This article features one of our youngest crafters yet, a 16 year old named Marina from Slovenia. She was gracious enough to tell us her story and about her craft; this young woman definitely has an eye for beautiful creations. Check out the article for yourself and find out just how spectacular her beach inspired jewelry is!
Ankaran is a settlement in the Municipality of Ankaran, located near the border with Italy, in the Littoral region of Slovenia. Wikipedia
Dear Marina Tell me about Yourself and Your magnificent Beach Themed Jewelry:
My name is Marina, and I am from a beautiful small European country named Slovenia. I am a 16-year-old high school girl but don’t be fooled, I am enthusiastic and hard working with big plans for the future. Never in million years I thought that this early on I would have an international shop that would be so successful. Because I am only 16, and I’m still in school I need a lot of help from my parents and sisters. I divide time between work and school during the school year. It gets difficult, especially in the exam period when I have to study a lot, but this is when my family steps in and I get much-needed help from them. A lot is different during the summer time when school is over, and I have more free time to come up with new creative ideas. I couldn’t succeed without the help and support from my parents. When my business started to grow my family and I created the Maristella shop and decided to dedicate our time to making unique sea-themed jewelry. It is a family shop that has brought us closer together.
How did you first get started with your craft?
I started creating after my grandmother passing in late 2013, but at that time it was only a hobby. I always had the desire to create something beautiful and unique to honor her memory. I started with soap baskets for different occasions, but later on decided to switch to jewelry. Because I live near the sea and a little hidden “island” full of seashells I incorporated the seashells in my jewelry. Then I decided only to make beach themed jewelry for sea lovers all around the world. At first I didn’t plan to sell my creations because I did it as gifts for my family and friends. Later on, my friend told me about Etsy and I decided to give it a try.
What is your favorite piece of work, and why?
I love all my work and can’t pick a favorite one, but I can say that there is one necklace that is very special to me. For a long time, I struggled to come up with an idea to create an illusion of the ocean and sea life in it. I had so many difficulties with the consistency and the color of the “ocean” that I ruined more than 50 bottles. When I perfected the “ocean”, I focused which items put inside the small vessel. That was also demanding because I had to find miniature sea stars that would fit in perfectly. When I did all of that, I thought I would give it a twist and make a handmade miniature paper boat that would “sail” above it. It was the hardest part because to make a mini paper boat is not as easy as you would think. As I couldn’t make a single boat, I almost gave up, but thankfully my mom stepped in and had the talent of making paper boats. After literally months of trying we succeed in our creation, this is the product we created.
Tell me what you are currently working on:
I am very proud of My most recent creation. I combined forces with a fellow Slovenian creator of stunning miniature polymer clay pieces. She made miniature mermaids that I decided to use in my work. My inspiration was the movie Little Mermaid. I thought long and hard how to incorporate it in my beach themed jewelry, and I came up with a simple yet difficult idea that only recently came to life.
What are your hopes or plans for the future of your business?
A year ago, my shop had exactly 0 sales. I almost had given up hope and wanted to close the Etsy store, but after months of no sales and a few store views I finally made my first sale on the 16th of October 2014. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. Every day I would check my stats and see the disappointing low views and that day it was same as usual. In the evening before I went to bed, I optimistically checked my stats again and was
surprised to see I sold my first product. I screamed with excitement and ran across the apartment. My mother didn’t know what was happening and thought I was crazy! Not even a year has passed since my first sale, and a lot has changed. Now I have over 870 sales and every day I feel blessed. About the same time last year my hopes were to make at least 1 sale, and now I don’t want to be greedy and unthankful but i really hope to reach a 1000 sales before the end of the year and then we will make new plans and have new hopes. I love doing what I do, sometimes it is very hard, but if you have a family that is by your side to pick up the pieces you don’t have nothing to worry about. I would like to share my creations with more people, do more collaborations and to come up with different and uniquely creative ideas.
Could you give aspiring artists reading this any words of wisdom or advice?
I advise them that they choose a better strategy than I did. My initial strategy of only opening the shop and doing nothing was one of the biggest mistakes I made on Etsy. If you sell online, you have to be very hard working because there is a lot of competition, and you have to do everything in your power to stand out and be different. If you want to succeed you have to get noticed, so you have to work towards your promotion, whether this is paid ads, social media or SEO on Etsy remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. If you go months without no sales, don’t give up. At this time you can improve your products, you’re photographing, research and learn from companies with similar items, be active on forums.
Do you sell your creations online? If so, where can we find them?
First, I sold my products to my friends through my personal Facebook page where I posted different pictures of my first creations. My sales began to grow so my friend suggested opening an Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/Maristella890) so that I could also sell internationally. After much thinking, I decided to give it a go, but for months no sales came in. Just as I was about to give up and close my shop, I got my first sale and kept trying to make my shop bigger, better and more attractive.
Thank you Marina for sharing your story, and we at LaVera Design hope to see you succeed in the future!
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