Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tweet you later!

I’ve been “tweeting” for about two weeks. I have made several new contacts and I’ve also seen some amazing artist’s work. I’m getting hooked on this micro messaging!

Think of Twitter as a means to get instant public messages out to your audience, whether it is an audience of friends or potential customers. Twitter is becoming an increasingly important platform for online communication and, yes, conversation. TechCrunch reported that Twitter has more than 1 million users and approximately 3 million messages are posted daily. WOW!

Was I mentioned in any of the 3 million?? What about my Etsy shop? This might be a good time to find out. Twitter provides a search engine that allows you plug-in company names, brand names, topics and even personal names. What is my buzz level? Are there any negative comments out there? If I were you I'd use the search engine to check on a regular basis. I’m checking now….

Tweet you later!
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Purple Twilight Bead Necklace - Just Listed on Etsy

Just listed this lampwork bead necklace in my Etsy shop. The earrings will be sold separately and I also have a matching bracelet that I posted previously. This color combination will be one of the hot color trends for fall. What do you think?

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Poll Closed - Alaska is the winner...

Results from my polls that posted on three forums are in. I asked where would you like to take a dream vacation? Santorini Greece, French Riviera, Fiji Islands, or Alaska
I will be working on a jewelry collection with an Alaskan Travel theme. Below are some examples of Alaskan Jewelry/Travel that I will use for inspiration. Look for the collection to launch in early December.

Designed, finished and signed by
Alaskan metalcrafter "Phil"

Wild Flowers are abundant in the summer; I love the color of the "Fairy Slipper" orchid. Great colors and the hot color trend for fall.

I love this piece from artist Denise Wallace. Wonderful!

The cool neutral tones in the photograph project the feeling of winters chill.

Aurora Borealis - I'll try to capture this color scheme.
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Inspiration from favorite Blogger

It's been quite awhile since I blogged; I was on bed rest due to my bad back. Typing in bed is very awkward and unnatural. I'm much better now so I'll pick up where I left off...

Here is a bit of inspiration form one of my favorite blogs...

"Are you living out loud? Are you taking decisive action to make your vision become your reality? Do you let fear control your decisions? If you find yourself making excuses like I can't afford it or I just don't have the _______ to do it yet, these are all preventing you from making the vision your reality. It all ties back to the wonderfully insightful quote that I stumbled upon today - make the most of yourself. You are bigger, more amazing and more capable that you ever give yourself credit for. Live out loud. Be ready when opportunity knocks...perhaps in doing so you will eventually create your own utopia...."

I will make my vision a reality!
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Have Beads Will Travel

Just returned from a tent camping trip to the Cherokee National Forest. I made a small project kit of beads and tools so I could work on a new design while the family went rafting on the Ocoee River. Look for pictures of my camping Necklace soon!

I've got to go unpack...check back soon.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

What color bead do I want to use next?

Winter 2009 - 2010 Color Inspirations

Interpreting color from fashion into jewelry design is a challenging project, but it is also quite fun. I'm brainstorming my material options and choosing the best ones to interpret current trends from fashion, retail, apparel, and joining them to current trends in jewelry design for my own unique creations. The winter 2009/2010 color trends have been broken down into three categories:

: This trend is dominated by solid and cold tones. Midnight blues and earth tones as well as deep pink are opposing and in that way creating a world of playful combinations. The interaction of functional blues and structured browns burst forth in stormy alchemies. I've designed a sparkly Agate slice necklace using this color pallet.

is characterized by diluted color effects. Clean and earthy colors play a big role in this section. In curious combinations they seem to be like an experiment. Brown and green tones mixed together create a hint of mystery in combination with gray and foggy shades. I've designed a simple seed bead necklace from this color pallet.

colors reflect the style of mixed technologies. Juicy orange tones, drunken scarlets and neutral nuances combine in a striking relation. Pavement grays and strong purples brought together with dazzling lights are a contrast to the passionate and earthy tones. I've designed a fun lampwork bracelet using the Casual color trends.

Look for additional color trend pieces in my Etsy shop:

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One Tweet at a Time!

Do you know what Twitter is? It’s a social media platform that lets users blast short messages, or ”tweets” to friends and fellow artists from the Twitter website. But it’s not just for staying in touch with friends. It’s also a great way to publicize your Etsy shop. You post a note for your followers in 140 characters or less. Yikes! For a chatty writer like me, this can be a little challenging. The most surprising thing about Twitter is just how much fun reading and writing 140 character posts can be! There are few marketing tools that deliver a powerful punch and are such fun to use.
I’ve been reading a great book for reference while setting up my Twitter profile: “twitter power” by Joel Comm. Following his approach to Twitter marketing has been easy and very helpful since I’m somewhat technically challenged when it comes to building a web presence. I recommend this book to all newbies on twitter.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

I Heart You!

Getting noticed on Etsy is a big challenge; a giant group of jewelry sellers are trying to attract attention from a much smaller pool of buyers. With so much competition getting seen is difficult.

So I’m trying a new approach. I’ve had several Etsy artists add me to their personal favorites list; it shows on my shop page as “see who hearts this shop”. I was flattered to know that they liked my work, but also curious to see what they were selling and see if their items were similar to mine. Then it dawned on me, they were getting my attention (bing! if I was a comic strip character a light bulb would have appeared above my head). I was viewing the work of other artists that I probably would have never seen on my own. By complimenting my work they had promoted their work directly to me. I will start “hearting” my favorite shops on Etsy. This will hopefully gain some extra attention for my shop and help their shop by showcasing them on my “Favorites” page.

A free marketing tool…yipppeee!
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Give before you get...

How many times have you read about the importance of ‘adding value’ for your audience? How many times have you read about ‘building trust’ with your clients?

Many, many times. You know it well. Every marketing guru has spoken about this topic. But it STILL bears repeating.

What’s the underlying principle for successful online marketing, selling or networking? The art of giving before you try to get. Before you get something from someone, you need to first give them a reason for them to give it to you.
Give them helpful free content. Give them answers to their questions. Point them to tools they need and things they should know. Give them tips they can instantly use in their lives/business. Give them pleasant surprises. Give them interaction and support. Give them promises you can keep. Develop a history of giving.

I’ve started to build relationships by joining an “Etsy Street Team” I hope to give back through support of other artists and their vision. A Street Team is basically a group of artists with a common bond. We as a team have a group blog and a forum to chat about our work, our successes and frustrations. The group promotes each other along with feedback and critiques.

Giving to the group provides exposure and gets my name/avatar out there in a new way. I’m building new relationships in Etsy Land.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Second Treasury - Indiana Wants Me...

I had so much fun putting together my first Treasury I put together a second one; it was published on Friday 7/17/09. I searched for items made by Indiana artists or pictures that were taken in Indiana. I love the greeting card, it reminds me of days at Camp Goodfellow. Enjoy!

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“Marketing” no longer means groceries...

One of the biggest challenges I’ve had is getting the word out about my shop. Not just about myself, but about the handmade revolution that is taking over the country. People seem tired of all the mass produced junk they are being offered. You, me, and Etsy are all part of a bigger movement that values artists, artisans, and quality goods that are made with care. The market place is looking for a move back to simpler times, products made with love and caring, supporting local craftsmen and merchants. I am part of that movement but I need to get the word out! My first step in a bigger marketing plan:

1. Have Business Cards With Your Etsy Shop Link Close At Hand. A lot of business I hope to get will be from who I know, and who knows me. A great step to getting my name and my ETSY shop out in the open is to hand out business cards that have all my company’s information on them. I may not have immediate sales (also since it is summer, it’s a slower shopping season) but when they are in the market for a nice gift maybe they’ll think of me and that card I gave them. The big challenge is not making the cards; it’s keeping them with me at all times. I’m going to put some in my Husband’s wallet as backup when I don’t carry my purse and keep a few in our cars. I just need to get better at handing them out!

More on my Marketing plan in future posts!
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In the Studio

Still working on photos for the Etsy listings...This is taking a long time but the return will be worth it. My sweetie has taken about 80 photographs of six designs. He has worked all day on enhancing the photos and cropping. Look for new posts to my Etsy site soon.

One example of the new photos....
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Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm a Treasury Curator

Check it out...I'm one of the curators of an Etsy Treasury....see my page below

The Treasury is a member-curated gallery of short-lived lists of 12 hand-picked items. Members can feature their favorite items, items selected on a theme, or just whoever they like. The Treasury is not intended for self-promotion, but instead to acknowledge and share the many cool things for sale on Etsy. The Etsy Team often chooses an exceptional Treasury list to promote on the home page.

With only 333 spots available for the lists, it's tough to get one. On my third try I finally got in. WooHoo I'm a curator! My Treasury is called "Tropical Rain Forest" and features the work of eleven other talented artists. One item in the treasury is my work (second row middle).

It was great fun putting together the item list for the Rain Forest theme, I looked at so many beautiful items that it was hard to pick just 12!
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Say Cheeeese!

I've been working with my husband photographing my jewelry. This project has turned into an all day project; several trips to The Home Depot (Sweetie loves an excuse to go to THD)for lighting and light box construction materials. Additional trips were needed to the fabric store and craft store for background materials. Adjustment to the studio to fit the new photography set-up, etc, etc... Lighting the items has really been a challenge. We are using a light box and many back lights, but the images are still dark. If we use the flash, the images are washed out or have flash reflections; if we don't use the flash the images are not as sharp. All afternoon and evening we continued to experiment, but have not found the perfect lighting yet.

"Never give up, never surrender!"

We'll work on this again tomorrow...Good Night Earth!
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Avatar Launch

After several tries at designing an Avatar I've decided to use a small section of my shop banner and add my shop initials to the corner. Not the most creative Avatar I've seen, but it does represent my shop colors and theme. Take a look.....
My Shop Banner.....

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

What's an Avatar?

To represent myself on the Etsy site I needed an "Avatar" I had no idea what an "Avatar" was so I did some research and this is what I found...

In Hindu mythology, an avatar is a deity that has taken on an earthly form, most often that of a human, in order to bring higher consciousness to the earth that the Hindu gods created. As humans create virtual worlds, it could be said that the computer avatar represents human incarnation into its own creation. Religious affiliations aside, the computer avatar holds a user's rich and conceptual representation of himself/herself by using a two-dimensional picture on Internet forums and communities like Etsy. I needed to represent myself to the cyberspace world in a 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch square.

Okay, this is a challenge; how do I show the 'world' who I am in less than one inch? I could display my picture or maybe a piece of my jewelry? I found free Avatars on the internet, everything from snugly puppies to warrior princesses, maybe I should use one of those? No, I think it needs to be unique...maybe something that has my shop name...this is a bigger decision than I originally thought.
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Lights, Cameras, Action...

I've finally taken the plunge and launched my own shop on Etsy!

I've always been creative and I've been asked many times if I would sell my designs. I struggled with that request for more years than I care to admit. My tendency is to be overly critical of my own designs and I tend to rework a piece until I feel it's perfect. This process could take an hour or a year depending how long I need to 'massage' an item to get it just right. I woke up one morning and thought "what's holding me back; get over yourself". I got out of bed, looked at other Etsy shops for inspiration, and began my Adventure in Etsy Land. Join me on my journey as I explore the possibility of quiting my day job!
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