Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Minding the Business: Customer Service

When you're self employed, you're responsible for all aspects of running the business.  I run two small businesses, one is the creative beadmaking business that you're reading about here and the other is a freelance sign language interpreting business.    On the surface, they're two very different businesses but I've found there's a caveat they both share. Any business is only as good as its customer service.  What I mean by customer service, is as a business owner, I need to make sure my customers are taken care of. You might think they're only the people who buy my beads. They're not. They're my colleagues, my suppliers, and in my sign language interpreting business, they're the team interpreters I work with.

I haven't always understood that. If you're like me, you have a problem with no. I know I did. I did what everyone wanted me to do despite the overload it created on me. I thought that was customer service. I had to do what everyone else wanted me to do when they wanted it. I had to serve every whim at the most inconvenient time.

That's not customer service, that's exhausting yourself and then total collapse.

Set reasonable expectations and then stick with them. For example, my beads are handcrafted. I don't keep them in stock. I make them as they are ordered.

In my descriptions, I explain it may take up to two weeks for delivery. I've set my limits. Once I set my limits I'm able to respond to customers within the expectations I've set.

Have you set limits in your business?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Tangle: Inspired by Flickr

If you're a Flickr member, you know there is lots of inspiration to be had there. One of my favorite groups is Wire Sculpture.

Here are some of the inspirational goodies that can be found in the group:

woman sculpture
Woman Sculpture by Duffy Designs

Have you joined Flickr and found inspiration?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jewelry Design in Nature by Heather Powers and Giveaway

My bookshelf is full of craft books. I love all of them but am especially fond of the books by those I know. This week, I'm happy to brag about Heather Power's new book, "Jewelry Designs from Nature: Woodlands, Gardens, Sea."

I won't pretend to be objective about Heather's book. I have the pleasure of being one of the founding editors of Art Bead Scene, a jewelry blog headed by Heather Powers. Her book reflects the network of bead artists who often have work featured on ABS. The front cover is a pleathora is diverse art beads from many different art beadmakers (myself included).

If your a big fan of Heather's style, this is the book for you. Heather's designs are inspired, ebullient jewelry. We are indeed lucky to see inside her design process and re-create some of her luscious art jewelry for ourselves.

In honor of Heather's accomplishment and our good fortune at being able to see inside her design procress, I'm hosting a giveaway of the ivory double dips featured on the cover of her book.

Leave a comment and you'll be eligible to receive two (2) of the ivory double dips to use in your next Heather Power's design! You can enter more than once if you post this to your blog, Facebook and/or Tweet it.  Just come back here and leave the link to you additional post and I'll enter your name more than once.  I'll post a winner here next Monday, October 3. You can enter until midnight EST, Sunday October 2nd.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Heart Macro: The Macro is in the Links!

 Good Sunday Morning!  Every week, I post links by the Bead Bloggers. One thing is always certain, in those links, there are good macro shots of lovely jewelry. So take a look at the beady links and enjoy the macros for today!

A Bead A Day
Have you ever made a zipper pull to match a pair of earrings? Check out this first attempt! Jewelrymaking
Jazz up your eyes with this beaded eye glass chain tutorial.

Art Bead Scene
Shannon shares some tricks of the trade regarding jewelry metal punches.

Beading Arts
What do you do with copper tube beads? Make a fabulous necklace, of course!

Cyndi's Copper Tube Bead Necklace

Cindy Gimbrone Beads
This week's Tuesday Tangle is about experimentation and trying new designs.

My Wing in Wire Experiment

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie gets ready to join up in the Etsy Boot Camp and is looking for more recruits!

Resin Crafts
Resin crafts has a few tips about resin and polymer clay.

Carmi's macro of her resin Winged Pendant

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews (and holds a giveaway!) of Jamie Cloud Eakin's fabulous new bead embroidery technique book, coming out in early October! And posts a Blythe doll photo, of course.

The Bead Dreamer
Love miniatures? Charlene takes miniature book components, paper, ribbon and a few beads and makes a mini book necklace. You can too!

Charlene's Mini-Book Necklace

Please take a peek at the other "i heart macro" postings. I'm sure you'll enjoy what others have noticed during this past week....

studio waterstone

....and don't forget to keep creating!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Morning Coffee Talk and Beady Links

Good Monday morning! Too much of a good thing gives me a migraine! I've had a wonderful time with the Bead Soup Blog Party but spent too much time on the computer trying to get to everyone's blog. Overuse with sign language interpreting and computer makes for a nasty migraine. So while I recover, take a few moments this morning to see what the bead bloggers are up to....

A Bead A Day
If you were wondering about the best method for adhering flatback swarovski crystals to a rubbery textured object, Lisa's discovered the answer! Superglue! Check out her newly crystallized slap-watch. Jewelrymaking
Tammy discusses and provides a tutorial about the dirty side of metal jewelry.

Beading Arts
Cyndi explains how to add a wonderful blue-green patina to copper beads.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles

Resin Crafts

Sneak peek into what Carmi has been up to with resin

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
I love B'Sue Boutiques and Brenda Sue is having a blog hop in October! Come read about it!

The Bead Dreamer
Charlene reviews a book that blends beading and jazz - Bead Riffs

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Macro Sunday

The last rose of the season

Please take a peek at the other "i heart macro" postings. I'm sure you'll enjoy what others have noticed during this past week....

studio waterstone

....and don't forget to keep creating!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Hop: The Way is in the Heart

Bead Soup is on!  There are lots of lovelies to look at with this soup so I'm getting right to the point. Here's a refresher of what my Bead SouPR (that's my own personal acronym for Bead Soup Partner), Cat sent me. Remember this lovely etched copper heart and girly colors?

I live in a house full of males so I don't often get a good dose of girly like this! Squee!  But what to do with this lovely set of ingredients? I was determined to keep it and make something for myself so it had to reflect my personal style. What to do what to do?

My personal style in jewelry is modern, simple, clean design where each element is full of symbolism. Being a beadmaker, I know the amount of work and personality that goes into creating these small works of art. I like to showcase each one in a minimalist design.

I followed Cat's lead in colors and took out my collection of alcohol inks and alphabet stamps.

I wanted to impress a phrase on the back of the heart. I thought I might damage the etched design on the front if I hammered the phrase with steel stamps. Instead I used Staz On ink in purple to stamp out the phrase shown on the back.

The way is in the heart - Buddha

I didn't want the alignment perfect to reflect the ups and downs of following your life's path. I used violet ink to create a pink wash on the etched pattern on the front.

I sealed the wash and the phrase on the back so it won't discolor my clothes or wear off.  I used the copper chain that Cat sent and paired it with Vintaj curb chain.

I added two amethyst beads sent to me by Cat. Amethyst represents wisdom and clarity and is the birthstone for my son's February birthday. One stone for wisdom and clarity to follow my own path and the other for my son.

Lastly, I added a spiral clasp. The spiral to represent how sometimes following your own path is circular and not straightforward.

I have a beautiful necklace thanks to the Bead Soup Blog Party. Thank you to my BeadSouPR, Cat for the lovely bead soup and Lori for hosting it! Now, on to the other Bead SouPRs to see what they've cooked up! Enjoy!

The Hostess, Lori Anderson and her partner, Manuela Wutschke

151. Natasha Lutes and Pam Ferrari
152. Noemi Baena and Penny Ilagan
153. Pamela Petry and Rebecca Sirevaag
154. Pat Haight and MaryShannon Hicks
155. Patty Gasparino and Vonna Maslanka
156. Penny Neville and Sandi Volpe
157. Pepita Bos and Wendy Chamberlain
158. Raida Disbrow and Rebecca Watkins
159. Rebecca Anderson and Sabrina Staub
160. Regina Santerre and Rose Binoya

161. Rhea Freitag and Tari Kahrs
162. Rochelle Brisson and Teri Baskett
163. Sally Russick and Tracy Bell
164. Sandra McGriff and Shay Williams
165. Sandra Wolberg and Sara Hardin
166. Sarah Elder and Salla Small
167. Saskia Kaffenberger and Sharon Gardner
 168. Sharon Palac and Shannon Chomanczuk
169. Shay Stone and Suzette Bentley
170. Shiraz Biggie and Tammy Powley

171. Staci Smith and Tracy Stillman
172. Stacie Stamper and Tracy Martin
173. Stefanie Teufel and Vicky Taylor
174. Stephanie Dixon and Stephanie LaRosa
175. Stephanie Haussler and Valerie Norton
176. Suzanne Tate and Terri Wlaschin
177. Sweet Freedom Designs and Tammy Jones
178. Tania Spivey and Tari Sasser
179. Tara Plote and Terry Matuszyk
180. Terri Gauthier and Deana Hager
181. Theresa Fosdick and Tracey Nanstad

19. Anna Sabina­­­­ and Erin Siegel