6/30/09 - Philip Warner  

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A portrait by my favorite photographer, Philip Warner (aka Lithium Picnic).

A quick shot in my street clothes - Philadelphia - and yes, I really do wear all that jewelry on a normal day basis.

Hip chains... in the future.

6/29/09 - Better Your Business Part 2  

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7. CUSTOMER SERVICE (thanks to SassySashadoxie and PUREnaturalMinerals who posted similar)
One, make sure you are having fun at this. If it is not fun, then your customer service, attitude, and art will reflect that. Two, treat the customer like how you would want to be treated times 10 or so. Always, go the extra mile. They will appreciate it in more ways than you can know at the time. Three, hand written notes or thank you cards. Four, Communication, communication, communication. Tell them you got their order, when it was shipped, when it is expected to arrive, and thank them for their order as soon as you receive it. This is really important for those first time customers or first time Etsy shoppers. Five, don't stress when you don't have sales. They come when they do. Often, they come in spurts. Enjoy the down time with a little promoting, team building, and working on your art.

8. BALANCE YOUR VENUES (thanks to CharlieandSarah)
Don't count on one source of revenue. Keep your baskets balanced between: Selling Online, Weekly Markets, Large Indie Craft Fairs, Street Fairs, Wholesale, Consignment, Online Drop-shipping Sites, etc.

Every once in a while I get a jerk... "why didn't I get my package, it's been 36 hours since I placed my order" - Or recently a meany on Flickr saying he was going to report me for posting only pictures of my product. What?! So always kill with kindness... be so super polite and helpful that the crappy customer can't help but be satisfied, no matter how much you want to tell them to sod off.

10. ONLINE PROMOTION (thanks to DRyan327)
Ning.com, Twitter.com - Do a 3 day ad on Facebook or Myspace. They are $5.00 a day, and just remember not to let it run too long or you will get nailed for an outrageous sum of money. A lot of the popular blogs have inexpensive ads, some more than others, but here are a few... http://www.craftcult.com or http://www.craftopolis.com. I have a folder on my computer that I keep adding to that has all the good "promotion" type things I have found.

11. THANK YOU GIFT (thanks to Bluebell - I actually do this too)
For some (but not all) of my buyers I will add a small free gift with their purchase. On every order I take one of my mini business cards and punch a hole in it and tie a piece of ribbon on it. On smaller orders I wrap in pretty tissue paper and tie with ribbon.

12. SMILE (thanks to NoneSuchGarden)
If you do shows, SMILE. No matter how tired, hot, cranky, or sore your feet are, act happy to be there and enthusiastic about your craft! So flash you best smile and work it!

When approaching a store to display your paintings, plan an opening party, or maybe sell your jewelry wholesale, exude confidence and experience whether you feel it or not. Walk into that salon with a portfolio of beautiful pictures, head held high shoulders back like you've got your work on the walls of Parliament, much less a little boutique. Confidence makes a WORLD of difference and also makes that store owner more confident to work with YOU since they now see how capable and businesslike you are.

6/29/09 - Better Your Business Part 1  

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Yesterday, on Etsy.com, I started a forum thread entitled "Your Big Dirty Secret" encouraging my fellow crafters to join me in sharing business secrets to our success. Big fish in the industry never want to tell; never help out us little guys... so why not compile amongst ourselves what little nuggets of wisdom our diligence has gleened.

Don't be afraid to ask a magazine or newspaper to feature your work. Your work in a new boutique, art openings, street faires - if it is local, be sure to tie the story into the community to interest readers. Pitch them the story (don't wait for them to come to you with the idea), never underestimate the power of a free giveaway (something expensive) and have pictures and some sort of reader tie in at the ready.
Once you get a connection, keep it and gently hound... these editors are very busy and need a few reminders of your existence. And if it's not print worthy, ask if it could be on their website instead.

2. START A MAILING LIST (thanks to TheTinyFig)
Start a mailing list. It's an easy way to get people to remember you, announce things, and bring in repeat customers.

3. LIBRARY BOOKS (thanks to SparrowSalvage)
Leave your card in your library books - especially if they relate to what you sell. If you sell jewelery, leave them in jewelery/fashion books. If you sell pet products, leave them in books about that animal. If you sell furniture, leave them in home decor books. Fiction works too, if you sell ornate stuff leave a card in a fantasy fiction, if you sell crisp modern stuff leave them in crime thrillers...make vintage stuff? Leave them in travel books. Some libraries go through returns for bookmarks etc and might throw them out, but judging by the amount of post-its, receipts, library slips etc I find in books, mine don't!

4. CAREFUL PRICING - NOT TOO LOW (thanks to PassePurse)
People like high prices. Sure some people are looking for something really cheap but look at Louis Vuitton and Chanel and Tiffany & Co. They have an almost cultist following and their prices are through the sky. I would prefer to associate my shop with very high quality, high priced merchandise. I see some people on Etsy selling their stuff for so cheap it's painful - I don't know that customers automatically think highly of those products. Low prices are not necessarily a great marketing tool.

5. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A CONTACT (thanks to BeyondtheRockz)
Network and get ready for suprises - never underestimate any contact you have, remain open to all possibilities, and go ahead: put yourself out there and ask!

6. WEAR IT ALL (thanks to RockMyWorldInc)
Always wear all your jewelry. I mean all! Load it on! I wear 3 bracelets, earrings, 2 necklaces, and a ring or 2 on every finger. I only wear my own jewelry... even if I am just going to the grocery. I might forget my makeup and to comb my hair, but I never forget my jewelry. Always have a business card ready... don't try to search for an old used one in your purse - have new fresh ones always!

Stay tuned for Part II...

6/22/09 - Etsy.com Competition Video  

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Julie Beck - an Etsy artist friend whom I featured in the past on my blog for her stunning paintings...

Has included me in her Etsy.com Competition Video! Please click and rate it 5 stars if you like it! I think it's absolutely adorable and I'm thoroughly impressed with her editing skills...
please do re-post it if you agree :)

Also don't worry - the "register" part is just so people don't screw with the voting system. You're not going to be spammed, nor do you need to enter more than an email, birth date, etc.

6/15/09 - Jet setting  

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I've been Jet Setting again and neglecting my blog again...

Just got back from another long week in LA; first for Ink-N-Iron 2009 and then additional days of networ
k-partying, photoshoots, and other glamorous exhausting events. Not a day went by that I was in bed before at LEAST 3am, if not quite a few nights of 5:30 in the wee hours of the morn! New Yorkers, when we meet we are on time, grab a coffee, a dinner, whatever. But in Hollywood you have to go for drinks, go shopping, meet at a photoshoot, continue to a club... and always an hour or two after the official designated time "IN CASE OF TRAFFIC."

Now I'm sad to say that many people missed the lovely banner Chris made for the front of my website... upon my return to the city I am about 100 orders behind with more flowing in steadily (some of which are the tail end of the Repo Scalpel Necklaces). Ackkk, WHEN will I be able to afford a slew of clones to help me manage this increasing workload?

Ink-N-Iron was a blast, working with
Emily Postula, my colleague who owns the store Torch Song Metals in upstate Nyack. I brought her along to sell her own work and help assist me with our collaborative line (which will soon be on the site). We also adjoined our 10 foot booth to the Pin Up Angels, whom RockLove has sponsored for about two years now. This was my second Ink-N-Iron with the ladies, but the first time in which I had my own real vending space. Quite nervous, Em and I had no idea how much merchandise to make or what to expect!

Friday through Sunday our booth was open until 10pm at night (mandatory), and then afterward I would party on the ship with the tattoo artists/vendors, check out the burlesque shows, join on the dance floor... pushing myself to experience everything the show had to offer. I'm glad I did - made some amazing new friends in psychobilly bands: The Creepshow, Koffin Kats, and the HorrorPops.

Other exciting connections and potential upcoming photos include: Tattoo Magazine, Tattoo Life, Rebel Rodz, Inked Magazine, and more... my personal favorite being Maxim Magazine. I've been a Maxim reader for damn near a decade, plus their very sweet stylist and photographer loved my work. I can't wait for the day I go into the bathroom, pull out my trusty subscription, and play "Where's Waldo" with RockLove jewelry.

Not only did I get to see all my favorite Angels, but I revisited and made new friends with the scene's photographers. Here is Susana of Vestige with her stylist Christina, plus Cathy of Through My Eyes Photography, Roy Varga, Jorge of JMVfoto, etc...

In fact, later that week after the show, Jorge shot ME as the model:

Stayed at my girl, Black Grace's house - she and her roommate Josie took me to all the LA hotspots and in turn I took them to my meetings/parties. Venice Beach, Swingers in Santa Monica, The Cactus for midnight tacos, The Rainbow for 80's rockstars, Cat and the Fiddle... and Grace took me to see where she grew up in 29 Palms.

I'm such a city dork, I took a MILLION photos of the desert! I've never been to a place where people rake their backyard... and it's just DIRT. Dumbfounded by the windmills, I felt like Don Quixote!

I had a wonderful time this round in LA and met some great new friends. Emma, a Hollywood stylist, is one of my new favorite people (besides Grace, whom I got to know much better, which was lovely)... Emma not only helped me out both Saturday and Sunday at Ink-N-Iron, but she introduced me to my new headband wearing
obsession, making by hand for me my little growing collection.

Another reason Emma is so cool (besides passing as my older sister and owning at least half the same brain)... check out the tat she got while at the convention! Recognize the clockwork? My second RockLove tat, and first real self-branded d

Off to bed now - this week will be a frantic game of catch up as I regain my footing and prep for some huge future press!