Friday, April 23, 2010

Trends in Jewelry.....

We all know how important it is to keep up with jewelry trends if you're in the handmade jewelry business. It certainly would not be in your best interest to be selling bright, colorful neon designs in a year when the trend screams black and white! Not that you want to completely alter your jewelry line based on trends; BUT, it is important to be aware of jewelry trends so that you can make subtle changes to your line based on demand.

Right now long chain necklaces with some embellishments are popular, also multi strand necklaces and bracelets are selling. Fashion magazines and trend watch publications are very helpfully when adjusting your shop to draw attention to the latest style. One good source of jewelry trend information for jewelry makers is Bead Style Magazine. Each month they have a trend watch section.

Take a peek at two of my current trend designs:
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

I’d love to quit my day job….

…But it’s not time yet.  My day job allows me to purchase quality supplies and fund my internet connectivity which is essential for my success. I could have taken out a small business loan, but with no loan payments to be made, I’m able to perfect my designs, my packaging and my business identity at my own pace.  Today the income from my day job (Project Manager for a Fortune 100 company) allows me to take money earned and put it back into the business by buying supplies in bulk, upgrading packaging and participating in shows. Sales on Etsy have helped us through the lean times when my husband was out of work and allowed us to go camping when a break was needed. In this troubled economy, I am thankful daily for the chance Etsy has given me to grow my small business. And yes, someday, maybe I will be able to quit my day job. But for now, keeping my day job while Lori’s Glassworks grows is the right choice for me.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Helping families one bead at a time....

Are you familiar with Kazuri Beads?  Lady Sarah Wood and two African women began making the colorful beads twenty-five years ago on the lawn of Isak Dinesen's Kenyan coffee plantation. Today, this bead business offers employment and income for about 100 Kenyan women living near the foothills of Mt. Kenya, who are often the sole providers for their children and families. The women are given fair wages and child care to help them out of poverty. Each bead is shaped by hand from clay - fired, painted, fired and glazed, and then fired again in an electric kiln. Up to five different colors may be used on one bead to create the pattern, and no two beads are exactly alike. Kazuri Beads is a member of the FAIR TRADE Federation. Below are examples of Jewelry made using Kazuri Beads.....

This necklace is from my own shop it's
called: "Sand Dunes"

This lovely necklace is from another Etsy seller it's called: "Seafoam Kazuri"

You can purchase Kazuri beads from many sources here in the US, this is the the source I use: Turtle Neck Jewelry.  They can be found online at:

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Monday, April 12, 2010

In the Studio...

Take a peek at my latest earring designs...I will post these in my Etsy shop later today.  Still working on the pricing and item descriptions. 

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Creative Blocks.......

   I realized today that I’m in a rut, my shop sales are slow and I haven’t been motivated to create any new product.  I’ve spent many hours each day working on my marketing; tweeting, posting on facebook, reading blogs, chatting in forums, etc….
  A wise, very successful Etsy seller advised that I should keep updating my jewelry during the quiet period. “Most importantly, keep renewing and improving your craft; oftentimes we  handmade sellers take so much of our time marketing our items, we forget to look for new and interesting ways to create. This will keep people coming back to your shop and will make your marketing job a little easier!”  

  So, today I got out of the house for a hair appointment and a look around for inspiration. While waiting at the salon I was thumbing through a fashion magazine and noticed the bold, chunky, and natural materials being used for the designer jewelry.  On the wall of the salon was a painting with an incredible color pallet, my stylist had on a beautiful long rope necklace and the shop across the street had a window display bursting with spring colors. Creative inspiration was all around me I just needed to look up from my ‘marketing’ to see it.  I have a renewed focus…I’m off to the studio to create my next sale!
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter...

Just finished a cute bracelet to wear with my Easter outfit today.....

  It’s Easter time again, and I’m reminiscing about how much my sister Jennifer and I looked forward to our new Easter outfits each year. Of course, I always planned to dazzle the folks at our small church in Merrillville, Indiana and later at our grandparent’s house for the big family dinner.
  We headed off to the Village Shopping Center in Gary, IN to choose our outfits at JC Penney’s. It was the big store in our area at the time. Easter finery included hats, gloves, and shiny new patent leather shoes. I confess my love affair with hats started then, and continues today.  I just loved all the hats in church on Easter Sunday.
  Today my Easter Sunday has become a much more casual event, hats and gloves and all the other finery have gone by the wayside. Easter has a deeper meaning, it’s more about being thankful for his gifts and grace. But, I do miss the hats!  Maybe I’ll wear one next year to church on Easter Sunday and start a trend back to all the fine clothes.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Make Me International....

I had my first International sale in my Etsy shop this week! Fabulous!

Making your shop friendly for international buyers opens the door to a lot of new business.   The US dollar is not very strong right now and our global neighbors can get quite a good deal on purchasing American goods. 

Several things you can do are:
  • Offer international shipping. This seems silly, but I've seen many forum posts from frustrated international customers who WOULD have bought from a store, but sadly, the seller did not offer international shipping.
  • Accurately calculate shipping costs. Shipping is not as expensive as you might think, and doing your research will really help prevent you from scaring off international customers with exorbitant shipping rates.  The same bracelet I shipped in the US for $2.98 shipped to the United Kingdom for $6.68.  Really not that much more.
  • Use metric measurements. Be sure that you give measurements in centimeters as well as inches, as most the rest of the world uses the metric system of measurement.
  • Offer discounted shipping to international customers. I've often seen many shops do 'free shipping' sales, but only to domestic customers. This can be very frustrating to international customers who may feel as though they are being treated as second class citizens.
Using some of these tips, as well as having a well structured shop with great pictures, clear descriptions and good products, will certainly help you succeed on internationally on Etsy.
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