Saturday, September 27, 2008

Autumn's Here... To knit or not to knit? Autumn creations and craft shows

While it still hasn't felt much like Autumn, with the exception of a few days, Autumn is here. The start of my Autumn craft show schedule is less than a week away and I still haven't found any incentive to sit down and knit now that summer is a memory.
Normally at this time of year, I'm knitting when I'm not at my craft table. But this year, I just don't feel up to it. I know I have a supple of scarves to start off with from last winter, but I should be at least planning which yarns I'm using to create with, but there is little urge to even open up the trunk filled with skeins of yarn.
Luckily, it doesn't look like the weather will change much this coming week and it's probably pointless to bring my scarves to my show next Saturday. But come the end of October, the warm weather will have disappeared and handmade scarves/hats will begin to sell... and I'll have a limited inventory.

I spent a few hours promoting on Etsy today and even snagged a treasury featuring a small portion of the EtsyNJ team ( )
I think I spent more time promoting on Etsy this past month, than I spent in the 2 previous months and yet, sales remained very sluggish. Even the views for my items seemed fairly low and I suppose the buyers are just not shopping much or not shopping while I'm promoting (though I did sell a couple of items in the last couple of days) Hopefully things pick up a bit as we get closer to the holidays!

My craft show schedule for October is finalized and my first show will be this weekend. The Eagleswood Country fair is usually fairly well attended and while it isn't only a craft show (cars, many activities for the children, food, etc) there seemed to many potential customers stopping by my table last year. Hopefully the turnout is the same and maybe it'll be a bit cooler than last year.
Eagleswood is found by taking the GSP to exit 58 (Little Egg Harbor/Tuckerton) and follow the signs shortly after exiting the Parkway. Same goes for Rt 9. Go south past Manahawkin and then follow the signs. There is always a l;ot of signage and all you'll need to do is follow the cars to find the show.

My latest creation should go on Etsy tomorrow or Monday and it's a Copper Butterfly necklace. The necklace compliments the bracelet by the same name very well. I've also put together a couple of new items, that will probably not go into my Etsy craft listings.

I'll try to post between the craft show and the following week, when I go away to Delaware for the North American Sea Glass Confer.

'til next time...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sea Glass, Autumn Items and Looking Ahead to the Holidays

A stiff northeastern wind triggered tidal flood warnings late last week and considering these winds followed a full moon, it should have been a prime opportunity for beach glass. That really wasn't the case, at least in LBI NJ, because the combo of clean-up crews protecting the dunes and the early morning and early evening low tides made it difficult to get to the beach during what should have been prime-time.

The end of the summer last year produced a few nice finds. A couple of rare cobalt blues were found and even a rare red piece was found. This year however, it seemed like the even the shells disappeared at the end of the summer.

Shell beds that are washed up during high tide and left behind as the tide returns, are often great locations to find a few pieces of sea glass. For close to a month, the washed up shell beds were practically non-existent and so was the beach glass. Even the first full moon of September didn't improve the situation and I'm beginning to fear that many of the gems that were about to reveal themselves in the tides were buried by the clean-up crews attempt to shore-up the dunes and the beaches.

Even my secret little spot on LBI, one that consistently turned-up many well-worn and beautifully frosted keepers seems to be void of even the most common colors.

A trip to the beach tomorrow will hopefully turn up a few pieces...hopefully something to give me some hope that future treks to the beach will be worth my time.

So, autumn is in full-swing, especially on Etsy. Despite days in the high 70s to mid 80s, it seems like summer has been packed away for the season and the folks around here are waiting for the cooler days and nights to arrive.

Autumn promoting on Etsy has already given way to Halloween promotions and even several Christmas promotions on a daily basis.

Locally my sea glass creations do okay, but sea glass on Etsy seem to be out-of-season items. It also seems like some of the sea glass buyers are starting to slow down or have totally stopped buying also.

Good for me, as I'll continue to buy often and take advantage of the lull in the market. I'd rather buy a large quantity now and sit on them over the winter, then pay the crazy prices some pieces sold for this past summer.

The pictures above show 2 of my most recent Etsy listings. One is an autumn item, while the other a beautiful sea glass creation.

Looking ahead to the holidays, I really don't have a lot of new items in store. Etsy is so very hard tough to make sales around the holidays and while I plan on keeping my shop stocked to about 35-45 items through the holiday season, I'll be concentrating heavily on my craft shows.

I'm pretty much set on my opening supply of scarves and I'm hoping to limit my knitting this yr to custom orders and knitting when I've made a couple of sales. ROI is very hard with knitted items and I feel the need to focus more on my jewelry where the ROI is much greater. So for my local customers that follow me through this blog, get your custom requests in soon.

My first show, hopefully, will be on October 4th. I have an app in for the Eagleswood Fall Show. It's not a very large crowd, but it is fun and I can have my boys at the show because there is so much for them to do there (plus it isn't an expensive show).

I have a show I may do the following week and then I'll take off a week before doing the Medford show on 10/25, followed by the Lacey show on 10/26. After a one week break, I'll have a show each of the next 2 weekends (11/8 in Pt. Pleasant and 11/15 Manahawkin) and a possible 3rd the following week. My December schedule looks to have 3 shows by the middle of the month and that will be the end of my holiday schedule. My scheduled is tentatively 10 shows, but I will probably cut one of the shows out, making it a 9 show Fall/Holiday schedule.

Hopefully I'll need the extra week to build up inventory and plan out my post-holiday Etsy ideas.

til next time...