Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Astronauts and Aliens on my mind.

With all the attention my tinfoil hat has been getting over on the Etsy/Nasa Space Craft Contest, I got into the spirit over on Artfire too and put together a Space-Age collection of fun stuff.

You can check it out for yourself.

I'd add a photo but blogger is telling me image uploads are currently disabled for maintenance so you'll have to do the hard work of clicking the link.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Domino Jewelry is selling like hotcakes

My day job is working at a private high school... primarily a boarding school.  And I recently was able to convince the lovely ladies who run the school store to put out a small display with some of my jewelry.  I wasn't really sure what kind of response it would get from the students.

I started them out with a handful of my smaller, less expensive items.  Pretty much just an assortment of scrabble tile and domino pendants.  Well, in the couple of weeks since they first put out the display I've sold four things.  Which isn't a ton really, and they're only selling for $10 each, but it is incredibly gratifying to think I've tapped into some fun items that appeal to the hipster, fashion-concious teens who I see every day.

The most popular items are apparently everything I've made featuring the work of the very talented Doug Munson.  An artist in Chicago that I am lucky to have met on Flickr and was even luckier to meet in person last time I travelled through my old hometown.  He's been generous enough to let me use his quirky one-of-a-kind imagery on my pendants.  The comment I was given about his stuff specifically was "We really like the scary ones".  You should check out more of his awesome paintings here.  I've also realized that a couple of the kids are using the domino pendants not as necklaces, but added to their key chains instead.  I'm going to make a few with keyrings on them to start with and see if that's also popular.  Here's hoping I've found a new untapped source for sales.

And do keep an eye on my ArtFire shop for more of his work to appear on my jewelry.  I've just finished SIX new dominos from some more of Doug's paintings and plan on photographing them properly for use in listings tomorrow.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

doing a happy dance

I'm having a lovely week.  My day job is driving me a bit bonkers, but tomorrow is Friday and my creative endeavors are keeping me sane and happy.

To start with, I now have 100 "active monthly users" on my facebook fan page.  I was thrilled to notice the 100th person and she left a nice little hello note when she found me from a forum post I'd left on Etsy.  So I came up with a prize for her.  I'm making a free domino pendant for her with a cute puppy graphic on it (which she requested for her daughter) and I'll be excited to see what she thinks when I finish it and send it off.

And on top of that goodness, I made another sale on ArtFire.  I'm still always so amazed when total strangers buy my items.  I mean, I've purchased things myself from other artists on Etsy and elsewhere, so I don't know why it seems so very strange to be on the other end.  But I sincerely hope it never stops feeling like such a wonderful validation of my work.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How the mighty have fallen...

Oh Etsy... I really wish we could stay friends.  I wanted to keep on good terms with you and not have it be uncomfortable when I ran into you at parties or when other friends mentioned you in passing.  But now I'm just so annoyed with you I think we really need some time apart.

I heard about the minor Etsy glitch the other day from chatter on forums outside of Etsy's site (read: on ArtFire).  And being curious, but not overly concerned, I headed over to Etsy's forum and read the offical post about how some people's real names were displayed instead of shop names in Treasury lists... that it was a small number of people, and only for a short period of time, and so on.  But what I read and absorbed most was this:  "We will be contacting all members who may have been affected and are taking steps..."

That quote was posted at 3:07pm on September 20th.  And I read it sometime in the evening on the 21st.  So I shrugged my shoulders and went on with my shop figuring that since I hadn't been notified that my personal information was unaffected.

And today, September 24th, I received an email from Etsy Admin (apparently sent at 12:30am) notifying me that I was one of the sellers who had indeed had their names displayed and "We have reason to believe that not all of the 2% affected by the Treasury issue on Monday, September 20 all received their notification emails."  No kidding!  This was certainly the first I'd heard from them.

Now, I don't actually care that my name was out there.  I have my name listed in the intro section of my profile so it isn't the actual result of the "glitch" that bothers me... But to have a security problem, and then somehow not be able to manage a simple thing like a mass emailing?  Now you're into my epic FAIL category.  And that makes me worry about the site's ability to handle the security of information I do care about.  I'm extra glad right now that I keep my online shop accounts paid through PayPal, so it isn't as if Etsy has my banking info stored that they could lose or expose or heaven knows what else. 

I won't be taking my toys and going home quite yet, the shop will stay open because there's nothing really to be gained by deleting it.  I may as well have the extra exposure of two online stores at least through the holidays.  But I'm going to have to think really hard about whether or not to start re-listing items when they expire.  Giving my hard-earned money in fees to a place that has lost my confidence just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  Most likely I'll let the shop fade away there and focus on my ArtFire presence instead.

Front Page!

I'm super happy because the "Float Me" collection that includes my Sparkling Waters necklace made it to the ArtFire Front Page last night!

And the views for that necklace have gone through the roof (more than tripled).  Of course, I didn't see the page or message letting me know (thanks for passing that along ShinyAdornments!) until I got up this morning and it had cycled past (stuff is only on the FP for a limited time so more folks can get seen) so I couldn't take full advantage of the popularity blitz... but now I've made that item (and the other necklace in my featured section) free shipping to hopefully encourage someone to actually buy instead of just browsing.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another Collection with My Stuff

Just a quick note to gloat...

The lovely SkinBodyWorks on Artfire included a pair of my earrings in This Lovely Fall Harvest Collection

I'm extra pleased because my earring listings don't tend to get a whole lotta love. (mostly becuase they're in great need of more and newer photos).  It's also happy-making because I spent a little time earlier today re-titling and re-writing descriptions and updating tags for all my earrings and this seems to me to show that it was worth the time and effort (which will encourage me to continue slogging through that process for the rest of my listings too).

When I get home to a real computer (read: my mac) I'll take and upload a screenshot to my steadily growing facebook album of treasuries and collections.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still in Love...

ArtFire is still totally turning me on.  Even tho' I feel like I've got acres of work to do in order to fully utilize the tools he has to offer.  I do feel like I'm making progress on that.

I'm slowly changing titles and descriptions to increase my SEO and I've taken some new photos (but not all that I want to) and I've still gotta find time to edit them all in photoshop.  Much more to do and it all can occasionally feel a lot like work.  But without a crappy boss-man to deal with!

So, today one of my pieces made it into my first ever collection on ArtFire.  Very Exciting for me.


And you can check it out here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

In which I give thanks...

I have amazing wonderful friends.

The first piece of jewelry I ever sold was to a friend.  The amazing woman who got me hooked on beading had regular girls night hang-outs at her house (to watch Project Runway, of course) and one of our mutual friends there bought a necklace I had made.  And that was truly awesome.

Around the holidays last year I shared a link to my flickr jewelry album with some folks I work with and that turned into bringing a display in for a couple days and selling several items to people who, while they are not all close friends, are my colleagues and folks I see regularly on the small boarding school campus where I work.  And that was great too.

Now that I've moved into selling online I somehow figured that most of my customers would be complete strangers.  But of course, my friends are showing me once again how much they rock by not only leaving supportive comments, hearts on my Etsy page, liking my Facebook fan page, and those easy free things that take but a moment of time...  But several of them have now purchased my work and I am humbled and so thrilled that they want to spend their hard-earned money on things I've made.

Some folks seem to think that the ultimate judgement of quality is when the average consumer who doesn't know you personally wants to buy your items.  But I feel just the opposite... My oldest friend spending money on a pendant when she knows if she just hinted around her birthday or Christmas I'd be completely likely to give it to her as a gift... that means more to me than managing to tap into a market or find a niche that makes strangers clamor for my work.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I don't want my business to take off and be profitable (preferably to levels beyond my wildest dreams).  

But I hope that no matter what happens I'll always make stuff that my friends think is cool, and that I'll always have friends like the ones I have now.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

ArtFire is now active

Alright friends and fans...  I've taken the leap and went pro (no, not like that! get your mind out of the gutter!)

I put together my ArtFire shop and imported my items from Etsy.  I'll need to spend a bit of time getting used to the tools there and fine-tuning my listings (and as always continuing to work on more and better photos) but in the meantime here it is:

EmJayDesigns on Artfire

Friday, September 17, 2010

A quick thought about grammar

I've been known to be a grammar nazi.  I admit it.  I greatly value accuracy of language.  And proper spelling, oh boy do I love proper spelling.  I'm one of those people who will punch a word into Google to find out the right spelling if that horrible red underline show up in any program I'm using.  Yes, I'm that guy.

And I've noticed the more time I spend online browsing around Etsy and Artfire (and other sites too) the more I notice and am seriously annoyed by basic types of errors in descriptions.  I'm not talking about typos, we all are guilty of those from time to time.  I'm not even talking about forum posts where folks tend to type quickly and not proofread anything before hitting "post".

But when your listing description refers several times to the bride's "vail" on a cake topper it just makes me cringe.

I know there are people listing items for whom english is a second language, and I tend to be less critical if it appears from the profile or bio that someone's not a native speaker.  But there's plenty I've seen where a simple spell-check would pretty easily catch the mistake.  A few browsers will spell-check as you type (Firefox and Chrome at least) but there's plenty of reasons people use other ones, heck I use Safari most of the time.

I just would like to make a heartfelt plea for either of the marketplaces I'm using to implement a spell-check function into their listing process.  Please.  Think of the children!  Because where will they learn to spell if not from us.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We need to talk...

I've only been with Etsy for a few months.  And in that short span of time I've learned a lot from her... mostly that I need to work a lot harder on my product photography and that if I don't have hours to spend every day on the forums promoting my items they won't get seen by anyone outside of my small group of friends (who graciously tolerate my occasional facebook posts about my shop).  The bloom on our relationship, which seemed so very keen and exciting at first, has faded far too fast.  I've only made one sale that wasn't to a real-life friend, and while I know that between the lousy economy and the saturated jewelry market I should have more patience and see how things go with the upcoming holiday shopping season... but I just don't see things working out.  Honestly Etsy, I'm sorry.  But we need to start seeing other people.

You see, I recently met a new site called ArtFire.  He's technically still in beta and I haven't done hours of research yet, but so far I'm seeing him through the rose colored glasses of an exciting new relationship.  Maybe the newness will wear off in time but I've just got to give it a chance or I'll always look back and wonder "what if...?"

I love that he has a single monthly fee for unlimited numbers of listings and re-listings.  That his searches pull randomly so the constant re-listing so my item will show up in searches won't be necessary with him.  I'm positively swooning over his ability to set up coupon codes.  And I look forward to finding out if the rumors about his responsive tech support are really true.

I know that perhaps I'll be let down, it wouldn't be the first time my high hopes ran away with me... But I'm willing to take that chance because maybe, just maybe, we'll live happily ever after.

And now seems like perfect timing.  ArtFire is preparing to get out of beta and is offering a limited number of people a chance to lock in a $5.95 a month rate for a pro account. 

I probably won't abandon Etsy completely, I'm not that kind of girl.  I've only just set up a basic free account on ArtFire so far... I want to take things slow at first and make sure we're really right for each other before taking the next step.  And besides, I've already paid listing fees that will take most of my items with Etsy through the winter holidays.  But I expect that very soon I'll be sharing a link to a lovely new shop and that ArtFire and I will make each other very happy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The start of something new...

I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing here.

I suppose I should start with a brief introduction.

Hi, my name is Mickey (aka M.J.  aka EmJay) and I'm addicted to beads.  I recently started a shop on as a way to sell my jewelry and crafts... all proceeds will likely go to support my ever-growing bead habit.

I'll hopefully be sharing some of my other crafty obsessions here too.  I make handmade paper & do some paper crafty stuff as well as painting and sewing a bit.  I'm thrifty by nature and love to hit the second-hand and goodwill shops for supplies and inspiration.

If you've just stumbled by I hope you'll bear with me as I get used to this blogging thing and maybe find something useful here eventually.