Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday -- The Less Chaos, More Valentines Edition

Two posts from me in one day!  Well, against doctor's orders, I've had two cups of much-needed coffee (slap me with a wet string of beads, but sometimes things just HAVE to get done) and I'm racing the clock to get as much done as possible.

Art by Allison Stein

So far today I've written two tutorials, put 200 pairs of earrings on their cards back into plastic bags, put I don't know how many bracelets back into bags from Saturday's show, wrote a short blog post, been to the post office, learned how to Speed Stack with my son, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something.  But all things considered, this is a huge accomplishment.

This week, I really haven't made a single beaded thing. It's all been about paperwork, recovering from the craft show, and, as you'll see, making Valentines.  So my table is MUCH less chaotic than normal. 

Don't get me wrong -- there should be a load of beads on that table.  There certainly are a load of things due, after all -- pieces for the Bead Soup Blog Party, a piece due for the ArtBeads bloggers, Cup of Bead Soup projects, Earthenwood Design Studio Team projects -- all due this month.  Under normal circumstances, I thrive on this sort of "the deadline is looming" kind of craziness. Lately, it's not so much about loving this pace so much as keeping this pace because I never know how I'll feel physically day to day.

My first project tomorrow is to get this pile of bracelets resized and shipped off to their new owners.  At craft shows, I always offer free resizing and free shipping to get their new bauble to them.  I think the small cost of my time, any minimal materials, and the shipping is totally worth making a customer happy.  

One of my customers told me about a gorgeous necklace at another show she wanted to buy, but she didn't like the lobster claw clasp -- her fingers just couldn't manage it.  The artisan just sat back in the corner of the booth and said, "Well, sometimes they're like that, sometimes they aren't," and went back to reading his newspaper.  She had money in her pocket and she walked away with that money still in her pocket.

Of course, everyone runs their business as they see fit, and I'm not trying to tell you how to run YOUR business.  Some things are impossible to resize without considerable time and money, and if your customer has the logistics gently explained to them, chances are they'll pay what's needed.  But offering nothing at all, not even guiding the customer to another piece of jewelry that might work out better, is going to cause a missed opportunity.

A project I am working on this week is handmade Valentines for Zack's class.  I bought this adorable kit from one of my favorite stores, Paper Source, and we've been busy cutting out and glueing on.  But after we made these three Valentines, Zack lost his momentum, so it's now MY project.  This is totally fine, and totally what I expected.  I've always loved Valentine's Day, and made my own Valentines for many years.  It won't be long before this won't be cool for my kidlet anymore, so I'm enjoying this for as long as I can.

I'm thinking that next week's Bead Table Wednesday will have a more chaotic look.  I've seen some truly crazy tables and then I've seen some absolutely pristine tables.  I'm usually more on the crazy side, with trays and boxes and bags going all over the place.  So stay tuned!  You never know what you'll see, and I never know what I'll find.

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.


  1. I love the Valentines - I'm making some too but between my quilt camp and home, I've misplaced the vintage repro valentines I was planning on using!!! Where is my head!

    The bracelets are lovely and so is your effort to make your customers happy. Good for you! And yay for coffee!!!

  2. Looks pretty neat to me. I agree, customer service makes all the difference. Treat them like you'd expect to be treated, and then add a little something extra!

  3. Hi Lori i'm new to the blog seen and of all the ones i signed up for i look forward to yours the most. you are very inspirational to cope with your migranes & still do all you so i too deal with cronic pain daily i have had both of my hip repalced & broke my neck 7 yrs ago i'' b 49 on sat and making jewelry helps me so much keep my mind off of my pain thank-you your a great inspiration as well as very artistic i love all of your designs. i'll b checking in on your tom hope your feeling well!p.s. if i didn't live so darn far i would love to come over for a cup of coffe and help yyou out lol :P

  4. That is one gorgeous pile of bracelets!! Love the handmade Valentine's...I was going to do that with Ben, but ran out of time, so we hit up CVS for some candy ones.

  5. Did you have time to breathe and go to the bathroom today? I'm tired just reading about all you did! BTW, those bracelets are gorgeous! Lucky people who bought them from you!

  6. Oh how I miss making Valentines, they are so cute!
    A lot of my pieces I can resize right at a show and can satisfy the customer, isn't that what it is all about? That customer will come looking for you next time, but not for lobster clasp lady.

  7. You are so right about the customer-service. That is exactly what makes me coming back to a store! Love your valentines.

  8. Lori, your bracelets are lovely some of the beads on the table are really unusual I love the pink sort of leafy ones. I do agree about haveing good customer relations I always resize if possible for free, it is so nice to get return customers.

  9. Coffee is a pretty wonderful thing! :) Your bracelets are beautiful. Your comment about the vendor who did nothing is sad, but not uncommon. I do try to resize or re-clasp as my customers ask. Just plain makes it easier. :)

    Your table looks great!!!

  10. Oh Lori, those bracelets are wonderful. And about those non-service shops: I never go back again. Good that you´re so service minded and kind!! And by the way: I think I´m going to try that coffee thing - maybe I´ll get as much done... LOL!!
    Hugs to you dear!!

  11. Looks like a great table to me! :)

  12. I truly think we wouldn't be able to create if our table was neat??? I know I can' least that is what I tell everyone!!! :0)

    The Valentine cards are soooo cute...enjoy it while your son is small.

    When I do shows/markets, etc.,I'm always happy to adjust, change clasps, what ever makes the customer is all about making the customer happy!


  13. Those Valentines are awesome. So how did you do with Speed Stacking? I am sure it was a fun time. It is so awesome to know that with all that you do you still put him first and have fun!


I appreciate comments! Thank you for contributing to the conversation.