Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Some background....

A little history.

I started crafting jewelry when I was about 15. I bought an anklet, made of little seed-type beads, for $15. Mom said it was ridiculous that it was so expensive. I shrugged, and put it on. A couple days later, I wore it for the first time. It was a little loose, and rested just on the ankle bone, the perfect accent to the sundress I was wearing.
An hour later, it broke. No warning, no stretching, it didn't get caught.. it just.. came loose from the clasp and the beads scattered.
The string that had been used for it was flimsy thread, and the knots weren't strong.
... $15 for something that I wore for an hour, that was maybe actually worth $2.

Mom took me to the local craft shop. I picked up beads, tiger-wire, beading thread, and new clasps. I made the anklet again, one in wire, one in thread. I still wear them both.

So I started making them, since it was something very relaxing to do. I made braclets, necklace chains, rings, anklets, and even earrings. I gave things away as gifts, or had people pay me for the materials to make them - particularly my peace-sign beaded wire earrings.

By the time I was 18 I had a stockpile of stuff.. so I took it to a local craft fair... and didn't sell much. One item, for $2.50, over a long 10-hour day.

I started making loom-crafted items, beadweaving patterns became my new thing. Though next craft fair wasn't very successful either, even for the items I'd added semi-precious bad chips to.

And then.. I discovered eye pins. I learned to make links out of them with beads on them.

Semiprecious stone link bracelets, anklets, and Y-necklaces started to spring up. The fair I took these to I had to leave early - I'd sold all that I brought with me!

And then.. I discovered crystal. I started making a few things with it. By this time, I was making a few things here and there, and took it all to AnimeUSA 2205, an anime convention in Virginia. ... All the crystal items sold, but very few of the semi-precious stone works did.

So I made quite a bit of the crystal work and the next time I went to a convention with all crystal, I made quite a few sales. Every other convetion I've been to, I've done decently well at.

Since then, I've also discovered more than just the sterling silver plated eye and head pins I'd been using. I now use sterling silver wire in a lot of my creations.. making two lines - costume work, and sterling silver work. Obviously, I charge more for the sterling silver.

The other thing that I strive for is quality. I'm not going to charge $15 for something that's going to fall apart in an hour made with flimsy materials. My work is built to last, even with some abuse. I know that there are some things that even my work can't last against.. snags, being cut by something, something crushing the crystals... There are some things that will destroy any kind of jewelry. But it's not going to fall apart during any kind of normal, or even a little rough, wear.

And somewhere along the line, I realized that I really wanted to do this for more than just conventions. I had a short stint on Ebay, but .. trying to sell there was hopeless. I'm not selling my work for $0.01 with free shipping. That won't cover my materials, nor will it cover the ridiculous fees Ebay charges.

A friend of mine told me about Etsy. And I'm still hoping for my first sale there. :)

One day, I hope to not have to work full time... but only have a part time job to supplement my jewelry craft.


LillyShayStyle said...

I'm glad you found Etsy and let Feebay behind! :)

Kalla said...

Thanks! In many posts, I only ever sold one thing on Feebay, and it was for less than half my asking price. By the time all the Feebay fees came out, I found that I hadn't even covered the materials to make the item. It was rediculous!

I love the freedom and community of Etsy, and for as long as I make jewelry, I'm going to stick with Etsy.