Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekend Giveaway

I seem to be getting ready for the Holiday Season a bit early this year.  So in Order to get into the Full Swing of things, I have decided to do a giveaway of some of my most trendy earrings:

These hammered Sterling silver and Natural Emerald earrings retail for 49$ in my shop.  I will ship the Winner the earrings in a Gift Box, so that if they so choose, they can give them as a gift for the holidays.

I won't judge if you keep them yourself.

This Giveaway is for the weekend only and ends Monday, October 1st for a drawing Tuesday Morning. 

The only stipulation?  Become a fan of Maggie's Jewelry on Facebook.
Already a Fan?  There is a Tab on my Facebook page also :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Many Colors of October's Birthstone

Traditionally, October's Birthstone is Opal.  And, being me, I am certain that when jewelers got together to decide this, they meant the Australian Opal which comprises over 90% of the world's supply. 

But, opal, being a form of silica with certain properties making it refract light, also come in a myriad of other forms, colors and degrees of 'flash'.  

Australian Opal comes in two main forms:  light and dark.  Generally gem quality opal is considered the light with the million plays of light opal is so well known for.  When I bought my first full strand of opal at the Tuscon Bead Show  (jewelry designers, you probably know this show lasts about a month and has vendors from all over the world) the guy who sold it to me explained that opals in Australia (He called them Ridge Opals, meaning they come from a certain mine) are all in the same family, even the same rock formations; just growing in different parts of the 'cave'.

I went with the dark Opals, and came up with this simple Design:

She sold pretty slowly, because Opals are often expensive.  (This necklace was $152, the wholesale cost of the beads was a staggering $120).

But, when we think outside the box on gifts for October Birthdays, Opals can be gorgeous, and come in a variety of colors and textures.  

The second most well known Opals are from Mexico, generally from one mine in QuerĂ©taro.  The opals come in a varitety of colors that look like fire.  Absolutely Stunning!
These lovely earrings were designed by angryhairjewelry on Etsy
As you see in the design above, by angryhairjewelry on Etsy, Fire Opals from Mexico really do look like fire.  And, are firmly within the realm of a gift of opals for an October birthday. They also have the added bonus of coordinating well for Halloween.

Other lesser known opals are from Ethiopa and Peru. 

Pink Opal from Peru is one of my all time favorite stones.  Mostly because I love, love love the color pink, but usually do not openly admit it.  I guess that dirty little secret is blown now.
Sea of Love Mismatched Pink Opal and Aquamarine Earrings by Tara at AstridLily
These lovely pink opal and moss aquamarine earrings were designed by Tara at AstridLily on Etsy.  Aquamarine is actually the birthstone for March, so these could actually do double duty, suppose you have a mother who was born in October and who has a child born in March?  What a wonderful statement to make when giving her this gift.

The following is the blue version of peruvian opal: similar in transparency as the pink, but the peacock or robins egg blue this opal comes in is just divine for gift-giving.

This lovely Blue Peruvian Boho necklace was designed by Alexis at AnnikaLane on Etsy
Note how timeless, yet trendy the necklace is, and since Blue Peruvian Opal comes in many shades of blue, this piece will go with most anything.  The Peruvian blue doesn't have the multicolored 'flash' of the Australian Opal -- but rather has varying degrees of transparency [to opaqueness] even in a given strand. Still, it's most difficult to get the richness of the variation in blues in a photograph.

Ethiopian Opals are very similar to Australian Opals upon appearance, except they seem to be a little more milky than the flashy translucence of Australian Opals.  Absolutely lovely and a wonderful alternative for birthstone gifts. 

Welo Ethiopian Pendant by DestinyGenuineGems on Etsy
Note the pendent above has all the flash and fire of Australian Opal, but is a little more opaque.  It's also a reasonable price, for such flash.

One of the least recognized as opal, but still an opal nonetheless, is Boulder Opal, which usually comes in earthy tones of greens and browns, but can also be other colors like blue
This Oregon Boulder Opal is an earthy brown, green, black and golden hue, from Oregon.  The milky parts are the actual full-bodied opal, as opal is a water stone. 
 Most opals have between 3 and 14 percent water, but that amount can go up to about 20 percent.  This means that opals sometimes want a little bath to stay hydrated and not shrink or crack.  Sudden changes in temperature can also cause Opals to crack.  Do not wash Opals in jewelry cleaner or dish detergent, as they absorb liquids. And finally do not store in a dehumidified room without proper precautions such as keeping the opal in a zip tight back with a scrap of moistened cloth.

Now for those of you who are interested in the mystical aspects of Opal,  I will write about that tomorrow, in a separate post.  However, it should be known, Opal is a pretty emotional stone, how could it not be with all that fire and color?

Happy Shopping for those October Birthdays!


Monday, September 24, 2012

The statistical data I avoid

So this is a little (well a lot I guess) off topic from Jewelry.  However, later this week, I will start looking into October's Birthstone, "Opal"  which is just super fun.

So, over the weekend, I have been playing with statistical data on the shop.  I do this not because I am any good at mathematics nor because I understand what any of it means-- but because it seemed interesting at the time.

I have been watching my Etsy shop a lot lately, not only because I hope that my customers really enjoy what I try to do.  Which honestly, what I want to accomplish is to bring very high quality, heirloom level jewelry to customers at the most reasonable price I can muster. 

However, there is a lot of talk about "everything having a value"  I have been reading up on.  Which is absolutely true.  But, I also know that because I lower my prices to almost cost of components and production -- if you get my designs appraised, they will be valued by appraisers for much higher than you paid.   Trust me, I have seen it done.

But the statistical data I am looking at is really a basic visual of views to sales, and favorites to sale, which any Etsian may see as well in a similar fashion.

I opened my Etsy store in 2010, after much prodding and pleading by my dear old friend in Vermont, who incidentally designs fantastic jewelry herself every once in a while -- although right now she is focused almost entirely on her absolutely stunning photography of Vermont. (Moonshine Designs and Photography)

Since 2010, I have gotten a total of 5,989 views on either my shop or my items within the shop.  However, it should be noted that during the year of 2011, I did almost zero marketing of my store as I was on a mad quest to get a J-O-B.    Those views have generated 41 orders of over 50 different items.   That gives me an all time average of 146 views to 1 sale.

The kicker is, however, I started seriously marketing again about 30 days ago.  During that 30 days, using such social media locations as Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook, I have generated 1998 views and 6 orders of seven items.
 Making my 30 day average about 285 views per purchase.   Kinda blows the overall average out of the water.

So my mother says I need more data -- which I wholeheartedly agree, because you can't really make a statistical revelation based upon such different data sets.  (3 years versus on month).

So I tried two things over the weekend -- a facebook deal, and asking some followers to retweet some of my items.

From the deal, there were no sales, even though I broght the price down to below cost by offering a 20% off sale on all earings.  Seriously, my prices are that low compared to how much the items are worth.

For the Retweets, I asked ten people to RT one single item so I could track over the course of several hours the number of views for a timely item (A pair of earrings that are October's birthstone).  From my own tweet today, and 10 other people tweeting the same item, I garnered a whopping 26 views today.  6 of which I know came from my tweet alone, making my tweet to view ratio of others tweeting my item 1 tweet to 2 views. 

That's kind of not good news when it comes to marketing. There really should be better views and views to purchase ratios, wouldn't you say.  Or better, at least views to "favorites" ratios.

Again, I certainly need more data, but I wonder if other Etsian's have run into similar statstical data?  Tell me about it in the comments section.

These are the test Earrings--Pink Peruvian Opal

Friday, September 21, 2012

Promotional Offer

So, I logged into my facebook 'like' page this morning, like I do every morning, and there was a little Facebook Offer scripting jumping out at me. 

Now you should probably know, I do not pay for advertising if I can avoid it at all.  It's just far too expensive for someone sitting at home trying to build a business from scratch while couponing to get food on the table. You all know how the economy is these days :(

But I have to admit, the offer facebook was offering me in order to offer a deal to the customers was too much to pass up.  10$ in free money to 'promote' my offer. 

So, I had to come up with an offer. But their offer and my offer couldn't go along with each other, really.  I have discovered that when I have a sale, it works better if it covers a longer period of time than a "one day flash sale"  like I did for my anniversary this week. 

So while Facebook offered me a one day deal to offer my offer--my sale will actually be the entire weekend this weekend.

But, being the analytical obsessive I am, I still need more data on this process.  See, I am pretty skeptical of Facebook promoted posts, I think they make it too easy for big business to be seen more readily since they have such huge advertising budgets -- but small businesses (like me, or more to the point, TINY) have little to no chance to be seen by potential customers. 

I know what you're thinking:  but Facebook does give the little guy a fighting chance out there in SEO and customer connection land.  Really?  Does it?

I am not so sure -- I need more data on a personal level to see if business is truely better when I work to create conversation rather than sales.   For now, I will try that 10 bucks out and see if it does anything.  While I clean house and post new items I have been designing.

In case you're wondering however, the deal is for 20% off all earrings in the store through Monday morning.