Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September Artist Spotlight: LightShine Designs Jewelry and Photography

Artist Spotlight

LightShine Designs Jewelry and Photography

*What made you want to design jewelry?

    I have always had a love of fashion, and a passion for collecting gemstones and minerals.  Designing and handcrafting jewelry allows me to combine those two great loves of mine.  My boyfriend and I have been mining in upstate NC quite a few times, and thus I had tons of raw gemstones lying around my house collecting dust.  I was looking for a hobby to occupy my free time, and so one day in November 2011 he bought me some copper wire and suggested that maybe I should start to wire wrap and see if it was something that I enjoyed doing.  I took up his advice and began to wrap the stones that were at my disposal.  I quickly realized that it was a new passion and haven't looked back since.  Soon I also branched into making jewelry of other kinds such as beading, charm bracelets, and basically any kind of jewelry you can think of.  I self taught myself everything I know, and luckily so far I seem to have quite a knack for jewelry design and business management.  My hobby soon turned into my career, and it truly makes me happy.  To be able to do what I love as my livelihood has truly been a blessing and I consider myself very lucky.  I started my business Facebook page in late November of 2011, and opened my Etsy online shop in February of 2012.  I also sell on eBay occasionally.  I like to be able to design and sell jewelry that is quality yet affordable.  Times are hard for just about everyone in America today due to the economy, and I like to make it where although people may not be rich they can still feel beautiful by wearing something shiny or something that symbolizes something special for them in their lives.  The motto of LightShine Designs is, "Not everyday shines, but that doesn't mean you can't shine everyday."  It took me about two weeks to finally settle upon a name I liked enough to use it as a name for my business. I wanted to make sure it was something that overtime I would tire of, or that I may outgrow.  I wanted something that had an inspirational tone, and that conveyed positivity.  I was lying in bed one night about to doze off when the children's gospel song, "this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine," popped into my head.  And I said to myself, "THAT'S IT".  :)  We are all organisms of energy, that energy can be positive or negative, and I choose positive, and that is what the name of my business is meant to do.  I want to inspire light, I want to bring out people's light, and I want everyone to shine bright.

*What made you want to be a photographer?

    I have always loved documenting my life through pictures.  It's great to be able to look through photos and relive the highlights of your life visually.  I received a very nice camera for my 21st birthday (now 26) from my boyfriend.  I was beyond excited.  Soon I realized that I have a deep passion for photography.  I absolutely adore being able to capture 'ordinary' places/people/things in a photograph and turning them into something extraordinary.  I love seeing life through the lens of a camera.  Everything has beauty you just have to capture it in the right way.  I have always lived in the country (rural areas) and thus a love of nature has been deeply ingrained in my soul.  My favorite thing to photograph is nature and all of its wonders.  I recently also started doing portraits for individuals and their families.  It's great being able to take snapshots of people that they can forever treasure. 

*Is there a specific style of jewelry you tend to lean towards or are you open to anything?

    I am open to anything just about.  I welcome custom orders with open arms.  I like for people to think of me as their 'very own personal designer'.  If you want a custom piece of jewelry simply send me a message and I will do my very best to create something to your satisfaction.  I specialize in wire-wrapping, simple beading, agate necklaces, and much, much more. 

*Who are your biggest inspirations/role models/idols?

    Honestly, I'm not a very idolistic person.  I have many people I admire or think highly of.  Lots of people in the handcrafted community inspire me.  My family inspires me to try my best and have pride in what I do.  I am a Christian so of course my faith inspires me to be of high integrity.  But in general no specific one person comes to mind as an idol.

*Can you tell us about a memory that really stands out or has had an impact on you that included either your jewelry or your photography?

    Gosh, there are so many memories that I have had over the last two years since I started up LightShine Designs.  I've had the opportunity to create jewelry for the wedding parties of two of my very good friends.  Being a part of their special days was very humbling :).  For one I designed two matching pearl and Swarovski crystal, three-tiered, wire wrapped bracelets, one for the bride, and one for the flower girl.  They looked great on them.  Seeing her so pleased with the design truly touched my heart and made me overjoyed!!  For my other friend's special day I created matching necklaces and hook earrings for the entire female wedding party, which included the bride, her daughter the flower girl, and all five of her bridesmaids.  I wasn't able to attend it since it was out of state, but seeing the pictures was an amazing feeling.  Everyone looked so great with their matching sets.  Recently I had the opportunity to design a breast cancer awareness charm bracelet for a woman's friend/coworker who has stage four breast cancer.  Everyday my friend brings her coworker a banana as a way to keep up her spirits and her nutrition, I used banana charms and pink Swarovski crystals to create a silver-plated charm bracelet for the woman with breast cancer.  It was heartwarming to be apart of such a special gift.  All of these, plus the numerous other good memories I have had in this venture keep my passion and the want to continue and grow my business very strong.  It's not just jewelry I'm giving away, it is a part of myself, a piece of love.  As far as impactful photography moments none stick out as a life-changing experience.  I am never without my camera, you never know when the next great photo is around the corner.

*Do you have any hobbies you enjoy doing aside from these?

    These two hobbies literally take about all of my time up.  However, I love to camp, hike, and just explore nature and new places.  I also have a deep care for animals, and have four cats and a chinchilla of my own.  My cat's names are Sobe, Ava Boop, Ru, and Maya.  They are all spoiled rotten, and I dread the day I'll be without their company.  My chinchilla's name is Lucy Lou, and she is an adorably sweet little critter to have.  Spending time with my animals, my boyfriend, friends, and family is how I spend my time when I am not working or editing.  I also enjoy writing poetry when I get the urge or am inspired to do so.  I love to read, play hidden object or word games, and am learning to enjoy cooking more.  I love to swim and ride my bike.  Listening to music is something close to my heart, my preferred genre of music is by far Rock--however I listen to all kinds of music and don't limit myself to one specific type.  I yearn to learn about the world, and you can commonly find me on youtube engorging myself with all kinds of crazy videos, haha.
*What kind of advice can you give to aspiring photographers/entrepreneurs? 

    Never get to the point where you think you can't learn more, or improve.  Life as well as entrepreneurship is a long bout of trial and error meant to teach you and to make you the best you that you can be.  Don't envy or be jealous of others or their success, be happy for them and learn if you can from them.  Keep trying until you get it.  Don't be afraid to redo, and then redo again.  If you are selling a physical, tangible product pictures are important.  A well done photo can be the difference in a sale and a pass over. If you do not have a light box, or small photo studio (can be found along with lighting for great prices online on eBay) you can easily arrange a nice set up to take pictures on/in.  I suggest using a white sheet and a chair. Drape the sheet over the chair back and over the seat portion, then get a cute figurine/stone/shell/bust/etc. to use to display the item.  Lighting is very important in photography.  If you cannot find good lighting inside then going outside when the sun is out creates the perfect condition for a good photo.  Also take several photos, that way you can choose the best ones out of the lot.  People that see your items photographed in beautiful ways can tell that you take deep pride in your work and thus you really care about your items.  Which leads them to believe the items will be quality and thus more likely to purchase whatever it is that you are selling.  Another important thing to do is to market yourself all over the web. Create an email strictly for your business.  Expand your business presence throughout the internet by making a website (I suggest using Weebly, super easy and you can also host a blog directly alongside your website) and/or a blog, and create business accounts on all the following sites:  Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, Tumblr, YouTube, LinkedIn, Deviant Art, Klout, Pinterest, eBay, and anywhere else that you see it is possible.  You want to get noticed, and the best way to do so is to shout out all around the web that you're around!  Make sure that you keep your information updated and that you connect with your followers by status updates, returning ALL messages, etc.  People don't want to feel ignored, make them know that they as well as their money is important to you.  Treat others how you'd like to be treated, and do everything to the very best of your ability.  If you do these things it will show through your work and social interactions, and people will be happy about that and more likely to want to support your business.

Rebecca Lee Mincey is owner and founder of LightShine Designs Jewelry and Photography. Check out her Facebook page!

Thanks so much for interviewing with us! Check out her ETSY store and get your hands on some of her amazing stuff!

LightShine Designs ETSY

No comments:

Post a Comment