26 May 2012

God is in the details

I'm winding down production for now.  One order is out the door; one is nearing completion but will have to wait until we get back from our little vacation.

Before leaving this computer for at least a week, I thought I'd share a few more images of my production details.  I'm a firm believer in the quote from Mies van der Rohe, "God is in the details."  I take great pride in all the details of my work ... that includes every aspect from the pieces themselves to the packaging.  And like I was saying before, I do everything.  So from where we left off ...

The soldered components spent several hours in abrasive media to get to this lovely light patina ...  a few completed pieces - stitched silk, fusion on silk cord and chain and a few waiting to be strung on cord.

Today, the smaller order is ready to ship ...

More of those details I like to see to ... I make all my own clasps and ear wires.  It would probably be a lot easier and cheaper to purchase ready made, but that's not what I'm about.  I'm especially fond of my forged hook ... kind of a signature element for me.

Then there's all my product packaging.  I came up with this new look maybe a month ago with my first ever purchased headline font - very clean but still organic ... earring cards, 'care and feeding cards', sales staff info, little labels for the zip-loc bags.  I print everything here as needed.  My envelopes, shipping labels and business cards all tie in.  I change everything frequently, so it really doesn't make sense to print up gazillions - I will no doubt change my mind the next week.

Then everything gets zipped up.  When I first dove into wholesaling with the big boys (SFMOMA, Real Mother Goose, Ansel Adams Gallery), I came up with a yummy packaging concept.  I used to wrap each piece in a slice of onion skin paper, kind of a Japanese folded paper thing.  It all looked so very precious - kind of like how loose gemstones are wrapped.  I got a very polite email from the buyer at SFMOMA requesting zip-loc bags - better visuals for checking things in and storing back stock.  It hadn't really occurred to me because that was my first time with accounts ordering so many of one thing ... you know like six or eight of something.  Sadly, sometimes practicality wins out over aesthetics.  
The last little detail is wrapping everything in midnight blue tissue paper, which also ties in with the chocolate brown pillow boxes I use for retail sales.

So that order is off to the Pacific NW.  My worktable is clean and the other order is put away until I get back home.  We leave Monday for St. Augustine - hoping that sub-tropical depression has moved through by the time we get there.  We'll be in St. Augustine through Thursday, then head over to Tallahassee to see my sister and then back home on Saturday.  I'm hoping my house sitter likes greens, cause I got a little carried away at our new neighborhood farmer's market on Thursday ... I just couldn't help myself - it was all so beautiful!

So ciao for now!  
Looking forward to starting our business conversation back up when I return!
l i g a - kvk

24 May 2012

elements of a composition

Further along in the process of filling a couple of wholesale orders ...

Yesterday's work, the soldered elements ... after spending the night tumbling in stainless steel shot - ear wires, forged hook clasps that have yet to be curved into shape, chains with hook and link clasps, chain link extensions, gemstone pendants, gemstone studs and earrings - all patinaed and ready for several more hours in the tumbler, this time with abrasive shot

Next on the to-do list - my beloved Gudebrod silk that will be plied into cord for necklaces

And then the finished pmc components, ready for assembly.  
These two orders were heavy on the coin and pickets designs

Okay, back to work ......
l i g a - kvk

23 May 2012

the business at hand

A supremely huge Thank You to everyone that's joined in the recent conversations!  I'm looking forward to doing more research, taking a harder look at my business goals and aspirations and I'm particularly excited about joining forces with my friends in this blogosphere. 

But before that can happen, this mondo pile of components needs to be made into finished jewels and shipped across the country.  In the middle of finishing these orders, I'm going to throw in a few days at the beach, so it will be a bit before I can get back to the business side of things.

where I am right now ...

where I'll be next week ...

I'm enjoying working on these orders and can't wait to dive into that salty ocean and I'm really looking forward to carrying on our conversation.  But I'm having a devil of a time deciding what I want to listen to this morning ... 

Back to it for this little peep ... Stay tuned!
l i g a - kvk

18 May 2012

deeper insights

Well, didn't that post just resonate with a lot of you!  Thank you so much for the excellent comments and feedback!  This is so helpful!

Seems like virtually everything is in flux, but I'm seeing many things more clearly.  As of 5:30pm EST Friday May 18th, and in no particular order, this is where I am:

... I need to develop/organize my mail/client list - I have a slew of contacts and customer information and praise and endorsement kinds of things, but mostly the info is buried in Etsy comments and deleted emails and filing cabinets.  My question ... Do I take the time to plow through all of that or start over?

... my goal right now is to bring my Talismans to the forefront and do a big re-launch - which involves design and implementation, branding and all that entails, media coverage, website stuff - shopping carts and yet another site re-design.  Do I stick with my current SiteSpinner wysiwyg program and webhost and do my own PayPal buttons or switch back to WordPress or just add on the IndieMade shopping cart site I signed up for a while back or just stick with Etsy or a combination of all of the above?  I'm seeking a much broader market and see enormous potential for growth and cross-market appeal, Barney's to new age boutiques, so I need to build a solid platform and the choices are myriad.  But how do I get that media coverage?  How do I broaden my reach and hit that vast cross-market?  And if I'm going to spend money, where?  You know that annoying most bang for your buck question.  And have I even thought about a budget? ... uh, that would be a no.

... it's not so much that I haven't invested in my business.  My jewelry income supplements Dave's and definitely helps pay the bills, but I put most everything back into the business in the form of materials and tools.  My equipment needs are not great and I always buy the best I can afford - a larger soft brick kiln and my wonderful Foredom flex-shaft, two double barrel Lortone tumblers, Swanstrom pliers and flush-cutters, a wide-screen computer monitor, a faster computer with more storage and a better than average printer and scanner ... and I have lots of cute and rather expensive shoes!

... what I haven't invested in is ME (aside from cute shoes) ... no workshops, no continuing education, no massages or yoga classes ... oh, I did do a consultation with Teri Jo Summer back in PT in '05 (75 bucks) and a FireStarter session with Danielle in '09 ($350).  The thing about 90 minute consultations ... follow-through.  Taking that 90 minute jolt of juice, turning it into actions and making it last.  Maintaining momentum from those consultations has proved difficult at best and, if I'm honest with myself, close to not being worth the investment. 

What I want to do now is really look at how I work, what sort of environment feeds my soul and will inspire me to engage and stay with the program.  Thing is ... it's a total unknown!  I do know I don't like crowds and much prefer small groups of 6 or 8.  I'm definitely a visual learner.  I'm stubborn as all get out.  If you tell me "this is the only way" to do something, I will try my hardest to prove you wrong.  I've always been one to schmooze with the instructors, get to be buddies, sit in the front of the class and raise my hand all the time.  Dave says I have 'authority issues'.  Probably so.  I can be a horrible snob and have this idea that I'm usually right  ... and on that rare occasion when I make a mistake, I will acknowledge it, probably have to make an apology in there somewhere and then stew that I screwed up.  This will be me chuckling to myself ... ain't I just a piece of work?

As I'm writing this, I just got a comment on the previous post from Nina.  She very correctly says that I am not really alone.  I feel blessed beyond measure that I have a secure 33 year relationship with my beloved husband who earns the primary income for our home.  So does that mean I'm not really a solo-entrepreneur?  I don't know - that's a good question. We discuss most things, but the daily operations and my business decisions are ultimately mine to make. 

For a lot of people in stable relationships like mine, it would be sufficient to provide supplemental income and call it a success.  But I have grander aspirations.  In years past, I have been the primary income source and I want to regain that position.  I have a long list of dreams and goals that I want to accomplish with my business, financial and creative as well as philanthropic.

So where do I go from here?  B-School is not for me ... too too too ... everything.  Yesterday, I got on the waiting list for Tara Gentile's one-on-one coaching and today I submitted an entry for her new Insight Intensives program.  Tara is young, but I like her a lot.  She asks razor sharp questions, laughs a lot and is all about pushing boundaries and seeking out that illusive edge.

This has been great fun and I would love to continue this discussion!  This seems to be a vital and very timely topic and like Sparrow says, we can help each other and I bet we can figure a lot of this out, 'cause lord knows, I'm still a hardcore DIY girl! 

onward ...
l i g a - kvk

17 May 2012

how much am I worth ... another thorn extraction

As of late, and you might have noticed, I've been fairly consumed with the business side of things.  I've got stacks of books and downloaded programs and free pdf's, reams of would-be inspiration, sage advice and the promise of innovative thinking.  I'm always on the lookout for the next best, shiny thing ... this one's gonna help ... for sure!  Some of it has been quite helpful, some not so much.  A lot of it is follow through or the lack thereof.  I hear repeatedly and know, really I do know, that the answers are in me.  But I'm just flat out tired of trying to figure it all out on my own ... hence all those stacks of worksheets and programs with potentially innovative thinking.   

The thing about being a solo entrepreneur ... is that I'm a solo entrepreneur.  It's always been me, all me, all by my little own self.  With the exception of a one week silversmithing class, I'm self taught.  I do everything ... graphics - all my business cards and product info and catalogs and photography, copy writing, websites, shopping carts, accounting, designing and making.  And with ever changing technology and the entire paradigm for doing business in flux, it's making me a bit crazy. 

I had recently been considering a multi-week program that was $1000.  The fact that I was even considering that is kind of a big deal.  I just don't invest in my business ... why pay someone else when I know I can figure it out on my own ...  I'm a hardcore DIY girl ... always and forever.  Or not ... those reams of paper would certainly beg to differ.  I finally decided the program wasn't really what I needed. 

Then I started following Marie Forleo's new B-School pre-launch video series ... good content in the videos and I really liked the accompanying worksheets.  So when the big pitch video came, I was dying to know ... how much is this bad boy gonna be?  Of course, I skipped right to the sign-up page to see and when I read the $1999 price tag - no surprise that my knee-jerk reaction and the first words I thought were, "No f'in way ... no wonder she's a millionaire."

So, on Tuesday, I got to thinking about B-School again.  Why couldn't I spend 2 grand if it would really help my business?  We invest in Dave's education, why not invest in me and my business?  Yesterday Dave and I sat down to watch the pitch video together.  We talked about the pros and cons, whether it would be a good fit for me, it covers a few things that I do pretty well - is that time well spent, how would I feel about being in among the hoards (how many hundreds enrolled) - groups are not one of my strong points, how did I feel about the much younger perky thrust of the whole thing?  Add in that I'm not known for doing well when someone tells me this is THE way to do something - I tend to do my best to prove them wrong.  

As our discussion continued, here's where the thorn started to poke through.  Why haven't I invested in me and my business?  A few years ago, Dave's mom offered to do just that.  The very idea that anyone would want to invest in ME ... I wept.  I didn't take her up on it ... remember I'm a hardcore DIY girl ... but just knowing it was an option was huge.  Turns out, it's still a big deal.  Remembering and talking about that yesterday, tears again, relating yesterday's events to a friend this morning, tears again.  You know, I think I might have some self-worth issues ... ya think?    

So what we decided ... yes I am worthy of the investment.  Golly, it makes me lightheaded and my eyes cross just writing that ... okay, deep breaths.  Maybe B-School is not the best fit for me.  Don't try to force my octagonal self into that round hole.  Maybe it would be better to look for a coach or consultant to work one-on-one and address my specific needs.   

What I'm asking myself right now ... What do I really want help with?  How am I going to approach my search?  If a coach has the right experience, does age matter?  Do I set limits ... for spending, for time?  Questions, yes, I need to ask myself lots of questions. 

I'm definitely feeling a bit different.  That tightness surrounding my self-worth image is lessening.  Now that I'm acknowledging and breathing into my worthiness and giving it light and new life, the answers will come.  I am worth every cent I choose to invest and more.  I am, yes indeed, I certainly am.

l i g a - kvk

16 May 2012

morning delights

Some Wednesday morning radar sightings ...

It's always a banner day when I find an interesting magazine that's new to me ... ORIGIN, conscious lifestyle + art.  Amazing - found it at my WholeFoods market and it looks very promising and not outrageously expensive (6 bucks - and for me, that's a deal!).

I'm weaning myself off of caffeine (again) with Bija Deep Cleanse tea.  It worked before ...  My local sources dried up and now I have to order it online, so the link is where I found it for a pretty good price. 

I'm really getting inspired by some documentaries we've been watching ...

I AM, the documentary - an absolute treasure

We watched the Wavy Gravy movie again - Saint Misbehavin' - believe in the power of ONE.  Everyone should watch this at least once a month!

Carbon Nation - a call to action if ever there was one

And Fat Sick and Nearly Dead was hugely inspiring!  That's what got me motivated to upgrade my juicer and make a better effort at cleaning up my act.  They're all about helping people get healthy and succeed and their websites are absolutely loaded with information and help and, well, let's just say - I'm now a big fan and doing pretty well with my juicing.

And I saved the best for last.  This is a teaser and I'm going to track down the specifics about the film, but it will be a must see for sure ... Advanced Style ... truly a labor of love. 

Okay, off to work for this little peep.  Got lots to do ... email replies to write, talismans to make, orders to fill, veggies to juice, magazines to peruse, an a couple of errands to run.

l i g a - kvk

12 May 2012

many happy things

So much to be thankful for today ... so many things are making me smile ...

I'm closing in on 100 members to this site!  Can't wait to see 3 digits on that little widget!   
Wo ... update!  Hold your horses, it's official ... I've got 3 digits on the widget!  Suh-weet!  
Thank you thank you thank you!

I spent a lovely day yesterday at the gem show.  Road trip with Cara, chatting nonstop for the 70 minute drive ... Seeing so many jeweler friends, such an amazing community of creative women in our area ... Spending exactly my budget with a few dollars to spare.

I had a vague idea of what I was looking for.  Sometimes I have a detailed list, sometimes I just go and see what catches my eye.  Yesterday was a follow my intuition day.  Here's my modest haul ...

First, I was drawn to yellows.  From the right: citrine nuggets, some very yummy heliodor aquamarine (who knew that aquamarine came in yellow?), sunstone nuggets with loads of copper shiller, and sumptuous teeny chrome tourmaline nuggets.

Then there was the yellow/green/chartreuse strands ... a mixed strand of lemon quartz cubes, teeny watermelon tourmaline nuggets and another new-to-me gem, shah mak sud jade from Afghanistan.

Then on to the blues ... I felt in desperate need of lapis and love these little tubes (2-3mm).  These thin cubes were a new shape so I got a small assortment - in addition to the lemon quartz, amethyst, iolite, blue quartz and paraiba quartz (enhanced colors, but they were inexpensive and I couldn't resist).

And these are seriously yummy ... aquamarine and tanzanite sanded nuggets.  They're a bit bigger, 10-12mm wide by 3-5mm.

And sometimes I splurge on a decadent little something ... like raw diamonds.  I'm such an addict.  Cara spotted these and the price was really quite good and I didn't have any black or red diamonds and, golly, a girl really should have an assortment, dontcha think?  I got 2 strands of each.

Black raw diamonds ... 2-3mm.  Treated, but again, I couldn't resist.

And then there's the red ones ... oh my goodness they're amazing.  Two graduated strands of natural red diamonds, 3-5mm.

And being the obsessive compulsive type that I can be, before leaving for the show, I wanted something new to put on my wrists.  It seemed like a good time to measure out a nice long length from my new assortment of antique brown leather cord, pop on a button and loop clasp and call it done.

And I had this one mostly put together, I just needed to tie the loop onto the end.  Not sure if I could sell these or not ... there's a ton of silver in this one which would make it really expensive.  I do love the weight of it.

Other things on my happy radar ... I've been doing a lot of visualization work in combination with something else that's new to me ... meridian tapping or EFT.  Mostly I've been working on money/scarcity issues and business applications.  I really like the idea of it and feel pretty sure some old patterns are starting to shift.  Lots of work on being open to whatever comes my way.  And talk about sweet synchronicity ... on Thursday this showed up on my doorstep ...

Okay, so I'm always looking at different on-line business blogs and sites and you know I'm a big fan of a couple of them.  Well, on Wednesday I watched an interview with Chris Guillebeau about his new book launch and thought that looked pretty interesting and was going to add it to my wish list.  Thursday, the UPS truck pulls up and plops this on my front porch ... FREE from Amazon!  How crazy is that?  Alright, so I know the 'big brother' implications of this and I'm not real happy about that, but I am pretty psyched about getting the book, so I'm going to try and not think about the big brother part.  I just started it and it looks like it's going to have a lot of useful information.

And then we got a bit of an income tax refund and decided to invest in a super nice juicer.  I was thrilled with the Acme when I got it, but it's turned out to not fit my juicing needs.  I do lots of greens and like to make a lot of juice at one time.  The centrifugal juicers don't get a lot of juice from greens (you have to run the pulp again) and are not so great if you want to refrigerate juice for a day or more.  Anybody in the Asheville area want a deal on a juicer, I've got the Acme listed on Craigslist.  So, here's the newest member of the family.  My Omega 8006 - a slooooow, masticating juicer ... 

I'm itching to get to work with my new gems ... have some ideas about what to do with those diamonds and I'm back to working on my Talismans.  I'm thinking they're going to be my main focus for a bit.  Well, I've got this coming week to work on them before working on a couple of June 1st wholesale orders.  I can see that the Talismans have enormous potential for growth and what I do is fairly different from what's out there right now.  So, I'm going to do something of a re-launch, hence the Startup book and all the business stuff I've been working on.  Moving forward, gettin' things done, havin' a good time ... what more could a girl ask? 

Yes, yes ... many many happy things!
feeling enormously blessed and ever so grateful.

l i g a - kvk

p.s.  Thanks so much for those of you who took me up on the My Peeps discount.  
p.p.s.  I found a strange little exercise video that Maia Helles did and wanted to share ...

04 May 2012

it's a secret ... for my peeps only

Okay, so I just had this idea ... a way to thank YOU for following my blog and saying HEY occasionally and sharing my creative and spiritual journey.  

I've got a sale going on over in my Etsy Shop that's 20% off for the masses.  But I was just thinking, it would be a very nice thing to offer my blog readers an even better deal.  So if there's something you've had your eye on, enter the coupon code "MYPEEPS" and you'll get 30% off.  The other guys get 20% through Sunday, but I'm also going to extend the MYPEEPS 30% off through Tuesday, the 8th.  

So here's a heartfelt thank you and big cyber hugs!

l i g a - kvk

02 May 2012

heads up ... it's SALE time!

Y'all know ... for assorted celebrations, I do this once, maybe twice a year.  This year, I've decided to honor the Mom's with a 20% off sale over in my Etsy shop.  Enter the coupon code "MOMSDAY" to snag a treasure for a special Mother's Day price.

l i g a - kvk

01 May 2012

some face-time with my demons

Very curious goings on this last week or so ... some of my old programming, beliefs and fears have been surfacing.

Maybe my brain's getting rewired from trying out a few tapping videos (a new thing to me).  Or maybe it started when I was listening to my '09 FireStarter session the other day.  Danielle commenting on images of me, saying I looked quirky and cool ... it was really my old RayBan horn rims she was referring to, but my reaction then and my reaction now - pretty much the same ... "she's kidding, right?  I am supremely uncool.  Not that I wouldn't love to be considered 'cool', but it just ain't possible."  A few days later, I had a lovely, long chat with my cherished good friend, Teresa out in Port Townsend.  Teresa used to own Artisans On Taylor and has always been a great champion of me and my work.  She's long maintained that, yes - I am in fact cool.  Still not so sure.  Well, I was looking pretty spiffy back in April '06 ...

Then today, it hit me when my 'uncool' image started ... 4th grade, Ruth Henegar Elementary School (1964).  New kid in a big new school, all kinds of stuff to get involved in.  I tried out for talent shows ... how many 4th graders want to get up in front of the entire student body and sing Moon River, first a-capella for the try-out, then with a Henry Mancini record for the official performances - there were two because everyone wouldn't fit into the auditorium at once.  Then I ran for Sgt. at Arms of the Student Body, the only office open to 4th grade.  I ran against Norma Gardner, the most popular girl of the class - I marvel at that awareness.  Again, up in front of the whole school to make a speech.  I had 3x5 note cards and ended up doing a bit of ad-libbing after hearing Norma's speech.  Pretty sure it was a landslide in her favor.

I got pretty quiet after that and through the rest of my school years ... not a lot of friends, no dates, no prom, got stood up a few times including my 'best friend' ditching me on graduation night - boy did that suck.  I'm thinking I didn't always make it easy on myself ... I specifically remember a time in high school spouting my theories about how it was totally possible to walk through walls ... it's really a wonder I had any friends at all.  But now I'm looking back and it feels so much less ... a stinky lingering demon that, as of right now, seems to have lost most of its pizazz.

Then there's my wretched fear of the IRS.  I can imagine I'm not the only home-based solo entrepreneur with that one.  Ties into all those money issues.  So when I got a big fat letter from the IRS yesterday, I thought I was going to be sick.  It had been 'one of those days' and I was already not happy.  The mail ran late, I wanted to sit down immediately and see what the heck was going on and how on earth could we owe another $2350, but I only had a few minutes to start my investigation before having to head to the kitchen - it was a long night.  I dove in first thing this morning and came to realize I had misplaced a 1099-R for when we transferred an IRA and a 1099-INT for a wee bit of interest.  It was looking like unreported income.  Thankfully, the IRA stuff is in order and I'll just write a couple of teeny checks for the under-reported interest income.  There's another demon - face to face and I'm just fine. 

I've got to wonder why all of this matters.  Pretty sure logic has absolutely nothing to do with it.  But I figure taking the sting out of long held fears, bolstering my self-image, facing those lurking demons ... it has to be a good thing.  And I've got a new self-image in mind ... me, standing tall (well as tall as 5'2'' will get ya'), acknowledging my gifts and unique abilities, a huge toothy grin on my face, wielding a staff firmly planted in the ground beside me.  A line has been drawn in the sand in front of me and I'm raring to go ... a couple less demons in tow.

l i g a - kvk