Saturday, August 11, 2012

Studio Saturday with Rebecca of Songbeads

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.
This weeks winner is Elaine of TooAquarias Congratulations! You have won a Graffiti Tag pendant from Earthenwood Studios.
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....

When Moo had a 30% sale recently (almost unheard of!), I stocked up with a big order...

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? 

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer and singer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about beads and singing at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at


Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

Thank you for the great review of Moo, Rebecca. I'd visited their website and heard several bloggers mention them, but your discussion was quite thorough, and makes me want to put them at the top of my list of printers. I am in early days of bead and jewellery making, so I cannot speak from experience specific to that. However, I did have a home business as a custom seamstress for a time, and many parallels exist. In both cases, we are talking about a non-essential product which nevertheless carries enormous emotional weight with the buyer. I did use personalized, coordinated packaging and business papers (cards, invoices, envelopes, etc.); I always added individualized notes expressing my appreciation of their business and how much I had enjoyed working with them (which was true in 99% of cases LOL). I think anyone who wishes to carve out a loyal clientèle, or attract new business, would commit a grave error in not adding these small personal touches. Really, at the end of the day, the customer giving me THEIR money for something I have created, the ultimate compliment. That is certainly worth a small expenditure of time and effort, in ensuring the "presentation lives up to the expectation". I am extrapolating here, but I would assume that is doubly valuable in internet selling.

KayzKreationz said...

I really haven't sold much of my jewelry yet. I try to put each piece in a cute little bag with a business card and a handwritten little note. But I like the idea of the little postcards and others that you've mentioned to dress it up a bit. I need to get better packaging for my jewelry. I've been experimenting with making my own earring tag/card, but haven't gotten it the way I like it yet.

Alice said...

So far I've only had sales at shows so I've not had to mail anything. I'm terrible at making up my mind on packaging--mailing lables, cards, boxes etc.So far I've ordered business cards and postcards from Vista Print, which I've been happy with so far. I just love the Moo cards and hope to order some one of these days.

Thanks for all the great info!

Erin S said...

I use plain kraft boxes, tied with a black ribbon for bigger pieces. Small earrings get wrapped in colored tissue and tied with a contrasting ribbon. Nothing very special--so far I haven't been willing to put a lot of time, effort or expense into cool packaging.

Elizabeth said...

Usually my main "dress" up to my packaging is to sent extra goodies. I know I always love that when I order from others.

Elaine said...

I actually don't send jewellery by mail very often yet - just beads and canes. I did recently make myself a stack of cute labels and stickers to use on boxes / wrapping paper instead of plain tape.

I use my business cards as thank you cards to cut down on the inclusions in my package (there are frighteningly strict mail restrictions here).

If I figure the trick out, I will start printing my envelopes though. It would add a cute touch to plain manilla yellow.

Lynda said...

I've seen the cool stuff that Moo can do, but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. So tempted. You're are wonderful. I do put a business card with a personal note in most of my orders. Sometimes the jewelry goes into a pillow box with bow or a handmade paper(not by me) envelope pouch with cord tie. Probably should be more consistent in this end of the business. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

Connie said...

I just received a sample pack from moo- but i haven't placed my first order yet! I package my art jewelry in natural boxes with my logo card glued to the top. inside is another art card under the jewelry item that describes the materials used. the box is tied with red /orange and yellow satin cord....i put the box in a plastic pouch, and always include a little freebie and a thank you note. i use a handmade address label on the outside mailing envelope. But it's so much work!...that's why i'm considering moo stickers and cards!

loto said...

It's very beautifull! Thanks for the discover!

Klassy Joolz said...

I always do my packageing different each time, but I always gift wrap in some way. I try to be clever. I have another Etsy Shop...LilLoveNotes...I make handmade gift tags. I always give a gift of my tags. I, also, always hand stamp a Thank You gift tag as well and add a business card.

I really like the look of what you had done through Moo! I would like to do something like that one of these days. Looks so professional!

Thanks for the nice giveaway and a chance to win!

Smiles, Pam

Linda said...

I use a plain brown Kraft box, which I tie up with a pretty ribbon. I buy tiny notecards at Michaels, in the dollar section. The extra small cards are not always available, so I stock up when I find them. I use these to include a personal note of thanks. And I always include a business card, which I designed on Zazzle.

JeannieK said...

I'm a mixed media artist so my packaging is never the same. I even alter my business cards.

DespinaV said...

I use organza bags and paper boxes and for special occasions, special packaging!!
I loved each and every creation of Rebecca's, fantastic color combinations and exactly the style I love to wear!!


Joanna-Gloria said...

I use pouches for hand-to-hand delivery and boxes for distance delivery.
Amazing shop, your work is breathtaking, Rebecca!!

Joanna-Gloria, yana_ven@yahoo.g

Paula Lee M. said...

Wow I was impressed with your review of Moo. I have been doing my own business cards, stickers, postcards and such since I started selling at shows. But I can't always do what a bzns can so I have been keeping my eyes open for someplace like Moo. I will definitly check them out. Thank you.

Paula Lee M. said...

Wow I was impressed with your review of Moo. I have been doing my own business cards, stickers, postcards and such since I started selling at shows. But I can't always do what a bzns can so I have been keeping my eyes open for someplace like Moo. I will definitly check them out. Thank you.

Unknown said...

At the moment, I use tissue paper, business card, and a small box. But always on the look out for new & special packaging.

Catherine Sorensen said...

I am still working on how to dress up my mailing packages but I have simple kraft boxes with my flower logo stamped on them. With online orders I include a handwritten thank you note that uses a handmade card from my latest experiments along with a couple business cards. I really think that the extra effort is worth it & honestly I love to do the little details!

It was nice to hear about your adventures in I'm off to peek at your etsy shop!

~Catherine from Meadowland Designs

Unknown said...

So far, I have only had to mail out a couple orders. I usually sell at craft fairs, so I use plain white boxes tied with pretty ribbons. I include a a thank you/business card handmade with card stock and cool stamps.

Saraccino said...

Thanks for the reminder on your blog! I wanted to write an answer here... as soon as I would have time... and it went out of my mind :/

My packages are never the same. I play a lot with recycling of cards, paper, envelopes... since I make handcarved stamps, this is always a good way to try new designs and test my stamps! :)

I always wrap the jewelery carefully in soft tissue paper ( 25 g/m², in german it sounds nice "Seidenpapier" which would be in a one-to-one translation silk paper) regardless if I am sending it or if I sell at a fair. At a fair I also use the "bad" plastic bags but this is after the wrapping for protection. It happened quite often that it rained during a fair and also the bought jewelry goes into the handbag (which is really full packed most of the times ^^).

But I agree that wrapping or the presentation how the things are send is really important. I love all the things I made and I always have to wrapp it carefully... I couldn't do otherwiese, not after the process of creating them!

Claire Lockwood said...

Love those wee cards! Thanks for the tips. I ended up getting willfully minimalist business cards because I couldn't settle on one pic to represent 'everything', so I really like the possibility of having a selection.

At markets I go for black recycled card boxes tied up with string, with a card tucked under the bow. Will definitely be looking into moo. Ta!

CraftyHope said...

When it comes to my packaging, I try to use recycled materials and handmade items as much as possible. I always include my business card (just a standard one ordered from a company) as well as a hand-written thank you card. Those cards are bright-colored postcards made of cardstock. I got a great deal on a large case of these blank cards at a thrift store. I've decorated one side of the cards with a bit of a collage from scraps in my craft room.
As far as the rest of the packaging, I make jewelry backers for each of my pieces out out cardboard from food boxes (cereal, popcorn, pasta, etc.) and paper from books. I decorate them with some inks and watercolors. When it's time to wrap up the jewelry, I create a sort of envelope to place the jewelry (with backer) into. The envelope is made from scrapbook paper. I've got two rather large packs of paper that I was gifted with some time ago and have just been trying to get rid of. Once I run out of the cards and the scrapbook paper I may have to find some other materials to make my packaging.
Thanks so much for sharing pics of your packaging materials from Moo. It's all really pretty.

Jwcake said...

Thanks for the info. I haven't started selling yet but the moo cards make me want to get started! My comments are from a customer perspective. Receiving a well packaged attractive parcel is exciting and adds to the experience but the trick is, as I'm sure you know, getting the balance between attractive and waste right. Too much packaging can be a turn-off for future business. It sounds as though you have it right with your packaging being re-usable or recyclable. I love it when I receive packaging that I can pass on with gifts etc. I pin business cards to my notice board for future reference, Moo gives the likelihood of more than one being retained...what a good idea.

Shai Williams said...

I haven't actually opened up a shop yet but I am collecting ideas. I love using postcards as a notecard.

Rebecca said...

Jwcake - I absolutely agree, it's something I struggle with also. I hope I have the balance right but it is certainly something I think about and continually review. Tha boxes which I pack my jewellery in are made of recycled Kraft paper, and moo uses sustainable resources in all their printing. I use a lot more parcel tape than I would have to if I used brand new envelopes, but when I looked into 'green' padded envelopes the cost is so very much higher than the standard ones, and it does seem wasteful not to just send the perfectly functional but used ones
Out for round two! Thank you for bringing this up though, I think it's a really important consideration and something we shouldn't forget as we are packing things to present them as prettily as possible.