Thursday, June 2, 2011

Aspiring Artisan: MyOliviaJewelry


Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Sarah Borgert and I live in the Twin Cities, about 10 minutes out of Minneapolis. I live with my boyfriend, my 8 year old daughter, and our dog and cat. I started my business about a year and a half ago and have been on Etsy for around a year. My shop is named after my daughter, Gabrielle Olivia. Everybody calls her Gabby, except for Mom, who calls her Olivia.

dragonfly 1
Dragonfly Necklace

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I also work as a nanny for 2 very rambunctious boys, ages 7 and 11. They keep me pretty busy. I am so lucky, most people have a hard time finding a job they love to do. I have two.
Whenever I have a chance I love to travel. I go to bead shows all over the country and this summer will even be going to one in Germany. My favorite place to be is on the beach in Cozumel, Mexico with a margarita in hand and a blanket full of beads in front of me.

Chelsea Coral 1
Chelsea Bracelet

What first made you want to become an artist?
I have always been fascinated with color. I remember wanting to be an artist when I was little. I even made a bunch of paintings and went door to door trying to sell them to the neighbors. I actually have absolutely no talent for drawing or painting though. My aunt introduced me to jewelry making early in my adult life and I have been in love with it ever since.

Ball Gown 3
Lady Indigo and the Formal Affair

Please describe your creative process.
I will often have an idea in my head for days that just won't go away until I make it into something tangible. I even have trouble sleeping because this idea is just pulling at my brain. I like to be in this state for a few days, until the need to create this item becomes almost unbearable, and then I let it all out in one big creative rush. I will then spend hours or even days completely devoted to this one project.

Copper Butterfly 4
Copper Butterfly

Please tell us something about your subject matter, a little background into why you make art about what you do.
Most of my work is inspired by the material. I will find an amazing stone or strand of pearls and create a piece or even an entire line of pieces based on this perfect item.

What specific steps you are taking to grow your Etsy shop.
I am always working to improve my shop. I really have a wide variety of styles in my shop right now and am working to focus on some lines while cutting back on others. I also try to consistently evaluate my shop to see what things are working for me and what things need working on.

Drop 2
Drop Earrings

What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
I have 2 pieces of advice.
1. Give your customer something to remember you by. This can be done both with the physical look of your shop and with how you handle a sale. Your shop banner and avatar are very important. If you are not good at computer graphics (I'm not!) invest a little money in having these made for you.
I have recently become obsessed with how my orders are packaged. Regular jewelry boxes are so boring. I have been taking plain white boxes and using mod podge and craft paper to pretty them up. I also usually tie a ribbon around the box and always include a handwritten thank you. People love to receive little 'presents' in the mail and it is another thing they will remember about me and my shop.
2. Join up with a team or find a local group of artists to meet with. You can learn so much from a group of people who are in the same creative boat you are!

Cherry Bomb
Cherry Bomb

How do you promote your work?
I have active accounts for my shop on both Facebook and Twitter. I also have recently been doing some online advertising. I try to be active in the Etsy community and just work to get my name out there.

In ten years, where would you like to be?
I would love to be doing this full-time within the next 2-3 years. I would also love to open a bead shop within the next ten years so that I can share my passion for jewelry making with others in my community.


  1. Great interview. I think it's sweet that your shop is named after your daughter.

  2. Love your interview, Sarah! Sometimes I lose sleep too, thinking about a new design =)

  3. Sarah you are so pretty and I love your work!!! Great interview!

  4. Loved this interview... so nice getting to know you better :-)
    Blessings and magic,
    Fairyfolk and DovieMoon

  5. Fantastic post! Loved reading it and learning more about you and your gorgeous work Sarah!

  6. Great interview. I agree that making people remember you, and feel that each order is special is a great idea. Hope you have a great time in Germany!

  7. love this interview!! I love Cozumel too! is great know you a little more!

  8. Great interview and really great advice!

  9. I read you won Lori's earrings and thought YOUR name was Olivia! It's nice to hear your story, Sarah, and learn about the "real" Olivia!

    I'm enjoying the opportunity to view your jewelry as well. While I admire everything I see here, my absolute favorite piece is "Lady Indigo and the Formal Affair." It looks like a painting to me!