Sunday, February 25, 2007

Earring Card Issues

We had a great idea for our earring cards. We designed the card so it could be punched at the top to hang on a hook, and the earrings would go on either side of the punch. In the center of the card was the logo, and the name/website at the bottom. The card was correctly sized to fit inside the earring boxes we bought. Materials for each pair of earrings would be printed on a little sticker that would go on the back of each card. Earrings would go in two price categories, one on white cards and the other on gray. It seemed like such a good idea. Unfortunately after we printed 900 cards and put earrings on half of them and hung them all up, we noticed some problems.

1. Under poor lighting, it was impossible to tell one color cardstock from the other, and this caused lots of issues. At one show I ended up selling all the earrings for the low price, since no one could tell them apart.
2. The bright logo, the shiny chrome gridwall, the shiny hooks, etc, were very distracting and you couldn't really see the earrings unless you picked up the card. It was overwhelming and lots of people just walked on by rather than coming into the booth.
3. Inventory nightmare...we had no idea what we'd sold, and what might have been lost or stolen. We had a list of what we made but it was often difficult to match the earrings to the list.
4. Setup/teardown mess. In the future we might have to figure out a way to store/transport the earrings on the hooks so we could just pop the hooks onto the gridwall.

So our first year in the big leagues taught us a bunch (you can never go wrong with more lighting) and we're getting ready for another busy year.

Step 1 is to flip over all of the cards so the logo is on the back and the earrings sit on a plain card for better visibility. I don't think we can afford new gridwall right now but our next purchase will be white gridwall & hooks. Then we're going to assign an individual inventory number to everything we have (which will involve changing out everything we have at All Things Creative and the CMAA gallery) and link those numbers to our list. Hopefully then we'll know what item went where, and what we sold at each show. Hopefully we'll start to do enough shows that we can get a feel for what sells where.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

CMAA Gallery

I was just out at the gallery this morning, doing my sitting hours. It looks really nice. The shows this year are much larger, with a better range of prices than last summer's/early fall's shows. More things to see, and while there are still some paintings and other art nudging up against 4 figures, there are also plenty of things near the bottom of the price range, in case you just want to go home with a handmade card or a pair of earrings. Come check us out:

  • CMAA gallery

    • Corner of Rt 4 & Depot St, in Canaan NH
    • Wed-Sat 10a-6p
    • Sun 10a-4p
    • Through mid April

  • All Things Creative

    • Main St in Enfield NH, between Twigs and George's
    • Wed-Sun 10a-6p

My computer is basically dead, which explains why this blog and the website have had very little updating in the past few months, but the new one is on order and may have already shipped! So more updates soon (and maybe the website will have something other than our December shows).


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Orange County Roundup

I was in southern California for work recently (and boy, is Orange County different from New England). I did stop by some bead stores, so here's a quick review.

The Beading Place, 604 El Camino Real, Tustin
Bright airy place with a big selection of glass and some semiprecious. Also a fair amount of shell, in natural and various shapes/colors. A good selection of tools, and some interesting specials. The glass and tools are reasonably priced, the rest is a bit expensive, but we've been spoiled by Gemstar. Tustin itself was cute, there's an oldtown section and I wandered around for a bit. Best selection of glass of any of the shops here.

Bead City, 1932 S. Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa
Lots of metal, and some swarovski. Nice strands of pearls, but more expensive than I could get elsewhere. They have a huge number of charms, all separated into different categories. Of all the places I visited they had the largest selection of Sterling Silver toggle clasps. And copper! Nowhere else had copper out, though I didn't ask for it. They had several varieties of copper toggles, and several spacers. There were strands of many semi-precious stones behind the counter. Overall a great selection and helpful people, but a bit on the pricy side.

Kristalle, 875 N. Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach
This shop was an accident, I was really looking for the two stores below (notice the S. vs N. in the address) but it was fun anyway. No beads here, just crystals and finished jewelry, but there were some fun fossils and free cookies. The shop has been in Laguna since 1971.

Beadline, 995 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach
Friendly people, happy to make change for the meter. Lots of variety, from african glass and wood to japanese ceramic to shell and semi-precious. Prices were high, but selection was good, and if you only want a few of something in most cases they'll break up a strand for you. The best selection of beads of all five places.

The Bead Shop, 889 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach
Smaller shop than the one above, but had some interesting stuff. Prices vary from some strands of pearls and garnet on special for $4/strand to strands of vintage glass pearls for $400 (and I'm sure some of the things in the locked case were more than that). Lots of individual beads if you want to make one special necklace to remember your trip. I bought more here than anywhere else.