Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wonderfully creepy

Sometimes I come across sellers on etsy that just blow my mind.

I don't know that the intentions of these pieces are macabre...but when you're cutting up pieces of barbie and putting them on display you have to admit it's a little creepy, right? It's slightly Norman Bates. A bit Silence of the Lambs. But at the same time it's colorful and it's...Barbie. (My critiquing talents have been dormant for a very long time, excuse my lack of eloquence).

This, of course, is not meant in a negative fashion at all. I'm just blown away. And creeped out. And I like it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

o o o o

I know, I promised new listings on etsy...over the weekend. And they aren't there.

I've been BUSY. Unfortunately, polishing didn't happen until Saturday evening and it was all a downward spiral from there. HOWEVER! I have since finished a few pieces and they will be posted very, very soon. As in hopefully tonight.

We'll see how my attempts at making more affordable jewelry go. I've entered the world of stacking rings (yum), and my pendants are finally making their debut.

Keep an eye out for tiny rings, thin beachy cuffs, jaded pendants and more!

Also, I do have to say I am quite grateful to my family for being my first customers. I've sold a total of 3 rings & a pair of earrings. My boyfriend's mom bought a bracelet and has requested a ring. I'm also being commissioned for another cast ring and a bracelet. Pretty good deal! It's been a great way to start out my first month...hopefully February will bring outside sales!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

shiny things!

I had grand plans last night.

I was going to ride my mare for the first time in 2 weeks (put off due to have a tooth ripped out of my mouth). I was going to get on the treadmill for the first time in you don't even want to know how long to kick-start my new exercise routine.

Everything was carefully laid out. I would arrive home around 5:45 from work, have a bit of a snack, and be to the barn not long after 6. My ride wouldn't be too hard and I'd be on my way out of the barn by 7. 7:15-7:45 was reserved for my walk/jog/run/whatever me and my lungs can manage at this point. 8-10 was jewelry. See? I even schedule it like a job!

Unfortunately there's this saying about even the best laid plans...

I saw a box on the porch. And even though it was solid cardboard I knew that inside was full of shiny, lovely things. Pointy, heat resistant tools. Awful smelling yelllow stuff full of oxidizing goodness. And then even more shiny. In getting the box inside and opening it I couldn't even remember what a treadmill was.

And thus started 4 hours of jewelry instead of just 2. The results? Finishing a bunch of stuff, making a bunch of new stuff, playing with copper (which is just the most delicious color. Even though it turns your skin green and it's not as precious as silver I want to use it in everything), using my brand new solder pick and whispering sweet nothings to my drill bits that let me put holes in was wonderful.

All in all I now have 12 new pieces that are ready to go in the polisher and have stones set and pictures taken. The listing in etsy will begin over the weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2009

On Pricing

Now, I am clearly not an expert on this matter. Considering the 3 sales I've made thus far are to family and my boyfriend's mother (these are still much appreciated and very exciting, but I still feel like I have to prove myself to the outside world), perhaps I'm completely off on my pricing.

Anyway, a recent thread on the etsy forums got me thinking. Someone asked how everyone else priced. For those that have a concrete formula, good for you! There is so much to take into account that I can't seem to follow any one. There is a whole SERIES of articles on etsy titled "The Art of Pricing," all of which seem to tell me something slightly different. Or, rather, they build on each other to create a complex equation for your business. You start with wage + cost of materials, then add in competitive pricing, but don't forget to price the item for what it's worth (don't lowball yourself!), discounts and bundling and tiered pricing oh my! I admit I haven't read all of these. I start to panic a little bit only a few sentences in because it's all too much for my brain to comprehend at the moment.

Instead of me badly summarizing this, I will share the link with you.
The series is here: and I encourage reading it to any interested in pricing. And to any that are brave enough.

When setting all of this up, I agonized over pricing my pieces. I didn't want to price them too high, but not too low either, but I still felt the time and effort being put in was worth a lot, and I do have to make a certain amount of money if I want to continue this instead of finding a 4th job to juggle, and it went on.

So, I decided to round. I hate numbers. I hate the business of accounting and such. There is no way in hell you could convince me that I should spend hours of my time figuring out the exact direct and indirect costs, the exact wage I need (want? I will think about need when this is actually pulling in the money of a part-time job), and then factor in what I should actually charge in order to stay competitive, etc.

Once upon a time a local successful jeweler told me to charge materials + an hourly wage I thought my time was worth. While I think my time is worth much more than Walmart would, had I used this equation I'd never have a sale in my life because the prices would be so over the top. There are a LOT of hours put into many of these pieces. At $15/hour some of my chains would be starting at $180...before cost of materials. As cool as I think they are, I'm not so sure others would agree.

So, I use a little bit of this and a little bit of that seems to work for me. Cost of materials + time spent/difficulty of piece + considering prices of similar pieces in etsyland + comparing it to other pieces in my shop + is it OOAK? = my equation. Roughly. Because then I have to think about taxes/etsy/paypal fees/and most recently paid advertising. I haven't really factored those things in yet, I mostly just take them out. Packaging is figured into shipping prices. And that's how I've done it so far. I really do try to price accordingly with every piece. The higher priced pieces? Took me hours of finishing. The lower priced? A fraction of that time from start to finish.

When I sell a piece, it gets to be even more fun. Then I have Price of sale - paypal fees - etsy fees - cost of materials = Price B. I take Price B and go from there...50% to income, 20% to savings, 10% to my investor (aka dad) to pay him back for materials, 10% more to go towards buying tools and silver and such. Depending on what my exact needs are this 10% may be more of a saving for a big item in the future.

And that's my novel on pricing and my business plan that may or may not work out in the long run. It kind of reminds me when you're a kid and you like to play teacher when you don't know what you're doing. Or you are pretending to run a store. That's kind of what I'm doing...pretending to run a store. It's like playtime...I get to make stuff that I love making. And then as an added bonus, people give me money for it!

Monday, January 5, 2009

I need a new torch.

I knew this was going to happen.
As I have been working away on my pieces I've come to realize a few things. Ok, several things. Things like torches, stone setting tools, wire, solder, and liver of sulfur. You know, the things that make the jewelry world go 'round.
I DO have a basic setup right now, clearly. However, I am very, very limited in what I can fabricate. Actually I'm limited in casting to an extent as well...if I want to add stones the piece has to be small/thin enough when I get it back in silver form. My little torch just doesn't create enough heat for larger pieces. I made a pendant over the weekend that just.barely.soldered. And really, it's not that big.

I have a piece of silver that wants to be a cuff bracelet, but there's no way I could ever heat it enough.

There is this list that's growing larger every day, things I thought I could live without (for now) but it turns out I can't. Things that I'm quickly running out of because I assumed I had more supplies left over. So far, we have: leather mallet, solder pick (HOW am I surviving without this?!), liver of sulfur, bunches of pliers (round and flat and reverse and...), wire wire wire - both square AND round, copper, bezel wire, earring thing (this is a new find), stone setting tools (pushers and whatnot...the burnisher is not cutting it, unfortunately), more silver sheet, dremel bits for drilling...oi.
Until I buy some of this stuff, I'm sort of stuck. Like no more earrings at this point as I'm out of wire and ear wires. I'm willing to work smaller until I can save up for a big torch, however I'm not willing to stop making earrings and some other simple pieces that are more affordable. I've barely sold 2 pieces and I'm already spending the "materials" money from them. Oops?

Friday, January 2, 2009

It's just the little things...

Today on etsy I discovered hearting.

Ok, I actually knew about this before. If you heart something you like something, for those of you new to this. I can heart items AND whole shops which is quite convenient because it beats trying to write down every shop I like and keep track of where I wrote it. It's then stored for me and anyone else on etsy can see who hearts certain shops and pieces.

What I did discover today is that there are TWO WHOLE PEOPLE that I don't know who HEART MY SHOP! And one person that I do know!

And there are other people who heart specific items!

It's such a small thing but...exciting! I may need some help coming back to the real world when I actually sell a piece.

Oh, and by the way, items are listed on my etsy if you missed that part :)

Spread the word!