Select Page

Igugu News

Igugu News

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Being a handcrafted business is a labor of love. And sometimes, love hurts (at least financially).

As I sit here writing my 57th product description, I am slammed in the head with a thought …

How much time, money and effort (or blood, sweat, and tears) actually goes into making a single, affordable pair of earrings? Well, it turns out it’s a lot more than I thought. I’m pretty sure it’s way below minimum wage. It’s a good thing I enjoy it. ?

Below you’ll find a step-by-step accounting of the effort. It sure opened my eyes up and gives me a lot more appreciation for handcrafted items. If you’d like to join along…

Shopping!

Now, many people have their favorite thing to shop for. My passion is shiny objects from a craft store, but I am also addicted to online beads and baubles. That may sound fun (and it is), but there’s a lot more to it than that. Here’s a rundown:

  • Drive to the nearest bead store (20 miles away).
  • Pick a string of beads (and another, and another … and charms, findings, pendants, wire, etc.).
  • Wait in line.
  • Hope I have a coupon.
  • Use my credit card ? (I keep forgetting I’m retired. ?)
  • Drive my new goodies home.
  • Run my fingers through their shiny goodness and dream of all the possibilities.

Now What?

I can’t leave the beads sitting in a pile, right? (Although I’ll admit, sometimes I do.)

Beads, beads, and more beads.

So I have to:

  • Count the number of beads on the string.
  • Make a label that includes the price, the number of beads, and a description of the beads.
  • Put the beads in a tiny plastic bag.
  • Enter the beads into a database (with the 7700+ other beads), so I can price out the piece of jewelry that I make later.
  • Put the beads (organized by color) into one of the tiny warehouses covering my wall. Include a string of beads to the front of the drawer for i.d.
  • Pay the credit card bill. ?
  • Regret buying more beads in the middle of the night. ?

Dawn's Wall Full of Beads

Lights … Camera … (In)action!

It’s pretty easy to pick out the focal point for earrings (or necklaces). Fun even. I go through my containers and get inspired. Okay, more beads need to be added.

So now I:

  • Stand in front of a wall of beads. And stand there. And try to pick a color that complements the focal piece.
  • Yay, I found something!
  • I cut the craft wire to 4″.
  • Using the Wubbers (roundy pliers), I prepare an end for wrapping up the focal piece. Bend. Twist. Wrap. Cut. Crimp.
  • Damn, I forgot to add the focal piece. Got distracted. Start over. (Luckily, that doesn’t happen too often.)
  • Add the complementary beads. Yuck. I don’t like it. Start over.
  • Yay, I found something!
  • Finish up the ear wire side. Bend. Twist. Wrap. Cut. Crimp.
  • Add an ear wire.
  • Now do the other earring. Can’t wear just one! Well, I guess you could.
  • Keep track of all the part numbers (bead identification) and how many I used. This goes on a 3×5 card. The earrings get a name (not always easy). Place them in a snack-size Ziplock bag for safekeeping (and to keep them shiny) until I can price them out.

Price It Out

One of my least favorite things to do. There are so many suggestions out there on how to price jewelry. I try to be systematic about it. Like any other product you buy at the store, some beads are expensive, and some are not. I use a database (that I designed) to enter all the information.

  • SKU number.
  • Name of the piece.
  • Type of piece.
  • Length of the piece.
  • Then I have to call up each bead, crimp, wire, etc., that I used.
  • From there, I get my cost. Then I have to figure out the price.
  • Get out an earring card and label it with the SKU, name, and price. Add the ear nuts.

Lights … Camera … Photography!

Oh, my gosh. This has been the hardest part! I bought a nice Canon DSLR. I bought a fancy light umbrella and a boom to hold it. I watched webinars and classes on jewelry photography. The hardest part? Getting the white balance correct so the jewelry comes out the correct color.


So I have to:

  • Get out the camera and make sure the battery is charged. Charge the extra batteries, as well.
  • Set up the boom with the light source.
  • Iron the backdrops.
  • Hook up the camera and computer to each other.
  • Shoot the product pictures.
  • Then, set up the props and shoot the lifestyle photos.
  • Edit the pictures in Photoshop:
    • Rename the images
    • Crop the images
    • Resize the images
    • Save as .jpg
    • Load up on my server

Add the Created Jewelry to my Website

I thought this was going to be the easy part. Until I started doing it. I need to:

  • Add the tags, categories, main image, gallery images, related product images, attributes (color, length, materials used, price, etc.).
  • Write a catchy short description (the hard part).
  • Write a long description that includes describing all the beads and charms used in the earrings (the harder part).

And Then do Some Marketing …

… and advertising. Perhaps I should …

  • Post on Facebook.
  • Post on Instagram.
  • Post on Pinterest.
  • Email my Bead Wild Tribe.
  • Hope they open the email.
  • Hope they are happy and like my new products (and buy some!).

And if I Sell a Piece of Jewelry …

… that’s awesome! And THEN I get to:

  • Wrap the jewelry in a box with tissue paper, business card, free gift(!).
  • Put it in the shipping box; tape it up; address it.
  • Drive to the post office.
  • Email the purchaser.
  • Hope it gets there.
  • Hope they are happy.

And that’s probably not all there is … but you get the idea.

Thank you for listening ?

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

by | September 8, 2018

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

by | September 8, 2018

Avatar

About Dawn

Dawn is a jewelry designer, retired outdoor ed educator and Zoo tour guide, animal lover, loving mom of a fur child, long-time vegetarian, and devoted daughter.
READ MORE

Follow the News...

About Dawn

Dawn is a jewelry designer, retired outdoor ed educator and Zoo tour guide, animal lover, loving mom of a fur child, long-time vegetarian, and devoted daughter.
READ MORE

Follow the News...

0

Join the VIP
Bead Wild Tribe

20%

Discount Code

for your first purchase!

Igugu Beads will use your email information for occasional sneak peeks, promotions, new releases, VIP coupons, giveaways, and newsletters. We promise to protect your email like we wish wildlife were protected. Privacy Policy