Monday, May 31, 2010

Almost JUNE!!!

I can't believe how quickly the past month has flown by! Luckily we have been able to enjoy some beautiful summer-like weather and the little dude and I have taken advantage of it by heading to the zoo, playing in our kiddie pool, and having a blast at the park. Business wise mom and I have been super busy at Rouge River Beads with the arrival of some beautiful new beads, I am blessed to have had some sales in my new Etsy shop Kawartha Beads and the "bucket" idea with my sales gals has definately begun to take off!

So where are we headed for June?

I have some new goodies ready to photograph and list and I can't wait to share them with you. Also be sure to watch for more new supplies to be added to our supply shop. I'm very excited to be participating in TWO fabulous giveaways. You may have noticed the button on the left hand side for WIN YOUR AD HERE. Blogger Chix Designs has put together a wonderful opportunity to win ad space on several blogs and it is a great chance to find some new blogs, learn a bit about the bloggers AND win some ad space. Your chance to win ad space on Kawartha Beads is June 9th but I will keep you updated about all of the ad space giveaways. I am also thrilled to be a part of the Spring Bling Jewelry Event at Simply Stacie. Her blog is simply stunning and she offers great giveaways and reviews all year long! Beginning June 7th you will have a chance to win some fabulous new additions to your summer wardrobe. I will be giving away a pair of my Lavender and Lace Pearl Earrings to one lucky Simply Stacie reader so stay tuned for your chance to win.

What are your plans for the upcoming month? Sure to be a busy but exciting one!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Where has the week gone?

Maybe the heat has zapped my brain but I can't believe it is Friday already! It's been a very busy week with the arrival of some beautiful new beads to add to the supply shop I run with my mother.

I have also been getting organized for the upcoming Supplies Sellers Marketing Exchange. I now have two girls with "buckets" of jewelry selling on my behalf and they are keeping me busy! This is the first official month for my "sales representatives" so I can't wait to see how it turns out. In case you missed the original article you can catch up here.

This week's Etsy Front Page Tags is quite reminiscent of last week's, relying heavily on the marketing desk article. We have seen many front pages featuring Father's Day gift ideas, gifts for grads, and summer weddings. I did catch one that was found using the search term rustic, one inspired by the French Open and one featuring Undiscovered Shops.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Today I'm Going to Wear.....

With the temperature hitting record highs here today summer outfits are on all of our minds and this one would be too cute!

2.Seaside Seersucker Wrap Dress by One Avian Deamon
3.Vintage Berries Reusable Shopping Bag by Prairie Wind Designs
4. Ice Cream Charm Necklace by Kawartha Beads

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Great Marketing Exchange!

Ever wish you could combine efforts with some like-minded individuals to give your shop some additional traffic? A marketing exchange might be your answer!

Last fall and again this spring I organized a marketing exchange for handmade goods. The shops that signed up were all sent a list of who was involved and their shop link and what their feature days were. Then on a shops feature days everyone involved would promote that shop through their shop announcement, blogs, twitter, facebook and whatever else they could think of. I know that I found many wonderful new shops this way and we did see an increase in both traffic and sale at Bijoux Designs For You which I was running with my mother at the time. It is a bit of an honour roll system and you have to have faith that the first shops to be featured will still help to promote the last. Admittedly it does take alot of organization but its a great way to meet some new people, discover some new shops and help to promote handmade!

Currently I am putting together a marketing exchange through Rouge River Beads with some fellow supplies sellers. I can't wait to share their stories starting June 1st so stay tuned!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Front Page Etsy Tags ?????

I don't know if you have noticed but this week there were very few "found using the search term" or "inspired by" front page Etsy tags. Rather there was a heavy focus on Father's Day and Graduation themed items as well as other items from the May merchandising article. I must admit that I never used to pay too much attention to these articles but with the focus of the front page changing, and relying heavily on the themes of these articles, it is worth revisiting them.
You can check out the June merchandising article here. Most of the themes are ones that you would expect, Father's Day, weddings, bbq's, etc. Etsy also celebrates its 5th birthday in June so I'm sure we will be having a big party!!!!! Since June's birthstone is the pearl I'm certain that there will be many beautiful pearl items featured. They are also perfect for the summer bride and one of my fav's all year round! My mom is also a big fan of pearls and you can find many of them in her creations over at Bijoux Designs For You including this pretty Filagree Heart and Pearl Necklace. I recently created a Pretty Pearls treasury and would love it if you had a chance to stop by and check it out! I'm always most interested in the forcasted colour trends and of all the ones they have listed I'm most excited to see some citrus's (lime, lemon, grapefruit, blood orange, tangerine).

What are your thoughts on the upcoming trends for June? Do you take them into consideration when you are designing? It will be interesting to see how the month unfolds while we celebrate 5 years of Etsy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Today I'm Going to Wear....

I thought it might be fun to "make" an outfit using the great items from fellow Etsy sellers. I wanted to "wear" these cute Aqua Sparkler Earrings from my own shop and sent a shout out in the forums to see what fellow artisans had to match. Here are some great pieces to compliment the outfit, topped off with a yummy lip balm (perfect for any outfit!)

3. Atlantis Beaded Bracelet from Fivefootfurry Creations
4. Pink Lemonade Lip Balm from Soapscentsations

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tidbits about Chalcedony!

Time again to dive into the world of stone properties! If you haven't had a chance to check out some tidbits about Jasper you can catch up here. I must admit that I didn't really know very much about Chalcedony but I thought the name was interesting and so I would do some research. I discovered that it is a derivative of the name of the ancient Greek town Calkedon in Asia Minor and is used to name the group of stones where the quartz crystals are too small to be seen without magnification. For jewelry purposes Chalcedony is usually applied only to the light blue translucent and waxy form. Other stones in this group are known as agate, jasper, petrified wood, bloodstone, petrified dinosaur bone, fire agate, tiger's eye, chrysocolla, chrysoprase, onyx, sardonyx, and carnelian.

Legend and Folklore:

I should run out and get some chalcedony as it is believed to be beneficial for business! It also is said to bring love and comfort, promote good health, relieve nervousness, increase vitality, endurance and emotional balance.

Native American Indians believed chalcedony was a sacred stone and used in the spiritual ceremonies of the tribe.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Earring Sale and More!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful weekend! We attended the wedding of my cousin this weekend and it was great to get out and relax. My little one had such a good time at my friends house playing with her little ones that he didn't want to leave when we went to pick him up!

I listed a couple of new items last week that I haven't had a chance to share with you. I am celebrating the beginning of the summer season (starting with a long weekend coming up...whoo-hoo) by offering these lovely Red Maple Leaf Earrings for $5 until Victoria Day (Monday). A perfect way to show off your Canadian pride! have some more new items to list this week so I do hope that you will stop by for a visit!

What did you do this past weekend? Any upcoming plans for summer?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Front Page Etsy Tags #4

Hope everyone had a wonderful week. Time again for another look at some of the themes and tags that appeared on Etsy's front page this week. In case you missed last week's post you can catch it here. It is interesting to notice some of the tags and themes reappearing giving us a peek at some popular trends. Here are this week's:

*inspired by natural history
*inspired by summer gardens
*found using search term mod
*honey bee
*celebrating mom
*graduation gift ideas
*french inspired
*home decor in calming shades of blue

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beautiful Blues!

In case you missed last week's Exciting Earth Tone's you can check it out here. I think these beautiful blues would be perfect for any season but I think they are especially hot this upcoming summer season! What other colours do you think are going to be especially popular this year? Any fabulous aqua blues to share? Be sure to leave a comment, I'd love to check them out!

1. Turquoise Snag Free Stitch Markers by Forest Creations

2. Silk Headband - Belt - Choker in Sapphire Blue by KOOP de grace

3. Scrapbook Supplies Handmade Paper Embellishments--Beloved-OOAK by Queen of All Trades


Monday, May 10, 2010

The Independent Sales Representative!

Hope that all the mommies out there had a wonderful weekend! Today I wanted to talk about having others sell your handmade goods for you.

I work a couple of days a week waitressing in a popular local restaurant. Some days I groan about having to go there but it is a nice way to get out of the house and interact with people who speak in full sentences (although that can sometimes be debateable too!) The other bonus is that I work with a lot of women who are very supportive of my handmade endeavours. Recently one of my friends at the restaurant asked if she could take a few of my things and sell them for me. I thought sure, why not? She did an AMAZING job and a couple of other girls have asked if they could do the same. Now I admit, this does take A) alot of trust in the girls that I will have doing this since they are taking finished products as opposed to a catalogue but I suppose you could do it either way AND B) it takes a bit of organization to keep track of who has what and who has sold what.

In total I currently have 3 ladies who want to participate and we are going to try this starting in June-December. I will make each of them a "bucket" which is a pretty little box filled with finished products all packaged and priced, business cards and an item of the month. The item of the month they will get to keep for themselves and this item will be order only for their customers. They will get the box on the first of the month and have 2 weeks to sell whatever they can at which time I will collect their boxes, money and any orders for the item of the month (which must be paid in advance). All of the girls have decided to take a credit for 20% of their sales to be used towards merchandise whenever they choose. One of the girls is getting married next spring and I know she wants to save her credit up to have me do the bridal parties jewelry. At the beginning of the following month they will receive a new box, new item of the month AND any order of the previous month's item for them to deliver. Kind of like a portable home party!

I'll report in once our first month is done and let you know how things turned out! Any suggestions? Anyone else have any experience with "sales reps"?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

♥Happy Mother's Day♥

To all the wonderful mommies out there who give 100% of themselves at every hour of the day (and night) I hope that you get a wonderful day of relaxation and appreciation. On that note, I'm heading back to bed! Have a great day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Front Page Etsy Tags #3

Be sure to stop by and check out Etsy's new front page with a sleeker, wider look. I know we all are hoping to see one of our items there. In case you missed it you can check out the tags that made last week's Etsy front page here and here are this week's tags:

*inspired by summer travel
*inspired by Seersucker
*farmhouse inspired
*classically inspired
*found using search term bohemian
*found using search tem meadow

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tidbits About Jasper

Time for some more tidbits for you to enjoy. In case you missed the last post A Girl and Her Pearls be sure to stop by and learn about these timeless classics! Today I wanted to explore the world of Jasper.

Coming in a variety of colours Jasper is a variety of Chalcedony. The patterns and bands resembling landscapes with mountains and valleys are a result of the stone containing organic materials and mineral oxides, lending the name "picture" to be associated with many jaspers. It was a favorite stone of ancient times, often mentioned in literature with a variety of attributes associated with it.
*Helps to bring joy into life (Poppy Jasper)
*Aids in sleep (Opalite Jasper)
*Thought to drive away evil spirits
*Protects against snake and spider bites
*Thought to bring about rain
*Stabilizing and healing

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Exciting Earth Tones

Last week we check out some Outstanding Oranges from fellow artisans. Today I want to share these exciting earth tone creations!

3. Purse from Chocolate Dog Studios

Monday, May 3, 2010

Promoting Your Handmade Business

There are a million different ways to go about promoting your handmade business and just as many schools of thought on what will be the "key to success". When it comes right down to it each and every business is different and so you will have to find what works best for you, your product and target market, and your time.

When I first began promoting the supplies shop I run with my mom and Bijoux Designs For You (which my mom has taken over), I signed up for anything and everything that I thought would give us some recognition. I quickly learned that meant WAY TOO MUCH TIME on the computer and that certain aspects of networking I didn't enjoy at all. Through trial and error here are some of my favourites:

*Twitter- share your thoughts in just 140 characters. Quick and to the point I ♥ twittering. You can tweet with me here.

*Blogging- Not for everyone, especially if you don't enjoy writing. I instantly fell in love with blogging and have enjoyed learning about how to build, design and grow your blog. For me personally it is another way to focus creative energy, just in a different format!

Join a team/guild- I have met many great people and learned and shared with them through joining teams/guilds on both Etsy and Artfire. Teams help to promote each others work and share ideas. If you make jewelry and sell on Artfire be sure to check out the AJDJSS guild and if you are a mom then you will definately want to check out the Busy Moms Team on Etsy.

These are just a couple of ways to begin to promote and grow your handmade business. What are some of your fav's? Anything you have tried that you didn't care for?