Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Moving Forward . . .


Share/Bookmark
Christmas break from work was a lot shorter than I wanted it to be. I had a serious bout with morning sickness during the first two days of the break, so I was unable to get a lot done. I mostly just slept on those days.

However, once I started to feel better, I did get a few things handled. I went ahead and removed all the non-chainmaille and non-wirewrapped pieces from my Etsy site. It's looking a little empty right now because there are only 15 items still listed, but there are a few pieces in line to be photographed and listed. I also started disassembling the pieces that I removed from my selling list. It's taking me a little while on those because there was just so much. I'm already back at work from Christmas break, and a lot of the pieces still have not been taken apart, but I am getting there on them. I do have Thursday and Friday off, so I may get a little bit done.

I also have to relocate my camera before I can take new photos. I pulled it out of the drawer so I would see it and be reminded that I needed to take photos, but it got moved by someone (probably was me) and now I can't find it. It could very possibly be buried under any of the mounds of paper I have sitting around the room that need to be filed. My computer room is a fire hazard at the moment.

Just being in the process of revamping my business, reorganizing my business files, and changing my setup with very little time to get it done is starting to get a bit overwhelming. It will get done, though. Just eventually . . .

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bringing in a Brand New Look...


Share/Bookmark
So, my husband and I have been doing a lot of talking about my jewelry business lately. Okay, I've been doing the talking. He's been doing the "uh huh"ing and the "whatever you want to do, baby"ing. I've decided that I am going to focus my jewelry solely on one type for several reasons.

First and foremost, I love making chainmaille jewelry. Even the simplest weave looks amazingly intricate and beautiful, and for me, a beautiful piece makes me feel like I've made something completely special and unique. Also, I have a thousand little jump rings in every size, shape, and color in containers all over my computer room that I really want to do something with.

Secondly, since we are discussing moving again, I may be short on space in the new place. I really don't want to have to keep up with 16 large boxes of beads and gemstones. I'll keep some of the gemstones because I can frame them with a nice half persian weave and make a brooch or pendant out of them. But I think I'm going to go through and make sure there are no broken glass pieces in the glass beads, then sell them as supplies. I have moved some of them several times as we migrate from house to house, and I'm quite tired of having to move all of them. It's just so much easier to store jump rings for chainmaille. Any container that doesn't have holes and has a tight fitting lid can work as a canister to hold the rings, and if they stack, that's a plus!

And lastly, the beaded jewelry market is so oversaturated right now. On every one of my online venues, there is like one chainmaille seller to every 20+ beaded jewelry seller. I just think I would do better in the chainmaille market.

We are planning to bring this new look in on New Years' Day. I only have 4 days off for Christmas and I will hopefully feel good enough to get new photographs taken and edited and get everything ready to be listed that is chainmaille. Then on New Years' Day, I can remove all the non-chainmaille/wireworked pieces from my online venues and list all the new chainmaille pieces.

I'll use Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend to get all the glass beads listed as supplies. They aren't a major part of my store because once they are gone, they are gone, so I'm not really wanting to urgently get them listed. They will be listed though. Just have to go through them all first to make sure they aren't cracked or broken in any way.

Those are our plans. I'm really excited about them, and Sam seems to be as well. More to come soon!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hate Wasting a Weekend...


Share/Bookmark
I left work early on Friday because I wasn't feeling well. I seem to be having perpetual morning sickness, even though I'm eating regularly and I'm completely hydrated. I thought that if I went home and slept for a while, I'd feel better. It worked for a little while. Husband and I both napped til about 6:30 (off and on for me because kept waking up to get sick). I got up and started working on my Etsy descriptions (I printed them off because I work better on pencil and paper than on a computer screen). I got through a few listings before I started getting a headache. Sam, bless his heart, went to McDonalds and got me a vanilla milkshake. It was the only thing I was able to keep down all day. I think I was back in bed by 9 that night.

Woke up the next morning around 8:30. Was feeling alright. Not great, but not completely sick either. I managed to get a few potato chips down (they settle my stomach better than saltines ever will) and drank a little apple juice. I was going to coil and cut some rings then take photos, but the power went out at the house around 9:30 and stayed off til almost 2, which means I had no drill, no dremel, and no lights. Thank goodness it was a warm, breezy day because I could just open the windows. I worked some more on my Etsy descriptions I had printed off. Fell back asleep again around noon, I think. I remember looking at the clock at 11:15. I woke up again a little before 2. I was coming back from a cool shower when the power came back on. I took a few minutes then to sit down at the computer and check my email and Etsy. But I was starting to not feel well again, so I just stayed put. Sam got up around 2:30 and came in there and asked if I was up to eating. We decided on Subway since a sub still tastes fine hot or cold, and I could eat it in a couple of hours if I didn't feel like I could eat it immediately. We went and got food, then I camped out in front of the computer the rest of the day because less moving equals less nausea. We played World of Warcraft off and on most of the evening and we had fun, so I'm not complaining.

Sunday was, well, a Sunday. We don't go to church, so I managed to sleep in until about 10. I woke up feeling fairly good. I would get a little queasy if I turned or bent over too fast, but was fine otherwise. Kept down a hamburger at lunch and a couple of bread sticks at supper. Breakfast ...well, I stared breakfast down, but it never happened. Just couldn't stomach it. Played around on the computer the entire day. Edited a few scans I took of my ultrasounds for my in-laws, but wasn't very productive.

I'm really hoping this morning sickness settles down soon. I can't get much of anything done for either being sick as hell or so sleepy that I'm falling asleep standing up. I have actually fallen asleep in the shower and on the toilet from exhaustion. And I'm usually asleep on the couch or in the bed before 8 at night. I just don't get it.

Going to look at a house tonight, so it'll be pushing 7 before we ever get home. We are trying to find somewhere closer to where we work and where the baby's daycare will be that is cheaper and safer to live in. Our current house is in the worst neighborhood in town. I don't even feel safe there with my two dogs, so I know I won't feel safe when I have a kid running around there too. Also, even when the house is cleaned within an inch of it's life, it still has a moldy, musty smell to it, which really bothers me.

Well, that was my wasted weekend. I really need to get to work on my dayjob for a while. Have a little catching up to do from going home early on Friday.

--Jessica

Friday, October 24, 2008

Preparing for the Weekend


Share/Bookmark
Going home early from work today. Didn't sleep well last night and it's telling on me today with massive morning sickness and I keep falling asleep sitting up in my chair at work. So I'm going to take off the rest of the afternoon after 12:30 and go take a nap. Hopefully, after a nap, I will feel well enough to work on my Etsy descriptions, tags, and titles. If I can get them written up the way I want to on my layout sheets, I can start to work on the photos in the morning after my usual morning sickness has passed.

I've had a few ideas for setting up the five pictures for my earrings, but I still don't know how I'm going to set up my bracelet and necklace pictures, nor do I have any idea how I'm going to layout all the other stuff that I have for sale right now. I do know that I'm going to take my hairsticks apart and just sell the supplies. And if I can find my table in my studio, I'm going to start going through all my supplies and pulling out the parts that I will never use and can sell. Tired of moving some of these things. I have beads and findings in there that I have now moved across the country three times. I'm going to string them, bag them, vial them and hope that someone else out there can be struck with a moment of divine inspiration and find a use for them.

I figure if I can get my part inventory at least cut in half, I'll be better off on studio space. And it will also become a lot easier to pare down the rest until I'm strictly chainmaille. It will be a whole lot easier to store a few containers of jump rings.

We still haven't figured out how to sanction off an area of the house that we can lock to keep the baby away from my tools when the time comes where he/she is crawling and walking everywhere. Granted, I don't keep blades on my dremel when it's not in use and most of my tools are kept way up almost out of my reach, but I still worry about the possibility.

Just right now, I want to get my studio organized enough that I can make stuff again. Right now, I'm working out of a recycled Bath n Body Works bag that I can toss my two pairs of pliers, flush cutters, and the current container of rings into and it zips up. I have about nine partial projects tossed in the bottom of it that I need to complete, but I have no where that I can open up all the rings I need and spread out my work.

For right now, though, I am going to close out this post, and start clearing up my desk at my dayjob. Heading out here shortly to go nap. At least my ramblings kept me awake for a little while.

--Jessica

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Productivity


Share/Bookmark
For those of you who frequent my Etsy shop, I know you have been asking if I had just quit updating it. Well, to be truthful, I've been putting off taking photos. I'm bad, I know. Smack me.

I do, however, have a bunch of stuff to get listed. I'll be working on photos this weekend (I promise) and hopefully, I'll have all the new pieces listed before Monday morning.

I have to be listed:
2 new necklaces
7 new bracelets
4 new earring
3 new pendants/charms
and random other bits and pieces, including some beading supplies that I just don't have a use for anymore.

I'll post them as soon as I can and let everyone know when they are up. :o)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Where did the Summer go?


Share/Bookmark
Well, it's September 17, 2008. I'm two months away from my jewelry business's six year anniversary of it's first sale. I have taken these last few weeks to look back over where I have been with this business. Times are tough, economically, but the business has grown. Now, it hasn't shot up like a bean in the summer heat, but it's been getting progressively better. We did public shows this year for the first time, and granted, not much was made, but we did cover our table fees and we sold a few pieces, including a few that I thought I would never see leave. So all in all, we are getting there. Hopefully, the next sale season will be better. I know that everyone who sells jewelry is going "Wait! Christmas hasn't come yet; the sale season isn't over!" No, it's not completely over, but for me, it's closing out. I'll still make a couple of sales between now and Christmas, but with the pregnancy and things that need to be handled at home, I'm not catapulting myself into a busy Christmas season. This year needs to be a quiet one.
And since it has been decently quiet, I have been working on my website. I will still be using Etsy, but my pieces will also be available on my website to be bought. I'm having to move slowly on my website though. Mostly because I've not quite decided what color theme to use. I'm trying to keep it as simple as possible, but it needs some design flair to it. I'm also still waiting on that sunny weekend to take pictures. It's done nothing but rain in Kinston for the past month.
Since I have been pregnant, I have pretty much stopped making pieces for the present time. My energy levels have crashed out, so I'm usually collapsing by the time I get home, or I just do the paperwork part of the business; whichever one my brain can handle after a long day of work. I will pick back up with weaving my little rings soon though. Just have to wait for my brain to come back and for my energy to return as well.
Since we will have a little one in the house as of sometime in March, we are having to work on a storage plan that will keep his/her little fingers out of my rings. We still haven't figured one out yet, but if we are blessed with the gift of moving before the baby arrives, I'll make sure we put a lock on my studio door. At least that will keep the kid and the animals out.
For the time being, I must get back to work here at my day job. We are currently at a standstill when it comes to distributing the tests here at the Early Math Placement Testing Center, but we are plugging through all the little jobs that we have had to put on the back-burner since last year. Toodles, and I'll post soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Preparing for the next Umbrella Market


Share/Bookmark
Well, we have roughly two weeks until the next Umbrella Market here in Greenville. My husband and I have been working on shining everything up, putting prices on the front of the cards, and I'll be diligently working on displays one night this week (depends on when I get home). We are going to try to create a "tiered" look this time to add some height to it, and I'm not going to load the table down either. Too much color for one person to take in as they pass. We're going to try to make it a little more subtle.
I still haven't gotten my newer items listed on my Etsy page. We haven't really had a nice sunny weekend for me to take pictures outside, and my camera almost always takes fuzzy pictures. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but it's getting old. It's supposed to be sunny this weekend, so I'm going to try to get out on our balcony and take some good pictures. Pray for sunshine.
Other than that, we've been updating a few things. My business cards were out of date, slightly. The information on them was correct, but you really couldn't tell what I sold just by glancing at them. So we took the little blue design off it, and I added a graphic on the left side of a Romanov weave bracelet that I am working on. It gives the cards more flair, and they stand out more. I need to get some printed off to show my husband.
I've also been working hard on the Etsy page. I'm trying to add better descriptions, better search tags, a more detailed material list, and more photos of the completed items to give you (my customers) a better "feel" for the piece you can't actually touch. Please let me know if it helps.
I also just remembered that I need to make my three signs for the Umbrella Market. Since there is a pole in the middle of the table that has the umbrella on it, we are going to make three laminated signs (if possible) that say that we take checks, a free gift comes with each purchase, and all earrings can be converted to clip-ons for free, and we are going to attach them to the pole to decorate it a bit. I had a LOT of people come through looking for clip-ons at the last show, and while I had a few pairs, I did not have the ability to convert the other pairs to clip-ons on the spot, and I really wish I had. So I'm coming prepared this time.
But on that note, I must close for now. There is still much to do before August 2! Hope to see everyone there!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scheduled Photoshoot


Share/Bookmark
I decided last night that I am going to do a photography session this Saturday. I do not like the pictures I have of my jewelry. They look very amateurish and plain. I've been rolling around a few ideas on what to use as backgrounds, props, etc, so there will be many trial photos until I find a setup that I like.

I already know I will be there for a while because I have about 50 pieces of jewelry that I haven't photographed yet because of lack of a place to do so. But now, I have a place. And I have a means to take new pictures.

Please check out my Store for the new photos!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Show Failure and the Aftermath


Share/Bookmark
Well, I'm disappointed. I made many new pieces, did a fair amount of advertising at my own expense, and only four people showed up. It was more than a little disappointing. But on the other hand, my stock is still fairly replenished. My husband and I are lining up shows and festivals for the rest of the year.

We are currently looking at the Uptown Greenville Umbrella Market. Greenville does it every summer, so it's not a new idea. And it's fairly cheap to get a booth, and they supply the table, tent, etc. All we have to bring is chairs and things to sell. I'm looking into that today. I've already missed the first one, but I can sign up for the other three they are holding this summer.

We are also looking into applying as a vendor through the Greenville Jaycees for the July 4th celebration at the Town Commons. They are looking for handcrafted items vendors, and there is usually a fairly large turnout for that.

On a lighter note, Sam and I have begun our cleaning spree in our living room. Since my needed tools to make jewelry have outgrown my current jewelry room, we are going to set up the unused living room as my work area. It's perfect because I can use the floor to ceiling shelves in the adjoining sunroom for storage, and my living room is a very large open space. We are in a 3000 sq ft house (just the two of us and our five animals), so downstairs really doesn't get used. But it's about to be. All I have to do is finish scrubbing the floors, move the two big pieces of furniture around (bookcases), and I can start setting up my stuff in there.I will attach a layout soon.

For now, I must get back to work.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Countdown: 12 Days


Share/Bookmark
Twelve more days until my Spring 2008 jewelry show. I actually feel ready, which is a first for me. I have a few more things I need to get handled, but they won't take me long to get done. I have to finish making my new jewelry cards, and then I have to recard all my old stuff since the price of gold and silver have gone up since my last show. I hate having to reprice, but sometimes, it has to be done. Once I get all the old stuff recarded, I can focus on making up my last few new items, cleaning them, and getting them on cards. My goal is to have everything ready for the show and packed by next Wednesday night. Thursday night is okay, but I really want to just load the car Saturday before the show and drive down. No panic. Just going to go have (hopefully) a day of good sales.

And on an even better note, I have SO many new things to share with everyone. All of my new items are in queue for cleaning then photographs, but I'll add the new pictures as soon as I get them taken. Also, almost all my new items will be available on Etsy after the show. If something sells out there, it will not be available (sorry!), but all items left over after the show will be listed on Etsy for purchase.

Other than that, I must get back to my day job. I'll post again soon with an update as we countdown to our opening show of the season!

--Jessica

Monday, April 14, 2008

Countdown: 33 Days


Share/Bookmark
Today marks thirty-three days until my May 2008 jewelry show. I still have a lot to do, but I am ahead of the game, for the most part. Invitations go out on Friday afternoon to everyone that I have an address for, and I'll campus mail the ones that are here at East Carolina University with me. The rest, I can hand deliver.

Beyond that, I just have a few more pieces to make, clean all the new pieces, card and tag my stock and set up my table layouts. I hope I have enough. I've been working my tail off on new jewelry, but I really don't think it'll cover as many tables as I had originally planned. I also haven't made a single necklace yet, and only a couple of bracelets, so I need to get my act together and get to making them.

I also need to coil some more rings. I've used a large portion of my stock, but haven't cut or coiled anymore in a while. If I am going to keep making pieces, I have to make more.

I have, however, used up a lot of my discontinued beads. I've been collecting beads since I was almost 10 years old, so I had a huge collection of four to five beads sitting everywhere. They made some right pretty pieces this year. I hope everyone that comes likes them.

But for now, I'm off the computer. Have two more hours of my dayjob, then I can go home and create more jewelry.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Setting Up My Show....


Share/Bookmark
My show is only a few weeks away now. I've made a few new pieces, and I've designed my invitations. (I will be printing them this weekend and addressing them.) I will be working more in the next few weeks to hopefully double my inventory, but today, I have been working on my table and room layouts.

Since this is a private show (for my jewelry only), I have the full run of the room. The Fellowship Hall has over 20 tables that are available for use. My goal is to have enough to use 12 of them. My layout calls for 15, but I can adjust it for fewer tables without many problems.

Last year, I set everything up on the table with it all organized by item number. All of EA1 were together, all of N3 were together, and so forth. I think that this year, I may spread everything out a little bit and group pieces together that would compliment each other as a set. (IE, EA4, N12, and B22 are all in yellow tones and will compliment each other nicely; they are all laid out together on the table.)

I also used like two displays last year, which really threw the balance of my tables off. Since I do not have the spare cash this year to toss into displays at the moment, and since I do not have the time to make my own, I will probably just do away with them. I'll either just keep the layouts flat, which isn't really the best, but it's easiest on my time contraints, or I'll see if I can find some styrofoam or build some tiers from boxes to give my tables some layers. I can cover the styrofoam or boxes up with fabric or tableclothes. I may just keep it to flat layout this show and work on the tiers for my show in late October/early November.

I'm also going to box up everything per table into one box this year instead of sorting it all out when I get there this time. (I was in a rushed state last year.) I have several mid-sized boxes that I can label and fill with all the jewelry for one table, the tablecloth, and then the table layout sheet on top, so that whomever is helping me set up said table knows exactly what needs to go where and it's in the order of how it needs to be placed on the table (IE, tablecloth on table first, so it's at the top of the box.)

My first table will probably be where I layout my bags, business cards, promos, etc. Then the rest of the tables will hopefully be loaded with jewelry.

Sam will be there, I know, so he'll be able to help me set up the tables, rearrange them as I need them, and layout everything. Hopefully, my dad will be there this year to run the till and keep track of what is sold and who bought it, and all that mailing list stuff. He's good at that kind of thing. My mom will probably help with the setup again like last year, then "meet and greet."

All in all, I hope that it goes smoothly. Last year, I was in a slight panic on the day of because there was a rescheduled football game that day in town, and it was a big one. Almost no one showed up, but the few that did, bought a lot, so it balanced out. Hoping this show will be better though.

(¯..·._.·Jessica·._.·..¯)