Jodi’s story is particularly inspiring for anyone who is in “where do I go from here” mode. Read on to find out how she turned bad news into a dream job.
Jodi Zulueta of Eldwenne’s Fantasy
Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Eldwenne
Tell us about yourself and your Etsy store.
Jodi: I’ve been designing jewelry since I was a little girl. I was the one always taking jewelry apart and putting the pieces back together differently…or combining different pieces entirely. When I got older, I started doing it more seriously and began making pieces as gifts for family and friends.
My shop is a representation of my personality, actually. It runs the gamut from minimalistic pieces, like my goddess spiral rings, to my more complex pieces like my woven wire frames encasing stones or glass cabochons.
Clearly you’re inspired by Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries. What is it about those shows that drives you to create?
Jodi: Wow, where do I start?!? The shows are so incredibly quotable, relatable, and downright fun. What really inspired me was going to Supernatural and Vampire Diaries conventions as a jewelry vendor. Meeting fans and getting feedback was tremendously inspiring. Seeing them proudly wear my pieces in pics with the actors? The biggest compliment!
Every episode that I watch is spent typing notes into my iPad with ideas. A new fandom I am working on right now is The Walking Dead. Zombie ear necklace anyone?? I enjoy the challenge of combining my jewelry designing style with something that represents these shows in a fun, earthy way.
What’s your favorite media to work in – or type of item to make?
Jodi: I am addicted to wire. I love wrapping glass and stones with wire. Its versatility is endless. Another medium I am learning is stamping – I’m in love!
What led you to sell your works on Etsy?
Jodi: Several people had told me that I should get my work out there on Etsy. At the time I had never heard of it. I gave it a shot about 5 years ago and I immediately was drawn to the community there and the other artists. It’s a very inspiring environment and the artists tend to be very supportive of one another. I try my best to get most of my supplies from supply shops on Etsy.
You sell your jewelry at Creation Cons. How did that come about?
Jodi: I had lost my full time job in early 2013. I was laid off at 10:30am and by noon I knew I would never EVER work in the corporate industry again. I had done it for over 20 years and I was miserable.
A few days after I lost my job, I decided to treat myself to some downtime and started surfing Netflix to find something to watch. I stumbled upon Supernatural. I wound up binge-watching it to oblivion, got my husband and kids hooked on it as well.
My husband was looking online one day and said there were Supernatural conventions. I emailed Creation about being a vendor. They went to my Etsy shop and were impressed with my jewelry and I was approved! It was amazing!
Does having to “work” the cons take away from the enjoyment? Would you do this full-time if you could?
Jodi: I LOVE working the cons. I get to meet so many amazing fans. I usually wind up with a few people that come and see me throughout the entire weekend, just to chat, ask me about my pieces, etc.
I’ve had several actors come and view my wares as well. Misha Collins – I was beside myself! Lots of great people like DJ Qualls, Osric Chau, Richard Speight Jr, Ty Olsson, Jim Michaels, Russ Hamilton, the list goes on…ALL of these people have my jewelry, by the way! Including Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Those two didn’t come to my table, but I got the pieces to them. It’s a crazy life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I do the cons as often as I can. They run usually monthly for about 9 months of the year, so it gets tough at times. To supplement my income I do other things like flea markets, my Etsy shop, of course, and I am also going to be teaching grammar school starting August 2014.
I’m also interested in your use of GoFundMe. Can you tell us more about that and why you went that route?
Jodi: When I first discovered the convention circuit, the travel expenses were very daunting. A friend of mine had mentioned Go Fund Me so I checked it out and started a campaign to help try to fund the airfare and hotel expenses.
It takes a long time for a business to get into the black. Going the convention circuit means that most of the money I make gets recycled into the airfare and hotel costs, which is either running me into the red or barely keeping me breaking even. Go Fund Me seemed to be a viable option. You can get a lot of small donations that will eventually add up and be a boost to your business.
Many people love to create but are afraid to put their work out there because it might not be “good enough.” What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about selling their fannish handiwork?
Jodi: Never EVER worry about what other people think. Your designs are good enough because they’re yours. They’re your unique artistic contribution to the fandom. You will always find someone who appreciates your work. There will always be a troll or two out there but you can’t let them take your joy away.
Finally, we’d love to hear about your favorite or strangest or funniest fannish experience.
Favorite: Misha Collins at my table was something I’ll never ever forget. He took the time to ask me questions about my pieces such as what the materials were, how long they took to make, etc.
Strangest: Some man came over to my table and asked if I could forge Jared Padalecki’s and Jensen Ackles’ autographs for his daughters. I asked him what made him think a jewelry designer would do such a thing?!? It was just really non-sequitor and strange.
What I LOVE about the fannish experiences is that I meet the best people on the planet. Everyone is super encouraging, sweet, and I actually wind up making new friends wherever I go.