Christine's Stories from the Trenches
I hope your summer has been absolutely brilliant. It does go by quickly doesn't it?
Here's how mine is going.
Last newsletter, I wrote,
I have declared this summer to be the summer of Edgar and Zoe. (Ever watch Seinfeld? Remember the summer of George?) Edgar and Zoe are my kids, ages 3 and 5 and a half. So instead of writing so much, I'm spending time with them.
And I meant it, but I gotta say, the summer of Zoe and Edgar is exhausting.
Here's a quick story that just seems to be typical of my Edgar, all of 3 year's old.
Picture the scenario: An outdoor pool, a beautiful, picture perfect summer day, little swimsuit-clad children sitting with their parents, faces scrubbed, eagerly anticipating their swim instructors.
Being the smart mom that I am, I have little 3 year old Edgar scheduled to take his lesson at the same time as my Zoe, age 5.
All is well. And then Eddie sees the swim instructor
Now Eddie doesn't mind the water. He quite likes it. No, my children are born instinctually knowing that any type of authority figure (myself included) must be tested for weakness. Every moment is an opportunity for battle.
The instructor, a very nice teenage girl, tries to talk him into coming in the water.
So of course Eddie throws himself down on the ground, buries his face in his hands, and sticks his bum up in the air - in our house we call it the low-and-heavy-flop. (Low and heavy meaning getting your body as low and heavy as you can make it so that it is really really hard to lift)
He emits a girlish shriek "Noooo! I don't want tooooooooo"
My Edgar did me so proud this morning. Just makes the heart swell doesn't it? It wasn't unexpected though. We had already gone through this same scenario for the last five lessons last week.
I won't bore you with the details, but the next 15 minutes was a mixture of negotiation, redirection, encouragement, and the odd bribe -oops I mean use of positive reward techniques, met with howls, half-hearted splashes, and a few instances of cooperation.
All in all, a good class :)
Thankfully, Zoe is beyond all that now. Hannah Montana would never behave that way so I can rest easy with her. At three years old though, she was exactly the same, so I have hope for future with the Eddie.
Anyway, enough about me and the summer of Zoe and Edgar.
What are you here for? Oh yeah - jewelry making news. Hmm - none in my life. Oh well.
My summer reminds me of something I heard recently. A friend of mine was told, "Look how big your kids are getting! They grow up so fast!". To this he (a stay-at-home-dad) replied wearily, "Yes! Thank goodness!".
(play laugh track here now)
Enjoy the rest of the newsletter!
The Latest on the Blog
The latest blog posts have been all about you - your pretty pictures, your interesting thoughts, and your questions.
It wasn't really planned that way, but coincidentally my most recent posts worked out into the theme nicely. I love it when a plan comes together...
Eye Candy - Lampwork Beads by Sarah Moran of Z-Beads
Pretty pretty beads. Go look now. And get a towel for the drool. You'll need it.
This blog post was referring to something Nina Bagley quoted on her blog. I love Nina Bagley. There. I said it. And I don't care who knows it. Read the quote that made me crack up. Or maybe I was already cracked...
HOW TO attach a bail to a resin pendant
Even if you don't give a rat's a** how to attach a bail to a resin pendant, you gotta click here to see kitty cat tofu head. So cute.
The Newsletterette Piece de Resistance!
All About You! (From the Mailbag)
Instead of answering questions, this week my tired little mind has instructed me to do something different.
Ever wondered who in the world would read this mindless drivel? I mean other than you? Well I always wonder too, so I try to make a point of asking new subscribers about themselves from time to time.
Here are some excerpts of email I've received recently (reprinted with the kind permission of the writers). There are some amazing people with amazing stories out there in Jam Jam Jewelry Making Subcriberland. I do love getting these emails, so keep 'em coming.
And I do apologize for not getting back to everyone. I try to answer a few every day, but I've gotten so behind this summer I can't imagine how I will ever catch up. So for everyone who has written me, I do appreciate you taking the time to write, and I read each and every one of the email I get, sometimes a few times! So even if I don't reply, do know I cherish each and every one of your emails.
And as for questions,I'll be catching up in the next newsletter! And If you have anything pressing that the community can help out with, as always, you can post your questions on the ask and answer page.
Enough housekeeping. Let's get on with it.
Okay! So here are some excerpts from just a few of the lovely people who've written me recently:
This is from Angela in the U. K.
I am new at beading, i am reading everything i can lay my hands on, about beading. I love bead netting, with the seed beads, but i've not made much yet. I have tried bead weaving on a loom, and quite enjoyed that, but my son loved it. (He's 8) I ended up buying him his own loom.
My little girl (just turned 3) has also shown an interest in beads. She loves to throw them everywhere, so i have been out and bought her some huge plastic ones, so she can throw them around to her hearts content.
It's wonderful when the kids take an interest isn't it?
This one comes from Rachelle of Northridge, California:
Your energy and kindness completely comes through your email words. : )
I love the feeling I get when I build a piece of jewelry. It has been 2 years since I was taught by a colleague on the basics of wire wrap.
I have a website on ETSY. Only one item has sold. I sell a lot of pieces to a growing circle of friends, outside of the website.
Jewelry is art. There is so much more to learn and I find that to be exciting. I enjoy going to gem and bead shows to find new and interesting textures, colors, and findings to inspire a piece.
Professionally, I am a Literacy Coach, working with secondary English educators. I have recently been accepted into a doctoral program so for the next 3 years I will balance my creative mind with that other side... : )
Life is good and I am happy and making jewelry has changed my world in a beautiful way.
Thank you, Rachelle
I love what Rachelle says there. I always find it hard to find the words to describe how I feel about making jewelry. Such a non-practical, highly emotional activity isn't it? Like all art is I suppose. Rachelle sums it up simply and beautifully.
And a lovely one from Janete in Capetown, South Africa:
I live in Cape Town South Africa, but am originally from Portuguese East Africa, Mozambique. I came to S. Africa in 1975.
I am 49yr old mom and have a daughter of 22 who has been living and working in London for 3yrs (I do miss her terribly). I have been making jewelry for the past 25 years. I am self taught.
Besides my normal Job, I used to make jewelry and sell at the various craft markets. Much later my husband and I opened a jewelry store, which we ran for 11 years.(Very hard work). My hubby taught himself Gold Smithing.(Very clever chap). He is originally from Portugal and has been living in Africa for the past 40yrs.
At this point in my life I am staying at home and have a wonderful workshop, which I'm hoping to extend into a studio to be able to give jewelry classes to stay at home mums.
Doesn't that sound just lovely?
When I asked Janete about the seasons in Capetown, she wrote me back:
We are at the moment going through our Winter, which this year has been Cold and rainy as far as African weather is concerned. I am on the tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet. We are known as the Cape of Storms. The wind here reaches Gale Force and its called "The Black South Easter" as well as the Cape Doctor (apparently it blows all the germs and pollution away).
I hope you're staying dry Janete!
New Q and A
Once again, The Ask and Answer page has been hoppin' lately! Visitors are asking, answering, it is awesome.
Here are some new questions that have been asked and answered since the last newsletter:
How To String Beads Tightly Using Tigertail and a Magnetic Barrel-Type Clasp
Charts for wire and stringing cable?
My friendship bracelet won't stop curling
There are lots more on the Ask and Answer Page too!
Here's the link where you can read them.
New Q's needing some A's
Do me a favor? Here are some open/ half-answered questions. Could you go ahead and answer whatever you can? It's easy.... All you have to do is click the link at the end of the question that says "click here to add your own comments"
Repairing Silver Jewelry
How do you bead a bracelet frame?
Swarovski Crystal Beads in the Phillipines?
Connecting Stretch Magic Cord
Gemstone Chip Earrings
Crown Setting Fabrication
How to Make Rings?
Gauge of Eyepin for Heavy Jewelry
The Knotted Band
And Now for Something Completely Different
Jewelry Business Chit Chat
Jewelry Business Tips for Independent Businesses, Business Dabblers, and those who are starting to agree with their friends and family who say, "You should Sell These!"
Recap: Relationship Marketing.
In a previous newsletter I started talking about relationship building with your customers.
Here's a quick recap of why you, as a business owner should be building relationships:
- People buy from those they like, know, and trust
- You build trust by building a relationship
- It is easy to build relationships when you know how - even on the internet!
Recap: Newsletter Marketing
You might remember this from the last newsletter - here's the quick recap. I hope all you business people out there are taking this to heart!
Recap: 4 Darn Good Reasons to Send out a Newsletter:
- People will "let you in" What do you do when you get junk mail? You automatically put up the "do not disturb" sign in your mind don't you?
- It takes people on average 6 - 10 run-ins with your business before they feel comfortable enough to buy from you. Maybe less for hotshot salespeople, but how many of us are hotshots? So you need to keep in front of their minds.
- And studies show that goes double for women. And guess who tends to buy artisan jewelry.
- You can keep in the front of people's minds in a friendly, easygoing way. You don't have to "sell" people in a newsletter. As a matter of fact, if you use any sales talk at all you're doing it wrong.
Want to learn more about this selling without selling business (a.k.a. pre-selling or relationship building)? Here is a great resource:
Social Networking - Selling Jewelry Online the New Way
by Rena Klingenberg
Social Networking is all about building relationships online. The principles in this detailed how-to manual are exactly the principles behind newsletter marketing. As you build relationships without selling, you "pre-sell" your prospects. Although this e-book costs more than your average bookstore book, it is worth every penny. And you won't find any of this information in any bookstore book either.
This Month's Article:
So If I'm not being Sales-y, What the Heck Do I Write About?
Last newsletter I promised to tackle this question, so here goes:
10 ideas for Newsletter Content:
A few notes before we start. Remember your goal is to build relationships, not to sell. Giving stuff away is the name of the game when you try to build trust with your market. So it may seem odd that most of these suggestions have absolutely nothing to do with jewelry. But just trust me. It works.
1. How-to Articles: Everyone loves useful, easy to read, pertinent information (like this article!) Here are some ideas for how-to articles:
- Silver jewelry sellers: how to clean silver jewelry
- Mommy jewelry sellers: how to relax and take time for yourself
- Religious Jewelry sellers: how to find time for prayer everyday
2. Seasonal Articles: This is a great way to segue into reminding people about upcoming gift-related holidays like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, and Christmas. Examples:
- What to buy for the Mom who has everything (and make sure jewelry is on the list!)
- Keeping sane during the holidays - give some tips as well as gently suggest that personalized artisan jewelry makes a great gift.
3. Celebrity related articles: A good choice for the younger market. You might want to talk about celebrity gossip. It doesn't have to be jewelry related at all. A simple link to your shop with a picture of a current item at the side or the bottom is enough to remind them you exist without being spammy.
4. Fashion Trends: What colors are going to hot next season? What's hot now? People love being in the know.
5. Tip Sheets: People love tip sheets. Here are some examples:
- For gemstone jewelry sellers: Tips for gemstones that go with dark skin tones
- For bridal jewelry sellers: Tips for a care-free wedding
- For eco-jewelry sellers: Tips for stress-free green living
6. Top ten lists: For some reason, people just love numbered lists. You're reading one right now! It doesn't have to be 10 - the number is arbitrary. Here are some more ideas:
- 7 ways to be the most gorgeous girl at the prom
- 5 ways jewelry can make you look thinner (if anyone really knows 5 ways let me know too!)
- 10 secrets to a perfect wedding
- 10 ways remind your sweetheart about Valentine's Day
7. Breaking News: If your target market is niche related (like new moms, mystery book lovers, coffee aficionados, or foodies) you might want to send them an alert if something big happens. As long as it's relevant to the people you mail to, it's a good mail out choice for relationship building.
8. Share Yourself: One of the best ways to build relationships with your customers is to share yourself. This is not a license to blather on about yourself though - keep in mind that you want to build relationships not turn people off! A cute story, a problem that others may relate too, or something about your artistic process are usually good choices. Try to keep it light, and remember your audience.
9. Simple Holiday Reminders: Similar to seasonal articles, but more brief. A quick holiday reminder with some offerings is not out of place as long as you don't constantly bombard your list with offers.
10. Coupons and Specials: Personally, I think these have their place ONLY if you offer cool content too. See the suggestions above.
So there you have it. I'd love to have your feedback on this article. Agree or disagree? Giving it a try? Share your results with me by hitting reply and telling me about it!
'Till next time, dahling
Learn cool jewellery making stuff with me!
Want to ask a question, share a cool jewelry-related link, or tell me whether you liked this week's newsletter?
Here's the fastest way to reach me- Direct message me on twitter, you can reply to this email, or contact me via my contact form: http://www.how-to-make-jewelry.com/contact-form.html (the email stuff I'm really slow at responding to - please be patient!)
P.S. Do you have any crafty friends who'd be interested in this newsletter? Forward this email to them!
If you received this email from a friend, you can subscribe to my I'm Making Jewelry in my Jam Jams! newsletter/mailing list to keep 'em coming: