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.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm on Flickr!

I read the other day how one Etsian's best promotion vehicle is her Flickr account.  I'd used Flickr before to download photos for the yearbook committee at school, but I'd never considered signing up.  After reading this Etsian's post in the Etsy forums, I decided to take the leap.  Now, I need another thing to maintain like I need the proverbial hole in my head, but, in for a dime, in for a dozen, might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb, and all that.  (Please excuse me, my name is Diana, and I'm a habitual proverb user.)  So I signed up and now I have a Flickr account of my own.  I haven't joined any groups yet, or created any galleries, (which from the FAQs seems to be similar to Etsy's treasuries,) because it's taken me three days to upload, name and describe all my photos.  I'm still not done.  I didn't go all out in describing, but I did put the Etsy listing number under each item, and I included lots of tags.  Have a look at my Flickr account!  The empire is growing! (insert evil laugh here.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Best Backgrounds for Jewelery Photos

Experienced online jewellery sellers will tell you that the quality of your photos is the key to selling lots and lots of jewellery.  It's not necessary to have an expensive camera or to be a professional photog to get great pics of your work.  My photos really sucked when I first started out, but with a little research, and a LOT of trial and error, my photography skills have improved, and so have my photos.  Check out these before photos of my Trinkets bracelet.


These pictures are too dark.  The one on the left has uneven light that is unflattering, and there are too many things going on, which makes it distracting.  The background colour takes away from the colours in the bracelet.  Now here's the after photo.

This picture was taken outside, on an overcast day. I zoomed in, used the macro lens, and took several shots at different angles.  The background is a piece of driftwood that I found on the beach while camping last summer.  It doesn't distract from the bracelet, and it reflects the natural theme that I am trying to make part of my branding.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Found Help!

I tried, I really tried to participate actively in the Etsy community.  I convo'd three different team leaders to try to join selling teams because more experienced Etsians said that joining teams was a good way to get your shop discovered by other sellers and buyers.  Not one of the three leaders I contacted answered my convo.  Fine!  I really didn't want to join anyway.  Some teams meet in person, and though I don't want you to think I'm anti-social, I kind of am.  Sorry, but I've got two jobs, besides running this new jewellery business, as well as trying to raise two kids, and I'm neglecting the friends I already have, so I really don't have time to meet.  Other teams have expectations about how often you will promote your teammates. I hate expectations, don't you?

I also tuned in to a few chats.  They were kind of interesting, but I found people asked the same questions over and over, or people asked questions that weren't relevant to me, and you have to listen to all the questions before they get to yours, if they do.

One area of the Etsy community that I do find useful is the Forums.  In the Forums, people ask other Etsians questions about many different topics.  The topics are divided into eleven categories:  Announcements, Site Help, Business Topics, International, Ideas, Bugs, Critiques, Techniques & Materials, Teams & Events, Promotions, and Etc. The headlines are listed, and you can pick the threads you want to read about.  I really like reading the questions and answers, and I've had so many queries answered that have been floating around in my head for weeks.  I posted a question yesterday, and got five helpful responses right away!  People ask questions that I want to ask, but am too embarrassed to.  I feel comfortable putting in my two cents' worth, too.  Participating in the Forums is addicting!

Well, time to wrangle Rampaige and Helliam into bed!  Good night, readers!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

S*#@@! Shipping Delays

In a past post I vented about a shipping delay that caused my Etsy customer inconvenience and cost me any hope of profit from the sale of a bracelet.  In a nutshell, I shipped the bracelet on Dec. 6th, way before the Dec. 13 deadline for shipping goods to the US in time for Christmas, but it still hadn't arrived by Dec. 18th.  I ended up shipping another bracelet, by ExpressPost, at a loss.

Recently, though, I was reading the Forums on Etsy, and came across a post about shipping delays to the US.  Apparently, many sellers have been experiencing delays in shipping, caused by increased security at the border.  Some shipments have taken up to 60 days to arrive!  As I searched further, I found many more posts about the delays.

Many Etsy sellers are putting a warning about possible shipping delays, along with this link which explains further, in their policies sections.  This is what I put in my policies section:

****NOTE - Recently, many sellers and buyers have experienced frustrating delays in shipments coming into the U.S. from other countries, including Canada.   Apparently, the delay is caused by increased security at the border, and shipping can take up to six weeks in some cases. If your order has been affected by this delay, I do apologize, but I cannot be held responsible for replacing your package until the six-week period has elapsed.   Here is a link to Royal Mail's website, where the problem is explained further.  

Again, I do apologize for this delay.  It is extremely frustrating for me, as a seller, as I make it my mandate to ship immediately upon order, usually the next day.  I am hoping that this delay at the border is a temporary situation, made worse by heavy holiday shipping traffic. 

Since the last shipment, I got another order from the US, and it reached the customer in 7 days, so I'm hoping the shipping delay was temporary.  We'll see.

Later, readers.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ultimate Guide to Your Profitable Jewelery Booth

The Book's New Look
I recently purchased this book from Rena Klingenberg's website.  I had the option to purchase it as a paper book or an e-book.  If I had purchased the paper book, the order would have been placed through, and sent to me by mail.  It would have cost $39 plus shipping.  I ordered the downloadable e-book (PDF file) so I could get it right away.  The e-book cost $39, and it was the best $39 I ever spent.  This book is a practical, easy-to-read user's manual for jewelery artists who want to sell their work at retail events like craft fairs, art shows, trade shows, seasonal fairs, bazaars, etc.  I've done a few small local shows, and I've definitely learned from my mistakes! Rena's advice allows me to circumvent some of these newbie mistakes.  The book covers everything about running a jewellery booth, from taxes and insurance, pricing, smooth transactions at shows, finding good shows, applying for shows, practical tips for managing your booth, displaying your wares for maximum profitability and selling tips.  Rena includes comprehensive checklists for what to bring, and timelines for stress-free show preparation. I found these tips and checklists really helped me prepare for and do well at my last show.  After the show, I used the self-evaluation checklist to reflect on how I felt I did, and how I would improve things for the next event.

Klingenberg's writing style is accessible, supportive and down-to-earth.  Her anecdotes about her own growth and experiences as a seller are comforting and inspiring.  I've referred back to this book time and time again while preparing for my next show.  I would absolutely recommend this book to newbies to the craft show scene, and even jewellery designers who have many shows under their belts will find valuable tips and things to try in this book.  I plan on purchasing Rena Klingenberg's other books, Social Networking: Selling Your Jewelery Online, and Secrets of a Handcrafted Jewelery Shopping Service.  Check out Rena Klingenberg's website, and sign up for her monthly e-newsletter.  I look forward to receiving mine each month.  Here's the link:

Later, readers!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Etsy Finds

Although I have been a seller on Etsy since August, I haven't made a purchase on Etsy until today.  I was looking for brass findings and bead caps, as I'm working on a new line of brass pendant necklaces and earrings.  On the Etsy site, I went to the Shop Local section, and typed in Canada.  I found two shops I really like.  One was CL Beads, based in Toronto. This shop has tons of findings in silver, sterling, copper, brass, gunmetal, and gold finishes, as well as all sorts of wire, thread and chain varieties.  They have a huge variety of charms, in many cunning shapes, like antique French Louis XIV chairs, little baby carriages, scissors, and even little buses!  They also carry glass, crystal, CZ, porcelain and lucite beads.  Their prices are very reasonable.  I ordered about $12 worth of supplies, but that was just tonight, so I can't vouch for their service yet, but they have thousands of sales, and 100% positive feedback, so I'm sure it'll be great.

The other shop I visited was called Fab Beads, who are based on Vancouver Island, B.C. This shop also has a huge variety of findings, charms, bead caps, chains, and filigree elements, at very reasonable prices.  They have a line of lovely antique brass charms, clasps, and bead caps with a gorgeous chocolate brown patina.  Fab Beads has also had thousands of sales, with 100% positive feedback.  I spent about $25 at this shop.  I can't wait for my packages to arrive!  Buy handmade, it's fun!

Adieu, readers.