Monday, November 15, 2010


Thank you SO much for the kind words of support about my last post, I am incredibly grateful to each of you.

Those long-awaited supplies finally arrived today. My blood boiled when I saw the mailing date on the envelope - November 10th, a full 3.5 weeks after I had paid and after the seller had almost immediately marked the item as "Shipped" on Etsy. I would understand if it had been mailed within a few days after I paid and it was just the postal service or customs' fault for delaying delivery, but that wasn't the case. The actual delivery only took 5 days from the U.S. to Auckland.

My business cards and labels also arrived -- they look AWFUL. The image is unsharp and dark and the business cards are flimsy and cheap. Thankfully Vistaprint have a satisfaction guarantee and have refunded my money.

A good friend emailed me, suggesting that by wanting to give up now I appeared to be choosing pessimism and putting roadblocks up to my own success. I've been pondering this, the source of my willingness to pack it all in when only a few months ago I was so excited to devote the next year to really giving Art & Clasp a shot. I have had some personal situations that have left me feeling like I have few resources left to deal with frustration. Additionally, a big part of it is financial - I am struggling on my very low, very part-time paycheck. After paying for gas, which I seem to constantly be putting in the car, my handful of monthly expenses, and assorted Kenzo-related costs, there is not a lot left. Living with my parents, far from everything, is proving to be much more difficult than I anticipated. So my recent experiences with wasting money on sub-standard supplies has really hurt.

But mainly, I think the problem is that I am not proud of the jewelry I make. I feel like it is assembly work with pre-made charms and images that anyone could do. As you probably know, I don't make those pretty images in the pendants myself, I buy them on Etsy - and I am always acutely embarrassed when someone thinks I do make them myself. A hole punch, a bit of glue, choosing a few charms, some opening and closing of jump rings, what is talented and creative about that? Even some of the lovely comments you left, using words like "unique" and "lovely" and "beautiful" -- I feel like they are not warranted. If I made those images (and I have tried unsuccessfully), or handmade the charms, I would be proud of my products. But as it stands I feel kind of like a sham, gluing a few pieces together and calling it "handmade" creativity.

This (and my last post) are NOT an attempt to fish for compliments or encouragement. I just want to explain where my head is at, and not appear like a child stamping my foot and throwing everything away because something isn't immediately going my way. So for now, I have decided to put my Etsy shop back on vacation, while I figure out my next steps.

What I really want to do is work on my painting so that I can eventually put those into pendants. There are a couple of painting workshops in the new year at universities here in Auckland that I would like to take (there are some wonderful workshops online, but after signing up and paying for one I discovered the internet connection at my parents' house is too slow to handle the videos for it...). In the meantime, I've accepted that I need to find fulltime work in order to find a place to live and to fund any future creative attempts.

Wow, this is a long post. If you read this far, thank you! I am so very grateful to have my online friends and community. Thanks for being wonderful!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Major Frustration, and Contemplating Closing Up

As I posted on Facebook this morning, I have decided, with a very heavy heart, to withdraw from the Auckland Art & Craft Fair. My current inventory is very low, and I have been waiting for the supplies I’ve ordered from the USA and Hong Kong to arrive. I’ve searched and searched for New Zealand (or even Australian) suppliers, but the very small handful that I’ve found have limited inventory and rather steep prices.

I have had three very frustrating situations with ordering supplies since I have moved back to New Zealand. Firstly, one lot of pendant settings and cabochons I ordered from a US supplier almost four weeks ago still hasn’t arrived. I was hoping to check the quality of these and then order more to make necklaces for the craft fair if I liked them, but it’s too late for that now.

Secondly, I ordered some 20 inch silver snake chains from another supplier on Etsy, only for them to tell me that they didn’t have any in stock, they only had 18 inch chains. I told them I didn’t want the shorter ones, but they didn’t respond and sent them anyway, as I found out when they arrived two weeks later!

Finally, I received one lot of brass charms that I ordered off an Etsy supplier a couple of days ago, and I am very disappointed with them. The photos on the supplier’s Etsy store are lovely, but the actual charms are very lightweight and cheap-feeling, and I’m not happy using them.

It costs too much and takes too long to send the supplies back from NZ to the USA, so not only was it a waste of time and money, I still don’t have the supplies I need. I have been searching frantically for more (using up my limited internet data allowance), but realized I will still have the same problem – the long wait for the supplies to arrive, and the uncertainty of their quality. The craft fair is only four weeks away, thus my decision to withdraw.

These frustrations are also leading me to consider closing up shop entirely. I don’t have the funds to be throwing at supplies that take weeks to get here and may or may not be usable when I can’t feasibly return them. The exchange rate and the cost of postage to have them sent here is also difficult to justify.

I’m so sad and disappointed. I have spent several hundred dollars on the business in the last few weeks. I returned the printer I bought (a miracle, given how difficult it is to return things in New Zealand if you just change your mind, thank you Bond & Bond), so at least that’s $300 back in my bank account (albeit briefly, the dog needs a growth excised from his gum and tested, to the tune of $500…) My regret at returning to New Zealand is mounting.

Anyway, watch this space, since I could well be announcing a closing down sale soon!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Cost Of...

New stickers

New Canon printer and 5 x ink cartridges:                            $300
Business cards, stickers, return address labels, and banner:  $179
Domain name re-registration:                                             $10
Starting to feel like I am getting on top of my to do list:        Priceless.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Craft Markets, Displays, Business Cards -- Money!!

The Aotea Centre, venue for the Auckland Art & Craft Fair on December 11th, 2010

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have seen that I was accepted as a vendor at the Auckland Art & Craft Fair on December 11th. I am thrilled about this – the Fair ran for the first time in July of this year while I was still in the U.S. and I was so excited to see this sign of the growth of the handmade market in New Zealand. The venue where it is being held (the Aotea Centre in downtown Auckland) is very nice and of course being two weeks before Christmas is prime gift-shopping time.

With this excitement though has come some major stress! December 11th is only six weeks away. My stocks are dwindling and I can no longer source the same copper pendant bezels I have been using. I have been thinking about making a move into making brass and silver items as well, so there is my push to do that. However, that means sourcing and buying whole new “sets” of supplies in each metal – chain, clasps, jump rings, and bezels. I ordered a small amount of silver supplies from a supplier in the States on Etsy but it has been two weeks and they still haven’t arrived.

I also need to create (read: buy and make displays for) my table at the fair. I didn’t have room in my baggage to bring anything with me, so I am starting over from scratch. There are several Flickr groups of craft fair displays so I have been perusing those and found some ideas, but when it comes to materials I have nothing!

On top of this, I am out of business cards and need to order more. I am in the middle of trying to focus my branding (hence all the new photos), so need to redesign my business cards, stickers and address labels. Also, the website (yes, I’m going ahead with that idea), so that I can put the address on the business cards, and packaging/little freebies for the craft fair. When in the States I used Vistaprint and then Moo for my cards, but I don’t think that’s going to be the most time or cost-efficient option for me now. Any Kiwis have any recommendations?

It’s all money, money, money. I haven’t started getting paid yet for my part-time job and well, you saw what happened with the money I earned from Emily. I am waiting on some U.S. cheques for my apartment security and car insurance refund to clear but they take 21 BUSINESS days to clear, so essentially a month after I put them in. It’s very frustrating to see my available balance today is $19 when my account balance is much higher but I can’t touch it!

Six weeks. Can I do it all?!