Hi there! My name is Katie Pira and I’m the name (and designer) behind Katie Got a Gun. I’m a bit of an eclectic personality; jewelry designer, tinkerer, writer, food enthusiast, Texan and born-again nerd. And I feel like a lot of this comes through in my work. My designs tend to skirt whatever line might exist between classic rustic and bohemian whimsy.
Why did you choose to start your own business?
It was actually quite an organic experience. I was enjoying an afternoon of shooting and target practice with my father and husband (a true East Texas pastime if there ever was one) and as I was cleaning up the discarded casings, I had an “ah-ha” moment. The thought of throwing the brass away seemed like an incredible waste and I decided to make my first pair of earrings. As I experimented with designs and created more pieces, I began to get custom order requests. I can tell you it was definitely the first time I’ve ever had men come up to me to discuss the caliber of my earrings! Shortly thereafter, I opened my Etsy shop and realized that the interest in bullet jewelry reached far beyond just Texas. I now sell from coast to coast and even overseas.
I think my biggest failure is one that’s common to many business owners, and that’s a failure to strike a balance. I’m not referring to a work/life balance but rather a creative/administrative balance. As a one-woman operation, it falls on me to not only design and hand make high quality pieces, but also to focus on branding, marketing, and general administration. In the past, there have definitely been times when I’ve focused so much on the business side of things that I wasn’t feeding my creativity. This can be especially difficult with the growing necessity of social media and the role it plays in maintaining a business, particularly a creative one. It can be easy to lose yourself in that and forget what sparked your passion in the first place.
How did you or your business evolve from those failures?
It really came down to recognizing what was happening and taking a step back. I had to tell myself that no matter how much time I spent “running” the business, it would never be successful if I didn’t devote myself to the heart of the business – creation and design. I’ve since been able to re-prioritize and put design ahead of things like marketing by tapping into my enthusiastic fan base. I now have an amazing street team that believes in Katie Got a Gun and lightens my load so that I don’t have to be everything all at once. I’m incredibly grateful.
What is your next big project?
Well I knew when I started that I could only go so far with bullet casings. They will always be something I work with and they will always be a huge part of the Katie Got a Gun brand identity, but I think it’s only natural for the line to expand. It’s also important for me to broaden my skills as a designer and maker, so I’ve started branching out into hand forged items, steampunk designs (which have turned out to be wildly popular), and other collections that still capture the rustic whimsy of Katie Got a Gun without actually incorporating bullet casings. I’m extremely excited about not only the design possibilities, but also about reaching new fans who may not have been as interested before.
Do you have a favorite piece you’ve created?
Oh boy, that’s a tough one. I do so much custom work and it’s allowed me to create some really unique pieces over the years. But if I had to choose a favorite, it wouldn’t necessarily be one piece but a certain line. About a year ago I started working with acid etching on bullet casings and it’s since become one of my most popular designs. What’s fantastic about the etching is that if I can draw it or stamp it, I can etch it. I’ve etched roses, calligraphy, geometric patterns, and even sheet music into the sides of bullet casings. Not only is it beautiful, it’s very personal to the client, which I think makes all the difference in jewelry.
Where do you sell your products?
You can always find us at katiegotagun.com and request a custom order there, but our main storefront is our Etsy shop at katiegotagun.etsy.com. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter, and we would highly recommend that you follow us on Instagram as many of the newest designs get snapped up there before they ever make it to Etsy. We’re always ready to meet new people and always eager to tackle your custom jewelry ideas, so don’t be shy about getting in touch!
SPECIAL COUPON OFFER!!!
Katie has set up a special coupon in her shop for Smart Parts Crafts shoppers! The code is SMART20 and gets you 20% off orders of $20 or more until Wednesday November 30th.
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