Monday, June 9, 2014

The CraftStar Featured Artist: Kowala Beads


Welcome to my shop! I began selling handmade jewellery to give my customers more choices and through the sheer joy of being creative - i hope you like what you see here.My shop is your shop and if there is a look or something more you want to see do feel free to talk to me. i'm currently listing my handmade items , but i do sell a mixture of handmade , vintage and fashion jewels worldwide. 




My name is Melanie Kowal and i was born and raised in Lincolnshire, England.   I'm happily settled down with my boyfriend of 3 years, Andy. I have a 5 year old girl Autumn and we have an ever expanding army (haha) of cats. Life is busy , but good :)



I love beautiful colours and i've always been creative i was looking for something fresh and came across some beautiful handmade work - i wished i could find the same thing in the shops as it is all repetitive, wholesale chain-store type jewels and nothing else.  With this in mind i began to make my own jewels keeping in mind i wanted there to be a wider range of choices available for my customers and myself!  Costume jewellery should be fun and fine jewellery doesn't have to be so uniform. 

Sweet Rose Dangle Earrings in .999 Fine Silver



Another aspect was that your jewellery should be able to reflect your mood and be what you want to see i'm not a believer that only fine jewellery is the best kind.  I found The CraftStar by searching for a new venue to sell my jewellery. I really like the enthusiasm behind The CraftStar team and i'm looking forward to seeing what they achieve.

Sterling Silver Dragons Breath Ring


What inspires you?

Beautiful lush and fun colours, the beauty of gemstones and their wonderful natural colour, my customers - i love custom requests and their fresh unique ideas, so much fun to work with them!  And last but not least my family.  Andy is fantastic in supporting what i do and always there with advice if needed and Autumn is very interested in what i do and she likes the jewellery i make. All i do and all i achieve is because of them and for them, to make our lives the better for it.

Moon Dust Mood Necklace



Where do you see your handmade business in 5 years?

I work hard and put more hours in than a lot of jobs would require and i believe that hard work is central to doing well.  My dream in the next 5 years would be to continue to expand and be able to do this dream jewellery job full time.

Moon Dust Butterfly Mood Necklace



Have you experienced any major accomplishments or recognition?

I've recently made some fine silver jewellery 100% from scratch and i see that as a big accomplishment for someone who is self-taught.  My best recognition comes from my customers both those online and at home.  It's great to hear of someone feeling really happy with their purchase. Or seeing the ladies from work with a big smile after i hand them their little gift bag.

Fine Silver Aquamarine Flower Of Eternity Ring



What are three tools in your work space that you could not live without?

My lightbox that Andy made me gives a lovely clean background for pretty photos in natural daylight. My tool case full of all the right tools to put my costume jewels together and probably my phone as it allows me to share previews and "just finished" projects across the internet to give my customers a sneak peak.
Have you ever experienced a craft disaster? What happened?

No major disasters, but small things like originally using the wrong glue before i learnt better or forgetting to pierce a starter hole in my silver clay before i dried it causing it to crack afterwards. Frustrating at the time but in the end i welcome my mistakes as i do learn something from them and i never send a piece out to someone unless i'm 100% satisfied it's the right quality.

Fluorite Sterling Silver Drop Necklace



What other interests or hobbies do you have?

I've been practicing Yoga since i was 16 and i love the peace of mind it brings along with the happy feeling you gain. We have a small garden at the minute but we both love gardening so much it is bursting with plants ready for summer. I love music , film and anything creative and i wish i had more time for reading but i do go through books quite quickly when i get going. We have 2 cats one of whom we rescued and we're actually hoping to adopt 2 more kittens soon! I often look at our family history and was lucky enough to be able to write a blog post for your family history magazine on the use of Pinterest for family history research. I also go hiking in the peak district when i can, our last was a week ago and it was a beautiful 11 mile hike.

Aqua Stars Cocktail Ring



What has been your most effective marketing tool?

 Oddly enough I've generated a lot of interest and website traffic from Facebook i wasn't sure "likes" would generate "looks" before but its gone well recently. What also works well is clear detailed photos, you don't need the best camera in the world to do this but using a fresh clean background and good lighting helps.

Moon Dust Mood Necklace



What item in your shop is your top seller or is your favorite design?

My moon dust mood ring in the pink shade is my top seller and i'm proud of that range as it was my original idea and i haven't seen it elsewhere which is refreshing when it comes to costume jewellery. My favorite designs are any with lush colours at the moment i find them so mesmerizing. 

Moon Dust Mood Ring



What's your favorite from other shops on The CraftStar?

This cat tote from Whimsy Designs ... any cat lady would be proud of this one on her arm!

Sunset Cat



You can find me on:

 Twitter : @October_Miss or @KowalaBeads
 Facebook : www.facebook.com/KowalaBeads or my full name
 Pinterest is octobermiss
 Instagram is also octobermiss


 http://kowalabeads.thecraftstar.com



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