Jewelry Ad Experiment

Blogged under Crafty Biz,etsy by Tammy on Friday 4 June 2010 at 8:50 am

I found a web site called ESellersAds. It lets you make up ads quickly from your Etsy shop by just typing in your Etsy username and clicking on an icon.

Tips for Crafting a Business

Blogged under Crafting a Career,Crafty Biz by Tammy on Wednesday 21 April 2010 at 6:32 am

Victoria Tillotson sent me a link to this interesting article on The Entreprenette Gazette, “The One Tip that Changed my Business.” (You will find Victoria listed there in tip number 6). The article includes 67 different tips from small business owners – many of them in craft related business such as making jewelry and other accessories. Participants were asked what one piece of advice they would give or have been given that when followed changed their business (for the better I’m sure). If you have been thinking about expanding your crafting business from your kitchen table to maybe a department store, you might find some of these tips helpful, or at least worth getting your wheels turning in the right direction.

Charming Sterling Charms

Blogged under Crafty Biz,Crafty Products by Tammy on Monday 19 April 2010 at 6:43 am

I did it! I managed to go through a large bag of jewelry I discovered while spring cleaning, and some of the silver charms I found (many of which I cast or my husband did) are up for sale on my “Sterling Charm Sale!” page. I actually have a lot more than what I posted. Plus, there are gobs of unfinished ones we still need to clean and polish. Those were discovered in the garage. Amazing what you can find when you start doing a little reorganization around here.

Some of these are just charms you can slip onto a chain and wear and others (like the mermaid above) would be perfect incorporated into finished jewelry pieces.

I’m going to attempt to sell these here via paypal and just see how that goes. I may put some other ones up on Etsy at a later point.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

Blogged under Crafty Biz,Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Friday 29 January 2010 at 11:56 am

I normally keep my political opinions to myself when it comes to talking on the web, but after my experience today, I feel compelled to talk about it. I have a little Etsy shop that pretty much limps along because I just don’t have time to pay much attention to it. Somehow, I luck out and sell an item now and then, and that happened yesterday. I sold a pair of very cute earrings (if I do say so myself).

Today, I packed up the earrings and headed out to mail them. Normally, I mail my packages through the college’s post office, but today, I’m home grading papers and working on the book, so I figured I’d just pop up to the pak mail place, about 15 minutes from my home. I used to go there all the time but hadn’t been by in awhile.

As I pulled up, I noticed the windows were dark, as were that of about half the other small businesses in the plaza. It was closed. The sign said: “Sorry, due to the economy we had to close.” The sub shop next to it was also permanently closed, as was the shop next to that, and so on. How depressing!

The people who ran the pak mail were a man and wife team who worked their you-know-whats off and were just down right good people. This really brought home to me how all these small businesses are linked. Someone like me, a person with a small business, sells an item, and I go to another small business to ship it out. Next door to that small business is a sub shop, that I might buy lunch at while I’m there, or the people working in the pak mail might also get their lunch there on occasion. The sub shop guy might need stamps and go next door to buy them. Well, you get the picture.

This is also not an isolated incident around here. I know a number of folks without jobs. I read students’ papers that talk about how they have lost their home and it is now in foreclosure or how they have come back to school because they need to train for a new career after being laid-off. I just heard a few weeks ago about a restaurant I went to fairly regularly, and have been for at least 10 years, going out of business. All of these incidents are not separate. Like the pak mail closing, it is a domino affect.

The politicians in Washington don’t seem to “get” this. They are bailing out huge businesses that are corrupt and are also fixated on health care reform, something I do agree needs to be done but not now when there is an economic crisis going on all around us, or at least, all around those normal people who aren’t politicians. Let’s get people back to work, and then let’s fix the health care system. And by “fix,” I mean let’s work towards a system that at least the majority of voters can understand and agree on, not ram a bunch of new laws down our throats and tell us that it’s good for us and we should just do what we’re told because the powers that be know what we need better than we do.

Washington now has its eyes on a bullet train in my home state of Florida. Why would we take this train? Are we going to go to work? How can that happen when there are no jobs? These folks have zip idea of what it is like in this state. We don’t have a great deal of public transportation; however, many areas are super spread out. For example, I take the interstate to work, which takes about 20 minutes one way. I also have a crap-load of stuff I bring with me. Just making it from the parking lot to my office with all of it takes an effort. Can you imagine me lugging all of that stuff on a train or bus? We aren’t like large cities where you can walk a few blocks and buy an apple at the little grocer. There are huge subdivisions and anything considered “close” as far as shopping or work is at least a 10 minute drive. That equates to about 5 to 10 miles.

While the powers that be are all in a flurry about this train, they have decided to ax the country’s space industry, an action that will have huge financial repercussions in Florida as well as many other states. All of the money spent on programs like the Space Shuttle and Constellation will be flushed down the toilet. I read some place that Washington feels that is won’t matter much because all of those lost jobs basically belong to the elite and educated, not the masses. Again, they are showing their arrogance and ignorance. There are tons of people who work for the space industry who are not engineers. There are the folks who clean the offices, run the gift shop, work in the cafeteria, mow the grass, work as security guards, and so on. Technicians who assemble and test equipment are trained, but most are not at the level of an engineer as far as education. These are everyday working people who need to feed their families. However, rather than see this program into the future (like John F. Kennedy had the foresight to do), our new administration would rather scrap it, let foreign countries take over, and give us a train.

We have been sinking our tax dollars into the Wall Street elite and car industry (which has been heading in the wrong direction for decades), and yet, no one in Washington will give the little business owner a break. Our president spoke the other evening, and I’m sorry, but I’m tired of listening. I want to see some common-sense action. I want to see the people we elected do something other than hand out big wads of cash to the idiots who got us in this mess in the first place. I want to see the local sub shop and pak mail place open for business again!

CHA Crafts Big Time This Weekend

Blogged under Crafty Biz by Tammy on Saturday 23 January 2010 at 11:07 am

Many of my fellow professional crafters are in Anaheim, California this weekend at the Craft and Hobby Association’s (CHA) Craft Super Show. It started yesterday, and goes on through today. If you live in the area, then you can join in the fun on Saturday because it is open the public, though there is an admittance fee of $20 for adults. Professional crafters who are CHA members often go to these shows to promote their books and other related crafting products, so it is a good opportunity for this in the crafting business to get some exposure as well as network with other crafters. For hobbyists, it is a chance to see lots of new products and take workshops.

I have to admit that I’m not a CHA member, though I have considered joining. For me, I just know I would not be able to participate in many of the functions sponsored for this group, so at least right now, it doesn’t make sense for me to join. However, if you have been looking for a professional organization related to crafting, this might be a good fit for you. Find out more about their mission and member benefits on the CHA web site.

Jewelry Packaging Counts!

Blogged under Crafting a Career,Crafty Biz,Jewelry Designers/Artists by Tammy on Wednesday 23 December 2009 at 8:23 am

Kenneth Fron, known for his beautiful beaded necklace designs, sent me a jewelry piece to include in the gallery section of my new book. Of course, I can’t show you the necklace (you have to wait for the book to come out), but I can show you this beautiful box it came in. And, when you open it, he has the necklace secured in a wonderful necklace box as well.

Packaging for jewelry (and really any retail item) is so important, and I often think designers are so focused on the item they are making that they don’t consider the final step in the process when selling it. This is really critical when you consider that fact that most of what we sell these days is through the Internet. If you sell in a store, then there isn’t that “ah” factor you get when you receive an item in the mail and unwrap it. This is another chance to “sell yourself” to the customer, to show that your work is quality and that you are there to pamper him/her. Take some notes on on Kenneth has done it!

Photographing Crafts

Blogged under Crafty Biz,Getting Craft Work Published,Publications from Moi by Tammy on Friday 27 November 2009 at 10:53 am

One of the reasons we didn’t have any company like we usually do during Thanksgiving – other than the fact that I’m writing like a wild woman lately and my house is a disaster because of this – is because our guest room (aka sewing room, storage room, etc.) is now a photo studio. We have set it up in order to take photographs of the jewelry we are making for a new book my husband and I are working on together.

Above is a picture of the set up. All of this, other than the extra table lamp in the center, came in a very cool kit I got off It includes the tent, white and black backdrops, and two adjustable lamps with two special high out-put photographic fluorescent bulbs, 45 watts each. This kit got some excellent customer reviews, and I have to admit that I agree. It has really made a difference to have this set up while working on this book.

I know photographing crafts and jewelry especially can be very challenging, and while there are lots of way to make a tent yourself, I think considering this whole set up (not including extra lamp, camera, and of course, camera tripod) is worth the money.

Click & Support Your Fav Blogger

Blogged under Crafty Biz,Publications from Moi by Tammy on Monday 14 September 2009 at 6:31 am

My husband and I have started a new book project together that is going to require us to take a great deal of photographs. Now, we did this same thing for Picture Yourself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry, but since doing that book together, we decided we needed to crank up our set up a notch or two. Plus, this book will be about more than just metal clay, so rather than take over the guest bathroom like we did for the last book (the bathroom was both photo & jewelry studio for many months), I cleared out all my sewing gear in the guest room and plan to set that up just for picture taking.

As part of your new and improved set up, we knew we needed more lighting, so I was eyeballing a light tent kit available through Amazon. DH kept going back and forth about what he wanted to do, and I was getting impatient because we really need to start taking pictures, so yesterday morning, I went ahead and purchase the kit without his go-ahead.

As soon as I finished the last “click” to purchase it, I realized something I totally forgotten about….I should have gone to one of my many blog buddies’ sites to enter into Amazon before making the purchase. Instead I gone directly to the site. Dang it! Granted, bloggers like myself who have these Amazon ads don’t make a ton of money from them, but every little bit ads up.

Of course, a few hours later, DH finally said to purchase the kit (which I had already…ha ha..) and to also purchase a new tripod (ours was not sturdy enough) and a book he saw about taking photos of collectibles. Thankfully, this time I remembered to go through a blog when purchasing these smaller items, but I’m still really bummed that I didn’t think of this when buying the almost $100 tent kit!

Between books and other items, I’m a regular Amazon customer, and I would be many of us are since it so convenient and they sell just about everything. Plus, I like the customer reviews too. So next time you plan to purchase something via Amazon, remember to click and support your favorite blogger, even if it’s not me 😉

Web Is Retail’s Future, Here’s Why

Blogged under Crafty Biz by Tammy on Tuesday 2 June 2009 at 9:35 am

Yesterday I had a moment of insight after walking out of JoAnn’s.

I was in the area and decided to pop in and pick up some fabric that was 50% off and also use my 40% off coupon for a new pair of sewing scissors for my mom who’s having a birthday this month. I’ve learned now to always ask the cutter to double check the price on fabric before she cuts it because fabric bolts get moved by customers, and there often seems to be tiny print on the signs anyway about what is and what is not actually on sale. The place in general was pretty chaotic that day. The A/C wasn’t working, the hand-held computers staff use weren’t working, and there pretty much seemed to be no one with a clue working in the store in general.

With some extreme effort, I was finally assured that, yes, the fabric was 50% off, normally $12.99 a yard. So, I asked for two yards, got the rest of my items, and headed for the cash register. No big surprise, it did not ring up 50% off, so I had to go through the whole scenario again. Eventually, I got it for something like $15, which is not what it should have been (anyone with a pea brain would realize if I bought 2 yards at 50% off 12.99 a yard, then duh, that means I owed $12.99 for the material). However, for some reason, the girl checking me out had to use a calculator to figure out how to do this, and she still got it wrong. By this time, I was so hot and tired and cranky, I was ready to just leave without buying anything. I paid the extra just so I could leave.

So back to me walking out the door….As I did so, I thought, “I really need to find some good on-line sources for fabric.”

Much like buying beads and other crafting items, shopping on-line is just not the same experience. It is so much easier to match fabric to threads and trims and other notions when it is all right in front of you. But I have to say that the more I shop on-line, the more I realize how much more pleasant it is than doing it in a brick and mortar store. Now I realize that the poor employees of this store were working in an oven, that when their computer equipment goes down they are basically lost, and that most of them are being paid minimum wage and are under 25, but this is just an extreme example of one experience that has repeated itself to me over and over again in this and many other stores, both craft and other shops as well. In fact, I don’t blame the employees so much as I do the company. Why aren’t staff treated better? Why aren’t they educated and informed as they should be?

Customer service and knowledgeable staff seem impossible to have any more when it comes to a “real” store. Compare this to web sites like LLBean or Zappos. If you call these companies on the phone, you know what happens? You actually talk to a human. Some also have instant chat like Fire Mountain Gems & Beads and

Granted, you don’t get the tactile part of shopping when you do it on-line, and you don’t get that instant gratification of buying and receiving either; however, there is so much you don’t get and don’t want like long lines, clueless sales people, misplaced sales signs, and overly hot stores (I’m think Beall’s now).

I’m sorry to see so many retail stores go. I know, now, how spoiled I was when there were numerous craft stores and fabric stores within reasonable driving distance. They had a great selection and normally had people working in them that actually sewed or crafted at least so you could ask them questions and they had a general understanding of the products they sold. But, that just doesn’t seem to be possible any more. Why? I’m not sure, but I only see it getting worse, not better. My only hope now is to continue surfing and learning to shop better on-line.

Now I’m stepping off the soap box, but feel free to step up yourself: What are your thoughts on retail and the off-line world today? Have you experienced any of the same issues I have, if so where? Do you shop on-line at all? Where have you had good and/or bad on-line retail experiences?

ArtFire Crafty Princess Shop is Live!

Blogged under Crafty Biz,etsy,My Crafty News by Tammy on Wednesday 8 April 2009 at 8:24 am

Okay, I just had to see what all the fuss was about! I’ve been hearing about for months now. Basically, has the same thing going on as as far as a business model. It’s a web site where anyone can join for free and set up a shop for free. All items must be hand-crafted by the seller or be supplies for crafting. They also have a vintage section.

The main differences are the options. If you want to go totally free, then you are limited to 10 items in your shop, but it is, as I said, totally free, no fee for selling or listing. At Etsy, the shop is free, but there’s a fee for listing items and selling items. If you decide to go up a level and have unlimited listings and lots of other options like more images of your pieces that you list, right now it costs $12 a month. Not that long ago it was $7 a month, and supposedly, it will go up to $20 at some point. Why this difference in the pricing, I’m not sure. It’s actually something I think is not cool to do, but I guess they are trying to get people to join. To me, though, it doesn’t seem fair that just because you join early you get a lower price. What about the poor folks who will pay almost three times as much as the early people who join?

I opted to try it for free (no big surprise) and see how it goes, so you can now find me over there too: Crafty Princesss ArtFire Shop. Right now, I only have a few items listed but plan to put up a total of 10 at some point. Like my Etsy shop, I’ll mainly concentrate on selling supplies and components. For example, the lace textured fine silver charm pictured above is over there.

I’ve found it to be similar yet different than Etsy as far as a user experience, if that makes any sense, and it probably doesn’t. However, as I continue to play around over there, I’ll let you know what I think. If you are curious about ArtFire, stop by my store and than surf around over there. I’m curious to hear what others think.

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