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

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  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


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 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

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


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.


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 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.


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


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!


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.

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)      <----->

Dini Bruinsma (The Netherlands)

Stephanie Weiss (USA)
Ana Cravidao (Portugal) 
Liz E (Pitcairn/USA)      
Vera (Germany/USA)     
Andra Marasteanu (Romenia)
Delilah (Romenia)          

Jessica Murrey (USA)      

Mischelle Fannuchi (USA)

Rebecca (France/USA)   

LiliKrist (Indonesia)      

NK Valentine Studio (Canada)

Karin (Canada)             
Diah Anggreni (Indonesia)
Karen (Australia)         
Cath Thomas (The Netherlands/Switzerland)
Asri Wahyuningsih (Indonesia/USA)
Crysalis Jewelry Design (Denmark/Canada) 
Jasvanti Patel (Brazil/ USA)
Lola (Serbia/Canada)   
Becky Peterson (Sweden/USA)

Paula Hisel (USA)         
Inge Von Ross (Germany)
Laurie Vyselaar (USA)   
Toltec Jewels (Mexico/USA)
                                                  * * *
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!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Story telling for your online business marketing - like Etsy shop

 Is story telling necessary in your product description for your online business marketing  success?

Why do you need to tell stories in your product description for your online business like Etsy shop?

Is it essential to spend so much time and energy to weave stories for describing your products ?

 I did not think so, and I  did not pay much attention.

Yesterday some thing happened that changed my view.

 An item from my Etsy store got sold and the buyer wrote me a message that the story behind the making of the jewelry intrigued her and she thinks my jewelry will  find a good home with her.

Galaxy Necklace- Knitted silver wire with antique crystals

 How touching.

I had been reading about the importance story telling  in the  product description and lately took some time to revise and rewrite the product descriptions of many of  my items  in my online Etsy shop. It was indeed a lot of work and I wished I could spend that time in designing and making jewelry. But now I am convinced that it pays off.

What I have learned in this process and from many valuable resources are:

* Basic description:

Yes, you need to give the basic description and dimension of your products, the colors and the exact information about  the materials used.  But with good pictures they may be obvious and redundant.  So you need to go beyond that.  

*Appeal to senses and emotions

Bring vocabulary from  all the  five senses, not just the visual one. Use delicious words to describe-  suggests Jessica Howard. For example use mango, or melon, instead of the ordinary orange to enhance the shade or the color of orange. The online customer can not touch or feel your products, so  give him these sensations with your words.

*Connect with the buyer.

 How  buying this product is  going to solve any of her problems or make her extra special owning it?   Can you convince her?   Hard, but give it a try.

Give her the feeling of owning it and why it is absolutely essential.  You have no other tools, nothing but words and yes, pictures.  So use them with care.

 *Answer in a nutshell – “What’s in it for me?”

 This is what the buyer wonders when she is browsing.

Yes, your online customers are pleased to know that you are passionate about your art, but how does that affect him or  benefit him?

Online shoppers have less time and patience.  So answer this basic question quickly. Brevity is crucial.

 How possessing your product can make him feel special or solve his problem?

So, in a nut shell you have to give your potential customers a compelling story about your product that will impress him enough  to buy.

“I think more people want to have stories about the things in their life” says Bradford Shellhammer- co founder of 

I hear the echo in  Ki Mae Henssner’ s voice  in the article How new commerce sites like Etsy, mass production model.

Therefore, I understand that it is crucial to write a good story in a nutshell to impress the  online customers.  This is one thing you can do  that mass production can not do.

But then read the comments on theEtsy team forum about Marketing with your stories 

 There are mixed opinions and some are strong against telling stories for product description.

Many of them think that most buyers really do not care for stories and rather would  go for the facts of the products and that is what they are expecting.

So why waste time in telling stories in your product description?

What about you?

What do you think as a buyer or seller?  Is it that important?

Some business topics:

Why Niche Marketing is Essential
 Strategies to boost online business and sales in Etsy shop

Thursday, June 13, 2013

In the Eye of the Beholder


Photo credit:  Andrea C. Jenkins
In the Eye of the Beholder

Her dying hands.

Fingers- frail, trembling, freckled with age spots
Like gnarls of an old oak tree.

The little boy did not see that.

In his soft hands
In his new camera
He captured the vibrant vermillion in grandma's fingers.

Link: Short Story/Poem Contest 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Anklet blog hop

Here is a pair of anklets I made recently,  motivated by my friend  Kashmira.

Kashmira gave a wonderful link where we could get some ideas about the size and the length of anklets, which I have lost now,  but I remembered  that it can be any where from 8 inches ( petite) to 10 inches ( large).  I double checked it too .

Anklet for a baby
This was made for a baby about nine months old,  as a special jewelry gift  for her auspicious Rice Ceremony. Rice Ceremony is when  the baby eats the first  solid food- ( or rice in our case ) in my culture.  That is  a day when a big party  is called for.

Here, this little girl, Tara has her initial T as a charm in this anklet,  and a tiny silver heart as a clasp.  Her birthstone is peridot, so I chose that gemstone and pearls  for good luck.  These little things dangle from a pair of chains.  One of the silver chains is just a normal rolo and the other sort of curved links.

The length is about 6 1/2 inch.  So when she is older I hope she can also wear it as bracelets.

Now Kashmira did enthuse  a  bunch of jewelry designers like me  in this project, so I am going to go browse all the other ankle goodies now.  Come along with me.

Kashmira Patel
Kaushambi Shah Will post on Kashmira's blog
Jean Wells
Mischelle Fanucchi
Shellie Grindie
Ginger Bishop
Monique U
Cynthia Machata
Kay Thomerson
Mimi Gardner
Anindita Basu
Rita (Toltec Jewels)
Gina Hockett
Tammie Everly
Jessica Murray
Dyanne Cantrell
Ema Kilroy  

Emma Todd
K Morgan
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson
Cheri Reed
Rochelle Brisson
Michelle Buettner
Sandra McGriff
Stephanie Weiss
Shelley Graham Turner
Vickie Foley
Lynda Carson
Roxanne Mendoza

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why a niche market is essential for online jewelry business or your Etsy store

 Niche marketing is one of the several important  pieces of the puzzle in selling jewelry  online profitably.

 Jewelry is probably the most saturated area in the Etsy world.  Statistics say that there are3,583,594 jewelry shops in Etsy.

 No wonder I am lost in that jungle and no one knows about me.

 Shouldn’t I make what most people look for and things that are trendy?

 A wee voice inside me protests. That is not why I started in the first place.  I want to make knitted wire jewelry which is not very common and I love that because I love to knit and I love to create jewelry.

Wire knit necklace with silver and pearl

I feel confused and hesitant, a bit down too.

 Then, I came across this wonderful quotation-

“Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive” - - Howard Thurman 

It helped me get back on my feet.

Now, what is a Niche?

A niche can be defined as a small segment in a market or a  subset with in a set.  Your niche market must be able to solve one or more than one problems of a group of people.  Once you have a clear understanding that  who these people are, your marketing will be easier in terms of showcasing your products or advertising to the right crowd.

Experts say that in order to survive in the crowd you have to have a niche and show your uniqueness. 
What I find from my research is:


A concept of the  right keywords is very  important in this equation.  Your niche market or the defining keywords must have substantial demand and low competition.

 In the online business that means you have to do your home work and  research, find the demand and supply using Google Ad words and/or other measures. (Find out how to search for key words)


Your jewelry or products must have be a unique style that is not common and not easily available in big box stores or else where.


This is tricky because here I find that there are several loose ends that are important and to be tied to make the knot secure in the business of online selling profitably.

Your aim is not just driving traffic to your shop but turning those to sales.

You must start with at least five high traffic key words and five long tail relevant key words that tie  your jewelry niche.

Your landing page, descriptions, tags everything in your Etsy shop must be consistent with your niche.

Your niche has to be so unique that people cannot leave without buying from you.

 Like Niche, the other side of the same  coin is the understanding of the concept-  Brand (which calls for an entire post soon.)

Your online store must be cohesive with the banner, contents and everything to show off your niche and the brand.

Room to grow:

 In order to sell your jewelry  profitably online,  what I understand is- it has to be something that you love to do, have the capacity to branch out and expand, keeping the same cohesive and consistent  unique brand.  This commitment and passion will be crucial for the long haul.

Marketing for an unusual niche can be challenging.  Listen to Susanna from Mars Bling who makes science jewelry, rather,  just Mars related jewelry.  She was having problem selling them off line because not too many people are passionate about Mars jewelry.  But they are there.

Now, there are more than  thirty comments in the forum all trying to help how she should market for her unique niche.

Another example is when a jewelry artist who makes jewelry out of fishing lures is at a loss.  Read the unique comments she got for marketing strategies.

In How to sell and make craft  the author cautions that your unique tiny niche may get crowded, people may start copying you and sell  cheaper and so forth.

I believe that the original artist is always superior to the ones who copy.  I believe that the  original artist does possess that  talent to be  capable of  bringing new twists with in the same niche and thus  thrive.

Some more related posts:

Are you convinced that you must have a niche?

 Do you think it is easier to survive and sell profitably  online  rather when you make jewelry (or products)  for the general public and something trendy? What is your take on that?

I am curious to hear your comment and when you leave a link with your comment, people will find you too. Thank you.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.  There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.”- Rumi

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