Saturday, April 18, 2009

New store on Madeit.com.au

I signed up with Madeit.com.au last week.

Bella Moon Jewels on Madeit.com.au

As I'm not exactly moving jewellery through Etsy at a rate of knots (erm, still to make a sale), I thought I'd see if an Aussie site would work better. No bites yet, but I guess that's the nature of things in this strange old online world.


Jewellery is one of those tactile, personal things. Ideally you try something on, decide whether you like it or not, see if it suits you or not ... then purchase it - or not. Selling over the internet is a little more tricky though. Without the capacity to actually try a piece, or see its finish or its sparkle, it's difficult to know whether you're getting what you're paying for.


Buyers place a lot of faith in the seller when purchasing online, which is something I certainly work hard in maintaining (the faith, that is). What you see is what you get - no hidden agendas, or dodgy work. I place a lot of pride in my work - from the materials I use and how they are turned into designs and then ensuring my finishes are neat and strong.


Then I think about how to photograph the piece. Without professional photography gear, being able to capture the way a piece sits, flows, dangles or spins can be tricky. Light is an issue, but I'm figuring it out. I know my work doesn't look as fabulous in photos as it does in reality, but that's just the nature of the game at this stage.

Then I write a description, detailing the materials used, length, size of beads - anything at all that will fire the potential wearer's imagination and leave them wanting my lovingly created masterpiece.

Pricing is the tricky bit. Everyone wants a bargain on the internet, but some of my pieces (Gypsy Princess and Bella Rose necklaces for example) can take days to make. From the concept design through to construction and tweaking to get it just right. I'm not in this to lose money, so combine the time with the cost of materials and I charge what I think is a fair price. I don't stick to a particular hourly rate, but just what's fair to me and right for the quality. But so far it's not working.

With thousands of jewellery stores on the internet, finding a point of difference helps too. I ask myself the question: what is it about my jewellery that sets it apart from all the rest? I'm not sure I've found the answer except I know I have a style of my own, which is part way there.


I know my work is good when people see my jewellery close up - hold it and try it on - and it sells in a flash. They recognise how well made it is, how well designed it is, how lovely the quality of materials are that I've used. They are happy to pay the prices I ask.


It's just something I have to chug along with I guess. I'm not going to compromise my standards and use cheaper materials or make the latest fashion item that can be bought for $5 at cheap costume jewellery stores.
It's a matter of hanging in there and sticking to what's right for me and ultimately for the customers I'm yet to gain.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Restless

I've been a bit absent from the blog recently. I've been avoiding it actually, suffering from blogger's block. Stuck.

When I feel a bit stuck I start feeling restless for travel. To hop on a big jet plane that'll land me somewhere I know nothing about, from which I can experience something new and wonderful. But considering overseas travels are not in the foreseeable future, I'm learning yet another lesson in patience.

To achieve my goal of travelling and living somewhere new I must focus my energies on doing something about marketing my work to generate some sort of income.

Even so, it doesn't stop me thinking about my last trip to Europe.

For six weeks I traversed the continent by train on my own, meeting up with friends along the way and making pilgrimages to galleries and churches and piazzas and palazzos to see the wonderful art and architecture I'd studied and loved while at university.

Flying over the Alps on the way to Venice

After spending a week or so with a friend in London, I caught an evening flight to Venice, which is where the adventure began.

It was quite something arriving at night, especially considering I had to go all the way to Zattere - the last water bus stop - to reach my little pensione, La Calcina.

Once through customs I found my way to the floating bus stop, where the bus arrived and I hopped on. The bus ride was really something - the airport is quite a way from the city and it was pitch black. Then we rounded a corner and were amongst the lights of Venice, stopping and dropping other passengers off, until I was the last one on board.

The path along the Guidecca near Zattere bus stop in early evening light

I alighted at Zattere, onto a wide footpath along the side of the Guidecca, with water lapping up and across the path. I was the only person in sight and walked towards my pensione, breathing in the night air and relishing in the feeling I was about to embark on something completely new and exciting.

It was about 11pm by then and the hotel was expecting me (I'd warned them I'd be late).
Even though their restaurant was closed they graciously agreed to pour me a glass of red, which I really felt like by then.

The next morning after breakfast I set out and was lost in about five minutes. It was raining, cold and absolutely wonderful.

One of the many bridges across a canal

One of the things I loved most about Venice was the lack of cars and the fact it's virtually impossible to follow a map.

In fact, I realised very soon the best way to see this amazing city is to just allow yourself to get lost.

I also avoided the major tourist centres and wandered into quiet local churches and piazzas, stopped for nibbles and a glass or two of red at a local chicchetti
bar. Chatted to locals about their city, leaning up against the old stone wall along the canal, smoking local cigarettes. Now that's what life is about.

I spent three days in that wonderful, magical place (not nearly long enough - I'd move there tomorrow, floods, mists and all) before moving on to see more of Italy, meeting up with friends for a week, then heading by train to France and the Netherlands. I loved every moment.

My first day in Venice - wet, cold, happy and eating gorgeous, creamy gelati

That first week in Italy was a bit like the adventure I'm embarking on now - starting a new career, working from home. It begins with major excitement, it's new and there's lots of anticipation of great things to come.


Then it feels a bit lonely, a bit removed from reality, but with the right moves, it will perk up again and I'll be invigorated with fresh energy
and focus to just get out there and have a fabulous time of it.

Always learning, always moving forward and meeting new and interesting people along the way. I just have to hang in there, get it out there and enjoy the ride!