I was a little on the sad side for the past few days, though I don't know exactly why, so I took a break. I didn't really make anything, I didn't write anything on my blog, I didn't post anything new to Flickr, or do anything to continue to get my name out there. I was barely on Etsy! I felt like something was blocked, and I was stuck in a place where I didn't want to be. After the weekend, my days off started, and I took a good look at my Etsy store. I wasn't pleased with much of it. In the beginning, my favorite pairs of earrings to make were these little bouquet clusters. In fact, these are the types of earrings I am making for two B&Ms that I am working with. But I haven't sold any in my shop for a while. I realized that it was because I had soooo many other things in my shop that they were getting buried under my own items! I came to a conclusion that there really is such a thing as too much variety. So I started to take out all the jewelry that hasn't been selling~ and those were the pieces that I was least proud of to begin with. I was left with a nice collection of pieces that I was really proud of, from the beginning. Then I started renewing all the bouquet earrings at once, to get them all in a high spot in the searches on Etsy. And you know what? After the past week with no sales, I finally got a couple of sales over the past couple of days after I renewed them. And the sales happened to be the bouquet earrings I loved so much! I have learned for myself the valuable lesson that is repeated in the Etsy forums~ make the things you love, and not what you just think might sell. You have to be able to be proud of each and every item that you have the privledge of packaging and shipping to someone.
I was browsing around the Etsy forums, and I was so lucky as to stumble upon a thread talking about Brick and Mortar stores. The thread was started by iheartnorwegianwood (www.iheartnorwegianwood.etsy.com) and listed a few brick and mortar stores that she knew of in her area that had consignment opportunities. She invited other forum members to share stores in their area that took consignment, or stores that their items were currently being sold at. She got an enormous following~ the thread grew to 11 pages! Later on, she drew up a master list of all the shops that were mentioned in that thread and posted another thread in the forums. This is the link to the thread: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5432829 I jumped at the opportunity to explore boutiques across the country. I looked on many of their websites, and even e-mailed a few of them, telling them about myself and my shop, and sending them images of my work. This really made my day, as I feel like I have accomplished something for my small business. It's better to try and put yourself out there, even if you are rejected, than to have never been seen at all. I've been hearing more and more about how even though Etsy is wonderful, it should not be your cole venue. To have my wares in any stores across the country would be a dream come true!
I found a poll on the Internet about everyone's favorite type of earring wires. I was very interested in knowing what types people liked, as I love to focus on making primarily earrings in my Etsy shop. My guess all along was kidney wires or leverbacks. But personally, I love how the simple french earring wires look....and you know what? So does the majority of people. More than 50% stated that their favorite types of earwires were the french wires. I was surprised that so many people liked something so simple, when here I was thinking that I needed to add a lot of pizazz to my earrings by using large, bold earwires, such as the kidneys. So I have begun making a couple of pairs of earrings that have simple copper french wires.
I have chosen beads that are bright and sparkly, so they will be the focus of the earring. But at the same time, they will add a subtle, playful touch to an outfit, which is just right.
I've written before that with earrings, the earwire is apart of the design of the whole piece. These days, I've been wanting to be a bit more involved in the earring making process, and this includes handmaking my earring wires. I've been using handmade earwires from artists on Etsy because they have some unique designs that adds a speical touch to my finished pieces. But I want to feel that I am putting my all into everything I make, and designing earwires that have perhaps my own twist to them is what it will take to put all my creative energies into making a pair of earrings. So I took out some 24 gauge copper wire, which I use just for fun experiments only, and tried several different type of earring wire designs. I found a design I really liked~ it's a spiral shaped, which is definately one of my favorite shapes, and I have added a tight spiral to the inner portion of the earwire. I will try experimenting much further before thinking of getting a proper gauge wire and actually trying to forge them into workable earwires.
I've been stepping back and taking a look at what I can do better in my Etsy shop these days. There is always something that can be improved. My latest idea was inspired by LavenderCollections (http://www.lavendercollections.etsy.com/). I saw her shop in the forums and was immediately drawn to her adorable mini cards. I purchased a set that matched my packaging color scheme. What I was doing before was writing a little note to the buyer on the back of my business cards. But I really like the idea of adding a little something more to my packaging. Not only is it a little more personal, the designs on these cards are beautiful! I've been writing my little messages on them, and doing something else I have not done before~ writing a "coupon code" for a percentage off the price for the buyer to use if they ever would like to visit my shop again. I researched the best way to do coupon codes on Etsy, as they do not have a formal way to process them, and the general concessus us to give refund the buyer the percentage off the price through Paypal after they pay. This way they do not have to wait for a revised invoice. I know I don't like buying something and leaving a transaction undone while I wait for an invoice. There is still more to be done~ promoting my shop is next~ finding the balance between all the different ways to promote, whether it's a blog, Flickr, Linkreferral, the forums on Etsy, and trying to fit them all in some form or another into my day. What a journey this will be!
One of my new favorite artists on Etsy is Solivio (http://www.solvio.etsy.com/). She creates gorgeous and whimsical earwires in both brass and copper. She has recently added a line of little spiral earwires to her line. I eagerly ordered some and went to work making earrings using them. Nowadays I have shied away from using factory made earring wires~ I like to find unique and handmade earwires, as they are apart of the overall effect an earring gives off. To me, earrings can be worn to create elegance, to create drama, or my favorite, to create whimsy. These spiral earwires definately create whimsy~ they are bold and fun!
Here are a couple of photos of earrings I have made using Solivio's earwires:
I have just started to work with cabochons, after quite a while of sttering clear from them. When I first started, I used to scoff at beads that didn't have any holes in them~ what on Earth could I use them for? But I studied some ways to incorporate them into jewelry designs. In this necklace I have paired a raspberry wine hued flower cabochon with a large filigree flower. I then did something I don't normally do: matched this raspberry tone with a complimentary color, rather than something that matched it. I really love the efect! I studied a color wheel and saw that raspberry was a shade of red, which was complimentary to green. I paired this cabochon with beautiful muted olive green beads. This proves that you don't have to match things perfectly (say if I used a pink bead instead) to have a wonderful look!
The giveaway was for an ACEO from her shop, which features one of her simple and beautiful watercolor flower paintings. I chose one entitled "Dragonfly Wings". Each blogger had to write a short blurb on what they were buying their loved ones for Christmas that was handmade. I wrote that I was making a necklace for my boyfriend's grandmother, bought watercolor notecards for my grandmother, bought a handmade bookmark for my aunt, who is a reading teacher, and best of all, bought a painting from Karen Faulkner for my mother!
This picture is so peaceful and simple, which will bring a tranquility to my room I use for jewelry. I especially love all the hues of purple and violet. I can't wait to hang this on my wall!
I am a beadaholic from rural PA, though I am a NJ native of about 19 years. When I am not at my day job at a local retaurant, or on the computer, I am at my desk creating jewelry. After a (very) long road of trying to a niche in the world of jewelry, I think I have started to find something I love~ earrings! I especially love floral inspired designs, involving glass flowers, or freshwater pearls and metal bead caps.
Up there in my interests are reading historical fantasy novels, cooking, and listening to my Ipod.
A couple of years ago I happened to stumple across a curious website that you one can sell handmade items. Excited, I signed up, and then began my journey (again, long!) to trying to create a jewelry business. My website is www.cymbaline84.etsy.com. There you will find an array of earrings that are both simple and whimsical in nature.