Happy Friday, all! I hope everyone has an exciting weekend ahead. Or maybe a relaxing one.
Today’s featured seller is Bonnie Bryant from BiboDesigns (http://www.etsy.com/shop/BiboDesigns) Bonnie makes jewelry, painted wine glasses and tile coasters. Inspired by the principles of the Arts & Crafts design movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Bibo Designs is dedicated to creating unique, handmade, and artistic products. Bibo Designs believes that a product created by a person is preferable to a product created by a machine. They believe that beautiful design should be affordable and available to everyone.
Jen: You make a few different things: plates, tile coasters, necklaces. How did you get started?
Bonnie: Crafting and creating beautiful things have always been my hobbies. About a year or two ago, I got the idea to begin designing and creating products on a larger scale, then selling them on Etsy and to local stores. However, I was headed to law school and I knew that my plan for a more creative career would have to go on hold for awhile. I figured that I would work as attorney for a few years, then quit to start Bibo Designs. Halfway through my first year of law school, I realized that I’d be very unhappy as an attorney and decided to start Bibo Designs a few years earlier than originally planned. I started working behind the scenes on a business plan, samples, logo design, etc. in March of 2012 and we officially launched in June.
Jen: What is your process for making your beautiful pieces? What is your inspiration?
Bonnie: I get ideas and inspiration from the world around me. I carry a little notebook at all times to jot things down so I don’t forget them. My biggest problem is that I have so many wonderful ideas for products but there’s only so much time in the day! Once I decide to go forth with a design, whether it’s a necklace, painted stemware, or one of the other million things we’re working on, I start making a sample. Usually these don’t come out perfectly the first or second time, and I’m a perfectionist in my work, so the process is a long one! The good thing is beads can always be restrung, clay can be reshaped, and paint patterns can be washed away if I don’t get what I’m looking for. Usually I ask my fiancée a thousand questions like, “Is this pretty?” “How would you price this?” “Would you buy this?” “Do you like it?” and he’s very patient with me 🙂
Jen: Do you have a dedicated workspace? An Office?
Bonnie: I work out of our one bedroom garden-level (fancy term for “basement”) apartment on Long Island, New York. Ikea has been a godsend: most of my work furniture is from there, since it’s functional, well-designed, and inexpensive. I store my samples, supplies, and files on a huge open bookshelf. My fiancée and I share a large work desk. I have a cool translucent “noticeboard” thing where I write down my business, personal, and creative goals for the week to stay organized and motivated. We luckily have a window right near the desk so I get some sunlight- working from home and being by myself all day can be lonely!
Jen: Do you have a day job?
Bonnie: Bibo Designs is currently my “day job.” I finished my first year of law school in May and had a part-time job for a month or so, but I left that to focus full-time on Bibo, since it was my top priority. I was very surprised at the amount of work it takes to not only create products, but market my shop and keep up with the bookkeeping and business side of things: I could work twenty four hours a day and still not finish everything! I start an interior design program in the fall, which will take up a lot of time but will also give me a great formal background in design that will better inform my work.
Jen: Any background noises while you work, ie television, children playing?
Bonnie: I can’t work in silence, it would drive me crazy! I usually listen to WNYC, the local public radio station, while I’m working. Their daytime programming is really interesting and engaging. I have a shameful secret addiction to really bad reality TV shows, and recently I’ve been watching the entire series of MTV’s “The Hills” while I’m working on products. Sometimes I’ll have HGTV on in the background, since I can’t get enough of their design shows.
Jen: What about your family? Any children or Fur Babies?
Bonnie: So far it’s just three of us: me, my fiance Dennis, and our cat (we like to refer to him as our “fur-baby”) Ronan. Dennis has been incredibly supportive of my decision to leave the more financially secure field of law and follow my dreams. Ronan has been less vocal in his support beyond the occasional “meow.” (For readers who are allergic to cats: Ronan is not allowed in the room during work hours, so if you order from us there should be no issues with allergy flare-ups! I’ve learned that this type of thing can be a concern to some Etsy buyers).
Jen: You sell Statement Necklaces. I’ve never heard the term before. What are they?
Bonnie: Statement necklaces are my favorite pieces of jewelry! They do just what their name implies: make a “statement” with your outfit. They’re usually larger than charm necklaces or chains and usually come in brighter colors. They’re great if you’re on a budget, because you can wear simpler clothes and use your jewelry to spice up what you’re wearing. I know that I’m on a tight budget and can’t really afford to buy a lot of new or trendy clothes, but something like a statement necklace is a great way to add color and interest to my usual outfits.
Jen: I love your wine glasses. They are so cute. How do you make those? Dishwasher safe or hand wash only?
Bonnie: I LOVE our hand-painted stemware. I use the samples as much as I can! It takes a really long time to come up with the designs. The hydrangea ones went through about four different designs before I finally chose the ones listed in our shop. The Ticker Tape Martini Set went through the same process. I think the best thing about our stemware is that each glass is unique and one-of-a-kind. We include care instructions with all of our hand-painted products, and they should be gently hand-washed in warm, soapy water.
Jen: The question on everyone’s mind – Are you having a Christmas in July Sale?
Bonnie: Af first I wasn’t going to. But then I couldn’t pass up a great opportunity. 15% off everything in the shop. Use Coupon Code: CIJ2012
Jen: Anything you would like to add?
Bonnie: Like everyone else, I have multiple ways people can connect with the shop.
Thanks, Bonnie, for sitting down and answering my questions. Good luck to you and your shop this year. I can’t wait to see how your interior design classes influence your work.
That’s it for today, folks. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to stop by Bonnie’s shop, Bibo Designs (http://www.etsy.com/shop/BiboDesigns) and show her some love.
Hoping for Sales