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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