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Geode Earrings, originally uploaded by antigenre.

Nu metal?  Not really, but a new shop devoted exclusively on my metalwork. I’m happy to announce that MetaGenre is now up and running! Recently, I’ve been taking a metalsmithing course at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan and have been learning and developing new skills and techniques. I wanted to create a space where I could showcase these and focus on new directions in my work.

AntiGenre, of course, will still be around and will be the home of my mixed-metal pieces, along with my vintage bead and freshwater pearl items. New pieces are being added to both shops on a regular basis.

In other news, I will be at Communiversity in Princeton on April 25th, and at Art Star Craft Bazaar in Philadelphia on May 30th and 31st. Please come and say hello!

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With metals and commodities prices down quite a bit this last week, I felt the need to splurge on some supplies.  I’ve got a small handful of events coming up, plus we’re right at the start of the holiday shopping season.  I’ve been able to get myself a little better organized than I was at this time last year, so I’m more prepared. 

My material arrived today, and I’m spending a nice evening working on the assembly line with a Halloween-appropriate movie (28 Days Later) on in the background.  Watch for some new designs for the holidays to appear in my shop soon!

Some Upcoming Events:

Birthday Sale – 6 November 2008

RFB&D Holiday Craft Sale – 14 November 2008

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Not anymore!  In the interesting in generating as much of a web presence as possible, I decided to open a shop on Big Cartel.  And while I’m still in the process of getting it set up and working on the design, I thought I’d give it a bit of a mini-debut.  Prices and shipping costs are identical to those in my Etsy shop, and it’s just one more place to find AntiGenre jewelry on the web!

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This week marks my first week as an almost fully self-employed jewelry designer!  I officially ended my full-time position at the non-profit in Princeton that I have been working at for almost a year and a half last week.  I’m still working there part-time, but going forward, the majority of my waking hours will now be devoted to making jewelry, developing new designs and learning new techniques. 

I’m really excited about this new direction that I’m going in, so to mark this occassion, I’m having a weekend sale!  From 12:00am Saturday, Sept. 6th, to midnight Sunday, Sept. 7th, some of my best-sellers will be marked down 20% in my Etsy shop.  The sale will be limited to items that are in stock and ready to ship, so I’ll be able to get them out the door ahead of my trip to Kansas on the 11th.  So stop by this weekend, and tell all your friends!

Speaking of going places, my trip to Kansas is from the 11th to the 17th.  I’ll be hanging out with my family, going to a Laurie Anderson performance and checking out my mom’s artwork at the Strecker-Nelson Gallery in Manhattan, KS.

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Copper Rings, originally uploaded by antigenre.

I’ve been meaning to make some more pieces for men but have only now gotten around to it. This is a set of three hammered rings made of heavy 12-gauge copper wire. Check in with AntiGenre on Etsy, because these and some other new items will be up soon.

In other news, thanks to all my wonderful customers, my business has been steadily growing, and I have just recently been fortunate enough to be able to cut back on my hours at my day job.  I’ll be spending a lot more time at my work bench and will be able to concentrate more fully on my jewelry.  Hooray!! I’m really excited about this, and to celebrate, I’ll be having a launch sale in just a few days – I’ll post the deets as soon as I have them!

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Want to market your shop to audiences in different parts of the world? 

Get a cat.  Seriously, get yourself a pet who thinks that 4:00 a.m. is a perfectly acceptable time to demand attention and food.  Leave your computer running at night, and instead of stumbling back to the blissful oblivion that your warm bed promises after feeding the cat, go and renew or relist just one item.   I renew items throughout the workday anyway but feel like I’m mostly reaching other people dwelling in North America who are in the same time zone, or at least roughly on the same 9 – 5 schedule, as me.  I’ve been doing this pre-dawn marketing recently and have noticed an increase in the number of people bookmarking my shop who are in various parts of Europe.  My sales to France and Germany have also increased.

When I wake up in the middle of the night, my mind often starts racing, thinking about everything I need to do during the day – getting orders out, answering emails, marketing – so it’s sometimes a bit difficult to get back to sleep anyway.  I might as well make use of the time!

In honor of my feline friends, here is a collection of recent finds that have some serious cat-itude!

Clockwise from left: WickedPen, Pet Project, Modern Classis: Home, and Kerry Beary.

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Here I sit looking at the new WordPress dashboard, slowy and reluctantly getting used to it.  After my last post, in which I panicked a bit about the new layout, I took a break, went for a walk and got a salad from an overpriced, underwhelming salad bar at the local health food store.   Since when are wilted lettuce and withered carrots healthy?

Anyway, on to the real topic of the day – teamwork!  For several months now, I have been a member of the EtsyNJ Street Team, a group of artists and crafters from New Jersey who work together to promote our work.  Members of the EtsyNJ team regularly create team treasuries, post daily promotional threads and manage team blogs and MySpace pages.  We also have a Yahoo group for discussions and advice on of all sorts of business-related topics. 

I’m not usually a ‘joiner’, but I think that being part of this team has definitely helped me get my name out there and increased exposure to my shop, all this aside from the fact that I’ve met (virtually at least) a great group of people!  For sellers who are new to Esty, I recommend at least taking a look at the Teams page on Etsy for relevant groups.  A little team-work can go a long way!

Click on the banner at the top of the page to take a look at the EtsyNJ homepage! 

AntiGenre Shop Update – Ring Things Recently Relisted!

 

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As I was out and about yesterday evening running errands, I decided on impulse to stop by the local bead store.  I was completely out of the vibrant green vintage glass beads that I use in my Nitta earrings, and I wanted to list some more pairs in my shop soon.  I thought I would just dash into the store and grab them – twenty minutes left on the meter, a hungry cat at home (see Levi v. Frist, I & II), lots of orders to get out… I couldn’t afford to linger.  I knew exactly what I needed and where in the store they were. 

So I grabbed my tray, headed to the bin, and holy cow!  The bin was full of identical glass beads in three or four different shades of green that weren’t there before, and I suddenly had no idea which one was my shade! 

I tend to keep a lot of things in my head when I’m making jewelry, relying on memory instead of writing certain specifications down.  This works fine when I’m at home in my workspace with the tons of photos I’ve saved open on the computer in front of me. 

I thought that I could rely on memory again and mentally picture the exact shade of green I used in the earrings, but when confronted with a bunch of unexpected choices, I panicked!  I ended up buying several beads in each shade and spending a lot more money than I had intended.  The moral of the story is to plan ahead, take careful stock of what is needed, take samples to the store if color matching is needed, and avoid impulse shopping when it comes to supplies.  My local bead supplier might not like me much, but at least I won’t put unnecessary strain on my already tight budget.

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Six weeks after disputed elections led to waves of unspeakable violence in Kenya, the clashes seem to be easing and relative calm is returning.   This is a welcome respite that is allowing businesses to re-open and people to return to their daily lives, but a lot of damage has been done and the economic effects will not be fully felt immediately.  

In addition to AntiGenre, I own a fair trade clothing and jewelry business called Fair Industry.   Yesterday, I received an update from the Bombolulu workshops, an organization that employees people with physical disabilities and one of Fair Industry’s trading partners, in Mombasa, Kenya.  Here is an excerpt from that email:

“The hotels in Mombasa are however extremely quite and many have closed down as charter planes that were flying to Kenya suspended their flights. The tourist arrivals have actually reduced by 92% and bookings for August have not yet been received.

Bombolulu Workshops annual budget of about $ 760,000 constitutes 50% exports sales (wholesale prices) and 50% local sales which are mostly in retail prices with a 100% to 200% mark up on wholesale prices. The local sales emanate largely from tourists and in January our retail sales declined by 90% compared to the same period last year. This revenue gap is severely felt and has resulted in a considerable loss which we might not sustain for long without endangering jobs of workers and staff.

After consecutive losses between 2004 and 2006, the year 2007 had given the organization some ray of hope after we achieved a marginal surplus to plough back into Bombolulu for expansion/growth. Unless the situation changes very soon the prospects currently are bleak.

Due to the gap from local sales we project losses of $ 83,300 or Euro 50,000.00 within the first half year of 2008.  This may not only force a reduction of the workforce so as to sustain the organization but the effects will trickle down to many other small scale suppliers e.g. bone suppliers, sisal bags suppliers, which earn their living from selling to our outlet.”

From now until the end of the month, I will be putting all jewelry made by Bombolulu for Fair Industry on sale at 10% off the regular price.   Revenue from sales will be returned to Bombolulu in the form of future purchases, which in turn will help to ensure that the more than 150 men and women working there will continue to be able to earn a fair wage.

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Well, within about a day and a half of posting my last post about customer service, I got a surprise in my inbox: a receipt and shipping notice from the people who sold me my first torch.  They sent me a free replacement!  Very nice of them.  It took me by surprise because they never responded to my last email about the problems I was having, and I never requested a replacement, but at least now I know they got my email and took me seriously.  It arrived this afternoon, and I’m looking forward to trying it out.  A thank-you email is on its way to them.

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