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Jan. 8th, 2016

Bird

The Business of Doing Business--or Crowdsourcing is no picnic nor is it a free lunch...

Every single one of my FL friends and acquaintances already know that I've launched a kickstarter campaign, but since it's my first ever attempt at crowd-sourcing, I had no idea how many other folks have made it their business to make money off of the people trying to raise funds.

In my mind crowd sourcing isn't about making millions but instead about individuals and other small businesses bringing new concepts to life that probably wouldn't get financial backing from venture capitalists.  In my mind it was about the little guy with a great idea, and a grassroots movement to get those ideas to market.

And yet....

The only messages I am receiving on my campaign page are from individuals and companies offering to help me spread the word...for a fee.  There were 10 of them before my campaign had been up 48hours.   Each one got a polite reply stating "There is no budget allotment in my funding goal for paid advertising."  All but one, has accepted that response and wished me luck.  Though a few of them it sounded very much like they left off "you're going to fail if you don't hire us." from the end of that luck wishing.

The one company who did not take the first no for an answer said:Thanks for you answer. Please read this part again:

"The cost for using this forum called BackerClub is $379, BUT only if you get backing from members on BackerClub of at least $379. You also need to meet your funding goal! Or else you will not get an invoice. Also, it is are not charging up front! So, at worst, you will break even and don't have to pay anything in advance. It is a can't lose proposition! You ONLY pay if you get the funds for it."

And I went.  Uhm?   Yeah it isn't breaking even at all, when that $379 in pledges also has to go towards the reward levels of said pledges.   No, instead it's $379.00 I'll have to pay out of funds which are already allocated to production costs, Kickstarter Fees, and the quarterly estimated tax payment I'll be making on the funds that come out of this.

It's sweet that they think I'm stupid enough to fall for their faulty math.  So in just a few short years, crowd-sourcing has become big business, for people who want to take a slice of whatever funds are raised in a given project.  I get it for campaigns that want hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Paying for outside marketing help makes complete sense at that scale.

Jan. 5th, 2016

Bird

Need all the help I can get to fullfill this dream

I've designed a locking clasp, small(ish) discreet, nickel free and to put it into production I'm raising funds via Kickstarter.  Please visit the campaign, share it on FB, Twitter, Instagram wherever you can.  Heck send it via phone or tablet to your pals.  If lots of people back me with just a small pledge each, I'll be able to make this dream come true and start in on a new one.

Secure Clasp Kickstarter Campaign.

Nov. 3rd, 2015

Bird

Election Day & Website Building

Good things going on today.

I got my vote on.  It's the first time I was able to go vote in-person in a long time.  Usually I end up having to vote by absentee ballot. So glad the polling sites are open late.

I'm also ramping up to launch a new webstore with my own domain name.   I'll be keeping the ETSY shop open, but I'm moving some of my product to the Mockingbird Lane Wire website.   I'll let you all know when it goes live.

Feb. 28th, 2015

Bird

Fairy Coracle a Story and a new piece of Mockingbird Lane Jewelry

As I was adding the Keishi, Biwa, and Rice Freshwater pearls to this fold formed copper pod, it came to me that I was fulfilling a magical tale. You see each spring the little folk, fill a small coracle with iridescent treasures meant as gifts for the water sprites whose enthusiastic antics during Spring snowmelt time, sometimes turns more destructive than strictly necessary to keep the balance between water and the other elements of fairyland. So the woodland sprites, the sylphs, air elementals, stone trolls etc, each send a small gift when the weather first turns warm. From Sylvan glades the final fallen leaf is magically preserved so it can serve as the vessel carrying the gifts. Stone trolls share a tiny grain of sand that other sprites carry to the deep lakes feeding them to mollusks, clams and other freshwater bi-valves. Later the air elementals dry and polish the resulting pearls, before the dryads breath more color onto some of the pretty treasure. All are loaded into the coracle, and it is floated onto a still pond under the first spring moon. As it floats miniscule wavelets splash against the hull waking up phosporescent lights that will call the naids to claim their gifts and seal a bargain first made before mankind ever lived.



https://www.flickr.com/photos/mockingbirdlane/16490400668/

Nov. 19th, 2014

Bird

Trying out a brainspiration brings in unexpected results.

I always want to try new things, but I don't always make the time to do that when I'm dividing myself between fulfilling custom orders, responding to client questions, packing, shipping, taking photos, editing them, trying (but failing) to keep my social networking momentum going AND spending quality time with my circle of family. (this circle includes my close friends as we refer to ourselves as non-bloods but still family.)

So when my FB page reached 500 likes, I wanted to combine a celebratory give-away with an opportunity to do something new. In a sudden burst of inspiration I decided to make my give-away different than others I've seen. I offered my participants an option. Option A was that the winner would be surprised with a piece I would make to size, but all of the design elements were purely up to me. Option B was a gift of any item currently available for immediate shipping that was $100.00 or less.

I confess, I did not think I'd get many takers. Previous drawings I've run netted from 6 to 15 entries. And so I figured this might get me 20ish. Instead, I a received 107 separate entries. And my FB likes jumped up in a couple of days to a bit under 550. That surely set my heart racing it took years to get to the 500 mark. I was a little astonished with the number of people who favored option A. The comments, where folks said they would love anything I might make, set me back on my heels. This is because I tend to be really critical of my work and my photos, particularly when I compare my work to other jewelers'.

The level and breadth of response simultaneously uplifted my spirits and reminded me to step back sometimes and try to see what I do through my prospective customers eyes. We have to do that for pricing, as well as when just looking at our past oeuvre. [French for work, but I like it better than the English as oeuvre is used to denote a life's work and it sounds a little bit like Oooofff! The kind of noise one sometimes makes doing heavy lifting. As a metaphor it puts more weight and significance into the meaning than does the word 'work.' ).

But I digress a bit. What I'd been wanting to try was to incorporate different wire wrapped link styles into my usual standby of wrapped loop links, usually made with gemstones or beads. The link style I settled on for this piece was the coiled links. I wasn't 100 percent certain of their strength and durability, having seen steel springs go wonky in other applications (like beds, inside small locks, on fence gates, etc.) I didn't want to use this link style in something I would sell, until I could see houw it fared in some real world use. By doing it as a give-away, I can later ask the wearer how it holds up for her.

I did run the risk that the winner would have selected option B. But so many people choose A, I was almost assured the random number generator www.randomnumber.org (I chose the integer generator option.) would end up with an A person. And it did. Or I would have been back to the drawing board...so to speak. What I did not do was jinx the thing by starting on the proposed necklace until after the winner was selected and notified. Another thing I promised was not to reveal the finished item until after I'd shipped it to the winner.

I shipped it out on Monday of this week. And now I'm sharing it with all of you. Thanks, in advance, for reading and commenting.500LikesHandcraftedCoilLinksCollar (1)
500LikesHandcraftedCoilLinksCollar (3)
500LikesHandcraftedCoilLinksCollar (4)

Nov. 5th, 2014

Bird

Keeping up and Catching up.

It has been a busy busy summer, and that's turned out to mean no posting here on LJ for me.  I've been dividing my time between making jewelry, selling said jewelry, and managing my online presence.  Unfortunately, writing journal entries tends to get shoved down to the bottom of the priority list, in favor of less time intensive things like status updates on FB, photo uploads to Flickr, and Pinterest posts.

So, I've been remiss.  Probably a good thing then, that my readership is quite small though loyal.   This past month I've even had to procrastinate on product photography, so much so that I ended up with an entire small carton of things that needed pictures.  I forced myself to do a monster session and even managed to fit in photos of pieces I'd made way back in the summer for a local Library Exhibit. Of course those had to wait until the Exhibit was over, and I had them back in hand.  So, I'm sharing a few of them with you here.  Simple, petite and 100% wire sculpted into stud earrings.

What have you all been up to while I was over in FaceBook land?
18gSterlingDoubleSwirls (4)
18GSterlingHeart (2)
18GSterlingHearts2 (4)
18GSterlingKnots (3)
18GSterlingVines (1)
20GCopperHeartStuds (3)
20gCopperKnotStuds (1)
20gCopperTailedSwirlStuds (1)
20gCopperVines (1)

Oct. 24th, 2014

Bird

EEP almost two months since my last post! And this one's about A FB giveaway.

Yup I my Business page on FB hit a significant milestone a couple of days ago.  500 likes.  So I'm doing a giveaway to show my appreciation and to celebrate.
https://www.facebook.com/MockingbirdLaneCreations?fref=photo&ref=hl#

Click the link to find out more.

Sep. 7th, 2014

Bird

On making and propitious inspiration that seemingly arrives out of the blue...

As is usual, at least for the past 9 months, I've been kept busy with my ETSY shop.  This means I have to carve out time, squeeze it in when I should be sleeping, or when I ought to be keeping up with product photography, the accounting, the social networking, etc.  So, though making new pieces is what will keep my shop fresh, and my repeat clients coming back, I always feel guilty when I put all of those other responsibilities aside to play with new ideas.  The guilt comes because for me, making just for the sake of exploring ideas is absolutely play time.

Now I'm extraordinarily fortunate that I have been able to make what I love into my full-time job and I still very much enjoy fulfilling client requests, and doing the production work on my made-to-fit designs.  However, there is nothing, nothing in this world that lifts my spirits and makes hours feel like minutes than those times when I'm at my bench experimenting with new constructs.  Even better is when my initial plans suddenly take a left turn and become something completely different, something that when finished delights me no end.

That is what happened this evening when I sat down to work with some leftover bits of Trichinopoly that I've had set aside to turn into woven band style rings.   I'd used a short leftover piece last year to make into a band, by first flattening the weave and secondly using more wire to weave the two ends closed.   It made a lovely, slightly flexible and seriously comfortable ring, which sold fairly quickly.   I'd intended at that point to turn the rest of the short pieces (which I'd been collecting for a couple of years as I'd make necklaces and bracelets to size and would often have a short segment left over.  Too little to make into a bracelet and too large to simply send back for a scrap wire return credit.  So tonight I set aside some time, and set to work turning the first and most intricate triple weave remainder into a ring.   And I could have stopped once I finished weaving the ends together.  The ring looked lovely, but it also, to me looked too bare.

It was while looking through my gemstones, swarovski crystals, and other random tidbits that I found something that gave me an AHA! kind of brainstorm.   And over the next four hours I worked, completely absorbed, oblivious to thirst, hunger, or anything outside of the lighted area on my bench.   The end result is something you'll have to wait to see, as I've got to put on the final polish and then get photos.   It is also something that will only ever be One-of-a-kind because this kind of inspiration plus perspiration deserves a solitary place in the world.  I'm so excited about it that I felt compelled to sit right down and write what happened and how it makes me feel.

Even better, because of how this one worked, I've got a slew of ideas on how to make other pieces, similar to, but not identical.   Isn't fantastic how one sudden spark, lights up additional possibilities for all sorts of variations?   Ok back to my bench, but stay tuned there will be pictures in the next few days.

Aug. 24th, 2014

Bird

Balancing Act - Fulfilling Client Requests while still carving out time to create new designs.

The past few months it has been a fight to keep making time to flesh out the new ideas in my head.  And I'm definitely doing less of that than I was before the holiday shopping season of 2013.  Part of me misses the time when I wasn't actually making a living doing art because during my non-day job hours, I got to play and experiment and venture in any creative direction that pulled my focus.

Now, I tend to stay within the boundaries of my niche market even when creating new things.  Part of the rationale for that, is the need to expand my offerings within my niche market so that I can grow the business.  Another part of that, is by focusing down, I waste less money purchasing oddball supplies I might never use again after experimenting with a new-to-me medium.   And the final part of my thinking on this, is that staying within certain boundaries allows me to push my skills to improve.

But I still try to obsess less about the orders I've not yet completed, when an inspiration strikes and I feel impelled to put something brand new on my bench.  I like to think of these moments (though fewer than in the past) as mental health breaks.  They keep me from starting to see production work as a chore, even though it often means now, that it will take me weeks, sometimes months to get one new design completed.

Today I finished up one brand new collar design.  I worked the prototype in stainless steel and titanium.  It is in the tumbler now.  And I want to do another in sterling.  But first, I need to start in on a new collar design inspired by a ring tutorial by IMNIUM.

Me.

May. 13th, 2014

Bird

Give-Away Celebration:

Hullo reader,
    I didn't use the plural in my greeting because I'm fairly certain I've only got just the one reader still following my very sporadic postings here on Live Journal.  Booking the Face and Pinterest, and Twitter all seem to be the rage these days.  While I maintain pages on FB and Pinterest, I never Tweet.  This is mainly because I am incapable of sticking to a mere 255 characters.  So much meaning must be left out of the message that way.

    But, I digress.  This past week my ETSY shop reached 1,500 sales.  Each time I either get a notice that one of my pieces has sold, or one outlining someone's request for a custom order I feel a little frisson of delight mingled with a soupcon of surprise.  I somehow doubt that I'll ever get fully accustomed to the thought that people out there want what i make.

   Because of how glad I am that there are people in the world like you, i'm putting up for grabs the copper and brass infinity bracelet pictured below.   To enter this drawing is quite simple.

Between now and the last day of May I will be accepting E-mail entries to Ldy_mockingbird@yahoo.com

Use the Subject:  Infinity Bracelet Drawing
Include your full name and your mailing address in the body of the message.
Please include a note about which of my past pieces appeals to you and why.  I might just find inspiration for new pieces from the words you share with me.

Once the drawing closes, I will use an online random number generator to 'pull a name from the hat.'  Ordinal numbers will be assigned to your name based on when your message arrives.  So the first message will be number 1, the second number 2 and so on.
Bronze&CopperGiveAwayBracelet (1)Bronze&CopperGiveAwayBracelet (4)

This hand sculpted and woven Copper and Bronze wire bracelet has an inner circumference of 7.5 inches and is designed to pass over your hand much like a bangle.  There is no clasp and the joining rings are soldered closed.

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