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, February 27, 2011

Beading Birthday Party

Today I worked my first beading birthday party.  It was at the home of a student in my class.  She had five other girls, aged from seven to thirteen, plus herself at the party.  I'll describe my setup and equipment.  Each girl had a beading board (found at a local bead and jewellery store for $1.00 each!) a beading mat, and tools.  Since there were only a few girls, each could have her own round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers, and flush cutters.  A few days ago I went through my bead inventory, and organized them into beads for my use, and beads for beading parties.  All the beads designated for parties were kept in clear round plastic stacking containers, and the findings and silver accent beads were in a flat, compartmentalized container.  The beads and findings were in the middle of the table, where everyone could reach them.  Each girl could make two items, necklace, bracelet or earrings.  I had pre-strung some bracelet-length and necklace-length beading wires with either a toggle clasp or a lobster clasp.  I talked briefly about using different textures, contrast, and accent beads, then let them loose on the bead supplies.  The girls made some beautiful things, and when they were done, I put each girl's creations in a beautiful organza bag, into which I had slipped a business card and a flyer.  With cleanup, I was there for a total of 85 minutes, which was about 15 minutes longer than I was supposed to be there, but that's because I let them make two things instead of one.  I did that because the girl is a student in my class, and I wanted to offer her some kind of bonus gift.  I also gave her a pair of earrings that I'd made, as a birthday gift.  I think the party was a big success, and I hope that there'll be more parties.  Here are some pics of the party.

Friday, February 18, 2011

In Which I Try Something New

I'm a silver lover, no doubt about it.  My friend Rita tries to convince me to make and offer gold jewellery in my shop, but I stubbornly resist.  I really don't like gold.  So far the only metals I've been willing to work with are silver and copper.  Recently, though, I've been learning to appreciate antique brass.  I ordered a bunch of antique brass charms, chain, earwires, and beadcaps from Etsy suppliers, and I've started making some earrings and pendants.  Check out my new earrings made from Swarovski crystals and antique brass wire.  I love the extra-long fishhook earwire!

Ruby Drops Earrings

Cyclamen Drops Earrings

Tanzanite Drops Earrings 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Second Beading Party Booking!

I just got my second beading party booking!  This time it's for a girl's birthday party.  One of my students is the birthday girl.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I need to buy some colour-coordinated collections of glass beads in various sizes and styles.  They sell them at Michael's, but it's kind of expensive there.  I'll also get some charms; one thing I've learned from doing beading club at school is that kids love charms.  I've already got the tools and extra workmats from when I did the Girls' Night Out beading party at my friend Rita's.  The girls can choose to make either necklaces or bracelets, and I'll pre-string the wires with toggles and/or lobster clasps to save time.  Each party guest gets to take home their creation in a beautiful organza bag, and the birthday girl gets a free pair of earrings or bracelet in her favourite colour.  Wish me luck! This time, I'll take photos (hands only for privacy, of course, unless the parents agree to faces.)

'Night all!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Slacker Blogger

I haven't posted in sooooooo long!  Just another thing to feel guilty about, I guess. I'm finding it hard to find inspiration these days.  I haven't even been creating new stuff.  I keep meaning to make stuff, but I seem to be suffering from creative constipation these days, and my jewellery supplies are intimidating me.   I just bought a whole whack of supplies at Arton Beads last week, and I can't think of one thing to make.  Just look at them over there, mocking me...bloody cheerful purple flowered bag!  Even the mindless tasks, like making earring wires, are too much for me right now. I need a cup of tea, but I'm too lazy to get up and make one. How do you deal with the February blahs, fellow crafters?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Small Business Accounting circa 1885

I've never been a math person.  I failed math in grade 11, and never looked back.  The most complicated math I ever use is to calculate my students' term marks, and for that I use one tried and true formula.  I don't really have a household budget, I don't know how to balance a chequebook, and although I have RRSPs, I have no idea how they work.  I let the bank manage those for me.  This is sheer laziness on my part, because I know if I had any interest in learning about it, I would be able to figure it out.  How, then, you may ask, do I manage my small business finances?  My accounting methods are similar to those one might have found employed in many frontier general stores in the 1800's.  I use a ledger-book type sheet, with six columns--Date, Purchase/Sale, Type of Payment, Amount Debited, Amount Credited, and Balance.  When I buy jewellery supplies, office supplies, or pay Etsy fees or craft show fees, I write these amounts in the Debit column.  When I make a sale, either on Etsy or at a craft fair or just to a friend, I write these amounts in the Credit column.  I keep a running tally of the balance.  So far, the Debit column seems to get much more use than the credit column. I keep all receipts for everything I buy for my business, and I write out bills of sale for all my sales.  All of these documents are kept neatly in an accordion folder.  That's it.  That is the extent of my small business accounting practices.