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Everything posted by Narrina

  1. Narrina

    Saw Blades vs Stainless Steel

    Stainless is a pain to cut no matter how you're cutting it. I've had blades go dull or shatter after only 5 or 6 rings, while other times I've gotten 100+ from one blade. I use a jeweller's saw with 2/0 blades. Before attaching the blade to your saw, inspect the blade carefully to make sure it isn't already slightly dull. In every gross of blades I get, there are always some that are already semi-dull. Also, if you don't already do so, always lubricate your blade. It'll make it last longer and cut more easily. There are lubricants you can buy, but I just use oils from my own skin. It sounds gross, but it works really well and will cut down the amount of friction on the blade so it cuts better and won't go dull or shatter as quickly.
  2. It will be very expensive either way, but I'd say make them. 1) You can better ensure the quality of the finished ring, 2) buying wire and making rings yourself tends to be cheaper, 3) it can be rather difficult sometimes to estimate how many rings you are going to need and the last thing you'll want is to come short and have to buy more gold,and 4) you'll have a greater range of ring sizes. As for who carries 18k rose gold, 20ga: go to Pasternak Findings. They're a supply company in Israel and are excellent. I buy all my large quantity silver orders from them. They have free international shipping for orders of $500 and greater.
  3. Narrina

    The 'nerd' factor

    I agree with many of the things posted here. Of course you're a nerd, you're here aren't you?! Nerdiness seeks out like nerdiness. (I'm reminded of a line from Alice in Wonderland: "Welcome, we're all a little mad here!"). But more seriously, I agree with Lorenzo. You haven't found the right crowd yet. Where I live, if I mention I make chainmaille I get a bunch of blank stares and people thinking I'm meaning those annoying chain letters. Then I have to explain what it is and sometimes still get blank stares. At the shows I now do, many people either recognize what it is or don't care what the technique is they just like unique jewelry. Also, while I may tell them that the technique of a particular piece is chainmaille and 'fill_in_the_blank_weave," I, for a number of reasons, market my jewelry as being historically inspired. A lot of people don't really care that much about what the technique is, they just like the finished piece. I tell people what it is because 1) some actually are interested, 2) it makes it easier for them to come back for more if they know what it is, and 3) it shows I know my trade, however, I tailor how much/what I say based on my observations of the potential customer.
  4. Narrina

    Chainmail(le) hourly wages.

    It's through a mix of ways really. Sometimes you learn about a show via word-of-mouth, but some magazines do also give information about shows (there are actually (at least in the U.S.) entire magazines just for listing art and craft shows), and often a town's Chamber of Commerce will know about what shows are in their area (some even head them up themselves). There are also websites specifically for looking for art and craft shows. Here are a few sites for shows in Australia: www.craftevents.com.au 10times.com/australia/arts-crafts/tradeshows www.thefinderskeepers.com/markets.php www.tascraftfair.com.au/ melbourneartfair.com.au/ www.craftalive.com.au/ www.eventseye.com/fairs-organizers/expertise-events-1276-1.html And these are just a few. Try doing a Google search for art shows/craft shows/art fairs, etc. in Australia, or wherever in Australia you are wanting/willing to go to for shows, and you might be surprised by how many you get. You can also try looking on FB as a lot of larger shows will also have a FB page.
  5. Narrina

    Chainmail(le) hourly wages.

    I really would recommend getting some other web presence to help drive traffic to your shop. If you're not interested in starting a Facebook page (although they are a good thing to have if you are trying to sell online), then you could always consider a Pinterest account and pin all your Etsy store listings to your account. Google seems to really like Pinterest and can help drive traffic to your Etsy. ( I have had to sales thus far directly related to Pinterest.) If nothing else, add your Etsy store link to your signature on all the forums that you post on, this can also help to drive traffic to your store. There are also ways to promote, advertise, market, etc. your store offline. If you have business cards, give them to people when you talk to them about what you make. If your friends and family talk to others about your work, give them some cards to be able to hand out when they talk about it. Also be on the look-out for community boards where you see others leaving business cards/fliers behind and leave a few of your own. Also, every time you make a sale at a show or online, be sure to include a business card. These are just a few simple ways that can help promote your store. This is why I don't sell at my local craft shows. I used to do shows that only cost me $25-$30 for a space and most of the time wouldn't even break even. Most of the shows I do now cost me $100-$200 (although the ones I'm looking at applying to now will cost me more) and I make nearly 10x the booth cost. Perhaps try some shows that are outside of your area, but still easy enough for you to get to, or a different type of show all together. (There are many kinds of craft shows and some shows are just better quality then others, but they don't always have to be expensive to be a decent show.) For myself, I've found I do best at the fine art shows rather than at craft shows. This is true not just with chainmaille but with any art or craft based business. If you want to make your living (or even half your living) off of it you are going to have to spend a lot of time and money in order to do accomplish it. So, if this is what you want, you have to work hard at it and be very, very patient because it doesn't happen overnight.
  6. Narrina

    Chainmail(le) hourly wages.

    I charge $25-$30 an hour. At my shows, I currently display pieces priced everywhere from $15 to $1,800 (and, yes, I have actually sold a piece in the 4-digit price range); though most pieces fall between $35-$350. For me, most of my sales come from pieces between $55 and $150 with bracelets being my best seller. I sell through a combination of Fine Art shows, my website, and a gallery that started carrying my jewelry in mid-summer of this year. (The Lord has really been blessing my business the last few years. While it is not yet to where it can be my sole income, it is growing and is getting close to being equal with my part-time job.) As far as other selling venues online, if you are looking to have your own website I'd highly recommend going through Indiemade. I have my site through them and I love it! I'd stay as far away from Etsy as possible. They have a lot of issues. However, regardless of where you sell online, you will need to do a lot of marketing, promoting, and advertising to drive traffic to your shop otherwise you'll just be lost to cyberspace.
  7. Narrina

    Tarnished Rose Gold Filled?

    Try putting the piece either in a tumbler with some stainless steel shot, water, and a tiny squirt of blue Dawn dishsoap. Or, if you don't have a tumbler, a small tupperware dish (with lid) will work, just fill with water, add a tiny squirt (too much can leave a nasty yellow residue do to undissolved soap) of the blue Dawn dishsoap (only the blue as the other kinds have various chemical additives that may leave residue), and spin it around for a few minutes and it should clean up just fine. (Basically you're turning the tupperware dish into a mini tumber/washing machine). I've cleaned regular gold-fill this way and it works great (works on copper also, just takes a bit longer). I'd be very careful about using acids to clean it with. If you aren't careful, you can make the solution to strong and cause damage to the piece (I've etched copper because the vinegar solution was too strong), also, with this being gold-filled and not solid you may want to be extra careful.
  8. Personally, I'd go with the sterling silver. Bracelets can receive a lot of banging around, almost as much as rings. Also, they can get caught on objects and get torn apart. Rings and bracelets tend to be the highest wear pieces of jewelry in terms of rough treatmeant and so stronger materials are better for long-term durability.
  9. Narrina

    Help with getting into events

    Hmm. Well maybe these sites will be of help: Arts and Crafts Shows - USA: http://www.artsandcraftshows-usa.com/ Craft Master News: http://www.craftmasternews.com/Default.aspx FestivalNet.com: http://festivalnet.com/index.html Fairs and Festivals: http://www.fairsandfestivals.net/ They all allow you to search for shows by state.
  10. Narrina

    Help with getting into events

    I wouldn't. Event coordinators aren't likely to be looking on Craigslist for vendors. You could ask you local Chamber of Commerce if they know of any arts/craft shows, festivals, bazaars, farmer's markets, etc. in the area.
  11. Narrina

    What's in a name?

  12. Narrina

    Digital credit card processing

    Definitely look into Square!! I use Square and I cannot recommend them enough. It's easy to sign up for and the only fee is a small processing fee on each sale. The reader is free and while you can buy one for $10 at places like Staples it comes with a rebate code for the full amount. I absolutely love Square and being able to take credit cards makes a big difference in show sales. I would also recommend getting a stylus to make it easier for them to sign for the purchase.
  13. Narrina

    Customer horror story!!

    Sadly, that's very true. I just automatically start talking with the customers about the piece they're holding (especially if it's one of my higher priced pieces) and it seems to help cut down on the problem of people not understanding why something is priced the way it is. Lol, sometimes they go from not understanding the price to thinking it should be higher.
  14. Narrina

    Customer horror story!!

    Wow! Some of you have really had some awful customers! I've been fortunate so far and haven't encountered anyone quite as bad as the ones you've been describing. I've actually been having fewer and fewer people try and haggle over a price and my prices haven't gone down, in fact, they've gone up. Now and then I still have someone ask if I could come down a bit on a price, but not very often anymore. Lol, Anakhet! I love that 'assembled' and 'unassembled' jewelry labeling. That's hilarious.
  15. Narrina

    Concerns for the indusry

    Mmhmm. You just keep telling yourself that, Euar. Lol.
  16. Narrina

    Concerns for the indusry

    Oh I definitely do! However for me to goes beyond chainmaille to also include just about any metalworking technique that can be used to create jewelry. I am utterly and incurably addicted to it.
  17. Narrina

    Concerns for the indusry

    That is a great breakdown of a common problem in any form of artsy business vs. artsy hobby! Thanks for sharing it!
  18. Narrina


    Well, it kind of depends on whether you intend to sell just as a hobby or as an actual business (especially if the goal is to have it become your sole source of income.) If you want this to be your business, then you first need to find out how much you actually need to make in a year to cover you business expenses and cost-of-living expenses (plus taxes and a small percent above what all this adds to so that you don't just break even; it also gives you a cushion for all those unexpected expenses that come up). After adding all this up you have the target yearly income you need to be aiming for (it will still take time to actually achieve it though). Next, add up the average amount of hours you spend in a year making chainmaille that you plan to sell. Divide you target yearly income by the average yearly hours mailling and you have the wage per hour that you should be aiming for. Otherwise, if this is only going to be for a little extra income and not become a business, then at the very least make sure your wage per hour is no less then what your wage per hour is at your job (and if that is only minimum wage then definitely bump the wage up for your chainmaille). A lot of maillers aim for at least $10-$20 per hour. $10 an hour, while it sounds like a nice wage is really not as much as you'd think. Once income tax (roughly 30%, maybe higher), sales tax (this varies depending on where you live, but the lowest I know of is Michigan's 6%), and self-employment tax (if it applies to you, is another 15%) figure that your wage will be at the very least cut in half, so you really would only be earning at most maybe $5 an hour after taxes come out, but likely less (tax percentages listed here are the estimates in the U.S.; if you live somewhere else then you need to find out what the %'s are for where you live and any other taxes that there might be that apply to you). At present, I aim at $25-30ish an hour, however, as my business grows, this will eventually be raised. I know a lot of professional jewelers (particularly silversmiths and goldsmiths) that charge anywhere between $80-$200 per hour sometimes even higher.
  19. Narrina

    To Etsy, or not to Etsy, that is the question

    Sorry about that! Ya, any time EC is meant we just call it EC and not silver plate (even if it is silver plated EC, as it would be soooooo confusing to specify between EC, SP EC, and SP), so when you see us referring to silver plate, we just mean regular silver plate wire and not the silver plated enameled copper.
  20. Narrina

    To Etsy, or not to Etsy, that is the question

    Lysenis, what we are talking about is not Artistic Wire's or Parawire's EC. That stuff is great to use. Yes, it has a layer of silver between the enamel and the copper, but this is to heighten the colour of the enamel. So while they call their wire silver plated enamel copper, it is not the silver plated wire we are talking about. We are meaning wire that is sold as a substitute for solid stirling, wire that is just a layer of silver over some other metal. So no worries, Parawire and Artistic Wire are good to use and sorry for any confusion. Also, I believe all of Parawire's wire has a clear coat on it to give it better protection (I don't know for sure whether Artist Wire does this also, but I would expect that they do), so even their wire that is just silver plate over copper with no enamel should be coated to prevent tarnishing; so, again, no worries about Parawire.
  21. Narrina

    To Etsy, or not to Etsy, that is the question

    Oh no, EC and silver plated wire are two very different things (also of note, Artistic Wire and Parawire like to emphasize when their wire has a thin layer of silver plate between the enamel and the copper so that people understand why that wire costs more than the EC without the layer of silver). The issue isn't with EC that has a thin layer of silver plate between the enamel and the copper, but when it is wire made to look like silver by just having a thin layer of silver plate over the copper or over some other metal. I work with EC all the time and it sells quite well.
  22. Narrina

    To Etsy, or not to Etsy, that is the question

    Yes. Both of those companies sell a lot silver plating over copper. Besides the durability issues that silver plating can have, silver plating can also have some perceived value issues. Some people just don't like the idea of 'plated' jewelry and sometimes associate it with 'fake' or 'costume' and so it can be a harder sell sometimes than just using solid sterling. Also, even if you find a durable silver-plated wire, a lot of people still tend to a have a lot of concerns about whether the plating will come off.
  23. Narrina

    To Etsy, or not to Etsy, that is the question

    Exactly right! You are selling more than just your wares, there are all the other factors of the 'benefits' of your wares that adds to the branding or perceived value (many of these you mentioned: repairs, allergy information, cleaning information, etc.). These all add to the overall perceived value of the work and help you get the better prices for your work. It's not just about what the piece is and what it's made off, but what it does for the person buying it: how do they feel when they wear it, the quality of the service not just the work, etc. This is why products that are marketed as 'organic,''eco-friendly,''recycled,' etc. do so well and at higher prices than similar products that aren't marketed that way. These are perceived benefits that add to the value of the piece. Perceived value is a tricky thing to gauge, and it takes a lot of experimentation to figure out. Each material has a different perceived value, sometimes this makes it easier to sell the piece for higher prices and other times it is a perceived value that you are having to overcome. Such is the case with aluminum. It automatically has a lower perceived value because of the low-intrinsic value of the metal and its association with pop cans, however (as both Kali Butterfly and Rebeca Mojica have shown beautifully) with high quality workmanship/designs and an amazing job at branding/marketing/promoting you can raise the perceived value of your work to allow you to charge the higher prices.