Monday, February 1, 2010

Handmade Shop of the Week: Designs by Denise

Denise McLachlan, of Designs By Denise, has been making jewelry and accessories for her etsy shop since April of 2008, though she has been crafting much, much longer. You can find her selling her work at craft fairs and very often for a good cause.
Why did you decide to open your handmade shop?
I love to make jewelry and started selling it because we had a fundraiser for my nephew. At the fundraiser I had a good feedback from buyers which was encouraging. A few weeks after the fundraiser I was watching Martha Stewart whose guest was an Etsy seller. Right away I went online, checked out Etsy and really liked it, and decided to sell my jewelry on Etsy.

Has your inventory changed much since you first opened?
No, my main items are still the same. I will be adding necklaces to my jewelry line this year.

Who are the majority of your customers? How did they find you?
Most of my customers are women and a few young women. The youngest customer was 7; she insisted that her father buy her a pink bracelet. My customers find me at craft fairs, through word of mouth and online.

What inspires you to create?
I come from a very creative family; we all have crafts that we do like stained glass, paper crafts, painting, guitar making, knitting, crocheting and of course jewelry making.

I’ve been crafting since I was a small child and feel like it’s in my genes. Although my day job pays the bills it has no creativity involved and when I am home I need a creative outlet, so I make jewelry and do other crafts.

The inspiration for my jewelry comes from many different places. If I’m making a piece for a specific person I think about that person and their likes. Sometimes I decide to make a piece of jewelry and I put out the beads and components and they inspire the finished piece. Occasionally I’ll see a piece of jewelry worn by someone or in a magazine and think, “I can make that, only different/better” and use that as the inspiration. There isn’t one place that inspiration comes from.

What is your favorite item in your shop currently? Your most popular item?
My favorite item in my shop is the silver chain maille with clear glass beads. I really enjoy making chain maille, it gets my mind off of everything because it’s such detailed work. The most popular item in my shop is the Delicate Gold Bracelet with green Swarovski crystals. The most popular item at craft shows is the eyeglass/badge holders. I can’t keep them in stock.

What has been your greatest resource to make your shop successful?
My greatest resources are equally the Etsy NJ Team and Soma Artisan's Guild. There is such a vast amount of knowledge in both groups and I have learned so much from being a part of both.

Any changes coming to your shop in the future?
Yes, I am adding a line of bridal headpieces and accessories. I had a business when I lived in St. Louis where I made custom headpieces and accessories. When I moved to Florida it was not a good market for bridal, since the majority of the population is retirees, so I put that aside for a while. I have decided that now that I’m in a younger market again it would be a good time to go back to making bridal accessories.
As mentioned earlier I will be adding necklaces to my shop too.

How else can we find you online? Any team affiliations?
My website is I am a member of the Etsy NJ Team and Soma Artisan's Guild.

Designs by Denise will be doing a giveaway in April on her blog at in celebration of her birthday. If you fell in love with her jewelry, as I did, be sure to stop by there and enter to win.

Interested in being shop of the week? email me for more information.


  1. I will definitely enter her birthday blog giveaway! Lovely work!

  2. Nice article! I'm already a follower of Denise's blog, so I'll be sure to sign up for the giveaway when it pops up in my dashboard :)

  3. Great article and lovely shop. I'm a huge fan of chainmaille, and I agree, the silver one with glass beads is beautiful!

  4. Wow -- Bridal Headpieces...that sounds like a good niche market. Good luck to Denise. Her work is beautiful.

  5. Wonderful stuff Denise!!! Great article!

  6. FINALLY got around to meeting Denise! Her work is sooooo much more beautiful in person, and she aint so bad either :)