Another show, another bust

Well, I didn’t do as well at the Crafter’s Clearance as I’d hoped — a lot of foot traffic, a lot of folks picking up business cards, but not a lot of sales.  The sales I did make tended to be very small ones.  I made back my investment for the show and not much else.  Kind of depressing to think about, once you get right down to it, because I was counting on this show to be a big one for me.  I was told by one of the crafters near me that the Christmas show hosted at Henry Ford II was an even better show and he did sales like crazy at that show.

I did get invited to a few more shows and I’ll have to consider whether or not they’re worth the investment in time and money before I commit.  This would make three of the four shows that I’ve done barely worth my time to go to them.  Either I’ve been picking the wrong shows, or I need to change my tactics somehow.  I’ve been told it’s not my product that’s the problem (which really is reassuring, believe me).  So we’ll see what happens.  It’s early in the year.  Of course, early in the year means a cash crunch, as always!  I have plenty of inventory on hand, though, and a decent supply of raw materials.  After I’ve escaped thesis-induced hell, I’ll get back to my crafting.  I’ll have time to get back to my crafting!

Cloaks and capes, oh my!

Finally got new photos and posted my residual cloaks and capes on Etsy — took me long enough, right?

We got a fresh layer of snow on the ground this morning and I had the perfect storm of opportunity: cloudy day, my sister and her boyfriend at the house, and easy access to both my camera and the garb!  So I asked both of them if they’d be willing to model the cloaks outside for me on the patio against the snow and the evergreens along the back fence.  They were good sports overall and helped me out.

The pictures turned out fairly well, but it was pretty cold so I didn’t ask them for much (if I’d been really ambitious, I’d have had Kendall throw on her noble garb and model for me!).

I love this shot so much. It's very Assassin's Creed.

Danny's got broader shoulders than Kendall, so I had to get at least one shot of him in the gray.

Detail shot on the clasp.

This one's our favorite shot between my mom and I.

I don't know why I'm such a big fan of these Assassin's Creed style shots...

Clasp detail shot for the evergreen cloak - flash was on.

Kendall was worried about how the photos turned out. My mother and I agreed they turned out very well.

Both cloaks are up for sale at Etsy.

LOTS of new listings up, plus a 10% off offer!

I’ve posted a bunch of earrings and braclets today, plus a pair of necklaces to my Etsy Store.  All versions of A Lady’s Ransom are now available individually for purchase.  Also newly listed are some pairs of Azshara pearl and Swarovski crystal earrings.  The biggest bangs, however, are two necklaces that are newly listed: Quartering the Arms (sodalite and garnet) and Roman Elegance (garnet ovals).  I’ve carried these pieces to two shows now, and a different version of Quartering the Arms sold at the Grand Valley Renaissance Faire back in October.  Both necklaces go for $50.

The other bit of big news is that I’m offering a 10% off coupon code at my shop until December 26!  Punch in YULE2010 at checkout and receive 10% off your order.

Oh, and about the Holiday Bazaar on December 11?  Don’t ask.

Holiday Bazaar tomorrow!

The Holiday Bazaar at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church is tomorrow.  I’m mostly ready; I may make a few more pieces since I’ve got the day off to make them (though nothing new in polymer clay–it snowed last night and I do my baking on the back porch!).  I still have to make the donation piece.  This show’s donation value is lower than most–some shows don’t set one, others set it at about $20, but this one’s suggested value is $15.  So I’m probably going to do a bracelet and we’ll see what happens.  I’ll post pictures of it once it’s made.

This is the first show I’ll be bringing my own table to.  Hopefully it’ll fit into the car all right.

The Athens Festival Craft Show did not go as well as I’d hoped–I barely doubled what I paid for my table.  Turnout was very, very low and it was poorly advertised.  I’m not sure that I’d do it again next year–certainly not with the poor  level of advertising.  I need to do my survey for the show and send it in to them.  I’ve got a lot to say about it.  The student helpers were great, but all things considered…not a good show, which is sad because once upon a time, it had been an amazing show.

Hopefully, this one will be better.  If it’s not, then it’s not–it’s a short show, and I’ll be working at the store in the evening if I can’t get someone to pick up my shift.  I’m hoping I can.  Hoping very, very hard.

Athens Festival Craft Show – T-minus two days and counting…

So the Athens Festival Craft Show is this coming Saturday and I’m still preparing for it!  I’m making some extra bits and pieces for the show (including a few brand spanking new designs that only my mother’s been privledged to see!).  I’ve got it in my head to make a few pairs of earrings today before I turn attention to doing other things.  I’ve already completed three necklaces (two copies of other ones and then a brand new peridot piece I’ve named “Augustine Brilliance”) this morning, tagged them, and priced them.

I’ve got some housekeeping stuff to do, including getting my bins of displays together and a bin of packaging together.  I have to stamp most of my bags still (though I’m half thinking to not to stamp them–I have ribbons to tie on the handles in red and green).

All of the ornaments I’m going to make are done.  I made sixteen of the suckers.  I’m going to see if they sell, and if they do, I’ll make more and offer them on Etsy.  I already know I have an order coming in from my mother for a custom-made set of them.

Mom’s going to be my booth helper this time around (Miss Jen has to work!), and I’m very grateful for the extra set of hands for the show.  That means I can work on more pieces during the show and answer questions and such–or that two of us can be working with two different people at the same time!

I have all of my stone cards made up and ready, which is wonderful, and I have my larger boxes stamped (fifteen of them, anyway–I’d love to need more than that, but we’ll se what happens).  I also have a bunch of business cards ready–I may or may not make more before the day is out (stamping them can be beastly, and running up and down the stairs to load the cardstock and then get the printouts while praying no one else is printing anything is a pain, too).

Sold a few pieces through Etsy the other day — two Marks of the Dawn sold, and then one of my stone pendants sold as well.  They went out in Tuesday’s mail.  Tuesday was kind of a lost day–I spent the whole morning and into the afternoon running errands.  Then Bill and Nat came over for dinner, so while I got thoughts and opinions on displays and new pieces, I didn’t actually make any new pieces.  And then yesterday was a total loss for everything because I got stuck working at the store until 3:30 (I was supposed to be off at 2) and was completely wiped out by the time I got home at 4.  Today should be a better day all the way around.

Custom orders are full of fun!

I put together a custom order for longtime friend Krinny today.  He wanted a gift for family members and had an idea that definately fit the bill.

The whole enterprise took more time to mock up, photograph, and ship than it took to make! (probably because I have this bracelet down to a science).

The piece was made to symbolize the union of his brother and his sister-in-law and contained Emerald Swarovski crystals, Sapphire Swarovski crystals, and Sand Opal Swarovski crystals to symbolize their birthdays and the month they got married. The center section, with the Fern Green, Sunflower, and Capri Blue Swarovski crystals, symbolized the place where they met.

This was a very fun piece to make and I hope that the intended recipiants enjoy them as much as I enjoy making things like this!

Etsy store active – Works in progress pictures

I’ve gotten pictures taken and put up some listings in my Etsy store, mostly Swarovski crystal pieces I have lying around, including my Citadel earrings and A Lady’s Ransom bracelets.  Also put up a few Swarovski crystal leaves.

I did a copy of the first high-end piece I ever sold this morning as well, “Quartering the Arms,” which my good friend Brett bought for his fiance, Nora, at the Grand Valley RenFest. There is slight variance to this piece (instead of the 4mm rounds that I used in the first piece, I had some 3mm hand-cut faceted garnet beads lying around that I used instead), but it turned out quite nicely. The photos below are of the work in progress.

As you can see, I’m working at the kitchen table and didn’t fully clear everything off of it. I was working in the morning through early afternoon, thus my cup of coffee. If you look on the flasks real carefully, you can see some custom pieces I’ve made for my mother in the past!

The “Quartering the Arms” piece is inspired by my work as a historian.  In 1340, Edward III of England quartered the arms of England with the arms of France on his standard at the suggestion of the Flemish with whom he was dealing at the time.  This piece, done in sodalite and garnet with gold accents, echoes Edward’s choice and the color scheme of the combined arms (the arms of England at the time were gold lions/leopards on a red ground, the French arms were golden fleur-de-lys on a blue ground).  The metaphysical properties of this piece lend well toward working postively in a group environment–and getting along with said group (which bodes well for Nora, I think, whose day job is teaching)!  The finished piece turned out lovely.