Thursday, December 18, 2008

Featured Seller- WillowBranchJewelry

As the followers of my blog are well aware, I make handmade jewelry and almost always, I support the handmade artists of EtsyNJ. I don't look at very much handmade jewelry (and don't even consider looking at the mass-produced "stuff") but every once in awhile, I'll buy something that has really caught my eye. This particular time, I stepped outside the Garden State for my purchase.

I love pendants. I guess you can say I'm a sucker for a pretty pendant. I love the creativity that many of the handmade artists display in their creations and when it comes to jewelry, the pendant has no creative boundaries.

My featured artist of the day is Brandi, from WillowBranchJewelry. Like many Etsians, Brandi dabbled in creating pendants several years before trying her hand as an Etsy seller. Brandi made pendants for family and friends and like many of us, was told "you should sell them."

Although the thought intrigued Brandi, she had no idea how she could possibly juggle a full time job and find the time to create... until one of her friends who loves her pendants, turned her onto Etsy. She loved the idea of a site dedicated to buying and selling handmade items and Brandi was quickly hooked. In August of 2008, Brandi opened her WillowBranchJewelry store. Four months & 20+ sales later she's building a name for herself and has already branched out into 2 brick and mortar stores in the California area.

At Willow Branch you will find an array of unique and exciting individual pendant necklaces. Each piece, which is handmade, encapsulates a contemporary design in the permanence of resin.
Brandi enjoys finding and creating new design images that are fun and different. Brandi's dragonfly creations are new. They had been requested by her Aunt, who like myself, loves dragonflies. Brandi has noticed a trend with dragonfly creations on Etsy and believes they may be the next "hot" item, much like the owl has been for the last year or two.

While chatting with Brandi, it was refreshing to hear that being a perfectionist. She's ruined nearly as many pendants as she's created. Brandi went on to say, "it's normal for resin to have minuscule bubbles and rare to have it clear as glass. Most people don't notice or care about the imperfections they may have. It comes with the territory of being homemade, I guess! I try to make something as perfect as I can."

Brandi's off to a pretty good start and is about to open a new shop. Her pendants are wonderful... bold colors of beautiful images... I'm certainly looking forward to receiving the pendant I purchased.

To find Brandi's shop, go to-
You won't be sorry... but leave a couple of the dragonfly pendants for me : )

'til next time...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sea Glass Weekend, Craft Shows, Rebuilding the Shop

Whew, it was a very busy weekend. After my Friday night with my hubby (dinner and Xmas gifts shopping) I spent my Saturday making new bracelets and adding some inexpensive earrings to my show inventory. I had been leery of doing this, as my Sunday show was my last of the holiday season and I was unsure if the investing the time and components was worth it.

My craft show theory remains that I should have some inexpensive items on my tables. These are great when a potential customer walks up with a young girl in tow. There's nothing like when a little girl gets to choose whatever earrings she wants from my $5 displays... Mom/Aunt/Grandma/Dad is usually very happy, because the little one is thrilled to be able to shop and it doesn't hurt the customer's wallet. From my point of view, everyone is happy and 5-10 of these type of sales and I've basically covered most of my show fees, plus the customer still has money to buy some "big-girl toys" such as sea glass jewelry.

With the impending law of compliance for items intended for children 12 and younger, my $5 earrings will probably be a thing of the past next year when I do craft shows...this will indeed impact my bottom-line because more than 60% of the $5 earrings I sell, are purchased by women for their own personal use.

However, my time was certainly not wasted creating items for the show. The day turned out to be beautiful and the crowds were quite literally overwhelming! The show was held in Smithville Park in Eastampton, NJ (Mt Holly) and I don't think they expected such a turnout for their first ever Holiday show.

The crowds in Crafters Village (which was a heated tent that held approx 14 crafters) were 2 and 3 deep at my table and I know many people tried to get to the tent but didn't want to wait in the lines. The people that did get to me, were very receptive of my sea glass jewelry and I sold several of my nicest pieces, along with almost every Czech glass bracelet I brought to the show. My hair-ties and zipper pulls were almost totally wiped out and I sold several of my $5 earrings throughout the day.

When I was finally able to catch my breath, nearly 3 hours had passed. My hubby and I were basically trapped behind the table by the amount of visitors at the show. I laid out 75-100 business cards, when they were gone, I replenished the holders and they too were gone by shows end. I easily handed out or placed with purchases, 250 cards at this show!

Nearly 50% of my Etsy shop sold at the show. My hubby activated the remaining items...all 13 of them... relisted one, did a little promoting for me. When I woke up this morning, I found a note saying that 3 more Etsy items sold during the night... to a friend of a recent customer who had passed on my shop link : )

I'm now down to a lowly 10 items...yikes, I've never been this low & just before the holidays... and I spent my lunch hour taking pictures of a few new items in the park. Hopefully they came out okay and I'll be able to add a few new items during the week, starting tonight.

My big opportunity for sea glass hunting was basically a bust this weekend... well my hubby's opportunity for hunting, I wasn't going out on that freezing beach. The tides listed on the internet (a site that my hubby has had great success using in the past) was way wrong. Low tide was at approx 2am, and the 2nd low tide moved through at about 2pm...hubby's info said closer to 3:15 and by the time he arrived the opportunity was lost. He did find a very large piece of cobalt blue sea glass, not jewelry quality, but it'll look great in my sun-catcher by the window. He also found several pieces of brown, most of which he left behind for either the tide to reclaim or another lucky hunter. He said he was the only soul on the beach both in the morning and afternoon and it was very cold and windy. He's claiming to try again at the end of the week when the morning low tide gets closer to 7 -8 am...and there's always the last full moon of the year to try again : )

No new items to list... I'm off to download my pictures and start doing my new item write-ups!

'til next time...