TAG Treasury Team

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shop of the Week: Mari Yun Jewelry

Meet Mari of Mari Yun Jewelry.  Her shop is our feature this week.

Mari is married with 2 children, a boy and a girl.  She grew up in Julabuk-do and Seoul South Korea.  As a full time mom and housewife Mari still finds ways to make time for her beading passion.  With her days being so full her only hobby is her shop.

Rose Garden Bracelet
Many of Mari's designs were born out of sleepless nights and were inspired by nature.  She loves floral and botanical designs and she is willing to spend time to create them.

Queen Ring
Orange Tree Brooch

When she started her Etsy shop she was not diligent about promoting her items.  Mari said when she joined TAGT team she started actively promoting and working on her shop.  She has some favorites in her shop which are shown in the photos in this post.

The two passions in Mari's life outside of her family are creating new jewelry designs and God.  And her favorite quote is from the bible, Josua 1:9 "God will never leave your side".
Luxury Square Watch
Mari, uses a couple of the available social media platforms, Facebook and Pinterest.  You will find the links below.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shop of the Week: Pillar of Salt

In keeping with our team goal of supporting all Etsy sellers I am introducing my first interview of a non team member.   This is Sara owner of Pillar of Salt.
Sara told me she grew up on a farm in west-central MN.  She met her husband of 13 years at Judson University, where she majored in Visual Communications (graphic design).  They have 3 children , 4 goats, 3 cats, 2 dogs and chickens.  They currently live on the farm where she was raised.  Along with the animals they have a large organic vegetable where they grow heirloom produce for themselves and the farm animals.   

Although she does not have much time for hobbies she enjoys reading historical fiction and her favorite author is Francine Rivers.  She loves arts and crafts and has tried many medias over the years.  She hopes to eventually get back into digital scrapbooking.  Sara claims that creating is in her blood. 

Opalite Ring

In discussing her business she talked about discovering wire wrapping about 3 years ago.  She was in awe of the art and worked hard to develop her technique and personal style.   A couple of years ago she was encouraged by friends to try Etsy to sell her rings.  She overcame her fear of rejection and failure, which had kept her from pursuing a career in art, because as she said "the wire wrapping just clicked with me and gave me the confidence to push past that fear...".  Losing the fear she says "I've seen God open doors for this business that I would never have dreamed of".  She now has her jewelry in 6 shops and through The Artisan Group she has gifted stylist of 2 network shows.  She hopes to one day see her designs on the screen.  Shown in the picture with one of the stars of the film "Selma", Keith Stanfield, is the ring that was included in the swag bags for the 2015 Golden Globes.
Rose Quart Pendant

Amazonite Pendant
Sara says she love the business because there are always new challenges to tackle.  Whether it be new wire wrapping techniques, improving her photos or working on the shops SEO there is always something to do or learn.  She also loves discovering new stones or beads to work with and say the variety is endless!
Fossilized Coral
Advice seems most often to com in favorite quotes and Sara's is by Madelaine L'Engle.  "Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it".   Sara finds this to be absolutely true. When she feels her creative juices running low and doesn't feel like making anything, she just begins.  Soon ideas will be building on ideas with not enough time to create them all.

One of the things Sara has a passion for is helping the poorest of the poor.  A portion of each of her sales goes to "The God's Child Project" which educates, feeds, clothes, and rescues children from human trafficking and abusive situations.   They also aid families by building humble but clean homes in Guatemala.  They have clinics and more programs than I can list. You can click on the link to find out more about their important work if you are interested.

Social media links:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PillarOfSaltStudio
Twitter: www.twitter.com/PillarSaltJewel
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/lotterino/jewelry-pillar-of-salt-studio/
Tumblr: www.pillarofsaltstudio.tumblr.com/
Wanelo: wanelo.com/pillarofsaltstudio

Article by Gail Entwistle of;    Digital Expressions and Artful Papers, Beaded Splendor & Entwistle Studio 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tips, guides & resources


Alankar of Spectracraft recently attended his first craft fair and has written this wonderful article about the experience.  It contains many of the things he learned by trial and error.

I participated in my first craft show/ fair in November of last year.  I owned my store, Spectrakraft for exactly a year and was solely dependent on online sales for survival.  I figured it was time to establish a face-to-face and more personal rapport with my customers.

The fair organizers contacted me via Etsy, and encouraged me to apply.  The fair was juried and I had to send in a completed application form, photographic samples of my work and a fee.  I did my research on what to expect in terms of footfall levels, pre-fair advertising, publicity, facilities, and space.  Once I was accepted, I paid the fee.  The show was for 6 hours and my space was 10 by 10 feet.  This show gave you the option of outdoor or indoor space.  I preferred the latter simply because I didn’t want to invest in a canopy, and didn’t want to deal with inclement weather.  I was really nervous going into this but, in hindsight, there was really no need to feel the jitters.  I was anxious because, I’d never participated in a fair before.  I went into Pinterest overload trying to figure what I needed to do to get ready for D-Day. 

While ensuring I had the right amount of inventory was of paramount importance, I also had to determine the right types and amounts of props, displays and decoration, since the fair had a very strong Christmas theme.  I won't go into much detail about the checklist because resources already exist online. My focus, in this blog, is really to highlight what I learned.  And, since this was my first time, I’m sure for many of you these lessons are already commonsensical.  But if there is a first timer like me, I hope this helps in their experience. 

My final checklist looked like this:
  • Print-out of my business license Signage saying credit card accepted (Etsy has its own credit card reader now and they send a free signage in the mail)
  • Easel: To hold my poster
  • Risers or steps to give different levels or gradations to your items
  • Credit card reader
  • Print of my resale license
  • Busts for necklace display
  • Foam boards, on which I had attached my earrings
  • Bracelet rolls
  • Tables and chairs
  • Table Cloth
  • Visiting Cards
  • Push Pins
  • Sharpies
  • Scissors
  • Bags and jewelry boxes for sales
  • Change or small bills
  • Lamps since my stall was indoors and I wasn’t sure of the lighting

I am sure I brought some other supplies too, but the ones above struck me as the ones I absolutely had to carry.  Again, the list would differ from person to person and type of business and is definitely not exhaustive.  

So now, here’s what I learned:
  1. Ask for help: If you have friends or family who are willing to accompany you to the venue and spend the time setting up the table, wrapping sales, engaging with customers, and breaking down the display, then accept their help by all means. Lugging everything you need to set-up and then dismantling it is arduous, so one or two extra pair of hands is always a good idea. I was very lucky to have two of my very close friends volunteer to help me. I cannot reiterate enough how easy that made my job.
  2. Indoor versus outdoor display space: As I mentioned, I had opted for an indoor space because I thought setting up display outside would be twice as much work. In hindsight, I may not have made the right decision. The organizers had several outdoor activities planned such as performances, food trucks, jumpy houses for kids and etc.  The outside was brimming with activity and quite naturally, the majority of the crowd concentrated there.  In contrast, it was relatively quiet indoors and every time a performance was announced, the small crowd was asked to go outdoors to enjoy the fun.  As a result, it never felt like there was the avalanche of buyers that I hoped I’d see.  In my opinion now, if I had to do the same fair again and choose between outdoor and indoor space, I might decide to set up stall outside.
  3. I was fairly na├»ve to expect that I’d be able to sell at least 30% of the items I had brought along with me.  To that end, my inventory was enormous.  In all, I had 200 items of handcrafted jewelry, because more is always better than less, right? However, for six hours of show time, that is a massive inventory and quite frankly excessive. My guess and I could be wrong would be that 50 items would have sufficed. 
  4. Rotate your inventory: I didn’t do this at the fair, but it seems like a good idea.  At any point in time, one should rotate their inventory or move pieces around. This way, when the same customer comes into the booth twice, he/she notices some novelty.  In future, I might display a limited number of items and keep changing them every couple of hours, as opposed to putting everything out there at the same time. 
  5. Eye level display: I had read about this while preparing for the craft show and I think it really is sage advice.  It is useful to have items at eye level. That way, when someone walks into your booth, they don’t need to bend or stoop to get a good look. Risers or steps are a tremendous help to achieve this eye level effect. Besides, by using them, you accord a certain sense of layers to your items, which really enhance the overall result you are trying to achieve. 
  6. Scale your expectations: This was perhaps the hardest to do.  Going in, I told myself to enjoy the experience and learn from it.  But who was I kidding? I wanted it to be a sold-out affair!  I wanted my first craft show to be a smashing hit!  So here I am, secretly hoping my items will make an instant connection with buyers resulting in significant sales. In actuality, what happens is, people walk in, look around, and walk out. Naturally, buyers want to take mental notes, see all the stalls and then make informed decisions.  If two people make a similar kind of jewelry, there is a chance the buyer will opt for a cheaper price, or a different iteration based on color, length, etc.  What I am trying to say is, there are so many factors that go into making that sale and most often those factors are beyond your control.  In addition, the demographics at a craft show are so diverse that your line of jewelry will not appeal to everyone.  Of the 20 people who walk in, there is a very high likelihood that only one will stop to look around leisurely and buy something.  However, no matter what the outcome, you cannot take the rejection (if I may sound so dramatic) too personally. Your creations may not have appealed to one buyer, but it might be a knockout to somebody else. 
  7. Defining success: I still grapple with this.  How does one define success at a craft show?  Is it recovering your costs and making something extra?  Is it forging a connection with someone who becomes a regular customer?  Is it letting people know that your brand of jewelry exists?  Success could mean different things to different people.  I was looking at it from a solely monetary perspective.  I wanted to recover my costs and make a profit.  At the end of the day, I did achieve that but not to the extent that I’d hope.  But thanks to the fair, I have repeat customers who have been very generous spreading the word about my store.  From a personal experience, I learned about what works or doesn’t work at a craft show.  So, all in all, I’d say my show was a success. The experience hasn’t curbed my enthusiasm to explore other fairs.  It has only motivated me to try again. 
In conclusion, my first craft fair was a lot of work, but also tremendous fun. For my second craft fair, I would definitely do the item rotations, display a small portion at any given point in time, and set up a stall outdoors, if there is such a choice.  I might also attend craft shows that I want to be a part of in future.  This would give me the opportunity to observe the kinds of people who come to the show.  If I find there is a match between my genre of creativity and their preferences, I might participate.  What have your experiences been? Please share your advice and tips!

Editors notes: 
  • To the supply list should be added water, snacks, receipt book,
  • Arrange for someone to give you relief every few hours
  • Along with not displaying your full inventory, moving your inventory around you should add and subtract a few pieces so buyers are not overwhelmed when making a decision to buy
  • Be sure to have your business card prominently displayed

Article by Alankar of Spectracraft
Edited by Gail Entwistle of;    Digital Expressions and Artful Papers, Beaded Splendor & Entwistle Studio 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Shop of the Week; Green Ribbon Gems

Meet Genevieve who is the artist, designer, owner and craftswoman of Green Ribbon Gems.  When you visit her shop you will see it sparkles with color and light.
Genevieve, Cora & Aidan
Genevieve, as you can see in her picture has a great sense of humor.  She is married with 3 (soon to be 4!) kids and 2 gerbils.  Currently she is a stay at home mom with her kids and the gerbils.
Before reading the entire interview I wondered how she ended up in Newark, DE after growing up near Portland, OR.  It turns out she attended Virginia Tech getting a degree in geotechnical engineering.  She worked as an engineer until about 6 years ago when she took time off to have her daughter.  Now she works part time at home on her Etsy shops.  She spends her weekdays taking kids to school and activities, going to the playground and sometimes out to lunch for a special treat.  

Purple Glass Earrings
 As I said earlier Genevieve has a real sense of humor and part of her response when I asked how she spent her weekends proves it.  She said "On weekends we usually do family activities like raking the yard together (and jumping in the leaf piles for those of us under 6)"  They also work on  home improvement projects and some kind of craft or baking with the kids.  They like spending time as a family just being homebodies.  As for hobbies she said there isn't much time what with being a mom and an entrepreneur but she does like to read and do photography.

Whiskey Quartz
Genevieve got started on Etsy after participating in a few craft fairs and hearing about it from other vendors. Her first shop opened in April 2010.  It took some time to establish an inventory, learn how to take good photos, and start making some sales!  And now she has 3 shops Green Ribbon Gems, Bead Spark and The Azure Rose   

When asked about inspiration this was her reply "I'm inspired most by color and nature.  I really like to make simple designs with a splash of color, like many of the Swarovski crystal and glass wire wrapped earrings in my shop.  They are a simple design which translates well to many kinds of crystal, glass, or gemstone pendants.  I also like to incorporate nature such as choosing colors from the fall leaves, or adding charms to my pieces in the shapes of leaves, snowflakes, insects or animals".
Olive Pear Drop
Her favorite quote by an unknown author is;  "PEACE.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of all of those things and still be calm in your heart"  With all the noise and busyness of small children she often feels overwhelmed and this quote helps her to remember to try and be calm in the midst of it all. 
Genevieve has a Facebook page, a personal website,(currently under construction for much needed updating) and she distributes a bi-monthly newsletter from her website. 

Article by Gail of;    Digital Expressions and Artful Papers, Beaded Splendor & Entwistle Studio