T.E.S.T. Interview: Bijoux Bead

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 44th in our series with Darlene of BijouxBead.

When did you get started and why?

I launched Bijouxbead in 2007 with all the excitement and fervor of someone who felt she had something truly unique to offer. I have an appreciation of design and art and felt Bijouxbead was a perfect marriage of both my artistic and business sides.

What brought you to Etsy? Where else can we find you?

I joined Etsy in 2008 and spent about a year trying to understand the world of e-commerce. After setting up shop with necklaces, I let it sit fallow for a few years while I concentrated on other aspects of developing this business. It wasn't until 2011 that I returned my attention to my Etsy shop, filling it with an array of necklaces, bracelets and earrings, making them easily accessible both domestic and international customers.

How long does it take you to make a piece?

The length of time it takes to make a piece varies between minutes and hours. An intricate eight stranded necklace probably takes the most amount of time, approximately three hours, sometimes more.

Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?

Most ideas come from my experiences and relationships I've forged in Canada. Very little inspiration comes from fashion or trends. I have an abstract approach to mixing textures colors and materials which probably comes from my experience as a figure skating coach and choreographer. I love natural stone but I also adore sparkle and it is interesting to me to combine the two in an innovative way. As of late I've been concentrating more on metal than glass in my designs and I am enjoying making sterling silver shapes that are currently being featured prominently in my ELEMETAL bracelet collection. The juxtaposition of smooth natural stone and textured silver shapes is intriguing to me.

You've had some pretty amazing people wearing your designs - any star-struck moments/stories you'd like to share?

While I appreciate the notoriety that comes from having recognizable people wear my work, it isn't nearly as important to me as the considerable number of loyal customers who spread the word about my brand. It is those customers who have had the most influence in building my business and that gives me tremendous satisfaction, driving me to continue to push my design boundaries and produce meaningful work.

Check out the other items available from Darlene in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Interviewed by Tracy of LoulouJamesCreative in January 2013 in Toronto.

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