Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
check out my shop for other constellations and request your own if you don't see your favorite!
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Inspired by my love of my anvil - I thought it would make a really cool design and especially on a t-shirt... aprons might be in the works as well!
Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I'm really having fun doing these and am thinking of the next ones already. And maybe a special one for my yoga class!
Monday, July 2, 2007
Saturday, June 30, 2007
When signing in to Etsy - make sure to search tags for "etsymetal pearl necklace" to see everyone else's creations!
Monday, June 25, 2007
But this show as a bit different. I shared a tent with my friend Monica Jones who makes fabulous ceramic art and functional wares. There was great music in the background the whole time. The customers were wonderful - not a single rude or negative comment the whole time. And....
I won an Honorable Mention Award! I was shocked - my first festival and I didn't know what I was doing. And that meant a nice monetary prize as well. How wonderful!
It was very exhausting though. 23 hours in two days of 97 degree Georgia heat. I had never been so happy to take a shower and be in air conditioning!!
I made some great new friends. Check out these fabulous artists:
Cathy Dailey - wonderful and colorful animal inspired art
Jillian Guarco - "photography and messes"
Lynn Louise Larson - Lylou Design bags/purses
All in all, very rewarding and pleasantly surprising. So I just might do another one some day!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I thought this would be easy and go pretty quickly, but now that I am actually sitting down and thinking about it, it seems quite like. I only have a few moments, so I might just have to add more later.
I am glad I:
quit my job
signed up on Etsy
followed my heart
listen to my intuition
didn't get jobs I applied for
give myself days to pout
pick myself back up again and work harder
don't pay attention to others who think I should have a "real" job
do yoga - it keeps me healthy, sane, and focused
have a laptop!
participate in EtsyMetal and have made great friends
try to think positive about everything!
help teach a continuing education class
have good customer service skills - (many years of customer service jobs)
can help to inspire others
I know there is so much more I could add, but I feel for now these are the important ones. I'll come back to it for sure. There is so much that I am thankful for!
Thursday, June 7, 2007
I'm always hesitant to say I ever have any regrets. I am where I am today because of how I did things in the past. I'm happy where I am, so I don't know that I would necessarily say I should have done things differently. Looking back though, if I could do it all over again, knowing how its been there are things I would do.
1. I would have taken more advantage of my student loans. I was very concerned with trying to keep my student loans very low and work as much as I could so as to not just "take out lots of free money". After I got out of school and was looking in to getting a business loan, I started wishing I had taken some of my student loan money out to help build my studio. I basically had no credit, not bad credit, NO credit history. People aren't exactly lining up to give a 24 year old a small business loan at a great interest rate!
Now, I am in no way advocating using your student loans for purposes they aren't meant for. But when I had all of my jewelry and metalworking classes, I would have gotten more tools, spent more money on silver, maybe gotten a fancy camera to photograph my work, mostly the tools though. These are all things that I've struggled to collect over the past couple of years, much of which is debt with a higher interest rate! The tools I've collected, a great camera, a laptop (which has changed my life), are all things I could have conceivable "forseen" needing after school that would have benefited me while in school. I don't think tapping yourself out financially is a good idea. But if I had spent just a couple of thousand, it would have made a huge difference in starting my business.
2. I would have looked at galleries sooner. This is another "while I was in school" bit of advice. Some of the work I did years ago is better than a lot of what I am able to do now. I was given the freedom and the resources to create really complex, large and expensive time consuming pieces. Once I was out of school, creating those type of pieces is much more difficult. When faced with "making something easier that I know will sell" vs. "spend several days working on a piece I might not sell for months or even years" well, the first one of course. When you have bills to pay you have to make sure that what you are making will sell. Which is why I wish I had gotten in with galleries sooner, when I was working on the higher end pieces. I feel it would have kept me a bit more in that world in which I am struggling a bit to get back in to.
3. I would have saved a bit more money before I quit my job. By the time I quit, I was just done. I didn't want to think about "Oh I'm leaving in 6 months, I need to start saving money." I just wanted out. I didn't even have enough money to pay one month's worth of bills. Needless to say, the beginning was quite a struggle. More so than it needed to be if I had done a bit of planning. Ahh, I do so love to crawl before I walk though! Some months it was more like crawling uphill through thick mud while being pulled back by some invisible rope tied to your ankle! Other months were more like walking easily on a flat surface. Slowly, the bad months got better, and the good months got better. So now, my bad months were like my good months a year ago.
4. I would have tried to focus a bit more on creating a "line" of jewelry. I'm pretty all over the place mentally. I am inspired by so many things, many times I feel like my work has no consistent feel. You know how you might love a painter and know their work well, and then you see a painting and instantly know who painted it. Well, I felt like my work was nothing like that. I'm still a bit all over the place, but I've learned to focus a bit more. I feel like I have several lines of jewelry, that kind of look like they are by the same artist. But now each piece with in the line looks like it goes with the others. This is something really recent. I was so resistant to doing the same thing over and over again (I still am) that I didn't let myself come up with a line of jewelry that could all be the same style, but still have every piece be a little different.
And last, but not least:
5. I would have paid attention to Etsy a bit sooner. It took me awhile to get in to it. And then once I signed on - it took me awhile to pay attention to what works and what doesn't work. I know there is no recipe for success on Etsy. But certain things do work. Making sure your photos are eye-catching, listing frequently, and telling everyone you know about Etsy. All things it took me a good 5-6 months to really start doing. I see people in the forums now saying "I haven't sold anything, whats wrong!?" and they've only been there for 2 weeks. I didn't even know the forums existed before I'd been there a month, much less that I should be selling my earrings like hotcakes!
So that about wraps up that section... and now I've decided I should do a part 4 too! - Things that I did (or am currently doing )that I realize are really important. Since this one came out early, I might be able to get that posted tomorrow.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Emily of the Etsy Goddess and owner of The Black Apple (http://theblackapple.etsy.com) had told me multiple times about Etsy and I finally signed up! Of course, it took me a while to actually list anything. A bit more than a month went by and then I finally listed a few items. And that was kind of it. I hadn't looked in to the site very much or read any of the tips on getting started until I started wondering why I wasn't selling anything! I then started looking around at others shops and reading some of the forums. And learning things I could do that would help. My original photos were very boring. Since most of what i do is entirely metal, there were no color and I had used gray backgrounds b/c coming from an art school background, your backgrounds shouldn't be anything of interest. I started adding some little plants or flowers and noticed that my view shot way up. This was the first very encouraging sign. Simply by changing my photos, not the product, a lot more people were looking.
The next thing that happened was a sleepless night where I was thinking about all sorts of things. One of which was I need to make note cards. I've been working one day a week at a friend of mine's store. Some days would be really busy, and other days there would be lots of down time. And I thought "I need to be doing something that is earning me money outside of this job, while I am here" And for some reason, making note cards is what appealed to me. So I started doing a variety of different ones. and the first thing I sold was a set of notecards! Granted, I think the customer found me the same day I had my first item on the front page! And why did I have something on the front page...? Well it started by emailing sweet Angela of Angela Lui Designs (http://sanfranciscocrafts.etsy.com). I fell in love with her stuff and just had to tell her how much I loved her bags. Which then prompted her to ask if I could make a bracelet for you, so I made several bracelets and listed them for her and one of those made the front page! I was so excited. This was about a month after I started listing. I was so excited to have something on the front page I emailed everyone I knew! So that prompted a few friends and family members to buy things from me - which was very sweet. Friends and family really kept me out of a "normal" job when I was starting out. After that things were kind of slow. I wasn't all that great about listing, definitely not every day. I was selling some, but not a whole lot.
Etsy wasn't my main focus. Actually, nothing really was! I had decided to have another show which was quite successful, not as much as the first one, but still, pretty fabulous. I like being on my own and being self-sufficient. But I also didn't feel like I really had a direction. I wasn't sure what I really wanted to do.
I had this great idea to send out promo packets to boutiques I thought might be interested in carrying my stuff. Total disaster. But I'm glad none of that panned out b/c I've decided I don't want to sell wholesale, and I'm not really all that big on consignment either! I really like being in charge of my own stuff and dealing directly with customers. After working customer service jobs for 8 years or so, I realize it really is something I enjoy. I like knowing who my jewelry goes to and I like for people to know where their jewelry is coming from! Good customer service makes people want to come back to you. I've been very fortunate and have not had any bad customer issues.
Christmas was pretty good, though I had wished it was a bit better. January was okay, February was good, March was terrible! and then April was the best month I have ever had. Ever - since I got my first job in high school. Not just on Etsy but I got a couple of large commissions that were a very nice addition. By this time I had learned to live on very little. I also learned a lot from doing my own taxes and had quite a mental shift after that. I started figuring out bills I could either totally do away with or at least decrease. I also starting believing that I wasn't poor. I don't think money is everything, obviously, I decided to make a living as an artist! But I'd been fighting that mentality of being a "starving" artist. Something I never called myself and never believed I would be. A lot of what went on during that time was really all about feeling and is kind of hard to describe in words. In short I started feeling/believing there would not only be "just enough" money to pay my bills, but that I would have more than enough. Which is exactly what started happening. After April was so spectacular, I wanted to hold on to that belief that I would continue w/ the same success I had the previous month. And may turned out to be even better on Etsy that it had been in April. I didn't get quite as many outside commissions, but overall, still an amazing month. Now that it is June, I am holding on that feeling of prosperity.
Yesterday I set up my new Etsy shop - http://BethCyrYogaStudio Once again, based on a strong feeling I had. Similar to when I started doing the note cards, I decided I wanted to start screen printing the yoga poses on T-shirts. I wanted to get my shop set up separate so when I start doing all the shirts, my store will be ready. I'll be listing more of the note cards - hand painted ones, and ones made from the postcard/prints I had done and my Om Jewelry. I like having the two things split. It feels like it gives them each more room to grow.
Well that is it for this installment! Part 3 will be, things I might have done differently.
Friday, May 25, 2007
So I had a request to tell my "starting out story" in my blog, so here it is! Its probably going to be realllly long, b/c I can get wordy and love details!
Its hard to know where to start so if I sort of jump in right in the middle, I'll go back and give details and it'll be like a fun ride!
I graduated w/ a degree in Jewelry and Metalworking but after graduation cont'd to work at the coffee shop I had been at during school. I kind of got stuck working there for awhile, like 2.5 years after I graduated! When I work at something, I take it very seriously and really give it my all. I enjoyed aspects of it, but it drained me of pretty much all creative energy. When I was in school and working 20-35 hours a week, my creativity was great b/c I was amidst other artists and constantly being push and inspired. After I graduated, not so much.
I knew that what I wanted to do was make jewelry/metal art for a living. I didn't want to work for someone else. I really didn't know how to go about it and for awhile nothing really happened. I finally (two years after I graduated) got my business license. But still, not a lot happened.
Here's where the story really starts:
I was having a conversation w/ my mom about work and I don't remember all what else, but what it came down to was that I was afraid to try to make. I was afraid I wouldn't make it, and if i didn't so what, I could get another job. So I decided to quit and turned my notice in w/in a couple of days. On the very day I turned it in, I sold a painting for $600! Still the most expensive thing I've sold, but it was super nice confirmation that I was doing the right thing.
Most of what I do is led by feelings. I have a pretty good intuition and try to listen to it.
So I quit my job on December 31st 2005. The first few months were really interesting. December had been pretty good and I'd gotten a few commissions that led in to January. February and March were like a barren desert... and April. I totally felt lost. This was all pre-Etsy. I still look back at that time and wonder what I was doing! I seriously don't know what I did all day. I was moving at a really slow pace and just had no idea. I'd quit my job w/o any actual plan. Not the smartest thing - this will be covered in the end section called, "Advice I'll give on what I WISH I had done" !
I'm very introspective and I like to analyze things. It took me a while to figure out but the thing w/ my personality is that I like to figure things out on my own, that way I really learn it how I need to. I didn't really seek much advice b/c I just had this feeling that I needed to figure out what would work for me, not just do what someone else told me I should do. Not necessarily the best thing either I'm sure some of you out there know what I'm talking about. Its kind of like, "just let me figure it out and even if I fall down and it hurts and I cry, I'll learn more than if you hold my hand the whole time" Of course that really difficult to remember in times when you're crying.
I'd finally put it together that I needed some sort of competition. When I was in school, I always have classmates next to me that were creating things - either that I liked or didn't like, that I thought weren't good at all or that I thought were fabulous. It helps me to be even more creative, to push myself to do something better and more unique. I don't like looking at other artists and doing research. If I don't have any sense of that person, it doesn't trigger anything in me. So what I had to do was be in some sort of competition w/ myself.
I made an assignment for myself to make 10 pairs of earrings a day for 10 days. I thought in the beginning that I'd end up duplicating some - but I never did. The more I got in to it, the more creative I got. And I was only using circles - all different size jump rings, hammered or not hammered. There were definitely days that I wouldn't feel like doing all 10. I'd have done 8 and thought, I can just do 12 tomorrow. But I'd have felt guilty, like I let myself down. So each day I did my 10. By the end I was really excited that I had actually achieved my goal. It felt really good to have accomplished all of that, and to have 100 pairs of earrings! I decided to have a show of all the earrings together and it ended up being really successful. I knew a girl that worked at the Athens newspaper and she had told me (two years earlier) that when I had a show to let her know and she would do a story on me. And it was finally here! I just hoped the offer was still good and it was, so it all worked out really well. Shortly after the show is when I signed up on Etsy.
More to come in Part 2!!
Friday, May 11, 2007
So unfortunately for me, my show didn't go as good as I had hoped. But on the upside there are lots of new and exciting things that are going to be listed on Etsy! I spent about 8 hours photographing more than 40 pieces. I've listed a lot so far, but there is still a lot to come! So keep on the look out.
Also, thank you for everyone who made April the best Month I have ever had, not just on Etsy, but just in general. Thank you! and so far May is shaping up to be wonderful too. I do like this trend and aim to keep it this way from now on. :)
I also started a shop on Mintd. Its www.bethcyrjewelry.mintd.com - I'm pretty sure that is it, but the mintd site seems to be down at this min so I can't check it. I just upgraded my account so I will be able to list a lot on there. So keep a look out for that as well! I plan on creating an exclusive line of jewelry that will only be available there!
In other news, I am going to start screen printing! yeah, I'm really excited. I'm going to be doing my yoga poses and an om symbol. In the next coming months I'll probably open a separate shop in Etsy that will be all yoga inspired things.
That's about it for now!
Friday, April 27, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
So this week has sort of been all over the place, in a good way though. In procrastinating work on a couple of projects that are due at the end of the month, I made more earrings for my show coming up. Although I do need to be making as much work as possible for that, I have also decided to make some less expensive easier pieces that might move a bit faster on Etsy. So these are some of those pieces!
simple hammered ovals w/ my special textured hammer that I love so much
straight ahead constellation earrings
I sold these already!
Star Trek - esq - I think.... I like them a lot though, not that I don't like Star Trek too, but I'm wasn't planning on that when I made them.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
Friday, March 9, 2007
I'm not really sure how blogging works - so this might be a little rough for awhile!
As of Dec. 31st, 2005 I've been working as a full time jewelry artist. Its had it good times and its rough times, but in general I feel its getting better and better. I'm trying to get my name and my jewelry a bit more widespread so I thought adding a blog to the mix might help.
I have an online gallery site - its still in the works as you will see if you check it out, but for the most part it is done. Check it out - www.bethcyr.com
I also have an online store on Etsy - which is fabulous if you have never shopped on Etsy. It is a place to buy "all things handmade". My store is at http://bcyrjewelry.etsy.com
I'm constantly adding new things, so you should check that out often and feel free to ask for custom work as well.
My aim is to never make the exact same thing twice. Even a lot of my earrings are close matches, but not exact. I think its more fun to make everything unique, but also more fun as a buyer to know you aren't going to have the exact same piece of jewelry that your co-worker is going to be wearing the next day.
I'm also very in to yoga. So quite a few pieces of my jewelry and artwork are yoga inspired and in the next coming months will be producing even more (I just got some new fun tools for my studio!)
So there is the intro. I'll be updating probably every Friday or so. Maybe more, we'll see.
Here are my favorite pair of earrings for the moment.... and available on Etsy!