Monday, January 24, 2011

Gemology Pursuit

Today's challenge is to see how much I can get written with my toddler competing for my attention. It's been difficult to write lately with daily demands of appointments, school, working and full time with my kids, still making time for my husband... but I really want to give an update.

With my latest store sales I've been able to pay for some of my classes to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) "The world's foremost authority in gemology." Recently I received my AJP which stands for Accredited Jewelry Professional. Currently I'm studying Diamonds and Diamond grading with the intent of completing the program to gemologist.

I've been studying gems since I was about 16 years old and as I'm sure I've mentioned before, have built my own gem lab more recently. I've always had a love for fine jewelry especially. While in high school I would save portions of my lunch money to buy jewelry at the local pawn shop. From there I would trade items up as I had money and ended up with a nice collection of gemstone jewelry, much of it in karat gold.

My grandma had a love for jewelry and perhaps influenced my early appreciation for fine pieces. She has since passed on but I'm sure she'd be proud of me pursuing my interests.

Well, it only took me 45 minutes to write this.

Thank you for your support in helping me do something I've always wanted to do.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Considering a Store Close

I have a passion for jewelry making and design but the reality is, the time it takes to produce my pieces and the cost of my supplies versus the price that moves them through my store leaves me at a financial disadvantage. There are so many jewelry artists out there and in order to compete with others' prices I feel I'm having to sell myself short.

In order to get items noticed among the hundreds of thousands on Etsy I must advertise and/or consistently relist pieces to move them toward the top of the "most recent". Doing this also puts the piece in a brief front page viewing as "recently listed items". This costs money and can add up quickly. So while Etsy's commission is very reasonable, an item, for example that cost me $5 to make that I'm selling for $10 on clearance, I may have to pay several dollars in relisting fees to get it noticed before it actually sells; thus being out time and possibly money. This is not to mention Paypal's fees.

In my jewelry I use sterling and fine silver. If you've followed precious metal prices lately, you'll know they've gone up exponentially. In fact sterling wire prices alone have nearly doubled since I started my Etsy shop just less than 2 years ago. Fine silver in clay form has always been pricey but so far my vendor has kept the prices the same. As a result I've been making more items out of fine silver lately. While the supply cost is not much different, my prices are higher because it takes me 2 days to make these pieces. I've considered doing a tutorial--and perhaps at some point I will. Experiencing the labor that goes into PMC and Art Clay pieces in forming and finishing them, I've come to appreciate other artists' creations in a renewed way.

So, what's happening now in my jewelry shop is I've clearanced out many pieces. I have no official plan should I phase out completely. I'm considering pulling some pieces I've gotten compliments on from family and friends and may save them as gifts and keep some samples of work for my own collection; things I've put a lot of heart into. I will not likely reduce the prices anymore than I have but have a coupon code being offered on my store's front page for additional savings. I also may auction some off on Ebay.

Another shop I'm considering closing is my gem shop. I've got hundreds upon hundreds of loose gems. Listing these take a bit more time because each one is measured weighted and sometimes run through expensive tests before being photographed for entry into the shop. It's a bit much for a $5 gem. I've got a coupon code floating in that shop too.

As for my art shop, I don't have plans to close it down anytime soon. I need some sort of outlet after all. I do, however need to move things along so, that store as well has a coupon code.

I'm not going to close out anything in a haste. I thought posting this might give people a head's up as to what may be coming. If there is something you're interested, please consider purchasing it while it's still there. If there are multiple items you're interested and want to make an offer for a discount, I'm totally open to that.

Thanks to those of you who have taken time to read my blog and especially those who've supported my shops. I can't thank you enough.