Weekend Madness Begins

Happy Friday!

Weekend Madness begins now.

10% off $25 with the “secret” coupon code: MAD10

Expires on Sunday at midnight.



Ruby Heart Earrings

Ruby Heart Earrings


Selling Off-Line: Consignment

Last year, fate sent me a consignment opportunity. I wasn’t looking for it. In fact, I hadn’t considered consignment at all. However, it has turned out to be a very good thing. (Thank you, Fate.) Here’s how it happened.

My friend, Leann, and I attended a workshop at a new wellness center in Medford.  After the  session, we wandered into the gift shop. While chatting with a few of the workshop attendees, Leann mentioned that I make gemstone jewelry. (Thank you, Leann.)

Two of the women seemed to be very interested and asked a few questions. It turned out that, unbeknownst to us, we were talking to Susan and Maryann, the owners of the center. I don’t remember their exact words, but it went something like this.

“You  make gemstone jewelry? And you’re local? Why don’t we know about you?”

Susan and Maryann asked me to bring in some of my jewelry for them to see. They told me that they like to feature local artists in their gift shop.

It took some time for me to get it together enough to return to NJ Balance Wellness Center with my jewelry. I guess I was nervous about it. Or maybe it was because it takes me forever to do anything. (Hello, I’m Rita and I’m a procrastinator.)

I finally met with them and I explained my process and focus. They looked, listened, and tried on a few pieces. Then Susan and Maryann said wanted to sell my jewelry in their gift shop.

I was excited but I remained calm. I didn’t scream, dance, say, “Yay!” or anything like that. Well, maybe in my head I was doing all of those things. After limited sales on Etsy, it was nice that someone liked my stuff.

Again, it took me awhile to get the items tagged, listed, and into the wellness center’s gift shop because I am the ultimate procrastinator (trying to fix that this year, but that’s another post). I found out that they had only opened their gift shop about a month prior to the workshop that I had attended. So here I was… getting in on the “ground floor” so to speak. Nice.

In June I spent a couple of hours on weekend in the center’s gift shop for a “meet the artist” event. Only about ten people walked into the gift shop that weekend, but I sold three pieces. It was wonderful!

Since that time the gift shop has grown…more shoppers, more items, and increased sales. Regarding Jularee, I am in the process of changing my logo and attaching new hangtags to the bracelets and necklaces. The tags will list a few of the metaphysical properties of the gemstones.

Several pair of my angel earrings sold before the holidays along with other pieces. “Yay!”

Angel Earrings

Angel Earrings

I researched consignment and read the horror stories. Thank goodness it has not been my experience. Consignment with the wellness center has been both positive and profitable  for me. I think it has been good for them, too.

Tomorrow, unless the pending snowstorm prevents it,  I intend to take new pieces to the center.

I hope Susan and Maryann like them.

Rose Quartz earrings

Rose Quartz Earwire Drops

Is She a Customer or a Character?

Building a business is hard work, even a small business like Jularee Handcrafted Jewelry.

Small home businesses like mine are often not as successful as we, the business owners, would like them to be. Many of us begin with high hopes and a product that we and our friends all love. Friends and family give encouragement, “You should sell your stuff. It’s gorgeous!”

But once you’re out there trying to sell your stuff, you need more than friends and family.

You need strangers.

Lots of them.

Living, breathing people who like your products enough to fork over hard cash to acquire one of your items. They are frequently referred to as “customers” or “clients”.

My goal is to take Jularee to a level where she can pay for herself and have a little money left over for me. I’m reading and researching and asking other small business owners for tips and suggestions. I bought several books and borrowed from the library. I’ve signed up for so many newsletters, videos, and blogs on how to run a handcrafted jewelry business that if  I read them all I would never have time to actually make jewelry.

There is one piece of advice that appears in almost every article and book that I’ve read. They all tell you to find out who your customer is. The trouble is, I don’t know who my customer is and until I find out, my business is apparently doomed to fail.

So, how will I find out who my “ideal customer” is? What exactly should I do?

If I describe her demographics, then what?

I recently read a suggestion that I could relate to… I was told to write a story for her. “Aha.”

That was my “Aha” moment. I’m also a writer. For real. I write stories. I can write a story for my ideal customer. Maybe I can even turn it into my first novel.

And when it’s finished, I can begin designing jewelry especially for my main character… I mean… my ideal customer. Hopefully there are lots of women out there who are just like her who will love my stuff. Otherwise, I could be out of business.

For guidance read, read, and read.



The Significance of Colors: Awareness and Support

The clothing and jewelry colors we chose to wear can be significant for many reasons.

They can scream, “Look at me!” They can say, “I’m in charge.” They can mutter, “Leave me alone.” 

They can tell others that you are fashion conscious, bold, casual, or low-key.

Or they can show awareness of a cause or support for those who are suffering from a type of malady, such as cancer.

“Awareness Colors” are usually worn during a month designated as an “Awareness Month” or may be worn at other times of the year depending on your emotional proximity to the cause.

We all know that pink is the awareness color for breast cancer, but when my youngest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and I decided to design  Awareness Bracelets to support her, I found out that pink was also viewed as an awareness color for birth parents and clef palate. Purple is known as the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness color, but it is also the color for Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia as well as a list of over 20 different causes.

In case you are curious, here’s a list of some of the awareness colors and the cancers that they represent.

PinkBreast Cancer Awareness

Purple Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

White – Lung Cancer Awareness

Blue Colon Cancer Awareness

Light BlueProstate Cancer Awareness

OrangeLeukemia Awareness

GrayBrain Cancer Awareness

Emerald GreenLiver Cancer Awareness

Kelly GreenKidney Cancer Awareness

Teal Ovarian Cancer Awareness

And, unfortunately, there are many more. To learn about the other causes represented by colors, search for “Awareness color ribbons” or click on the links below.

Choose Hope: Cancer Awareness Months

Colors of Cancer Awareness

List of Awareness Ribbons on Wikipedia

Reading… I’m always a little behind.

I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins a few years ago and loved it. I like to read young adult books (someday I hope to write a young adult novel), so it fit in with the others on my reading wish list. I wanted to read the trilogy, but only The Hunger Games was in paperback, so being a bit frugal, I waited.

In the fall of 2012, I  finally broke down and bought the hardback versions of Catching Fire and Mockingjay. But they sat on the bookshelf while I spent my time… well… not reading them. Last year I read blogs, Facebook posts, print magazines, and articles online. I read about the chakras, gemstones and other jewelry-related research topics. I read some fiction on my then new iPad mini, such as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, which was… well… peculiar. But I didn’t finish The Hunger Games trilogy.

Finally, I’m catching up with Catching Fire. If I can carve out the time in my schedule, I’ll finish it today. Collins has done a great job with this series. I like the characters and the story moves at just the right pace. I cannot tolerate boring books and this is definitely not boring to me.

In a way, this trilogy reminds me of a few other books I read in years past, such as:

The City of Ember and The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau. I enjoyed them both several years ago. I don’t know where I’ve been hiding, but I just recently found out that there are two more books in the series. The first book was made into a movie in 2008.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.  This book was made into a movie in 2013. Who knew? Not me.

My bookshelf is full of books I haven’t read, yet. I plan to read them all in 2014… and then some.

What’s on your bookshelf?