Apr 16, 2012

My Jewelry Roots - story of how I came to be.

I had a question posed to me, about the pricing of my stuff, and in the process of explaining, I really realized just how much of myself Ive put into my work.
I guess I just wanted to share the story with you all :)

In 2004, I was a baby working in a stuffy office. Id spend my lunches poking around Michaels craft store, since there was nothing else to do.. not that I ever needed an excuse to go to Michaels ;) But I would make necklaces in my car at lunch and then wear them back at my desk.
I worked with a lady who made her own line of jewelry, and she asked me to photograph her work.
We always talked about gemstones, and she liked my necklaces...
It was she who planted the seeds in my head that would grow to be Pink Lotus Designs.

She took me under her wing, like a little bead fairy apprentice, and I went with her to visit a wholesale gemstone/silver store in the city.
Words cannot express what it feels like to walk into a store that is wall to wall gemstones in every shape and color, rows upon rows of silver chains, pins, earrings, hooks, clasps, rings, charms, pendants....
I was spellbound!!
(nevermind the craft-gasm.. think about on an ENERGETIC level, what that room was like! I was buzzing!)

I applied for a business license (required to purchase from them at wholesale), and also applied for a 10k loan.I spent enormous amounts of time and energy on my budding business....
Craig and I were newly engaged, and we moved into my parents basement together. We spent all of our time watching Biker Build Off marathons on TLC, with me on the floor in our room, surrounded by beads and wires.
(and doing stuff like this)

where it all began

I crafted until my fingers literally bled. Then I photographed. Then I edited in photoshop. Then I went to Costco and bought bulk packages of printer ink + paper. Went home and printed off four (BIG)catalogues, put them in binders and tried to get the word out.

I sold a few pieces to people at work, but I knew I needed to go bigger to reach more people.
Not such an easy thing to do as a lonely little basement crafter... Etsy didnt pop up until 2006, so I sent off on a way to make my own free website on Livejournal

I learned basic HTML... devised a way to sort my posts/catagories, found photobucket... uploaded all my pics, then went back to LJ and started posting the codes with the paypal checkout html for each.individual.item.
I had 400+ items at that time...

I remember staying up till 1am on a worknight to get my site finished. I was SO excited.. I really thought I was going to wake up the next day with SALES.
I was quite disappointed to see that no one had even looked at my site overnight.

I pushed on, and organized a Christmas sale at my house. Made invitations and gave them to my work and the people at Craigs work. I bought display boxes, a huge bag of rice (to display the jewelry on!) I made price tags for each individual item.
I made a bracelet stand, I had my Mum in law make some munchies, and we all sat around and waited for people to show up.
I think about 6 people did.
But I was happy and it was fun to put on.

Ive always been 'that' kid. I painted seashells and rocks with my cousin, and we sold them to our family.
I had a lemonade stand at the end of the driveway every weekend... my Dad ran his real estate business from the basement my whole life... as fas as I was concerned, business was just the thing to do!

I made another catalogue in 2005...
 took all new photos and printed them as photographs this time.
I had the whole album catalogue figured out,
down to how many vertical and horizontal photos for each page.
I also had 1000 sterling silver tags made (@almost $1 each!)
with my logo... I wanted to feel legit! :S
looking back I do have some embarrassment about the way I did my business,
but I cannot say I regret.

thick book
My flyer

Gemstone - Silver - Swarovski Catalogues 2004

Then a bunch of things happened in my life.. I was in a car accident, I was laid off work, I found out my Dad had terminal cancer, and I got married, all between Jan - Aug 2005.

Creation took a backseat...
We moved into our own appt in 2007...
and all my jewelry and supplies moved with me, collecting dust as they were.

Then last year, I met a lovely lady who had a store on etsy, who was also going through the loss of her Dad.
I bought one of her necklaces (since I was a member of etsy, just not yet a store owner...)
She was really the person that inspired me to give it a go for myself.

So we did a little re-arranging at home, and made our bedrooms into studios, and I finally stopped using the money excuse as a reason not to open an etsy store ( the fees! the fees I said! Relax, its only twenty cents!)
And I guess the rest is visible history (if you check the archive of this blog)...

I just want to share a part of what I said to the anon that asked about the pricing..

...some of them dont look like much, but they might take a lot of effort…so its hard to put a price on your time when you just do it for fun. I dont have a business lic. anymore, so I pay full retail price for my supplies.. a pack of 40 Swarovski beads can be $8, I use sterling silver headpins, those are about .10 each, then you calculate the time of actually cutting and putting it on the chain, making sure its flush so they dont get caught on sweaters and pull or come off… its not all as easy as it looks! Ive come a long way from my first items till now. Its so hard to walk into a store like Claires or Forever 21 or *insert any popular store here* and see them selling mass production stuff for $10. I guess my only ‘defence’ to this kind of question is that I make quality items, with quality supplies. I love what I do, and I would probably do it for free if I could. I will never be able to make a living doing this, and I only hope to make back my original investment, plus some extra for my time and effort. I dont expect everyone to be able to afford this luxury, but if someone loves something enough, and they can see the effort and energy put into it, I hope they dont mind putting down their hard earned money to have it..

Thank you for reading my story, and thank you for your support!
If you follow your heart, you might have to work hard, but you will always be rewarded... :)
~kelly xo

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