Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sometimes a hug is worth a fortune!

I have a cyber friend who has spent her life being bullied by an inner demon, and finally she has found a way of evicting that demon and appreciating that she is an amazing and gifted artist, but it needed kind words from others for her to realise this. (I won't say her name but many who read this will know who I mean).

It's crap you know, to grow up and doubt yourself all your life, too many of us do it.
So, today I handed over a piece that was commissioned by a stranger. I tortured myself the entire time I was making it, it wasn't my normal style and I just wasn't sure. I met the lady, and she.. hugged me!! I welled up like a good 'un!That hug meant so so much.

So, I was so delighted, I posted about it on facebook, and a lovely lady who sells some of my stuff in her shop posted the following back:

"We had a gentleman raving about your work last week. He bought his wife some jewellery for Christmas and she really loved it, so he came in and got some more pieces for her birthday, I think she will have one of everything soon. We'll have to expand our range!!"

So, today has been a lovely lovely day, and today I feel what I do is maybe good enough, unfortunately I know who I am and what I am like and that tomorrow it will have faded into the past, so I am really enjoying this feeling, like the lady at the top of the post. I am going to make a huge effort (more than I already do) to make sure that anyone I know who makes anything at all, knows that what they do is unique and extremely special - as are they!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

To sell Whole or not to sell Whole - that is the question!

The issue of wholesale comes up quite often and it's an issue that interests me very much. Generally when a supplier contacts someone for wholesale they are asking for 50% discount on things like jewellery and art.When this is a bricks and mortar shop I kind of understand the issue, they have a lot of overheads that need covering as well as making a profit.What I'm not sure is whether a lot of people who ask about wholesale actually understand how this affects the individual artist.If you look at the process, the following steps are all jolly time consuming, for example:You sit in a cafe and try and come up with some inspiration, or you stare at the TV and an idea comes into your head or maybe just as you are falling asleep a shape with a texture comes to mind, you then can't sleep until you have made a note of it, just in case you forget in the morning. (Okay - was being a little silly there).You then need to work out what supplies you need.Lets take a simple disc pendant. You need to buy in the sheet silver, the rings, the chain. This is time consuming in itself, checking round all the different suppliers, trying to find the best price, the best quality you can afford and of course having to spend the time doing the searching and then paying the postage. You need to have a disc cutter or saw, a hammer, a drill, some kind of shaping tool. These tools aren't cheap and don't just jump into your workshop, again you have to look around, check prices, etc. If you are adding colour you'll need the equipment for the that. Then comes the making. Marking it out, cutting / sawing or hammering the shape out. Shaping somehow. Cleaning it up, sanding, fine sanding. If it needs soldering you'll need the soldering equipment. If you've soldered then you'll have to pickle it. Then the polishing equipment and the time it takes to polish it.So now we have a piece ready for sale - maybe - it will have taken a lot longer than that - sure I'll have forgotten a step or two.Now to sell it online needs a reasonable camera, take the photos, upload the photos, edit the photos, for me I always have to piddle around with the white balance, maybe there is a hair in the picture that you need to edit out, or maybe the light just wasn't good enough anyway and you have to start all over again. (you would not believe how time consuming that can be.) Now you have to write a description for it, you need to calculate the price, with postage and packing (which needs to be calculated somewhere - it is costly adding up postage (I spent over £100 ($160) in a month on postage in November), buying boxes, tissue paper, jiffy bags, business cards - etc etc!So you calculate the price and this is where the wholesale conundrum gets messy.If say for example I cost something out at 7. Say I choose to sell at 20 to cover all those things above (an hourly wage? mmm). Now Mr X who comes along and says hey would you like to supply us at wholesale of 50%, you know what that means? that means that he pays 10 and makes 10, I pay 7 and make 3! So what do you do? cost it at 7 and sell at 40? 60? it gets rediculous, and you have to take the market into account, forget about trying to compete with the hobbyists who hardly (and often don't) cover their costs.And that I have to say is where I am starting to completely lose interest in wholesale. Many people are very pleasant, however some are really quite snooty when you try and negotiate and say a lower price and they then tell you that it really just isn't worth their while. I always want to ask what makes them think it could ever be worth my while. And I'd love to ask them what they have done towards creating the item. As I say, I kinda get it for solid on the high street shops, there are a lot of costs involved in running a shop, but the many website sellers who I have heard from, I am sure they feel that they are working very hard to run their website, - well actually so am I. So next time you ask for wholesale, maybe think that at the very least going halves on the profit with teh creator is fair without trying to push them into out pricing themselves in order to cover their costs and make a fair amount for actually doing all the hard work.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 16 January 2012

New times!

I have just bought myself an ipad! The world and his wife continually tell me that blogging with a mac or an apple is the way to go, but I was never convinced

. However, although I could't actually figure it out from the actual site, I just downloaded an app and it looks like it will be a piece of cake - this is a bit of try out. Gonna see if I can put an image in here just for fun, ignore it, it's just an image.
So the image wasn't exactly where I expected it to be, its the man watching his footy on his ipad - might be able to move it not sure - this is really just a stream of consciousness isn't it!

Hand made / hand crafted / poorly made?

It's a question I have been thinking about quite a bit lately - why should anyone buy handmade? Well firstly, I don't know that I like the word hand made - I think I prefer hand crafted or artisan - although artisan has connotations of 'rustic' which in turn has connotations of cobbled together and a bit crap! Hand made always makes me think of the clothes my mum used to make me wear when I was a kid! So maybe the first question is what is the correct term
Which term do you prefer? hand made? hand crafted? artisan? rustic?

Friday, 6 January 2012

Google Analytics and Real Time

I just wanted to pop in and comment about the new style google analytics.
If you haven't really looked at it too much do go and have a play around. I steered clear for a few weeks, being the kind of person who likes things the way they are and know.
Eventually I ventured into the new area and oh my gosh... yet another thing to be addicted to ;-)

The thing is there is now a Real time option.
The other day I watched as someone entered my Etsy shop, I watched while they looked around, I could see which pages they looked at and could see how long they stayed. I could also see where they came from! and then 'ding' as their payment came over via email!

I've just nabbed this screen shot to show you what I mean:

If you are interested (and you have GA), then go to the new version, look at the orange tab along the top and go to 'home'.
When you are home in the left hand column click on 'overview', then wait! You may like me for a while keep seeing yourself pop into your shop, but that has stopped now. Click the tabs below overview to see where they come from and what the content is. It's fascinating. I watched someone coming from a very strange place three days in a row, was getting a bit spooked by it and then bing their order came in, they had obviously just been trying to decide whether to go for it or not.
I'm not the brightest button in the box on analytics but if I can help I will, just ask.