Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 17. Connection and Networking.

Networking is everything. This is the conclusion I’m making from all the business articles I read on the subject. I naturally agree with this statement, because we are all “only humans” and every single business transaction is between humans. So, the more people you know the better.

By the way, I include into my “professional networking” only those people who are working in the same area as I am. In other words, they must be either business owners of a beads and craft shops or artists, who work with beads, wire, who makes jewelry, artificial flowers and such.

The question is how much time and effort to put into building my business network? Some authors suggest that I have to make at least one new contact per day. That is extremely aggressive goal to me! I would have to spend all my time looking for business owners and artists, find the way to talk to them or set up meetings and appointments… Frankly, I hate this! Do not get me wrong, I’m an extrovert, I love to talk to my colleges, I love to spend time with them, but I feel so pressured if I have to do it purposely and systematically.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 16. Social Media Basics: Twitter.

I have a Twitter account and I have almost 400 followers, but to tell the truth I did not understand how it works. I did some research (this is my favorite activity for the last couple of weeks) and came to the conclusion: there are several reasons people join Twitter. Some people use it only to communicate with friends and family to send updates where they are and what they do. Others treat Twitter as a micro-blog, they write several posts a day about everything. And the third group uses Twitter for business.

If you are using Twitter for business, do not go through your product list and tweet product after product – this is the quickest way to get a mass number of “unfollowers”. The best way to attract and maintain followers is to share content that others find interesting. Nothing is new here and I think the same rules could be applied to pretty much any social media.

I think my focus is supposed to be on sharing information in a variety of ways (we spoke about this in a previous post about Facebook): post a link to interesting news, ask questions to learn what your followers are interested in, follow other Twitter feeds and engage in conversations with people I’m trailing. Also I want to use Twitter frequently. Practice makes perfect, right? The only way to get comfortable using this new technology is to dive in and use it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Day 15. Social Media Basics: Facebook.

I like Facebook. I have quite a lot of friends and I like the fact that I can keep in touch with the people I know in person and my virtual friends in one place. We all share news, ideas and fun.

For a business, Facebook allows create what they call a “Business Page”. It has pretty much the same functionality, which makes it really easy to use facebook for a business if you are using it in your personal life. One thing to remember though – in a business page I want all my content or at least most of it to be publicly available.

Using facebook makes it easy for me to see what my friends are doing, what they are up to. So I naturally want to share with them what I am doing. And this part becomes really challenging to me in a context of multiple social media. Let me explain.

I have my facebook page, twitter and a blog. Of course, I want to include links to all of them on my Etsy shop, so whatever platform you are using you can comfortably connect with me on that particular platform. The challenge arises when I have something new to share.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 14. Start a Blog

Everyone has its own reason to have a blog.

Many experts are saying that blogging helps people to know each other better in a cyber space. Knowing brings trust and trust brings all kinds of relationship, including commercial. So it is good to blog and it is good not only for individuals but also for businesses.

I used to write one in a while and realized that blog helps me to stay focused. I have a very good imagination, and when I think of something, I jump from one thought to another and another and soon I can’t remember where it all started. When I try to explain it all on paper, it is not easy for me, but it often helps me see everything from a different angle, it helps me organize my thoughts.

Sometimes when I think about a problem it seems too big and unsolvable, but if I write it down on paper, I'm starting to see a solution, I begin to understand in which direction I should go. As soon as I fully understand the problem (by the way, writing it down requires relatively deep understanding), it become possible for me to come up to an executable set of steps which will lead me to my goal, it allows me to create a plan.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Best finds of the week! Spring

Today's post will be quite different compared to those that I wrote recently. So many beautiful things are around us but often we do not notice them. I decided to share with you the most beautiful and interesting things that I found (saw) during the week every Sunday.

Warm day today, but the snow is still lying on the ground and I'd like more sun, green grass and blooming flowers. I saw this photo on facebook and it made ​​my day:

The photo was taken by Italian photographer Andrea Zampatti in Italy.

I would love to hang this wreath on my door:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Day 13. Build a Platform for Your Shop.

At the time of social media, the best platform for a business is… social media. Why? Simply because it  is difficult to find a person who does not have facebook or twitter account. On top of that, it is usually free to use, which is always a plus.

So, what “social media” options do we have?


I love facebook. I have over 1500 friends and almost a thousand fans on my business page. It is easy for me to post an image of the new jewelry I’m working on there. I also love to post there a link or an article I found interesting, I think this is why my friends are coming there – they also found it interesting.


Twitter gives you almost the same capabilities as facebook or any other platform. The main specific is the size of a message – max size of a twit is 140 characters. However, it also allows to add images, which makes it really powerful. I think of a Twitter service as a news feed. Anyone can read my tweets, they do not have to become my fans or friends, but they can always be the first to know about my latest project.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 12. Complete Copywriting for Your Listings.

I viewed hundreds of listing in the top shops and I can see there all kinds of listings. Some shops have really extended listings, with 3-4 paragraphs of stories; others have literally just 1-2 sentences. And they both are in the top sellers list. Can you explain it with any logical conclusion other than listing text is not matter? I can’t. Especially keeping in mind that I’m visual person and I think most of those who love jewelry are visual people too. But I’ll try to give some sort of significance to the listing.

Most important thing that blew my mind off was the statement that listing text is actually my advertisement. I agree with it 100%. However, for some reason I did not think about it that way before. So, this is a big change.

Another big discovery for me is the structure of the successful listing (by Lisa). A good listing should answer three questions: what, why and how.

I’ll try to apply this marketing science to one of my existing products.

Here is how it looks and what my prior listing looked like:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day 11. How to Sell on Etsy (beginning)

At the beginning, I want to say thanks to all who participated in the survey of the Day 9 article (photo). And for those who made comments – special THANK YOU! The winner of survey is picture #1. I think we shall talk about it a bit more in the next posts.

Today we come to the most interesting part (the reason for this whole journey): how to sell. Based on the plan there will be more than just one day about “how to sell”. We have already discussed photos and tomorrow I will have to work on listings. The next day would be about social media. After that... well, I still have so many questions even about a proper description for a listing, so I would better focus on my today tasks and leave future tasks for the future days.

I used to think that “If you build it, they will come”, but Lisa is saying this is a myth which does NOT work. She convinced me (partially) that telling a story in a product description is a bad idea also. Well, my descriptions are relatively short and precise, no stories. But that does not seem to help a lot. So, my take on this – there is a balance needed. I’m planning to experiment a bit and pay more attention to the results and methods I’m going to use.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day 10. Why Sell on Etsy or Why I like Etsy.

I’m still registered on several other shops like ArtFire and USTrend, but I don’t know any other shop that would provide such a good service as Etsy does. I’m talking about both – sellers and buyers.

As a seller or I should say as a shop owner, I think the listing price is reasonable and I certainly appreciate all the features Etsy gives me in terms of managing my listings.

First of all, it is really easy to add a new product to the shop – usually it takes only a few minutes - all I need is set of images (good quality images we were talking about in the post Day 9), description and a price. I also like shop sections and always use them. It helps me better organize all my listings.

Turquoise And Copper Butterfly Long Necklace

Friday, March 14, 2014

Day 9. Product Photography.

I’m selling online most of my jewelry, which means my customer cannot touch or wear the product. That is why product image is so important – this is the only way for me to show how good it is. I’m constantly looking for a better way of making pictures; I want my customer to feel the beauty of the product just by looking to its image.

The following image I had when I just started, perhaps in the “before Etsy” times. I like it. However, it does not give the whole picture. For instance, looking to this image I have no idea what clasp look like or what the real length of the chain.

I’m glad Etsy exists because it gives me ability to add up to 5 images for the same jewelry. I’m almost always utilizing all of them and am trying to show my product from different angles with as much details as possible. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day 8. Shipping 101

When I just started to do jewelry, shipping was confusing and difficult to some degree. Mostly because there are so many options available – USPS, FedEx, UPS. I use 100% of the time USPS standard services – I found that they have a really good prices and fantastic delivery time. I’m using USPS service for international deliveries as well and so far I had no issues.

As simple as it sounds, using US Post Office requires understanding of all options available and they have pretty wide range! I think Lisa has a great summary of USPS services, so if you new to it, take a look:

I completely agree with the Lisa’s look to insurance – I bought it only once when I had to mail relatively expensive piece overseas. Other than that, I trust USPS, they are doing fantastic job!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day 7. Packaging 101.

I’m taking packaging seriously, very seriously. I believe that there is only one chance to make a first impression and the first impression in an order delivered by mail will be made by package. More than that, I’m making and selling jewelries and very often people are buying it for a special occasion. It could be as “casual” as Valentine’s Day or as unforgettable as wedding. So I really want to make it unique. Yes, also beautiful and confident J (I’m getting use to my new slogan).

However, it does not mean that packaging must be expensive.

Of course, best deal you can get by buying larger quantities. This is what we all do from time to time. I also got the rule to go to the local stores after big holidays - usually, you can get pretty good deals there with up to 50-60% off for a beautiful boxes and ribbons. Michael’s, AC More, Christmas Tree Shop – those are my favorites.

For example, for these beautiful boxes I paid $.50. There were 3 pieces in a package, so it is about 17 cents per box.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 6. How to Price Your Product

I always thought about total cost of the product in terms of how much materials cost me and how much time I spend making it. Of course, I've never taken into consideration time for developing the idea and struggling in finalizing it (would be nice to also include here time and costs for traveling to a beautiful islands looking for an inspiration). Are those the only expenses I have to think about?

Reading more about true costs, I started to think more about hidden costs. We all know that selling on Etsy requires paying a fee, using PayPal requires paying a fee, there are shipping expenses, product packaging, handling and processing… Have you ever calculated all of those costs? Have you ever included it into your final sale price? And I’m not even talking about time required for photography, image editing, advertisement… I’d better stop now and try to calculate hidden costs for a single item - one of my latest items “Saphira”.

"Saphira" Chainmaille Necklace with Fire Crackle Agate

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 5. Trim Your Expenses

I think at this moment I’m doing relatively good job here. At least, I love to think this way. Mostly, because I’m doing it for a few years now and soon enough I got the list of my favorite places.

For example, bubble envelops I bought few years ago on eBay for 17 cents per item. Cheap to buy, expensive to keep – I have to fight with my husband for a space in a storage room for a large box which sits there…

Most of the beads and stones I buy from Fire Mountain Gems. They have all kinds of wholesale discounts. The best discount I got when I was teaching classes in Arizona’s Tucson Gem Show. Fire Mountain Gems were our sponsors and I have to admit, they are quite generous, I’m very thankful to them.

By the way,

Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 4a

Changing name may sounds like an easy step – what could be easier than changing a few words?! Apparently, this is not the case for a business name (perhaps it is still easier than changing a last name) – as soon as I changed my shop name on Etsy, I realized that I also need to change my banner. Got it! I like new banner even more!

But the more I think about my new name and new slogan, the more I feel that this new name defines my thinking about the whole business. I feel this is not just a few words, but rather a new concept of doing business. I started to think about my business’s mission, I want and I need to change my “about” page, shop description page…

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 4. How to Name Your Business

When I just started to work on this marketing program, my husband asked me if I want to change the name of the shop. I saw something about business name in the program topics and answered that I will think about it on Day 4. And today is Day 4.

I read instructions and started to think about my designs and art, how to describe it? How my buyers may feel when they wear beaded bracelet or a chain maille necklace I made?

It is difficult. I was jumping from one idea to another, from one name to another and… start questioning if I have to change the current name at all. I was almost ready to give up.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day 3. Who is your role model?

Yesterday, I identified top 20 shops on Etsy and spent quite a lot of time today checking them out. My goal was to find a role model – a shop I would like very much. In my mind, a “role model” also is a business I could use as a benchmark, as my ultimate destination of happiness and completeness…

Instead, I was really surprised to figure out that instead of a role model, I found small pieces, distinct elements that I love. They are spread across many shops, they spark here and there. I noticed, that I started to see them clearly and I started to see what elements, features, sometimes even colors I want to have in my own shop.

I’m so excited about this very new to me process, so I want to share with you a few changes that I made right away.
  • I noticed that in my listings I usually name exact names of a semi-precious stone I use. For example, purl, amethyst, garnet… However, most of the “top shops” are using more generic names, something like “semi-precious stone”. I started experimenting with search and quickly found out that it is much easier to find a good piece of art using generic terms. Conclusion: I started to add generic terms to my jewelry descriptions.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Day 2. Product Marketability.

Marketing is something I was always having difficulties with. It’s always been a mystery to me, but I hope I can do better today.

I guess I have to start with visibility of my work. In order to test it I went to Google and searched all bunch of different keywords I could think of: beaded jewelry, bead crochet jewelry, bead weaving jewelry… - everything I could associate directly with my work, which mostly consists of beaded jewelry and bead crochet jewelry. The results were not surprising at all – the second, sometimes the third link is always pointed me to Etsy. Great news! It seems that I do not need to spread my efforts over many web sites – if I can make it visible on Etsy that would be good enough. At least for now.

Do you know that there are more than a 1000 jewelry shops registered on Etsy with total number of sales greater than 1000?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Day 1. Where to start?

This is an easy and a difficult question all at once. Essentially, it is a starting point of any art, any action. I think the answer is lying at the bottom of my heart. So what is that I love to do?

I know that I love to make jewelry and my designs are product of a burning desire to express myself, my feelings. It usually starts with a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a colorful flower, a tree, a seashell… Pretty much anything can start the process in my head where all of a sudden I start seeing material I want to use; I begin to know what technic I would need to use with that particular material to express that particular feeling.

I use quite a few distinctly different technics. For example, some time ago I made a necklace “Black Sea”, which was inspired by a beautiful Black Sea sunset. The technique I used there is beaded crochet.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A New Day - A New Life

Woo-hoo! This is my 100th post!

This is quite a milestone for me and I want to make it special. Special in a many ways.

First of all, I have changed design of my blog. Why? I’m tired of winter! I really love summer, sun and warm weather and I want to see more sunshine and bright colors. Hope you like it too.

Just as much as I love sunshine, I love to design and make jewelries. I’m trying to make it unique and personal, my work is a reflection of myself.


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