Q + A | In The Mind of a Maker

We talk to our friends, family and significant others on a daily basis. We talk about the weather, how their day went, what's new, etc. What we don't often ask however, are questions that are deep rooted. Questions about their passions, ambitions, what drives them, etc.

So I took that thought and decided to ask the people in my life in which I speak to on a daily/ weekly basis if they could come up with 2-3 questions they wanted to know about me as a designer, maker and small business owner. I told them to go as deep as they wanted, to get answers to questions they really didn't know about me and how I would answer them.

Today I'll share who I asked, the questions they had for me and the responses I had to their questions.

First up was my husband, Eric. This man has supported me from the very first day we met and I must say there is no one in this world that wants me to persevere and achieve my end goal more then he does.

Here's what he wanted know...

Q:: How do you stay motivated?

A:: Well, to be honest sometimes staying motivated isn't easy for me at all. It's actually something I struggle with but with that being said it's something I can actually say I'm improving on daily.

It's funny I was talking to my friend the other day and I said to her, "You know, I have never been as motivated as I am these days. I only wish that I would have had this motivation years ago, imagine where I would be right now." But I kept my head high and quickly followed that statement with "Well, it's better late then never. I have plenty of time to achieve my goals. In fact, I have a lifetime."

Surrounding myself with positivity, "pretty" things, inspiration and knowledge motivates me. My son motivates me. Knowing that one day he will be in my shoes, holding on to a passion whatever that may end up being. I want to be able to tell him that I gave my passion my all and that I never gave up. That is my motivation.

Q:: Why did you choose to craft what you design?

A:: For starters, I love jewelry. I have tons of it. I'm constantly on the prowl for unique pieces that express my personal style. However, I also felt like I could never find those unique pieces. Everyone was wearing the same thing, everything I found in stores was what was trending. I didn't want to purchase pieces like that. I wanted something that was different, something that paired well with my own style. So I took those thoughts and ran with them, to create a brand of jewelry that is unique, offering different designs and pieces to give each individual the opportunity to find jewelry that is fitting to their own style.

Q:: What do you want for the future of Fresh Wood Studio?

A:: Oh boy, this question is a little difficult for me to answer because there are several paths I would like to take with FWS and my design career. I am Fresh Wood Studio. This is a one woman ran studio. So with a future for FWS is also a future for myself as a designer. Yes, I am a jewelry designer however, that is my craft and what I have used to create my small business, Fresh Wood Studio but my passion does not stop there. I am a designer, so I have several ideas as to where I would like to see my talents explored.  With that said, I would love to open a boutique for FWS, not only to sell my jewelry but to also sell pieces designed by other makers. I would also like to use my design skills in other areas such as taking my sketches, design ideas, etc. and turning them into larger scale projects and collaborations.

Next up was my aunt, Mickey. I must say that not only is she a jewelry addict as am I, she is also my #1 fan and owns tons of the jewelry I design and sell at FWS.

Q:: What challenges you most when you're designing?

A:: Several things challenge me when I'm designing. I don't face these challenges every single time I am designing but I have my days that's for sure. One of my challenges is physical. I have what they call essential tremors which in a nut shell is shaking that occurs with completing simple tasks such as writing, tying your shoes and in my case designing things that consist of precision. The tremors can affect several parts of your body but thankfully mine only affect my hands. Some days are better then others. Some days I don't even shake. There is no cure and I could take medication for it but I choose not to, as I'm not a fan of taking meds. It's just one of those challenges in life you push through and thankfully I have found ways on my own such as breathing techniques, etc. that really help me get through it on days when it's at it's worst.

My other challenges are are mental. The self-doubt, the comparisons, the pressures, etc. all come creeping into my head every now and then. It's not easy shaking them off sometimes but I've found that whenever I'm facing those challenges I need to get up and get out. Fresh air, blue skies, music and laughs always help me to shake it off.

Q: How do you come up with your designs?

A:: I come up with my designs several ways. One way pretty much happens on a daily basis. When I get dressed the next step is always putting on jewelry. When I look at an outfit the thought "what jewelry would look good with this outfit?" literally pops into my head every time. Sometimes, I can find exactly what I'm envisioning in my jewelry box and other times when I don't find what I'm looking for I design it in my head and then add it to my sketch book. I also love flipping through magazines, clicking through Pinterest and wandering Soho and the Greenwich Village in NYC for inspiration and ideas for my next designs.

The next two questions came from best friend Joanna. We've been friends since we were teenagers and she's always supported my passion. In fact, it's pretty funny that one of the questions she happened to ask me below has her name written all over it.

Q:: How old were you when you first knew you wanted to design; when you knew you wanted to make a business out of your passion for design?

A:: Art and Design has been apart of me since I was old enough to hold a paint brush. I've always loved creating. I remember as a child I used to make things and walk around my house selling them to my family. Ha!

As for when I knew I wanted to make a business out of my passion was pretty recent. Yes, I had always been doing this as a "side gig" along with other full time and freelance work but several months ago while having a conversation over the phone with my best friend Joanna, I was talking to her about the thought of possibly leaving all of this behind so that I could go back to work full time and her response snapped me right back into reality. She said "if you walk away from this, you are walking away from yourself. This is who you are. This is not something you do for kicks, this is you.. THIS IS YOUR LIFE." And that was it. The next day, I moved forward with my plans of creating this small business and setting up my LLC and DBA.

Q:: What does your heart do and feel when you think about design? For an example: When you think of your son your heart feels a certain way, its filled with love and emotion.  So how does your heart truly feel when you think about your passion for your craft?

A:: I love this question because it actually made my heart so happy to even think of a response to it. I feel pure joy, excitement and happiness when I think of my craft. I feel as if my mind expands, as if the possibilities are endless and skies the limit. It's just a freeing feeling. Where my thoughts and ideas flow and my hands just take over. It's an amazing feeling.

Next up is my cousin, Christine. She's always my go-to person whenever I have good news to share. She's always ready to celebrate with me with open arms and a huge smile.

Q:: How do you get inspiration for your designs?

A:: Colors, shapes and patterns tend to really inspire me. That's one of the reasons I love Pinterest and Instagram so much. It's all visual and I'm a really visual person. So a lot my inspiration comes from the things I see daily.

Q:: When are you at your best creative self? And how do you get to that place?

A:: I would say I'm at my best creative self after I've had some quality time away from my usual daily grind, even if it's for day. A drive out East to Riverhead, NY, a day at the beach or a family vacation. Whenever I return to my studio, I'm always filled with such creativity and passion; always refreshed, always revived.

Q:: Are there any practices you can share that might help other artists looking for a way to show their work?

A:: These days, there are so many ways of getting your work out there. I learn something new every day. However, if I had to choose some practices that I have used to get my work out there in the world I would say that photography and social media have been the two practices that have helped me tremendously.

Starting with photos, they are so important. They tell a story with no words. They provide a visual. They sell your work with no price tag attached. When I'm scrolling through Instagram visuals pull me in. Bright, interesting, colorful photos attract me. We live in a world these days where everything is seen and found on the computer so presentation is key. You have a matter of seconds to pull someone in and make them click deeper into your website. I see so many shops on Etsy that actually have nice pieces in their shop but their presentation and photos are awful and that unfortunately will turn buyers off. Invest in a good camera, I have a Canon Rebel XTi DSLR however, I'll admit that I usually only turn to it for larger scale projects. Most of my photos are taken with my iPhone and edited using several different apps on my cell phone.

Social media is my other practice. I have a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for FWS however, Instagram is probably the account I focus in on the most. I love the visual presentation Instagram offers and that it allows me to present my brand in a certain light. Consistency is key with Instagram though. Posting often and posting photos that are fitting to your business/ brand is very important to growing your following. If your photos are all over the place, if they don't explain your accounts purpose without a written description and if you don't have good quality photos you will turn followers away. There are lots of webinars and research you can read on how to improve on social media and growing your following. So be sure to do your homework and I promise you will see improvements.

And last but not least is my other bestie, Nicole. She is the VP for the company she works for and a kick-ass girlboss that definitely inspires me to keep working hard to achieve my goals.

Q:: How do you stay organized and balance your different projects, orders, etc. being a one woman shop?

A:: Balance isn't easy being a one woman ran shop. You can read this post where I wrote about how I accomplish that daily. But I will say that luckily, organization and multitasking are two skills I rock at! If I wasn't organized, if everything didn't have a place of it's own and I didn't carry a daily schedule I wouldn't be able to accomplish the things I do on a daily basis. I get things done by prioritizing, setting daily/ weekly goals and not putting so much pressure on myself.

Q:: How do you get unstuck creatively?

A:: Taking a step back, walking away from the task for a bit and not beating myself up when I'm feeling stuck are all ways I help myself. We all end up here at one point or another. The key is figuring out will actually help you to get unstuck.

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Well... that sums it up.

This really was a fun lil' project and really gave me some personal insight as well.

Give it a try! Or even ask yourself the questions I was asked. You never know what the answers will reveal.




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