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Archive for April, 2010

See the Difference?

April 23rd, 2010 at 07:33 am

Working on a new style of earrings this past week, the first came out just as I pictured. But then - ARGHHH - I realized I would run out of beads for a second earring.

Before I cut the wire and took it apart, thought I'd check a local indie bead shop in the small chance similar beads were in stock.

Here's the results, can you tell the difference?

Three Loop Sage Green Earrings


Planning to make a collection of these in silver/reds, gold/pinks and silver/blues

Festival Selling Secrets

April 20th, 2010 at 11:26 am

Last weekend was a big city-wide art event and I have a booth in a garden marketplace of a sculpting studio.

We had good attendance, about the same as previous years, bouyed through the recession because the host does a really nice job of providing great food, music and good ambiance.

I had good sales. Not great - but modest (the story of my small business life!!) Very happy though, and here are some of the secrets to my success...

Grab their Interest
I embroider quotes on cards. The cards are not expensive, and have become a popular item. At this event mine were three quarters sold out. Why? Visitors stop to read several, and stay to browse my jewelry Big Grin

Here's one on my website - The Future by Einstein


(see it here)

Another interest grabbing item seems to be my pearl confection rings. These are small, different, and colorful. For example - Mystery Concoction


(see more details here)

Even though a customer is not really thinking to buy one, it is easy and fun to try on. Gives me a wonderful opening to chat and let them browse further.

Secret #1: Have an interest-grabbing item up front and center.

Sales
All of my cards were 'Buy 3 get 1 Free'. Small frequent signs were placed on my table near the different baskets of cards.

Although a sale in and of itself does not necessarily boost sales, there were plenty of times a group of friends were browsing and I suggested they pool together to take advantage of the special. A very low pressure, but effective, technique.

Secret #2: Suggest customers purchase together to receive a discount.

Also some older work that was too good to give away went for 1/2 off. This seemed to be the right price point for customers. For example, when one particular customer noticed a nice stone necklace & earring set was 1/2 off, he snatched up 3 other pieces.

Secret #3: Deeply discount old inventory.

Give Aways
For signing up on my low-key email list, I gave away a goody bag. Inside were older, but nice jewelry I had made that didn't sell but (like stone rings), as well as fun stuff like stickers, stampers, kid stuff, craft stuff.

A couple of folks came back for a purchase after opening their goody bags. They were thrilled with the treasures in their goody bags!

Secret #4: Make attractive sample bags to give out for doing a no-charge requirement, such as joining a mailing list.

I also had a bracelet rack with a sign 'Free with Any $10 Purchase. These were a collection of recycled guitar string bracelets which were inexpensive, and made for fun to use some of my old supplies. I was surprised how many folks read that sign.

I was pointing out some large fancy pressed flower cards next to those bracelets to one lady (probably the grandma) who had with her a little girl. And offered to give the girl a bracelet with purchase of the card. It worked.

Also near the end of the 2-day event if a person was lingering near the bracelet sign, I offered a bracelet free. FREE. No purchase. I really didn't need these bracelets, and had at least one fellow insist to buy some instead of taking them free!

Here's what I'm talking about, some of the better Recycled Guitar String Bracelets in my website-

Teal and Plum, Set of 3


(order here)

Secret #5: Give away things you really don't need. FREE. To build good rapport with visitors.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and happy festivals to all.

Golden Caramel

April 17th, 2010 at 07:34 am

What started as a chain project finished as a lustrous, deluxe and one of a kind artful necklace.



I am self-learning chain making styles, and wanted to try this 'S' style. It is an easy technique, versatile, and classic. Not only that, doesn't it look like a playground swing chain? Happy memories.

Instead of many plain links, I dressed up the look with a number of vintage glass pearls. These are from an old necklace of my mother's, come apart. They are not perfectly round, nor perfectly white. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. To accentuate the pearls, I added filigree caps, a fancy little detail.

Although the chain is wonderful in itself, a necklace needs a focal point. And it needed to be something a notch even more distinct. Not an easy bill to fill.

I had collected agate from a Northern California beach a couple years ago. This location is known to rock collectors for good polishing specimens, and I had done just that in a home tumbler. I have a small batch of these smooth colored stones in my supply box.

The stone in this pendant is from that supply, it has a warm caramel color - golden with a blush of red.

To hang the stone, I designed a three part wire wrap. One part is an outer band and contains the hanging loops. A second part includes a wire weave along one side to provide depth to hold the stone. Three sparkling caramel swarovski crystals are woven into part of the weave for added assymetrical interest. Thirdly, a thinner wire is used inside the band to hold the stone firmly in place.

The only problem? I am going to have a hard time parting with this work. Thanks for your time.

And the Answer Is...

April 9th, 2010 at 11:59 am

Sticking to my New Year's Resolution!

The question was what can I make that will fit into a little box, be appealing to many, and be priced very affordably?

I found the boxes some weeks ago (stumbling upon them in the wedding section of Michaels while looking for suitable ring boxes instead). A dozen boxes are now decorated, some with pressed flowers, historic stamps, bits of shell and other small stashes of supplies that were too good to throw out.

Inside is a small treasure, for example:

Fancy Chevron Pearl Pendant Necklace



Cafe Clover Pearl Pendant Necklace



Other designs not shown, such as boxed spiral pendant necklace, and boxed clover earrings.

The design meets a need I have for holiday fairs, simple and universally appealing, good quality at an inexpensive price ($10-$15 ea).

What do you think?

Parked Challenge Totals

April 1st, 2010 at 02:04 pm

Watching the odometer climb and climb and climb last month even though all I do (?) is drive around town for errands and kid's after school events....

Late month check in and I was surely the top mileage guzzler...

Well, phew, the bottom line looks OK!

830.0 Monthly total
-347.0 Commutes
------
483.0 Mileage for the Challenge

WOW that is WAY better than I thought I would do. I was approaching 1,000 mi on the car, a very typical national average. Thinking, though at least I might come in below the national average for us car-culture Californians.

And couldn't think of ways to reduce my driving much further, ie I already combine trips very very much and particularly waited to make 10 mi trips to the art gallery shop (where I have jewelry for sale) until I had other reasons to go out.

Just for posterity, if I didn't take the bus to work (a 70 mil RT) it would have added about 1200 mi to my odometer. Amazing.

BTW I don't see the call up for all taking the challenge to post their numbers, and I'll be away for the next 4 days over the long weekend, so in case I miss checking in the official post, please call out my numbers.

Thanks!