Yoda Style Business

28 09 2010

Do or do not… there is no try.” Yoda

Sage Business Advice....

I got a great laugh today from reading a thread in one of the Etsy forums, which pretty much sums up all the great advice given to folks who ask how to improve the sales in their online stores. A huge thanks to StitchNTyme who started the thread, and all the fabulous Etsy folks who contributed. So here is my compilation of the list – I hope you find it useful…. or at least amusing!

  • Take better photos – yours are too blurry, too dark, too light, too far away, the background is too busy, the background is too boring, there are too many shadows, there are too many reflections, you should use a live model, don’t use a live model, show the back, show different angles, etc, etc, etc…
  • Write better descriptions – be more descriptive, don’t be so flowery, be concise, expand, give measurements, add metric measurements, what does it feel like, how much does it weigh, can it be altered, does it come in different colors, how did you make it, etc, etc, etc.
  • Open up an account on Flickr, Kaboodle, Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Squidoo, StyleHive, Digg, Delicious, etc, etc, etc….
  • Install and learn how to use Google Analytics
  • Learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Submit your own shop to the search engine
  • Change your shop announcement
  • Change your items titles/names/tags/keywords
  • Change the font in your banner (especially if it’s Papyrus or Comic Sans
  • Create a blog and post the link everywhere
  • Create Facebook and or Facebook Fan page
  • Twitter (or is it tweet???)
  • Take out paid ads
  • Promote a give-away
  • Submit articles to other peoples blogs
  • Join list sites
  • Give free items to bloggers to write reviews for you
  • Post a YouTube video
  • Raise your prices
  • Lower your prices
  • Leave comments on blogs, and leave a link back
  • Include Moo cards with your order
  • Give free gifts with purchases
  • Offer free gift wrapping
  • Join “pyramid” buy list
  • Find your niche market
  • Broaden your customer base
  • Create a PIF (Pay it Forward) listing for good karma
  • Join teams with other sellers
  • Trade with other “low sales” shops to boost your sale
  • Take a break
  • Work more on your craft
  • Work more on your business
  • Create something (anything!) tied to Twilight or True Blood
  • Give it time
  • Make a change
  • Give a % of your profits to charity
  • Learn to read tarot/tea leaves/crystal ball

Yeah…. the list goes on. Basically though, it boils down to 2 major things:

  1. Create something people want to buy
  2. Promote it to people who want it

Not that this is so easy – but everything else, really, is just a means to an end!

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New Projects!

22 09 2010

I currently have 45+ different class projects that I have developed, but I never seem to have anything new! Since I teach at both jewelry shops and thru adult education programs, I need a good selection of classes for the real beginner, as well as for my more advanced students looking to broaden their skills. A few weeks ago I posted some of my new projects for the fall – here are a couple of beginner classes that I’m in process of creating for this winter session, to be scheduled thru Palo Alto Adult Education:

Bold Heart Pendent

I just looooove that this came out exactly as I designed!  This example is made with antiqued copper and faceted garnets – I think it has a real “True Blood / Twilight” kinda feel…. a little goth, a little edge. I  just finished another one in silver with mirrored finish crystals. It’s really shiny, so I think I’ll oxidize it to lower the bling factor…

"Celestra" Earrings

This design was a great accident – nothing like what I originally started out with, but the end result came out great! These earrings are pearl and silver, but I’ve adapted the “Celestra” design to create a larger  wired gemstone component for a pendant.

I really enjoy creating class projects for beginners that go beyond the basic “how to wrap a loop.”  It is vital that  you learn the basic techniques, and learn them well, if you want to continue creating jewelry. But I think that if you can walk into a class knowing nothing about wirework, and walk out with a very cool project, you will be more inclined to take a few more classes – and that’s my goal!





Sparkly, Shiny, Things!

15 09 2010

Ohhhhh…. Swarovski!

If you look at my jewelry, you’ll notice that my style leans toward natural, organic styles. And even though most of my jewley just doesn’t work with them, it doesn’t stop me from wanting to play with sparkly shiny things! So last week at Hooked on Wire, I was just as excited as everyone else to see the presentation from the Swarovski rep, and check out all the new products coming out. There were various crystal items strewn all over the tables to keep us in our seats! And even more fun, at the end of the presentation, WE GOT TO SWEEP UP THE TABLES!

Shiny Goodies!!

So look at what I got…! I have no designs in mind for what I’ll be doing with these, but I just couldn’t help myself – I wanted them, so I took’em!! Most of these will need to be set with prongs, like faceted gemstones, but some are flat backed, like the fabulous blue checkerboard crystal. Some styles have rivet backings, that require the use of a special setting tool to prevent the crystal from breaking. But I don’t have the special setting tool, so I had to see if my riveting skills would be good enough…

Silver Petals with Crystal Rivets

Aren’t these just so cute!? These crystals are only 4mm each (less than 1/4 inch), but they have a really great shine. They are pre-set in small brass multi-prong rivet seats, which makes them easy to use… ok, not real easy, but since I’ve been riveting tubes for a few years, I guess my riveting skills were just fine!

Side View Close-up

These look so cool from the side – the textured sterling petals (5/8 inch) are curved, creating a basin for the crystals. The brass seat has a cone shape, which holds the crystal up… I like that it gives it a more dimensional look.

Side View of the Crystal Rivet

At this angle, you can see the bottom a little. The brass seat includes a short tube, which was set in a hole in the silver, and then flared to hold the crystal tight. It’s a little tricky to flare the rivet without breaking the crystal, but I was able to get it done by going slow. The result is a very sweet pair of earrings. They measure less than an inch total, but they have a brilliant sparkle!





A Brief Pause to Remember

11 09 2010

Today I want to take a breather from my own little world, and take a moment to remember the lives lost, and lives changed by the horrific acts of 9.11.01. It’s been 9 years since we (and this is the global we) have had our lives irreparably altered by the actions of fanatics, and I believe that we must continue to honor, and remember…

Thick plumes of smoke and debris envelop the World Trade Center after the first tower collapses. (photo courtesy of Detective Greg Semendinger/NYC Police Aviation Unit)

We should remember….

  • 2,753 men, women and children died at the World Trade Center
  • 184 people died at Arlington (the Pentagon)
  • 40 people died in Shanksville Pennsylvania.. courageous passengers on Flight 93 who’s actions prevented the deaths of numerous other
  • A total of 2977 victims died…. and all of us were affected

Firefighters at Ground Zero in New York (courtesy of photojournalist James Nachtwey - Time website)

Of the victims, 55 were military, the rest were civilians. They were from all walks of life, and 90 different countries and different faiths  – terrorists do not discriminate. 411 emergency workers died responding: firefighters, police, port authority, EMS… today we remember the people who gave hope, who gave comfort, and who gave their lives.

Tomorrow, I will go back to enjoying my little world, but today, I remember.





Math and Jewelry

8 09 2010

When you make a ring, it’s always a little tricky figuring out how much material you need. For some techniques, such as wire wrapping, or riveting, it’s easy… and you can always make small adjustments. But when you’re making a soldered band, you need to know how long the strip should be.

I will be teaching a rings class in a few weeks that requires being able to figure this out… that’s where math comes in!

A Perfect Fit... Message Rings

I love these rings… but then again, I love stamping and heavy metal!! It can be tempting to buy a prefabricated band and just stamp a pattern or message on them, but it is too easy to stretch the ring a bit when stamping. If you create the pattern on flat stock, then cut it to appropriate length and solder, you are guaranteed a good fit. And this is really really important when making a custom ring!

The length of the stock metal sheet will vary, depending on how thick the metal is. A ring made with thicker gauge metal needs to be longer than one made with thinner gauge to accommodate for the matching of the cut ends. So what is the magic formula used??

(diameter x pi) + (thickness x pi) = metal length

You remember “pi” don’t you…. from high school?? Well, we will only need to use pi two places out to 3.14. It is much much, much easier to use millimeters (mm) instead of inches, since mm are smaller, so the sizing is more exact. So here is an example using 18g metal (1.02mm) in a size 7 ring (17.35mm diameter):

(17.35 x 3.14) + (1.02 x 3.14) = 54.48 + 3.20 = 57.68mm length

Really, the formula is easy, and it’s not difficult to do – just cut metal a little longer (ie: 59mm) to get started, and stamp your design across the band. Re-measure and mark the metal to be as close as possible to 58mm (I always round up), then cut. file and sand the edges flush, so that when they meet, they do not have a gap. Fold the metal ends gently together, then solder and finish off as usual.

Formula Works for All Band Styles!

For this ring, a strip of silver was soldered to one end of the copper disc. The overall length was determined using the formula above, and then the measurement was marked on the metal, including the radius of the disc into the length – easy!!

Or, if you prefer… you can always download a table online with the sizing already figured out!





Just Giving Props…

2 09 2010

Giving Props…. to the bloggers I admire, respect, and enjoy!

I have wanted to add a blogroll here, but just couldn’t figure out how to do it! It isn’t difficult, but you have to know what to look for – I assume each blog host has a different method (see end of post for “how-to” on WordPress). I finally (finally!!) got my blogroll up and posted just a few hours ago!

So today, nothing new from me – I just want to direct you to the great blogs I’ve got listed on the right…. they are all places I visit often, and get some great inspiration and ideas. Check them out , I know you’ll find some new places to go trolling around!

How did I add the Blogroll? For those of you using WordPress who haven’t figured it out yet, the “Links” widget (available in “Appearance” section of your Dashboard) provides the structure, but then you need to add the specific URL links for blogs and/or websites by using the “Links (Add New)” click on your Dashboard. Easy, once you know how!