Marcy Lamberson has it.  Her beads are cute.  I mean that in the nicest way.  They really are cute.  Flying pink pigs, happy babies and litte peas; they all make me go aawwww. 

She is clever too.  I love bonehead.  Her beads make me smile and browse in awe.  The ones I keep returning to are the puppies.  They tug at my heart every time.  Only this time, I bought one.

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I’m feeling rather proud of myself this morning.  I’ve been quoted and blogged!

I belong to a group of Etsy sellers called Etsy Glass Artists.  I recently challenged members to improve their product shots right along with me.  Many were doing a fantastic job, and some found they were no longer happy with what they had been doing.  Once we got the discussion rollling, we found great ideas jumped out at us.

One of my best idea bouncing buddies  Leah Pelligrini blogged about her journey.  Click on ME to read my quote worthy advice.

I have a love hate relationship with my bead pictures.  On the one hand, I feel a sense of pride when I look at a beautiful representation of my work.  On the other, pure angst when I can’t get them right.

There are many factors to getting a good bead picture.  Over the past 4 years I have come to learn the best lighting and set up.  I use white matt board, white foam core “walls” for bounce to fill in my shadows and natural outdoor light.  I know I have to take at least 3 shots of each bead pose.  My usual session is about 200 pictures.

Unfortunately, outdoors in New Hampshire means cold temperatures for a good part of the year.  Imagine me taking 15 or so shots of each bead strand with my bare hands, wind whipping my set up and the cold creeping up my body, because I’m on my hands and knees. Yah, I’m not having fun.

Often I get inside, download the pictures and find one or two that require a retake.  On a bad day, they are all bad and I want to pull my hair out trying to make things right with photoshop.  There is a lot of truth in the saying, “Photoshop can’t fix a bad picture, but it can make a good one great.” 

Ah, but then there are the good days.  The light is just right.  Not too much sun, not too dark, no bugs landing on the background, no dust coming from thin air; these are the days I just know I don’t need three shots of each pose.  Oh, I still take them.  But editing will be a snap.  As each bead talks to me from in front of the lense I can feel it.

Does my customer even notice?  Heck if I know.  It is my not so silent struggle to listen to the beads and let them talk to you. When they do, I’m having a great day.

set of florals!  It’s true; more often than not I sit down at the torch and make a set of florals.  I really love the peaceful feeling I get when I make florals.  It is the same feeling I get walking around my gardens. In response to Flaming Hot’s Blog It; But why do I make florals? 

Maybe it is the dot  placement.  It does have to be consistant and I find the repetitive motion hypnotic.  It lets my mind wander and think deep thoughts, or trivial ones.  It lets me explore new ideas and think about what I will create next.  It helps me get into a groove and ready to try more difficult techniques.

Once, florals were what I strived to master.  Now, they are what I do to warm up. Whatever the reason, I still look at my florals with satisfaction.  I feel as if I have made something pretty and am still proud to show them off.

On Flaming Hot I asked glass artists how they measure their businesses success and stay focused.  I’m sure it is no surprise I sit down and write out my goals and objectives each year. I’m a list person, I can’t help it.

I split my goals into three categories.  The first is financial.  I have a monthly sales number I try to meet.  The second is educational.  I determine the glass techniques I wish to master and how I’m going to make it happen.  

My third category is all about my feel good factor.  I’m not sure of the word to use.  I focus on helping other lampworkers get started,  new art business people work more efficiently, educating the public about glass and art businesses and get my name out there in the process.  I suppose you could call it networking with a humanitarian focus.

I do find pleasure in setting goals and meeting them.  They keep me on track and feeling productive. I don’t get a weekly paycheck or a glowing evaluation from my boss, but I can check things off my list.

Do you ever feel like you get it done this time of year?  I try, I really do.  I start off with a list, and I make sub lists and then, I seem to lose one.  I spend precious time looking for it only to have to remake the list.  I asked beadmakers on Flaming Hot to answer how they get it done in their business.

Fortunatley I’m  very organized about running my business.  I have a ritual Sunday night of making my weekly list of things to get done.  In addition I keep myself on track by keeping a daily schedule.  Check emails, print invoices, pack up boxes and ship packages are the first things I do each morning.  When my paperwork chores are done I can torch.  While I can’t always create on demand, I do have a check list of design types I try to work on each week.  I focus on getting my orders completed at the beginning of the week and let the time left be free for whatever comes to mind.  It keeps the little things from slipping through the cracks.  Finally, during homework time I get my internet work done.  I list auctions, edit pictures and most importantly, write blog entries.

The internet has really helped many of us sell our hand crafted work.  No matter where you live, chances are you can sell in a global marketplace.  Pretty neat when you think about it.  Because for years the saying “Location, location, location” was everything when it came to a successful storefront business. 

Now that the ability to access prime location is not a huge hurdle, other things become issues.  How do I get people to see my auctions and my site?  I can’t see those buyers walking down the street, but I know they are out there wandering the internet. 

But when should one list? I think each seller has a theory and it is the topic for Flaming Hot’s blog it this week.  When is the best time to list auctions in order to maximize views? 

When I first started selling I was convinced I needed to be as regular as clockwork.  I created a must follow schedule of listing Tuesdays and Thursdays; day slots for justbeads and night slots for ebay.  If I had extra sets I would add another weekday or weeknight auction. 

A year or so later I added a newsletter to my marketing efforts.  I began to sell from my site and announce new strands.  I was again convinced I needed a strict schedule of every week.  I think you are beginning to see where this is going, right? 

Even more recently I added Etsy to my auction sales sites.  Over there the suggestion is to list as often as possible one auction at a time.  What?!  any old time?  Oh my, but what about a schedule?  Within days I was enjoying just listing willy nilly.  How completely free-spirited and wild I felt.  I was so liberated I sent my newsletter out on a completely random day.  Crazy, I know.  I put up a couple Saturday auctions on one of the sites.  What was I thinking? 

Now before you get too worried, I still have to fill my Tuesday and Thursday slots to maintain a tiny slice of order.  But don’t be surprised to see other auctions listed on any old day of the week.  And my newsletter?  I just might surprise you with a 2am version.    My new motto is location, location, and list any darn time you want.