Decisions, Decisions

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” ~Theodore Roosevelt 
Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

I agree with Theodore Roosevelt that “nothing” is the worst thing you can do when a decision is needed. So, I’m finally working on making decisions. They might not be the absolute correct decisions, but they are decisions, and I’ll learn from my mistakes.

My Websites

For several years I did nothing with my websites. Yes, websites… plural. I have two websites and three domains. Jularee.com is the website for my jewelry business. I last updated the site in January – and that was a poor excuse for an update. RitaMitchell.com and RitaRiebelMitchell.com both link to my more personal, writing website that I have not updated since July 2012 following my retirement from teaching. How sad is that? This week I finally started to make a few decisions about my websites.

Decision #1:

I transferred my Jularee.com domain to GatorHost and I purchased a hosting plan. I was nervous about it, so I only committed to six months. But so far so good. Support has been pleasant and quick. Everything is working after a few minor bumps.

Decision #2: Dreamweaver vs. WordPress

Jularee.com needed a major overhaul. The question was: Dreamweaver or WordPress? Since the last time I worked with Dreamweaver it was in version 1 (one), and my current version is CS6, I thought the learning curve might be a bit time consuming. So, I decided to use WordPress to recreate the site.

jularee.com

Jularee.com is under construction

Decision #3: WordPress Theme and Pages

I chose a tentative theme for the “under construction” type of messages (see above). The pages are Jularee, Shop, Blog, About, and Contact. I included links to my Etsy shops and a contact email address.

Decision #4: Learn How to Use WordPress and Choose a Possibly Permanent Theme

My goal: By the end of today I will have watched/ listened to at least three instructional videos about creating a website using WordPress. My next decisions will be to choose a “possibly permanent” WordPress theme and a color scheme. I’m hoping the videos will lead me in the right direction.

Decision #5: What to do with RitaMitchell.com

Regarding my more personal, writing website: I left the domains registered with GoDaddy for a year. I’ll update the current pages a bit, and prepare to move it to my HostGator hosting plan within the next few months.

RitaMitchell.com

The July 2012 “update” to RitaMitchell.com website.

RitaMitchell.com and RitaRiebelMitchell.com will be linked to Jularee.com but will have a different, more personal twist… a biography, a photo gallery, and Sunday Dinner (currently part of this blog). I will add a list of my publishing credits, information about writers’ organizations, conferences, and references, as well as names of the books I’m reading. Bits and pieces of my writing, personal life, and travel will be thrown once in awhile. Past that, I don’t know, yet.

I’m Looking for Training Videos

If you know of any training videos about creating a WordPress website or with tips for designing websites, will you please share them?

On to more decision making! ~Rita

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What’s in a Gift Shop?

Last week I finally took some of my newest items to the gift shop in NJ Balance Wellness Center. They have a gorgeous display of jewelry, including mine!

Jewelry display

Jularee display at NJ Balance Wellness Center

gemstone bracelets

Jularee’s gemstone bracelets on display

jewelry display

Some of the gorgeous jewelry in the gift shop

Jularee Handcrafted Jewelry can be found at:
NJ Balance Wellness Center
Main Street, Medford, NJ

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.

https://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/how-to-find-your-target-market/

https://www.openforum.com/articles/8-creative-ways-to-profile-ideal-customers/

What’s New, Jularee?

Unfortunately, all of Jularee’s newest items are still sitting on my table waiting to be photographed. I’ll get to that tomorrow.

For now, I’d like to tell you a little about some of my style choices and highlight a few items that are in my shop.

I love simple, easy styles that go with almost anything. But I also love complicated, detailed designs that cry out for that special occasion or outfit.  Below are examples of each.

Minimalist Earrings: Red Jasper Teardrops 

Red Jasper Earrings

Red Jasper Earrings

Red Jasper Earrings with Crystals

Red Jasper with Crystal

Earthy Dangle Necklace with Flash:

Red Jasper Teardrops with Swarovski Crystals

Red Jasper Necklace

Red Jasper Necklace

About the Gemstone

Red Jasper is associated with the Root Chakra.

This semi-precious gemstone is considered a protective, nurturing, and powerful healing stone. It is said to relieve emotional stress and to absorb negative vibrations around the wearer. Ancient Egyptians believed that red jasper increased sexual energy.

Native Americans see jasper as a magical rain stone and a healing stone.

See more red jasper items at Jularee Hancrafted Jewelry.