Thursday, May 29, 2014

Shadow Earrings

I love BIG earrings and I love the combination of BIG hoops or crescents with Shadow earrings. I came up with this term because I was trying to find a better way to say "earrings for your additional holes". I think Shadow earrings elegantly describe what these are, an earring that's secondary, or in the shadows of the primary earring. They're smaller, more delicate. A dainty detail that's still rustic and edgy.
I like the idea of them as singles or as pairs made up of singles that don't have to match. It's been so liberating working on these small and simple singles. 
These will be $25 each, I'm happy to have a variety of little pieces at this price point. So far I have them in kyanite, turquoise, quartz, apatite and brass; all with oxidized sterling. 
I love that when I take my main earrings out, I still have a little ear decor and when I have my main, BIG earrings in, it's an Earring Party! I will be at the Artist Market this Saturday with these and I just added some to my Etsy shop HERE. What do you think?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Designs!

Somehow I've eeked out some time for some new designs. All very simple, very modern and very comfortable. I will have all of these at the Artist Market which starts this Saturday!
Lots of new hammered cuff rings in sterling silver or brass with sterling on the inside (so they don't turn your finger green!) Some are plain and some have brass or sterling rivets. I've been wearing mine daily and it's my current favorite piece to wear. It just feels great, smooth and light but eye catching!

For years I've had requests for brass hoops. I've avoided them because the sterling earwire gets a lot of play and brass is so hard and rough that the friction of moving it through the hole in the brass would cause little cuts in the sterling wire. I've thought of adding sterling tube rivets to to the holes to prevent that but never pursued it. Last week, Celie encouraged me to try it and it was easier than I thought and so much fun (I love riveting!) So now I'm happy to have brass hoops in Medium and Small.
New sterling ear cuffs! It's just a tiny ring... for your ear. I'll be making some in brass (with sterling on the inside) too. Find them HERE.

I've been making a sterling version of this One Rung necklace for awhile and it's been very popular. I had a request to make them in brass which look edgy and ancient and has the added benefit of costing only $45. Find it HERE.
My friend (Hi Meg!) requested one in gold and silver and the contrast of the shiny gold and the blackened sterling chain just looks stunning. See it HERE.
This simple necklace resembles a horse shoe and serves as a ring holder. I had a request from a massage therapist (thanks Leane!). She wanted a necklace that she could hang her wedding ring from so she could have her hands free. 
As many pointed out, it's also a great necklace for pregnant mama's-to-be so they can still wear their rings if they don't fit. Find it HERE. I will make them in brass and in gold too.
 I love how it pairs with the new Gold rung necklace.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Decade at the Artist Market and A New Schedule

It's time for me to do fewer markets...everything has been aligning for this shift. I will miss being there every single Saturday but I'm happy I will still be there half the time. This will be my 10th year at the Burlington Artist Market. I can't believe it, a decade! It seriously flew by. The market is so much fun that I've just kept doing it year after year...after year! In a way though it felt like I wasn't growing and expanding my business. For 5 years I've been trying to juggle the market, my Etsy shop and having my work at Trinket and I was always overwhelmed. Often shops would contact me about wanting to carry my work and I would always sadly say I just can't keep up with what's already on my plate. I did want to get into shops though, I think it's great exposure, I just couldn't figure out how.

So this is the year I began implementing a change. This happened in 4 parts...

1. Aside from enjoying selling my work myself, I've never liked the idea of losing 50% of a sale by selling wholesale. I understood that you make it up in volume but since I couldn't produce a lot of volume, that didn't mean anything. I needed to get help with making things, so I could make them faster. First I needed to figure out a formula to see how I could afford to have help...
     So after a lot of research, I developed a great jewelry pricing formula that works for me. I weighed every piece of silver and priced out every jump ring. I  timed how long it took to make things. I put it all in an excel spreadsheet so I could see everything. If I could price out how long it took me to cut something out of metal maybe I could find a company to cut my metal and then I'd have more time... I suddenly loved math and appreciated using a coefficient of expansion. I began to see how every piece related to another one. It was so helpful and from there I was able to choose my wholesale line.

2. I picked 6 of my most popular earrings in 2-3 sizes and 3 metals. Boom! That yielded 36 earring options. I found a company to cut out my earring shapes which, aside from saving me time, is saving my hand. Then I heat, drill, hammer, file, wax, patina, polish and wire them up. I'm also getting some pendants cast which allows me to make multiples and to get them in sterling and brass and to keep the prices down. So I can wholesale about 20 necklace and some rings. Some pieces in the line are made entirely by hand but I can make them fast so they're included too. I'll be adding more to the line often.

3. I got an intern! I'd like to introduce Fiona. She is a going to be a senior at UVM and she's AWESOME. She's been working with me since November, mostly doing a lot of hammering and I love having her here once a week. She's super enthusiastic, sweet, stylish, helpful and has a great eye. I've never had help before and it's incredible how much work you can get done when you have 4 hands working at the same time. She also modeled for my catalog (she owns those stitched crescents), they look so great on her!

4. I started a wholesale website, made a catalog, got it printed and sent it to shops. Mostly Vermont galleries and boutiques, just trying to grow my business very slowly, organically. Hoping to take this ball of energy amassing in Burlington and fan it out. I got into 6 new shops! I sent out first orders and I'm going to see how this all gels together. In order to make room in my schedule to make work for shops, I decided to do every other market. That decision was confirmed when I looked at my calender. I have 5 weddings to attend (and 2 bachelorette parties!) this summer. CRAZY! A very natural schedule emerged and it's 2 markets a month.

I'm excited to weave this all together and hopefully expand my business - and not be overwhelmed. It will be nice to be less dependent on the market for income, especially on those rainy/cold days. This has been the hardest I've worked during a winter and that was what it took to make the leap, make the shift, shake things up and grow. We'll see how it goes...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Shops!

So excited! I now have a "Stockists" page on my website with 6 shops my jewelry is currently in and 2 that I'm about to be in! 

Last week I dropped off Common Deer's first order. This cute shop is located right in Shelburne and they have a great mix of new and vintage.
Can't wait to see it on display and on their website. I love that you can shop right from their site.

I also sent a batch to The Gallery in the Woods  in Brattleboro. I've loved that gallery for so long. They have have such a great selection of Art Jewelry and I'm so thrilled to have my work there among such amazing artists.

I just got into my first NYC shop (Yay!) located on the Upper West Side. Thanks so much to Montana at Trinket for suggesting they carry my work.
The Shoe Horn in Montpelier sold half of the earrings I sent in the first week they were there! So I just sent them their 2nd order. Happy to see they made it their cover photo on Facebook.

In other news, the Commune Contest is getting intense! Only a few days left of the FEED NEED NOT GREED competition and the VOTE COUNTER IS NOW LIVE. Over 700 votes have been cast so far, which means Commune will donate $700 to projects that help alleviate hunger among tobacco growing communities in Malawi, Africa.

For more details and to VOTE click here: You can VOTE once per day. Voting ends May 5th. Thanks for all who have voted for me! I so appreciate it!