Margarita is from Athens, Greece, but her origins lie on Santorini, an island of breathtaking cliffs, also referred to as Kalliste (the most beautiful one). Nowadays she has Athens as her home-town, and alternates between Lisbon in Portugal and Athens.
She is inspired by the history and origins of jewelry, and feels like the jewelry people wear are an extension of their personality, a way of expressing and showing their personality to the outside world, which is why she started making jewelry, first of all for herself:
“One thing I like to do when I enter the metro or a bus, is to observe the jewelry people are wearing. It is amazing how high the percentage is of those who wear jewelry (9 out of 10). Jewelry, for me, is a way of showing and expressing our personality. I wanted to make my own pieces which will express mine better. After some time, when I decided to make it a business, I thought that it was a great opportunity to meet people with the same taste, maybe with similar personality trends as mine.”
Margarita has been looking to express herself through art, and had the advantage of a creative social circle and upbringing from the start.
“Crafting has been an important part of my daily life ever since I can remember. I was lucky that my school had a variance of art activities. I remember that we used to do a lot of collage… but a lot! And of course at home my favorite was playing with plasticine.
Everyone is creative in their own field. My mother is creative with interacting with people. My best friend inspires me with awesome images when I see her dancing. I have another friend that, whenever she is getting bored, takes out her notebook and draws amazing things. So, having them in my surroundings I also felt the need to find something that would express me.. I started basketball and I’ve been playing for quite a lot years, but when I started making jewelry I realized that I was more myself than ever”
So she found her inspiration, now to apply this what followed was learning how to work with different media and materials.
“I decided to attend seminars on metal-smith, design, art, crafts, parallel to my university studies, because I wanted to occupy myself with something artistic and creative. I wanting to set free my imagination.. after all it is a kind of magic to transform metal or other materials to whatever you want.
I have attended specialized courses (macrame, metal-smith, porcelain painting) and spent a lot of time experimenting with different materials and techniques. So I came to use a lot of techniques from different fields…for example painting in porcelain, macrame etc. But I like to apply everything I learn to jewelry.”
We asked if she remembered her first handmade project. Which she not only did, but she even had photos (and gave permission to publish)!
And thanks to the support and the urge to create her business was born.
“I started selling my jewelry 3 years ago… but I’ve been amazed with this art for almost 5 years now.
My friends were really supportive in what I was creating and gave me the idea of making it a business. Blue Margarita is my way out to creativity. I’m enjoying making jewelry and always try my best to create quality items, addressed to creative, imaginative and spirited people all over the world.
The possibility to communicate and exchange things throughout the world is, by itself, a great experience. “
Running your own business, especially as a 1 person business involves lot of work, and you need many skills. You are your own designer, photographer, bookkeeper, promoter… All taking a big chunk out of the time you have left for the creating process.
And we found out that besides all this Margarita is also very busy with kids, and is in her final year of studying as a preschool teacher.
“Jewelry was my first attempt in the professional field. But during these years I was also involved professionally in creative activities with children (summer schools, children’s programs in museums etc).
I study preschool education. I’m in my final year and I plan to have a post degree after. I never thought of quitting. I just thought of combining… and that’s my goal for the future… to think of a business that will include both jewelry and children (artistic activities).”
The inspiration for Blue Margarita is both in the historic origins of jewellery, of which she regularly blogs (SEE HER SERIES HERE) , and, of course, the blue colours that are so interwoven in the Greek islands.
“I always give attention to simple things, so inspiration is everywhere for me! Living in Greece, and especially, during the summer at Santorini island, I was lucky to get inspired by the Greek culture and the Aegean colors, shades and images! So, the name of my shop was not accidental…
I love to combine different techniques and materials in my work, like for instance metal with stones, beads, liquid glass or wax cotton thread. Additionally, for some of my pieces, I use unique beads and pendants that carry a history. Most of them are traditionally handmade and are mainly from Africa or Asia. I also love to learn about their history and origins.”
Being inspired is good, but she has a warning for the people that want to create. It is difficult to retain your own line, and be unique.
“My biggest single obstacle in my craft was to detach myself and my work from being inspired from other handcrafter’ s work. I could overcome this thanks to a very good seminar I followed in a design studio. There I understood how I must think on my project.. It was the first time that I tried to let my imagination being shown into my jewelry.”
Her advice for people thinking of starting their own handmade business reflects her lessons learned.
“Just do it. But be careful in the beginning not to depend so much on the earnings because maybe you ‘ll fall in the trap of making more commercial pieces.
Always have a plan and a design before you create something but of course, don’t follow this only. .also follow your heart at the time you are making it.”
We asked about the upsides and downsides she experienced with handmade business.
The feedback you get from people is amazing. It is a strong aspect that makes you want to continue, especially during those periods that you don’t sell, and you might start thinking that nobody likes your work.
My best experience was not exactly an experience but the realization that even if I move on to another country, which I did for a while, my business can still continue and still grow.
When asked if she would like to live anywhere else than Greece however it seems she would miss the country too much.
Well, right now I’ m staying some time in Lisbon and some in Athens, my home town… and of course during the summers at Santorini, my origins island. It is a tough decision for me where I’ m going to be next year. Athens is where I was born, has a lot of life.. and is where I had my first inspiration. Lisbon on the other hand is more quiet.. it supports a lot the arts (cultural capital of 2015) and this city also has a different light. I believe for an artist is pretty important to move from place to place, experience different things because that is going to be shown in his/her pieces. But personally speaking I can not imagine myself staying abroad for a long period of time.
Maybe that is also because her family and friends are very supportive of her work, and she has a perfect workplace thanks to her parents. She names her Mother as the singular influence that helped her more than anything in her choices, and her Father is very supportive in helping her to create a perfect workspace.
“I formed my creative space as a lab and a place where I can live. So, I pretty much feel like home when I’ m there.. I even take a nap sometimes when I don’t feel productive..it really helps. I’ m completely satisfied with this space.. my family helped me with it.. so there are a lot of furniture that are handmade.. whatever I missed I just had to describe it to my father and he would fix it for me. …..what I mostly like is that I can make as much noise as I want… no neighbor complained so far.”
And that’s it so far for Blue Margarita. She has a REALLY NICE BLOG to follow where you can read more about her inspiration sources and about beautiful Greece, and what she creates with this inspiration can be found in HER SHOP ON HANDMADE IN EUROPE.