I just wanted to re-assure some that the products you see in my Etsy and Art Fire shops is handmade and most is one of a kind made by me, Laura in my Las Vegas home. I included a slide show below with pictures of my studio/office. You can see from the images that I am the one and only creator of all my jewelry, paper products and photography. I do buy supplies in bulk (that is where the supply store came from) and some of it comes from China but even if it is as simple as a pair of earrings or beads strung on a Pandora Style bracelet the design is all me. Rest assured that aside from my awareness bracelets(I make many of these) the items are One or Few of a Kind. I may see a pattern from a magazine or a piece at a store and replicate it but I am still making it by hand and using my own colors/design to make it my own. If you have any concerns or comments on my products design or how they are put together and with what materials, just contact me. I am happy to answer any questions you have. Also if you purchase an item from me and it breaks, contact me and we will arrange to have it sent to me and I will fix it for Free. I use top quality wire, thread, crimps and glues but accidents happen. If you lost some beads or charm in a break we can still make arrangements to get it fixed and/or replaced, most at no cost to you besides the shipping. I pride myself on customer service and I will help you get exactly what you need, just ask!
I order a lot online and I always take note of the packaging and presentation of the items, it really speaks to the character of the seller. Most shipping and packaging materials are in now way pretty or fun, just functional. I try my best to find good quality in my materials for my jewelry and in my packaging, make it stand out. It is a bit of branding on my part, just another detail that most of the time will probably be over looked but why not package your beautiful items, beautifully!
Most of the packages I get are in small boxes but most are the yellow, manila padded envelopes that the majority of people use. I don't like them but I must say there is more than one use in most of those and in a small attempt to make less waste and save a bit of money, I will package my items in a previously shipped padded envelope. Next time you get a package, take note and look at the materials, can you use them again? in the same way or for another use?
I don't have the money to spend on special packaging for my items but I do like them packaged safely and in a nice looking manner. I buy in bulk the small (4x8) padded poly bubble mailers but I get mine in white. It is just a cleaner look and the plastic is durable and doesn't pick up dirt as much as the manila ones that are paper. My shipping label is centered on the front and the back has a nice return address label with my name, Desert Star Creations and my logo all in my colors. I also include a card taped under the return address label with 3 Qr codes on them, one for the Facebook page, one for the ArtFire shop and the third for this site. It fits on there nicely and it can be a free bit of advertising.
Now, for the goodies inside the package! My items are first placed in a small zip bag for the best possible protection and it can be used to keep it that way in a jewelry box or other storage. Then I place it in a sheer organza gift bag and placed with a jewelry care instruction card and a couple business cards that I am hoping get handed to friends when they ask "Where did you get the great bracelet?" Then all those items are placed in another thin plastic bag, folded and a sticker with my logo holds it all together. I also make it a point to hand write "Thank you!" to the purchaser. A little extra personal touch goes a long way.
When it comes to my gift boxes, available for only $1.49 each with purchase of any item in my shops, I go even further. With some instruction from the buyer, I make a handmade paper gift box and matching gift tag. I try and create the box with matching (to the item) colored card stock and add even more special details to the gift. If it is a birthday gift and it is being sent directly to the recipient, I make the box in matching colors and will add small details like a butterfly punch to make a peep-a-boo window in the box and the card out of the same card stock as the box. If it is a Valentines day gift then the box would be red or pink with a heart punch and matching tissue paper and ect. Just small details that make the item and the gift more memorable.
Not only is this going to help them remember the packaging but the great customer service so that the next time they order and they get that white envelope in the mail, they know exactly what that is and that it has been made with great care and detail and of course with them in mind. Everyone will see that even the simple things like packaging is special and that the crafter (me) has gone the extra mile to create a shopping experience and that every part of the sale and every customer is special and means something to them.
I hope some day soon, when I am making a good income from my crafts I can make an even better effort to package my items even nicer. Just a little extra touch to an already special item to help keep you in their mind next time they go on-ling to make a jewelry purchase or gift and making your packaging even recognizable.
I understand addiction is a problem, a very serious illness in most cases but I don't think there is hope for me. I already deal with an illness everyday but to deal with an illness and an addiction, well it just isn't fair! How much can one person take? OK, not that I am making light of any illness or addiction but this is one addiction I am happy to deal with that my wallet and husband hate. I can not just buy one!
I think back to when I started the beading game and that first trip to the bead store. I was not 100% sure on what to buy. I spent a couple hours looking over the selection and finding out what I could afford and what I liked best and made my plan of action. It seems to me that I find a bead or color I like and I stick to it and buy as many as I can get my hands on. I think back now and look at the stock of supplies I have and wonder "what was I thinking buying this much?"
When I found Fire Mt and Shipwreck beads I was thinking these wholesale sites aren't for me, I just want a couple beads to make a pair of earrings. I ended up buy a lot of bead mixes which helped me figure out what I like and what I would be willing to spend on some of the higher quality items. So you would think that helped me focus on the quality and style of bead I wanted, not so! I have the Fire Mt website open and I use it every day to either learn about a technique or look for an item that will help with a current project which always leads me to add more to my cart. I still see something I like, take the recent gemstones that I have been obsessed with, and I get a ton of it! I purchase 3 cabs from Marie at Superior Agates, (my last blog is all about it) I fell in love with her work and proceeded to buy 12 more cabs from her! Don't get me wrong, she does amazing work for a great price and I will used all of those cabs to make more jewelry to list on my site but did I really need 12 more cabs? I have 4 more already picked out, see, problem! I even went to Michaels and got some nice Jasper and Onyx and placed an order with Fire Mt for some Jasper, Howlite and Labradorite. I know have a ton of gemstones when just last week I was saying I was happy to add a couple of items to my shop made from Gemstones but that it will never take over the beautiful Swarovski and glass beads I use everyday. So, why did I buy so much?!?!
I see now that this has been the case with most of the materials I work with in my jewelry making and paper crafting products as well. I set up a second desk in my office about a year and a half ago just for my beading. I spent a lot of time last year buying in bulk on Ebay from China stocking up on Pandora style beads and supplies. I got so much to the point it prompted me to set up my supply destash store and it quickly became clear that I had a problem when I went through my stock and added over 200 items to destash. WOW, that is a lot of extra beads!!!
You would think going through my stock and setting up my destash store taught me that I buy too much, nope! I got it in my head just after the Holidays that I wanted to try some paper crafting. My cousin in San Diego sends the cutest cards on every holiday so off to Michaels I went and in 5 short months I have a 3rd desk in my office for paper crafts. I didn't just buy a few sheets of paper, some glue and a couple tools, I have over 60 punches, over 30 packs of paper, buckets of pens and a ton of glitter and stamps! I have a problem!!! Just look at the slide show to the right to see my office.
So as I add more and more to the destash shop I also am set to make any craft I want. All these materials and I still have 3 or 4 websites with full shopping carts, apparently I don't listen to the voices in my head! At least I use them and I do make things that go to use for myself but mostly for all of you. I have just listed some note card sets and I am working on some fun Halloween cards. I have a new pair of Chargers earring to list and Marie's cabs are calling. Thanks for reading all about my addiction, for which I see no cure!
Check in here to see if I am able to articulate my thoughts and my creative process. For more info on me, click the INFO tab at the top. Thanks!