Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I had fun creating my latest pieces. I was in search of something colorful to wear and started to play with my colorful polymer clay. As always I made more beads than I had intended so I decided to create a series of necklaces. These are the results. I made a total of 17 and this is what's left.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Like many of you, I slowly became a small business, almost by accident, really. It all began when I made a necklace and received many requests from friends for similar necklaces. I gave those first necklaces as gifts, not really thinking they were of much value. One day a good friend of mine encouraged me to enter a craft show and my necklaces were a big hit. This gave me the confidence to show my necklaces to others and slowly began to pick up sales.

After selling some necklaces to a receptionist at a dentist's office she suggested I visit a local shop. There I went, with a few necklaces to show, and butterflies in my stomach. I left with a $2,000 order. Three years later, I am now selling at six shops in two different states. I had been reporting my gains as a hobby, until I was told it would be a wise decision to start reporting as a business.
I still remember sitting in my accountant's office, dumbfounded with some of the questions that were being asked.
I did not understand what cost of goods sold, and ending and beginning inventory and other business jargon meant. I felt like a fool. I had just shown up with my meager receipts and a close approximation of what I had sold. That visit made it painfully clear that I was not pricing my jewelry correctly. I would create a piece and just ask, "What would I pay for it?"
Before I became a jeweler, I was an avid painter (OK, I still am) and exhibited and sold several of my pieces. I always photographed the paintings that I sold along with information about the painting and who I had sold it to. I realized that my jewelry deserved the same respect. I went out and bought a notebook dedicated to pricing my pieces. I photograph my pieces and give a brief description of the process that I used to create them and who I sold them to. I also show how I determined the pricing, including the amount of time I spent creating my pieces. Yes, this does mean carving out some time to this book but now feel confident that I am selling my pieces correctly. I also enjoy leafing through these books, I am able to see how my jewelry has evolved and the images sometimes inspire new designs.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Break

As a teacher I look forward to several breaks through out the school year. Spring break is one of my favorites. This week gives me the opportunity to recharge my battery so that I can finish the school year. Unfortunately, I didn't get much rest this time around, I spent most of my time trying to catch up on some jewelry orders and tried to get ahead on some others.I am also working on a new line of pieces which I will unveil as soon as I'm done with those. For now I'd like to share with you a few pieces that I created for a local shop. I'm especially fond of the little bird necklaces, it was difficult to part with them. I also made a few for myself which I hope to put up in my etsy shop soon, that's if I can get the following mess cleaned up.

My husband and I sold our home of thirteen years three years ago and bought this fixer upper. We had also fixed up our previous home and I figured fixing this one would be the same as the first. I didn't know what I was thinking. I thought spring break would be the perfect time to have my master bathroom tiled (it had pink carpet). First of all, it is so difficult to find good help. I set up three separate appointments with workers and I was stood up all three times. A family friend recommended someone and in desperation I hired him sight unseen. Well, he turned out to be an elderly man (I do mean elderly) and had no helping hands. After several days my bathroom is finally tiled, but I was left with a broken bathroom door, mortar on my walls and some other minor repairs. Oh well, I didn't have the heart to complain, I just kept thinking that this was some one's grandpa, and besides, with all of the devastation on the other side of the world, my bathroom is not such a big deal after all.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Something new

I just listed something new in my etsy shop. It had been a while since I had last put something in my shop, not because I haven't been working, but because I have been busy trying to create pieces for the various shops that my work is in.
This is the first time I put my polymer clay necklaces in my etsy shop, I hope they are received well. I've been reading the different posts from my etsy team members and I have noticed the concern for the lack of sales. With gas prices going up and the economy what it is, I'm not surprised things aren't moving as quickly as we wish they would.

All of this pales in comparison to the disaster that is happening half ways around the world. I've been glued to my tv seeing the devastation as I work away in my little studio, knowing how lucky I truly am. I pray that relief comes quick to the people of Japan, my prayers are with them as they begin their long road to recovery.

Monday, March 7, 2011

How do you manage?

Some new things coming out and some new things going in. I was up late last night working on my polymer clay pendants and got carried away, before I knew it, it was going to be midnight. These are some of my first attempts at image transfers and even though I try to go slowly I still make mistakes. I just might put my "oops" on sale in my etsy shop. I'm going to start looking into colored liquid clay so that I could put color on the sides of my pendants.
Something I've been struggling with lately is the amount of money I am putting into my material. It seems that as soon as I sell something I turn around and buy more materials in order to make more. I have a lot of inventory in several shops, sales are not as good as I wish they were. Sometimes I think I shouldn't create any more, at least not until all of my existing inventory sells.

How do you manage to make your wares while you wait for sales? Should I stop seeing this as a business venture and just create, even if that means spending more money? Am I missing something?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Day After

I had my first trunk show yesterday, along side some other talented jewelers. It was a bit slow going as far as foot traffic but managed to get some sales. The set up was a bit tight but I spent a few hours talking and making new acquaintances, swapping ideas and resources.
What I enjoyed the most was hearing people say "Oh, so you're the lady that makes these necklaces.", or "Oh, you're Nena." I've been trying very hard to make my name (brand) more visible, perhaps my efforts are finally paying off. One thing I've been wanting to do is to design new jewelry tags but am lost as to how I can do this. I've approached a few graphic designers but they must think I'm small potatoes because I never hear from them again. I've made my own for a while now, cutting and gluing, but I think I am beyond that point.
Here are a few pictures of last night's set up. The shop was a bit dark, luckily I brought my own lighting.

It had been a while since I had last done a craft show and no longer have some of my props ( I disposed of them thinking I would not need them again). I will have to start making new props and displays because I intend to do craft and jewelry shows this year. If only school was already over so that I could dedicate some time to my true jewelry. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Getting ready

I'm still working hard trying to get ready for my first trunk show. I have mixed feelings about this trunk show since I have never done one before. I'm excited but at the same time I am trying not to get my hopes up too much.

I'm also not sure if I'm suppose to work on some of my pieces while there or should I just sit and smile pretty?
I've been doing last minute preparations in the evenings after work but I've also had workmen in and out of my house the past two days (my heater and washer broke down). More of them are expected today :( I will be unveiling some of my new polymer clay pieces this weekend, I'm fairly new at polymer so this is an exciting new step for me. Wish me luck!

I've also spent some time reading blogs from my new etsy friends. So much talent out there. So many of us have the same dream, running our own business selling our wares. I hope it comes true for every single one of us. I've also been trying to follow some of my new followers but I can't seem to view their blogs, there is no link. Hmm, am I doing something wrong? Anyone else have this problem? Well, back to work, I will post pics from this weekend and let you know how it went.