How nice of Portlandia to make a video about me
I live in a place where winter is snowy and cold and I am ok with that. Winter is supposed to be cold, right? But, this year has been colder than most. The snow that came down in December is still here, that means it has remained mostly below freezing for a long time.
Perhaps that is why February, the shortest month of the year, seems to go on forever. My joints ache for warmer weather, my dry hands itch for warm sunshine. We took a mini vacation to sunny St. George, Utah at the beginning of the month, but the beautiful weather turned for the worse and it actually snowed while we were in Zion National Park. Maybe we brought the weather with us. But we didn’t do it on purpose.
Some people around here (my children included) pretend it isn’t really winter. They wear light jackets and Toms because they know they will only be outside for 2 seconds as they run from their car to work or the bus to school. But, not me, I take my dog to the park every day for exercise. We spend about an hour there walking and playing with a ball. In case you haven’t experienced this, an hour in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit is a long time. I have a good winter coat and warm boots that I love made by Keen, but it is still cold.
Ok, ok, I know, you don’t care. You live in California and it is warm, and this is my second post about being cold, so…… get over it girl!
But wait…..imagine my joy when I realized this morning that there are only 2 MORE DAYS OF FEBRUARY!!
Never before have I been so glad to see March. March in Utah means melting snow and warming temperatures. It also means a lot of mud tracked onto my kitchen floor, but oh well.
Hooray for the end of February. Farewell and good riddance.
Ok, I admit it, I am just wasting time while I procrastinate taking the dog out.
It is -6° F outside.
This is what the weather app on phone says it looks like outside.
There are days when sharing my studio with the furnace and laundry room is a pain, to say the least. When it starts to feel like a dirty clothes uprising. Or when my husband, bless his heart, does his own laundry. This usually results in mounds of clean clothes on the floor, right in my path. Because hey, what’s the fun in cleaning your clothes if you don’t throw them on the dirty floor afterwards?
But this is not one of those days. Today it is -6° outside. But, here in my cave the furnace and the dryer are both running full blast and it is nice and warm.
I think I’ll go find some more clothes to dry.
I will be the first to admit I am not a huge blogger. I am a jeweler that blogs about it, not a blogger that makes jewelry.
I am also not part of the blogger community, so I don’t know these things, but apparently bloggers have conferences where they get together to eat good food, party, win prizes and talk about whatever it is that bloggers talk about. If your a women, it is conferences like Evo and BlogHer. I didn’t even know there were blogger conferences, let alone what they were for. So, several months ago when my friend Lindsey told me I should go to Evo (The Evolution of Women in Social Media) I thought, ‘what does it have to do with me?’ Yes I am a women and yes I use social media in my business and personal life, but to put down $300 to spend a weekend sitting around with strangers talking about twitter and facebook, I don’t get it. She told me it could be life changing, but I thought ‘meh’ and then I promptly forgot about it.
Well, that all changed when a couple weeks before the conference they asked me to make them some necklaces that said “evo” to give as a gift to their volunteers. Suddenly I was thrown into the middle of it. I became an official sponsor, right there with Ebay, Lowes and a bunch of other huge names.
So what is evo and why are people willing to pay to be a part of it?
Let me tell you what I know. The evo Conference is a weekend of workshops, parties, networking, and a chance for women to get away from home and have fun. It is attended by bloggers, businesses, and social media junkies.
The necklaces turned out awesome:
I thought that was the end of it. But it wasn’t.
Two days before the conference they offered me a ticket. I was camping with my family. I didn’t really have cell phone coverage so I couldn’t ask questions or work out details, all I could do was say yes. Luckily for me the conference was held in Park City, Utah, an hour drive from my house. So as soon as I got home from camping, I got cleaned up, packed, grabbed some business cards and some jewelry and headed into the unknown.
If I had been there alone, my experience would have been very different. I am a little shy, especially when it comes to marketing myself. But Lindsey, who is not shy, took me around and introduced me to everyone saying, “This is Demi, she made the evo necklaces,” and while they were ooing and aweing I’d give them my card.
The classes and speakers were good. We met this guy:
Who taught us this song:
The sponsors gave us lots of food, did our nails, let us star in their advertisements, and other fun stuff.
We met this guy:
One night the power went out for a few hours. Somehow the party went on. It was great, social media junkies had to put away their devices and talk to each other. Some new friends and I found a pool table and played by the light of a cell phone. I have never played so badly and laughed so hard.
All in all, I had a great time. It was fun to get out of the studio, meet some new people and expand my community.
And because I am the kind of girl who always wants to turn my lessons learned into a list, here they are:
1. I usually think I have to do everything myself. But I am wrong. Maybe I should let go and get some help with the boring stuff like marketing, shipping, and finances, to leave more time for jewelry making and design.
2. What is that saying? “You have to spend money to make money,” I guess everyone says it because it is true. Marketing takes money and time too.
3. The most successful people I met are just normal people like me, people with a goal or a vision, people with a story to tell.Who’s to say that I can’t be just as successful?
4. Blogging and creating jewelry are kind of the same. When you blog, you can feel like you are writing for yourself. You write as if someone is listening, even if no one is listening. If a blogger writes about things they are passionate about, like global poverty and disease, sustainable urban form, cleaner air, buying handmade, parenting, or whatever, it can feel like shouting into the dark.
Designing and creating can feel that way too. When I create jewelry I pour my heart into it, not knowing if it will even have value to anyone else. I create something and I put it out there and I wait and hope that it will mean something to someone, that someone will like it, that someone will care.
In that we are the same.
5. I have passion and a voice and with it I can do big things, maybe even change the world.
That is life changing.
Found this post from an old blog I kept in 2007. I had to repost for your reading enjoyment:
The age old problem of gold snippets in the keyboard.
I try to dump them out, but the keyboard wont let them go. Maybe my keyboard likes them. Maybe they are like the little sprinkles that you sneak from the spice cupboard and the keyboard is gobbling them up!”
The answer isn’t that hard. Don’t cut rings while reading email. Duh.
I decided to give the local artisan scene a try this year, because hey, I am a full time jeweler now, and that is what you do right? You make a bunch of inventory and go to these events where there are a lot of people walking around and only a few buying anything. It least that way you sound more legitimate when you can say, “Oh I can’t come to that barbecue, I have a show this weekend.” And you have a bunch of inventory, and thus something to show friends and neighbors when they say, “I would love to come over and see your stuff.” You and I both know they are really just checking up to make sure I am not playing videos in my basement all day.
But there are some issues with local fairs:
1. You have to be there to make the sale.
I admit it, I am pretty spoiled by selling online. Selling online is great because you don’t have to do anything to make sales. I know, I know, you have to design beautiful pieces, take great photos, set up a website, do tons of marketing, provide great customer service, and all that, but in the end the sales just happen. Most of the time they happen while you are asleep, or walking the dog, or heaven forbid, MAKING JEWELRY!
So, at a fair you have to spend all day doing nothing but sitting there, looking cute, talking to people, and even being kind of a salesman. No sitting back and letting the sales happen on their own.
2. People don’t always come to a fair to buy stuff.
I don’t know what it is like in other places in the world, but in Utah, the cheapskate, DIY capital of the world, people aren’t always willing to spend real money on anything.
3. Some fairs are better than others.
The really good ones cost a TON of money. The ones that don’t cost a ton of money can go either way. Some are great, some are not so great. The trick is finding the good ones.
So, yesterday I attended my third fair. I went into it suspecting it probably wasn’t going to be huge. When something is held in a place called Centerville, population 15,000, this should be a sign. Also, it was the first time they have had this flea market and despite their assurances that they had totally got the word out, it takes time for these things to grow. But I didn’t have anything else to do, and you just never know right? So, I got up at the crack of dawn, drove an hour to find the big grassy field with not an inch of shade and set up my booth.
Notice the lack of shade, no tent, and no people?
That is pretty much how it looked all day. It was sooooo dead. And SO HOT!
I pretty much melted. Some of my jewelry cards did melt.
The only redeeming thing of the whole day was the cute little 15 year old duo that sang and played guitars for the entertainment. They weren’t half bad and their music selection was actually pretty similar to what comes out of my Pandora station.
1. A sun hat is great, but you still need sunscreen, even on your hands.
2. No tent = no fun.
3. First time shows in medium size towns probably are not worth my time.
Oh well. At least I know one fair not to repeat. 1 down, 100 to go.
I make jewelry. I make it from raw materials, wire that I bend and shape into letters or just into circles. Wire that I solder and polish.
My jewelry is not made in a factory. It is made in my studio, in my basement. When I finish a ring I put it in a small ziplock bag to preserve the shine and a little paper box to keep the post office from crushing it during delivery. I do all these things. Sometimes I get my kids to help put them in the boxes and close the packages, but mostly it is me.
Even I sometimes marvel at it.
If you are like me, MOST of all the things you buy: clothing, household items, furniture, jewelry, etc, comes from a factory. Even the food we eat comes from who knows where, with who knows what in it. We are so far removed from the things we buy, with so little understanding about how it was made or the quality of materials that it is mind numbing.
Because it is easy and it is cheap. We can go to a department store, see something we like and take it home without spending a fortune. It is sooo simple. We know it was made in China and we may or may not care about that, we know it wont last but we try not to think about that, and we buy it anyway, because it is so simple.
But there is a growing community of people looking for something better. Maybe they are tired of low quality goods that don’t last. Maybe they want something original. Maybe they have altruistic motivations to support real artisans. Or maybe like me it is a combination of all these reasons.
Whatever the reason it is good.
I am an artisan. It has taken me 37 years to see that in myself. But it is true. We are an endangered breed, but we are not dying. That is why I buy handmade, to keep the artisan alive.
I told you I might pontificate.