Sunday, December 21, 2014

Time to look back ... And to the future!

So ... 2014 is just about to hit the history books. Another year gone by. For a business, this is the perfect time to take a look at what has been accomplished; where we have fallen short; and how we can improve in the coming year.

It really is important to establish goals. But we can't do that without understanding where we stand right now. This is a good time to really look at our businesses and possibly set a new direction, steering us toward a more productive and profitable business year.

We all have different circumstances. Some of us are just beginning; some have been doing this for a while. Some just want to satisfy a need to create; some of us need income. Whatever your situation is, this is a great opportunity to make things better and stronger.

Did you sell more this year? Less than last year? Has your average "ticket" gone up or down? Are you getting more custom orders or "special requests"?

Who is your customer? Do you target that group, or do they just "find" you?

Where can you curb expenses? Or is it time to spend more and invest in your business?

Lots of questions. No firm replies, because we are all different, and only you can answer.

A pad, a pen, your checkbook register and last year's sales / expenses holds the key. Honestly look at everything and see where your strong points are; make those stronger.

The weak points can be worked on if you feel you must. Sometimes it really is better to make radical changes; let the weak stuff go and just keep what works, making that stronger than ever. This is probably the best way. I can think of a couple of current JET members who have done exactly that, and it seems to me that they're stronger because of it.

Terry and I are planning big changes; we are going to target a new segment of the market.

Our ETSY shop may not change, but ... then again, it may. We shall see. One thing is for sure - we have given everything a really hard look, and we know we need to evolve. Its impossible to go over here and now. But I can say this ... it WILL be different.

Just a thought. New year; a new way of doing things. Businesses must grow. The only alternatives are to stagnate or recede. That will not happen to us; we will radically change the way we do things before anything negative occurs.

This is not anything new or surprising. Etsy has done this themselves. To make the site more profitable they have changed many things beginning with redefining "handmade" to suit their purposes. What ETSY has done makes it important to be willing to change and "roll with the punches". Consider doing things that will make your shop stronger in light of their changes. Target a new customer. Create new things that are unique. Cater to the custom made / personalized jewelry shopper. Do anything you need to that will bring new customers into your shop. Etsy is still a great venue; use it to YOUR advantage!

Friday, December 19, 2014

JET of the Day: ELEVEN13

A visit to ELEVEN13 makes it clear that this jewelry designer is a very well rounded artisan. The varied types of jewelry Michelle creates all contribute to her collection, making her shop unique and fabulous!

On the left is an example of her minimalist, contemporary silver and gemstone jewelry. This Blue Iolite Gemstone Necklace features a simple and gorgeous design that can be worn pretty much every day.

There is much more to ELEVEN13, though. Michelle has been exploring new and different ways to expand her skills, and it has paid off with a really varied collection.

Even within categories, you'll find lots of choices - styles, materials and price ranges. In the Gemstone Earrings section you'll see earrings made with gem beads like the Black Spinel pair on the right, or with briolettes and bezel set cabochons. All gemstones, but ... very different!

In the Mixed Metal Jewelry section, you'll
see some pretty spectacular pieces.

 Michelle marries copper and silver beautifully, creating cuff bracelets like the Geometric Cuff on the left.

In this section you'll find rings, necklaces and earrings.Contrast is the word here, and this artisan uses more than color - hammered and smooth textures are also front and center in these designs.

There really is a lot to explore in this shop, and I recommend you visit. There's something for everyone, and this artisan creates very affordable jewelry with a lot of value. Browse ELEVEN13 today: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ELEVEN13

Thursday, December 18, 2014

JET of the Day: EarthEnergyGemstones

I love color, and EarthEnergyGemstones is jammed full of beautiful earrings, necklaces and bracelets that are made with really nice quality gemstones in a rainbow of colorful tones. The shop looks amazing!

On the right is a pair of Red Garnet and Gold Filled Earrings. These sparkling beauties were created by Gloria with 14k gold filled metal components and glittering AAA grade  faceted red garnet briolettes. These are a great gift for a January birthday!

There is so much dyed howlite and magnesite masquerading as turquoise these days, its hard to find the real thing.

Gloria offers genuine turquoise jewelry, like the bracelet you see on the left.

Made with beautiful Arizona turquoise rondelles and Karen Hill Tribe silver beads, this fabulous bracelet could easily become a favorite to wear every day. Turquoise is a December birthstone ...

The gemstone bar necklaces shown in the photo on the right are a popular item at EarthEnergyGemstones.

They easily coordinate with a wide range of styles and colors, and the gold filled chains and beads give the stones a truly rich and luxurious appearance.

These top quality gemstone necklaces are sold separately and are a great value.

If gemstone jewelry is your passion, you'll enjoy browsing Gloria's beautiful creations. Visit EarthEnergyGemstones today!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

JET of the Day: DonnasArtisanDesigns

This morning I'm visiting JET member shop DonnasArtisanDesigns to see what's new!

I love Donna's approach to design. She's completely unafraid to try new techniques, which is one of the things we have in common. This is because we are both self - taught.

It is the nature of a self taught artisan to experiment and push boundaries; to design "outside the box". Its how we learn.

I'll start with my favorite category. Its named My Own Lapidary Work. The artisan jewelry in this section showcases gemstones that were cut and polished by Donna. The pretty pendant on the left is set with a hand cut blue chalcedony. This is a totally handmade piece of jewelry (except for the chain). Donna did it all, from creating the gemstone from rough rock to making the wire components and assembling them to produce this necklace!

On the right side of the page is another one that was created entirely by Donna. This labradorite cabochon is amazing! As someone who has polished many cabochons, I can say she did a great job orienting the stone to maximize the iridescent effect; and the finish is like glass! I also love the contemporary setting ...

There are other sections in Donna's shop ... and a lot of items to see. Over three hundred items!

There's a big Necklaces and Necklace Sets section. Within are many types of handmade necklaces, many with matching earrings.

There are four pages of bracelet listings! Many of these are available in sets as well. I should also mention Donna's Rings section. If you love wearing jewelry for fingers, take a look!

We all create jewelry for sale. We have to. It isn't why we began making jewelry but selling it IS what we do. But sometimes the artisan thing pokes its head out and we create something that really IS special.
Yeah, it may be a cubist interpretation of life on the moon. Some people will look at it, scratch their heads and say "huh?"

But it truly is art. And Donna has done just that with this amazing Peacock Pendant!

It has a beautiful form. Many different elements, bonded together to become something really unique. She gave it varied textures. The multiple layer construction gives it a 3 dimensional appearance.

Only an artist - someone who creates from imagination, with that special thing creative people have within them - can make things like this.

If you love art jewelry, you owe it to yourself to check out this amazing artisan. Visit Donna today!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

JET of the Day: DesignsbyCher


Purple / Blue Antiqued Brass Earrings
At DesignsbyCher, affordable, fashionable and top quality go hand in hand! Cher's original, classic looking jewelry designs are much loved by everyone who buys them, and the reasons are easy to see.

You can shop for jewelry made with your preferred metal at DesignsbyCher. Choose from brass, silver and copper metals, so there is something for everyone.

There are over 250 items on display to choose from! Many are made with Cher's handcrafted ear wires, clasps and other metal components.

Expect lots of color as you browse through DesignsbyCher. Gemstone beads, crystal, Czech glass, lampwork glass and more find their way into these gorgeous creations. This is not the kind of jewelry you put in a box and forget. Cher's creations are made to be worn for a lifetime or even more! You can see the type of jewelry this is from the photos ... the wire wraps are neat and secure, the metal components are substantial, not flimsy at all ... and the beads are the best you can buy!

On the left are a pair of Cher's handcrafted hoop earrings with Rhodonite beads. These are made with round sterling silver beads, silver plated saucer rondelles and non - tarnish artistic wire, which keeps them affordable. You get all the fashion value of a much more expensive pair for a great price!

Designed for ease of wear, these hoops are very comfortable and secure. The Rhodonite is a nice deep color!

While earrings are a very important part of DesignsByCher, there IS much more to love in this amazing handcrafted collection. There is a treasure trove waiting here for necklace and pendant fans, with over 50 choices currently available. These feature some really unusual and beautiful components. The example on the right, the Mystical Crystal Ball Pendant Long Gold Necklace illustrates this perfectly. The attention grabbing AB glass bead is accented with gold plated components for a luxurious look everyone will love!

Whether you love bracelets, nature inspired fashion, matched jewelry coordinates or just want to shop for truly gorgeous, well made fashion jewelry DesignsByCher has a lot to offer. Visit today and get some last minute gift shopping done at this amazing shop!
https://www.etsy.com/shop/DesignsbyCher

Monday, December 15, 2014

JET of the Day: DesignedByVal

I'm always impressed when I visit Val's shop. DesignedByVal offers a good range of jewelry made with beads, and her most ambitious designs are bead woven.

The copper cuff at right is a great example of what you'll find. This may be bead jewelry but it is far from the simple beads on a string type of design. This is precision work; and is completely handcrafted in the peyote stitch; the beaded strip was created to fit exactly into a channel on the top of this bracelet!

Here's a stunning example of contemporary seed bead jewelry design.

This one inch wide creation has a fabulous ruffled edge design, and the colors radiate out from black at the center to gold on the ends. This modern style bracelet will be an amazing accent, appropriate for wear to any special event or occasion.

It will bring many compliments your way!

 Another technique Val enjoys using to create her jewelry is Kumihimo. This is a decorative weaving technique developed in Japan, many years ago (for fiber). The necklace on the right was created in this way. This beautiful piece is made with fine quality Czech glass.

As with many techniques, the final product can vary greatly in appearance depending on the materials used to create the weave. Using these glass teardrops gives the necklace a completely different look than you'll see if rounded beads are used, as in the necklace with the beaded Ocean Jasper cabochon pendant below:


You've been shopping for everyone else. Now its time to treat yourself to something nice. Head over to https://www.etsy.com/shop/DesignedByVal and do some "me" shopping today!