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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Open Beading Nights

Our popular Open Beading Nights are now posted on the class schedule! Many of you have been asking about our upcoming classes. The classroom is still under construction, but coming along - stay tuned for more updates! 

Thursday February 9th
Thursday February 16th
Wednesday February 22nd
Wednesday February 29th

Open Beading Night
Do you have questions about a beading project? Are you looking for inspiration or creative input? Why not drop by an Open Beading Night at beadFX?

Stephanie (and her sparkling personality!) will be in the classroom from about 6pm to 8pm most Thursdays to answer questions and give advice.
Calling in advance to reserve a seat is highly recommended.
Fees: Free!!!

About Stephanie : Stephanie Dixon is proud to be a CREATE YOUR STYLE with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador in Canada. She is a popular wire bead crochet and wirework designer/instructor in the Greater Toronto Area. Also known as The Dixon Chick, she is excited to be teaching in Tucson for Swarovski and on the 2011 CREATE YOUR STYLE cruise. For more info, please visit her blog,

Please register by calling 416.701.1373
or toll free 877.473.2323
General Class Deposit Policy: Deposits are non-refundable. Notice given 5 days prior will be converted to store credit. Cancellation after that will forfeit the deposit.

Monday, January 30, 2012

How much would you pay for success?

Got into an interesting conversation yesterday with someone who has retired from a career of being in the marketing and promotion and logo-design business. We got to yakking about how hard it is, in general, to convince people that "art" is valuable.

So as we were talking - he told me of a life-time of pitching advertising campaigns to business owners who, in his words, "acted like I was costing them money." He went on to explain that he had spearheaded re-branding projects for companies that literally had turned them from money losers to big, successful corporations (you would recognize the names if I told you). And the campaigns had run in the thousands of dollars (less than ten) - and returned millions many times over.

The phrase stopped me cold, so I'll repeat it. "They acted as if the advertising/logo/branding was going to cost them money." 

Except that's exactly what makes you money - people remembering your name, knowing who you are and what you do, and coming to you when they need your product or service.

If you are new to making jewelry - you may not have yet run into the phenomenon of people not valuing your work. If you have been at it awhile, and maybe have tried making jewelry for sale - you will eventually run into people who think that your time and creativity have no value.

We live in a culture that deliberately devalues art and creativity - from stereotyping the "starving artist" to turning school art programs into time-killing and time-wasting afterthoughts. Art is a low-status career - ever hear of an important and powerful wedding photographer?

I don't have a solution for this - I just thought I would mention this as something to think about. I don't think it's right - but it's so deeply entrenched - I don't know how you would change it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Joy of Metal Clay: Saul Bell Award Finalist

The Saul Bell Award Finalists have been announced and posted on their site.

This week I want to share a finalist's work that I think is fabulous. Christi Anderson of Marana, Arizona received recognition for two pieces she entered.

Christi Anderson, Finalist entry for the Saul Bell Award - Metal Clay

Christi Anderson, Finalist Entry for the Saul Bell Award - Metal Clay

Unfortunately the title or additional information about this pieces are unavailable but the detail and complexity of her designs are inspiring.

Christi's Website showcases her work and provides links to her Etsy sales. Lovely work.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Business Chat - Know what you sell

So you have made a pile of work and now you need to sell it. How hard can it be? It’s really easy to sell a few things here and there, but oh, you made a BIG pile. Oh, you want to actually make some money, you might even want to make things for a living. Well that’s still not hard but it takes a bit of smarts.

Step one of how to sell your work is: Know what you sell.

Most new sellers will blink, and then wonder if this is a trick question. That’s easy, you think, I made a sweater/pot/earrings/pillow. That’s what I sell.


That is your product.

People don’t buy products. People buy solutions.

It’s your job as a salesperson to figure out what their problem is and then position your work as the solution to their problem.

I hear you muttering away, just as I did when I first heard this. “There’s no problem, they just want earrings/mittens/art.” I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, if a customer just wanted earrings they’d go to a mall. The customer has sought out (through a craft show or online) HANDMADE earrings.

Time after time in my booth I hear, “wow, there’s so much talent here, I wish I could do something like this.” Are you listening? The customer’s problem is that they think they can’t create, that they aren’t artistic. And they think you are. The customer is looking for a creative story.

You need to sell you as a story. Give them a fully formed real live 3D artist. If you’re selling online presenting you the artist lends your work authenticity and depth. For those at a craft show I can guarantee at least 10 times a day you’ll be asked something along the lines of “how long have you been doing this?” or “where did you learn?”.

It’s hard when you’re starting out and haven’t yet fully claimed the word artist as you. Some people never really know what to say and just hum and fidget. But you, the savvy craftista, will be ready to continue the conversation and communicate your story. For communication is marketing and marketing leads to sales.
The second step to solving your customers’ problems is to communicate to them why your product will make their life better. This is explaining the benefits of your work, not the features.

While features are important and should be mentioned, if you want your customer to take out their wallets and hand over their hard-earned money you need to convince them of the benefits your product offers.

What’s the difference between a feature and a benefit?

- A feature is simply a characteristic of a product.
- A benefit explains what the customer has to gain by using the product.

The features are about the product. The benefits are about the customer.
Anyone can make a list of a product’s features. But it takes a bit of work to convert each of those features into benefits. A handy trick you can use is to add the phrase “which means…” to the end of each feature.

For example: a pair of mittens
Feature – made with 100% handspun wool.
Benefit – your hands stay warm and cozy.
Feature - costs less
Benefit - saves you money
Feature - comes in multiple colors
Benefit - reflects your personality

Here’s your homework for this week.

To get you started pick up your notebook and spend some time answering these questions on paper. Write several paragraphs on each question. If you feel too self-conscious at first write about yourself in the third person until you get the details down. Learn to spin your story.

  1. How did you become an artist?
  2. How did you learn your skill?
  3. What training have you had? Have you studied with any big names? Taken a course at a well-known school?
  4. How long have you been making your current work?
  5. What did you make before this?
  6. What was your creative path?
  7. What is it about your current work/technique that lights your fire? Why do you do it?
  8. What new techniques do you want to learn? What’s in your artistic future?
  9. What do you love most about being an artist?

Now, take 10 of your “products”. Write down the features of each product. At the end of the features list add the words “which means” and write the benefits.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Inspiration Friday

Welcome to our newest version of Inspiration Friday. We thought we'd made a few changes, namely allowing folks to choose their own inspiration, and the biggie - we give you a lot more time! If you would like to participate in the next one, see the end of this post for complete details.

I love the idea of using an inspiration palette to base your design on. We all tend to stick with our own comfortable colour palettes, and this is just such an easy way to expand your range.

 First up, we have this one from Lyndsey - A last minute one that turns out was well worth it to finish up. She sold it 5 minutes after posting it!

Here was Lyndsey's inspiration source.

Lyndsey McCollam
Jewelry Creations by Lyndsey

Alicia worked from this image from DesignSeeds

Mysticism is brought to you by Alicia Marinache, owner designer at All the Pretty Things, a Burlington, ON shop of hand crafted wearable art and home d├ęcor. Taking her inspiration from nature, Alicia creates unique high-quality jewelry using sterling silver, semi-precious stones, pearls, and crystals. In today’s increasingly busy world, through her one of a kind designs Alicia brings you snapshots of beauty in an oasis of peace and tranquility. Her designs are elegant, versatile, classy and soft – the perfect accent for the modern woman. Read her blog on All the Pretty Things website and shop at her Art Fire store

I hope you enjoyed this months challenge, and I hope to see you (and more!) back next month. If you would like to participate in the next challenge, here are the details:

Deadline February 23rd, 2012

Before the cutoff date, send your pictures to us, and we'll blog your inspiration source, and your finished project.  Feel free at that time to send us along any other info you want to include. We'll publicize your blog or etsy/artfire/etc site as well.

For example, I think I'll make mine from this one:

You can make your jewelry/beadwork out of any materials you wish. This can be stringing, wirework, lampwork, polymer clay - whatever you wish!

(Many of us use Design Seeds as in inspiration source. Feel free to use any inspiration source you wish. Design Seeds just happens to be among my favourites.)

Here's how to submit:

 * Send an email to with a picture of your inspiration source (or a link to the source)
* include an image of your creation
* include any contact information you want us to include in the blog posting

Happy Creating!