So I got through the holidays just fine only to come down with a horrible cold/respiratory thing. It lasted over a week. I can blame my son for it, though everyone in the house got and so did my daughter and son-in-law. At least we all got to have Christmas first! We all just didn't get to celebrate New Years with enthusiasm... Ah, well, such is the way of life.
On a positive note, my Bonanzle booth is picking up. I've had a few sales in both my jewelry and my "garage sale" items. It feels promising. My Etsy shop, on the other hand, has had just one sale in recent months. The only people interested in buying from me there are people I buy from first. There are wonderful, friendly and supportive people on Etsy and also very talented people, but I was losing money buying from people with hopes they would buy from me. Bonanzle is different. I have bought from people there and they are NOT the people who buy from me. Lots of handmade items, new items, "garage sale" items, just amazing the different things you can find there.
I also thought I was getting an idea of what I was supposed to be doing with my volunteer time. It was really starting to focus for me. Then the earthquake happened in Haiti and I got to wondering if my meager ideas about helping the hungry people was even close to being worthwhile! WOW those people are in so much NEED! I am not the type of organizing person who would be able to know where to begin. Thank God there are people who have those skills!!! Two organizations that I am supporting right now to help with the immediate needs and the rebuilding in Haiti are:
ELCA International Disaster Response (part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) They have pledged to give 100% of the donations to the relief response and they also have less administrative costs than the Red Cross under normal circumstances. They are highly ranked among charitable groups. http://www.elca.org/haitiearthquake
Habitat for Humanity which helps with the rebuilding of communities such as it did after Hurricane Katrina. I believe they are also known for helping with temporary shelters. They are asking for donations now for Haiti. http://www.habitat.org/
I hope you will all join me in sending your support and prayers to the people of Haiti. They need it so badly.
OK, OK! So I thought my Lupus was getting better and it wasn't! So I thought my Mom's medical condition was stable and it really isn't. So I thought when children get married they didn't need you so much and they do. So I'm not so good at thinking about these things. That's just life in the fast lane if you ask me.
On a better note, I've been selling more jewelry to people who see it. I also donated some to my church's Christmas boutique and the items sold out. I'm very proud of that. The jewelry I have online isn't selling very fast, but I'm starting to get some notice. My customers have been very happy with the few pieces I've sold on Etsy and Bonanzle. I must admit that I'm getting more attention on Bonanzle than Etsy which really surprises me. It seems easier to get noticed there with a little less work on the site and not so much pressure to buy from other people to get them to buy from you as there is on Etsy. Maybe that's because Bonanzle isn't all handmade items.
I finished my Christmas shopping over the weekend and now I won't have to go out over the last few crazy shopping days. I only have to wrap presents until I'm covered paper scraps, crunched bows and tape.
I guess I won't look as bad as this reindeer though and if he can keep smiling, so can I! My cards are going out late this year and we won't have as many cookies, but all the pumpkin bread will be cooked. The baking is thanks to my adult children who still pitch in!
We're looking forward to a quiet Christmas Eve of our immediate family. This is traditionally for us, the time we open presents. We usually have grandparents from both sides, my siblings and/or my husbands siblings and a sprinkling of cousins with us. This is just a strange year where it will be my Mom, hubby, daughter, son-in-law, son, his girlfriend and the grandpuppy. Of course, Christmas Day is going to make up for it in triplicate. There are going to be so many people at my nephew's house, I don't think I can count that high. This is also unusual for us and I'm glad I'm not hosting it!
For those of you selling online or in a B&M, I wish you Many & Happy Sales! For those that do not celebrate Christmas, I wish you a Happy Time of Year, whether you are celebrating another holiday or just enjoying the winter months. For those who will not be home for Christmas, be it military service, economical reasons, a rift in your family, or whatever it is, I pray that next year will be different for you. For all of us, I wish a Warm & Blessed Christmas with hopes and prayers for a true peace on earth in the comfort of our Savior's embrace.
So you thought I disappeared from the blogging world, didn't you? Well, I thought about not coming back, I have to admit. Once you stop blogging it is always hard to start up again and I'm not sure how often I'll get here. I have decided that I really do like blogging, though.
I first got shot down by a huge Lupus Flare. Then my mom got sicker and then life just spiralled out of control. A flare can do that to you. My flare lasted a long time even as I was getting better. My mother has serious congestive heart failure and there is nothing more that can be done for her. She lives with us. My husband had to basically live out of town for several months working on a project to bring a new division to our town. My health issues just couldn't handle the stress.
I tried to continue to make jewelry. I couldn't get beyond the Etsy and Bonanzle inner networks to advertise it, so it hasn't been selling well. I haven't been making many new pieces either, so that doesn't help. I've made lot's of friends in both places who off good advice and support. Some have even twittered a few of my pieces.
I am now striving to bring some sort of order to my chaos. I need to care for my Mom, myself, my general home life, and yet I still want to make jewelry as an outlet both creatively and now therapeutically. I think its time to actually budget my time as best as I can. I've heard that many writers do this and some artists, such as sculptors and painters do this. So why not a jewelry maker? I'm just not sure yet how to do this, but I'm sure I can figure some sort of flexible time management that will work for me.
Lupus should not stop me from living my life. My mother's life slowly coming to the end fills me with emotions that just proves that life is continuous and changing. She lived a long, loving, caring and ever changing life. Nothing has stopped her, even now as she hears God's call ever closer to her ear. Mom paints. She has one last painting that she wants to finish. Its a slow process for her now to try to paint something, but I think she'll finish it. Parents never stop teaching. Children never stop learning.
I'm finding it difficult to sell my items in more than one place though I don't list the same items in both places as some people do. I think that is taking chances!!! It would be easy to sell your item, especially a one of a kind, handmade item in one shop and before you have time to remove it, have it sell in the other shop. I just couldn't do that.
The reason I'm finding it difficult is the marketing aspect. First you have to establish how you want to have your shop look and feel. On Etsy that is pretty important. On Bonanzle, it is important, but there isn't as much flexibility. Then you have to make yourself known on the site. I've been on Etsy over a year and I'm still trying to reach a larger portion of the shops just to be seen. On Bonanzle I'm finding it somewhat easier to make myself seen, but not necessarily "known". I must say that both places are very friendly, so that is NOT one of the problems for me.
After marketing my SHOP, as its known on Etsy, and my BOOTH, as its known on Bonanzle, its time to reach beyond. This is the really hard part for me. There is always family and friends with hopes they will pass the shop name and address on to their friends. Then there is blogging, reading/commenting on blogs, ads on blogs, ads elsewhere, etc. etc. etc. Well, I would go on but you know about marketing or can read about it lots of other places. My point is that marketing is time consuming along with keeping up the booth and shop, promoting within the Etsy and Bonanzle communities and making the jewelry I make.
I'm not a major player in the handmade community. I'm not making super artistic jewelry that could someday end up in a museum. I'm making jewelry that I feel is an art, but its more wearable than that. Its more affordable than that. I'm also more at the level of a hobbyist. I can't take on too much of this marketing stuff.
As some of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know, I have Lupus. I am disabled by it. It causes pain in my joints and great fatigued. I also have several secondary diseases. These are diseases in their own right, but secondary because I had Lupus first and are known to develop in people with Lupus. This is my reason for being unable to do more, but other people have other reasons.
I don't know how some people are able to do as much as they do. Even when I was healthy it would have been hard to keep up and have my family, but I would have been able to do more than I do now. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep the second shop at Bonanzle running, but I'm going to try. I'll just keep it small. no more that 15 to 20 items in it. I can also sell other things in it like things from around the house, so that might be useful.
I'd love to hear from some of you how you manage to run your shop, keep it visible in its venue, whether that's Etsy or Bonanzle or elsewhere, market it and have a life outside. Do you struggle? What's harder keeping up with the shop, the venue or the marketing? Let's hear from you and if you have any suggestions or sites that might help, feel free to add them!!!
I just wanted to let everyone know that I've opened a booth at Bonanzle! Check out my booth window above just under my Etsy Mini. You can click on one of the pictures or the title on the window itself to be taken to Bonanzle. I hope you'll check out my little booth!
Just to let you know, I won't be leaving Etsy!!! At Bonanzle I can sell my handmade items, but I can also sell some other items from around the house such as books, knick knacks, collectibles, and whatevers that I would have sold on Ebay in the past. On Bonanzle you can sell without a lot of hoops and whistles and fees.
I hope you will check out my Bonanzle Booth, but don't forget to visit me at my Etsy shop. That's where you'll find most of my handmade jewelry, along with the occasional bookmarks, Hang-Its, keychains and bear bells that I make. That's where I'll be doing most of my selling because my real love is working with my hands!
I sell used items and some of my handmade jewelry at my shop at bonanza.com/booths/sidewingcreations though I'm not making much jewelry anymore. I have also sold my handmade items on Etsy.com, though I am not currently doing so, under the sidewingcreations name and I sometime sell on Ebay under the name Wendel. You might find me in a dusty library or a cemetery searching my family roots or out on a beautiful day taking a walk in the mountains. I have many diverse interests and its hard to include them all.