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 56th in our series with Brenda of SilverFoxDesigns6.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and Silver Fox Designs?
I come from a family of artists, musicians, singers and dancers. Under the circumstances they all expected me to follow in the family tradition. So training in all of the above arts was duly undertaken. I took dancing, singing, guitar and piano lessons. High school saw graphic arts, fine arts at university and fashion design in college. For all that, I ended up working in an office. :( When I found myself facing the prospect of being left unemployed when my boss retired, I decided that enough was enough with the office. I needed to do something I loved. You can browse through the books on starting a business on a shoestring for hours on end but nothing clicks. I had started making jewellery for myself - it was something I enjoyed. Family and friends admired my work and kept telling me “You should sell your work”. I considered it, but it wasn’t until a friend asked me to make her bridesmaids’ jewellery, that I actually took the leap. Silver Fox Designs was born shortly thereafter (though not under that name at the time).
What’s the story behind your shop name?
Funny you should ask. The first part of my second name actually means silver (you pretty much have to speak Welsh to be able to pronounce my second name properly), but the silver part of my shop name comes from my silver hair. The fox comes from a young man who told me that my age had nothing to do with it, I was still a foxy lady (which is how I discovered the Silver Fox within).
When did you start Silver Fox Designs?
About two or three years ago.
Can you tell me a little bit about your studio space?
My studio space.... lol. To tell you the truth, I don’t have a dedicated studio or any dedicated space at all. Every time I try to set up somewhere in the house, I get moved out of it. So I just work wherever I can find the space. It’s not the best way to work, but until I can successfully claim space for my studio, it does the job.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting Silver Fox Designs?
Patience with my work. One of the hardest things is to not get frustrated when either the materials or my hands don’t co-operate. I see some of the most wonderful designs in my head, but sometimes either the materials won’t take the shape or work as I want them to or my hands refuse to function properly (the joys of arthritis). Either way, I had to learn to take a deep breath, step back and not throw the piece against a wall (patience is not my strong suit).
Where did you learn to make jewellery?
I’m mostly self-taught. I took a night school course which provided a few tips on technique, but otherwise went over things I already knew.
Do sell your work outside of Etsy? If so, where?
I do craft shows (mostly in the Toronto area), mainly during the holiday season.
What’s your favourite form of social media?
Personally, I’m not a fan of social media of any description. I tend to work with Twitter and Facebook for the most part. I’m slowly starting to work with Pinterest, Wanelo, Picsity and It’s Better Handmade. I find it difficult to tweet or post for strangers to read.
What’s your favourite material to work with?
Semi-precious stones, pearls and wire - sterling silver, copper, brass. I love the feel of them in my hands as I work.
Is Silver Fox Designs your day job?
Unfortunately no. At least, not yet. I’m a litigation law clerk during the day.
What advice do you have for other small business owners?
Be patient and never give up. It takes time and a lot of effort to make it all work.
Do you have any upcoming craft shows?
Not in the immediate future. I am booking my space in a number of Holiday shows. So far the only one that I have confirmation for is the Christmas in the Bag Craft Sale on Sunday, November 24, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Applewood Shaver Homestead, 450 the West Mall, in Etobicoke. I have it listed in the Events section on my Facebook page and will be listing the other shows as I get confirmation. I will also be tweeting the information as the days get nearer.
What’s next for Silver Fox Designs?
I’m going to be working on developing Silver Fox Designs into a full time business so I can leave the day job and focus on what I love to do.
Check out the other items available from Brenda in her Etsy shop! You can find more of her work on Facebook, Twitter,
Pinterest, and Picsity .
Interviewed by Robin of FitzyDesign in October 2013 in Toronto.