Thursday, September 29, 2005

Jewelry for a Cause

Last night I was hoping to get a lot of designing done. I spent so much time cleaning up my work room that I only made two necklaces. I find it hard to be inspired when I have piles of beads and findings daunting me.

These two necklaces will be a donation for a charity I am supporting. I like to support worthy causes when I have the chance. This charity seemed like a good one.

This first necklace is purple shell, purple quartz, and purple crystals with sterling silver chain and toggle.


This necklace is brown czech glass, ebony wood, and vintage mottled czech glass with a thai silver pendant.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Kinda Scary

I will admit..I am a blogaholic. I read about 10 different blogs everyday. I read everything from mommy blogs to celebrity blogs to the blogs of other indie designers. Now, I have it set up on my My Yahoo account to subcribe to these blogs so that when a new post has been made I can see it on my yahoo page and then I check out the blog. It saves me a lot of time that could be spent going to every blog to see if there is a new post.

That being said...I totally understand checking a blog a few times a day to see if there is a new post. I am a little embarrassed when I check a blog more than 2 or 3 times a day. You see, most people who have a blog also have some kind of tracker on their blog that shows us our visitors. We can't see your name or anything but we can tell if the same person checks our blog a million times a day.

I have a couple visitors who check my blog many many times a day (we are talking 5 - 15 times a day). I have to admit that it kinda creeps me out. I rarely post more than every couple of days. Why would you need to check my blog that often?

I know when my friends are checking my blog and I am perfectly okay with that. I also like customers to read it because I feel they get a sense of who I am. I know they are just looking for new jewelry or contest announcements. In fact I love comments and all that fun stuff. So if you must check my blog a million times a day please at least shoot me an e-mail and introduce yourself or leave a comment. It would make me feel a little better.

I probably sound a little paranoid but there are a lot of copycats and weirdos out there and I want to make sure that it is not the case here.

Happy reading

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm back

Last week was a hard one but I think I will be back to work this week. I have a ton of new beads that I am just dying to get my hands on.

I don't have much to say but I just wanted everyone to know that I'm okay and I'm here.

Here's a pic of my little cutie since I don't have any new jewelry to show:

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Just get a Website

You have no idea how many times I have heard someone say "Just get a website to sell your stuff". Right. As if it's that easy. You just throw together a website using whatever color scheme you wish. (Your favorite color is hot pink? Perfect!) Take a few pictures with the digital camera Grams gave you for Christmas last year and you are off and running right? Grainy pictures and misspelled words? Whatever! It's the internet right? People will magically find your site and begin shopping like it's the Nordy's half yearly sale. Soon you will be running around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to keep up with orders.

Sorry to burst your bubble but it's nowhere near that easy. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to run a website, and I'm sure my internet friends will agree. You must keep your website fresh and up to date (which is much easier now thanks to my redesign). You must get people to actually come to your site which is no small feat. You must get google and Yahoo to come to your site. You must convince people to buy your product based solely on pictures.

This is the one area where I tend to spend the most time. I am the person who walks through the stores touching everything. My mom used to always say "Sharla, look with your eyes not your hands". If I am going to buy something I want to pick it up and look at it up close. I want to know what it feels like. I want to smell it. (My necklaces come from a smoke free home.) Is it soft and silky or made from scratchy material?

So I am constantly re-taking my website pictures hoping that I am enriching my shoppers experience. I want them to feel like they have picked up the piece of jewelry and are now convinced that they must own it. Here are the latest attempt:





Monday, September 12, 2005

Huh?

I got a strange e-mail a few days ago. I just re-read it again today. It was an invitation from a friend to a very popular kind of "jewelry" party. You know..lots of sparkly, cheap/affordable, mass produced stuff. I don't want to say the name (heaven forbid I get google hits from it) but the initials of the company are C.L.

Now, I know that there are a lot of people that enjoy these parties. They enjoy the "jewelry" and the hanging out and all that fun stuff. I just don't really see myself getting into it.

Why would I want to buy something that 10 other people are taking home too? (See post below) Not to mention..I make jewelry!! That's not to say I don't buy other people's jewelry. I do. It doesn't happen often but I definitely admire other people's work.

I don't care if other people go to these things. I know that some of my customers have been because I see them wearing the jewelry. Who doesn't shop around right? I buy purses, soaps and stationary from lots of different people. But would I invite my friend who sells handmade original purses to a knockoff designer purse party?? Definitely not.

It just made me laugh and was..quite honestly..a little insulting. I am going to assume that this person accidentally included me in the invite or didn't think it through. Geez!

Why One of a Kind?

I am always trying to improve Sharma Designs. Last night I was, yet again, playing around with different styles of photographs for the jewelry. Frustrated that I was wasting a lot of time and getting nowhere I thought about how much easier it would be if I made a bunch of one style and then just offered a few styles of necklaces. I could spend a lot of time on each necklace because the picture wouldn't be off the website the minute it sold.

Unfortunately, I just can't do it. It isn't by chance that my jewelry is one of a kind. Yes I would probably get bored making the same necklace or pair of earrings over and over but it's more than that. I like having what no one else has.

We have all had that friend, you know, the one who buys everything that you buy. She is always asking where you bought things and then she conveniently goes and picks up the same thing for herself. I had a little sister so I was always being copied (she will deny it till her dying breath). My mom constantly reminded me that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery". I completely disagree. I do not feel "flattered" when I am copied. I feel cheated. When I find something that I haven't seen on a ton of people I feel that I have found a treasure and I want to keep it to myself.

I know there are others out there who feel the same way as I do. Maybe not quite as strongly but wouldn't you like the assurance that no one has the exact piece of handmade jewelry as you do? When someone asks you where you got that fabulous necklace you can tell them you got it at Sharma Designs (in fact please do) and know that the copycats can't get the exact same piece. They can buy the same skirt and they can get the exact shirt (even though it looks much better on you) but they can't finish off the look with your piece of jewelry because there is only one...and you have it.

So I will keep struggling with the camera and I will painstakingly spend hours editing my photos because to me it is worth it. Sometimes I just need to remind myself why I do it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Website Tweaks

I changed a few things on the site last night. For starters, there is no manly man section anymore. I never make new man necklaces and it is really not where I want to focus my energy so I decided to discontinue it. The man necklaces may appear in a monthly contest though.

I also changed the Handmade Necklace menu page. The little circles that were on there were pretty boring so I decided to display picture examples instead. Hopefully it will help make things clearer.



The "buzz" page got a facelift as well. Now it has a different layout and up to date information. It needed it.

When I am not at my computer I am beading like a madwoman (after the baby goes to bed and I work out of course). I made 6 or 7 new necklaces just last night. I feel very inspired right now and I am very pleased with the way the jewelry is turning out these days.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Mommies with Style

This morning I woke up to find that I am featured on the Mommies with Style blog. Yeah!

Check it out here.

One More Preview

Here is a new funky thai silver necklace that looks kinda like a peacock. The necklace was inspired by this yummy Contempo Coffee handbag that I am drooling over at Sommer Designs. Wouldn't they look fabulous together?

Gotta love the long weekend!

Admittedly, I spent most of my weekend recovering from my new gym membership. Wow. My poor calf muscles. And try lifting a 25 pound baby when your biceps are screaming for mercy.

But enough about me and my wimpy muscles...my fingers work and that's what's important in the Sharma Designs news.

I put up some new handmade jewelry tonight. Only the earrings are ready to order but the rest of the jewelry should be ready tomorrow night. There are new additions in the earthy elegance, fabulous and funky, dainty divas, deliciously dark, bracelets and earrings.

Here is a sneak preview: