Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year! It's Going To Be A Great One...


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!  I can't believe it's been so long since I've written a blog post!  The time seemed to just fly by!

My first Holiday Season on Etsy was wonderful!  I so enjoyed stamping out personalized pieces for gifts and wrapping up ready to ship pieces such as hammered bangles, feather earrings, chandelier earrings, silk crocheted (necklace/ bracelet/ anklet) wear-alls, silk knotted gemstone chip necklaces and some of my new black chain necklaces with freshwater pearls and the gemstone tassel!!!

So what's in store for 2015?  Well....of course I have more ideas to add to the black chain necklace series...but the biggest thing I think will be my monthly giveaways on my Facebook page!

The first Monday of each month I will be posting a piece of jewelry on Facebook that you can enter to win!  The giveaway will be open to U.S. residents only, and all you will have to do to enter is comment and share the giveaway post!  The winner will be announced on the Friday (of the same week) I will provide my email address and once I hear from you, your item will be packaged up and shipped out ASAP!

I'm also hoping that I will be healthy enough this year to do at least one live craft show where I can bring my jewelry to a new audience!

Maybe the most exciting thing for me is that I got a new camera and a photo light tent/box to use for my photography!  I honestly think it will make a HUGE difference in the quality of my photos so that I can capture the true beauty in every piece.  Not that I know how to use them yet...but I'm looking forward to the adventure that lies ahead :)

Be sure to check in on Facebook this Monday Jan. 5th (tomorrow) for my first giveaway of the year!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Getting Ready For My First Holiday Season On Etsy!


I have been busy preparing for my first holiday season on Etsy the past little while... ordering LOTS of shipping supplies, photographing, editing and listing some more pieces...yes MORE pieces... 

I'm excited to share my long awaited Black Chain Necklaces collection!!!  There are 5 pieces to this collection.  They are beautifully delicate on their own, and perfect for layering together!
Black Chain Hand Stamped Initial Necklace 16" length

Black Chain Stamped Bar Necklace 18" length
Black Chain Crystal Bar Necklace 20" length
Black Chain Single Freshwater Pearl Necklace 24" length
Black Chain Gemstone with Tassel Necklace 32" length
Black Chain Layering Necklaces
 What do you think? I have been waiting SO long to make these beauties I am just so excited!!!  Each style of necklace is listed separately if you prefer just a single delicate necklace, but the layering combinations that are possible are just breathtaking to me!  I currently have about 10 of each available: the Crystal Bar, Freshwater Pearl and Gemstone Tassel necklaces are all different colors and stones.  I wanted to make more...but I ran out of chain!!!

Pop on over to my Etsy shop (click on the "Etsy" button in the right hand margin) and you can find them in their very own section "Black Chain Necklaces" and let me know what you think!

So I saved the best news for last....

Starting this Thursday November 20th will be my big HOLIDAY SALE!!!  No coupon code needed, everything will be marked down 20% off!  Sale will run until Monday December 1st (yes that means through Black Friday and Cyber Monday for all my U.S. readers)

I will be posting about the Holiday Sale to Instagram and on my Facebook page...if you happen to be on one of those venues I would so appreciate you sharing and helping me get the word out there!  I have over 600 items now listed and would be so happy, beyond words happy if I could find new homes for my pieces.

Think about gifts for family, friends, co-workers and anyone in your life who deserves a little something special for Christmas.  I have price points to fit all budgets and with the 20% off sale it would be a perfect time to stock up on gifts, even for birthdays coming up!

Of course I won't stop making and creating, but may hold off listing more pieces until some of what I have are off to their new owners :)

I'm so excited and looking forward to the next few weeks, I hope you find something as unique as you are! cool as the person you're shopping for!   :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

By No Means Am I A Photographer....


What have I been up to the past few weeks you ask?  Trying my best to be a photographer...

So as I was checking my shop stats on my iPhone one day I noticed some photos of listings that had been viewed looked a bit strange...

I guess because each device displays colors differently it was really obvious to me all of a sudden... some photos were quite dark while others seemed to have a pinkish hue to the background...

I have no idea why, I take all my photos against white background, even added a spot light lamp to brighten things up a bit...let me show you what I'm talking about:

Bangles Photo Comparison
 HOW did I not see this before????? I use pic monkey for editing my photos to the proper size dimensions but I always worry about being true to the color of the pearls, gemstones, feathers etc. but I mean, come on!!! The photos on the left are completely pinkish in the background!!!  I went back and adjusted the "temperature" but then they look a bit blue so I added "brightness" and SO much better!  I think the color of the pearls is still very true to in person and look much better than what I had before!

There is so much to learn with running a shop on Etsy...

So I was curious... were my other photos this bad?....
Pendants Photo Comparison
 Yup, kinda pink and dark...oh but it gets worse...
Feather Earrings Photo Comparison
 EEEEEEEEEKKKKKK!!!!!!! So devastated when I saw how bad they were, I was in utter disbelief that I somehow thought they looked good.... thank you little really saved me!

So that is what I have been doing for the entire two weeks... going through all 600+ items in my shop, section by section, re-editing photos then re-editing each listing one at a time to upload the better photo...did I mention there are 4 photos per item???

On my wish list is a new camera (I'm still using my Kodak easy share that I bought 7 years ago) and also maybe a light box...I have seen lots of do-it-yourself instructions on how to make one...but with my luck it will make my pictures even more pink!  I just need to find one that is tall enough to fit my mannequin bust inside for my necklaces.  I think it's important to show the length and how they fall when worn, not everyone does it but I would like to continue to do so.  

Apparently photographing on a white background is the most difficult, unless you are a professional, but I will give it another shot once I get a proper light box, if all else fails I may go with a light grey fabric as my backdrop, trying to keep with my Litva's brand colors, I just don't want to distract from the beautiful little subjects I am trying to capture...If I've learned one thing through all this it is that I love to make jewelry, but by no means am I a photographer!  :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Preparing For My First Holiday Season On Etsy...


So...I did not get accepted for the Etsy wholesale... a little disappointed but I suppose it just wasn't meant to be for now.  I'm hoping that means something better will an amazing first holiday season on Etsy!

I have been working on photos of my wire wrapped freshwater pearl pendants, and with the big gold trend going on I made some in gold wire also.  I was saving them as draft listings to publish closer to the end of October (hoping to be seen by shoppers looking for Christmas gifts) but on one of the listings I accidentally hit publish!  So I decided to have a few of them go live and be available right away.
Wire Wrapped Freshwater Pearl Pendants
 I have to say I love these pendants! They are so simple, classic and elegant.  And my little joke about pendants is that "they make perfect sizing needed" and it's true!  Most everyone has a silver or gold chain that they love to wear, and this is such a beautiful pendant that will never go out of style.

You know... let me touch on that for a minute... if you have been reading my blog for a while, seen my Instagram, Facebook page or my Etsy shop, you may have noticed I don't really follow the "trends".... I tend to just make what I receive inspiration for and what I find beautiful...if there is a big popular trend going on that I don't foresee going away anytime soon, I try to adapt it to my style of creating, to make it my own in some way.  There are a few ideas that I have that I still have to hold off on due to the cost of supplies, but I look forward to when I can make these ideas come to life, maybe after the holidays if all goes well!

Back to what I wanted to add to my shop...

I made these thick gold chain and leather double wrap bracelets a bit ago but I never listed them in my ArtFire shop and have been looking so forward to listing them on Etsy!  I just photographed them today and will be working on listings now, as well as I decided to make some rhinestone single leather wrap bracelets with my metallic white leather that I had tons of!  The white and what I have left of the black leather versions will also be listed in the next few weeks, but here is a sneak peak!
Preciosa Rhinestone Single Wrap Leather Bracelets and Thick Gold Chain With Leather Double Wrap Bracelets
 As I'm sure you have already figured out red is my favorite color so I used the red versions of the double wrap bracelets to show here, but they do also come in other fun colors as well as neutral tones!

My rhinestone single wraps are beautiful on their own as a delicate bracelet but also pair well with other bracelets for stacking, mixing and matching!  I had quite a bit of the smaller 2mm chain that I used with the black leather previously, so I went ahead and made white leather versions of them.  I loved these so much and knew I would make more so I had ordered more rhinestone cup chain a while ago...I didn't even realize that this was a larger 4mm size (they are the left stack in the photo)....quite a bit more bling!  But I have to say I love them both!

I hope you will visit my Etsy shop and take a browse though while checking off your Christmas lists (it's never too early to start) and don't forget about yourself!  If you haven't been over already, I would appreciate some feedback on what you think of my new space, you can leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page, whichever is easier! 

Now off to work on those listings...  :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wholesale Dreams....


As in my last post I continue to feel that Etsy is amazing! (including today I am now at order #26 - some have had multiple items so it comes to 28 sales!!!)  I have signed up for their success newsletters and there is a plethora of information that they want to share with you, I just think it's fabulous!  They are so helpful and the forums are amazing as well for asking questions, there are so many people (staff AND other Etsy sellers) ready and willing to help you out in any way they can! Of course I want to learn...I want my shop and business to succeed!

So in one of the spotlight stories they did about a certain shop there was this link that read "Etsy wholesale" and I was like I clicked on it and the ideas just started bouncing around in my head....

It is a completely different way to have your items available to  boutique owners who are looking to carry handmade goods in their boutique...hammered bangle bracelets....hmmmm....
Copper Hammered Bangle Bracelets with Freshwater Pearls
 So I continued reading; policies, took a wholesale survey (I did really well) and read all the help sections available....then on Friday I decided to apply!

You have to be accepted to join as a seller and they look at everything from your photos to reviews to how cohesive your brand is.... I know my photos are not perfect but they are the best I can do right now with the tools I have available to me at the moment, I hope that doesn't work against me.  

I am a bit nervous because they do tell you they are accepting sellers with wholesale experience first, and I haven't had the opportunity to set anything like that up with my health preventing me the past few years.  Maybe they will like what they see, and have buyers that they think would be interested in my products...I will know within 5 business days....

Wire Wrapped Freshwater Pearls waiting to be Hammered Bangle Bracelets
 This is what I do in my spare time...not that I have any orders for bangles, but I have the supplies (since I buy everything in bulk) just waiting there, begging me to make something out of them....

I won't lie...I guess the excitement of the possibility of being accepted led my subconscious to create the worst possible scenario....I had an Etsy wholesale nightmare...I saw I had 4 purchase orders and was so excited, but when I opened the first order (to see what they had ordered) the quantity said 841...whoa...then I look at the item and it was this strange looking burgundy colored bottle opener shaped like a boxing glove with a high heeled purple shoe charm dangling from the dream I asked my husband if he remembers me making something like this in the past because I didn't, then I was so worried how I would tell the buyer that there had been some sort of mistake and this wasn't an item I offered.....

So I guess I am a little anxious...but we'll just wait and see what happens.  If it is meant to be, then that will be a wonderfully exciting way to have my jewelry across the country available to so many more people, and hopefully build some recognition of my brand.  Also I will most likely not have to worry about doing live craft fairs, prepping, paying fees, hoping the weather cooperates etc. and would just continue to have my Etsy retail shop along with the Etsy wholesale availability.  The connecting with customers has been wonderful and I am enjoying it so much that I wouldn't want to stop!

 If God decides it isn't the right time, then I'm OK with that too, but I will keep making pieces in my spare time, building up inventory and I will apply again! 

I will let you know what happens in my next post regardless of the outcome :)


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Etsy Is Amazing!!!


As you already know...I opened my shop on Etsy on July 20th and it has been just amazing!

I get so excited when my phone makes the "cha-ching!" notification alerting me that I have made a sale! I mean I get SO EXCITED!!! But it's also a bit of shock every time...I guess because things were so slow and not happening on ArtFire, it's still a bit of disbelief that things are actually going my way!

So I can't lie, I also love the Etsy notification for when my item gets a "favorite" (heart) by someone too, I just love all the sounds that are from my Etsy shop!!!

One day, my phone made a lovely sound that I thought was for a favorite, when I checked the notification it was for a custom order request... I have had two others but no follow through from the customer (maybe they were just curious...)  

So this was a lengthy note from a lady who was interested in a beaded crochet rope to compliment her wedding gown, with links for me to see the beaded detail on the cap sleeves.  So after some back and forth I realized she was looking for a beaded crochet rope sash (BELT) which I have never made before, but I knew I could figure out a pretty way of finishing the ends for her! 

She was very happy as she had been searching for 4 months trying to find what she was looking for and I was so excited to start creating something unique for her special day!  We agreed to have me send her photos of the process so she could okay everything and the more she got excited about it the more I got excited about it!

So here are her colors all ready in my bead spinner and the first half completed along with a beaded tassel for the end:
Custom Blend Ready For Stringing
Custom Beaded Crochet Bridal Sash

 I was worried that I might run out of thread and beads so of course I ordered back ups :)  As the rope got longer I fell more and more in love with it!   I estimated about 3 weeks for production time and delivery time of thread and back up beads...but somehow I must have been a machine because I finished it faster than half that time!  (and somehow I had just enough thread and beads!)

I have to say, I was actually a bit nervous as this was my first custom rope order on Etsy...all my other beaded crochet ropes I make in my spare time, to keep me busy and they're so relaxing to make, but this was different in a way.  Still relaxing to make, but I have never had a time constraint before, and for her wedding dress...I wanted it to be absolutely perfect for her special day... but as the days went on I seemed to relax into the idea that she chose me for a reason and it was going to be perfect :)

Here it is all completed: 95" in length including the beaded tassel ends and I added in a contrasting bangle bracelet that she could wear to her wedding shower or give as a gift to her maid of honor (a little surprise that I didn't tell her about)
Custom Beaded Crochet Bridal Sash with Contrasting Bangle Bracelet
 I sent it off in the mail this past week, but my December bride was very smart in having me ship it to her parents' place (so that her fiance wouldn't accidentally stumble across it) and in doing so, she will have to wait until Thanksgiving to actually see it in person... I can't wait for her reaction! She was so pleased with the photos, I'm so excited for her to see it and touch it in person!  I asked if she wouldn't mind sending me a photo of her in her dress with the rope from her wedding, I will have to ask permission to use the photo so I can share it with you, I will keep you posted on that! I said, Etsy is amazing!  I am so enjoying it and look forward to the holiday season, hoping for lots of sales, looking forward to packaging them all up and mailing them out, I really do love every part of the whole process.  It just makes my heart happy that people are loving my pieces as much as I loved creating them!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Little Present To Myself...


Well now it has been three weeks on Etsy and I am so excited because I have had 6 sales along with lots of views and favorites to my shop and items!

So with my grand opening and my first sale I told you about only 3 days later, I was so excited that I bought myself a little present...

Supplies!!! Yes, I know, a little nerdy, but I was so excited to finally order some things I had mentioned in previous posts for stamping...

Here are my cuff bracelets blanks in copper, brass and aluminum in widths of 0.25" and 1" and in the bottom right corner are the blanks I ordered for the silk wrap bracelet I had been dreaming of making
Copper, Brass and Aluminum Cuff Bracelet Blanks

As you know by now if you have followed me for a while, I like everything better when it has a hammered and has a textured look to it, so I was pretty excited to get going!

The 14 gauge aluminum I was already accustomed to, but the 18 gauge copper and brass were a little different... tougher, stronger, so a little more difficult to hammer, and wow those 1" cuffs take a LONG time to get the entire surface just the way I like it....

So I already had an order for a lovely lady who supports my jewelry dream, Maria from Agape Love Designs, and hers was the first one I tried, silk wrap style.  She wanted "agapelovegirl" with a heart and a cross, I love how it looks!
I'm so happy with how it turned out! I couldn't wait to make more!  Since hers would be a custom listing I needed to make one I can list in my shop, I decided on "dream" with some teeny little stars, so here it is with the two other silk ribbons colors I offer;
Hand Stamped Silk Ribbon Wrap Bracelets

Next were the cuffs...
Here are the 0.25" in all three metal finishes, I used my smallest font of 1.5mm to mimic how I stamp my rings along the bottom
0.25" Skinny Stamped Cuff Bracelets

For the 1" wide I started with the aluminum since I'm already comfortable with it, then I went to copper and lastly brass, I think they turned out beautifully for my first time with new metal!  For these I used 2mm for "gypsy soul" 3mm for "do what you love" and 6mm for "warrior" just to show the different looks that are possible with this wide cuff, I don't think I have a favorite, I love them all!
1" Wide Stamped Cuff Bracelets

So these are all I will be stamping for now...trying to exercise self control since I don't have many I need to save some for my "Create Your Own" listings that customers can personalize for themselves.

The past weeks I have continued to list items in my shop and I'm not nearly finished, so that's what I'll be doing for the next little while, these new stamped bracelets will of course be what I list first this weekend...hopefully it will keep me from stamping more... :)