Monday, December 21, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
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.
Lupus shot me down for awhile, but not anymore.
Thanks for coming back to my blog!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
If anyone else is looking for similar information, read the comments, especially #3.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
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!!!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
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!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Has the economy hurt you? Yes? No?
As I talk with some of my fellow handmade artists I find that many of them have not been as hurt by the economy as they expected to be and they think they know why. Many believe that they produce quality goods, with an entrepreneurial spirit and excellent customer service. They often offer products that are better for the environment or at least their packaging is in some way due to its type or recycling. Even though the places they sell online, such as Etsy.com, are global, people do not mind sending money outside their own country when they know the money is going directly to the person doing the work.
What do you think? Are you an artist or company that makes handmade items? Do you sell online, craft fairs or in brick & mortar? Have you been hurt badly be the economy or not as much? Do you think the points made above are accurate? Do you have more to add?
I'd like to hear your comments and I'm sure others would too!!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I've recently done some Spring Cleaning!!!! My shop now has lots of DESTASH for sale at low, low prices! Check it out!!! And I have added many new items including chandelier earrings and some bracelets.
YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO LOOK.....
YOU KNOW YOU ARE READY FOR SOME NEW JEWELRY SUPPLIES...
Come on in and browse. In my shop there is never a pushy sales person to bother you!
Click on one of my items or on my shop banner!!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This person felt she was not selling her jewelry or crafts on Etsy or to her friends because no one thinks of it as ART. Her friends have called her jewelry "cute" and have bought some, but want her to reduce her prices. It was obvious in her writing that she wasn't very confident that her jewelry or craft items were art. GUESS WHAT? A lot of the responses she received were people trying to convince her to stay on etsy, to sell in other places, not worry what other people thought and to have more confidence in herself and her work. I was one of those people.
I have to say up front, I am not always that confident in my art. I have a love of color that goes back to my earliest memory. The problem I had was no one to nurture it even though the people around me had artistic abilities. They knew I could dance, but no one saw any other artistic skills in me. I would try different things and as I look back, some attempts were not bad for a beginner. I just didn't realize I needed some guidance. Eventually a friend showed me the basics of jewelry making. My ideas of color are really coming together for me now.
However, I am still fairly new to this art. Stringing beads together is not looked at as art by some people. Jewelry to me, though, is art. Someone has to create it whether or not it is super "artsy" handmade jewelry or mass produced jewelry, somewhere along the line someone created it. Some is simple, some is complicated and some as the saying goes about ugliness and beauty, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
I use a lot of Swarovski Crystals in my jewelry because the colors are so vast and beautiful to me. This makes some artist turn their noses up at me - literally. I also like to work with other materials. My jewelry is mostly simple, because I like it that way. I will, eventually, expand myself as all artists do, but for now I'm happy. I enjoy it, I'm comfortable with it, and I like the colors I'm finding.
I am not confident like I should be. I don't refer to my jewelry as art to many of my family members and friends as I know I should. Which brings me back to the person and the thread on Etsy today. I learned a few things there that apply to all artists no matter what your medium or how broadly you are known.
- 1. Always refer to your art as art.
- 2. Always refer to yourself as an artist, even if you are a hobbyist artist.
- 3. Becoming known for your art takes time, so be patient.
- 4. Selling your art takes time and work, because you are building a business.
- 5. There are many venues for selling your work, online and offline and not all of them are suitable for all art forms.
- 6. Network with other artists, they are usually friendly and helpful, Etsy forums is just one very good example.
- 7. Know what your art is worth and don't let others talk you into selling it cheap.
- 8. Selling it cheap will not necessarily get you sales.
- 9. Getting to know your market, who are the people who will enjoy your art most.
- 10. Being an artist is a job, no one has to know its fun!
I hope some of this will help someone else. Just writing about it has made me stop and rethink my own vision of art and my own art. I don't expect to ever make a huge living out of making jewelry, but that's because of my health issues related to Lupus not because I'm a poor artist. I just can't handle physically the demands to build a business of any size. I can enjoy my art at about a hobbyist level, but that doesn't mean I'm not an artist. I intend to go forward with more confidence.
How about you?
That's my view today. Thanks for stopping by!
Saturday, February 7, 2009
This time I'm hoping someone will comment about what things they like to get for Valentine's Day. Do you like traditional gifts such as jewelry, chocolates, or flowers? Maybe you like something a bit less traditional such as bowling balls, kitchen appliances or personalized towels? Do you like mushy cards? Or are you the kind who loves those funny and irreverent ones?
I want to hear about it! Give me your comments - clean ones please, the kids might be reading.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Don't get me wrong. I am a romantic just like any other female on this planet. I love the chocolates, the teddy bears and jewelry. In fact, I MAKE and SELL jewelry! I am hoping with all I've got that someone will BUY my jewelry! That's not quite where I'm going here.
I feel as though the real romance has been lost on Valentine's Day. There is no need to think about it. The stores hand you the cards with the words you are to say to your sweetheart. Then they tell you here are some tempting chocolates and flowers (it must be roses). You might want to add a nice stuffed animal or an expensive piece of jewelry (watch TV for the special piece for this year). Tradition says you should then go to dinner (the more expensive you can afford, the better), dancing is optional. You will notice that this all sounds like the man is expected to do all the spending except for the card. If you are married, living together or have some other special arrangement, the woman might like to indulge in pretty lingerie to surprise her mate, but here again the man may be expected to do the purchasing in some relationships. I rarely see anything special laid out for woman to buy and do for men.
AND really, where IS the romance in all of this? The stores and the media and even our own society have brought us to the point that Valentine's Day has come with expectations. Every year its the same ones, too. How is that romantic? I find romance in the little things, the surprises and in doing for my husband.
Hey everyone! Why not plan a picnic in February? Go to your local zoo? Spend the night at home dancing in your living room to your favorite music and drinking Champagne? Go ice skating? How about hiking and hold hands for once in a long time? Why not try going to www.etsy.com to purchase handmade items which will be different than the standard store bought items? I'm sure everyone can think of things that they haven't done in a long time together or maybe never together that could be made into a romantic time. Romance isn't chocolate and jewelry or even a sexy encounter. It can be a quiet moment shared or time together that you wouldn't normally set aside because you have a busy life. It can be what the stores and traditions have made it, too.
Just remember to make it YOUR feeling, Your moment, YOUR romance!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
So what do I see from the sidecar? I'll have to start looking harder and share it with you.