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Archive for July, 2010

ETSY!

Finally! And for the first time in how long? Whatever, I don’t want to know.

Click HERE to visit my shop, or the thumbnails below for each item.

charming cacti - click me

junebug's best - click me

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Thanks, everyone!

The “what do the people want” post certainly generated some feedback. I appreciate everyone’s comments.

It sounds to me like Option 1, to continue on as I am, makes the most sense. Although Superstars aren’t for everyone, some folks do enjoy participating and at the very least, checking out what I’ve offered. I guess I can keep feeling okay about having a sale whenever I can manage it. Plus, to be honest, sometimes that big flutter of income from a big Superstars sale really helps. For example, when some cat eats a bunch of random stuff off the floor and suddenly can’t go to the toilet right. Or when the catalytic converter on the car goes kaput. Never a moment too soon, these things… Like I said, I’m going to give the Paypal Pay Now buttons a try. Hopefully, it won’t screw us up and sell the same item to more than one person while Paypal’s servers catch up. I guess it will be an interesting experiment. All in all, I’m quite relieved that I won’t have to send the Very Last Superstars Update Ever.

I feel like if I notified everyone on the mailing list about new Etsy listings, those would sell out just as quickly as Superstars. However, I update my blog immediately every time I add something to my Etsy shop, so if you subscribe to my blog you’ll be notified immediately, as well. I’m not aware of a way to sign up for an email from Etsy when a seller adds something new to their shop, so as far as I can tell, subscribing to my blog is the next best thing. You’ll get notifications for all of my blog posts, unfortunately – you can’t pick and choose what types of posts are sent to your email address, as far as I know. Luckily, I don’t say much, so I’m not too likely to drive you nuts with my constant chit-chat when all you’re really interested in is the beads. (That’s perfectly understandable. I’m more interested in beads than I am in my chit-chat, myself.)

And about the Made To Orders: I know many other bead makers don’t offer this option to their buyers, and I can completely understand why. But the fact that I’m booked well into September with orders tells me that it’s definitely a keeper. Like most of you, I enjoy paying my bills on time, eating, and being sheltered from the outdoor elements, and Made To Orders help to make that happen. And I do enjoy re-making some things because it inspires me to improve upon those particular beads, and sometimes, it gives me new ideas for design and color. I’ll admit, sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by the orders, like when I have new colors or tools and feel inspired to make something NEW rather than repeat something I made 5 years ago. But, once I get the NEW out of my system, I usually feel like filling an order. So it all comes out in the wash, sometimes a bit ahead of schedule, sometimes a little late. Either way, most of you are so kind and understanding about that, that it makes the whole thing so much more enjoyable.

So, once again, thanks for the honest, lively discussion. Even those who don’t buy my beads, and stop by just to look and for a friendly chat – you’re appreciated too. I guess I’ll just keep on keeping on…

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what do the people want?

Yesterday, I woke up to a not so nice email. It went something like:

“Hi Sarah,
I don´t like this game of “superstars tonight” with waiting if anyone is the first who wins
the game…
Therefore I want to unsubrscribe and buy from other artists in the future. Sorry for that and
especially because I love the beads you make!”

So she’s taking her business elsewhere, is she? This came from someone who, according to my records, has been on my mailing list for about a year and a half, has never sent in a request on a sales night, and has not bought a single thing from me on Etsy, Ebay or Made To Order. Besides her initial mailing list sign-up, this is the only thing this woman has ever said to me. As far as I can tell, she was just aiming to hurt my feelings, and for no apparent reason.

But let’s consider the remote possibility that she has a legitimate complaint. I thought that all web sales (in non-auction formats) for one of a kind items were sold on a first-come-first-served basis. No? Is there any other way to do this web sale thing? If so, I’d like to know about it. I may be somewhat clever and innovative, but I don’t know everything. (I do know that if she’s “waiting” to see what happens, she is never going to “win the game”. Ha. It says very clearly on the Superstars page that the beads have been known to sell out fast.)  How many other people are under the impression that Superstars sales are the only way to get my beads? Is my website that confusing to navigate? Is anyone else having similar difficulty in figuring out how to place a Made To Order or find my Etsy shop? I’m not trying to be snide here. These are serious questions, and I’ll consider any helpful suggestions for simplification.

I started doing the Superstars thing (regularly) in 2007 so that those who were sick of Ebay could have another way to buy “first run” beads. And I will admit that Superstars sales are a lot of work. I spend a good bit of time making beads and sitting at the computer before every sale. Sure, it’s wonderful (for me) that I sold everything within 30 minutes Thursday evening. (It feels like Thanksgiving dinner sometimes. Days of preparation for just a few minutes of chewing.) But seriously, honestly, it pains me to have to tell anyone “sorry, the beads you fell in love with are already sold” when they actually took the time out of their schedules to come to my sale and made the effort to send in a request. And when I get an email like that one up there, well… It stings a bit. I know she’s full of horsefeathers, but I’m still open to seeing this as an opportunity to re-examine my marketing strategies.

So… are Superstars sales still working for you? I realize I don’t have them as often as I used to… but I’m not the workaholic I used to be, either. I don’t have quite the turn-out I used to have – I wonder if most folks have just given up on trying to beat the stampede? Perhaps many of them aren’t even getting the sale notifications. Who knows. I do know that running a business like this requires some flexibility and compromise. Even if it’s working well for me, I must also be concerned about my buyers because my buyers are what keep me going.  I can honestly say that I’ve put forth my best effort to accommodate almost everyone’s buying habits – well, short of completely neglecting my family and doing without sleep entirely. I can only make so many beads. So I figure I have a few options here:

1. Continue on without change – occasional Superstars sales, a couple of things on Etsy once a week as my schedule permits, and taking Made To Orders as usual.

2. Sell ALL new/original sets on Etsy, and do away with Superstars/Slackers altogether. I would continue to take Made To Orders from my website. Maybe the mailing list subscribers would want to be notified about Etsy stuff and website gallery additions from now on, rather than Superstars sales… but I’d surely check with them instead of assuming that.

3. Have a Superstars sale every month, and continue to sell a few sets a week on Etsy. This would mean no more Made To Orders, however. Everything I offered/sold would be “first run” and one of a kind, and couldn’t be ordered from the Gallery. The gallery would be for looking only. (This is my least favorite option.)

If you actually buy my beads and are reading this, I’d like to know how any of these three options might affect you and your buying habits. To those of you who enjoy any and all ways to buy my beads and take full advantage of them – well, I surely do appreciate you!

Just for grins, have a look at the Most Requested Set at Thursday evening’s Superstars sale:

violetta blue shimmer spikes

Thanks so much for reading!

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WOW!

Today is still Wednesday, as far as I’m concerned.

I just got another boxful of metalsmithing tools today. This time, lots and lots of steel stuff. (When the UPS guy dropped it on my porch, it sounded like a chunk of ceiling somewhere near the front of the house finally gave way.) I got ring and bezel mandrels, a steel block, a sandbag, Habilis files (they weren’t cheap, but they looked like just the thing), a third hand, burnishers, bezel pushers, a few soldering supplies… excellent.


I also got this fashionable egg-beater style hand drill. My dad tried to give me his nice little Stanley model, but I already knew I wanted this one because it’s ORANGE and black, German, and the brand name is in a nifty font. (I’m not only a fool for tools, I’m hot for fonts, too.) I told Dad once that I liked tools. As we surveyed his workshop full of 12 different versions of every tool imaginable, impeccably organized on racks and in cabinets he made himself, he said “I wonder who you got that from.”

I flounder between excitement, encouragement and feeling inspired and really doubting whether or not I can or should give metal a try because I might really suck at it. But hey, I have all this stuff now… I guess I should at least give it a go.

So, hey, Superstars tomorrow (TODAY!) Here’s a sneak peek:

randy for rhodochrosite?

See you later!

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Hello!

Yes, I’m still alive.

It’s really hot again. And humid. Dad calls it “air you can wear”. This early to rise crapola forces me to get to work right away, so that I’m not getting to work in the afternoon, the hottest part of the day. I SO prefer my night owl schedule during the summer. I’m forcing myself to stay up an hour later every night so that I can get up an hour later every morning. Bedtime last night was 2am, but that backfired on me. (Apparently. Because here I am, awake at 9am, the same as yesterday.) While I’m attempting to bring my schedule back to normal, there may be a couple of days where I can’t work at all, and I’m hoping to work it so that those days will be taken up with the big fat Superstars sale I have planned (probably NEXT Thursday, because it definitely won’t be this one), and then packing up and shipping said Superstars… and perhaps a couple of netflix marathons and generic laziness somewhere in there.

I’ve finally selected a workbench for my new metalsmithing adventure. You’d think it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but it was. Monday was when I made my decision. Here’s how. I went to that old rock shop across town that I bragged about weeks ago. You know, the one I was so thrilled about still being open after being inherited by “the kids”. The guy returned my call last week and left a message that he had the jeweler’s benches in, that he was assembling one as he spoke. I’ve tried to call him back a few times since and got no answer. Finally, I got an answer. I told the lady (the guy’s wife, I’m guessing) I was on my way, and Dad and I got there 30 minutes later. Nobody was there. The sign said “will return at 1:45”. We called from outside the store. No answer. Um, great. We, however, did not return at 1:45. Instead, we opted to go to Steve’s Wholesale Tools: the most fantastic tool store in town. (It’s only a few blocks away from the rock shop, so that made our trip across town worth it.) Steve’s has every Dremel bit imaginable, bungee cords in every color known to man, the weirdest hemostats you’ve ever seen, and I think I saw The World’s Biggest Crescent Wrench in there. 

I’d like to impart some words of wisdom common sense: if someone calls and asks if you’re there and they tell you they’re on their way, stick around for them. You might sell something. Or maybe tell that person you’re about to step out for a while. It also might be a good idea to be in the store during the business hours posted on your door.

I should also mention that I went ahead and added something like 2 1/2 new pages to my 2010 Gallery at some point over the last several days. I couldn’t tell you what day. That’s how it’s been. BTW, if you’ve emailed me, I apologize if I’ve seemed a little short in my response, and if I’ve been slow to respond. It’s just that it’s uncomfortably warm in the computer room so I’ve been spending very little time in here. I also updated my Made To Order policy. I’ve been playing around with that lately, but I condensed it and made some changes that I’m finally satisfied with. If you’re interested, have a look.

Today I’ll work on my Superstars Update to send out to all my lovely recipients.

Thanks for checking in.

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okay.

Over the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been able to sleep more than a few hours at a time. That happens now and again. It sucks. Needless to say, I don’t get much work done when that happens. However, over the last several days, the only thing I’ve been able to do is sleep. Since Sunday, I’ve been sleeping 12 hours at a time, whenever my head hits the pillow – and that literally could be any time of the day. I feel better than I have in a long time.

I dunno. I hate boring you guys with the trials and tribulations of my wacky sleep cycle. Just when I think I have it under control, it gets away from me. I figure I shouldn’t be allowed to complain since I refuse to take pills. Since I can’t function all that well without sleep, I don’t do much, so there isn’t much to talk about anyway.

I made beads for the first time in days on Tuesday, and before the weekend is over, I plan on finishing up two more pages for my 2010 Gallery. I also plan on taking the next week or so to myself (at the torch) and will have a Superstars sale in the near future.

I also want to say THANKS to the wonderful folks who have posted here and sent me emails with well wishes. And also, thanks so much for the encouraging words and advice about my decision to take action on my long time desire to mess with metal.

Perhaps I’ll be able to work in a few Etsy listings this weekend, too.

Thanks so much for stopping in. Sorry I’ve been so boring lately.

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