Friday, 19 February 2016

New at Beady Eyed Bunny: Made to Order

If you've been keeping up with my shop and Facebook page recently, you might have noticed a few little changes. I'm now offering Made to Order beads in my shop and planning to expand the range very soon. Many of you already know I'm more than happy to accept custom orders (if you want to share in my art, I want you to be happy!), but not everyone passing by my shop knows that.

I make most of my sales on Etsy. I think it's a great platform, but unless you dig through a shop's entire Policies, Announcements and more, then you're likely to miss out on some of what they offer. We artists all do things a little differently - it's integral to being creative - so a buyer may not realize that you do offer customized or Made to Order items.

So, today I'm launching a select range of my signature beads as Made to Order. I created a new section dedicated to just these items and tagged the listings appropriately to make searching easier. Want to see?

The range is a little limited at the moment, but as soon as I stock up on my go-to colors and supplies, there will be many more. So far, we have Rustic Roses in a choice of black, brown or golden details, and my Love Birds with either black or brown accents. I'm still keeping the options in these listings fairly limited and staying open to custom orders. I don't want to end up overwhelming people!

How it works for the customer: Having Made to Order listings ready in the shop makes things easier for me and the customer. These are items I can make fairly quickly because I keep extra supplies in stock. All the customer needs to do is choose the quantity and finish color, and their beads are ready within a set time limit. There's no digging through pages of sold items to find out what I can make and you don't miss out entirely if my shop updates sell out.

It does initially take me a little extra time to get listings ready and organized for Made to Order items. I thought about what a customer might search for, color options, and the best way to display and photograph the beads so they look good as a constant item in my shop. In the end, I save a lot of time in the future because I don't have to rephotograph and list them over and over.

And how is it working out so far? These went live this morning, and I've already had orders from new customers! People I didn't even know were looking at my shop. That's put a smile on my face and let me know a little change like this can make a huge difference for people looking for my supplies and art.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Pretty Paper Pouch Tutorial: DIY packaging

Hello good readers! As you've probably guessed by now, this post is going to be all about packaging. I'm going to show you a few little tricks to make some quick but very pretty paper pouches. These are great for sending out samples, handmade beads and earrings. Whatever you can fit! And, of course, you can make these as large or small as you need.

Recently, I shared a photo of some packages that were heading out on my Facebook page. My packaging has gone through a few stages. In the very beginning, Stage One consisted of fretting over things breaking and not worrying too much about how the package looked. I call this the utilitarian-ugly stage. Before I started investing more in packaging, it was all about the items arriving in one piece (or how many ever there were supposed to be).  Now that I understand more about how to ship fragile beads and jewelry safely, I've been able to get more creative with attractive packaging.

Over the years, I've received some really pretty packages in the mail. Whether it was every day supplies, something handmade, or a gift, it felt so special opening up a beautiful package. Who doesn't love that? I wanted to pass that feeling on to my own customers.

Now, I don't like to charge my customers a lot for shipping, so I've honed my supplies and worked out what's most affordable and effective for me. My basic materials are paper, tissue paper, tape and ribbon. That's it. I think ahead and shop around to get the best deals. The paper/scrap booking aisle of your local craft shop is a great place to start!

.:: Supplies ::.
Decorative paper (I used a 4.5 inch x 6.5 inch precut piece)
Washi tape or tape of choice
Tissue paper
Ribbon, raffia, hemp cord, etc.
(Beads in the photo above are what I'm packing)

Step 1: I folded my 4.5" x 6.5" piece of paper in half length ways. This paper is from a multipack of designs I found in the stationary/scrap booking section of my local hobby shop. Since it's precut, it makes things go so much faster! You can use recycled papers from books, music, handmade name it.

Step 2: Cut two pieces of your decorative washi tape: one for the long edge of the pouch and one for the bottom of the paper pouch. I chose something that coordinated both with the paper I was using and the beads my customer bought. I love it when things are a little bit different, but still look great to gether.

Step 3: If your tape has a paper backing, peel that off and center your tape along one of the open edges of your folded paper. This shows the edge that will become the bottom of the pouch.

Step 4: Fold the tape flush with the bottom of the paper edge and smooth it along the front and back.

Step 5: Take your longer piece of tape you cut to size and seal the edge of the paper opposite the fold. Hey presto, we have a pouch!

Step 6: Wrap your item in tissue paper and insert it into the pouch. (If I'm wrapping earrings, I like to mount them on coordinating cardstock and wrap that in tissue paper).

That's all you have to do to make your paper pouch! Fold and tape. It's how you finish it that completes the look. You could leave it simple or seal the top with a nice label. For my beads and supply orders, I tend to go for a shabby chic cottage look, so I like to finish the packages with a little ribbon or bow. I ran out of raffia and cord, so I used some white ribbon I had for this.

Step 7: Cut a nice, long piece of ribbon to tie around your package. Flip your pouch over (back side up) and tie a simple over hand knot (once!) around the center.

Step 8: Take the loose ends of ribbon and pull them tight - pull one towards each of the long ends so it creates a criss cross on the back of the package.

Step 9: Flip the package back over. Center the line of ribbon where you'd like it and pull the loose ends of ribbon towards the center from the top and bottom of the pouch. Tie a bow and you're done! I slipped a little "thank you" note under the bow.

I hope that gave you a little inspiration for your own packaging. I find this to be fairly quick for me, but yes, it does take some extra effort. I think it's worth it, though. I love to mix things up, change details about the packaging, and coordinate with my customers' orders. It makes mailing days a little more fun!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Stacked Earrings Challenge Version 4

Hello there! This is the 4th edition of the Stacked Earring Challenge started by Malin de Koning. It's a challenge where 5 of us, Rebecca Anderson, Heidi Post, Claire Lockwood, Malin and myself send each other a little pack of beads and see what we can come up with. It's all about earrings!

The idea of the challenge

We each take turns sending a pack of beads to the group and design 
as many or as few earrings in a stacked style. We try to use at least
3 types of beads from the pack in each pair of earrings.

This time around, it was Rebecca's turn to send out the beads. And I have to say, they looked very like Rebecca's style to me! Colorful, fun beads, unusual and sweet. I made four pairs of earrings for the challenge, but first, here's a photo of all the beads.

I was very excited about these! I had so many ideas while digging through this stash, but I narrowed it down to four that I finished. For all of the earrings I made, I used solid copper and made my own earwires to suite each pair. In order of creation...

These tropical beauties have a stacked trio of beads from Rebecca's stash plus a pair of fiery orange roses by UK lampworker Earthshine Beads. I have had these roses for some time. I think they were waiting to be a part of these!

Next up is a very simple stacked pair made entirely of beads from the pack. I used the gorgeous glowing purple glass, wood beads, tiny spacers and rubber rings. The rings are so neat, but a pain to keep patina off (any tips?). I may have to rethink these.

My third pair of earrings incorporated more of the purple beads. Oh yes, I do love purple. These are a sleeker look than my others. I used slender pyrite gems, a duo of blossoms and tiny purple wooden beads (I LOVE these!) from the challenge pack.

Finally, these super funky earrings. Very unusual for me, but why not...I used the large glass blossoms, adorable ladybirds, acid green flowers and some smaller beads from the collection. I added in some green howlite and rhinestone chain from my stash.

Finished with twirls of copper and wire wrapped earwires. These look huge, but aren't very heavy because of the slim components. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I made! I have many more to finish. Thanks so much, Rebecca, for the beads and Malin for starting this great challenge! Until next time...