Friday, July 23, 2010

#171 unofficial etsy featured seller - Venbead

#171 unofficial etsy featured seller - Venbead
Date joined etsy- 5/15/07
Sales to date - 1581Give us some basic info about you: name, where you live, kids/pets, favorite ice cream flavor, etc.

My name is Paula McDonough and I am The Venerable Bead. I am a wife and mother of two beautiful smart and creative kids ages 12 and 9. By day I am a Master's level Clinical Social Worker and by night I play with fire. I live a low carb lifestyle so ice cream isn't on the meal plan but if I were to cheat I would have to say that cookie dough would be on the top of my list.
-Describe an average day in life of "you".

The average day that is my life is a balancing act in the art of multitasking. I balance work, motherhood, household responsibilities and errands while still finding time in the later hours of the day to create. I work 3 days a week so I spend my 2 mornings off working on photographing new work and listing new items on Etsy.
-Were you creative growing up/what did you enjoy doing?

Growing up, most kids in my neighborhood had lemonade stands. I tried selling painted rocks and gave the lemonade away just to get people to stop and look at my creations. Things haven’t changed that much.
There has not been a time when I wasn't making something. I remember constructing Barbie furniture out of fabric scraps and empty soup cans.
In highschool and college it was all about charcoal drawing. When my kids were very little I was a scrapbooking maniac.
I’ve had a love affair with bead and jewelry designing since 1994. It started with polymer clay and moved into semi-precious gems and silver. The glass bug hit in early 2005 while I was reading a magazine article about a borosilicate bead artist from New Zealand, Emily Lake, who started glassing in her 40's. I had never seen borosilicate glass before but I felt drawn to it. After that, I started buying boro beads from self representing artists to incorporate into my name bracelets. Then it occurred to me that I could probably learn how to make them myself. In the spring of 2005 I took a wonderful nine week lampworking class at the Worcester Center for Crafts in Worcester Massachusetts taught by the very talented Jennifer Geldard and in July 2005 I set up a glass studio in my home.

-What made you want to start selling on etsy?

Up until I found Etsy in the Spring of 2007 I was only selling locally at art shows and home parties. Etsy has spread The Venerable Bead’s designs globally to customers who truly appreciate the talent and the time involved in the craft. That customer means everything to me and I am so happy to have found her!

-How long did it take for you to get your first sale on etsy?

I listed my first items in May of 2007 and I waited all summer before my first item sold. I thought selling on Etsy was a passive activity. You list and wait. I was wrong. It wasn't until I realized that in order to be found on Etsy you needed to list new items or relist current items several times a day that things started to take off. I also realized there was a whole community of sellers outside myself and I could harness their success and make it my own by investigating how to improve my shop and market myself outside of etsy.

-Top 5 favorite foods, tv shows, and bands?

grilled chicken Caesar salad no croutons
bunless cheeseburger well done
diet coke (not really a food but still nectar of the gods)
steamed broccoli with garlic salt and butter
fresh berries

tv shows
I have no time for tv but I do have a dvr so when american idol is on I record it. I also record csi miami and the big bang theory

Band: my favorite band is Blue October. In fact last August I attended a concert in NH and I impulsively decided that I needed to give the lead singer Justin Firstenfeld the beaded skeleton key I was wearing (one I, of course, had made). I pushed my way up to center stage and presented it to him during the performance and he took it and put it on and wore it for the whole show. It was a total rush!
-Is there anything you'd like to try your hand at doing? Knitting, baking, soap making, wood working, an instrument, etc.

I had two things I wanted to learn to do beyond the glass and in the past year I have learned to do both. Metalsmithing and enameling. I need more practice in both but I am so happy to be able to add these skills to my repertoire. It makes the sometimes tricky task of turning lampworked beads into jewelry easier and incredibly more beautiful.

-What would you suggest to new etsy sellers to promote their shops?

List or relist every day. Join an Etsy street team and network like crazy. Collaborate with other artists and cross promote.
Take a good hard look at your Etsy shop and continue to evolve. Ask a successful Etsian to give you a shop critique. Learn to take better pictures and invest in a GOOD camera with a GOOD macro lens very early on. In fact it should be one of the first purchases you make. Then learn how to use it. If your pictures are good you will land in treasuries and on blogs. Learn to make treasuries too and showcase the beautiful work of other Etsians. They will be some of your best customers! Trust me I do all of my holiday and birthday shopping on etsy now. Get a facebook, a flickr, and twitter account and learn to use them. If you have time for a blog start one.

-3 etsy shops you just LOVE?

Just 3? oh dear

-One year from now, I hope...

I am still able to balance it all because life is very good right now

Have an etsy shop with over 300 sales and want to be a featured seller? Contact me at
As always, thanks for reading :)