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Blogs, Facebook & Twitter

So I’m still working on setting everything up to start selling my jewellery. I’ve set up a separate blog for Purple Wyvern Jewels, and also registered as a Twitter user for the first time.

So far I’ve rearranged the basic appearance on the blog to have purple colouring to fit in with my shop name, but have yet to fill it with much information.

I haven’t really done anything with Twitter yet, apart from follow a couple of people. At the moment I’m not quite sure how it will be best to utilise Twitter, as I’ve not used it before, so don’t yet know the in’s and out’s so to speak of how it all works.

As for Facebook I haven’t yet set anything up with that, but do plan on setting up a specific Purple Wyvern Jewels page at some point.

The more places I try to reach out and contact people about my jewellery, hopefully it will make the word spread easier and get myself out there. Which if I’m lucky will in turn, hopefully, generate some sales once I’ve populated the shop with my jewellery creations.

Speaking of jewellery creations. I’ve managed to make a couple of items, but I’ve got quite a few more that I want to make, so that I have a range of items to sell. I plan on making items over the Christmas period and then do a massive photograph session in January with the items. Then placing them up in short succession to my shop, so that when I start officially telling people about my shop there’s a range of items for people to look at rather than just a couple of items.

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Setting Up An Etsy Shop

One of the more difficult aspects that took me a while to figure out was a name for my shop. The more obvious names for a jewellery shop have already been used by other people. I chose a name that had a connection and meaning to me: Purple Wyvern Jewels. My favourite colour is purple, and the rest of my shop name was inspired by my love of fantasy books. A wyvern being a mythical creature and a close relative to a dragon, love sparkly beautiful jewels.

Google Analytics

Once I had created an empty shop on Etsy, I added Google Analytics in order that I can track people visiting my shop. See the following article for help – What is Etsy Web Analytics?

Shop Banner

The next thing I did was to create a shop banner using Gimp. The banner needs to be 760px by 100px and no larger than 2MB. The stars in my banner were made by using GIMP brushes created by Hawksmont. (Check out Seller How-To: Banner Tips for more information on creating an Etsy banner.) I haven’t as yet got a logo for my shop, that’s something that still needs to be sorted out. The logo will be added to my shop banner when it’s been sorted out, plus I have plans on using it on my packaging and also on my business cards.

SEO

An important aspect of having any website found is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). I found the following article on Handmadeology very useful in how to write the text for my shop information: Etsy SEO Made Easy Part 3 – Getting Your Shop Found.

Etsy Profile

An Etsy profile is the equivalent of an “about me” section that you’d see on most web sites. It’s a way of a potential buyer finding out a little bit about the seller. The following article has useful ideas for what to write for a profile – Getting To Know You: Tips and Tricks for Writing an Engaging Profile.

Shop Policies

A very important part of setting up an Etsy shop is to work out what the shop policies should be. It’s a way of detailing for a potential buyer exactly what they can expect from the shop. Policies need to written for payment, shipping, refunds & exchanges, seller information, and any other additional information that a potential buyer might find useful. In my additional information section, I’ve written about gemstones, the metals used in my creations, packaging I will use, and also about leaving feedback. A good blog article about writing shop policies is from – Life, Craftiness & Everything Else: Etsy Sellers Tips – Shop Policies.

For Etsy’s overview to creating a shop see – How Do I Set Up My Shop?

My Next Steps

The next major item on my to-do list, is to make stock for my Etsy shop. I’ve got a larger selection of beads now, and I’m currently waiting for a delivery of sterling silver parts to arrive, so that I can start making items for my shop.

I’ve decided to focus my jewellery creations on semi-precious beads (which I adore as there are so many different types, colours, patterns etc), and use predominately sterling silver for the metal components. There are just too many places selling jewellery online and in shops that sell low-cost jewellery. Even on Etsy, right at this moment, there are 2,518,861 items listed under the handmade jewellery section. So I want to go a little bit more upmarket (so to speak) as that dramatically increases my chances of being found if someone is searching on Etsy. Doing a search for “sterling silver” under the handmade jewellery section gives 388,026 items at this moment in time on Etsy – a dramatic difference. Combining “sterling silver” with “gemstone” in a search gives 45,067 items on Etsy currently. Going from 2,518,861 items down to 45,067 items is a massive difference in the amount of jewellery items that people are selling, using similar materials as I’m planning too. The other reason why I’m choosing to go with sterling silver, is that I don’t like how short a time silver-plated components seem to last, before showing wear and tear. (I’ve previously written about this in my post – Problems Using Silver-Plated.)

Selling My Jewellery

Ever since I started designing my own jewellery, I’ve been thinking about possibly selling it. I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading about selling, particularly in the area of handmade items. Looking at different sites, that can be used to sell handmade jewellery through, along with lots of other factors that need to be thought about:

  • Pricing
  • Selling
  • Packaging
  • Shipping
  • Tax Issues
  • Promoting Business
  • Insurance
  • Legal Issues

Plus, I’m sure there are other things that I haven’t thought of that I need to consider too. At the moment I’m finding the idea of it all to be a bit overwhelming.

My main initial goal/aim that I would like to achieve is to at least cover any costs with regards my jewellery making, including making jewellery items to keep for myself or to give as gifts. Basically I could then have my hobby pay for itself. If I ended up with more than that, it would really be a bonus. I’m planning on selling my jewellery creations through Etsy. I just don’t know, given how many people sell jewellery on a site like Etsy, as to how realistic it is for me to obtain my goal, or what timescale that could be achieved in.

The main aspect that I’m likely to find the hardest part, is the sales pitch and attracting potential customers. I’m an introvert and I’m not that good about talking myself up, the very thing that a sales person needs to be able to do. It’s difficult for me to know whether the jewellery I make is something that someone else would like to buy. I’ve had positive feedback from several different people that they like what I’ve made, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that somebody liking what I make, will translate in to a sale.

I’ve no idea whether selling my jewellery will take off and make enough money for me to continue doing it on a long-term basis, but if I don’t try I’ll never know. I’m not anywhere near ready to sell just yet, as I’ve got to sort a number of things out before I do so. Although I did order a load more beads to add to my bead stash, so that I have a larger collection of beads that I can make jewellery from. (Besides I had a 20% off coupon that ended yesterday which saved me some money. It would have been a shame to not use it.)

Amethyst Crystal Sparkle Necklace & Earrings

Amethyst Crystal Sparkle Necklace & Earrings

This amethyst crystal sparkle necklace is made from amethyst coloured glass (faceted teardrop 6 x 8mm) and Swarovski Clear Crystal (Xilion Bicone 3mm), that are wired together using silver-plated wire (0.6mm thickness). The earrings are made from Swarovski Crystals (Xilion Bicone Amethyst 4mm and Xilion Bicone Clear 3mm).

I’ve been wanting to do something with these amethyst glass beads for a while, but due to them having a central rather than a side drilled hole it’s taken me a while to figure out how to combine them.

Necklace

Amethyst Crystal Sparkle Necklace The necklace is made in sections. Each section is comprised of two amethyst coloured glass beads with a Swarovski clear crystal in the middle. They are placed on 3″ of wire that is made into closed loops at either end, which are then joined together using 5mm jump rings. I did originally have 10 sections making up the necklace but that meant a jump ring was in the central place on the necklace so I removed one section. It’s better to have an odd number of sections so that a bead is the central focal point.


Amethyst Crystal Sparkle Necklace I did think of creating a central dangle section, but the beads aren’t heavy enough to weight a dangle section so that it sits nicely when worn. It’s better to use jump rings to connect the bead sections rather than connecting them directly to each other, as it makes it much easier to make modifications like adding or removing bead sections without having to redo the entire necklace. It also gives more flexibility to the design so it makes the necklace hang nicely, otherwise it could be a bit stiff.

I’ve used 5mm jump rings as that’s the only size I had, but I think it would look slightly better if the jump rings were slightly smaller in size.

The necklace has a 10.5″ long beaded section with an overall necklace length of 18″.

Amethyst Crystal Sparkle Necklace Amethyst Crystal Sparkle Necklace

Earrings

The earrings are attached to 1cm of fine cable silver-plated chain, using eyepins, that have a circular design created at the bottom. The earrings are just over 1″ long.

The Swarovski crystals (whilst labelled amethyst like the glass beads) have a slightly pinker tone to their colour. So they are not quite an exact colour match to the other beads used in the necklace.

Amethyst Crystal Sparkle Earrings Amethyst Crystal Sparkle Earrings

Design Failure

Although I’ve occasionally had design issues with some of the jewellery I’ve created to date, I’ve managed to figure the issues out and come up with solutions that work. However, this is the first item I’ve made that I feel is completely flawed and I would term a design failure.

Design Failure #1

Whilst it doesn’t look obviously flawed on first glance, there are a number of issues with this necklace.

  • It uses violet Swarovski Xilion Bicone crystals and lilac wire in the pendant section. Whilst initially I thought that the violet crystals would go nicely with the lilac wire, I realised after creating the pendant section that it would have been better to chose a different colour crystal that would stand out more visually and contrast better against the lilac wire used.
Design Failure #1
  • The other issue (although more minor) is that if a lower-cut top is worn the crystals can be a bit scratchy against the skin, as there is nothing lifting them up from touching the skin.
  • I initially had thought to place the pendant straight on to the silver-plated chain, however I found when I did that the eye was more drawn to look at the chain rather than the pendant itself, due to the colours involved.
  • To resolve the previous issue, I decided to create a intertwined section of lilac and silver wire to place the pendant on. I decided against doing the whole necklace like that as it would too difficult to keep it nicely shaped, so thought a smaller section would work better. The problem with using this smaller section of twisted wire, is that when wearing the necklace, the pendant will quite often end up sitting at one end (or the other) of the twisted wire section and not in the middle, so it ends up looking a bit odd.
Design Failure #1

Problems Using Silver-Plated

I originally stated in my post My First Design – Purple Crazy Agate Elegance Necklace, Bracelet & Earrings that “the reason why I’ve gone with using silver-plated metal beads, clasps and findings (and likely to do so for future creations) is that the price of sterling silver is just very expensive in comparison”. Whilst the price difference point is still valid, I’ve come across problems using silver-plated items.

  • The silver-plated items I’ve purchased, seem to easily have their plating come off when worn regularly each day for day-to-day wear. (This doesn’t seem to affect the silver-plated chain I’ve been using as much, but it does affect other items like the metal beads, earstuds, clasps etc.) This means, unfortunately it doesn’t take long for the metal to lose it’s silver colour. I know that all items that are silver-plated will wear like this over time, but I hadn’t expected that it would take as short a time as it seems to have done with some of the items I’ve made.
  • The more major issue is with regards earrings. I was thirteen when I first had my ears pierced and have never had any issues with my ear piercings in over two decades until a few weeks ago. It seems that even though the earstuds I brought (which were silver-plated) were nickel free, they ended up irritating one of my ear piercings when the silver-plated coating started to wear away.

To take care of an irritated piercing put a sleeper stud in the piercing and keep it in until the piercing has completely recovered. I had swelling with my peircing, which meant if I hadn’t worn a sleeper stud then my piercing would have closed up, which can be problematic if it becomes infected. I used an antiseptic wash to help keep my piercing clean, and made sure to rotate the sleeper stud several times a day. It’s taken a good two weeks, but my piercing seems to be back to normal now.

So I’ve decided that whilst I’m still learning and trying lots of new things out, I’ll continue using silver-plated. However, for things that I really love and will want to wear a lot, that I’ll buy sterling silver items to replace the silver-plated parts and remake an item using sterling silver, so that it’ll last. The other thing is that I will only wear sterling silver and not silver-plated earstuds, as I don’t want to have a repeat of having to deal with an irritated ear piercing.

Blog Exposure

It’s amazing how much difference one simple link back can have on a blog’s site stats. Cousin Corporation of America linked from their Facebook page yesterday to my post Making Modifications to the Rose Light Crystazzi Glass Pearl Jewellery Kit. This resulted in 62 views of that particular post in just one day – just from that one link being posted on Facebook.

It just goes to show how the use of social media and links back, can make a big difference to the amount of visitors a blog (or other type of website) can have.

Amazonite & Rose Quartz ‘Y’ Necklace & Earrings

Amazonite & Rose Quartz 'Y' Necklace & Earrings

For this necklace and earring set, it utilises Amazonite (8 x 10mm glass oval tube) and Rose Quartz (3 x 6mm) semi-precious stones that are wired together using silver-plated wire (0.6mm thickness).

This is my first major foray in to using wire to create jewellery, and one which I plan on exploring and learning more of, as I like the look and texture that wire can add to an item of jewellery.

This jewellery is created wire wrapping with a single wire over the amazonite bead and adding a rose quartz bead with the ends of a beaded section being made in to closed loops. For the bottom of the Y shape on the necklace and for the earrings, rather than having a closed loop at the bottom, the end of the wire is curled back to create a coil shape.

I found it very easy to accidentally nick the silver-plated wire when cutting the end of a wire off, if I wasn’t very careful how I positioned my side cutters to avoid touching any other parts of wire.

Necklace

The necklace has an overall length of 18″ (not including the 2″ extender chain). The beads are made in three separate sections that are joined together to create a Y shape, before adding the chain which is finished off with a lobster clasp. The bottom of the Y shape is 1″ in length.

Amazonite & Rose Quartz 'Y'  Necklace Amazonite & Rose Quartz 'Y' Necklace

Amazonite & Rose Quartz 'Y' Necklace

Earrings

The earrings have a 1″ drop.

Amazonite & Rose Quartz Earrings Amazonite & Rose Quartz Earrings

Rose Quartz & Snowflake Obsidian Necklace

Rose Quartz & Snowflake Obsidian Necklace

For this necklace the main beads I used were Rose Quartz (chips) and Snowflake Obsidian (6mm round gems), that I placed in a symmetrical pattern of three rose quartz surrounded on either side by a snowflake obsidian. The necklace has a beaded section of 6.5″ that is attached to a fine cable silver-plated chain. It is finished off with a silver-plated lobster clasp, and measures an overall length of 19″.

I did initially try using a magnetic clasp like I did in my Purple Crazy Agate Elegance necklace as I really like the ease of a magnetic clasp, however as this necklace uses chain sections by the clasp I found that it kept on trying to wrap around the magnetic clasp when taking the necklace on and off.

Rose Quartz & Snowflake Obsidian Necklace Rose Quartz & Snowflake Obsidian Necklace

Back To The Drawing Board

Or more accurately, it’s back to the beading board.

I’ve been having difficulty with some beads that I’ve been trying to use and I’m having trouble figuring out how to utilise them.

Black Agate Tubes

These first beads of black agate tubes, I’ve been trying to create a pendant type look for a gift for someone who prefers to wear chains more than beaded stuff. However, I’ve been having trouble combining it in a way that makes it look good with just a small amount of beads. As shown in the picture I’ve tried combining the agate beads with some crystal Swarovski crystals. One segment of beads by itself fixed on a head pin isn’t enough, but adding the other segments either on the same jump ring or on separate jump rings added to a chain, just doesn’t sit nicely.

Green Amazonite Glass Oval Tubes

These green amazonite tubes, I’ve also been struggling with combining with other beads. I love this colour green but it doesn’t easily go with crystals as it’s not a reflective enough stone, but it’s difficult to combine with any of the other coloured beads I have.

So I need to rethink how to combine other elements that work with these particular beads.