Thanks to Helen, from Sheer Whimsy who gave away one of her Gadget Garbs to Liz, of "FrayBabyBibsandMore" on Etsy. Helen's Gadget Garb is going to travel all the way to Germany! Thanks Helen! Thank you to all who entered to win.
Today (tonight) we are featuring Meredith of Tilley Jewels. Meredith is one of those people who has been doing some sort of craft since she was very small. She has dabbled in many different things, and has some wonderful things to share.
TDB: When did you start making jewelry, and why?
Meredith: My mother got me started crafting when I was very young and my favorite projects aways involved beads. The first actual jewelry I can remember making was in high school, deconstructing thrift store and rummage sale finds to create new pieces. I remade a multi-strand graduated pearl necklace to wear to my senior prom in 1990 and never looked back.
TDB: I see you're very familiar with craft shows. What are your top two tips for people who want to sell at a craft show?
Meredith: If at all possible go visit the shows you are interested in doing as a buyer before you ever fill out an application. Even if that means delaying applying to the show for a year, it can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Not every show is for every artist, and by going and seeing what it's all about in person you can size up whether that particular show is for you. Look for things like attendance, layout, whether the people are buying or just wandering around. Is there music playing so loudly you can't hold a converstaion with a customer? Are the artists set up next to food vendors where strong smells could permiate your product? There is a wine and art festival in my area that I really thought I wanted to do because I had heard such awesome things from other artists who had been there. Fortunately my oldest daughter and I went to scope things out first--the winery and artist booths were mixed together and the smell was so overwhelming that after an hour my head was pounding. Other artists might not have even noticed it, but for me it would have meant a long miserable three days.
My second tip would be to go up, up, UP! with your booth construction. When a crowd gathers in front of your booth you want passers-by to be able to tell what they are finding so interesting. If they can't see what is going on they may not want to wait their turn and will take their wallets and walk on down the aisle.
TDB: You've been on Etsy for two years now...what advice can you give to a newbie?
Meredith: Etsy is really what you make of it. If you want to be successful there you have to make a commitment to spend time listing regularly with good descriptions and pictures. Do some serious research before you start, know how you will package your items, how much it will cost to ship. Invest in a postal scale and spent some time on the USPS website to learn about shipping restrictions and costs. Shipping internationally isn't as scary as it might seem and can really increase your sales. Clear pictures are so very important because the customer can't hold your product in their hand before they purchase. Descriptions are just as important, not only to let the buyer know all the details, but because Etsy listings are picked up by search engines. I've had many buyers tell me they found my shop because they were "googling" for a specific type of item.
TDB: What's your favorite thing to create?
Meredith: I love color! My "real" job is in the wedding industry so I work everyday surrounded by white and ivory. When creating, even in my own wedding line, I like to bring in lots of colors. I can't really pick out any one favorite piece, but I really enjoy making my "Polychrome" rainbow jewelry because it's so bright and cheery.
TDB: Your photos are gorgeous...what's your secret?
Meredith: I appreciate you saying that! I've done a lot of work to improve my pictures since I started selling online. If you go back and look at my earliest sold items on Etsy you can really see a difference from then to now. My photo set-up is the antithesis of everything you ever read to do--I take my pictures indoors, at night, without a lightbox and with a rather inexpensive camera. The most important thing is to familiarize yourself with your camera. When I first tried to take jewelry pictures I knew I needed to use the macro feature, but it wasn't until I actually read the manual and found out there was a specific distance from the lens to the object where the macro would work properly that I got anything to turn out. Play around with your settings and take notes while you are doing it so when you get that perfect shot you'll be able to repeat it. The lovely thing about digital photography is that you can take hundreds and hundreds of practice shots and it doesn't cost you anything but your time.
TDB: If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
Meredith: 1. Never running out of ideas for new pieces. 2. That my hands and eyesight will hold on for as long as I want to continue making jewelry. 3. A 50 gallon drum of sparkly Swarovski crystals, please!
Thanks Meredith, for some great tips for selling, both online, and at craft shows!
Tilley Jewels will be giving away this beautiful Polychrome cuff bracelet. "You will not receive the EXACT bracelet that is in the picture (a couple of different samples are shown). Each cuff bracelet is a unique work of art, but all Tilleyjewels rainbow cuffs are made with the same mix of bright cheery materials and loving care! Your bracelet will be as similar to the picture as is possible with individually handcrafted items. I guarantee you will not be disappointed with the cuff you receive."
To enter: Simply go to Tilley Jewels, and find what you think is MY favorite pair of earrings, and MY favorite bracelet, and come back here to let us know. Ok, Ok, it doesn't have to be my favorite. It can be your favorite. :-)
Only one comment per person please. Be sure to leave an easy way to get ahold of you. If I can't get ahold of you, I will draw another winner. I will draw a winner from random.org. Deadline to enter is Thursday, May 1st at Midnight PST.
Don't forget about the baby cuff giveaway from Joey and Aleethea! And don't forget to answer the poll question, if you're a regular.
Have a great weekend!