Sunday, 25 November 2012

More on the Resin Front

Just love these new photo pendants.  I am so lucky to know so many artist friends, and they have all agreed for me to use their images, which I think is lovely, no generic pictures but real art form images.  Many more to come, just trying to find the time to upload them all.
All in the new shop SxtraS

Just playing with Pretty - Steampunk

I know it's now called steampunk, but when I started loving this stuff was back in 1991 on a trip to Bologna, where I saw in a gypsy market a brooch made up of old watch parts.  Since that day I have saved and collected all my old watches.  Here is what I have been playing with.  I made a few so have listed some in the resin shop.

Timeless Love
Link to steampunk timeless love heart

Friday, 16 November 2012

Win a Solid Silver Pea Pod!

I belong to the lovely metalclayhead team and there is an article about ME this month.  If you comment on the post (not this one but the metalclayhead one) - you'll be in with a chance to win!  That's all you have to do.  
Click here to go to the post

Good luck and thank you 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sometimes you just want to do something different!

So, I was standing outside the kitchen looking in, when I found myself thinking 'now Alan's picture is exactly the colour I want to wear with my jumper'.  Alan is the BF and he is an artist.  He tends to leave his pictures on a shelf in the kitchen to dry.  It suddenly hit me that I could make it into jewellery.  I did, and then found myself talking to another artist friend and so now I have two very different styles and a new shop.  Quite a little diversion from the silver, but I just fancied something for a change - certainly not giving up on the silver just wanted to make some big bold things. So here they are - in my new shop on etsy: SxtraS

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Giving this pendant away!!

Just Leave a comment on my facebook page to be in with a chance to win this pendant!
If any one would like to join in the competition, all you have to do is go to my facebook page and leave a comment as to why you want it and the best comment will be the new owner of a solid silver leaf pendant. Seriously that is all - doesn't cost anything and no hoops to jump through.
The winner will be chosen midweek.

Don't forget - comment on the facebook page - not here! ;-)

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

In Vogue

Octobers UK edition of Vogue hit the shops yesterday.  And I'm in it!  Yes SomethingXtraSpecial is in Vogue - can you tell how excited I am - calm down Sue!!
That's me down the bottom - the Pea Pod, number 31.
In case you can't read the copy here it is:

SomethingXtraSpecial’s signature Pea Pod jewellery is loved for its tactile organic feel with the peas representing those close to you. The Pea Pod jewellery is part of a range of distinctive, quirky  jewellery for women (and men).  All SXS's pieces are designed to become treasured silver objects of quality and meaning. To see the ranges:

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ringing the changes

While I've been off work I've had a chance to try out and play with things, and practise things I learned how to do 15 years ago and not had the chance for a very long time, so here are a few of them. All sterling silver.  (Wish I could remember the name of that stone in the top - I got it a couple of years back and can't for the life of me remember what it is - anyone know?
Edited to add - just remember Blue Goldstone.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Skin Cancer - Wear sunscreen !!!

Not my normal post, but with all this lovely weather I am quite stunned by how so many people just still don't seem to have gotten the message.  The sun can do real damage if you aren't careful.  20 years ago I started hearing of people with skin cancer and started being careful, wearing factor 40 or 50, staying in the shade, infact staying indoors between 11 and 4 but the damage was done and 20 years on I had a little place on my nose!  Now the thing is English Doctors aren't all always on the ball with skin cancer, and although I did finally go to a doctor, she fobbed me off and made me feel like a vain idiot.  As it turned out it was something, and more than that another tiny tiny little pimple on the end of my nose which I showed the surgeon on the day of my surgery even got little attention until a by chance glance under a magnifier, turned out to be the bad one out of the two.  The result was 30 odd stitches and a new experience - not wearing make up!  I haven't gone without makeup for more than a few days since I was 15, but it's now 3 weeks since I wore any.
If you fancy reading more, here is a blog on what happened.  If not, then if nothing else please keep protected in the sun.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Going for Gold

I have been designing a new range of items with 24ct gold inlay, and I'm really pleased with them.  I have got some of them on my website but not all up yet. Here are the rings:

heart of gold - 24ct gold and fine silver

Leaf of Gold - 24ct gold and fine silver

Simple heart of gold - 24ct gold and fine silver

Love Ring - 24ct gold and fine silver

There is some controversy with fine silver and rings.  I follow Kate McKinnons method - full fire at warp speed and then work hardening with a hammer (in the old time honoured tradition) and - works a treat, rock solid!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

And for the Mother in Laws!

You may recall my very dear friends got engaged earlier in the year and I was asked to make the engagement rings (as a surprise).(Here is the story).
  Well they didn't hang around and were married a couple of weeks back.  I was very touched to be asked to make brooches for the mums. And here they are.  What I really like about these is the way the two different patterns are joined together as one (symbolic ;-).  Took ages to get it right and to not get the patina onto the leaf section, but eventually got there.

Monday, 2 July 2012

What is Social about Social Networking

Am I in the wrong place?
I have recently noticed that facebook ads are being targeted at me from loads of other jewellery sellers. I pointed out on a random post that this was a bit like sending flyers to McDonalds trying to sell them burgers. Got me to thinking.

I know why they are on my newsfeed / page, but in a way it shows me that facebook maybe isn't targeting very well, so that's knocked my faith a little in facebook ads but it showed a wider activity that I constantly see, and of course at the start I was part of.

Please like my page and I will like yours!
Follow me and I'll follow you!

What? what on earth is the use in that? If you have a page that is trying to promote that you sell cars, is there really much point in asking to see everyone else's car promotions? You know sure as eggs is eggs that they aren't interested in your car just want everyone to see their car.

Obviously there are exceptions, and for teams and things I get that there is a cross pollination, and help, and of course we all like a pat on the back.

But on Etsy, on Folksy, on Linkedin I constantly see the 'please like/follow me' posts and other than getting numbers I really am at a loss as to what people feel the point is, other than having a ton of not your style stuff delivered to your news feed and twitter feed. In fact I went through and unfollowed about 500 people on twitter a few months ago, because all I could ever see in my twitter feed was 'new listing on etsy' x 100 a day. Seriously, there is rarely anything like that that I click on. I will click on a friends', I will click on something totally different, or something very similar to see the competition, but not to buy.

So, am slowly getting very disillusioned with the whole 'social networking' thing, and honestly - who ever called it that, since when was shoving promos in my face social networking?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 25 June 2012

New Site is finally launched

Well - here it is, new site is finally up.  I think all the links and redirections are working - (if anyone see's anything that doesn't work do please let me know).
So - now I am going to sit down and celebrate with a nice cuppa tea!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Change!!! Goodbye Mrsite

A few years back I changed over from Yola to MrSite. At the time I found Yola very clunky, and quite difficult to get the layout just right, and with Mrsite it was much much easier.
2 years on and I am now on the move again.
This time for some more fundamental reasons.
The problems I have found so far have included:
the fact that Mrsite is not optimized for mobile devices. When I brought this up, I was palmed off with a very weak answer on the lines of 'it isn't really important'.

Customer Service. MrSite has a feature where you can have an online chat with a Guru. However, the 'gurus' are not native English speakers (going by their names and their command of the English language) and are not gurus but first defence operatives. I have been very happy with some small problems, where I was just not very adept and they were able to help me quickly. Lately though I have just ended up almost screaming at the screen in frustration. I imagine they are overworked and are answering three or four callers at the same time by the delay in response time. It has taken up to 30 minutes to get four answers back on online chat, which is incredibly annoying, and when they continually misunderstand what you mean, and don't have the answers either, it can push you to breaking point. One tip if you are a user, is to get them to repeat back what they understand to be your problem. It is very revealing and the quickest way of cutting out the 'that wasn't my question' comment.

If you want to set up conversions it is very difficult, nigh on impossible for sales tracking.

Google analytics has been the sore point with me. I have a pile of dead end links that have taken 6 weeks of back and forth emails, screen shots, denials and blaming google and being redirected back and still not understanding the fundamental problem - that there are dead links that about 40% of my visitors go to. No-one can find what they are and no-one can get rid of them.

I have lately had four in a row customers contact me saying they thought they had bought something but the order hadn't gone through when I went and checked.

The blog that is available is very clunky and unwieldy, and that has driven further frustration my way.

The sales page isn't secure (not an https page) so I don't feel that fills people with confidence.

The shop feature is ok, but is just a long list rather than the ability to have a gallery.

There is no feature for a site map being available on screen (as far as I can see).

A big issue for me, is that there is the ability for meta tagging and key words, however they are the ones they suggest from a selection they find, not ones you choose, so /approx / 16 inch / link etc are words that get given, where my site is very text heavy with the words pea pod / peapod / peas in a pod but I am not able to use it.

So, anyway, I am on the move again, which is very frustrating, as superficially and visually I am quite happy with the site. But behind the scene it's a bit of a mess. I have signed up to Jimdo and taken the business account which works out at £15 a month - £180 pa (probably double what I was paying with Mr Site.) The customer service is German, I'm happy with that. So far so good, it seems very easy to play with. The templates aren't the biggest selection I have ever seen, but adequate. But what I do like is that all on the same page you can add an item, make a catalogue, change the layout and hide unhide pages in the menu. You can make a selection of pictures into a slide show or gallery, and have a choice of three sizes for your product items. I love the fact that when you view an item you can super magnify to get a really good close up of the item section by section - for what I do that is such a bonus.

So, I have many many nights and weekends of work ahead of me to get everything moved over, but I am happy with that.
Watch this space - will keep this updated if anyone is interested in the merits. If you have any questions about any of the above mentioned sites - do ask.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Oh my!
To recap - my MrSite site has just about died a natural death through lack of useful customer service support and the ananlytics have gone haywire due to a mass of random links that no one anywhere knows where they come from, so have jumped ship and moved over to Jimdo. However moving a website is not a quick job, one tends to forget just how much work went in in the first place.

My advice for anyone trying to get a website up is this:

Quentin Crisp said 'after 3 years no more dust settles' - I follow that rule.
Freezer meals are a godsend as are bars of chocolate and a night cap of red wine (to counteract the caffeine that has been imbibed in enormous quantites. Ask Friends to get back in touch at the end of next month. As long as you don't meet up with friends it makes no odds whether your hair is like a sheeps bottom on a rainy day. Same goes with skanky clothes and nasty unmanicured nails.
Teach other half to learn how to decipher grunts and gain meaning from them.
Caffeine is the nectar of the night gods - more than 5 hours sleep is just a waste.

It is now close to the witching hour yet again (what on earth does that mean?) It means for me that I have less than an hour left before I must hit the sack, but here I am sitting here with a big smile on my face. I have almost all I needed to, loaded up to the site now. The pictures have (mostly) been re-edited, and placed where I think they look best. There are so many lovely features on the Jimdo new site that it has made it very easy to get the pictures linked to the right pages and have the right names on them. I am so conscious of SEO and starting fresh means I can get it done properly this time.
So, the menus are done, the pictures up, the descriptions up and now all I have to do is go back and add all the meta tags and fiddle for a couple of decades.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Rambling rant about uploading

I have no point whatsoever to write here except to rant a little bit about how bloody long it takes to upload stuff. I'm slowly - very slowly - trying to get the new website up - I have a deadline of the 24th June before my subscription to MrSite expires. (Once I've moved I will publish my draft rant about them ;-)

I searched high and low for a decent web hosting server. I do not do html, I can do one or two lines but I do not do website design from scratch. And... oh my word, is there snobbery about that or what. Just about everywhere you go to read up about stuff you get bombarded with 'pay for a professional' or you should do it yourself. I cannot afford to pay a professional who is any good, I have looked at so many custom web design sites, and quite frankly, so many of them look just like that ruddy Chinese site that ripped off mine (and loads of other Etsy sellers pictures last year), they (many of them not all) are so generic. Sure, the likes of Tiffany etc have the thousands on sqidoolies to pay for that, but I am just trying to scrape together a living from this, not charge more than the earth for a piece of jewellery, which I would have to if I was to employ one of the good chaps. I am also a bit of a control freak when it comes to this stuff, so I don't want someone else doing all the design, and I also don;t know till I see it whether I like it.

But back to the snobbery bit for a moment - why is there this impression that if you are going to sell online, you can only be thought of as serious if you built your website from scratch? I mean, I drive a car, but I'm not an engineer. Doesn't mean I can't drive, or shouldn;t drive or even am a bad driver (I challenge anyone to get into the tight spaces I can park my car in), so why oh why do so many people have this impression that a bought package is so inferior?

Anyway, that is my two minute rant over.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Diet or Edit

Years ago, I trained in journalism, I loved the training, however once it came to doing the job, while I love writing, the actual 'job' part didn't thrill me. What I found often, was that I could write, but just could not edit what I wrote. And I still can't. I don't know if this is because it is my writing and therefore my eyes know what should be coming next and insert the correct spelling etc where it doesn't exist or if I am just sloppy. Interestingly I have seen some great experiments which trick your eyes into reading what isn't there, our eyes tend to scan and assume and I believe it takes a special kind of eye to catch the mistakes. (the following shows what I mean)

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

It's a funny thing, and I have quite strong opinions about correct writing, which I will argue about till the cows come home and can always justify my thoughts. I tend to hit a brick wall with grammarians and pedants - we tend to disagree with each other, neither of us accepts the others opinion. My other job is teaching language and for me language is for communication, and so if the recipient understands the message - fab - if they don't, then uh uuuh - that's a fail.
However, I do find it very frustrating when I really try hard to catch all the mistakes, and even then (and sometimes even having had it checked over by someone else) and there is still a blasted mistake.
So, one thing I do do, is print it out, I have found that if it's left for a day, it's easier to see the problem, and if it's a hard copy, it's easier to see the problem. A comfort to me is that some of the best journalists I know of are apparently also crap at editing their work, but it still bugs me. I'd love to know of any other tips, or others opinions.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Craft Fayres, Committees and the Dragon Boat Festival

Where I work, many people have hobbies and are very crafty! A long while back my very dear colleague Caroline suggested that some of us run a craft fayre at the Dragon Boat festival that was going to be run (and is every year) by the Portsmouth Rotarians. Well it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, so a bunch of us set up a committee which we called the 'craft committee' and started meeting on random Sunday mornings to have a coffee and come up with ideas etc. This was the first time I had ever been involed with a 'committee' and it was nowhere near as dreadful as I expected, in fact it was quite fun.
Slowly it all came together, and the weekend, although not exactly a Summer's weekend, fuelled some funds to go towards the charities.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Blogging? well what do you write about? I know for myself I find it quite difficult sometimes to come up with new things to put down, however, I decided that I would try and go through A to Z as the title, and that might give me some inspiration. Problem is what? Blogs? Beading? Blatant Copying? Beating the system? Bloody website?

So, todays will be about blogging, because I have been trying out both word press and blogger and come to the conclusion that I prefer blogger. However further than that, I also decided that for my website it would look better to have a blog that was directly linked to the web rather than a link coming over here. I read somewhere it was better and have to agree. So now any new things that happen on my site, new products, new services etc gets put on my news feed blog directly linked. So this is independent really, which means I can just whinge, moan or generally gossip -sounds like my kind of place ;-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Always on the lookout

As a jewellery designer - maker - fiddler, you find that you never rest. There is always an idea hovering somewhere in the back of your mind, and usually the absolute best idea pops up when you just cannot do anything about it. I used to try and carry a little note book round with me, but even then I couldn;t always take it out when I needed to.
Even worse, running a little business, you always have ideas that you can go with, new business cards, flyers, show idea,s something extra to put on the web, all of these things come just when you are in the middle of a meeting or an important conversation or telephone call.
Or is it just me?
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Generic Etsy

Was just thinking about the top sellers on Etsy, and something that strikes me is that although etsy promotes itself to be hand made site (what ever that means nowadays, with all the resellers and collectives nonsense going on), the best selling items are generally really quite generic. If you have a look in peoples shops, very often there tends to be a best seller or two (I'm talking about the better sellers not just the few items sold people.) and they are very often not one of a kind things, they are standards, just they have been made by hand by one person (hopefully) so are 'unique' in that way, but not really extra ordinary.
And when you start scrolling through the pages, you just keep coming across a pretty 'samey' feel all the way through. Is this just my imagination or has anyone else noticed this.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Inspired from Africa

For many years I adored and collected Tuareg jewellery.  The skill of those craftsmen is amazing.  I have been wanting to try out something a little similar for ages but never have the time, this weekend however, I got a spare hour and this is it.  I'm happy with it, no where near as intricate as the gorgeous stuff from the Berbers or Tuaregs but I wanted it have a slant not to actually copy so I'm happy.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

New Paper Stuff

Just updated my wrapping paper, so it is more in keeping with my logo and added some greetings cards to go with the wrapping.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Make do and mend - or something out of nothing!

You know what it's like, you have loads of bits of silver around the house (you don't know?) Okay rewind.... you know what it's like when you are a maker of something, you have lots of little left over bits.  As a silver maker I have loads and loads of little bits of silver around (and some big bits).  There are the projects that didn't go quite according to plan (the rings that were too big, too small, too wrong) the off cuts etc etc.  I have a blinking stack of the stuff.  So I have projected myself to do something about it.  This weekend, I got the roller out and either melted it down to balls, flattened it out with the roller or hammered it with my hammer into rings and earrings, affordable little non perfect little extras.
And I have to say I have had a blast, I get just so so much fun from sitting there wither with a torch in y hand or with a hammer banging away.
Here are a few of the things:

The one I am the best pleased with is the belt buckle ring, but the others are also acceptable for me.  They would make nice little everyday earrings and I have priced them accordingly, well better to have them go to someone who might like a pair of hand made silver earrings rather than have a pile of silver in the pot staring woefully at me.  Can't wait for this weekend to start with the next batch.
I've got a Tuareg inspired brooch on the go at the moment, that's the next thing on the bench!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

What a difference 10 years makes

People I love (the one on the right is the one
whose ring I wear ;-)
They say that you are a completely different person every seven years, that every cell has been shed and renewed. I think for me it took a little longer, but my life ten years ago and today is like midnight and midday.
Ten years ago I had just moved into a new house. It was a house bought on the cheap with the idea of 'doing it up', there was so much that needed doing to it, but it was liveable in till all the things were done. My parents came round to see it, and you could see they were less than majorly impressed, maybe a little disappointed that I had now moved into something that was so much less that I had had 15 years before that when I had been living the suburban dream. But it was a move up from the one bedroom flat that had been previously. Dad was getting progressively weaker with his emphysema, I was estranged from the rest of the family.
I was in a decidedly destructive relationship, addictive and black, however I was still harbouring hopes of finally getting pregnant, even though I was past forty.
Twelve years on and I continued to teach, in the same position I had been from the outset, even though I was well qualified and pretty experienced. Life really was really quite mundane, quite different from a few years previously when I had been teaching and living abroad, firstly in Paris and then in Singapore. I didn't have many friends, the destructive relationship put told to that.
A couple of months later and things really took a slide downwards. In the few short months that followed moving into the house, my father died, followed by my mother's death, accompanied by the realisation that I had gone through the menopause which put paid to any chance of ever getting the longed for child, and to top it all off, the destructive relationship got even more destructive and broke down yet again (and again).
As you can imagine - all in all it was a very very black period.

And so how is life different now? Well I still live in the same house, and in fact very little of what needed doing ever got done, oops, it's very interesting how quickly one can adapt to things so much that they end up not getting done - note to self - must think about doing something about those things.
The job? things changed there, I still work at the same place only I got promoted and promoted again and now am assistant Director, which means a lot more variety and a lot more challenges and fun.
My life almost got worse after that period, but what came from it was a friend who I wasn't very close with really pulled out all the stops to be supportive and is now one of my very closest friends in the world, and along with a few others I now have a new 'family' with people who are just the loveliest, most unjudgmental caring people that I love deeply.
I picked up an old hobby (jewellery making) and went into it obsessively and turned it into a business. It takes up every second of my spare and not so spare time and gives me such enormous pleasure and satisfaction I couldn't imagine my life without it.
And finally - I had gotten to the point where I didn't want a relationship, I was happy being on my own, it was uncomplicated and easy. And then the most beautiful man entered my life who made me finally understand what love really was. He calms my soul, makes me laugh, and helps me feel like the most special person in the whole world. We have now been together for four years, and not a day goes past when I am not grateful for what I have with him.

So, if by chance anyone reading this is going through a really tough time, stick with it, things can change, sometimes they just need time, but it can so be worth the wait.
- P

the last photo of my dad at an
outdoor prom - pouring with rain.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Silver Bird Range

Everyone loves birds, and I know many people do them, but I just fancied having some bird earrings, and it just kinda went from there. I wanted to have a range where it was possible to have everything mix and match, so there are earrings, pendants, rings, tie pins, tie slides, cufflinks and brooches. I have done a few different styles but keep coming back to the Love Birds, with their textured bodies - which look like feathers and a double mounted polished heart wing. I have no idea whether men will wear the tie pins / slides or cufflinks, but then if they were bought as a gift they would have to wouldn't they!! Probably depends on how secure they are, I do know quite a few who would have no problem with them, and that is all my presents sorted for the next bunch of 'no idea gifts'!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Jewellery is a solitaire (y) Business.

There are many advantages to having your own business, particularly one where you are your own boss.   Jewellery is one of them. You design, you source, you sell, all on your own merits.  And that's just great, however, sometimes you just feel a bit lonely.  What should you charge? is this any good? where can I find blastically pelmuts? 
And this is where the internet is just the most wonderful thing.  You can find your sources, you can get ideas but best of all you can find yourself some cyber friends.
If you belong to Etsy, then do go have a look for a team, they 'can' be amazing.  For example the lovely team I belong to (in fact I belong to many but to be honest only really keep up with this one) 'metalclayheads', is just a joy to belong to.
Over the time I have belonged, tips have been shared from kiln firing times, making rings, how to use different types of clay, how to set stones etc.  The best suppliers for the different elements needed have been shared - imagine how much time that saves.  When something really interesting happens in the clay area, someone there is on it and posting the link.  For example when silver prices sky rocketed last year, it was from the team that most of the information came.  They share stories, and advice, what you need, how to go about doing a show, or doing a jewellery party at home.  
There are charity events, at the moment everyone is on the case of making a charm for a charm bracelet to be auctioned in aid of amnesty international.  Imagine - people from all over the world, all with different skills levels and different backgrounds and interests, all sending an item of value to one person who will sort the whole thing out. 
They have a blog, and many of the members have taken roles and write articles for specific areas - imagine the advantages of that?  You have your own blog and some followers, great, but you belong to a large blog and then you have a much larger audience, the possible knock on effect is brilliant, and all it takes is a little time out of your working week. 
I live in the UK, we are way behind on many of the techniques / supplies that emerge in the clay world.  Something has just been discovered to be a really useful thing to use, but we can't get it over here, so what happens? a whole pile of the lovely team members offer to send some over to the UK.
So, as you can see, although it can seem very lonely, you can find people to connect with, it is maybe not likely you have people in the same road as you, and often not even in the same town, but get on the internet and hey presto you can find many who will fit the profile you are looking for at your fingertips.  The amazing thing about the internet is that they could well be thousands and thousands of miles away but they will be with you in your living room whenever you choose to invite them in, you just have to connect.
If you are on etsy, it is easy enough to find a 'team'. Personally I don't bother with juried teams, I find them a little bit... well let’s just say I don’t bother with them.  But just do a search for whatever it is you make in the teams section.  If you aren’t on etsy I have found loads of forums that seem very active and everyone seems to know each other.  So the next time you are sitting at your computer wondering why you bother and wishing you had someone who understood to talk to, do take the plunge if you haven’t already, I really don’t know what I would have done without the lovely ladies (and Lego) who belong to the team I am proud to belong to.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Rich Men Don't Buy Chips (Why you need to know who buys what)

(I've just written this article on the lovely Metalclayheads Blog - here's an excerpt - for the full article click the link below)

If you are looking for a rich husband you wouldn't go to the local chip shop to find him would you? Where would you go? How would you dress? What would you say? ... and that really sums up why you need to know your target buyer!
I know it sounds really dull, but actually it is the crux of everything you do, and if you don't have a clear vision you will waste a lot of very valuable time.
Well to start this off, it would seem that the place to begin is getting to know your demographic. Seriously, if you don't know your demographic target you will waste a lot of energy trying to sell to the wrong people.
When I started I thought 'but it's everyone', and yes it is open to everyone but there is a good, really good reason why you need to hone it down a little.
I don't know if it's my teacher's mind or my journalism mind but always it comes back to the questions - the who? what? why? where? when? and how? If you try and answer these for most things you will find things an awful lot clearer.

go to the blog:

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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Midnight Rant

I am getting so ranty.  I accept technology moves on, in fact I love technology  - but – why is everything starting to get so interlinked, so interwoven that what ever you do on one site automatically updates on another site.
When I first joined X, I joined X.  I read X’s T’s & C’s and agreed to them and that was it.  I checked it all out, changed the settings to what I liked and was good to go.  Then Y gets into bed with X and now they decide that anyone who knows X must automatically like and want to be friends and go to the same parties as Y.  That just isn’t true.
It’s all done under the cover of being easier, that you just use one sign in for everything, but that isn’t the story really is it.  But what I don’t get, except for the wider audience to advertise to, is what advantage is it to Google, Youtube, Pintinterest, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter to all be interlinked?  And how, when you haven’t signed in with a different sites sign in, does the first even know.
I’m seeing all sort of worrying things.  Friends writing privately to my lovely man on Facebook – privately mind, and it being posted on my wall?  I go to youtube and upload something, and then find it has been posted to Facebook. A post from over a year ago with a link to my Facebook page (from her Facebook wall) on my Facebook page and absolutely impossible to remove it.  The fact that I didn’t want that information on my page is neither here nor there – well in fact it’s very much here and there and in the end I had to delete the contact as a friend as the only way to remove the post.  At a later date I will add them again, but I do not want that information on my page.  I didn’t write it, I didn’t post it so why the effing hell is it on there without the ability for me to remove it.  I was also on paypal the other day, and noticed at the bottom of the ‘secure sign in page’ that a mutual acquaintance ‘liked’ Paypal’ – Excuse me!!  And on it goes.
here endeth  midnight rant.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Revisiting QR codes.

Seriously, if you don't know what they are now - you will get left behind.
I realise I didn't put enough information in the previous blog related to QR codes, so I'm going to try and put that right!!
Generally QR codes are free to generate - however do check the small print as to whether or not they can be used for commercial purposes.
This one is one I first used and gives you free codes (but says not for commercial purposes)
This one gives the first one free and says nothing, as far as I can see about not using it for commercial purposes
What can you include:
They can be made for anything, a website, a map, an information pack whatever you fancy, it just needs a related web page. I keep seeing them with special offers on them, so you scan the code and get taken to a page where there is some kind of special offer. (Locally the restaurants near me are using them on all their menu flyers).
Effectively think of them as a short cut to a web page from a phone.
So bearing that in mind, is there any point in putting them on a website?
I can't really see any, rather defeats the points, your viewer/ target is already where they should be and just clicking a link will do the job.
I have seen them in language magazines - linking to the article and having a listening that you can go to with the qr code, or a related video.
Could you put them on Etsy as a picture with your item? I don't think so really, you would effectively be going against the TOU's by linking to an outside site (unless of course it was to inside etsy in which case again - what's the point).
Something that is really cool is that they can be any colour you wish, so if wherever you are going to put them has a strong colour theme, you could match it.

Where could you use them?
The obvious places would be business cards, invoices, in fact anything not online as the idea is a way of giving someone quick access without typing in the whole url. Apparently in Korea on the trains and buses they are plastered all along the top panel inside and everyone with smart phones just goes along scanning them. The whole point is that (in my opinion - awfully humble) they will be very common and very used in the future, this is like the very early days of twitter and facebook, so if you get in there quickly, you could be giving the impression that you are at the cutting edge of technology - can't be bad eh!!
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