Monday, October 31, 2011

Opening a Gallery, Part Four, Getting Customers

Once you have your store ready to open you'll need customers. By now you have spent most, if not all, of your budget getting the space ready. If you were smart and everything went as planned(it never does) then you would have money set aside for advertising in the local papers, radio,etc.

But if you are like me and most others by now you have spent it all. Here are some ways to get started that don't cost much, if anything.

1. Get a blog. I blog here. I post pictures of the store often as well as new products. Nobody wants to read a blog that is all advertising so make sure you add personal stories, what you working, behind the scenes stuff and more. My blog is pretty much my open journal of my life, which also includes running a gallery.

2. Get a Facebook page. This is great for getting the local folks to know what's going on. I am planning classes for fall and my Facebook page is where I will keep a current schedule, announce open houses, sales, and events.

3. Send out a press release. Newspapers and magazines need stories to write about. Send out a disc of photos and a letter stating that you are open and what you will be selling and providing.

4. Look for local charities, teams, or clubs to support through your business. Being kind goes a long way.

5. Have classes, people love to learn new techniques. That was my number one request when I opened the doors. I now have classes scheduled to start in September.

6. Have a grand opening. This one, I unfortunately never did. I never could fit one in. I am planning a series of open houses with special events in the fall.

Good luck! I hope I have provided some insight to opening a gallery. A lot of this information can be used for starting any kind of business. Good luck in all of your business adventures.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Letter Charms and a Sale


How is everyone out there in blogland? I hope good. I need to take some studio pictures to show you what I have been up to. Yesterday I painted ornaments all day. It was fun. I think this weekend  I am going to start working on holiday decorations in the gallery. I need to get some holiday music too, is it too early for that? I might need to wait a few weeks for it.

This weeks holiday project is personalized bookmarks. I made these snazzy new letter charms for personalizing gifts and your own things. I made this necklace with a J charm on it. I also made a zipper pull. My boys are going to have these on there back packs soon.

I guess I am just going to go ahead and give away all the secrets of this weeks newsletter in this blog post. Leave me a comment here and you will be entered to win a bookmark supplies kit to make your own.

Also, I am having a big ol sale in the Etsy shop all week. Ten percent off starting right now and running until Wednesday Nov 2nd. Enter the code news4 in the coupon box before checkout. I won't be adding anything else to the shop this week so shop early and get what you want.

Have a great day!
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Opening A Gallery, Part Three, The Fun Part

This is my third post in my Opening a Gallery Series. This is what I think is the fun part of owning a gallery. What to sell and how to display it. It is more challenging than I expected. I like to make everything. I am still finding out that sometimes you have to buy displays and products, let me explain...

I started out making absolutely everything in my gallery. Painted pottery, wall hangings, ornaments, jewelry, etc. Seemed like a great idea at the time but first of all I found that folks coming into my store were crafty. They were buying buttons, fabric, and beads to make things of their own. I found that customers wanted beading wire and clasps to string a necklace. Hmm, I couldn't make that. When you are providing things for your customers you can't just provide what you want and make. Since opening I have added beading necessities, accent beads, trims, and embellishments to compliment my work. And as a side note the gallery is expanding as we speak and I am going to have even more, unique supplies to go with my work. You will find your customers will guide you to what they want. You will then know what to provide.

Displays are another thing I wanted to make. First of all not to look like every other stores and second to save money. No one wants to spend money on displays. You can see some of the pieces I built here and here. Sometimes though it's best to display things on a spinner rack. You don't want your display to over power what your selling.

Once you get everything made, bought, priced, tagged, displayed....

You are ready to open for business. I have one more post in the Opening a Gallery series and it's about getting customers.
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dangly Jangly Earrings Tutorial, Holiday Project #3

Supplies Needed:
2    ceramic stacker discs
2    5mm x 7mm faceted glass beads
6    size six seed beads
2    10mm bead caps
6    2 inch headpins
2    3 inch eye pins
2    6mm silver spacers
2    ear wires

1. Start by stringing a seed bead onto a headpin. Make a simple wire loop at the top and trim excess wire. Repeat this process for the remaining five seed beads and headpins.
2. Open up the end of one of the eye pins and string on three of the simple wire loop that you just completed. Close the pin and set aside. Open the second eye pin and string the three remaining headpins with loops onto the pin and close.
3. String the ceramic bead, bead cap, faceted bead, and then silver spacer onto the eyepin in that order. Make a simple wire loop at the top and trim the excess wire.
4. Repeat step three on for the second pair.
5. Attach the and ear wire on each earring and your earrings are complete.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Holiday Treat Jars

Supplies Needed:
  • One Ceramic Good Things Tag
  • Scraps or Fabric, Felt or Ribbon
  • Double Sided Tape
Instructions: I use double sided tape to adhere the fabric and felt pieces to the jars. Ribbons and strings can be tied, leaving a small knot or a bow at the back of the jar. The snowflake was hung off the ribbon with a jump ring.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ask Me Anything

Hey, Hey, Here we go for the second ever "Ask Me Anything" posts. I have gotten some great questions, keep them coming, I plan to keep answering them.

This weeks question is from Susan, She Asks...

Hi Jennifer - I have been a big fan of your work for several years.  You always seem to have new products/ideas and I am interested in your creative process - how you keep your creative muse charged up?  How do you take it to the next level and be an innovative as you obviously are?  If and when you have "creator's block," how do you move beyond it?  Finally, any chance that you might come to Canada someday so your fans north of the border could meet you in person?

Looking forward to seeing what lovely surprises you will come up with next.

Jennifer Answers: Hi Susan, thanks for the great questions. So let's see, where should I even start? First of all, I am pretty much inspired to do or make something all of the time. There are not enough hours in the day to make all I would want to. I was in high school when I first really got into ceramics. I found my medium and everything I look at I ask myself, "could that be done in clay?". I think in clay. For instance when toggles started showing up in jewelry ten years or so ago, I saw a silver one and thought, I can make one of those in clay and I did. Every week when I am firing my kilns with orders of buttons and beads I almost always have something new in the kiln. It always fun to be waiting to see how something new is going to turn out. I am never afraid of just trying something, I learn from doing.

Now that being said, I have been wanting to do some needlework projects for myself when I'm not working and I am finding it hard to get started. You can't grab and hour when you have it and then all of a sudden be creative. Or at least I can't. I think I have mentioned my monthly "meetings" I have. It's just me at a coffee shop without any computers, telephones, or projects that need to be finished. It's me and my notebooks. My meetings consist of list making and planning, but also doodling and coming up with new ideas. No pressure just a few hours of doodling. That way when I do have some time I have a notebook of ideas and I can pull from it. My creative thinking already took place now I can take what little time I have and start working.

One more thing, that I think helps me stay charged is traveling. First of all I always take a project for the car, I find limited supplies in a box instead of everything I have in my studio helps me focus and not get overwhelmed. Plus having hours in the car with really nothing else to do is perfect. As a side note, my husband doesn't like my driving and he's not good at sitting still in the passenger seat so I am pretty lucky to not have to be behind the steering wheel much. :)  The other way travel helps, is it just gets me out of the usual, I see new things. And when I say travel, I mean driving to Indiana to see our family or camping at the beach...nothing glamorous.

As for coming to Canada, I would love to but no plans in the future as far as I can see, designing has been keeping me at home and not on the road as much as I used to be.

Thanks again Susan!

Got a questions for me?
I am taking questions for next weeks and future posts. If you have a question you would like answered by me, e-mail me (jennifer (at) jangles (dot) net) with the subject line, "Ask Me Anything". Leave me a link in the message as well if you have a blog, website, or Etsy shop. If your question is chosen I will send you one of my ceramic beads or pendants as a thank you for participating.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Getting ready for Halloween around here... I just added a bunch of Halloween gifts, jewelry, and pottery to the Etsy shop, woot, woot!
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Opening A Gallery, Part Two, Your Look

Hi there, I spoke in my last post about obtaining a gallery space. I moved in and didn't open the gallery portion until three months later. My top priority was getting the studio part of the space up and running. It was a lot of work getting tables, equipment, and storage in the right place for working. Once things were running as smoothly as possible, I could focus more on the store.

Your store needs a "look". That look encompasses your logo, your sign, your bags, your work, your displays, etc. If you're starting from scratch this is probably a lot to think about. If you are already making jewelry to sell than your work most likely, already has a feel. You'll most likely want to expand on that. My work is bright and whimsical. I always have some lime green, black, and white in it somewhere. I wanted the work to be the focus in the gallery not the walls. I choose to go with a light blue-ish purple for the walls, of course a black and white checkered floor, and lime green accents.

My signage is all black, white, and green as well.

My bags, tissue, and tags are the same too.

See where I am going with this post?

Pick two or three colors and use them consistently. Pick a font and use it again ad again. Get a logo and use it again and again.

Consistency is the key to getting customers to know your work and your style. It also shows that you are stable for a lack of better words. Customers want to know when they come shop with you that they will be able to get the same thing again and again.

Stay tuned for more....
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Zipper Pull Tutorial, Holiday Project #2

Supplies Needed for Flower Pull:
1 ceramic flower bead
4 assorted accent beads
2 silver inch silver headpin
10mm silver spring ring
1 lobster claw clasp

1. String a small bead onto the headpin followed by the ceramic flower.
2. Just above the flower make a simple wire loop. Trim any excess wire.
3. String the remaining accent beads in desired order and make a simple wire loop at the top. Trim excess wire.
4. Slide both loops of the charms you just made onto the spring ring. Note* If you use jump rings when you pull the zipper, it will most likely open, spring rings will stay closed.
5. Slide the clasp onto the jump ring as well.
6. Clip the clasp onto your zipper and enjoy!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Zipper Pulls and My New Boots

My second Holiday Project went out today! Time is flying by. The project in the letter today was an easy how to for making zipper pulls. I have found myself making a lot for gifts.

I have a few for my boys on their backpacks. I put one on this bag that I sewed. And my favorite pair of pulls so far....they are on my new boots. I couldn't pass up those red zippers! So of course I jangled them up a bit more with some pulls. I wore them out last week and they were a hit with the beads.

Leave me a comment and you could be the winner of your own zipper pull making kit.
Tune into the newsletter next week to see who the winner is and to get the how-to on Holiday Project three.
Have a great day,
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Things

 Good Morning! I guess I shouldn't say that because you could be reading this blog post at anytime. I just happen to be writing this at 7:00 AM while drinking my peppermint mocha. Yep, I start my peppermint mochas as soon as I start my holiday projects. Number two is coming to your inbox tomorrow!

We here at the Heynen's are all decked out for Halloween. I took so pictures but they were so fuzzy so unfortunately you'll have to imagine all of the decorations. I'm not a hug Halloween person but my mom has brought us a new decoration or two or three since the boys were little. Let's just say the porch is covered. I can't talk about this without a photo...here is a not so bad one...

We also have bugs crawling up our house, thanks to Martha Stewart.

Anyway, we are ready. We also have our pumpkins. I got one myself this year. It is green and bumpy, unfortunately it is starting to turn orange. I really want it to stay green. We have  had the rule since I was a child that you could get as big of a pumpkin as you wanted, you just had to carry it yourself. Well, that back fired on Nik and I this year. Birk is a big guy for his age and he carried the big pumpkin at the top. It weighed in at 28 pounds, not bad for an eight year old. Fletcher wanted a teeny tiny pumpkin but I talked him into a nine pounder so he could carve it.

Speaking of kids, I have to show you these pictures of what they made in class. Sorry if you are bored with the kids clay class pictures, but I am in love with everything they do.

 Last week they made self portraits...

Happy Fall!
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Opening A Gallery, Part One, The First Steps

Heather asked me to do a series of posts on opening a gallery over at the Art Bead Scene Blog. At first I was a bit hesitant to do this. I have felt out of my element this past year getting it up and running. I have a much better grip on things now and am ready to take you on the journey of opening a small gallery. By no way am I an expert, this is just my experience.

I found everyone has a different approach, ideas, and circumstances. My gallery idea has been in the back of my head for about ten years. There was a jewelry artist in my college town that got too big for her house. She rented a space downtown and worked and sold her work in the space. She told me that she paid for the space with her walk in sales. I thought that would be the perfect situation. With kids, moving, etc, the time was never right to take the leap. I did know that one of these days the time would just be right.

It came last year when I had taken over the studio, garage, rec room, and more with button making. I had two employees and craziness in my house. That's when I knew it was the time. I started looking for a space. There are many different ways to look at spaces. Before you commit to one, you have to consider some things;

1. How much can you afford? You won't automatically have customers, you'll have to advertise, work on your orders and show that you are already committed too, etc. I chose to rent something I could afford without much walk in business.

2. Are you in an area that will have walk in business? Will you have open houses? How will you get customers? You can spend more money and be in a prime location, if your goal is to support yourself mostly by local sales then spend the money to be in a prime location. If you're hoping to have a few open house a year then go off the beaten path and save some rent money.

3. How many customers do you want? Remember customers will need help selecting items, checking out, etc. Make sure you have enough time in your day to add service in.

4. Don't forget you'll need rental insurance, electricity, phone, water, internet, and signage. Make sure to add them in to your budget.

It is a lot to think about. I did a lot of "shopping research" at stores around town. I would see how many customers folks had in stores, what kinds of items were being sold, and how things were being displayed. I also asked a lot of questions, people are usually very generous with there information.

I happen to live in an area where the arts are appreciated. There is a fantastic yarn store down the road, and art gallery around the corner, many local potters, and a fabulous art center. It's not a very big town, but I felt more comfortable in a smaller place. I did make sure I wasn't going to be selling anything that stores were already selling, that's not good for anyone. You want to have something different to offer.

I ended up finding a store that was just a block off of main street. I don't have a prime location but I am in an easy to find spot. This way I could afford more space than I would have been able to in a prime location.

While you're doing your research to see if you should open a store another valuable experience that has helped me immensely is retail experience. Make sure that you have worked in retail. I have worked a lot of retail from high school until I started my business. I have worked for large and small stores. I have been able to think back about how things were done in these stores and tweak it to fit my gallery. If you haven't worked retail get out there and volunteer to work in store! You will be so thankful you did.

Once you have taken the plunge and signed a lease, the list of things to do becomes very long. First of all check with your city on zoning, signage, and permits. Every place will be different. I had to get a local business permit, stand up and tell the city my plans at a council meeting to be approved, draw out my signage and have it approved, and prove that I was insured to my landlord. Whew...

After ALL of those things are out of the way, start moving in, I will be back soon with another post with your look, what to sell, and more.

Have a great day,

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Believe Necklace Tutorial, Holiday Project #1

Supplies Needed:
1 Believe Ceramic Link
3 assorted Holiday Charms
2 red 6mm faceted Czech beads
1 yard red organza ribbon
1 yard lime organza ribbon
2 foldover crimps
2 head pins
3 silver 4mm jump rings

1. Begin by connecting a charm to each of the three bottom loops on the link with a jump ring.
2. Thread one ribbon through a top loop on the link. Tie a simple knot to secure the ribbon. Repeat with remaining ribbon on the opposite side.
3. Trim the ribbon ends to the desired length. Remember you will be tie a bow so be sure to leave extra for that.
4. String a Czech bead onto a headpin. Make a simple wire loop. Before closing it slide it onto the loop of the fold over crimp. Repeat this step for the second crimp.
5. Place the ribbon in the center of the crimp. With your chain(flat) nose pliers fold one side of the crimp over to secure the ribbon. Fold over the second side and pinch tightly. Repeat on other side.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

New Feature! and Winners

Hello, Hello, Whoa...big day, I am choosing three winners. I had loads of comments on both posts, thanks! I appreciate hearing from you. Trust me on this one, I promise I used the random number generator, I just don't know how to post a picture of it like all those other bloggers do.

The winner of the Holiday beads is Bev. One issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts goes to Crystal for her comment and the second issue goes to Hillary Frye for following my blog. Congratulations! E-mail me your mailing address and I will send your prize. jennifer (at) jangles (dot) net

Now on to my new blog feature!

I received an e-mail the other day from a long time follower of my blog. She wanted some business advice. I am always happy to help and it got me thinking. There are probably other readers out there that might be wondering the same thing. That's when I decided it might be fun to have a new feature in the blog...."Ask Me Anything"

"Ask Me Anything" will be a chance for you to do just that. It can be a business question, a personal question, a crafty question, you name it, I will answer it. I am going to kick off the first ever "Ask Me Anything" with Linda's question, actually she had two questions and I will answer them both below.

I am taking questions for next weeks and future posts. If you have a question you would like answered by me, e-mail me (jennifer (at) jangles (dot) net) with the subject line, "Ask Me Anything". Leave me a link in the message as well if you have a blog, website, or Etsy shop. If your question is chosen I will send you one of my ceramic beads or pendants as a thank you for participating. Here's this weeks questions....

Linda Asks: Long story short for me, I want to be a stay-at-home mom and really start taking my art seriously as a business.  For example, actually getting my Etsy store stocked!  I enjoy making jewelry and many other things.  I just would like some advice for someone just starting out and very much in my infant stage of my business.  

 Jennifer Answers: If you want to make jewelry making your main income this is what I would start with. First of all start designing and don't stop. You need to find your style. It doesn't mean you can't design all types of jewelry, but the more jewelry you design, the more your style will come to the surface. A design style is important for two reasons. one is you will be able to decide where and how you need to sell your work. The second is your customers will know the style they can buy from you, they have the comfort of knowing they can return to get the same style time after time.

Once you have a style, you can look at price points, etc. This will help you decide who your target market is. If you make very glitzy, big, expensive one of a kind jewelry pieces a museum show or high end graft gallery might be what to shoot for. If it's a lower price point and more everyday casual jewelry, then you could do home shows.

There are so many avenues to sell your work. Etsy is a great start. This time of year is the perfect time to sell. People are looking for gifts. Fill your shop up, e-mail people or past customers and let them know about the shop. Start a mailing list, collect those customers names so you can let them know when you have new work. I know I love to know when my favorite artists have new work.

I did a post over the the Art Bead Scene a few months ago about what I learned when setting up my gallery. I am going to post them here over the next few weeks. A lot of this information can be translated into setting up your online store.

I hope this helps. :)

Linda Asks: Can't wait to drink a peppermint mocha out of one of your mugs either! Where do you get your peppermint syrup?

Jennifer Answers: As for the peppermint syrup, I order it online through Starbucks, it's a whole pumper of syrup so you can make them at home. I became addicted last year and started spending entirely too much money and had to come up with something better than driving to Starbucks everyday. Here's the link.

Thank you Linda for the question and the inspiration to make this a feature. Linda has an Etsy shop called DayDream Designs.

Looking forward to next weeks question....send them this way!

Have a great day,
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Two Give A Ways

Hello, Hello,

I am so excited, I just pushed the "send" buton on my first Holiday Project e-mail of the season, wahoo! It's that time of the year again. My first order of business here with this blog post is to remind you that today is the last day to comment on one or both of the previous blog posts for give-a-ways. I will be choosing all three winners tomorrow.

Here is the first post to comment on to win the above assortment of holiday beads.

The second post is here and there are two chances to win an issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts issues.

Alrighty, now that we have that business out of the way....I was planning on doing a post about fall, but the UPS man brought me something really exciting and I just have to give you a peek today. I can't wait!

It's my holiday decorations! I moved into my studio last year on December 1st and the only thing I could think about was my Christmas tree. The studio was the perfect excuse to buy a tree. At the time I really wanted a lime green tree. But the more I looked at them I realized I wanted to hang lime green things on my trees therefore, I needed another color of tree. I decided to hold off until this year. I ordered a few trees and wreathes a few months ago. They are here and I want to decorate them sooooo badly. Katie asked me how long until I would actually do it. I said, "Friday". Well, I at least have to assemble them tomorrow.

So we are in the full holiday swing here...got peppermint in my mochas, trees are going up, and the holiday projects are going out. Woot woot...

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts Issue Give Away

Have you gotten the gifts issue of Cloth Paper Scissors yet? It came out just a few days ago. I received my copy this weekend. I am planning to make most of the projects in the magazine. I personally think it's the best issue yet, and not because I have a project in it.. But since I have a project in the magazine, I was given a couple of extra copies. I am going to give them away to you. I will tell you how you can win in a bit.

My project in the magazine was called Key Keepers. It is a key holder or dog leash holder made with wood, paint, and found objects. It's my first magazine project not using anything ceramic! Crazy eh? I was so excited to see it in the magazine and also I got five pages of pictures and instructions, boy that's a lot! The pictures as always are amazing.

Okay, I'll stop... Well hold on, I will stop in a minute. Remember these stars I was painting the other day? Those beautiful paints that I used are eco friendly, non toxic, and just darn beautiful. I sell them in the gallery and I adore using them, can you tell? I listed a few in the Etsy shop this morning. I put colors together that I thought would be pretty combinations for the Key Keepers. I listed some found object mixes as well.

While I was adding things to the Etsy shop, I added some bead mixes. I taught a jewelry making class at the gallery last week. We had a ton of fun and the students came home with a finished necklace, bracelet, and earrings. Anywho I listed some similar mixes to the shop.One mix will make all there pieces!

Okay so back to the give away. I have two magazines to give away and two ways to win. First way....leave me a comment below, tell me if you started you holiday gift making, I would love to hear. Second way to win.... follow my blog. I will choose a winner randomly from my followers.

Good luck and I will choose a winner on Friday, October 7th, the same day I choose a winner of the Holiday Beads too, yipee!

Happy Monday!


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