Wednesday, September 26, 2012

HandmadeArtists Blog Ring
Featured Artist
The diversity of artisans who are jewelers is so incredible!  This week, I had the pleasure of exploring TheAlchemistsVessel, a shop featuring the work of a delightful lady named Alix. Alix works in different metals and with semi-precious stones. She incorporates some amazing and intriguing charms into her lovely chainmaille and micro-maille.  Maillers work with rings which are joined together to create wonderful and intricate pieces.  Take a look...

Pearl Maiden Faire Micro Maille Flower Earrings

Shining Armor Silver Plate Chainmaille Necklace

12 Hour Blues Chainmaille Watch

All of the items above are 'clickable' so that you can see additional views and perhaps treat yourself to one of Alix's beautiful works.  You will have a wonderful time visiting TheAlchemistsVessel

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Your Package Should Say “I Care

sold sign

The thrill of receiving that email which reads, “You made a sale!” is almost indescribable.  And then there’s the rush to get the package in the mail.  But it’s the little things that turn a one time buyer into a repeat customer.

Everyone can run to a big box store and pick up something similar to your item that was perhaps made overseas, wrapped in plastic and placed on big box store shelves.  But your handmade item is different, right?  The buyer’s first impression of your item needs to drive that message home…. “not mass-produced,” and more importantly, “I care.”

packageSo what does your packaging look like?  How much thought goes into it?  Let’s start with what arrives in the mail.

Your package arrives in the mail, and for the sake of this article, let’s say that is was handled carefully by the shipping service.  What does the customer see?  A nice clean box or envelope with a neatly written or typed label or a reused container with something scrawled on the outside?  Your name should be prominently displayed on the package.  This will excite your customer (“Oh boy – my purchase is here!”)  But think about this,,,  how many people saw that package during the shipping process?  A couple?  Ten?  Hundreds?  Don’t miss this advertising opportunity!

Pretty packaging from the talented Danni of Oh, Hello Friend
CAUTION!!  Don’t tape that package closed to the point that you need a full surgical team to get into it!

Once the box or envelope is opened, what does the buyer see?  A loose item or something more?  When wrapping your item, you could use an organza bag, tissue paper or the Sunday comics.  Whatever it is doesn’t really matter as long as it adds to the ambiance of the item. It should add that “I care” element to the buyer’s experience.  Think of what the mass-merchandisers would do, and then do just the opposite!

Be sure to include a thank you note.  Again, you want to be different than a big box store.  And certainly, take care of business – your business card needs to be included.  There’s nothing wrong with including a small gift or a gift certificate or a discount code good on a future purchase as well.

Your item needs to be safe in transit and recycling/reusing packing materials like bubble wrap and Styrofoam peanuts is a good thing.  But don’t use it if it’s soiled, loaded with old tape or writing.

From start to finish, your item and the way it’s packaged and shipped needs to exude, “I care.”


Monday, September 17, 2012

HandmadeArtists Blog Ring Featured Artist of the Week:

I'm not a major consumer of jewelry - my wedding rings are it on most days.  But that doesn't mean that I don't admire and appreciate skill, ingenuity and patience.  Pam of A Bead Thing possesses all of these qualities and more!

Pam deals in beads.  This alone makes me shake my head.  But the fact that Pam works in beads of all sizes - from large cabochons to seed beads - has me completely "wowed."  Take a look at the variety this talented artist has in stock in her shop.
Teal Seed Beads woven with brass wire necklace
Wire wrapped Jasper pendant

Emerald Swarovski Crystals & seed bead bracelet

Swarovski Crystal Earrings that look like flip flops!

Tell me you aren't impressed!  All of the items above can be seen in more detail by clicking the captions.  Each and every one of Pam's creations are original designs and one of a kind.  Many are made to order!

Visit A Bead Thing to see more of these wonderful creations!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't you love it when someone takes the time to send you a picture of themselves using something you made?

I filled a custom order for Cowboy booties in bright yellow and black.  Looks to me like this order was for Steelers booties, not Cowboys!  LOL!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

HandmadeArtists Blog Ring
John and Debora Rasmussen

If you like jewelry, this is a fabulous shop to visit.  First of all, it is fully stocked with 441 items for your browsing enjoyment.  And the price range in this shop reflects the tremendous inventory, ranging from $4.85 - $1,000!  Debora designs all the beaded and craft items; John is a gemologist and artisan jeweler and metalsmith.  So what can you find in this too-drool-over shop?  Let's start at the low end and work our way up!

Here's a hand-beaded key chain.  Who says the attachment on your keys has to be boring?  This delightful little piece sells for just $5.
These baroque pearl earrings are so interesting because of the random shapes of the stones.  They can be yours for just $15!

Perhaps you're looking for a stone you can have set.  John will be happy to do that for you, or ship you the stone so you can do it yourself or have it done locally.  This lovely 9.2 carat lemon quartz is priced at $46.

This ring is truly a stunner.  With the trend toward non-diamond engagement jewelry, wouldn't this be wonderful!  The center stone is a peridot, surrounded by topaz.  Priced at $74.98, it's affordable as well!

This pendant features a beautifully clear quartz cabochon set in silver.  Accenting the focal stone is a round brilliant faceted citrine gem which is prong set.  This striking pendant sells for $100.

I noticed in exploring this shop that many of the stones are mined by this creative couple.  So not only are you getting a handmade piece, but a piece that was created literally from the ground up!

John is an active member of the handmade community, and has written several posts, the most recent being on photography, for the HandmadeArtists Blog.

Whether you're looking for a trinket, a loose cabochon, or a beautifully set piece of fine jewelry, you will be happy that you visited RassmussenGems! And the $1,000 piece?  You'll have to visit and see it for yourself!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Word or Two (Hundred) About HandmadeArtists

I've joined the Blog Ring on HandmadeArtists, and the feature for the first week is the site itself. I've posted about HandmadeArtists before, and I'm delighted to do it again!
This is such a wonderful, diverse and multi-faceted site!  There's a shop, a forum and a blog.  The HandmadeArtists shop is limited to only artists - there are no resellers, no supplies (unless the supplies are handmade) and no vintage.  The eclectic group of artists who call the shop home are simply wonderful.  Currently, there are just under 500 artists' shops located there, and you could easily spend a day or two just browsing their delightful creations.  From a shopper's point of view, it's clean, crisp and easy to navigate.  From the artist's point of view, it's simple to load items, easy to customize with sections, and it's not expensive to use.  For a flat $5 per month, you get your own shop site and a boatload of promotion from the owners, Andrew and Kimberly.

If you don't need a shop or aren't a shopper right now, the HandmadeArtists Blog is a great read.  Articles are contributed by members on virtually any topic; there are great tutorials, wonderful food for thought, selling and photo tips, and artist spotlights and features.  This is another site where you could easily spend a day!
Not a blog reader?  Maybe you're into interactive discussion!  The HandmadeArtists Forum is a place to ask a question, express an opinion or simply find out what everyone else is up to.  Artists and art enthusiasts from all over the planet congregate on the HandmadeArtists Forum. There are sections for virtually any topic you can think of, and trust me, if you post something, you will get topical and valuable responses.  The forum is a very positive place to hang out!

If you haven't visited HandmadeArtists yet, you are truly missing out on some wonderful things, no matter what your tastes or needs are!  Drop by today and see what I mean for yourself!!!