The Eleventh featured artist in this ongoing series is Jen of aromalite and PetiteMerci... I met Jen in the same thread as the previous artist... Second Chance BNS. Jen has two wonderful shops, one that sells amazing smelling bath and body products (yep I own some of those too) and her second shop has a wide range of beautiful mini thank you cards...
Start off by telling us about yourself...
My name is Jen, I'm 31 and have been married to my husband for 6 years this August, but we have been together for 12 years. We don't have any children, but have 5 nieces aged 3-11 who keep us pretty busy!
Before starting my business, I had several different jobs: I was employed by the Dept of Justice as an Immigration Inspector, I was a Private Investigator investigating fradulent workers comp claims, and had several jobs in the medical and financial insurance fields. And you know what? I hated all of those jobs, lol. Nothing compares to being my own boss, doing what I love to do each and every day.
When did you start your art/craft and how did
you get into it?
I started making candles about 5 years ago as a creative outlet. I hated my job and desperately needed a hobby to come home to in order to take my mind off of work pressures. I started making bath and body products about a year later because I loved smelling good, lol. The bath and body line really complements the candle line and allows my customers to create a spa-like experience at home for a fraction of the cost!
I just recently opened my card shop because I loved looking at all of the open cardstock at the craft store. I was buying thank you cards to send out with my orders and one day, with a gift card in hand and nothing I really needed at the craft store, I decided to try my hand at making my own cards :D It was so much fun that I decided to open a second Etsy shop and sell mini thank your cards as well.
Where do you get your inspiration for your creations?
I let the scrapbook paper aisle inspire me for my thank you cards! For the candle lines, let's just say I have A LOT of supplies on hand and there are some days where I have nothing else to do, lol. I get inspiration from all around me - my friends and family sometimes ask me to figure out how to make a specific product or something on TV or in the store will catch my eye and start my wheels turning.
Do you work at your art/craft full time or do
you have another job?
Thankfully, I do my craft full-time. The first 3 and a half years, I had a full-time job as well and ended up working 18 hour days. I am very happy being my own boss now!
If you could start over with your business is there anything you would do differently?
I would have spent more time learning about the business end of having my own company. I made a lot of costly mistakes in the beginning just because there were a lot of tax and business laws that I wasn't aware of.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Why?
I hope to be still self-employed and working on my business full-time. I would love to have a brick and mortar store someday, but I don't know if it will be in 10 years or not! I couldn't imagine not working on my craft full-time now :D
Who do you admire (artist or otherwise)? Why?
There are many people I admire for different reasons, and I think they have come into my life at specific times for a purpose. First, my mom - she is such a capable lady - she does everything so well and has always been greatly respected.
My husband, Jim, is also someone I admire. He is very calm and always has a lot of confidence in me, even when I'm not quite feeling it myself. Without his support, there is no way I would be able to do this.
What tips would you have for someone that is
just starting out?
Be patient! Don't expect to become rich over night, because in actuality, you'll probably spend more than you bring in the first year or two. Take your time to create your niche and make a high-quality product you can be proud of. Get to know your fellow crafters on Etsy - they will be some of the best friends you will ever find!
Be sure to check out both of her Etsy shops...