This episode, episode #12, I get to host Jess Van Den. She’s the creative and business engine behind Epheriell - a jewelry brand that specializes in eco sterling silver wedding rings and other beautiful creations. She’s also the founder of Create & Thrive podcast and the Thriver Circle, where she teaches fellow makers how to turn their handmade hobby into a thriving business.
We talk about running a creative business vs. having a creative hobby, about the emotional bumps in the Creative Process, and about focusing on customer needs and wants.
HIGHLIGHTS, QUOTES and RESOURCES [episode 12]:
- Turning adversity into opportunity: How Jess’s health issues kept her from traveling, while accidentally helping her kick-start the business or “My teeth wouldn’t get better until my business really took off”.
The most emotional part of the creative process - Jess has a surprising take.
- The systems for money-exchange, and how they make this emotional part of the process more manageable.
- The vital piece of money-exchange system - a system for customer communication, and the emotional and “brutal business” benefits of such a system in place.
On finding the sweet spot - products that feel very authentic to the creator but also respond to what the customers ask for.
- The different challenges of a starter business vs. a mature business - the reverse direction of a creative process: from creating solely for your fulfillment to creating for your business, aka, your customers.
Jess on creating for customers:
Constraints are a positive force for creativity, because they narrow your focus. You may end up creating things you wouldn't have created otherwise, because you are forced to go deeper.”
On the ratio of creative work to business-related activities:
The actual creative work is about a quarter, maybe a third of what you do in the first few years in business.
Marina on passion vs. work:
If you turn your passion into a business you have to love the business part. Otherwise you might be better off NOT turning this ideas into a business. It’s OK to stay a creator just for yourself. It’s a totally valid choice
On systems as means to an end:
Business gets easier when you start putting systems and processes in place.
- Create & Thrive Podcast: Episode 3 – How to Provide Outstanding Online Customer Service
- Books by Bernadette Jiwa from The Story Of Telling
- Jess’s course “Set up shop”
- 10 Essential Keys To Successfully Sell Handmade Products Online: free video workshop
In Jess's words:
If you want to make a living, it’s not about you. It’s about your customers. When you turn your business into a hobby you need a new hobby."
Jess Van Den is a self-employed silversmith working under the Epheriell label. She’s been making jewelry since 2008, when she opened her Etsy shop to sell her jewelry as a hobby, and turned Epheriell into her full-time occupation in 2010 – bringing her husband Nick on board soon after. She specializes in eco sterling silver wedding rings, and works out of her solar-powered home studio in the countryside north of Brisbane, Australia. She’s also the founder of Create & Thrive & the Thriver Circle, where she teaches fellow makers how to turn their handmade hobby into a thriving business.)
Where can you find Jess?