Meet the Maker: Hecho-A-Mano Jewelry
Meet the Maker is a blog series focused on introducing and sharing the story of other makers, artisans and small business owners doing creative work that reflects the Maker. Our hope is to build a community that is collaborative, open and encouraging as we unpack the Why behind the What.
This week we're featuring Hecho-A-Mano Jewlery. We spoke with Michelle, owner and artist, about her story and are excited to share it with you. Her jewelry is fresh, inspiring and unique.
Why did you start Hecho-A-Mano Jewelry?
I started Hecho-A-Mano Jewelry when my husband and I were living in Costa Rica. He was finishing up his PhD, and I was taking Spanish classes. The school I was going to had jewelry making classes where they taught us how to make macrame string bracelets. They are SUPER popular in Central America. They are sold everywhere by local artisans. After my weeks of classes ended, I needed something to do while my husband was working. I thought, how fun would it be to open up a shop and make and sell these awesome bracelets? I have always loved designing jewelry. I had an Etsy shop a few years ago where I sold a very different style of jewelry, so this was perfect for me. I went to the local Libreria (basically a store where they sell all kinds of oddball items, somewhat related to school supplies and books ) and bought myself a spool of string and the rest is history! Hecho-A-Mano means "handmade" in Spanish so of course I thought that was the perfect name for my shop.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I think what I enjoy most about my job is being able to create something that people all over the world love, and wear everyday. It's so much fun thinking that there is someone in Japan or France wearing my macrame bracelets. I also love that there are endless possibilities of what I can make in terms of colors and designs. It's a bit overwhelming for my brain sometimes just thinking of everything I could mix and match together. I just love these bracelets, sometimes when I make a new one, I have to tell myself that I have enough of my own and I can't keep them all!
What are your biggest challenges?
One of my biggest challenges in this business is to not compare myself to other shops. It's very easy to become discouraged and feel like every other person around you is succeeding and that my shop is never going to reach that level of success. I just have to keep telling myself that everybody's paths are different and I can't compare myself to people who have probably been doing this way longer than I have, and have more experience!
What's your big audacious dream for your work?
I think my big, crazy dream for Hecho-A-Mano Jewelry is to spread the love of macrame jewelry all over the world. I feel like these bracelets are awesome and I want everybody to see that! I would love to one day sell my pieces in stores and be able to keep doing this for years to come.
What's the biggest lesson you've learned since starting your business?
One of the biggest lessons I've learn since starting my business is that it is really hard work! I think a lot of people don't understand the time it takes to run a shop, and a successful one at that. Being consistent on social media, taking product photos, listing products, writing descriptions, making the items, and shipping them really can be a full time gig! I am constantly learning new things everyday and its really a trial and error process. When I first opened Hecho-A-Mano Jewelry, I think I just expected the sales to start coming in, but unfortunately for me and every other shop out there, it doesn't work that way.