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!