Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Taking the plunge

So despite an initial flicker in the life of my teeny handmade jewellery business it seemed like I had drifted to a halt.What now? Needed to prove to the shops that my jewellery sells at certain price level. So I need some lovely customers to buy some! Now why depend on someone else to provide customers, especially if they're not motivated to take good care of your precious items. However, bank is emptier than a biscuit barrel left in the care of my kids. So what is the cheapest & low risk way to meet the lovely customers?
The photo is the answer...invest in a gazebo, a buffet table and appropriate insurance & then contact any local county shows to see which ones you can attend. The first time was another 'aaargh!' jump off the cliff moment, but  armed with assistance from long suffering hubbie, a calculator, petty cash, & sandwiches it was well worth it. You finally get to meet the customers yourself & even sell a few things too. Initially underestimated how much prep though ..all that labelling, listing, deciding on displays etc! Be prepared & watch the weather forecast! Managed to breath some life back into the business, but left with nagging question put to me by several customers,

'I don't have the money on me today, but do you have a website?' Well that's another good question isn't it!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Make you smile quote of the week

'There is nothing so annoying as to have two people talking when you're busy interrupting' by Mark Twain

Friday, 24 June 2011

Folksy Item of the week...vehicles & vintage

As I'm off to the Distington vintage car rally on 3rd July 2011 I decided that would be a great theme for this week's item of the week.This delightful photo is by folksy seller Juliemphotoraphy.
She also does some great encaustic art so check out her shop at http://www.folksy.com/shops/juliemphotography

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Reject rejection

Well after being turned down by 2 more shops I went for a third one in desperation. She loved the jewellery, but also shook her head. 'It's just too extravagant & expensive for us...our customers are just looking for cheap stuff.' I looked around the shop. She was right...it was the cheap souvenir type place.
Despondent and dejected I returned home.
Well you have to question why you're being rejected. It's not a time to sit down, feeling sorry for oneself. So when I asked my self that question, I came up with some learning points;
1. Shopkeepers want to know what they can sell it at...not just what you want for it (but you do need to know your borttom line if you want to earn a living.)
2.Having evidence of it selling at a certain price is really, really useful.
3.Don't try and sell it to a shop that just doesn't sell the level of item that you're making.
4.Have some great photos of your jewellery to hand, so they don't forget how wonderful it was after you've left.
5. Mark ups can vary greatly.
6.Swot up on some useful business terminology in a book/website ...or an exceedingly useful blog like this one!!

So how did I overcome the dilemma of a very short track record of sales versus convincing shops that my jewellery really can sell? Watch for the next blog & you'll find out!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Make you smile quote of the week

'Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life' quoted by Herbert Henry Asquith

Sunday, 19 June 2011

No Sale & No Return

My genius brain finally clicked with what 'sale or return' meant. Basically you give, for free, your precious jewellery masterpieces to a complete stranger & hope that they will eventually give you some money for them or that you can get them back unharmed at some date in the future. Pretty trusting, eh? It's what I'd already been doing at the gallery, but hadn't heard the term before. So, armed with my great depth of experience selling handmade jewellery (about 17 items to date) & my newly acquired terminology of 'sale or return', I confidently approached another craft shop.
I wavered slightly, when across the counter of this shop I met the gaze of a rather dour faced man. In response to my query as to whether he had the time to to look at my jewellery for a moment, I rather got the impression that he was looking to see if any real customers were about to enter the shop to give him an excuse to decline. However, it remained completely devoid of any life except the two of us. He closed his newspaper & then dragged off the lid of one my boxes. I'm sure I saw a brief spark of interest, but it soon faded when he then asked the question 'How much?' Well, I wasn't going to go straight into giving the jewellery away this time, so I answered '£15 per necklace.' He frowned, picked another one up, 'Even this one?' he asked.
'Yes, even that one.' I was going to stand my ground this time.
His frown deepened. 'And just how much have you sold them for yourself?'
For some strange reason, I answered honestly, 'Well £18 to £21, but I'm sure you'll sell them for more here.' (After all, he is a proper shopkeeper, I thought)
He laughed at me & said, 'Well that's not much of a mark up. I get these for £7 & sell at £14 & they're very popular & even those, they're sterling silver!'


Well, he had a point I suppose, but I couldn't give away my masterpieces, hours & skill in the making, for about £9 each.Couldn't pay a mouse for that wage.
I pointed out that they were individually handmade (NOT MASS PRODUCED!!) & Made in Cumbria ...everyone loves that.
Well, not this man. 'I don't believe in all that made in Cumbria nonsense.' He smiled, as he watched me squirming in front of him. I briefly considered telling him that he was missing the opportunity of a lifetime, as although I was as yet an unknown jewellery artiste, one day I would be famous & if he got in there quick he would already have some of my works. It seemed a little premature to be saying this, though. Instead I offered victoriously my trump card.'You can have them on a sale or return basis.'
He sighed, as he obviously realised there was only one way to get this woman out of his shop. 'I'll show your pictures to my business partner, it'll be up to her.'


Loaded with boxes of jewellery I exited the shop, confident in the knowledge that I would not be returning!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Folksy item of the week ....BIRDS


In celebration of my hubbie having a seagull poop on his head I decided this weeks theme had to be for our feathered friends!


Some say a seagull landing one on your head is lucky...but is that just to help detract from the stinky goo that is then dripping across your face! Anyway this cute pick of chicks from Claire Sibley on folksy are definitely poo free & can keep your eggs lovely and warm. Check out her shop at www.folksy.com/shops/ClaireSibley for more cute critters. Thank you Claire for letting me post your chicks on this blog!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

No Idea


Sound in the knowledge that I had already persuaded one shop to sell my handmade jewellery, I eagerly set off in search of another.However, no messing about this time, I knew what minimum price I was going to charge. Hopefully, if all went well I would be returning home minus the jewellery & with a fat cheque to put in the bank. All went well at first in the craft shop that I had entered. A kindly lady made appropriate 'ooohs' and 'aaahs' at my jewellery. I knew I had it clinched .... until her final statement.


'Well, I don't have room for them at the moment, but I'll call you...oh, and of course it is sale or return. I smiled & noddded knowingly.  'Of course,' I replied. Holding my composure, I departed the shop, not revealing one sign that my brain was busy rattling around the question of SALE OR RETURN! What the heck was that? I drove away with no fat cheque, no orders & no idea what she had meant.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Make you smile quote

It may be that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

This week's quote's original author is unknown, but I hope it still makes you smile!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Folksy item of the week......medieval!


My medieval mood was inspired by a week of chainmailing & so it only seemed appropriate to continue the theme into folksy item of the week...this gothic dragon necklace by Flame Haired Jewellery Designs, www.folksy.com/shops/flamehairedjewellerydesigns
Once again very difficult choice from all the offers on show, but a fierce dragon fits well with someone in a medieval mood! Thank you Flame Haired Jewellery Designs for allowing me to display this item on the blog & thank you everyone who posted some brilliant items on the thread.May have to do medieval again sometime as more of you deserve some 'air time'!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Blooming Bouquets of Jewellery

After I'd sold that first necklace I relaxed back for a few months waiting for that monthly cheque. Oh yes, I had it cracked now.Even one very kind visitor to the gallery ordered a dozen of the flower necklaces & another lady asked me for items for her garden shop. I scurried out  to get a small book for all these massive orders to go in. Well, you can imagine my surprise when the order book remained empty & the cheques were rapidly diminishing. So what was a handmade jewellery seller to do?

Let's be honest, I'm really a curl up & craft quietly sort of person, not a loud and look at me salesperson & what do you mean marketing? Driven by the desire to create more masterpieces, though, I realised that I would need more supplies, which required more money, which could be obtained by selling more of  the said masterpieces. I had to act. First thought was to do what I did before...just walk up to the counter in a shop....but would that work a second time?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dog Therapy

What do you do when the hustle bustle of life becomes too much and you feel like your brain ( & body!) is freezing up with the stress of it all. Well if you are lucky enough to have a dog like this you simply spend some time with her. She'll chill you out, get you fit, & help unlock that creative genius of yours. This particular one is a trailhound , an ex racing dog. They are a particular type of dog from Cumbria & if you want to give an ex racer a loving home you can contact http://www.trailhoundwelfare.org.uk

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Make you smile Quote of the week 1

Here's a quote to cheer you up at the start another week!


'The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is why he makes so many of them' stated by Abraham Lincoln.

What name was it?


 So I'd actually convinced a gallery/ shop to display some of my items & even give me a slice of the money if anything sold. It felt like hitting the lottery jackpot when that first small cheque wafted it's way through the letterbox. So this was it....the business had started. Well it has if you think you might actually ever sell more than one!

So that's another important milestone in the fledgling life of a handmade jewellery seller. Fortunately I had already done some self employed work with the 'proper job' so I was already registered self employed, paying appropriate National Insurance & had an accountant. However, if you're completely new to this in the UK check out the rules first. Great guidance is at;
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/startup

Only thing is now you've got to give yourself a name.So believing I was unique I just used my own name at first, but have you ever facebook searched your own name?...Ok well maybe not so unique after all! ! Now you've got to put your thinking cap on at this point. Any name you want should help computer searches for your business & maybe reflect a bit of you. Only problem when I thought up loads of wonderfully brilliant ingenious names was when I googled them...darn it, someone else had already had the same ingenious idea!

I settled on Spiral Fountain Jewellery as it didn't come up on google (except with garden ornaments!) & I do love spirals if you hadn't already noticed from my wire work. Well choosing the name of your business is pretty daunting...let's be honest you may be stuck with it forever, akin to getting married! On the subject of which, did you notice the photos?( if you haven't what have you been looking at?!!) I can provide custom made wedding jewellery
                                                                               

Friday, 3 June 2011

Folksy item of the week for a theme of....shells


Well, as expected it was incredibly difficult to choose this week's Folksy item, but this one from Silent Theatre made me chuckle & smile so I thought you could all do with a smile too ( look for the crab!)

 Thank you all who showed me pictures & thanks SilentTheatre who you can find at http://www.folksy.com/shops/SilentTheatre  for letting me display this picture.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Tool of the month 1: The helping hand

 This is what it says on the can...an extra helping hand and definitely a favourite of mine as my stubby fingers definitely get in the way when chainmailing! I'm sure I paid less than £10 for this a while back on ebay, so a great value tool.