Monday, December 28, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again-A New Direction for the New Year
Frost Grape Scarfette - $22.00
15 1/4" Long X 4 1/4" Wide
6mm thick
I was able to get my pictures to upload on this laptop and have been thinking about ways that I can sell more frequently, and I noticed that items such as hats, scarves, and scarfettes seem to be selling very well on Etsy.
Although Christmas has passed the cold weather will be around for several more months, so I figured I'd make use of it and make some of these wearable items and list them in my shop. I used to knit and crochet years ago but then didn't continue with it once I chose jewelry as my main medium to make and sell for my business.
If it's one thing I know it's that you never can be too sure of your product, as alot of the reasons that dictate marketability are out of an artist's control. You can make the most beautiful, unique, and even affordable product and today it might be hot and tomorrow in an instant the bottom could fall out and it will just sit there collecting dust.
In this depressed economy especially, business owners must adjust and adapt their business plans in order to survive.
I have learned a few useful pieces of information in the past few months.
1) The more necessary a product is the more likely it is to sell in a bad economy
2) Those supply stores that are continuing to do well despite the bad economy are those selling transparent faceted stones, diamond beads, and rough stones.
The agate and Jaspers in my supply store did not do near as well as I expected. Probably if I'd had Ocean Jasper that would move, but this seems to be one of the few exceptions to the rule. Finding a ready source however, has proved problematic. For those of you interested in Ocean Jasper I am working on getting one of my wholesale suppliers to work something out with a cutting plant in Madagascar where it is mined along the shoreline at low-tide.
Selling diamond beads is a longer-term goal, but carrying some of the other blingy stuff is feasible in the near future.
Carmella is almost out of her non-allergenic prescription dog food and the total vet bill seems to be hovering around $3,000 regardless of what I do. Donations for her expenses have completely come to a standstill as well in recent months, as have the blog ads.
If you are looking for a good inexpensive way to advertise these are $5.00 each and your little banner stays on my sidebar until it gets bumped by overflow (and those whose ads are there now have gotten quite alot of bang for their buck!)
If you are not in themarket for advertising please give this link to others you know who might be and suggest it to them. One thing I can say is that the number of followers and the traffic to this blog has really grown! That means you or others who advertise on it will be very visible!
If you read this blog please leave a comment at least every once in awhile. I always appreciate knowing that people are interested in the content and enjoy reading here, if they've seen my shop, like an item, what they like about it, etc. It is an artist's life-blood to know that their work is bringing others joy and that they have touched the viewer.
My free gift to the 90th buyer in my finished jewelry shop is still available and if you purchase my outerwear that counts as well. I just heard on the evening news that despite the economy online sales have increased 15.5%, so maybe that's a sign that things will start improving for me and other artists.
How about a warm hat or neck warmer? If you prefer a different color I have more to come, but this color is quite versatile with all the earthtones. I wanted something neutral but something more exciting than just a cream or brown.
Moss Hat - $40.00
Circumference 22"
6 1/4" high
features a lovely textured band
I am even considering making some leg warmers and knee warmers. I don't know if your knees get cold easily, but mine do. It's the strangest thing. Sometimes the rest of me will be warm enough but my knees and just above them are completely cold and I often wish I had something just to cover that part. As far as I know there is nothing commercially available just to cover the knees. Who knows, maybe more people have this problem than realize and I'll find a nitch market. If you are interested in some of these I would sure love to hear from you.
Wishing all my readers a happy and prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On The Bench-The Effects of the Economy on an Artist
I don't have access to my pictures and cannot list anythng on etsy now because yesterday my computer started to turn on and then promptly turned off. This is a disaster right before the holidays and at a time when I'm trying to get expenses paid down.
On top of all of this I have not been feeling well but have just been trying to get over this hump, thinking things would be better tomorrow. I guess I was wrong about that.
Now I'm going to have to figure out a way to pay to get my computer fixed and hope that it's not way above my head. This laptop is not completely set up to do all that my desktop was doing. It doesn't have micosoft Word and will probably have to have some software loaded on it so that I can put photos on it.
I may have to just get this set up as the main one. The problem still remains to be no money.
I'm going to have to pull back on all my activities until this is solved. Paying down Carmella's vet bill and getting this fixed will have to take precedence.
This is about all I can stand. Not a thing has sold in my Etsy shops for over a month, I have to keep changing my plans, and my entire life has come to a grinding halt.
Last night I started a necklace. I don't know that it was because I was inspired to do it but just because there's nothing else I can do. I find it ironic because it is going to be quite elaborate but what's the point because I can't list it and people won't even buy my $8.50 earrings, so I must be out of my mind to think they'd buy that piece. I don't really. It's just my nature to keep putting one foot in front of the other even as tears are streaming down my face because I see no solution anywhere on the horizon. Even so, I am wearing out fast.
I can't even sell my hair until I have somewhere to upload pictures.
I'm sure that other artists are going through similar upheavels but too much of this for too long can't be good for a person.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Would You Like A Free Gift???

Who wouldn't! I am at 88 sales in my etsy jewelry shop and to get things moving I have decided to offer the 90th buyer a free gift in their package! You could guarantee the 90th customer to be YOU if you buy just 2 items from my store. (Two sales in one transaction also counts!) Please take a look at the variety of jewelry I have available and match them to the people on your list.

I will be making something special as a surprise just for this lucky buyer. (If you have an etsy account be sure to leave your favorites visible so that I can get an idea of the style you would like).

This is not going to be some two-cent promo gift that nobody wants, but something that you will really enjoy! I'll even wrap it and you can put it under the tree (or open it then when you get your package if the curiosity is killing you).
OK, ready...set...GO!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Eye Candy Interlude - Sneak Preview!
Silver and Gold and Sugarplums!
Glow from a Distant Fire (bracelet)
7 1/4" (with additional ring to expand to 7 3/4")
9mm faceted black Onyx rondelles, wine freshwater pearls, black frosted glass rondelles, flat Moukaite pebbles, facetted Brecciated Jasper rondelles, and red garnet with sterling silver beads and findings.
I made the two bracelets while watching Obama's speech on TV last night and realized only later that I was using some beads I had bought from a vendor at a bead show who was from Afghanistan. He had some of the most gorgeous Lapis, but also some material of other stones in shapes I'd never seen before. The brown (what is referred to as Blonde Onyx) came in alternating slender tubes, tiny rondelles, and flat round disks drilled through very thin pieces! The man told me all the strands were hand-made by the Afghani people. He also had all kinds of unusual natural jade that came in shades of green more like Peridot than what one usually sees. I'm not sure if it's in the category of Jadeite or Nephrite, but I find it much prettier than the Chinese material the industry is saturated with. I bought several strands of the most beautiful spring green tubes!
Check out the photo at the bottom to see both of these close-up.
Oxidized Twist Pattern Sterling Stacker Ring $20.00
Size 7 1/2
This ring is another very reasonably priced piece with a lovely twist pattern; simple but elegant.
Smoke The Peacepipe (bracelet)
7 1/4", Gold-filled, vermeil, 22 Kt. lined glass beads, frosted Blonde Onyx and Jade from Afghanistan, pale peach Moonstone, 22Kt. Delica beads, faceted Brecciated Jasper rondelles, Moukaite, and Aventurine.
As I worked on the bracelets and watched the Presidential speech I was really disappointed in what was about to happen right before the holidays. The old, tired arguments of the Bush era were revived and paraded for all to see, meant to convince us that we are not safe unless millions more are pumped into a war that never seems to end. I wasn't convinced. If the past year hasn't moved us closer to a resolution than I doubt that another 6 months will, and meanwhile that money could be spent on jobs and assistance for the people here.
The lives lost chasing the elusive Al Kaida spread out into too many countries to keep track of should be saved instead, and as much as he tried to pretend that all this would achieve a positive outcome I really don't see how anything good could come of it; our people dying, their people dying (and not just military people, civilians. Perhaps even some of those who made the very beads I was using to make my bracelets).
Injecting ourselves into the war in the middle-east which has been ongoing since the beginning of history and being naaiive enough to believe that we can do something to stop it by being a part of it can only further entangle us further and earn us more enemies, some we probably never anticipated and never intended.

The other night I went online to look for resources for someone whose husband has been unemployed for a year and found websites on which people were posting their stories, desperate for help; people without healthcare, people whose utilities were about to be cut off, and people in foreclosure. People with several school-age children who literally didn't know how much longer their little bit of assets saved would hold out and then not be able to feed them.
The dispair and level of hopelessness and malaise out there is deafening, and NOW we're sending more troops to Afghanistan (talk about living above our means), now THAT gives new meaning to the term!
If the American people become so depleted and so impoverished that they cannot function then I ask the President how does that in any way strengthen our nation?
Now should be the time for peace, not war. Americans have in many respects lost their soft place to fall, and before we should even think about solving problems "out there" we need to solve the ones we have here at home.
An over-stressed, under-funded country is fertile ground for the very elements feared, so I believe Obama's decision is a big mistake.
Perhaps we just don't have that kind of power to achieve peace in the middle-east and that may be something that has to be worked out between the various factions there.
What we do have the power to do is to take care of our own, build them up, and fix some of the problems that have been put off for far too long in our own country. Only when our own people are properly provided for can we expect to have any real impact on others outside our borders.

Not to engage in war is often the strongest example of all.