Saturday, September 26, 2009


There was a time in the not-too-distant past when I enjoyed shopping, especially bargain shopping. I would keep up with sales, clip coupons and carefully plan shopping excursions around those exhaustively researched sales dates and organized clippings. I would frequent all of the discount stores and thrill at each amazing deal I found. But now, I am so over that. I still love to find incredible bargains; but I no longer painstakingly hunt for them. I let them come to me, serendipity fashion, i.e., entice me. Entice me, either with irresistible products, unbeatable pricing or, preferably, both. There are so many shops out there. I have a multitude of choices. In fact, my choices are staggeringly overwhelming. So when I do find a place where I enjoy my shopping experience, I will go there repeatedly. There are a number of reasons for this: 1) I love the merchandise on offer and the products are of high quality. This is a must. 2) The pricing is acceptable to me. It doesn't have to be the least expensive, just reasonably priced. 3) The shop is orderly. I love a tidy shop. Disorder will turn me right around and out the door. 4) The shop is attractive. If I like the window dressing, I tend to linger. All of these factors play a role in persuading me to become a regular customer.

In my own business, I strive to remember what I enjoy and expect as a customer and apply these points to my own shops. Naturally, I want the beads and jewelry that I offer to appeal to customers. But I also want my customers to feel like they have been treated fairly, that they are purchasing quality, that the pricing is reasonable- in short, that they have been duly pampered as my customers.

Running a business on the Internet is incredibly time-consuming. I just completed a two shop overhaul: new banner, new photos, new products, clear organization, etc. I am not a photographer, though digital cameras do raise my competence level. Still, it takes a lot of practice to make your photos clear and detailed. It is not so easy to take a photo of a bead or bracelet and make it interesting. You have to consider the lighting and the background color. Then there is the time spent editing those photos- sizing them, making minor adjustments to them, labeling them- making certain that, in the end, the pictures are a fair representation of the offered product.

I think often of the phrase "starving artist". I'm not literally starving, but I see how challenging it is for an artist to support himself by selling his work. An artist needs to be somewhat business-savvy to achieve a measure of success. Speaking for myself, I am much more drawn to the creative side of art rather than the business side. That is a "no-brainer", as they say. The result is, I have to discipline myself to promote my business regularly. I'm still working on this. Though I now put new products in my bead store on Etsy every day and I put new jewelry in my Artfire store every couple of days. My goal is to stock new products every day, once or twice a day, at least.

I take very seriously how necessary it is for an Internet vendor to be very clear and prompt in communicating with customers, to be lightning-quick in shipping packages, to be eager to work out any problem that may arise in such a way as to make the customer feel true satisfaction. Mistakes will be made at times. This is part of the learning process. Occasionally we may encounter a challenging customer, particularly if we do custom work. But overall, if a vendor keeps her cool and treats others kindly, thoughtfully and compassionately (as she herself would want to be treated), a strong customer base can be built up. People will want to shop in that type of store. Suddenly, I want to visit my virtual mall and see what's out there. The beauty of Internet shopping is: NO LINES. Happy shopping!

"The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her."- Marcelene Cox

"We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops."- Henny Youngman
(Necklace featured in this post is for sale in my Artfire shop.)

Friday, September 4, 2009


Do you have a jewelry wardrobe? I must confess, I do, very much so. I am practically the Imelda Marcos of earrings (minus the attitude of greed and privilege). Sometimes I feel a bit embarrassed to have such an obvious addiction to and affinity for jewelry. It is as if I were the type of person who dresses my small canine in teeny leather bomber jackets and tuxedos- just a wee bit obsessed and oblivious to the quizzical stares of others. As a jewelry artist I feel a bit more justified in adding to my collection. I've got to wear my own designs, don't I? And I simply must support my fellow jewelry artists (Endangered Creations, Sassy Glass Designs, Made for an Angel, etc.) by purchasing a few of their designs, don't I? But the bottom line is, truly, that I simply love jewelry. I revel in it. My motto is: don't leave home without it. You are not dressed unless you have a pair of earrings bobbing from your ears, at the very least, in addition to a swipe of your favorite lip color atop those pretty lips.

My mother taught me that jewelry is simply not worth having unless it is the 'real deal'. No costume pieces for me, as a general rule, though there have been rare exceptions (especially if vintage is involved).This does not mean that my jewelry must be luxurious or expensive. However, it is essential that my jewelry consist of high quality materials that are constructed in a solid and reliable way. I favor color in my jewelry- sometimes very intense and rich, sometimes very subtle and natural. I love both sterling silver and gold, especially unique, one-of-a-kind pieces crafted by an artist. I love natural stones and glass beads. I am very selective (some might say, PICKY) about jewelry I select for my own use. I have the same point of view regarding jewelry that I create for others to wear.

It is difficult for me to understand women who confine themselves to one small set of jewelry. Just one or two necklaces, bracelets, sets of earrings and a smattering of rings that they wear almost exclusively on a daily basis. I would get bored with that, I'm afraid. I love variety, the unexpected, in my jewelry. To wear the same jewelry everyday, for me, would be like wearing the same clothes everyday. Just. Not. Happening. Besides, I feel it is only fair to give each and every little treasure I own a spin around town, a chance to see daylight. I am wildly impractical in my viewpoints on baubles. But, hey, I am scathingly practical when it comes to shoes. I only wear comfortable (and I mean COMFORTABLE) shoes. No stiletto heels for this girl. Gotta balance the scales somehow, right?

So take a minute to tell me, which type of jewelry person are you? One regular set or a wardrobe to reflect your mood?

(The colorful earrings featured in this post are available in my Artfire shop.)
"Not on one strand are all life's jewels strung."- William Morris
"Variety is the soul of pleasure."- Aphra Behn