Posts Tagged ‘business’

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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I’ve been featured on TalentDatabase!  TalentDatabase is a global database of artists, designers, performers and producers across a broad range of industries that is designed to create exposure as well as marketing and opportunities.  The kind editors have featured my listing for AntiGenre on the Fashion Portal channel, where it can be seen by who knows how many people daily for as long as it is there.  How exciting is that!?

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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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Noo Moos!, originally uploaded by antigenre.

There is nothing better than receiving a beautifully packaged, well-presented parcel in the mail!

The first thing I noticed about buying on Etsy a year ago was how well my purchases were wrapped and how much attention to detail went into the presentation and the enclosed material. While I certainly don’t expect all the extra effort, it does make the shopping experience a little more special.

I especially love cool, well-designed business cards and other marketing material that communicate the overall style and message of the store. I’ve got a great collection of cards now from some of the fabulous sellers – like Treehouse28, Bloodle, and Tricia McKellar – that I’ve bought from. I just got my own new Moo cards today, and I’m super happy with how they turned out!

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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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I’m not usually a rabble-rouser or a trouble maker; I fire off the occassional angry letter to the editor, and my bank heard from me recently regarding new fees at the ATM, but I usually don’t like to draw a lot of attention to myself.  So how, then, have several fairly well know companies managed to make me feel as if I’m a burr in their collective butt? 

When I got my first microtorch, I had a few problems using it, so I wrote to the company who sold it to me.  They promptly wrote back; it turns out it was just me being a spaz, and I got the thing to work.  A few days later, the torch died completely.  I wrote back to the company, explained the situation, and never heard from them again.   This was not just me being needy or whiny – I really wanted to use the product on which I had just spent a lot of money. 

Another supplier of jewelry tools and beading wire whose products I occassionaly use has also given me the cold shoulder.  All I did was ask about the material composition of one of their products.  I’ve written three times so far.  At this point, the answer is not even important to me; I’m not planning to use their stuff again.  I’m just sort of curious to see if they’ll ever respond. 

A few weeks ago, my beloved, incredibly hip black spectacles broke.  I wrote directly to the manufacturer and found at that that model of frame had been discontinued years ago.  They did, however, have exactly one frame left and would sell it to me at a discount.  OK, I said, sign me up!  Tell me how I can pay for them, and how they’ll get here!   Nothing.  No response.  I’m trying to GIVE THEM MY MONEY, but they apparently don’t need or want it.

With both Fair Industry and AntiGenre, I get a lot of inquiries about my products.  Usually, people want information about sizes or fabrics, care of their jewelry or washing instructions.  Some people want to see photos of items from different angles, or they want to know if I’ll be including other types of items in my collections in the future.  I try to answer each and every email as soon as I possibly can.  I’ll send along informational links that I think might be useful.  I even agreed to meet with a woman who lived close by so she could try on some skirts and blouses.  (She didn’t show up, but oh well.)

The indepent designers, artists and supply sellers from whom I have purchased have all been absolutely wonderful to work and communicate with.  I have yet to have a negative experience.  Good customer service is absolutely essential, and it is a huge mistake for larger companies to forget that.

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