An Interview by Yvonne of
from her site supporting independent artisans and handmade arts and crafts, HandmadeDesigners.com
I met Sue on the EtsyVeg group and fell in love with her jewelry. Her designs are so fresh and I’m still amazed that she can make concrete look so beautiful!! Sue left her job last week to work for herself full time. I wish you all the very best, you deserve it. Here’s Sue in her own words.
Who are you?
My name is Sue Urquhart and I live in Santa Rosa, California which is about an hour north of San Francisco. I live in a small house with my boyfriend Kelly, his sister, and 3 dogs, 3 cats and 4 parakeets so there is always some sort of pandemodium going on. Since my last name is very unfamiliar (here in the US anyway) and hard to spell I decided to name my business after one of my dogs. Lulu Bug is a very sweet Shar Pei, and a good boss too!
What do you do?
I make fine silver jewelry using Precious Metal Clay (PMC).
How long have you been doing this?
I started working with PMC about a year and a half ago, but I’ve been making jewelry since 1991, both my own work and as full time employment for several small companies. So my background is in traditional metalsmithing and casting techniques, but I just adore working with PMC. I will probably dabble in traditional methods again at some point, but for now I’m very content working with PMC.
How did you originally get into making what you make?
I went to art school and got a BFA in graphic design, but I’d always wanted to try metalsmithing. I took a jewerly making course after I graduated and knew immediately that I’d found my medium. Within a year I’d found full time employment at a small local jewelry manufacturer, and I’ve worked in the industry since then, both making and designing in silver and gold.
What do you like best about what you do?
I like the freedom I have to make whatever idea pops into my head, as opposed to my last job, where I had to design products that our customers would buy, which was generally not ever anything that I would buy! I was a product designer, not an artist. There’s a big difference.
Now I have the freedom to try all sorts of ideas and see if anyone likes them. One thing I did learn in all my years of working for other people is that there is no predicting what will become a best seller, so you might as well try whatever crazy idea comes to mind! I really enjoy that freedom, which is probably something that most artists take for granted if they haven’t worked as a product designer.
What do you dislike about what you do?
Bookkeeping! Which is why I have someone else do it for me.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by nature and the world around me - there is an endless source of ideas there!
Where do you sell your work?
Right now I sell on Etsy: www.lulubugjewelry.etsy.com I’m looking into expanding and I think Dawanda will be the next place I try, and I’m going to dabble in a bit of wholesale and see how that goes. I’d like to have my own web site too, but for now lulubugjewelry.com just redirects to my Etsy shop.
How do you promote your work?
I don’t do much right promotion right now, it’s something I need to work on.
I have a blog: www.lulubugjewelry.blogspot.com which I’m trying to pay more attention to, and will most likely do something on Facebook soon too.
What marketing strategies work and don’t work for you?
I haven’t really done anything yet that I would call a strategy, so I can’t say at this point. I’m just making it up as I go along!
Where would you like to be in five years time?
I just quit my day job last week (YAY!) so I hope to be doing just what I’m doing right now, making and selling my jewelry as my full time work.
Any thing else you’d like to mention?
Thanks for this opportunity to share a little about myself!