Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Well I tried my best.....

I had my interview today for the job I hope to be successful in getting. I find it really hard to assess how well things like this go. I think (hope) it went well. Just gotta wait now and see and fingers crossed it will go my way!

I have managed to get a few beadies made this week and I have been quite secretive in showing them off to you. They will be uploaded to my website tomorrow and I am hoping to get a couple of bags and / or business card holders up for sale as well in my Etsy shop.

Right best be off things to do and children to sort out!!!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Following on from yesterday....

...I have been having dreams about jewellery! The picture above is a pendant I have just finished! The silver comes from a small amount I had left over from my silversmithing course once again a very simple design but I think it looks totally gorgeous! Perhaps not everyones taste in bead but the skies the limit with this design must go and order some silver!!! And I just got my soldering kit so I am hoping to do some very simple soldering so expect more of my glass beads with silver!!!

Thank you so much to everyone who read my post yesterday and commented and those who did not comment I know a lot of you have taken the time to read it. I think it is a topic close to many peoples hearts in the handmade / craft industry especially those trying to sell. I also think it is such an important topic for us to share with those who purchase our goods so they can understand we just don't pluck a number out of the air and multiply it by 3 there is [some kind of] logic to how we reach our price! I was quite secretive about how I price my stuff but now realise this was because I was embarrassed to reveal it and now I realise this may be foolish. If people see how much our materials cost etc then a more transparent business can be achieved! Value once again.

Anyway I hope you like my pendant, let me know what you think I enjot seeing your comments and it makes me feel like I am not talking to myself!!!


Thursday, 25 June 2009

Value what you do!

I have had a very good day and learned a lot. I have travelled to the "Creative Quarter" in Folkestone, Kent to see if any of the galleries there would be interested in displaying and selling my jewellery. I tried 2 galleries with fair success in them both but 2 very different experiences.
The first gallery I went into was interested in selling my jewellery but did not want my "higher" end priced items as he simply did not think that any of it would sell. But he does want me to go back with some earrings and necklaces and will sell them on a sale or return basis.

The second gallery I went to was awesome. The owner was just a complete gentleman he invited me to sit down and we had a very long and detailed chat. He complimented me on my professional manner and on my presentation which boosted my confidence I can tell you. He also really liked the piece I was wearing. He was very honest with me and said that until recently he had not even considered lampworking and beads as potentially part of his gallery feeling that jewellery makers do not actually make their jewellery they simply assemble selected components into designs that they create, not really handmade. Now I guess there is a whole debate to be had there into the semantics of what is handmade but I am going to avoid that topic for tonight. What did come out very clearly from our chat was that he felt very strongly that I was undervaluing my work and was not pricing my work appropriately at all. I admit a level of naivety into the pricing thing and he opened my eyes to many factors that I had not considered and has made me massively question how I price my work. This comes on the back of a bit of a wrist slapping from a very good friend who has also told me off for not pricing my work appropriately.

So.........the pricing debate! There are a fair few places on the internet that you can look to get information about how to price your work; here, here, here and here They certainly give you food for thought!

I have 2 ways of pricing my work. Firstly my bead sets and focal beads. These I charge an hourly rate e.g. £20 so if a set of beads takes me 30 minutes to make they cost £10 to sell to you. This covers my price of the glass, the gas, the electricity, labour etc etc. I tweak price depending on the glass I use so if I use the silvered glasses or Rubino the price goes up a little to allow for the fact that these glasses are more expensive.

Jewellery is a bit more tricky and after much consideration I generally cost out the price of my materials and then multiply by 2 or 2.5. I see what that comes out at and if I am comfortable with that price that is what I charge if not I tweak! Not very scientific I know!!!!!

I under charge because I don't want to seem too pompous and up myself like "who the hell does she think she is selling constume jewellery at that kind of price I can buy cheaper in Argos" so I price to be competative with the big chain stores. I tell myself I don't want to make a huge profit just enough to feed my glass habit, thus I undercut people who are trying to make themselves a living. I would hate to have pieces of jewellery languishing in my shop for ever so I price to sell!. I get terribly embarrased when I say "Oh that piece costs £45" I would rather say " Oh 25 quid ok" BUT this may make it seem as though I am undervaluing my work and if I do that then it is like someone says in one of the links above

"It's tempting to believe that the lower the price, the quicker it will sell. However, sometimes super low prices may make customers suspicious. Why so low? Is there something wrong with it? Also, if someone really wants an item (as long as the price isn't outrageous), they will pay what you ask."

Both galleries have asked me to return with some pieces of jewellery to display and hopefully sell. The second gallery has asked me to reconsider my pricing and price them more reasonably as if I continue to sell at my current prices then I will effectively be competing with him and he would no longer be interested in doing business with me. His parting words were that I should value my work. If I value my work then others will as well and as long as my work is considerately priced I will find a market.

I have learned lots today and I am still taking it in and considering what he discussed with me but I can learn as has this lovely gentleman who now has an appreciation for what we do in lampworking (I have to admit to not being able to take credit for this, he met a lampwork artist at a glass fair earlier this year and she opened his eyes to what we do so thank you to the mystery lady who laid the groundwork).

Value what you do and others will value it also

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Going spotty dotty and lovin it!

Quick preview of the beads I will be putting up for sale later today. I am totally loving making these. To begin with it seemed really hard work and not much fun spending 15 mins on each bead but last night I made the white and grey ones and just totally found my groove (does that sound 80's naff or what!!!)

Do you know I think that taking my time and making bigger beads may actually help my impatience and concentration. Expect lots more dots! I kinda knew last summer when I introduced my "Dotty Mayhem" series that dots may feature heavily in my work and you know what I am even more convinced now that that is the case. I DO DOTS and I love them.

Better see if my customers like them as well before I get to excited.

Friday, 19 June 2009


Yay I have done it. These are round (well virtually!!!) As round as you can get I think! I am totally in love with them so gonna make some more today! I feel the return of my "Dotty Mayhem" series! These little beauties took about 15 mins each to make which is heck of a long time for me! I usually like quick fix beads which maybe why so many of my beads are little but these were a total joy to make and the possibilities are endless! Mmm...think I will get my rubino out again as well.

These wil be up for sale next Wednesday 24th June, this is part of my effort to get organised and so you guys know when new stock is available. Keep your eye on my "Bead Forecast" to find out when new stock will be listed!

So what d'ya think? I love them do you?


Thursday, 18 June 2009

Ha Ha Round beads

I think I may have cracked it!!! Making round beads that is! The kiln is ramping down as I write this so you will have to wait as will I but I think I may have finally sorted my technique out!!!


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Proud to announce....

...my new idea!

I am making bags as well as glass beads and jewellery! The picture above is my first bag that is good enough to be sold! It is a bit skewiff! The handles are not in line BUT....it is finished well and looks totally lush, very summery and holiday like I think and to top it all off a matching bracelet.
This set is available to purchase in my Etsy shop and I hope it will be followed very quickly with other goodies!

Been quiet on the beading front due to my new obsession with sewing and also that it is quite warm during the day and we have had a couple of storms and some nights where storms threaten and I don't like putting the kiln on when it is thundering. still hoping to get a full day torching tomorrow (provided the sewing machine does not kidnap me on my way past ;o) )

The auction I ran on Just Beads flopped abysmally. I am not sure why to be honest. I think the website is new and just getting going again many of the lampwork auctions had no bids against them so I don't think it was me or my beads. I think I will give it a few months and have another look then!

Right best be off! Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Bags and beads and job interview!

I have made a bag!! Actually I have made loads but this is the final finished version! I am quite chuffed with it and think that over the next few days / weeks I will be making these to sell!!! I have not had much beading time these last few days so when I have finished writing this I am off up the studio, the kiln is warming up as we speak and a few ideas are bubbling! Don't think it is going to be a spectacular day but it will be nice to sit up there and make beads.

I have challenged Tony to come up with a system for me to hold 2 mandrels together so I can make glass buttons for my bags. There is a system available but only in the US so I thought I could challenge him to rig me something up! Watch this space!

One final piece of news totally unrelated to beads or bags! I have an interview for a new job on 30th June. Got to do a 10 minute presentation so got loads of stuff about that floating around my head as well now!!!

Right best be off kiln time is a wasting...... and I gotta make more goodies for you guys to drool over and buy ;o) (please!)

Have a lovely day

Friday, 12 June 2009

And the winner is ....

C. Skinner

I have emailed you hope to hear from you soon.
Thank you to everyone who joined my mailing list I have had a fantastic response. I am making a few changes to the way I do things so I will be sending out a newsletter in the next couple of days so keep your eyes peeled. If you don't get one then you are not on my amiling list so quick go join!!

I am thinking of a montlhy prize draw watch this space!!!

Thanks again to you all

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Life changes and moving on

I can finally tell you all what has been going on in my little head lately. No.....don't go only a couple of lines I promise and it is all good! I have handed my notice in to my job. There are a million reasons why I have done this but mainly because it is right for me! I have started to feel better and have made some very considered decisions none of them knee jerk and I am determined to get better.

So as of September I will no longer be a University lecturer. Don't get me wrong I am sure I will miss certain parts of the job and others parts less so LOL! I know for a fact that I will miss my colleagues that I work with and so many of my students...BUT...I need some time out and I need to find me whatever that means and so that is what I am doing.

My jewellery making, beadmaking and sewing has been a total godsend whilst I have isolated myself it has allowed me to spend some time doing something I totally love and just simply to relax and this will continue. I have some job applications in the pipeline but as of this moment I have no job to go to but I found this fab quote the other day and it sums it all up.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do in the future, but I know that in the present, I know what I need to do. The plane that I am on is going to crash, so I’m jumping, and something tells me that I will find a parachute on the way down.

A bit dramatic perhaps but apt! Time for a change

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Just beads auction

I have taken the plunge and started my first ever auction!

Follow this link! My Auctions at JustBeads.com

Thank you

What have I been up to?

I am still off sick from work but I am gradually feeling more like Sam again. I am taking my time tho and my GP is being fantastically supportive I want to be ok to return to work and not risk going off sick again very soon after I return . So I find myself in an unusual position. I have guilt for not being at work and worry that people will think I am "swinging the lead" but my head was such a complete mess I owe it to myself, my family and my colleagues to get myself 100% sorted and not just 50 % or 60 %.

Anyway I am throwing myself into my beadmaking and jewellery making and I am finding it all very therapuetic. This afternoon will be a sewing afternoon I have some patterns drawn up for small handbags and I am dying to try them out! I spent yesterday finishing off the tutorial for Beads and Beyond magazine that I have been asked to do! The picture above is a little taster of what I have made but you will have to wait till the August issue to see it in it's full glory! Although I am biased I am totally in love with it I think it is fab and totally wearable!

Don't forget my prize draw see post below for details only 2 days to go.

Right best be off, I am looking after my sisters 5 cats whilst she is away camping so I need to go round her house and feed them!!!


Sunday, 7 June 2009

Prize Draw

I have decided to have another prize draw so in order to win the pendant that you can see above (necklace NOT included!) all you have to do it go to my website and join my mailing list. Everyone who is already on there will automatically be entered but there are a lot of emails that do not seem to work so it is good to get updated emails and to get new people to join.

This prize draw will run till Friday 12th June midday and I will do the draw using a random number generator that afternoon and notify the winner on this blog!

I hope you like the prize!!


Saturday, 6 June 2009

Oops ....my bad!

Sorry I said I was going to list new beads last night and I did not get round to it. I am doing it now!!! Some on my website and some on my Etsy!

Happy browsing

Friday, 5 June 2009

My eldest daughter

Yesterday was Imogen's birthday and with her birthday money (why did I never get birthday money???) she bought herself an outfit for her school disco tonight!

She asked me to take a picture so I thought I would share it with you all. Imogen is in the middle!


New Stock for sale tonight

New stock will be listed on my website tonight and some stuff on my Etsy. I am thinking of moving all my selling to Etsy but have not decided yet! I may give Folksy another go as it is already in £ and not $ cos there is a small difference in price when converting.

Anyway a little sneak preview for you all.