Artist: Virginia Ugarte
Business: Les Things
Web site: lesthings.etsy.com
Location: Madrid, Spain
What do you create?
Silver jewelry, basically.
Where and when do you do your creative work?
At my (tiny) home studio in Madrid.
Do you have another day job?
Once I finished my training in metalsmithing, I've always worked creating my own things.
Where and what did you study?
One year of designing and metalsmithing,two more years of metalsmithing, in two different technical schools in Madrid. But I think that's just the beginning. I've always had the habit of trying to learn things by myself, I guess that's what motivates me more.
What inspires you and what motivates you?
Many things! If I have to be concrete: esthetically, mid-century design. Also, seeing the works of what I consider talented and honest artists (in whichever field of creativity) is definitely inspiring to me.
When did you start doing this?
At the beginning of 1993, I started with a basic collection of hammered silver bands. Later on, in a trip to New York, I discovered polymer clay and I started adding color to my designs.
Do you remember getting into art as a kid?
I wouldn't say art – in fact, I consider myself an artisan. But of course I was always crafting.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
It came quite naturally as my parents had a small jewelry shop in my hometown in the Bask Country (north of Spain). So once I finished my studies, I started to sell my designs there. It wouldn't be so easy for me without the trust and unconditional support of my mother and elder sister who have been selling my stuff for all these years while I've been focusing on developing my creations.
How did you choose the name for your business?
I've always used my own name. Recently, when I decided to try an online shop, I thought it was a good idea to give it a different name. I'm very fond of names that mix different languages; consequently, I chose two simple words and that's all.
What do you love most about creating your work?
The idea of having raw materials and – after a process that doesn't necessarily have to be too complicated – have an idea converted into an object that can be appealing to somebody. It's really rewarding for me.
What's the most fascinating place you've been?
There are many places I visited and feel fascinated by, but I would say a place where I have shared happy moments with people I love...
A book you love:
There are tons! If I have to choose one: Family Sayings by the Italian author Natalia Ginzburg.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Professionally, living from what I love to do.
What advice would you give women starting their own business?
I think one of the most important things is being honest – I mean having something new to say or to offer or express with a different and personal approach. And of course, don't take advantage of other people's work (in many senses) in the process of developing your own business.
What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
I think, maybe, keeping my own language, being as genuine as I can and at the same time connecting with the taste of other individuals that appreciate what I have to offer and that are going to enjoy my items.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Cinema, reading, long walks (I don't even have a car), spending time with my friends and family, I mean talking.... Travelling, going to gigs (I'm really fond of music).
What are you working right now?
I'm trying to make my work compatible with my newly found online adventure. I'm new at this and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming!
What do you hope to achieve next?
Lots of things! Among others: keep learning new techniques, make my business grow and improve my English!!