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 94th in our series and is with Michelle Wong of ElixirChicDesigns.
I'm a teacher and first most a teacher. I absolutely love teaching and I've always wanted to teach since I was in kindergarten. The thing about teaching is that it can easily take over your thoughts as you view the world as inspiration for the classroom. Instead, I wanted to take my kinesthetic and visual learning style to do something I had once been familiar with; creating jewellery. I used to make jewellery for myself in high school and I received a lot of good feedback from different people. I strayed away during university, because the workload started to build up.
Right before the new year of 2016, I received an email from Etsy about their Etsy Resolution program, which helps people start their own Etsy businesses. I thought it was a great opportunity to get out there and do something different. I started designing different pieces and editing my designs to look more polished and less DIY.
The name for my brand is derived mainly by my fashion/lifestyle blog's name "Elixir Chic" (www.elixir-chic.com). Elixir was a nickname I had in high school, which stuck because I thought it sounded unique. I added "Chic" as a word to help make the name of my blog to reflect my style. Designs was added for my Etsy brand to show that jewellery is not only an accessory but can be considered as art.
Your use of primarily neutral colours in your designs (white, black, grey, silver) makes them very versatile for the wearer. Was that part of your goal? What other considerations or goals drive your creation process?
I chose neutral tones with the specific intention of versatility and minimalism in my designs. Another aspect of my design is how unique one piece of jewellery is going to be from another of the exact same design I created based on the stones and quartz used, which helps the wearer feel like they're wearing a piece that's just as unique as they are.
I have two materials that I really like working with. I enjoy working with quartz, because I like going through all the pieces and figuring out which ones are the best for different arrangements I am creating for a piece of jewellery. I like looking at the shapes, rough edges, opacity, and colour. I also enjoy working with the spikes in my collection, because it instantly adds an edginess, It is definitely a conversation starter with other people and I love seeing them have their imagination run wild with scenarios where the spikes come handy.
I've only been on Etsy for few months, but I think one of the most important lessons so far is figuring out pricing. I found that prices were one of those sensitive topics that people didn't really want to talk about, which made it a little difficult figuring out how to price my jewellery. With some research and conversations with people who were willing to discuss, I learned that pricing is not only influenced by the cost of the materials used and having prices that the buyers view as reasonable, but also giving yourself a reasonable amount of profit that covers all the time and effort for the product.
Speaking of lessons, do you envision your teaching job and your design venture to overlap eventually, e.g by teaching jewellery making, or by bringing your craft to your school? Or will you always keep them separate?
It's interesting that you asked. One of my coworkers is also an Etsy seller and she laughed about how I was beading with my students to make bracelets and necklaces for Mother's Day. I see myself bringing in basic jewellery making for arts and crafts activities at school or even as an after school program with the students. I don't see myself teaching jewellery making classes outside of that right now, but maybe few years down the road.
Look for Michelle at the following markets:
July 23/16 - Royal Canadian Legion Branch 101
Aug. 21/16 - The Great Hall
Oct. 8/16 - Etobicoke Olympium
Nov. 20/16 - Trinity Bellwoods Flea
Dec. 17/16 - Trinity Bellwoods Flea
You can keep up to date with Michelle here:
Etsy shop: ElixirChicDesigns
Interviewed by Katrin of PaperTurns in Toronto June 30, 2016