Jewelry Maker Designer and owner of BeadworkSeadbeady on Etsy - You can ask me anything about being an Etsy shop owner or making jewelry

Renata Feyen
Sep 10, 2018

Hi, my name is Renata. and I'm from Belgium.

Married with my lovely husband Peter since 1986. I am sure you can already guess that I am no spring chicken. Mother of two grown-up kids, Nathasja and Michael and even grandmother of my lovely princess Lana since 2016.

Art and music have always been a large part of my life since I was a child. I took drawing lessons and sang and later on I learned to play the piano. I even was the lead singer of a band for a few years.

Up until 2007 when I had to stop it all, because of severe problems with my back and joints. My cartilage is of very poor quality and as a result, I have had several surgeries. Singing in a choir or band was no longer an option because it got to be too painful. I needed to find another occupation or hobby to keep my mind off the pain.

That way I came to the idea of starting to make my own jewelry. The question was how to start. The Internet has no secrets for me so I started searching diligently on the web and taught myself how to make jewelry. In the beginning, they were very simple necklaces by just stringing beads on a wire.

Well done I thought to myself and in 2013 I opened my Etsy shop for the first time, hoping to make a few sales. you guessed it right that obviously didn't work. I realized it was not up to scratch and closed my Etsy shop again.

Giving up was not an option and I went on a search for more intricate beadwork that I would be able to make. Not just something I could shake out of my sleeve. So I discovered the magazine Bead&Button, which contained a lot of special beadwork. I bought the book Creative Beading, which was a compilation of all the stuff they had published in their magazines throughout the past year. That way I learned a lot of different techniques and got inspired to make my own designs.

Nowadays practically all of my spare time goes to beading and designing jewelry. Everything in my shop is made by myself. A lot of those pieces require a lot of technique and 3 or more days to make. But I just love making special jewelry, original and unique pieces of art.

These are my Etsy shops:

For regular updates what's new in my shop, stay in touch, by following me on

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Renata Feyen says:

This AMA will end Dec 31, 2018, 9 AM EST

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What comes into play when you are coming up with cost for your jewelry,besides cost of material used?
Sep 17, 9:49PM EDT0

Beside the material cost you have the cost of for instance a subscription to a magazine for patterns or buying loose patterns - and you should also take in account the time spent making your items. And the shipping costs off course. There could also be costs from things as having a website or subscriptions to websites such as Marmalade for instance to do your research on keywords. Some people also have to take in account the costs for their work space. And then there are the costs for listing jewelry on the platform and the costs they get when you sell something. And not to forget the taxes. But even if I would only charge 1 or 2 euro an hour of the time spent on my jewelry, it would become to expensive for people to buy.

Sep 18, 4:40AM EDT0
What are the benefits of Etsy for small sellers and handcrafters such as yourself?
Sep 17, 11:24AM EDT0

The biggest benefit from Etsy is that it is an active community. You have lots of teams on Etsy and you can learn a lot from them and they let you interact with eachother in order to promote your shop :)

Sep 18, 4:22AM EDT0
Why are smaller gemstone beads more expensive?
Sep 16, 6:07AM EDT0

Not sure but maybe it's because they are hard to drill holes in - but that is just a guess - since I do not make them myself :)

Sep 16, 6:53AM EDT0
Since you started selling your jewelry, what changes have you noticed in the way you work, besides coming up with new styles?
Sep 15, 6:57PM EDT0

I pay more attention to sustainability of the piece of jewelry.  And I make sure to use materials that last long. :)

Sep 16, 4:17AM EDT0
How is your blog complementing your Etsy shop?
Sep 15, 6:01AM EDT0

While I do a lot of introductions to Etsy shops - I also regularly do a blog on my own shop :)

Sep 16, 4:15AM EDT0
What kind of person wears your jewelry?
Sep 15, 3:33AM EDT0

Most of my buyers are somewhat older (+50), but my jewelry also appeals to younger people - especially something like my bargello that is ageless :)

Sep 15, 5:31AM EDT0
How would you describe yourself, especially after going through such a huge change in your life but still having found a way of staying active and earning a living?What would tell someone who is feeling beaten by unprecedented changes in life?
Sep 15, 12:30AM EDT0

I think I would tell them that I know it is not easy and I get what they are going through. And it might take them a while to get out of the dark corner they are in at that moment, but that it's important to find things that give your life more meaning again :)

Sep 15, 5:29AM EDT0

I absolutely love your work. I look at some of the jewelry and I think, "if it were me, I would probably take this for myself". Are there times when you felt or even possibly, took a piece you were working on for yourself? How do you avoid developing a sentimental attachment to the jewelry you create?

Sep 14, 11:43AM EDT0

I do make pieces for myself too - It felt weird in the beginning to let go of them - but at the same time it feels great knowing there are people that like what you make and what to wear my jewelry - especially when it's one of my own designs :)

Sep 15, 5:25AM EDT0
How do you stay updated of new trends in beading jewelry?
Sep 14, 3:53AM EDT0

I have an online subscription to the Bead & Button magazine and I am in different Facebook groups especially for beaders :)

Sep 14, 4:32AM EDT0

What are the benefits of Etsy for small sellers and handcrafters such as yourself? I have never purchased from them, but I am considering selling. 

Sep 13, 6:51PM EDT0

The biggest benefit from Etsy is that it is an active community. You have lots of teams on Etsy and you can learn a lot from them and they let you interact with eachother in order to promote your shop :)

Sep 14, 4:31AM EDT0
Among the different types of beading techniques (Bead weaving, loom beading, bead embroidery, and braiding with beads), which ones are your favorites and why?
Sep 12, 7:56PM EDT0

I use different techniques of beadwork - mostly peyote, herringbone, Right Angle Weave. Have done loom beading and braiding with beads too - Those first 3 are my favorites because they are very versatile and give me the opportunity to be creative :)

Sep 14, 4:29AM EDT0
What are your bead buying tips for new jewelry makers?
Sep 12, 7:09PM EDT0

If you want to make beadwork jewelry I could really recommend working with Miyuki or Toho beads. Those are the best quality worldwide - and an other important part is the wire you work with. Never use nylon cause that desintegrates after a while - I always use fireline but to start C-lon is a good choice  :)

Sep 14, 4:24AM EDT0
What plans do you have to expand your jewlery making business? Is Etsy enough for you or would you like to build on it more?
Sep 12, 4:23AM EDT0

I am working on a crowdfunding campaign at the moment to get some more funds for my shop. At times I sell things but not every month so I often have to invest money in my shop to be able to continue beading :)

Sep 12, 10:07AM EDT0
What is your work space like? What are your favorite materials?
Sep 12, 3:35AM EDT0

I actually have a tray that I use and where I put the items on I am working with and I just have to put that on my lap to be able to bead. I love working with Crystals and Gemstones :)

Sep 12, 10:06AM EDT0
Is your medical condition under control right now? What kind of medication do you take to control the pain?
Sep 11, 7:19PM EDT0

I take contramal for the pain and cymbalta for the nerv pains - Lyrica in the evening 2 hours before I go to bed and Lormetazipan to be able to have a good night rest. But they are not always enough - when I go to the zoo for instance or go out for shopping :)

Sep 12, 10:04AM EDT0
How much time do you need to create a new piece, since the moment you conceive it until you are finished? From where do you source your materials?
Sep 11, 7:11PM EDT0

That depends - some pieces take 10 hours to make and I have others that take 30 hours or more. I get a lot of materials from the hobby fair, but also a lot from my local bead store :)

Sep 12, 9:59AM EDT0
Prior to 2007 how would you describe the role of music in your life?
Sep 10, 10:52PM EDT0

It did not take up all my time, cause I also had 2 growing kids. But I would be away from home 3 times a week. Monday I would have rehearsels with my band. Tuesday I would have my piano lessons and on thursday I would have ensemble in the music Acadamy :)

Sep 11, 4:42AM EDT0
What is it like to be married for so long? What’s the secret?
Sep 10, 10:02PM EDT0

I think it is mostly giving each other space to do the things you like to do. And at the same time making the time to do things together too. And the most important thing maybe is talking :)

Sep 11, 4:38AM EDT0
What sets you apart from all the other people making beadwork on Etsy?
Sep 10, 7:29PM EDT0

I suppose that would have to be my own designs mostly. I also usually make things that take a few days. For example the Bargello I make is very popular. But because it is quite intricate to make you will hardly find it on the Internet :) 

Sep 11, 4:35AM EDT0
What do you enjoy about working with jewelry?
Sep 10, 6:46PM EDT0

It relaxes me and takes my mind of the pain. And I enjoy very much being creative. :)

Sep 11, 4:32AM EDT0
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