Saturday, March 31, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 8:57 AM
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 9:45 PM
Secrets to Jewelry Supply Buying
Shhh, don't tell anyone...
No, I'm not going to give you a list of my suppliers!! But I will give you some helpful hints in finding your own, and what I've learned. Especially things to avoid when purchasing supplies.
First off, nothing is one of a kind. Except my jewelry of course! Don't buy something just because they are telling you this in a store or on the web. I've found this to be really true with vintage beads and findings. Most of the time they have a stockpile of older pieces or they are being re-created in Hong Kong and shipped to the re-seller for pennies. So if it's a $25 lucite bead on any site, (won't mention names), you can guarantee that you can find a bag of them for $5 elsewhere. Shop around before you buy expensive items. What's expensive vintage on one store is going for less than 1/2 in another. Also, be wary of vintage charms and plastic. Many are reproductions and most are not made of the materials they claim. True vintage plastics like bakelite, celluloid, even real vintage lucite, can't be found that easily. So if it's readily available in a shop or cheaply priced, probably isn't the real thing. When someone claims something is one of these types of vintage plastics, please look at the price, seller reputation, etc. before buying. This mostly applies to bakelite and celluloid, lucite is still around in larger quantities.
Now my favorite, the myth of buying in bulk. Do you really need $100 of the same type of bead? Not to mention, even if you do manage to create many, many, beautiful items, will they sell? Buy in small quantity and keep as low an overhead as possible, because jewelry making is not like CostCo! Special pieces and unique finds are what keeps your jewelry interesting. Mass productions consisting of the same styles and beads will turn off your handmade and indie customers. Sometimes it's even cheaper for me to run to the local large craft store just to pick up a toggle clasp or an accent bead. Keep on hand the jewelry making musts, tools, wire, crimp beads, metal accents, chain, and carefully selected beads. Everything else can be found as you sell and decide where your market is and what direction you want to go in.
Should I buy on the internet? Yes, yes, yes! Buy from etsy we all destash our beads and supplies there and many of them are very interesting and unique. Also, I am not against auction sites. I have been dealing for years with several reputable sellers on the web and developed good relationships. Some people are honest and have fair prices. Keep track of them and ask your fellow crafters who they might recommend.
What's a fair price? I personally don't believe in buying from certain places with outrageously high prices for handmade glass beads. I'm not saying that the beads aren't worth it, but you must always be thinking about resale price. I've fallen in love (literally) with some fantastic lampwork artist's work. The problem is, if you buy $300 of lampwork beads and string them together with your own style and findings, mark it up for resale, there is only a very small market of people that will be able to purchase your product. Now, if you're willing to wait for that sale to come and have $100's of dollars to put into your creations, be my guest. Personally, I only buy expensive beads now when I'm making a custom order, giving a friend or family member a gift, or making something I'm keeping for myself! Please don't get the idea that I don't support these fabulous artists! This is just coming from a business and resale point of view.
Should I support my local small bead and craft store? This is fine if you want to pay higher prices for the same supplies you can get at the wholesale store or online. Which brings up wholesale. Everyone should have a resale license if they plan to sell jewelry anywhere. The drawbacks are few and having one will definitely benefit you and bring credibility to your business. I also pick and choose when to whip out my license, because sometimes it's better to pay the tax at the craft store then, instead of at the end of the year. Plus, it's only really good when you get a discount and pay no taxes. The best time to use your license, in my opinion, is on the web. Go google right now wholesale jewelry supplies. You will find great stores with amazing stock and lower prices. Never, never, buy beads on the web from a non-wholesale store. This is where people lose so much money when buying crystal and gemstones. The wholesalers are selling to the other stores, therefore, of course there's going to be a huge mark-up! A real wholesale jewelry supply store will want you to prove that you do own a resale license. So don't be tricked by stores that say they're wholesale. Unless you have to sign up and show your license, they are just trying to get you in the door.
Special names like "swavorski" may impress buyers, but genuine swavorski crystal is not as available as people think. Most suppliers feel free to throw this name around and it simply isn't true 99% of the time. If you do want really nice crystal it's okay to buy it in bulk from wholesalers and czech glass always makes just as pretty of an accent when surrounded by more expensive beads.
This is the same thing when buying gemstones. Most, if not all, really are dyed and not the original color. So don't pay outrageous prices for them unless you are 100% sure that they are naturally made and not factory colored. I see so many pieces of jewelry for crazy prices because they claim that they have used "genuine gemstones". If you are paying right now, or have ever paid, more than $20 for a strand of gemstones, you will never get your money back in resale. Plus, you have been overpaying terribly for something you could've bought wholesale. I have bought genuine pearls, amethyst, quartz, tiger's eye, and many others from overseas sellers for less than $5 a strand. Not to mention, the shipping was a lot less than some American dealers. Same quality, better price. It is all coming from the same place, you just have to decide what part of the food chain you want to be on! I choose to go closest to the top and save money.
To summarize, get a wholesale license! Saves you money and opens up new buying opportunities! Buy less and save more, you don't need to keep $1,000 of inventory just sitting there. Trends change, styles change, and your designs will too. Buy as you go so you can stay interested in your projects and give your customers unique products.
Only buy beads you can afford! Yes, beautiful lampwork beads are fantastic! But can you afford to wait for the bracelet you made with them to sell? And what if it doesn't? Small businesses can't afford to take $100's of dollars worth of losses.
Buy online and get to know your sellers. Ask other crafters who they trust and read feedback for sellers on auction sites. Be careful when buying unique or vintage items, most aren't what they claim, and it will be reflected in the price. If you see some modern looking bracelets that the seller claims is bakelite and wants $20 for, it's not bakelite! As much as we all wish these fabulous finds would fall into our laps, it's not going to happen! You have to pay for real vintage and rare goods. So buy what you love and really want.
To conclude, just because it's called genuine gemstone, doesn't mean it should cost the same as diamonds! Buy it wholesale at a discount in the small quantity you need for your project. Over paying and therefore overcharging, for the same supplies your competitors are saving on is never good for business!
Happy Jewelry Making! Tara
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 3:02 PM
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
JBT Marketing Style By Groups
So lately you might have noticed a huge diversifying effect going on in my shop. This is due to the fact, that my customer base has completely changed since my shop has moved to etsy. I'm trying to keep up with all the latest styles and trends, while maintaining the quality of Jewelry by Tara. But lets face it, does a 13 year old girl want a $100 lampwork bracelet? What used to sell on my own website is not what is selling for me on etsy. Not to say that it couldn't work out for you! But I have really enjoyed opening up my store to new markets and customers.
I like to break down my marketing style into 3 groups. Pre-teen through early 20's, late 20's - 30's, and everyone 40 and over. Now of course, if you're like me, you don't fit into your own age group, so just use the numbers as a tool for breaking up the types of jewelry you want to sell.
Pre-teens through early 20's kids are generally trying to go with the flow. What's in style in a magazine is what's in style for them. If your friends like it, you probably do too. The accessories you choose probably have a lot to do with what you see your peers wearing. If you are marketing towards this group, you have to stay up on what's going on in the MTV world. This age group is generally easy to please and you can just look around at your local high school kids and see what they like. Goths, punks, rockabilly, it's all around you. They are not looking for expensive, one of a kind, handmade beaded bracelets! They want familiar characters and things that will shock their parents! So think inexpensive and flashy! Plastic and kitschy, chains, 80's inspired colors and styles. These are all really big right now with this age group.
Now we move on to the group that I should be in! The late 20's to late 30's group. This group is a little more particular and more in touch with their own personal sense of style. Obviously they will be able to spend more money on something than a pre-teen and they expect that item to be a quality purchase. Still influenced by style and fashion but leaning towards more of a grown-up looking piece. Seasonal colors and trends definitely are to be noticed here. Also, it may be time to break out the quality real gold and silver components and findings. This group will also appreciate labor intensive pieces and handmade glass and other beads. Go for style, season, and quality with this market.
For the 40 and over crowd, it's kind of a unique mix. By this time most people have found a very good sense of what they like and want. Although seasonal pieces are still very popular, trends themselves don't really effect these shoppers. Classic, quality and fashionable items are always a big hit. Most of the clients I've dealt with have favorite colors or designs that they want over and over again. For example, one lady couldn't get enough insect jewelry, while another, really only wanted anything I made in purple. It didn't matter what stones or type of jewelry. In order to please this group, just offer a variety of quality pieces with different themes. They definitely know what they want!
This is just my marketing formula. I'm sure most of you have your own ideas and that's what makes all of our stores so unique and wonderful!
Once again, happy jewelry making!
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 3:12 PM
Latest CCCOE Treasury
What! VIP Again! CCCOE members are definitely VIP!
My fav etsy gal http://www.crescentmooncreation.com brought us this one:)
Exposing the talents of Cali. artists!
Brought to you by me! http://www.jewelrybytara.etsy.com
Brought to you by http://www.BarbarasCrafts.etsy.com
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 9:54 AM
Monday, March 26, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 10:45 AM
Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara
Sacramento Vacaville/Fairfield. Woodland
Santa Clarita San Fernando Valley. Antelope Valley (Lancaster, Palmdale, Quartz Hill
Santa Monica/LA San Luis Obispo
San Fernando Valley
Corona, near Riverside and near Orange County
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 8:27 AM
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 8:08 AM
Friday, March 23, 2007
CCCOE Appreciation Treasury
Special thanks to http://www.crescentmooncreation.etsy.com for starting the CCCOE and helping me every step of the way.
Thanks to http://www.uniquedeb.etsy.com for taking over morning threads for this busy mom!
Thanks to http://www.waxingmooncreations.etsy.com for making us a wonderful blog.
Thanks to http://www.eddyizm.etsy.com for the beautiful banner, technical support, and helping run our flickr group.
Thanks to http://www.mukibubb.etsy.com for starting our official CCCOE MySpace.
And a special thanks to all of our members who make this group such a positive and great place to hang out!
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 11:52 AM
Let me begin by saying that I think everyone has a unique and individual style all their own. The hardest part of expressing this is weighing what you as the designer like and the jewelry that the consumer truly wants to buy. Somewhere in between is where you should start.
It would be completely unrealistic to think that all jewelry shoppers from child to the elderly would like the same thing. Do you want a target audience for your shop? Or should you diversify and mix up your items? This is what you have to consider if you really want to do well in this business. Some people will stick with one group and fail miserably, not because they aren't wonderful designers, but because they were in an already overfilled niche and couldn't compete with the less expensive or bigger shops.
Some jewelry hobbyists or dabblers don't really care what others are interested in. They just enjoy creating and putting it out there. If someone buys great, if not, no problem. The other category of designers would of course be the serious jewelry artist, who puts a lot of time, study, and money into their craft. This second group can't afford to discount their work and usually already has a very unique style that stands out on it's own in an already overcrowded market.
So how do we stay unique and fresh no matter which category we fall under? Simple answer, don't do what everyone else is doing! Variety, variety, variety! Not everything in your shop has to be outrageously priced gemstones, nor does it have to be kitschy plastic. (Like what I've just added to mine!) But a nice mix of classy and fashionable is always good. You can put your own style such as a favorite color or gemstone into a more fashionable or popular piece. Or, if you enjoy polymer clay, for example, try making something more marketable to the general public, along with your own personal favorites. I do this in my shop all the time by adding different colors, styles, and beads to all of my jewelry designs. Believe me, not everything I create is something I would wear myself! And this is an important point if you want to make money in an industry full of many other crafters.
To do well financially, marketing to many groups of people is the key. This doesn't take away from your artistic vision, it only helps to bring your beautiful creations to more people. Maybe you want to add children's jewelry or more expensive gemstone designs. Sell a few pieces with less expensive beads and findings that are still very well made. All this will help drive traffic to your store and keep it looking fresh and new. This will also bring people into your shop who may not have known they were even interested in your unique style of jewelry.
I also strongly recommend learning new mediums of your art. I recently began using polymer clay and different types of charm crafting. We all feel strongest in one form of jewelry or another, and believe me, there is nothing wrong with artists that just want to string beads! These pieces can be just as amazing and special. But when we educate ourselves and learn new things, it is reflected in the variety and beauty of our new creations. People love to go to a shop and see pieces that are completely different from what they expect an artist to have. Who knows, you might discover you hold a hidden talent for making your own beads! I've recently saved a lot of money designing my own polymer clay beads and charms.
In conclusion, remember, you may like to see only neutral gemstone jewelry all year long, but does someone in the middle of April want something brighter and more affordable? Take into account that not all customers will like one style and break out of the sameness rut. Market to all different groups with a variety of products in your own style. And keep your store and art fresh by constantly learning new techniques in the jewelry field.
Happy jewelry making everyone!
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 10:31 AM
Newest Activity Post
I'm so excited to start our latest activity. Bringing small groups of our neighboring CCCOE members together will help us greatly in spreading the word of etsy and self promotion:)
So check out our new thread and start adding your name and address to become a member of the group nearest you!
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 8:58 AM
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 7:57 PM
Monday, March 19, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 3:23 PM
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Weekend in Cali
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 8:34 AM
Friday, March 16, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 7:26 AM
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Gas prices are outrageous these days... don't just get screwed at the pump...let em know you can feel it! Check out the newest category at www.kattboxx.com
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 11:12 AM
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 11:10 AM
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 10:09 AM
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 8:23 AM
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 12:01 PM
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 10:48 AM
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 7:00 PM
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 4:09 PM
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 8:58 AM
Monday, March 5, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 5:47 PM
Welcome to CCCOE!
CCCOE, stands for California Craft Club of Etsy. Crescentmooncreation, Tanya and Jewelrybytara, Tara are co-founding members of this club. The club was founded on March 2nd, 2007. WE already have over 50 members and new Californians are joining daily. The only criteria for joining is, you must be a crafter or artist of some kind and you must live in California. This is a great place to promote each other, ourselves, have meetings, and most of all create new friendships. We will be posting under CCCOE in the street team category on Etsy, just about every morning. We would love to see you there!
Read on to meet some of our great CCCOE members;
Crescent Moon Creation
Leader of the CCCOE
A place to find wonderful items, like beads, custom handmade jewelry, and polymer clay creations.
I am a proud member of Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy. I am also a proud co-founding member with (Jewelrybytara) of CCCOE, California Craft Club of Etsy. If you are a Californian and would like to join, just convo me with your email address.
Jewelry by Tara
Co-founder of the CCCOE
Pretty and pink, cool and classy, unique handcrafted jewelry.
Pretty Cheap Jewelry
Pretty Cheap Jewelry (where nothing is cheap except the price) is the bargain lovers secret! Nothing over $20. Original Design...Classic Style...Handmade Quality...Personal Service from the owner and artisan. Happy Bargain Hunting!
I make handpoured soy pillars, votives and container candles using high quality waxes and the best fragrance oils around.
Little Grey Cat Designs features beautiful hand-knitted items of all types and for all buyers, including custom orders.
Remember the thrill of working with macaroni & glitter...you can get it again with fun stuff at macaroniandglitter.etsy.com
My shop combines many of my interests: unique books and zines, upcycled wise words and common cents jewelry, collages and most recently twig ladders which are totally unique and I have a website for my much more expensive art and book objects: elenamarysiff.com
I love using unique fabrics to create beautiful and cute handbags.
Unique Embellished Accessories and Knick Knacks
My mother and I are theranch, we raise angora rabbits and merino sheep and use their wool to hand spin our own yarn.
Chocolate and Steel represents to me all of the unique possibilities that exist in our surroundings. I like to explore new combinations of materials, colors, and composition. I put this exploration into every piece of jewelry I make
At my shop beautiful hand knit and crocheted accessories are yours to behold.
It's the Bag- a creative outlet for a sewing addiction.
My mother and I love to create and share our toys, blankies, quilts, etc.,that are designed specially for babies and children.
Ribbonwork silk/satin/frenchwired flowers for special days and everyday.
I have heirloom quality home decor, handmade, hand embroidered by me with tender loving care.
My speciality is making aprons for adults and children along with other children's items.
Wonderful, whimsical beads made by Lori Peterson.
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 12:07 PM
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 11:35 AM
Posted by Jewelry by Tara at 11:35 AM
My shop is a very eclectic blend of handmade jewelry, bags and purses, and mixed media art. I love to sew, and am about to add clothing to the mix, but I'm deciding whether to put it in a completely new shop or not.
My jewelry is handcrafted from top quality sculpey clay. I specialize in making jewelry pieces such as necklaces,pendants,braclets,anklets,etc. I also have a painting for sale and will be adding more accessories such as totes and purses in the future.
I'm a stay-at-home mom of two tiny ones, and I love to spend any free time that I get making things. I love working with paper and in the last couple of years I've found my way to making jewelry, too. I love simple, funky designs and try to always make something that I would like to wear myself.