Friday, November 22, 2013

Identity Crisis

I began my Etsy selling adventures a lot more recently than it says in my shop profile. It was just dead space for a while. When I graduated college, I decided now was the time to REALLY knuckle down and use Etsy as a way to bring in extra income and keep my creative juices flowing while working some sort of "real job." Since then, I've had a wee little wrench thrown into my plans.

I named myself Bonedance Jewelry because of my focus on fossil ivory scrimshaw, carved bone pieces, and similar organics mixed with metal. Then Etsy decided no more ivory, period. It doesn't matter that my work is legal and totally devoid of the ethical struggles of modern ivory since mammoths have been dead for over 10,000 years. I may have thrown a small tantrum when the new policy first rolled out. What the hell was I supposed to do now? I was just starting to really get some inventory up and sell things! And I had to rename my shop? And my personal site! And make a whole new line of jewelry? Any reputation I had gained was poof. I thought about starting a new shop from scratch and scrapping Bonedance and the thought really hurt. I felt dead.

I got over all that about 59 seconds later when I decided this was a challenge, not an end to my shop. I laid out my new challenges (Keep thinking forward, Rachel, or else you'll have another tantrum and those are not pretty.):
  1. Make new metal work. Base some of it on my travels to London and elsewhere. Use all those damn gemstones I keep hoarding. Time to let them out into the world!
  2. Find other ways to market and sell ivory and scrimshaw and bone. Use that free shop function on my personal website. Approach local stores for once. Keep loving what I do even if Etsy's blanket policies don't. The Etsy home page is not my goal, anyway. It's being competition for the amazing designer I recently discovered named Monique Pean. If her ivory is accepted, mine will be too.
  3. Screw changing the name! I like it.
So lately, I've been nose to the grindstone making new metal jewelry.

When I'm not doing that I'm making plans to start showing at local art/craft fairs in the spring. I grew up attending the Yellow Daisy Festival in Stone Mountain, GA. Ever since I chose the path of being a maker, I've wanted to try my hand at showing at craft fairs. I think it's about time for that little dream to take off.

Thanks to the devastating Etsy policy change, I have been very slow at regaining my footing online, but I think a foray into the outside world might be even better. I now have THREE totally different lines of work to show off: scrimshaw, metalwork/gemstones, and funky beaded earrings (from my massive childhood gemstone bead collection.). The policy change was a bit like being electrocuted back to life. It may just be the catalyst that lights a fire under my rear and encourages me in the direction of success.

I'll keep you posted on how well this keeps going towards spring!

Have you ever experienced an event that initially was a truly awful thing but turned out for the better? I'd love to hear!

Happy (Upcoming) Turkey Day!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Sad Time For My Family

My Grandma Ione
Hello again everyone! Well this has certainly been a month of sadness for my family.

Many of you won't know that my grandmother, who taught me all the crafts I love so dearly, passed away a couple of weeks ago, and it's been hard trying to say goodbye. She was a very important person in my life in a lot of different ways, and while it hurts to know she's gone, it's comforting to know that I shared a special love of crafts with her. As I've spent time reminiscing about all the wonderful memories I cherish, I find solace when I pick up a ball of yarn and my knitting needles. That's what Grandma Ione would have done, and I've found a great deal of comfort in knitting up slippers just like she used to make for all of us in the family. The past week has been full of knitting slippers for many of my relatives in the hopes of providing them a little piece of comfort as they also spend time remembering the wonderful person my grandmother was.

At the same time, one of my uncles on the same side of my family is battling cancer and not doing well. We continue to pray for his health to return and for his comfort.

On the business side of things, I have to say I've been taking advantage of the fact that my shop has been pretty dead recently. It's given me time to focus on the sadness in my heart, and to take stock of the blessings I've had in my life. I've been slowly returning to a normal work flow from losing Grandma, and I've been working on the seasonal items I offer for the holidays. Work continues on the new website for the shop, and as soon as I have the new photos cropped and get them up, I may just be able to consider it complete which will be a relief to me. Now it's really just a matter of getting my name out there and getting business coming in, which continues to be my Achilles heel so to speak. Too often I make excuses for my laziness in trying to promote my business (after all, it's easy to procrastinate when you've got as much on your plate as I do--full time nanny, full time student, my own business, and I'm planning a wedding and a move!) Yes, I need to stop procrastinating and start promoting. Hopefully things will pick up here soon for the holidays. In the mean time I will continue on as I always have, doing my best and loving what I do!