For those who love me enough to read my blog regularly : )
it's very difficult to smile at the camera and it's even more difficult to take picture of myself using my own arm and not to crop my face, but I tried..
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Selling on Etsy is hard work.It takes more than your love for crafts to stand out from the crowd. Apart from great photos, clear descriptions and frequent listings, you need to have something different to offer. There needs to be a reason for shoppers to buy from your shop instead of others'.
I have always understood the importance of artistic styles. I am not sure if this is because I received formal art trainings in different media -- especially in fine art, writing and classical music. When I started selling jewelry on Ebay two years ago, I had just started making wired jewelry for two years.I had this passion for working with wire, even though I did not know what I wanted to create with it. I read many tutorials and books on wire working.I liked both modern wire wrapping and traditional wire sculpture. I liked so many things I saw but I didn't know what I liked the most. I decided to try my luck by selling some basic earrings made with very simple wire work on Ebay,and here are one of the very first designs that I introduced --
I had great luck.For some reasons I did not even know, these earrings sold very well on Ebay, so I started making variations of them.They are now still for sale in my Etsy store under listings Moon Pears, Sun Pears and Moon Pear with Flower.
then I learned to make wire wrapped rings.I did not know if they would sell, but I just loved making those rings (For some reason it felt so good to wrap the wire around a mandrel.Wierd, huh?) and it felt so natural to me. I did not like the design I learned from the tutorial, so I modified it to highlight a center pearl.Here you can see one of the very first wire wrapped rings I listed in my Ebay store in August, 2006--
I was lucky again. People seemed to like my wire wrapped rings, for reasons I didn't know, so I listed more rings in my Ebay store.Very soon I had an Ebay store full of wire wrapped rings and more people started to buy rings from me. The same pearl ring design is still available in my Etsy store.
If you take a look at the pictures of this same design, you will find that after making hundreds of rings and taking thousands of photos, my wire wrapping and photography skill have improved a lot.
If you asked me two years ago what my niche was, I would not be able to tell you. But now I can confidently say I offer wire wrapped rings, and I have a simplistic and colorful style. I was fortunate enough to notice what customers wanted from me from the very beginning, and I developed my skills and expanded my designs accordingly.Then I started to find my own style, and people started to notice me more, and I started to sell more.
If you have just started selling on Etsy, or if you have just started making your crafts and don't know what your niche is, give it time and ask yourself consciously as often as possible when you make your craft,and you will know what your style is someday.
Today is my first day as a full time jewelry designer.It feels so foreign and natural to me at the same time.I can envision myself enjoy this job much more than driving to students' homes to teach the piano.I was so excited last night that I couldn't sleep until the sun came up this morning, and that made me totally indulgent, like I was a college kid again. I slept until lunchtime.I have not been able to sleep until so late for quite a while.
Then I got up, went straight to the computer, and started working in my pajama.I checked the order list, emailed some customers, printed out shipping labels, finished a few orders, and then went to the post office.By the time I realized, I had worked over 9 hours with a short break.
And then I took a bath.I was so excited last night, and now I'm just happy and relaxed. It's so nice to be my own boss. :)
After one month without a single day off from work, I kept working more on my website throughout the Memorial Day weekend. For four full days I worked without a break. From the time I woke up to the time I went to bed, I was always working on something for the website: catching up with the orders, making new designs, taking pictures, listing new items, answering emails, tracking non-payers, checking supplies...etc.
I had no time to do grocery or dishes, no time to cook, to shop or to pack for my move that is coming in 17 days, so I decided to take a dinner break tonight.
I was gone for two hours, and when I came home, I saw more new orders already placed. I was overwhelmed. I was worried about making customers wait too long for their orders. I was worried about making mistakes on the orders because there have been so many special requests.I was afraid that something may go wrong, even though I was not sure what that "something" could be.I worked so hard to catch up with the orders but it seemed I was always one step behind the demand.
And then I realized it was time to quit teaching.
I had promised my students to give lessons until the week of my move, but I knew I could not keep my promise anymore.It was a very difficult decision for me, because I will not able to see them for the last time and say a proper goodbye.I struggled for a while, and then did what I had to do--I emailed them to cancel our last lessons, and then I was relieved. I will no longer have a "day job". I now own a full-time business .This has been my dream and I feel extremely lucky it happened sooner than I asked for. This is the first time I feel successful, no matter what the term "success" means. It is exciting and scary at the same time. It is overwhelming, but I enjoy it most of the time. It has been an amazing journey and I know there are more amazing things to come. :)
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Finally I have 14K gold filled wire in stock! I took some time today to make a few popular items in my store with it and have listed a few designs in gold in my store. I am hooked! Gold makes everything so glamorous.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The little kraft jewelry boxes I ordered finally came in today. To establish my brand name,I decided to make a logo stamp for the boxes. I have been carving stamps sincesixth grade, when I first discovered the versatility of erasers. : )
The last time I carved an eraser was probably three years ago.Luckily I could still find my kraft knife.Here you can see my name Mu-Yin in Chinese characters and my initials (M-Y) in English letters..
I love my name -- Mu (慕) stands for love or adore, and Yin(音) stands for sound or music. What a perfect name for a musician (and works for jewelry designer too).
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I stayed up late last night and got up early to catch up with the orders. It's now one month before I finish my position as a piano teacher to do jewelry full time, I'm very tired but also excited.They are so many things I want to write about, and so many new designs that I have not had time to work on, but very soon I will have my full freedom again as an artist.I'm trying to keep teaching until the date I promised my students' parents, but with the high sales volume on my website, I hardly have anytime for myself, and I have been working 7 days a week for three weeks straight.
It is now very clear that jewelry making/selling is becoming more stable and fulfilling for me than teaching the piano, and I know my students' parents understand it, but the sense of responsibility plus the sentiment of leaving my students (who probably will forget me in a few years anyway) stop me from telling the parents I need to stop teaching now -- not next week, not two weeks later, and not in June.
I'm starting to worry that I may cry in front of those little kids during the last lesson. Silly me.The truth is I never forgot my piano teachers, even though I never contacted them anymore after I stopped taking lessons from them.
Monday, May 12, 2008
yay!! drum roll please! I sold 200 items in the past two weeks.My supplies were out and I had to order everything--wire, business cards,packaging materials..etc.I'm totally swamped but at the meantime also excited.Have been working 7 days a week to catch up with the orders.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I will be participating the farmer's market at Trader's Point Creamery in Zionsville, Indiana this Friday. The market runs every Friday from May to October and I just learned about this from other crafters in Indianapolis. Last Friday was their first week and I decided to check it out before signing up.It was very windy so the market was held inside the barn.I absolutely loved the market and bought lots of food from the farmers.And of course I signed up with the organizer right away.
In two days, my jewelry will meet with the public for the first time.I am so glad that I am finally coming out of my (internet) shell, and am glad the casual settings of the market makes me less nervous.
Come by to see me if you are located in Indianapolis!
Friday, May 2, 2008
My shop has been extremely busy in the past week.In fact, it was busier than Christmas time. I have not changed much on my website except updating the pictures of the two rings featured in Figure Magazine. I am pretty happy with the new pictures, and these two rings just can't seem to sell fast enough. : )