Category Archives: Business

Have You Looked at my Blog Lately?

Have you looked at my blog lately?  Probably not, because I haven’t been posting much.  I did, however, do a lot of work on it and my website.  With the help of graphic designer Chelsea of Chelsea McKenna Design it’s looking pretty fabu.  She does really “clean” work.  Which is perfect, because as much as I love bordello chic in my design and decorating, my web presence needs to be a platform for my work.  It shouldn’t compete with it.  An overly fru fru design would be too much.

I love how she took my input, my love of quatrefoil, and all of my little, “Well, how about this?”  and went with it.  I love how my free weebly website and my free wordpress.com blog have the same look.  A viewer doesn’t feel like they’ve taken a wrong turn on the internet.  It’s more consistent.  Even my FB cover photo and my Etsy shop headers coordinate with my websites.  I’m feeling pretty spiffy.

SaslowFBCover-NewRed-01Spiffy, right?

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What Should I Charge?

More and more work I get is on existing jewelry.  I am developing a reputation for being able to upcycle jewelry without it “looking like junk”.

I’ve had a client come to me with 5 pieces from a necklace her Grandmother’s to turn into something fabulous they can wear.  I love adding just the right amount of flair to this set for her.  It was an interesting project to make the piece custom for my client, not just what I’d like to wear.

Madame Saslow's Curio- Repurposing2

Another client just needed her beautiful necklace shortened.  At it’s length of about 25 inches, it just felt too formal for everyday wear.  It’s an easy task for me to take out a few beads and polish up the silver for extra shine.

Madame Saslow's Curio- Altering

Madame Saslow's Curio- Altering2

Madame Saslow's Curio- Altering3

A third client, who does wardrobe consultation, ordered some bracelets to go with some necklaces and they are funky.  Way too thick, weird clasps, and they just don’t sit right.  You can really get more like 3 bracelets out of the beads of one.  I’ll be taking these apart and making a few new bracelets out of them.

Madame Saslow's Curio- Repurposing

With all of this fabulous work comes a question:  What do I charge for this kind of work?  Hourly on some, hours plus materials on others?  Materials for the shortening project is negligible.  On the work with Grandma’s jewelry it’s beads and findings, and I don’t have a break down to that level for pricing.  It’s hard for me to look at the huge seed bead bracelets and put a price on the work, though I know it’s could be a lot if I have to do any restringing.

A similar issue came up with another artist asking me to teach her wire work.  Do I charge an hourly rate for instruction?  If so, is it $20?  $40?  A social media expert I know charges more to teach than to do the work herself.  When you teach, you give away your knowledge and future work.  But in my case, the other artist isn’t going to pay me to do wire wrapping for her in any case.  I’d prefer to teach her.

What do you charge?  What is a service like this worth to you?  Have you had someone charge you for this before?

I’d love your input.

En Garde Fencing Mending

So, I’ve mentioned En Garde Fencing before.  Now that the holidays are over, I’m back in massive mending mode.  If you see me covered in little white bits of thread shrapnel, don’t be surprised.  I’ve been using my super huge seam ripper to take out broken zippers.  Don’t worry, I don’t stab myself too often.  And I’m told by Goose Girl Sews that my saliva will get the blood out.

Here are my current piles of work:

These I haven’t started on.

Fencing 1

These need new point guards.  It’s this flap around the neck that catches a foil tip and prevents it from sneaking up under your mask and stabbing you in the throat.  Very important.

Fencing 2

These have had zippers removed and I need to go buy new zippers.

Fencing 3

This is a shot of me in action, removing a zipper with my amazing seam ripper.  I got the biggest one I could find after breaking my old one on the tough fabric of the fencing jackets.  I love the big sturdy handle.

Fencing4

 

A huge next step might be to start creating old fashioned fencing jackets.  Just a lot of thick material, padding, and quilting.  I hear there is a niche for old school fencing gear that isn’t being met.

What are you working on?  Is there something you do that you don’t consider “art” but you still enjoy?  Want to help me sew in some zippers?

This post had more stabbing than usual.  Don’t worry, I’m healing.

 

Project FAIL

Yep, I’m abandoning a project.  A project I thought was going to be awesome.  I have a huge box of bottle caps.  I have a new drill bit for hardened steel.  However, this

Windchime

is NOT getting made.
“Why not?  It’s super cute and upcycled!  Adriann, you LOVE upcycling AND your drill,” you innocently protest.

OMG.  Drilling those holes was going to take forever.  Maybe my drill isn’t powerful enough.  Maybe I just wasn’t holding it at a good angle.  Whatever it was, I wasn’t prepared to spend the countless hours making that.

I don’t love beer.  Used bottle caps are cool.  I admit, I am a bit snobby about things made from new bottle caps.  That’s cheating!  You have to drink (or know someone that does) for your craft.  So, I don’t love this bottle cap wind chime enough to make it for just  myself.  Unlike knitting socks, which is a soothing, portable craft that makes super comfy socks.

It sell it and make back money for my time, I’d have to charge more than a sane person would spend on a bottle cap wind chime.

The other problem, I was destined to stab myself with that nice new hardened drill bit (probably more than one).  And though it is pretty small, I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice my dexterity and digital mobility to this project when I have other things I can be doing.   I bleed enough for fencing mending.

What have you abandoned recently?  What should you give up, but just haven’t yet?

I wish more people wanting to sell hand made goods would consider this before trying to sell their work.  I don’t sell hand knit socks.  I’d have to charge $100 a pair for the time and nice yarn it takes.  This is not a good business plan.  Ask yourself if the time and materials required to make the item too expensive to sell and make a profit.

Screen Printing!

I had a great time the other day learning to screen print with Chelsea of Chelsea McKenna Design.  Of course, I am out of the habit of blogging and didn’t think to take more pictures.  Here’s a super cute one of Chelsea, however.

Chelsea MLM Logo

We in the shop loved how darling she happened to look with her chevron dress, red apron, and the red logo on the crate.

I now need about 20 more crates for the Made Local Marketplace to put logos on.  Not just for my enjoyment, but for the cool displays they make.  It’s style and branding people!

 

Hmm… I betcha MY logo would be an awesome silk screen.  What could I print it on?  Tank top?  My car (It would have to be a really flat spot)?  A banner for future booth events?  Those would all be different size needs.

I’d wear my sexy logo on a tank top.  Red tank with black logo or a black tank with a red logo.

 

Have you played around with screen printing?  Any tips for a newbie?

Store Manager!

Suzi and Adriann

Suzi and me in front of the moved counter!

I have totally neglected to tell my blog that I’m the store manager at the Made Local Marketplace!  Woot!  I was promoted just after the beginning of October, actually.  It’s been wonderful.  My talents and skills are hugely appreciated there.  Now that I’m manager and not just some woman that spends too much time there, I have the “authority” to make big changes.  I’ve moved the whole front counter, which has been great for store flow and not having a bottleneck, as well as having usable counter space behind the front desk.  I get to work with artists that need to do something a little different  to make their work more sell-able.  I’ve been working through the waiting list for new vendors.  I have a desk of my own with a computer!  It’s hard to get everything done that I need to do while working the register.  Being able to go upstairs to write emails, make phone calls, whatever is great.

It is a lot of work.  A lot of brain juggling, a lot of different directions all at once.  Balancing the everyday shop functioning details with VISION.  (Some people say moving the counter was Vision, I just think it’s good.)

Making time for my own business too is hard, but important.  I haven’t been adding new items to Etsy as often, but I did just have a few sales I mailed out.  To sell at the shop I’ve been making Quick Bread Mix, Minty Cocoa Mix, and I am working on a Spicy Cocoa Mix.  Laundry soap is still chugging away, though not as popular for an xmas gift..  Lynn, Ashley, and I are trying to get out “The Creative Collection” jewelry brochure we had made by the awesome graphic designer Chelsea McKenna.

Needless to say, there is a lot going on in my world professionally.  What’s going on with you?  Are you enjoying your work?