Saturday, June 28, 2008

And the winner is....... *drumroll*

I just ran my very first contest! I was inspired by two lovely women I met in the Etsy forums, HappyTazzie and CelticKnot who have both run successful contests in the Promotion forum. Sales were slow and I was a bit bored, so I decided to give it a try. :)

I made a post stating that the first 20 people to post in the thread would get their name in the hat, and I would pull for three winners. First place got a $10 discount on any item in my shop, second and third place each got a $5 discount.

It took a lot longer than I thought it would to get 20 people to post, but it was probably due to my choice of day and time (mid afternoon on a Wednesday) and also perhaps because my title wasn't "grabby" enough. But with my frequent, determined posts and the generous help of the people who were involved, we finally made it to 20 contestants before the day was out. :)

I wrote down all the names on paper, cut them apart and then drew for the winners.

First place went to mistym03, who has a very colourful, eclectic little Etsy shop. She chose this gorgeous bracelet that my mother, Juanita, designed and created.

Second place went to mystiqueisland, who has some truly gorgeous photographs for sale in her lovely Etsy shop. She's going on vacation and chose one of my premade vacation banners with her prize money.

The person who won third place in the contest hasn't gotten back to me yet, but I will update this post when I know more! :)

On the whole, I think this contest was a great success! I met a lot of lovely people, and was very blessed to have the support of some friends who helped keep my contest running. A big thank you to jessijewels, Debashri, CelticKnot, BrittanyAlecia and cottonlily for all of your help with keeping the thread bumped up in the quicksand-like environment of the Promotion forum. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wow! I'm in two more fabulous Treasuries!

The wonderfully talented Debashri has a knack for Treasuries! And this one may be her best yet!

A big thanks to Deb for including my Setting Sunflower earrings. :)

Meandering through ETSY

And one of my sister, Natashia's, photos is featured in a truly stunning ladybug Treasury assembled by Kalos. Check out her shop for some really gorgeous jewelry. :)

Thank you, Kalos, for including our Ladybug on Rosebush photo!

Lucky Lady

An Earring Whirlwind!

Earrings are my favourite type of jewelry to make. I love wire wrapping bracelets and necklaces, which can be very meditative and soothing, but earrings are hands down my favourite items. Something about how small they are, and making two pieces that match each other perfectly appeals to me.

I recently ran out of sterling silver earwires and had a forced break from creating earrings. I had placed a large silver order and thought I'd included earwires, but when I ran out of my old stash and checked the new stash I discovered that I'd made a mistake and forgotten to add earwires to the order. I immediately placed a new order, but unfortunately bubble envelopes from the States are taking about 2 weeks to get to Canada, so I was unable to make new earrings for that period of time.

Thus, when my order arrived with 100 shiny new sterling earwires, I got straight to work bring to life designs that had been percolating in my mind. Two days later I had six new pairs of earrings, which I photographed in one afternoon and listed over two days. I'm very proud of this batch and can't wait for them to find loving homes. :D

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More good Treasury news!

Last night I made it to the front page of Etsy!!! The Treasury that I posted about earlier yesterday created by the fabulously talented BeadNestDesigns was chosen by admin to grace the front page! Views in my shop skyrocketed by over 500! About 250 of those directly to our King of the Castle photo, and the rest spread out through our shop. :) It was so exciting!

A truly gorgeous group of items to be included in. So a big thank you to BeadNestDesigns for making one of my Etsy dreams come true!

And as if two Treasuries and a front page slot weren't enough, the incredibly talented Debashri has also featured me in a Treasury! Mine are the Green Leaf earrings in the middle. :)

Debashri's Picks for my friends

makes the most amazing clay flowers. They look so incredibly delicate and paper thin, you would never know that they're fake, let alone made of clay! Check out her shop for flower arrangements that will last you for years to come. :)

And just when you thought that I couldn't be in any more Treasuries.....

I get by with a little help...

Selected by my very good Etsy friend, jessijewels, who has some amazing jewels of her own. Mine is the Triple Cherry Swirl necklace at the bottom center. :)

Check out Jessi's shop for some incredibly creative, unique and beautiful pieces of jewelry, as well as her handcrafted cards which are better than anything you'll find in the drugstore.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm in 2 Treasuries!

In everyone's life....
Selected by sosorosey, whom I met in the Etsy forums. Mine are the Lemon Drop earrings near the center. :)

Out on a LIMB!! Save me save me!
Selected by BeadNestDesigns, who has an amazing talent for Treasuries. Mine is the King of the Castle cat photo at the bottom left hand corner. :)

A Treasury is a "way to shop" on Etsy. They are collections of items by Etsy artists and can be created by anyone with an Etsy account and enough patience to wait for a spot to open up. They're a great way to get your items seen by more people, and I'm so happy to have been featured in 2!

Be sure to check out both of these lovely ladies' shops! BeadNestDesigns has some really gorgeous jewelry, and sosorosey does amazingly talented things with crochet. :)

The Art of Choosing a Name...

Before I created a username for Etsy, I started reading through the community forums, which is where I discovered that once you've created your username, you can't change it. So it's important to choose one that you're going to be happy with for your entire time on Etsy. Now if you're just a buyer, this probably isn't a very big deal, but if you're a seller, your username becomes your shop name and therefore your identity.

I wanted to get started setting up my Etsy shop as soon as possible, but I needed that perfect username first. I literally thought about it for days, bringing my mom and younger sister into the conversation. We spit balled ideas and I typed them into the search bar under "Sellers: usernames" to see what was already taken and how many others there already were that were so similar as to be confusing.

The name had to be something that wasn't exclusive to me because though I run the business end of things, my mom and younger sister both contribute jewelry and art to the shop. I wanted a name that was inclusive of all three of us, but would also work if they ever got tired of creating for the shop and it was mine alone.

I was actually doing something else online when I read the word "genuine" somewhere and the phrase "genuine article" popped into my head. I checked with the search bar and discovered that not only was it free, but the other names that included either "genuine" or "article" weren't close enough to cause confusion to someone who was searching for me.

I thought it sounded perfect. My mother, sister and I are all perfectionists, we love to work with quality materials and put our all into making sure that what we send out is the very best possible product. The Genuine Article.

So we had the choice narrowed down to GenuineArticle or MadeInCanada, which was Mom's personal favourite. We settled on GenuineArticle for two reasons: 1- Mom liked that if you fuzz your eyes a bit you can almost see the word "earth" where the two words meet, just without the "H" and 2- it's more fluid, you're not tying yourself to having Canadian items.

We're all very happy with the name, but I have discovered one drawback to it. It's not as unique a thought as I had originally believed. The fact that it wasn't taken on Etsy made me think that finding our shop would be easy for anyone who heard our name. However, after signing up for Google Alerts (where you get an email every time someone searches Google for the word or phrase you created the alert for) I found that even though people put "etsy genuine article" or "genuinearticle etsy" into the search bar multiple times a week, often the links they get back don't take them anywhere near my shop!

I've noticed that a lot of the links that pop up are personal blogs where someone discusses Etsy and mentions something being the "genuine article," so I'm hoping that one of the things this blog will do is bring up a link so that those searching for me will actually find my shop.

So, things to keep in mind when choosing a name:

It's permanent - you can't change it afterwards, and naming your shop something different from your username is confusing.
Be original - you want people searching online to have your shop pop up quickly, and for those searching inside Etsy to know which of the results to their search is you.
Be true to yourself - choose a name that represents you and your craft, if you have a long selling career it will be part of your identity for quite awhile.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Journey With Jewelry

Ever since I was a little girl I've loved to draw, paint and create. I was a girly-girl, so jewelry was right up there on my list of favourite things. For birthdays and Christmas, my parents would get my sisters and me crafting kits that we just adored. One of my favourites was a "make your own clay beads" kit, which we had a ball turning into gaudy necklaces and bracelets that we thought were just beautiful.

A few years after that, my Girl Guide troop was taking apart old VCRs to learn what they look like inside and I found a spool of copper wire that the Guide leader let me take home. I'm sure that it just looked like trash to her, but I thought it was beautiful. I twisted several strands together and made bracelets and rings out of it. I wasn't very good at tucking the sharp ends in, though, so no one was terribly interested in wearing my creations.

Later, I discovered more tasteful jewelry, falling in love with a tiny beading store in the mall. I had a horrible time choosing what to get, there were bins and bins of shiny, colourful beads, charms and clasps. I finally settled on glass beads, leather cording and animal charms, and made necklaces for me and both my sisters.

Not long ago, my younger sister was at Micheal's and found crafting kits for making your own freshwater pearl necklaces and bracelets. She bought a kit for us both on the condition that I string hers for her. That was how I learned about tiger tail wire and crimping, a technique that I'm quite fond of.

When I first read about Etsy and started setting up shop there last January, I bought a bunch of different beads online. As it turned out, I had no concept of size and 4mm beads will absolutely not thread onto 1.5mm leather cording. Leather cording had been my main focus, but since I suddenly found myself the owner of many tiny beads I had to reevaluate. Enter the tiger tail.

Not long after that, I discovered the art of wire wrapping through online video tutorials. It took quite a bit of practice, but it's now my absolute favourite technique.

Collecting appropriate supplies and findings took me a lot longer than I thought it would, so I wasn't able to actually start listing on Etsy until February 20th. I had my first few sales within the first week, bought by some darling women I know from a message board that I moderate. It wasn't long after that that I had my first sale to a stranger, which was a fabulous feeling. :)

Since then, my Etsy sales have been up and down, with the biggest "high" coming only yesterday when I sold 3 things in one day for the first time ever! I have my fingers crossed that this is the start of more consistent sales.

So that's sort of the history of my jewelry career up until now in a nutshell. (A nice big nut shell. ;)