I’m so excited to be featuring Andrea Watson from Andrea Watson Designs today! It was a pleasure to chat with her through email back and forth, sharing short snippets and stories while collaborating on a 72 hour giveaway (Check our Instagrams @awatsondesigns and @lilspirations to enter for a chance to win 9 prizes! Ends June 24th). She’s such a joy to talk to, and you’ll get what I mean when you read my interview with her! 🙂
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an Ohio original, but always knew I belonged on the coast. My husband and I moved to Wilmington, North Carolina in 2010 and have been loving life in this beautiful place ever since. I’m a sucker for palm trees, blue skies, and warm weather 🙂 I’ve been building my little business since 2012 and have really started to eat-sleep-breathe the life of a small business owner. I spend countless hours on my jewelry business every week, but I’ve loved watching it grow organically and couldn’t be happier with where I’m at now. 2015 has been a huge year for me and I’m excited to keep growing and expanding my brand.
What motivated you to start making jewelry (and such unique ones too that come with beautiful packaging!)?
Ever since I was very young, I would tell anyone that I wanted to be an artist. I remember doing lots of drawing especially painting, cross-stitches (Grandma taught me), building, and creating. I even won an award at the state level in 3rd grade for a watercolor I had painted with bright colors, wavy blue water, and big tropical fish. Recently I was going through some childhood keepsakes when I was surprised by how familiar some of my drawings were. Even though I can barely remember things that happened even last year (and forget about much from my childhood), I almost felt like I had drawn those pictures just yesterday – they were so very familiar.
Somewhere along the way, my idea of becoming an artist became something that didn’t seem attainable. I chose to pursue Interior Design in college because it was “the smart thing” to do… it was a “reasonable” occupation. After a few years though, it became clear that Interior Design wasn’t where I was meant to be. I actually took the Metals & Jewelry course at Bowling Green State University because it sounded interesting, counted towards my art minor, and fit with my class schedule.
About two weeks into the class, I knew I wanted to make jewelry for the rest of my life. I LOVED every minute I spent in the metals studio and ended up working in my professor’s studio after the class ended (she agreed to give me a shot because I was just as meticulous as she was). I continued taking metals classes and eventually submitted two of my pieces in the Undergraduate Art Show. I couldn’t believe it when my necklaces took both Honorable Mention and 1st Place in the Metals & Jewelry category – and it confirmed my growing desire to pursue my childhood dream of becoming an artist.
What are the inspirations behind each creation?
Most of my work during college and the early years of my business was very earthy + organic. Nature is something that really inspires me and will probably always inform my pieces in one way or another (whether in actual design, packaging, or branding). But lately, I’ve been especially drawn to creating jewelry using geometric shapes and minimalist lines. There’s just something so fresh and clean about minimalism and I even love the way it feels when you wear a minimalist piece – when it’s so light and carefree in a way that you almost forget you’re wearing it. Which, in my mind, makes for a really great piece of jewelry.
What do you envision with your Etsy shop?
My Etsy shop has been the most challenging part of building my business. With such an inundated category (jewelry) it’s forced me to really do my homework when it comes to SEO, my shop policies, high quality photography, and constantly improving my online visibility. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come since first beginning to list items and I recently hit my goal of 100 sales. Over the next few months, I’ll be releasing another collection and I’d like to have at least 100 items available in my Etsy shop by the end of this year.
You’ve gained a lot of followers on Instagram now – Congratulations! What is the best part of being in this business and in sharing your jewelry with everyone?
Instagram has really been a game-changer for me. It’s the first thing I look at every morning and before I even get out of bed, my day is filled with excitement and inspiration from other artists who are living (or building) their dream. It has also been a great resource for fostering friendships, building an online community, and (of course) reaching new customers.
Overall I’ve found that the best part of sharing my work with others is two-fold. The intrinsic value of creating jewelry is that it’s truly the only time that my brain is just… quiet. It’s almost like meditating and I always leave my bench feeling excited and refreshed. The other great thing about creating is the response I get from customers. Ever since I started designing minimalist pieces (the bar + triangle necklaces especially), people tell me – “I haven’t taken your necklace off since I bought it!”, “I wear it everyday”, “I can’t take it off”, and those are the best compliments. It’s incredibly rewarding to be designing pieces that people really fall in love with.
When you’re not making jewelry, what can you be found doing?
I can be found spending entirely too much time on Instagram, enjoying days at the beach, reading whatever lighthearted book that catches my attention, spending time with my husband (Danny), teaching Ace (our 85 pound pitbull mix) new tricks, cuddling with Tommy (my kitten-sized cat), dropping in on yoga classes, or watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
I love the simplicity and minimalist jewelry, and if you do too, pop by and say hello to her – maybe shop a little on Etsy too! 🙂