Foxtail Jewelry is a handmade business based in Portland, Oregon where Pattern seller Betsy Yates creates beautiful metal jewelry. Betsy started Foxtail Jewelry with no goals or expectations, just the knowledge that she needed a creative outlet to be happy. Her pursuit of creative fulfillment started as a hobby, but has evolved into a full-time business. Here’s her story and her advice for finding success on Pattern.
How did you get started creating jewelry?
I went to art school in Eugene, Oregon, where I discovered metal and it really blew my mind. I fell in love with the material and discovered my true medium. I ended up getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts in metalsmithing and jewelry and about a year after, I started selling my products on Etsy.
How has selling on Etsy affected your work or your creative process?
Over the past ten years, I have evolved a lot as an artist, along with Etsy and my Etsy customers. Etsy has molded my work and creative process. For instance, the easy Stats feature lets me see specifically where traffic is coming from, and what keywords people are searching to find me! It allows me to cater to the right markets.
What made you decide to create a Pattern website, separate from Etsy?
One day, a friend of mine who was also an Etsy maker and a Pattern user came over for coffee. He explained to me what Pattern was and how it worked. When I saw how easy it was to create a website, I was converted right away!
Did you have another website before creating one with Pattern?
Yes, I had a website created with Squarespace. In all honesty, I neglected it because I spent most of my time on my Etsy shop. When I realized how easy it was to have my Etsy shop and my Pattern website all in one place, I immediately cancelled my Squarespace account.
How was your experience setting up a website with Pattern?
It only took me three minutes! I didn’t have to upload a single picture or write a single description. Everything was automatically synchronized and in just a few clicks, I had a brand new professional website. Making your handmade pieces is half the battle, and creating a new site can be daunting. Pattern made it really easy.
What theme do you currently use and why?
I use the Mosaic theme because it fits perfectly with my brand, but all the themes are beautiful and there’s definitely something for everyone!
Based on your experience, what advice would you give Pattern sellers who are developing their personal brand online?
Collaborate with creative folks to get fresh ideas and interesting feedback about your brand. A few years ago, I met a photographer through a friend who wanted to get started and develop her portfolio. She took my first series of photos and has definitely had some influence on the look that my brand has today.
How do you promote your website?
I know that if I’m not putting my website out in the world, it’s hard for people to find it. So every time I do a craft fair, I bring and hand out 200 business cards that mention my domain. I also promote my jewelry on Instagram. I find it to be a great way to try new products with my audience. I often post a picture of a new product to see how people react and if there’s a desire for it. If comments are positive, I start selling it on my website.
What tips can you share for being successful on Instagram?
- Create beautiful and professional looking photos of your products (and don’t hesitate to get help from a professional photographer, at least to get you started).
- Post images of your products, behind-the-scenes shots and pictures of yourself in your creative environment.
- Post regularly to keep your account updated.
- Use relevant hashtags to get found easily.
Are your Etsy customers different from your Pattern customers? How?
A lot of my Etsy customers are international, whereas people purchasing products on my Pattern website are usually local folks who, for instance, met me at a craft fair. Etsy has provided this international customer base that I wouldn’t have otherwise and my products are now all over the world.
What’s next on the horizon for your shop? Any big plans or goals coming in 2017?
A rebranding in October, including a new name and a brand new line! Stay tuned.