Hi! My name is Christine Gierer. I'm a jewelry maker, instructor, webmaster, and business owner.And a work-at-home mom with two kids, Zoe and Edgar.Maybe that should have come first, because they seem to be the boss of me a lot of the time (or so they'd like to think :)
I love to experiment rather than design, I'm a maker rather than an artist.... and I love new and exciting better than tried and true (although I do know that you need to learn tried and true first before you can really know how to experiment :)
I went to art school in the early '90's, and worked as an artist for the rest of that decade. For those who care about such things, I went to the University of Ottawa, Bachelor of Fine Arts Program, and did a concentration in Sociology too during my 4 year stint.
As an artist, I did shows and wholesaled, and worked the buyer end of the corporate world too. Then I got bored with it and went back to school.
I became a mental health counsellor and worked in that field for years.
That's where I learned that I had a flair for skills training. I discovered a natural capacity for simplifying complex and overwhelming tasks into granular easy to follow steps.
That's why my tutorials and classes are so darned good.
And then... we got pregnant!
We were so happy and so excited! After a difficult birth , we had our first perfect little baby. We named her Zoe, which means "life". Chris and I are kind of old school. We wanted Zoe to have her mommy home with her. We knew it would be a struggle, living on one income, but we'd saved some money, and we could live pretty cheaply if I didn't need a car or work clothes or transportation.
I started getting into the groove of being a mommy. At first I couldn't believe that they'd let us take this little thing home with us. I stared into Zoe's face so much that my husbands face looked MASSIVE to me. If you're a parent, I'm sure you know exactly what I mean.
When Zoe was two-and-a-half we popped out number two. This time we had a baby boy. We named him Edgar. He was a dream! So perfect and this one was sleepy. You don't know how much this was a relief to me after having a high-needs toddler. We were out and about together the next day.
Zoe had proven to be as filled with life as we thought she would be, and needed to be socializing ALL the TIME. So at age 32, I had a super active two-and-a-half year-old, and a sleepy newborn baby. I wanted so badly to continue to stay at home with my kids...
Yes, I know kids are exhausting. Sometimes I wished I was back at work just so I could use the bathroom with no one following me. What would I do when they went to school? When I was 29, working, and pregnant I calculated that I'd be working again at 37 when number two would be in full time school.
At the time that seemed impossibly far away, but with my two kids already in existence now, time seemed to be speeding up impossibly fast. Before I knew it I'd be back at work and my kids would be picked up by a baby sitter if I didn't do something about it!
Zoe was two-and-a-half. I figured the time was now to start building a business I could do part-time from home. By the time they went to school, I'd be running a successful business from home.
The year was 2006....In 2006 I was home with my second baby, Edgar, who was about 6 months, and my daughter who was 3 years old.
I was looking at working during naptime and after the kids were asleep at night.
I had chosen to stay home when my first child was born, and I had left my job as a mental health counsellor and life skills trainer at a community mental health agency.
I had been home more than 3 years already, and I don't really do well without creative endeavors being a large focus of my life.
With my first baby I obsessively designed cloth diaper wraps and baby slings, and before that I spent all my non-work hours making art quilts, painting, and woodworking
Now with my second, I was starting to think, how can I continue to stay home and still bring in money? "Making" Was my Go To Activity. Could I Turn it Into Money?
Years before I had been a working artist and I wanted to earn my living from creating again. From experience I knew the show circuit and travel was not for me. What I chose had to be easily packed up and be relatively kid friendly. That meant no toxins or messy cleanup that couldn't be done quickly. To my mind it was either sewing or jewelry making -- small, portable, and easily put out of reach of tiny fingers.
At that time Etsy had just opened its doors online, and I tried my hand at selling online. It was a long road. I sold jewelry and supplies, and after a slow start, I found SBI! (this website platform) and started studying selling online and internet marketing, and a whole world of creative business ideas opened up for me.
Long story short, I learned about marketing online from there. Through online market research learned that teaching jewelry making would likely be the most lucrative form of creating for me as an online business.
Few people at that time would buy jewelry online, but plenty of people were looking for instruction, so I became an information publisher and creative educator. I created How-to-Make-Jewelry.com from scratch, and it became a large information website that attracted jewelry making enthusiasts searching for great quality instruction.
I write jewelry making guides, tutorials, and e-courses, and sometimes teach online classes and workshops. Over time as I became really proficient as an online marketer, I started to teach other jewelry makers how to navigate the world of search engines and online marketing via my courses and guides on HandmadeResults.com.
Now that my kids are teenagers I find myself being drawn back to making and experimenting, exploring, and helping others explore jewelry making. I love teaching, and I love the opportunity to learn from students as they discover and experiment too.
You know, back when I was mental health counsellor, my favorite part was doing skills training with them.
I really miss that. Life skills coaching taught me how to simplify complex and overwhelming tasks into granular easy to follow steps.
People tell me that's why they keep coming back to me -- because I can tell them the "how" in a way that they can understand.
Thanks for reading my story. I am so thrilled to share this wonderful creative outlet with you. I invite you to poke around and check everything out. As you try out the projects, and experiment with materials, you'll be amazed at what you can make.
This is a reader driven site. You are who I am really writing for - so....Don't be shy - Questions? Comments? Tutorial or instruction requests? Click here to go to my contact page
Obsessive Jewelry Maker and Super Fun Webmaster
I was interview by an internet superstar! Read the interview here.