Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Starting...

Have we ever discussed my sense of timing? No? You're sure? Then we need to do so. And I can do it in three words.

My timing sucks. 

I'm either early or late but rarely am I right on target.   I envy those who can predict down to the milli-second of what's needed to be done and WHEN.  Because I'm rarely right on target, I prefer to be early. I discovered this little obsessive-compulsive habit when I returned to college. (Actually, the habit's been there all along, but it came out in force in college.) I was the student you  hated--the one who turned in her papers a week before the due date. The one who started working on her master's thesis while still an undergraduate student. Yeah--THAT student. Because if I didn't turn things in early, I totally missed the boat with the assignment. 

If you can hang in there for a minute or two longer--this is going somewhere. I promise.

So last fall, I decided to open an Etsy store. There were various reasons for this decision, but mainly I had to do something with all the jewelry I had been making. There's only so many women in my circle of friends and family to whom I can give jewelry to for birthdays, holidays, special days or celebrations, and just because.  My beading was outsupplying the demand. And I had been able to ignore it for a long time because it wasn't like I was outfishing a source or geographical area, right? I wasn't actually doing anything unconscionable like deforestation or removing mountain tops. Right? Right? 
Chocolate In Butterscotch Earrings
Another reason to open a store is the Bead Addict. Do you know how hard it is to look at a beads and findings and beading tools and walk away from them all when the Bead Addict is literally screaming in your head? She's hard to ignore all the time.  Some days it's easier to herd cats than it is to ignore her incessant demands to get this bead, purchase those strands, and ohmygod-look-at-those-prettypretty-stones! The Bead Addict can screech like a banshee when it comes to artisan beads. Would I be paying outrageous amounts of money for one bead if she wasn't digging her fingernails into my brain with her screeching? Probably not. Ok...may be I would. Even without Bead Addict vociferating her relentless demands to buy, buy, buy, and buy now. May be.  
Enticing Agates Necklace
 A good reason to open an Etsy store also came from my ever-growing bead stash. Hello! I've gone from a simple Plano box of beads to three rolling carts, two file boxes, and more stashes than I ever thought I would. Beads are addictive. Or maybe I just have an addictive personality or genetic material. Or because beads are addictive. Hmmmm...

As I type this I dare to glance at my desk, which is covered in beads, findings and chains, tools, wire and other stringing materials, loose beads, bagged beads, strung beads--you get the picture. It's not neat or orderly--which is what I need. My school materials are crammed in where ever I can squeeze them and not within easy reach and definitely not organized. Which adds to the mess on my desk. (I have beads tucked inside the paper tray of my printer--it's that bad!) This disarray, chaotic mess drives me a bit insane. Ok...totally insane! 
Ice Blue Princess Earrings & Necklace Set
So I went through my beads carefully and decided that some beads had to go to make room for the ones on my desk that have no place to call home.  It wasn't an easy decision but I had to make it. There are beads I've had for years that I haven't used. This both upsets and delights the Bead Addict--because it's her fault that I have so many beads we--I haven't used in years. She's the hoarding type when it comes to beads--can't let go of a single seed bead in case it could be used in some future jewelry project in some distant, misty future. But I'm more practical and realize that if we make a few pennies off these beads, then we can naturally afford to buy more beads, and may be we can get enough pennies to purchase artisan beads! 

But I found right after opening the store back in October that I underestimated the amount of work it was going to take--which seriously conflicted with the amount of classes I was teaching at the time and the amount of students I needed to to whom I need to attend. I also discovered it's not as easy to take a picture and post it on Etsy and watch it sell later. Those cute sales descriptions have to come from somewhere...and the photography skills needed are more than my point-n-shoot camera can handle...and I have to market my wares, which can cost more money than I had budgeted for.  Then there was the time factor...time to photograph my stuff; time to write descriptions and figure out prices and policies; time needed to market everything on various sites.  
My Garden Necklace
When my holiday/winter break came around, I was more excited at seeing my son and getting ready for the holidays than I was in working the store. The decision to close up shop for a bit was painless. Nonetheless, the decision to reopen took some considerable thought and planning and learning more than I realized at first. 

I've set up my Excel spreadsheets for the store, but am going to revise them to work better for me. I've rephotographed most of my jewelry sets because #1) my hard drive with the previous photos crashed and #2) I learned some helpful hints to make my stuff hopefully  more attractive until I can afford to purchase jewelry mannequins. I've also ordered business cards and learned I need a light box and found instructions to build one. I've also been reading how to make my descriptions more personable, rather than typical corporate-chain store-advertising. I'll be spending a bit more time on the computer than I used to do to promote my wares on Facebook, and other forms of social media.  I've also decided on a plan of action for which pieces I'm keeping as gifts, giveaways, and for myself. Afterall, if I can't keep a few special pieces for us--the Bead Addict and myself--then I'm never going to shut her up!

And I reopened today--My Other Vice,  complete with a sale on certain items. I hope to get my destash items in there soon so other bead addicts jewelry designers have a chance to look through my stash and find that perfect set of beads they've been missing to compliment the focal they have in their stash. I'm also hoping new bead junkies beaders will find my destash items just what they need to build their bead box. 

It's probably not the best timing since it's right after the holidays and everyone is broke, but that's how we got to this point in the first place. My timing issues, remember? But Valentine's Day and Easter are fast approaching. *gently nudges* April and May will bring graduations, confirmations, holy baptisms, bat mitzvahs, proms, and weddings. Not to mention Mother's Day. *nudge-nudge-nudge*

So go look around. You don't have to worry about any sales pressure. You don't have to buy if you don't wish to. But come back often and have a cup of coffee or tea if you prefer while you browse. Stay for a spell and enjoy. You may recognize some beads from some of my (and hopefully your) favorite artisans and as the store grows, new artisans as I discover them. Drop me a line or two and let me know what you think or what you'd like to see. 

Sweetheart's Blush Earring and Necklace Set



  1. WOO HOO !!!
    your store is open !!
    I'm going shopping !!!
    m.e. :)

  2. Best wishes for a popular and prosperous esty shop...from one beadaholic to another. :)

    Your jewelry is lovely, all you need is for people to come in and see it and you'll get the sales. Off to check out your shop and give you a heart.:)

  3. Congrats on the new store. Checked it out earlier but going back frequently. I have a Bead Addict at my house, too :)

  4. Congratulations on the re-opening! I always get stalled at the photo taking stage. I have so much stock, and so precious little ever gets listed.

  5. All the best with your shop, Cathryn. Your new pics are awesome. I know you will do well!

  6. Cathryn,

    I just loved reading this. You have a nice writing style that is entertaining yet feels real. I found your blog as part of the Bead Soup. I'm participating too.

    I think you have a good grasp on what it takes to run a shop. I'm sure many of us were unrealistic at first and truly didn't know what we were getting into. Your designs are beautiful and I hope the shop is a success.

    Charlene - The Bead Dreamer

  7. Cathryn,

    A girl after my own heart! I also have beads from 15+ years ago that I have to decide to either use or find a new home for. :P

    Best wishes!


  8. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment..I'm in the bead soup party too...but I have not made it around to all the participants blogs as of yet..You have some fantastic jewelery pieces...I have to do some more looking. Love the way you photograph your pieces. See ya at the Party!
    Terri G.

  9. Your preaching to the choir - I claimed my etsy name about a year and a half ago. Didn't open my store until november of last year - Why rush? LOL I have 4 boys and find it hard to keep up with stuff inevitably someone needs/ eyebrow shaving/stomach virus/ bronchitis episodes going on - I keep thinking ok they are finally in school all day I should be getting thinkgs done - and then the snow comes! Hahaha oh well it will all work out at some point.Thanks for stopping by : ) Patty

  10. Oh Cathryn, I loved reading this post, particularly because it made me laugh out load ...despite tidying my office this week in an attempt to find floor and desk under glass, beads, glass and more glass my printer is still buried under a layer of beads :)) Im so glad to know that its not just me who is a bit over run !!

    Thank you for posting, im off to read some more now, probably with some help from my kitties, who love to "help" with computer things