Monday, July 27, 2009
If i don't hear back from the second winner, I will choose another one tomorrow morning.
So, there is a BIG chance you can still win, since 2 people will be eliminated from the drawing!
Good luck and I will make a more formal announcement on Friday!
Thanks for your patience!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I've just come back from a nice 3 week hiatus, and Urban Bead is back in full-swing!
This morning I listed the first set of my summer-time necklaces and would like to get some feedback from you. The best way is to have a give-away!!
The winners (2) will select any two of the four items that are pictured above ($30 value)!
To Enter the Contest all you need to do is 2 things:
1. Follow my blog and post a comment here about your five items from Urban Bead
2. Subscribe to The Tattler – the new Urban Bead newsletter which is e-published once a month and includes sneak previews of new designs, SUPER-secret sales and coupons! Subscribe here.
This contest will be open until 11:59 pm (PST) Sunday, July 19th. Contest is open WORLDWIDE!!!
The two (2) winners will be randomly selected (from random.org) and announced on my blog, in my Etsy shop and inside The Tattler on Monday, July 20th.
Please check back to see if you won, or leave your email address with comment. The winner will need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to provide name and shipping address.
Check back to find out who won the giveaway - it might be you!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Prepare this at least 4 hours ahead so the Sangria has several hours to develop its fruity flavor. Make it in the early morning and it will be perfect by evening…
4 tablespoons Sugar
10 oz. Brandy or Peach Schnapps
1 lime, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 apples, cubed
3 ripe peaches or nectarines, cubed
1 bottle Dry Red Wine (750 ml)
2 cups good quality orange juice or passion fruit juice
Sparkling Soda Water, for topping off glasses of Sangria at table (completely optional)
Combine all ingredients except soda water in a large pitcher. Chill Sangria several hours. To serve, spoon fruits from pitcher into glasses or goblets, adding a few fresh berries in each glass, pour Sangria over top of the fruit.
Top glasses off with a splash of soda water and ENJOY!
"Success begins with doing the tasks you don't want to do."
For many people, marketing is such a hassle! It can be the most time-consuming part of their business. As many successful business owners know, the dreaded task of marketing is never done. Marketing campaigns may come and go but in order to keep your customers coming back, you need to have advertisements, coupons, giveaways, promotions, etc. Internet shoppers need interaction, they need the ad literally in their face.
These days it seems that you have to give away more and more free stuff just to get people's attention and interest. Here are just a few ideas that may increase traffic to your online shop.
Work on your image
Create an Image for your business that matches your customers needs. Make sure it is an image that you feel comfortable with and that separates you from your competitors.
Know your customer
It is important to know who your customer is! You should be able to almost have a Polaroid picture of them in your mind. Age, income, race, lifestyle, educational background, etc are all very important pieces of information that will help you gain more customers and sell more products to existing customers.
Focus advertising on current and potential customers. Where do your customers come from? How do they end up clicking on your shop? Tons of information can be derived from asking simple questions of your customers. Check out online demographic information about Etsy, eBay, or other online venues you may sell at. Check out Quantcast Audience Profile information to get a better picture of who your customer may be. It just so happens that the person described in this report also happens to be my customer base - not a surprise!
The demographic that visit the venue (Etsy, eBay, Art Fire) you sell your products at will likely make up the base of your customers. Knowing if your customers will be shopping there will greatly improve your suceess before you even list your first product.
How do you know this? Let's say that your product is handmade flower hair clips. The first question to ask is who buys these? Women. Do they use these? Not usually on themselves, but possibly on a child, doll, pet, etc. Do women who have a child, pet or doll collection visit your shop now?
If they do, find out how they are discovering your shop. If not, where are there likely to be? People who may have an interest in flowered hair clips... Some ideas: bridal magazines, blogs, websites, costume websites, groomer blogs, pet health websites, doll collectors forums, etc. You get the idea. Just because you have this picture in your mind of cute little curly-haired girls wearing the hair clips you make does not mean they will be the only ones interested in them.
Marketing can be a big drain on your resources and on time. Do your investigating ahead of time and learn who your customer is. Knowing who they are will make all the difference. :O)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
When Sam was in Afghanistan, I began doing something I called "paying attention" when I ate. I would sit down for a meal and actually pay attention to what I was eating, how the food made me feel and when I satisfied and not full. Since Sam has returned, life has been one great big distraction (Sam has a way of doing that), and I have really been not paying attention to what I eat.
Example, Sam and I love movies! We love to Eat! We love to watch movies while we eat! Sam and I cook dinner on a somewhat regular basis. We have spent long periods of time preparing and cooking our food just to barely notice it as we watch Leo DiCaprio dodge bullets in Iraq (Body of Lies). Or we order food from our favorite restaurants in town and not savor any bite of it because Angelina Jolie lost her son (Changeling -both movies we saw this week).
When I "paid attention" to my meals and to myself, I was able to drop 50+ pounds without giving up food I loved. So now I am looking to do the same again. Today was my first day eating mindfully. I was getting ready to slip into my normal routine of coffee and toast or a sweet piece of bread in the morning. When I stopped and asked myself if I was even hungry? I wasn't!
Instead I headed to the workroom and began catching up on jewelry orders. I worked for an hour or two, made a few phone calls, and then felt a hunger pang.
It gets better, I decided to go for my Trail Mix Crunch cereal and poured myself a bowl. Just as I was going to bring it over to my laptop and have a surf-side breakfast (ha ha, I made it up!), I stopped again, put the laptop away and sat down to eat.
After being mindful for the first time in months (years), I realized that I was satisfied with my meal a lot sooner than I thought. I had only eaten about 1/3 of the portion I had served myself.
As I sat there staring into the (now seeming) huge bowl still full with cereal and soy milk. (sigh) I was thinking about how I was raised - as someone who does not waste food. I could not believe that I had to convince myself NOT to eat it! I could already hear my grandma's voice in my head going on about "serving yourself too much and being wasteful, just eat it!"
I could have, but decided to fight myself and put it in the sink. Gosh, I can't believe I am writing about this. But this is a perfect example of food conditioning.
It has been a while since I actually examined what I was eating. As I peered into the bowl, I saw dried cranberries, granola clumps, some kind of brand twig, almonds and a kind of puffed rice ball. It was all delicious, it smelled like apple pie, and it was crunchy, it had an interesting texture too.
Well, I don't think I will be posting mindful meal blogs too often. I don't think most folks have an interest in it or the same sort of food issues that I have.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Once I popped the hood I realized that there was a build up of corrosion on the battery terminals. I remember seeing my dad clean up these things before, and knew that that could be a possible cause why my truck was not starting, but all the other elements were working just fine - radio, lights, etc.
Luckily, I found this helpful video on youtube!
After i dropped Sam off at work, I went home and got out my wire brush, a wrench, pliers and a screwdriver. I got to work, about a half-hour later, my car started without a hitch!
Thank you video guy!!
Monday, June 1, 2009
I told Sam that I wanted baby back ribs and I told him that I would make some coleslaw. The dinner was delish! I even whipped up some jiffy corn muffins to boot!
Here is my super-easy recipe for Pecan and Blue Cheese Coleslaw
1 bag of coleslaw mix (I buy the one with white cabbage, red cabbage and carrots mixed)
1 cup of mayonnaise (best foods is what i used)
1 table spoon sugar
1 1/2 table spoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons of celery seed
4 oz of good blue cheese (more on this later)
handful of chopped pecans (more if you like them)
Combine mayo, vinegar, sugar and celery seed, whisk until mixed.
In a large bowl, pour mixture over the coleslaw. Take the pecans and about 3/4 of the blue cheese and crumble it into the coleslaw mixture (reserve the rest of the blue cheese).
Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight (best flavor).
When you are bout to serve, mix the coleslaw once, add in the remaining blue cheese and mix once more.
Serve with your fav BBQ dish!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Good feedback means that your previous customers are happy with their purchase from you. A large amount of positive feedback obviously means that you have many happy customers.
Low feedback can mean a number of things. It can mean that you have low sales, or that you have customers who don't feel strongly enough about their transaction or purchase from you to leave positive feedback. Or, maybe customers just forget to leave feedback, which is more often the case. Lucky for us, there is a quick way to remedy the situation!
A few months ago I began having what I call Feedback drawings. Every month I take all of the feedback I received from the 1st to the last day of the month and assign a number to each individual feedback left. I then choose a number at random, the number picked corresponds to a person who left the winning feedback. I send that customer a message saying that they won the drawing, announce it in my Etsy shop, send out the prize, and that's it!
OK, so how is that really BUILDING feedback? Well, I left out one small detail... When a customer buys something from me, I enclose a small card with their shipment that states the following:
Enter my monthly give-away… Just leave feedback!
Since I began holding feedback drawings, I have seen my feedback number increase daily!
Everyone loves the idea of getting free stuff! Customers who have just purchased items from you have an opportunity to get a freebie and all they need to do is leave some feedback?
You will be surprised at how much these cards serve as a reminders to busy customers also!
These cards can also replace your regular business cards, just add your shop address to the top of the card, this ensures that your customers visit your shop next time too!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Here is the list of ETSY Business Topics
- Pictures that are worth 1,000 words or clicks
- Improving your shop: 3 key points to get people shopping
- Item descriptions
- What not to spend money on
- Build your own resources
- To Twitter or not?
- Myspace and facebook
- Google base
- Google analytics
- Should I make my own website shop?
- Turning a one-time buyer into a repeat customer
- Craft sales – in person promotion and sales
- Building Feedback
I think this is a good start. The topics will not be in order, since there are some I want to cover right away, and others that I need more time to continue researching.
Again, I am in no way affiliated with Etsy or Ebay, other than being a seller on both venues. I am blogging about my experiences alone, and do not claim to be some sales or Etsy guru.
What I am is a person who took her hobby of beading and jewelry-making and turned it into a growing small business. It was not overnight, it took and still takes lots of work (more and more every day)! I have an undergrad degree in business administration, and I am working toward an MBA degree, specializing in Entrepreneurship.
I am open to comments and suggestions, I welcome ideas for this blog, this space is really for sharing ideas to help small business grow.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I plan to have a least one post regarding online sales / business every week during the months of May - August. By the end of the Summer, I hope to have at least 15 - 20 posts that Etsy sellers
will find helpful and hopefully use as a resource. I am using my own valuable experience as an Etsy seller since 2005, with 100% positive feedback, and over 1,200 sales. My small hobby business has grown over the past few years into a non-hobby, part-time small business, which has been a wonderful learning experience!
Some measurable goals I have for this group of postings are:
- gain 15 new followers
- have a least 1 comment on each post
- have one Etsy shop critique on my blog
At the mid point of this, probably end of June, I plan to revisit these goals. I am excited bout this project which I have been meaning to do for some time now. I think this Summer will be the perfect time to begin it!
Friday, May 8, 2009
I have to come clean and tell you before I go on, that I have always had a bad feeling about buying groceries at any discount store. I always felt that maybe they were not the same quality or inferior in some way because they were so cheap. That and also, when i was a child, I went to the .99 cent store and bought a candy - a chocolate. When i opened the wrapper, I was sad and sickened to see that the candy was spoiled. Perhaps it is that memory that has kept me from shopping there for so long.
So, I have to thank Mr. .99 cent chef for reintroducing me!
So, when i left there, my shopping cart was filled! Here is an abbreivated list of what i picked up there:
- Wheat bread: this was a great buy since I paid $2.89 a week ago for a similar whole-wheat bread!
- Arizona Iced Tea: made in USA, does not expire until 2011.
- Dole fresh strawberries - looked and smelled delicious, I picked up two baskets.
- Dole Salad bag
- Kraft Jet puff marshmallows
- Diet Coke 4 cans for .99 cents
- Spices: lemon garlic rub and ground bbq spice rub - Sam bought similar rubs for over $6 each at BBQ galore!
- Post trail mix granola cereal with cranberries - this was $4.79 at Albertsons!
- Organic Sugar: I stopped myself (OK, Sam did) from buying yesterday at Trader Joe's for $3.99 - I am glad I didn't buy it!!
I also picked up great things like paper plates, gift bags for mother's day gifts, plastic storage bags and such...
Overall, I am very happy! I think I will start going there more now, even though they raised their prices a little. LOL
There was all of this fuss about them raising their prices a few months ago. Turns out they went from .99 cents to .999999 cents per item, effectively making each item $1.00, but they can still get away with the .99 cent store name.
Not bad. Everyone needs to make more money, right? Just like everyone needs to save money, especially now.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Check these out: The Frugal Vegcafe and the 99 Cent Chef.
Worth a read.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Q. Are your pendants waterproof?
A. Yes, all of the pendants I make are waterproof. The photos / art / designs are covered with a professional grade resin / varnish and will protect the image and keep it intact with no displacement.
Q. How do you come up with the designs?
A. I make pendants from artwork or images that I like. If I would wear it, then I make it. Sometimes a customer will give me ideas if I am working with them to create a custom design, but for the most part, I pick out the designs I like.
Q. Is it difficult to make resin pendants?
A. Not at all. It is a fairly easy process. There are so many tutorials and out there, and I also have one that is quite popular.
Q. Can you make a pendant from an image I give you?
A. Yes. Right now I make pendants in both circle and square shapes, as long as you email me the picture, I can create a pendant. The turn around time is 1 week.
Q. Are your pendants like a scrabble tile pendant?
A. The pendants I make are different than the scrabble tile pendants. First off, my pendants are larger in size (see below), scrabble tile pendants are made from tiles, my pendants are made using metal bezels.
On the left is a scrabble tile pendant, in the center is a round pendant and on the right, a square pendant both made by me.
The scrabble tile pendant has the image set on top of the tile, with the resin or varnish coated over it. On my pendants, the image is set at the bottom of the bezel, with the resin encasing it, protecting the photo for years!
Q. Where are you located and do you have a shop that I can drive to?
A. I live in San Diego, CA, USA. I do not have a shop, I sell only online. I do have a list of stores that carry my jewelry that you can visit. That list is here.
Q. Do you offer classes to learn to make resin pendants?
A. Not at this time. I will be offering some basic jewelry making classes during the Summer. Due of the nature of resin, it is difficult to find a location that is well ventilated enough to hold a certain amount of students plus the fumes / odor from the resin.
Q. Which is your favorite design?
A. I like all of my designs, however I am very excited about my new Black Swan pendant. It is new for Summer!
Thank you for taking time to read my FAQ. I will be adding more Q's as I remember them.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I tossed the clippings with cucumber, tomatoes, dried cranberries, and pecans. Delicious! Sam added some Parmesan / Asiago to his salad, I left mine as is!
We had this wonderfully fresh salad with lemon zest grilled chicken. Dessert was fresh strawberry pie from a pie shop in town. (((sigh))) I could get used to this.
I have been spending some time working on pendant necklaces, magnets and bracelets. I have a booth where I am selling my jewelry at the Alpine Earth Day celebration and then at Sage and Songbirds Festival here in town. The weather has been so nice, a little warm, but we have a great breeze that flows through the house. Very nice.
Down the road from us there is a small farm that opens up every year on tax day (4/15), they sell their fresh fruits and veggies only a few days a week - some days I hear that you have to pick your own fruit! I might go by there tomorrow and check it out. Then, I have to come back and work on jewelry some more, I know, it seems like a vacation, but it is getting a little old. I started applying for jobs again. I wonder if any will call me back? I wonder.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
The Golden Poppy is a brand-spankin' new store in Alpine (my current town of residence) and it features artwork from local San Diego artisans. It is very strange hearing the word "artisan" apply to what I do, but it's true, I guess...
Here is my little corner of the shop, a bookshelf that is not completely populated yet with my whimsical jewelry and art frames. The shop owner Lori, seems to think that my necklaces and such will be a hit. I hope so!
I need to add more, but my friend was here over the spring break and bought almost all of my pieces, so I need to make some more. Lori and I will be switching the display up a bit to give it more POP! She has such beautiful Navajo and American Indian pieces there, we will see how my whimsical stuff fares.
Wish me luck!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Sam and I met at the Hillcrest Cinemas tonight to take in a film called "Sin Nombre". It was a Spanish film set in different parts of South America, Mexico and the US. It was very emotional since it mainly dealt with the themes of gang violence, immigrants coming to the US through Mexico, death, violence towards women and extreme poverty.
It was a good movie. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see an interesting and completely different take on the illegal immigrant smuggling that takes place every minute of everyday. Great new director too - Cary Joji Fukunaga. Wonderful cinematography, I could not take my eyes off the screen!
After the film, Sam and i walked around Hillcrest for a few blocks in search of a place to eat. We actually walked all the way back, and ate at NOVA PIZZA, which is located downstairs from the cinema. I will have to give Nova a big thumbs down. :O(
Although the service was great, very clean, lots of people, I ordered the lasagna and was very disappointed. Luckily I also ordered a side Caesar Salad which was good, but not special.
Sam ordered the Tequila Lime Shrimp Pasta, which he enjoyed. So, at least one of us had a good dish!
This weekend Sam's mom and step dad will be visiting us from the desert. They have not been down to see our new digs yet. I hope they enjoy our little place as much as we do. So much nature and peace here. I can hear the frogs serenading as I type... rib bit.
Friday, April 3, 2009
It was also too delicious! Sam and I ate some for dessert tonight, a very sweet treat.
Here is the recipe I used:
2 cups of cooked rice
3 cups milk (whole, non-fat, rice, condensed)
2 cups raisins ( I am crazy for raisins)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
A dash of salt
A dash of nutmeg
Sugar to taste
My variation is that I used 1 cup of non-fat milk and 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk and added no sugar. I also love vanilla and cinnamon, so I added more of those as well.
I first began with the milk, salt and rice in a medium sauce pan, and stirred the rice until it was boiling. I also added more milk since I wanted a creamier consistency. If you are adding sugar, this would be the time to do so as well.
Once the liquid is well absorbed and the rice is looking creamy, remove from heat. Add in your cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and then the raisins.
The whole prep + cooking took about 20 minutes.
The rice pudding was wonderful warm, and even more yummy cold!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Most of the time it is comfort food - spaghetti, chicken, rice - those are usually in my rotation of meals / recipes.
I do like to experiment also, there are so many foods i have never tried cooking!
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sam is really sweet, he is not watching TV tonight since I am *studying*. He also took care of dinner and is being just super-supportive as always! He wants this MBA almost as much as me (if not more).
My sister was over this weekend. We had fun hanging out, shopping for shoes (Nine West) and playing Rock Band - she is now our official drummer! LOL I actually played both the guitar and drums, taking a break from being the lead singer. haha. I can't sing to save my life, but it is addicting! We stopped by the grocery store to pick up some snacks and outside those damn cookie vixens were selling their thin mints, tagalongs and samoas... My sister could not resist, they had a 5 for $20 deal, too easy! So, my sister picked up 5 boxes and then left three of them here!! OMG! I have been alone all day with thin mints!
It was great time - she took us to a new restaurant we had never been to - Rockin' Baja in Old Town SD. Very good food - even better margaritas! Lots of people, great location and vibe too.
It rained here on Sunday, so it was a little chilly, but we still had fun.
I am working on some new pendants, mainly square shaped. One vintage anatomy image, some old color illustrations, a new Marie Antoinette portrait and a very sweet bat girl vintage image.
I will make sure to post them soon!
Wish me luck on my exam tomorrow - I will be testing for 4 hours! :O(
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
So far, I only have one item in stock...
It is an owl piece. Made with white painted and textured leather shaped into a wing. I have wire-wrapped turqouise beads along the outside of one of my favorite owl pendants that I made for my other shop. I have rosary-wired brown crystal beads and antique copper ovals to make the chain on the right side and the chain on the left is antique copper. Very nice piece, fun to make!
I feel that I have gotten away from really creating unique pieces, and moved into more of a manufacturing role, which makes me both grateful and curious. To curb my longing for something ooak, I have handpainted the backsides of my pendant bezels!
I went a little crazy. I am not sure that I will be sending these out in my orders just yet. These are kind of a fun thing for me to experiment with. I might save these for friends or myself. I always have wanted something on the reverse of my pendants, since the backside looks so bare and naked. I might experiment some more to see what works.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I have been meaning to do something for the packaging of my pendants for a while now. I finally decided to create something simple and inexpensive. What I was using before were small plastic bags and tissue paper. I would wrap the pendant in tissue paper and then slip it into the small 2X3 plastic bag. This became a hassle since if I forgot which pendant I packed, I would have to unwrap the tissue paper, etc..
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I thought I would talk a little about something that has changed in the past few weeks, that I don't want to question too much. My husband has always been supportive of me in my creative / artistic endeavors, but not to the point where he wanted me to "quit my day job". Well, since I have "quit my day job" to move to San Diego, and seeing as there are little-to-no job prospects calling me - sad, I know; why not make a go of my crafting full time?
I don't want to tell him this as much as I will prove this to him. Nothing will change all that much, except that I will spend a lot more time dedicated to creating - I will continue to look for work, since we need things like health care and stable salaries. But, in the mean-time, while we are looking into the vast, perilous ocean that is our economy - I am going to try. What has also changed is that he has taken more of an interest in my success. Perhaps the magazine had something to do with that? hmmm. Knowing that others seek out my trinkets and actually like them, maybe he can appreciate that?