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Quit Your Day Job: lusterbunny

May 26, 2009

by Mary Andrews

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Rain of lusterbunny began making ceramic jewelry as way to keep her hands busy between larger sculptural projects. After watching her jewelry take off on Etsy, she knew she was onto something. Rain maintains that continually working on her photos and relisting popular items on slow days have played key roles in her selling success. Through all of her hard work, she makes a point to spend time sitting down to dinner with her fiance each day. The best benefit of having her own business is the ability to enjoy her family and life to the fullest.

How did you originally get into the business of making things?
I have always been a maker since I was a little kid. I come from a family of artists, and my Christmas gifts were always of the hobby craft type. (You know, rock tumblers, magazine bead makers, Shrinky Dinks, and things of that nature.) I also enjoyed making art out of household items and furniture. To this day I can still make a mean couch-cushion fort!

As an adult I went to art school and pursued a career as a sculptor and installation artist. (You can see my work at RainHarris.com, in case you are interested.) As far as Lusterbunny goes, I pretty much started the jewelry business by accident. I was getting ready to go to graduate school at Ohio State University to receive a Master of Fine Arts and I wanted to make small items to keep my hands busy, since there was not enough time to start a major body of work or new installation. I was just playing around making different things like wrist cuffs, tiles, etc. and listing them on Etsy. Most of the things sat around in my store for a while before they sold, but the jewelry just caught on like crazy. It really was a fluke and definitely not something I set out to do!

When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams or goals of eventually quitting your day job?
It’s funny: as an artist I have never really had a day job, unless you consider my painful career as the crappiest waitress on the face of the earth. Since I have always worked with my hands, I have always assumed that I would support myself through my creativity in some way, but I was never exactly sure how it would manifest itself. Etsy has been great because it has allowed me to find a market for my jewelry and it still leaves me enough time to work on my art.

Did you do anything to prepare ahead of time?
Nope! I was completely unprepared for success; it just hit me like a ton of bricks (by the way, I love bricks).

What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed your Etsy business? What’s your best marketing tip?
I think the best way I have marketed myself is by making a product that I believe in; I won’t design something I wouldn’t wear myself. I am always updating my line, and when I start to become bored with something I discontinue it. I feel it is important to love your creations.

I also try to stay on top of the fashion world. I look online, in magazines, and read blogs to find out the popular clothing colors and styles and take that information into consideration when making new jewelry designs. After all, most people wear jewelry with clothing, so my work needs to work with the current fashions.

That said, I don’t blindly follow trends. If I don’t like a style of clothing, I would never make accessories to match!  I use Etsy as a great big global testing market. When I list new designs, I pay attention to the sales, comments, and views. That way when I do a big craft show or send work to galleries, I generally know what is going to be popular based on the stats I gather from Etsy. I try to take the best pictures possible so my jewelry is more likely to catch someone’s eye and be featured on blogs and used in magazines. I haven’t really done any advertising, but I have gotten a ton of press and I think this is due to all of my business strategies and sheer tenacity.

What have you found to be an unsuccessful promotion?
I guess I am lucky, because I really haven’t done a ton of promotion. Unfortunately, I can’t really tell you about any unsuccessful promotion, except maybe that one time I dressed up like a two headed rabbit and rode a unicorn through town (just checking to see if you are paying attention).

Walk us through your typical workday.

  • I wake up, walk and feed my big brown dog Franklin.
  • Then I check my orders, print up shipping labels and relist anything that has sold.
  • If I haven’t had any orders, I will generally relist a popular item or two, which normally bounces business back.
  • Afterward, I go to the studio and pack up/ship anything that needs to go out.
  • Throughout the day I pour slip (liquid clay) into my jewelry molds and I clean the pieces, and pop them in a kiln to bisque fire them.
  • Some days I will glaze the pieces, and other days I will apply my images to the glazed surface, depending on where I am in the process.
  • The last step is applying the findings and resining the backs of all the pieces. I am always trying to make a more dynamic product.
  •  Other things that may be done throughout the day are making new molds and prototypes, designing new images, testing new glaze colors, gocco-ing gift boxes, photographing new work, etc.
  • The one thing I try to do every day is make sure I have time to sit down to dinner with my fiancé Paul and spend some time decompressing and hanging out. It is important to make time for the people in your life, no matter how busy you are. What is the benefit of having a business if you can’t enjoy life?

What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Is there anything you miss?
I love that I can keep my own schedule and still have time to make my other artwork. I love that I can take a break in the middle of the day and hang out in my garden with the dog. I love that I can play hooky and not have to make excuses. I love that I can basically do whatever the hell I want to do. So in truth, there is not really much that I miss or can complain about!

What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
Time management is probably my worst enemy. I often think I have more hours in the day than I really have, but I figure that is pretty common. I make lists to prioritize what needs to be done. I am not sure if the lists really help, but they make me feel better!

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself? What advice would you give someone else?
If I could go back in time, I really wouldn’t change anything. The bad decisions I have made in my business have helped me understand why something does or doesn’t work. Mistakes are actually incredibly valuable!

What goals do you wish to accomplish in the coming year for your Etsy business?
I am always trying to expand my business and make it better in all aspects. A huge portion of my business is already wholesale, but I would like to double the amount of stores I sell to in the next year. Like all artists, I want to be comfortable enough financially that I don’t need to worry about finances. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would like to thank Etsy and the amazing community it has brought together. It has given me the opportunity to play and experiment with my products, have a great time with my business and still be successful. What more could a girl ask for?

Thanks to Rain for sharing her story.  Have a your own questions to ask? Come on by and chat with Rain today (Tuesday, May 26th) at 2pm ET in Etsy’s Virtual Labs

You can see some of her beautiful ceramic jewelry in the related items. Check out previous Quit Your Day Job posts here

137 comments

  • LaveMeSoapCo

    LaveMeSoapCo said 10 years ago

    very pretty!

  • LaveMeSoapCo

    LaveMeSoapCo said 10 years ago

    maybe i should try riding a unicorn through town too...

  • adoreneko

    adoreneko said 10 years ago

    Absolutely beautiful pendant pieces and I am sure Franklin agrees, as well. :-)

  • galit

    galit said 10 years ago

    Inspiring!

  • shadesofsplendor

    shadesofsplendor said 10 years ago

    Wow! That turquois blue pendant is stunning!

  • OhFaro

    OhFaro said 10 years ago

    Beautiful pendants, great story! I recently quit my day job too. It's great.

  • thestapeliacompany

    thestapeliacompany said 10 years ago

    Wow! These pieces are amazing. It looks like she really has a full-blown operation going on there. Very nice.

  • laurabrownart

    laurabrownart said 10 years ago

    hoo-rah! thanks for another inspiring interview, your pieces are lovely.

  • IcingOnTheCupcake

    IcingOnTheCupcake said 10 years ago

    Beautiful pieces!

  • SweetStella

    SweetStella said 10 years ago

    Yaaay Rain! Columbus Ohio misses you :)

  • NinaReneeDesigns

    NinaReneeDesigns said 10 years ago

    I loved seeing your production process...awesome :-)

  • 4TheSparrowsNest

    4TheSparrowsNest said 10 years ago

    Gorgeous work!!! I love ceramics and I love jewelry; both combined is magical! Congrats on your success Rain, I love also what you said about mistakes being valuable. Often times we just want the good times, but the process, and what we learn through it, is often overlooked.

  • MinaLucia

    MinaLucia said 10 years ago

    the Darling deer necklace is wonderful. You doggie is a cutie pie too!

  • NicolaYoonDesign

    NicolaYoonDesign said 10 years ago

    Really lovely jewelry!

  • aimeesarmoire

    aimeesarmoire said 10 years ago

    Way to go, Rain! Love the "painful career as a waitress" comment. Brought back some of my own painful memories!!!

  • TheBrassHussy

    TheBrassHussy said 10 years ago

    yea! Great to see a shop that has been around for a while being able to QYDJ. Congrats on your success!

  • courtneyannedesigns

    courtneyannedesigns said 10 years ago

    Very pretty jewelry!!

  • ElegantSnobbery

    ElegantSnobbery said 10 years ago

    So inspiring! What a fantastic shop and excellent story. Congrats, Lusterbunny!

  • Countessa

    Countessa said 10 years ago

    Gorgeous jewelry!

  • queenkylene

    queenkylene said 10 years ago

    My sister just wore a ring I bought from Rain at an art show to my cousin's wedding. It was a huge hit!

  • retrothreadz

    retrothreadz said 10 years ago

    Your work is very beautiful & Franklin is soooo cute

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 10 years ago

    Congrats lusterbunny, beautiful jewelry and great story, love Franklin too. 4 legged baby's are awesome~!

  • elizandaxel

    elizandaxel said 10 years ago

    Gorgeous pendants; congrats on all the success! :)

  • OverTheTop

    OverTheTop said 10 years ago

    I love my Lusterbunny magnet I bought a year or so ago. Great to see the woman behind the brand!

  • CastleBeadBiz

    CastleBeadBiz said 10 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story! Beautiful jewelry!

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 10 years ago

    SO cool to see how you work!! Thanks! Great story!!

  • Morado

    Morado said 10 years ago

    So truely inspiring Lusterbunny!!

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 10 years ago

    GREAT ARTICLE!!!! So inspiring!

  • KalliopeJewelry

    KalliopeJewelry said 10 years ago

    Great jewelry! Best of luck for continued success, thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

  • pinpinn

    pinpinn said 10 years ago

    Lovely lovely work. Very clever ^_~ I love reading these because they refresh me. It's like jumping into a giant pool of spring water. It makes you freeze with joy!

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 10 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. Your dog is adorable!

  • LoveForEarth

    LoveForEarth said 10 years ago

    Gorgeous jewelry! I really love your story, and totally agree with only making things you love! Congratulations on your success :)

  • JAdamsDesigns

    JAdamsDesigns said 10 years ago

    Inspirational as always, and what incredible jewelry! I just love the look of it, Good Job and Congrats on your success!

  • FashionTouch

    FashionTouch said 10 years ago

    I am always so happy for those who can quit their day job! it is such a gift to be able to dedicate yourself to work you love and enjoy! Great Interview and lovely pendants!!! Good luck to you in everything!!!

  • tanisalexis

    tanisalexis said 10 years ago

    hee! I remember seeing lusterbunny's erotic tiles on craftster for the 1st time. Wowza. very cool. and sooo much success since then. she's an artiste! :)

  • bobnstitch

    bobnstitch said 10 years ago

    Very very nice Kudos to you!!

  • magpiefelts

    magpiefelts said 10 years ago

    Gorgeous work!

  • JessicaPoundstone

    JessicaPoundstone said 10 years ago

    Very inspiring - thanks for sharing!

  • OnlyOneLisette

    OnlyOneLisette said 10 years ago

    Congrats on your success...you are a true artist. You're dog is ADORABLE!

  • babook

    babook said 10 years ago

    it`s gooooooooood talking all i need to listening :) so much thanks for sharing this good experience ...

  • Ozknits

    Ozknits said 10 years ago

    Wow! What beautiful work!! Thank you for sharing your story. It is truly inspirational!

  • Gwendolynsdesign

    Gwendolynsdesign said 10 years ago

    Beautiful products, Thanks for the advice from a newby still weighting for a first sale.... Time managment is a big issue along with photography. Learning as I go. Thanks for giving us a pep talk!!!!!

  • PipocaHandmade

    PipocaHandmade said 10 years ago

    Congrats and continued success! Your pieces are lovely!

  • kfq0306

    kfq0306 said 10 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story QYDJ as I am not working and would love to be able to obtain financial stability as well selling on Esty. Might you share how long you have been selling online? Approx how long before you were somewhat financially stable? Thank you

  • sandali

    sandali said 10 years ago

    AMAZING -- I love your story & even more ... what an awesome shop !! All the best -- Happy Days ;)

  • bluelala

    bluelala said 10 years ago

    Hey lusterbunny! I bought a necklace from you at the Winter Renegade in Chicago. I love it and always get lots of compliments on it! So glad to see your business is doing so well. It's very inspiring and gives many hope. Best Wishes..

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 10 years ago

    Great interview Rain! I have one of her pieces and just love it. Congrats on your success~

  • bungalowmarketplace

    bungalowmarketplace said 10 years ago

    Very cool pics of the jewlery making "process!"

  • ffflowers

    ffflowers said 10 years ago

    A fascinating insight - thank you!

  • novellainsect

    novellainsect said 10 years ago

    You are so ogranized! good job, nice work.

  • CassiaBeck

    CassiaBeck said 10 years ago

    Lovely interview. Great to see the making process!

  • MissKArt

    MissKArt said 10 years ago

    Your success story is extremely inspirational. It almost brought tears 2 my eyes, because I dream of doing exactly what you're doing and I am working hard toward the goal. It makes my goal more believable to me when I read a story like yours. Your work is beautiful. Good luck!

  • miasophia

    miasophia said 10 years ago

    Gorgeous!~ I love the pics of your process~ very interesting~

  • nanouke

    nanouke said 10 years ago

    How could I missed this seller? Such beautiful work! (hey, I love bricks too! eheh) I must go and take ceramic classes now.

  • SundraSandrusi

    SundraSandrusi said 10 years ago

    very beautiful work!!!!

  • michon

    michon said 10 years ago

    Congrats on your success!

  • kniceartworks

    kniceartworks said 10 years ago

    Very lovely article! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 10 years ago

    Inspiring story!! Beautiful work!

  • englishmuffinshop

    englishmuffinshop said 10 years ago

    It looks like a mix between baking and jewelery making! all the best :)

  • SpiffyDoodleDandy

    SpiffyDoodleDandy said 10 years ago

    That's a lot of pendants there! I love seeing the production photos, though. That's yet another seller I'm going to have to add to my favorites for later.

  • PaperFish

    PaperFish said 10 years ago

    I L O V E these articles x thanks again!! i have clay envy x

  • HarrietsHaven

    HarrietsHaven said 10 years ago

    Beautiful work! Congrats on your success. Very inspirational; I love reading this series!

  • lilyomay

    lilyomay said 10 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. Since I am a newbee I am learning as I go. Your article is an inspiration! Love your work and your dog. He is a cutie pie..:)

  • Minnie829

    Minnie829 said 10 years ago

    I'm inspired!

  • 2ReVert

    2ReVert said 10 years ago

    Very beautiful pieces... loved ready your story. :) xo, 2ReVert

  • arastitches

    arastitches said 10 years ago

    Great inspiration! Love your story and your creations...hope I can be that busy one day too!

  • BrazanDesign

    BrazanDesign said 10 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It looks like you have a great system, love the mustard bottle as slip squirter!

  • DeBonisOrquera

    DeBonisOrquera said 10 years ago

    Lovely work!

  • flanchico

    flanchico said 10 years ago

    beautiful !!

  • madebysam

    madebysam said 10 years ago

    beautiful work!

  • tinyspace

    tinyspace said 10 years ago

    another good reading!

  • zeropumpkin

    zeropumpkin said 10 years ago

    Gorgeous shop :)

  • LisaCoutts

    LisaCoutts said 10 years ago

    Lovely work. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm just starting here on Etsy and it's so inspiring to see others' sucess and process. Franklin the dog is gorgeous too! : D

  • missmarjorie

    missmarjorie said 10 years ago

    really really super!

  • ablemabel

    ablemabel said 10 years ago

    Wow! I love the colors you use! Surrounding yourself with such happy colors sounds awesome!

  • simpledream2

    simpledream2 said 10 years ago

    Awesome story, inspiring. I live in West Plains, MO and would make a special trip to Kanasas City just to see your studio at work. Thanks for a great article, Lisa

  • BodyDelibyShelly

    BodyDelibyShelly said 10 years ago

    I want the deer. Beautiful!

  • BluCille

    BluCille said 10 years ago

    Nice space.

  • VintageJamie

    VintageJamie said 10 years ago

    Her works are so beautiful!

  • SweetPeaFabrications

    SweetPeaFabrications said 10 years ago

    I love these stories! Rain does beautiful work and her success is well deserved! Among her items featured here, I really like the cream floral teardrop necklace. Continued prosperity to you, Rain! Inspiring...

  • feltmeupdesigns

    feltmeupdesigns said 10 years ago

    i love the picture of all the pieces in the kiln together... so many lovely colours!

  • akaCINDERS

    akaCINDERS said 10 years ago

    Great article! Nice to read about a real success story. Of course it doesn't hurt that Rain is a wonderful artist too.

  • klacustomcreations

    klacustomcreations said 10 years ago

    nice tips and beautiful work! You dog is so handsome.

  • craftyxpressions

    craftyxpressions said 10 years ago

    very inspirational,I love your work and art,every success comes from hard work and positive thinking,dreams do become reality. GOOD LUCK.

  • theduskyjewel

    theduskyjewel said 10 years ago

    Very nice pieces! Great article and very inspiring!

  • CarolineRoseArt

    CarolineRoseArt said 10 years ago

    great article, well done lusterbunny! best of luck for the future!

  • SpiritedWoodland

    SpiritedWoodland said 10 years ago

    Great interview! This is my favorite Q & A... What's the hardest part about running your own business? Time management is probably my worst enemy. I often think I have more hours in the day than I really have, but I figure that is pretty common. I make lists to prioritize what needs to be done. I am not sure if the lists really help, but they make me feel better! I'm SO in agreement lusterbunny!!! This is completely a page in my book. Keep up the great work!

  • littlepinkpebble

    littlepinkpebble said 10 years ago

    congrats~!! : )

  • PurpleBears

    PurpleBears said 10 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the picture of your shipping area. It gives me some ideas for organizing.

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 10 years ago

    Great article

  • monsterbubbles

    monsterbubbles said 10 years ago

    What a wonderful, stumbled upon, dream come true!

  • PhotosbyTaylorA

    PhotosbyTaylorA said 10 years ago

    How creative... very beautiful jewerly... congrats...

  • LittlePies

    LittlePies said 10 years ago

    Yay Rain!!! (And yay a picture of Franklin!)

  • muttsywonder

    muttsywonder said 10 years ago

    Hooray! Your work is truly gorgeous!!

  • CutieDynamite

    CutieDynamite said 10 years ago

    What a great article! Love it!

  • CoatofPaint

    CoatofPaint said 10 years ago

    I LOVE this series and this is another great article. Thank you!

  • Alienphant

    Alienphant said 10 years ago

    Your doing what I want to be doing. I would love to quit my day job. Its inspiring me to keep pushing for it. Good job:)

  • mybrokenart

    mybrokenart said 10 years ago

    Thank you for the inspiring article. You must be so happy! Love your shop. I have to keep telling myself don't give up!

  • beadingbiddie

    beadingbiddie said 10 years ago

    Nice work. I do love beads. My dog is a chocolate lab too. She helps me with my beads........

  • pattm

    pattm said 10 years ago

    Love your jewelry. Totally enjoyed reading your interview.

  • selflesh

    selflesh said 10 years ago

    Very inspiring! Thanks Rain for sharing. :) Best, >s

  • Luncheonettevintage

    Luncheonettevintage said 10 years ago

    these are fantastic. so clever. glad you start your day by feeding the big brown dog. dogs rule. mine like to watch me photograph the old clothes. congrats on your great work and shop! Jana

  • cravejewelrydesign

    cravejewelrydesign said 10 years ago

    This is great! Congrats on your success!

  • Teaki

    Teaki said 10 years ago

    I am new to Etsy and am just starting to actually do the things I like to do art wise (at 45 I guess its time) This is a very inspiring story with absolutely lovely results! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • TreeHuggerStudio

    TreeHuggerStudio said 10 years ago

    Well done.! Wish you all the best.

  • cleobelle

    cleobelle said 10 years ago

    Great article, love your work, and Franklin is so cool!

  • asundrynotion

    asundrynotion said 10 years ago

    Congratulations! I like the Turquoise Paisley pendant; it's perfect for someone like me who wears lots of solid colors.

  • wristcandycreations

    wristcandycreations said 10 years ago

    Beautiful and unique! Your designs are gorgeous. Congratulations on your article and best wishes for many, many more successes!

  • ourfrontyard

    ourfrontyard said 10 years ago

    Thanks for the info! I agree about mistakes, just like life, that's just a way to learn. Your pieces are beautiful. Your doing a great job!!!

  • JDWolfePottery

    JDWolfePottery said 10 years ago

    Great article!

  • PALEOLOCHIC

    PALEOLOCHIC said 10 years ago

    Very inspiring, great article, love your work!!

  • cajunrosedesigns

    cajunrosedesigns said 10 years ago

    Always need great inspiration, thanks.

  • TripleLDesigns

    TripleLDesigns said 10 years ago

    Fantastic article. Seems very down to earth and great outlook on life and business! Love the pendants.

  • TheFancyLamb

    TheFancyLamb said 10 years ago

    I don't typically wear a lot of jewelry, but lusterbunny's work totally suits my style. Really lovely stuff!

  • Studio111

    Studio111 said 10 years ago

    Very nice work!

  • museumshop

    museumshop said 10 years ago

    Learned a lot from that article. Good pieces of work

  • cthings

    cthings said 10 years ago

    Congratulations and best wishes for the future of continued success!

  • westwindcreations

    westwindcreations said 10 years ago

    Very wonderful story. I just love that you wouldn't change a thing. Time management is Tuff. I wish I could better mine as well and can't wait to quit my day job so I can cram more out of my business. Thanks for sharing.

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 10 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your success story with us. I know my favorite part would be that you can keep your own schedule take a break and go out if you choose.

  • Sudstress

    Sudstress said 10 years ago

    Beautiful jewelry, beautiful dog.

  • QuercusSilver

    QuercusSilver said 10 years ago

    Yeah. I am smiling as I finish reading and I agree."What more could a girl ask for?"

  • FluteTeacher

    FluteTeacher said 10 years ago

    I like the teardrop necklaces. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • themagpiesdaughter

    themagpiesdaughter said 10 years ago

    Great article, lovely lady and fab shop. :D

  • antoniaart

    antoniaart said 10 years ago

    Inspiring story!

  • BLAMTHREADS

    BLAMTHREADS said 10 years ago

    Reading this really helps me see wut others go thru and also get a feel for this whole Esty Movement. Thanks for posting these kinds of Article.Hopefully one day i shall reach this same status and will be able to also pass some Good information on.

  • Mattamorphis

    Mattamorphis said 10 years ago

    The photo of her beauties in the kiln is fabulous.

  • lusterbunny

    lusterbunny said 10 years ago

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments and compliments!

  • sweetbellacards

    sweetbellacards said 10 years ago

    So happy for you! Beautiful work! Your story inspires me to keep moving through the days of no sales :)

  • norariley

    norariley said 10 years ago

    Inspring! My goal is to be the subject of one of the articles one day and I love to hear the stories of others.

  • mystudio

    mystudio said 10 years ago

    Great article. Really inspiring.

  • BonnysAngels

    BonnysAngels said 10 years ago

    This was very inspiring!! I've got to get to work now!!!! Bonny

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 10 years ago

    What an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story Rain.

  • scrapaddict

    scrapaddict said 10 years ago

    The Quit My Day Job stories are my favorite! Your jewelry is gorgeous! The photos of your work in progress are great and so interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  • pascalepetit

    pascalepetit said 10 years ago

    Wow! Great story! Very Inspiring! I love that! Thanks

  • LoriAnnEnchanted

    LoriAnnEnchanted said 10 years ago

    Your pendants are gorgeous!

  • aglowcandle

    aglowcandle said 9 years ago

    Awesome!!

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