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 email@example.com! 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!
I have spent more hours than I'd like to admit making changes to my Etsy shop. I have changed and enhanced not only titles, but descriptions as well! I included a short sentence about the metaphysical properties of each gem tree, while staying within Etsy's guidelines. And, this afternoon I will begin the process of re-doing all of the gem tree photos! I am praying hard the camera is interested in cooperating with me, so its just a 3 hour exercise instead of a 3 day exercise (as it has been in the past).
I'm moving forward with another website/business concept called Crystal Healing Energy Therapy (CHET for short). It is the practice of using the mineral properties of the gem, instead of a book author's view on what they think a crystal can do for you. The energy healing part works in part with crystal healing, but more massage and Reiki techniques. I am waiting to have the website edited before its put live. For those of you interested in more of the new age/metaphysical part, I think you will find the website very helpful and interesting. For those of you who just like the gem trees for art and decor, stick with me here! I'm not leaving this website, but I wanted to branch out into other practices (pardon the pun!).
I had an interesting realization last night while finishing the design of a brand new large gem tree. My gem trees have evolved to the point of being quite complex and having a delicate physical balance. I was working on a brand new large gem tree, and I had twisted the branches into the trunk. I wasn't sure of the trunk's final design, so I decided to tweak it. Oh Lord, what a mess! I ended up tracing back to how it was originally twisted, to gain the look and balance back. Next, it was time to work on the roots. I had braided them and did my secret technique of fixing the tree to the base (sorry, an artist cannot reveal its special mounting secrets!). Now, it was time to clip the roots so they weren't a total mess. Yeah, one false clip of the wire and I unbalanced the gem tree once again! I couldn't believe that my gem trees had evolved into such a delicate art, much like a real Bonsai tree! I am really proud though. It makes me feel really proud of what I do and of my accomplishments, to be able to create such a delicate piece! Don't be worried about buying a gem tree and going through this process yourself: it is arranged to where it should be when it leaves my hands. I also include simple instructions in case anything goes awry and you need to re-arrange the branches for the original look.
I decided to do some market research on average gem tree prices. I was quite disappointed to see other Etsy sellers beginning to copy my unique gem trees. Although they haven't tried copying my unique gem tree styles (yet), they have started to copy my root design. That was something I thought up awhile back when a few people commented how beautiful the tree was but how boring the roots were. I always say a person has to really own their design, and have their own elements into it. Copying isn't fair to the person who really cares about what they do. I have had so many callouses on my fingers from twisting wire, lots of (squirting) blood shed (darn that wire can be SHARP!), and 12+ hour days, because I LOVE what I do. I want to keep improving and coming up with truly unique, original ideas. I was also saddened by another Etsy seller's attempts at driving more business to her store. She copied my wedding cake topper AND undercut my prices to the point I can no longer effectively compete. I don't know how she can afford to sell them for such a low price, that is a big mistake. She does otherwise amazing work, but she should have owned her own design, AND put a fair market price on it.
Enough said about that, I am not here to complain, but instead just to share what's going on in my world. Its not easy being an artist, and I really appreciate the support you give me by being here, and also by purchasing my gem trees. Each sale gets me closer to my goal of having a true gem tree business, instead of just a hobby!
The thing I've been battling with most, and forever!, is pricing. My gem trees go way beyond the typical craft realm, because of their design and high quality gem crystals. They are truly a one-of-a-kind, no two made alike, unique art form. Their quality is really high too, higher than a lot of the competition I see out there (they typically use glass beads or seed beads). I could charge a much higher price because they're a high quality art, and I won't charge a cheap price because they're not a cheap craft item. I'm really stuck at the point of having to make a living and charging for that fairly, and getting these special gem trees into the hands of people that can use them and appreciate them. I've left my prices as is for right now, to see what the market dictates. I wish I didn't have to think about these silly, but important things, and just keep making new gem trees!
Finally, look for the new gem tree concepts to slowly hit! I have two new concept gem trees to list today. These new concepts mix more than one gem together into the tree. Its a lot easier said than done, and you will soon understand if you follow the new CHET website. I don't believe in just throwing any old gem together, their properties must positively work together. (think of attracting and opposing magnets).
All right, enough updates for now, whew! I will try to be shorter, and more regular, about them coming up in the near future!
I just created a new SALE section in my Etsy store, and gem trees added to the section have been marked down $10-40 off their original price. I have mini and large gem trees, mini and large Bonsai gem trees, Wispy Willow and Pine trees. Its a great time to buy a gift for yourself, and/or a loved one! Proceeds from each sale go to help animals in need with PAWS of Jackson, MN.
I am clearing some room for my newest gem trees. These trees are definitely one of a kind pieces of art! I got the inspiration from a customer, who challenged me to go outside my comfort zone in designing her custom tree. I think pushing the envelope may be just what I need! I'm excited to see where my creativity can go, as each tree continues to be better than the last.
I have plans for a spin-off website dealing with alternative healing and crystal healing. I want to do some local lectures and seminars about them, because they are important in today's hectic world. We all need something that helps us calm and center ourselves. If we don't, we suffer unnecessary stress and burnout. I know not everyone subscribes to the idea of alternative methods beyond the typical medical treatments, but why not when what you've been trying doesn't work? The world works in odd, mysterious ways, that we may or may not be able to explain. Its time to explore the new unknown!
I also have a couple of shows lined up for February. I am waiting for final confirmation from the show coordinators before I post more information. The first is a large craft show, and the 2nd being a continuation of last October's Rock show. I am really looking forward to the shows, and am in the process of planning some improvements to the booth and the tree tags. That reminds me, I also need business cards! I ran out of them at my last show. :-)
That's all I have for now. Have a very Happy Monday! (yes, they can exist!)
I apologize for not updating the blog forever! I've spent the past couple of months running the gem tree business from the side, as I took on a regular job. Unfortunately the job didn't work out, or was that fortunately? Needless to say, I'm back in full control of my gem tree business! I really belong here, working with rocks and wires, helping other people.
Looking into the new year, I am hoping to attend more local shows and expand my online stores. I may end up having an online store elsewhere than Etsy, to make buying easier for non-Etsy fans. My local shows probably won't be until February, I'm not finding anything for January yet.
I am also in the process of re-designing the fast selling jewelry tree stands. People have expressed concerns about them being flimsy, and even though they do hold jewelry without issues, I'm looking at toughening up the entire piece by having a solid rod and base, and then wrapping the wire around. Or, I may end up finding tougher wire to make sure they can hold a heavy necklace no problem.
Right now I have a deal where you buy 2 gem trees, get 1 free, over on Etsy. You have to purchase 3 gem trees, and then I will refund you the cost of the 3rd gem tree (Etsy's coupons are too basic to allow this type of sale). I really need to clear out my current inventory to make way for new gem trees! I have a hard time making more because my shelf is full. These gem trees have been waiting so patiently for their new homes, so please do them a favor and buy them! Now is the perfect time to.They still make wonderful gifts for yourself or a loved one, and they serve as really cool home decor. I have numerous colors and styles to choose from, so you will have at least one that will go with your decor!
That's all I have to post right now. Please be patient while I get back into the swing of things here. Thank you for your continued support to my business!