Thursday, December 23, 2010

Business Overhaul Pending

This is kinda scary to start...

I've been selling for over 3 years, and it's made for a decently profitable hobby and easily pays for itself (which I can't say the same for many other hobbies). But, as a job it takes A LOT of time and I make well below minimum wage.

So, in January I want to start turning this into a more viable occupation.

The first step is to raise prices. There's something called "perceived value" where someone may perceive an item to be lower quality than it actually is if the price is low (and vice versa with a high value item). My chainmaille is worth a lot more than what I've been pricing it at and, in effect, I've shafted my sales because people perceive it to be cheap, low quality workmanship. One quote that has kept reminding me I need to change things was "I only buy earrings that are over $10. Anything lower and they're probably really low-quality. You should raise your prices."

The second is to start shipping internationally! A lot of you will be happy to hear about that. :D
I've been getting a few messages asking if I ship internationally, and so far I've only been able to respond with "I just haven't yet." Now seems like a great time to start...

The third and more time taking step is that I will slowly be changing photos of other items, and listing new varieties of items. I've already been working in some of the new items and pictures over the last couple of months, but now I need to speed up the process to cover EVERYTHING listed. Yeesh...

I've sort of wanted to do this for a while, but I've been a full-time student. Now that I'm done with my degree requirements, I'll only be taking a handful of classes for job skills and "personal enrichment", so I plan on dedicating most of my time to the chainmaille business.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lots of New Pretties! Part 2

I find it silly how finals and the lack of time to work on chainmaille comes at the time of year when I should be focusing the MOST on my craft. Oh well, I'm through it until January!!

New Items:
Just learned how to use photo-buckets collage tool. We are going to become very close friends.

The design on the left side (Partisan... working title) has already been really popular. I really like them too. I made the first pair of them over a year ago, but my recent supply order included a bunch of the really good colors in the size I needed for them.
I've made the design in the upper right in the past as well (Elytra), but the only larger scales I had were stainless steel. Not that gray is a bad color to work with, but I just wasn't feeling it. :P
The lower right design is called Aerial, cause it reminded me of angels, in a sort of iconic way, but "angel" seemed a little too unoriginal.

I was messing around with the larger scales a bit, and I ended up with possible earrings/pendant sets!

The rings I was missing for making the Partisan earrings are also one of the kinds I need a lot of for the mantid gibbets. I went nuts with black, but I'll try to make some red/gold/purple ones too, eventually.

Persian Crosses:
More about these under "custom orders"

Custom Items:
I've been slow on getting these up, but credit should go where its due.
Thank you very much Harriju for ordering the celtic star pendants :D
Sometimes I'm afraid to forgo the bright colors and make something plain and elegant. They turned out great!

Thanks to Murdock for asking me about crosses. Persian weave crosses are pretty common in the chainmaille community, but I'm dissatisfied with the way weave holds together (picky artist here). Because of you I found a very stable way of making them. (the arms don't flop down the sides. BIG plus! :P)


If you're one of the people getting one of these as a Christmas gift, give this dude a freakin' hug. I know I will when I see him next. :3

New Listings:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lots of New Pretties! Part 1

I hardly know where to start!
I guess unpacking is the best place.

New Items:
I laid everything out on my bed so I could go through the packing list (ya, I know, I have really cool sheets)

I filled in all the gaps I had in my 18g 1/4" rings since January (FINALLY!!), and doubled the kinds of scales I have. The top two rows are "anodized" metals, and the bottom two rows are "base" metals.

I also got 5 new colors of rubber. They're "glow in the dark", but I'm not as impressed with that as I am the colors. The major down-side of them is they're 5 times more expensive than the normal ones. I didn't order very many of them (the 5 little trays in the picture are 3/4 of my inventory), so I probably will be using them more for highlights or wrapping marbles instead of bracelets.

That's all the new items for "Part 1"
Back to homework.

New Listings:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Small Marbles Just In Time For The Holidays

Dur! I totally forgot!!

New Materials:
A few weeks ago I got 2181 marbles in the mail. (I counted...)

35 varieties, with ~60-65 of each.

There was a little bit of overlap with marbles I already have, but surprisingly few (only 8 duplicates), which I'm happy about. NEW COLORS!!
The old varieties:

Most of the overlap is in the top row.

New Listings:
I feel a bit silly about going AWOL so close to the holidays, as I haven't really listed anything through all of November. I'm trying to rectify that with a few new stocking stuffers on my artfire. :D

I've also got a 26 lb order of rings and scales (with a bunch of new stuff) coming in in the next few days. I'll keep ya posted.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chainmaille Neckties!!

I seem to have left my pliers with a friend... so I can't actually make anything until Wednesday...

No matter. I'm kind of behind on blogging and listing new items I've made anyways.

New Items:

Chainmaille Neckties:

Just saying, these would make excellent Christmas or Father's Day gifts.

I have a few pending orders for striped ties, so if you want one and/or have ideas for colors/patterns, please let me know. :D

I've come up with 2 passable ways to attached the ties.

The steel one has a lobster clasp, like a necklace, but I'd have to have a accurate enough neck + shirt measurement to make someone a tie that fits well.
The black tie's is more complicated, with a bunch of places to clip in, but I figure that its easier to tie than a cloth tie, so I count that as a win. Not quite as neat and tidy as I'd like it though, so I'll work on that.

What so amazing about these ties to me (from a design stand-point) is that the knot is so hard to make! The knot on the steel tie (my first one), took three major remakes before I was satisfied with it, and it took HOURS! I thought that after having a template, the black tie's knot would be much easier... however, it still took about an hour and a half to make just the stupid knot!! GRAAH!
Oh God, please let me get the knots down... I know enough men who get frustrated by tyeing neckties, and I don't want to end up in the funny farm for making tie knots. >_>

Oh, and notice that there's a marble in the knot too :P It doesn't need to be there, but it looks cool and puffs up the knot a little.

When modeling for my own pictures, I thought of how models are usually look troubled and pensive, looking off into the distance like they have a lot weighing on their minds... so I tried a look I've never seen before.



Monday, October 25, 2010

Light Tent - It's A Tent For Light

I've been toying with the idea of making a light tent as an upgrade to taking my pictures in the backyard with the same patio and fence in the background.

It might be a rinky-dink box with a few cheap daylight lamps, but I'm actually surprised how some of the pictures are coming out.

and yet, I seem to be having trouble getting the lighting right for hanging pieces.
Looks AMAZING laying flat:

But it gets pretty dark when up in the air.

Then there's marbles.
Beautiful in a way, but the lighting makes it so I can't really see them well.

However, going outside works MUCH better for them!

Overall, it works well for things laying down, but not incredibly well for hanging items or marbles... or purple items... but thats my camera's fault.

New Items:

In other news, I remade the "D12" maille and marble sculpture with 'iridized' marbles and steel rings, which is pictured above. Its kinda hard to miss.
Here it is again for a size reference.

20 marble dodecahedron of pure awesome!!!

I've expanded the pattern (on paper) and I have a way to expand the ball out (maybe indefinitely), but thats for another post :D
I'd like to know the name of it... I believe it would have "truncated" in the name somewhere, but higher-geometry naming schemes are above me.

I have a few other new items I wanna show off, but I'll save that for a later post as well!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mantid Gibbets (working title)

I recently read an article about how telling a story is a more effective marketing strategy than just giving the bland description of things.
"Wicked Owl Pillbug Dressed In Brown" rather than "Chainmaille Wrapped Marble - Brown and Sea Green", and there's a story behind the name as well. It gives it a lot more personality, and is frankly funner to read about where a design came from, because its a brain child of the artist and it gives you a look into their mind.
I have back-stories and names for my computers, the hats I wear, and my stuff animals (manly men have stuffed animals), but for the most part my jewelry has been stuff like "aluminum bracelet"... So I'm trying to make amends.
Without further ado, here are my latest creations :D

New Items:
The Mantid Gibbets
Mantid Gibbets
"New" might be a bit of a misnomer, because I've sold "gibbets" in the past (called them "caged marbles". Imagine that...), but the weave method ended up giving me something a bit unstable, and I like the rings in my weaves to stay exactly where I put them.
Cage Gibbet
This is a picture of the older kind, and the tiny rings around the sides and bottom are free to flip back and forth as they please.

So, in trying to tidy up those rings I eventually found a way to run the bottom rings through the side ones. But, in order for it to fit without putting too much stress on the rings, I had to make the bottom ones larger.
The shape it made reminded me of a mantis face.
I think he's smiling at you
Or Mickey Mouse... but good God, I'm not going to call it that!!

When I first made that design it was for earrings, which I think turned out really awesome... but the first pair was made of bronze and came out to .5oz EACH! So, I made an aluminum set and they only weighed half of that.
Dang Heavy

Here's large versions of all of them. Clicked each image for larger ones.
Ain't they pretty?

The last one is a normal one (blue) next to a monstrosity (brown) which is made with only the next size of larger marble. 1/2" to 5/8" makes a huge difference.

I'll probably be harping on Christmas gifts and ornaments next time... after school is through beating me up.