Dare I? Indiepublic

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Monday 28 April 2008 at 4:59 pm

Oy, yet another social media network. Dare I join? I so don’t have time, and I have to say that while I think my use of some of these have been good as far as SEO, it’s hard to say so early in the game.

My latest SN discover is called Indiepublic, and touts itself as “an independent art and design community. If you’re an artist, designer, retailer, blogger, or just someone who gets giddy when they buy indie, we’ve saved a seat for you!”

Anyone a member over there? I did see a few folks that I know, but I so hesitate to add one more SN to the plate. Sure, these networks can be a great way to increase traffic and create inbound links, but if you don’t have the time to keep up with them all and if they keep you from doing other things like, say, actually making jewelry, how worthwhile are they?

Obviously, there’s a balance here that I have yet to figure out.

New Anne Maa Metal Collection

Blogged under Jewelry Designers/Artists by Tammy on Monday 28 April 2008 at 2:30 pm

Anne Maa of Anne Maa Designs recently emailed me about her new Metal collection. This collection is really unique as it’s more organic than you may be used to seeing when it comes to metal jewelry. Obviously, if you prefer more traditional jewelry, then this might not be your cup of tea, but I found a number of pieces in this collection that I feel could be worn without feeling too over the edge. I especially liked some of her pieces, like this cuff bracelet, that have holes in them. She calls this a “sterling crater cuff,” and it does remind me of some huge crater from the moon. The antique Japanese ribbon doesn’t hurt either because I love the idea of mixing fibers with metals.

 In these earrings from the same collection, the drop pieces are cast, and then they are connected with wire wraps to the apatite beads, which seems to be a stone I’m seeing more and more of lately. I’m guessing, since these are cast, she must have formed the drops originally from wax, and then use a lost wax casting technique to burn it out and form these, which explains why she says you’ll see the occasional finger print in them.
That actually sounds like fun to me, forming the wax with your hands and getting all gooey.

Anyway, check out the whole collection  yourself, and tell me what you think. I think that even if you may not be the type that normally appreciates an organic jewelry design, you will at the very least appreciate (as I do) the fact that this jewelry designer has a unique point of view, which is not an easy thing to do these days when so many of us are making jewelry.

Friendless in MyCraftivity Land, Etc.

Blogged under Social Networking by Tammy on Sunday 27 April 2008 at 2:04 pm

 I spent some time sprucing up my page on MyCraftivity, including adding some video clips from the metal clay DVD that goes with my new book coming out (hey, next month!) and also some pictures of jewelry. I feel a little lonely over there. So, far Margot Potter is my only MyCraftivity friend. I guess quality is better than quantity!

I guess I need to join some groups too, so give a shout if you know of some good ones to join over there. I always have a hard time with the group thing. It’s hard to figure out what they are about sometimes.

The Necklace Guy

Blogged under Crafty Biz,Jewelry Designers/Artists by Tammy on Friday 25 April 2008 at 5:59 pm

I guess I’m on a jewelry business kick, so bare with me (or some of you can bear with me). Yesterday, I talked about branding, and today, I’m touching on that and the idea of focusing on a niche area in your crafting career.

Now, I point a finger at you and three fingers point back at me because I’m all over the road when it comes to jewelry techniques. I can’t think of too many I have not at least attempted. Luckily, for me, this has worked out well because my focus has been writing craft how-to’s. Thus, knowing a little about a lot turned out to be a good thing for me.

However, if I had continued on my original jewelry business path where I was making and selling my jewelry, I would have had a heck of a time with branding, let alone trying to figure out exactly what I was trying to do with my jewelry business. And, if I didn’t know what I was trying to present to my customers, how were they supposed to know? Ya know?

If this is something you are struggling with now, then I suggest looking around and seeing how other jewelry designers manage to define their niche. I’m not saying to copy them, but I am saying to study what they do and figure out how you can sculpt your own unique niche.

Here’s one example to get you started: Kenneth Fron. Kenneth makes beaded necklaces, just necklaces, but lots and lots of them and all different. So, he concentrates on creating one-of-a-kind pieces that he sells only through his web site, no stores, no art shows. He also has a growing celebrity clientele (like Sela Ward, Cindy Margolis, and Ann Lopez) as well as other promotional tools, such as his buzz page on his web site.

His niche is pretty narrow and well-defined. Notice how I was able to explain it in just a few sentences? Okay, so now, try to do this for your own jewelry business. In three to five sentences (tops), describe your jewelry business niche.

Ready, set, go….

Brand You and Your Jewelry with a Song?

Blogged under Crafty Biz by Tammy on Thursday 24 April 2008 at 6:28 pm

 Something I’ve been thinking about lately since switching this from a web site to a weblog is the idea of branding, and if you have any kind of craft related career or hope of having one, you should be thinking about it too. This is especially true if you sell your crafts because very often “you” are your product. When your customers purchase your jewelry or dress or whatever the item is that you make, they are buying a piece of you in a way, and it means something to them that a real live person who they know something about made that piece. Remember, they could go to just about any Wally-World store these days and buy something similar (I said similar, not the same, not even as good as) and for less money.

How do you start thinking of your brand or who you are as a pro crafter? What sort of image are you trying to portray?

Kristen King, a pro blogger who writes about writing, business, and a few other topics, suggests one way to help yourself define your brand is to figure out what your theme song would be:

Identify your theme song. In the movie/tv show of your life, what is the song that we hear in opening credits?

I am sure if I had more time, I could come up with a few songs for myself, but after thinking on and off about this all day, finally it came to me: Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper.

I come home in the morning light
My mother says when you gonna live your life right
Oh mother dear we’re not the fortunate ones
And girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun

The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father yells what you gonna do with your life
Oh daddy dear you know you’re still number one
But girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have

That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Girls – they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun

Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have

That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Girls – they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun,
They want to have fun,
They want to have fun…

Okay, so how can I make this theme song work for my brand? Why – other than the fact that I totally dig this song and I have fond memories of back in the day when it first came out and I was zipping around in my heart-shaped sun glasses and sporty Comet – can this silly song define me and my crafting career?

I could blab on and on making all kinds of connections to the lyrics, but it boils down to the fact that I find crafting to be fun, and I want to make it fun for people who read my books and web site and this blog. Like most women, I work very hard and I think it is important for all of us to has some fun and “to be the one to walk in the sun.”

Crafty Purse-o-holic Confession

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Wednesday 23 April 2008 at 6:53 pm

Along with my passion for jewelry, I have to say that accessories in general tend to attract me. Purses, for example, or handbags as they are called these days are a real addiction of mine. One of the best gifts I ever got was this Bed, Bath, and Beyond purse rack, and I filled that puppy up in about two seconds and there are actually multiple purses hanging from each hook. And, those are just my “fun” purses, like the really cool ones my mom brings me back from her cruise trips. I’ll have to take some pictures of those to show you because I always get compliments when I have one and they cost her about $5.

On the list of crafts to create before I pass on to the big craft store in the sky are a line of purses. I’ve even gone so far as to do some sketches, and though my sewing skills are no doubt rusty, I think I really could do this some day, perhaps my own line of Crafty Princess Purses?

If you’ve also thought of stitching a sack (or sak), then you will probably want to bookmark a blog post I just spotted over at CraftStylish, Online Sources for Hard-to-Find Handbag Hardware. Ann Steeves has a list of five sources she seems very familiar with from her own days as a handbag designer.

Am I the only craft-junkie who has this purse thing going on in her mind? Am I showing how old I am because I keep typing purse instead of handbag?

Unearth Some Porcelain Jewelry Components

Blogged under Jewelry Designers/Artists by Tammy on Tuesday 22 April 2008 at 6:49 pm

When I received this stash of porcelain components from Melanie at Earthenwood Studio, I had a hard time figuring why I was so impressed. I think it is because I couldn’t point to just one thing. Sure, these jewelry components from her SteAm Stones line are unusual, and as a sci-fi junkie, I loved the concept of how she’s connecting to stories like those from HG Wells and Jules Verne, but it wasn’t just that.

 Honeslty, I think it was the whole package, the whole concept she had created. Not only did she think up some components that are full of imagination, but they were shipped in this tiny tin, and inside of that the components were stored in a tiny ultra-suede pouch. She also included story cards to explain her SteAm Stones collection:

“This newest line of charms and links by Earthenwood Studio is inspired by the Steampunk genre of fantasy and science fiction. The Steampunk world is an altrenate universe, often set in the future, where steam power is still the main source of energy, and all sorts of great gadgets and machinery has evolved around it.”

 Just all of these together showed me how much detail and thought she put into all of this, and it made me appreciate her artwork even more. I wanted to email every jewelry designer I know and say, “See what she’s doing! She not only has a great product, she knows how to market and present her concept.” I guess since I’m blogging about it, that’s just about the same as emailing everyone! So take note. This is someone who “gets it.” From concept to design to presentation, she carries it all through for a complete product.

Now, I just need to use my own imagination and figure out what I’m going to make with these ultra-cool sci-fi puppies. Right now, carnelian is speaking to me, but stay tuned.

Save Money & Your Job with Jewelry

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Monday 21 April 2008 at 4:59 pm

It’s Administrative Professionals Week. What have you bought your favorite admin person to show your appreciation for all her hard work?

I titled this post Save Money & Your Job with Jewelry because just last night my husband was telling me how he had written “Thanks for letting me keep this job” on the card he was giving to his admin person, and he’s not really joking in a way because without her help, he’d really be lost.

Jennifer Perkins has her own way of celebrating this week, and that’s with a  25% off sale at her Naught Secretary Club web store. Along with lots and lots of jewelry and hair accessories, she also sells some really unique hand bags as well.



Technical Difficulties at Crafty Princess

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Sunday 20 April 2008 at 6:46 pm

As you may have noticed, my magic wand has short circuited. Please stay tuned as we try to figure out where the heck my side bar disappeared to! Ah, the joys of blogging!

Bead & Wire Book Gets Publishing Press

Blogged under Publications from Moi by Tammy on Saturday 19 April 2008 at 10:08 am

One of the things I do to see who may be talking about me (or ripping off my content…urgh!) is to sign up for Google alerts for both my name and URL. This is a super easy way to find who is linking to you out there in the web world.

One of these alerts recently pointed me to Craftside, a weblog about crafting – obviously – which was talking about my book Making Designer Bead and Wire Jewelry. Needless to say, I was very happy to see it, and I sent the URL to some editors over at Quarry, the publishers of the book. Come to find out, they are the ones actually running Craftside. Along with book reviews, the blog editor, Stef, also has information about author book signings and related promotions concerning the books published by Quarry. Plus she sometimes just has fun project ideas, so it’s not all about promoting Quarry, which is nice to see.

I thought this was a very cool way for a publisher to help promote its authors’ works, and of course, the company, while they also engaging in the crafty web community.

Do you know of any other publishers doing something like this? Let me know. I’m very curious now.

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