T.E.S.T. interview: FrameBoutique

We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the 21th in our series, an interview with Meg of FrameBoutique.

First, tell us a little bit about yourself & your shop. What prompted you to open up an Etsy shop?

My name is Meg & I’m the exclusive designer & owner of FrameBoutique, which specializes in handmade, vintage-inspired jewelry. After simultaneously completing my master’s degree in English Literature & saying, “I do” to my partner of ten years, Sean, I began teaching at a private high school in Toronto. However, I felt a creative void in my routine so I catapulted headfirst into the burgeoning world of jewelry design. Etsy is a new medium with countless possibilities, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been” (George Eliot).

My infatuation for the written word did not end when I was handed my diploma, rather it infuses my Etsy shop. Whether it is through photographing my jewelry pieces on cherished novels or upcycling tattered books into decorative poms & one-of-a-kind brooches, my literary passion has not diminished. For the majority of my pieces, I use my wedding china with its softly detailed scroll design, which is also as a reminder of my husband’s unvarying support.

When I look through your collection of uniquely crafted jewelry, your work reminds me of 1950s fashion. To be honest, it makes me want to put on one of my 50s style dresses & add one of your Hollywood Regency or cocktail rings! I must ask, what inspires your designs?

Thank you! My inspiration stems from a variety of fashion trends. While I design new pieces or sketch them out, I usually watch classic films from the 30s, 40s & 50s. I love the simple design of women’s suits with bold accents in the 30s. I recently wrote a blog post on how Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday has influenced some of my more whimsical pieces such as my necktie or moustache necklaces. I love Rosalind Russell's wardrobe choices; she wears typically masculine clothes (suits, hats) & yet, reclaims them as feminine pieces.

Those closest to me know that my primary influence is Audrey Hepburn & her signature minimalist, silhouette style, which she always wore with bold earrings & accessories. In addition to these influences, my design is an eclectic mix of Boho Chic, Neo-Victorian, Parisian Chic, Old World & Shabby Chic styles.

What are the different textures that you love to mix the most? What ‘look’ are you going for with these pieces?

I love working with clean lines, crisp colours as well as soft shades such as blush, cream or beige. Also, floral pieces are central to most of my designs & often, I incorporate vintage items or create vintage-inspired jewelry. A lot of my designs play with the idea of contrast, usually between bold colours such as pairing vivid turquoise & bright red in an elegant pair of earrings. Lately, I’ve been using the soft texture of ribbon or lace trim as a contrast against the delicate metal work of filigree & the vintage-style of cabochon flowers, which has turned out better than I originally imagined. Now I just have to part with those pieces!

Most of my jewelry are statement pieces: über feminine, soft & minimalist. I abide by the ‘everything in moderation’ rule of thumb; with jewelry, you don’t want to over do it. Sometimes wearing one ‘statement’ piece can express more about your personality than a few colourful items. I also don’t wear or create jewelry according to the seasons - I think floral designs can add a touch of warmth in the fall & winter months. With jewelry, my philosophy is not to limit yourself to a season, but rather pick pieces that are timeless, bold.

Do you have any new & exciting designs that we can look forward to in the coming months?

By now, I think I have filled my design notebook to the brim with sketches of new designs! I would love to share a couple of my upcoming projects. One design that I’m quite excited about uses eco-friendly wooden bangles/bracelets. Essentially, I will be incorporating certain designs on paper as well as Japanese origami paper onto the wooden bangles – bright colours & chunky, oversized bangles.

Ideally, I want to create more upcycled, eco-friendly jewelry as it is such an admirable movement. I also have a new design for my upcycled necktie necklaces that reinvents them into a more feminine necklace rather than just a smaller necktie.

Do you have any tips for new Etsy sellers?

Yes! Use social networking sites to promote your brand such as blogs, Twitter or Facebook. This gives potential clients a chance to see beyond the final product & get a glimpse into your style, sense of humour, design process & draw attention to upcoming items. The most useful resource, the Etsy Seller Handbook will improve your Etsy business if you adopt the handbook’s advice. Also, frequently listing new items will increase the chance for buyers to discover your shop. The Shop Stats feature is another fundamental tool that can help you adjust your tags accordingly, which will increase your shop’s search relevancy. Lastly, photography is one of the most important areas to tackle. Browse some successful shops & you might notice a particular aesthetic – bright exposure, clean surfaces & uncluttered backgrounds. For more tips, visit Etsy’s Guide to Photography!

Other than your Etsy shop is there anywhere else where readers can find out more about FrameBoutique?

In addition to Etsy, I have a Facebook page, which has several of the same items as my Etsy shop, but also some different designs. On Facebook, I often post promotions, special sales & contests exclusive to Facebook fans (the last contest was a free pair of earrings from my shop!). I also have a Twitter account as well as a blog that focuses on new & upcoming designs, free DIY tutorials & products as well as Etsy promotions.

You can find more of Meg's designs in her Etsy shop FrameBoutique, her FrameBoutique Facebook page, her blog and you can follow FrameBoutique on twitter. She was interviewed by Candice of Candychick in September, 2011.


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