The History of My Etsy Shop: Part II

Last week, I posted Part I of this story. It covered my first Etsy shop and the events that led to opening it. Here is the rest of the story, covering my experience in architecture school and what led me to reopen shop.


This is my foam core model that looks like
This is my foam core model that looks like “crap”. It has a lot of right angles. It does not resemble crap at all.

My architecture professor seemed pretty laid back. At midterms, his true colors came out. He told us not to divulge our grades with our peers because it might cause jealousy. If Joe gets an A and you get a B, but you think your work is better than Joe’s, you might get upset and try to sabotage poor Joe! Basically the prof can get away with favoritism and students don’t know what “A” work looks like. (If your prof ever tells you not to share what grade you earned with your peers, either ignore them or change classes. You have a right to know what an “A” looks like so you know what to strive for, and you have a right to know if your prof is picking favorites so you can take that up with the dean.) Anyway, during a private review session, he deemed one of my drawings “the worst in the class” and my foam core model he claimed “looked like crap.” Then he told me, “Your work is okay…if you’re happy with a C.” He also claimed that I was rarely in studio working and that my work was that of a lazy student. He gave me a C+ for midterms.

I thought his comments were okay because I’d heard architecture school was hell and that the profs hate all of your work, so I never complained to the dean. I should have complained because his criticism was not constructive at all, and I left that review not really having a clear idea as to how to improve. Never had a teacher called me lazy before and I knew I wasn’t – I was in studio several hours every day, working my butt off. We had learned how to use these tools only a few weeks ago, but he was already expecting perfection.

I took his comments a little too seriously and started to think they were true. I was lazy, I was the worst in the class, I could spend more time in studio and less time sleeping like an architecture student is supposed to. During class, he would come around our desks and give us brief critiques and tell us to make a ridiculous amount of models and/or drawings by the next class and I knew I couldn’t find the time for all of it. (But there’s always at least one kid that does, so you can’t even tell your prof that nobody could do it all because Joe did. And if Joe can, you can. Why is Joe any different from you?) Basically, his comments and expectations left me stressed and wishing I could magically create more time. There were times when I would get so stressed that I’d take a bathroom break during class so that I could cry in private.

There was some silver lining, though. I did make lots of good friends since you create really strong bonds going through hell and seeing each other in studio for several hours every day. I also picked up a thing or two about design.

When it was time to sign up for the second semester, I was tempted to change majors. But at the end of the first semester I decided that I should give architecture a whole year before deciding. I’d also have a different prof for spring semester. When spring semester started, I got super overwhelmed by all the work we’d already been assigned on the first day. That didn’t help my homesickness after a month off at home enjoying every minute I didn’t have an architecture project looming over my head.

So I made the decision to come back home, even though I was starting to like the little college town where I was going to school. I still have no idea what I want to do instead of architecture. I had to wait a few months to start up at the local community college since they’re on the quarter system. I had a lot of regrets about leaving because maybe the solution would have been to change majors, but I didn’t know what I wanted to change it to and I didn’t want to be “undecided” for whatever reason. Regardless, I’m glad I took some time off from school because a one month Christmas break was not enough to recover from the four month architecture school burn out.

Steph’s Etsy Shop 2.0

In February, my friend Yvette told me that she had started a blog, and I decided to join her. I saw no reason that I might regret starting a blog, and maybe one day if I reopened my Etsy shop, I would already have a network of followers. Hey, a girl can dream. And to blog about jewelry, I would obviously have to make some, so I would also be slowly building an inventory. Despite all this, it was really easy to talk myself out of reopening. (Licenses and taxes and paperwork, oh my!) I even wrote a blog post on why it’s hard to sell jewelry on Etsy to further talk myself out of it.

In July I realized that I had amassed a fairly large inventory. In order to buy supplies to make more things, I would need money. And all this jewelry was just sitting there when it could be making me money, so what was holding me back? The last time I felt like I kept putting money in and getting none out. All I had to do this time was set a budget.

And Architectural Beads would need a new name. Although architecture is still a part of my journey, it’s no longer something in my future, and I wanted a name that would work well in any future.

Yellow Raspberry Jewelry
I made this.

So Yellow Raspberry Jewelry was born! The yellow comes my favorite color, and the raspberry comes from my favorite fruit, and the jewelry part is obvious and also because the name “YellowRaspberry” was already taken. And yellow raspberries are a real thing, so that’s an added bonus.

This was my final project for my first semester of architecture school. I didn't even lose a finger in the woodshop.
This was my final project for my first semester of architecture school. I didn’t even lose a finger in the woodshop.

I feel like this reopening is symbolic. I had tried my hand at selling online before and quit because I thought I sucked at it and wasn’t making many sales. Then, I tried my hand at architecture and quit because I thought I sucked at it and was told I sucked at it. Since I quit architecture, I’ve had time to reflect and realize that I didn’t suck. In fact, I did okay; I got a B and made a kick-ass final project that’s now proudly displayed in my jewelry studio. And I didn’t suck at Etsy my first time. I did okay and made three sales.

Everything Is Awesome

So thank you, Professor Herman, even though you’ll probably never read this. I thought you’d taught me how to deal with difficult people, but you actually taught me how to deal with myself when I’m faced with difficult people. Never again will I let others determine my worth by telling me that I’m lazy and my work is crap. I know what I can do and what I have done in the past, and I will be the one to determine my worth, thank you very much.

If you’re ever bullied in this way, stand up to the bullies. And stand up to yourself if your inner critic is becoming a bully. Don’t tell yourself you’re worthless because then you will be. Tell yourself you’re awesome because then you will be!

I’ve found that jewelry can help me feel awesome, or also serve as a reminder for something, like a tattoo that can come on and off whenever you want. (I have a little elephant necklace that I wear to remind me how to eat an elephant – one bite at a time – so that I don’t get overwhelmed.) I hope that in my jewelry you can find some deeper meaning and that you feel awesome when you wear it.

I also want to you thank you, my readers. I don’t normally post about personal things, but it couldn’t be ignored for this story.

This is my little studio space. The model is right next to the purple boom box.
This is my little studio space. The model is right next to the purple and silver boom box on the shelf.

Use the code BLOG10 to receive 10% off any purchase at Yellow Raspberry Jewelry through September 16.


3 thoughts on “The History of My Etsy Shop: Part II

  1. The way your prof treated you, and then the outcome, is so familiar to me! I started off in Art Education but had to take a lot of Studio Arts courses. I thought I was excelling in most things except the time I annoyed the Drawing Techniques teacher by drawing small when she told me to use a wall-sized sheet of paper. Other than that, she always praised my work, and other students teased that I was the only one who ENJOYED collage projects. Yet somehow at my final evaluation, she completely changed her view, told me I was ‘better than this’ looking over pieces she had already complimented through 2 whole semesters. She told me my self portraits all looked like a different person. I guess she didn’t understand that I’m multi-faceted and not a one-dimensional character, because these days, even people who browse my FB pics remark ‘Whoa, you look different in every photo’.
    In any case, the prof sent me out in tears, I changed programs and ended up doing something I loved MORE than her silly drawing classes. I don’t look back on the pieces she downgraded as ‘crap’ AT ALL. I know they’re not crap. She wanted something out of me I would have never given her. She was flighty and fickle and changed her mind easily about what she liked and disliked. BOO HOO. I’m better for it now and I’ve always secretly thanked her.


  2. This post is so self-reflexive and inspiring. I’m honored to be a part of your journey, no matter how small the role. Also, I appreciate the “architorture” heading. That was clever.


    1. You win the Sparkly and Sprinkly Award for supporting role! (That may become a thing now.) Architorture was a word that was often tossed around in architecture school, and it sums it up very well.


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