Sunday, November 21, 2010
My shops are getting really busy in the past few days. I knew the first thing I needed to do to get ready for the holiday season was to finish unpacking and get my studio set up properly so I wouldn't be looking for supplies in the middle of chaos. While I would love to have a fancy expensive professional built-in studio, my budget simply wouldn't allow it (especially when I just bought a house!), so I had to get creative.
This is my third studio after I became a full time jewelry artist (if you have been following my blog closely, you may remember I moved three times since 2008) , so I finally started to understand better the kind of set up I needed to make things more efficient. Thankfully this is also the largest studio I have ever had (around 13'x15', plus I'm also storing some extra supplies in an extra closet outside the studio). You can see my past studios here, here and here.(I probably could win an award of "the most messy studio". It seems like I was always working in a big mess. But thank god it seemed to be getting better with evevery move)
Here are some "before" photos of my new studio.I'm still trying to figure out the layout of the tables and shelves.Specifically, how to increase my work surface and get everything off the floor. -
And here are some "after" photos with the "cubicle" setting -
So far I feel pretty good with this layout. I'll probably add one more shelf in a few months when I'm not crazy busy with orders.
If you are planning to order my popular custom birthstone or pea pod jewelry, for X'mas, now is the time! Last year, at least 10% of my customers who ordered late had to pay extra for shipping upgrade to ensure delivery by X'mas because of the high demand. Save money by ordering today!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
As of today, I have been at our new house for almost a week, and so far everything is just perfect. I love everything in this house. I have enjoyed unpacking, which I do a little bit everyday. It's nice to have tons of storage space so I can keep everything organized. My new studio is slightly bigger(photos later when it's complete!), and I also have an extra closet outside of the studio to store extra supplies. I have been sleeping better, eating better, and therefore have better energy. The house is very well ventilated and has a lot of natural light. I no longer need to use artificial lights when I work, which puts less strain on my eyes.
Speaking of sleeping better, I have actually been sleeping less and getting up earlier since we moved here. Mike goes to bed before 11pm, so I try to go to bed at the same time.Two out of the five nights since we moved here, I slept through the night (which is very very rare for me, who has had sleep problems since being a child) and woke up feeling refreshed at 4.30am, so I just got up and started my day early. I got to take some photos of sunrise behind our house on both days. The picture above was from this morning, before 6am.
This next photo is a little later, probably around 7am.
It was very foggy this moring. You may still remember this lake view from my last post..
I really, really love fog. It reminds me of my school days in England, and the little lake behind our house reminds me of The Lake District.
The other day when I got up at 4.30am, there was actually a beautiful sunrise that turned the whole sky orange like it was on fire..
and this is about 7am, when the sun actually rose..
I plan to get up early more often from now on, so I could enjoy more daylight. :)
Saturday, November 6, 2010
A few facebook friends asked to see more pictures of the house, so I'm posting some here..We put most of the blinds up in the house today and the new fridge was also delivered.
Work in progress...We also tried out our gas fire place for the first time.I love staring at the fire.
While Mike was working on the blinds, I went upstairs to check out the views. I didn't know there was actually a lake in front of our house.Sooner or later there will probably be some new houses built across the street, but before that I can enjoy some lake views.
Close-up of the lake across the street from our house..
There is another lake right behind our house, and we get a clear view of it from the master bedroom. The great thing about it is there will not be new houses built between ours and the lake. Can you see our neighbor's house in the picture? Their house is closing in two months.
Close-up of the lake behind our house..
Okok, i know i'm obssessed with the lakes. I'll post some pics of the my new jewelry studio AND piano studio after we settle in. :)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Today is an important day because I have officially become a home owner today! Mike took the afternoon off from work to go to the closing attorney with me. After signing pages of paper for over 40 minutes, we finally received the keys to our brand new house.
Our official moving day is next Saturday. I have been packing slowly whenever I get a chance -- and this is when I'm glad a lot of my stuff is still unpacked from my last move a year ago. But my studio will always be the most difficult and annoying to pack. Since my website and Etsy shop will stay open throughout the move, I also need to quickly unpack the whole studio straight after the move so I can go right back to filling orders on Monday. I'm very excited and also nervous, but it's all good -- I look forward to starting a new life at this new home!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
hello guys! It's been a long time. Just a quick update that I will be running a huge sale this weekend. From now through 10/17, enjoy 20% off everything on my website. I will be away for a few days and orders will be processed upon my return next week. If you don't mind waiting for a few extra days, now is the best time to order your X'mas gifts, as this is the last sale I will run before X'mas.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Finally, another new custom birthstone necklace! On this necklace your choices of birthstones will be wrapped onto a hammered wire bar, which is connected to the necklace chain.What I really like about this necklace are its minimalistic design and the flexibility to add new stones in the future if your family is still expanding. Also, since the hammered wire bar is also hand crafted by me, I can pretty much make it into any length you want. The image above shows birthstones on a 1.25" bar, which will be my standard small size and can fit to 9 or 10 stones. The large size(see image below) will be 2" long and will fit more than enough stones!
Length for the necklace is also customized. I recommend a short or choker length for this design.
This necklace will also be listed without birthstones.I think it especially looks gorgeous layerd.
Before the birthstone necklace is available on my website, I need a few volunteers to order it so I can get some more prototype photos for the listings. You will receive 20% off the regular price ($45~60 depending on the choice of stones, bar length and metal). Contact me for details!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
This beautiful story about how a joint account saved a marriage was originally written in Chinese by an anonymous writer. I have translated it into English and also converted the currency for American readers. Enjoy and feel free to re-post it!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Last week, I took a few days off to host a jewelry class as well as visit some friends in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was an intense trip, and I had a blast! I was really excited to finally meet and stay with my childhood best friend Beth after losing contact with her for over 10 years. We have known each other since kindergarten and were very close to each other when we were at elementary school. We took some long walks near Menlo Park, where she lives.You can see more photos on my Flickr.
Beth was also my fabulous driver to Modern Mouse (where I consigned some of my jewelry as well as hosted my jewelry class) and Renegade San Francisco.I was very excited to see my jewelry displayed at Modern Mouse, as well as meet the amazing shop owner Eleen for the first time.Eleen did such a great job preparing for the jewelry class.We even had snacks and drinks at the class! The funny thing is everyone was too busy during the class that I ended up being the only one snacking after everyone left. :P
Renegade SF was awesome. There were hundreds of fabulous handmade designers selling their products, and I was pretty overwhlmed. I also met quite a few Etsy friends from Full Time Etsy Crafters Team in person.More photos are available on my Flickr.
I got back on Tuesday morning and spent the past few days catching up with orders.Hopefully everything will be back to normal next week!
Friday, July 16, 2010
My niece Ying just turned 1 year old today(Taiwan time)!! Happy birthday, Ying! You are our family's sweetest little angel!
My family gathered together to celebrate her birthday.Since I was unable to be there, I shipped her birthday presents to Taiwan.They included some clothes, two little pearl bracelets, and a handmade card that actually took much longer to make than the bracelets!
I was excited to be able to use these 3D flower stickers(haha, I didn't make them :P) that I got a long time ago.The papercutting is the time consuming part -- and my craft knive breaking didn't help either.
After I made the envelope, I decided to carve two heart shape to reveal the yellow card. I loved how it turned out!
The birthday gift from my parents was a portrait of Ying done by my mom. My dad did the Chinese calligraphy that says "Ying Checking Out the Novel World Through Her Beautiful Eyes." I wasn't able to find the original picture, but this portrait looked just like her!
The last time I saw Ying (February), she was just learning to sit and eat from a spoon, and now she is standing already.Hopefully when I see her next time, she will be able to say the words "aunt Mollie" :D
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
As a business owner, I am always looking for new inspirations for my business. When our FTEC member Eleen recommended the book "Delivering Happiness", I was intrigued by its title. We all want to be happy, but what exactly does Tony Hsieh mean by "Delivering Happiness?"
Delivery Happiness started as an informal autobiography, with stories of Tony Hsieh's multiple failed business attempts as a child as a result of big dreams, great concepts, and lack of experience and research. Hsieh's desire to make big money by owning a business was not deterred by his failed attempts, and eventually one of his business ideas (custom buttons) actually succeeded and generated good income for the teenager. From there Hsieh continued to have different businesses. He became a milti-millioanaire after selling LinkExchange (which he co-founded), got involved with Zappos as an adviser and investor, and then eventually became CEO. Within 10 years, Zappos grew from almost no sales to $1 billion in gross merchandise sales, and was eventually acquired by Amazon in 2009 in a deal valued at over $1.2 billion on the day of closing.
Just like many other great success stories, Hsieh's success almost seems too glamorous and too easy -- that is, if you don't read the book Delivering Happiness, in which Hsieh candidly shares his roller coaster ride with the readers. There were ups and downs over the course of 10 years, and it took a lot of courage, passion and wisdom to create an empire.
Half way through the book, just when I was about to start wondering, "ok, so this book is about the background of Hsieh's success story. And what does it have anything to with 'Delivering Happiness'?" the direction of the book suddenly changed.
The book was divided into three sections...
Section I - Profits
Section II - Profits and Passion
Section III - Profits, Passion, and Purpose
These three sections symbolically represent different periods of Hsieh's life. Before his business succeeded, all Hsieh wanted was profits -- "I just wanted a job that paid well and didn't seem like too much work."(p.29) Then, after his success with LinkExchange, the young millionaire realized that money alone couldn't bring him happiness -- "I didn't know exactly what I was going to do, but I knew what I wasn't going to do....I had decided to stop chasing the money, and start chasing the passion."(p.54)
A turning point of Zappos was when Hsieh and Mossler(Fred) decided to make the Zappos brand about the best customer service -- "in the long run, little things that keep the customer in mind will end up paying huge dividends."(p.128)This is where "Delivering Happiness" came in --"As we rolled out these additional services, we slowly realized that we were becoming part of a bigger movement. It was no longer just about Zappos. We were helping change the world."(p.208) Hsieh talked about how Zappos delivers happiness through their unique culture/core values. Not only does Zappos try to make customers happy, it also strives to make the employees and vendors happy.
I had started reading Delivering Happiness hoping to learn to make profits, and it was nothing like what I expected -- It was much, much more.
If you are interested in learning more about Delivering Happiness, check out their website, twitter or facebook page! (I especially love Tony's twitter page among the three)
mollie (aka muyinmolly)
Disclosure: I have received the book free of charge . I am honestly reviewing the products and have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Mike and I are buying a house!
The house is not built yet but will be done in four months.We just signed the contract and I took some pics of the lot.This is a corner lot and the trees are not cleared yet and are totally blocking the view from the road.
There's a lake behind our yard! OMG! I've always wanted a lake next to my house!
This is how close the lake is from the corner of our property.My cell phone camera doesn't zoom in.The lake actually looks closer in real life --
overlooking the road from our property line.See my little Cube there?
I'm so excited.I drove pass the lot at least five times today until the constraction workers started waving at the strange Asian girl in the strange Cube... :P
Monday, June 7, 2010
[all photos by lulaboutique]
Hi all! I just got back from my first craft show Lowcountry Artist Market and am totally exhausted. It went pretty well, although maybe not so smoothly.I will explain it in a bit.
As always, I put off everything until the last minute -- well, basically, I "thought" I had enough time, so I kept making more and more jewelry until Friday night, and then I started packing and making earring cards...and still didn't finish everything by 4am on Saturday. I slept for four hours, got up at 8, and then arrived the Music Farm at about 9:30am. The show started at 10:30, and I "thought" by arriving an hour early I was doing a good job.I was totally wrong! People started coming in about 10am, and I was still setting up and doing the last price tags at 11.00!! Argh!!
I think part of the reason I was really slow at set up was because of inexperience.I brought tons of displays but had no general idea how I was going to arrange them. Originally I was going to put all of the earring cards on two wire CD racks, but it turned out they wouldn't stay put on the racks.When one of the first few shoppers took a earring card off the rack, the rest of the earring cards all fell off the rack, so after that I decided to leave all earring cards on the table instead.
Other than the little set up chaos, I was pretty poud of myself for remembering a few things.
1. I asked to have a booth next to a power outlet when I knew there was going to be electricity available. I brought the extension cord, a surge protector and two small desktop daylight lamps with me. This was a little trick I read somewhere online a long time ago about jewelry displays.When having an indoor show, shine extra light at jewelry will make it look more sparkly and give it a more "expensive look".
As soon as I arrived the Music Farm, I was really glad I brought extra lights.The Music Farm was a pub and the lighting was pretty poor. My booth was actually at a prime location.It was right in front of the main door and received the best lighting, but it was still pretty dark. Quite a few customers told me " you are smart to bring your own lights". I believe these lights also helped me with sales.
2. I am glad I practiced using my credit card imprinter at home.
I just got a merchant account a few weeks ago, and also bought an imprinter for shows.I actually had no idea how to use it, and the instruction included wasn't quite clear. Luckily there I had an imprinter receipt in my wallet from another event I attended, so I used it as a reference and practiced using the imprinter with my own credit card. It turned out about 75% (!) of my customers paid with credit card. I was a little nervous when I received the first credit card payment, and almost forgot how to use the imprinter, so my little practice really helped me to remember the steps.
3. I brought tons of pens and two notebooks for newsletter sign up.
I'm not sure why I remembered to do this, but I brought at least 5 pens and two notebooks.There were times when I actually had two customers signing up for the newsletter on both sides of the table, and whenever a pen was misplaced I could always pull out another one for the customer.
I didn't get a chance to look around during the show, but there is one booth I have to mention.When I arrived in the morning, I was surprised to see the booth across me was already completely set up!
This is Karen(lulaboutique, left) and her sister(right). Karen sells vintage style jewelry, and I just love her creative displays. I had been thinking about how to do a "vertical display" that is aesthetically pleasing, and Karen's booth was such an inspiration for me. She used two large gift boxes to lift up the earring display.The boxes are so pretty that they serve as a decoration as well.The cork board on the left is another simple and gorgeous necklace display that I may have to try next time.I have been hanging my necklaces on standard white necklace displays.They look ok, but because all the chains overlap, it is not convenient to remove necklaces from displays for customers to try on. And if customers can't try them on, they are also less likely to purchase them.
Karen also uses frames to display her shop name and credit card sign.
From this angle you can see how Karen displays her jewelry at different height.
I went to check out Karen't booth during the slow hours.We started chatting, and she ended up taking photos for my booth for me -- Even tho I brought my camera, I forgot to charge it and the battery died just after a few crappy shots. So, all of the photos in this post were taken by Karen.Thanks, girlfriend! :D
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! I enjoyed sleeping in and working on jewelry while watching TV. Since my jewelry is made to order, I have been trying to build a small inventory for a local show "Lowcountry Artist Market" this coming Saturday(6/5) at Music Farm, downtown Charleston. I am pretty excited about it, because this will be my first real craft fair.The last time I had to set up a booth was at a farmer's market , and people were really surprised to see artists there. Since then, I have been selling my jewelry exclusively online, and after much consideration have decided to refrain from craft show commitments.That is why I still don't own a canopy.
Two months ago, when a past customer Kristin contacted me about this new craft show she was organizing, I was intrigued. She said she fell in love with buying handmade on Etsy when she was planning her wedding (she bought my pussy willow jewelry for bridesmaids) and decided to organize a craft show featuring local Etsy artists. Since it will be held indoors, I don't need to worry about not owning a canopy, and I am also excited to join other local Etsy artists in the same show.
Stop by and say hi if you get a chance!
In case you couldn't open the link for the event, here are the details(from the official flyer)....
Saturday, June 5th
Lowcountry Artist Market
32 Ann St
Charleston SC 29403
Etsy.com inspired Event featuring anything and everything Handmade, Vintage, and Local.
On Saturday, June 5th, the bands, lights, and music generally filling the Music Farm will be replaced by handmade jewelry, vintage clothing, customized home goods, and a variety of talents from all over Charleston.
The Market will be open from 10:30 am until 5:00 pm. Featuring upwards of 40 vendors, the Market will provide a variety of local jewelry artists, vintage clothing dealers, custom children’s clothing, home and fashion accessories, as well as artwork – all from the Charleston community.
The Music Farm will have the bar open, so patrons can enjoy beverages while they shop.
For more information, email Kristen@musicfarm.com or call (843) 577-6969.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
All things being equal, which one do you prefer?An Y necklace or lariat?
The two pictures above use very similar stones(the lariat uses slightly larger stones) and I will be listing this design with only one of them.
Here's the close up structure of the Y necklace.It has a standard clasp at the back, and a "pendant drop" at the front --
and here's the structure of the lariat.Instead of having a clasp, the necklace is worn by dropping the pendant end into the other end with a loop --
Yes! This is a poll! Leave me a comment to let me know which one you prefer, and why. I'd love to hear your ideas!