Friday, October 3, 2008

Wood and Bone Natural Look

Being African American I love the natural look of the wood, bone and horn combinations. I find there is so much you can do with them whether you use leather, or string the beads on wire. I found it is also a great way to branch out into men's jewelry too.

This piece here is one that I like to knock around with. It was real simple to make. I used 4mm leather and tied a slip knot to secure the groups of beads in place. I made it adjustable so that the necklace length can be long or short depending on my mood.

This next piece was my first piece for men, I actually made for my dad. It's groups of wooden beads separated by single carved bone tubes. The focal point is a carved bone arrow head with curved golden horn tubes on either side. This was strung on beading wire.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Jewelry Home Shows

One of the things that I have found to be very profitable, especially around the holidays, is having jewelry home shows. If you do it well you can usually increase your year round client base. The following is based on my experiences doing home parties.

First of all decide when and where it will be and what the host incentive will be. It's always good business, I believe, to give the host something whether it be a piece of jewelry or part of your profit. For my upcoming home parties the hosts receive 10% of what I profit at the party. Don't forget to send out invitations or fliers. It's also a good idea to have some refreshments, usually the host will do that.

Next BE PREPARED. Make sure you have plenty of finished pieces to sell. You will probably not be able to display all of them at once so just keep putting up new ones as you sell. Don't just throw your pieces on a table but set up your display. Have a nice cloth and set things up to highlight different pieces. There are lots of different ways to make inexpensive displays. Also don't forget packaging. You can use the little plastic bags to put individual pieces in but you also need a larger bag to put total purchases in. Don't forget around the holidays people like to be able to get boxes, etc with their purchases. You can get creative with these too. As far as preparation goes the last thing to remember is to have plenty of change. Sales can be lost just by the mere fact that you don't have the right amount of change yet.

Finally, Marketing tips. Business cards and mailing list are a must for home shows. Business cards are easy to do with a computer and business cards from an office supply store, you can either get ones with designs already or put your own on a blank one. Include your contact information and your website if you have one. Let people know you are willing to do more home shows. If possible have a catalog of your pieces that people can take with them, make sure you mark clearly though which ones are "one of a kind pieces".

Well, that's just what I have learned from doing home shows, I welcome other people to share their experiences.

Multi strand look

I had several people asking for some multi strand pieces so I thought I would experiment and see how I liked it. When I first thought about it the first thing that came to mind was "uugh", I didn't think I would like it, but as I got started I actually enjoyed making them. The best thing I like about multi strand pieces is the diversity you get in just one piece. You can leave the strands hanging loose, twist them, or twist them more and you get totally different looks. If you haven't tried making one yet it's definitely something to think about. This green and black one is one of my first pieces.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Where I go for beads...

Right now since I'm still in the mostly pleasure stage as opposed to the business pleasure stage there are only a few places that I get my beads from. I think its important to really check on prices and shop wisely when you branch out into the business end of it so you will usually end up buying in bulk.

  • If I'm not getting ready for a show and I want to do a "one of a kind" piece, I may go to Beadworks on Thayer Street. They have some pretty unique stuff. The advantage is that I can get it NOW when I'm in a rush. The disadvantage is their prices.

  • Another "walk in" place I discovered about 2 years ago was Michael's Craft Store. The one in RI has a Bead Gallery section where they sell strands of beads at a somewhat decent price. I get picky about what kind of glass beads I will use and they had some nice ones. They also had some nice shell beads.

  • I mainly like to work with semi precious, wood, bone and horn all of these plus my findings I usually get from several places on line. They are eebeads , Shipwreck Beads and Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
This set was made using beads from eebeads and Shipwreckbeads:
From Sets

Business, Pleasure or Both

Over the years I've enjoyed relaxing by creating with beads. I get a picture in my head of what I would like to see, then just do it. In the beginning it was solely as a hobby, but then people started asking me to make them something and it brought in some extra cash. I had so many requests for jewelry that I decided to start a business, however I did no research or planning beforehand. BIG mistake. Never, never, never start your own business without researching and planning first. All you end up with is a lot of stress, frustrations, disappointment and bills. Nowadays there is plenty of information, tips etc on how to turn a hobby into a business. If that is what you are interested in doing then I encourage you to do some research before you take that first step. As for me, right now I don't want to lose the fun of beading while I plan so I am taking my time and still doing some research before I branch out again.