Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Found Fish!

A while ago, I posted about these adorable earrings I had made from a pair of beads that I had received as a free gift along with my order. They were rose quartz and had a hole where the eye would be. I really liked the way they hung like that.
Anyway, the pair of earrings sold quite rapidly at the Gallery and I was dismayed that I could not find any more beads like that to make more earrings.

Well, time passes, and two things happened right around the same time, about a week ago. First, I found a supplier for those beads! They've got them in over twenty different gemstones. They are drilled lengthwise as well as the hole through the eye, but that's okay. I'm just glad I found them in a source that also provides so much variety, and at wholesale prices!
Second, the woman who bought the first pair of earrings from the Gallery had left me a note requesting another pair. She said the first pair she bought ended up as a gift, but she liked them so much, she wants another pair for herself.

That's such good news. It's funny how things go that way sometimes.
This supplier also sells sterling (and gold) findings that are way cheaper than where I've been getting my findings. So I can go to them for that as well. I think they have a minimum order, but it's only $50, so that shouldn't be a problem.
They do carry Swarovski crystals, which I like to use in those fish earrings, but unless my simple math abilities are seriously screwed up, they're not even close to being cheaper than where I normally get my crystals. That's kind of a bummer. But oh well. Such is the way business is done.

Oh! They also have bear beads, too! I've seem them called fetish bears, or zuni bears. I'm probably going to pick up a few kinds of those as well. You know, for those people that don't like fish. Who doesn't like bears??

In other news, I found more cardstock for my earring cards. I had been using leftover cardstock from my brothers wedding. But, I'm down to my last sheet. The 110# cardstock I got from Office Depot isn't heavy enough. It's fine for item tags, but it isn't sturdy enough to stand up on its own while supporting a pair of earrings. But, with the wonderful help of a friend of mine, I discovered that the stuff I had was 80lb. cover paper. I found a local paper supply store, brought in my last sheet, asked for 80lb. cover paper and eureka! It's a match!
So now I have a whole ream of it that should last quite some time. I can get four cards per page and I have 250 pages. So, after I sell 1,000 pairs of earrings, I'll need to buy another ream! I joke, but if people like these fish (and bear!) earrings as much as I do, then they should sell pretty well.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Busy, busy, busy!

Yes. Been a while. I know.

I'm now up to three sales from my Etsy store, and I'm even working on a possible 4th sale that will be a custom order. So far, my experience on Etsy has been great. Most of my customers have been so nice. I say most because one sale, I've yet to hear anything from. She paid quickly and so I sent her the item. It has been delivered, but I have yet to receive any word from her or even feedback. That's okay, though, perhaps she is out enjoying her new jewelry!

Speaking of feedback, in a previous post, I was lamenting how I wasn't sure if I should leave feedback as soon as the buyer pays or if I should wait to hear from them if they like it or not. Well, originally I had decided to wait to hear from them first, just in case they weren't quite satisfied with it or something. I wanted my feedback to include that sort of communication since I DO believe that paying for something is NOT the only responsibility of the buyer. They are also responsible for communicating their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with their purchase. How can I make things right if they don't tell me?
But, after that first sale, I just decided to go ahead and leave feedback for the buyer when they paid. Or actually... when I shipped. That way, I can send them a message telling them I've shipped their order, and leave the feedback at the same time. I've done it that way since and so far, I'm fine with it. It was just another thing to try to remember if I left feedback for later. *shrugs* We'll see if it continues to work.

I'm still trying to keep up with the Gallery... as well as trying to make more things to list on Etsy. I got a message the other night from the Financial Secretary of the guild. She's the one that makes sure the artists get paid for what they've sold at the end of the show. She's very nice. She just wanted to tell me that so far I've sold twenty things. She said she didn't know how much I initially brought or if I've been restocking often, but she just wanted to let me know so I could restock if needed. Heh, I guess it's not a common thing for an artist to sell that much in such a short time.

My success in the Gallery has made me think I should raise my prices a little. And everyone I talk to about it agrees. I see their point, but I'm also of the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset. My brother says that if I raise my prices, yes sales might drop a little, but that would mean I wouldn't have to restock so often, and then when I DID make a sale, I'd get more money to make up for the decrease in sales. Sounds like sage advice... I think?

I wouldn't be so worried about keeping up if I didn't have that craft show looming over me in December. I'm still not sure how I'm going to keep up making things for the Gallery as well as listing new things on Etsy as well as have a decent inventory for the show.
I am getting a new order in soon, with lots more supplies. So, perhaps once that is in, I'll be able to just make tons of stuff and then sort it out later.

As I've said before... it's a good problem to have! I'm not complaining!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Follow Up

The woman that bought six of my items contacted me via email. Which I'm glad for, it's just much easier than the phone, mostly because if I don't recognize the number on the caller ID, I'll let the answering machine pick up.
Anyway, she DOES want that necklace. Or at least she inquired about it and asked how much it would cost.
I told her the price and also that I could bring it to the Gallery to put on hold for her. I plan to do that anyway, since I'm guessing she'll want to buy it, and if she doesn't, I could just bring it back home next week. I had listed it on Etsy intially, so, until I can make a new one (or this woman doesn't want it) I inactivated the listing.
I probably should just make a new one anyway. I went ahead and made a gallery item tag for this necklace, so, if this lady ends up not buying it, then I could just keep it in the gallery and make a new one for Etsy.
We shall see. Oh yes, we shall.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hooray Me!

Lots of good news!
First, my dear mother informed me that while she was working the gallery yesterday, she sold one woman six of my items! SIX! AND, she should be inquiring soon about having a necklace made to match one of the bracelets. What's better, is the necklace is already made. It's listed on Etsy so, I can take it down from Etsy until I can make another one to replace the one I sell her. She hasn't called yet. She left her phone number with my mom who passed it on to me, but I don't plan on calling her. I would feel like I was pressuring her to buy the necklace. If she really wants it, she'll contact me.

And second... I made my first sale on Etsy today! YAY! The buyer paid immediately, so all I need to do is get her item to the post office tomorrow morning. The question is now... when to leave feedback?
There's been a few threads in the Etsy forums about this. One there right now, actually. But they never seem to help me decide.
Part of me thinks that once the customer has paid, they've fulfilled their end of the transaction. Another part thinks that the transaction isn't complete until I know the customer received their item and is happy with it.
And then I was thinking just a moment ago how a lot of people think that all a customer has to do is pay and they're done and should get feedback. Well, I disagree with that now. Being a good customer involves communication. I don't expect a customer to respond to every message I send them. But, I DO want them to respond if I ask them a question (about their shipping address, their payment, etc.). And I do expect them to be polite in their response. And, it would also be nice to hear from them when they receive it if they are happy with it or not.

So, I think my decision is to always use delivery confirmation so that I know the customer has received the item. But, do I give them a day or two to communicate with me if there are problems? Do I assume that no communication is good news and they are satisfied with their item?
Some customers are just not talkative. And that's cool. And I guess I wouldn't expect those sorts of people to write me and gush over their purchase.

I just wish there was a non-tacky way to let buyers know that I am not withholding my feedback until they leave feedback. If a buyer tells me they received it and they are happy with it, I would instantly leave feedback. If they are not happy with it, I would work with them to make it right and THEN leave feedback based on how that went.
It has nothing to do with when or how they leave me feedback. It has everything to do with me wanting to be sure they're happy. If I know they are, I will leave feedback regardless of whether they've left it for me or not.

Hmph, I feel like I'm just starting to repeat myself.
I think each customer is different. If they're talkative and I'm getting the feeling they're going to be happy with their purchase, then I'll leave feedback when I ship. But if they're not saying anything, and I can't get a feeling for their level of satisfaction so far, then I will wait until I at least know they've received the item.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gallery Work

Yesterday was my first shift as a Gallery Sitter. Liz was there to walk me through everything I needed to do. Though, I think she assumed that my mom had already told me everything since she seemed to kind skip some stuff. But, then again, I guess I wouldn't know that she skipped some stuff without my mom having told me, so there you have it.

I thought she'd be there for the whole shift. But, after she told me the basics, she jetted. That's fine. We didn't finish "training" until 3:15 or so, and my shift was from 1 to 5.

It was rather quiet. The most people I saw were people that came in for a meeting with one of the organizations that is also located in this building. I guess they thought I was some sort of receptionist which kinda irked the shite out of me. One girl I even looked her straight in the eye and said, "I'm not a receptionist." Heh. Nice.
I was getting really pissed off with every person that came through the door and said, "I'm here for the meeting." Okay, well, if you really want me to help you, you're going to have to give me more information than that. There are about 5 organizations that share this building with us.

But then I was reading through our Procedures manual and it said that the Arts Council of Fairfax is the organization that is "renting" us the space for the Gallery. Specifically this one woman... Ann.... something. I forget her last name. And there was a whole page that described how to handle her purchases and how it's so different and special compared to normal transactions because she's been so good to us.
So that made me calm down a bit, since all these people that were coming in for the "meeting" were coming to meet with the Arts Council. I figured it was kind of a favor to them to help their people since they were doing a favor for us and giving us this space. But come on... couldn't you post a sign or something!?!??! At least tell these people beforehand: "The meeting is in X building in X room and here's how to get to that room from X door."

That's just me being a bitch, though, I guess. That's fine. Buy my stuff while I'm being a bitch! Hee hee!

So anyway, the evening was quiet. I did make one sale. A woman bought one of Liz's stuffed bunnies as well as one of my mother's mosaic lazy susans. And you're damn straight I talked her up. "This is one of my mother's pieces!" The woman gushed over how beautiful, yet functional it was and naturally I agreed. She asked how often she made them and told her "All the time! In fact, I just talked to her on the phone and she's making more right now!" Which was true. The lady said she'd go check on her daughters color scheme in her kitchen and probably come back to buy another for her.
I hear that all the time... at shows, when I have a booth right next to my mom. People say that "I have to go check the color scheme." And I wonder, are they telling the truth or are they just being nice and trying to make my mom feel good by making her think they're coming back to buy more when they really aren't? Either way, there's gotta be some way to... I don't know... help.
Maybe mom should invest in a polaroid camera (They still make those, right?), and she could take a picture of the pieces that the people think might match the color scheme, but aren't sure. And they could take it home to check. And for those people who are just BSing when they say that, maybe that nice gesture will make them really do what they say they'll do and it'll result in more sales.
Or, if they don't make polaroids anymore, maybe she could get the persons email address and send them a picture of the pieces they were interested in? I don't know.

Anyway, I'm glad I could make that sale for mom. And yes, I called her afterwards to tell her!
And then I called her again when the cash box didn't match up with what it should be. Don't look at me, my only sale was paid with credit card, I didn't touch the cash box! The cash is supposed to equal $55.75. But it was 15 cents more. I think what happened is that the person from the day before made a cash sale and made a mistake when counting out change... they left out one nickel and one dime for the customers change or something. Because when I came in, the morning person had only written "$55. " for the cash box total. I think she noticed the discrepancy and then intended to go back and count, but never did. Then, as Liz was training me, she noticed that and said, "Oh, well, that's supposed to be $55.75!" and wrote in the 75. So, my mom suggested I take a nickel and dime and put it in the daily sales envelope with a note. Brian thinks I should've just pocketed the 15 cents and called it a day! Heh. No.
Well, at least it was OVER and not under.
So, it wasn't so bad. I did get one stretch bracelet made while I was there. I tried some byzantine with the square wire rings I got... didn't work quite like it does with regular rings. Gonna have to play with it.
Anyway, enough rambling. Go buy something from my etsy store! ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Still Rockin' the Guild

I went to the Gallery today with my mom. She needed to pick up her check from the last show and I wanted to see what I had sold, as well as peruse the gallery to see how my items had been displayed.

Let me just say that I think the set-up committee does a wonderful job. They've got a nice assortment of items on each shelf. And this time, they organized it by color. One shelf would have all blue items (my blue neoprene stretch braclets were there), another would be all purples (my amethyst wiccan moon necklace and my amethyst cab earrings!), etc.

And then there was half of a shelf just for me! Had a good respresentation of my pieces there with a sign that said, "Welcome to our new Member! Susan Cunningham!" Woohoo!

Anyway, turns out I sold one more piece that same day. During the afternoon shift. So all in all, I sold three pairs of earrings, one bracelet and one hanging candle holder. So, I'm sitting here making more earrings! They're quick to make as long as I'm not distracted, and I can widen my profit margin more than on other pieces.

Still looking for those fish beads (Geez, I won't shut up about them, will I?). I found some on Etsy, but they don't match well enough to make earrings work. But the same seller also had those southwestern-style bear fetish beads. Which I like, as well. But again, they didn't match. But it's something I'd also like to try. I think it's the simplicity of the shape that attracts me. It's a simple shape, yet it's obvious what it is. Just like the fish.

Anyway, earrings it is!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pay Per Post

So, I'm a business owner. I've got a bottom line to worry about. Naturally, I rely on my sales to make money to put back into the business, right? Well, yes... but... when do I get paid? That't the whole point of a business, right?
HA! Nooo, *clears her throat and stands straight, hands folded* The point of a business is to provide the community the chance to experience pleasure and happiness through my items. It's all about the customer and making them happy.

Alright, alright, I'm not fooling anyone. I'm here to make money! And while so far, my sales have been enough to keep the business running without any other source of income, it's just barely enough. So how does one bring in extra money to the business besides making more sales?

I found Pay Per Post. It is this service that lets your blog make money for you. It's pretty cool, when you think about it. If you've got a blog and post regularly, why the hell not let it earn money for you? For example, I'm getting paid $20 for this post you're reading right now. And I would've more-than-likely posted about PayPerPost anyway! Seriously. That's no bull.

I've just started, though. This is my first post that I'm putting to work for me. But, there are so many other opportunities that I can take advantage of to make more money. I get to pick and choose what I want to post about. Then, I just make sure my post has all the requirements and links, and cha-ching! Money in my pocket.

It's pretty easy. It's decent money (not some low-end earnings like 2 cents per click). It's a no-brainer. I'm here posting anyway, might as well make it work for me. It's like an employee that pays me instead of me paying it. Can't beat that.

Oh, and they're pretty open about it too. They want everyone invovled to have access to full disclosure about the relationship between you, me and them. A sort of blog-love triangle. Heh, now you can tell people you've been involved in a menage-a trois. So anyway, here's their link to their word of mouth ethics.

Oh, and then there's this cool image to click on, too:
Click on it. Seriously! I got to pick the color and everything, so I made it just for you. Don't let me down.

Rock the Guild

This feels like the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
The new show at the Gallery hasn't even been open to the public for a week yet, and I've already sold four items. Those four items all sold in the same day, though. I'm not sure if that's better than them being spread out or not. I also don't know if they all sold to the same person.
Joan Hutten, the president of the guild was the Gallery sitter yesterday morning from 9-1. She left me a message saying that she had sold fur of my items that day. That's all.

Don't misinterpret the sarcasm. I'm very thankful that she called to tell me that. Very sweet of her since the sitters don't have to do that. She's just a sweetheart and thought I'd like to know, since this is my first show. But if I could look a gift horse in the mouth for a moment, it would have been very helpful to know things like: did they all sell to one person or multiple people throughout the morning? And most importantly, what was it that sold? Was it four of the same item? Was it a variety?
I'd like to know so I can get a feel for how it was sold. I won't get as excited over all four items going to one buyer as I would if four different people bought one item each. Also, if four of my stretch bracelets sold, I would want to make more.

Thing is... it is relatively easy to find all that out. I could just go to the Gallery and look it up in the sales book. Or, I could ask my Mom to check for me while she's there Monday morning and let me know then. Or, Brian said he might be able to swing by there on the way home today and go in and ask. Or, I could just wait a week when I go in for my first shift.

I don't want to wait until I go in, because I want to bring things to work on. Ideally, I would bring supplies to make replacements for the items that sold, so I'll need to know ahead of time so I know what to bring. So I think my best bet is to wait and see if Brian goes and/or when my Mom works on Monday.

So there you are. Very exciting. We'll have to see if it was a fluke or not. An anomaly, if you will. An outlier. Heh. No way man, my stuff rocks.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Appropriate Quotes

Someone on my chainmaille discussion forum had some interesting quotes in his signature. Thought I'd share them here.

"A man who works with his hands is a laborer. A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman. A man who works with his hands, his brain and his heart is an artist."-- Louis Nizer

"I love to hear myself write..." ---Joss Whedon

I don't know who Louis Nizer is. Perhaps I should. I DO know who Joss Whedon is, however. Haven't read his writing, but I do enjoy his television show. Shame it got cancelled.
I can relate to his quote, though, I don't hear myself write as much as I SEE what I write. I can see it in my head as I write. Maybe all writers do? I don't know. I DO hear dialogue, though, I suppose. I hear inflection and emphasis, and some times I hear what the characters voice sounds like.
Though... there is a certain character in our book that I can't ever seem to hear. His voice is deep and soothing, but I still can't hear it. Bothers me a little.

Anyway, as for Louie's quote... I realized the other day that I consider myself an artist now. I haven't been able to do that before, but now it comes relatively easily. I like that. It's not that I have changed what I make or how I make things, but just that I take it much more seriously now. There is a lot more... heart in what I do.
And not just the jewelry itself. I was making item tags and earring cards the other day. I was very proud of how they came out and I was proud that I made them myself, rather than purchase them commercially. I think things like that can help you project more professionality, but since they're handmade, it reminds people that the jewelry is handmade as well.

Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's Go Time

I almost forgot! Today is July 3rd. Today is the first day of the new show in the Gallery, and it opened at 1pm after set-up today! My items are to be featured for the next two months!!!
Well, that means that I have accomplished half of one of my goals, already. My goal was to have my items on display and/or for sale at two brick and mortar stores/galleries. One down, one to go!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Busy Work

I've been busy working. Early on next week I will need to bring my items to the Gallery for display and sale. I've been busy making earring cards, item tags and items! This will continue throughout the weekend, but I just felt like I need to post something here to keep up with the blog.

So, I'll show you the new earrings I made. They're in the spirit of the Pink Fish Earrings. Like the pink fish beads, I've had these cute charms hanging around. I got them out of a clearance bin at the craft store. They were pre-made charm bracelets. Cheap bracelets, nice charms, so I bought them thinking to use the charms for something. Well, conveniently enough, there were two of each type of charm. Perfect for earrings!

There are three other pairs that are similar... one has a ladybug on a leaf, one is a ladybug on a yellow flower, and the other is just a flower. I plan on posting one other set on Etsy and the other two will go to the Gallery.

I'm getting pretty excited about having my stuff in the Gallery. Though, I'm not excited about the commission they're going to take if I sell something. 25%. And there are no more shifts left to work for this show so, I can't work it down at all. Oh well. That'll teach me to wait to sign up for those extra shifts.

Back to work!!

Friday, June 20, 2008


I made this necklace a long time ago. Okay, I guess it's more like a choker of sorts. It's 18" long, like most of my other necklaces, but, it's heavier and bigger than my other necklaces which makes it more like a choker.

It's also meant to be worn as a bondage/fetish piece... making it a ...choker. It closes with a padlock, rather than a standard clasp. It's got a key. Ideally, one would wear it and then one would give the key to their partner, dom, whatever.

No, I'm not into that sort of thing. But I was at the hardware store and saw the two-pack of small, gold-tone padlocks and was inspired to make a necklace like this. So I did. That was... oh... two years ago?

Yeah, this thing has been sitting on my studio table for that long. No, I don't bring it to craft shows. The sort of people at those things don't buy stuff like that. And the people who DO buy stuff like that would most likely ask me if I could make something like that, given the nature of my work (chainmaille... chains... get it?). But they haven't. So it sits.

I also wouldn't dare to bring this to the Gallery to try to sell. The sort of people that frequent the gallery would never buy something like this. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they refused to display it if I did bring it. I also wouldn't be surprised if they revoked my membership if I brought something like this to the Gallery!

Anyway, Etsy seemed the perfect place. There's no censorship there and all sorts of people buy and sell. I'm sure it'll get some sort of lovin' on Etsy.

Free Shipping!

Okay, so the Yart Sale thing didn't quite pan out for me. But I am going to continue to offer free shipping for the first five orders placed in my store.
I understand that it takes a leap of faith to order something from a store with no sales, so I'm rewarding that trust with free shipping.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm SO in.

So, I just got back from having my work juried to be accepted (or rejected) into the Artisans United Gallery. I dressed nicely, but not overly so. I put my hair up, put on my best smile and stood there showcasing several representative pieces of my work to five women in their mid 60s.
I explained how I open, weave, and close each ring by hand. I explained all the materials that I work with. I explained how I anodize my own titanium. I explained aspect ratio and how it is key to the final look of the piece.

Then, after a short period of me waiting out in the hallway while they discussed my future, they explained to me how happy they would be to have me in the Gallery. They totally loved my work. In fact, the one lady taking down the review notes and comments gave up trying to write all the glowing praise that was coming from each review board member and just ended up writing "Excellent!!" and "Beautiful work!" with arrows to extend those comments across all categories for each piece.

I signed up to work my first four shifts for the first show. I'd like to work more to earn a decreased commission percentage, but until my schedule frees up in August, that won't be possible. Besides, the available shifts were slim pickings for this next show. I assume there will be more to choose from for later shows.

So now I need to get some items ready for the Gallery! I need to have them there by 5pm on July 2nd. I'm so excited! I have no idea what I'll bring! Lots of stretch bracelets (gotta make more of those!), some pendants, wine skirts (and those!), hanging candle holders, and of course, a smattering of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and finger rings. Huh. Guess I DO have an idea of what I'll bring.

So there we go. One of my goals is half acheived! I can't wait to see how successful it will be.
As a treat for my new guild membership, I shall post a link.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Nephew!

Welcome to Thomas Warren Anderson! Born today, June 14, 2008 at 9:04am, 7lbs 8oz.

Now, I usually think that most newborns are ugly. In fact, if I tell you your baby is cute, then I mean it! And I think that I can honestly say that I'm not terribly biased about this baby, just because he's my nephew. My brother and I have always been the jokers and he would agree that I would have no problem telling even him that his baby is ugly.

This child is gorgeous. His head is a little misshapen, but, I guess most babies have that at first (except the C-section babies). And his fingers are long and wrinkly. So, there. See? That's honest.

Anyway, nothing to do with my jewelry or writing, but I just had to brag!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Getting Juried!

So I finally called to schedule a jury to look at my stuff. Wasn't necessarily due to laziness that I put it off. I honestly would tell myself in the morning to do it. But I thought that even though I know the lady works from home, I should wait until later in the day. Thinking it might be too early to call before 9am. But then I'd forget, because something or someone distracted me. And when I remembered it'd be dinner time and I'm NOT calling someone when there's a chance I'd interrupt dinner. And then I'd forget again after that. Next morning, lather, rinse, repeat.

But I finally remembered to call this morning! Spoke with Kathy. She's very nice and seems very excited to see my work. She said that they normally would have had a jury meeting already scheduled for this coming Wednesday. But since no one needed to be juried, they didn't schedule it. But she said she's so excited about seeing my stuff that she's going to immediately call all the jury members and make sure they come Wednesday after all. Nice!

So, I just gotta get stuff together. Clean it up, maybe run it through the tumbler. Whew. I'm excited!

Wednesday, June 18th, 7:30pm. Jury Day.

Oh, and I found a blog that lists all the etsy sellers that accept RME. Submitted my info for inclusion. Yay, RME!

To Yart or Not to Yart...?

Etsy is full of catchy (and kitschy) slang. "Destash." "I hearted you!" "PIF"

I promised myself I wouldn't adopt any of it. Well, it wasn't really a promise, just a internal decision not to use any of it. Especially not in any of my listings or descriptions, shop wording, etc. Not that I think it's stupid, or unintelligent. It's kind of cute. But I'm not guaranteed that my customers will know what "destash" is. So, rather than alienate and confuse them, I just decided to avoid the slang.
But there's an event going on now, started by a seller. She calls it a Yart Sale. Combining the words yard and art. The idea is for sellers to participate in the Yart Sale and offer discounts or other attractive offers.

Well, I haven't had any sales. And while I'm forcing myself to remain patient and knowing that it is a rare occurrance for people to make sales within the first two weeks of their shop opening, I decided a little promotion certainly couldn't hurt.

So, I joined the Yart Sale and I'm offering free shipping on all orders received during the sale... which is going on now through June 20th.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gut Instinct

Well, I posted another item. It's my Bronze Belt. I had pictures taken of it while wearing it. But my shirt was covering parts of the belt. So I tried to hold it out of the way, but that just looked silly. Ended up just going with pulling my shirt out of the frame. Looks better than having my hands holding my shirt up... made it look like I was in the process of stripping it off! Figured just omit it from the picture altogether.

I hope it's not too.... tacky. My gut out there for all to see. Bleh.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Fishing LURE

Okay, so I'm really digging my earrings that I made (see below). But, I can't find any more of these fish beads anywhere! At least not ones I like.
I'm finding tons that have the hole drilled down through the length of the fish. I don't want that! I want the hole drilled through the eye (believe it or not, I do believe it's more aesthetically pleasing that way).
I'm also finding mostly glass beads. I prefer gemstone beads. Why? Well, I think it's a higher quality material than glass. And if I HAVE to have them drilled down the length instead of through the eye, I don't want to be able to see the drilled hole through the glass. Gemstones are opaque for the most part so you can't see the hole.

The pink fish shown below are ones I got from Fire Mountain in a grab bag sort of thing. But I can't find them now. They sell glass ones but they look pressed and... cheap.

I think I've decided to fire up my lampworking torch again and try to make them myself. Yes, I know I said I didn't really want glass. But I'd use boro in all those pretty colors and they'd be handmade and thus.... better than commercially made glass beads.

But I'm giving it one last try. My fishing lure is cast. Does ANYONE know where I can find beads like the ones below?
1.5 - 2cm Gemstone fish beads with the hole drilled through the eye.

Fishing Lure

I've had these rose quartz fish beads laying around for years now. I always thought they were cute and I should do something with them. So I did.

There are two of them, so the natural choice would be a pair of earrings. I thought the simple design of the fish and the pleasant but unassuming light pink color could use a little pizazz (there's a word I've never typed before).

I've got Swarovski crystals and now that I can make my own, there's no reason to hoard those head pins.

So, this is what I came up with:

(Click image for full size.)

Cute huh? Yeah, I think so too. If I wore pink... or earrings for that matter, I'd wear 'em myself. But alas, I don't, so I shall sell them.
Problem is, where?

Pretty soon I will have three different venues where I sell my jewelry: Craft Shows, Etsy, and the AU Gallery. I need to decide which items I think will sell best in each.
For example, my Arched Necklace. It's a large and pricey piece. I think it would be more likely to sell on Etsy, or at a craft show than at the Gallery. The gallery tends to have more "crafty" items in it, rather than "fine art" items. Now, who knows, maybe the people who shop there have been waiting for something more sophisticated. But my guess is not so much.

These earrings, I think would do well at any of the venues. So, while I think the majority of my items leans towards the more sophisticated class, I need to start setting aside (and creating more) items that would do well in the Gallery.
So, unless someone comes forth and says they absolutely must have these earrings and could I please put them in a reserved listing on Etsy for them, I think I'm going to save them for the Gallery.

Why not just make more? Yeah, I've considered that. Thing is, I don't have any more fish! Well, I have one, a clear glass one. But one fish does not a pair of earrings make. And I can't seem to find any more, even at the place where I got them from.
We shall first find out how these fish fare 'fore I forage for future fish.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Etsian Linkage

Are you a fellow Etsian with a blog of your own? Want your blog to be listed in my link section?


You'll find I'm pretty accomodating.
I don't require that you link my blog to yours in return. But if you want people to think you're nice, you would.

Money saved.

So, considering I'm planning to cut way back on hours at my "real" job, I've been trying to find ways to save money. Mostly around the house... using coupons, turning off the shower water while I lather up or shave, not buying non-necessities like this Honest Tea Pomegranate White Tea that I simply love. Have you tried it?! Oh my god, it's so refreshing and clean tasting! I don't know if that's a factor of it being white tea or if it's something else they do in the brewing proces---

Heh. I digress.
Anyway. I've always wondered if I could make my own silver headpins. I like the ones with the balls on the end. Which is perfect, because you'd think those would be the easiest to make on my own, right?
Wrong. Erm... I mean, right! They really are easy. I just sat down with my little torch and a few 1.5" segments of fine silver wire (24g) and made four balled headpins in 30 seconds. Sweet! I think I'd rather use sterling though... so I did a little comparison.
My supplier sells a 1 oz. roll of 24g half-hard sterling wire for $24.50. Another supplier I use sells 24g half-hard 1.25" head pins at $10.32 per pack of 50. According to my math (and math never has been my strong point), I can make the same kind of head pins for ~$4 per 50. That's huge savings! Even if I bought 7 packs of head pins from that place (which is about how many I could get from that roll of wire), they'd still cost me $8-something. So, at the very least, I'm saving $4 per 50 head pins I make.
What's $4, you say. Well... a gallon of gas. I dunno! Shut up! It's money saved, alright? It adds up! Besides, the feeling of accomplishment I get from knowing I made them myself is priceless.

The other decision I'd need to make is would I try to manufacture these headpins to sell? But that decision requires more research than I've done at this point, so, that's all you get for this post.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mas tiempo

Lots of it. I need more time to get serious about my jewelry business. So, I'm cutting WAY back on my hours at work. I'd already gone part time simply because I couldn't stand to be at that place for more than three or four days a week. But, starting August, I will be going to a schedule that's something like one weekend every three weeks. I'll still be bringing in some money, I'll still get my discount and paid CE, I'll still have my foot in the door just in case.

So, to make sure I stay focused, I've listed a few goals that I'd like to accomplish, or come close to accomplishing within a years time.

1) I'd like to have my jewelry placed in at least two brick and mortar shops or galleries. I'm already working on one gallery. I just need to get juried and accepted, which shouldn't be much of a problem. Unless they're holding out on me, I have yet to see any jewelry in that gallery that is at all similar to mine.

2) I'd like to sell 200 items. I originally had a dollar amount I wanted to reach, but for some reason I chose this goal instead. I'm not sure which would be easier to reach, or which is more realistic. My items vary in price, so I could sell only twenty high-priced items to easily reach a monetary goal, but fall very short of the item quantity goal. Likewise, I could sell 300 low-priced items and still not make very much money. Perhaps I should do both, and say "whichever comes first!"

3) I need to find my "niche". I want to expand my jewelry to include something truly unique or popular. I had some ideas for this, but the more I look at what other people are doing, the more I realize I need something even MORE unique. I think I might have to expand my repertoire of techniques, which would require some sort of schooling.

There are a few other smaller goals... better booth display, nicer business cards, etc. But I figure those are more of things I just need to DO, rather than work towards. Capice?

New Toy Chew Toy

Apparently, blogging is the thing to do.
Apparently, everyone's got one.
Apparently, it helps get the word out about what you do.
Apparently, I'm one of the few people remaining without a blog.


Okay, that's not true. I've got a blog. I've got two blogs, actually. One right here on Blogger. Yeah, well, this one is going to by my "professional" blog.

This is where I will discuss my doings. My creative juices. My attempt to be remembered for what I make and what I do.

What do I make and do?
I make jewelry.
I write. I try to write anyway. Oh damn, wait, I take that back. There is no "try", only "do". A wise man whom I respect deeply once told me that. No, he isn't short and green. Though, he is bald. And he IS a Jedi Knight. He's also the one with whom I am writing.

So yeah, this is the place where I will talk about those things. Just remember I didn't invite you here, you came of your own free will. And if I did invite you here, well, that probably means I respect your opinion. I'll write another post while your shock wears off.