Category Archives: Glass Chat

Green Eyed Monster

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Susan Sheehan at Flaming Hot posed this question:

Do You Want To Be Me?  What is so cool about you people are envious?

Wow what a tough question!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have done some cool things like be in a couple of commercials in my hometown or my love of public speaking….many people are fearful of speaking in public, but I love it.  I don’t think as a beadmaker, most people would not be envious of my ability, since my work is pretty basic stuff.  Be that as it may, I do have high standards for the quality of my work and if I’m not satisfied with it, then into the flower bed it goes!  I’m pretty fortunate that I’ve been able to make beads for the past five years and stay home with my kids.  Not everyone has that opportunity and now that I’m back to work as the assistant librarian for two different elementary schools, I’m still pretty lucky because it is a job I adore (in addition to bead making of course)

It goes without saying that my dear, sweet, smart, sexy husband and my little boys are pretty awesome too!  If I weren’t me, I’d be pretty darned jealous of myself!

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Time, time time..

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Time, time, time, see whats become of me
While I looked around
For my possibilities
I was so hard to please
But look around, leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter

Just a little shout out to good old Simon and Garfunkel there, but seriously some evenings I sit back and think where did the day go? That is this week’s topic on Flaming Hot….how much time do you spend doing things other than create to run your business?

I seem to spend much more time promoting, blogging, photographing, editing, ordering supplies and listing new beads and jewelry than I do actually making the new beads and jewelry! I would say that for every hour I spend torching I spend at least two doing other bead business related tasks. Some days, I am sure that I spend 3 hours per every hour torching even though I would certainly like the reverse to be true. One day I’ll be more streamlined and less scattered (well I can dream can’t I?), but in reality it takes much more than just making the beads to make the moola and whether we like it or not, to be successful, you have to put in that non-creative time!

Diversify or Die?

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This week’s topic over on is all about diversification to sell more and boost the bottom line!

I’ll be the first to admit it, that the ability to be more diverse in my sales venues has pretty much been my weakness. I am a serial monogamist when it comes to selling venues. I started off 4 years ago on Ebay, made the jump to JustBeads and now Etsy. I don’t sell locally at any bead shops or boutiques. I don’t do shows with any sort of regularity, unless you count once a year regular. I don’t do home shows. I even have a hard time promoting my own website!

With all those dirty little secrets admitted, I am trying! I am exploring more venues like iCraft and recently was involved in a trunk show locally, with plans to do another one in June. Up until this past year or so, I only did bead sets and focals and didn’t really even make jewelry. Now, I am spending more time making finished, yet affordable pieces that sell and the cha-ching in my paypal account certainly makes me want to find new and better venues in which to sell my work!

LEST

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To quote dictionary.com the meaning of the word lest is:

1. for fear that; so that (one) should not (used negatively to introduce a clause expressive of an action or occurrence requiring caution): He kept his notes by his side lest faulty memory lead him astray.
2. that (used after words expressing fear, danger, etc.): There was danger lest the plan become known.

Unless of course you are a lampworker with nothing to fear, but the siren’s song of the water bucket. Then lest means Lampwork Etc Street Team. A street team is a group of like minded artists sharing promotion, sales, and business ideas on the online sales site Etsy.

You can find works by the LEST group by plugging in LEST in your search bar on Etsy and we will be having a team sale running April 1-7. Check it out!

Oh Snap!!!!

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Snapshots, pictures, photographs….I never realized what goes into marketing and selling items that your customer can’t pick up and fondle, caress or lick! That is until I started selling my work online and my oh my what a learning experience that has been!

I started out photographing my beads with a hand-me-down camera from my MIL (thank you Cookie), but it had no macro setting. Getting a decent pic was pretty difficult.  I researched and read and stalked the dpreview site for all the talk about the digital revolution. I haunted the Ritz photo sales guys and all those kids working at Best Buy, trying to find just the right camera for my and my budget!

41yr33m6a3l_aa280_.jpgI finally had made my decision and went and ordered the Olympus Camedia C-60 Zoom with super macro! My baby, my pride and joy, my beloved Oly with the lithium rechargeable battery and 6.1 mega-pixels of love! I drove my childrend through the cold December in an overheating van 45 miles to get my little darling! It was love…..an unrequited love though as the Oly didn’t love me!

light-tent.jpgI read some more! I built a cumbersome lightbox with pvc pipes and white foam core…this proved to be too cumbersome (read, I kept knocking it over and it would take me an hour to set it back up). So then I found a cheap light tent on Ebay, I got a copy of Photoshop Elements 2.0. I took pictures outside, inside, on white, on gray, on slate, on glass…until that fateful day that Gabe started kindergarten.

On that beautiful autumn morning, my darling child #2 grabbed my 8.2 ounces of cinematic sweetness and chucked it across the room! I truly believe he was trying to give me the thing to take a picture of his brother heading off to the school bus for the first time, but instead my C-60 was dead.

Dead, so very dead that it had to go back to Olympus for a 2 month and over 200 buck restoration. So the hunt was on again and this time with seriously limted funds as I had a huge repair bill for my baby as well as the need for a new snapper. After all it is pretty darned difficult to sell stuff online with no photos…..I guess I could sketch them, but I don’t think my customers would get an accurate representation of my work!

41j6dk6n2kl_aa280_.jpgSo, I went with a less expensive model of Olympus…the D525 Zoom, which has served me well as the original camera came back to me and after about 4 months of clicking away, it began to eat memory cards for no apparent reason. My beloved Oly C-60 had betrayed me once again and now the love has gone completely!

Fortunately for me, the cheaper Olympus does its job and does it fairly well as I take tons of pictures and then spend hours editing, reviewing, color balancing and cropping before my work is ever seen online, but sadly I’m not as attached to it as I was the D525. Maybe, the next camera and I will have a cosmic connection…maybe a Canon this time around or a Fuji….I”ll know the right one when I see it!

Is That The Best You Can Offer?

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This was the newest question was posed on Flaming Hot by Susan Sheehan this week, “What do you say? What are your views on discounts? “

This is such a tricky subject for me, coming from a “traditional” retail background…my gut instinct is to immediately offer a discount if a customer asks for one, but over the past few years I’ve come to value myself, my time and my work more and that makes me realize that a discount isn’t always a bargain.

In the traditional sense of retailing, the markup is such that an automatic discount of 25% or so is taken practically when goods hit the store shelves or racks. In an artisan made world, it isn’t as easy to say, “sure, I’ll take 25% off that” or “if you buy X number of pieces then I can give a discount”. It isn’t any easier for me to make 100 pieces versus 10 pieces as it is for goods that are automated in their production. In fact, sometimes it is much more difficult. The repetitiveness of making one item over and over can be quite numbing. The uniqueness and handmade nature of our work is what makes it special.

The few times I have offered “wholesale” pricing, I have regretted it as it has led to a cycle of never being able to change my pricing with those customers or that buyer wanting ever more and deeper discounts which have led me to be resentful and angry with each order as my costs for glass, electricity, propane and other supplies have gone up and up and up.

With all that said…will I discount? Generally speaking no, I don’t, but it never hurts to ask!

Promo, promo or the fine art of bragging!!!

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This week’s question posed on Flaming Hot is how do you promote yourself and your work?

I must admit that this has been one of the most difficult parts of running my own business. First, I have had a hard time not being humble (to the point of detrimental) about my work, so to talk up my work was an exercise in sheer torture for several years. Finally, I’m to a place of acceptance and dare, I say it pride in my work. I may not be the most inventive beadmaker…I may not be on the cutting edge of glasswork, but I put out a quality product that I’m proud to call my own!

So in promoting, I have done several things lately that I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing a couple of years ago. I post in several forums frequently, including Lampwork Etc., the Etsy forums, Indie Public and Posh Mama. I also am part of the KC Etsy Street Team and post pics of my work on Flickr . I’ve been part of an advertising collective which has put out quite a few ads in Bead and Button and Step by Step Beads that have garnered quite a bit of traffic. I’m also part of an online juried promotion site called Trunkt that is marketed toward the boutique industry. All that in addition to my regular website and now this blog, both of which I am now selling advertising space on through Project Wonderful, which I also advertise through on craft sites, though not necessarily bead sites.

I have found diversity in promoting my work has helped immensely. It is easy to reach other bead people, by sheer interest, but it has been much more helpful and profitable to look further and target a more diverse audience that is interested in buying locally or handmade.