Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Innovation VS Stagnation

I receive email from The Smaller Box from time to time.  It's a good resource for anyone who wants to run a successful business.  I haven't had a chance to read the one currently in my email right now because I'm too busy....running a business.  I glanced at it though and I saw the words "running a business is hard work" and some correlations drawn between how being successful in business and being successful in fitness are similar.  It sounds logical and interesting and I plan make time and go back to finish reading the article.

I started thinking today as that information cooked in my brain between time working on glass, time spent on metal, packaging, cleaning, and online promotion about what is important to me in business.  Granted I'm not Donald Trump or the inventor of the Sham Wow but I did grow up with a father who went from digging ditches for $60 a week to becoming a successful businessman with a business worth around a million and I have some of my own ideas as to what makes a business great.

You should love what you do, otherwise why are you doing it?

You should treat your customers like they are Gold with a capital G because they are, they give you the ability to do what you love (see above).

And you should innovate, not stagnate.

Keep your current stock current.  Take notes and remake customer favorites but be open to change.  Look at what you are doing and ask yourself what's missing?  Turn something on it's ear once a week.

So I looked at the big hole beads I was doing for bracelets and necklaces by companies not to be named here but you know who they are and I saw silver cores and beadcaps in copper, brass, and silver.


Can't do anything with the silver core, that is to this type of bead what earwires are to earrings.  The beadcaps were missing something.  They were missing color.  I wanted to coordinate my beadcaps with my beads, pull the colors out of the glass and put them on the metal.  I wanted the colors to stay on the metal and not fade.  I wanted the piece to be durable, heirloom.  To that end after I achieved color and a two-part sealing process I sent my college-aged daughter who is a Geology major out to abuse the work.  She wasn't able to ruin it.  If you knew my daughter you'd understand this is a major achievement.

So, my new work, up in My Etsy *and* on my Ebay.

Me Likey.  What do you think?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party ~ Reveal!

As a reminder, here are the lovely pieces Birgitta sent me, I'm still working with the other two focals and the rest of the lovely supplies she sent me.  :)  I'm a slow jewelry maker!

Here is my BSBP piece, my working name is 'Gaia' because Birgitta's porcelain piece reminds me of the earth mother. I really had fun with it and tried several techniques including patina, wirework, beadweaving, sewing, and of course some of my lampwork (glass always works it's way into everything).  Now I'm off to see everyone else's creations.  Have a great weekend blog hopping!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tyger! Tyger!

I just finished listing some tiger beads on eBay that were made with Diane Woodall's tiger stripe bead tutorial :

I love doing these beads although they are labor intensive for me as I'm still trying to master pulling twisties evenly.  I know, I know, most people learn this when they're lampwork newbies but I spent all my time as a newbie trying to encase the world.  ;)

I struggle, as do all of us that work as artisans, with pricing my pieces.  I am finally learning though to put up a starting price that while it doesn't reflect all the labor involved will at least let me recoup some of my time.

Beads are small.  The amounts of glass involved are minimal so the cost of materials is almost inconsequential.  Tools, tutorials, and the huge amounts of time invested however, are another story.  It's so hard (for me at least) to balance what I think is a fair price for all my invested work against the low economy here and what the market will bear.  Anyway.  Just some thoughts on pricing as I continue my personal evolution in the marketplace.  My mind wanders, lol.  Sometimes it helps to type this stuff up and send it out into the electronic void.

On a different but related note when I was making these beads William Blake's poem kept running through my head as I worked at the torch.  I memorized it as a child not because I had to but because I loved it so much.  I still do.  It will always have a special place in my heart.

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


Saturday, September 3, 2011

My bead soup!

Look at what I received from my wonderful bead soup blog party partner Birgitta!

Isn't it fantastic?  There are beads of all different kinds, chains, ribbon, a little wooden key and not one but *three* of Birgitta's gorgeous focals. <3
This will be so different for me as I normally work with wire wrapping and have never really used much chain before in my designs unless it was chain maille I made myself and ribbon is another material that will be new to me in jewelry design.  I love the colors!  I'm partial to blue/greens and patinas.  I've been doing some etching recently so this little fella may work his way into the design as well somewhere. ;)

  I'm really looking forward to the challenge, it's time to get busy!