*Where are you from?I was raised in Huntington Beach, California until I went to college at UCLA. I then lived in a number of apartments throughout Los Angeles until I bought my dream home approximately 17 years ago in Chino, Calfornia. It is a small ranch where I can keep my horses and a few rescue animals I have acquired over the years.
This is also where I have my studio and do my beading. That all started a number of years ago when a friend taught me how to make my first necklace and I was hooked! I immediately started taking classes at the local bead store to learn new things, proper technique, and the basic foundations of jewelry making. I still take classes to this day -- you can always learn new things or improve technique I believe. I have met some wonderful people in the world of beading and wouldn't trade that for anything!
*How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?My shop name was sort of chosen for me. I had a previous medical transcription business under the same name, and it was far easier and cheaper to keep the name and change the business for licensing purposes than to start over from the beginning. I guess I have always had a little bit of entrepreneur in me. It was strictly a business and financial decision. I also had www.jkalvarez.com reserved which was yet another reason to go ahead with that name.
*What are 5 things you want people to think when they see your product?Ideally, I would like them to think they are looking at beautiful, quality, pieces of art they can wear. I would like them to see something they can see themselves wearing and enjoying for a very long time. Or even see something special enough they would love to give as gifts. Mostly, I think I would like them to see my love for my work coming out in the pieces I make.
*What’s your supply addiction; is there a specific color or type of supply you just can’t pass up?Oh, this is a tough one -- I am a supply junkie! I tend to grab crystals a lot, and lately I've been into bead caps and connectors for their many uses. My favorite color is purple, so I tend to reach for that a lot too. Really though, when I look at something, if I can see myself using it in something, I buy it. Especially if it is a really good deal where I can pass the savings along to my customers. I have been trying some different things lately, working more with metals, chains, different colors of metals, etc. Branching out a bit has been a lot of fun.
*What do you do when you’re not being an artist? What activities do you enjoy?When I am not making jewelry, there is still a lot to do to run the business, i.e. inventory, networking, teams, accounting, etc. but I do try to make time for myself in there too. I love to spend time with my horses when I get a chance. I also enjoy spending time with my family and 2 nephews and, of course, my boyfriend. If we get a free weekend, we always enjoy a camping trip in the RV somewhere just to get away for a little bit.
*Which item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?There are actually two items really. I love making the Swarovski Crystals and Pearls Bracelet. It is just fun and enjoyable to make. My other current favorite is the Beaded Necklace with Safari Jasper and Crystals in Antique Brass. That was a very different style for me. It really stretched what I am used to doing and I was very happy with the way it turned out.
*What keeps you motivated?I am very fortunate in that I don't have much of a problem staying motivated. I love what I do! I have a box of projects I really want to get to and haven't had the time yet, so that keeps me going as does a very supportive boyfriend. I recently bought a ton of new baubles at a Bead Shop Hop here in Southern California, so I can't wait to get started on projects with the new items I got. I just need more hours in the day! I guess my secret is that every once in a great while, if I'm not feeling very well or am just not motivated at all, I will give myself the liberty of a lazy day and do something else I enjoy. Then, the next day I am back at it with a whole new attitude.
*If you could give a piece of advice to a new shop - what would it be?Patience, patience, patience! And learn everything you can about your new venue from Etsy itself and other sellers who are gracious enough to share their experiences with you. That has been invaluable to me. I think most people come on Etsy thinking they are going to have a ton of sales right off the bat, and those stories are few and far between. Slow and steady wins the race. Take great joy in your accomplishments and don't dwell on any downsides -- you are doing what you love, right?
*Are there other places on the net we can find you?