Saturday, 24 March 2012

Pamper evening - Update

Just ove a week ago I attended the pamper evening I mentioned in my last blog entry. The night wasn't as busy as the last event we held at the same location back in September, but then that night was a gorgeous 18 or 20 degrees in temperature! This pamper evening was much cooler.

Again I didn't sell anything at this event, not that I actually expected to, but the real down side was how much I managed to spend while there! Mind you, I did wine a bottle of wine in the "Wine or water" challenge and the cake was just soooo yummy I wish I'd more some more when they lowered the price to 50p each. It was the other items that cost the money, but I'm not going to go into the details of those here. Suffice to say, having access to a "float tin" is not always a good thing!

Anyway, on to the evening, I laid out my stall and decided that this time I would take a few photos - see below for them. The layout is not the most "professional" display, but as I said in my last post it's cheap and made up from things I generally had in the house. The only things I bought to use on the stall was the mirror (helpful in the house too) and the smaller boxes now covered in gold paper. This is a full view of the stall:

These are some close ups of it layout too:

I did get to enthuse about my sterling silver chain maille jewellery to a few people so that was fun - I did warn them it would happen but they let me go ahead anyway! And a number of people picked up a postcard or business to take away, so you never know, that might just lead to something.

In the meantime, it must be spring as the tulips are out - it's the only tulip in the garden and I have no idea where it came from, pretty though:

Until next time

Friday, 16 March 2012

Pamper evening - tonight!

Well tonight I'll be in Pytchley at the primary school for a "pamper evening". This is the 2nd event I've done here, the last being in September 2011 (I blogged about it on 19 Feb 2012) and I'm looking forward to it.

Again like in September, I don't expect to sell any jewellery (although it would be nice to do so) so I plan to have fun talking to people. I'm taking a few lampwork beads and sterling silver wire in the hope I might be able to make some pendants, but I suspect I'll be too busy chatting etc.

One topic that is always of interesting to "makers of things" about doing events like this is "how do you present your things". People who do more selling than I do have no doubt learnt over time what works for them in terms of presentation and effort.

In September when I did my first event I did as much preparation as I felt I needed to do for it. I bought a piece of white material (long enough to cover a trestle table I thought) and a "cutoff" of pale green material to use as a center piece - I got both of these from a local material shop. I then hemmed both the pieces of material (very roughly you understand as using a sewing machine is not something I've had a lot of practice at). I bought some of those little white paper labels on thread as I planned to tie one to each piece and have the label showing the price. I also made up some small sticky labels with my company logo on, I thought they'd do for "advertising" on the pages of the "invoice" pad I also bought. I thought I'd be really professional and write "invoices" for the items I sold and then I'd be able to copy the details into my accounts spreadsheet.

What really happened at the first event was not what I thought! No surprise there I'm sure you agree.

The large white piece of material more than covered the table at the September event and I thought looked nice with the green piece on top. At the December event (blogged about on 23 Feb 2012) the white piece only just covered the table (it was much bigger) and had to be held on with masking tape to stop it sliding off, but again the green looked good on top of it.

The labels on thread turned out to be really fiddly to attach, especially where the item was a pair of earrings with nowhere to "attach" the thread, so I didn't attach them to anything, instead I just slipped them into the boxes that held the items after I'd written the price on the label.

As I didn't sell any items in September the invoice pad and sticky labels with logos got no use at all. When I sold the first item in December I offered to write an invoice, the buyer said "okay, but I don't really need it" and so that activity died too. I've kept the invoice book in case someone does one day want one, but I'm not going to push to use them.

The little sticky labels have ended up stuck on the bottom of the presentation boxes that all the items are in. On the labels I've written the code of the item inside it, this is so I can quickly tell which boxes hold sterling silver items, or gold plated items. I now plan to also produce a "brochure" folder of photos of all my items and have that out on my stall (not tonight as it isn't done yet) and to have all the items behind the stall. Then if someone wants to see the item in the brochure, it should (in theory) be easy to lay my hands on the box if the item is not already out on display. This use of the stickers will definitely continue. And I'm getting tempted to use the sticky labels inside the boxes with the price written on them, but I haven't done that yet either.

To help display the items on my stall and to add interest to the display by providing different height layers, I grabbed a couple of cardboard supply boxes I use in the house. These boxes have been around for years and at the time that I bought them I covered them in gold wrapping paper to hide the bright stripes they were printed with. So I thought the gold paper would do well on a jewellery stall too. Anyway, using the boxes worked okay but I thought they were rather large. Just before Christmas I was wandering around a local shop and happened to spot a couple of cardboard boxes that would make a lower level display box so I bought them. When I got home I then covered the new boxes with the same gold wrapping paper I used on the first boxes (luckily I still had some of the paper left), so the boxes I'll be using tonight are shown in the photo below, on the bottom is the original box I used with the new box on top:

Golden boxes

I'm going to see how the stall works tonight with these two sizes of boxes. I'll be taking four boxes with me, two of each size, and I'll see what I end up using.

Anyway, better stop there, I'll let you know how I get on (if I remember to, I notice that I don't always follow up on posts, I'm going to try and do better with that in future).

Until next time

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Still no mojo!

I came back from the second selling event (Dec 2011) feeling that I was getting back my enthusiasm back for the jewellery, but since then I haven’t really spent any time making jewellery, just thinking about how I go forward from this point. It’s taking longer than I thought it would to get my “mojo” back but I’m hoping it will come back soon.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to move away from just having my own website as a point of sale. Partly because I haven’t managed to get PayPal buttons on to my website. It is, apparently, very easy to do, but so far I have failed to make it work at all. I may have another attempt later in the year, but for now I decided to take another path.

I have looked at the prices for sterling silver chain maille bracelets on Ebay a couple of times to try and get a feel for the pricing that is out there. One thing I found was that if the sellers on Ebay really made some of these items themselves with the hours involved and the current price of silver, then they are selling the items for a serious loss. A bracelet similar to my own sterling silver byzantine piece

My sterling silver byzantine bracelet
was selling for £4.56 - mind you it was coming from Hong Kong so I'm not sure I'd believe that it really was "sterling silver" as the advert claimed.

So, rather than try to use Ebay, I’ll be using Etsy. Etsy was originally set up in the States for online selling of handmade, vintage or items supplied to make something from. Now there is a large British presence on Etsy, enough that they allow transactions in Pounds Sterling as well as US Dollars. I have an Etsy buyers account and have had for a few months as I have used it as a place to buy lampwork beads. I found it originally because I started following various lampwork bead makers on Twitter and started looking at some of the goods they made and were selling through Etsy. Anyway, I now think it is time to start looking to sell on Etsy as I think that the jewellery I make falls into the “handmade” items category quite nicely. I also know that some of the jewellers I respect and admire have Etsy shops as well as their websites so I’d like to think my work will be in good company.

I’ll keep you up to date with my progress, that is assuming my usual “procrastination” delays don’t get in the way too much.

Until the next post