Reader Mortira over on Inspirational Beading posted a splendid interview on the broad netted bead collar necklaces by Ta Meu Bem. This California-based Jamaican American, Tamika (aka as Mika or just Tami), describes her style succinctly on her Instagram as "Dainty with Attitude"! Indeed she is a master of making statement necklaces from small beads. She also ventures into other techniques.
A self taught reader, Tamika creates her own patterns. She explained, "I'm very in love with Colombian, South African and Russian beading and netting traditions. A lot of my beading early on unwittingly emulated South African beading and I felt an instant connection. My brand name is based on a Brazilian expression (meaning fashion wise) taken from my friends who pushed me into sharing my gift with the world."
What also caught my attention was Tamika's holistic approach to selling jewelry - a combination of offline and online. Handmade jewelry generally sells better offline simply because customers can see, feel and try on the pieces. Plus they are able to directly interact with the artisan. Tamika said, "I usually sell my jewelry at bazaars and boutique events. I also do a lot of custom orders and trades which is great." She is clearly warm, friendly and personable with a wonderful smile - all of which helps a great deal in making so many social connections both offline and online.
As most of her sales are custom designs, much of what she does never makes it online. But she is still very active online. A relative newcomer to Etsy, she says she is getting most of her online sales through her Storenvy store and her Instagram.
I was curious about her experiences selling on Instagram which is a very popular photo sharing site. She told me, "I like Instagram because it connects you to a lot of like-minded individuals and artists across the world. Someone will see a design I made and then ask for it in another color scheme and I love collaborating."
She models her own jewelry a lot which really takes advantage of Instagram being a "selfie central"! Using her camera phone is already essential to her design process, "I don't usually use any patterns so I constantly have to put the piece on to make sure that it lays correctly or isn't bunching, has the right length etc."
Her Instagram customers contact her directly via the photo, direct message or show up at one of her local events. Indeed she is using the photo site like a portfolio. She explains, "Usually my Instagram customers will pay me via PayPal, and if they're overseas through a money wiring service. I just set up an app called Spreesy which will let clients and fans purchase directly through Instagram."
A final word from Tamika, "Truthfully, I have my online stores because this is part of the whole independent business model, but I prefer to work the artisan circuit so I can meet people, and show my passion, and they can know that it's ME who's creating these pieces."
Before You Go:
- Book Review- Bead Riffs with Free Tutorials
- More Egyptian Style Necklace Tutorials
- Egyptian Inspired Necklaces by Silvia Malaguzzi
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips