Etsy Stalker Solo Exhibit & Giveaway!

Read my interview with Etsy Stalker & Enter to Win a Free keychain bottle opener!  Here is the link:  http://etsystalker.com/?p=4128

But feel free to read the interview below too!

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MaJenta Designs is the brainchild of Jennifer whose fascination with Asian papers recently led her to the 1,000 sales milestone on Etsy! She uses Chiyogami (literally “1,000 generation paper”) and Washi (rice paper) – both delicate, traditionally hand-made papers that have intricate and vibrant designs similar to fabric used on kimonos. Her aesthetic complements what she, as a second-generation Chinese American, calls her “hybrid life” by being both traditional and contemporary.

Using these papers for glass pendants? That’s a no brainer. Look how the glass both frames and accentuates the rich colors. Jennifer has an eye for how to place each piece for maximum effect.

Less predictably, Jennifer takes something functional and allows you to add beauty and style. Start with a design that you like. Then decide what you’d like her to add: Bottle opener? Key Chain? Pocket Mirror? Oh yeah, she can do that!

She has a fun line of portable purse hooks. So easy to use: just unfold, set on the table top and hang your bag from the hook…no more purse on the floor or worrying about it being taken from the back of your chair. (You know that person on your holiday list who has everything? I bet she doesn’t have one of these!)

She also makes gift tins in various shapes and sizes. How great would it be to give one of her items in a coordinating tin? Want even more fun? Keep them for yourself! Mints, buttons, coins…Violet is quite sure you’ll make it work.

Despite being a full time graduate student with a thriving Etsy shop, Jennifer found time to sit down and share her story with us. Read on!

Curator V: How long have you been on Etsy? How did you decide to set up shop there?

I started almost 2 years ago, September 2007, to be exact. I’ve always enjoyed making art, but first got interested in selling my handcrafted creations when I visited a town fair and saw all the local craft artists and their booths – it really inspired me to want to sell my own goods too. Oddly enough though, I didnt try to start selling at fairs just yet, but rather wanted to try selling on-line first. I stumbled upon Etsy and thought it’d be an exciting venue to try out, and the rest is history 🙂

Curator V: You’re a full time graduate student; what are you studying? How do you find time to keep your shop so well stocked?

I’m working towards a PhD in Counseling Psychology; its really busy lifestyle – I’m taking 5 classes, interning 20 hours a week, and working on a dissertation, so each day is very hectic – but I definitely work to make time for my business as it is nice to have a creative outlet away from my studies – in my profession, we’re always telling our clients the importance of self-care, so I feel it’s good to make time to do other things I enjoy too.

Curator V: I love that your work is symbolic of the hybrid nature of life that so many people can relate to. Did you set out to create in that way or did your designs naturally evolve?

My items definitely have evolved over time, as I have so many creative interests and enjoy so many mediums, such as beadwork and stained glass, but the items I enjoy creating the most are have symbolic meaning- like the cranes that symbolize eternal devotion and the koi’s symbolism of perseverance and good fortune, because I love things that tell a story behind them. Sometimes I learn things from my customers too – like one person wanted to send one of my plum blossom pendants to a friend who was undergoing major surgery, and she requested I send a note with it, and I thought it was a beautiful, so i’ve added it to the listing
“even as winter tries to hold it’s grip,
the plum tree bursts forth with
the earliest blossoms of spring”

Curator V: Where do you find the beautiful papers that you use in your designs?

I find the papers from all over, various paper stores locally and internationally – i actually first got started collecting the paper when I visited Japan and found a beautiful assorted set, and at that time I thought it was just fancy origami paper!

Curator V: Can you describe your work space to us? (If you have a picture, feel free to include it!)

Haha, alas, I live in a small apartment in Boston so there isnt that much workspace that is solely devoted to my craft-making. I generally work in my living room, on a table that triples as my dining table as well as my study space too! Here is a photo that someone took of me crafting amongst my textbooks.

crafting with books

Curator V: Congrats on reaching 1,000 sales! What are your next goals?

Thanks! I definitely want to keep building my business, so I’m always trying to think up new products to carry, new designs to use, and new venues to sell my work. I’m looking forwards to the holiday shows coming up this season, plus I’ll be helping to create a handmade gift boutique for the holiday season in downtown Boston with some other talented Boston-area artisans of the group Boston Handmade this will be my first time I’ll have so much involvement in an art gallery/boutique so I’m looking forward to getting involved in this venture and hoping it will be successful! 🙂

All righty, Stalkers, time to put on your thinking caps! Jennifer is giving away one of her funky keychain bottle openers! These are one of her most popular items – they are practical, fun and stylish too! To enter, visit Majenta Designs, then come back here and let her know what other items you’d like to see added to or sold in her shop! One winner to be chosen at random on November 8th.

Make sure you leave your comments on the blog article directly: http://etsystalker.com/?p=4128

MaJenta Designs - sample keychain bottle openers

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Interview with Boston Handmade

I was interviewed by the Boston Handmade team, a juried team of local artists and crafters in the Greater Boston area. Here is the link. And the article is below:

INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER TANG OF MAJENTA DESIGNS:

Boston Handmade: Tell us a little bit about yourself
MaJenta Designs: My name is Jennifer, and I was born and raised in Western Mass but since graduating undergrad I have been living in the Boston area. I am currently a graduate student at Northeastern University studying Counseling Psychology with a focus on helping underserved populations and emphasis on multicultural prospective. However, I always had a passion for arts & crafts too, and so I recently started up my jewelry business to fulfill that other passion as well as any profits helps towards paying off a lifetime of loans! 😉

Boston Handmade: What first made you want to become an artist?
MaJenta Designs: I have always loved arts & crafts ever since I was little and probably making Christmas ornaments in elementary school or some time as early as that. However, I never thought about getting into the business as I never thought I’d be able to figure out all the details of what it takes to sell things at the professional level. I’d have to give props to Etsy for that, I have learned so much valuable information about how to run a business from Etsy, and I think that being a part of a group like Boston Handmade and having a support network to turn to for advice and help is definitely invaluable as well.

Boston Handmade: What are your favorite materials?
MaJenta Designs: I love working with chiyogami, which is traditional handmade Japanese paper (literally meaning thousand generation paper), because the patterns are so intricate and gorgeous, and I love making jewelry and housewares with it encased in glass as the glass really helps to illuminate the paper designs and give it an added depth.

Boston Handmade: What inspires you?
MaJenta Designs
: I love making pieces that have a symbolic meaning to it, as I think it makes the piece more significant, especially if someone buys it to give as a gift, it adds a special message behind the piece. For example, plum blossoms are symbolic in Asian cultures for perseverance and new beginnings as they are usually the first signs of spring that burst forth after the bitterness of winter.

Boston Handmade: What do you love most about what you make?
MaJenta Designs: I love that the chiyogami paper is so versatile so I can make so many different creations with them. I know my Etsy shop is dominated by my pendant necklaces and magnets, but these papers have been great at making decorative nightlights, photo albums and journals, and I actually just bought a button/badge maker, so it’ll soon be great to make these into collectible pins and cute pocket mirrors too!

Boston Handmade: Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
MaJenta Designs:
you have to be persistent, I’ve seen many great artists quit after a few weeks, but success doesn’t come just by opening a shop. You have to keep promoting yourself, keep your items fresh, have great and friendly customer service, and keep creating new items all the time. I also found that it really helps if you develop your own niche and your have a theme throughout your shop, as your store seems more uniform and professional if you have a consistent theme.

Boston Handmade: What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
MaJenta Designs: This advice overlaps a bit with my previous response with being persistent and not giving up, as there are literally hundreds of thousands of sellers on Etsy so you need to make yourself stand out. I also think you need to have a thorough shop policies section and some interesting info about yourself in your bio. I also think it’s a great idea to start off as a buyer, as not only does that help build your feedback but also can be good karma hopefully too. With detailed info about yourself and your policies in your shop and some positive feedback about you already in place, it helps customers see you as a professional business, and can feel more comfortable when buying from you.

Boston Handmade: What else do you like to do when you’re not studying or crafting?
MaJenta Designs: I love to travel and explore new countries and learn about new cultures. So far I’ve been to about 20 countries across Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America, but my goal is to hit up every continent in my lifetime! I love doing outdoors activities and having unique experiences there, such as scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, riding in elephant in Thailand, or biking around Dingle in Ireland.


Boston Handmade: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
MaJenta Designs: I’ll hopefully be done with all my schooling by then! Ideally I’d love to have a job as a part-time professor teaching psychology, have a small private practice of my own, and hopefully own a house where I can have my own crafting studio! One of my goals for my business is for it to grow, I want to be able to do more craft shows as well as have my items carried in a few boutiques, that would be ideal!

Blog Interview

I recently was interviewed by MyWoodenRobot. You can read about the stories behind my craft-making, inspirations, goals, etc. Here’s the interview: http://mywoodenrobot.org/blog/?p=286

(or copy/pasted below)

Getting to Know…MajentaDesigns in 10 Questions

March 5, 2008 – 10:09 am I first discovered MajentaDesigns in December while doing Christmas shopping. Unfortunately, I was too late to put in an order that would arrive in time and well, my funds were seeing red. Fortunately, I start a new job today and there’s no Christmas rush! So MajentaDesigns, expect to send an order over to MyWoodenRobot in about two weeks (pay day!). Until then, I had the pleasure of getting to know MajentaDesigns in 10 Questions.

(Do check out her blog to find a special Spring Break Sale offer!)

  1. How did you begin making jewelry?
  2. I have always loved jewelry making. Ever since I was young, I always enjoyed going to the bead shops and buying beautiful items in trying to come up with creations.

  3. Describe the process you take (from start to finish) to make a necklace.
  4. First, I find a piece of paper I like. I started off just using designs from magazines, and then I found the wonder of beautiful Japanese chiyogami paper while I was traveling in Japan last year! Anyway, so I take a glass tile and I hold it over the paper, and running it around the paper to see what would look best. Then I trace the tile, and then cut out that portion of the paper. Then I glue the paper onto the glass, and squeeze out all the airbubbles (this is my least favorite part as it can take awhile). After that, I coat the back with a waterbase sealant, so making the piece more wearable. Then I glue on a bail, then I measure out a piece of chain, and I add crimp beads to the end, and attach clasps using jump rings, to make the necklace strand. And that’s it!

    fish.jpg
    Fish Pond Pendant $15

  5. How long did it take for you to find the process that worked for you to get the desired effect?
  6. I think its an ongoing process to perfect making my items. Just last week I found a new glue and turns out it works much better on the glass…but then I later learned that it only worked well with certain glass shapes, where as the other shapes there actually was more air bubbles. So I’m constantly trying to perfect my crafting process.

  7. How often do you make new jewelry?
  8. I have so many ideas, I am constantly creating. Each week, I try to post up new items, so definitely check my Etsy shop often! ;) In fact just recently I decided to make a whole new line of products, and all your readers will be the first to hear about them! Basically, I wanted to play one of those “Buy and Replace” games on the Etsy “Promotions” forums, so I found someone who was selling cute beads so I thought they’d come in handy for some crafting goodies, so I just got a set. But then I perused the rest of her shop and she had so many cute buttons I ended up buying a bunch of them! Then I realized that they looked a lot like earrings I used to wear as a kid, so I came up with the idea to turn these adorable buttons into cute earrings! I bought surgical steel posts too, so these creations are perfect for children as well as the young at heart too! They’re also great as you get a lot of comments wearing them too!

    bee.jpg
    Bumblebee Stud Earrings $3.50

  9. Where do you get the ideas and inspiration for new designs?>
  10. Mostly from walking around the craft store (I ❤ ACMoore!) and seeing what supplies they have and I get so many fun ideas of things to make! (drives whoever is with me crazy as I spend so much time there!), I have a weakness for pretty scrapbooking paper and beads! But its so funny as when I come across everyday objects something might pop into my head and be like “hey I can make something with that!”

  11. When and how did you decide that your crafts were good enough to sell?
  12. After I took this jewelry making class in Korea using Swarovski beads, I thought the items looked really professional and people always would comment on where I bought the items. Soon I found out about Etsy, so I started off selling those items. Its always so exciting when people comment on the jewelry you’re wearing that you’ve made and they think you’ve bought it, so to me, that was a sign that I was ready to sell my items.

  13. Can we find your jewelry anywhere else aside from etsy?
  14. For now, they are mostly sold on Etsy, I have the same items listed on lov.li. I am very excited as a boutique in South Carolina called “GalleryUp” will be selling some of these glass pendants soon. Their site is http://www.galleryup.com . Also, feel free to read my blog to find out about my latest items and usually a story behind the creation of those items! http://www.majentadesigns.blogspot.com . One of my goals or aspirations for my creations is that I’ll hopefully be able to get more wholesale and consignment orders and have them sold in actual shops and boutiques too.

    grape.jpg
    Grape Earrings $15

  15. What do you credit your success on etsy to?
  16. I think having a variety of items, constantly having new and different type of items in the store, and having great customer service.

  17. Do you have any advice to give to other aspiring etsy sellers?
  18. Don’t give up! I’ve seen lots of forum posts where people are discouraged because they aren’t selling, but it took me 2 months before I got my first sale! And some of my items have been sitting there for 3 months with few views, but all of a sudden someone bought those items too! I think a lot of it is quality in your products, having detailed descriptions and great customer service, but I think part of it also is luck and having that person that is seeking exactly what you offer! So if you have an idea for a creation, go for it! You might stumble across something that ends up being a hit! For me, my grape earrings and glass pendants have become my big sellers.

  19. What do you hope will be the future of Majenta Designs in the next 5 years?
  20. I am hoping to do craft shows soon, as well as having more of my items sold in boutiques and B&M shops. I’m definitely hoping the business will grow and more people will know about the shop, and refer their friends, etc. I also hope to continue to be inspired to make new and unique creations for others to enjoy.