Jan 11, 2009

eSMArts Team First Contest Results~!!!!

WOW~! What a day Friday was for the eSMArts Etsy Team~! Twittering, blogging, cross-posting, twittering, tweeting, dm'ing, commenting..........whew..... till our little fingers were were twittering on their own. For the member who set the stage for Friday, however, it was a week or more of work and organization and educating the rest of us on the very first eSMArts Team Store contest. Lois Lindquist, A Beaded Affair, proposed the idea of a contest after her daughter's twitter group ran one to much applause. With the team's growing interest, Lois laid out the contest dates and time frame, scheduled the team for maximum twitter exposure and collected the incoming responses, messages and comments from every angle.

Using an online random generator, she "drew" the winning contestant. Our winner was Lizzie a Stay at Home Mom who's crazy about Music, Babies and Knitting. She is also a member of TwitterMoms an awesome online group for all us twittering moms. See her blog here, Lizzie.

I spoke with Lois after she recovered and she told me "Our team was incredible. Once we presented the contest to them, they pulled together with ideas, donations, offers of prizes and help. Everyone got on board to support this effort and it was truly an honor to be associated with this group. We received entries from various sources twitter, blog comments and direct emails and everyone was encouraging, supportive and enjoyed the idea. It's always fun to take a chance on winning something. There is one sale in the shop that I know of but the shop did get hits on Friday and I would think that over time there may be people that previously weren't aware of the shop that will come back to take a look again. All of the comments directly related to the shop were very positive and encouraging."

Lois also outlined the time involved in putting this event together: "Coming up with the initial idea was easy since I stole it, with permission, from my daughters at Sweet Tarragon.etsy.com. They ran a successful contest just before Christmas and had a ball with it so I thought it might translate well for us. The model for this came right from them. Initial presentation to the group took some time and was communicated through our Yahoo group. Emails were flying with questions, suggestions and support. You could feel the excitement in the group which was fun. Typical of me, I left the actual blog writing until Wednesday, procrastinator that I am. Writing is painful but I wanted to feature pictures of the items donated during the week and the shops that created these pieces. I entered the blog post in both of my blogs and 6 other online forums I belong to. Jamie of CreationsByJae.etsy.com was kind enough to copy the blog to the Team Blog. Additionally, I was on twitter from about 12:20 on Friday until midnight with a few breaks for work and food but if I had to guess, probably close to 10 hours there. This was a time consuming project."

She added, when asked what she would do the same and what she would do differently, "I think the basic premise was good but before doing the next one I would want to increase my Twitter following substantially and preferably not people in the jewelry field. One of the problems I see with it working well, and the reason my daughters did so well, is because they have access to a huge following on twitter and their blogs that are not necessarily jewelry people. So far, most of my contacts are other jewelry folks who are struggling with the same issues of over-saturation and making yourself stand out. We needed to reach more people outside of our sphere."

"So you would consider doing this again?"
"Absolutely. If nothing else, we were noticed by people who wouldn't otherwise have known that the team store existed and that it has been set up to benefit those in need. Now that I have done one, I have additional promotion ideas that I might want to incorporate into the next one."

Finally, I asked Lois if she had any special thank you's she wanted to give Without hesitation she answered: "As always, Anna Lee Husband, our team leader and owner of Gahooltree , Gahooltree Supplies and Sassy D'Lite was incredibly supportive and got right behind the idea by donating some fabulous pieces to the the shop and spending most of the day on Twitter with me as well as offering to do whatever was necessary to make this work for the team. This crew, even new members, jumped right in to help so of course a huge thanks to this wonderful team. On behalf of the team I'd like to send thanks of course to all the readers and tweeters and re-tweeters with a special thanks to our winner Lizzie. Thanks to the wonderful duo, Mer and Dani of Sweet Tarragon without whom I would not be able to function on the computer as well as the idea for the contest. And a special thanks to my husband Al. He is supportive and loving beyond reason and somehow always puts up with my craziness. He's the best.!"

Well, we think YOU are the best as well, Lois. Thank you for being a part of this team and for all of your efforts towards our benefit. You ROCK~!

Jan 8, 2009

Comment Here and Grab a $10 Gift Certificate

The Esmarts Team Shop at Etsy was created in the spirit of "PAYING IT FORWARD". The Team has jumped on board and loaded it with scrumptious new listings for you to peruse. In that spirit we'd like to give a bit back to all of our readers and buyers by running a contest on Twitter and our blogs. All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment HERE (noon to midnight today only) on this blog mentioning the contest and you might win ONE OF SEVERAL $10.00 Gift Certificates in the drawing on Saturday which you can use in the Esmarts Team Shop . A Gift Certificate was donated by A Beaded Affair at Etsy. Take a chance, have some fun, enter our contest and win $10.00.Just a few of the new items donated by the talented members of EsmartsContest runs from Noon Friday January 9 (that's tomorrow folks) til Midnight.On Saturday we will announce the winner here!!!This weeks donations by Creations by Jae, dgdesignstx, SandTCreations, The World of Wezz, Chic Hats and More, Gahooletree, Studio618 and Wilma's Whimseys. Visit these Etsy shops for more exciting hand crafted goodies.

When you snooze you lose. If you didn't check out the Esmarts Team Store on Tuesday you missed donations by M5 Creative Corners which sold right away.

One more note, Coastal Artist has reduced the price on 3 of his prints to $20.00 just for the contest. Don't wait, leave a comment and check out all the fabulous items at Esmarts Team Store and win the Gift Certificate.

Are you on Twitter? Share the love and Tweet about the contest for us. The more the merrier.


Jan 6, 2009

Interview with eSMArts Team Owner Anna Lee!!! Must Read!!!

I had the pleasure, and honor, of interviewing the eSMArts team owner/leader, Anna Lee (AL) Husband, for this blog feature. It's the very first time I've interviewed anyone for my blog! I am so pleased that AL makes time to help mentor me and encourage me to be more involved with the team as well as with my passion for jewelry making, despite her super-busy schedule. She's a fantastic lady, full of spunk and zeal. Without further ado, here she is!!!

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family/friends. What do you do for fun? Are you married, for how long, how many children do you have?

    My spouse of 30 years David is wonderfully supportive of my addiction to hobbies, crafts and creating artwork. Our daughter Kate, who lives near us in a full time health care residence because she is now totally disabled, visits us for holidays and special events like her birthday. David and I spend most of our free time together with our young Airedale Terrier Amy (
    http://amytheairedale.blogspot.com) at our home in Oshawa, Ontario.

    I am Team Leader and Founder of the Etsy Social Marketing Artisans (eSMArts) street team and yahoo group where I have a small family of online friends. We’re all independent artisans who feature our items for sale on Etsy and who got together for support, inspiration, friendship and connection.

    At eSMArts we’re trying to develop strong social marketing ties with one another in order to drive web traffic to our sales sites. We’ve each donated creations to our team store (
    http://esmarts.etsy.com) where all sales support worthy causes. Visit our blog for more info on my talented friends: http://esmarts.blogspot.com!

    In my free time I love the outdoors, entertaining, cooking, travel, music, movies, TV, spectator sports, computer games, golf, gardening, cycling and well just making things!

  2. What inspired you to get started making this gorgeous jewelry? How old were you when you started?

    As a child I was instantly drawn to the beauty of shiny and pretty stones. I kept special boxes of my lovelies as soon as I could walk. I loved to play with just about any type of crafty endeavour or toy, so when I was 8 or 9 I got a rock tumbler that I was obsessed with. I polished nuggets, made primitive jewelry and kept an extensive rock collection. I guess I’ve never met a gemstone, crystal or rock that I didn’t like.

    In my teens I borrowed cookbooks from mom to learn how to bake and cook. Mom (an oil artist) dabbled in virtually every medium so I read with interest her library books to learn basics of embroidery, knitting, crochet, crewel and the like. When mom learned how to sew so did I, and throughout high school I often made my dresses and pant sets (this WAS the early 70s!). My dad (a jazz musician by night) stressed musical training for all three of us kids, so when I wasn’t making something I was likely practicing the piano or flute.

    Throughout my 20s and 30s I kept busy with work, home, family, university etc. and only returned to my first love, gemstones, in 2002. I started beading only because I wanted designer level shinies at a fraction of the retail price. I receive compliments on my jewelry continually so in 2003 I decided to display a few showcases of my creations in my retail bicycle shop (
    http://oraclecycleworks.com). Positive feedback from customers helped me begin to take jewelry making seriously.

  1. What are your favorite materials to use when making jewelry?

    I enjoy making pretty things and unique adornments using all gems, metals and materials. But unlike some artisan jewelry makers I started working with precious stones and sterling silver wire because I began making items for myself to wear for work, play and formal. So my creations had to look professional. I have to admit that I am hooked on Thai Hilltribe silver and tend to use it in almost all my silver creations.

    I am self taught, but have continually been amazed at the amount of good free information there is on the web regarding handmade jewelry techniques.

I now find it easier to work with gold wire than its silver counterpart although I am very fond of coiling effects using oxidized silver wire. I no longer do any pure bead stringing as stringing bores me to tears. Just about any other technique or genre intrigues me and keeps me interested. I’ve never made the same design twice as repetition does bore me. I enjoy the challenge of fresh, new designs and custom commissions the most.

I’m enjoying PMC and really get a kick out of creating mens/unisex creations, bead crochet (which I rarely have time for these days) as well as creating ornate bridal jewelry and bridal hair accessories too.

  1. Who inspires your designs now? Who do you look up to in the jewelry-making world?

    Linda Trent’s clean crisp lines were my first inspiration on Etsy and her talents prompted me to make the leap into online jewelry marketing. Passementerie first caught my eye when she had an Etsy shop and Magdalena Borejko is a huge favorite of mine too. I recently began to follow Iza Malczyk’s wire work and no doubt over time my own style will evolve as some combination of all these. I follow the work of several emerging design houses.

  1. What techniques would you like to master in the future?

    I strive to hone my wire working skills until they are the absolute best they can be (this may be a life sentence!). I plan to set up a glass studio in the near future and to develop solid glassmaking skills. I am a huge fan of lampwork glass and borosilicate beads. Metalsmithing is also near and dear to my heart. I know silversmithing basics but will take a good silversmithing course or two. The designer in me dreams of venturing into the world of fabricated pieces.

  1. Do you have any advice for new jewelry-makers and people trying to get an Etsy business going?

    Great photographs are the key to online sales so learn how to take them – invest in photo training and good equipment. Regardless of your current skill level, strive for perfection. Develop a few signature pieces using the best materials you can afford. Study your favorite artists and their techniques. Take courses if necessary or buy tutorials but hone your skills. Above all, market yourself feverishly and shamelessly both on Etsy and off. And don’t forget to smile – enjoy the journey!

  1. Where can we find you?

    My flagship online outlet is called Gahooletree (
    http://gahooletree.etsy.com) where I feature luxe gemstone and pearl formal and bridal creations. Email: tiger_eye@rogers.com

    We recently opened SassyDLite (
    http://sassydlite.etsy.com) an off price discount outlet for sale items where I can also experiment with offering fun and casual designs created at times with base metals (copper, brass) and more affordable materials like semi precious stones, swarovski crystals and shell pearls.

    I offer studio overstock of gems and findings for sale online at Gahooletree Supplies (
    http://gahooletreesupplies.etsy.com) and there’s plenty more information about my jewelry business in general at http://oraclegemdesigns.com, http://gahooletreedesigns.blogspot and http://sassydlite.blogspot.com.

Again, I really want to thank Anna Lee for taking the time to talk with me, and for being so patient with me. You ARE appreciated! })i({

Jan 1, 2009

You Wear WHAT?!? Interesting Jewelry Trends

I've been browsing my groups and forums, trying desperately to catch up with all the goodies that everyone is talking about! Lately, I've noticed a lot of talk about...let us say...unique...jewelry trends! I thought I'd share some of them that I find really fascinating!

MyWiredImagination is a seller on Etsy. She does some lovely wire-wrapping and other work, but one item of hers in particular is something to look twice at! Check out these interesting, and slightly creepy, custom pendants and rings made with rejected prosthetic eyes!

Another company that has been talked about is Ashes to Glass. They make beautiful lampwork beads intended to hold the ashes of a loved one. In addition to that, they make beads to hold the ashes of your pets called Petglash. It's definitely a unique idea, and many people would love to be able to have their deceased loved one or pet with them all the time.

Then we come to LifeGem. This company can take either the cremated remains of your loved one or a lock of hair (for those who choose burial, or even for those who want a special gem from someone living) and using a special process, creates a certified, high-quality diamond from the carbon remains. These diamonds are molecularly identical to a genuine diamond. It's a fascinating process. They can even make them with your pet! Visit their website for a video showing the process and to request more information! These are not cheap, but may be worth it to have that rememberance of someone you love. There are several color options available as well!

One of the most fascinating jewelry ideas is by Jared Gold, a Salt Lake City designer who specializes in the unique! His creepy creation is a Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Brooch. This is a live critter! The giant roach is encrusted with Swarovski crystals and comes complete with a tiny 'leash' so that you can attach it to your clothing and let the lil bug wander around. Ewww... With proper care they can live for up to a year. Cost: $80.

My last interesting jewelry trend for today is made by a very creative jewelry artist named Margaux Lange. She sells on Etsy, and takes parts from Barbie dolls and makes them into earrings, pendants, tie tacks, etc. I can't believe how professional they look! Definitely interesting jewelry for a party, great conversation pieces! })i({

Creations by JAE