Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Have a Hernia!

A hernia of beads! I realized it when thinking about one of my best friends who has a real hernia (4 huge ones actually!) I thought, "He's bursting at the seams!" Then while listing some of the beads in my inventory into my ETSY shop, I realized I too was bursting at the seams!

In the last week I've had a sale in my bead shop almost every day! Mind you, my beads are incredibly low priced, so really I'm giving them away. But, I'm so happy to be finding new homes for my beads and in turn generating some renewed life to my, and others', handmade artisan lampwork bead business. I'm enjoying the return of loyal customers, and meeting new ones. I think I owe a lot of it to Face Book and Etsy.

I just posted on Facebook that I've listed 13 new items in my ETSY shop, including focal beads, bead sets, and big hole bead sets (for European charm chains like Pandora, Biagi, and Troll). A lot of artisans have Face Book "fan" pages; I don't want to have TWO pages to keep track of, and because I consider all my customers as my "friends" I decided to keep just one page, a personal one, and make sure my security settings allow everyone to view my page and photos (excluding sensitive personal information.) After all, I've got nothing to hide nor inappropriate to expose. This has also generated new business. For example, I made a necklace for myself for my birthday.
After posting this picture on my Face Book page, a special friend saw it and thought it perfect for her mother. Because I know her mother, I will hold on to the necklace for a while until she can have it as a very special gift. I also got a comment and request on my picture from someone who is not on my list of friends, but because my security on photos is set to "everyone" I was able to show my work and receive a request for a custom design from someone I do not know. The person liked the bead for a friend, but wanted something less elaborate than my necklace. Here's what I made for her.
I just love the collaborative process of making custom beads and jewelry!

Speaking of collaboration, one of my Face Book friends, Zoya Gutina, announced that she is having a contest. It's huge and exciting! I put out a shout about the contest and that I was looking for someone to collaborate with, and lo and behold I was contacted by Olga Petterssen! Social networking is fun, and the key to keeping life and a business active!

I tried eBay at first, and was successful until the recession hit hard. I also had an ETSY shop at the time, and even that business slowed down. At the end of last year I tried "fee" bay again and ended up paying $35 in fees for $12 worth of sales in December. I refuse to go back to eBay, and I am better off for it.

ETSY only charges me 20 cents per listing, my listing stays live for many months, and I can renew any listing any time to generate new interest and fresh looks. ETSY has many selling and buying functions, a user friendly listing and buying process, promotional tools that are free or low cost, and a social networking environment.

Just as Face Book has "like", ETSY has "hearts". Someone can heart an item or "favorite" an entire shop, or best yet, put that seller in their "circle"! Because I've included people in my circle who sell items to others who might be interested in beads, I offer exposure to all my visitors and vice versa. I also can check the activity in my shop, in my circle, and monitor my own activity; checking my activity lets me see who my circle adds to their favorites and circles, and I get to know even more like-minded people. I LOVE ETSY and FACEBOOK!

I may have a hernia, but my social networks are my surgical team!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts!