Interviews with Rad People / Small Business Owner Rachel Ball


Interviews with Rad People Rachel Ball

Ask me what my favorite part of blogging is, and I will always answer the community. From the first comment I ever received to the friendships I’ve formed over Twitter, the people I have “met,” so to speak, through Ciao Bella make the hours of prepping posts, leaving comments, and writing emails entirely worth it {although don’t get me wrong, those tasks can be fun too!}.

These talented bloggers, writers, and other individuals inspired Interviews with Rad People, a series in which I converse with some friendly, talented faces of different professions. Whether these interviewees are making their name known in the design industry, launching their own small business, or working diligently behind the curtain, I hope you have just as much fun reading through their replies as I have asking them the questions.

For the second interview in this rad feature, I am delighted to welcome Rachel Ball, the blogger behind Elephantine, the owner of Elephantine Jewelry, and the founder of the online boutique Mignon! My interest and love for her two stores seemed only natural given how long I’ve read her site; I had discovered Rachel’s blog years ago on my new blogger kick, and I continue to read it today for her gorgeous flower photos and excellent book recommendations.  I hold such respect for any small business owner – it’s no easy task, that’s for sure – and I love hearing the story behind each shop. With that said, I couldn’t be more excited to share Rachel’s answers on her career, recipes, and writing. Take a look!

• • •

Lavender Flowers{via}

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

I usually spend my mornings answering quick emails and figuring out what I need to get done that day. Sometimes I’ll spend the next few hours writing, and other days I’ll get right to work on fulfilling orders from my two shops. I always take a break for lunch around noon, then get back to work for the rest of the afternoon until it’s time to make a post office run. In general I work pretty typical 9-to-5 hours, though every once in a while I treat myself to an afternoon off. Running a small business takes a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it.

How did you grow your jewelry-making business from a hobby to a full-time job?

In the beginning I spent a lot of time focused on making new jewelry but also a fair amount of time promoting it, through advertising, giveaways, etc. There was a lot of trial and error, too, but I used any mistakes as opportunities to learn and make my business better. The combination of all that hard work and patience and a little luck resulted in a successful business. It took about a year to get to a place where I was confident that my Etsy shop success wasn’t just a fluke. My advice to anyone looking to do something similar is to take your time, and really focus on creating something that you love before worrying about how you’re going to promote it.

Lucky in Bronze EarringsDo you have a favorite piece or pieces of jewelry in the fall?

My “lucky in bronze” earrings feel the most like fall to me. I love seeing the changing colors of the trees, from bright yellows and oranges to dark, richer browns like the beads on those earrings.

Although Mignon is now an online boutique of cute items, it began as a kitchen goods shop. With that in mind, what do you consider your three go-to recipes?

Let’s see – first, I’d have to say Caserola Milanese from New Recipes From Moosewood Restaurant, which is a dish made with polenta and veggies that my mom often made when I was growing up. It’s comfort food and fun to make. I also love making hot and sour soup, particularly in the winter. I use this recipe. For dessert, I can’t pass up an easy, delicious recipe, like plum skillet cake.

Elephantine Doodles{via}

Finally, as an aspiring novelist, can you explain your writing process and how you got into writing?

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer, and have written stories for as long as I can remember. But over the years I’ve become more serious about it and have developed more of a writing process. I’ve found I do my best writing first thing in the morning, before I get distracted by emails and chores and such. When I’m working on a new story, I usually have a general idea of what will happen, and who the characters are, but most of it is discovered during the act of writing itself… and rewriting. Rewriting is so important! It’s where everything really starts to take shape. I’ve been working on a novel-in-stories for the past few years, and really hope to finish it within the next year.

• • •

Another huge thank you to Rachel! I adore so much of the jewelry in the Elephantine shop and Mignon sells my type of goodies {i.e. cute and high-quality}, but what I find most interesting is the day-to-day tasks of running an online store. Furthermore, those recipes have my mouth-watering – I’m sure I’ll be whipping one of the three up soon. Do you own an Etsy shop? Do you like to cook or write?

Have a wonderful Tuesday!


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