Saturday, September 29, 2012

Craft Fair Disappointment

Today was the Autism Speaks charity event and the in-person debut of my kids' line, MayaGirl Creations. The fair was held in the basement of a nearby church and was set up to be a really nice event. There was a live reggae band, a fashion show, an arts and crafts table for the kids and a dozen vendors. Unfortunately, hardly anyone attended. There were about 50 people there, but almost all were somehow involved in the fair itself. They only got a handful of traffic.

Despite the low turnout and despite the fact that I made a nice donation to the cause, I still managed to turn a small profit. It was disappointing, though, to have so few people. Had my friend been able to hold the fair in the church yard instead of the basement, she probably would've had much more traffic, but she explained that she didn't have the insurance to run an event outdoors. Apparently, if a kid gets hurt outside, for example, there can be a suit and, I guess, the church isn't covered. That sounds ridiculous to me, but that's our country for you.

My friend, the organizer, was disappointed with the numbers for today, but she still did a great job in setting things up. This friend, by the way, is the same woman who helped me out when I broke my leg a couple of years ago. And it was my broken leg that led to me making jewelry (it was something to do while laid up in bed), so in a way doing this fair was like coming full circle. No, I didn't make a whole lot, but people did seem to like my pieces. I did sell a couple of precious metal clay and enamel pieces, so I was pleased to move those. As I've said before, my "unique" pieces sell better in fairs than they do online -- and this again proved to be the case.

There was one little girl who was obsessed with my stuff and kept coming over to try things on. Turns out, her name is Maya! So she was thrilled when I told her the name of my line. She was upset, though, when her mom wouldn't let her buy earrings due to allergies. Instead, she got a ring, but I know that she had her heart set on the earrings. Maybe when she's older, her ears won't get as irritated.

There were several women who admired stuff at my table, were like, "Ooh, it's between these two, I'll be back..." and then, of course, never returned. Have I mentioned how frustrating that is? I understand it to some degree when you're at a large fair and you want to check out the hundred or so tables before making a decision. But at this fair, there were only a handful of vendors! Basically, you just had to spin around to see everything. So it was annoying when they walked away and forgot about me. I mean, I spent all week working my butt off on these items, I was completely lowballing the price AND part of my profits went to the cause. Plus, these women kept going on about how they "loved" my work. Know what? For $10 or $15, just buy the damned thing! I'm not selling the Crown Jewels; I'm selling costume jewelry. I'm not saying to waste your money or to purchase something just for the heck of it. Not at all. Times are tough and many need to be frugal. But if you're PLANNING to buy something, just do it, especially if you're at a fair and it's a handmade item that an artist worked hard to complete. It's so discouraging for us to think that we've made a sale ... and then nada. So next time you go to a fair and are all set to buy some item that you "love" don't hem and haw, and get distracted and forget. Buy it and show some respect for the artist.

Anyway, time to get off my soap box. Like I said, I made a small profit and made some money for a great charity so all in all, it was a successful day. I'd definitely work with this friend again and will do what I can to help her get more of an audience.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewellery, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wire wrapped jewelry designs: pretty in pink

I've never been a "pink girl." I have nothing against the color, but I don't have a lot of pink clothing in my wardrobe, nor have I ever decorated with a lot of pink. Still, there's something very feminine and sweet about the color and I like to incorporate pink in my jewelry. A little pink heart or a touch of pink gives an accent, which just makes a piece seem a bit more ... delicate.

Since I've been working all week on this line for girls, I've, of course, used a lot of pink in my pieces! I have pale pink and hot pink wire, which is great to use when you're trying to make colorful girly jewelry. Here are some of the pieces I've come up with:

I tried to make a lot of fun shapes that girl would like, like hearts. Still, I think that you can tell that these are "Naomi Originals." But there's something about the pink that make me feel happy. Hopefully, others will feel the same way!

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewelry, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beautiful wire wrapped jewelry designs for fall

I've written many times on this blog about how much I love the fall. Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons: I love the cool, crisp air, which is a welcome change after enduring a hot summer. I love the colors of the falling leaves. I love the holidays! Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday -- I think I love it even more than my birthday -- and I look forward to this day all year.

It's not too surprising then that I'm a big fan of autumn colors: oranges, rusts, reds, yellows, golds. They're very warm, happy colors -- and if you think about it, this makes sense because they're all sun or fire colors. So there's a lot of energy behind yellow or orange, especially when you combine them.

I have this gorgeous rust-colored wire, so I combined it with a lighter, almost peach colored wire. I really like the result! By itself, the darker orange looks almost coppery because it's so bright, but the peach tones it down. Meanwhile, the peach looks pinkish on its own, but the orange brings out the richer highlights. They just work very, very well together. I ended up making two bracelets using this color combo. I also made a pair of rust orange heart earrings with yellow crystals:

I still have some wire left in those colors, so I'm going to play around and see what else I can come up with. Meanwhile, only three more days until my craft fair and I'm in good shape for it. Woo hoo!

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewelry, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wire wrapped spiral bracelet in peach and blue

As I prepare for next weekend's craft fair and my in-person debut of MayaGirl Creations, I'm making more and more colorful jewelry. Yesterday, I made yet another wire wrapped spiral bracelet, this time in peach and light blue:

Feeling nostalgic over a color combination might not be the norm, but these colors, peach and blue, make me think of my childhood. Growing up, I had a beautiful peach and blue room that my dad decorated for me. He, too, is an artist, and is really talented at photography and handywork/woodwork. He built a gorgeous table for their dining room that's made of tiles and even worked with stained glass for a while, until he hurt his hand. He also designed my childhood room for me.

When I was a kid and my parents told me that I was getting a "grown-up" room, what I wanted more than anything was a canopy bed. We found a beautiful canopy set with a light blue lace canopy and matching bedding and curtains. We then found this wallpaper that I loved which had a Victorian fairy design. In each square is a drawing of a different fairy girl and the base colors are earth tones: browns, tans, deep greens.

Anyway, my dad had to find a way to bring those two concepts together -- the fairy girl wallpaper and blue canopy, so he went with a light blue and peach motif. The carpet was peach and I had a wicker chair that he painted in the two colors. He then built me a bookshelf that had peach shelves and a blue desk. The walls that weren't papered were peach with blue trim. Blue and peach aren't colors I'd instinctively put together, but his room design came out so well. I seriously felt like a princess in my room! I even had a college friend take photos of it because she liked it so much.

My childhood room is still intact, though these days, my folks mainly use it as a guest room or a place to store things. Still, I'll always love that room and the fact that my dad designed it for me. This blue and peach bracelet represents those colors and makes me feel like I'm sharing a tiny piece of my life with whomever wears it.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewellery, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Silver wire wrapped abstract earrings

In an effort to be frugal, I've been using every little scrap of wire that I have on hand. I had some leftover 16 gauge fine silver wire and there was just enough to make two pairs of earrings. This is what I came up with:

I know what you're thinking -- that they look exactly the same, right? Well, not exactly. There are definite similarities: both pairs of earrings are abstract and have a geometric design with triangles and spirals. Both are long, dangle earrings. But there are some subtle differences. In one, the spiral within the triangle is tighter and lot more defined. In one, I added a circle toward the top of the earring. And one pair is about a half inch longer than the other. So yes, they do look somewhat alike, but some people prefer longer statement earrings.

Anyway, I was just playing around with shapes and leftover wire and like how these came out. They're funky-looking and fun! I've been working on my kids' line all week, so I've been up to my ears in stars and hearts and daisies, etc. and needed a little change of pace :-)

I just got some 14 gauge silver wire so I'm going to play around with that and see what else I can some up with!

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewelry, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Colorful wire wrapped bracelets with spiral design

My work for MayaGirl Creations is coming along very well! This morning, I heard from next week's event organizer and she said that she's really looking forward to the affair, and to working with me. I'm excited, too! This is going to be the first time that my jewellery is featured in a fashion show, so that's going to be a lot of fun.

I'd like to have at least 100 pieces ready for the fair; so far, I've made about 70, most of them earrings. But for the past couple of days, I've been making this colorful wire wrapped spiral bracelets:

The design is pretty simple, but looks really cool, especially when the spirals are made in different colors. Because I'm going to be dealing with kids, I made these with adjustable chains that can go from about four to seven inches. This way, they'll be small enough to fit little wrists, but can also fit an adult. I have a feeling that there will be at least a few adults at this event who want my jewelry for themselves!

Right now, I have about a dozen bracelets ready, but I plan to have about 20 altogether. Between that and my other pieces, I should be all set.

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewelry, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New wire wrapped jewellery for kids

I had a very productive day today making jewelry for my kids' shop, MayaGirl Creations. My next craft fair is in two weeks and this is the one where I'll be selling ONLY my children's jewelry -- so I need to get going and create enough pieces so that my vendor table doesn't look completely pathetic.

So far, I'm well on my way to having a nice number to sell. I made 16 new items today and have about 30 already made. I'd like to have at least 100 pieces ready by the fair. It's going to be a small event, so that should be more than enough to sell -- and it's enough so that I can spread them out over the table and make my display look substantial.

Here are some of the wire wrapped earrings that I designed:

Hot pink triangle earrings:

"Crazy daisy" earrings:

Red crystal heart earrings:

I was able to get so much work done today for a few reasons. For starters, I didn't make the earring hooks and instead used ready-made hypoallergenic ear wires. Since I'm dealing with kids, I want the earrings to be as safe as possible and children's ears are often sensitive to other types of metals. I also made a lot of repeat items. At other fairs, I usually only have one or two of each piece, but I have to think differently when selling to kids. Kids often want to wear the same piece as a friend of want to collect the same thing in different colors. So I made, for instance, daisy earrings in many colors, heart rings in pink, silver and purple, etc.

I also had to keep the scale of my jewelry in mind. Young girls usually don't wear long dangle or chandelier earrings, so I kept my designs smaller and shorter for little ears. I also used a lot of color and simple, but pretty designs. I want my table to be an attractive rainbow of colors -- just the type of store where a girl would want to shop.

I feel like I've been counting down to this fair all summer so I can't believe that it's almost here! Time flies!

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewelry, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Monday, September 17, 2012


People often post comments to my blog that are really meant to advertise their jewelry sites or stores. Said comments will read like, "Great post! Now check out gold jewelry at, "I am an annoying jerk dot com."


Do you think I was born yesterday? I check for comments every day and as soon as I see a spammy comment like that, I delete it and put it in a spam folder. So don't waste my time -- and yours -- spamming my blog. If you want to advertise your site or your work, CREATE YOUR OWN BLOG! I have it set up so that you can link to your own website in my comments, but I do not want you including your site IN the comments -- and I want your comments to be legit, not some scam to get free ads from my space. So STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT!!!!!!!!

To purchase MY jewelry -- and only MY jewelry, and I can post this as much as I want, -- head to NAOMI'S DESIGNS or MAYAGIRL CREATIONS.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Special Jewelry Fundraiser!

Yesterday I sold my jewelry at a fundraiser for the ALS Association. Several of my friends are doing a walk in honor of our friend who was diagnosd with this progressive and debilitating condition. Most people who are diagnosed with ALS live for, maybe, five years, though Stephen Hawking has somehow beaten the odds. This friend, whom I'd prefer to not metion by name out of respect for his privacy, is also absolutely amazing. He also suffers from diabetes-related neuropathy so he can't feel his body from the waist down. Yet he walks several miles a day and recently completed a dualathlon. He writes, cooks, goes to the gym every day and never complains about his condition. He just pushes on and is one of the most determied people I've ever met.

Not as many people attended the fundraiser as we'd hoped, but I still did pretty well with my jewelry with the small crowd that was there. I was pleased because I sold several of my enamel and precious metal clay pieces. I even sold My Damn Butterfly! As I've said before, I've found that different types of pieces sell in different environments. When people purchase online, people tend to gravitate toward items that they feel they're familiar with, like infinity rings. At craft fairs, people look for "unique" items.

I really didn't care what people purchased, though, because the real idea was to raise money for the cause. I donated 25 percent of my earnings, so I helped the cause and well, myself. Plus, I got to spend the afternoon with friends and eat some good food. I also purchased items from the other vendors so that I could help them out (and they purchased from me). The host was disappointed with the low turnout, but I think the event was a success.

Still, I'm trying to raise yet more money for the walk, which is on September 29. So until that date, I am having a special jewellery sale for my blog readers and Facebook friends. Actually "sale" is probably the wrong word; it's more of a fundraiser. If you buy an item of jewelry from me on Etsy, the site gives you the chance to send me a message. If you message me, "ALS Association," I will donate $5 off of that purchase to the cause. I truly believe that we can find a cure, or at least find a way to make ALS a manageable condition.

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewelry, head to MayaGirl Creations. And remember to send me a message on Etsy that this is for the ALS Association so that I know to donate a portion from that piece. Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Silver wire wrapped rings with Swarovski crystals

I haven't made that many things in the last couple of weeks (that's the beauty of taking classes; they guarantee that you will make new products!), but am now starting a new fall collection of silver wire wrapped rings with Swarovski crystals. These rings are very similar to my copper art rings with crystals, only I'm using 20 gauge silver plated wire.

For the ring pictured on top, I used blue, black and turquoise Swarovski crystals. I twisted the wire into a spiral-like design and it ended up looking like a vortex. I think it's cool how it's almost three-dimensional and has a lot of texture to the design.

When making the ring with the amethyst crystals, I was inspired a little by this summer's Olympic games. It's modeled a bit after the crown that is placed on the heads of winning athletes, only for this, the "crown" is made of purple stones. What I like about this ring is that the design goes almost all the way around the ring, so its appearance changes slightly if you turn the ring.

I have plenty of other ideas for silver art rings, so more will be on the way! Meantime, I'm enjoying the cooler fall weather, which makes it so much more pleasant to work.

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewelry, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Never Forget....

This blog post is way off topic, but on the eve of September 11, I want to direct my thoughts to the victims, heroes and their families. 11 years later, I'm fortunate to still be living in New York City, but I'll never forget that day back in 2001.

Back then, I was still working for the magazine, which was in midtown -- right around the corner from the Empire State Building. Because we had TVs in our offices, I was able to watch the Twin Towers collapse in real time, and that horrible sight has haunted me ever since. Though we were miles from the World Trade Center, I'd never felt so unsafe in my city, and wasn't sure what would become of Manhattan.

My boss instructed us to leave the office if we had a safer place to go. I went with with my sister-in-law and her husband to friends who, at the time, had an apartment in midtown. Those friends had a three-week-old baby, but graciously invited us, and about 10 other people, into their home. They cooked us dinner and told us to stay for as long as we had to.

I'm very lucky because I didn't lose anyone that day, but my husband was in the Army Reserves at the time and was called up. I had no idea what they had him doing or where he was going to be sent. Again, we were very fortunate because he was only called up for a few days, and it was mainly to help out around the city. He never had to go overseas. Still, I was so relieved when he returned home a few days later around 1 a.m. I was watching Nick At Nite because it was the only channel that *wasn't* airing 9/11 footage; during a rerun of Diff'rent Strokes, I suddenly heard someone trying to get into our apartment (I'd closed the latch on the lock). I was so happy when my husband entered.

These days, it's all business in New York City, but I think of that day a lot, especially on the anniversary. I'm saddened for those who lost their lives and am grateful to those who've helped keep NYC such a great place.

Pricing Pickle

People often ask me how I determine the prices for my jewelry. Honestly, I don't have a tried and true formula. I'm no mathemetician so I don't sit down and determine the exact hours of work in ratio to the exact amount of materials that I use. But I do factor in the cost of materials, labor involved, as well as how my pieces are priced in comparison to similar items. So far, this formula has worked well for me, as most people have agreed that my prices are reasonable. If anything, I've been told that I charge too little. I'm realistic, though; I'm working with wire and making costume jewellery. When I use higher end materials, I do charge more.

I'm also very fair when it comes to striking bargains with customers, especially at craft fairs. For instance, a mother/daughter duo purchased several items from me and the mom asked if they could get a little discount. I didn't hesitate to knock off a few bucks. They spent a lot on me and it's common practice to haggle at flea markets. It didn't hurt me in the long run and was just good business for good customers. While I don't haggle online, I do give a free gift with purchase and am willing to come up with a fair price for custom items. It's a little extra to thank my customers from buying from me and to help keep a good reputation.

That said, I was a little annoyed the other day when a potential customer asked if I could slash my price for her. Basically, she asked if I could make a bracelet about 1/2 inch smaller than average size. This was no problem for me. However, she then asked if I could charge less for her because it would mean that I was using fewer materials in the bracelet. I refused. We were talking about a few milimeters worth of material -- literally a difference between cents. I explained that it's not just about the material used, that my prices are based on the labor involved. And if anything, making a piece smaller often means more work. It means that I have to reproportion everything and make the measurements that much more precise. As an example, when making my kids' jewelry, I use the ruler much more frequently because sizing for children doesn't come as naturally to me as it does for making adult-sized pieces. I have to stop myself from making things too long and then make each link a touch smaller so it works with the design. For the record, this bracelet is $15, so it's not like she was trying to score a deal on a $1000 ring.

Like I said, I think I'm a very reasonable business woman and don't want to overcharge my customers. I don't pretend that my jewelry is something it isn't; I list all of my materials, explain in detail how each piece is made and make it clear that I'm selling costume work. But I do put a lot of work into my pieces and have to retain some dignity when making a sale. I can't have people nickel and diming me.

As of now, this person hasn't purchased the bracelet for me, but I'm fine with losing a sale. I have to stick to my guns and do what I believe is right for my business. I believe that things work out the way they're supposed to so I'm confident that more customers -- who appreciate the work behind my pieces -- will come along soon enough.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewellery, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Feast Or Famine

First, the bad news: my quest to get my jewelry sold in a store isn't going so well ... yet. I've gotten several nice e-mails from shop owners in which they tell me how much they like my work, but they're all saying the same thing; that they're not accepting new lines now because sales have been low. That's sad and scary for our economy, and I hope for their sakes that sales pick up for the holiday season. It also sucks for me!

Still, I like to be an optimist and am continuing to send my catalogue to stores around the world. I have faith that if I send enough e-mails, *someone* will respond and snap up my jewellery. Or that the economy will bounce back a bit and people will start buying more goods.

The good news is that the rest of my business is picking up. I made some good sales last week and have my first craft fair of the season this Saturday. This morning, I ran into the woman who's running the Autism Speaks charity event later in the month and she said that she's excited to have me working with her. So I have plenty to look forward to!

I've been debating whether I should make more pieces for this Saturday's event, but have decided that I'm just going to try to sell what I have on hand. I mean, I have a few hundred pieces and the event is in someone's home; it's not going to be *that* big of an audience. But if I make a few hundred for the day -- and have the means to give a big chunk back to the charity (Saturday's is for ALS), then I will be very pleased.

I'm anxious to see how much people like my enamel items. So far, I haven't sold any online, but I have a gut feeling that they'll be a big hit at fairs. It's funny how that works out. Online, I've sold many rings (especially infinity rings), chandelier earrings and abstract gold necklaces, but my "arty" work seems to sell better in person. At my last fair, I sold many of my weirder looking earrings and necklaces. I'm not sure why this is; I guess that when people buy things online, they're going to go for things that they can depend on -- pieces with clean lines and familiar shapes and colors. When they can see pieces in person, however, they can try on a necklace or bracelet and see if something with an unusual design or color combo looks good. This is my theory, anyway!

I've found that people are also fascinated about the process in which I make my enamel work. There's just something very badass about firing up a piece in a flaming hot kiln. Friends are always impressed!

I know that I've been slacking off a bit in adding new pieces to Etsy and to this blog, but don't worry, they're coming! I've been working on a series of silver art rings, so keep an eye out for my latest series.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewellery, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reaching Out

Now that my jewelry line sheets are complete, I've started to send them out to stores that might purchase my work. I'm basically cold calling at this point and am sending to anywhere and everywhere that looks like it sells my type of pieces. This is the method that I used, years ago, when I was searching for a literary agent. I e-mailed hundreds of query letters to agents that accepted young adult literature. The approach worked and I eventually landed two agents and had to choose between them. In the end, I had the control! Granted, my agent never successfully sold my work, but I don't have to worry about that with jewelry. Once a store purchases my pieces from me, they're purchased. They may not sell, which will suck because it means that that store probably won't buy from me again, but at least I will get the initial money.

Anyway, the point of this slightly off-tangent ramble is that I feel that this is a numbers game and that I *will* find a buyer or two or three. I just have to keep sending out my line sheets. Thanks to the Internet, the whole world is literally at my hands. I can do business anywhere, which is very cool.

It's also overwhelming! So far, I've sent to about 20 stores and have stayed in my own backyard. I sent a bunch to stores in NYC and Brooklyn, then moved on to stores in upstate NY, which I where I went to college and grad school (Binghamton and Syracuse, respectively). I figure that being "local" could give me an edge. My plan today is to send to some other states and countries, and to see what happens. You just never know. I'm being realistic about the process and estimate that I'll get one hit for about every 50 queries. It involves a lot of work for the mere chance to be seen and picked up, but I'm willing to put in the effort.

Even though I'm sending to many places, I am not blindly sending my catalogue to any store that's out there. I'm still being selective. I always look on the stores' sites to make sure that a) they actually sell jewelry and b) it's jewelry that's in my price range. A high-end jewellery store would not accept my low-priced pieces, but a shop that sells funky costume jewelry might.

With so many stores out there, I'm not sure when my quest is supposed to end. For now, I'll reach out to as many as I can and hope for the best!

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewelry, head to MayaGirl Creations.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back To The Grind!

My vacation in Florida was wonderful, but I'm home now and have a lot to do! I know that for many -- my teacher friends in particular -- September isn't the happiest of times, but I've always liked this month. As a kid, going back to school was exciting for me, a time for a new beginning. And as an adult, it marks the start of my favorite season, fall.

In New York City, you can physically feel the start of this change -- not just in the cooler weather, but in the city's energy. Summer is hot, lazy and slow, but September crackles with electricity.

I'm feeling that electricity this morning as I try to leave my little vacation behind and get going with my work. Today's agenda involves making more items for MayaGirl Creations. The Autism Speaks charity fair is in three weeks and I need to make more items for the event. So I'm planning to make some rings and earrings today with my colorful wire. I want to have a nice variety so that my table will look full and inviting.

Meanwhile, my dad finished my jewelry catalogue! It looks great! He's a skilled photographer and graphic artist so he was able to take my so-so photos and actually make them look decent. I also love the font that he chose, which is very New York magazine in appearance. I can't wait to send my line sheets to stores and see if anyone is willing to buy from me.

So I'm off to do some work and have a productive day. It's raining here, which means there is even more reason for me to stay inside and keep busy. Happy fall, everyone.

To purchase my jewellery, head to Naomi's Designs. To purchase my children's jewelry, head to MayaGirl Creations.