Designer of the Week - Gigi's Pretties

This week get to know Laura of Gigi's Pretties .

She lives in Northern Illinois, about 45 minutes southwest of Chicago, with her husband and two children, Jack-7 and Grace-4

See Laura's current eBay auctions: Gigi's Pretties

JM: Laura, when did your interest in making jewelry start?

LAURA: Well, I could say it was back in my grade school days--I was a whiz with a piece of string and some macaroni. :) But really, I started beading when Grace was a baby and I found ebay boutique. I started buying bracelets for her and--like so many of us--thought I could do it too. I just never realized how buying few beads could lead to something I so truly enjoy.

JM: How did you learn?

LAURA:Trial and error. It's all about trying something this way, then that way, then the other way, until finally it just looks right. I have always had an eye for color and matching--I'm the girl my friends & family come to with their fashion & decorating questions. And I am truly anal about symmetry and color--to me, jewelry making is obvioulsy part creativity, but a major part of it is also analness--is that a word? :) It involves a good eye for symmetry & order--two things I love. :) I could just throw some beads on a piece of wire and call it art, but the most beautiful jewelry pieces have a pattern--it may not be obvious to the casual observer, but it's there. :)

JM: When did you start selling your designs on eBay and do you sell anywhere else besides eBay?

LAURA: I started selling my children's designs on eBay 3 years ago--I'm hoping to get some of my mom designs up on etsy in the near future.

JM: Do you remember the first item you sold on eBay?

LAURA:I don't remember what it was exactly, but I'm sure it was a m2m gymbo bracelet-- that was all I made in my early eBay days. :) And I'm guessing it sold for about $7 or $8.

JM: Where did come up with your name?

LAURA: My daughter Grace's nickname is Gigi, and she calls her jewelry her "pretties". Voila--Gigi's Pretties. :)

JM: Do you belong to any boutique group?

LAURA: I belong to BonBijou and the BowFairies. . I have been in the BowFairies for over 2 years and BonBijou since February.

After I started making jewelry to sell on eBay, I also jumped on the bow bandwagon and sold my hairbows for about 2 years. I went back to work outside the home last summer 2 days a week, so something had to give. I decided my true love was jewelry making, so the bows had to go. :)

My girlies in the BowFairies love me so much (or were they just too nice to give me the boot?) that they let me stay in the group, and I list my beaded headbands with them. They are an awesome group of girls and the most wonderfully supportive women on eBay.

And I am just loving my new friends at BonBijou--such wonderfully talented designers and truly sweet & supportive women. I am extremely lucky in my 2 groups--wonderful friends and complete drama-free zones. :)

JM: What are your favorite materials to work with?

LAURA: I honestly couldn't pick a favorite. There are my tried and true classics--Swarovski crystals & sterling silver, but I love to work with so many others--lucite flowers, pearls, Czech glass druks, seed beads, gemstone beads--the list goes on. :) My favorites change all the time--right now I would have to say my faves are turquoise, seed beads, freshwater pearls and copper.

JM: If you could learn some new skills, what would they be?

LAURA:Someday I would love to learn to sew and I would love to scrapbook--but finding the time presents a problem. Maybe I can make cute outfits and scrappy pages for my grandkids. :)

JM: If you could travel anywhere, where would that be?

LAURA: Ooh, that's a tough one, I would love to visit so many places--we'll go with my top 3. :) I would love to go back to Hawaii--we were there on our honeymoon and it is just amazing. I must see the redwood forests in California--just unbelievable, and I know pictures and film can't do them justice--that is something I have to experience. And I would love to see Ireland, my husband has been there--I would love to go as a family.

JM: What other things do you enjoy besides making fabulous jewelry?

LAURA:I really enjoy graphic design and template work. And if I get my butt off the computer, I love spending time with friends & family, gardening, shopping & my beloved tivo. :)

JM: Anything else you would like to add?

LAURA:Thank you so much for this opportunity--I remember back in the day when Amy started this site and I have been an avid watcher ever since. I am truly honored to be featured. A huge thank you to my husband and kids for putting up with my beads everywhere and stepping on the occasional headpin buried in the carpet. And this wouldn't be possible without my wonderful customers and supportive groupmates/friends. Thank you!!!

Do you have a question that you are dying to ask Laura? Comment about something she said or designed? Post it here and she will answer it!

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Chelsea | Monday, June 4, 2007 9:34 AM | flag
Laura, Great interview and all the pictures of your jewels look amazing!!!

Jam :) | Wednesday, May 30, 2007 8:17 AM | flag
Awwwwwwwwe Laura! I love the interview, and your humor even more! You ROCK woman! :)

Jen | Tuesday, May 29, 2007 3:09 PM | flag
Great interview Laura!! You are too funny! Everything looks fantastic. :)

Dayna | Tuesday, May 29, 2007 11:10 AM | flag
You CRACK ME UP Laura!! Congrats on the great interview and keep up the fantastic work!

Some past Gigi's Pretties

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