Sunday, November 30, 2008

The changes of Fall

Wow! What a month this has been.
First, I had over $500 of merchandise stolen from Under One Roof (the store I was selling from). I don't know if it was shoplifted or stolen internally, but I could not afford to continue the loss. I pulled my stuff and terminated my contract on Nov. 10th.

Then, the very day I made the decision to discontinue my Under One Roof sales, I was offered another consignment opportunity in town. The owner of the shop where I get my hair cut told me I could sell my jewelry at her store. She doesn't want any rent, just a small percentage of the sales. I would have been crazy not to accept her offer. My jewelry is now available locally (Abilene, TX) in the basement of the Enterprise Building (500 Chestnut), next to Chick-fil-a.

The second big change involves my web site. I have been hosting it with Google Apps. Recently I learned Google is going to discontinue the web site hosting. They are moving to more of a file sharing/Sharepoint type service. I decided not to wait for the forced cut-over. I contracted email and web services with Hostmonster.com. I am still in the process of preparing the new site. I want to make changes to the existing pages before I make the production cut over. Unfortunately, my web programming skills are not what I'd like them to be. I've found the enhancement task to be extremely time consuming. I haven't given up yet, but I may have to move everything like it is and enhance the site over time.

Christmas is almost here and I've been busy with much more than store changes and web site moves. My jewelry is getting popular and I've had enough business to keep me excited. I can't explain the feeling I get when people appreciate the beauty of my work. It is all about the art.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm selling beads!



Several people have expressed interest in the long sterling silver beads I use in so many of my necklaces. (like these.
I recently purchased a LOT of them and decided to offer them for sale.
The beads are seamless 20mm x 5mm.

This is the first time I've tried selling any of my surplus. If it works out, I add a few more things.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Pictures!

I've spent the majority of this week playing photographer and web master. I must say I'm quite proud of the results. I've posted pictures of quite a few new necklaces, including some beautiful Swarovski Brown/Dark Brown Pearls with Sterling Silver.

I updated many of my older photos to make them lighter and easier to see.

I may be weird, but it's difficult for me to remove pictures of necklaces I have sold. They are so pretty that I still want to share them. So... you will find various pictures marked SOLD! on my web site. I've had one customer was able to reference one of my sold necklaces to help express what she was looking for. For now, I'll keep them posted... at least until I run out of space on the web server. :-)

-m.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Homemade earring "cards"


After I created the cowboy hat necklace displays, I needed to create something to display the earrings. I found the same cowboy hats that I used in the display, in a smaller 2 inch size. Using a corncob skewer, I poked two holes in the rim. Done!

I love them and they are perfect for my "handmade in Texas" jewelry!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cool looking easy to make display



I'll be expanding my store booth (at Under One Roof) next month. This means I need more displays. I looked at the jewelry supply stores, but all the busts, etc. look similar and can be costly (especially when adding shipping charges).

Today I was walking around Hobby Lobby and saw the cutest little (5 inch) Cowboy hats. They were in the doll making section.

I let my creativity run, and within 10 minutes I had created an adorable display for my necklaces.

I've decided to share the information with you. So, here is how I created these adorable displays.
(Warning: This was a pain to format with the blog editor, so I can't guarantee how it looks.)



These are the materials I used:
  • The little cowboy hat.
  • A small doll stand.
  • A piece of felt.







I covered the doll stand with the piece of felt.











Place the cowboy hat on top to secure the felt.





I've now got some super cool inexpensive (less than $3.50 each) necklace displays!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

JewelryByChaddock Updates

My cast is gone and I'm regaining use of my left hand (and fingers) now. I have resumed my jewelry making. I've started using more sterling silver in my jewelry and less plated metals.

I have also started trying to clean up my website. I've removed the shopping cart/Buy buttons. I have found it is too difficult to keep the web pages updated each time I sell an necklace. Since I all my items are unique and in addition to them being posted on my website, I also have them displayed and available in a local store. I haven't been doing a very good job of removing the availability of items after they are sold. Does that make sense? Anyway, it's just easier to remove the purchase icons. If someone wants to buy an item, the can email me and I'll verify it's still available, then add the purchase button for them to use, or send them a paypal invoice.. or something.

Take a look at one of my newest creations!

-m.
www.jewelrybychaddock.com

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Frustrations of an addict

I admit it. I'm a jewelry making addict. Several weeks ago I had surgery on my hand. I had 2 pins put in my baby finger. I was totally surprised when I woke in the recovery room to discover my entire hand was pretty much useless.

I'm left handed which only intensifies my frustrations. Initially I tried to make a few necklaces (earrings are impossible), but this created a great deal of pain and my Doctor told me to stop it. Uh.. yeah, right. I've done pretty good this last week. I only broke down once. The necklace turned out pretty good, but I suffered afterwards.

I should get the pins removed Friday. Unfortunately, I've been told they will re-club.. er, rewrap my hand. Giving no more movement than I currently have. I never thought I'd enjoy something so much that I'd feel so miserable having it denied.



Friday, May 16, 2008

The Blogger Loop

There are two things that annoy me about blogs.

The first is when I find a blog that interests me, but it hasn't had a posting for several months.

The other is when, as a blogger.. I start feeling like I'm all alone in a long dark quiet hallway. Let me explain that. As a blogger, I become discouraged when there are no comments or email letting me know my blog is actually being read. This reduces the desire to expend the effort to blog, and ultimately creates the situation described in my first annoyance.

I guess this would be referred to as the "blogger loop" (for lack of another more creative term).

I'm explaining the Blogger Loop because I seem to have gotten myself stuck in it. I haven't posted in over a month, yet I've had lot's of cool things to write about.

For starters, I had surgery on my left hand last month. I am left handed. You can assume any typing errors are probably related to my club-casted hand. This also makes it difficult to make jewelry... and drive.. and wash dishes.. and floss.. and lot's of other things I never thought about before.

News on the jewelry front: My jewelry has been selling very well at Under One Roof. I'm now considering expanding and renting an area at The Crafters Gallery in addition to my Under One Roof location.

I find myself pulled between wanting to make nice inexpensive jewelry and wanting to make Fine jewelry. I've made a couple of 100% sterling silver necklaces, but I'm not sure where I'd find a market for them. I've thought about taking them to someone to get an appraisal. It would but interesting to get a professional opinion.

I bought a digital camera. I've also discovered the real secret to taking pictures of jewelry. It's a light tent! I had no idea there was such a thing until someone mentioned it in the rec.craft.bead usenet group. The Jewelry Photography Kit is at the top of my wish list.
They have lots of other kits available for a variety of photography projects.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Where is Stephanie Wingard?

Last December, I corresponded briefly with a very nice lady in Alabama. She had a web site (www.southernjewelrydesign.com). She gave me wonderful advice on a variety of jewelry business topics.

Today I noticed her web site is gone. A search of google's cache revealed that the web site was online as of Feb 5th 2008. But I was unable to locate any information about where it went or why is disappeared.

Stephanie makes stunning jewelry. If you are interested in seeing it, the link listed below will pull the images of her jewelry from google's cache.
Stephanies Pictures

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I am humbled.



Occasionally, I get a big ego as I dig around the Internet looking at others' handmade jewelry. I've seen so many items I just don't "get". This doesn't mean they aren't good. Heck, I don't "get" van Gogh or Monet either. But it does boost my jewelry making confidence.

Today, my over inflated ego totally disintegrated. I found an example of truely amazing talent, skill and workmanship. My jaw literally dropped when I saw these wire wrapped bracelets on www.beadbimbo.com. Wow! I don't know what else to say.. they are stunning.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Chaddock update

It's been awhile since my last post and I've been busy busy busy!

My little jewelry booth at Under One Roof is doing well despite the bad location of my display.

I've set up online purchasing now. I'm using PayPal's checkout process. PayPal doesn't require a person to have a PayPal account to pay, although it is an option available to customers.

I charge $3.95 for shipping. Shipping in Texas is FREE, but Texans are required to pay sales tax.

I haven't mentioned this on my web site, but I include a nice jewelry pouch with each purchase. I was considering giving you (the customer) a choice between a white gift box or the pouch, but I haven't figured out how to ship the box without spending more for shipping. The pouch I can pad and envelope. A box I'd have to box or it would most likely become a flat box.

Gotta run for now. I'll write more latter.
-m.

www.jewelrybychaddock.com

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Tips for taking pictures of jewelry.

One of the first problems I encountered when I started making jewelry was how to take good pictures. After a bit of research, lots of errors, and great tips from Stephanie at Southern Jewelry Design, I am now able to take acceptable pictures of my jewelry. I use the word "acceptable" because the are far from commercial quality.

Here are the basic requirements needed to take good pictures of your jewelry:
1. Natural light.
2. There is no second requirement. :-)

That's right, if you have natural light.. you can get good pictures.

I take my pictures with my cell phone camera (Samsung Sync). There are many better quality digital cameras available, but I'd rather spend my money on beads right now.
I set my cell phone camera to the finest quality and largest size. I set the lighting to "automatic". The "Sync" in the name Samsung Sync means I can plug a cable from my computer to my phone and drag and drop the pictures to my computer.

If you have a problem with blurry images, you may need to consider a tripod. The blur is from the wiggle in your hands during the "picture click" process. In the beginning, I had lots of blur. After I started taking the pictures outside, my blur disappeared. I don't use a tripod.

I place my necklace on a porch swing covered with a white sheet (it's not easy taking pictures on windy days!).

If you look through all my pictures, you will notice some have a blue hue to them. These were taking at a different time of day. It is amazing how much difference a few hours can make. I found that 2pm works best for me.

One more bit of advice.. direct sunlight will give you shadows. Sometimes this my may bring out the best of a crystal piece, but it normally makes a bad picture. My porch is a covered porch, which blocks the direct sunlight and still offers the natural light I need.

Good Luck and feel free to leave comments with your own suggestions and discoveries.
-m.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My Under One Roof booth!

My necklaces are now on display and available for purchase at Under One Roof in Abilene, Texas. This is a picture that was taken after we finished setting up. Click on the picture to get a full blown, nice big view!

The only problem now is that I keep putting all my necklaces in the display.. thus leaving me with nothing to wear. :-/

I've already sold several items.. well, at least three. But I've only had it up 3 business days. I'm hoping that's a good sign!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Activity Update

Tomorrow I'll sign the lease for my booth at Under One Roof (in Abilene, TX). Yesterday I received my shipment of display items. I still need to print price tags and a couple of other display signs I want.

I've decided to postpone the web store setup, unless someone expresses interest for buying online. Right now I need to focus my resources on the booth and make more necklaces.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My Mission defined.


After much thought I have finally defined my mission statement. My mission is "to create affordable beautiful quality jewelry." It's that simple.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lots of changes!


This is going to be one heck of a week! I've got two major things happening.

First, I'm setting up online purchasing for my website. PayPal has a solution that allows people to pay via a credit card without requiring them to create a PayPal account. In addition, it also gives the customer an option to pay using a PayPal account. I'm currently revising my web pages to include the "buy" and "view cart" buttons. This should be complete in a couple of days.

The second thing I'm working on is setting up a booth at a "Under One Roof". This is one of those craft places where you rent the booth monthly and pay the owner a percentage of your sales. For me, I'll pay $40/month 15% of sells.

The bad news is that I'm creating overhead$. This means I'll need to adjust my prices to cover the extra expenses. :(

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A jewelry roll

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to carry my jewelry around to retailers.

As I was searching the web, I found this "My Jewelry to Go Travel Case". It looks like it might be a viable solution, and something I'd be comfortable with. But before I spend more money on something that doesn't work as well as I initially thought it would, I'm asking you, my readers, is there something better or a less expensive alternative? If I could sew, I'd try to create something myself. Unfortunately the best I can do is simple hand stitching.

Please.. tell me fellow artisans, how do you carry and display your jewelry?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Earrings

If I had a nickel for every time some one has told me "earrings are easy", I'd have at least 25 cents!

I suppose anything is easy if you know how to do it. Don't get me wrong. I can make some pretty decent earrings. My problem is that the length never matches. It has to do with where I'm bending the pin, but try as I might.. one earring always seems to be a little longer than the other.

Maybe I can line my pins up and mark them somehow before I start bending.

Three Necklaces added to Web Pages!

I added three of the necklaces I made last weekend to my web site. Including the "big bead" necklace (P0755). Or at least it's big compared to what I normally make. It is 24" long. I really should start adding the length to the descriptions on the web site.

Taking Pictures


I tried taking pictures today. Unfortunately a series of human errors resulted in sub-par images. Notice my finger partially covering the lens? I've also got leaning busts, and crooked necklace pictures. :-)

Gee, in addition to making jewelry, I've got to be a web programmer and digital photographer! So much to learn!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

10 new necklaces!

Over last weekend I finished ten necklaces. I haven't posted them on my web site yet. I should have them up by Saturday. I'm very pleased with them. I tried a couple of new techniques. I made two "Illusion" necklaces. They turned out pretty nice. I also made a couple of "big bead" necklaces. I'll be interested in getting some feed back.

I'll leave a blog entry once the necklaces are posted, so stay tuned.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Choosing a Venue

I am trying to decide how I want to "push my wares".

I have considered selling to local retailers. I even went out and bought the trays and carrying case that I read I would need. But those trays are heavy! I don't know how I can gracefully unpack anything. I don't know the protocol, so I feel pretty uncomfortable doing this.

There is also the option of Internet sells. But I don't believe there would be a large market for this. I think the effort that would be required to bring customers to my site would be way more than I want to give.

Craft show, flea markets and such is another idea. I've only been to a craft show once (as a browser). I didn't pay much attention to merchants side. This would require a bit of homework and I'd have to visit a few shows to know what participating would require (supplies, decorations, paperwork, how many necklaces, etc).

Both the Internet sells and Shows would require me to process credit cards. This means more homework.. and overhead costs.

There is another option. Today I visited a store (Crafter's Gallery) that rents booths and/or wall space monthly. They handle all the sells and taxes. They get 5% of the price you sell your item for. You don't have to be on location. You just put up your display, tag everything with your vendor number and the price. The owner write you a check once a month for the items sold.
It's a cute place, very neat and clean with really nice stuff. I talked to the owner and she said I might want to use a locked cabinet to display my jewelry. She said they have never had problems, but it's best to be safe.

I looked online at the prices for locked displays. OUCH! That's a big chunk of overhead. There has got to be another way to protect my stuff without spending $500!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big or small?


I like small beads, but I'm getting requests (more than one) for big bead necklaces. This got me wondering about what people like and what they are drawn to. I notice there are certain colors or beads that generate more attention than others.

To satisfy my curiosity (and because I think it's cool), I added a Poll on the right side of my blog. Tell me what you like. You can select more than one answer. My nickel is on big.

-m.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I know I should be happy

I am surprised at how fast my necklaces sell. Today I sold another one before I could take a picture of it. That's the 4th time that has happened. I suppose I don't really need the picture. But I'm thinking.. "Gosh, maybe I need to make a few more like it since it went so fast.". Without a picture, I'll never remember what it looked like. I guess I'll have to stop showing people necklaces that I haven't photographed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Learning Wire and Rings

I've tried and tried to figure out how to wrap wire and have it look smooth. But I'm either doing it wrong or I just need a lot more practice.

I would also like to start using jump rings in my designs, but I feel a bit insecure with them. It's hard for me to imagine that the wire won't slip through the ring. I guess I'll make a couple of necklaces with jump rings and wear them myself awhile. This should help me become confident in their durability.