Well, I started off the year with great intentions. I was going to blog often and and try to post many relevant topics. We never know however what life has in store for us. It has been a bit of a rocky start to 2011 but I am hoping to get back on track. First, I had a car accident at the end of January that totaled my car and left me without a car for a while. And even more difficult, I lost my dad unexpectedly almost two weeks ago. It has rocked my world. I didn’t grow up with my dad as my parents were divorced but as I entered my teenage years we grew closer and spent a lot more time together. He was my dad but he was also my friend. In many ways he was larger than life. He loved joking around and had a great sense of humor. He and I shared a passion for tennis and we spent many hours on tennis courts playing or watching one another play. I thought I was doing pretty well the other day and thought playing a little tennis might get my mind off of losing him. It had the opposite effect. I arrived at the tennis club that we played at so many times and got really choked up as I walked past court 5 where he often was. I could see him there with his buddies and all of our memories flashed into my mind. As I played tennis that night I felt he was there with me but this time I just couldn’t see him. It was tough playing that night knowing he wouldn’t be there in person again but I made it through my match and know that over time it will be easier to be there. I love my dad and feel he left this earth too soon but I know he is watching over me. I am trying now to move forward with my life and that includes getting back on track with making jewelry. He would want that. This one is for you dad! See you again someday!!
As the new year begins, I have found a new home for my White Dog Studios Jewelry Blog. All of the posts from Blogger have been moved to their new home on WordPress. I am looking forward to posting lots of great information this year and always welcome your comments.
Welcome to White Dog Studios Blog! I hope you have a fabulous 2011 and that it is filled with love, good health, prosperity, and peace!
There are a couple of Etsy threads going on right now that are addressing the concept of low prices equally the perception of low value. Does something priced low give the impression that the item is not as worth owning?
I have to say, “yes”. I have only made a few Etsy sales – a lot of my sales are done offline – but I have noticed that is is my more expensive items that sell. Anything marked “SALE” just sits there.
Would lowering the price make a difference? I don’t think so. For one thing, I think this bracelet is worth $110, given the time and the materials. Second, I don’t think that a buyer is suddenly going to jump on it because it is less. In fact, their perception of this bracelet’s value will probably go down. So, I will not lower the price but, instead, wait for the right buyer who recognizes the true value of this piece.
(Originally posted on 6/30/10 on Blogger.)
For someone who really just wants to focus on creating jewelry, the business side of things can be overwhelming. Marketing, promoting, tracking…ugh. Yet, if I am ever to reach my goal of supporting myself as an independent jewelry designer, then I need to get a handle on the business side of my business.
With that in mind, I have spent a lot of time the past two days reading about SEO (search engine optimization). I was happy to find a great deal of useful information on the Etsy forums. There are a lot of people who use Etsy as a hobby, but I am also finding that for many people, they DO make a living from their art and Etsy serves an important function for them. So, why not take the advice of people who are doing what I want to do?
After reading through posts on SEO, I realized just how ineffective many of my titles and tags in my Esty shop
were. Clever names, like you might find in the Sundance catalog, are not going to get my products on the first page of a Google search. I need to think like a shopper would think and use those search terms. Therefore, what I had just listed as “Eternity Necklace” became “Eternity Long Chain Necklace”:
and one of my previous listings, which I really thought would have sold by now has gone from “Seaside Bracelet” to “Chunky Seaside Beaded Bracelet”
I changed the tags, too. We shall see if it makes a difference, but it makes sense to me that I need to think like a buyer, not like a seller.
(Originally posted on 6/24/10 on Blogger.)
I recently made a necklace using a little bit of something old and a little bit of something new. A customer had found some old charms (as in 40 years old!) that she assumes her mother had engraved with the intent of making a charm bracelet. Most likely, she intended to add a charm every year on the customer’s birthday, but the charm bracelet was never made. However, I gave those old charms a new life by mixing them with new charms that reflect the customer’s current interests, such as a camera, a cute VW bus, a dog, a hammer, etc. So, instead of a charm bracelet, the customer now has a charm necklace!
Here are the “old” charms:
And here is the new necklace:
I think it turned out great and the customer was very happy that she was finally able to wear the charms that her mother bought for her! If you would like me to create a similar piece of jewelry for you, just contact me.
(Originally posted on 11/2/09 on Blogger.)
Well, the craigslist experiment ended with no sales. I did have a few views, but not even enough of those to warrant using craigslist again. It was worth a try, though, since there is no cost and I remain convinced that selling jewelry on Etsy is impossible without multiple methods of outside promotion. There is simply too much competition in the jewelry market on Etsy to expect buyers to find me.
However, it is interesting to note that I did make a sale on Ebay last week. I offered a charm bracelet as $60 or best offer. I received an offer of $45 the next day, which seemed reasonable because it was a piece I wanted to move anyway (which is why I chose it for Ebay, understanding it would go below my $60 set price). So, I am trying again and just listed this recycled glass pendant necklace...
(Originally posted on 10/19/09 on Blogger.)
Like many artists who are trying to sell their work online, I am always looking for ways to increase traffic. My most recent “experiment” is posting ads on craigslist and directing potential buyers to my Etsy shop. I posted my first ad three days ago and while I have had a few more visitors to my shop, there have been no sales yet. I have used craigslist many times in the past to sell household items, but never my own work. It remains to be seen if craigslist is like Ebay, where everyone is just looking for a deal. I will keep readers posted on the success–or not–I have using craigslist.
(Originally posted on 10/8/09 on Blogger.)
Today I watched young 17 year-old Melanie Oudin’s exhilarating win over Maria Sharapova in the U.S. Open. Stamped in Oudin’s tennis shoes is the word “believe”, obviously there to serve as a reminder to believe in herself. Her confidence shines through in her tenacious style of play and she is truly a joy to watch.
Believing in yourself is often half the battle when taking risks. As artists, we put ourselves out there everyday. We create because we love it, but when we decide to take the risk to try and sell our creations, we are opening ourselves up to praise or, in some cases, criticism. The mentally strong people who continue to believe in themselves, even when times are tough, will ultimately find success because when it comes right down to it, if we don’t believe in ourselves, why should anyone else?
This is one of my favorite bracelets that I have made. The pewter charms read “live light”, “integrity”, “laugh”, “inspire”, “create” and…”believe”.
(Originally posted on 9/19/09 on Blogger.)
I think that artists undervalue their work far too often. When I go to shows or browse online and see handcrafted pieces selling for a price that I know will barely cover material costs, if at all, I cringe because this sets the market lower for my work. I believe that my work has value and that incorporates not just the material costs, but the time it takes for me to develop the design and make the piece.
I try to offer a range of pieces at various prices. For example, the Hip to Be Square Bracelet, for sale on my Etsy shop, is only $35, which I believe is a fair and affordable price:
The Pistachio Bracelet, on the other hand, took much longer to design and create, so it is priced at $110:
As much as artists all enjoy creating for the sake of creating, we also need to be paid what we are worth. Don’t undervalue your time and your talent. If you do quality work and pay attention to marketing, the sales will come!
(Originally posted on 9/18/09 on Blogger.)
Every artist has their own people, places, or things that inspire them to create. It could be the love of your life, a favorite spot in the park, the sounds of children, or in the case of us desert dwellers stuck in the inferno that is July in Phoenix, the dream of escape! The design for this necklace came to me on a 115-degree day when I was dreaming of beaches and oceans. As I typically do when I am developing a design, I arranged my materials and just let the inspiration take me where it wanted to go. The hemp that I used for the cord and the vibrant colors said “islands” to me and Island Necklace was born. What inspires you?
(originally posted on Blogger 9/17/09)