Thursday, November 01, 2007

What to do Now?

I've started implementing the ideas that have been floating around in my head for months. I have added two categories on my web site, one is Jewelry for Charities and the other is Chakra Jewelry.

My husband and I decided that we needed to start giving more to charities and I thought what a better way than to give a percent of my profit of sold jewelry items. I'm letting the buyer decide what charity the funds should go to and leaving it open as long as they are a 501(c)3 non-profit. Obviously I'm not doing this for all my jewelry, just those that I have labeled for charity. If you are curious, check out my web site.

My other idea was to create a line of Chakra inspired jewelry. All the jewelry in this category is made with gemstones. I have added the healing qualities of those gems and the Chakra that they support. I'm hoping to attract customers interested in the metaphysical properties of gemstones. I came up with another idea today to combine genuine copper with gemstones as copper has it's own healing qualities that people have been aware of for years. Look for some of those pieces early next year.

One of the other things I have been working on is getting my Etsy shop generated with hits so that I may get some buys off of it. I've read in several places that they way to generate sales is to have a lot of items for folks to choose from and to post something everyday. The fees for Etsy is relatively inexpensive, so if it brings sales, then I will give it a try. I'll let you know if it works next month.

Since this is the holiday season, I have three shows here in the next month and a half to get ready for along with updating the stock in the salon where I have commission items. I may do an open house after the holidays to catch folks with Christmas money to spend as I don't have time before. And if that isn't enough to do, I'm entering a juried competition for a local non profit show that is due mid December for a March showing.

Just recanting all this is making me stressed. I think the vacation that I have scheduled for Christmas time I will move up to get all this stuff completed. Sometimes the job does get in the way of the things we really want to be doing.

Thanks for reading and hopefully understanding. Dana :-0

Monday, October 01, 2007

Teaching a Class

Yet another venture I find myself doing. I will be teaching a Fused Chain class to the gem and mineral club that I belong to later this month. I've taught beading and gemtrees at previous "Hands On" sessions, but this one requires quite a bit more outlay of expenses for supplies than the other two. I demonstrated the technique at the meeting last week and had three people sign up, so this is a good sign. I currently have enough tools for three students, but if more sign up at our next meeting then I've be out buying more micro torches and firing bricks.
I will be offering my fused chain designs for sale on my web site after the class, but for now they are being used as examples of what can be made by fusing fine silver wire. My hope is that the students will be able to make a couple of bracelets and earrings or a necklace. One ounce of the 16 guage silver will make a solid 24" necklace, so I guess it depends upon what they want to make. I personally like to make shorter 18"-20" necklaces that have pearls or gemstones in between the silver links....more necklaces or bracelets for the money.
I welcome any suggestions or ideas of upcoming jewelry trends. I'll be sure to post pictures and the results of my class at the end of the month.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A New Adventure

I decided that it was time for some drastic measures in my web site set up....okay, maybe not so much the set up but what I offer for sale and how I go about marketing it. My design style will never change unless I get a special request from a client to make something specific. So, what am I talking about. Well, I have started to get more involved with Energy and not the kind you get from caffine, but energy in the form of gemstones their healing capabilities. I've started designing and creating a line of Chakra jewelry...okay I have a few pieces made already, but I kind of figure that a lot of the stuff I have in my current inventory actually will work also. I just need to do more research on their benefits and clear the stones of any negative energy.

How do you clear stones of negative energy you ask? Well, there are several books out there that will be happy to tell you to put them under running water for several minutes, place them in a pan of salt (who would do this?), but I'm going to use Reiki to cleanse and energize the stones or jewelry pieces. I took a Reiki Level 1 class a couple of weekends ago and feel that this is a much safer method and one less damaging to the stones/jewelry themselves. It should also provide a more beneficial energy source.

Things to look for in September is a new link on my web site for Chakra Jewelry and a document under the Learning Center that describes the Chakra's and stones that are beneficial to use to boost your Chakra's.

My next show is in Castle Rock, WA so I'll start working on my labels and cards to hand out to folks that come by. I've been demonstating at the Castle Rock show for the past 3 years and some years I sell a lot and others not much at all, but since it doesn't cost my husband and I for the table space (we are supposed to be demonstrating) our expense is just the gas down there and back.

Obviously, I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on this and the benefits you might find in wearing a piece of natural jewelry that has potential healing benefits.

As always, be healthy, be happy, be beading......Dana

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What to Work on Next

Well we just got back from IGEM in Seattle and boy did we find some wonderful gemstones. Okay, not only did I find them, I bought them. Definately look for some new designs on my web site using Champagne Quartz, Blue Labradorite and Pink Tourmoline. It is now just deciding what to start with first. Obviously, these are new gems for me, but not new to the gem world. I really didn’t see any new and exciting gemstones this time. Last year, it was the Fire Agate that I found most exciting and I have created and used some of my supply, but I bought more :-) .

If you have never been to the International Gem and Jewelry show (IGEM) and you are into jewelry and beads, you are in for a treat. Be prepared to be overwhelmed. There is so much to see and so many different vendors. My biggest hint to getting good deals is not to go to the wholesale section, but find a vendor in the retail area that has a supply of lots of things you would like to have (gemstone, crystal, pendants, bracelets, etc.) and make a deal. Buy more from that one vendor and they will most likely give you a big discount. Usually, a bigger discount than in wholesale. I found one vendor that had pendants, bracelets and gemstone strands. Because I was purchasing several items, I received 50% off of the pendants then another 25% off that. He also reduced the gemstone strands by 50% or more. This made it more than worth my while to purchase the bulk of my supply from him.

You should also keep track of what you purchase. My hint is to keep all the receipts in the bag with the gems so they don’t get mixed up with other purchases. Upon returning home sort through your items one vendor at a time and price each strand or item while it is still fresh in your mind. This way you can file away the receipts for your inventory purposes and not worry about losing them. If you wait too long you may get confused and forget the discount you received and not be able to tie back to what you were charged.

A couple of weeks ago I started selling some of my notecards and jewelry items on Etsy. We will see how that goes vs. my web site. I really just needed some additional marketing ideas and someone suggested that I give it a try. So far I can't tell that my web site has any more traffic, but the items that I do have posted on Etsy are getting some attention, but so far no sales.

Stay tuned for more of my Dilemmas. Thanks for taking the time to read. Dana

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's New

Managing a full time job along with a jewelry business has been a struggle, but I am seeing a light in the tunnel. I've been trying to make some contacts with local retail businesses for consignment of my jewelry and I have also been putting the final touches on my portfolio. Next step is to take samples around along with the picture portfolio and see what they think. I know women like my jewelry and I have several customers that buy from me regularly, but the unknown is always a little bit stressful.

On another note, I have developed with my husband and a friend a workshop titled "Tree of Life". The workshop is designed to explore your inner self and be able to apply your experiences in a creative process in designing a gem tree. The arrangement of the tree and it's limbs is a reflection of who you are, who you want to be or what you see in others. We also cover some of the healing qualities of gemstones that are used in the design of the tree. It is a personal growth workshop that will definately be beneficial for me and I hope for my students. This workshop differs from the other gem tree workshops that I teach in that this one is designed for personal, spiritual or emotional growth and not just a craft class. Obviously, if this sounds interesting to you, please send me an e-mail and I'll get more information out to you.

It doesn't seem like I've done a whole lot yet this year, but the year has only just begun.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Year - New Marketing

I do have to admit that this was my best year for holiday sales. The salon has taken root and I now have those customers calling for special orders. Now I just have to get the web site creating those same sales figures for this year.

Marketing and design will be my goal this year. I have already created custom tags for each jewelry piece that identifies me, the web site, the materials that went into the item and the price. I've already received compliments on the design and idea, so I have a start. Another idea that I'm tossing around is the presentation and packaging. For the past couple of years, I've used mesh drawstring bags to package a sold item (necklace or bracelet). I did find a jewelry supply company that sells satin drawstring pouches for the same price if ordered in quantity, so I'll be trying these out. I'm hoping for strong sales in return customers due to an easily identifiable product and a packaging idea that goes beyond any of the other custom jewelry designers out there. It's almost like an added bonus when you purchase an item to get this wonderful drawstring bag that is perfect for storing the piece when not worn or for gift giving.

I've attached a picture of the whole packaging concept. Let me know your feedback and ideas and come visit my site as I have added some new items already this year.


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