Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Shopping? You Never Know What You Might Find Until You Really Look

I focus on offering everyday value and specialized, unique, and quality items, but look around; you might just find some great deals! - Give the gift of jewelry; but not just any jewelry, these pieces are not what you see all over etsy or in the big box stores. Although I do carry some stocking stuffers such as the earrings you see above, I put hours, days, sometimes weeks of labor into many of my pieces of jewelry and your loved-ones will really appreciate the workmanship and the fact that nobody else will be wearing the identical item.

If you make jewelry or are looking for a gift for someone who does you might want to browse my Etsy supply store. This Cactus Quartz is just one of the exciting items I offer as creative fuel for your unique designs ;  - Give the gift of supplies this year; always useful. I go to great lengths not to be like all the other supply sellers and to offer something different although along with it I also offer findings and staple items so that you can make this a one-stop shop.

More Cactus Quartz being added in interesting shapes and formations; no two exactly alike! Stay tuned!

My customers have been pleased with what they've received from me and I'm sure you will too.

Make use of my combined shipping and load up your cart. Expedited (Priority) US shipping offered on many of my jewelry items and some supplies.

Shop now, skip the malls, and get everyone covered on your gift list;

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To Sale or Not To Sale...That is the Question

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving and all through the house, not a creature was stirring...Woops, wrong holiday, but seriously the day has been eerily quiet here except for a man calling my house asking if I could make his wife some earrings out of a pair of teeth from an Elk he bagged himself.

I must be on some business listing because this isn't the first call like this I've received although most of them are looking for ring-resizing and that kind of commercial thing. I don't normally have customers come to the house and I'm limited in transportation so don't generally meet them in other places just to "talk" about placing a custom order because each trip out costs me money, and as this particular fellow seemed very nervous about how the roots of these teeth would be cut off, so I was really afraid to attempt it. I suggested leaving the roots on and just doing some beadweaving around them, but he said his wife was a small woman and probably wouldn't wear something so big. He really wanted earrings made rather than a necklace, and the roots were long. I can imagine so, but never actually having seen an Elk's tooth I don't fully know what they look like.

I offered to have him upload pictures on Etsy but he said he was no good at that kind of thing, and that these teeth were "like hair; when it's cut there's no putting it back on". He ended up telling me he'd do some thinking and get back to me next week, left me his name, and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving.

Perhaps he is not my customer. If he is he will come back and put in the custom order through Etsy.

I've been giving some thought to a Black Friday and Cyber Monday special of some kind but am having trouble getting in the mood for a number of reasons; sales have not really worked for me in the past and on Etsy there's no easy way to put some specific things on sale. Also, I keep thinking about what Suze Orman says about not putting yourself on sale;

"Don't treat yourself like you're on sale. If you're reluctant to put a real value on what you do, then it diminishes who you are". As Suze explains, women tend to devalue what they do.

This creates a vicious cycle: "When you devalue what you do, it becomes inevitable that you -- and those around you -- devalue who you are." Women will settle for less. They may offer discounted prices on their services or accept a smaller raise, even when the company is doing well. They have to ask for what they know is "right."

Suze says, "Remember to muster up your courage and silence your fear ... keep your eye on the goal, on what you really want to accomplish, no matter what anyone says or does to deter you. Just keep moving forward."


It is a weighty question to ask yourself just how much and which kinds of specials one can offer without diminishing the perceived value of the product you are offering, and I don't know if there is any hard and fast answer.

One thing I believe I have figured out is that having a discount doesn't create demand. It merely makes those products a little more accessible to those who already want them.

If someone goes to the grocery store and wants corn on the cob and broccoli is on sale, chances are they won't buy it for the price because if they leave the store with a bunch of broccoli the problem of their wanting corn on the cob still remains. This leaves the customer in the position that they must spend yet more money than if they'd just left the discounted broccoli alone and spent a little more for the one item they really wanted.

This is why it is so important when devising specials to do them sparingly and in a targeted way so that they will result in substantial enough purchases!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cactus Quartz - One of the Earth's Most Interesting Curiosities
I first became acquainted with Cactus Quartz at a gem and bead show earlier this year while looking at the table of a lapidary guy from Florida. The unusual crystal I held in my hand didn't look like any Amethyst I'd ever seen before, but he told me that in fact it was Amethyst which had grown smaller crystals around the main central point and upon which a layer of Citrine had grown on top of that layer because of certain volcanic and mineral conditions. The first one I started with was sort of an experiment to see if it would sell and I still have it, but I began to get lots of inquiries about it and potential buyers started bookmarking it. Some people wrote and asked me if I had any smaller ones that could be used in rings, so then I bought two more (those two of the variety you see in the picture above; more purple and with little or no Citrine in it).

Then I got a custom order for 10, so I thought, "This could really become popular" and I embarked upon a journey into the world of importing gemstones. I had bought a few things here and there from India and Thailand, but this was the first real wholesale import I had done and it was a little scary but alot exciting! Since the particular supplier I was ordering from was located in South Africa where these stones are mined I was able to get them for a better price than anyplace I could order them in the US, and I checked several South African suppliers but none of the others had the top purple material you see here! One of the others I spoke with almost laughed when I mentioned the ones he showed on his website were too pale for my taste and when I asked him if he had any with more intense color. He told me that only about 2% of the material that comes out of the ground is purple and most is pale lavender. He only gets the top purple material once or twice a year and it's sold out within a week's time. He never gets advance notice as to when it will be available. While I was looking around doing an exhaustive search I saw many that were even white or colorless with not even a hint of purple; technically not Amethyst yet still considered Cactus Quartz. They can come in Smokey Quartz too.

The other supplier did not have a Paypal account, doing all of her transactions by direct bank draft, and had no credit card processing capability, and she had up until now only dealt with big dealers who usually ordered at least 20 Kilos at a time. The supplier and I talked by e-mail on a daily basis for about 2 weeks while she set up a Paypal account and I set up an account with a particular courior. Shipping could be either expensive, or if I chose South Africa's Air Freight it could take 12 weeks, and I knew I couldn't wait that long. Knowing I needed to strike while the iron was hot I went with the more expensive but faster courior and after several misquotes from them they gave me the correct shipping quote (while still expensive, not enough to make me bolt and conclude I'd lost my mind, LOL).

The 1 Kilo of stones arrive even a little earlier in the morning than predicted (and in 4 days), and as I excitedly opened the box tightly sealed on all sides with brown glossy packing tape, I was elated to find 107 beautifully glistening purple crystals intact and carefully wrapped. They were all 2 inches or shorter, as requested, and there was an assortment of crystal formations. Some were long and rather phallic, whereas others were more stubby and had more tiny secondary crystals growing around them, and some were closer to flat general clusters whose host crystal was less defined apart from the others. A few have twin central crystals!

Many of these could be used in rings, being about an inch long. That size is hard to come by and that size in the most sought-after purple is really hard to come by! I may need to order more sooner that I think!

If you do wire-wrapping or stone setting and you like to make creative bezel or prong settings to fit one-of-a-kind stones I highly recommend you buy some of these when I get them listed because those in the know really want this material! The market price here in the US is on the rise and some of my sources have told me it is becoming more and more difficult to find. When/if the mines run out it will only be obtainable from old stock which was previously purchased.

Some of you may be aware of other stones like Tourmaline, for instance that has skyrocketed in price because it is either rare, no longer found at all, or is dangerous to mine because of civil unrest in a region or armed bandits looking to make money themselves. All or any one of these conditions can affect market price, so it's good to get in ahead of the game.

History of Cactus Quartz:

The stone was first discovered in 1986, believed to have come from  "Magaliesberg" but there was some confusion about the more specific location. This may have been intentional to prevent anybody and everybody from going on the premises and pilfering the newly discovered find. Then after a few years the story given at trade shows changed to reflect "Marble Hall" as the locale; a small town about 120 km north-east of Pretoria.

Since then the story has changed a third time and it is said to be found near the  former Boutenhouthoek and Mathys Zyn Loop Farms, approximately 45  km South-west of "Marble Hall", and 80 km North-east of Pretoria.

The mining is done rather informally by local farmers. These special stones are found in quartz veins imbedded in granite of the Bushveld intrusion complex believed to be 2 billions years old, but it is not known how old the quartz is that the crystals grow in, nor how old the Cactus Quartz crystals themselves are. On some pieces there are still parts of this matrix attached.

Cactus Quartz is referred to by local tribal medicine men as "Spirit Quartz", having been used in healing rituals. Metaphysical practitioners here in the US believe Cactus Quartz has strong energy compounded by the many tiny crystals surrounding the central one, and that the stone helps in focus, group cooperation and unification, and is used to provide insight into family or community problems.

Composition and properties;

It is a silicon dioxide mineral and has a Moh's hardness of 7. The crystal ranges from transparent to translucent, and has a hexagonal, trigonal crystal structure.

(Other sources not disclosed).

Watch my Etsy store for these beautiful stones as I start listing them individually. You can buy them here;

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Promotional Frenzy is on a Roll!
I  just had to give an update on how the Promotional Frenzy thread is doing! Things are really picking up momentum, and it's paying off for more and more people!

The above treasury appeared on Etsy and apparently was picked up by some big name blog because tonight the creator of it,  reported that it was getting a tremendous number of hits and was at the top of the treasury chart which includes literally hundreds; it was definitely getting more attention than what normal Etsy traffic would have brought it. I couldn't go in and look directly because I am on my old desktop computer which almost completely conked out during the BNR treasury on Monday night, so got me a screen shot of it. My laptop is going to the shop in the morning and I hope to have it fixed by next Monday's BNR treasury. Despite having to get to pinch hit halfway through, the BNR generated alot of interest in the thread itself, and a fair amount of overall sales although not as many as the week before. Etsy was running funkily as well.
(By the way, my necklace is the big sterling leaf in the middle).

Things are moving again for me too. Tonight really paid off!
There were 35 participants at the Tuesday Frenzy event at 9:00 PM and the larger number seemed to really increase everyone's overall item views. We probably won't know all the results from this event for another 2 days. Sometimes people make sales from it over a period of a few days; not always on the day of the event. I predict we will be hearing from participants about more sales between now and the end of the week.

It's as if a huge wave or a freight train is heading down a steep incline propelled by its own weight.
To get on the train follow the track here;

Monday, November 15, 2010

Delectible, and Always So Yummy; It's Time for Promotional Frenzy's Record-Breaking Monday BNR!
These Cinnamon Carmels brought to you by The Caramel Jar

Don't you just love the taste of cinnamon on a cold winter day, sprinkled on your buttered toast, in your tea or coffee, in those delicious comfort foods you remember growing up?

Cinnamon brings us feelings of warmth and comfort, and reminds us of happy times, the aromas of the Holidays, and the satisfaction of knowing the homefire's burning while we are nestled in our beds, or in front of the computer or TV, comfy and cozy, safe from the elements outdoors as the temperature plunges.

The subtle clink of the spoon as we stir and drink our warm beverages, the twinkling lights on a decorated tree, and the anticipation of what surprises are to come, and visits from those near and dear fills our hearts with love and sentiment and brings a reflective smile to our faces.

Come join us and recapture that feeling again!
Click, comment, and shop for some wonderful gifts while you browse these shops and get your shop featured.

Monday, November 15th 
4:00 PM - 1:00 AM EST
Cinnamon Promotional Frenzy BNR
(Link will become visible at opening)

Featured are;

We totalled 79 sales last week!
Let's see if we can make 100!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Pumpkin Pie is A Turn-on BNR 58 bought out - 79 sales Total!

 Last night's Promotional Frenzy Buy and Replace Treasury set new records, with sales numbers totalling 79!

The marathon lasted 17 hours in all and by 10 PM or so sales were coming in at full throttle! Some sellers' items were bought out almost faster than we could get them in, and some made multiple sales in one evening, buying back in and being bought out again! It was a little like day trading, although the pages had to be refreshed manually in order to see the transaction links as they were posted.
I truly wondered for a time there whether we were going to "break the treasury" with all of our volume!
At some point we had to move to a new location because after about 32 pages things got kind of buggy and we couldn't post anymore comments.

Some of our newly invited guests have since come to the thread. We have a shorter event planned for 9:00 PM EST tonight.  Our Tuesday Promotional Frenzy is taking place and you may add one item of yours to the list to be Tweeted, stumbled, etc., just make sure that you also promote the other items on the list at 9:00.

Here is a full description of the thread and everything we're doing;

and here is a link so that you can get quickly and easily to the thread for tonight's promotion;
See you there :-)