Shed/studio nearly ready, just needs door insulated and lock and heating, hopefully will be finished next week. Broken new years resolution already, as have hardly had any time to do any beading or art.
Got a shed in garden for my workshop/studio. Just waiting for hubby to finish off insulating it and then I can organise everything. Will be great to have everything all together and not have to put things away. Will be able to get back to my painting. Can't wait for it to be finished. Hopefully soon in next two weeks....
New year, new start - my resolution to concentrate more on my Jewellery & Art. 2016 is my year to really make and push my creative side. This is one resolution I am determined not to break. Have some new pieces made, just waiting for weather to brighten up so I can photograph them. Rain, rain and still more rain to come!!
Received an enquiry from a lady in Meath on Saturday wanting to know if she ordered a pearl necklace, when would she receive it as she's getting married on Friday. Told her with the post on strike - which is normally what I use, maybe I could meet her & deliver. but then I looked on comments on Etsy Ireland Team, and someone recommended using Parcelmotel, so parcel is now on its way to Meath, and will be with her by weds at latest. Cost a bit more than An Post but she will have for her wedding and it's another sale for me!!
Set up Instagram account, which I really know nothing about, but now know you take photos on your mobile and upload from there. Took pics of new pieces, but need to sit down & do all pieces that I have - although i'd rather spend the time making a piece of jewellery. Will wait & see if I get time, as all these things seem to take a while and not sure if it will generate sales.
Emailed a photo of one of my necklaces to the Editor of Bead Magazine for the readers challenge page & I just received an email today to say its being included and I win a beady gift. Fab - really delighted will be in the November issue. The challenge was Winter sparkle and I sent pic of my white moonstone necklace, am delighted!!! see necklace below:-
Didn't manage to promote every day but did manage more time then before and got a sale yesterday, so aim to promote and promote this week.
According to everything I read the more you promote the more orders you get, this is what I find hard to do as it all boils down to time. Sitting and spending time on laptop & taking part in teams, facebook groups. I have now created an instagram account, but need to take pics on my phone to load up - must try & do that next week. My friend is over from UK this weekend, so I doubt if I will get time this weekend. You really do need to be dedicated - will go on site every day next week, every evening to see if it does make a difference.
I take art classes & it was while I was in my class that the artist told us that people doing art, have to spend about 80% of their time promoting themselves - and this is very true of any craft. It is not enough to open a shop & expect sales to come to you, without promoting this will not happen. Once I had my shop all sorted and once I realised you have to promote, I then joined other teams in Etsy and promote through these teams, as with Esty the more your piece is favourited, then it ranks more & can be seen higher up, so there's more chance of it being seen. I also opened a pininterest account, a lot of people get traffic from here & you not only promote your own, but others as well. I also have a facebook account & recently I have set up a twitter account. Etsy has changed in last few months & I now am part of groups within facebook & promote thru these groups as well. I am still discovering what brings me the most traffic. So far to date I have only had 8 online sales through Etsy & 5 of those have been this year. But I also have a lot of other sales not thru Etsy, and have sold more this year then last year, so that is an improvement. Earlier I did a market stall thru Etsy, did not get that many sales - a few but was hoping for more. But it was great for networking, meeting other Etsy people, chatting to them, picking up little tips. Also I noticed that when people come to your stall, they tend to look at the middle front section of stall, so I will take that into account next time. I try to spread time promoting out over the week.
Setting up your actual shop is quiet straight forward and its just a matter of deciding what photo to use for your header and other sections and what to write. Once that bit is sorted out, you get to start putting on your items. First you need to photo each item & as you can put up to 5 pics for each thing and I had about 50 pieces when I set shop up. Just taking the actual pictures took time, I work part time so for me finding time to do this side of things is hard, as if I have spare time I really want to create another piece. Anyway once I had taken photo's of all, I then started to load up pics, while I was compiling my web site I'd sort of given my pieces names - for instance a necklace made up of large dark grey pearls, shimmering silver grey shell squares & freshwater pearls, I had decided was called Smoke & Ice, so when I listed this necklace in the title I used this name for this particular necklac's title. It took me about five weeks to get all my pieces up on my shop. When I checked the stats and saw people had looked at my shop I was delighted. So I sat back & waited for sales to come .....waited....waited... and nothing. Then I discovered teams & joined a few and took part in their threads, hoping to encourage sales, but still no sale. Very disheartening, I looked at other peoples shops & one shop in USA selling jewellery had a lot of sales, so I emailed the shop owner Gina for some advice. Her shop is called LaCamellot and she has really lovely pieces of jewellery - take a look. Anyway she was so nice and helpful she looked at my shop & emailed me back saying my photos were to dark & it was only when she said this and I looked at them, that I realised she was right. She also told me my titles were wrong, that I needed to be more descriptive forget about putting names of pieces, no one else is going to know or search for those names and she took one of my pieces and told me what she would put in title. So I then spent the next few weeks retaking photos and changing every title & using all the tags. This took a good while to do and by this time it was getting into May. 5 months had passed since I first started setting up shop. A few times I did think why am I doing this and is it worth it, but I just love making Jewellery, anyone who has done beading will tell you it is very addictive. I subscribe to a bead magazine & its great when you read other peoples stories - how they turned their hobby into their job/business, so it was really these sort of articles & the support of my family/friends that made me stick with it. I get asked to make pieces for friends & other people who see my pieces on others and last year before Xmas I had a sale in my house & sold half of my Jewellery. I set myself little goals eg... to try & get 100 pieces in shop I was up to 97 before I had sale, and I am still trying to get up to 100.
Started making new pieces & ended up with this wire wrapped aventurine necklace, will be posted in gallery soon
I set up my facebook page kars Jewellery and put photos of my pieces up, and then had a look around to see how to set up a web site. Through the Dublin enterprise board you could set up a free web site, so I decided to do that. Was not really sure how or what I was doing, I am familiar with computers as I use them everyday in work, but not with the setting up side. So via the enterprise board I started with the web company they were collaborating with. First you pick a layout/theme for your page and you put your banner/pic - everything you do, you have to click and publish, so that you keep it and don't lose it. But once you click to publish you had to wait - could be quick or up to an hour. So a bit of a slow process, on first page which was the about page I wrote a little blurb about how I got into making Jewellery and my inspiration & living in Dublin. Then I set up different pages one for necklaces, one for bracelets etc... This all took time to get headers and text right on each page, especially as you have to wait for each thing to be published. So if you up dated and then clicked to publish but then reviewed it and thought no i need to make changes, if it had not updated, then you had to wait. Also some things I had to contact site for help/advice. Eventually after a few months I had all my pages set up how I wanted them. So the next step was to start putting photos of pieces on each page, but disaster I could not sell through this site. It was only after doing all this work & setting up, when I went to photos on that I found out you cannot sell through this type of web page. If I wanted to sell I had to use a different web page set up and there was a fee, which was not that cheap. So I decided after all my hard work to just put photos and contact details on. The site was free for a year and after the year I did not bother to renew. In between this someone suggested Etsy - so I set up my Etsy shop in January 2014.
After a while I had quite a few pieces of jewellery made, so I decided to have a Jewellery party in my house about a month before christmas. I invited a few friends and neighbours, not to many, sold a bit. But felt that maybe they felt obliged to buy, so did not feel keen to do again. Then my friend told me about a craft fair starting up in Cabinteely church hall once a month on a sunday, so I rang and booked my place. Loved the set up of this, it was in a small hall about 20 stalls & had a seating area where you could get coffee/cakes, just a really nice feel to it and everyone was friendly, only one other Jewellery stall & they did not make jewellery, they bought it. Sold a few pieces, but the market was not very well promoted, people attending church did not even know craft fair was on in the hall attached. It finished for summer & never really got started again, such a shame, as it could have been really good. I looked around for another market, but as I work part time 5 mornings could not commit to do it every weekend, & a lot of them are dear to book. I then tried a boot fair up at 5 in the morning - that was not very good - people wanted the jewellery for nothing, & would really try to haggle - so that's a no go. My friend had a small clothes shop & I put a few pieces in, a few sold but not for what I wanted and then her shop shut. But really by the time you have priced your jewellery - the cost, time etc.. and added on some profit, in a shop is selling by the time they have added on their margin, its probably too dear. So I then started to think about selling through the internet...
After I took my class and bought a basic kit, I made a few pieces, but you need a lot of beads - a stash - as you need to incorporate other beads into pieces. So if you buy a strand of beads or a couple of strands that go well together, you need other beads like sead beads or spacer beads to complete piece. So I set about looking where I could buy beads, there are two small shops in Dublin city centre & I heard about a bead shop in Bray Co Wicklow. The first time I went to the shop in bray I must have been in there for over an hour- they had such a vast range of beads, it was heaven (sadly this shop has since shut down). I also scoured the internet & over a year purchased quite a few beads, my stash. The only trouble with buying over the net is sometimes the beads can be disappointing and do not live up to their pictures. I also went to the Rock & Gem show in Brighton when I was on a visit over there, and bought quite a good supply of beads & findings.
My husband said he was a bead widow, as every night would find me with my bead board on my lap, playing with beads. First I made pieces for myself, then I started to give them as gifts to family & friends. At first I did worry what if it comes apart or breaks, but as all pieces are done on wire, they are probably stronger than most pieces you would buy in boutiques. I took a couple of other classes, learning different techniques and there are a lot of tutorials available on line to watch.