Coincidence or ??

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DebWAZ wrote
on Aug 31, 2011 4:57 PM

We had a tiff with another publisher and no longer carry their magazines. The best they could do to resolve the issue was to tell me that to sell more magazines, I should make something from each edition as they hit the newsstands. A sample that customers can see "in real life" is supposed to inspire them to buy the magazine for that pattern. (Never mind that the magazines hit the grocery stores up to 2 weeks before I got them in my store - that really helps sales - NOT!)

Anyway, taking that advice, I've been trying to do something from every magazine. 

I just made "Spiral Bound" by Erin Strother from the Fall 2011 Stringing magazine. Okay - I made MY version of "Spiral Bound". I used wire that I'm getting rid of because the color flakes off if you wrap with it, seed beads from my personal stash and added my own variety of spacers, plus a dichroic glass pendant with a spiral design.

Then, we got the newest edition of Creative Jewelry. I paged through it several times before I finally found "the least of evils". I didn't care for many of the designs and others just didn't "pop" for me. Finally, I noticed that I have some similar components to "Saucers and Sterling", and decided to see what I could do with that. Instead of Sterling curved tubes, I used gold plated twisted tubes, instead of ceramic saucers, I used Cape Amethyst 8mm rounds. The design called for amber chips, but I used red agate (aka carnelian) chips instead. I added a cloisonne focal bead that was predominantly the same shade of purple as the amethyst, with a little carnelian color from my personal stash, with a gold plated snap clasp and VOILA!

 

It wasn't until I had both necklaces and magazines set up on the counter as samples, that I noticed that Erin Strother also designed the "Saucers and Sterling" necklace. Kind of a neat coincidence - maybe I should declare September "Erin Strother Month"? <LOL> [NOTE TO ERIN STROTHER: I sincerely apologize for calling it "the least of evils", because the necklace is pretty and my version has gotten at least a dozen compliments in the 3 or 4 days it's been on display. I've even had a couple of customers want to buy it!]

My big gripe about any of the magazines lately is that the designs with metal all seem to use sterling silver or gold filled findings and spacers. With the prices of gold and silver reaching record highs almost on a weekly basis, I want to show my customers (who are often making things to sell to put gas in the car or buy a lunch ticket for their kids) that they can get the same look without breaking the bank or maxing out their credit cards!

I apologize for the photos - someday, probably when I retire, I'll have a REAL photo studio and a GOOD camera! <LOL>

Deb

 

 

Deb

azbeaddepot.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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LoisB@23 wrote
on Aug 31, 2011 7:13 PM

Deb-- *LOL* that is kind of a funny coincidence... and I also agree with you... I have to say, all these designs that the magazines feature are.... pretty, but impractical. I think Stringing should do MORE with their under $25 designs, since I myself can't afford to bead if a piece is anywehre near that expensive.  Seems they forget that 99% of us are not career beaders, and designs need to show what we can afford to make. Ok... off the soap box now.

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DebWAZ wrote
on Sep 2, 2011 3:04 PM

LoisB@23:

Deb-- *LOL* that is kind of a funny coincidence... and I also agree with you... I have to say, all these designs that the magazines feature are.... pretty, but impractical. I think Stringing should do MORE with their under $25 designs, since I myself can't afford to bead if a piece is anywehre near that expensive.  Seems they forget that 99% of us are not career beaders, and designs need to show what we can afford to make. Ok... off the soap box now.

Exactly! I've had customers look at my version of a design and the one in the magazine and comment, "Good Grief - it would cost a fortune to make the one in the magazine. I'm glad you made an alternate version".

So - September is unofficially "Erin Strother Month" at AZ Bead Depot!

Deb

Deb

azbeaddepot.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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SewSewBeader wrote
on Sep 12, 2011 2:00 AM

Congradulations! Deb, Thank Goodness, Somebody with a brain, figured it out. "Craft sale beaders can not spend over $10 and hope to make any money on Beading Projects at a local craft sale.

The items I sold for $25 Dollars and made a nice profit, even two years ago, I now Spend more for the components and get less at the Craft Sales. The little ole ladies who just want to have something to do, sell so cheap, Cryingthose of us who sincerely need make a profit, (with no increase in Social Security for two yrs)  to stay out of the "soup line" don't stand a chance.

Ok, would someone kick my Soap box, Ick!and I will close with that. (sorry for the Rant, this is why I don't buy beading Magazines and have to create my own designs)

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kadone wrote
on Oct 10, 2011 1:23 PM

I hear ya there. As much as I love the designs in the magazines, I find that not only are the components more expensive than I can afford, but I have a hard time following the instructions(could be something to do with the most recent onset of dyslexia caused by my occasional migraines, I don't know). So, even if I wanted to do it, had all the stuffs, I couldn't read the pattern anyway.Embarrassed

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untmom2003 wrote
on Oct 26, 2011 7:08 PM

I agree. Lots of things I look at in magazines use sterling silver. I actually prefer some of the base metal findings because they won't tarnish. I like creating things in general, and will usually try out different "cheap" beads to use for spacers,etc.... Here's one made entirely with Hobby Lobby beads, and I'll bet if I didn't tell you that, you wouldn't know. But I enjoy it and always buy those things at the 40% off, so it makes them more affordable.

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D.M.Z wrote
on Sep 28, 2012 1:14 PM

Deb, my disclaimer is that I don't have a brick and mortar store and I don't read those particular mags. That said, I don't do much with precious metals.........I am an old fart and on Soc. Sec. BUT I do love brass, antiqued brass and gunmetal findings. I buy them from B'Sue Boutiques because she has tons of choices in all colors of metals, and paints and patinas and it is all so wonderful and priced right also. Well, so much for that commercial, but I am serious and I've found no one in particular who has been turned off with my choices of metals. I will get some filigrees and just bead away when I am channeling Miriam Haskell..........LOL. With our choices of colorful beads, the soft look of antique brass is very cool. Gunmetal gives bright colors some zing. Give me my cheap-o metals any day.

Also, I like all the strung items posted here.......... You go guurls. Donna

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Valbeads wrote
on Sep 29, 2012 1:21 AM

Donna,

Not EXACTLY an old fart(lol), but thanks to my broken back I live on SS too, and what little raise you and I MIGHT get is a complete and total joke.  You better believe I take advantage of FMG's dollar sales every chance I get!  I do have a subscription to Stringing, as well as to Bead Style(sorry, Intervweave please don't hit me!), but like the fashion magazines, the only thing I use them for is inspiration.  I don't know aboout you but the gold filled and gold plated findings and such are incredibly cost-prohibitive.  So is sterling silver.  A lot of the brass findings can be just as nice as regular gold.  What I've taken to doing is brushing chains and other findings with a little Mod Podge.  Gives the chain and the wearer some extra protection.  Stainless steel is just as shiny as silver, and won't get that nasty black tarnish that comes from oxidation.  Were I to use genuine gold and silver(yeah,like I have the money for that) I'd never sell anything. 

I don't have a bricks-n-mortar store, either.  With the economy, and all the ridiculous gvt. regulations now, anybody hoping to star a regular small business doesn't stand a chance.  Especially if you live in the Communist State of New York.  Like me.

Val

Val

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Tank Girl wrote
on Oct 26, 2012 1:18 PM

I completely agree with you all about seeing almost everything published in sterling, or gold/silver filled.  I would prefer to use those metals, but I started my little business with the idea of making beautiful but affordable jewelry.  If I used exclusively precious metals in any of my pieces, I couldn't sell them to the people I'm trying to reach, and I'm not well known enough to sell at the premium prices others are commanding (and sometimes without the precious metal findings).

I have found, though, that there are some very nice metal findings and beads that are truly pretty and well made, just not sterling or gold.  I also have seen sterling charms that weren't as well made or detailed as the "Tibet" silver versions I have.  If you're careful, you can find affordable beads, spacers, and charms that won't break the bank.  I'm very lucky to have even found a few sellers on Ebay that have always sold me nice pieces, whether base metal or silverplated.  The worst metal findings I ever purchased came from Fire Mtn Gems - what a shock!  They took them back, but I was surprised they even sold them.

And, your photos are just fine.  Keep sending.

Donna

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Tank Girl wrote
on Oct 26, 2012 1:30 PM

Val, you hit the nail on the head.  I'm terrified of investing in sterling wire to try something new.  That could be a lot of wasted money that I don't have.  Brass is very nice, copper can be beautiful, and stainless is just fine.  Your idea of putting a protective coating on them is good.  I use my Dremmel polishing wheels to buff up some of the base metal findings and they turn out great most of the time! 

A few weeks ago, I sat down and figured what Sterling would do to the cost of a necklace I was making.  I used FMG prices and found that necklace would have cost me over $60, just for the materials.  I can't do that.  I have sterling earwires for those who have sensitive ears (like me), but most people are fine without.  I want my customers to be happy with what they bought, not go home and think, "what the *^&% did I spend that much money for?"

Donna

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Valbeads wrote
on Oct 27, 2012 1:10 PM

And the prices are only getting worse, Donna.

My goal is to provide my clientele with a lovely, unique piece of handcrafted jewelry that's not going to be seen on a dozen other women.  Plus, I design my jewelry to last, not bust after only one or two wearings, like so much of the mass produced jewelry out there.  So yes, one of my necklaces can go from anywhere from $25-$50, maybe a smidge more, depending on how elaborate it is, labor and so forth.  But They're designed to last.  My mom likes to buy my jewelry, but sometimes she wants me to sell them to her at Avon prices(!) (I give her a pretty hefty discount as it is; boy!)  I've explained to her, I can't sell my jewelry at those prices a) because my jewelry isn't mass produced, b) I will NEVER use materials THAT cheap and c) my jewelry is one of a kind artisan jewelry designed to last.  No offense to Avon, but their costume jewelry has always been and still is, dreadfully cheap, and I don't mean price, and it falls apart very quickly, so who's actually giving you a better deal?

If I were to switch over to gold and silver?  I'd have to quadruple my prices, and my clientele can't afford that just like I can't.  I make sure none of my base metal contains nickel(something I'm HORRIBLY allergic to) and people seem to deal well with brass and stainless.

Val

Val

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tcwhit wrote
on Nov 10, 2012 5:38 AM

Let's face it. Most of our jewelry sales are impulse purchases. Just like most of us do, we see things and think how great that would look with my periwinkle suit, and if it's not too pricey, it ends up in our jewlery box! Operative words being "not too pricey". I've only ever used high end ONE time and it was by special request. I had to ball park the prive up front, but I refused to undervalue my work. The buyer got rather quiet, but the set and the sale were successful in the end. THe stress level for me though, I will not undertake such a project again. I knew at such a price there couldn't be even the slightest chance of error/breakage or anything else. I'm sticking the to lower priced fun stuff now. Let the gold and silver smiths worry about the high end. Not me. Smile

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on Nov 10, 2012 8:37 PM

Deb, I love your creations and your creativity to use what you have and still follow a pattern.  I'm just a hobbiest but like to look through beading magazines to see the beautiful art work.

Aloha,

Carole

Carole Grogloth
Molokai Hawaii (Maui County)

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Tank Girl wrote
on Nov 11, 2012 11:22 AM

Val,

Last weekend, I got brave and decided to wire wrap a piece I've been looking at for ages.  I did not use sterling, so I had no idea how well it would work.  It worked out great!  I will post a picture when I finish the necklace.  I now can make wire wrapped pieces without going broke.  You can never be sure if the type of non-sterling wire you're using is going to break, or start looking chewed up by the time you get to the end.  As soon as I remember the wire I used, I'll post it - and I'll get a bunch more.  Except for my aching fingers, I had a ball! 

Donna

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Valbeads wrote
on Nov 12, 2012 4:06 AM

Awesome!!!  Can't wait; it'll cheer me up as I've been really sick again.  It's been a year now; this is getting boring!

Yeah, I have to take a break for awhile after I've done wire wrapping.  Its loads of fun, but boy! do my fingers get sore! 

I'm designing jeweled headbands for my younger nieces for Christmas this year.  The cupcake pendant was such a big hit with Sophie!  Can't believe she's 4!  I was walking through the little girls department at Kohl's the other day andd got really depressed.  They had all these cute little outfits, buy I have no little girls to shop for any more.  They're all growing up way too fast!Crying

Val

Val

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