Sunday, July 01, 2012

Buy Handmade vol 12

This week behind the scenes takes you to South Africa

Name: Vikki Viljoen      
Age: 32
Occupation: Jewellery Designer
Etsy Shop: Lola&Cash

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Vikki, a jewelry designer living in Cape Town, South Africa.  I live with my fiancé a musician & Animator who I call Brian even though his actual name is Adrian.  He calls me Brian too.  The ‘nicknames’ started for a really silly reason, but the habit has stuck.. For 9 years ... so you can call me Brian!

I am lucky to live near the ocean, love home decorating, am crazy about my job, have recently become a jogger, lots of travel is my aim in life & I am obsessed with our little sausage dog Lola!

When did you start creating and how long have you been on Etsy?

My dad used to be a carpenter, so I grew up with a major curiosity for tools and I completely take after him being very DIY.  I have been creative all my life & jewelry making has been a hobby for a long time.  I opened Lola&Cash in January 2011

How did you come up with your business name, is there any special meaning behind it?

I had a long list of terrible name options and then luckily my best friend saved me by suggesting Lola&Cash (my dog’s names).  Everyone thinks my name is Lola but besides that teeny mishap I think it’s perfect because its quirky and unique and I like that its completely irrelevant to jewelry.

How would you describe your creative process?

Unconventional, experimental & results driven.  I tend to not plan things and just let pieces develop as I am working at my bench.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I am never sure how to answer this.  I make things I want to wear and my taste changes a lot, so you will notice I have lots of different styles of jewelry.

I get a lot of personal inspiration from my fiancé – I think his passion & determination finally rubbed off on me!!

What is your most cherished handmade item

I still love the first statement ring I ever designed which features a giant pink tourmaline cabochon.  Years ago I was still a student & browsing a stone shop while on holiday in Namibia and I spotted the huge beautiful stone.  With stars in my eyes I asked the girl the price and it was about $90 which was way too much for me.. disappointed I told the girl I was still learning so couldn’t afford it.  She grabbed the stone and wrapped it up and said I could have it.  Her family owned the shop, so she said as long as I come back to visit her one day when I’m a famous jewelry maker.  I couldn’t believe someone would be so kind!

Apart from creating things, what do you like to do?

We like going to music festivals, beach walking & ocean swims with my dogs, hiking in mountains, I watch a lot of movies, I love to travel and see the world & I love red wine with good food & friends! 

If you weren't an artist, what would you be and why?

An events coordinator.  That’s what I did before I opened Lola&Cash.  It’s a really really great job that I would totally recommend, but I prefer working for myself.

Five years from now you will be…

I could never plan that far in advance!  I am at the age where we should probably start planning a family, but let’s rather not talk about that yet...

Describe yourself in five words:

Positive, Humorous, Shy, Resourceful, and extremely fussy

Carrying on with the five theme, if I were to turn on your PS3, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?  

The Beatles, Vampire Weekend, Nina Simone, Dustland Express & Jose Gonzalez

Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone thinking about opening their own shop or participating in craft shows?  

Opening my online shop has made it possible for me to turn my passion into a career, because to be honest I didn’t have enough confidence to quit my day job to become an ‘artist’.  Etsy has made it easier for me.  Online trading is still relatively new to a lot of South Africans, but it has enabled me to become a business owner with access to literally the world... but answering your question, as easy as it is for anyone to set up a shop, I do suggest doing a lot of research beforehand, it’s a real business, so treat it with all seriousness, trust your vision and your products & learn to market yourself well!