Here’s a little story about one of our first (and best) friends in the social media jewelry/beading world. Wendy is very kind, and talented, and sweet, and….I could go on…but for now, her story…
Wendy is a woman after our own hearts. Like us, she fits her creative business in and around her day job. She works at Macy’s, mainly on the dock -- unloading trucks and processing incoming and outgoing (penny stock and damages) merchandise, mostly clothing. She also helps with fulfillment, packing and labeling orders to ship to customers. Some days she has to get up at 6:30 a.m., and some days at 8:00 a.m. The days she gets up at 6:30, it feels like it takes her half the day to wake up (hmmm, sounds familiar…) On her off days she spends a lot of time online sifting through emails and Facebook messages. She has learned that she can't read them all, and she stopped even trying (we can empathize…). She squeezes in time to make jewelry. (Again, sounds familiar!)
Wendy started making jewelry because she didn't like what was in stores, and didn't want to wear jewelry that hundreds, even thousands of other women were wearing. She didn't want the cookie-cutter-made-in-China stuff. After she had been making jewelry for a while, a friend convinced her to start selling it. (See some of our favorite items of hers here.)
Also like us, Wendy loves natural stones. She is savvy enough to know that a lot of stones are heat treated and dyed, or the color has been enhanced. While they can fool the amateur and may look pretty, Wendy knows that stones in their beautifully natural state are the best, and is meticulous about letting her buyers know if she has used any materials/stones that have been treated in any way.
She has a growing collection of stones and beads. Most of the time, she knows what she wants to do with them right away. But again like us, she often gets them in her hands and then puts off making something out of them. That’s because she likes looking at them and she knows if she makes something, it will likely need to go up for sale, and then she’ll miss them!
Wendy just finished a custom made wire wrapped ring for a friend. He bought a bracelet from her a couple of months ago and gave her a stone that he wanted made into a ring.
Wendy likes to get beads and findings from eBay and also from Auntie’s Beads. She also gets beads from Magpie Gemstones, and buys copper and jeweler’s bronze from The Whimsie Studio. She likes getting her wire from one source because she’s sure it will all match. When she tried making something using wire from different sources, she wasn’t happy with it – one was darker than the other. Whimsie Studios also has metal in sheets and rolls. For toggle clasps, she goes to Fusion Beads and Goody Beads. She feels the selection of toggle clasps has gotten a lot better recently. That's an important issue for Wendy. You see, she is partially disabled in both hands, and there is a lot of pain involved in making her jewelry. But she loves it and WILL NOT GIVE UP!!
Wendy's jewelry style consists of toggle clasps that allow a woman to style pieces to match her every mood and outfit. Two Toggle Artist Jewelry necklaces can be styled into four unique looks. Adding earrings and bracelets multiplies into many more options. And the bonus is that the toggles are the easiest to clasp for less than nimble fingers.
Most of Wendy’s social media time is spent on Facebook. She does like Twitter and posts a lot there. She says she spends entirely too much time on Pinterest (ah yes, we are familiar with that addiction…) She’s slowly getting into Google+, Instagram and Tumblr (you’re ahead of us on this one, Wendy!).
Regarding other marketing tools, she recommends Fiverr (which we have used as well). In Wendy’s case, she found someone through them to have a logo made for her Toggle Artist Jewelry store.
Here are some of Wendy’s supplies and tools. The larger area where most of her stuff is kept is about 3 x 4 ft., and the rest is squeezed behind the recliner. She works mostly at the kitchen table. Very small, but She admits it’s small, but her brother never expected it to have to sub as a work space. Out in the garage is where she keeps her anvil and her recently purchased tumblers.
Wendy, we admire you sooooo much. You are part of the army of brave working women who toil away every day and strive for more – and you will be a great success! We are your colleagues and friends, and we love your work and your courage and faith in yourself. Persevere!
Our dear audience, browse & shop Wendy’s sites! Here’s where to find her: http://toggleartistjewelry.storenvy.com/
Until next time,
p.s. If you liked this post, you might also enjoy Disabled Beaders Jewelry Designers.