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Blog Tutorial

Fun and Easy Crackle Finish Technique

Everyone is getting their Easter craft on right about now and I’ve seen some pretty cool thing. My crafty hero, Mark Montano, posted a tutorial for these adorable “Matryoshka” eggs.  I have also seen a couple of tutorials for crackle finish eggs using a special crackle finish medium. I am super 90s so crackle finish is near and dear to me. When we bought our house in ’98, we painted our bedroom with a crackle finish. Ralph Lauren had just come out with a line of fancy faux finish paints like Suede and River Rock and Crackle Finish for about $40 a gallon. Yikes! Regular paint was like ten bucks a gallon way back then, but we wanted our first home to be super fancy so we went for it. Our room is still painted blood red crackle finish over a grey base coat and because it’s still the 90s in my heart, I love it.

But you don’t really need special paint to get to get this look. All you need is white glue. Regular old Elmer’s.

Here’s how:

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

Flower pots and crackle finish are a match made in heaven. If you plan to actually put a plant in your pot, i recommend sealing it with a couple coats of latex paint. Acrylic will also work, but ould house paint is perfect for this. Paint on two coats of the base color and let it dry. The top color needs to be a little on the thin side. Not watery, but thin enough that it will spread very easily. I would say the consistency should be like ranch dressing. Also, the paint brushes you use are important. I would recommend a stiff brush for applying the glue and a soft fluffy brush for the top coat. The base coat doesn’t matter.

 

Alright, you ready? You have to work kind of fast, so squirt a good amount of glue onto your project. You need a thick even coat, but not like dripping off.

redscorpiomade crackle finish

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

Then immediately float the top coat on over the glue. I don’t know if that’s a real painting term but I mean gently apply it over the glue, do not put any pressure on the brush. You don’t want to blend the two layers. Wait and watch as the cracks materialize before your very eyes.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

See? So simple! I bet you will be crackling your little hearts out now. Let me know how it works for you in the comments.

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Blog Red Scorpio Diaries

“It’s Never Too Late” is a Story We Tell Ourselves

I saw my first sunrise this past year at the age of 49. “How can this be?” you might be asking. Well, I usually like to be asleep when that is happening. Living on the West coast my whole life, I’ve seen hundreds of gorgeous sunsets. I’ve even seen the elusive green flash once. But never a sunrise. Of course, there have been a few times when I had to be out of bed before dawn, so I’d witnessed the creeping orange light pushing the darkness out of the early morning sky. But this year, from a picture window in a rented flat in San Francisco, I saw the sun peek up over the horizon and rise, slowly turning from deep red to bright yellow and changing night into day. I hadn’t planned on taking that trip. It didn’t make sense to do it, but I did. And I saw the sunrise.

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In 1997, Greg and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We thought it was such a big deal. We planned an epic Vegas vow renewal and invited our family to join us. Everyone was super pumped to party in Vegas. About a week before the big celebration, we got a phone call. It was after 10pm when the phone rang, and my Grandmother had been very ill, so I immediately thought the worst. No, I guess I thought something bad, but what I actually heard was the worst. My cousin Brandon had been in an accident and was in a coma. Traumatic brain injury. Sometimes people recover from it, sometimes they don’t. Brandon passed away the day before my birthday. You don’t think that 23 is going to be too late, but sometimes it is.

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That changed my life in a way that cannot be unchanged. Even when my life was seriously disrupted in 2009 because Greg and I both lost our jobs, and everything we had worked for, all of the careful plans we made and the feeling of comfort and security vanished, we had the most important thing. As long as you are alive, it’s not too late. We thought that.

 

About three months after losing our entire way of life, we got more bad news. My dad Bob was diagnosed with lung cancer. We were pretty much like “WTF, Universe?” But we had hope. Bob’s treatment was a success, and he was in remission. He looked pretty good, he felt pretty good, his test were great. He had time. Then, in another WTF twist of fate, he was severely disabled by a medical procedure gone wrong. Everything changed, again. He would never recover from it; he could not. He would forever need to use oxygen. He could never fly again, or go on a cruise, or walk very far. He was fragile. When Greg and my brother Justin were planning their trip to Mt. Whitney this past summer, it was bittersweet. Bob was so excited to hear them talking about it, and bonding over it, but deep down he was sad that he couldn’t join them. If they had done this ten years ago, would he have wanted to go? I bet he would not have, because ten years ago, we didn’t know that it would soon be too late.

Bob - 32

And now he’s gone, sooner than we expected, even though we knew all along what was happening. I am tormented by the questions I didn’t ask. Greg and I were planning to take drawing and painting lessons from him, but this summer it was way too hot to be in his studio, so we thought we could start in the new year. And now, it’s too late.

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That is the thing about “too late”, you hardly ever know when it’s coming. Bob knew something that most of us don’t know – too late would be too soon for him. But most of us don’t want to know that too late can happen at any time. “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today,” is a quote people like to throw around. If I thought I was going to die today, you can sure as hell bet that nothing constructive would get done. I wouldn’t be standing here typing this, guaranteed. My day would be mostly eating, and spending time hugging my loved ones and telling them all of the things before it was too late. So how about we dream as if  we’ll die today and live as if we will die sooner than we want to. Let’s not put off telling people we love them. Let’s not wait until the stars align to get going. Let’s not wait until everything is perfect because it never will be. Do not wait to try something, to do something. To be something. Even though, or maybe because he knew his time was short, Bob still tried new things. He was a Master Lithographer, but he had never tried linocuts until this year. Of course, he was awesome at it.

linocut

When Brandon died, my life and the way I saw things changed. I had allowed fear to control my life under the guise of safety, and when I realized that none of us is 100% safe, it was freeing and a little scary. I’d already begun to move away from materialism and this just sealed the deal. Experiences were what I now craved. Nobody wants to hear the story of how you scored a set of dishes on sale. They want to know the story of your one-day whirlwind trip to Paris while on vacation in London, and how you dashed through the city so you could see the Mona Lisa, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower in a matter of hours. I was terrified to fly (and oddly, of airplanes in general), but I wanted to get over it. I had to, before it was too late.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

So here is the deal. I am 50. A lot of soul-searching has been going on around here lately. I am living the years of my life where, barring any unforeseen circumstances, it is not yet too late. I cannot allow this time to just pass. I quit my job in 2012 to become a full-time maker. The plan was for me to get my thing going, then Greg would be able to quit his job and live his dream of traveling our beautiful country and taking gorgeous pictures. It hasn’t panned out. Maybe because what I really want to be is an artist and not a jewelry maker. Maybe my heart just isn’t in it. Maybe there really isn’t a market for what I make, or I’m just bad at business. Maybe I am still more afraid than I’d like to admit. I don’t know. I only know that I can’t wait any longer. We are moving forward with the plan. I confessed to Greg that I’ve been afraid to take this next big step because I didn’t want to ruin our lives, but ruining your life one drip at a time is no better than going all in and seeing what happens. It is time to go all in, before it’s too late.

In 2016, we will begin our Legacy Project. It’s not just enough to have experiences. You have to document and share them. Going through Bob’s childhood photo albums after his passing made me realize how much I didn’t even know I didn’t know. It made me wonder if my kids would remember that trip to Paris. They’ve seen pictures from our journeys and heard stories, but nothing is written down. Could it be lost forever? Very likely. Will it be too late someday? Without a doubt.

My word for 2016 is “fearless”. Will I still feel afraid? Of course. But I am going to do my best to act fearlessly, because fear is an illusion that is supposed to keep us safe, but too often it’s used as an excuse.

[Tweet “Usually what we’re afraid of isn’t disaster but discomfort, and that is bullshit.”]

No more of that. We are taking a trip, and hopefully leaving a legacy. I want to see Old Faithful, gaze in wonder at the Northern Lights, feel the mist of Niagara Falls, and dip my toes in the Atlantic Ocean before it’s too late. I have no idea what will happen. And truth be told, we rarely ever do.

Categories
Blog

Just Say “No” to Black Friday – A Rant

Got your turkey yet? Because in case you missed it, next week is Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. If you’re vegetarian Thanksgiving might not be your favorite. I can’t imagine it’s easy to get excited about Tofurkey, and as a former vegetarian I know how sad it is to see that gorgeous spread of food, but you can only eat like three things. I’m pretty sure the only Thanksgiving foods that aren’t made of animals are the rolls, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, and even though mashed potatoes are meat free, what is the point without gravy?

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As if the tables laden with coma inducing food weren’t enough of a reason to be in love with a holiday (and PS: it totally is), the other super cool reason it’s my favorite is because it’s all about being grateful for our blessings. It’s probably a tradition in your household to someway express your gratitude, whether you go around the table and take turns sharing what you’re thankful for, or you partake in a group craft to show your gratitude.

[Tweet “Being thankful is baked into this holiday. It’s right in the title, for crying out loud.”]

gratitude inscription

Thanksgiving is long been my fave because there was no consumerism involved. No pressure to buy gifts, or costumes, or decorations. The message of Christmas has long been overshadowed by consumerism. This is nothing new, I mean that’s the whole plot line of A Charlie Brown Christmas, first aired in 1965, and it’s only gotten worse. Holiday decorating is out of control, and the pressure to buy gifts is incredible. Why are we buying cars for each other now? That was not even a thing just a few years ago, but I’m already seeing commercials featuring a luxury autos adorned with ginormous bows.

Halloween isn’t for kids anymore. Way back in the day, your mom would have made your costume, or you went out as a princess, or a hobo, or cowboy or something. Then store-bought costumes got popular, and now there are giant pop-up warehouses full of costumes, mostly for adults, probably slutty. The decor has evolved from a jack-o’-lantern and some pretend spider webs to giant blow up witches with cauldrons spewing smoke, and full-size caskets. It’s also taken a disturbing turn from creepy and spooky to gory and downright maniacal.

Homemade-Halloween-Outdoor-Lighting-Designs

Even Valentine’s Day has changed. You can’t get by on store-bought cards with silly puns anymore. Heaven help the poor kid who shows up to school with something less than Pinterest worthy. Exiled straight to loserville, buddy.

Thanksgiving manage to escape these expectations. No gifts, no costumes, and no elaborate decorations. Turkeys made of handprints and construction paper pilgrim hats are still A-OK. No pressure to do anything but give thanks and eat a crazy amount of food. Many years back I told Greg that Thanksgiving would be my favorite holiday til they figured out how to commercialize it. At that time, I didn’t see how they could. Then a thing called Black Friday came into our lives.

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In the beginning, it wasn’t so bad. The newspaper was a lot fatter that day, and after celebrating all we were thankful for, we looked through the store ads to see what else we could add to our lives, because irony. Of course it couldn’t remain that simple; nothing ever does. “How can it be bigger?”  “How can they spend more?” “Let’s make Thanksgiving shopping day!” In 2014, some stores decided Black Friday just wasn’t enough, and they needed to be open on Thanksgiving too.

I’m not naïve. I know a few people who celebrate Thanksgiving by going to the movies. There have always been businesses open on Thanksgiving. Restaurants, gas stations, flower shops, convenient stores, many more. The point isn’t that all businesses should be closed on Thanksgiving, or that nobody should have to work that day. I’ve worked plenty of Thanksgivings. But I have to question why we are turning a holiday about gratitude into an opportunity to buy more more more, to line up for hours to get a great deal (actually, not always), and to literally trample our fellow humans to score a few dollars in savings?

REI is closed on Black Friday, and not only that, they’re paying their employees and encouraging them to spend their Black Friday outdoors. I’m joining REI & encouraging everyone to avoid the mall on Black Friday & to go outside instead. And if you have to shop, and you probably do, please consider supporting Small Business Saturday instead. 

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Celebrate Thanksgiving the way it was intended, by giving thanks, spending time with those you love, and eating a week’s worth of calories in one sitting.

Categories
Blog

Halftime Tune-Up Series

Day 1: Get clear on your goal

[Tweet “To move the needle on your business, you need to devote consistent focus.”]
Did you set a goal for 2015? Did you set a bunch of different half-baked goals? Did your goal evolve as the year progressed?  Dig out your list of resolutions. If you did set a concrete goal for 2015, have you been focusing your actions to make this goal a success? If you have a more casual list of resolutions, is that working out for you? Chances are, if you are juggling several ideas, your focus may be too divided.

Check out this webinar replay by Tara Gentile to help you determine your top goal. 

 

Having a goal is just the first step. Knowing what actions to take to turn your intentions into reality requires that you break down the big hairy goal into smaller, bite sized tasks. You should be able to put three things on your to-do list each day that are specifically designed to move you forward. Your goal needs a plan. If you need a little assist with goal planning, please check out my awesome system. It’s what has kept me on track and helped me hit my mile markers this year. Here’s my list of New Years’ resolutions, and so far I’m on track to have a successful 2015. Will I get everything on that list done? Maybe not every single thing, but I know I will make significant progress toward my (fairly ambitious) objective of world domination.

 

How are your 2015 goals coming along? Sign up to be a Red Scorpio Insider, and get a free downloadable “Big Project Planner”, plus 15% off your first purchase.

 

Day 2: What are your numbers?

Do you know what I’m talking about? Your “numbers” are the money you spend running your business, the money your business brings in, and most importantly, the difference between the two. This is officially referred to as a profit & loss statement. The scariest question an entrepreneur must ask themselves is “What are my actual numbers?”

One thing that I’ve learned, in life not just business, is that ignoring scary stuff doesn’t make it go away. In fact, it usually makes it scarier, because it’s an unknown. It’s always less scary when you know stuff. And you can’t grow if you don’t know. I didn’t even try to rhyme there, so, bonus.

[Tweet “Do you know your numbers? If so, good for you! Knowing them puts you in control.”] If you don’t know them and need some help figuring it all out, here are some resources:

Figuring out your numbers is about as fun as filing your taxes, but it’s a vital step in growing your business, so, sorry but you’re going to have suck it up and get started. Good news, you only have to set it up once. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that you are doing okay, maybe even better than ok. If you crunch the numbers only realize that you’re not doing so well, at least take solace in the fact that with this information, you can start correcting your course to success.

 

Day 3: How did you get this far?

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Have you heard that one before? It makes perfect sense. How do you know if you’re making progress if you’re not keeping track of what’s happening? How do you know how you got where you are if you don’t know what efforts are paying off and which ones are just a waste of your time?

 

After you get your numbers straightened out, check out your key performance indicators to figure out what is working and what is not. Entrepreneurs these days feel like they need to do everything and be everywhere on social media, but the fact of the matter is you only need to do what works. So, although it may take a little effort to figure out what is working and what is not, in the long run, you’ll save time by not doing things that aren’t moving you forward.

 

If you aren’t tracking your KPIs, it’s time to get started. If you sell on Etsy, you probably know that it keeps track of your stats. Did you also know Etsy has some amazing articles to help you grow your business? Google analytics is another amazing tool, and they have a free Analytics Academy to help you get the most out of it. If you have a WordPress blog, you can install plugins to track your analytics. Nathalie Lussier’s “30 Day List Building Challenge” explains how to build your list by using analytics, and she even walks you through the steps to set them up for your WP site.

 

You might be surprised how things ‘magically’ start to grow when you make the effort to measure their progress. Here is a list of resources to help you better understand what KPIs are and how to build your business. Please share your experiences in the comments!

 

 

Day 4: Why we do what we do

Over the past few days, we’ve been looking back on the first half of the year and taking stock of the situation. Maybe you’ve been tracking these metrics since day one and already knew what was going on in your business. I suspect that most of us weren’t crystal clear on all of the details, myself included. Some of us might be pleasantly surprised with the findings. Others may be looking at our KPIs and wonder what the heck is going on. Running your own business is hard, and sometimes you can get so discouraged you might wonder what you were thinking by starting this in the first place.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

I began making bamboo tile jewelry back in 2009. I was looking for an easy & fun project to teach in workshops at Party Arty!, the art studio my sister & I owned at the time. I fell in love with everything about these magnificent bracelets and necklaces, and spent many hours perfecting my process until it was no longer a craft project, but an art. I got lots compliments, and then requests for custom orders, so of course I took the next step and turned my jewelry making into a business. In 2012, I quit my job to work on it full-time. I was so sure that I would soon be making a living doing what I love, but here we are, almost three years later, and I am still struggling to make consistent sales. If not for my husband’s “real” job, I would have had to ditch this dream a long time ago. I’ve never worked this hard in my life, and for so little money. But I just have to believe that this work is going to pay off someday. I joke about getting famous, but all I really want is to be able to make a decent living.

I believe that my jewelry is beautiful, that it helps the wearer express themselves and tell their story, that it is a way to be connected. My “why” is my commitment to self expression, quality small batch goods, and creating an alternative to hyper-consumerism. And so, I keep on. Every day, my goal is just to move forward.    

Simon Sinek gave an amazing TEDtalk on the subject. My friend Kris wrote this beautiful piece on her “why” and how it drives her. Take a moment to remember your “why” and get your goals realigned with that “why”. I’d love for you to share yours in the comments.

 

Day 5: Finish 2015 like a boss

After looking back at the last six months, how are you doing? If you’re seeing measurable progress, awesome! This is the perfect time to refine your focus. You figured out what doesn’t work, so cut that out right now. Devote that time into ramping up the things that are working for you, or testing out (and measuring) a couple of new things.

If you’re not growing the way you’d hoped, go over this checklist. Figure out what you might need to start paying attention to so you can finish the year strong. 2015 is only halfway over, so there is still plenty of time to correct your course to success.

 

Take all of this information and develop an action plan. Download my free “Big Project Planner” here. It’s a super awesome tool that helps you reverse engineer a big goal by breaking it down into small steps.

 

Here are some additional resources to get you going. And remember, every tiny step forward is progress!

 

Categories
Blog

Is “Crafter” a Dirty Word?

[Tweet “Crafter, maker, artist, artisan… what do you call yourself?”]
 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

All things being equal, I would prefer to call myself a crafter, because I craft things. As in, I take raw materials and I make stuff with my two hands. But when my sister recently referred to me as a crafter on Facebook, I cringed. I don’t call myself a crafter, and many other crafters eschew that term. Why is that? I guess because when I think of “crafter” it’s more a gender neutral way of saying craftsman, but when most people hear “crafter” they tend to think of someone who uses hot glue and pompons. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

 

I tried out “artisan” for a while, because that seems respectable and a little easier to say with confidence than “artist” which, having no formal art education, can kind of stick in my throat. It just seems to confuse people though. “Maker” is the term a lot of people use because it’s versatile and carries the same esteem as “artisan”, but it’s a little more 21st century. When people ask what I do, I tell them I’m a maker. It seems to be the most fitting description. Aside from crafter.

 

 

Categories
Blog Business

How To Reframe Failure

This weekend I participated in a local arts festival. It was something I had been looking forward to for a few weeks. I haven’t done many fairs or festivals. Jewelry is historically the section that fills up the quickest, so I’ve been rejected a bunch of times, and the one farmers’ market I was able to get into was not very lucrative. But I’ve been looking for a new way to get my super cool rock star jewelry in front of a new audience, so I applied to sell at this local fest.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

And, instead of waiting until the last day to register like I usually do, I turned my app in right away and lo and behold, it was accepted. Yay!

 

Lesson 1: Act early.

 

 

Unfortunately, the organizer forgot to notify me that I had been accepted. I was bummed, assuming that I had been rejected once again, but I decided to follow up just to be sure and to ask if perhaps there was a wait list. That is how I found out, five weeks before the event, that I had in fact been accepted.

Lesson 2: Follow up.

 

My expectations were high. I’d heard legends about makers who didn’t bring enough product and sold completely out halfway through a fair. Another more realistic statistic I’d heard somewhere said that most vendors sell about 30% of their stock on hand. So I set two goals for myself: One, to design three new products I could make quickly and sell at a lower price point; and two, make 100 of these new pieces. That’s a lot of pieces. And if you know anything about me, you know I am all about quality. I wasn’t going to slap something together and put my name on it. Hell no. So I tweaked my process slightly to make it a little quicker but still high quality, and I designed a necklace that could be made much faster than stringing strands of beads or labor intensive cuff bracelets, and this is what I created.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

 

I then used my “Big Project Planner” to reverse engineer my goal. I set a schedule for making the jewelry, designing and creating the display and the packaging, developing a marketing strategy, and planning the logistics. Boom. Mission accomplished.

Lesson 3: Have a detailed plan of action and work it.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
so, just go down this alley…

 

Unfortunately, the festival was not financially successful. I sold nowhere near 30% of my pieces. Closer to 3% if we’re keeping it real. It wasn’t just me, but the other sellers I spoke to also had pitiful sales. My neighbor, who was selling gorgeous handbags and accessories, told me that the previous two times she had participated in the market, the hand-made marketplace was on the main drag with the food vendors and music stages. This time, we were off in an adjacent alley that didn’t get as much foot traffic. Also, we were literally across from the trash cans, and homeless people kept coming by and rooting through the bins for recyclables. On top of that, in my opinion, the publicity for the festival focused mainly on the Craft Beer Block & selling tickets to that versus the handmade marketplace.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
Cool mural, not so cool trash cans…

 

Lesson 4: You can control some things, but not everything.

Friday night, I was super pumped. I set a goal and totally rocked it. Saturday, I was devastated. I had high hopes and they were crushed. Sunday, I woke up feeling invigorated to put everything I learned the previous day into an action plan. Besides the lessons highlighted above, I learned some pretty major stuff. I have a much deeper insight into my ideal customers’ perspective. I also learned that many women prefer to wear shorter necklaces, would probably buy earrings, and are most likely to spend $5-$10 at a festival like this one. I also realized I was offering way too many choices, creating overwhelm for shoppers.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
My vision, brought to life

 

Lesson 5: There is always a lesson to be learned.

Although I would have very much loved to have sold out of jewelry, or even sold 30% of the pieces on hand, I don’t consider my experience a failure. I am still proud of reaching my production goal. I am super happy that the display I imagined turned out so well in real life. I connected with some really cool makers, and I am taking away a wealth of knowledge that I can use to make my next experience better and more successful.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Blog Business

Million Dollar Etsy Seller?

Three Bird Nest was all over the news last week. At least, it was all over the news I pay attention to. If you are not familiar, you must not be a handmaker. Basically, an entrepreneur in California was profiled in Fast Company because of her out of this world Etsy sales. A bunch of handmakers called BS and mayhem ensued. Tara Swiger wrote a great piece on it, as did Abby Glassenberg and IndieUntangled. Here is my take.

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 Handmade by me in my studio

 

If you are not in the business of making and selling your wares, it might not strike you as shocking to hear about an Etsy seller who grossed close one million dollars in sales last year. But if you have ever made anything and tried to sell it then you probably said “what the hell?” when you heard about Three Bird Nest. Unless she is charging like three grand a scarf, there are some shenanigans happening here.

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Hand made original framed print by Jamsiewaymsie
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Handmade leather bag by OxHare Studios

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My heart went out to all of the knitters and crocheters when this terrible news came out. But, my darlings, I have been feeling your pain for a while. You see, I am a jewelry artist. People have been making money selling their non-handmade jewelry on Etsy for a long time. In fact I used to see these sellers sometimes in the craft store, buying Tori Spelling’s jewelry kits to put together and resell at a generous mark up. One woman was bragging to me about how she couldn’t keep them in her shop. Silly me, spending years honing my craft and hours crafting my pieces. But you go on, lady. I will concentrate on customers who are a little more discerning.

 

Handmade Necklace by Jewels by Trish
Handmade Necklace by Jewels by Trish

 

 

 

 

Handsewn by Survival Organs
Handsewn by Survival Organs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Handmade by Pretty Much Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those gals aren’t even the worst. There are some shops selling jewelry that you can literally buy in gumball machines. Some only cost a dollar. Unfortunately shipping from China will probably quadruple the price but still, handmade jewelry for under $5? How can I compete?

 

 

If you buy this gumball jewelry thinking it’s handmade, I feel sorry for you. That was obviously a rhetorical statement since I know none of my super rad readers thinks handmade jewelry can be sustainably made, even in sweatshops, for $1. You guys know what’s up. And I guess technically the Tori Spelling kits are sort of handmade, and if someone is willing to pay $30 for plastic beads, then bless their heart. But Average Jane may not be able to tell hand knit or crochet from machine-made (Unless perhaps, you leave the “Made in China” label attached. According to customers, the million dollar Etsy seller did that). And it’s a lie to pass off machine-made hats as handmade just because you sewed on a button.

 

Hand printed notecards by oursecrettreehouse
Hand printed notecards by oursecrettreehouse

 

 

 

Hand designed crochet patterns by hijennybrown
Hand designed crochet patterns by hijennybrown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I certainly do not condemn Three Bird Nest for being successful in her business. Because what she is doing takes a lot of hustle. But, let’s get on a level playing field. Don’t sell items as handmade that clearly are not. Many customers do not even realize that machine-made items are allowed to be sold on Etsy. To a lot of people, Etsy means handmade. Sorry guys, but that is not necessarily true. 

 

 

Got an opinion? You know you do, so please share.

 

Categories
Blog

Attack of the Dreaded Imposter Syndrome

So much to do and so little time. I am polishing up the website this week and getting everything super pro, checking off my New Years Resolutions one by one. Nice. Here is an awesome post about “Imposter Syndrome”, which is the perfect subject this week since I had a little “Who do you think you are” attack. Fleeting, thankfully but still, not cool. [Tweet “We are all awesome and doing our best. Let’s keep reminding ourselves and each other of that important fact. “]

 

Originally Published August 18, 2014

 

 

I am about to do the scariest thing I have ever done. This week, as I may have mentioned once or twice, I will be sitting in the front row at CreativeLive for the fabulous Tara Gentile‘s course, “Market Launch and Sell Your Next Big Thing“. That is not the part that is scaring me. Confession: I am afraid to fly. Like really, really terrified. I am scared of planes, actually, which is yet another strange quirk and just part of my never-ending charm. On top of that, I have never traveled alone before. I have never even gone to a movie or a restaurant alone. What can I say, I met my soul mate when I was 18. But I am so excited to be a part of this experience that I am not going to let a little terror stop me.

creativelive with Tara swiger marketing for crafters class july 2014
CreativeLive, straight ahead!

Yesterday, I got an email from Tara, setting up a pre-show meeting. Fantastic idea! It will be very helpful to get some things worked out before appearing in front of a live audience. Then I see who is cc’d in the email. Two names pop out immediately, Ana of Ana Apple Designs, and Sasha Cagen of Quirky Alone, and I begin to panic. These ladies are real business people. Really for real. What the heck was I doing trying to include myself into this group? Make no mistake, I have complete confidence in my art. My business skills, not so much. I frequently “joke” about what a terrible business person I am, and we all know that comedy is truth in disguise.

creativelive with Tara swiger marketing for crafters class july 2014
Eyes on the Prize!

So I had myself a little pity party. I am usually insanely optimistic, so this is not at all the kind of party I like to throw. My saint of a husband said all of the right things and asked, “Do you want to talk about it?” “No, I’m good,” I assured him. Because I knew it would pass. It’s called “impostor syndrome” and it’s a real thing, but I had to get over it. So what if these ladies are more successful than I am? I am not in competition with them. I want us all to do well. I am just not as far along in the journey, and that is ok because I already knew that I was built for comfort, not for speed.

The bracelet I made especially for the trip
Seriously though, you better order one before I get famous.

Whenever I get worried about my slow progress, I just have to remind myself that some things take time. Just keep moving forward and you will get when you are going.

 

I will leave you with that sentiment, and also a picture of my Sulcata tortoise, Frank. He never gives up, he always soldiers on, even if he is stuck under the fire pit and has to drag it 20 feet across the yard before it frees itself.

Showgirl chicken Liza and Sulcata tortoise Frank
Frank takes what he wants. Sorry Liza.

 

 

Categories
Blog Goals

What To Do When it All Falls Apart

First of all, let’s take a step back and acknowledge that it rarely ever all falls apart. It feels that way sometimes, but usually it’s just a tiny part that falls apart.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
super secret project

 

 

I have been working on an amazing secret project that involves a lot of stuff I am not super pro at, so major fails are a daily occurrence. Confession: I fail at stuff I am really good at all the time. So, you know, failing at stuff I have less experience with is actually a little easier to take.

 

filming some stuff
more secrets

 

 

But the sheer volume of setbacks is bogging me down. My enthusiasm has not diminished, thank goodness. Even though every night I collapse into bed quite spent, sometimes with very little to show for my entire day’s work, by the morning I am anxious to get into the studio and start back at it. The time I have wasted is annoying the hell out of me though. I have already missed one self-imposed and ridiculously ambitious deadline.

A little hint: it involves video. I know nothing about making videos. It’s harder than you might think.

 

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
mostly successful!

 

For example, here is a short video of glass cutting that I shot, only I had accidentally hit “time-lapse” instead of “video”. I was pretty irritated when I realized that. I was so nailing the glass cutting! Grrr. I did eventually get over it. Kind of. Thinking about it right now is pissing me off all over again, but it is what it is. It is not at all what I wanted, but it’s actually kind of cool.

 

 

 

[Tweet “When it all falls apart, try to remember that it is mostly together and press on.”] Usually, just a slight adjustment will get everything back on track.

 

 

 

Categories
Goals

How to Make Those Resolutions Stick

It’s time, people. We’ve all made our resolutions and now we have to figure out how to follow through. Here are a couple of tips to boost success. I don’t have pictures that illustrate these ideas so I just used some pretty photos from my gallery. I think it works.

 

1) Make sure it is something you really want. Life is too short to take on projects with no passion. Only set you really want to fulfill.

howtoNYres1

 

2) Tell the world. Nowadays it is so easy to broadcast your intentions, and that helps keep you accountable. And accountability is key for goal fulfillment.

 

A little too much perspective.
A little too much perspective.

 

3) Have a plan. One of my resolutions is to keep up on the laundry. What? I just told you to make sure your resolution is something you want to do and I for sure do not want to do laundry. Or it would be done by now. I do however want to reap the benefits of having my laundry done and put away versus piled up all over my house.

“Keep up on laundry” sounds so easy and doable, and for sure, it is not rocket science. But it is more complicated than breathing in and out, so it requires some thought and planning. Same with “Exercise more”, “Drink more water”, “Be more mindful”. How will I make this happen? One load every day? Once a week, all laundry, all day? I am still working this plan out so I will let you know.

 

Rainy day on Bourbon St.
Rainy day on Bourbon St.

 

4) Be realistic. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. Don’t set yourself up for failure. You are not going to become fluent in Spanish this year unless you move to Mexico and don’t have a choice. Sorry to have to break it to you. You can set a goal to “Take a Spanish Class”, or “Learn 10 Helpful Phrases in Spanish”.

 

Beautiful downtown San Diego, from the bridge
Beautiful downtown San Diego, from the bridge

 

5) Make it enjoyable. I always like to put some fun challenges on my list, and that is totally legit. Last year I set a goal to enter a project into the SD County Fair, and I actually won a ribbon. This year I want to sing Karaoke.

 

Sparkly ring
Sparkly ring

 

6) Things change, your intentions may change, and that is ok. It is important to set goals. It is just as important to know what goals are worth your time. You’ve got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.

Tweet: Move forward and make progress. That is the point. via @redscorpiomade  Move forward and make progress. That is the point.