I was interviewed by the Boston Handmade team, a juried team of local artists and crafters in the Greater Boston area. Here is the link. And the article is below:
INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER TANG OF MAJENTA DESIGNS:
Boston Handmade: Tell us a little bit about yourself
MaJenta Designs: My name is Jennifer, and I was born and raised in Western Mass but since graduating undergrad I have been living in the Boston area. I am currently a graduate student at Northeastern University studying Counseling Psychology with a focus on helping underserved populations and emphasis on multicultural prospective. However, I always had a passion for arts & crafts too, and so I recently started up my jewelry business to fulfill that other passion as well as any profits helps towards paying off a lifetime of loans! ;)
Boston Handmade: What first made you want to become an artist?
MaJenta Designs: I have always loved arts & crafts ever since I was little and probably making Christmas ornaments in elementary school or some time as early as that. However, I never thought about getting into the business as I never thought I'd be able to figure out all the details of what it takes to sell things at the professional level. I'd have to give props to Etsy for that, I have learned so much valuable information about how to run a business from Etsy, and I think that being a part of a group like Boston Handmade and having a support network to turn to for advice and help is definitely invaluable as well.
Boston Handmade: What are your favorite materials?
MaJenta Designs: I love working with chiyogami, which is traditional handmade Japanese paper (literally meaning thousand generation paper), because the patterns are so intricate and gorgeous, and I love making jewelry and housewares with it encased in glass as the glass really helps to illuminate the paper designs and give it an added depth.
Boston Handmade: What inspires you?
MaJenta Designs: I love making pieces that have a symbolic meaning to it, as I think it makes the piece more significant, especially if someone buys it to give as a gift, it adds a special message behind the piece. For example, plum blossoms are symbolic in Asian cultures for perseverance and new beginnings as they are usually the first signs of spring that burst forth after the bitterness of winter.
Boston Handmade: What do you love most about what you make?
MaJenta Designs: I love that the chiyogami paper is so versatile so I can make so many different creations with them. I know my Etsy shop is dominated by my pendant necklaces and magnets, but these papers have been great at making decorative nightlights, photo albums and journals, and I actually just bought a button/badge maker, so it'll soon be great to make these into collectible pins and cute pocket mirrors too!
Boston Handmade: Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
MaJenta Designs: you have to be persistent, I've seen many great artists quit after a few weeks, but success doesn't come just by opening a shop. You have to keep promoting yourself, keep your items fresh, have great and friendly customer service, and keep creating new items all the time. I also found that it really helps if you develop your own niche and your have a theme throughout your shop, as your store seems more uniform and professional if you have a consistent theme.
Boston Handmade: What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
MaJenta Designs: This advice overlaps a bit with my previous response with being persistent and not giving up, as there are literally hundreds of thousands of sellers on Etsy so you need to make yourself stand out. I also think you need to have a thorough shop policies section and some interesting info about yourself in your bio. I also think it's a great idea to start off as a buyer, as not only does that help build your feedback but also can be good karma hopefully too. With detailed info about yourself and your policies in your shop and some positive feedback about you already in place, it helps customers see you as a professional business, and can feel more comfortable when buying from you.
Boston Handmade: What else do you like to do when you're not studying or crafting?
MaJenta Designs: I love to travel and explore new countries and learn about new cultures. So far I've been to about 20 countries across Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America, but my goal is to hit up every continent in my lifetime! I love doing outdoors activities and having unique experiences there, such as scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, riding in elephant in Thailand, or biking around Dingle in Ireland.
Boston Handmade: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
MaJenta Designs: I'll hopefully be done with all my schooling by then! Ideally I'd love to have a job as a part-time professor teaching psychology, have a small private practice of my own, and hopefully own a house where I can have my own crafting studio! One of my goals for my business is for it to grow, I want to be able to do more craft shows as well as have my items carried in a few boutiques, that would be ideal!