This blog is meant to be a record of my adventures as a new home-based business owner. Starting my jewellery business was one of the most daunting things I've ever done, next to giving birth. Especially since I was (am?) pretty technically stunted. In this blog I will describe the trials, tribulations and, hopefully, eventual successes I experience while navigating the world of (really, really, really small) business. I also plan to use this blog to talk about all the aspects of jewellery design that fascinate me, keep me addicted, and cause me to spend thousands of dollars (What, honey? No, I didn't say thousands...) on gemstones, beads, findings, etc. I welcome your input, ideas, and stories of similar experiences in beading, jewellery design, or running a handcrafts business.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Jewellery Display Stuff

There are countless different ways to display your jewellery at a craft fair. I was at a loss for how to display my earrings, which I sell on my homemade earring cards.  I came up with this design for an earring rack.  They were easy to make, inexpensive, and they are light enough to carry to craft shows and fairs.  I keep these racks loaded with earrings, and covered with clear plastic bags, and when I have a craft fair to do, I just pull the plastic bags off, and voila!

This is the earring rack empty.
This is the earring rack fully loaded.

I used 12-gauge copper wire to hang the earring cards on, and bent it into spirals at the ends to finish the look.

 I love these earring racks!  I need to make more to hold all my new designs.  They only cost about $15 each to make.   

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Bead Planet Offerings on Etsy

Blue Velvet Necklace
 Check out these new items I just listed on Etsy!  It's been a while since I last listed anything new.  Report card time for a teacher is like tax time for an accountant.
Chocolate Mint Necklace

Copper Sea Necklace

Juliet's Heart Necklace

These are the last of my Tudor Queens collection of earrings. They're called Katharine Parr Earrings.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Handmade Marketplace

Must-Have Resource for the Budding Bead Tycoon
I found a book that is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to sell handcrafts.  It's called The Handmade Marketplace:  How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and Online.  Written by Kari Chapin, it is chock full of ideas, hints, and advice on everything you need to start up an online handcrafts business.  The book begins with advice on finding your niche, setting up a space in which to work, and identifying your motivation and goals.  Chapin goes on to talk about branding, pricing your work, collecting money, marketing, and becoming part of a community as a way to find help, inspiration, and spread the word about your product.  There are three whole chapters on using social networks to market your work.  The chapter on blogging was particularly helpful for me, as I had never even read a blog before starting this one.  The next part of the book is about selling your work at craft fairs, online marketplaces, and at brick-and-mortar stores, including wholesale and consignment.  The last chapter suggests ways to diversify your empire, such as doing  trunk shows, parties, teaching courses, and offering kits.  Chapin's advice is clear, practical, and timely, and she gives plenty of examples of how her suggestions might be used by artists of various media, such as jewellery designers, knitters, sewers, fabric artists, painters, and woodworkers, to name a few.  The author calls upon artists in various fields who are running successful businesses to share their advice and experiences (good and bad) with the reader, which they do in a friendly, open and personal way.  Some sections are set up in an easy-to-access FAQ style.

The book is illustrated by Emily Martin and Jen Skelley.  The hand-drawn black and white cartoon illustrations are simple and charming, just like the handcrafts they illustrate.  The headings are clear and relevant, making it easy to find pertinent information again and again, even after you've read the book from cover to cover.  Even the shape of the book is pleasing.  It's almost square. 

I usually hate instruction manual-type books, but this book reads more like a novel.  I read it from cover to cover, and have referred back to one section or another many times since.  I would definitely recommend this book to other budding handcrafts tycoons.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bead Planet's Pre-Boxing Day Sale on Etsy

Get the jump on Boxing Day savings with Bead Planet's Pre-Boxing Day Sale on Etsy!  Enter the coupon code below at checkout to receive 15% off anything in my shop from December 22 to December 31.  See shop policies for more information on how to redeem this coupon code.

Coupon Code:     PREBOXINGDAY1411

Happy Holidays!

Shipping Snafu

So far in my journey to bead tycoon status I've made four sales on my Etsy online shop.  The last sale involved a lot more customer service than any of the others.  The customer convo'd (contacted via the Etsy communication system) me with a request to adjust the length of a bracelet he wanted to order.  I contacted the buyer to let him know I'd be happy to make the change.  He then ordered the bracelet.  As per my shop policies, I wanted to send the order out inside the 3 business day time period, but I was having trouble getting more of the exact type of chain that I used for the bracelet in the picture.  I convo'd the buyer with pictures of the original chain and a chain that was as similar as I could get, and asked if the change would be OK with him.  He convo'd me, saying no problem.  So, I made the bracelet, and shipped it out by US Post Light Packet on December 6th.  (Through Canada Post, of course.)  This was within the 3-day time limit promised in my shop policies.  I then emailed the buyer to let him know that the package had been shipped.  Mission accomplished...or so I thought. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas

Only 8 days left until Christmas Eve! Funny how when you're a kid you count down to the 25th, because that's the day when you get to unwrap your gifts; when you're an adult, you count down to the 24th because that's your last chance to buy last minute gifts, stocking stuffers, food, wrap, tape, etc. 

Anyway, I'm nowhere near finished my shopping, but as of Friday noon, I'm free for two weeks!  I plan on taking one full day to finish it all up. I'll have to prepare myself like Ernest Shackleton for a six-month expedition to find the south pole, but I have incredible stamina.  The only thing that scares me is not finding a parking spot.

I don't have much to say about the bead world today. My plans for the business over the holiday:

1.  Make more jewelery.
2.  Photograph all of it.
3.  Make more jewelery.
4.  Make an instruction video or photo tutorial.
5.  Download and read Rena Klingenberg's e-book on selling on social networks.
6.  Make more jewelery.
7.  Have a sale!
8.  Make more jewelery.

Watch this blog for a coupon code which will allow you to take 15 % off anything in my shop until Boxing Day. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sad News

I was just watching CityTV on channel 7 here in TO, and heard that Mark Dailey, reporter extraordinaire, died of prostate cancer today.  What sad, sad news.  Even though, of course, I didn't know him, he was one of my favourite newscasters.  He seemed like a real guy, who didn't take himself too seriously.  He seemed like someone you'd want to be friends with, or just work with.  So many times I'd be watching the news and just laugh out loud at something he'd say.  And what a beautiful baritone voice.  Only 57 years old.  What a shame. 
Mark Dailey

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trunk Sale

Had a trunk sale at school Thursday and Friday afternoon (4:00 to 6:00--is that afternoon or evening?) I did pretty well.  I felt a little awkward about having it at my place of work, but everyone said I was being ridiculous, so I did it.  Some workplaces might not allow it, though, so if you want to do it, ask first.  Two things that really worked well were the raffle and the Treasure Box.  Everyone who bought something got a raffle ticket to win my Mauve Crackle charm bracelet. I displayed the bracelet pinned to a nice black picture frame that I lined with black crushed velvet.  It was on a black wrought iron easel-like stand.  I stuck a sign to it that said, "You could win this charm bracelet!"  People liked getting a little extra with their purchase.  I'll draw the names on Monday.