Friday, April 10, 2009

Next Stop, Alisuns!

I completely missed, until this minute, a tragedy in the life of someone I care very much about that took place. Please read about it in her own words, as it may be a cautionary tale.

Today I'm the featured seller on the Crazy Train. I guess I should tell you a little about me and my studio, Alisuns.

My grandbaby borrowed my watch during one trip to Chicago and misplaced it. We looked everywhere for it, but couldn't find it. So I went to a local discount store and bought a replacement that was this kind of dangly charm-bracelet-type thingy. I thought, Gee, that would make a good design for a mother's bracelet.... I tried to make some. It took me quite some time to become proficient enough to invest in gold and silver, and my relatives stopped volunteering to be my guinea pig jewelry testers... I found that I really enjoyed making the pretty little things. At first I was going to try to use gemstones, but I couldn't find affordable compatible ones. Then I tried Swarovski Crystals. Now, all my life I've collected as many gemstones as I could. I love sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, but not the highest quality clear glassy kind... and not diamonds. But for some reason I love these crystals, even though they are clearly glass.

I still make a few dangle mother's necklaces (my relatives haven't stopped having babies and need updates or longer necklaces or bracelets), and I love creating a Core of My Heart pair of earrings for a happy lady, but now I really want to learn to wire wrap. I don't have the means to invest in a lot of wire at this time, so I'm practicing stringing beads.

For those who have never strung beads, just let me tell you that it is harder than it looks. For one thing, you must have a vision of the completed project before you even start. If you don't, you may have to completely start over to make an item to your satisfaction. While using wire links, you can just unhook them and move them around....but that bead that is out of place in the middle of the strung necklace means that half of the necklace must be undone to change it.

I sold on eBay for probably a year. It is spending my dollars locally because I live in the Bay area, but it was way too expensive for me. My daughter suggested Etsy, but the fees seemed comparable. Then, when I lost my retail job, I thought I'd have to give up selling completely because I couldn't find the fees.

One of my purchases had a flier for I took a look at it and opened the store hoping that I'd have a smaller pool of jewelry makers with which to compete.... Well, if you count the fact that anyone on the site is NOT looking for mass produced jewelry, I guess you can say I've narrowed the field, but with tens of thousands of ArtFire members (not all are sellers) and the majority of them jewelry makers, I can't say that I've carved a niche. :) ArtFire has, however, and it continues to grow in popularity almost exponentially, a trait I don't mind basking in at all.

I have, however, in the three months that I've been on ArtFire learned more about jewelry making and branding and style trends (not that I've ever listened to them) than I had learned in the year before. And as long as I don't run out of supplies, I can afford to showcase my wares because ArtFire not only doesn't charge for every single thing it does and collectively enriches my online experience, it markets my products aggressively.

I'll still be the seller tomorrow, but I am pleased to say that I will have at least 77 more artisans (and many of them creating beautiful and useful things I can't imagine making) to present to you.

Remember to please follow this blog, and come back and let me know what you like the most of her offerings.

Here's why: At the end of the month I'll randomly select one of the persons who has posted a favorite item to win a pair of sterling silver and pewter earrings or sterling plated made-to-order bracelet with a cute little pewter charm.

Have fun today and don't forget to check out the talented ArtFire members in my other

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