thank her for being so patient with me. It’s time to meet Virginie Millefiori and to make a statement with her unique, minimalist jewelry.
Do you have a workspace? If so, please share (see pics above). Yes I do have one and a very spacious one I especially appreciate after having lived in a small studio with my husband and welcoming always new guests friends from France visiting Big Apple! I have several working stations: computer, enamel spot, metal smithing bench, assembling station… I try to keep organized but since it’s not a natural virtue for me it rarely looks like on the pictures.
When did you start selling on Etsy and Why Etsy?
I’ve been browsing Etsy since its beginnings in 2005 when I was still living in Paris. At the time I was playing with polymer clay (yes, hence my artist name Millefiori) and was amazed by the techniques people were using in the US while it was barely existent in France. I’m a slow mover, I only opened a shop in March 2008 and then only put up my very first listing last summer when I actually decided to do it full time, being now settled in NYC and having my business registered.
What I like about Etsy is the great traffic I get on it and the energy plus the seller advice their team brings. It feels like we (the sellers) are all evolving at different speed but making progress together and when you have your own business you work most of the time alone so it’s good to share experiences and find a like-minded community.
Is this a full time gig for you? If yes what do you love about it?
Yes my jewelry business is my full time job and has been so for a year and a half now. I love absolutely everything about it, of course especially realizing an idea into a tangible piece and seeing the sparkle in the eye of my customers discovering it. The only exceptions are the administrative aspects and the fact to be alone most of the time. By the way I’m looking for an intern so if one of your readers is interested, I’d be happy to receive an email :).
Your personal fav item in your shop right now?
Call me a masochist, I’ve always had as favorite the last piece that took me the most time and effort. Right now for my Etsy shop it’s the Peter Pan scalloped collar. You can see on the last picture (see below) of my listing the different steps involved. I love to put stress on the handmade labor, I think that is what people look for when buying on Etsy, at least I hope! Peter Pan collars are very popular and you can find them in a wide array of prices and qualities of course. Since most of my pieces are quite dainty and delicate this is kind of a statement piece for me so I wanted it to be very elaborate. I spent hours sketching over and over and sawing it off. Then in my e-shop it’s my reindeer necklace; that was technically super challenging as well!
What was first piece you ever made/sold?
My first pieces were made out of polymer clay and were most of the time necklaces you can see pictures above: three dimensional orchids or millefiori beads were my specialty.
What are your plans for the future?
Last year I’ve had a craft show almost every single week end, I’ve managed my Etsy sales, the orders on my e-shop and the wholesale orders for boutiques around the world. I finished the year exhausted. I can’t realistically hope to grow as a person and as a business doing all that at once and myself. At some point I would need either to have someone working with me or at least to focus on one main activity for my business: online versus shows versus wholesale. I will soon sit down, breathe and figure this all out, this is in my 2013 resolutions list!
Any advice for women considering starting their own business ?
The first thing is to be sure you are truly passionate by the field in which you want to start your business because you will spend a lot of time talking, reading and thinking about it. It’s not a fairy tale, simply because you have the heart and the ideas for it, will not mean overnight success. This means you must be financially able to survive until your business grows enough to make a living out of it. This is also vital to stay focused on your core business, which means to remain true to yourself and your unique identity that will meet the needs of a niche market loving your products for their added value. Eventually you will need a lot of determination and positivity to turn any failure in a learning experience and to evolve stronger and stronger rich in knowledge and accomplishments.
This is the most difficult but also the best job I’ve had so far. It’s just been a year and a half and I still have a lot to learn but I’m already proud to look back and see the evolution my brand is going through and the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. This is a life experience not any regular job.
For fun: whats playing on your ipod, mp3 player, favorite book?
I could not work without music and it really helps me staying positive and never bored if I have to do a repetitive task like sawing off tons of identical shapes. I listen all day (and night) to Songza where I love the diversity and the ability to pick a style by the activity you’re doing. They have some really fun activity suggestions like “looking at pictures of your ex” which always makes me laugh. Then about books I must admit first I’m not a big reader and second I’m kind of a monomaniac: I read books about jewelry and about conducting a business… The most fun part of my day is watching episodes at night, lately Portlandia season 2 (I laughed again when they reused “she’s making jewelry now”) and before it was Louie CK, That Mitchell and Webb Look, thank you Netflix!
Also I’m a brunch fanatic- any local brunch recommendations please?
Since I’m sure you know way more than I do in that field I won’t disappoint you by stating the new underground hip brunch in Williamsburg, instead I will remain very french: I eventually tried Lucien after hearing about it for years now and it is actually true to its reputation. The food tastes just like in France so since I did not go back for the holidays it was a delicious ersatz for food at least! The location couldn’t be easier: 1st street and 1st avenue.
So that’s our giveaway of the week,
I hope you enjoyed going behind the scenes with Virginie.
As always entries using Rafflecopter to keep things easy.
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