Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Gem Junkie June 1, 2009

jadeI love beads and have ever since I wandered into a Santa Fe bead store run by a woman named Gloria of unknowable age with a glorious head of laquered white hair and a bad attitude. While I have collected them through my life (my favorites are from Prague), I’ve never gone so far as to string them. I just like to look at them, run my fingers through glassy piles. Although lately, with my haute couture embellishments class, I’m learning how to apply beads to garments, a task I took to with unforeseen and surprising love and tenderness.

skullWell, I’ve landed on a wonderful etsy beading store, Gem Junkie, which has “gemstones and jewelry supplies for all your beading needs.” Just think, I don’t have to put up with Gloria’s bad attitude or trek to Czechoslovakia. And with the supplies available as well, I may even string a few together. Discover Gem Junkie here.


 

Indie Jewelry: You’ll just love Grandma Marilyn’s December 3, 2008

Posted by Marjorie Cunningham, broken china jewelry designer at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.

One of the nicest jewelry designers you’ll ever meet online is Marilyn Southmayd of Freer, Texas whose jewelry is known as Grandma Marilyn’s.  Always ready to help new jewelry makers with advice and encouragement, Marilyn is a delight to know.  The slogan on her website is very true:  “If it’s on this site, it’s handcrafted with love”.  Marilyn shared her jewelry adventure with me.

“Back in the ’80s, my first husband’s mother was making some little dolls and had nowhere to sell them.  I started making soft sculpture dolls, and we started going to craft fairs.  I let her believe that she was tagging along with me.  In reality, I was going to the craft shows so that she could sell her crafts and get a little pin money.  Then I found some beaded earring books in the craft store.  I started making some really pretty earrings to sell at the craft shows.  They did fairly well.  For some reason, we quit going to the craft shows and my beading fell by the wayside.

Then, around, September, 2005, I needed something to help me make some money as we had lost everything and my second mother’s husband was supporting us until we could get back on our feet.  I started making Christmas Crystal Snowflakes since it was right before Christmas. Those sold pretty well. I sold at least 17 of them. I was so excited. From there, I graduated to making bracelets with wire and acrylic beads.

Then in December 2005, I found the internet bead groups and went wild. My first project was a bracelet by Glenda Payseno called the Fab 50’s Bracelet from her Beadchat group.   Glenda is such a giving person and uploads quite a few of her patterns for her members as well as sells them on Lulu and ReadytoBead as patterns and kits.  My beading continued to improve with this lovely roundlace necklace created from a bracelet pattern by Sandra D. Halpenny. Since then, I have created so many patterns created by wonderful designers that I cannot list them all here. You can see the pretties that I created either in my GrandmaMarilyns Etsy store, my Picasa Web Album, or my Flickr album.   You will find the links to the patterns in the description if I used a pattern.

In March 2005, Loretta, a friend I met on Beadchat, and I started our own group called Beading Fanatics so that the new beaders could have a place to go where the really experienced beaders wouldn’t get mad at them for asking the same questions over and over. I have grown so much as I have learned new stitches. I have actually started designing some of my own patterns.   I don’t have them up for sale yet but am considering it.  My daughter has even suggested that I start selling kits.   I still have quite a ways to go but I am enjoying every minute of it, and I am a beadaholic that doesn’t want to be cured.”

Marilyn told me a very inspiring story as to why she creates dainty jewelry.  “I have always been heavy-set and I guess for that reason have always loved dainty, feminine looking jewelry.   I had been told as I grew up that I shouldn’t wear dainty jewelry because it wouldn’t look good on me.   I feel that anyone should have the right to wear beautiful jewelry if they like it.  That is why I tend to lean towards patterns that have that look.”

What fuels Marilyn’s inspiration?  “It depends. Lately, I have been inspired by many things—one of them being the challenges on the Etsy Beadweavers Team.  I find inspiration everywhere … when I am doing a search for something on the internet and that special something catches my eye, in mother nature, and even in my pets or family.”

I asked Marilyn to tell us about the patterns for the Christmas decoration patterns that she and her daughter have on her website.  “Earlier this year, Linda M. sent an email to the beading groups asking for volunteers to make beaded Christmas ornaments (approximately 1-2 inches) for small Christmas trees to be sent to our deployed soldiers. This project was being handled by a group called American Angels.  I thought this was a worthy effort so asked my daughter to create some ornaments to be used for this purpose.  I told her that I planned to put up a page with her patterns on my site that other beaders could access to make these also.   They had over 700 little trees that needed to be decorated so the more beaders the better.  Of course, the ornaments could be made in any way but since I love beading first, that is the type of patterns that I listed.   This project will be going on every year so the patterns will stay there for as long as I have the website.”

Marilyn’s family members are also very creative.  “My mother before she died passed on the love of crafts to me.   I will always thank her for that.  She loved crocheting.  My father does leatherwork.  I have started creating a website for his wonderful creations.  He has made me a wonderful checkbook cover, belt, and a few fanny packs that are great for when I am doing a show or while shopping at craft shows.  He loves doing special orders.   My daughter is more into embroidery art than beading.  She has a website started, but we don’t have anything on it yet.  She has done some posts in her blog about her beautiful work and the inspiration.   I want her to do some of her work for sale but she is going to college and that takes up quite a bit of her time.   Hopefully someday her work will be for sale next to mine.”

Marilyn also told me why she liked selling on Etsy and gave some advice for newcrafters/designers just starting out there.  “One of the major features that I love about Etsy is that it is international.   They do advertising so that people can find Etsy.  Etsy is picked up by the search engines so that your wonderful handmade items can be found.   I love the fact that only handmade or Vintage items can be listed.  There is also the fact that the fees don’t eat up all of your profit. It is easy to use and easy to sell.  My advice for new crafters/designers just starting out on Etsy is:

1.  Make yourself an avatar and banner that people can identify with your shop.  Your avatar will show up in any of the messages you put in the forums or anywhere else.

2.   Make sure you get good pictures of your items.  Especially make sure that your pictures are in focus.   Don’t have the pictures cluttered.  Once you take them, make sure you crop them down to the item only and do any other editing that needs to be done.  Make the first picture your best one showing your item.

3.  When you write your description, sell your item.  Make the potential buyer think that they have to have your item.

4.  Make sure that you list colors in your tags.

5.  Do not let your Etsy shop get static….spend time listing and relisting (at least 2-3 items per day is recommended), photographing (remember you need 5 pictures for your listing), editing, writing, learning, promoting, networking, blogging, checking the forums, mailing (if you get a sale), and keeping records.

Oh, one last word of wisdom, when you go in to edit an item, always click LAST at the bottom of the item and then click FINISH at the top.   Otherwise your item will become inactive and your potential buyers won’t be able to see it.  Been there and done that.”

Here are the links where you can find more about Grandma Marilyn’s jewelry:

Official website

Marilyn’s Blog

Etsy Beadwork Shop

Etsy Craft Supplies

 

Okay … So What Is Etsy and Why Is It So Much Fun? October 30, 2008

Get your shopping hookup at WickedlyChic.com

Get your shopping hookup at WickedlyChic.com

This article is excerpted from the Wickedly Chic FaceBook discussion board and is written by the brilliant Liz Nonnemacher, chief editor and creator of Wickedly Chic.com, the web site Athena would be if she were a real grown up web ‘zine and took ads, and written up here on Athena recently.

By Liz Nonnemacher

According to Wikipedia, “Etsy is a website which provides the general public with a way to buy and sell handmade items.” The site follows in the tradition of open craft fairs, giving sellers personal storefronts where they list their goods for a fee. It has been compared to “a crafty cross between Amazon and eBay” and “your grandma’s basement.”

Eh … personally, I think it’s way cooler than that. There are over 262,000 sellers on Etsy as of right now, and if you’re looking for one-of-a-kind items that not everyone has, Etsy is a fun place to shop. Each seller has their own store and does their own pricing. So it’s like tons of little shops under one roof. Each shop has its own style. Some are more sophisticated; some are more country-style. And many fall in between. One of the things that I love the most is just browsing through, watching trends and checking out what’s out there.

What I would do to start out is to head on over to Etsy, http://www.etsy.com and click on the Register button in the upper right hand corner. You must be a registered member of Etsy to make purchases. Don’t worry. It won’t cost you a dime. It’s all free. You will create a user name and a password. Then you’ll enter your email address. And click on submit and you’re in. Now you’re ready to buy.

What are you looking for? Nothing? You don’t know? You want to treat yourself but don’t know what you want? Well … when you click on the Buy tab, you’ll be taken to a series of options. You might choose Local Sellers. Maybe you live in Pittsburgh or Kalamazoo, and you want to check out local vendors. You can look through Categories if you know, for example, that you are looking for a bracelet. You can even search by color. Maybe you want a peach bracelet or a blue purse. You can search by items that have recently been listed. Or you can simply go to Sellers and find items from sellers as soon as they are listed.

If you’re looking for jewelry, artwork, cosmetics, bath & body, clothing, hats, vintage items, candles, accessories,you name it, you can find it while browsing through Etsy. Sometimes you’ll see things that you’ve just gotta have. Right now. And if you are a crafty designer yourself, you’ll find plenty of shops selling stones, beads, yarn, fabric, etc.

Each shop is an individual store, so to speak. When you see an item that you want and you click on it and you’ve read all about it and you must have it or buy it for someone else, I would first make sure to read the shop’s policies. Each shop has their own policies, so make sure that you read up on them before making a purchase. Most of them are self-explanatory.

Check the seller’s feedback. At least 99.9% of the sellers on Etsy are honest and fabulous. There are few exceptions. Make sure you read the feedback from both buyers and sellers. Yes, Etsy sellers purchase from each other too! After you make your purchase, your seller will leave you feedback, and you are expected to leave feedback for them once you receive your item.

Now you’re ready to buy. Yay! What you will do is to click the green button that says Add to Cart. This will take you to the next page to confirm your added item, and you’ll see an option of two buttons to click. One will say Checkout (this means that this is the only item that you are going to purchase from this seller’s shop) OR the button below says Keep Shopping. Click this button if you want to add more items from this PARTICULAR seller’s shop. Otherwise mosey yourself along and click Checkout.

At this point, you’ll enter your address (or the address that you would like your item(s) shipped to). Because you must create an account and sign in, Etsy will store your address information once you make a purchase. Don’t worry. You can always change your address on subsequent purchases.

Click Next Step and now your item(s) will show up. This is the last chance to change your order before submitting. Change your mind? Just click the remove x right next to your item. Your shipping and item price will be confirmed in this step. Keep in mind that shipping charges will vary from seller to seller. This is important to note! Very important. You’ll find that some sellers will offer free shipping and others will charge varying prices. As a general rule of thumb, if you are stateside, you’ll find that shipping costs are lower from state to state. The same goes if you are in the UK or in Canada or Spain. Shipping within your own country is likely to be less than shipping from another country.

BUT don’t let this stop you! Choose items based on what you like and not where they come from. So you pay a few dollars more. How cool is it that you can buy from all over the world? One of my favorite pairs of pants (although my husband doesn’t think they’re so sexy) came from a shop in Thailand. They’re thai fisherman’s pants, and they’re awesome. Got ’em on Etsy. If you want to know more about them, I’ll send you over there. Let me know.

But wait … do you have a Paypal account? If you do, great. If not, you can pay through Paypal using any major credit card without having an account or exposing your information to the Etsy seller. Using Paypal is free whether you have an account or not. Some of the sellers are taking what’s called RME payments but I don’t have an RME account, so I have to skip over that. If anyone has any info, feel free to share it.You might see something on Paypal mentioning low fees…don’t worry. That’s only if you are a seller. For instance, I take advertising payments on Wickedly Chic through Paypal, and I pay the fee. So when you purchase something on Etsy, you aren’t paying any fees and you can simply pay with a credit or debit card. On the other hand, if you want to pay strictly with a credit card and do not want to set up a paypal account, that’s not a problem.

Once you make your purchase, you can always sign in and go to Your Etsy. Once there, you log in and you can see the status on your account. Most sellers will mark that payment is received or the item has been shipped. But sometimes they forget and you can always send them a convo to ask about it. What is a convo? It’s Etsy-ese for conversation. Let’s say that you see a necklace with a blue stone. You might think …”I love that necklace but I’d like to have a pink stone.” Well…send the seller a convo and see if that’s possible. Most sellers are very accommodating and love to do what they can to please their customers. You might also send the seller a convo if you have questions about ingredients in bath items, etc.

Another reason that you might need to send a convo to a seller is regarding payment. There are some buyers who prefer to pay through a check or a money order. If this is your situation, you will need to contact that seller to make sure that will be acceptable. Some will say yes and some will say no. You’ll want to make sure and not take any chances.

You will receive a confirmation to your email account once you make a purchase. And chances are, you’ll hear from the seller too. You might not…but don’t worry. Most of the sellers are very busy making one-of-a-kind items (OOAK) just for you!

There’s an entire Etsy world out there with amazing sellers who have things that you just can’t buy anywhere. It’s easy to begin, and, I have to admit … very addicting.

OH! One of my favorite features on Etsy is that all of your information is stored in Your Etsy. That means that years from now, you can see the actual listing for each item that you have purchased even if that particular seller has closed shop. Sometimes we buy things and then forget where we purchased from. This isn’t a concern with Etsy. ALSO, let’s say that you are just browsing but don’t want to make any purchases. But you see a store that you like. Go to the bottom right of the seller’s shop where you will see Page Tools. You’ll see that you can click to Add Seller to Favorites. That way, next time you go to Etsy, you have your shop already stored without having to grab a pen. You can even add an individual item to your favorites but beware … next time you come back … it might be gone!

The following are some recent Wickedly Chic articles featuring Etsy sellers. If you want to poke around before taking the Etsy plunge (and I know it can be daunting), you might browse through some of these Wickedly Chic favorites. Because they’re wonderful.

Prim Pantry & Jamie Noel, http://www.wickedlychic.com/774/fresh-and-chic-the-prim-pantryjamie-noel-jewelry-october-16-2008

Liebling Designs, http://www.wickedlychic.com/771/fresh-and-chic-maddison-avenue-candleliebling-designs-october-9-2008

Jenny Karlsson Design, http://www.wickedlychic.com/769/indies-of-the-week-the-purple-sagejenny-karlsson-design-october-2-2008

AquaBeet, http://www.wickedlychic.com/766/fresh-and-chic-aqua-beetcrater-lake-company-september-25-2008

Deb’s Design & 4th Avenue Soap Co, http://www.wickedlychic.com/761/indies-of-the-week-debs-design4th-avenue-soap-co-september-11-2008

The Venerable Bead, http://www.wickedlychic.com/730/indies-of-the-week-lol-candlesven-bead—july-10-2008

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Happy shopping! Let me know if you have other questions or other suggestions. And if I missed anything (and I very well might have), feel free to post & assist other shoppers!