Saturday, August 25, 2012

BSBP Reveal Day

I am so excited to be participating in my first Bead Soup Blog Party and before I go any further, I want to say a big THANK YOU to Lori Anderson for making this happen.  This year is the biggest BSBP yet with 400 participants from around the world.

When I received my beads from my partner, Dawn Pierro, I knew I had a challenge on my hands.  She sent small metal and gemstone beads, several short lengths of chain, fresh water pearls, and a lovely copper focal and clasp.  I've never really worked with such small beads; it took a couple of weeks but the design started coming together.  A multi-strand necklace is what I had in mind. 

BSBP Reveal

I laid out the beads and the longest piece of chain and I loved the look but didn't have enough beads to complete the necklace.  It was either back to the drawing board or figure out how to make this work.  I happened to have some dark olive silk ribbon that I braided for the back of the necklace, and I made a couple of copper connectors to tie it all together. 

BSBP Reveal 2

I'm thrilled with how the piece turned out.  It was definitely a challenge that took me out of my comfort zone but that's what this is all about. 

Thanks so much to Dawn for the lovely bead soup and for getting me out of the box and trying something new. 

I'm already looking forward to the next BSBP!

Please take a moment to visit the web sites of the other amazing designers (links below) and see what they did with their bead soups.

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Agi Kiss, Moonsafari Beads 
Alice Peterson, Alice Dreaming
Alison Sachs, Beads by Earthtones
Amanda Dittloff, Passion Smashin'
Andra Marasteanu, Bijoux de Monanage
Angie Szlovak, SweetBeads
Anitra Gordy, Leelu Creations
Ann Sherwood, Ann's Blog
Arlene Dean, A Glass Bash
Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution
Barb Solem, Vivi Magoo Presents
Barbara Blaszczyk, laboratorim Flory
Bianca Odenthal, Zydies Glasperlen
Birgit Klughardt, GitesBeads
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
Bonnie Coursolle,  Jasper Gems
Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
Charlene Jacka, Clay Space
Cherrie Fick, En La Lumie're
Cheryl Foiles, Get Your Bead On
Christie Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry

Christina Miles, Wings n Scales
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Cindy Cima Edwards, Live to Design
CJ Bauschka, 4 His Glory Creations
Claire Smith, Embergrass Jewelry
Cynthia Riggs, Cynth's Blog
Dana Fowler, Trunk Full of Treasure
Dawn Pierro, Turtle Moon Designs
Dee Elgie, Cherry Obsidia
Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous

Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Eileen Snyder, Dorset Hill Beads
Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
Eva Kovacs, Ewa gyongyos vilaga!
Evelyn Duberry, Sheba Makeda
Fay Wolfenden, Torch Fairy
Fen Li, Bead Flora Jewels
Gail Zwang, Angel Moose Enterprises
Geneva Collins, Torque Story
Grace Dorsey, Fan of the Flame
Gretchen Nation,  Art Food Lodging

Hannah Annear, Squintessential
Hajer Waheed, My Beaded World
Heather Goldsmith, As I Bead It
Heather Otto, The Craft Hopper
Heidi Kingman, My Bead Therapy
Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
Isolina Perez, Isolina Perez
Jacqueline Keller, CreARTelier
Jane Haag, Did You Make Something Today?
Janeen Sorensen, Wild Vanilla Designs
Jean Peter, Jean P. Designs

Jennifer Judd, Jen Judd Rocks
Jennifer L Justman, Soul's Fire Designs
Joanna Matuszczyk, Bizuteria z filcu
Joanne Brown, Jo's Jewels
Joanne Lockwood, Jo Bunkum
Joyce Becker, Joyce's Joyful Gems
Judy Riley, Three Red Beads
Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
Karen Williams, Baublicious
Karin von Hoeren, Creative Ideen

Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Kashmira Patel, Sadafule .. always in bloom!
Kate Richbourg, We Can Make That at Home

Katrin Lembke, AllesPerle
Kathy Combs, Torched in Texas
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Kelley Fogle, My Life, One Bead at at Time
Kelly Hosford Patterson, Traveling Side Show

Klaudette Koon, Only Road
Lara Lutrick, Lampwork Beads by Lara
Laura Guenther, Blue Antiquities

Laurie Lalonde, Simply Mod Jewelry
Lilik Kristiani, Soul of My Embodiment
Linda Younkman, Lindy's Designs
Lisa Chapman, Beach Cat Beads
Lisa Lodge, Pine Ridge Treasures
Loretta Carstensen, Designs by Loretta
Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
Lori Dorrington, Lori's Adventures in Etsy Land
Lupe Meter, Gem's PC Corner
Lynn Davis, LLYYNN

Malin de Koning, Beading by Malin
Mandi Effron, Craft-o-licious
Mandy Williamson, Mimi's Beading
Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter
Maria Rosa Sharrow, Willow Street Shops
Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry
Marina Dobrynina, Savon Feutre
Marjolein Trewavas, Room for Change
Marelene Cupo, Amazing Designs
Marsha Neal, Marsha Neal Studio

Marta Kaczerowska, uhuhu
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Menka Gupta, Menka's Jewelry Blog
Michelle Burnett, Reverie and Revival
Michelle Escano-Caballero, The Cabby Crafter
Miko Wiropati, Uniquely Yunikua
Milla Hope,  LB Creative Arts and Crafts
Mimi Gardner, Other Curiosities
Miranda Ackerley, MirandackArts
Natalie McKenna, grubbi

Noemi Baena, fuego, metal, y color
Pam Ferrari, Ferrari Originals
Pam Sears, Crazy Creative Corner
Penny Neville, Copper Penny
Rachel Baron, R. Baron Designs
Rachel Myers, Rockabead Jewelry
Rana Wilson, Definitive Designs by R. Wilson
Rebecca Anderson, Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
Riki Schumacher, Riki Jewelry

Rose Binoya, Ahtee's Blog
Rossana De Gaspari, Rdegas Blog

Sandi James, Do Be Do Bead Do
Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
Sandra Wollberg, City of Brass Stories
Sarah Goode, Pookledo

Sarah Small, blog by salla
Shai Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Shawn Mills, Shawn Marie Designs with Bent Wire
Sheila Davis, Stone Designs by Sheila

Sheryl Stephens, Babble Bead
Shiraz Biggie, Secret Song Designs

Solange Collin,  Ahowin Handcrafted Jewelry
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads
Stephanie Dixon, The Dixon Chick
Susan Kennedy, Sue Beads
Susan Sheehan, Strands of Thought
Suzann Sladcik Wilson, Beadphoria
Sweet Freedom, Sweet Freedom Designs
Tabatha Dinger, Modernly Created
Tania Hagen, Pelima Jewellery Design

Tanya Boden, Fusion Muse
Terri Gauthier, Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter, Tapping Flamingo
Tracy Stillman, Tracy Stillman Designs

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Customers and Brand

When I opened my jewelry business in July of 2011, I never imagined how much work it would be to build a customer base.  I figured that all my friends would come to me when they needed a gift or something for a special occasion.  And of course my family would buy my stuff and promote it to their friends.  And then there are the people at work.  Once they saw my beautiful baubles, they would become lifelong customers.  And then there’s Etsy – surely people would flock to my store.
The reality is that it doesn’t work that way.  Sure, I get sales from friends and co-workers (and I appreciate every one of them) but not enough to sustain a business.   As for family – they love my stuff but most of what they have of my jewelry is by way of gifts from me.  And Etsy?  I’m just another small fish in a very large pond.
What I’m finding is that it takes a lot of work to build a base and stay relevant to my customers.  I’ve also learned along the way that I can’t be all things to all people.  I have my style and I need to stick to that.  There have been countless suggestions from people – “you should make this” or “I’ll bet people would buy if you only made that.”   I’ve decided to focus on what I do best and get really good at that.  For those who are looking for something else, there are a lot of talented designers who would appreciate the business.
Ceramic Hand Necklace
It has taken me almost two years, but I think I’ve finally discovered my niche and what I want my brand to stand for.  I’m working with a graphic designer to create a logo and in the process came up with some bullet points on how I want my customers to view my work and my business:
·         High quality (this above all else)
·         Organic (but not sloppy)
·         Unique
·         Memorable
·         Outside the box
I’ve still got a long way to go before I have a strong customer base and a recognizable brand but I’m on my way and learning something new every day.  How about you?  Do you have any tips to share on building a brand and a customer base?