“Piece of the Month”

Last month I introduced “Piece of the month” where I offered anything up to 25% a particular piece of jewellery for a whole month!

My lovely customers jumped at the chance I am delighted to say, so this month I have another piece on offer….and its a goodie!

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Rainbow Lace Bangle £24 RRP £30!

I just love nature and especially in the summer I get in the flower mood!

This pretty bangle is made with Eco Resin and dyed Annes Lace flowers!

Nothing Beats seeing it in real life so I made a short Video for you to watch!

I hope you all have had a lovely July so Far!

What have you been up to?

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Forget Me Not

Beautiful Forget Me Nots are now back in season and so its time for me to get creating my wonderful Eco Resin jewels again.

Forget Me Nots are so popular with people as they seem to carry so much sentiment for them. Perhaps it’s a loved one that is no longer here, or a token that even though the loved one is far away i.e another country, they are still in their thoughts.

I always love reading little messages that people send me when ordering them!

product_image (6)Shop Here – Forget Me Not Bangle

The above picture is of my Eco Resin stacking bangle. Small and light you can  even wear more than one and at time!

I started making my whole range in Eco Resin. A beautiful eco friendly resin which is made from pine oil and its manufacture is kinder to the environment, than other resins available.

Working so closely with nature I really feel this was the next appropriate step for my business.

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Shop Here – Forget Me Not Necklace

My Forget me not orb necklace is another treasured gift to others. People are so thoughtful and more mindful when they send presents now, especially when money is perhaps harder to obtain. When they spend money, it’s important that it is well spent.

Summer is such a lovely time to be creating with all the bounty of flowers available!

Whats your favourite flower?

Linda x

New Year – Don’t Fall for the Business Resolution Pitfalls!

2017 is fast approaching and everyone is filled with optimism about the future! Now, I know that my title is a little miserable, but I am here to bring you good news and a friendly warning!

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I actually was going to write this blog post last year, but because I listened to my own advice, I ended up having no time, as I had my busiest January in business! Yay!

So, myself like a lot of small businesses like mine, Christmas sales can either leave you overwhelmed or disappointed. If you had a busy Christmas you will feel enthused and pumped to do more! The same goes if you had perhaps a disappointing trade period, as you will want to take steps to improve your business and build on it.

Thankfully for me every Christmas has been better than the last! Phew! Although, even with money in the bank you still look for ways to invest your earnings into your business to make it bigger and better!

Last year I saw a lot of people making money from people’s hope to improve their business. How are they doing that?

Things like, Business Journals and year planners. All beautiful and bright which look cute in your studio. You add in your goals and make it look pretty. Its sure to get you social media likes when you share the snap of them online, right? Are you actually going to carry through this for the full year? How many hours will you spend filling and colouring them in?

Help books on building your social media account. These are mostly e-books that you can download for little money. The answers within which can actually be found in Google. They are written by instagram account holders that target small businesses like mine and yours and they have 1000’s of followers. They involve you stalking instagram and spending time that could be in my opinion spent elsewhere. Is it not better to have 500 genuine followers than 5,000 following  just for the follow?

Showcases on Instagram. Instagram is full of them! Again by instagram account holders that target small businesses like mine and yours and they have 1000’s of followers. They also charge you to “showcase” your work on their account for a small fee. There’s a big flaw here. They are showcasing your work to other small businesses and in some cases competition. They aren’t people customers who buy handmade, perhaps only a small few. Why aren’t they showcasing to customers? Because they are hard to pinpoint on Instagram. How do you know by looking at an open public profile that they will buy? In these showcases, you are  being sold to sellers. So it doesn’t matter how many likes or follows you get from that post. Unless other handmade businesses are going to buy from you its not very good value for money.

Business workshops with strap lines like ” Boost your sales!” or “Earn More, work less!” There are some that you can watch online and usually it’s a male or female who has targeted your little business. I took time to watch one from a lady entrepreneur. How I came to be on her mailing list is a mystery. It was free but she was trying to lure you into paying for a workshop. It was full of uplifting words, enthusiastic hand gestures and intriguing salary figures, we’re talking six figures! I listened to about 30 minutes of a 1 hour live podcast. There were lots of questions and very little answers. She talked about how well she was doing, being able to work from home with her children, buying a bigger house etc. What she didnt tell you was that she was actually preying on small inexperienced, young businesses and luring them into buying her workshops. I am sure her answer if your business did not improve would be, “oh did you follow all the points?”  of which I’m sure about 20% would not be applicable to most businesses, then resulting in your automatic failure! I could write the script! Do not waste your time or money!

My tips to improve your business. 

  1.  Do what you like doing. If you resent it, your work will never be as good a standard, than when there is real love for an item.
  2. Price things correctly. Sometimes being too “cheap” can leave peoples expectations that its not good quality and lose you sales!
  3. Packaging. This is still something I still struggle with. I am still finding something for me that’s small enough to post but looks good and not too “manufactured”.
  4. Have genuine fun content on your social media. It’s not ALL about the hard sell! Share other peoples work that not only you love but you think your followers might be interested in. They might do the same in turn for you!
  5. Hashtags # Did you know you are allowed up t0 30# in any single post on Instagram? Use them to their full potential! I have also found with the silly way Facebook is getting on, that hashtags actually improve reach of posts. The question about paying for posts is still up in the air. I have done it in the past, but I never feel like it’s value for money, for me anyway. You’ll know if your followers are early birds or night owls, so post at your pages peek times!
  6. Photos, Photos, Photos! Always work on making them better! This doesnt mean run out and buy the latest camera! I take all my pictures with my iphone. Yup, my mobile. Its going online so it doesnt have to be a good resolution. If you are fortunate enough to have items featured in a magazine, that’s when you need the big girl camera!
  7. New items, you may have been successful at selling a certain item. You might hate the thought of changing it because it’s been good income for you. I found that taking these items away – yes best sellers – and bringing in new items gains you new customers. You can always bring the good old faithfuls back from time to time. It’s important to keep your stock and website fresh and exciting, especially if you want to keep those new customers you’ve gained!
  8. Email Subscription! Dont have one? Get one sorted out! Its a great way to communicate with customers and its free! MailChimp.com is a great place to go to get started! Remember, not everyone is on social media on a regular basis or at all!
  9. Website or Selling Platform? I have both. Some customers do not like having to create an account when purchasing something for the first time. So that’s when my website it great! Others like the format of the likes of Etsy.com. They like the community or the protection as a buyer they provide. I think it’s good to have both. Also there are no selling fees with my website just a simple small monthly fee for hosting it. Etsy sellers fees can quickly add up at the end of the month especially if youve been very busy and its not a nice chunk to have to pay back.
  10. Lastly, How you want to work? A very simple but most important question!For me at the end of 2014, after the loss of my father-in-law and seeing how it affected my husband, I realised I was being a busy “fool” with some aspects of my business.

    In 2013 after 3 years of business I took on a studio near to where I lived and my goodness I loved it! I took on workshops and also Kids birthday parties, which were a lot of fun!

    I still made all my own jewellery which I sold online and sold at various craft markets. I pretty much worked every day! I was happy to do all this while I grew my birthday party business and then gradually in 2014 I cut down many of my craft fairs, focusing on peak times which for me were Mother’s Day, June for teacher gifts and Christmas – the more obvious one.

    I was happy, but I was still working a lot because as I wasn’t at craft fairs, my customers were using my website more and that added to the work load, not to mention the parties!

    It’s safe to say at the end of 2014 I had well and truly spread myself too thin! I was exhausted after another busy but successful year. I look towards 2015 and said right thats it, something needs to change!

    I asked myself, “How do I want to work?”

    In my dream world, I would make jewellery in my PJs (not all day, but for some of the time!!) at home. I didn’t want to have to do any craft fairs any more or attend birthday parties anymore. So I thought well I will have to get my act together and improve my online sales!

    I basically went on every selling website I used and my own and refreshed and in some case corrected silly mistakes on all of my items.

    I made the decision to make all my earrings available on the website sterling silver rather than giving customers an option which causing me more work. I gave it a good digital clear out and also looked at my pricing too!

    So I was making my dream a  reality, slowly. Its funny, making jewellery at home in my tiny home studio was how I started. I dreamt of a big girl studio, but with any big decision there came pitfalls. People didn’t want to use online when they knew I had a a studio. They wanted to come to my studio and collect items and look at others. At the start this was fun and I enjoyed meeting customers again. Unfortunately in busy periods I just didn’t have time to drop tools and chat. I work with resin and it only has a limited  working time. Customers arriving were actually starting to cost me time and money. So at the end of 2015 I closed the doors to my studio and never looked back! I changed my dining room into my studio. It over looked the garden, and it was perfect!

So 2 years on from that I have flown solo online. I wish I had done it sooner! So, my message for you this new year is, really look at your business and what you want to gain from it. Follow that gut instinct and sometimes the harder route is the better one long term. Don’t waste money on silly things, be a leader not a follower, and most importantly have the most wonderful year in business ever!

Love and Dandelions,

Linda x

 

 

Stepping out of my Comfort Zone!

Silversmith Workshop 5th March 2016

It was back to school for me yesterday as I attended my second ever workshop. That may sound strange as I used to teach so many workshops, but yes I have only been to, two workshops in my life! As much as I love teaching, I like being on the other side better, there’s no stress and a lot of enjoyment!

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I went back to my old university, but this time it was the Belfast Campus. I attended the Jordanstown campus for 4 years to study Building Surveying of all things! How times have changed!

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A lovely lady called Diane Lyness took the workshop, where we were taught how to create a sterling silver stacking ring or Bracelet.

I know what you are thinking , sure Linda you make jewellery already this will be “wee buns” (as we say in Northern Ireland) but I have to say I was as much a learner as anyone else!

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Above I am getting ready to cut the silver which I will form into a stacking ring. 

I have to say I was impressed with the amount of tools and equipment that is used to create a simple piece of Sterling Silver jewellery!

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Above I had cut and filed my two stacking rings and then they are ready for soldering!

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Hammering texture into the silver was a fun part, very stress relieving too!

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Above Diane talked us through the soldering process! She made it look so easy! I found it the most difficult part! Im the end I did get the hang of it but it was a little stressful!

Sanding was  easy for me as I do that a lot with resin! above are all the pieces that are going to make up the final design on my stacking rings.

Finally after all the hammering, soldering and sanding, it was time for a short 20 whirl in the tumbler, where all the jewellery would come out gleaming!

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The finished product for me! I have to say I was impressed how they  turned out in the end!

The workshop was a full day from 10am – 5pm and it really took all that time. I think would need to get a little faster at making them to earn a real living!

Is this a new range for me? Well I am not going to say no. It was really to open my eyes and get some questions answered. I already offer some sterling silver options on my earrings and necklaces. I am hoping that this course allows me to broaden my options!

Watch this space!

Linda x

 

 

 

 

Dark Nights are Coming!

Don’t get me wrong  I don’t mind them at Christmas, but before then when you are busy and you never seem to see the light of day it can be a little bit depressing!

In Northern Ireland we are soo lucky to have those long summer nights that is still quite bright at 10.30pm! I love them!

Well this weekend the clocks go back! Daylight Savings Time!  I have a little offer on my button clocks that I make at the moment on my website, so today was about making clocks and taking some updated product pictures.

I have a bad habit of being excited about an item that I have made, taking a quick snap and because then I get busy doing other things that quick snap becomes the official picture. I always say, oh I must take a day and sort out my pictures- BUT IT NEVER HAPPENS!

Any hoo here is my clock! x

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Teacher Gift Ideas

The end of the summer term is fast approaching. What do you get the teacher as a gift? They really deserve a bottle of wine but sometimes that seems inappropriate!

Well I have asked teachers and they enjoy handmade gifts made from the children, but I have had lots of teachers come back to me and tell me that they received one of my items as a gift and really loved it! Soo….here is a list of things that you can choose from and that are currently on my website to purchase!

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This personalised coaster is made with real sections of colouring pencils! The name can be changed to to anything you wish, even Best Teacher! £6.50 on the website!

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If you dont fancy pencils then how about some brightly coloured pencils?? £6.50

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Or how about a lovely little message in a coaster???

I also have a whole range of pencil insprired jewellery which are all made with real colouring pencils!

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Colouring Pencil Hook Earrings

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I hope this makes your shopping a little easier!!

Schools out for summer!!! 🙂 xx

Real Flower Jewellery

Last month I brought out some new flower jewellery. I have been struggling  with it for a while and it can be really annoying when you cant get it right! Now thanks to new resin my whole resin life has been changed!!!

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This is my new 3 pansy necklace! This delicate flower originally from Russia ( I think!) is so pretty as a necklace. I barely have had mine off since I created it! I am hoping to work on some new colours soon, but for now I really like this one!

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Who doesn’t love making a daisy chain? I always made them on my lunch hour when I was at primary school. My friends and I would set ourselves a challenge to see how long we could make one! I even remember our teacher measuring it as they were so impressed!! Anyway those daisy chains will wilt and die but this one won’t!