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Beads on the Rise: Hiring Help

I'm always working hard

Things have been looking really good these days for my small and blossoming business.  Sales have been doing fairly well, especially with the holidays coming up.  There are so many opportunities to market and sell my beads, and of course I would love to do them all.

I’m even hosting a trunk party at my house.  I’m partnering up with a friend of a friend who is a Monet (formerly Maddison) bag dealer.  Together we will sell bags and jewelry at my house while hosting a party that is about women, fashion, fun and local artists.  I’m very, very excited about this.

There are even other opportunities that I really want to consider, especially after the holidays have settled down.  For example, I would really love to participate at Craft Shows.  I even found someone that is interested in partnering up with me, so we can share the booth costs, etc.  I have a friend who’s mom owns her own tailoring business that does really well.  He told me that his mother could sell my bracelets at her shop.  I’m even considering joining a co-op of other artist and have a presence in a store which happens to be in one of the most popular malls in the area.  Can you imagine?  My own presence in a boutique!

If you count my jewelry business, I have three jobs.  That’s right – three.  I work full time in government, part time (4 nights and 1 weekend) at my local YMCA and now this.  I have all these great assets – support, creativity, drive and so many jewelry supplies to the point where I am thinking about adding them on to the homeowner’s insurance.

Needless to say, the one asset that I do not have is time.  I really enjoy and finding time for my beads and making jewelry.  Because time is so precious, I find that I get frustrated when a project has failed.  Instead, I should be appreciating the learning experience, but my first impulse is “wow what a waste of time that was”.  That’s bad.

I recently attended a paid Webinar on how to handle your jewelry business during the holidays.  This was especially helpful for people with a strong and established customer base.  Or for folks who’s businesses are blowing up so much that they do it full time.  One of the things that was mentioned during this Webinar is the consideration to hire help.  Wow.  I couldn’t imagine.

I thought about it.  How can someone help me?  Would I even fathom the thought of taking MY hard earned dollars and throwing them at someone else to play with MY beads?

And then I started noticing some other things.  I’m having troubles keep track of my inventory.  I’m spending left and right and I have no idea how much I have invested in this business so far.  Well over four figures probably.  I’m also having problems finding the time to display my jewelry nicely so that it can be photographed.  Then cleaned up in Photoshop.  Then listing these items on my ETSY site.  All that stuff is not hard…it just takes time.  It took me 1.5 hours last night photographing and Photoshop’ing 8 new jewelry pieces.  Some of them not new, I just haven’t gotten around to PG and PS them.  I haven’t even listed all of them on my ETSY site yet.

Another big thing that really bugs me that I’m struggling to keep up with is this social media thing.  I have this WordPress blog that I paid money for a domain name.  I have a nice FB page, a Google+ presence, a Twitter account and something with Instagram.  How often do I post on these?  Hardly once a week.  And it’s a bummer, because these resources could really be strong points in driving my marketing.  It could really totally change the game.  Again – not hard…just very time consuming.  I know I am making a name for myself.  However, it’s slow.  I think if I were on top of the social media more, that progress would be more progressive.

So, I actually reconsidered the thought of hiring people some more.  If I could, I would hire TWO people:

The first person I would absolutely hire is someone to assist me with my social media.  Writing blog entries, posting on all the Social Media platforms, tracking down people to like me, friend me, follow me…anything.  This is someone that can do this at home.  They don’t need to be at my house to do this.  However, I would expect results every day.  I would want to see some kind of activity with the social stuff daily.

The next person that I would hire would be a professional cataloguer.  They would handle my inventory and finished products.  Photograph my inventory and my jewelry.  Digitally organize what I actually have in finished jewelry.  Organize all this stuff in a database somehow.  Post my finished work on ETSY for me.  Handle my online orders and requests.

I wonder how much I would pay someone to do these kinds of tasks.  Well, off to google for that one.  Again, something that I don’t have a lot of time for…research.

Colors for Fall: Orange is the new Black

Funny, I’ve been picking up a bunch of different orange beads over the last couple of weeks.  I don’t know why.  I think one of the reasons why I have been doing this is because I am so drawn to cooler colors (think purple, blue, green).  Orange seemed like a dramatic, yet safe shift for me with my bead smithing.

While I was on my most recent routine run at a local craft shop, I decided to picked up the latest copy of Bead Design Studio magazine.  And there it is, smack right on the cover: “Orange: The color of the season!”  I’m glad to see that I’m not losing my clairvoyant touch.

IMG_20140905_152838_986

While this bums me out just a little, I can understand that such a strong, warm color would be “in” for fall.  Here is the skinny on what colors are in for fall (from Bead Design Studio):

  • Warm Tones: Golden, canary, watermelon, cherry, red-orange, tangerine, crimson, and garnet
  • Cool Tones: Lemon-lime, lime, aqua-fresh, emerald, olive, navy, electric blue, and cerulean (also seen in the font of the cover of BDS)
  • Neutral Tones: Khaki, honey, cocoa, rust, dove gray, gray

Some of these colors sound a foreign to me, so I did some researching online so you can see them for yourselves.  These are some very beautiful colors!

Here are some of my recent creations in orange:

IMG_20140904_221808_802

Bottom Left: Orange Crackled Glass with Orange Pearls

Top Left: Fire Orange Agate with Orange Glass

Top Right: Fire Brown Agate with Peach Glass

Bottom Right: Orange Sodalite with Lapis Lazuli (not yet listed)

These are all really great designs and colors.  However, loud and crisp-looking jewelry is like a fresh bottle of nail polish.  It looks absolutely gorgeous in the bottle, but when you go to put it on, it’s a totally different story.  As much as I find all these colors lovely, I don’t think I could pull every single one of them off.  You’ll probably see me mostly in the neutral isle for the most part this fall.

Do you change your fashion colors season by season?  Do you try to follow the latest trends?  Or do you still do your own thing?

Meet the Creative Author

:: This post was inspired by my new friend Grumpy Kitty. Be sure to stop by her blog, as she has some good stuff.

Hey People! My name is Claudia. I live in Upstate New York. I live my wonderful boyfriend who is amazing beyond words. We have a kitty cat name Carlos. I’ve been doing creative things as long as I can remember. I strongly focused on the arts when I was in high school and some college. I even had some of my work displayed in galleries. I remember participating in competitions and coming out on top. It was a great ride, but that came to a halt when I got a little older.

Although life has taken me on many different paths, I have always managed to keep creativity in my life. I always kept drawing, painting, writing, cooking, doing collages in all kinds of mediums…you get the idea.

I’m very fortunate to have two wonderful careers. My primary career is in Information Technology. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years (wow, I feel old). In this career I have done many things. Wed development and design, system and database administration, help desk and training are just the highlights. Currently, I serve in a role where I specialize in Information Security. In this role I am a software engineer and also perform system administration duties. It feels great to work really hard for something that helps people.

My second career is in fitness and aquatics at the YMCA. This is probably the longest time that I have held on to a part time job (almost 10 years). Working at the Y changed my life. I currently teach Aqua Fitness (boot camp style classes), and group cycling classes (think Spinning). I also sub other class when I can (kickboxing, step aerobics, body sculpting, etc). I really love working at the Y.

Aqua Boot Camp
Aqua Boot Camp
Pool Pals
Pool Pals
Group Cycling
Group Cycling
M&M Award
Mission and Membership Award

So, I guess that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, so I decided to start a new hobby: making jewelry. Now, I’m not going to say that I’m an expert by any means. However, my very strong creative background has really given me an edge. Bead smithing has given me something very positive to focus on and keep me occupied. I currently am only crafting bracelets (because I love them so much), but soon I will be moving to different peices such as necklaces and earrings. We’ll see what happens from there.

I have created so many bracelets, and everyone has been raving about them. So, I decided to start an ETSY shop to sell some of my work. If you would, please take a moment to check out my shop.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog! And don’t forget to check out my girl Grumpy Kitty as well. Grumpy Kitty…that makes me laugh.

Enjoy and Happy Beading! ::C

Easy and Clever Crafting Spaces

If you are getting into jewelry making, or crafting of any kind, you will probably be needing some kind of “space” to set up shop.  And, if you are like most people, finding a space just for your crafting will be challenging.

I actually got lucky.  My boyfriend has a charming 3 bedroom home.  We have our bedroom and then the guest room.  In the “other” room, we share all share it.  The cat’s toilet and food is in there.  The washer and dryer is in there.  My boyfriend’s desk for all his interesting office things is in there.  And my crafting corner is in there.  At first the cat was not happy with sharing HIS room with me.  But, he got over it.

It was his idea to set me up a workstation in that room.  He took an old door that he doesn’t use anymore and propped it up on some old tube-style TV’s and some other old wood to get it pretty high.  The use of the door as a table is PERFECT because of the grooves that will catch my beads.  I can also start a project and just lay it in the grooves if I’m not up for finishing it.  It’s nice and long, so it gives me plenty of space to move around.  I highly recommend the door.

crafting_studio

When I browse on Pinterest, some people have done very clever things for a crafting station.  Most of the time, I don’t see a dedicated room just for crafting or smithing.  Usually it’s a shared space.  I like some of the examples I saw of turning a closet into a workspace, or even sharing another room (like I’m doing).

Next what you will have to think of is storage of your supplies.  This is the very easy part.  It just takes a little creativity to come up with solutions that will fix your space and the supplies that you keep in stock.  I work a lot with jewelry, so this is what I will focus on.  Here are a few cheap ideas, without actually stepping foot into a craft store:

  • Ice cube trays for sorting and storing beads
    ice_cube_tray
  • Baby food jars (or other small food jars)
    glass_containers
  • Egg cartons – throw them in some plastic bins from the dollar store for more secure storage
  • Old spice rack with original jars
  • Cheap jars from the dollar store
  • Miniature glass cups or bowls
    glass_bins
  • Pencil cases for bulkier supplies, such as pliers, thread, tape measure
  • An old tackle or toolbox

Some of this stuff may not be the most attractive way to store your craft supplies.  And, everyone knows that you need to be surrounded by inspiration in order to work your crafts.  However, there is nothing like a little paint to brighten things up just a touch.  Even something as simple as stickers will make an old tackle box seem like a soft place to store craft stock.

I know some folks have more excuses than a missed deadline not to get working on their creative ideas.  Hopefully this post will cross one of those excuses off and you can get to crafting!