October 16, 2012

The Tumblr Addiction

I realized recently that selling on Etsy required slightly more than simply listing and being simply on Etsy. Are good photos, nice products, accurate relevancy, and treasury curation within Etsy all part of the mix? For me, absolutely! But as soon as Etsy sellers hear the fateful words marketing and social media, sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Blogger come to mind. And as soon as we see those opportunities, we grab them! They're easy, free, and fun. They give you an opportunity to connect with other sellers and buyers in wonderful ways. I love social media for this.

When I first caught the social media bug, I signed up for your basics. My shop has a fan page, a tweeting hotspot, and several pin boards. Of course, I also love to blog! But sometimes I don't want to be wordy. Sometimes I want to share images and beautiful things and not worry about captions, stories, or themes. And that's why when I found Tumblr, I was metaphorically in love.

Tumblr gives its users the opportunity to simplify. After curating treasuries and boards on Etsy and Pinterest, I don't want to curate. After writing an item description or a lengthy blog post, although writing is one of my dearest loves, sometimes I don't even want to write. With Tumblr, I don't have to. I don't feel tied to anything. I can post whatever I find beautiful or inspiring at any moment in time. It's wonderful and freeing and I love it.

 I signed up for Tumblr on Sunday. I started using it yesterday. I have posted 35 beautiful images, and thrown in a little image of a pair of my sterling hoops. One of my posts has received 65 reblogs. I've gained 7 followers. Today I had 4 views from my Tumblr blog. That doesn't sound like much, but this is only the beginning, and so far, it looks like I'm going to like Tumblr. If any of you lovely readers have a Tumblr blog, please leave a comment and include a link to your blog...I would love to follow you!

Happy Tumblring,

October 10, 2012

My Niche

Some of you may have noticed that I was away from my shop for most of this summer. I was busy; too busy to keep it running at full capacity, but not busy enough to keep it off my mind for long. This summer, I found myself caught up with words like "branding" and "packaging" and even "marketing." When I first started with Etsy, I knew that I liked making jewelry and was pretty darned good at it. I had a skill, Internet access, a good-enough camera, and the knowledge of several years' worth of local sales under my belt. Online selling didn't seem too daunting. It didn't even seem too hard. Fast forward a few months to August 2012, and everything was changing. I was drowning in a sea of vocab words and new ideas, and starting to doubt the potential of my own business. It took the contemplation of this summer to help me understand where I needed to go next, and that Etsy really was a good fit for me.

This summer I realized a few things. I realized that what I was doing, making whatever I wanted, wasn't working for my shop. It wasn't even working for me. I was making lots and lots of cute crafty things and completely underusing my abilities as a maker and a designer. I thought I was having fun with it, but I wasn't really even enjoying myself. And the few sales I was bringing in weren't enough to keep me on that path. I realized I needed to find what I loved and do it.

I thought about my style. I like simple, pretty, innovative things. I believe in practicality and truly wearable art. I thought about my personality. I believe less is more, and in fact, I freak out a little when my environment is cluttered. I find it hard to focus. I thought about my favorite materials and techniques. I love sterling silver for a plethora of reasons and I find hand forging my pieces beautiful and relaxing. I thought about all these things, and then I thought: I have unique taste and ideas, and I should run with them!

And I developed a niche. Now I make simple, minimal, sterling silver jewelry, made with the modern woman (and of course, my own taste!) in mind.  I hammer each piece smooth and flat and occasionally oxidize for extra impact and rustic appeal. My jewelry is made for the woman who wants something beautiful, simple, effortless, and powerful to wear in her everyday life. I know what I'm doing and who I'm doing it for: making things I love, for my customer, and myself.

That's right...myself. I create mostly because I love to. I love to make something from nothing; to realize and solidify the pretty little images that float around my mind all day. I love to follow my heart. I love photography, design, my customers, and my shop. I love every single bit of it, and with my niche, I am proud to say I know exactly what direction I will be taking my business in, both on and offline. My customers are happy. I'm happy. I know my market and I know myself. I have a lot to learn, and as long as I need to learn it. For now, I am excited to return with more knowledge and confidence than I've ever had. I have a niche, and you should too.

Until next time,

October 2, 2012

Welcome, October!

I was mildly shocked yesterday morning when I realized it was no longer September; it's now October, the harvest month, and the first full month of fall. However, with that shock came excitement! Though I could do without winter, fall is my favorite season, and it's even more exciting since this is the first fall I'll be spending in my forest home, which I moved into during early spring.
I really enjoy the changing of the seasons. Temperatures here run from well below zero in winter to triple digits in the dog days of July. It seems the transitions between are too fast; I hardly get the chance to soak up the sun or enjoy my cup of hot cocoa before the season ends! Fall is perfect though. Mild cool, colorful foliage, and crisp, fresh air greet me every day. It's the season of apple picking, Halloween, and back-to-school; a season of family, friends, and new beginnings.
It's a warmer than average, brighter than usual day, so I decided to photograph the beauty surrounding me...after all, before long these golden leaves will be replaced with bare branches and long icicles (which, in due time, won't be so bad either!). I'll try to prepare myself for winter as I enjoy fall, capturing moments of its beauty along the way. For now, I'll give October my very warmest welcome...even if it is a day late!