November 30, 2009

Nesting and Crafting and Showing and Selling!

Merry Christmastime! I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving break and are just as excited about this next month as I am! I had a very productive Thanksgiving weekend. Between eating and sleeping and cooking and cleaning, we also put up our tree and other Christmas decorations, went shopping on Black Friday, washed our cars, cleaned our closets, did laundry, went to the jewelry district, spent most of Sunday at church, had dinner(s) with friends, and even found a few minutes in there for me to nap, knit, and scrapbook! I would have to say it was a very productive weekend! I also finished a necklace that has been on my to-do list for far too long this weekend! A seminary friend of mine asked me to recommend some jewelry from my shop for her to give two new mommy friends of hers. While I showed her a few pieces I though would fit the occasion, I also told her that I was thinking of making an item I have had on my mind for awhile - a hand wrapped wire birds nest with pearls. Holly loved the idea and was kind enough to give me all the time I needed, which came in handy once I figured out how much wire these little guys need! After ordering more 24 gauge wire off of Amazon (a beading first, since my usual online resources only offer expensive sterling options), I finally reserved the time to make these little guys. I am not going to lie - they were a bit challenging, especially since I am not a wire-wrapping goddess! Either way, I think they turned out well... well enough to post in my shop! Speaking of posting in my shop, today is the last day to buy ANYTHING in Bead Up's Etsy shop and get FREE SHIPPING! I think the sale went well this weekend - I even sold a large order to someone in Australia! Lastly, if you didn't make it to the malls on Black Friday or still have some Christmas shopping to do and are in the LA area, let me invite you to come and check out all the Bead Up carries at one of two shows I am doing this weekend! Here is the information:
Friday, December 4th 1-7 pm, Burbank, California Providence High School's 7th Annual Christmas Boutique located in the school's MPR room (click here for directions). In addition to having a Bead Up booth, this show will also feature gift baskets, sterling silver jewelry, brittle and other Christmas sweets, and a raffle. From what I hear, this show is a big deal :) Saturday, December 5th
4-9 pm, Redondo Beach, California (south of Manhattan Beach) Riviera Hall Lutheran School's Who-ville “Christmas Means Something More” Boutique located in the school's Rygh Hall (click here for directions). This one promises good food, sales, and even some live entertainment, too!
I will of course be spending this week making new and re-newed items for the show and also my Etsy site :) The hubs and I scored lots of great deals this weekend in the jewelry district and I am excited to show them to you! It's going to be a crazy busy week - but I wouldn't have it any other way!

November 25, 2009

Holiday SALE! Free Shipping!

Etsy is having a HUGE Black Friday-Cyber Monday SALE this week - and Bead Up is fully IN! Bead Up is offering
on EVERYTHING in the shop! That's right - get it while it's hot! Click here to start shopping!
I literally spent over an hour today re-tagging everything in my shop to be included in Etsy's annual sale :) To find Bead Up's and other great Etsy products on sale, search for "EtsyHolidaySale" or "EtsyFreeShipping" in the search box on the Etsy homepage. Support handmade items and their sellers!
Happy Thanksgiving!

November 20, 2009

Fashionably Friday: Thanksgiving Jewelry

I am not one to wear "seasonal" jewelry. You won't catch me in Santa earrings or star-spangled banner broaches. On principle, I don't make "seasonal" jewelry either, partially because it limits the items' sell-by date (much like milk) and also isn't really within my personal taste range (since my motto is only to sell what I make if I am confident enough to wear it myself). That's not to say that I wouldn't make a seasonal piece of jewelry if someone asked, though of course would want to make it true to my taste and other Bead Up pieces. Thus the artistic dilemma. Thankfully many artisans on Etsy have made wearing seasonal jewelry look GOOD. Here are a few "Thanksgiving" pieces that, I think, would look great year-round! Autumn-colored related jewelry:
I just love this little "Thankful" necklace from TheSilverDiva. And the best part is that it's only $20 AND customizable!
The product is as stunning as the picture! Autumns Bliss from JL67 ($37).
Chic and simple. That's how I like it! $31 from Mycellardoor.
Thanksgiving Food-related jewelry:
Not only is this precious, it's also made of a recycled watch back! $45 from CosmicButterfly.
Get it? Ahahah! $7 from Nerdgoddess.
Now I am getting hungry...! Only $6.50 from ilyaToni.
Ok, not only is this thing a super chic homage to Nightmare Before Christmas, but it also is supposed to smell like PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE! $40 from TinyCravings.
And political humor-related Thanksgiving jewelry:
$6.95 from thegildedlily.
I think that about sums it up :) Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

November 18, 2009

I love you, Wednesdays.

Ok, Ok, I will admit it. I don't care for autumn. In fact, it's my least favorite season. My allergies kick in and remind me that I a feeble person. My cute summer dresses go back in the corner of the closet and are replaced by less exciting sweaters and pants. The falling of leaves, though beautiful (and no where to be found here in LA), remind me that things - good things - end, even if there will be another spring and summer. The most redeeming part of fall? It means WINTER is around the corner - and with that comes CHRISTMAS and SNOW (the later also not in LA!). I had a really, really hard time finding autumn-related items on Etsy that I found inspiring. I have missed doing these I Love You, Wednesday features but have felt uninspired to do them lately (and have lacked the time, honestly) since I am not actively creating any new jewelry and thus haven't thought about the inspiration behind them (the inspiration for what I have been creating has been strictly to fulfill orders customers made at the party!). The more I hunted around Etsy, the more I realized that I drawn to clean, crisp designs and bold colors... I have a feeling that says something about my design aesthetic, too. You be the judge ;)
Don't forget to visit their shops!
So, what inspires you today?

November 16, 2009

Catch Up - Custom Jewelry and Fun Packaging

Though I haven't been actively making new jewelry designs for Etsy since the party, I have been quite busy with some custom orders from the event itself. It was so fun to have people come up to me saying, "I love this, but would like it in another color/size/shape/etc." So far I have made 6 custom pieces, ranging from earrings to match necklaces customers bought at the party to specialty sterling silver and Swarovski pieces. I am also working on a massive Sterling Silver, coral, and turquoise charm bracelet for a co-worker that will incorporate some charms from her "hippie days" and peace beads she has acquired over the years. It will definitely be a test of skill for me since this type of piece is not really in my background! At the party the best friend of Marla, the hostess, came up to me and said that she was looking for a glasses strap. I told her I have made them before with the little plastic loops at the end that hold the glasses. She said that all her co-workers have necklaces with a loop at the middle that comes down to their chest. I sketched an example and she said, "You make it and I will buy it!" We agreed on "black and silver funky beads" and a silver loop. Here's what I came up with... what do you think? Meanwhile, one of my best bud's from high school called me a few months ago asking if I could help her make some earring for her wedding day ensemble to go with her grandma's yellow pearl necklace (which her grandma wore on her own wedding day!). Abbey had already made her bridesmaids earrings out of matching yellow pearls and crystal discs between each pearl and wanted to incorporate the look. Abbey sent me tons of pearls, which gave me the chance to make several types of earrings from which she could choose. At the risk of "copying" Abbey's own design, I made a pair just like the earrings Abbey had made for her bridesmaids but added a pearl to either end to make them a bit longer. I figured Abbey wouldn't want to wear this specific design because she could have just made them herself - turns out they were exactly what she had hoped for! Abbey was kind enough to have her photographer take pictures of her jewelry on her special day! Abbey and Brad were married on October 31st, the same day both her mother and grandmother were married on, all 27 years apart! What an awesome way to continue a very unique tradition! (You can read the Toledo Blade's article about it here). Lastly, a dear friend from seminary recently found out she is having a baby boy. My hubs was back in Berkeley last week and met with the couple, so of course, since I couldn't be there, I sent a little something special as a congratulations gift: a brass "grow" tag necklace with a heart charm and yellow rose, reminding them to "Grow in Love." What I think was better than the necklace was the packaging that I came up with, thanks to some scrap paper and my Cricut machine!
I just love pink, brown, green, and white ;)

November 13, 2009

Fashionably Friday: The Country Music Awards

Let me begin with a HUGE disclaimer. I am not a die hard country music fan. Though I grew up in Ohio and went to college in Kentucky, I went out of my way to avoid it because people thought it would be fun to shove it down the throats of the innocent pop-lovin' public. Ironically, I only recently started listening to country music - it draws me back to feeling normal when finding myself surrounded by all the weird that is in Los Angeles. That said, I only know the basics about country music and fashion and DO NOT claim to be any kind of expert. In fact, I would like to claim that the following post is nothing more than the observances of a Los Angeles girl watching the Country Music Awards from her home in Hollywood. I don't mean to insult anyone with my comments, I am just calling it as I see it. Don't hate, and I won't either (well, at least I will try...)! Now that we have gotten that out of our system we can move on! On Wednesday night I found myself pleasantly surprised that I had not only made time to watch the CMA's, but that I really enjoyed it. Let's face it, most... no... all other music awards shows are nothing but trash and lame attempts at cheap publicity. The CMA's, on the other hand, are like the Oscars of Music award shows. I didn't feel violated or morally/visually insulted after having watched it!
What I did find challenging was understanding some of the performer's jewelry choices, while others' choices made me yell "You got it!" to the TV screen. Here are a few pictures I conjured up (all pictures from unless otherwise noted):
Best Ensemble of the Night: Miss Taylor Swift. Not only are her earrings and bracelet perfectly matched to the colors and embellishments of the outfit, but she took the less-is-more route and let the many sequins on the dress be the main attraction. Congrats on all your awards, cute-as-a-button tall twig! I just hope she doesn't take the Britney Spears route hereafter :(
The More is More Award: Faith Hill. Since her dress (which has a jeweled halter strap in the front), hair, and makeup are beautifully simple, layering SIMPLE and thin necklaces made for a great choice. Add those to (what I am sure are) massively expensive earrings and you have yourself a winner (which begs the question, if you are looking that smokin' AND standing next to Tim McGraw, why aren't you smiling?) (pictures from and Red Carpet Fashion Awards) The More is NOT More Award: Martina McBride. I love the dress. I think it looks great with her complexion and her hair. But as I was watching, all I could think was "Take a tip from Faith, sister!" Though these pictures hardly do it justice, she had on at least 5 necklaces of different lengths AND an jeweled embellishment on her waist. Add those with what looked like an assortment of cheap looking bangles trailing up her arm and you have yourself a misstep. (The picture on the left looks JUST like what my wrists looked like after a week at summer camp! Anyone else been there?). (picture on right from Best Use of Embellishments Award: Michelle Branch. Though I didn't know she was into the country music scene, I also didn't recognize her when she was in my office a few weeks ago. I do recognize the bad-assery that is this outfit - between the great use of a big ole' jeweled necklace ON TOP OF a dress with embellishments at the waist and shoulders (done much better than Ms. McBride, sorry!), and that rock 'n roll spiky purse, I'd say we have a Rock Princess on our hands! The dress, by the way, is only listed at $2247 here. (picture from Red Carpet Fashion Awards). Way to Match Your Sash Award: Can You Duet Season 2 winner Meghan Linsey of Steel Magnolias not only wore FABULOUS and simple black earrings to match her dress, she also managed to match her cream colored hair to her platinum hair color! That's a skill, girl! Mother-of-the-Bride-in-the-Making Award: Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott. I actually love this ensemble. I love the use of those jewels on her shoulders (I think it's clear at this point that I love jewelry within clothes!). I love those big funky bridal-esk earrings. I even like her messy hair. What I don't like, though, is that this outfit, ESPECIALLY the color, makes this 23-year-old look like she graduated the same year as Heather Locklear. You are 23 and hot, girl, work it! The Matchy-Matchy Award: Kellie Pickler. There is definitely a difference between coordinating and matching, the later being a fashion/design no-no. While the critics have been all over this poor gal for her new hair color and wearing what looked like plastic wrap meshed with aluminum foil, I can't help but think she bought this as a set from a macrame dealer. And finally, the coveted WTF Award: this dude from Love and Theft. Less is more, bro. And I am pretty sure eye brow rings like that have been OUT since before you were born. Yaoza.
Well, that about concludes my first CMA Jewelry Award Ceremony ;) Hope I wasn't too harsh ;)

November 12, 2009

My first Church Christmas "Boutique" Show

After the success of my first (and so far only) jewelry party, I was ambitious and ready to take on more events! After being invited to 2 school/church shows for the first week of December, I started to think that perhaps such "craft boutique" shows would be a great way to boost my sales this and next month. While browsing through my church's monthly newsletter, I saw an advertisement for another Lutheran church's upcoming "Christmas Craft Boutique" to be held last weekend. I thought about it for a moment, and figured, what could I lose? I already have all the items, tagged and ready to go. I am not doing anything else the Saturday of the show. It would only cost me 15% of my profits for the day to rent a table, and even that money goes to the church's attempt at building a new roof. Sure, sign me up. Now, to be fair, I had a feeling going into this that it could be a COMPLETE HIT OR MISS. We are talking church craft show here. The first thing that comes to my mind is doilies and Raggedy Ann dolls. Were these ladies ready for Bead Up? The Hubs and I got up early on Saturday morning and loaded up the car with all the jewelry holders, signs, gift wrap, and tags that I had used at the jewelry party a few weeks ago. I told him as we drove to this church in a seedy neighborhood, "We could totally not make a single sale today, you do know that, right?" While I kept that in the back of my head under the mentality "Think negatively and you will be positively surprised," I also said to the Hubs that I would be entirely satisfied if I made $100, since I had just the day before sent in a check for the same amount to one of the two larger Christmas shows I am doing the first week of December (that way I also didn't have to cross contaminate my personal checking account, from which I wrote the check, and my Bead Up PayPal account, which I am using now solely on a black, not red, basis, and plan to keep it that way!). I of course would have liked to have made more than $100, but the way I saw it, even $100 was $100 more than I had when I woke up that morning. (can you see the look of enthusiasm in the Hubs' face?) We arrived at the church to find a small table waiting for me in the corner of a very tired fellowship hall. As I walked in, the coordinator of the event told me she placed me next to someone she thought I would know since she attend the same church as I do... turns out it was the grandparents of several of the kids in my youth group! The wife had several dozen of her (lovely, and very low priced) quilts on display and her husband was there to help him out. Having them next to us turned out to be a blessing in disguise as my poor Hubs needed the company and had really missed seeing this couple around church!
As the Hubs and I set up our table, it became clear that ours was definitely a different kind of craft compared to the other booths in the "boutique." One lady sold her old house plants in white ceramic "Best Mom" mugs. Other tables titled "Collectibles," had nothing more than garage sale items. Others had soccer-printed fleece dog blankets. I approached a little old lady at her table to see that she was also selling jewelry. "This is stuff left over from when I sold Avon jewelry in the 70's!" she said proudly. Next to it were several Mudd and Jordache jeans re-cut into purses with glitter puffy paint around the seams. "Now, don't worry about not being able to fit into those, honey!" she said to me as I began to walk on. "They are one-size-fits-all, cause they are purses! I fooled ya, didn't I?" (my table was a bit too small for all that I had ready to show - reminded me of living in a dorm again!)
Clearly I was in the wrong market. But we kept our spirits high and sat between the wall and our table as we watched lots of women in retirement walk in. And leave. A few friends from church happened to stop by and were a good distraction to the hours that seemed to lurk on and on. One hour, then two hours, then three hours passed with no sales. Elderly women would come by the booth and say how pretty things were and continue on to the kitchen (they also had a big soup-and-cornbread lunch at the event, which seemed to be more of an attraction than the "boutique" itself!), while elderly men wouldn't even both looking at all. Surely some of these people have grandkids, right? (I thought these "Holy Spirit Dove" necklaces with amathyst and garnet would be a bit at the church event. Not so much!) With only an hour left of the show and zero sales to boot, I was in quite the funk. While the Hubs was pretty optimistic at first, even he was beginning to think we should just pack up our things and peace out. A little seven-year-old gal wondered away from her mom and came up to our booth with her eye fixed on a Ballerina necklace and earring set I had made. She loved it and rushed to her mom for money. A few minutes later, this little gal came back with $20 - my first sale of the day! To a seven-year-old! This little gal became my saving grace - she rushed over to her little cousin who loved my emerald colored items and thus begged her mom to buy a few pairs of (very) dangley earrings. The mom then returned and had me sneak her a few more pairs for her daughter for Christmas before the lil' gal was on to her. Then the mom's sister came over to the booth and bought some thing, followed by someone else who haggled for me to reduce a price (which, by that time, I was more than happy to to!). Finally, a fellow crafter bought several items for some of her friends. Next thing I knew, I had made several sales (though none were over $10 with the exception of one $12 necklace... telling?). After 6 hours of this it was finally time to close up shop. With my $100 goal in mind, I added my sales up, subtracted the 15% I had to give to the function, in addition to subtracting the $16 worth of items I donated for the event's raffle. The total income (not considering how much it cost to make the items, just the amount of money I took home)? $101. Hilarious. Lessons learned? Just because I CAN do a show doesn't mean I should. Certain venues and crowds might not be interested in what I have to sell, and that's OK. And just because those around me are selling their items for pennies, I should not by default lesson the prices on my items (peer pressure sucks!). Patience! Oh, and a seven-year-old can be your best source of sales - and advertising! Anyone else have any other craft-shows-gone-weird stories to share? Please? :)

November 9, 2009

Jewelry Party - A Photo Journal Recap

Two weeks later I finally have a full collection of pictures from the jewelry party! Looking back on the pictures, it's clear that the party was more successful than I had thought during the event - as the smiles on everyone's faces prove it! Here's a photo-journal recap :) Marla, our hostess with the mostess, was prepped with her blender and ice cubes and ready to produce a party! Our featured drink was called "Skip and Go Naked," which is a mix of frozen pink lemonade, vodka, and beer. I KNOW - it sound gross. BUT I swear, the drink didn't even taste of alcohol and was fabulously fruity and fun! The hubs and I got there 3 hours early to make sure everything was in it's right place for the party. He was so helpful in unpacking each and every piece of jewelry (I had over 200), and then packing them back up again at the end of the night! As one person put it, he had the patience of Job! Marla's House was very Halloween-ed out - and we had lots of cupcakes to contend! We even had a whole table of door prizes for our guests, including some Benefit cosmetics and handbags! I love what has become of my packaging - I had 100 Chinese to-go boxes ready with a Bead Up sticker on the front next to lime curled ribbon. Inside guests found a Bead Up magnet next to a business card - word of mouth is the best! My Asian table was perhaps my favorite display of the whole day :) The Hubs and I made this weird white necklace/earring stand out of plate displays we bought at a closing Crate and Barrel for $1 each. We hoisted them up on 1" dowels and secured the dowels on a thick piece of plywood. Add some white paint and you have this (ghetto) display! I made these napkin rings out of bracelet wires... they were originally meant to be bracelets, but when they seemed too tight - I figured napkin rings were the next best step ;) Though I love the tree and all the other displays we made, I couldn't figure out a better way to post the prices on each item. I found these cute little green tags on Etsy, and managed to write both the materials and the price on each tag, though they were a bit of a pain to put on and take off. I am open to other ideas (though at this point I have 300 of these things left over!). I also asked a friend from church, Courtney, to be my photographer for the day. I love some of the shots she took! :) Thanks again for your help, Courtney! I bought this dress form at a local thrift shop for $10. The lady behind me in line was shocked that it was priced so low - she had just previously bought one for $100 on E-bay! I figured I would bring in the cocktail theme, too ;) My grandma (RIP) gave me these little plastic glasses in case I am ever on the road and in need of a drink! I bought this little necklace holder at a lot sale at my workplace for only $3! It still has a $29 tag on the bottom! Cheryl, my co-worker and creator of Cupcakinitup, came ready with over 100 mini-cupcakes to share. She also had several jumbo "couture" cupcakes she had made in a trial run yet didn't know what to do with. I convinced her to sell them, also as a trial ;) She wanted to price them at $.50 each - for a jumbo cupcake! I reminded her that this wasn't a bake sale and that she could do better - so she marked them at $1 and $2. And with the placement of the last few cupcakes, we were ready to party! People started showing up BEFORE 3:30! Thankfully I had a few seconds before to re-do my makeup, though was caught eating lunch in front of a few friends :) A few minutes into the party I got a surprise of my own - my bff from Berkeley had flown down just for the party as a surprise! OMG! Thanks so much for your support, Erin! You can tell by the perfectly colored cups that drinks were a-flowin! This is actually the tree jewelry holder I use for my own jewelry on my dresser. I splurged on it at Urban Outfitters after I got a job last year - a whole $28! Kari is one of my favorite co-workers AND clients. She kept saying, "Woman, you are killing me! I am going to go home broke!" Melissa was ready to spend some serious dough! Before we knew it, the cupcakes were out! AND - Cheryl sold all the jumbo and couture cupcakes she brought - which she originally didn't think would sell! YOU GO, GIRL! By the end of the day, we had at least 60 ladies (and one man!) walk through our doors... a good 40% of them strangers to me! While the Hubs and Cheryl packed our things up, I tallyed up my earnings. Since I was still in the red in terms of profit, I had set a goal for myself that would at least earn me my outstanding balance and maybe make a few pennies. I figured it was a bit of a lofty goal but worth striving for, at least. I literally gasped when I saw my final total - I had made 50% more than my original goal, leaving me with a good bit of a profit! Best of all - Bead Up is no longer in the red! Now I can finally justify that manicure I have been dying to get! Overall, the jewelry party was worth every ounce of effort and time we had put into it. Even Cheryl, who came in exhausted but left exhilirated, agreed. Unfortunately, by the end of the night my throat was on fire and I couldn't stop blowing my nose, and for the next week all the sleep I lost caught up with me with a killer cold! TOTALLY WORTH IT, though! Thanks again to all of you who wished me well and supported me before, during, and after the show :) A special thank you to my hubs (who never once complained - especially when he saw that we didn't lose money on the show!), to Marla, Cheryl, and Courtney for all their help (it WOULD NOT have been the same with out them!), and to my homegirl Erin (and Sonia!) for suprising me with their visit! So, who wants to host the next party? ;)