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Thursday, May 3, 2012

To Sell, or Not to Sell?

I don't know how many of you readers out there are selling or are thinking of selling. It remains really high on my jewelry making distraction list. You'd think it would be the grandkids, but no, they are easy compared to the tedious work of running a webstore, the never ending promoting and learning something vastly new everyday. I bring it up not to whine, though I sure feel like doing it sometimes. I bring it up because it is something I am facing and it is effecting my jewelry making. Anything that interferes with making jewelry is a relevant topic in my book.

So, if it's such a whiny problem, then why do it? If it really encroaches on my jewelry time so much then why do I allow it? Well, I'll say it plain. I have too much jewelry. As you know, I love my stones. I am always picking up a stone here or there that I just love. I have to have it, then I have to design around it. It inspires me. It becomes jewelry and then it sits.

This began as a hobby. It would please me to no end if it could stay that way. But, I am a practical woman, not given to frivolousness. Sell, I must.

Of course, money is nice, I won't lie, but that isn't the main reason that I want to sell. I do want to support my habit/hobby, though. I know I won't get rich doing this. I mean, it would be nice to get rich, but I'm a realist, as well as being practical. I'm content just to support my habit/hobby and to find new appreciative homes for some of my pieces. It's pretty simple, really.

What is my point? Well, I have been working myself to death and stressing to no end over selling and I had to stop and ask myself- why? and is it worth it?. I have decided the answer to both questions is:  yes. I'm working hard, but I am learning so many new things and I love learning new things. I have goals and deadlines which I like. I also believe that any job worth doing, is worth doing well, so I have been giving it my all, which is very satisfying.

My ramble is just my way of setting to paper, so to speak, my feelings on the matter. It's my way of maybe making some of you ask your selves the same questions. This is just some food for thought. Nothing more or less.

On the selling front:  Ruby Plaza has announced they will be closing. The announcement came like a day after I closed my shop with them. The reason they are closing and the reason I closed:  no traffic. Hey, we live, we learn. It wasn't a total waste of time. :)

Here's a piece I finished today. (In between code wrangling.)


16 comments:

  1. Tela, you have such an amazing talent. That pendant is gorgeous! I have learned from you just by reading your blogs and this blog is spot on. I'm having a difficult time promoting my site. That is the hardest part for me. I wish I could make all this beautiful jewelry but I know all I need to do to is support my wonderful hobby. Although, I have not been well, I have been moping around and feeling a bit discouraged. I'm thinking that I need to just step back a bit and have more of a balance between promoting and creating.

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    1. Kate, I'm sorry you aren't feeling well. :( I know abt the moping around bit, I was doing some of that myself. I had to step back, too. That's where this blog came from. All in all, I'm glad I'm selling, but like you, I need to find the balance. My personality is such that I latch onto a plan or idea and I don't let go till I'm done. I really need to reign that in. There is too much work to be done to reasonably expect that I will be done soon. I still work on the website and promoting non stop. It's never ending.

      Agreed Kate, promotion is so difficult. I think a lot of people have the idea that selling online is easy. That idea couldn't be farther from the truth. I have enlisted the help of my daughter because it is such a big job that I finally admitted that I needed the help. Maybe your husband can help out with some of the promotion. Also, check this out wanelo.com It's pretty new. When you post there, you can post to twitter and fb at the same time. :)

      Hang in there :) and I hope you feel better soon. :)

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  2. Tela...you always cause me to do some soul searching! I do not have the time for online sales, probably not the desire either. However, I do have the need to sell enough of my pieces to make this "hobby" self-supporting. My husband is on home hemodialysis, which means that after setting up the machine and hooking him up to the machine, I have to be present nearby during the three hours of each session but not doing anything more than monitoring his vital signs occasionally,and being present should an alarm situation occur. This is a perfect time for me to do my wireworking, and we have installed a hardwood workbench in our master bedroom where we do the dialysis so I can work comfortably alongside my husband. This produces far more jewelry than I need for myself or gifts, so I truly have to sell enough of it to pay for my forays into bead stores.

    My prime venue for sales is one or two-day sales at my community art club. Since I am also a watercolorist, I also sell paintings at my display tables. The planning/packing, display set-up, all-day standing and selling, tear down and packing the remains home makes for an exhausting way to do business, but I have to say I love interacting with my "clients". Many of them return sale after sale because they get so many compliments on the pieces they buy from me. This is so rewarding to me, less for my bank account than my soul, but it is so worth the effort to do. At least it pays for itself and my love for bead stores.

    I study all of your pendant photos, and am beginning to see even smaller details of what makes your work so excellent. Your design mind is so well-developed, I can only hope someday to reach near to that skill level.

    Hang in there with the code wrangles, I will look forward to more of your posts as you can make them. They always inspire me to keep on getting better!

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    1. Susan, first, I so admire you. What a loving, caring person you are. I'm so proud of you for being such a wonderful wife/partner. Lest you think I am being weird by saying that... I have noticed a trend with young women ditching their kids and husbands for no good reasons and it breaks my heart. I am a firm believer in maternal instincts and spousal devotion (barring abusive situations, of course). I'm sure I said that ALL wrong. But, suffice to say, kudos to you for being there for your man. :)

      I could never sell in person. I am horribly shy, believe it or not. I'm not good with crowds of people and avoid crowds. Maybe nowadays they would call me autistic or something. Online works very well for me. I'm sure I wouldn't have the stamina to do live sales, either.

      Have you thought maybe to do Craig's list locally? It would be less work, but still get online local promotion. Or, maybe sell to benefit your husband's particular medical condition? That might be a good motivator.

      Thanks for the complements and feedback. It's nice to hear. :) Especially when I am so involved with business end lately.

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  3. Tela, The business end can take up so much energy and time. I send my work out to a limited number of exhibits and galleries, places where I don't have to physically be present. Pricing, tagging and inventory all use more energy than I have when I just want to create. Selling brings in some extra income and pays for the supplies so it is necessary. My hope is the buyers will feel the good energy I put into each piece. The trade off is worth it but would love to have someone do all of the non-creative work and the promotion so my energies can be spent creating.

    This piece is beautiful. The lines flow so gracefully and the weaving adds a gorgeous element. Well Done!

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    1. Hey, Lady :) I envy you selling in galleries. I wouldn't even know how to approach that. I'm the kind of person that shops the bargain stores, I rarely even venture into a gallery. There a lot of big ones around here and Williamsburg, though. Perhaps, I should put some energy into researching that idea.

      I'm sure anyone who buys your work can feel your positive energy, Christine :)

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  4. Tela, I would think you'd have a ready-made list of people (like me) who would jump at the chance to spend some time creating while you look over their shoulders.... yes, I'm talking Workshops or Classes !! Your tutorials are so beautifully done... you have the talent... have you thought about teaching?

    ~ Robin

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  5. Interesting.... No, I haven't thought about teaching. I guess I would. Know any one hiring? :)

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  6. I think a lot of artists start teaching at their local bead shop. I know those traveling bead shows are always looking for teachers, especially those that are already in the areas they travel to. Some artists just stay where they are and teach from their home or perhaps a local adult education venue. And then there are artist's guilds. With your talent, it shouldn't be hard at all to find a venue to share it. I know I'd make a trip to wherever you are to learn from you : )

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  7. Well now... I feel kinda dumb, I shoulda figured that. :) Thank you :) Thank you for the idea and encouragement.

    Let me ask you, do you think good videos would suffice- assuming they were well done? I know face to face would be more ideal, but I've been toying with the idea of full blown videos. My home life and schedule has dramatically changed with the kids here and transportation is harder now, too, so I was thinking videos might work better for me.

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  8. I'm behind in my email and just saw this post so I am late with my comments. I also find that it is really a lot of work to have an online shop although technically it is easy to list items (no coding to deal with). It seems to take forever to take pictures, edit them and write appealing descriptions that are search engine friendly. I have a domain name and a simple website (a work in progress) thanks to my daughter. Right now I have no plans to try to set up any sort of shopping cart on the website itself -it has a link to my Artfire shop.


    Most of my sales come from local art or craft shows. I've done a couple of shows since April and it has kept me busy just making new inventory to replace things that sold so I have done little with the online shop lately. It seems all I have done is take sold items out of the shop listing instead of posting new items so I don't have much inventory online. I didn't expect many sales solely from the online store--although I might have more if I did a better job of updating and promotion. I really enjoy doing shows and talking to people. Like you, I'm just trying to offset my expenses so I can afford to make more jewelry.

    Tela, I think a well made video would be great. Your tutorials are very clear and easy to follow--a video would probably be even better.

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    1. Hi Kate, Don't worry abt being late-- I usually am, too. LOL! Yes, it is a ton of work to sell online. It looks so easy when you visit a site and see the frontend. Now, I stop and think abt all the work behind the scenes. If you are ever interested in selling on your site, check out opencart. It's free and open source- meaning very customizable.

      Sounds like you have an enviable problem with delisting and making new product. LOL! What you are doing is clearly working for you. :)

      Thanks for your opinion on making videos. :) It's something I'm very interested in doing.

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  9. Tela, I think videos may be the ticket. Once you had your 'studio' set up -- lighting, background, figuring out the best camera angles -- you'd be all set to make as many as you wanted. Making the first one would be kind of daunting, but a good learning experience. Sharilyn Miller has some excellent ones you might look into as an example of a well-produced product.

    ~ Robin

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    1. Thank you, Robin :) This is something I've been looking into for awhile now. My son has expressed an interest in running the camera. I'll have to get a better, though. The little pocket video cameras just aren't up to the task. :)

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  10. Glad to be of help! You might want to trade your son in for a good tripod, though : ) Remember, it's you that needs to move, not your camera. A view from over-and-to-the-side of your right shoulder is a good one. It allows the viewer to see what you're doing from almost the artist's angle (and so no "mirroring" is necessary)... just be conscious of the camera as your 'student', stopping to show strategic points in your work and trying to keep fingers unnecessarily out of the way. Also, shooting from this angle (slightly downward) will eliminate busy backgrounds and concentrate the scene to just your work and work surface.

    Hope this helps : )

    ~ Robin

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    1. Good tips! Thank you :) I've been pricing out decent cameras. Pretty expensive. But, I'll get one sooner than later.

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