Thursday, January 31, 2008
Yesterday I tried some new things, freezing my tail off outside, and fighting shadows, and wind -- argh! It's definitely a work in progress, and I'm constantly learning, whether it's marketing, photography, booth design, or jewelry making. It's amazing how much behind-the-scenes work there is!
Sunday, January 27, 2008
"Organic Earth" -- handmade lampwork glass and vintage metal
Saturday, January 26, 2008
For Valentine's Day, Nichole has some gorgeous handmade hearts that would make perfect pendants. Each bead is made by hand from molten glass -- you won't find these in craft stores and they aren't mass produced.
To visit Nichole's store, just click here.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
This reminds me that I need to do this. I have muuuuuch more gray than I like to admit, and even though I EARNED it, I would like to return it for a refund, thankyouverymuch.
Monday, January 21, 2008
But the bead drawers are getting out of hand, and the vintage lucite in particular is just too much fun NOT to use.
I made a lot of things in the past week but haven't had time to add them to the web site -- I added them to a Flickr album, and you can see them by clicking here. If you see something you just must have, make a comment on it!
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
A pure creative mess of jump rings, wire, tools, beads, receipts, and Who Knows What All. But oh hey, let's zoom in and see what I've been up to recently:
I've been making my own ear wires! In preparation for more bronze, copper, and brass jewelry, I needed ear wires, and either wasn't satisfied with what I could buy or they just weren't the right style. So I made my own. These are fresh out of the tumbler, on their way to a patination bath -- brass, copper, and sterling silver.
And here's what I'm doing with them:
I love the long lines of these, and you'll be seeing more in the upcoming days, with colorful vintage lucite. The vintage look but with a modern twist!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I welcome comments!
Saturday, January 12, 2008
This was such an interesting book -- a true story of two young lovers in Venice in the 1750-ish time frame, forbidden to see each other or marry due to social convention. I loved the voyeuristic nature of the book, reading the actual letters that they wrote to each other, and appreciated the amount of research the author put into filling the story without distorting it.
The book made me alternately laugh and well up in tears. A good read.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Today he turned five years old. I can hardly believe it.
All week, we've had A Present a Day -- a fun tradition for drawing out the birthday wonderfulness.
On Monday, it was a new pair of Crocs, complete with Jibbits:
On Tuesday, it was a Very Noisy Car -- a Hot Wheels Rumbler.
On Wednesday, it was two pairs of swim trunks from Nana. (Sorry there's no picture -- they're in the laundry. But they're very cute!)
Today, on THE Day, he woke up to find that his older brothers had put together a Shake Cars track in his playroom:
First words out of his mouth: "OH! WOW! Mommy, THANKS!"
Later in the morning, we decorated cupcakes to take to preschool. Zack decided that everyone should have a candle:
At school, one of his teachers made him a Birthday Crown:
And yeah, that's a little blurry, but he's five, remember? It took fifteen tries to get THIS one!
Happy Birthday, my best boy!
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Sunday, January 06, 2008
I thought I would write this blog for those jewelry designers who have thought about the bridal venue but haven't yet exhibited at a show. They're just my own observations and thoughts, but I hope this will helpful.
One of the main things that hold jewelry designers back from participating in bridal shows is the cost. Shows in my area (Maryland) run from $400 and up, for a four-hour show. That can make you swallow hard. To get past that dollar figure "yikes", you have to look at the show as a marketing venture more than an immediate selling venture.
Most shows give each vendor a list of the brides who attended. While you don't want to spam the heck out of anyone, you CAN craft a good "thank you" letter, and consider an incentive -- a discount, a free pair of earrings with purchase, something that makes the letter or postcard WORK. If the list included emails, be very careful -- I personally would only use that email one time, and then never again without their permission. So use that email to SAY something, and ask if they'd like to get your email newsletters or would prefer snail mail.
If you don't have a web site, set one up to get the most of your booth fee. Unlike craft shows, bridal shows aren't really a buy-now venue -- I did have people buy things, but for the most part, brides are in the looking phase. Many haven't even chosen their dress or colors yet. If they don't have a web site to go back to, you've lost even the thought of a sale. And think about it -- if you make jewelry other than bridal jewelry, you want to gain a repeat customer -- someone who will visit your web site over and over.
You really don't need an elaborate booth set up for a bridal show -- a big pro. If you want my long-drawn-out booth design email, just click here and let me know what your interests are and I can give you technical stuff. Give your work some levels -- put busts on wrapped boxes or get creative with pedestals (a pretty plate on top of a glass vase, etc) and let the jewelry talk.
So, you pay your $400-500-whateverhundred bucks, you have a pretty table, gorgeous jewelry -- now what?
Well, don't be surprised if no one buys. Do NOT take that as a negative (see above about not buying right now). Have lots of cards -- preferably ones with photos of your work on them, to help jog their memory -- and let them know what you can do. If you're big on customization, tell them. If you specialize in a genre of wedding (beach, renaissance, etc), play that up. Flexibility is really important in the bridal business, I believe, because every bride wants it to be Her Day.
OK, the day is done, what's next? What can you do to get your name out there even more?
If you’re good at networking (and I am rather not, I get nervous), doing a bridal show can give you some great connections. I was approached by a dress boutique about displaying some things in her store, and if I’d been braver, I would have approached other boutiques (I do much better via email, I get way shy in person – I think it’s the whole fear of rejection thing – easier to take via email). Instead of asking stores about taking your work on consignment to just sit in their showcase, suggest they use your services as a “dresser” – when they change their window displays, see if they’ll let you dress the mannequins with your jewelry. (That would work for a regular boutique, too).
If you have a web site with a bridal section, consider having a Bridal Links page, and exchange links with local businesses – florists, DJs, etc. The key is to make sure they put YOUR link on THEIR site as well.
Network with wedding coordinators – they refer brides to all sorts of services. Cultivating a relationship with one is a great way to get business.
OK! I’ve rambled enough – hope this is interesting and helpful to someone!
Thursday, January 03, 2008
You'll learn how to do a basic wire wrap for making a cha-cha charm bracelet, rosary loops for a necklace, and how to make your own clasp. You'll receive a complete wire-wrapping tool kit, enough materials to make two bracelets, and lots and lots of hand-outs.
Click here to register!
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
These earrings are made with large glass pearls and my own handmade ear wires. Classic, but the ear wires give it a modern look.
This is amazing in person. Four large pearls are set in sterling silver, and I wired white coin pearls together and added a leaf clasp.
This necklace is unique -- the pendant is a large, vintage-inspired button, strung with clear and purple Swarovski crystals.
This one is for a beach wedding -- a Thai silver starfish and a cluster of cultured pearls.
A very elegant necklace -- pearls and sterling silver filigree.
Really stunning waterfall/cascade earrings in Swarovski crystal.
The thing I like about my bridal line is that for the most part, you can wear many of the pieces even after the wedding. I've already had some customers buy things for regular wear.
You can see more at http://www.lorianderson.net/
With a nearly-five-year old, we don't go out -- but even if we didn't have Zack, I seriously doubt we would, anyway. I don't like crowds, and there's not one heck of a lot going on in Easton at that time of night. We all spent a quiet night in, watching football, drinking sangria, playing games, and I had some time after Zack went to bed to update the web site. It's actually exactly how I wanted to spend the night!
So -- resolutions? I like to call it a "To Do" list for my business. Here's mine (so far):
- Get into a new craft show venue. Well, that one's done -- I just got my letter from the Craftsman's Classics and I'm thrilled -- I've been trying to get into that show for four years!
- Make every Friday "Creative Friday" -- make (or start) something that is not in my normal comfort zone.
- Set up my lampwork studio. That's going to happen this spring, when I can empty out our shed in the backyard -- I already have a torch and we'll see what happens. I took a class, liked it, but may stink at it. But I'll never know until I try!
That's enough to start with! :-)