Monday, February 16, 2009

Support Your Community - Etsy Supply Series

If you're going to make jewelry, you're going to need supplies. So, where should you shop? Well, you could fight the crowds and the crafters by driving to your local crafting big box store to purchase some of their slightly overpriced wares. You could find one of the plethora of online supply shops like Fire Mountain Gems. Or... you could support your Etsy community and purchase from one of Etsy's fine supply shops! There are several great reasons to support shops on Etsy.

Jewelry Suppliers buy jewelry, too!
Not all jewelry suppliers make jewelry, and even if they do, they might like what you make better! Purchasing from an Etsy seller will give you greater exposure and build networking relationships that can be very fruitful.

Feedback, Feedback, Feedback
Purchases on Etsy generate feedback, and if you've built a good repoire with your supplier, you will have a great feedback score on Etsy. Buyers can see that you are a responsible Etsian, and will respond positively.

Support the hand that feeds!
When you support Etsy shops, you're supporting Etsy! If you love the site that gives you the opportunity to have a fantastic storefront, great customer base, and overall great selling experience, you should support the shops that support Etsy!

For the next 5 weeks, this blog will showcase a fantastic Etsy jewelry supply shop. They'll share the reasons they love Etsy, and you'll see the reasons you should love them, too!

There is also a directory of Etsy jewelry supply shops in the making. Soon you'll be able to obtain a list of which shops carry the exact 'thing' you need!

Featured Shop - artebellasurplus

How did you get started selling on>

My business partner heard about etsy. I researched it and we started our first shop, I now have 2 of my own shops, and

Is Etsy your only shop?
No, I just recently opened

What sort of supplies do you sell?
Premium Czech glass beads and crystals, Swarovski crystals, recycled glass beads.

What is your favorite item listed in your shop?
Oooooo, that's a hard one! I love all my beads!!

Do you make jewelry, or do you just sell jewelry supplies?
I do make jewelry which I sell locally and on etsy at

Any specials going on that you'd like to tell readers about?
Beginning this weekend, Fri. 2-20 thru Sun 2-22, I will be having an Economy Stimulus sale on many items.

Featured Shop - BeadBead

How did you get started selling on

I started selling my handmade lampwork beads on Etsy, with a bit of a personal supply destash.

Is Etsy your only shop?

Etsy is my current online venue, although I do have accounts elsewhere, and hope to finish my own website someday.

What sort of supplies do you sell?
I specialize in Czech glass beads, and try to find unique styles and finishes.

What is your favorite item listed in your shop?

I am a total bead addict and can’t simply select one favorite! LOL, I really, really love them all! I am especially fond of the Picasso finish, which gives beads a vintage vibe and I also really love sparklies, with partial finishes of gold, silver or luster.

Do you make jewelry, or do you just sell jewelry supplies?
Yes, I do make jewelry and have over 20 years experience in creating jewelry! I have many treasured life-long customers.

Any specials going on that you'd like to tell readers about?
I just re-evaluated all my prices and marked down all my beads! The pricing is awesome! I specialize in small quantities so you can buy many styles of beads without having to spend much. I also ship internationally and every package is fully insured, and I back that up with a 100% No Questions Asked Guarantee!

Featured Shop - bubbasgemstones

How did you get started selling on
Back in 2002, my daughter and I got interested in rockhounding. After getting several stones cut, we realized that we needed to do something with them, besides just admiring them in their gem jars. My daughter and I learned to set stones and make jewelry. Soon we were addicted and wanted to make more jewelry than we could possibly wear in a lifetime. As we started needing supplies, we noticed that we needed to make large minimum dollar purchases, and buy in bulk, to get reasonable prices. As such, we decided to spread the advantage of our large minimum dollar/bulk purchases with others. We are able to offer precious metal jewelry findings and supplies at prices which are competitive with most wholesale distributors without requiring purchases of large quantities of individual items, or large minimum dollar purchases for each order. In addition, we are able to offer lower shipping rates than most wholesale distributors.

Is Etsy your only shop?
No, I also have a shop at, where I can offer a $0.20 discount for each item and a flat shipping rate, regardless of the quantity purchased, but so far people seem to prefer to buy from my etsy store at

What sort of supplies do you sell?

We offer loose gemstones which I cut in my lapidary shop; and we offer precious metal findings and jewelry supplies.

What is your favorite item listed in your shop?
That's a tough question, because I really like them all. But I especially like the frog and fish bead cap sets which can be used to make really cute necklaces and/or bookmarks.

Do you make jewelry, or do you just sell jewelry supplies?
I used to make jewelry and cut stones all the time, but lately I've been too busy making sure that sold orders are shipped promptly.

Any specials going on that you'd like to tell readers about?
Any customer who sends a convo indicating that they saw my shop featured in the "support your community" series blog post will receive a 5% discount for their entire order (excluding shipping costs) - offer begins 2/25/2009 and ends 3/3/2009. Also, I provide free shipping via USPS first class mail for orders totalling at least $100 (not including shipping costs which are reimbursed). And, I provide free insurance for US orders totalling at least $100 (not including shipping costs which are reimbursed).

Featured Shop - ncCrafts
How did you get started selling on
I got started selling because my daughter and I started making jewelry. I discovered I had NO talent for jewelry desing, but I loved beads and LOVED TO SHOP. I bought way too many beads and had to find somewhere to sell them. Etsy was the answer.

Is Etsy your only shop?
I have enjoyed the selling (and the shopping) and was attracted to those shiny, sparkly faceted briolettes. Viola a new shop was born: luxbeads.etsy offering faceted gemstones and briolettes.

What sort of supplies do you sell?
My first shop offers lots of high quality lead free metal alloy beads as well as lampwork, pearls, crystals (love shiny, sparkly) and other glass beads.

What is your favorite item listed in your shop?
Favorite item? that's hard. Perhaps the items on the second row of my mini shop
In my luxbeads shop, It is definetly the Fanta Mystic Topaz brios, or maybe the Lemon Topaz rondelles, or maybe the amethyst brios, or maybe... I love them all!

Do you make jewelry, or do you just sell jewelry supplies?
No, I do not make jewlery any longer. No talent, don't rub it in.

Any specials going on that you'd like to tell readers about?
I ALWAYS have some sort of special. Right now I have a section with clearance items $1.50 or less and I have most of my metal beads reduced 20@% to 50%. In additon, I am adding a new category called The Luxury Collection made up of larger, highly detailed, finely finished, metal beads with excellent craftsmanship.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Craft Shows, Ahoy!

First of all, I have never been to a craft show, let alone been a vendor at one. Let me get this straight; I have to bring what? Extension cords, tablecloths, lamps, aprons, cash box, inventory list, calculator, food, water, garbage pail... wait a minute, wait a minute, I thought all I needed to bring was my jewelry. Great.


My very first craft show is in April, so I went to a couple forums to get some great advice as to what I need to bring, how much inventory I need to make, what's a reasonable price to spend on an event, and how to decorate my booth. It was such great information! I can only speak to jewelry making, but this may carry over for other craft forms.

  • Make/bring entirely too much inventory. Bring everything you have, because you never know if you are going to sell out or if someone will want the one thing you didn't bring. If you bring $15,000 worth of inventory, you can expect to sell maybe 15% of that, depending on the length/type of show
  • Bring food and water. You never want to spend your profits on inflated food priced (but festival food is so great sometimes!).
  • Always bring help. You want to be able to travel around and talk to the other vendors and leave someone trustworthy behind to man the booth. Besides, the show doesn't stop when you need a bathroom or lunch break!
  • Arrive very early to set up. Your neighbors won't appreciate it if you're still setting up when the show is starting, and it doesn't look very professional.
  • Think about the methods of payment you will accept. If you accept credit cards, how are you going to take that payment?
Here's a list of essential craft show items:
  • Tents/Stakes/Weights (if it is an outdoor show) (maybe an umbrella just in case?)
  • Shelves, Tables, Table Covers, Hanging System, Mirror
  • Business Cards (and lots of them!) with maybe a freebie attached
  • Signage
  • Packaging (Twine, Bags, Paper, Bubble Wrap, Tape, Boxes)
  • Change (Keep a large bank of 1s, 5s, 10s, 20s, and coins. No bank is too large)
  • Sales Tax Permit (State & Local!) (These look very nice inside a picture frame)
  • Ability to accept credit cards
  • Drinks & Food
  • Baby Wipes, Glass Cleaner, Antibacterial (Things tend to get dirty at craft shows)
  • A Hand Cart
  • Lighting (Lamps, Christmas Lights)
  • Extension Cords (Keep in mind, you have to sign up ahead of time for electricity at some shows, and it usually costs extra)
  • An Apron With Pockets
  • Various Wooden Height Boxes
  • A Rug
For a three day event, fees can be anywhere between $100 - $800, depending on the show. One day shows can run from $40-$200. If this is your first show, you can definitely go big and spend a lot on the show, but you'd better be prepared with a large amount of inventory. It's a better idea to start out with a smaller show. Expect to only sell about 15% of what you bring. Say you have $2,000 in inventory. If you sell only 15% of that, and your booth fees were $250, you would have made $300. That's a $50 profit after booth fees, not including the cost of your time for the hours you spent at the show, the cost of the equipment you purchase for the show, etc.

At your first show, it's a good idea to walk around to the other vendors and ask questions. You can get some great advice, and maybe get an idea of some other craft shows in the area. A good idea is to attend a show as a 'shopper' before making the plunge to pay the booth fee and attend as a vendor. You'll get an idea of the type of crowd the event draws, how sales are, and what other vendors are in attendance.

In a time of frugal spending, it is important to be wise with your decision making. It is probably not a good idea to spend thousands of dollars on your craft show setup. Cruise the thrift stores and garage sales for display items, and even which usually has garage sale listings.

Good luck with your craft shows! When my first one rolls around, I will be sure to post photos.