A proud native New Yorker, Tameka Allen-Mercado will tell you that she’s only hiding out in Goodyear, Arizona. With every bit of time she can find, the mastermind behind Pretty In Peace, creates jewelry, collages, cards and other pretty little pieces of art while pondering stuff to write about. Yes – writing is her first love. Yet, her hideout in the Grand Canyon State is where this wife and mother creates an amazing collection of earthy, eco-conscious pieces. Her warm and peaceful shop makes your fingers itch to purchase every pretty item that catches your eye.
When Tameka isn’t designing accessories, writing, or working on an original piece of art, she manages her family-owned Indie electronic label at Next Dimension Music.com. Obviously, Mrs. Allen-Mercado does it all. This fact explains why she describes herself as “Deep, rich, and brilliant!” to which she adds, “Modest, aren’t I?” Read her candid interview below to see why those three adjectives are more than appropriate to roll off her tongue:
In business, the 20 second pitch means everything. In 2 sentences or less, tell us what you sell in your Etsy shop and why it is unique.
I design art and artistic wares that make Mother Earth smile. Stop, shop, smile and live Pretty in Peace.
What are your favorite materials to use in your pieces?
It’s a tie between junk and organic materials. In jewelry I absolutely love working with wood, copper and semi-precious stones. For my mixed media pieces, I’m rather fond of ephemera and random fabric scraps and such . . . y’know junk!
Which item from Pretty in Peace is your most treasured piece? Why?
I think this piece (below) is probably the best visual interpretation of who Tameka is. There’s smoothe stones and faceted ones and wood and rugged little bells. It’s all organic, and funky just a mix of loveliness. It’s my favorite.
We all pull from different things to inspire our art. What 3 things inspire your creativity the most?
I’m a cultural sponge, growing up in NYC has exposed me to so much beautiful color and culture. It’s all sitting in a grey fold somewhere waiting to make itself tangible. I listen to world music while I create and burn incense . . . so I’d say my inspiration comes from, “Far away people, places, and patchouli.”
What is your definition of success?
Success is the journey. As cliche as it is I have no destination, but everyday that I rise and create something is a successful one. Sometimes, it’s a meal other times a mess, but always a success.
Etsy selling is all about survival of the fittest. What has been your toughest challenge while running Pretty In Peace?
Not necessarily Etsy related, but on a whole I’m not sure how I feel about art as a business. Pricing a piece of my self is at times difficult, granted you have the materials but the creative process is really a part of your self and, putting a price on it is bittersweet. I want people to be able to afford my wares and at the same time I want to feel a deep appreciation for the creative process, money doesn’t do that. Coupled with not seeing and feeling the energy of my customers. Internet sales can be impersonal.
Share your most exciting experience while running Pretty in Peace.
There isn’t one, the mere existence of Pretty in Peace is exciting. Everyday that a new design is born makes me giddy all over again.
What words of wisdom do you live by when selling on Etsy?
From my husband, an artist and musician, “You just gotta keep doing what you do.” It is so easy to identify the target demographic on Etsy (or anyplace else for that matter) and design around their desires, but in the end it doesn’t pay off on the grand scale.
If you could open a brick and mortar shop anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
Key West, Florida. We honeymooned there, nothing would please me more than to ride a bike with a basket in the front to work in a quaint little village town full of funky little shops and folks.
If you could select only one celebrity to be photographed with one of your pieces, who would it be?
Corinne Bailey Rae. Before I took the plunge and left corporate America to “make stuff”, her song, Put Your Records On was my mantra.
(Corinne Bailey Rae; Trois Fleurs Ring by Pretty In Peace)
What new things should we look forward to in your shop?
Actually, just today I listed my first mixed media piece, and plan to continue adding some ACEOs and other pieces of visual art alongside my wearables.
Visit Pretty In Peace to see more great items.
Tameka’s MOST MEMORABLE CARNIVAL MOMENT:
Carnivals . . . aah sweet nostalgia, funnel cakes, cotton candy, giant rainbow swirl lollipops…of course these things taste much better on the way down than on the way up. o_0
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