Saturday, July 26, 2008

More interesting finds

Marketing is tough. Especially when you have a product that bunches of people are selling. I have found that selling in person is much easier than over the internet because the purchaser gets to pick up a necklace, a bracelet, or a pair of earrings, put it up to her face or arm and see whether the colors will work. She can both see and feel the quality of materials and worksmanship. Nothing on the net even comes close to that in order to make selling easier.

But I know enough from marketing, a subject I studied a little in college, being that I was pursuing a degree in accounting, that it takes exposure, lots of exposure. And on the web, the "lots" is expotentially larger.

So in pursuit of exposure, I joined Entrecard the other day. There's been buzz about Entrecard on various social networks to which I belong, but frankly it befuddled me. However, because of the searing Texas heat, I had a bit more time on my hands indoors so I finally investigated Entrecard and its concept and signed up. I was pleasantly surprised ... it can be fun. Exploring other peoples' blogs and seeing my blog views jump has been a thrill. Whether that will translate into sales still needs to be seen, but at least there's additional exposure. If you haven't checked into Entrecard, and you're a blogger, the widget is somewhere to your left ... look for the picture of whoever is advertising on my blog for the day with the black outlined yellow banner that has an E followed by the words "GET ONE." If you're on Entrecard, please drop your card. I do investigate the blogs that drop cards on mine.

Of course, this exposure is causing me to wish I have "moderation" of comments turned on! I need to see if I can adjust my settings on Blogger.

Speaking of exposure, our weekly Skwigglezine blogger to be featured is Michelle of Michabella Creations. Check out both her blog and her website! She does beautiful work. And yes, while the world may take the view that she's competition to me, I know that there's room in any discerning woman's accessory wardrobe for more that ONE jewelry designer just as she buys various labels of clothing, shoes and handbags. Frankly, I'm proud of my association with other talented jewelry designers.

Picture for the day ... earrings! These lovelies are available here in my Etsy shop. They are only $12 and they are made from 14k gold-fill and genuine Swarovski (watermelon color ... not the official color name, but the one I know how to spell and they are the color of watermelons!). I haven't readjusted the price to take into the consideration the large increase of gold prices that has occurred since I bought the 14k gold-filled materials I used to make them! Back then, gold was selling around $750 an ounce. It's now around $930. My dollar isn't buying as much gold-fill chain as it did last year!

I've stumbled upon another interesting social/business site that I just signed up for today ... it's called Zenzuu and it's still in beta testing. But google it, check it out, and if you want to sign up, click here. It claims to kick back advertising revenue to it's members (80%) rather than pocket it all like other popular social networks. Sponsoring other members earns more for you ... yup, social networking gone MLM. It costs $0 to sign up, all commissions paid will come out of advertising revenue. I'm not sure of the exact business model ... it is a multi-level marketing entity, but hopefully I'll either figure it out or it's posted somewhere on their site.

Multi-level marketing often leaves a bad taste in people's mouth when they hear or say the phrase, so there's a more PC version: network marketing. Either way you say it, it is what it is, and it's not a bad thing. It's NOT a pryamid scheme because in MLMs there's a product or service being exchanged. Pyramids are entirely cash transfers with nothing to take out of them, and they are illegal just about everywhere. But the MLM business model is legitimate and is one of those things that you'll get out of it what you put into it. Nothing is free, nothing is gained by sitting on one's rear end. I liked Zenzuu's message in its terms that you'll have to actually do some work if you want to see results.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Well, hello Dolly!

It fascinates me that the unseasonable clouding, and the humidity that comes along with it, over my little ole spot of Texas is brought to us by what remains of a hurricane many hundreds of miles away! I even got rained yesterday when going into my local grocery store. I came out after the rain stopped into a literal sauna. The temps were in the high 90's yesterday and all the rain did was create a huge bubble of water vapor ... so much that I found it hard to breathe when heading back to my car. Now I think I know what asthmatics are feeling when their air passages close up.

Ron Jackson, Channel Fox4 news weather meteorologist is on right now telling us to expect temps as high as 100F today. Woo hoo!

In keeping with the "rule" that blogs with pictures are appreciated more than text-only blogs, here's a detail photo from my Malachite Splendor necklace, still available at my Etsy shop. This piece gets a lot of attention, both on-line and at my local shows, but I still haven't found the one woman to whom this piece belongs!

I'm still enthralled with making chainmaille pieces and there will be a number of new items coming out for fall. I hope copper and brass are still the "hot" metals of fashion because I personally like the look they add to jewelry pieces. Even if they're not hot for fall, I'll still use them because they should be timeless! In our toughening economy, these "less precious" metals are more appealing than ever. I think they offer a rugged look to elegance ... hopefully that's not too oxymoronic!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday! I'm looking forward to the hubby's bar-b-qued ribs that will be cooked over at Son #1's house. Playtime with the grandbabies!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Do you know the three types of jewelry!

Do you know what class this piece falls into? It's made of sterling silver, rhodonite and hematine (man-made version of hematite).

First of all, there is fine jewelry. Traditionally made from gold at puirty levels of at least 14k, often 18k or the solid gold 24k. Also platinum and sometimes titanium are used if a silver color is desired. I suggest you avoid white gold ... the silver color wears away over time and the piece needs to be redipped.

Fine jewelry also uses the precious gemstones, the crystal clear, non-occluded stones that are expertly cut to catch and refract light in a blazing display. Quality diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, topaz ... these are the glittering rocks that makes our hearts thump a little harder.

Fine jewelry usually costs in the $1,000s and $10,000s and will last many lifetimes. They are generally designed to stand the test of time, being fashionable in any season at any time in any era.

Then there's costume jewelry. Costume jewelry is made from base metal, generally nickel and alloys such as pewter and brass (these days without lead). The baubles are made from glass, paste, acryllic and plastics of all sorts.

Costume jewelry came to its own during the Depression Era, being designed and marked with a seal of approval by none other than the Grande Dame of fashion, Coco Chanel. While glass and paste of been used for centuries to make copies of precious pieces so the royals and the rich could wear their ornaments daily without concern of loss, Ms. Chanel catapulted the costume pieces into the forefront of fashion and made them entirely acceptable to wear with flair. Costume pieces are trendy ... they go with the fashions of the day. Which means they are outdated within a year. But that's OK, they usually cost well under $100 and eventually if they are cared for, they'll make a comeback. If they haven't fallen apart, that is!

Finally, there's bridge jewelry; so named because that is exactly what it is ... the "bridge" between fine and costume. Bridge jewelry is traditionally made with all the materials we label "semi-precious" such as sterling silver, 14k gold-fill, gemstones with occlusions (imperfections), quality glass, ceramic and crystals.

Bridge jewelry is designed to follow the trends, but has a tendency to keep its fashionability over several seasons, especially since it is made from better material than costume. With proper care, your bridge pieces should last you a lifetime, even though they are not classed as heirloom in quality. Prices run a wide range from the $10s to the $100s depending on material and workmanship.

Most of my pieces generally fall on the bridge. But I have to admit, with the economy headed in the direction its going, I've recently purchased components that will put some pieces square into the costume category, but what the hey ... we still want to look gorgeous no matter what the dollar is doing! Besides, if the price of crude keeps rising, plastic is going to become very precious.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Always Spring

I found these lovely pearls at one of my local wholesale bead stores. There were only four strands remaining so I snapped them up. They are an exquiste color of yellow ... reminds me of our spring daffodils that brighten our Texas lawnscapes for an all-too-brief spring season. These pearls work surprisingly well with the oxidized sterling silver chain and the Bali-style extenders and S-clasp (not shown). This lovely piece is available at my Etsy shop here.

Being that we are in the dogged-days of summer --- our temperatures have been peaking at around 102F --- it's nice to remember more comfortable seasons. I should be working on the fall and winter line in order to be ready, but it's just too difficult to study the color palette and heavy fabric textures when the sun is blistering in its blaze.

I'm about to have a house full of kids ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Close-up of slider I used for the newer necklace I listed in my Etsy Shop last week. The chain was crafted from nickel jump rings in a double spiral weave. Ideally, this is a choker, but at the moment it's about 21 inches long. It can be easily altered to any length desired.

Chokers are my favorite pieces to design. They are ancient ... a beauty made of gold and lapis lazuli was excavated in the archaeological site of the ancient city of Ur dated between 2500-2400 BCE and can be seen at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This pretty slider has been in my stash for years. I found it in a small shop in Laramie, WY while vacationing a number of years ago. My son attended a technial school there to learn all about the ins and outs of the huge engines that power diesel trucks which carry just about anything and everything we purchase each and every day.

I could use another trip to Wyoming! It's blazing hot in Texas. Blistering hot. Some cool mountain evening air would be most welcomed. However, these dogged days are good for my business. Staying in to create and photo and list is a good way to beat the heat!