because having a business sucks

actually, because having a business that is going largely unnoticed, and struggling to survive, sucks.

i know, woe is me. but i think we all need a little ‘woe as me’ once in a while, because (hopefully) it leads to some reflection as to why things are in the disappointing state they’re in, and some brainstorming on how to amend that state, and, ultimately, some smart and efficient implementation of strategies that will shift things in a better direction.

i have been ruminating on the fate of my shop for a while. i know that i make great stuff, take pretty good photos, and i am a decent writer. what appears to be lacking from my bag of tricks is hustle. this elusive ‘hustle’ means that i need to be doing the following:

a) making items on a weekly basis. this means new pieces, generally, but when i am feeling uninspired, i should be making more of the existing items in my shop…particularly the ones that sell well and/or are the most labor intensive. this last bit will save me from procrastinating when a new order comes in. my dream is to sell out every time i do a shop update…wouldn’t that be grand?!

b) boosting my social media presence. i tend to get some momentum going here, but it tends to come in spurts. this needs to be amended. i don’t use facebook much anymore, as it doesn’t have much of a reach without spending money to boost one’s posts. my best bets are instagram and pinterest. i prefer the quickness and ease of instagram, but my efforts there have yet to bring me any sales so far. (this will hopefully change, once i am steadily making things and posting shop updates there!) on the other hand, pinterest has definitely garnered me views and sales. i need to be spending a little time there weekly to freshen my boards.

c) blogging more often. with more varied content. meaning, some DIY stuff, or possibly some tutorials. not sure yet. i welcome your ideas.

so that, friends, is my recipe for some much-needed hustle. i hope that you will see me following through on these plans ASAP…and if you do, please let me know that you are seeing it. i can always use some encouragement!

in the works

i knew that, once i re-whet my appetite for hand-sewing, (with the miniature felt bunnies that i stitched for my niece’s nursery), that i would be doing a lot of it. it has been really enjoyable reconnecting with my stitching roots…i haven’t done much of it since my youth, when i was a member of 4H. it goes faster than the knit animals i have made, and there is no stipulation in the patterns that prevents me from selling the finished products.

as i have gone along these past few weeks, i have been strongly considering opening a separate shop in which to sell my finished felt creatures. i am not looking forward to managing two separate shops, but i can’t really see them coexisting with jewelry in my existing shop. here’s a look at what i have so far:

 

fox girl_1 fox girl_2 group pic_1

 

i have pretty much decided to move forward with the new shop, but it requires a solid time investment that encompasses researching how other sellers of art dolls, miniatures, and softies structure their shops, and fleshing out all the tedious bits, such as pricing, policies section, and about page. plus, i would like to ideally have around ten finished pieces with which to open shop, and i am not sure how long that will take to accomplish.

in the meantime, i will keep on stitching.

yep, i blew it.

funny how quickly good intentions turn to dust, isn’t it? i can hardly believe that my last post was in february. actually…yes i can, because, well, i’m me.

the good news is, i have been creating, and that, my friends, is a welcome thing. orders have been trickling into my etsy shop, i have been prepping for a spring show (more details coming soon), and i have been hand-stitching some wee bunnies for my big sister to use in my newest niece’s nursery. here’s a finished one:

completed felt bunny_1

squee! i have plans to create some more embellished versions (think embroidery details, fur variations, and possible clothing) in the near future. but for my sister’s vision, they needed to be simple and monochromatic.

in the meantime, i will share the modifications i made to the pattern, found here.

first, i increased the size by about 50%, using my handy dandy printer/copier. i did away with the outer ear portion, as it seemed too large, and i wanted to keep the look simple, anyway. i added a rounded portion at the bottom of the ear, to make it easier to tuck into the slit in the head. i also sketched up a teardrop-shaped tail to replace the pom-pom one that the pattern called for. here’s a pic of those altered bits:

completed felt bunny bits

also, instead of embroidered eyes, i used little glass beads, and did away with the nose stitching. perhaps the biggest modification i made was to substitute felt for velveteen for the body. this was due mostly to convenience and expense. i may make a trip to the garment district in LA to shop for some suitable faux fur/velveteen in the near future. i am very tempted by other patterns in that seller’s shop!

this bevy of bunnies (i am making five) will be adorning a simple mobile for my niece’s nursery. i can’t wait to see the finished product!

thank you for stopping by, and keep your eye out early next week for a post on what i’m creating for my spring show!

gird your loins…it’s almost a new year!

okay. i don’t know how four months have passed without a post. actually, yes i do. the new medium that i was dabbling in proved to be a disappointment. well, not the results themselves, but the durability (or lack thereof) of the finish i had created with a basic clear matte topcoat. i researched and found what i believe could be a viable alternative, but by that point, i had run out of gas. so i took a break.

now, this break didn’t necessarily mean that i wasn’t creating. well, actually, it did, for a while. but i eventually got my creative gears churning again and made some pretty good stuff. but it wasn’t the stuff that i had put so much time and effort into, and had such high hopes for. c’est la vie. it is what it is. perhaps when i stop looking at the pile of chipped baubles that i labored over for hours and hours with an expression of equal parts deflation and indignance, then i shall get the ball rolling with them again.

so, of late, i have been chasing the elusive/illusive creature called ‘organization’, and attempting to make my creative life less of ‘where the h*ll did i put that thing…i JUST had it?!’ and more of ‘i feel like i can conquer the world, because everything i need is EXACTLY where it should be!’ or something along those lines. the dangerous thing about that, is, that since my workspace is also a storage place for some of my other addictions crafts, i have gotten stars in my eyes over the possibilities of making other things besides jewelry. i know…it is a perilous line i’m treading.

to be specific, the craft that is calling to me like a siren is sewing. hand sewing, cross-stitch, embroidery, machine sewing…if it is done with a needle, i am jonesing for it. (let’s hope i don’t come across heroin while i’m organizing…) and felt. oh, my goodness. FEEEEELLLLLLTTTTT. i want to make little things with felt and blanket stitch. it is a little scary, to be honest.

please don’t mention to me that i’ve had knitting on the needles for months (for specific people, may i note) that still. isn’t. finished. plus babies to knit for. oh, dear. discipline. it is always what i’m striving towards. i suppose it’s fitting that it’s new year’s resolution time. number one on my list (always) is fostering more discipline in every facet of my life. i will do my utmost, but i expect several face plants and dizzy wandering this year. would you like to come along? i could use some company!

what are you resolving to conquer this year?

it looks like spring in here…

i have been busy, busy, busy…furiously ramping up stock production on the more intricate pieces in my shop. looking at the volume of what i have produced is pretty awe-inspiring, considering how little i enjoy assembly-line style creating. repetitious work tends to wear me out, as i would rather be creating something new.

alas, it must be done, and i am sure to benefit from having this many goodies ready to ship for the holiday season! take a peek at what i have been up to:

Image

that’s a whole lot of miniature bouquets made from really cool vintage enamel flowers…the type used to make old costume jewelry. they will be adorning these:

Image

together, they form the focal pieces for the ‘delicate tattoo’ necklaces that always get a ton of attention (and sales!) in my shop. you can find them here. there aren’t a bunch in stock right now, but there will be soon, so keep an eye out!

crystals and glass

my jewelry line has evolved greatly since i opened my shop on Etsy in 2008. however, one of the earring styles that i have made for several years now is a dangle made of glass beads from the Czech Republic, clustered with Swarovski crystals. i love how chic and versatile they are, and can dress up any outfit. it is a style that appeals to many of my customers, since it has some sparkle, but doesn’t make too big a statement.

cluster earring process_2 clusterearringprocess_1

i also love that the color possibilities and combinations are endless! i am working on a bunch of them to bring with me to my holiday boutique, as they are a steady seller, and reasonably priced, of course, which means you can take home a few variations without breaking the bank. you can find them here in my shop.

branching out

i have received encouragement to become a blogger from various people, but i always considered myself too busy, ill-equipped, uninteresting, or…you name it.

i was first and foremost a maker, but my penchant for ‘spinning yarns’ was a close second to bud. (fiction comes easily to children when they have been caught doing something they shouldn’t!) my creativity takes many forms, but creating the descriptions in my etsy shop listings give a nod to my writing self. wait, etsy, you ask? oh, yes…i am a maker, remember? i make jewelry with a vintage flair, and i LOVE doing it.

etsy has been an exciting catalyst for both my creative selves, and i have spent the last five years cultivating my shop and evolving my aesthetic. but like all bright and shiny things, it has begun to lose its luster. created as a unique marketplace that fostered the handmade culture, etsy provided a meaningful connection between seller and buyer through features like chat (which etsy removed, to the detriment of all, a few years ago), and the forums, which bear little resemblance to the useful and varied platforms they once were. most recently, etsy erased and redrew its boundaries to include sellers who outsourced their production to factories.

it is a sad state of affairs, and an utter heartbreak to me and many of my etsy peers, who honestly believed that etsy would never succumb to the pressure of bigger business. following etsy’s announcement of their ‘redefinition of handmade,’ the CEO has disappeared back into the woodwork and remained almost completely silent, while millions of small-scale makers grapple with the upheaval of a place we called home.

which leads me to this, the creation of a blog. a place where hopefully, i can begin to process my disappointment and fears…and my hopes and dreams for the future.

are you with me? let’s do this thing.