Well, the largest craft show I participate in was this past weekend. Despite unexpected snow, there was a great turnout and I did fantastic! This has been my best show ever. Ever! I've done this specific show for 4 years now and this one was by far the best.
First, I want to thank Rob. He was a saint. He helped tremendously. Even when I didn't expect him to help. If I was busy with a customer and another customer wanted to make a purchase, he stepped up and helped them. He even made a few pieces right there in the booth during slower moments.
I had several return customers, which is always wonderful. I usually don't get to see my pieces again once I sell them. So when a return customer appears and they're wearing what they had previously bought, it makes it that much more special.
I even got another visit from "The Harmonica Guy". He had visited my booth last year. He's an eccentric guy who plays the harmonica. He told me he takes great joy in going to these craft shows and speaking with artisans and commissioning them to make him a harmonica holder using their specific craft. He's always wearing several of them on his person when I see him. Last year he didn't commission one from me because he had just recently purchased one in chainmail. But this year, we struck a deal! We discussed design details and color and size and all the good stuff and decided upon a price. He even gave me a harmonica to use while I'm making it, so I know if it is the correct size or not. I didn't get a deposit from him up front, and I know I should have. If he backs out of this, it's not like I can easily sell a personalized harmonica holder to someone else. But, I figure I have his harmonica! So, unless it's one that he doesn't care about, I'm pretty sure he'll keep up his end of the deal. Right now, I'm waiting for my supplier to begin production on the rings I want to use for it. We had agreed upon aluminum rings and black anodized aluminum rings. But when I got home from the show that day, I noticed that my supplier had started making black anodized niobium rings. I would much rather use those than the anodized aluminum because in my experience the color layer flakes off very easily with the aluminum. The niobium will be much more durable. Once my supplier starts making it in the ring size I need, I will contact the Harmonica Guy and suggest the new material.
I was also ambushed into joining a local guild. The Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild is something I had thought of joining years ago. But I didn't because, at the time, they seemed to have requirements (as far as booth set up) that I couldn't afford to comply with. My mother is a member of this guild (and also the vendor in the booth next to me at this show). She's been trying to get me to join forever. I would love to join because this guild runs several shows a year, all of which are very successful. It is very very difficult to get into one of those shows without being a member. The vendor in the booth across from me at this show is the current president of the guild. My mother recruited her to come over to my booth and coerce me into joining the guild. They say that even though most shows are saturated with jewelry vendors, my stuff is very very unique. They said I would be a shoe-in to be juried into the guild as well as getting into most of the shows. So I caved and agreed to join. I just need to find time to sit down and look through the website to see what I need to do. It also means I'll probably be buying a booth display... i.e. pipe and drape walls. They assured me that I didn't need to do that right away, but I probably will anyway, especially since I did so well at this show.
So, there it is. My last show of the year and it was a huge success, complete with a commission as well as recruitment. A good time was had by all.
Okay, so that new craft I was going to attempt... mentioned it in my last blog post... remember? Well, I bit the bullet and ordered a smattering of supplies. Smattering. What a word. It doesn't sound very pleasant. Kind of like a combination of "smelly" and "splattering". Like diarrhea. "Wow, after I ate that kung pao chicken, I experienced the worst smattering in recent times."
Okay, that's gross. I'm done digressing and I apologize for it.
Anyway, my supplies are on their way and I'm wicked excited about it! They're actually on a FedEx truck right now en route to my apartment. Any moment now, it will be delivered. Thank goodness today is a short day at work. I fully plan to go home and check out all my goodies. Maybe even make something!
It's really pathetic how eager I am for it to arrive, even though I'm not there yet to open it. Seriously, it's lunch break at work and I'm sitting here playing on the web and I've got a browser tab open to the tracking page on the FedEx site. I keep refreshing the page every now and then hoping that the status will change from "In Transit" to "Delivered". Gotta love package tracking.
So yeah, keep an eye out for another update after I've had a chance to play with everything. I really think I'm going to go ahead and do this. I've already created a banner for my future new Etsy shop. I actually think I like it more than the banner for my current Etsy shop! But like a good business woman, I'm going to take my time researching, experimenting and perfecting before I offer anything to the public. Patience, my dearies.
So, I've come to crossroads with my business. Actually, it's more of a self-imposed fork... or even a branch. It could be because I don't have time to list items and promote as much as I should, but I'm not seeing as much attention/sales in my Etsy shop as I would like to. So I've been trying to think of ways to bring more customers in.
Alright, I should explain the REAL reason. Got time?
I am at a point in my "real" job/career where I think I'm burnt out. I need a change. Long story short, I thought about buying a bakery franchise and having fun with that. And I think I would. But my boyfriend pointed out that I would have to be there EVERY DAY, even on weekends, and would I enjoy it enough to do that? So, without intending to, he basically talked me out of it. Instead, I would like to go back to my original dream of quitting my job and just focusing on my own business. The problem is, selling jewelry doesn't get you many return customers. Don't get me wrong, I DO have repeat customers and I love them dearly and appreciate their business. But I just don't get as many as, say, a candle shop, or a seller of baked goods. My product is not "consumable". People don't buy come back for more because the first one is used up. So I've been thinking of things that I am good at (or would be good at) making. Things I enjoy myself. Consumable things. I am still trying to think of something jewelry related, but until I am hit with that stroke of genius, I'm considering some non-jewelry related items. Of course, then the question becomes: Do I create a new Etsy shop for the new items or just try to sell them along with my jewelry? Because I am not looking to replace my jewelry (though, if the new stuff sells well enough, maybe I will!) and the point of it is to get customers in the shop more frequently, so perhaps I will just add the new stuff to the jewelry and if it really takes off, I can set up another store.
I'm probably going to keep the details and specifics to myself for the time being. I don't want to make it public and then end up not doing it. I'd feel like a royal ass. I guess I'm just thinking out loud here, and wondering if anyone has come across a similar situation. I'm sure there has.
Then there's another part of me that thinks I just need to list more jewelry. Add more things that I've got waiting in the wings. I just wish I had the time for that. Of course, you could say, "Well, if you don't have time for that, then how on earth are you going to have time for this new, special, secret stuff?" Well, so far, this new, special, secret stuff is something that can be made easily. Photographs are not key, so I don't have to wait for a day off with good lighting. So that's another positive of the new, special, secret stuff: it doesn't require as much time as my jewelry does.
Anyway, I do have plans to purchase a small quantity of supplies and materials for the creation of the new, special, secret stuff, to give it a try. So eventually there will/might/should be a blog post about the experimentation. Stay tuned!
My mom was invited to sell her products (she does mosaics, etc.) at a crafting open house at a local office building. Don't ask me how that works out... a craft show at an office building? I've heard of it before, so I guess it works. Anyway, the organizer said she wanted my stuff there too, but didn't have space, so she invited my mother to have some of my items at her table. I gave her a handful of bracelets, and necklaces, as well as several of my Starflake tree ornaments.
My inventory has been pretty strong up to now. But, if the majority of those items sell at the open house, I'm gonna have to really haul ass to fill in the gaps for the big holiday show coming up during the first week of December. I'm going to work on as many pieces as I can until then anyway.
Thanksgiving shouldn't be too much of a distraction, even though I'm needing to make three desserts to bring. Hmm, had I thought of it, I would have taken a few days off before the show to really buckle down and make some items. Oh well, wish me luck! I think...
Well, that Gift Guide button is gone. Etsy apologized and confessed it didn't think about how it might affect the influx of customers to people's shops.
Sure, I'm glad. What I'm NOT glad about is being a part of a community where some/most of its members fly off the handle so ridiculously. I know I can behave rashly on occasion, but c'mon people! That's the beauty of the internet. You can write something and take time to think about it before sending it. I bet 90% of those people would have never behaved as they did or said what they did if they were saying it in person. I guess that's the downfall of the internet as well... people say things without thinking about the actual person with feelings that's behind what they're mad at.
I wonder how it was decided to put that button on there. Was it one persons idea? I bet they call out of work the next few days. Probably feel like an ass.
I'm debating on whether or not I even want to bring up the recent development of, and the volatile response to the addition of the Gift Guide button on Etsy storefronts.
But seeing as how I just did, I guess I'll just give my opinion while I'm at it.
I agree with most of the angry people. Etsy can do what they want with their site. That's the ultimate point, I guess. But they have given us our own space to list our items. We pay them to list our items. We pay them when those items sell. Seems like a fair deal. Up until now, that space that they gave us was nice and cozy and we were allowed to do with it what we wanted. Etsy has fun coming up with guides and articles and showcases and treasuries and labs and educational stuff. They've got links to that stuff all over the place. EXCEPT on our pages. Sure, you could get to any of those places from our pages, but it wasn't in your face, so our pages could continue to be our cozy little storefront where we did our best to greet our customers with quality, handmade items in the hopes that they would stay and browse and buy something. But the addition of this Gift Guide button is a little bit of an intrusion. And to make it so obvious and garish just intrudes even more. All the work we did in our store (as well as the endless work we do outside of our store to get customers IN our store) is for nothing because now those customers are lured away by this glowing beacon of a button. A poster in the forums had a good analogy. She compared it to two vendors at a craft show. She said it wouldn't be fair for one vendor to put a neon sign that advertised her booth in the other vendors booth. It would be even more unfair if the sign-placing vendor was getting paid by the other vendor to have a booth there. So, basically, I agree with all the angry people. Having said that, I could present the alternative and much less popular view: It's Etsy's site. They can do with it what they want. We only pay them for two things: 1)the ability to list an item for sale. 2) The code for the checkout process.
We don't pay them for all the nice little conveniences they create for us to make listing our item easier. We don't pay them for all the work they do behind the scenes creating things that they think will bring buyers to the site. I would go so far as to say that we don't even really pay them for the page that we call our store. We just pay them for the space it takes to show the item listing itself. Everything around that (the sections, the hearts counter, the feedback system, the conversation system, our profile, our policies, our favorites, the banners and avatars, featured items, vacation mode, batch sorting and shipping, forums and chat, etc.) is extra. Our $0.20 is for the listing only. The 3.5% of the sale price is for the checkout process. If they really wanted us to be able to completely customize our store appearance, then they'd make it like Blogspot and make every aspect of it customizeable. But they don't. Everyone's shop looks the same. Why?
It's our ITEMS that are meant to attract the customer. Not a customizeable layout. Not a colorful background that we made ourselves. Not embedded music or a news feed. This is not Facebook. This is not Twitter. This is not MySpace. This is not Blogspot. This is Etsy. It's where people come to buy our handmade items, not the "handmade" website on which they're sold. If our items can't keep the attention of our customer and prevent them from straying off to that orange button in the upper corner, then there's something wrong with our items.
So for all those people that are boycotting Etsy, and refusing to list or relist or renew items because they don't want to give Etsy any money until they remove that Gift Guides button because they say it's ruining their sales, I have some advice. You'd likely have a better case if you continued as you normally would. Because if that Gift Guides button truly does negatively affect your sales, you need to be able to prove it. You need to be able to say, "Look, I did what has proven to generate sales in my shop in the past, but ever since you added that button, my sales have plummetted." If you have always renewed, relisted, or listed and you suddenly stop, who's to say that THATs not the reason your sales have dropped?
So quit bitching, people. I'm guessing that if you stopped wasting time complaining in the forums and used that time to promote your store, make more items, take better pictures, and just relax, you'd keep making sales. Possibly even more than normal.
It's that time of year again! My Starflakes are pretty popular at the Wakefield show and I'm in Starflake-making mode. I just hope I can make enough to be able to list some on Etsy as well.
They're about 1.5" in diameter and are made with anodized aluminum. I've got lots of fun colors. I'm actually trying to figure out an easy way to give my Etsy customers ideas of what colors are available so they can customize their own ornament.
I call them Starflakes because I can't decide if they look like snowflakes or stars.
Not much to blog about today. Just a few little bits...
I'm planning to start working on some items with turquoise in them. I've already got a bracelet made with some Swarovski accents in turquoise tones. I've also got some turqouise beads that worked perfectly in my flower chain items from several months ago. The reason I'm focusing on Turquoise is because it is (one of) December's birthstones and rumor has it, Etsy will be posting items with turquoise in them for their December shopping guide.
I also would like to get some photos of my Starflake ornaments. I might just make a listing on Etsy for them. The thing is, they come in tons of different colors and color combinations, so I'll have to figure out a way to show the color choices and have the customers design their own. Another problem is that my Starflakes sell pretty well at the Wakefield show I'm doing in early December and so it'll be tough to make enough to sell in both places. I'll have to get Rob working on more for me, as well as bring some rings to work on during my lunch break at the hospital.
Satin rattail cord, sterling silver chainmaille tassle. It turned out pretty darn close to what I had envisioned. I had thought to add some Swarovski crystals to accentuate the color in the glass, but once I got to this point, it seemed like they would have just seemed like an afterthought. Besides, considering the bead is the focal point, the color and sparkle of the crystals would have pulled attention away from it.
I'm rather happy with it! Now... to decide what to do with it...
So I mentioned in an earlier post about a wonderful artist, Nomad Crafts, who sends out monthly newsletters as well as a free lampworked bead to anyone on their mailing list. Considering my latent passion for lampworking, I quickly added my name to said mailing list.
Well, a week ago, my first bead arrived!
Ain't she a beaut? I was pleasantly surprised when this little gem arrived in my mailbox for free. Most places that have free giveaways like that only giveaway items that are substandard or unsellable. Maybe this artist has very high standards, which is fine, but this bead is not what I would consider freebie fodder. It is obviously thought out and planned to look the way it does. Sure, if I HAD to I could try to pick out a few things about it that might not be considered perfect. But then again, who am I to judge with only 10 hours of any sort of lampworking experience under my belt?
So anyway, I am assuming (hoping) that Nomad Crafts will continue to send me specimens like this and my intention (hope/plan/pipedream?) is to make something using each of the monthly tokens and send pictures of the finished item back to Nomad Crafts.
There is a tiny dilemma amidst this project... Is it ethical for me to sell some of the items I make with thsee free beads? I have every intention of providing as many links as I can to Nomad's etsy shop in the descriptions of these items. I also plan to blog about each month's project (like I'm doing now) which is helping promote Nomad's business. But since I obtained the bead for free, is it then unethical to turn it around and sell it for money? I suppose I could always ask Nomad how they felt about it. Perhaps they would prefer I didn't use their giveaways to make into items to sell. Perhaps they would prefer if I didn't blog about them at all!
Well, we'll see how the finished project turns out this month. I wouldn't dare try to sell an item that didn't turn out well for fear of linking Nomad's shop with an inferior product. I'm not even sure what I want to do with it. One idea was to string it on some satin rattail cord and add a small chainmail embellishment underneath, probably with some Swarovski crystals to compliment the colors used in the bead. But would it be a pendant on a long corded necklace or should I attach a clip to make it a zipper pull or other such adornment?
If I had more folks that regularly read this blog, I could turn it into a contest... Readers could suggest ideas and whomever submitted the winning idea would receive the finished item as a prize. Would that I had that many readers, else we would all benefit from such an idea.
I could also have a contest for people to suggest a name for this idea of turning the monthly beads into an accessory or jewelry item. For now I'm calling it the Homeless Bead Project. Even though, the bead has a home now. It had a home before. But the previous home decided that perhaps the bead could have a better life if they sent it out into the world. I just want to fulfill that beads destiny.
So I just created a Facebook Fan Page for Iron Dog Metalsmiths. Man, I think I'm too old to figure out how that site works. It took me forever just to figure out how to edit my page once I created it. I still don't have it done/ready. I've got it linked to Twitter, so hopefully, I won't have to worry about updating BOTH place, just the one.
My wonderful friend, Nora, has already become a fan. Perhaps I should get a few lessons from her... How to Navigate Facebook 101.
I'd put a link to the Page, but I'm not sure I'd even know how to do that correctly. So, until I figure it out, just go to Facebook and search for Iron Dog Metalsmiths. And if you can.... HELP ME!
Well, the show was a reasonable success. I made back my booth fee and then some, so that counts as a success in my books. Lots of people took business cards and seemed genuinely interested in visiting my websites. Most people ask for a card just to be polite and use it as an out without buying anything. But lots of people who took cards really seemed intent on visiting my site.
Also had a few people take the cards that I had made up to advertise my next show. Lots of them said something like, "Oh, I'll be in that area at that time!" or "My sister lives there and she would love this stuff."
Maybe I'm deluding myself, but whatever.
I got a picture of my booth.
Oh, and here's a product review for you: I recently bought a Verizon USB Mobile Broadband modem with the intention of bringing my laptop to shows to process credit cards on the spot. Verizon has a deal called a DayPass where you pay $15 for 24 hours of access. This would be used instead of having a 1 or 2 year contract and paying $20-40 per month for it. The DayPass is perfect since I only need it every so often for shows. Well, unless you plan on signing up for a contract, you have to buy the modem at full retail price. For this model, that price was $170. Then, once you're ready to use it, you call an 800 to sign up for a DayPass. Well, if it's the first time doing so, you also have to activate the thing, which costs another $25. (For you number people, we're already up to $210 for the first use.)
So, the night before the show, I call to activate the thing and sign up for the DayPass. She takes my information and my credit card number and tells me to wait 30 minutes so it all can be entered into the system and then the modem should work. She gave me an order number and an application number (whatever that is). She said if it didn't work, to call back and they'd find out why. I waited 45 minutes and it didn't work. So I called back. Long story short, I spent over 2 hours on the phone with tech support. They had nothing in their system about me or my modem. The phone number that the original lady had assigned to my modem kept coming back as a number for a deactivated cell phone account. Basically, they were as dumbfounded and frustrated as I was. So I asked if maybe we couldn't just start over and reactivate the thing all over again. The guy thought that might work, so he said he'd transfer me to someone who could do that. Well, she couldn't. She told me I had to call Sales during their business hours to do that. So, I hung up without any sort of solution. The next morning was the show. The show opened its doors at noon and I was finished setting up my booth at 11am. But, I was still frustrated from the night before and just decided to give up on the modem for that show and worry about it later. But my boyfriend loves a computer challenge so he pulls out my laptop and plugs in the modem. Go figure, it worked instantly. We're guessing that since it was late in the day when I initially called, the techs decided to wait until the morning to set me up. It worked perfectly. I was able to process all my credit card transactions right there and then, get confirmation right there and then and have peace of mind that I'd be paid and not have to deal with rejected cards hours after the sale.
Do I recommend this product? Absolutely. Do I have faith in Verizon's customer service and technical support? Eh... the jury is still out. Was/Is it worth the cost? More than likely. At my larger shows, I get lots of credit card sales. So far, I've only had one card be rejected when I went to process it from home after the show. But now, I won't have to worry about that at all. It doesn't take any more time than the way I used to do it. I know that it really won't have paid for itself until I get $200 worth of sales that would have otherwise been rejected due to a bad card. I don't forsee that happening in the near future, but until it does, I do think it is worth the peace of mind.
Also, I'd like to give props to my MacBook for lasting through the whole 6-hour show. In fact, the charge on the battery only dropped to 78% by the time the show was over. I just put it to sleep after a transaction. Sure, I did have to reconnect the modem after doing so, but that wasn't that much of a problem. Only takes 10-15 seconds to do that. Perhaps I will rethink replacing my MacBook with a netbook since the Mac did much better than I thought it would.
Well it rained. It IS raining. So Barktoberfest will be held tomorrow. It is supposed to be sunny all day. Hopefully no wind. Mid 60's. Not too bad.
Check back tomorrow evening. Hopefully I'll have time and energy to give a quick blurb about the show. If not, then definitely on Monday.
Also, I received my Bead of the Month from Nomad Crafts. I am pleasantly surprised! I figured it'd be a small bead or maybe a reject. A bead that didn't turn out well. And maybe it is a bead that didn't turn out well. Perhaps the artist had a specific image in mind for this bead and this one didn't quite match it. Either way, to me, it's a rather nice bead! Quite large at about an inch in diameter. I already have ideas for what to do with it.
So check back after Tuesday night and hopefully I'll have some pictures of the bead itself, and maybe pictures of what I did with it!
It hasn't actually started raining yet, but it's supposed to. This evening through the night with 90% of thunderstorms all day tomorrow. Looks like that rain date for the Barktoberfest show will be necessary.
It makes me wonder what I should do tomorrow. I'm all ready for the show (or will be once I get home tonight) so there's nothing left to do. Maybe I will take my boyfriend out as a pre-show thank you for coming with me. I'd take pictures of some items to list, but cloudy and rainy days do not make for good lighting.
Man, I always get giddy for shows. It's fun to interact with people. It's fun to be creating something right there in my booth and have people ask questions or ooh and ahh over it. This time especially it'll be fun to see how my boyfriend handles it all since this'll be the first time he's come to a show with me.
Don't get me wrong, the money is nice, too. But there have been shows where I barely broke even with my booth fees, and I keep coming back, so it isn't just the Benjamins. Besides, I have been doing this for six years and I have yet to give myself a paycheck because all the money just goes right back into my business. It is starting to level out, though... I suppose I've just had an extended start-up period and now finally I'm able to enjoy the return on my efforts, rather than just investing it back into something else I need.
This show will be fun, too. It benefits a local animal adoption organization, so it is for a good cause. The hospital I work at will have a booth there, so my coworkers will get to see me in action.
Oh, I suppose I should plug the show itself!
Barktoberfest will be this Saturday (Oct. 24th) so long as it doesn't rain. If it does, and it looks like it might, the festival will be the next day, Sunday the 25th. Admission is free. Friendly dogs are welcome. There'll be live bands, doggie games, silent auction, and many other vendors besides myself. Noon to 6pm.
Well, the Twitter thing is working out, I suppose. No sales since I joined and I totally expected that. My problem is I don't have enough time in the day. I'd like to be able to get pictures of more items so I can list more, rather than just relist the stuff I already have pictures of. Sure, I have two hours of lunch break where I can sit here and follow Twitter and forums and this blog, but because I'm not able to create new listings, or take new pictures, I have nothing new to report in these places. I have yet to post a Tweet about a new listing because I haven't made any new listings. And that's one of the big reasons I joined Twitter. Really, the only thing I am able to do here on my lunch break (especially with the internet connection being as slow as it is) is create more items. Which is fantastic, don't get me wrong. I'm sure many people don't even have that luxury.
I suppose that I'm just going to have to wait until these next two shows are over. Then I will have time to take pictures and the like. As it is now, any spare time I have at home is spent getting my inventory ready and creating signage and checking my supplies/displays, etc.
And since I don't have anything new to report, all I can post about is depressing stuff like this! Sheesh.
I know, I know, a heart isn't a sale. You don't even need hearts to get a sale. But whatever. I've been on Etsy for nigh on two years now. I've been pretty passive about promoting myself, so I'm certainly not complaining.
And, following up from my last blog post, I have Twitter to thank for it. The last three hearts came today after I was more active on my Twitter page.
Now my minimal spare time can and likely will be spent tweeting. Actually, I'll probably only do it during my lunch break at work. I dare not do it too much at home or I'll never hear the end of it from my boyfriend. He is not a supporter of the online social networking sites. I didn't use to be, but I've heard how it can really drive traffic to your site. So I dove in.
Okay, not really. I mean, that would go against everything I am. I suppose it'd be more accurate to say that I'm happy with some people at the moment.
My Etsy shop has been conversation central. None have resulted in sales, but one is about a recent sale, so there's that.
One conversation was initiated by myself. I discovered a shop that has a really cool promotion. The shop is NomadCraftsEtc. and they make lampworked beads and pendants. Lampworking is near and dear to my heart and once I get a place that can accommodate such a craft, I will get back behind the torch and try my hand at it again. So I was pretty happy to find out that if you join their mailing list, the kind folks at Nomad Crafts will send you a fee lampworked bead every month. Now, I'm sure these beads aren't huge masterpieces. Probably not anything that could serve as a focal bead or pendant... but still. These are beads that take a little bit of effort to make. The glass is expensive. It takes up resources to have the torch burning. I might only take a minute or two to make the bead, but I seriously doubt these beads are just single color wraps. Well, I HOPE they're more than that anyway. So I had a few convos back and forth with them and they seem very nice and I look forward to my newsletter and bead.
Another conversation was from a recent buyer. She got her bracelet today and is very happy with it. And thusly I'm very happy about that! To give myself props as a reward for another happy customer, I shall now link you to the bracelet in question. Sneaky me. Of course, as fast as those things are selling, we'll see how long that link lasts.
Thirdly, I got a convo from a fellow jewelry seller asking about the dog in my logo. I've had this question at least once before, if not twice. She asked if it was a Shiba Inu. No, I responded, it is an Akita. Now I won't lie and say that I like Shibas. I really don't. But that's just personal preference. Am I mad when people think it's a shiba? No. It's probably my own fault that people think that. The anvil and the dog are proportioned so that it makes the dog look like a smaller breed... like a shiba or a spitz. But alas, it is my akita. Will I change it? Hell no. This person said she liked the logo in general and thought the dog on the anvil was appropriate for my shop name. And so, I shall now give HER some props and link you to her shop called Moonlight Beadworks.
It'll be interesting to see how long my goodwill towards others will last.
So, I think I have a new bestseller. My current bestseller is a sterling silver byzantine necklace done in 20g 1/8" rings. Gotta say I like it too. But, move over sterling, 'cause there's a new fave in town. My small byzantine bracelet done in all titanium. I'd show you a picture of an example, but I'm not at the computer with the pictures so I can't upload one at the moment. And I can't link you to a listing of one on Etsy because I can't keep them in stock long enough. Last year I had listed one with nice deep blue connector rings. Gorgeous. Someone bought it for her boyfriend. Then I listed one with pink connector rings. That sold as well. Then the lady who bought the first one came back and wanted another for her father. That was awesome, I love doing custom stuff! Then I decided that I should remake some of the items that have previously sold on Etsy and relist them. So I started with the pink titanium bracelet. I had intended on doing the blue one next when the pink one sold. Not three days later. So, here I am on my lunch break, trying to crank out another pink bracelet to list and I have every intention on making a blue one when I get home. Assuming those stay for a little bit, I'll take a chance and try green. Then maybe brown or purple. Perhaps I should just stick with a few colors? I know pink and blue do well, but I'd hate to limit myself to just those.
Anyway, it's nice when you have something that you like and really enjoy making and everyone else seems to like it, too!
Okay, so I can't blame it all on life. A small bit of it was my laziness on my part as well. But I have gone through some big crap in my life recently, but now that I'm back in the game, I can make a feeble attempt to keep this blog somewhat updated.
What's new with Iron Dog? I've got a show coming up at the end of this month. It'll be outdoors. I had sworn off outdoor shows a while ago. Okay, maybe not outdoor shows in general, just one show and one of the several reasons for dropping it was that it was outdoors. I invested in a canopy/tent. Hopefully, the wind and weather will behave for me and things will go smoothly.
I have a new helper! My boyfriend surprised me by showing a decent level of interest in what I do. He even asked me to teach him a few things and before I knew it, he'd made 15 items for me. I suppose I'll need to start paying him somehow. He also seems more than willing to come with me to shows and help out that way. Good thing, too, since I'll be needing it with all the new procedures I'm adopting.
Procedures? Yeah, so according to state law, I need to have sales tax listed seperately on my receipts. Up until now, I had just lumped sales tax into the item cost and rounded up to the nearest dollar. That way, I didn't have to bring coin change with me to shows. Just bills. Lots easier, but I wasn't writing out the sales tax on the receipts. I plan on keeping my prices rounded, but I made a cheat sheet to look up how that price breaks down into item price and sales tax so I can note it on the receipt. Also, I plan to get mobile broadband on my laptop so I can process credit cards on the spot through Propay. Before I'd use the imprinter to make the receipt and wait until I got home to actually process the cards. But at that point, if the card were declined, I'd be SOL. I used to ask for Driver's License to verify the cardholder as well as write down their address and phone number so I could get ahold of them if the card were declined. But I found out that that is a big no-no. So, rather than try to find a way around getting the customers info, I just decided to go all out and make it so I can process cards on the spot. Easier, faster and safer for everyone.
Bah! Enough of the technical stuff. What sort of new pretties have I made? Well, I'm still on a titanium kick. I had an issue with my anodizer, but thanks to my electrical engineer of a brother, it's back up and working full speed. I've also taken a leap and invested in some gold rings to incorporate into my jewelry. I'm still hesitant to make anything completely gold. Not sure why, but I think it's because I, myself, do not prefer gold jewelry.
I dropped out of that gallery I was showing at. I didn't like the way it was being run, but mostly I was having difficulties scheduling my shifts around my new work schedule. So, I decided to give it up. Sales had dropped off anyway, but it has freed up inventory to put on Etsy and in shows.
Speaking of Etsy, I really need to get some more items up there. With the show coming up in a few weeks, I'm hesitant to put things on Etsy that I will be bringing with me to the show. Knowing my luck, an item would sell on Etsy the same moment it sold at the show. I'm thinking of saving my easy-to-reproduce items for Etsy to help reduce that fear.
That's all for now. Hopefully I'll be back with something a little more exciting. Maybe even some pictures, too.