Behind the Scenes: Stephanie Martin Co.

Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
I’ve arrived to US when I was 19 years old. I was born and raised in Argentina and I still travel there often to visit family and get new inspiration from other cultures, colors and materials. I am now 38, live in Orlando with my husband and our favorite member of the family, a Chihuahua named London.

I always loved crafts, jewelry making, anything that involved creativity. But, despite that, I worked 15 years in the banking industry, and I was fairly good at it. At some point I think I even liked it even though I think I could never go back.

My business is fully dedicated to a contemporary glass seed bead jewelry line. I have a deep passion for seed beads, its tradition, its versatility, and the endless color possibilities. We are focused on three things: craftsmanship, so the necklace falls always right; quality (always glass, never plastic), and customer needs, offering different lengths for necklaces and bracelets. Customization is key.

At what point did you know you wanted to turn your hobby into a career?
After 15 years in the banking corporate world, I was burned out and tired. I started trying small business ideas on the side, which I thought might bring similar income of what I was used to, but nevertheless none of them was a passion of mine or anything that I felt happy to do. So everything failed. I was simply looking for a “way out” of my day job.

One day I met a fellow artist from Etsy, who today is a very good friend of mine, and she suggested I opened an Etsy store with my jewelry. So I did. What did I have to lose anyways? After 3-4 months into it, I have made about 10 sales. Very disappointing, but since I loved making jewelry I didn’t mind. After 6 months I was about to close the shop, assuming it was another failure, and my friend (the same fellow artist) suggested I tried a little harder. And I did. I put all my energy and brains into it, changing the format, the variety of products I offered, and almost overnight, I started selling. Business started to grow, I started to understand my client, and after 3 months I quit my job. That was 3 years ago, and now my husband and I both run the shop from home (yes, he quit his job too!).

I always believed in my product, I just needed to find a way for my customers to find me. 

What piece in your shop gets you especially excited?
I get excited by all my pieces, I just love giving life to my seed beads and seeing the piece on a model or mannequin. But perhaps the most exciting piece is always the last one I made. It usually involves a new color or a new design, so that is exciting to me. And that lasts until I make the next one, and that becomes my new favorite.

Stranded on a desert island question… what is one thing you would want with you?  Why?
My tools and a few kilograms of sparkly seed beads, of course! Time would fly if I had those!

Advice you’d give to your younger self.
Do exactly as you did. You will have a happy ending.