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Previews + Updates

I finally got a chance to photograph all the pieces I recently made.

I’m gonna have to select & then edit the pictures (to make sure the colors seen in the pics are as similar to the real items as possible).

Here are some more previews of the things I plan to list on my Etsy shop. Sorry for cropping them & making them extra blurry. That way, when the official color-corrected pictures are up, you’ll like the final results more :D

angelica brigade handmade bracelets chainmaille bracelet brass jewelry jewellery

Simple but dramatic chainmaille bracelets. I’ve been wearing them the moment I finished making them.

angelica brigade cocktail hat gothic llita style headpiece millinery hair accessory angelicabrigade lurex floral hatinator

And this is my very first proper hatinator / cocktail hat

With hat frame & hat elastic that don’t show up when you wear it.

angelica brigade floral headpiece angelicabrigade art nouveau inspired flower clip handmade hair accessory

And these are Art Nouveau inspired hair clips. They are made out of silk shantung.

It might be a while before I can list them on my Etsy shop. After all, there are a few more custom orders I need to fill & brand new pieces (for two upcoming photo shoots) I need to create. And so, there are many samples of my new designs (which I call first-pieces) I need to create by the end of this week.

It usually takes me twice (and some times three times) longer to create first-pieces. Sometimes, things that look good on my sketch pad don’t look as good in real life. And so, I will need to re-size, replace, add, or reduce some parts of those first-pieces. At the same time, I also need to figure out the best way to construct each piece to make sure that they will are easy to wear, durable, & drape the way I want. It’s gonna be another hectic & sleepless week~

~0o0~

Anyway, have a great week, you guys! I’ll try to post some more new things this Wednesday.

In the meantime, you guys can check some other sneak peeks of several other pieces that I recently made on Angelica Brigade’s Facebook page & Tumblr. I don’t upload the same pictures on each site anymore~ So, if you want to see them, you’ll probably want to check each site.

Till then,

– joyce of AngelicaBrigade

My Current Favorites

Statement Necklace Black and Gold - Art Deco Inspired // Lightweight 3-in1 Accessory - Can also be worn as a headband & a chain headpiece

Yes, I made this piece myself. But, if I am unable to make it myself & see it in a shop, I’d purchase the piece in a heartbeat.

Although it’s a piece of a chainmaille jewelry, it doesn’t look like most chainmaille jewelry other people make.

I always chain maille technique to create contemporary-looking pieces that go together with the items I purchase from my favorite shops (such as Revolve Clothing, Saks Fifth Avenue, & Shopbop – I’m listing them alphabetically because I love them equally). I tend also wear the handmade accessories I create together with other designers’ pieces (my current & long time favorites include the timeless & dramatic pieces by Kenneth Jay Lane, Gorjana, House of Harlow 1960, & CC Skye).

You can say that most of my chain maille jewelry look like “mainstream” non-artisan jewelry, but that’s just the way I like it.

angelica brigade handmade circlet handmade headpiece chainmaille jewelry chain maille headband chainmail necklace statement jewellery 007

Let me tell you why I love this piece.

This necklace can complete many kinds of outfits. I’ve been wearing it at many different occasions. I wore it with Theory business suits, with my casual weekend clothes (usually, a black Only Hearts cami, a long cardigan, and either a pair of my favorite jeans, a mini skirt + opaque tights, or a pair of Nike Tempo Shorts), with various little black dresses, & with a simple strapless maxi dress.

In this photo shoot, I paired the necklace with a Jen’s Pirate Booty mini dress (available at Revolve Clothing). I love this piece because I can wear it in many different ways:

  • On the shoulders
  • Off the shoulders [like this]
  • On one- shoulder [see below]
  • Strapless [see above]

You can wear this piece of jewelry in several different ways as well:

  • As a statement necklace
  • As a chain headpiece (the across the forehead kind)
  • As a headband

angelica brigade handmade circlet handmade headpiece chainmaille jewelry chain maille headband chainmail necklace statement jewellery 002s

angelica brigade handmade circlet handmade headpiece chainmaille jewelry chain maille headband chainmail necklace statement jewellery 003s

angelica brigade handmade circlet handmade headpiece chainmaille jewelry chain maille headband chainmail necklace statement jewellery 004s

Like most other pieces of jewelry I create, this 3-in-1 piece is extremely lightweight. Sometimes, I even forget that I’m wearing them.

Anyway, this piece happens to be a part of a “capsule collection” which include:

  • A pair of (lightweight) dangling earrings
  • A coordinating bracelet
  • A cocktail ring
  • Another piece of dramatic necklace

 Lightweight Statement Bracelet in Gold & Black - Art Deco Inspired Chain Maille Jewelry // Unusual Chainmaille Jewellery by Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade via Etsy Handmade

Lightweight & Sculptural Cocktail Ring in Black and Gold - Unusual Fashion Jewelry by Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade handmade chainmaille jewellery chain maille accessories

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade via Etsy Lightweight Statement Necklace in Gold & Black - Art Deco Inspired Chain Maille Jewelry / Chainmaille Jewellery

Alternative Wedding Bouquets : Why I Love Them

handmade fabric brooch wedding alternative bouquet with lace and pearls

Fabric Bridal Bouquet by MetallicBloom via Etsy

silk wedding bouquet

Silk Bouquet by Hapitat via Etsy

alternative bridal bouquet

Jeweled brooch bridal bouquet by Noaki via Etsy

Gorgeous, aren’t they?

I love alternative wedding bouquets.

The pretty ones, the cool ones, even the quirky ones:

handmade bridal bouquet alternative wedding bouquet shabby chic rustic

Alternative Bouquet by Innstyches via Etsy

Image source: Bridal Snob

These hypoallergenic bouquets are great for someone with allergies . People don’t want to look like these in their wedding days.

Image source: The Guardian

Image source: The Telegraph

Here are the reasons I prefer alternative bouquets to cut-flowers bouquets:

1.

wilt flower

Fine art print by Martinefa via Etsy

(Real) flowers start to wilt the moment they are cut. They aren’t cheap either. Unless the bride is into pressed flowers &/or dried flowers, they bouquet will end up in a trash bin. What a waste~

alternative bouquet

Bridal Brooch Bouquet by charlesandabigail via Etsy

On the other hand, alternative bouquets (like this brooch bouquet) lasts for many years to come & can be kept as a keepsake/memento. It can become a family heirloom & someone’s [e.g. one’s daughter or grandaughter]  “something old” someday.

2.

Brooch Bouquet by Noaki via Etsy

Real flowers – unlike this brooch bouquet are do not sparkle.

3.

Giant Paper Rose Flowers for Wedding Decorations by marrymerosie via Etsy

They can come in any size & shape we want.

alternative bridal bouquet

Paper bouquet by smilemercantile via Etsy

Even in colors & shapes we can’t find in nature.

Clay bouquet by dkdesignshawaii via Etsy

And, for the people who prefer a natural looking handmade keepsake bouquet, lightweight clay bouquet like this can be a great alternative.

These clay peonies are cheaper than real peonies. (Peonies are late-spring – early-summer flowers. So, these flowers are more expensive than usual in other seasons).

Unlike real peonies, these clay flowers will look as beautiful for a very, very long time.  They will definitely look fresh throughout the wedding day.

4.

Some don’t care about flowers.

And brides should be allowed to wear whatever they like.

Cotton Bouquet by TALLCOTTONnPEAS via Etsy

Sea Shell Wedding Bouquet by BoHoBridal via Etsy

How about you?

identity

angelicabrigade joyz 006

Even though I find dark imageries visually appealing, wear black clothes almost all year round, & can be morbid at times . . . I do not consider myself goth. With my beach hair & tan, no one will consider me goth either. And since I don’t care about undead stories & don’t find false dripping blood appealing  . . . I definitely am not goth.

That said, I am a big fan of gothic-themed & gloomy photographs, artwork, & fashion which I find aesthetically pleasing, highly imaginative, & intriguing.

angelicabrigade joyz 011

Actually, I no longer try to label or categorize myself anymore. As I got older (I celebrated my 30th birthday a few years ago) I come to realize that I’m just me . . . a person . . . with personal preferences, dislikes, hopes, etc.

In fact, I believe that nobody can fit neatly into a a certain category. Not completely.

When I was younger, I needed a label or category to help me to decide what should I do, act, dress, etc. No one ever told me that identity is a fluid thing and formed by our current beliefs, likes & dislikes, habits, skills, circumstances, wishes, etc. So, it’s best for us not to think about it and focus on being honest to ourselves at all times.

angelicabrigade 003

Our likes, dislikes, natural abilities, & tendencies are parts of our genetic makeup. If we happen to prefer one thing to another, it’s just because we are born that way.

Our skills are the products of our decisions & habits . . . whether or not we can discipline ourselves to develop our natural abilities.

Our beliefs, on the other hand, are tinged by our past, the kind of things we’ve been through, and – perhaps – tempered by our hopes.

angelicabrigade 005

Something that makes us happy might not be he thing that makes other people (even our closest friends & families) happy. But it’s okay. Plus, there’s nothing we can do about it. Forcing ourselves to like it or telling ourselves that it should make us happy wouldn’t work. The sooner we honestly tell ourselves what we hope, like, & want . . . the sooner we’ll live a happier & peaceful lives.

I’m not saying that we have to declare it to the world (unless you want to) & force other people to acknowledge your personal wishes & preferences (because some people won’t)  . . . Personally, I believe that it’s wiser to do something that will bring us closer to our goals & wishes without hurting anyone (including ourselves) & without giving anyone a chance to block our progress.

angelicabrigade 016

When I decided to take a risk to become an independent designer, most of the people I know told me that I shouldn’t bother, that I have no chance, & that I’d end up loosing valuable time, money, & energy for a hopeless endeavor. They told me that I should take a secure desk job at an established company instead.

I don’t consider myself a big success (yet). I haven’t quit my dayjob yet either. But, I’m not giving up. I love to create things. In fact, nothing fulfills me as much as creating at least one tangible thing at the end of each day.

Besides, what’s the worse that can happen if I create something that I list on Etsy? I’ll end up with owning lots of handmade jewelry & accessories I love to wear. Not so bad, right? [Now you know why most of my products are made to order. The photographed items for the listings are mine to wear].

Each of the things I create brings more happiness into my life. Creating them brings joy into my life. Bringing them into existence is a incomparably wonderful experience I would never trade with anything.

angelicabrigade handmade jewelry statement jewellery chainmaille ring cocktail ring personal style independent designer angelica brigade headpiece AG jeans damask phone case

The items you see in the picture:

Clear Goal as a Compass: Got Sidetracked?

Vintage Compass Pendant by BazingaJewellery via Etsy

Begin with the end in mind
– The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen Covey

In other words: We should plan everything with clear ultimate goals as our reference points.

Our ultimate goals should serve as a compass with which we set our short-term, mid-term, & long-term goals accordingly. That way, we can be sure that these shorter-term goals will serve as effective building blocks or stepladder that will help us to achieve our ultimate goals.

Personalized Map Compass Necklace by soradesigns via Etsy

Lately, I’ve been so caught up with creating more & more handmade jewelry that I failed to set aside some time to review my plans & schedules so I make sure that they are aligned with my goals.

This online article I read on Handmadeology served as a wake-up call for me: The 12 Biggest Mistakes Jewelry Designers Make in Business by Tracy and Robin from flourishthriveacademy.com (especially point #2).

Steampunk Compass Necklace by JCB Studio via Etsy

I’m an extremely right-brained person who went to a fashion design school & an art school. Though I read a lot of business books & took some business-related classes in college (to fulfill my GE Requirements), I’m not a naturally effective  & organized business mastermind.

Driven by creative impulses, I’ve been designing with no clear vision of who I choose to design for. Blogging-wise, I’ve been writing without any clear vision of who I write for. Which is BAD, bad, BAD!

It’s  like floating in the middle of a sea. Letting my creative impulses to dictate what I do is like swimming to this & that direction without any specific destination in mind. I’ll end up near where I started. Unless I choose a specific destination in mind, it’s just a matter of time before I’ll sink.

Antique Sundial Compass via ANTIQUEDECORS on Etsy

Some books & articles told me that my ideal customers are a group of people who are very similar to me. So,with that assumption, I decided to create the kinds of things I’d love to wear. This is one the merchandising plans I need to explore further / re-evaluate.

As for blogging . . . I’ve been doing it because handmade business books & online articles say that every craft seller & online retailer need to do it (to increase one’s online presence, and make it possible for one’s customers & potential customers to get to know one).

So, writing whatever I like (such as tons of business-related posts) is probably not a good idea. [Because the people who might want to read my business-related articles are probably my fellow small business owners & craft sellers, not my customers & potential customers].

If I want my customers & potential customers to get to know me better, I should write about the things that inspire me, my working process, tips on inspecting whether a piece is well made or not, and the likes instead.

However, I still want to write business-related posts. But, I might need to write it on a different blog. I’m going to think this over & let you know before the end of this year (next week!)

Wow! How time flies~

Beaded Bib Necklace

What’s new in my Etsy shop this week

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statement-necklace_collar_001_005 Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade Handmade Statement Necklace Bib Necklace Collar Beaded Swarovski Crystals Swarovski Crystal Pearls Etsy Sample Sale Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade Handmade Statement Necklace Bib Necklace Collar Beaded Swarovski Crystals Swarovski Crystal Pearls Etsy

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statement-necklace_collar_001_01

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statement-necklace_collar_001_002

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statedment-necklace_collar_001_back

angelica-brigade_handmade_beaded-bib-statedment-necklace_collar_001_front

An unusual hand-beaded bib necklace / collar.

Each bead is STITCHED onto the cuff’s base THREE (but sometimes up to five) TIMES to make sure that each bead will stay in place for a many years to come.

Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar – for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion

Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion
Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion Beaded Bib Necklace SAMPLE SALE, Statement Necklace, Beaded Collar - for wedding, photo shoot prop, special occasion

An unusual hand-beaded bib necklace / collar.

Very sparkly.

Made with meticulous attention to detail.

Each bead is STITCHED onto the cuff’s base THREE (but sometimes up to five) TIMES to make sure that each bead will stay in place for a many years to come.

Features:
– Rhinestone cabochon
– 1000+ Japanese seed beads (in pink, white, silver, lilac, pale peach, & mint green)
– Gleaming Swarovski crystal pearls
– Swarovski crystals
– Swarovski round beads
– Silver-lined bugle beads
– Italian Tulle closure (in Antique Pink)
– High quality felt

Very sparkly~

Original design by joyz*k of Angelica Brigade.

Extremely low budget photography for craft sellers

I still take all the photographs using my iPhone 4,

&

Use natural sunlight

&

Rely on my one & only $100 plastic mannequin to model my pieces
* * * * * * * * * *

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade Handmade Silk Floral Hair Fascinator Silk Flower Clip Salmon Pink Iridescent Green Photography independent designer etsy seller

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade handmade silk hair fascinator silk floral clip headpiece red fuchsia hot pink raspberry iridescent green shantung taffeta photography fashion style indie independent designer

* * * * * * * * * * *

So many people (even some fellow Etsy sellers) asked me where I got my mannequins …

(They seem to think that I own more than one mannequin)

I actually got my mannequin from a liquidated store.

This is how “she” used to look like:

I used COPIC Markers (not in these exact colors) to contour her cheeks and to make her eye makeup more dramatic

Because the markers are alcohol-based, I used alcohol swabs to blend the colors and to erase some mistakes (hey, it was my first attempt after all)

Then, I glued 3 layers of false eyelashes on “her” top eyelids …

Since wigs can look very plastic, shiny, & fake on photographs, I powdered the wigs I bought for my mannequin with talcum powder. And to make the wigs look more natural, I made them look less perfect by brushing them [not-so-gently] with my synthetic circle hair brush.

Some of the synthetic hair broke & got stuck on the brush, but the acquired imperfections cause the wigs to look much more like humans’ hair.

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade hatinator handmade silk hair fascinator silk floral clip headpiece red fuchsia hot pink raspberry iridescent green shantung taffeta silk organza photography fashion style indie independent designer

See … there’s nothing good make-up & good haircut cannot fix.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Now … let’s talk about the photographing process

I took most of my product pictures against a white 3 and 1/2 feet (or approx. 1 meter) wall behind my house.

Most of the time, I only use her torso, arms, & head and keep her lower limb in my garage.

I like to take the pictures when the sun is shines quite brightly (but not too brightly) & when the sunlight falls at an angle. I usually do a light check using my iPhone 4’s screen. If the sunlight doesn’t cast too much shadow & if the colors of my mannequin & my handmade items are not too distorted, then I know that it’s a good time for me to take the photographs.

>>> The key is to ignore what’s right in front of you & focus only on the image you seen on your iPhone’s screen. If you use a digital camera, rely on your digital camera’s screen or viewfinder instead <<<

Then, use the screen to find the mannequin’s best angles. Ignore the mannequin itself, and only look at the screen and keep on moving till I find good angles to shoot the mannequin from.

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade Handmade Jewelry Jewellery  Beaded Stackable Chain Maille Bracelet in Antique Gold & Blush Beige - Gridlock Byzantine Beaded Stackable Chain Maille Bracelet in Antique Gold & Blush Beige - Gridlock Byzantine   Beaded Stackable Chain Maille Bracelet in Antique Gold & Blush Beige - Gridlock Byzantine Beaded Stackable Chain Maille Bracelet in Antique Gold & Blush Beige - Gridlock Byzantine Beaded Stackable Chain Maille Bracelet in Antique Gold & Blush Beige - Gridlock Byzantine Beaded Stackable Chain Maille Bracelet in Antique Gold & Blush Beige - Gridlock Byzantine Beaded Stackable Chain Maille Bracelet in Antique Gold & Blush Beige - Gridlock Byzantine Nickle-free & lead-free.  Vintage-inspired.  The handmade chain is constructed one metal link at a time.  Made with meticulous attention to detail.

To take this type of photograph, I lay a white foam board on the ground, at the spots where I get adequate sunlight. I use my iPhone’s screen to find the best spots & the best times to take the photographs (again, not too much shadow, no significant color distortion you can’t fix with simple photo-editing software)

* * * * * * * * * * *

To take this picture, I laid a foam board on top of a small table, & pose my mannequin on top of them.

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade hatinator handmade silk hair fascinator silk floral clip headpiece red fuchsia hot pink raspberry iridescent green shantung taffeta silk organza photography fashion style indie independent designer

And, to take this picture, I laid a faux-fur throw on top of the same table.

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade Handmade Silk Floral Hair Fascinator Silk Flower Clip Salmon Pink Iridescent Green Photography independent designer etsy seller

Then, I moved my iPhone around till I find great angles to take the pictures from.

Once I arranged the mannequin on top of the table, I did not look at it (not even once!) and when I fix her hair or re-arrange the mannequin, I also rely on my iPhone’s screen to show me how I should do them.

So, what do you think? Wanna give it a try?

If you have any question, please feel free to leave me a comment :)

@k_joyz of Angelica Brigade

Previews

So,

Here are some of the pieces I made this week:

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade handmade accessories accessory jewelry jewellery bracelet chainmaille chain maille chainmail bracelet necklace Swarovski Crystal Pearls indie designer

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade handmade accessories accessory jewelry jewellery bracelet chainmaille chain maille chainmail bracelet necklace Swarovski Crystal Pearls

And …

Here’s am unedited [just watermarked] sneak peek from today’s photo shoot

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade handmade hair accessory accessories jewelry jewellery lolita chainmaille chain maille hair fascinator headpiece millinery hatinator indie designer etsy seller photographer

I’ll upload more pictures & list more items on my Etsy shop ( http://angelicabrigade.etsy.com ) soon

@k_joyz of @AngelicaBrigade

My Handmade ChainMaille Jewelry & Hair Accessories: As Seen on a Major Daytime TV Show & La Carmina Blog

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade La Carmina LaCarmina Chain Maille Jewelry ChainMaille Jewellery Statement Necklace Handmade Hair Accessory Accessories Silk Flower Floral Clip Headpiece Hair Fascinator TV Show CBS Bagel Head BagelHead NatGeo National Geographic Japanese Forehead Saline Inflation Taboo Body Mod Body Modification

The episode is called “Health Dilemmas Caught on Tape”

It was aired Wednesday, October 24 in the daytime. Check your local listings for repeats. Or, you can watch the segment on La Carmina‘s Youtube Channel:

More pictures & more information about the show are available in http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/2012/10/the-doctors-tv-show-guest-japanese-bagel-head-body-modification-la-carmina-on-cbs-medical-daytime-tv-show/

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade La Carmina LaCarmina Chain Maille Jewelry ChainMaille Jewellery Statement Necklace Handmade Hair Accessory Accessories Silk Flower Floral Clip Headpiece Hair Fascinator TV Show CBS Bagel Head BagelHead NatGeo National Geographic Japanese Forehead Saline Inflation Taboo Body Mod Body Modification

If you can’t conceal it, and can’t find a better substitution …

If you can’t conceal it and can’t find a better substitution either …

Then, it’s best to incorporate it into the design.

~0o0~

For months, I’ve been looking for high quality undrilled freshwater pearls & undrilled crystal beads I can use to replace the Swarovski crystal pearls create this chain maille necklace.

Angelica Brigade angelicabrigade handmade jewelry jewellery necklace new weave swarovski crystal pearl pearls gold silver unusual elegant glamorous captive variant weave joyz*k

The Gwynn Handmade Chain Maille & Swarovski Crystal Pearls Necklace by Angelica Brigade

I love how the Swarovski crystal beads look with the chain. The thing is . . . each of these beautiful, gleaming crystal pearl is created with 2 pin-sized drill holes on it. People who see me wearing a similar piece never notice the holes, but . . . I know they’re there . . . and if I have a choice, I’d rather use beads and crystals that have no holes (no mater how tiny) on them.

Why?

  • The drill holes serve no aesthetic nor practical purpose
  • To some people, the holes might look like product defects
  • Plus, it makes the necklace looks too home-made & less professionally-done

Some people don’t mind the drill holes a bit … but, if it is possible for me to create a drill-hole-free version of the necklace, by any means, I should. right?! (I think so . . . )

Well, unfortunately, currently, my company isn’t big enough to place custom drill-free Swarovski crystal beads & crystal pearls

So, I have to find other ways to create the Gwynn necklace without unnecessary drill holes on the beads. So …

independent designer angelica brigade angelicabrigade blog jewelrymaking jewelry making indie designer etsy seller

I decided to use hand-painted & enameled (cloissone) beads, which motif highlights the drill holes by making them to look like black dots that serve as the the focal parts of the design.

( I will make this style in several different colors )

I love how the beads make the Gywnn looks art deco

~0o0~

I’ll still make the crystal beads & crystal pearls version of Gwynn …

The cloissone-beads-Gwynn will merely be a (more refined) variation /option to the “style family”

$0 marketing that’s more effective (for me) than social media marketing

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade joyz joyz*k Independent Designer Small Business Owner Artist Etsy Seller

$0 marketing that’s more effective (for me) than social media marketing:

  • Wearing my own designs everywhere I go
  • Going out to many places where my target customers usually go on a regular basis
  • Never leaving the house without  bringing a stack of well-designed / eye-catching / memorable business cards

Angelica Brigade AngelicaBrigade moo business card moo.com

I ordered my double-sided business cards from Moo.com

Here’s a better version of the photograph you can see on on one of the sides of the business card

angelica brigade chainmaille chain maille handmade jewelry jewellery angelicabrigade moo business card moo.com

The benefit of using a high quality double-sided business card:

  • People are less likely to throw the card away
  • The photograph people can see on one of the sides of the card will remind them how awesome your works are
  • The photograph can also persuade them to visit your website / online shop more than once

~0o0~

I chose eight of my best photographs … the ones that represent each type of jewelry & accessories I designed

People who stopped me to ask me about my knotted chain maille necklace got the card with a similar necklace they were interested in. The people who inquire about my hair accessory receive this card instead:

handmade floral clip anywhere clip silk organza flower

And, the people who wanted to know whether I also create bridal headpieces … received cards that feature a bridal headpiece.

And so on …

~0o0~

Why this $0 marketing is better (for me) than social media marketing:

  • It gives me a chance to meet, interact, get to know my potential customers.
  • It’s easier for me to find out who my potential customers are. They are the people who stopped me to ask me about my designs.
  • It gives those potential customers chances to see my products with their own eyes. That way, when they see my designs in my online shop, they will know what to expect: That my works look as good as their photographs and that I don’t Photoshop those pictures to death.
  • They don’t live a few thousand of miles away from me … so, I don’t have to worry about shipping costs and potential problems with customs. Firstly, expensive shipping cost(s) might cause some potential customers to purchase similar items elsewhere. For that reason, I usually foot a part of my overseas customers’ shipping fee. Obviously, this do cause me to earn less revenue. Also, from time to time, some packages might get held at customs … so, when they need some items fast, they might prefer to order the items from local stores or artists instead.
  • Some potential customers who prefer to conduct offline transactions can pay for the items they order when they receive those items.

~0o0~

P.S: I personally think that social media marketing do not give small business owners (especially Etsy sellers) more sales. You can read my reasoning here: https://angelicabrigade.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/social-media-marketing-for-etsy-sellers-useles

Any thought / question ? Please don’t hesitate to write a comment :)

Social Media Marketing For Etsy Sellers: Useless?

Update 04/17/2016: I no longer sell my pieces via Etsy

It seems that many Etsy sellers say that social media do not give them more sales.

(Source: The comments portion of this Social Media Marketing Survey >>> http://promotesy.com/home/handmade-survey-an-etsy-seller-social-media-marketing-survey/ )

This fact does not surprise me much.

Consider this … many Etsy sellers’ Twitter followers & Facebook “fans” are their fellow Etsy sellers.

Though some Etsy sellers (including me) do (from time to time) purchase some things via Etsy, they are there – mainlyto sell things, and not to shop. They become other Etsy sellers’ Twitter followers & Facebook fans to show their solidarity ( or to get “follow backs” &/or more Facebook fans )… not because they are interested to become other sellers’ loyal customers.


In my experience, social media marketing gives my products more “views” and “admirers.” Since higher numbers of admirers can be one of the factors that might persuade a prospective customer to purchase my handmade accessories & jewelry, social media marketing is not completely useless.

But … here’s the interesting part:

The people who actually purchased my handmade hair accessories and jewelry are not my Facebook fans, Twitter followers, or my Etsy shop’s or merchandise’s “admirers” .

Plus, even though they gave me positive feedbacks on Etsy, they do not follow me on Twitter or “Like” my Facebook page.

~0o0~

I also read that many Etsy sellers find that advertising their items on Etsy does not give them more sales either.

This doesn’t surprise me much either.

In my opinion, theoretically, advertising on Etsy gives sellers better chances to get their prospective customers to notice their products. But … here is the twist: Are the people who search for the kinds of item they sell are their prospective customers … or their fellow sellers trying to curate Etsy Treasuries or research their “competitors”

In other words:

  • The people who search for statement necklace on Etsy might not search for them to buy them.
  • Some of them are looking for statement necklaces to feature in their Etsy Treasuries.
  • Some others, on the other hand, are looking at other sellers’ statement necklaces to find out how the other sellers price their items, or to find out the keywords they use to tag their items, etc etc.

The question is, how many percent of the people who search for the items are your prospective customers?

This, we cannot know for sure.

~0o0~

Anyway, all those facts get me thinking …

And … here are my conclusions:

  1. Etsy is an online craft fair.
    When people rent a booth at a craft fair, what they get is merely a space for them to display & sell their wares. Likewise, Etsy sellers shouldn’t expect Etsy to provide anything more than a platform for them to display & sell their goods.
  2. Etsy is a gigantic craft fair, with more than 2,000,000 new items listed per month and more than 700,000 new members per month (Source: http://www.etsy.com/blog/news/2012/etsy-statistics-july-2012-weather-report/ ) … Etsy sellers who merely sit around and wait for the customers to notice their merchandise will be sorely disappointed.
    To make more sales, they need to find ways to catch (and keep!!!) prospective customers’ attention.
  3. Social media marketing can help Etsy sellers to enhance their image, reputation, and online presence, but all those do not guarantee that they’ll get more sales.
  4. And, lastly, and most importantly, to get more sales, Etsy sellers need to advertise outside of Etsy and / or get featured in influential blogs whose readers are the kinds of people who not merely admire, but purchase the kinds of items you sell and in the price range you sell them.

I have not advertise outside of Etsy …

That’s the next step I need to take.

Finding a number of influential blogs whose readers are my potential customers is another one.

~0o0~

  • Any comment / feedback / stories to tell? I’d love to hear them :)
  • Are you a fellow Etsy Seller?
  • Have you advertise in Etsy? If so, did it give you more sales?
  • Does social media marketing give you more sales?
  • Are many of your Twitter followers and Facebook fans your loyal customers?

– joyz*k (a.k.a. Miu Vermillion) of AngelicaBrigade

http://www.angelica-brigade.com

http://angelicabrigade.etsy.com

Shipping Cost

Shipping cost’s been so darn expensive these days. It can be a problem for Etsy sellers whose customers live thousands of miles away from where they live. I happen to be one of those Etsy sellers.

Today, I spent a few hours researching the most current shipping costs. The average cost of shipping one large-sized (approx. 6″) hair fascinator from the U.S. to another country (except Canada) is around $46.00

Just so you know, the $46 does not include the cost of the gift box I ship my handmade creation in …  and all the packing materials I use to make sure that the item will arrive in a good condition.

Personally, unless the item I’m planning to purchase is so gorgeous that it blows my mind, a $46.00 (or higher) shipping charge tends to make me to think the purchase over. And, more often than not, I end up purchasing a similar item from another retailer who doesn’t charge such an exorbitant shipping fee instead.

I know … It’s not the retailer’s fault that the shipping cost is so high. And, with the gas price on the rise, it really can’t be helped. But, it’s only natural for me to find another retailer who (usually) are located much closer to where I live and thus does not charge me so much for shipping.

Try googling this: charge “so much for shipping” and you’ll see that many people think that online retailer tends to charge too much for shipping & handling.

~0o0~

Personally, I never charge my overseas customers more than $20 (per item) for shipping. And, yes, it means that I always foot a part of my overseas customers’ shipping fee.

Is it bad for business, then?

Not really …

  • Firstly … I opened my online shop less than a year ago; and, right now, building my brand’s presence trumps my wish of earning more profits from my new business.
  • Secondly … I earn less profit than I potentially earn, but I do not operate at a loss.

But … it doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few things I need to do to keep my new business afloat.

And … I will start by finding  more ways to sell my products locally. I will start by selling my items to several local boutiques who sells the kinds of items that my customers (and I) love.

Trying to design mind-blowingly gorgeous items doesn’t hurt either.

~0o0~

joyz*k of AngelicaBrigade

http://www.angelica-brigade.com

Effectiveness

At the end of the day, what really counts is what works best for each one of us.

Everyone has one’s own strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, and preferences.

I’ve tried to work against the grains more times than I should have; and guess what, those efforts were more trouble than they worth.

Working against the grain is not an easy feat. Plus, often, the result isn’t very good. For that reason, I’ve decided that I’ll no longer do things in the usual or prescribed ways. Instead, I will do things in ways that are natural and easy for me … in ways that will enable me to reach my goals with the least amount of unnecessary pains and troubles.

I call this Ethical Pragmatism

It requires me to spend more hours to define my goals and (through trials & errors) find the best ways for me to accomplish those goals … but it’s  worth the effort. This first step is not unlike plowing the soil: a necessary step to make sure that whatever it is we try to accomplish (in my case, growing my small handmade business) to happen.

As a [ newbie ] independent designer / handmade seller, I make it my habit to read as many small business articles/advices (and sometimes  books) as I can. There are so many business advices that are geared for small handmade businesses. Some of them are useful and thought provoking, but to me, they are not enough because there are so many things that are still left unanswered.

So, this is what I’m going to do: I’ll embark on trial & error processes, do tons of researches, and (through this blog) will share my experiences with you. Stay tuned~

– joyz*k of Angelica Brigade

http://www.angelica-brigade.com

What’s New in AngelicaBrigade’s Etsy Shop This Week

Update (04/17/2916): Blue Buddha Boutique is closing its door permanently. The link to their website (below) is no longer active.
Update 04/17/2016: I no longer sell my pieces via Etsy
AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade Handmade Jewellery Handmade Chainmail Jewelry ChainMaille Bracelet Chain Maille in Gold Blue Buddha Boutique Anodized Aluminum Jump Rings Jet AB Swarovski crystal bead hammered pewter toggle clasp handmade by joyz*k a.k.a. Miu Vermillion or k_joyz indie designer independent designer chainmailler ChainMaille &amp; Swarovski Bracelet. Bold, Unusual, Lightweight. Great for all occassions. Available in http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/5961327<br />http://www.angelica-brigade.com

ChainMaille & Swarovski Bracelet. Bold, Unusual, Lightweight. Great for all occassions. More pictures & information are available in http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/5961327

AngelicaBrigade Angelica Brigade Handmade Jewellery Handmade Chainmail Jewelry ChainMaille Bracelet Chain Maille in Gold Blue Buddha Boutique Anodized Aluminum Jump Rings Jet AB Swarovski crystal bead hammered pewter toggle clasp handmade by joyz*k a.k.a. Miu Vermillion or k_joyz indie designer independent designer chainmailler

ChainMaille and Swarovski Statement Necklace in Gold & Jet Aurore Boreale. Bold, Timeless, Elegant, Unusual, Lightweight. Great for all occassions. Available www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/angelicabrigade/5961353/

All of them are made using Blue Buddha Boutique‘s premium anodized aluminum jump rings.

To read more details & see more pictures of the bracelet, please visit this link: http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/5961327

To read more details & see more pictures of the necklace, please visit this link: www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/angelicabrigade/5961353/

Handmade by joyz*k of Angelica Brigade (http://www.angelica-brigade.com)

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