I’ve been doing a lot of shopping lately, and it seems every trendy store I walk into has these beaded leather wrap bracelets. At once earthy and glamorous, I’ve been coveting one for weeks! Instead of buying a piece shipped from who-knows-where, I decided to see what the sellers on etsy had to offer. Lo and behold, I found the very talented Allison Rennemo just a few states away in Denver, CO.
In her shop, Ida Estelle, Allison offers not only the classic brown/metallic combinations, but also green, red, purple, blue…. all in a variety of sizes and patterns. She’s been in business for a few years, sales are picking up and she generously shares her secrets to success! Enjoy.
Tell us about your work—why do you create what you do?
I grew up in a DIY family, so whether I was painting with my mom, working on some sewing project with my sister or assisting my dad with his latest contraption I was used to working with my hands. I love seeing the before and after, so for me, making these bracelets is instant gratification. I wonder what a certain color of leather will look like with a certain metal or gemstone, and voila, there it is!
How did you learn your craft? Tell us about your process—start to finish. How do you source your materials?
I learned to make these by trying a bunch of different processes…a lot of trial and A LOT of error! I had seen something similar a few years, studied it, bought some materials I thought would work at my local bead shop and went from there. Now that I have my methods down, I know what sort of beads and leathers will work for me. When I’m shopping for materials I don’t always know how I’m going to use them…I’m a little impulsive so I when I see stones or metals that spark a feeling of creativity in me, I buy it! Sometimes I’ll use those materials right away, sometimes it will take a few months for me to decide what to do with them.
Where do you work? What type of environment stimulates your creativity?
My dream is to have a room full of shelves, drawers and windows with a huge drafting table (at standing height) dedicated to all my projects and bracelets. I’m working on making this dream a reality but at the moment I work mainly at my dining room table which overlooks the Rockies. Nature is a big inspiration to me and always helps ignite my creativity, so if I can see outside, I’m good.
How has your work evolved?
When I first started making jewelry I was really concerned with what I thought other people would like and stuck to really basic pieces. Now, after making the same style bracelet for about two years, I have found that I need to make pieces that inspire me and reflect my lifestyle. If I don’t love a piece I made and wouldn’t wear it, I wont sell it.
What is your greatest challenge?
It’s challenging to put all the pieces together…sourcing materials, designing, hand making all the product, pricing, marketing, researching new ways to grow a business and keeping up with paperwork can be really overwhelming when you’re doing it by yourself. I love every second of it though!
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by everything. I literally have hundreds of notes written everywhere with ideas and thoughts I’ve had while being somewhere, doing something or meeting someone. I revise the previous question…my greatest challenge? Keeping all my notes of inspiration straight.
Tell us about your etsy business.
My sister introduced me to Etsy about three years ago when she opened her own vintage shop on the website called Extra Virgin Home. She opened her shop about the time I was first interested in making these “awesome new wrap bracelets” I had seen in a magazine. While I was helping my sister with her vintage shop I had been making my bracelets for friends and family. On a trip home about six months later my grandma asked me why I hadn’t started my own shop on Etsy…I thought, a shop for what? Oh, right, my bracelets! So, I made a profile on Etsy, photographed some of my bracelets and started my shop.
My beginner mistake was thinking that’s all you had to do, the “if you build it they will come” mentality. That was not the case. It took me about six months to really get on board with selling on Etsy…posting items everyday, visiting other shops and expanding my product line. I feel lucky that I’m in a place in my life that I can focus on growing Ida Estelle into a full fledged business. Whereas before it was more of a hobby, now it’s my full time job. This next year I’m focusing on expanding my online reach with tools like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
What advice do you have for new etsians?
I think my biggest piece of advice is to be your own biggest fan! For so long, I would down play my jewelry and I didn’t think what I was doing was that special or unique. Now, I’m 100% on board with what I’m doing and am looking forward to expanding my product line and getting my brand out there.
Where can readers find your work?
Currently, other than Etsy.com, I’m selling my items at a shop in Telluride, CO called Telluride Naturals. I have a few other things in the works, including selling my jewelry at an event called Family Circle Cup this Spring in South Carolina.
Other places you can find me:
Visit the official website idaestelle.com
Buy Ida Estelle’s famous wraps on idaestelle.etsy.com
Follow Ida Estelle’s adventure @ida_estelle
Like Ida Estelle facebook.com/idaestelle