Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
Send Melanie an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.
This week we visit the studio of Rebecca Anderson of Songbeads.
Until the past 12 months, I have been lucky enough that most of my jewellery work has been in the direction of teaching. I have taught on a pretty much weekly basis at my local bead shop since 2007, and have been published on a pretty much monthly basis since 2009. I realise how very fortunate that makes me in many ways - there are so many talented jewellery artists out there and I am lucky to be a part of this particular bunch. I love teaching and sharing jewellery-making techniques and designs, opening up new worlds of possibility to people, and I hope it will always be a part of what I do.
Because I have such a busy teaching and magazine schedule, I never really pursued selling my jewellery in a big way - as I mentioned in my last Studio Saturday, I have been selling on Folksy for about 3 years, and selling to friends and family for longer. But a little over a year ago, a new craft and vintage fair started and I thought 'why not?' I had done a few before but nothing regular, nothing frequent. This fair went well, and I've carried on with it since then - I've tried a few other local fairs, but Altrincham Magpies and I is the local fair that suits me and my work the best. And once I'd started up at Magpies, I thought, why not open an etsy shop as well....and I haven't looked back since then. I am slowly building up the craft fairs I take part in - The Handmade Show in Perth, Scotland and The Folksy Fair in Sheffield were the two biggest events I have taken part in since beginning selling my jewellery in a more dedicated fashion, and I loved them both.
Selling professionally means not only making beautiful jewellery, of course, packaging and all that that entails. I buy a lot of my business cards and other packaging paraphernalia from Moo - they are reasonably priced (although not as cheap as some), make extremely high quality products and have the wonderful bonus of their 'Printfinity' system. In each pack of business cards, mini cards, labels, postcards, stickers - in fact, any Moo product, they give you the option of having a different image on each card. Totally awesome! The business cards can be a real talking point at craft fairs. People often like to look through them and pick their favourite or even favourites - you never know who a customer is going to pass that extra business card onto....
Last year when Moo introduced packaging labels, I jumped on them and bought a whole bunch. I recycle my padded envelopes and so having pretty stickers and labels to brighten them up (along with pretty parcel tape) is important to me. This time, I order them without lines as it is easier to fit different lengths of addresses onto them, rather than the lined version I had bought initially. I frequently ship to America and Canada and so need that extra space for state and of course, USA, that I don't always need when shipping something more local.
Last time around, I also bought some printed address labels - very similar, but with one big picture and my address printed over the top, off in the corner. These were lovely, but expensive for what they were, so this time I searched around and found a company who could make me simple labels but for a lot less money. They are sweet and simple, and I am pleased with the results, even if it meant giving up the Printfinity option.
I did a major restock of minicards - these come in batches of 100 and I prefill all my little jewellery boxes with them when I go to a craft fair. They are sweet and eye catching, and a really good value option.
I always like to try out new products from Moo when I can justify - and afford! - them, and this time around I thought I'd get some postcards printed up.
I am thrilled with these! The quality of them is second to none. When sending jewellery out to customers, I always like to enclose a hand written note, but hadn't been able to find a suitable card or notelet that I was happy with. These postcards are perfect - big, glossy images of my jewellery, with my details already printed on the back,
plenty of room to write on them, and so handy when it comes to packing up parcels. Eye-catching and attractive for customers, and they worked out at around around 33p (just under 50c) per postcard with Moo's sale which is not bad. I know I could get very simple and plain notelets cheaper, but these postcards carry just a little bit more of Songbeads with them. I will probably hold out until they (hopefully) have another sale to get these again, but I love them and will certainly continue using them for now.
Moo are a very lovely bunch of people, and give each customer a discount code to share with their friends - so here it is for you if you haven't tried Moo before - 10% off your first Moo order.
And your incentive to comment prize? I'm offering one reader a £14 gift voucher (plus free postage) to spend in either of my shops. Leave a comment on this post and next week one random person will be chosen to win.
To be entered into the draw, tell me about your jewellery packaging - what do you use to dress up your pretties? Do you have special notelets or do you simply inclose a business card - or just the jewellery itself?