An interview with artist and jewellery maker, Ineke de Vries.
Ineke de Vries is the first in our new series of seller interviews, where you'll get to read a little more about some of our sellers and find out what makes them tick!
1. Share a little about yourself….. What makes you?
I am a Dutch Australian. I have a beautiful husband, two fantastic daughters and two gorgeous grandchildren. All through my life being creative has been my passion. I studied art first in Holland and later in Australia.
I have worked for years as a visual artist in different media. Twenty years ago I lived on the North Coast of NSW and exhibited in galleries along the East Coast of NSW and the Gold Coast. After some interruptions in my creative career and a move to Brisbane, I started my own website with the aid of my husband. Working from an online shop appealed to me as it meant not having to cart paintings around and all the costs involved with framing and exhibiting my work. It also gave me the opportunity to work from home in my own time.
2. What inspired you to create your own business and how long have you been trading for?
A couple of years ago a friend of mine recommended Etsy to me as another outlet to sell my work online. I liked the Etsy community, the support and camaraderie within in the Etsy Teams (especially the Australian Wandarrah Team!). I opened my shop in 2013, but initially did not spend a lot of time on it till 2015 when I gave up my day job.
3. Why did you choose the name you did for your business?
Ineke de Vries is my maiden name and I have always used it. I found it amusing that Australians often commented that my name sounded so exotic. (Little did they know that the name Ineke de Vries in Holland is as common as John Smith in Australia). Hence the reason that I decided to use it for my shop name.
4. What do you sell and what sets them apart from other similar items on the market?
When I opened my shop I sold only handmade gemstone jewellery. I have always had a fascination with rocks and rock formations. I love the endless variety, textures and uniqueness of each stone. Each stone is different and its imperfections make it even more appealing. I love sorting and selecting beads. I find it a meditative and calming process. I am looking for a combination of the right shape, texture and colours. I only make one of each piece of jewellery and that makes each piece unique.
A year ago I was looking to extend the range of items in my shop and realised that there was probably a market for selling prints and original artwork. For the prints I have used quick, dynamic sketches that capture the movement of the subject. Many of these were made at life drawing groups, where models posed for one minute and then changed into the next pose. I have also made a series of sketches of my daughters when they were playing violin, painting or just dancing around. The Australian landscape is another great source of inspiration. Currently I am working on digital paintings of Australian landscapes and flora.
5. If you could achieve anything you could imagine (without the boundaries of money or everyday life) what would your greatest dream for your business be?
Without doubt I would like my business to grow and become more successful. Having said that, I don’t want to get to the point that it becomes so busy that it impacts too much on my life style and balance between the creative process and all the admin work that comes with it. After doing this for two years I know the amount of continuous hard work I have to put in to even get customers to look at my shop let alone buy something. I am always over the moon when I do get sales and am honoured that customers enjoy my art enough to buy it. When I look at my shop I think to myself: I have done all this: I made the work, I took hundreds of photos, I put all my listings up, I work on PR etc. I am very proud of my achievement. And at this stage in my life I probably couldn’t wish for more.
6. Where do you work on your business, and what platforms are you using to sell from (both online and offline)
I have two areas I work from: I have one room where my computer is. This is where I do my digital art, photography and admin. I also have another area at the front of the house where I do all the hands on stuff: painting, drawing and jewellery making.
My Etsy shop is presently my only platform for selling and I am quite happy with that. I find it very convenient and one of the great advantages of the modern age, that I can do all this without having to leave the house. Except of course to go to the post office to post all my orders.
7. If you are starting again on Etsy what would you do differently?
Probably not much. It is a learning process and you learn from your mistakes.
8. What is the most useful thing you have learned while using Etsy?
Become a member of a team. I cannot believe how much I have learned since I joined the Australian Wandarrah team. It is a fantastic team and every day I pick up something useful by reading the threads and forums.
9. Outside your business, what inspires you?
My family firstly. Secondly the Australian outdoors, my garden, beautiful weather, reading.
10. If you could inspire the world with a quote, what would it be?
Carpe Diem , “seize the day”
11. Where can we find out more about your business?
Kelly from Colourscape Studios and and Kaz from Kazzycaboodles are currently the writers for the Australian Wandarrah Blog. If you'd like to join us on a fulltime or casual basis, please convo Kelly on Etsy for more details!