Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why Healing Gemstone Jewelry


.Why  would you wear healing gemstone  jewelry or energy jewelry?

Jewelry is worn to make a statement.



Power:
 The kings and queens showed their powers and hierarchy wearing the appropriate crowns. 

Wealth:
The rich showed their affluence wearing the dazzling pieces,

Style – uniqueness:
 Celebrities showed their style in their unique chosen piece.

Healing and Energy:
 There is also another reason why people wear jewelry- to heal. To bring positive energy in their lives.

Do gemstones really have healing properties?

Crystals, gemstones, minerals and the metals we use to make our jewelry have been in this earth for a long time.  They have witnessed and absorbed energies from Mother Earth and the celestial universe, over thousands of years.  Crystals may look inert and still, but they are vibrating, vibrating with energy. 

The scientists have acknowledged that fact. One simple example is- the use of crystals in watches or use of quartz in surgical instruments.   Various old civilizations have given thoughts and respect to this aspect of energy and have used it in healing. The Hindus and Buddhists used the Chakras, the Celtics, Native Americans and the Far East civilization; all understood the potentials  the gemstones have for healing.

While we sometimes may feel skeptical like Benjamin Dean, poet, philosopher, holistic healer – who says “How in the world can a rock help to heal?” we find the answer agreeing with him – “Any thing can heal if you can open your heart to it.   Receptivity is a necessity.”

“Healing occurs because stones bring the hidden core of spirit energy to mind” – explains Ms. Elisbeth in her writing.

Healing properties of Gemstone Chart:

There are several resources where you can find the healing properties of different gemstones and crystals, just by searching the Google search.  I'll just give one example.  I use many of them  for cross references, to be sure. 

Cleansing energy jewelry:

Holistic healers and even a lay person like me, who believe that the gemstones have healing powers, are serious about cleansing the gemstones to energize them with positive vibes.

 Because the gemstones, crystals and minerals are here for thousands of years and have absorbed energies, they might have absorbed some negative energy too.  Therefore, it is important to cleanse them and charge them with positive vibes.

“You catch a sight of a beautiful crystal, but when you pick it up it feels strange, you wear a necklace and you feel suffocated, even though there is plenty of wiggle room.  … What you perceive is the invisible ballast “explains Michael Gienger , in his book, Purifying Crystals


Holistic healers use different kinds of cleansing methods: the Sun and Moon method, the running water method (where you let the crystal be under a natural running water source like a river, brook, water falls not tap water), the Reiki, are  just some examples.

Reiki Method:

The one that I’d follow is the Reiki method.

What is Reiki ?

 In a nutshell Reiki is a form of energy balancing, the gentle healing art of hands that is used to help and heal any living thing. 

Mikako Usui , a Japanese Buddhist monk( 1865- 1926) brought this healing art into the modern world from the Far East around 1922.

Reiki method is also used to cleanse any negative energy and charge the gemstones used with positive energy, to manifest its positive healing properties.

I do not have formal Reiki training,  but I use my prayers and cleansing rituals so that the gemstones  I  use in my jewelry may fulfill their healing energies.

One experience I’ll share with you before ending this post.  

 I had made a bracelet with the gemstone,  apatite.  Apatite has the power to control appetite, or  help with emotional eating.  I had given that to a friend whom I wanted to help.   She was struggling with her weight loss.

 She  came back after six months losing significant amount of weight and gaining a lot of self confidence.

 I am sure her positive thinking, creative visualization, receptivity to my good wishes and hard work all contributed to that result.  But I cherish her comment –“Your bracelet was beautiful to wear in parties, and whenever I thought of taking second helpings on my plate,  the amazing apatite beads held my hand.”

You may want to read her story here.-, The Healing Blue Apatite  

Friday, January 31, 2014

How to write the perfect product description for my real customers in my Etsy shop



  Perfect Product Description for my real customers in my  Etsy shop



I had no idea that  writing a product description for my product in my Etsy store is just  not quite enough.

I thought what I need to tell my online customers  are- the dimension of my item; the materials used and may be the technique I use.  But that is not all.

I understood that I need to make the SEO happy as much as I need to satisfy the real customers, who are people, not keyword crazy robots.

This article is about how to satisfy the real customers  with my product description.

Wear your customer’s hat
                           
Of course, it is important that I need to tell the customers about the dimension, material and techniques used in my jewelry, but what is more important is putting myself in the buyer’s seat.

Roberto Verganti writes in the book Design-Driven Innovation

“People do not buy products, but meanings. People use things for profound emotional, psychological and socio cultural reasons as well as utilitarian ones"

I hear the same resonance in the article -  Let your customers see themselves in your products:


Let your potential customers know what good your product is for them
Let your browsers know how the piece will make her feel against her skin.

It is important to include the measurements and features in your description but don’t let those be your main focus.

These are the key things I’d remember from this article.

Tara Gentile in her article (Writing 101: Customer friendly descriptions)
agrees-  

 “Item descriptions are a great exercise in selling psychology”

Here she points out how the product description can  change as we change our perspective.

As a  jewelry maker I  focus on writing about the dimension of my jewelry, what it is made of, my experience about finding that awesome material or  how much I put into it to create.  Those are things that are reflected in my description.

When I wear the customer’s hat, take the customer’s perspective  I am  thinking – how is that jewelry piece  going to affect my  mood, looks or  decision, environment etc.

 The priorities are completely different.

As a seller my  job is to pluck that string – how is it going to make my customer feel extra special owning my product.


I have to remember to switch the perspective, wear my customer’s hat and think – what is there in  me from that piece?  why or  how  is that product so essential, that I should buy it right now?



 Here, I have a fabulous thing I want to share with you -  I found a great worksheet that you can down load for FREE



 It has helped  me polish my product description for  my  real  customers.  





  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to prepare for the Holiday Sales in my online Etsy jewelry store





Preparing for the holiday business in my Etsy jewelry store is an important thing in my to do list.  Every year at the end I get paranoid, work like crazy and end up reducing prices for quick sales.  I don’t like the process.  And, interestingly reading many blogs and talking to other jewelry artist friends I come to know it is just not me.  Failing to plan ahead is the  cause  for this this situation.


So what am I going to differently this year? 

            1. Stock up and manage inventory. 

My goal is to list at least one new item each day in my Etsy store. That is what is advised in the Handmadeology blog   http://www.handmadeology.com/the-holiday-rush-etsy-marketing-formula-free-5-day-ecourse/

This is a tall order. Making each product takes about two hours in average.  Taking great pictures ( the light from the window has to be right), editing them, writing description that makes the customers and the SEO happy, pricing, uploading and promoting – are in a nut shell  all that take to bring one item in the shop every day.

            2. .Rethink pricing : 
This means I must think of offering various price points to accommodate different kind of buyers.
.  I like how  Rena Klingenberg in her excellent   E book  http://jewelrymakingjournal.com/landing/jewelry-holiday-season/  says : 

 “ Instead of thinking how can I make more profit,  I started thinking how can I help the  customers with their gift giving situation?”.  This change in thought process may shed a new light in my creative process too.


      3 .Be transparent with customers.



Stay clear and transparent with your customers suggests the etsy team:
  
  This means I should revisit my shipping policies in my Etsy store and spell out clearly how much time it would take for a  custom order, international order, what should be the cut off day for Christmas mailing.. etc.  The more clear I am,  the better  off we both would be, my customers and me.  Time in the Post Office is one dreaded thing during that time of the year.
     
      4. Make a schedule and stick to it. 

Rena Klingenberg in her Excellent E book
How to sell for the Holiday rush mentions an interesting fact-  Statistics say that one third of the shoppers plan and get their shopping done by the end of September.  80% continue until the 25th of December and one third do it until the very end of the year. 

I believe people who shop early in September/ October  are looking for big price items that they want to give to their very special person in lives.  So I may focus on thinking making high end items now , that means order materials for thoseitems and think about stunning designs, both for men and women, kids and babies and special teachers.

  1. Set a goal:  

What do I really want from my business? Both, in the short run and in the long run? How does it impact my holiday preparatiojn?    These are things I am going to think about when I am out for my long walks. Untangle the mess.  I need to keep my body and energy in shape too, so those long walks will be need and I have to keep aside some time for that
Knitted copper wire cuff bracelet with coral red beads- at alankarshilpa.


.
 What are your thoughts about  the  Holiday Sales preparation this year?  Do you agree with me regarding my belief that people who shop in September and October are thinking about high end items?  Am I off in my thought process?  I want to hear from you.





Friday, July 12, 2013

Craft Shows and Liability Insurance



Should you take liability insurance as a vendor for your craft show? Why? and Why not?

Check out the fine print

This is an important decision because  as jewelry artists many times we run with shoe string budget. And do these insurance really cover us?

In my last blog post a  dear follower commented about theft in your booth and how to avoid it.

So I’ll try to address these issues in this post.


Lately I came to know that I need to have Vendor’s Liability Insurance Clearance Certificate if I want to do a certain show.

I have been doing craft shows for the last four years and this is the first time I am facing such a mandatory requirement.

Taking an insurance was in  the back of my mind – all those “what if? “worries.  But now I have to decide on one of these insurance policies if I want to participate in this craft show.

Why should you have Liability Insurance?

* When it is required from the manager of the show


*Theft:

Here is an interesting article on how to eliminate theft atcraft shows.


*Unforeseen disaster like some ones tent blows and lands on yours.  I know you are safety conscious and have proper weights tied into your tent. But what if your neighbor is not?

Perusing the Etsy forum I found several sites that you may want to consider for buying vendor's liability insurance.  I researched the following two.



You may also talk to your own insurance agent with whom you have car or home insurance.

Actinspro have several options for people like me who needs it more for the show promoter’s need.  Even though they have a three consecutive day option for $39 it will not work for me.

If I decide to take the 90 day one that will cover all shows I do in this time period, mind you it will not cover the products.  It is for the general insurance. So, check clearly what is covered.

Their yearly policy of $250 plus  will cover your products too.

Petty Theft:

In my four years of doing craft shows it had never happened.  I rather lost quite a few pieces of earrings in transporting, during the  busy packing and unpacking times.

But there is no guaranty that you may not be a victim of theft from your booth.  The preventive measures I take are:


Always keep money on my body.

 I wear a light weight fanny pack or a cute bag across my shoulder where I keep small notes, no coins.  I usually round up and give the customers the change,  if any,  as a token of appreciation.  I keep my card processing things in it too.  I use Propay.com and it works very well with me.  You may try Square or Paypal too.

Keep high ticket items a little higher and not so easy to reach;

Autumn Necklace -www.alankarshilpa.etsy.com

These are usually the necklace pieces and they are on busts. Also, usually I sit close to them at the end of the booth with my easy to do projects.

Try to have a friend to keep an eye while I am not there.

Knitted bracelet in emerald green  www.alankarshilpa.etsy.com
.

Disasters:

I try to prevent wind blowing off my tent by putting stones wrapped in color coordinated pillow covers and then I tie them with the legs of the tent. 

The rest I pray.

You may like:

How to prepare for Craft fairs 

Craft Fair - it is worth it?

What is your experience or thoughts?  



Monday, July 8, 2013

How to prepare for the craft fair business



 Here are the  three most important things I’ll focus for the craft fair business this year:

Are you ready for craft fairs? 

 

As the days are warming up I  feel that it is time for those canopy hanging time, but I must revise all the lessons I have learned from the last four years of doing craft fairs. Also,  I have some resources now that will let me focus.

Scheduling:

How often ?

 I see lots of people who do craft fairs every weekend.  I can handle only once a month or so.  How about you?

 Craft fairs are hard work but then I find that is when my jewelry sell the  most.


Katie Acres in her blog puts it very nicely about  how important the scheduling part is.  You don’t want to overwhelm your self and get sick because of poor planning.  Then,  there are too many distractions, too many craft fairs, near and far.  Some are low cost some are not.  It is confusing to decide  which ones will work out.  

How much shall I spend on booth fees...how much energy do I have for this commitment?

 It  is important  to know when your show is, how many of them are you doing in the near future and the characters of each craft shows.  It is important for me to think the factors,  like how many days apart are they, you need time to recuperate,  and when are  the dead lines for  each of  the applications...etc,  etc. 

For the time being I am getting  ready for three shows in the next three months.   Some  are in the holiday season,  six months away but the dead lines for application is now.

So making a calendar and sticking with the to do list is a must.


 Inventory:

How much stuff shall I take?  Here you’ll find some answer in the  Etsy Forum


 There is a saying that you have  made a good show if your sales are 10 times the booth fee.  I have never achieved that.  If it is five times, I am happy enough.

Say I paid $50 for a booth.  If I make $250 - $500, I’ll consider that I have done pretty good.


 In order to sell $500 of jewelry, my rule of thumb is to take 10 times more of that, meaning I must take $5000 worth of stuff. But I do not need to or should  display them all at once.

I believe in  the power of white space and the branding of my style.


From experience I have found that  there should be some low end items from $10- $20 which  usually   should cover the  booth price.

 Here is the challenge I am facing.  These low end items have to be eye catching,  kind of unique,  quick  to make, and made with less material cost.

On the other hand this is the time to show case your workmanship and high style also, because jewelry is tactile.  People  want to feel it, see it on person and then get the emotion that it must be  bought – NOW.

Here is an interesting article I read about How NOT to prepare for a holiday craft show.  Take a look


Now I have to give some  serious thought about these points.  Do I do this kind of  research before displaying or making  my stuff?
Selling is not the only reason to do craft show


Goal:

Each craft shows have different goals to me.

 Selling is not the only reason we do craft fairs.  I have made great friends with fellow vendors and got  valuable tips, links to future shows and business.

 This is the time for networking too.  Promote and appreciate each other.  This is the time to grab future customers.  One vendor once told me that her goal was to get rid of her whole packet of 250 business cards.  She was new in the area and she was determined to let 250 people know about her existence.

This year one of my goal is to have some cards made with coupon codes in the back.
You can get them from MOO.COM or, Vista prints 

Another article on:  Craft Fair: Is it Worth It?

Stay tuned for more craft show articles.  I am researching and will write soon.

What are your tips?  What are your questions?  Love to hear your comments.







Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jewelry from my inheritance

My Country - For Thee I Bead

I was born in India,

 in the State of West Bengal - that is famous for the Bengal Tiger,

 which is an endangered species, very precious indeed.

 If you ever go my mother land, do visit the Sundar Bon ( meaning - the beautiful forest) and check out these beautiful beast in the wild ( of course if you are lucky) .  You'll probably have to take a boat ride and for sure you'll be able to see some crocodiles and porpoises and yes, the most beautiful birds indeed.

My birthplace is Calcutta - the City of Joy!

 Literally!!


When  we were teenagers we use to see lots of budding lovers roaming around this beautiful Victoria Memorial garden and then you may take a few moments of cool at the bank of Ganges, or a boat ride at dusk.

I am skipping the yummy stuffs you may eat. I am
going straight to jewelry making.  Because that is what this blog and this post is all about.

I am used to seeing the most beautiful jewelry various brides wore on their wedding days.  They were not simple, most of the time they were over powering and gaudy. And some were darn beautiful.



But part of them were very wearable and just right.


Here I was intrigued with pieces like this





or like this

And then I created some thing like this.
alankarshilpa.etsy.com


Now this is very wearable and  I wore it  and made a sale.

 Seeing that, another friend asked if I can make one for her too,  I got another order to make it in another color.  So I am thinking in this line now.  Will let you know what I come up with.

Now this post was inspired by Nan Smith-  MY COUNTRY -FOR THEE I BEAD  series. And a bunch of us thought it would be fun to have this blog hop.  So come along with me, let's hop to different artist's studio and see what they have created .

Nan Smith (Canada)              http://wirednan.blogspot.ca/  <----->

Dini Bruinsma (The Netherlands)   http://angazabychanges.blogspot.com/

Stephanie Weiss (USA)          http://uniquelymebwd.blogspot.com/
Ana Cravidao (Portugal)         http://acbeads.blogspot.com 
Liz E (Pitcairn/USA)                http://beadcontagion.blogspot.com
Vera (Germany/USA)               http://veradesigns.blogspot.com/
Andra Marasteanu (Romenia)    http://bijouxdemonange.blogspot.com
Delilah (Romenia)                    http://mssdelilah.wordpress.com/

Jessica Murrey (USA)                http://whimsicalweavings.blogspot.com/

Mischelle Fannuchi (USA)          http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/

Rebecca (France/USA)             http://www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com

LiliKrist (Indonesia)                http://www.pcbylik.blogspot.com

NK Valentine Studio (Canada)   http://www.nvalentine.blogspot.com/

Karin (Canada)                       http://www.maverickbeads.blogspot.ca/
Diah Anggreni (Indonesia)      http://www.pernik-manik.blogspot.pt/
Karen (Australia)                   http://www.overthemoon-design.com/
Cath Thomas (The Netherlands/Switzerland)    http://samohtac.blogspot.com/
Asri Wahyuningsih (Indonesia/USA)     http://asribeadwork.blogspot.com
Crysalis Jewelry Design (Denmark/Canada) 
Jasvanti Patel (Brazil/ USA)     http://www.jewelrybyjasvanti.blogspot.com
Lola (Serbia/Canada)             http://beadlolabead.blogspot.com
Becky Peterson (Sweden/USA)

Paula Hisel (USA)                   http://simplybeadiful.weebly.com/
Inge Von Ross (Germany)        http://ingetraud.wordpress.com/
Laurie Vyselaar (USA)             http://lefthandjewelry.wordpress.com/
Toltec Jewels (Mexico/USA)      http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com/
                                                  * * *
Thank you Nan for doing this for us and I am sorry I was late in posting.



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Injuries and pain in jewelry making




Making jewelry is fun and it is so absorbing that sometimes we, jewelry makers can bring quite some pain, injuries and other health hazards in our lives. Yes, these are the agony and ecstasy of this profession.


Repetitive Stress Injuries is a common thing in jewelry making.  Rena Klingenburg in her article has elaborated what it is all about and how we can avoid much of them.

Correct posture, ergonomic awareness, choosing the right jewelry making tools are important aspects that we often tend to over look.

I found another beautiful blog where Patricia writes about the wrist tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndromes  and  explains them  nicely. Some preventive suggestions are also provided.

Look,  what hand stamping craziness can go on in these forum discussions if you are not careful,  and many times we, moms do have to do multitasking and we tend to forget about our own health and safety.

Two years ago I had a serious case of sciatic pain that I have shared in my blog and I think getting too absorbed in my beading, sitting for long stretch of time without  a break,  was a crucial factor for that condition.

Now I use a kitchen timer.   Seriously.   And never allow myself to sit for more than thirty minutes at a time.  This also measures how much time I am putting in individual jewelry making and makes it easier for pricing it later.

Since I work from home I have divided my house work and gardening chores with beading to give my body some movement and  high energy work outs and then some  calm beading time.  This solves my problem to some extent.

Today I am going to share something very unique that I have not seen or heard of. 

I was going to make a fine knitted jewelry bracelet with silver wire and amethyst gemstone for a bride as her wedding gift.
 




After fifteen minutes or so my fingers were really stressed, much more than usual. Especially my forefinger of the left hand, where the skin meets the nail started turning red and then purple.  It was bleeding inside.


The bride loves purple, and I had only that afternoon to finish.  So I kept going on and finally finished the bracelet.

Wire knit bracelet with 26 g wire and US size 1 needles.

The mistake I made was- I used 26 g wire and size US 1 needles. I  should have used thinner wire and thicker needles.

See here in the picture below I have used a 28 g wire and a  much thicker pair of needles,  a size US 4 needles to be precise. It was much easier to knit and can you tell the difference?


Knitted jewelry with size 28 g wire and US Size 4 needles

But that wrong decision of using 26 g wire with size 1 (very thin) needle made my fingers purple and kind of paralyzed me from jewelry making for a couple of days.

  Oh well, for a bride who loves purple, probably that pain was okay.  Like Mother Teresa said-

                                                    When giving hurts that is a  gift!
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