Saturday, January 9, 2010

Year in Review: Part 5, Life Lessons and the Important Miscellaneous Stuff

I realized after looking at my short sheet of things I wanted to talk about in a year-end review that I could probably stretch on indefinitely...I do like to get rambly. However, one of my 2010 blog goals is to get back to my Start-to-Finish series and also join in with the new Handmade Artists' Forum blog ring so that will start this upcoming week.

Now, to bring this series to a lurvely, bow-wrapped finish with part 5...Life Lessons and the Important Miscellaneous Stuff.

Be Generous
Be generous when possible, and product appropriate. Depending on what someone has ordered I may include a small pair of earrings so they can try out a different material or color. I had a lot of earrings in a particular style I made at the beginning of 2009 that for whatever reason were not as popular as I thought they would be but when I include them with orders I get feedback that they get the most compliments. It has been a sideways lesson to me in what I think will be popular and that I prefer to do made-to-order jewelry but that also if you give people a sample then they will understand your vision better.

A large part of what Seedlings: Jewelry Because is based on generosity especially our connection to Heifer International (20% of all regular sales go straight to the cow to speak). I do that because I'm in this for the love of what I do and feel strongly about giving that back how I can. I am so blessed in so many ways and where I can, I have to share it.


Try New Things
I started out offering one kind of earring. I branched out by offering multiple colors of that same earring. I branched again and used some different beads and charms. I got curious about chainmaille and hammering metals. I took a metalsmithing class (well, most of it). I took a plunge and made necklaces. I tried new metals and fell in love with copper. There are so many things still that I want to do and try (and yes I'm keeping a notebook so I don't lose track) and that keeps me excited for 2010 and beyond.

You never know what you'll find out about yourself until you let yourself take risks. Be bold, be brave and forge ahead in your adventures!

Make Friends
Hello other OCD control freaks out there who like to reinvent the wheel...we have a secret group that meets frequently to remind us we don't have to do everything alone. Join as many teams, guilds, groups as are appropriate and active to what is specific to you -- don't be afraid to get involved and then get uninvolved if things fall apart (it happens).

One group I highly recommend for all crafty folks is the Handmade Artists' Forum. Additionally check out the various Etsy Teams to find some good fits.

The online folks I have met have transformed my experience from something I did to share with co-workers into something deeply meaningful that is shared regardless of geographic boundaries. I was also lucky to find a regional Etsy team (Team NorGa) filled with fantastic crafty folk who have become real life friends (as we like to say in the online world).

Share What You Know
I like to say that everything I learn these days is from the Internets (or for you purists, the Webbernets). I praise the folks who have been out there reinventing wheels and take the time to post their successes and failures. Here is a short list of my favorite tutorial sites or blogs where people make a point of sharing: [Many lessons here are free, you just have to register.] [All kinds of crafty tutorials and look for exchanges where you can participate and right your own to submit.] [From Karen Ferrante.] [From author Sharilyn Miller.]

Keep On Going
At a few points this last year I really felt either overwhelmed by projects I took on (getting shop stocked, getting social media going, actually creating stuff) or like doing nothing at all (hello September).

I recall one of the most important lessons I ever learned from my dad when he taught me how to catch a softball -- at one point I missed the catch and the ball hit me in the jaw. It surprised me and hurt and as a little kid, it made me cry. We paused and he told me that I needed to get the mitt in front of my face if that's where the ball was going and that sometimes I might get hit no matter what but that I couldn't let it stop me.

I think back on all the crazy jobs he tackled to keep our family going through the years and all the crazy jobs I've been willing to do to keep mine going. One of the last significant conversations we had was about a moldy wall I found in my house and how I was annoyed to deal with it. He said, "It's the moldy walls that keep us going, give us a reason."

My reason for creating jewelry has been because it's a spot of beautiful that comes from the real me, the true me, beyond any facade I have to wear at my real life pays the bills job. Find your reason and make it your passion and don't let it go -- put it in bold letters on your wall, do whatever you need to do to remind yourself why.

Important Miscellaneous Stuff
Many other fine blogs have written about the importance of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), pricing and product research, branding and packaging, and to a lesser extent customer service so I am putting some links on those topics here because all of those things were very important to me in 2009 (and areas where I will continue to learn and explore in 2010):

Crafting your Etsy shop (Purple Lemon Designs):

Pricing Handmade Artisan Jewelry (Jewelry by Jules):

Strands of Thought [all sorts of great topics from Susan Sheehan's blog]:


Athena's Armoury said...

Your Keep On Going section was quite meaningful. Your dad was a smart guy. =) Good luck reaching your goals this year!

Seedlings: Jewelry Because said...

Thanks for reading -- my dad is really sick right now so he's on my mind a lot.

Kelly | Purple Lemon Designs said...

Thanks so much for linking to my blog...I really appreciate you sharing Purple Lemon Designs with your readers.

Seedlings: Jewelry Because said...

Kelly your willingness to share your info with the rest of us was part of the inspiration for this year in review series. We could all use more Purple Lemon! :D

Kirsten said...

Love your blog posts! They are both informative, but more importantly, from your heart. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and a little bit about what drives you as an artist.

seedlingsjewelry said...

Thank you so much Kirsten! Just found your blog and shop, love your creations! This one really caught my eye