I am slowly but surely selling off my fine gem tree, tree of life hanging, and mala bracelet collection on Etsy. I really appreciate the sales and your loyalty!
I am going to continue to wind down the business, and eventually only offer custom work on Etsy. While I absolutely love what I do, I'm just not seeing it marketable beyond a specialty product. There's nothing wrong with specialty, other than the market is hard to define and at what price point, to get sales so the business can run in the black.
I'm still looking for other ideas to market for self employment, before I'm forced to accept a job with someone else. I'd love to keep working with my hands, but I may not have much of a choice. I may get into consulting, I have a lot of great skill that will help others in their business and home projects.
Last week, we had some unfortunate events occur where we live, and we are now having to move once more. I am going to need the time to focus on fixing up our new place, as well as packing and moving. BUT, I should see no business interruption at all with orders, so long as I can keep access to my products within easy reach! I can get email and orders 24/7 on my phone, and if necessary, I'm just a few blocks away from the post office if I cannot print postage from the computer. It comes with really bad timing, that's all! That's also why I appreciate the orders, to help with our unexpected moving expenses. I am really excited to be returning to a place that was home to me for several years, and to a place where good luck prevailed!
I am very unsure of our moving timeline, and how it will affect April's Har Mar Mall rock show. As of today, the plans are still on for attending the event. I will keep you posted in case I CANNOT make the event. If I miss April, there is always June's!
I'm sorry, I've been so busy that I forgot to post about the new Tree of Life Hangings over on Etsy. They have 4-5 Hangings to choose from PER listing. When you go to check out, please select a number and gem from the drop down menu. The photos are labeled 1-5 left to right, so you can easily match them with the drop down menu to ensure you're ordering the right one. If you have any issues or questions, please send me a message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I'd be more than happy to assist.
Here is the link to the Tree of Life Hangings section at my Etsy shop! Happy shopping! :-)
The Last Chance sale is going smoothly over on Etsy, and it leads me to wonder why. Is it because its a Last Chance, that the business may be closing; or is it due to cheaper prices?
The original prices set were based on competitors out on the internet market, not what the market is actually willing to pay through study. That is a really hard thing to determine, actually! I've had the prices high and low, and until now, have had very few sales were items were marked down. If the market dictates the prices they're willing to pay is lower, then I'll happily adjust my prices! I'm more interested in getting my items out into the world than I am interested in holding out for top dollar, like some artists do. Its crazy. There's only so much money out there as a buyer, and my bottom line is just getting the bills paid. Seems easy enough.
Why do people wait until a business is closing to support it? Maybe business need to let their customers and followers know the real ups and downs, instead of "everything's great, and oh by the way we're closing down!". I'm always saddened to hear of a small business having to close its doors because they just cannot keep afloat financially. I recently read about a local restaurant that lost the fight after many years. People were upset and said they were definitely going to support them and eat there... on their last days! How about when they were still definitely in business, why didn't you help them out then?
Maybe it just comes down to marketing. If you're quiet on the market, then people will only look you up when they need something. If you're always there and engaging, would you continually get the business?
I'm just rambling on here, trying to figure out what the next step is. I don't think I want to shut down Spirit Gems, but I think there needs to be a bit of re-organization for the future. The idea of switching to mostly custom work may work, or have fewer pieces available at any one time. There seems to be an issue when someone has what appears to be too many already made items as an artist, that they are selling other people's commercial goods. Nah, it means you've got a lot of time on your hands, you're efficient, or you've recognized the need for variety (and in my case I'm all three!). I may offer too many choices and its tough for people to choose just one. I don't know, I'm still thinking hard of what to do for the future of Spirit Gems.
In the meantime... I'm working hard on photographing the tree of life hangings/suncatchers that I have left over from last month's rock show. I think they'll be organized on Etsy according to color, with 5 suncatchers per listing instead of just one. I have over 75 available,to pick from! Now that its becoming spring, or at least in certain parts of the country/world (not Minnesota where I'm at), its a great time to think about some cheery window decor! They will come with a suction cup hook so you can stick it on your window easily. :-)
All right, it is now officially lunch time for me, and then an afternoon of photo shooting! I will post an update when the tree of life hangings hit Etsy.
Thank you for your support, let's get through this hump and see where things are at!
It is truly sad it has come down to this, but I am no longer able to afford having a specialty business. I am not able to find good venues to sell my gem trees at, and they are slow to sell online. The gem trees are beautiful, and people love them, but the market just isn't big enough. I'm sure I caught the trend at its earliest stages, and will help it bloom in the future!
In the meantime, here's your last chance at buying one of my very unique gem trees for a cheap price! The money raised will help me catch up on bills and help out the stress level tremendously. I am not entirely sure how the business went from doing well to flat lining. It seems a lot of e-commerce businesses are struggling at the moment. Are people just not buying online in spring or something?
Its really unfortunate, but I have to look for a regular job now. Hobby businesses are great to an extent, but life on the streets doesn't really appeal to me. I'm going to keep the focus on one business in the meantime, my Oddball Cat Toys business. Its off to a great start but I have a very long ways to go with it. As I said before, it has a much greater market potential than the gem trees do. I want to keep on making custom gem trees for people though, that part of the shop won't shut down, and neither will the gemstone jewelry from Kevin.
At this time, I'm unsure of plans to attend the April Rock Show at Har Mar Mall. I love the venue, but it depends if I have the funds to attend or not.
I also wanted to mention that if you send me a message from this website, you need to include your email so that I can get in touch with you, especially if you have something mean to say about me or my business! Don't hide behind the anonymity! I expect to be treated like I would in person, which means its a two way street.
Again, thank you to my fans for your support! Its not a good bye forever, but I am just not able to go on at this time from a financial stand point. Please support me by buying something from my Etsy store, Spirit Gem Designs.
Please also take the time to support my Oddball Cat Toys business! The toys are also for gentle dogs, for those of you without cats. I am in the process of building a website, so for now please visit Oddball Cat Toys online on Facebook and its Etsy Store.
I totally forgot to introduce Kevin's jewelry! There are two pieces currently for sale on Etsy, and we hope to get the rest up this weekend.
The first is a really beautiful necklace made with Amethyst & Taiwan Turquoise. He has this fun concept of "Angel On My Shoulder". If you look on the left, there is a custom made Angel charm that sits on your shoulder as you wear the piece! The photos don't do the necklace justice. The Amethyst is a clear(er) type, and I am unable to pick up its true color with my camera. The pink centerpiece is a special Taiwan Turquoise. The circle findings really sparkle with the Amethyst too.
Here is the Etsy listing for this necklace: https://www.etsy.com/listing/125224656/angel-on-my-shoulder-semi-precious-pink?
This is another one, a Vesuvianite, Garnet & Red Howlite combination. This is another stunning piece in person, with shiny, almost sparkling silver spacers in between the dramatic dark red Garnet and olive green Vesuvianite. The big circular red gems are Red Howlite.
Here is the Etsy listing for this necklace: https://www.etsy.com/listing/125225499/unique-contrasting-color-green?
Kevin puts a lot of time and effort into his work, and his pieces are very high quality. They are certain to please any lady looking for a unique and fun piece of gemstone jewelry to wear! :-)
I apologize for being unhappy with the way things were going on Tuesday. Unfortunately, it happens in the business. Its tough when you don't have the big money to easily grow your business and hire people to do the work for you. I've decided to just let things run its course with the business, and keep it a specialty art item. I don't want to lower the quality so that it becomes a dime store bargain.
I've been having a blast coming up with cat toys, for the new business! Its been fun learning a new craft and working with yarn. I am counting on this business to be the one that can be branded and sold anywhere, unlike the gem trees. Every toy that I make is carefully hand knitted and sewn together. Some of them are stuffed with safe, non-toxic materials, others are not. I don't stuff them with catnip because I know some cats don't like catnip, and then dogs can also play with them. You can request catnip when you order though! These toys are completely unique and as of right now one of a kinds. I need to learn how to make patterns and at least stick with some staples, instead of having all unique. I'm finalizing the name and will be starting the Etsy store and website shortly. I'm not neglecting the gem tree business, rather, I'm splitting my time up between the two!
As for future shows, I am going to talk with the Minneapolis Farmer's Market about a trial run when they open at the end of April. It may be a little more expensive than some, but it draws in an interesting crowd! If I can keep attending regularly, I'm sure that word will get out and I will have a nice following. I've been told so many times you cannot be there just once or twice and expect sales. I'm willing to commit if its a good venue! The idea is to mostly carry the pet toys, jewelry, tree of life wall hangings and just a small selection of gem trees, until they become popular enough to warrant more. Its a shame there isn't an indoor venue like this in MN, or hopefully we're in for a cool summer!
The other show coming up is the Har Mar Rock Show on April 20-21st! I'll be working hard on coming up with a better display so the trees aren't so crowded, and the gemstone jewelry has its own area.
I have an opportunity to sell this spring at a boutique in Edina. I'm still unsure, they take between 25-30% and I think these were the people saying my items were way too expensive for their store. I'll have to think about it, and ask some questions. It would be great to send some gem trees there, because if you cannot make it out to the rock show, you can buy them in a store!
Thank you to those that keep up with my business. :-)
I was finally able to get 5 new Mala Bracelets added to my Etsy store! Like the photo? That's Kevin's very handy work. We need to get him to take over my photography duties! :-)Bracelets added (links go directly to their Etsy listings):
1) Red Magnesite & green-pink Unakite
2) Sodalite/Red Magnesite & Wood Stone
3) Calcite/Cream Quartz & black Onyx
4) multi color Amazonite & blue Magnesite (as shown above)
5) Blue Aventurine & Yellow Turquoise
The colors are as shown in the photos. I had one customer leave a neutral feedback stating that the gems on the bracelet didn't match the photo, but they did. I don't do a lot of touch up on my photos, and especially to artificially enhance colors.
And, I am really frustrated this week! I had a talk with the RAW promoter for the March gallery last night. It was pretty pointless! I was expressing my concern of being put into the Fashion Accessories category when my art is with the gem trees. I also don't have the money to pay for the event, or the connections to get 20 event tickets sold. She didn't get it, but proceeded to make me feel rotten. I apparently cannot "get it through my head" what an event like this could do for my career, and that I "don't want to sell tickets". I tried explaining what a full time starting out artist means, aka broke and zero connections. RAW is more interested in being an elite event and collecting lots of cash, than helping out real struggling artists. Its shameful, really. Fewer and fewer organizations and people are willing to help those in true need. There aren't any artists that I know, who could easily pay for the event plus the expensive dress wear required. They're not going to have my positive words here unless the attitude changes. I just don't understand why the arts & crafts community is just so stuck up! I'm also thinking back to last month's craft show fiasco. It really makes me rethink things.
But... I do have hope with the new business I'm planning! It is recession proof, its in a large buyers market, and the items are not specialty. I'm going to be exploring the pet industry with my own handmade toys, blankets, beds, and items for fur parents (mini figurines out of clay & stone, apparel, etc). It will be primarily aimed at cats and small dogs, but will eventually expand to include all cats and dogs. I will also attempt at making catnip and cat treats, and possibly later on food. I am very into health friendly, earth friendly, handmade, unique products. We want the best for our fur babies, and a source that you can trust. I had a name for the business and now I forget. I'll announce it once I remember it, and begin work on the products.
Enough whining already, I just had to get that off my mind. Its almost 2:30pm and I have finally finished the most important tasks that were supposed to be done by 11am! Now, what are my chances of finding my 3 hole punch to get started on my project binder? (insert your bets here) lol