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Interview and GIVEAWAY with photographer and jewellery designer Marie Bee of the Blue Balloon – NOW CLOSED

A little while ago, I came across this photo on Naomi Rose’s flickr stream, showing photos taken by Marie of the Blue Balloon. I loved the images, so I followed the links to Marie’s etsy shop, and man am I glad I did! Because as well as amazing photography, Marie sells lots of lovely vintage jewellery. I traded one of her necklaces for a knit hat, I’m wearing it here. And she was kind enough to do an interview with me AND offer stuff for a giveaway! Woot! Let’s get on with the interview:

———————————————

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Marie. I am the mama of the most curious and adorable (in my very biased opinion) baby boy. He was due on Christmas Eve, and was born on New Year’s Day, so the holidays last year were interesting. I’m still in awe that December is upon us again and that my baby is almost 1 year old! I am a full time mama, and also wife to a busy, often touring drummer boy. We live in our cozy home in Milwaukee, a few blocks from Lake Michigan. I’m still adapting to the stay at home life, but am enjoying being fortunate enough to spend so much time with my baby, and in between, time to work on my shop. Besides crafting, I also play the violin, get excited about coffee and love books.

How did you end up as an etsy seller?

Photography is one of my true loves. Since I suddenly had all of this free time before baby was due, I decided to open up shop. I listed my first item a week after my last day of work. I had started out selling mainly photos and stationery based on my photography. That soon evolved into photo jewelry and ink stamping. While I’d be shopping for pendants and chain and other supplies, and I’d come across adorable charms and other trinkets, and before I knew it, they were in my cart. That’s mainly how the transition from the initial notion of starting a photo shop slowly evolved into the shop it is today- still full of photo based jewelry, but also creating many pieces based on brass, glass, natural and vintage findings. You could browse from the beginning of my sold items and see how much my shop has changed over the last year.

Do you have any tips for someone just starting out with selling online?

My tips for someone starting out on Etsy? Gosh, there’s so much I’ve learned over the last year, but I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. First, I would say not to get discouraged. Try and try again- find your niche. I think it’s safe to say that the first few months on Etsy are probably the toughest, and it takes some trial and error. Take stellar photos of your items, make them stand out from all the rest. Use natural daylight, great angles, show off the details of your item. And use all 5 of the photos Etsy allots you! When people are browsing on Etsy, and you have great product photos, they are much more likely to stop and click on your item over the hundreds of others that show up in a search. Use relevant and creative tags, and use them all. Try to list something at least once to every few days, to stay towards the top of search results- there are so many sellers on Etsy, and it’s so easy to get buried. If you have a bunch of things to list, though it’s hard- try to pace them. And the last major tip I would give, the one I would say that has benefited me the most- start a Twitter account. Use it to promote your shop, sales and new listings- without being spammy. If you balance it right, you’ll find that you have a great way to promote, and at the same time you’ll be making some great new friends. Lastly, make what you love, and stay true to that. Don’t start an Etsy shop because you want to make money. Start one because you want to share your creativity with the world. Be unique!

You use a lot of found materials in your jewellery. Where do you find things and what was the best thing you’ve ever scored?

I look for things everywhere- thrifts, the beach, on walks in the woods, basements, attics. One of my favorite necklaces sold a while back- it was an old skeleton key hole I had found in one of my very first apartments, hiding on the floor of my closet. I love finding old things, and so I held on to it all these years. I finally decided it was time to do something with it, and thought it would make an absolutely lovely vintage-inspired necklace. I also shop around online, and try to look for the most unique findings I can. The word “vintage” is a search word I always use.
I think one of my favorite finds is the scrap metal tubing I picked up from a local science store. I don’t even know what they were originally used for, but I instantly saw necklace potential in them. I’m thankful my husband was able to set me up with a vice and a saw to cut them down and turn them into these necklaces. I’m crossing my fingers I’m the only person who likes these tube scraps, because I fear that one day I’ll go in for more, and they’ll be gone for good!

What are your plans for the future? What do you hope to be/do in ten years time?

I want to be a country mouse. I always have wanted to, since my youth. My plans for the coming years involve an old farmhouse somewhere rural. My husband and I discuss our country life multiple times a week, and I can’t wait to start searching for our dream farmhouse when the time is right. Included in these country dreams are a little girl (though another little boy would be fine, too), a horse, a barn for stray kitties and a hay loft for the kiddos. Right now my husband is in touring band, so I’m not sure how realistic this all is, but we can still dream! In the short term, I hope to be able to continue to make my jewelry, and continue to be lucky enough to stay at home with my son and any future babies, while they are growing up. I’d also LOVE to find a company that puts on musicals all year round, and have a permanent place in their pit orchestra as a violinist. That would be a dream job. My fondest high school memories are of playing in the pit orchestra, especially the year we performed My Fair Lady.

You say you’re a photographer with a new found love of creating jewellery. What style of photography are you interested in, and do you have any favourite photographers?

I don’t know if I have one specific style of photography that I prefer. I’ll always prefer film over digital (though lately my film cameras are collecting dust). I just know that I’m strongly drawn to photographs with a dreamy aesthetic. Ones that just feel like magic and make me wish I could just jump in to the picture and stay there forever. A few of my favorite photographers:
Naomi Rose
Amalia Chimera
Olivia Bee
Sarah Jurado
Mirjan
Purple Muse
Sarah Bernhard

And what about your current favourite etsy sellers, artists, designers etc.?

Oh boy, that’s a tough question. A few of my favorite local designers are :
Little Ocean – I would wear each and every one of her pieces.
The same goes for my pal Kate at Midwest Needles – she makes me wish I could remember my one knitting lesson from my Aunt a few years ago.

And just off the top of my head, some shops I’m absolutely in love with:
Little Byrd Vintage
Captain Cat
Woodland Belle
I also was recently introduced to Yumi Yumi’s shop, and am in love with her watercolors

Thank you so much for having me here, Franca!

Thank you, Marie!

————————————————

And as for the giveaway, one lucky winner will get their choice of the Rainbow Warrior necklace

Or the Autumn necklace

To enter,
– leave a comment, telling me which prize you would choose. If you fancy, you can tell me your favourite item in Marie’s etsy shop too.
– for an extra entry, follow the blue balloon on twitter and leave a separate entry
– for another extra entry, like the blue balloon on facebook and leave a separate entry

I will leave this open for a fortnight until the 20th of December. Snow madness permitting, I will be in Luxembourg, on my parents’ painfully slow internet connection, so I may not announce the winner publicly til after I get back to Scotland, but I’ll make sure at least to email them and get their address. So please make sure I have a way of contacting you in case you win!

This is open internationally!

Good luck!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • va 6 December 2010, 4:15 pm

    i like the owl ring
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/58466086/little-owl-ring-choose-your-color .

    I would choose the rainbow warrior necklace .

    tumblemumbo at gmail.com
    thanks

  • va 6 December 2010, 4:17 pm

    liked blue balloon on fb under ana amanti .

    thank you ! happy holidays to you !

  • va 6 December 2010, 4:24 pm

    hope u don't mind but i blogged about your giveaway on my blog here
    http://va-internationalgiveawaysblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/necklace-of-2-choices-from-blue-balloon.html

  • sacramento 6 December 2010, 4:28 pm

    Love the autumn necklace.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  • Veshoevius 6 December 2010, 4:34 pm

    Very cute shop – this was the first time I made a trip to Etsy actually! I would choose the rainbow warrior necklace. I'm following blue balloon on twitter now.

  • Cynthia Gibas 6 December 2010, 4:45 pm

    Great giveaway. I would choose the autumn necklace, and actually that's probably my favorite shop item, too.

  • ohvotrecoeur 6 December 2010, 4:52 pm

    I'd choose the autumn necklace. Gorgeous creations! 🙂

  • Alex 6 December 2010, 4:58 pm

    I love the Little Dear Locket and her photography is beautiful as well.

  • Sara 6 December 2010, 5:26 pm

    Love the autumn necklace! Would look great with so many of my tops!

  • Sara 6 December 2010, 5:27 pm

    I follow @_TheBlueBalloon on Twitter

  • Sidewalk Chic 6 December 2010, 5:36 pm

    What a great interview and giveaway! Thank you for hosting this.

    I love the pieces above, but I also am really drawn to the Sailing My Ship necklace. I love nautical things, and it just seems like a piece that would launch a million dreams of a seafaring life.

    – JoAnn

  • Biba 6 December 2010, 9:17 pm

    I absolutely adore the Autumn necklace!

  • interrobangsanon 6 December 2010, 9:38 pm

    The Little Deer Book Locket is darling!

    I would choose the Autumn Necklace.

    -Katie

  • interrobangsanon 6 December 2010, 9:39 pm

    I'm following on Facebook

    -Katie

  • Madeline 6 December 2010, 11:34 pm

    I would love the autumn necklace. It's very sweet.

  • Madeline 6 December 2010, 11:35 pm

    I liked it on Facebook.

  • Diana 7 December 2010, 4:04 am

    I'm not sure if I'm allowed to enter, but I enjoyed reading this. Picking Marie's brain is a treat!

  • Michelle 7 December 2010, 4:36 am

    I would like the Rainbow Warrior necklace! My other two favorites from her shop are the Whiskey and Brass necklace and the Smokey Quartz and Brass necklace. What gorgeous items!

  • Michelle 7 December 2010, 4:37 am

    & I just followed her on Twitter, my account name is _chelleshock if you want to check!

  • Renee 7 December 2010, 2:16 pm

    i love the autumn necklace

    emerson0811 at gmail dot com

  • Kelly 7 December 2010, 3:08 pm

    I would choose the Rainbow Warrior necklace. Growing up, my mom always had rainbow-making glass baubles like that in the windows and it was so pretty to always see rainbows in the kitchen!

  • Diane 7 December 2010, 6:20 pm

    the autumn necklace is perfection!

    Diane
    snapshotfashion@gmail.com

  • ladydi115 7 December 2010, 9:06 pm

    Really hard to choose, but I think I like the Rainbow Warrior necklace. Thanks.

  • ladydi115 7 December 2010, 9:07 pm

    I am following on twitter!

  • Shelly 7 December 2010, 10:45 pm

    I love the Autumn necklace

  • Shelly 7 December 2010, 10:45 pm

    follow the blue balloon on twitter @phxbne

  • tinagirl 7 December 2010, 10:58 pm

    I love the Autumn necklace and the Little Deer Book Locket from Marie's etsy shop!

  • tinagirl 7 December 2010, 11:01 pm

    follow the blue balloon on twitter: @warp65

  • tinagirl 7 December 2010, 11:01 pm

    I Like the blue balloon on facebook – Tina Renee Barker

  • Rose 7 December 2010, 11:14 pm

    What beautiful pieces! I quickly made my way to the blue balloon's shop before reading further!
    I would absolutely choose the Rainbow Warrior necklace.
    rosetheninja@gmail.com

  • Rose 7 December 2010, 11:14 pm

    I've also followed the blue balloon on Facebook.

  • Aik 8 December 2010, 4:00 am

    I'd choose the Rainbow Warrior necklace. I love the Cubed necklace.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  • Aik 8 December 2010, 4:00 am

    I follow the blue balloon on twitter @aikchien

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  • Aik 8 December 2010, 4:01 am

    I like the blue balloon on facebook @ Aik Chien

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  • kate gabrielle 8 December 2010, 5:26 am

    I'd choose the Rainbow Warrior necklace 🙂

  • kate gabrielle 8 December 2010, 5:27 am

    I follow on twitter @kategabrielle

  • kate gabrielle 8 December 2010, 5:27 am

    And on facebook, Kate Gabrielle

  • Chelseabird 8 December 2010, 5:31 am

    I would chose the Autumn necklace!

    -Chelseabird

    Chelsea@Chelsea-Bird.com

  • Claggie 8 December 2010, 5:33 am

    I loooove the rainbow warrior necklace! <3

    Claggie
    Kclaghor@indiana.edu

  • Claggie 8 December 2010, 5:34 am

    I also am already following The Blue Balloon on twitter which is how I saw this giveaway! Love your blog and am now following 🙂

    Claggie
    Kclaghor@indiana.edu

  • Claggie 8 December 2010, 5:35 am

    Also liked on facebook 🙂

    Claggie
    Kclaghor@indiana.edu

  • Jenny Stamos 8 December 2010, 8:52 am

    I like the Autumn Necklace

    mail(at)jennystamos(dot)com

  • Jenny Stamos 8 December 2010, 8:52 am

    like you on FB

  • Jenny Stamos 8 December 2010, 8:52 am

    follow on twitter @JennyStamos

  • Laura 8 December 2010, 9:27 am

    I love the Autumn necklace 🙂
    xxx

    (laura_deman@hotmail.com)

  • Midnight Cowgirl 8 December 2010, 10:36 pm

    Love the Rainbow Warrior necklace!

  • mamavalveeta03 8 December 2010, 10:41 pm

    I would choose the Autumn necklace.

  • mamavalveeta03 8 December 2010, 10:43 pm

    I follow the Blue Balloon on Twitter (@mamavalveeta03)

  • mamavalveeta03 8 December 2010, 10:43 pm

    I like the Blue Balloon on Facebook.

  • Maša 10 December 2010, 6:00 pm

    what an amazing find! the interview is also great. I would love to have everything 😀 I'm picking autumn necklace and spring bloom locket.

  • Maša 10 December 2010, 6:01 pm

    liking the blue baloon on fb 🙂

  • Maša 10 December 2010, 6:05 pm

    following on twitter 🙂

    crazy.diamond18@gmail.com

  • artdecodiamonds 10 December 2010, 8:36 pm

    Love the jewelry… its wonderful!

    I love this antique ring:

    https://www.artdecodiamonds.com/products.php?id=2137&l=0&u=2147483647&sortway=desc

  • jillybean956424 10 December 2010, 9:23 pm

    I would choose the Autumn necklace!
    I couldn't choose one thing from her website! But I love these two:
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/54333521/a-moth-story-book-locket
    and
    http://www.etsy.com/listing/62318257/the-blue-balloon-magnet-set

  • Lisa 11 December 2010, 3:22 am

    Luv the Dreamy Citrine necklace. I am all about crystals right now!! Thanks for the give-a-way.

    Happy Holidays!
    Lisa Ann

    sweetlis13@hotmail.com

    http://sugarcoatedstyleblog.blogspot.com/

  • Grace 11 December 2010, 4:30 am

    I love the Autumn necklace. It's so unique I've never seen a leaf necklace like it!

    frostedcouture(at)gmail(dot)com

  • gustosa giveaways 11 December 2010, 12:23 pm

    i like the autumn necklace
    i love the Cubed earrings

    gustosagiveaways at ymail dot com

  • gustosa giveaways 11 December 2010, 12:24 pm

    @gustosagiveaway following the blue balloon on twitter
    gustosagiveaways at ymail dot com

  • gustosa giveaways 11 December 2010, 12:24 pm

    gustosa giveaways following the blue balloon on fb
    gustosagiveaways at ymail dot com

  • Pam 11 December 2010, 1:16 pm

    I would choose the autumn necklace! It's beautiful.

    melacan at hotmial dot com

  • igea 11 December 2010, 8:00 pm

    I would chose the Rainbow Warrior necklace!
    I like :http://www.etsy.com/listing/63259777/dream-a-little-dream-resin-pendant it is very poetic!
    igea777@gmail.com

  • igea 11 December 2010, 8:01 pm

    follow the blue balloon on twitter as:@wolfsrain777
    igea777@gmail.com

  • igea 11 December 2010, 8:03 pm

    like the blue balloon on facebook as:antonella mazzariol
    igea777@gmail.com

  • Monik 11 December 2010, 9:10 pm

    I would choose Autumn necklace and I love The Minimalist necklace.

    monikalintang@hotmail.com

  • Monik 11 December 2010, 9:11 pm

    Follow the blue balloon on twitter as @monikaretnani.

    monikalintang@hotmail.com

  • Monik 11 December 2010, 9:12 pm

    Like the blue balloon on facebook as Monika Lintang Retnani.

    monikalintang@hotmail.com

  • Laura Connell 12 December 2010, 12:34 am

    I like the autumn necklace. I could not find the blue balloons for twitter or FB.

  • Elaine 12 December 2010, 12:52 am

    I'd love the autumn necklace!

    www.clothedmuch.com

  • Jasmine1485 12 December 2010, 1:08 am

    I'd choose the Rainbow Warrior necklace! 🙂

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

  • Jasmine1485 12 December 2010, 1:08 am

    I'm following The Blue Balloon on Twitter (@NTFancy)

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

  • Jasmine1485 12 December 2010, 1:09 am

    I'm a fan of The Blue Balloon on Facebook (Kate Ryan)

    Kate1485 at hotmail.com

  • jhitomi 12 December 2010, 2:09 am

    I would choose the Autumn necklace. I love, from the shop, the Little Owl ring, it's gotta be the cutest thing I've seen in a long time and I do a lot of online shopping.
    jhbalvin at gmail dot com

  • Angie 12 December 2010, 8:18 am

    I would definitely choose the autumn necklace. love the little leaf!

    angelabakes (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Angie 12 December 2010, 8:20 am

    I became a follower on twitter (@angelinecc)

    angelabakes (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Theo 12 December 2010, 9:49 am

    i love the Rainbow Warrior necklace!

    my e-mail is theodora _ 1989 [at] hotmail [dot] com

    thanks!

  • aDeLiNe 12 December 2010, 1:07 pm

    I've been following Marie for – what seems – a long time already and I've always appreciated her talent and modesty.
    The Rainbow Warrior necklace would make a perfect Christmas gift… to myself.

  • Rich and Mallory 12 December 2010, 4:09 pm

    I would love the warriors necklace!! How gorgeous!!

    Mallory1031 at gmail dot com

  • Rich and Mallory 12 December 2010, 4:10 pm

    following on twitter

    @malloryrobinson
    Mallory1031 at gmail dot com

  • Magali 12 December 2010, 5:00 pm

    Autumn is one of my favorite seasons so I obviously love the autumn necklace. And it would make a lovely gift to my mom (we can share it! 🙂 )

  • Magali 12 December 2010, 5:03 pm

    Also followed the blue balloon on twitter (@magali_c)
    I forgot to mention my email in the last comment it is funkyblogger(at)gmail.com
    Thank You!

  • Magali 12 December 2010, 5:04 pm

    I have liked the Blue balloon on Facebook (Magali Caira Vaz)

  • Sheila Araujo-Vaz 12 December 2010, 5:12 pm

    So beautiful! I love rainbow warrior because I see it as an extremely versatile piece. But everything in her shop is beautiful!
    Love,
    Sheila
    sheilalvaz at gmail dot com

  • thepricklypinecone 12 December 2010, 11:03 pm

    I would pick the rainbow warrior necklace. It is simply amazing!

    thepricklypinecone(at)gmail.com

  • wizardewu 13 December 2010, 8:32 am

    I would choose the Autumn necklace.
    eugeniewu at gmail dot com

  • Roni 13 December 2010, 8:40 am

    I love the Autumn necklace
    roniros (at) gmail.com

  • Pink Sade 13 December 2010, 10:32 am

    I would choose the Rainbow Warrior necklace! And I love the Spring Bloom locket in her store.
    gagaslab at gmail dot com

  • Pink Sade 13 December 2010, 10:32 am

    I follow on twitter @pinksade
    gagaslab at gmail dot com

  • Pink Sade 13 December 2010, 10:33 am

    I like on FB – Pinky Sade
    gagaslab at gmail dot com

  • maygan 13 December 2010, 8:46 pm

    I'd pick the autumn necklace- it's beautiful 🙂

    spork_of_truth(at)hotmail(dot)com

  • maygan 13 December 2010, 8:46 pm

    following on twitter @maybefrugal

    spork_of_truth(at)hotmail(dot)com

  • clenna 14 December 2010, 12:58 am

    I'd choose Rainbow Warrior necklace
    From Marie's Etsy Shop I loved Cold Water vintage locket. Gorgeous! I love vintage.

    clenna at aol dot com

  • clenna 14 December 2010, 12:58 am

    I like the blue balloon on facebook

    clenna at aol dot com

  • Shaha 15 December 2010, 5:42 pm

    I would choose the autumn necklace
    diarygirl at live dot com
    shaha

  • hofken 15 December 2010, 8:51 pm

    I would choose the Autumn necklace

    Cynthia.Richardson@azbar.org

  • hofken 15 December 2010, 8:52 pm

    I follow the blue balloon on twitter @hofken

    Cynthia.Richardson@azbar.org

  • hofken 15 December 2010, 8:52 pm

    I like the blue balloon on facebook – Cynthia M Richardson

    Cynthia.Richardson@azbar.org

  • Anne 17 December 2010, 2:24 am

    I like the rainbow warrior necklace best.
    ajolly1456 at gmail dot com

  • Anne 17 December 2010, 2:24 am

    I am a facebook fan (Anne Jolly) of the blue balloon
    ajolly1456 at gmail dot com

  • malkatz 18 December 2010, 4:25 am

    I love the Autumn necklace!

    fashuneesta[at]aol[dot]com

  • malkatz 18 December 2010, 4:26 am

    I "like" The Blue Balloon on Facebook.

    fashuneesta[at]aol[dot]com

  • malkatz 18 December 2010, 4:29 am

    I follow The Blue Balloon on Twitter- @giveawaygirlie.

    fashuneesta[at]aol[dot]com

  • Anna 18 December 2010, 7:36 pm

    I would choose the "the Autumn necklace".

    My favourite item is "The Minimalist necklace".
    (http://www.etsy.com/listing/58134014/the-minimalist-necklace)

    mymindsvoice at hotmail dot com

  • Anna 18 December 2010, 7:39 pm

    Extra entry:
    I follow @_TheBlueBalloon on Twitter.

    My Twitter name is @mymindsvoice.

    mymindsvoice at hotmail dot com

  • Anna 18 December 2010, 7:42 pm

    Extra entry:
    I like "The Blue Balloon" on Facebook.

    This is the link to my Facebook name:
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000959565719

    mymindsvoice at hotmail dot com

  • biyagko_barbaru 19 December 2010, 5:01 am

    I would the Rainbow Warrior Necklace. My favorite is little cherry navette earrings.
    fablanche3petal@gmail.com