Jewelry 101: Trendy Gemstones

 

Pearl and Quartz Pink Bracelet

Pearl and Quartz Pink Bracelet

Being an artist in the world of handmade jewelry, the competition can be a little tough, but if you can follow the market, and research the wants of consumers you may find incorporating today’s hot new trends can boost business for you and your jewelry business.

 

In 2008, gemstones have been trendy, but will this continue to be the case going into 2009, many fashion experts agree gemstones are no where near going out of style.  Every bead magazine you pick up in the store show beaded gemstone jewelry on the cover, and Tiger Eye and Turquoise being the hottest of all those stones.  It’s no surprise why they are in style, people are trying to bring back that natural touch, jewelry fashion all began thousands of years ago with beaded gemstone jewelry.  So what can you do to start incorporating these much wanted stones in your pieces?

 

1. You Work with Metals Mainly.  Great, stones look beautiful with metal work. Write now charm bracelets are hot with beaded gemstone charms. Try incorporating a few in your designs.

 

2. You Work with Glass Only. Gemstones once they are polished look a lot like glass as well. Try making a beaded glass necklace and have a gemstone dangling as the pendant.

 

3. You Already Work With Gemstones. Are there any gemstones you have not worked with? I would expand your collection of beads and see what you can come up with!

 

Just remember to have fun, and love the natural beauty of gemstones. They are in.

 

Love the piece above come see it in my shop Pink Pearl and Quartz Bracelet

Jewelry How-to 101: Finding the Perfect Name

Green Floral Lantern Earringsg

Green Floral Lantern Earrings

 

Finding the perfect name for your business seems simple, but for many jewelry artists they have vocalized on how hard it was for them to come up with that perfect name. You want to come up with a name that is catching, describes your business in a nutshell, and a name you can be happy with. It took me 6 months before I felt comfortable with the name NaturalAmberDesigns

 

So as a jewelry artist, what can you do to simplify the process of coming up with a business name you love? Four simple tips: Brainstorming, Research, Advice, and Final Brainstorming.

 

1. Get Out Your Pen and Paper and Brainstorm.  This is one of the best and easiest ways to start coming up with ideas. Remember those good times from school when they said draw a table, draw a diagram, and just start filling it in with ideas? Find words that you feel describe your business, what materials do you use, what kind of jewelry do you make? Take those words and a Thesaurus and start finding words that are the same as what you said that you like too. Abandon the brainstorming and come back to it in a few days.  What words really stick out to you? What words sound good combined? Come up with at least three names, I recommend five that you like.

 

2. Research The Names You like. At this point I would take those names you came up with and start looking to make sure they are not already taken. Look on government websites, look on state websites, look up trade names and licensed name, Google it. If it looks safe its a keeper, if its in use legally ditch it.

 

3. Get Advice From Family and Friends. Pitch the names you have remaining to your friends and family and get their input. Ask them questions like, “Which one is more appealing?”, “With this name do you have a guess on what I am selling?”, “Does the name fit the product?” “What names do you like?” Narrow down the list from there, take the new ideas they have given to you and research them as well.

 

4.  Picking Your Name, Final Brainstorming. Now you have been sitting on these names for more then a week, and chances are there is one you like more then the others. Why? Is it suitable for you, does it describe your business, is it a name that can stand the test of time or is it more of a fad? If you like it, keep it. At this time point I would get a domain name in your name, and if you really like ti start considering the steps of registering it legally so no one can come under you and steal it.

 

Remember picking out a name is suppose to be fun, and help you get noticed in the world. Go brand yourself!

 

Love my best selling earrings above? Come see the Floral Lantern Earrings.

Handmade Jewelry 101: Staying Motivated in the Struggling Economy

Green Fairy Necklace

Green Fairy Necklace

 

Handmade jewelry is one of the largest categories artists go into, but with the economy struggling, consumers afraid to let go of their dollars, how as a jewelry designer do you stay motivated?  Being new to the on-line scene I have days where I feel that it may not be my time to reach out beyond my local buyers, and then there are days, especially after receiving a sale that I know I am doing the next big and smart step in my handmade jewelry shop, NaturalAmber Designs. So how do I stay motivated? What do I do to make my shop stand out in this highly competitive market?

 

1. I add pieces to my shop daily. If I don’t add, I relist items in my ETSY shop and I have been building a Google Base as well. It’s especially important on ETSY to relist and renew at different times of the day since it is an international site. Listing late at night will reach to those customers across the seas.

 

2. Blog Daily. The more I blog, the more I stay motivated about what I love to do. I love making jewelry, I love sharing with other artists information that has helped me be successful, and it keeps me motivated and focused on my goals and why I love what I am doing.

 

3. Craft. Nothing can bring back the motivation like sitting down in front of your bead chest and bringing back the memories on why you started this adventure. I like sitting down and remembering the moment I told myself, I can make this bigger then a hobby.

 

4. Always Marketing Yourself and Your Goods. This step is crucial, and sometimes it may feel like you are doing this alot, but buyers can’t see your beautiful jewelry unless you show them it’s there. Experiment with AdWords from Google, Drop your blog link everywhere, build your own website. Building my website NaturalAmberDesigns has been very rewarding, and really makes me feel like I can do this. Don’t be afraid to pass out your business cards to someone new, or post them on a local grocery stores board.

 

Remember to stay focused on why you are doing this for yourself. It is hard to stay motivated during tough times, but things will bounce back. Just keep letting people know you are there. They will find you.

Like the piece above, come see the Fairy Necklace in my jewelry shop: Fairy Necklace

ETSY 101: Don’t Forget Customer Service During the Holidays

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

 

With the holidays just around the corner, buyers are getting ready to buy their gifts. As a seller you want to make sure that you leave a lasting impression, a positive one, on your consumers so you are remembered after the holidays.  So what can you do to make a memorable experience for your shoppers? Here are a few suggestions:

 

1. Offer gift wrap with your order. Often times people may not want the item wrapped, but would appreciate gift wrap being sent with the item, and the item put in a nice little box. I know if I was buying I would opt out of the free wrapping but would love to have some beautiful wrapping paper sent with the order!

 

2. Offer a discount card for the buyer and the receiver. Perhaps 10% of their next order.

 

3. Set their expectations. Let your customer know by quick conversations that their order will be shipping by a particular date, that way they are in the loop for the entire transaction. The holidays are hectic, so put some of those stresses to ease with a simple note to them.

 

4. Offer a small free gift. I have been adding free earrings with my recent purchases. Something small is always appreciated and they may be able to keep those for themself, or give them as a stocking stuffer for someone else.

 

5. Send a Thank You. Small gestures are sometimes the most special, even better send a Christmas card.

 

6. Send Your Orders Promptly. I ship the next business day, if the holidays are busy I may need to extend that one or two days, but I am hoping to keep it at one day. Customers love that instant feeling, and especially during the holidays when they are excited about their purchases.

 

Have fun, be courteous, and remeber that the holidays can be a stressful time for buyers. Ease their mind, and their concerns, and they will think of you later down the road when they are buying for themselves instead of a loved one.

 

Love the bracelet above? Please see it at http://naturalamber.etsy.com listing http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15602769

ETSY 101: Focusing on Value

Butterfly of Turquoise

Butterfly of Turquoise

 

Making the step to sell on ETSY is a huge one, I have been running shop now online on ETSY since July 2008, http://naturalamber.etsy.com, and it is a different experience then running your own jewelry party and craft show shop. I think it is important for artists crafting their own goods to expand to the online market but I want to stress the importance of making sure as an artist you don’t abandon your “Value over Price” mentality.  I think there are quite a few artists who move online, and especially to an art community can often get wrapped into the “retail pricing” and often Walmart Brand and cut prices within their stores to remain competitive. I know when I first started I quickly dropped my prices just because I felt so overwhelmed and intimidated by many other shops selling at lower price points. Then I stopped to think and after many long chats with other artists among the community threads did I come to the realization that you price your goods not only on what it cost you to make the item but also your perceived value of your work. I spend a lot of time, quality, and put alot of dedication into making beautiful pieces and by undercutting my prices I was undercutting their value as well. Becoming a full time jewelry artist (and one clothing and purse designer) is my dream and I now know that undercutting my work is a shortcut that will only lead to a dead end. I think often times we forget, and often times we long for someone to value our work and receive a sale online, that we get caught up in that mentality.  Some helpful reminders:

 

1. Don’t undercut your prices because your competition has. Take these times to think about whether or not you really need to drop them. Sometimes you may need to, but often times if you are happy with your price and it feels right then someone will come along and find that same value you do.

 

2. Try not to get wrapped too much into Promotions. I see alot of this on the community and I think to an extent it can be good. Have a sale once in awhile, just don’t cheapen you work on a continuing basis that people loose that value you strongly hold for your work.

 

3. Show the Value, and Explain the Value. Great Quality pictures, great descriptions are your time to show the buyer why your work is worth that amount. People want to see clear, crisp pictures! They want close-ups! They want to know what they are buying and why it is important.

 

Have fun, and don’t forget why you are crafting. I always have to tell myself crafting comes first, marketing later. When I get wrapped up in all the marketing I can forget what is really important, and that is my love and passion for beads and jewelry.

 

Love the earrings above? Please see them in my shop for more information about them:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15798862