Wednesday, May 16, 2007

South Street Designs ... Ohio, USA

Artist: Julie Joliat
Business: South Street Design
Web site:
Location: Chardon, Ohio

What do you make?

Handmade jewelry.

Where and when do you do your creative work?

I live in an old Victorian house on South Street. I do most of my work in a room upstairs that is currently being renovated. I sit on an antique wooden folding chair and listen to NPR most of the day.

I prefer to do most of my work when my daughter is in school, and from 9pm to

Do you have another "day job"?
I've been working since I was 14. I worked 15 years at one company and was not thrilled sending my daughter to day care.

I quit in December of 2005 and I've been doing this "full time" since then.

Where and what did you study?

I am self taught with the help of a few books on wiring technique.

What inspires you and what motivates you?

I am inspired by nature... fabric... open spaces... art. When I really think about it, I guess inspiration can come at any moment from practically anything.

My motivation is my daughter Amelia. I am determined to make enough money doing this to pay the huge bills that come along with owning a 130 year old house. I really want to be home with her, so it is a
huge motivator.

When did you start doing this?

I started selling locally to friends and family (I think) in June of 2005. I signed up with Etsy in November of 2005, watched, bought a few things and started selling in May of 2006.

Do you remember getting into art as a kid?

My mom and grandmother are both artistic so I guess I was exposed to the arts and crafts world by them. They both made amazing works of stained glass. I remember going to glass stores and seeing walls of colored glass.

I don't really remember being too artistic other than shrinky-dink keychains and noodle necklaces. Although, I used to make hairclips decorated with ribbons (which in fact, my sister and I might try to bring back into fashion someday soon! We loved those!).

When and why did you decide to start your own business?

I never really decided to start a "business"... it just sort of happened. Once I realized there was money to be made and I actually LOVED what I was doing, I just started pushing myself. Over time, I started to have a scheduled work day, lots of supplies and enough sales that it turned into my business. I'm still trying to get a grasp on what it means to run a small business professionally.

The why goes back to my desire to be here, at home, with my daughter. She starts school full time next year. I may just keep doing this and actually try to make it bigger. Who knew!

How did you choose the name for your business?

I wish I would have put more thought into that. Again, who knew!? I live in a century village on the South side of the square on South Street. My user name for Etsy... again, who knew?... was simply my email name – Puff and Luna, my crazy cats. Once you have it in Etsy, you can't change it... so now I'm puffluna!

What do you love most about your work?

I love standing in my work area and deciding what to make next. I feel like the kid in the candy shop. It's exciting and spontaneous and very gratifying once it comes together.

What's the most fascinating place you've been?
In my dreams, Paris. In reality I'd have to say the museums near Cleveland, Ohio. I love and am always fascinated by any museum that I've been to. I could do it everyday. I really enjoy learning and looking so it's my favorite atmosphere to be in.

A book you love:
The Little Prince
by Antoine De Saint-Exupery.

This book changed my way of viewing things. It taught me to realize what is truly important. Even if you just read Chapter 1 paragraph 4, you'll see what I mean.

What is the most interesting thing about you?
I became a vegetarian when I was young after making the "meat = cute little piggy" connection. I didn't like the way the factory farming industry abused the animals used for egg and dairy manufacturing, so I became a vegan later on at about 19 or 20 years old. I used to be very involved in animal rights issues prior to becoming a mom. I plan to start that back up as soon as my daughters old enough to join me.

I love old things. We bought an 130 year old house 2 years ago and I love it. It's creaky and full of character.
I am pretty normal, not too interesting.

Hmmm, this is making me think that
I need to spice things up a bit!

What achievement are you most proud of?
My daughter (of course!). She is an amazing, beautiful, smart human being. She has reminded me of the delicate beauty of nature, the joy of squishing play-doh, the fact that it's actually fun to get water all over the bathroom. It's really an incredible thing having a child. I'm loving every minute of it and I feel so blessed to be home with her right now.

What advice would you give women starting their own business?
Stay motivated and confident. If they are married or involved, they really need to get the support from their spouse. I found that without it, things got pretty hectic around

Also, if you can't clean the whole house because you are too busy working, just make sure the kitchen is clean. It's made a big difference for me. I feel a little overwhelmed at times trying to balance everything and I found having an empty sink, for some reason, makes me feel better.

What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?

The lack of hours in the day. The balance is the hardest part.

What do you love to do in your free time?

I love to be outside with my daughter. She helps me to see things that I otherwise wouldn't. She can spot a bumblebee on a flower 25 feet away. Kids are amazing! I also like to go to the museums and parks.

What are you working on right now?

I'm trying to master knotting. I've made a bracelet and a necklace. I have to take the necklace apart though. it's not perfect. It's good practice.

What do you hope to achieve next?

Precious Metal Clay. I want to create some unique pieces that I have designs for stored in my mind. Now if only I could find the time! :) I also want to focus a bit more on earrings. I'm more of a bracelet/necklace girl so the earring production could be better.


  1. This interview was so interesting and inspiring. It makes me want to spend more time with my own children :) I know Julie personally and her jewelry is very unique and beautiful.

  2. First let me mention I have many pieces of Julie's - I love every one more than the next and there are many more I'd love to have. It's really fun to see her intereviewed here - what a great idea! How fun to find out about the artist behind the art! It sounds like she has a wonderful bond with her daughter - how lucky for both of them!

  3. Such beautiful jewelry, and those are great pictures of her work.

    I love your interviews!

  4. What a wonderful interview! Great idea! I learned even more about Julie than I already knew as a friend. She is a very creative artist and the compliments I receive on the many pieces of jewely I have of hers are endless. Her daughter is following in her footsteps. She too is an amazing little artist. After I finish looking at her sight I'll have to go and find out what chapter 1 par 4 of The Little Princess says.
    Kari K.

  5. Julie's jewelry is beautiful. And another great interview!

    But, as another jewelry maker on Etsy, the best advice - a clean kitchen! That is so true!

  6. I loved this interview!
    Julie has been an inspiration to me as a seller on etsy.
    I just love how she uses contrasting colors in her work.
    Her love and devotion to her angel/child is heartwarming and I hope for huge success in her business.

  7. Great interview! I have admired puffluna for a long time. I love her work! Glad to know I'm not the only one who stays up late and doesn't get the housework done!!

  8. It's great to see how far Julie has come in such a short time. It wasn't too long ago that she was sitting at a desk debating if she should stay with the stability of her career or to pursue a path that would allow her more time with her daughter. All the time while fiddling with these little beads and things on her desk at lunch and at home. Ultimately she let her heart choose and her inner artist just needed that little nudge to get going, now look at her go. The jewelry is beautifully done, original, and very creative, as is the presentation of it on her site. It took alot of courage and determination to travel down this path. But I think it's clear by seeing her work, talking with her, or reading the interview above, that this is what she is meant to do. It's not about the money, it's about the passion to do what you love and to spend time with family. Congratulations Juile, I think this is just the beginning for you.

    Although, one little thing about her. It's amazing that such delicate and intricate work can be produced by such a klutz. LOL :)

  9. What a wonderful artist and a great interview! Love ALL of your jewelry! ;)

  10. How beautiful!!!! Thanks for the awesome interview article!!! I have Julie's necklaces and have bought them as gifts for three of the most important women in my life!!!!
    I agree 100% with Julie on staying with her daughter and it's nice to see someone who wants to stay at home be able to do it. It reminds me of how I feel about my daughter, Alexandra. Of course, we have to work outside the home too and not everyone can stay home or wants to......but I just think this is fabulous. Working with high-risk children and families, I wish to see families and their children bonding in such a strong way....
    Julie, I love your jewelry and your spirit!!!

  11. beautiful!