Monday, November 30, 2015

Limping Past the One Year Mark

Naiad Necklaces and Gift.i.Gami turned 1 in October 2015. Yay me.
Photo courtesy F_A. Flickr user January 2011

Well I did it.  I managed to outlast more than 95% of all new businesses by staying in business for a full year.  But only barely.  It's been a year of sobering realizations and frustrations as I juggle full time motherhood/dance mom status, a demanding part-time job, two Etsy stores, and, oh yes, a very disruptive home remodel.  The latter has been particularly vexing.  Supposedly a 6 week project, we are now entering *month* 7 with no end in sight.  My studio has been packed up since June, including my photographic equipment.  With no way to take photos, there has been no way to post new listings in the shops.  Or at least no way to post *high quality* listings.

I am grateful for the customers I've attracted.  I've met some great mentors and cheerleaders along the way. I've learned a lot about e-retailing, and soon I will put those skills to use as a volunteer for a non-profit organization (further eroding into my productivity, but it's a good cause).  I've been humbled by how hard so many Etsians work to make a full time living in the online retail business.  Doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation I estimate that even those handmade jewelry stores with more than 100 sales a year gross at best $10,000 a year.  Most gross far less than that. Hopefully they have other income streams.

As for me?  I plan to stick around a little longer.  My goals and expectations are more realistic.  This is not going to replace my other job.  My productivity is going to be low and slow given my other responsibilities.  However, I truly love creating and touching people with my work, and I hope they feel the same.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Drum Roll Please! Introducing the New Naiad Necklaces Box!

Well, it's done.  Sort of.  After many fits and starts I have a Naiad Necklaces box that I love.  Which is a good thing.  Each box takes about 5 hours to manufacture from soup to nuts and costs about as much as the boxes I'd hoped to import from China.  On the upside, I only need to make as many as I have necklaces on hand.  Had I imported, I would have needed to find space for at least 2,000 boxes.  The box innards still need to be modified for pendants, and I have a choker that really needs a square box.  And I need to design a box for earrings.  But other than that?  It's all good.  You can see the Youtube video of the concept to design process here:

I'd love your feedback, so please feel free to leave comments below.

Monday, December 1, 2014

No Boat From China

Finding a necklace box for my handmade jewelry has been almost as daunting as opening my Etsy business--and probably twice as time consuming.  I allotted 7 months to finding and purchasing the necessary boxes, imagining that it would really only take 3 months.  However, I wanted a good  time cushion in case of unexpected obstacles.  There are always unexpected obstacles, right?

I was actually hitting my marks.  I found a box I loved, a company in China to make it for a reasonable price, and a super-nice company representative in China to work with.  We were on the verge of production when I learned I had no way to get the finished boxes from there to here.  One cannot, it turns out, simply pop a bunch of boxes in the mail in China and expect them to arrive on one's doorstep here in the US.  Such items come by freight, usually ocean, and they enter specific ports in the US.  One must have agents in both countries to marshal the goods through each country's customs, and one must have other helpers--licensed helpers--get your goods onto some sort of in-country transport once they clear US customs. I was explaining all this to my sister, talking about all the months I had put into this enterprise only to watch it fall apart , when she interjected, "You need a Customs agent!"  And indeed I did.  What bugs me is she knew this within seconds of our conversation, and it took me 7 months to figure this out. 

I did actually find an agent, but as my store's opening was imminent I decided I needed a quicker alternative.  "Quicker" being relative here.  So I bought a Sissix Eclips2.  I'm still working on box designs and  materials, but I should have a one or two ready by Christmas.  Whether that will be this year's Christmas or some future year's Christmas is anyone's guess, however.
This is the box I almost purchased.  It would have been customized with sage green and cream colored paper and custom necklace/earrings insert.  My logo would have been hot foiled on top with silver.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gift Tag Template from Gift.i.Gami. Download or Print it From Here!

Download or print the templates below, and start making beautiful gift tags today!  There is also a tutorial on my YouTube channel at   If my YouTube gadget is working, you might even be able to view it from my video bar in this blog's right hand column.

If you have any problems with downloading or printing the template, please message me on my Facebook page, and I'll get back to you ASAP.  I'm new to this, and I want it to go smoothly for you.  Please leave a comment below if you like the template or tutorial, and consider giving the video a thumbs up.
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mistake of the Month Mondays: The Stretched Out Necklace

One of the first necklaces I ever made for myself, this started out as a vintage 12.5" chocker that was too small for even my scrawny neck.  To make it functional, I supplemented the onyx with black glass (an unscrupulous vendor told me it was black onyx and I didn't know the difference) and large contemporary onyx.  I hand strung and knotted the beads on double-stranded black silk.  I loved the graphic interest introduced by the natural onyx's white quartzile streaks.  Being black, this was a great everyday piece for work.  I wore it a lot--or at least I did until it stretched out.

Textile-strung necklaces do stretch out and periodically need restringing. The heavier the beads, the more frequently the necklace will need restringing.  However, on the production side of jewelry-making, you can reduce the frequency your clients' beads need restringing by: 
  1. Using silk.  It has the greatest tensile properties of all the available textiles. FFF-sized silk, for example, has a 15 pound test strength.
  2. Giving your silk thread a really good, thorough, strong tug before using it.  This gets rid of its stretch before you start adding beads. 
  3. Using the right size thread.  The silk should fully fill the bead hole.  What if the bead hole is huge and even FFF-sized thread won't fill it?  String on chain or add more thread! When given the choice I typically prefer to string on silk to keep my beads from knocking together. Thus, when even double-stranded FFF silk won't do the job, I simply start adding more strands of silk until the hole is filled. Usually I don't need to add more than 1-2 strands, but I am perfectly open to adding more if needed.
  4. Make sure your knots are very, very tight.

On the user's end, the need for restringing can be reduced by:
  1. Always storing textile-strung necklaces flat, in a box.  Do not hang the necklace from a hook, as I did with this piece.  The heavier the beads, the  more important it is to follow this advice. 
  2. Never hang heavy objects from the necklace. Small children count as heavy objects.
  3. Keeping the thread dry.  If thread does become wet, lay the necklace flat to dry.  Wait until the silk is completely dry (usually a full day or two) before wearing the necklace again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What's with the auto likes?

If you visit my Naiad Necklaces Facebook page you may have noticed that from time to time I have "liked" my own posts using my administrator persona.  That is not because I am desperate for likes (well, I suppose I am, but that's not the point here).  No, the reason I periodically auto-like my own posts is because if I don't, my own business page falls off the feed of my administrator's page.  When that happens--and it does with some regularity--I then have to conduct a Facebook search for my own business page to pull it up in order to conduct my own administrator-y business.  It's highly annoying.  I get that Facebook wants transparency and wants an accurate name to go with every page, but it sure would be nice if I could, oh say, conduct all my Facebook business from my Facebook business page.  Right now, if I want to tag someone on my business page--to thank them for a like or to call their attention to a post or to share a post--I have to log in as an administrator, hope that the person I want to tag not only likes my business page but also is a friend on my administrator page, and then send the message from the administrator page.  And then people wonder who this Maureen Nelson person is.  I think a lot of people get confused as to which is the correct page to follow as well.  Naiad Necklaces clients probably do not want to get newsfeed about my second cousin's baby's first steps, which has somehow found its way to my administrator page, and my friends don't necessarily want to get every business-related update that I post on Naiad Necklaces. 

In any case, if one doesn't "like" the postings from a page periodically, including one's own pages, Facebook surmises that one isn't terribly interested in that page, and they drop it from one's newsfeed.   Auto-likes keep that from happening.