Interview with a BeadBug

Waterfall in Pink

Waterfall in Pink

Please, dear readers, settle in with a cup of tea: you are about to meet a BeadBug. Her name is Virginia Steinmetz, and her friends call her Jenny.

 

In her past, Jenny travelled the world first with her USNavy parents and then as a USNavy wife. Now, Jenny lives on 8 acres of land in Vancouver, WA: she lives with a herd of horses, a pride of cats, a pack of dogs. And a Little Red Hen. And a husband. Her 4 grown daughters have made her a Grandmama 5 times over. Needless to say, she is a very busy person.

 

H:      Tell us about your business. What do you do?

J:       Well, I’ve been in business for almost 18 months: I have a shop on Etsy and a website. As if that isn’t enough, I also give beading lessons and private parties. I have taken the Etsy Pledge to sell only custom handmade artisan items.

H:      Who inspires you in life?

J:       I would say my mother was my inspiration in life, as she too was a Navy Wife! The don’t call it the toughest job in the Nave for giggles. Because a family was restricted by a weight limit every time it moves, and we did move ~ every 18 months ~ it was hard to collect anything. But she collected Swarovski Christmas pins for about 30 years: she was heartbroken when they were stolen.:      And in art who and what inspires you?

J:       Now that’s a tough one. I have followed one craft or another for a very long time. There was a part of my life, 15 years of it, when I was a florist. I take a lot of my inspiration from fellow beaders. I have taken some classes with nationally recognized artists, but I would have to say my inspiration comes from deep within myself. You could call it a willingness to learn, the love of working with color, the desire to share my knowledge, and the enjoyment ofmeeting new people and stretching myself. Also, beading is something I can do because it doesn’t require a lot of energy or physical strength.

 

H:      How long have you been beading, Jenny?

J:       It seems like in some ways I have just started beading yesterday, but I’ve been beading in one form or another for a long time but it’s been in the past 5 years really that I have taken my ‘hobby’ into another dimension: that of selling my work. I can usually be found at the major shops in my area and have been up and down the US West Coast, buying beads at the major shows? My goal is to work with hot glass, mandrils and a torch: make my own beads.

 

H:      What drew you to beading instead of any other art form?

J:       Hum… Well I think it has to do with the fact that it’s a tactile art form. I didn’t like oil painting because of the smell of the paints. I tried sewing, but didn’t really enjoy it. I can cook and bake up a storm and did wedding cakes in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as arranging the flowers. But beading! I can do it in front of the TV if I want and I get to wear what I make!

 

H:      Have you a mentor or someone you’d like to blame for getting you hooked?

J:       Oh, my, yes I do! Her name is Luarae (pronounced Laurie) and she works for the Craft Warehouse in Vancouver, WA. She is a wonderful person and has mentored me every step of the way. Luarae was almost wiped out in a flood near the coast a few years ago. But she kept at it; she drives 60 miles just to get to work. I hope Craft Warehouse knows how special she is!

 

H:      What has been the hardest thing for you to overcome? How did I overcome it?

J:       Hmmmmmmm! Well, I think the hardest thing was being toldby my doctor that I had Congestive Heart Failure and told me to get rid of my horses. There was NO way that was going to happen. I was close to dying when I was hospitalized and when I was released, I was so weak I could barely walk. In less than a year I was almost good as new. I showed a yearling colt at the Oregon State Fair and won the Grand Champion Halter Class AND the Regional Classes for both Pinto horses and National Show horses. When my doctor retired several years later, I gave him four Grand Champion Ribbons, one for each of the years I showed?

[ed. note: Jenny has 4 horses]

 

H:      Have you a favourite colour? Shape? Line?

J:       Yes to all of it. My color is Green ~ in all its shades and tints. I love round and triangle ~ round beads and bicones: they are so easy to work with. They are wonderfully versatile. You can make just about anything with those shapes.

         My favorite line must be Swarovski; both their crystals, which I think are the best in the world, and their pearls. I use them in almost all of my work, excepting my contemporary SouthWestern work and my primitive works. I also love Toho and work mostly with Japanese seed beads. The new dichroic seed beads, I think, have much more sparkle than the Charlottes.

 

H:      Tell me, Jenny, what you think is your most important work.

J:       I think to date the most important work is the set featured on the home page of my website: it’s my first seed beaded piece. I invested more than 89 hours to make all 3 pieces and features 3 different freshwater pearls, moonstone, sunstone, angelskin coral, Swarovski crystals, and a tone of seed beads. I’ve written instructions for that piece and that you can find at eHow.

H:      Describe, Jenny, something you’ve experimented with that you wouldn’t do again.

J:       That would be polymer clay!  I just did not enjoy that experiment.

 

H:      What advice would you give a novice beader?

J:       Don’t get discouraged. I have a Masters Degree in the Frog Stitch (Rip It Rip It). I have worked on projects that I have completed and didn’t like so I took those apart and reworked them several times?

         Don’t be afraid to push yourself? I took a class in seed beading using peyote and brick stitch, that took me 3 hours just to keep repeating my first 3 rows of peyote. I had never worked the sititches before. The instructor wasn’t happy with me, but, by stretching myself and challenging myself, not only did I finish my piece but I learned more than I had expected.

 

H:      That’s the nice thing about doing the Frog Stitch in beads. You lose the beading thread or wire but the beads themselves suffer no damage. Being able to reuse them over and over makes beading a great choice for a craft artisan.

J:       I couldn’t agree more. Just hang in there: keep going until you get it right and then start enjoying what you’re doing.

 

Thanks, Jenny, for participating: this interview has been fun. Okay! Fun once you got the questions. You continue to inspire me: both your lively personality and your gorgeous glass bead artisan jewellery.

 

Find Jenny at http://www.eHow.com/Beadbug where she writes what she knows about: wonderful recipes in her kitchen and beautiful artisan jewellery in her workroom. Her work is for sale at: http://JustOffTheBeadNPath.com and http://JustOffTheBeadNPath.Etsy.com. And if you have questions or would just like to sit and chat, she has added her email: vrgnstnm@q.com

 

 

 

Waterfall Kissed with Pink

Waterfall Kissed with Pink

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Notes to Self – Press Kits

PART 1

We are a group of people trying to sell handmade custom items: I make glass bead artisan jewellery. And we have little money to splash around. Our office location is often in the back bedroom, on the kitchen table, or in our basements. We all need ideas that cost little or no money  and we can do ourselves.

One of those indispensable things is a press kit. There are 2 types:  1 ~ a version that will fit into your handbag or pocket., and 2 ~ a full blown carry-in-your-briefcase version. The whole idea is to be ready at all times to advertise your work and your internet site. It makes sense but sometimes you just have to see it written down for it to really sink in.

Type 1:

Business cards ~ yours and others’ (see next) and perhaps a brochure or postcard about your business.

See? It doesn’t have to fill up a great lot of space.

Type 2:

Business cards ~ yours,  business cards of other businesses you have found helpful, a brochure or a newsletter where your business is advertised, pictures of your work in your portfolio.

For both types, you must shamelessly advertise your business as well as others. Don’t offer your business card, let somebody ask for it: and a great way to make somebody ask for your card is by asking  for theirs first.

With both types of press kit you need a ‘patter;’ a description of your business that you can give in an elevator. It should be only a sentence or two and it must be well practised. Keep saying it out loud until you’ve got it down pat. Saying it out loud lets you hear how it sounds. Sure, you think you don’t need to because, after all, it is running in your mind. Trust me on this, you need to say it out loud. Practise it in front of the mirror or while you are drying yourself after your bath or shower. Practise it ~ OUT LOUD ~ while you are stirring the chili.  But practise it out loud you must.

PART 2

If you are off to visit  a potential customer, you have to do a bit more. Nobody is going to buy anything from you if they can’t see what your product is. If your product is artisan jewellery  it’s easy: wear your own designs. Never go out without wearing something of yours. You are a walking, talking billboard for your business. It’s a bit harder if your product is baby booties. Put your custom handmade baby booties on your baby.

And carry photos. It’s properly called a portfolio. It’s the grown up version of Gramma’s Brag Book.  Get practising your photography and editing the images. If you think you are just not good enough at it and you have some money, take your pieces to a professional photographer. That decision will cost you time as well as money. And, after all, we are our own worst critic. If you need validation, show your pictures to a mate for her opinion.

Everything in your Brag Book /Portfolio should be of the same size; whether it’s an 8X10 or a 5X7, keep the photos the same size. Have some closeups in there: just keep the physical size of the photograph the same. It looks more orderly, not more arty.

Part of your portfolio is an expanded version of your 1 sentence patter: a mission statement. Why are you doing what you are doing? What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from? Don’t make it too much longer than half a page: anything longer is just noise and it tells people that you really don’t know which end is up. Have it typed on the same size paper as your photos.

Another item in your Portfolio is your contact information and your business cards. Always be ready to give more than just one business card per contact. I like getting more than 1 card because I keep them in different places. And remember, you want to carry one in your card case for the time when it could be given to somebody in need of that service.

And put your portfolio in an attractive binding: make it 3-ring so you can pop in and out with new shots. You won’t be leaving your portfolio behind. But, if you’ve thought ahead and placed more than 1 copy of each picture, you can slide it out of it’s plastic sleeve and offer it to your potential client. Details about the photo can be printed on its back .

PART 3

John Donne, an 18th century philosopher, coined the phrase, ‘No manne is an yslande.’ It was true then and it’s true today. These press kits are a small part of social marketing. Social Marketing. You’ll burn out trying to do it all yourself. Let others help you. And make it a 2~way street. What you give freely and in good cheer will be returned to you in like kind.

And that’s where the business cards of other entrepreneurs becomes important. If I need a handyman and you have just the perfect one I would be awfully glad to get that card from you. And now there is a bond between us. And I have your card to be passed on to somebody who has a new baby in her life and  needs your beautiful children’s clothing. You helped me with the handyman and I’m more than pleased to offer your card to the person needing your products.

More than just handing that person your card, I will be saying how generous you  are and that you would be pleased to help her out with new baby clothing.

Word of mouth is the single best way of gaining customers. It holds more weight than a TV ad or a spot in the newspaper. But good word of mouth ads are hard to get and easy to lose.

A person will tell 1 other about their good experiences with your company. That same person will tell 7 others of their bad experience with your business. 

If your customer has a bad experience with you and you are able to make them happyt again they will pass on to their friends the bad and follow it immediately with something like this; ‘ what they did was no good but they redeemed themselves by doing ___.’

Passing on another business’ card and telling people of their services costs you nothing. And it gains you the respect of the recipient. And don’t get grumpy and refuse to pass on your competitor’s card: you can say something like, ‘if you can’t find something in my shop, maybe you’ll have better luck with ABC Widgets.’ You end up looking honest and truly wanting to help. And that person may decide to buy from you based on that alone.

The whole idea behind Social Marketing is to develop a rapport with customers and other entrepreneurs. Making a customer faithful to you in the long run will pay off. These loyal customers will let people know of you through word of mouth advertising. It is the long game you are playing: don’t jeopardize your business using get-rich-quick tactics.

FLASH – My Christmas Gift

I got my Christmas present early this year. And it’s just what I wanted.

In September this year I joined a directory of shops where only handmade items could be listed. My shop is Glass0Beads~- the 0 is a number, not a letter o. I added some of my glass bead artisan jewellery on the site. But it went nowhere. It just sat. I had no idea what to do.

Well, I joined a ‘team’ at Etsy but I was very unhappy there: it seemed to have too many backbiters and I didn’t want to be associated with that kind of team.

Then I found THE TEAM to beat all teams. It is a team, or guild, that supports one another while utilizing social marketing practices. You know the kind of thing: I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.

Well, still nothing was happening. I had no clue about how to get somebody to buy something – ANYTHING!!

I received some tips on photography from a lovely lady, Anna Lee, at Gahoole Tree.  She was supportive, not what I would consider bossy ~ and I know bossy ~ and patient with my efforts.

Here comes the Christmas present part. Are you ready?

I was invited to work on the management team for this wonderful guild. It has a team shop where monies from your purchases are donated. And the people there advertise not just themselves but other members, too.

I suddenly found myself on Twitter talking about other sites I’ve found that would be of interest to folks. I suddenly found myself with followers. I suddenly found myself actively seeking the work of other team members to twitter about.

And suddenly I found myself  having fun. And it’s been a long time since I’ve had fun. I feel ten feet tall. I was given the task of editing everything the eSMArts Guild team will publish.  That brought me crashing to the earth ~~ in a good way.

My first task is to develop a mailing list of all our team members. And then to invite some of the guild members to write an article.

I sure hope this post will publish: I’ve got a lot of links to other shops in Etsy that really are worth looking at.

And I even have an idea for an opening article myself. As we don’t have a name for our new eSMArts newsletter, we will be running a contest and the winner will receive a gift worth $20.00 (cannot be converted to cash).

We have some really good times ahead of us on the team. There are guidelines to follow that will help anybody, eSMArtie or not, move up the ranks and start making sales. Of course, as with anything, you get out of it what you put into it: no work, no glory.

You and your Etsy shop can become a member of eSMArts by sending an email to the Guild team coordinator ~~> she’s the Big Cheese but her friends call her Anna Lee.

You won’t get anywhere if you don’t take that first step. And you certainly reap what you sow ~ toot the horn for somebody else’s site and pretty soon people will be tooting your horn for you. And if enough people do it, pretty soon your business is going to increase.

Well, that’s what I think.    ~Helene    ~Glass0Beads

I am red faced. I accidently linked to a site that is not a part of the eSMArts Guild team. I’ve made the correction, and thanks for bringing it to my attention, so if you click on one of the links you should be reaching eSMArts members.  I’ve even put me in there a couple of times. Shameless!    ~~H

Lampwork and Beads

Depressed? or happy?

Last week my ties with Stores OnLine, my Lampwork and Beads glass bead artisan jewellery website host, were severed.

What I know now is significantly more than what I knew when I first signed on with Stores OnLine. I had found Stores OnLine lacking more and more as time went on. It’s only my opinion and other webmaestros will argue the point with me. And that is as it should be.

For me, it was time to move on.

Now, my lineup is: http://glass0beads.etsy.com (#0), http://glass0beads.blogspot.com (#o), and this blog, https://baublebabble.wordpress.com.  I visit several forums and I still write articles at eHow and Articles Base, too.

The artisan jewellery that was listed at Lampwork and Beads is gradually being moved to my Glass0Beads (#0, not letter) e-shoppe.
It is at Etsy that I am a member of the eSMArts Guild team. The membershipof this  Guild is  Social Marketing Artisans.

And it is this Guild that opened the doors on our Etsy shoppe a short while ago. The eSMArts shoppe  donates money from sales to people and organizations needing a helping hand.

When I review my activities I realize I have quite enough on my plate for now.  I think I’ll just rest on my laurels until after Christmas : kind of a Christmas gift to me from myself.

Now go and check out the eSMArts shoppe:  everything there is made by hand with close attention to the quality of the articles. There is much more there than glass bead artisan jewellery and everything is unique and handmade.

Merry Merry and Cheery Cheery ~~Hélène  at Glass 0 Beads

Interview Questions

  • Please tell my readers a bit about yourself and where we can find you on the internet.
  • What is your mission statement? What best describes your work?
  • What is your chosen craft and how long have you been working in that media?
  • Why did you choose this over other crafts?
  • What, or who, inspires you the most? In life? In art?
  • What are your favourite design resources?
  • Have you a special mentor? Who do you thank, and blame, for getting you started?
  • What has been the hardest thing for you to do? How did you overcome that hurdle?
  • Do you have a faviourite colour? Shape? Line? How is your work affected by your favourites?
  • Describe your most important work.
  • Have you a favourite quotation? What is it?
  • What words of wisdom could you offer people who are new to your craft?

Answer my interview questions and when your interview is published get a permanent link from this site to yours.

With my thanks  ~~Hélène

Notes to Self – The Great FLOOD

We were sitting after dinner when my sister and I heard rushing water. We knew it wasn’t the dishwasher; it has a completely different sound. And it couldn’t be our washing machine: it’s too far away to hear it and we weren’t doing a laundry. And it couldn’t be a water feature:  we don’t have one.

So, we needed to find the origin of that ‘running water’ sound.

We discovered we do have a water feature.

In our bathroom.

Living in a condo is great: no shampooing carpets in the hall.  Climbing stairs is not an issue; we have elevators. We don’t worry about landscaping and shovelling snow: there are people who do that for us. And when something goes wrong we call the building suprs.

What is bad is the washing machine in the suite above us flooded into our bathroom. And that was the cause of our Great FLOOD.

That was 2 weeks ago and our ceiling is still wet. We’ve had fans running for 2 weeks to dry it out. It seems that every time we go into the bathroom there is more damage. The ceiling above our shower stall is sagging. And today we found a crack in the paint on one of the walls.

The good thing about all this is that I have met our upstairs neighbour – over the phone. And we have a really marvellous property manager and our building supr works hard to help all of us in the building. Never a grumpy word to us when they get called out in the evening.

So, while my sister is tired of the mess and wants everything fixed before Christmas, I am content that they have placed us high on the priority list. We will have the fans running for the rest of the week (it’s only Monday today) and our ceiling will be assessed again on Friday.

AND the plasterer-er-ers will be scheduled for next Monday to replaster our bathroom ceiling.

I hope we can get our wall repaired where the crack is, too.

But, for now we are happy promoting our good neighbour policy. It fosters good relations in the property manager’s office. And that can only be helpful in future crises.

At least, that’s what I think.

Great News – About Playing for Change

I promised myself I would write something in each of my blogs before I opened any of my e-mails. As always, I opened my emails first. But this time I’m glad I followed my usual pattern of morning coffee and emails. This time I found an email from ‘Playing for Change.’

That’s one of the charities I subscribe to: building peace through music. They are almost ready to open their first music school/recording studio: the Ntonga Music School in the township of Gugulethu, South Africa. 

Why have I chosen to follow this foundation instead of so many other worthy causes? Because I am a failed music student: I studied piano for about 15 years and came away hating the piano. Even today, I choose classical music that is distinctly non-piano. But the experience did give me a love of good music. That’s what is so wonderful: there are all kinds of good music. And these music schools teach good music.

There is music in all of us ~ we just need a way to express it. I have chosen to express my music through needlework and artisan jewellery. Playing for Change does it through music. It offers a safe environment and the tools (education, instruments, recording equipment) to produce the music. While developing the distinct style of each area, it is offering an alternative to bloody war, sectarianism and hatred. Indeed, this group, Playing for Change, is making a difference in the world. It is making this world a better place in which to live.

At least, that’s what I think.