Sell Yourself!

A few weeks ago I participated in a craft show in my neighboring town. It was an interesting learning experience for me. If you haven’t been following my posts, I am very interested in learning new things and turning bad situations into learning experiences. So here it is…

 I have been participating in this craft show since 2009. The first year I nearly sold out of jewelry. My inventory wasn’t as big then as it is now, but there was still a good bit of jewelry going out to new homes. What I found interesting about that show was I had great luck in spite of the fact that the economy had just made a turn for the worst. In 2010, I did pretty well with this show again, but not as well as I had the year before. In 2011, I did not do well at all in this show. This year was better, but not where I thought it could have been. The show was not advertised very well and I think that played into things this year.

 I mention this not to discuss how many sales I did or didn’t make, but to note what I learned that weekend from watching my own success and that of the artisans around me. Long story short, I learned that if you are falling into a hole, it’s better to try climbing out of it than to let yourself slide further down (simple concept, right?). It wasn’t just my booth that was slow; things were slow throughout the show. The further we got into the day, the more I noticed other vendors sitting back in their chairs reading or working on projects and not paying attention to the folks who walked into their booth. It was apparent they gave up on selling because it was slow. I, on the other hand, never sat down (at least I don’t think I did). I talked to as many people as I could.

 Now part of the reason the other artisans were sitting might have had to do with the fact that they were all at least 15 to 20 years older than I am. Maybe by that age, I won’t be able to stand all day either. But so many of them did not seem interested in what they were doing; they weren’t interested in being there. I mean this kindly, if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, find something else. If you aren’t fully into what you do, you won’t be as successful! With that in mind, if you hit a rough spot, you have to keep your passion up. Don’t just sit back and lose interest because then it will only get slower and become worse for you.

 I have read a lot about how depression is on the rise with the faltering economy because people are losing hope. Instead of losing hope, get out there and sell yourself. Find your passion, your drive, and move on it. That’s how this nation got started…people did what they could do or what they did best instead of waiting around for something to come to them. They pushed themselves.

 So the lesson here is every person has a talent, it’s whether or not you push yourself and take chances that determines whether or not you go anywhere with that talent.

 Thanks for reading!

Elegant Simplicity

Timeless elegance. Just plain pretty. Elegant simplicity. Those concepts are passions of mine and I think we’re going to see more of them in the coming months.

After writing my last post on pearls, I got to thinking about how the simple timeless pieces are really making a comeback. For quite some time, women have been buying chunky, colorful jewelry. It’s been through the magazines, down the catwalks, and on the streets. However, I’m starting to see a shift away from it, at least at the shows I am involved in. Women are looking for jewelry that can go anywhere instead of separate pieces to match every outfit.

Color is still a big deal in jewelry, but on more simple terms. A colorful pendant for instance or a bright pair of earrings is more in line with today’s woman than layers of bold necklaces. Solid metals really seem to be taking over, too. These are so versatile I don’t blame people for leaning towards them more and more. It’s not just jewelry that is becoming simpler; our wardrobes are, too.

For those who know me personally, you might have noticed I’ve lost a bit of weight over the past year. Because of this, I need to revamp my wardrobe. As I’ve been search for what is in style this year, I’m finding the clothes to be simpler and more fitted. Five work outfits you can mix and match, plus two weekend outfits, which are also fitted and streamlined, are about all you need. This is in check with what I have been seeing on the front lines of jewelry. A few pieces that can go anywhere are all a lady needs. A pendant, a pearl necklace, a pair of hoop earrings, a pair of stud pearl earrings, and a simple bracelet or two will do the job quite nicely. As I think about this, I think there is more to it than meets the eye.

If you follow the news, you know there are some rough economic situations going on across the world. If you follow the economic news, you might know there are predictions of a collapse come this autumn. I could be wrong, but I think the simpler styles we are seeing are related to the tightness in the economy. We saw this in the 1930s. The 1920s were a time of luxury and boldness in style, but when the 30s rolled around and the economy got tight, style simplified. With money becoming tighter, people are trying to streamline their lifestyles and simplify what they have.

In tune with this simple style concept, I recently posted a jewelry set in my Etsy shop which I think is perfect simplicity with just a touch of “wow.”  What do you think?

 Here are the links for them:

Wire Wrapped Aventurine Necklace

Wire Wrapped Aventurine Earrings

Simple style might not be for everyone, but I’m thrilled to see ladies leaning more towards it. I think there’s something very ladylike and refined about simple clothing and especially about simple jewelry. It’s simply elegant.

As always, thanks for reading!

Every Girl Deserves Pearls

Is it just me, or is there an allure about simple white pearls that makes every woman desire them in some style of jewelry? I know I do! Pearl stud earrings, a knotted pearl necklace (choker or long length), a simple pearl pendant, I love them. They aren’t even my birthstone!

Before I get carried away, let me formally introduce you to this month’s (June) birthstone, the pearl. Pearls are produced within the soft tissue (mantle) of shelled mollusks (a type of marine invertebrate animal such as oysters). They are formed when an irritant, often organic material or parasites, gets into the mantle and the mollusk produces a substance called nacre to cover the irritant. The nacre builds up and becomes a pearl.

Most pearls in the jewelry I create are cultured freshwater pearls verses naturally created pearls.  These pearls are created by human intervening and placing an irritant inside the mollusk to force it to create a pearl. The majority of pearls come from China and Japan. There are some pearls produced in the United States as well.

Cultured pearls are less valuable than natural pearls and should not be considered natural pearls. However, they are much more common than natural pearls, so they are not completely discounted.

Although it is unknown how far back pearls were collected, it is believed that pearls in jewelry date back to the fifth century B.C. From that time until the development of cultured pearls, pearls were reserved for the wealthy because the only pearls available were natural pearls and they were very rare and expensive.

All jewelry should be treated with respected and gentleness, but pearls should be especially taken care of. While pearls are a solid material, they are very soft. They can chip and crack easily if they are not handled with care. It is not recommended to wear pearl jewelry in layers because the jewelry pieces can rub together which can cause the pearls to become scratched. Pearls should also not be exposed to chemicals such as jewelry cleaners because it can ruin their finish. I have read several places that it is recommended to store your pearl jewelry wrapped in a soft cloth.

Below are two photos of a pair of pearl earrings I made recently. I absolutely love these earrings for their simplicity but also for their modern flair. I think they can literally be worn with any outfit (okay, maybe not if you are going to explore abandoned buildings or in the woods). I think I might have to make a pair of these for myself!

What do you think about pearls? Am I right with my assumption that most women desire pearl jewelry in some style? Is there a style of pearl jewelry you really find beautiful?

Thanks for reading!

What are you worth?

Price of supplies to make craft by hand: $10

Price to participate in show to sell craft: $30

Price of believing in yourself enough to sell yourself and your product: Priceless

 

This past weekend I participated in a craft show in my neighboring town of Lititz, PA. It was an interesting learning experience for me. If you haven’t been following my posts, I am very interested in learning new things and turning bad situations into learning experiences. So here it is…

I have been participating in this craft show since 2009. The first year I nearly sold out of jewelry. My inventory wasn’t as big then as it is now, but there was still a good bit of jewelry going out to new homes. What I found interesting about that show was I had great luck in spite of the fact that the economy had just made a turn for the worst. In 2010, I did pretty well with this show again, but not as well. In 2011, I did not do well at all in this show. This year was better, but not where I thought it could have been. The show was not advertised very well and I think that played into things this year.

I mention this not to complain about how many sales I did or didn’t get, but to note what I learned this weekend from watching my own success and that of the artisans around me. Long story short, I learned that if you are falling into a hole, it’s better to try climbing out of it than to let yourself slide further down. It wasn’t just my booth that was slow; things were slow throughout the show. The further we got into the day, the more I noticed other vendors sitting back in their chairs reading or working on projects and not paying attention to the folks who walked into their booth. It was apparent they gave up on selling because it was slow. I, on the other hand, never sat down (at least I don’t think I did). I talked to as many people as I could.

Now part of the reason the other artisans were sitting might have had to do with the fact that they were all at least 15 to 20 years older than I am. Maybe by that age, I won’t be able to stand all day either. But so many of them did not seem interested in what they were doing; they weren’t interested in being there. If you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, find something else. If you aren’t fully into what you do, you won’t be as successful! With that in mind, if you hit a rough spot, you have to keep your passion up. Don’t just sit back and lose interest because then it will only get slower and become worse for you.

I have read a lot about how depression is on the rise with the faltering economy because people are losing hope. Instead of losing hope, get out there and sell yourself. Find your passion, your drive, and move on it. That’s how this nation got started…people did what they could do or what they did best instead of waiting around for something to come to them. They pushed themselves.

So my lesson this weekend was every person has a talent, it’s whether or not you push yourself and take chances that determines whether or not you go anywhere with that talent.

Thanks for reading!

Channeling Your Inner Child

This is from one of my favorite vintage bloggers Sammy Davis Vintage. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as my brother, my husband, and I are each trying to reach one of our dreams right now.

“Ever ask a group of 6-year-olds “Who can sing?” Most of them will raise their hands with a resounding yes!

Ask that same question to the same children when they’re 12 years old, and watch that ratio drop in half. By the time they’re 16, only a fraction truly believe that “they can sing” — even if at 6, they had answered “yes.”

As we age, we become more jaded and hardened to life’s possibilities. We forget to dream without inhibition. That’s why I think it’s important we channel our inner child as much as possible, because the child within reminds us that anything is possible.”

Better Late Than Never – An Introduction

Better Late Than Never!

Hello! First, I want to say thank you to all of you who regularly read my posts. It means more than I can express. Second, I recently realized I have written all of these posts and never introduced myself. How rude of me!

My name is Gretchen Smith and I am a construction designer by day and a jewelry designer by night. Construction designer meaning I draw the plans for a residential remodeling company. I suppose the jewelry designer part is self-explanatory. I have been interested in designing and creating jewelry since I was young and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to move forward with my passion.

In 2008, I decided to move my jewelry designing from a hobby to a business. I enjoyed creating beautiful pieces for friends and family so much that I wanted to share it with others around me, too. I really thought I would always keep Gretchen Smith Jewelry as a small side-line business, but as time goes on and the business grows, I am feeling my calling to do more with jewelry. I am currently working on a certification through the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) which will help me dive further into the world of jewelry and gemstones.

At this time, my jewelry primarily revolves around sterling silver and gemstone beads. My goal for 2012 is to begin creating more wire and metal pieces. This will give me the opportunity to create true one-of-a-kind pieces and develop my own style. My hope is to continue creating jewelry that is affordable for every woman because I believe all women should have at least one piece of stand-out jewelry.

If you have not checked out my other sites, please feel free to do so

Gretchen Smith Jewelry

Gretchen Smith Etsy Site

If you have any questions about any pieces, please ask me. I love working with clients on the creation of one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and also jewelry sets for bridal parties.

Okay, now I feel better. I really did feel guilty when I realized I never introduced myself.  Thank you for reading!

Photo courtesy of Len Bodnar

P.S. If you are in the Lancaster area this Saturday, June 9th, I will be participating in the Lititz AMBUCS Art and Craft Show in Lititz Springs Park. The show runs from 9:00AM until 4:00PM. Come on out and visit me!