Our 40 Fave Etsy Shops Will Make You a Gifting Queen
Gifting season is in full swing, and we're all doing our darnedest to find super unique gifts for the people we love most. As part of our curated, colorful, maker-tastic Holiday Shop in partnership with Etsy, we had the pleasure of getting to know a few makers along the way and wanted to share 40, that's right 40 (!!!) of our fave shops. Let this be yet another tool for helping you achieve your wildest gifting queen dreams ;)
ilootpaperie: Bound by a love of paper goods, funny drawings, and keen appreciation for puns, sisters Alice & Doris of ILootPaperie firmly believe in aiding and abetting others to steal hearts through their loot of cheeky, colorful musings. They currently work out of their cozy Pasadena apartment where pun-filled illustrations spring to life and there are many a late night spent hand packing cards with care.
Irismint: The maker behind this shop describes herself as a fiber enthusiast and yarn hoarder, and we can totally relate. We love her shop, which is an exploration of color and texture using hand-dyed yarns, and sheep to skein ranch wools made in the USA. Irismint is all about natural fibers, crisp stitches, and moody colors that are perfect for cozy winter gifts. Shop her chunky knits and cowl scarves on Etsy here.
TinyBuffaloDesignsCo: There are two things that everyone can agree on: Pancakes are awesome, and compliments in the form of a card are always appreciated. Enter the cutest holiday card ever! Lauren of Tiny Buffalo Designs creates fun and clever greeting cards perfect for adding to any gift. From punny cards to custom portraits for couples, families, and pets, there is something for everyone in Lauren's digitally illustrated stationery line. Shop all the TinyBuffaloDesignsCo cuteness right here.
Tangerine Studio Co: Looking for toys for the modern kiddo in your life? Look no further than Tangerine Toys, a small toy brand that aims to create well-made, long-lasting, sustainable toys that help develop imagination and creativity. Created by Anai Cano and dreamed up while she was working as a pre-school teacher, Tangerine Toys are all made out of wood and hand-crafted with care using safe and natural materials like organic cotton, maple hardwood, and natural finishes.
From teepees to bowling sets to the cutest build blocks you ever did see, you can shop the whole collection over on Etsy.
FabParlor: With bold lines and unexpected geometry, it’s no surprise that the maker behind Fab Parlor’s gorgeous statement earrings is an interior designer with an architecture background. Designer Haley Tessier-Costomiris’ love for digital fabrication began in architecture school where she was first exposed to laser cutting and 3D printing technologies. After completing her masters in the midst of the recession when jobs were hard to find (and with a new baby in tow), she decided to invest in her own laser cutter in order to stay at home and start her own business. And just like that, FabParlor was born!
Heavily inspired by her current profession and architectural education, she combines modern, geometric forms while exploring hand-painting and hand-molding techniques. Shop FabParlor over on Etsy.
This That And Christmas: After collecting vintage and antique Christmas ornaments for years and loving every moment of it, curator and collector Shelley Robillard decided to share with others. She loves finding ornaments, as well as other vintage decorations, and giving them a new home, a new place to be cherished, a place to both stoke the nostalgic fires and create new memories. Shelley loves the connection vintage ornaments bring people and really loves hearing her customer’s stories. Find your perfect set of vintage ornaments in her Etsy shop.
Sigfus Designs: Gah, we just LOVE statement earrings. Especially big bold shapes in a variety of simple tones like in all of Sigfus Designs’ pieces. Designer Lauren Valenzuela is a Tucson, AZ native and lover of the desert. She creates her unique pieces in her private studio where she formed her brand Sigfus in 2017 when she started making jewelry and became obsessed with polymer clay.
Sigfus is a woman-owned and operated company, even down to the photographers and production assistants. Just like the Night Blooming Cereus Cactus that makes up the Sigfus logo, Lauren believes that "even in the darkness we can bloom." Lauren loves the way Sigfus aims to lift up women and give them a place to shine. Cheers to THAT! Shop all of her gorgeous baubles right here on Etsy.
Red Cloud Studio: Custom pet pillow keychains are a thing you need in your life, and probably need to give to all the people in your life whose four-legged creatures are part of the family. Those keychains are just one of the many cute items created by Sadia Dawson, the founder of Red Cloud Studio, who discovered the amazing world of Etsy while planning her wedding six years ago. After catching the crafting bug, Sadia quit her day job as an engineering drafter to pursue her lifelong dream of making art for a living and hasn’t looked back since. Inspiring, and with the cutest line of product to boot.
The Happy Project Store: We are in major *like* with maker Lance Kitagawa’s IG "like" enamel pin, and have about a dozen people on our list that would love to receive this as a gift. Lance describes the driving force behind The Happy Project as being on a mission to spread as much love and good vibes as humanly possible. Check out all the happiness right here on Etsy.
Kolorize: We love all things personalized and tend to choose a LOT of things that show off our California pride. No matter where you call home, Jamie and Lee Kaczmarczyk’s Mom & Pop sign shop has the perfect custom laser cut wooden decor for you. Choose to get something made with someone’s name, a phrase that’s meaningful to the recipient, or go classic with the hometown thang. Get inspired and start shopping Kolorize's laser-cut signs right here.
Jill Makes: We are swooning over designer Jill Foreman’s confetti acrylic earrings, skinny painted bangles, and many more baubles in her Etsy shop. Jill earned a BA in Graphic Design and worked as a graphic designer and product designer for eight years before opening Jill Makes in 2013. Her focus on designing pieces with a modern, artful aesthetic has inspired a unique, colorful jewelry and accessories line.
All items are created in Lafayette, Louisiana with use of various materials including clay, brass, wood, and acrylic. Their pieces are assembled and painted by hand with many of the pieces offering personalization! Check out her full collection over on Etsy.
Little Fruit Tree Shop: This joyful little shop is filled with items designed with hip babies, kiddos, and parents in mind. Maker Kate Jacklin started her handmade business out of a love for childhood and all things quirky. She can be found adventuring through California with her British hubby and corgi ;) To find a sweet gift or two for the little humans on your list, head to her shop here.
Sweet Water Decor: Know someone that could use a feel-good pick-me-up in the form of a candle? Sweet Water Decor’s got your back, and we’re particularly digging the Peppermint Bark candle this holiday season. Each product in the shop is hand-lettered by owner and designer Melissa Horvath, who hopes her shop brings you inspiration and joy all year round. Shop all the good vibes here.
MG Straps: Ready to uplevel your camera strap game? Or know of a shutterbug who could use a strap that doesn’t cramp her style? Enter Mimi Green camera straps, the brainchild of photographer and dog lover Amanda Jackson Miller and her husband Daniel. They started Mimi Green in 2007, focusing primarily on fashionable dog identification collars. Then in 2012, Amanda got the creative itch to make her own custom camera strap and realized she had all the tools she needed at Mimi Green — hip fabric, strong hardware, and a fabulous manufacturing team.
After seeing how awesome it turned out, they opened their Etsy shop, MG Straps, and the rest is history!
Vital: Founded by husband and wife Brett and Crystal Childs, Vital Industries is a Wisconsin-based studio that’s chockfull of bicycle-inspired everything, gorgeous glassware, and all sorts of other giftable goodies. The founders describe their shop as “just one incarnation of our creative entrepreneurial spirits” — and state that “Above everything else we are makers.” We are more than happy to support that! Hop over to all things Vital here.
Haus and Home LA: If you’re in the market for super cute and cozy ornaments, you’ve found the motherlode. Created by maker Delia Hauser, Haus and Home LA is a collection of limited edition home decor made by hand in Los Angeles. Inspired by the diverse and laid-back style of the vibrant city and surrounding landscape, Delia uses her background in costuming and her love for the materials and techniques themselves to inform the design of each new piece. She is a lifelong maker and artist fueled by a passion to create something new every day with her own hands.
Check out the sweet llama ornament above and many others right here on Etsy.
Mod Sugar Design: We’re all about modern brass elements when it comes to holiday decor, and will probably be into the Finnish himmeli trend foreverrrr. Lucky for us, designer Andrea Isaacs at Mod Sugar Design has a set of three himmeli-inspired geometric ornaments that would look great on a tree, hanging on a mantel, or pretty much anywhere.
Mod Sugar Design began out of Andrea's love of gifting. In fact, her shop was inspired by a gift she had made and shared on social media. The response to the design and her love for what she calls "gifting sugar" inspired Mod Sugar Design to come into fruition. Andrea's photography business, clothing design, and buying background intertwined with her passion for modern fresh colors and interior design aid her in creating fresh mod handcrafted gifts. Although her designs are always evolving, her strong commitment to quality and guest happiness are very important. We all need a little gifting sugar in our lives ;)
Morris and Essex: Every single pattern in this shop is straight up swoon-worthy, and the designer behind it is a creative force to be reckoned with. Eliza Jane Curtis is a designer and printmaker based out of Cornish, Maine and Philadelphia, PA. She studied textile design at Parsons School of Design, has also lived in Brooklyn, NY and Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has worked for Oshkosh B'Gosh, Hello Lucky, and Galison Press, among others. Her hand-printed goods are sold in dozens of museum shops and boutiques around the country, and, of course, on Etsy!
Paulova: This minimalist set of salt + pepper pots is just one of the ceramic beauties created by Paula Lopez-Otero, the designer behind Paulova, a small-scale family business of handmade, thoughtfully crafted products. They strive to locally source as many of their materials as possible, from the botanicals in their fragrance line to the clay for their ceramics. Make locally, gift globally! You can check out over 100 ceramic pieces here in her shop.
Woolmob: We’ve got a weakness for pom poms, felt balls, and colorful garland you can use any time of year. Shop owner Maegan Echols created Wool Mob out of her own love of felt balls and fun — it’s a place where color comes to life! Create your own custom color felt ball garland right here on Etsy.
Convivial Production: Minimalists rejoice — we’ve got an entire collection of ceramic dishware and serveware you need in your life, thanks to maker Chentell Shannon and Convivial Production. Convivial is a production and design company that labors over the creation of simple, ethically made ceramic wares. The company began as a one-woman show in a home garage, and today is made of a group of incredibly talented artisans who bring each piece from dust to life in their manufacturing space in the historic west bottoms of Kansas City.
Their mission is to produce wares that inspire others toward a life of conviviality — that warm and lively feeling you get with friends that makes life so good. What a wonderful mission, and SAT word to boot. Shop all their joyful wares here.
Mandi Smethells: You’ve definitely seen fiber artist Mandi Smethell’s textured colorful rainbows hanging on the walls of fellow color lovers (including our very own Brit Morin!). We are thrilled to have her work featured in our Holiday Shop. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Mandi’s work is primarily in fiber, which she uses to create imaginative imagery through various techniques. Much of her designs are inspired by her experience as a mother of two young, vibrant daughters. See all the rainbows right here on Etsy.
Kailochic: In case you missed our entire Creative Crushin’ profile on Kara Whitten, the creative force behind Kailo Chic, here’s a snippet of what we love about this maker: She's a mom of two, and she loves all things bright, colorful, and patterned as well as interior design, crafting, DIY projects, gardening, and baking. It's her belief that everyone should lead a more colorful life and creates home decor and accessories that help you do just that! YES, please. Shop Kara’s colorful wares right here.
Bash Party Goods: Founded in 2015 by Angela Wator, BASH is an independent, design-focused party company drawing inspiration from art, interior design, and fashion trends across the globe. All of their products are designed and packaged with love in our confetti-filled Chicago studio.
While Angela originally launched BASH as a small online party shop, wholesale requests starting pouring in as their Instagram following grew, and now you can find BASH Party Goods on the shelves of party, gift, and design shops around the world — from the UAE and New Zealand to Argentina and Iceland! Last year, they expanded their growing business to a good old-fashioned brick and mortar party shop above their studio, FESTIVE COLLECTIVE. If you're in Chicago, pop on by and visit their pink storefront. Until then, shop all the party-tactic items on Etsy.
Xenotees: This shop is filled with cozy and quirky clothing, tea towels, linens, totes, and more. It’s a great one stop shop for pretty much everyone on your list. Xenotees sprouted in 2008 from ideas out of the mountains of sketchbooks kept by artist Noëlle Burke over the years. Animals (especially cats) inspire her and can be seen represented in much of her art, followed by food and words. Her designs tend to be minimal, yet memorable, often-incorporating wordplay and puns. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, snorkeling, sketching, and hunting… for the perfect slice of pizza! Adorn yourself with pizza, cats, and tacos by visiting Xenotees on Etsy.
Haute Papier: Got a friend who’s getting hitched or having a little one or something else that will necessitate lots of beautiful handwritten thank-you notes and the like? Gift them a box of show-stopping stationery, equal parts colorful and classy.
Armed with an ever-growing fleet of presses, Haute Papier owners Sarah Meyer Walsh and Erin Miller are committed to designing fresh and beautiful stationery, executing exceptional printing, and providing quality customer care. The duo has worked to grow their products' reach to over 1,500 stores around the world and is renowned for their creative talents, always pushing the envelope in business and design ;) Shop their readymade and custom paper products here at the Haute Papier Etsy shop.
Good Common Sense: Bath bombs anyone? Husband and wife team Wendy and Lucas Schulte believe you should love the skin you're in and want to help you do just that with a touch of TLC. Good Common Sense offers handmade skincare products made from the finest raw natural materials the earth has to offer. Every item is organic, non-toxic, and highly effective. Treat yo’ self right to Good Common Sense here.
Whipped Up Wonderful: Speaking of treating yourself, how ‘bout submerging yourself in a bath filled with bath SPRINKLES? That’s just one of many colorful ways to pamper yourself in Alexis Clare’s Whipped Up Wonderful shop. Alexis has been making handmade, customized bath treats since 2010. She began making soaps and bath bombs out of an urge to create bath and body products that didn't have unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients. Each of her recipes is researched and refined until she finds the perfect combination of skin loving, earth-friendly ingredients. Even the packaging and wrapping are chosen based on their carbon footprint. Alexis believes that ingredients should be biodegradable and packaging should make as small an impact on the environment as possible.
Eco-friendly and indulgent? Sign us up. Shop Alexis’ bath salts, bath bombs, and, yes, bath sprinkles over on Etsy.
Among the Flowers: Self-care is essential, especially in the cold winter months. Megan Taber’s skincare line Among The Flowers is a small batch apothecary production inspired by the wild, intrinsic landscape of the Sierra Nevadas in Northern California. Megan also attributes much of her line’s inspiration to the pureness and vulnerability of her firstborn child, which drove her to begin alchemizing nourishing, healing, sustainable, and environmentally sound skincare products for her family, friends, and beyond. They take great care in curating each batch so as to highlight the beneficial powers of nature.
Megan hopes that her shop’s scent combinations remind you of far-off adventures, warm summer afternoons, and the beauty of the landscape that surrounds us. Get back to nature in Megan’s Etsy shop.
H&B: Is it just me or is this section of makers making you feel v. relaxed? Next up, we’re happy to highlight Gabrielle Lauren, the maker behind H&B, a line of products whose mission is to make it easy to make sure that you prioritize you. Gift the gals you love who need a break a dose of relaxation in the form of aromatherapy roll-ons, essential oils, and bath salts by H&B.
The Gem Co: Okay maybe you can take a moment to treat yourself to pair of statement earrings? Yeah, I think so. Amy Klepser is the creator and maker behind The Gem Co., a handmade jewelry company committed to producing fun and fresh jewelry at affordable prices.
All jewelry is handmade by Amy, featuring popular geometric, tassel, and gemstone earrings, bracelets, and more. We’re partial to these Glossy Gold Geometric Post Earrings shown above. Shop all of it here on Etsy.
The Stranded Stitch: Got a buddy whose fridge is always packed to the brim with bubbly La Croix? Samesies. Lucky for you, cross stitch designer and artist Natalie Naito has dozens of cheeky and trendy cross stitch kits that are perfect for the budding crafters in your life. And if you’ve never cross stitched before, fear not! These kits are designed with beginners in mind — it’s a great way to unplug, de-stress, and get crafty. Find the perfect cross-stitch design here.
Sky Goodies: Created by husband and wife team Misha and Amit Gudibanda, Mumbai-based Sky Goodies is a brand of paper products, with charm, whimsy, and uses, all rolled in. Their do-it-yourself paper craft kits aim to encourage people to make and find joy in small things. The patterns and colors are inspired specifically by Truck Art unique to India, and all products are designed by hand in Mumbai. Find the perfect kit for paper craft lovers on your list right here in their Etsy shop.
The Party Prop Shop SD: Add a bit of hand-lettered whimsy to your holiday decor this year with a trendy banner from The Party Prop Shop! Owned by husband and wife team Jeanne and Michael Caoile, this shop specializes in custom banners, cake toppers, and party decor, all handcrafted with picture-perfect precision and lots of love!
Whether it’s a fun glitter banner for a little one's first cake smash, a clever #hashtag sign for a 'grammable dessert display, or a personalized backdrop for a mommy-to-be’s intimate brunch, The Party Prop Shop can help decorate any special event through both readymade and custom pieces.
Good Wishes Quilts: There’s still time to get a custom stocking made this season! Head over to Good Wishes Quilts to find a happy jumble of modern Christmas stockings and holiday goodies for kids. Maker Anne Schneider has been happily stitching and shipping handmade goodies around the world since she launched Good Wishes Quilts in 2011. Personalize your own set of stockings ASAP.
Worthwhile Paper: Know someone who can’t get enough of cute patterned journals and notebooks? Worthwhile Paper is a collection of lively screen-printed paper goods for lovers of nature, magic, and meaningful design. All designs are thoughtfully hand-made by Kristen Drozdowski in her plant-filled studio and screen printed by her husband Steve (a designer & printer love story <3).
Featuring a unique blend of nature and minimalism, Worthwhile Paper’s designs are created with a goal to bring positivity and beauty into the world. Kristen's passion is making things that cultivate meaningful connections — whether that's a personal reconnection to nature or oneself, or a connection between people. From cards to pins to notebooks, you can check out the full Worthwhile Paper collection right here.
Sassy Stitches by Lori: We love all the sass behind this collection of farmhouse pillow covers and flour sack tea towels. Lori, the maker behind all of this cuteness, attributes her talent and love for sewing to her Italian grandmothers, both of whom were extremely gifted seamstresses. It’s clear to see that each of her products is made with love and personality. Shop the collection here.
The Oyster's Pearl: The vision of husband-and-wife design duo Emily and Brad Weckesser, The Oyster’s Pearl is a line of luxe apparel and lifestyle goods that are hand-lettered and hand-printed from their workshop on a wooded 15-acre homestead in Northeastern Ohio. Inspired by their own two little ones, Emily and Brad strive to create meaningful, modern design for your family — and the home you dwell in. From tees to tea towels, shop all of their handmade items here on Etsy.
Sleepy Mountain: This Seattle-based shop is the brainchild of artist Thais Marchese, whose work is heavily influenced by pop culture as well as nature and the Pacific Northwest. Thais opened her shop in 2010 and was able to turn her side hustle into her main hustle in 2014. Street cred alert: Her products are carried in a number of indie art shops throughout the country and has even been worn by the likes of Bryan Cranston and Tegan & Sara (!!!).
From the punny and funny to inspiring and lovely, shop Thais’ pins and keychains over on Etsy.
Danae Supply Co: And finally, cheers! Founder Jamie Danae started Danae Supply Co with the goal of creating pristine, modern, enviable barware without unnecessary bells and whistles. Best of all, you don’t need to hide these chic copper mugs in a dark cabinet — they look just as good on the shelf as they do in your hand ;) Now go forth and shop!
What are your favorite Etsy shops for finding unique gifts for friends, family, and yourself? ;) Share your faves with us @BritandCo on Twitter and we just may add some of them to our Holiday Shop! Happy gifting, y'all.
This Jewelry Designer Infuses ‘90s Hip Hop, Caribbean Spice + Vibrant Hues into Everything She Makes
This Jewelry Designer Infuses '90s Hip Hop, Caribbean Spice + Vibrant Hues into Everything She Makes
Vibrant hues, '90s-era boldness, and raw artisanal beauty — these are just a few of the characteristics that make the work of today's creative crush truly swoonworthy. Named for a potent Caribbean pepper, Tracey-Renee Hubbard's Scotchbonnet is a gorgeous line of earrings and accessories made by hand with love, thoughtfulness and a resolute passion for the art of making.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and super fan of Scotchbonnet! Like so many creative connections these days, I first connected with designer Tracey-Renee when she DM'ed the @britandco IG account and we featured her work in a story roundup of BIPOC makers. A few weeks later, she applied and won a scholarship to our first session of the Selfmade program where Brit and I both had the privilege of mentoring and working with Tracey-Renee on her brand, her business plan, and her mission. Since then she's been awarded a minority creative grant from JOANN Fabrics, and seriously upleveled her production process thanks to a collaboration with Glowforge. (PS: B+C readers can get 20% off their own Glowforge Pro by clicking here!)
Now I am thrilled to be able to share more about this brilliant maker's journey, inspiration and creative process in this edition of Creative Crushin'.
Anjelika Temple: Before we get into learning all about your creative inspiration, tell us a little about your background.
Tracey-Renee Hubbard: I was born and raised in Wisconsin. Yep, lots of cheese and cows. Growing up in Wisconsin right outside of Milwaukee provided me with a surprisingly diverse and eclectic foundation. My parents stressed the importance of academics, but they didn't believe that excelling at school needed to come at the expense of creativity or other hobbies. Art, music, books and softball were a big chunk of my childhood. Crafting and creating have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
One of my favorite shows to watch when I was growing up was "A Different World." It was about the college experience at a fictitious HBCU (Historically Black College/University) called Hillman College. Watching that show inspired me to go to Florida A&M University (an HBCU) where I received a BS in Business Management and an MBA.
The world changes quickly and I love learning new things! After completing my MBA program, I studied graphic design, multimedia art and completed the Merchandise Product Development program at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in San Francisco. My academic and professional experiences have given me the opportunity to live and work in lots of interesting places; but for now I am based in the San Francisco Bay area.
Anj: Did you always know that you wanted to be a professional artist/creative?
Tracey-Renee: Yep, but for a long time I was afraid to do it because of the "starving artist" stigma (all lies, btw). I tried to compartmentalize my creative practices as just a "hobby", but when something is truly in your spirit the desire never really goes away…and so now here I am!
Anj: What do you love about making things? What keeps the spark going for you?
Tracey-Renee: I've been inspired to create for as long as I can remember! I've always been fascinated by color, texture, travel and cultural connection. I grew up watching my grandmother quilt, sew and mend garments, I saw my Mom create beautiful home décor and heirloom holiday decorations and spent time in my Dad's workshop. Being surrounded by unique handmade items that hold special stories has fueled my passion for being a designer and maker.
Anj: Like so many artists, you've got a day job in addition to your creative hustle. Tell us about your career path.
Tracey-Renee: My first "real job" was in pharmaceutical sales and marketing. I loved the left brain/right brain mix of processing all the data and scientific information and then finding creative ways to relay that information to doctors and health care providers. That role really opened my eyes to the power of messaging and visual communication tools which ultimately led to me returning to school to study digital design and multimedia arts. I've had fun using my marketing and digital design skills in several different industries. I currently work as the Director of Marketing and Creative Strategy for a candy company. I spend a lot of time working in the digital realm – I think most of us do- and that makes me really appreciate the time I spend making handmade jewelry for Scotchbonnet.
Anj: Tell me more about your brand Scotchbonnet! How would you describe your brand's mission?
Tracey-Renee: I want to make pieces that are cherished - special but not so "precious" that they sit in a box stored away for special occasions that are far and few between. My accessories are known for their bold shapes, bright colors and eye-catching patterns. Each piece is handmade with love (I hope my customers can feel it when they wear their Scotchbonnet accessories)!
Scotchbonnet jewelry has been described as "conversation starters" and I love the fact that they connect people and get them to start conversing. I am excited about elevating those conversations by creating capsule collections connected to social causes; that way the chat can go beyond just "cute earrings, where'd you get them?"
Anj: At Brit + Co, we are enamored with bright colors, patterns and geometric shapes -- and clearly, you are too! How did you hone in on your aesthetic?
Tracey-Renee: I chose the name Scotchbonnet for my jewelry brand because scotch bonnet peppers add a distinctively potent spice to Caribbean food and I feel that my jewelry has the same vibe. My accessories are known for vibrant hues, bold shapes and eye-catching patterns. I am inspired by the flashiness of 90s hip-hop, the simplicity of modern luxury, and the raw beauty of artisan goods from the African Diaspora. My aesthetic continues to evolve based on the things I love, the places I've been and the community I want to serve.
Anj: We LOVED mentoring you + helping your business grow during our first Selfmade session. What were your main takeaways from the program and experience?
Tracey-Renee: Selfmade helped me understand the importance of having a clear vision and trusting my intuition. It can be inspirational watching other entrepreneurs "hustling and winning" on their social media feeds, but without clarity about my vision that "inspiration" can be overwhelming and make things confusing. It's easy to confuse movement with progress – Selfmade helped me craft an action plan that ensures each step builds momentum and accelerates me toward my goals. Selfmade also provided me with a vibrant, uplifting community of founders, entrepreneurs and go-getters.
Anj: When you get creatively blocked or burnt out, how do you reset? Do you have tips you can share?
Tracey-Renee: I take a break. We're inundated with "hustle culture" that can make us feel guilty for taking a break, but at the end of the day we're of no value to anyone when we're burnt out. When I have a creative block I usually log off for a while… there's this duality with the internet where on the surface it seems to be an endless pool of inspiration, but in reality everything that's on the internet has already been filtered or curated by someone else. Sometimes it's helpful to see things through a new lens and find inspiration in ("real" physical) books, at a museum or out in nature. Seeing things in a new light from a different angle can be a really refreshing creative jolt.
Anj: What does your workspace look like? What tools do you use and how has it changed over the years?
Tracey-Renee: I'd describe it as "choreographed chaos". It's organized enough so that I can be efficient with the administrative parts of my business like: inventory management, packing and shipping. It's creative enough so that it still feels inspiring, and it's tidy enough that it doesn't feel overwhelming to sit down and start working. It smells like coconut or tropical fruit (thanks to my candles) and it sounds like hip-hop, dance hall, soca or afrobeats.
The primary mediums I work with are wood, paint, glass beads and recently brass. With that being said my paint brushes, needle & thread and jeweler's saw are always within close reach. The most recent addition to my studio is my Glowforge Pro 3D laser printer; it is a game changer! It shrunk my product development cycle time infinitely. Prior to the Glowforge the process was time consuming and costly; now, I can literally "print" a new design within minutes of sketching out an idea. It's also been awesome when it comes to inventory management and sustainability. I no longer have to worry about over-producing or wasting materials; I can make exactly what I need right when I need it without any waste. The Glowforge can make millions of things and I'm excited about trying new design ideas in the future. I have a ton of sketches and inspo photos on my magnet board and in my notebooks waiting to be explored. (ICYMI: B+C readers can get 20% off their own Glowforge Pro by clicking here!)
Anj: What advice do you have for emerging artists and designers just getting started? What advice do you have for creatives struggling to find their unique voice?
Tracey-Renee: Start with your "why" and not your "what". Your "why" will be the secret weapon that competitors will never be able to touch. Once you have that part figured out; dive in! I think that now is a really exciting time for creatives. The rise of entrepreneurship powered by social media has removed a lot of barriers that used to make creative careers seem out of reach. Protect your work, but don't be afraid to put yourself (and your stuff!) out there. Connect with other artists and build a community, it's so important to have a sounding board for difficult times and a crew with whom you can celebrate your successes.
Anj: What's next for your brand?
Tracey-Renee: Scaling and growing in a way that feels authentic. I have new colors and new products coming soon and I am super excited about that! My upcoming premium capsule collections are close to my heart; designing jewelry inspired by social causes and having a "give back" component means the world to me. I want to keep having fun with my brand, sharing joy with fun colors and patterns and infusing love into each handmade piece.