November 15, 2009

Interview with jenjems

There are many wonderful aspects to starting your own business on Etsy. As with any other venture, there's the sense of accomplishment, nurturing your own success, and regular challenges that make each day different. But what makes Etsy so refreshing is, in my opinion, the community. I have met many wonderful people - and consider many of them my friends. Today, I want to introduce you to one of my Etsy friends: Jen Moore, creator of jenjems, a beautiful line of jewelry with lines inspired by the natural world.

Etsy is home to myriad talented jewelers, but jenjems is amongst the cream of the crop for her sophisticated designs, stunning materials, and importantly - her great business sensabilities. Over the past several months, I have been grateful for Jen's daily Facebook posts, which almost always make me laugh out loud. Perhaps more relevantly, I have been awed by her Marketing prowess. For example, jenjems' 'Hidden Treasures', a sort of scavenger hunt sale for her Facebook fans. Trust me, it's really fun and gratifying as a buyer. Beyond the clever twist on a sale, Jen has a lot of other great ideas which I asked her to share with us, as well as letting us know her better:

I see you on Facebook, and I'm always impressed with the diversity of your Marketing strategies: Hidden Treasures, jenjems Parties, etc. Moreover, I'd have to say the reason your Marketing works, is that I don't feel I'm being sold/advertised to. It's actually fun! Where did you learn Marketing?
I'm a shopper put it mildly; I guess you could say I'm somewhat of a shopaholic. As a Seller, my approach to marketing is to put myself in the buyer's position. I think, "How would I want to be sold to?", and go from there. I can't stand the hard sell: if someone is nagging at me "BUY MY STUFF" I tend to back off more than make a purchase, so I keep it low key. Because I take this approach, Marketing is kinda second nature to me. My approach to jenjems marketing comes from great shopping experiences, dreams, and innovating. My packaging is a result of both my obsessive compulsive nature, as well as a lesson about customer appreciation I learned as a buyer. I once made a purchase online for five pairs of shoes (see, told you I was a shopaholic!) They were each individually packaged with matching tissue and a cute, little sticker; they came with a very nice note, thanking me for my purchase. I can still recall the feeling of joy and excitement I had as I unwrapped each pair. When I started jenjems, I used that memory to come up with my own Marketing strategy for packaging. I want everyone to have that feeling of joy and excitement when they receive jenjems.

'Hidden Treasures' was actually inspired by a recurring dream from my childhood: I was gathering "jewels" and placing them in a GIANT treasure chest. Each dream was in a different setting, but the end result was the same, I was searching for "hidden treasure". I thought, "Why not use that as a marketing tool?", and let my fans find the 'hidden treasure' in my shop.

Jenjems parties are really just a fresh take on the classic Tupperware party. I figured if it works for their merchandise, why not mine? It's so much fun to gather with friends and shop in the comfort of your own home. Get a few cocktails in your friends and they're REALLY ready to shop!

In your shop profile, you mention that you find inspiration in nature. I'm always curious to know what inspires artists - I think that it says something about their unique perspective. Can you elaborate?
I am fortunate enough to have a beautiful commute each day along a stretch of highway with farmland on either side. It's a nice way to start and end my day, and I'm always inspired by the scenery: like the way the sun hits the tips of the trees, the curves and shapes of the land, an old barn alone in a field. This simple imagery is often what charges my creativity and inspires new designs. Watching the way water flows down a hill may inspire the lines of a necklace. Appreciating the beauty in nature and the world around me, whether farmland or the city always shapes the creativity that comes from within.

Art teachers have made a huge difference in my life - I think it's fabulous that you are an art teacher. Tell us about it.
My desire to teach art started at a very young age. There was always something intriguing about art teachers: their carefree attitudes, the way they were always so kind and full of encouragement. My career path has taken me from Daycare Assistant to sixth grade Art Teacher and currently, to Director of a non-profit childcare center. My program emphasizes on the arts and hands-on lessons more so than academics. There is so much we can learn from a child, if we just take the time to listen and observe. Working with children has taught me to be kinder and honest to others – and myself.

Once while painting with the children I wasn't happy with my end result. Discouraged, I quickly tossed my painting in the trash. Upon seeing this, one of my students, reminding me of my own words, looked up at me and said, "Ms. Jen, 'make masterpieces out of mistakes'", a phrase I started using due to a serious lack of supplies and funding. Hearing my own words from this child made me value the lesson I'd been trying to teach. Rather than toss what I thought was a mistake in my design, I was able to see it in a whole new light; and conceive a new design better altogether than the original. This moment, this lesson – it has stuck with me in my approach to all of my art.


jenjems said...

Thanks Tara! It's been such a joy getting to know you over the past few months!

JRFales said...

Reading this males me want to buy something.Very fun reading about my own sister and learning things I didn't know about her. Thank you.

Dyche Designs said...

Love this post, great job. :0)

Ecobatt said...

Great interview Jen, I'm going to post this on my JenJems evite and my FB page to give the girls coming over some more insight into what makes you tick :)