– by Judit Wild –
Esther and Estella, mother and daughter, owners of a successful jewelry shop called StaroftheEast which could be an example how their different styles complement each other resulting in a quite coherent mixture of necklaces, rings and earrings. But success did not come right away: step by step they learnt how to manage a jewelry shop – mainly from their customers.
When did you start designing jewelry? Why did you chose this medium?
In 2004 I (Estella) started to make some earrings for personal use with the few materials that were available back then. In autumn 2004 a local beaded jewelry course started and I wanted to join, my mother (Esther) thought it would be fun and we went together. After 3 months our teacher started to ask us questions instead of the other way around and we felt that we were on the right track with this. It became a huge passion for both of us, making jewelry, but selling locally was close to impossible.
You are mother and daughter: how do you share the work? Do you have any difference in your styles? If yes, what?
We have different tastes and styles, my mother loves vintage jewelry and loves the old style. I go more to the gothic and steampunk style. Making jewelry also depends on your mood of that day, tastes are very much connected to our moods. For that reason we have a lot of different kind of pieces in our shop which of course gives a wider target marget too.
We both design, sometimes alone and sometimes together. We often complete each others projects, and we understand where a project is going to without words. The technicals issues and making the pieces reality is my job.
How do you evaluate the change between your first piece and the works you do now? In what way did your style and/or technique change, and why?
I don’t think our style has changed a lot, but we did make some changes after knowing our customers better. For example, when we first started we thought more about local customers, in Turkey gold and gold plated is very much loved. But overseas and in Europe silver and brass is more loved. So we use gold plated materials much less now.
In the past 5 years we have gathered aloooot of supplies which makes life much easier, and solving technical problems too. Our first piece was with shells but after that we haven’t used any shells for 3 years. Eventually our jewelry with Sea Urchins and other natural materials has become our niche and bread winner.
Which area do you think you evolved a lot? What would be your advice to yourself in 2004?
Our jewelry have evolved but I think our selling skills have evolved even more. It is hard to make things you love and then sell them, rejections can be very disappointing as you put your heart in your work. Selling online has been a bless, but not right away. It took us one year to actually start to sell online, it takes a lot of patience but also a lot of work. My photography skills have evolved alot, which is a very important tool to sell online as people buy your things according to those pictures. I think that would be a good advice to ourselves, take good pictures before trying to sell online.
What kind of evolution do you see for yourself necessary in the future? What are your plans (if any)?
Etsy is our full time income, it is not easy, an unsure income. We have 4 shops there in 4 different branches, jewelry, bags, supplies and little gifts and they cover each other, when one is slow the other fills in. Hopefully in the future we will be able to make it a more secure income due to regular sales to shops. I think we will evolve when needed, changes are good.