December 15, 2009

Bad Form

In the four years I have been doing craft shows, I have only received one bad check... until last month. The first bad check was no big deal - it was for about $35 and even though the check writer wouldn't return my phone calls, the bank said to just check her balance every day and when she makes a deposit, run to the bank and cash it. Which I did. Crisis averted.

Then last month, a guy wrote me a check and I just knew it was going to bounce. His demeanor totally changed when I told him I accepted checks. He wrote his drivers license and phone number on the check without my asking. He bought too much. He was a bit too eager. He acted ever so slightly on edge - he even broke my mirror by dropping it while trying necklaces on. Yes, he tried necklaces on.

Not only did this guy write me a bad check for $230, he wrote it from a closed account. That, ladies and gentlemen, is fraud. It is theft. And he stole money from little old me. A small home-based business just trying to make a decent living. What an A-hole. Capital A. My bank called me and they have this lovely FREE service of trying to get your money back for you for 60 days, so we'll see if they can track him down. If they can't, I just may post up his name on my blog for the world to see what a jerk he is. If that even was his real name...

December 08, 2009

By the way...

Did I mention I got in to the New York Gift Fair?

Holy crap!!!

Super scary, cool, awesome, all kinds of things rolled into one! It's also scary expensive so I'm also very happy to announce that I'll be sharing my booth with Amy of Olaria Studio - her beautiful jewelry rocks! And she's pretty cool, too.

That's our ad she designed for the New York Show Planner. I can't wait to see it in print! Bless her for agreeing to jump in with me! I will update the progress of sharing a wholesale booth and the challenges I'm sure we will face. At the very least, we will have a great sense of humor and have a fabulous experience!

December 06, 2009

Back from my last craft show of 2009

We hit the road this morning after a pretty disappointing show in Decatur, GA. It was my third time doing this particular show, and definitely the slowest sales-wise out of the three. I have decided to play the blame game:

I partly blame my lack of time to send out an email to the Freshie fans in Decatur that I was going to be there.

I partly blame something called "football" - I'm not too sure what that is but apparently there was a big football game this weekend that most Southerners were interested in watching instead of craft shopping.

I partly blame the fact that there were a million jewelry booths at this show - seriously show planners - trim down the jewelry vendors - it hurts all of our sales when there is too much in the same category!

Finally, I partly blame my location. I'm not much to put a lot of weight on show location, but my location at this show was pretty much near the very back, after people had already walked by the other million jewelry booths and had completely glazed over. It was by far my worst show this fall/winter. I didn't even take one picture to share with you - it was that boring. Luckily, the vendors in my room were very nice and we all chit chatted the time away, which helped a lot.

Oh well - Cyber Monday is still kicking my ass and I HAVE to ship the rest of those orders tomorrow, then I can start on last Tuesdays orders! And then the wholesale orders that must also ship this week, of course. Next year, this mama needs an intern, yo!

November 29, 2009

Just wrapped up Tis the Season!

We just participated in a holiday-themed show in Franklin, TN, and it was so fun to make our booth festive for Christmas! Now I can't wait to decorate my house, too!

We played with some new displays and rolled out some special necklaces that were only available at the show. If I get any free time (not likely), I'll try to post them up on etsy after my show in Decatur this weekend (if there are any left!). Visit our photo album on facebook to see the rest of the pictures! While you're there, don't forget to fan us to get easy access to updates and specials!

November 01, 2009

Shows 2009 - looking back

The saga continues from a previous post here. I thought I would update my shows of 2009...

Shows I have attended...

ONB Magic City - Birmingham, AL - April
~ awesome show, great sales, great weather, fabulous!

Spring Bada-Bing - Richmond, VA - April
~ great show put on by great people, but Richmond is a lonnngggg way away for a show that only lasts a few hours, probably won't do it again

Crafty Feast - Columbia, SC - May
~ bad location, not enough shoppers but plenty of bored neighborhood people who took up lots of space, too far of a drive for the earning potential, probably won't do again

Artfest - Dallas, TX - May
~ poorly run show, bad food vendors, terrible location, worst sales I've had in years at a large-scale craft show - they love some dichroic glass in Texas though! I think I learned that Texas is NOT my market. This show is actually on "hiatus" for 2010... interesting...

Athens Indie Craftstraganza - Athens, GA - May
~ eh. not good. rainy, shoppers were poor college students. read about it here.

Fountain Square Art Festival - near Chicago, IL - June
~ really great show! great quality of craft, nice town with people who like to shop, very windy though which I think is a recurring theme in Chicago this time of year

Indieana Handicraft Exchange - Indianapolis, IN - June
~ this show is as good quality-wise as the Renegade shows but unfortunately Indianapolis is just not ready for it. Sales were sloowwww and people complained about prices - not good.

Renegade Craft Fair - San Francisco, CA - July
~ a high quality indie show, amazing trip, slightly too many vendors which overwhelmed buyers and as a result my sales were just so-so (low for a Renegade show). i heard sales were generally lower than expected from other vendors, too. learned lesson that flying to a show is too expensive

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival - Atlanta, GA - August
~ this show has such potential, Saturday was decent but unfortunately it rained all day Sunday so I didn't sell that much... it's never been a huge money maker, so I will have to reconsider doing again next year

Kentuck Arts Festival - Northport, AL - October
~ a muddy mess this year unfortunately but I still had a great show! I had to fight my way in since they initially rejected me but it was worth it!

Pink Palace Crafts Fair - Memphis, TN - October
~ a four day show that was great the first three days but the final day was a nasty, rainy mess so sales definitely suffered that day...


Atlanta Arts Festival - Atlanta, GA ($25)
~ screw this show - two years in a row they invited me to apply, $50 down the drain

Woodland Art Fair - Lexington, KY ($25)
~ double screw this show, three years rejected in a row. I even asked them if I should just give up applying but they gave me the song and dance that juries change every year, yada yada yada. I give up on Lexington, for reals.

Forum on Peachtree - Norcross, GA ($25)
~ they never even had the decency to officially give me any kind of rejection notice, what's up with that?

Virginia Beach Christmas Market - Virginia Beach, VA
~ officially rejected with a very nice letter. may apply again next year.


All in all, including my four wholesale shows not listed here, I will have done 20 shows this year, and I just tacked on another one for November 7th! Also on the horizon, I have applied for the NYIGF!! The biggest wholesale show that I could possibly do (without going overseas) and wouldn't it be cool and scary to get in!?!? I believe they are mailing notices on November 1st so next week will be exciting! I dread driving to New York with my wholesale getup and dread dealing with their unions even more! I hear you can't even change a lightbulb yourself - the union has to do it. How did we evolve to that??

October 31, 2009


This month has been a whirlwind, and just when I think I'm caught up, I get totally slammed again! I'm not complaining, especially since I just got to take a fabulous 4 day mini vacation with my husband to Treasure Island, Florida, which I highly recommend...

I hit the studio hard when I got back and had to finish up the biggest wholesale order I've ever had! I started it before I left town, but since I had a bunch of website orders I needed to get out when I returned, I did not get the big order done and shipped it two days past their desired ship date. I guess the busier I get, the more that is going to happen, but I'm just not used to being behind and it is irritating! This year will be my first Christmas season after stepping into the wholesale world full force, so it will be interesting to see how I keep my sanity! I had big plans of getting ahead by stocking up on my best sellers so that I wouldn't have to make everything when an order came in, and boy was that wishful thinking!! Such are the woes of small business growing pains, I guess.

I better get busy in the studio again this week because this Saturday, I actually have a show in my home town! Twist Art Gallery is hosting a handmade show in the Arcade downtown coinciding with the First Saturday Gallery Art Crawl and several talented Nashville artists will also be there including Mary Ink and Amanda Conley!

Come see me at Handmade in the Arcade, Sat, Nov 7th 1-9p.m.
Downtown Nashville, TN (click for directions)

September 08, 2009

Renegade Craft Fair is this weekend!

And we'll be there! Freshie & Zero will be in booth #276, and our buddies from Rinse Soap will be right behind us in #275, so you can get accessorized and smellin' good just by stopping by our corner! We will be situated on Division Street between Paulina Street and Hermitage Avenue. According to the forecast, there is a 40% chance of rain, but there's no way it could rain as much as last year, right?

I'll be bringing a lot of one of a kind mixed metals to this show, so if you're in the area, please stop by!

Giveaway winners announced!

Congratulations Sweet Mary & ErinChris07 - you guys were randomly chosen by the random number generator ( to win a cartwheel necklace! Thanks to everyone who
entered, and stay tuned for more contests in the future!

August 26, 2009

Giveaway in honor of my 200th post!

Wow! It's only taken me four years to get to number 200, but here it is! I was going to post up some banner ads I just made so you can see the marketing machine hard at work - the marketing machine named Freshie. :) But in honor of my 200th post, I think I should have a GIVEAWAY! Enter to win the Cartwheel necklace that is featured in a few of my new ads! And in honor of #200, I'll pick two winners - completely at random.

To enter the giveaway, simply comment on this post by answering the following question: What is your favorite Freshie & Zero piece and why? Easy enough, right? To win, you MUST include your email address so that I can contact you! Entries will be accepted through midnight on Monday, September 7th, and I'll announce the winners on Tuesday, September 8th here on the blog and also via email so please add beth(at)freshieandzero(dot)com to your list of email addresses so my email does not possibly wind up in your spam filter!

So, without further adieu, here is one of the latest banner ads, featured on SF Weekly (last month). I've been experimenting with different color backdrops - mostly to jazz up my etsy site, but I think over the course of the next few months, I will start shooting all of the jewelry on a slate background for the website, so that the colors are more consistent than the white I am currently using (which always looks grey in the photos anyway).

These ads take way too much time - in fact it's 1:45 and my plan was to make jewelry all day and what have I done? Written a blog, answered emails, and worked on the 3rd ad you see above. Now it's time for lunch, and when I come back, I have to file my business tax. The time flies when you're in charge of your own business! I don't know how I get any jewelry made with all the marketing and paperwork! It's been a good day, though. I've had two reorders from shops, and I am going to get ready for the Grant Park Festival in Atlanta this weekend. Life is good!

Happy giveaway entering! I can't wait to see everyone's comments!

August 19, 2009

Anika Easter

I found Anika Easter's shop while stumbling through etsy. I am loving this painting:

It's a 30" x 30" and it's already framed! It's so hard to find big, quality artwork on etsy that isn't thousands of dollars, and this is definitely a winner in that department. I think it would look very nice in my dining room... I have an art addition, in case you didn't know. Everyone who visits my house is always taken aback by how much art and screen printed posters I have, and not just tacked up but framed. That's what happens when you major in art and then work in a gallery/frame shop for the next 9 years!

Anyway, back to Ms. Anika - she has many other lovely things in her etsy shop, or you can see her website here. She also has a line of frames made from reclaimed wood and designs clothing! Here's another of my favorites and you must read the description! It's subtly interactive!

August 07, 2009

Back from Philly

The Buyers Market is over. Whew! I can't believe I made it through the insane schedule that was my summer show season of 2009. I'm in town for three glorious weeks and although I'll be hammering out a lot of jewelry, I'm excited to not have to get in the car and drive for a few hours for at least a little while.

what starts out like this....

becomes this....

The Buyer's Market was better than I expected. Everyone told me it was a slow show, so I advertised in both Niche (a magazine geared towards craft galleries) and the guide passed out during the show and prepared myself to not sell very much. My ads didn't give me the amazing results I see from some of my other advertising, but at the end of the day I basically broke even, assuming all of my orders go through and none are canceled. Hopefully I'll get another order or two after the fact, too.

As far as order cancellations go, so far, I've averaged one canceled order per show. One store was man enough to call me and cancel it. The other store just never returned my phone calls when I called for their payment, which was pretty frustrating. If you are a store and you want to cancel an order, just tell the vendor. We're not going to cry or berate you or anything - we just need to know to stop wasting what little time we have trying to hunt you down.

Friday was my birthday and we ate at El Vez with my bff Amy and her husband Dean. It was awesome. I love that place. Our guacamole had balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. Delicious.

what was left of the guacamole

Ah, anyway. We met fabulous people as always, and made many new craft friends including Figs & Ginger (of whom I have always been a big fan), Daa Glass (pronounced "daya"), Happy Owl Glassworks, Tasha McElvey, Modern June, Foundling, Silver Tree Art, and so many more. Since we had a lot of down time, much socializing was afoot.

Saturday night, I finally got to see Handmade Nation, of which my jewelry made a 2 second cameo!!! I just about jumped out of my chair when I saw it! It was shot at Stitch (in Austin TX) in 2006 and whoa - my jewelry has come a long way since that was filmed! Faythe Levine (the director) interviewed me right after winning the Stitch grant, and I was a little nervous in front of the camera. Hopefully, I would do better now that I'm four years wiser, right? There was also a scene where Ileana of India Romeo is on her way to the Renegade Craft Fair Chicago with all of her supplies, and I was literally across the street while that happened, because we were both staying at the Wicker Park Inn and we were leaving at the same time. I waved and said hi, and didn't even notice the video camera. My conversation with them didn't make the movie, though - I hope I didn't ruin their shot! :) I sat with Kelly of Biggs & Featherbelle and Elijah of Figs & Ginger and the three of us giggled our way through it, because we knew most of the people they featured. Kelley said she felt like she was at work! It really was like watching a home movie of my life for the past four years. It was pretty awesome.

After the movie was a Q & A with Faythe which was entertaining - it shone a light on what I already knew to be a division (or a generational gap, if you will) between older, "high craft" people and us youngun's. Questions were posed such as "Who buys this stuff?" (perhaps in reference to the porn rugs?) and "Why did you focus on young people" (which was kind of like asking why a summer camp documentary was focused on campers). The people sitting behind me kept asking each other "Yeah, but do they get paid?" every time someone in the movie talked about a particular craft they loved, that may have been very time consuming or nonprofitable. I see their point, but the movie was not called "The Rise of Craft, and How Crafters Pay Their Bills", it was about the love of craft for craft's sake, and some people turned their hobby into a career while others just love makin' stuff just for fun. Strange concept to people who make stuff for a living I guess. Anyway, I could write a whole post about the Q & A but I don't want to bore you. :)

The best point that sums it all up was made during a conversation I had with Elijah who said the main difference between older and younger crafters is that the older generation views anyone making something within their medium as competition whereas the younger crowd views each other as their community. Generally speaking, I think he was totally correct.

Back to the Buyer's Market in general - is a show worth doing if all you are doing is breaking even? I always tell myself that all I need to do is get my foot in the door of a store, because I know my jewelry will sell, and then once the reorders come in, that's when I'll start making money. But it is a little disheartening when you only write 7 orders in 3 days, and you pray that no one goes home and cancels it because they spent too much money. It's something I need to think about, but right now, I gotta go make some jewelry!

we finally took a photo of us in our booth!

July 26, 2009

Crazy Show Season, part 2

... the cliffhanger continues...

So Greg and I arrive back in one piece from Atlanta, and I was a little panicky about not having enough jewelry to take to San Francisco. I also had no idea how I was going to fit a display inside a suitcase! This was the first show I would be flying to, and I had just been procrastinating in thinking how it would really work.

For starters, I borrowed my parents humongous suitcase that is always over the 50 pound limit whenever they fly with it. I assumed I would fill it to over 50 pounds as well, but I had no idea it would cost me a $90 surcharge! What a rip off! We repacked it on our return trip and got it down to 49 pounds. Boo-ya!

Before I could even begin to fill the suitcase however, I assessed the jewelry situation. The one thing I didn't want to do was pull all of the jewelry off of my wholesale display canvases, since I would have to hang them all back up again when I got back for the Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft, and it's not a very fast process. However, Greg and I realized that we would have to reconfigure them anyway since I will be on a corner in Philly, so off they came. Greg was given the arduous task of removing all the jewelry, adding chain tags, pricing, and bagging. Not fun for him, but he was a champ and did a great job.

While he did that, I started making lists of what needed to be made and it was surprisingly small! Apparently, I had created a stockpile of earrings and other things before Atlanta when I was in a zombie-like state of mind. It seemed a little like Jesus was there feeding the 5,000, except that it was not bread and fish, but necklaces and earrings! Jewelry was multiplying before my very eyes and it was miraculous!! The weight was lifted, and I definitely had enough jewelry for San Francisco. Praise the Lord. For reals.

We arrived in San Francisco at last! The trip I had planned for for months was officially starting! Thanks to my trusty guidebook, we already had plans. We went straight to Chinatown and ate at the Oriental Pearl. Of course we had Dim Sum which was good, but I don't know what the big deal is - it tastes just like shumai which you can get at any sushi restaurant. Their entrees were really fresh, though.

The next day, we got up at the crack of dawn, which luckily wasn't too early for us since we were adjusted to Eastern time. We headed to the show at Fort Mason Festival Pavilion in a taxi and of course were one of the first people there. It was cool to see the transition of empty pavilion...

to bustling craft show...

There was a lot of talent in that room! Unfortunately some of that talent was jewelry competition. :( I had a good show, but it was not as good as I had expected and I wonder if it was because there was just so much good stuff and so many vendors to choose from, and unfortunately buyers only have so much money. And I'm definitely more accustomed to southernors who are not very picky. San Franciscans are a picky bunch. Even though I had a ton of jewelry, so many times customers would ask if I had A but a little more like B or with a longer/shorter chain, and if I couldn't make it happen, they would walk away. Southernors would be like "okay!" and pick out something else. Of course this is a gross overgeneralization...

One thing I was not prepared for, was how cold San Francisco was! The forecast said 70 but it did not account for the wind chill! And of course I brought a white denim jacket that got dirty almost immediately. That jacket and my Squasht by Les hat were my uniform for the show. I also bought some groovy hand warmers that helped a lot by Texture. And speaking of indie peeps, I met a lot of people I had admired for a while or just discovered, and acquired some other new purchases. Such as: Rock Scissor Paper, Birdy Botanicals, Appetite, Ink Lore, Invita, and Cosmonaut. People were very friendly, and everyone in that building from Tennessee said hit to me, which was great!

Our last day in San Francisco was spent in a GoCar, which was fantastic. Not only did we get to drive a three wheeled car, we got a gps guided tour! It was a beautiful, scenic and easy way to see San Francisco without getting lost. I kinda wish we had a GoCar tour in Nashville so I could learn new Nashville trivia!

We looked kinda dorky, but everywhere we went, people were taking our picture, which made us feel like celebrity tourists. The best part? During the entire 2 1/2 hour tour, I did not think about jewelry once, and that was a vacation unto itself.

During our stay, we ate at the Monk's Kettle which was delicious despite the snarky waiter and the sketchy location. Their beer selection was almost as good as the Brick Store Pub in Atlanta, and that's saying a lot!

lemon-glazed asparagus with proscuitto and ricotta salata at Monk's Kettle

Cafe Claude was also amazing - thanks to Amy of Olaria for the recommendation! We also ate really yummy sushi at Sanraku, which was right down the street from our hotel, the Hotel Vertigo, which I highly recommend too.

sushi at Sanraku

The show paid for the trip, although I didn't make much on top of that, but who's complaining? I would consider flying to a show again, but I would definitely make a longer trip out of it so that it could justify the expense of renting a car. Taxi's get expensive fast, but in San Francisco it would have been too expensive to park our car and rent one. I definitely would not recommend only giving yourself two days between two big shows, though. That was a little stressful, and not the smartest thing I've ever done. It was all worth it, though!

July 25, 2009

Crazy Show Season, part 1

Where do I even begin? I feel like I've been whirled around inside a pressure cooker for the last three weeks of my life!

I'll go back to Chicago, June 26th when we left for the Fountain Square Art Fest in Evanston, IL - it took us over 9 hours to drive there due to many annoying traffic jams. We set up in the middle of the street, and had to make fast decisions about how to maximize our set up where people could come in on either side of the booth. Then, we had some tasty dinner at the misleadingly named Flat Top Grill - doesn't that sound like a place to get a panini or a burger? Turns out, it was one of those Mongolian Grill type of places and it was really good, but a little difficult to make my own stir fry after I was so fried from our extremely long day.

Anyway, the Fountain Square Show in Evanston that weekend was great. It was what craft shows are supposed to be like - lots of great people, great weather (except for the scary wind gusts blowing everything around), and great sales! I find that my most successful shows tend to be street festivals like this one, but of course that's not always the case.

in the booth, slightly different setup that worked great

I knew that the Atlanta Gift show and the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair were rapidly approaching, and I was feeling a little like a black hole was getting closer and closer to swallowing me up! I kept telling myself "Get through the Chicago show" and then I could focus on my next two big shows. So when we returned home Monday night, I only had one week to prepare, plus a day and a half between the two shows to get ready for San Francisco. Getting ready for a wholesale show is intense - you have to have one of everything made. You have to have the right number of catalogs, order forms, pens, tools, postcards, business cards, signage, etc... And then you have to be very certain how you are going to display it all once you get there.

We give ourselves two days to set up our display at the show, but some people take 4 or 5 to set up their temporary display. Some of these displays get really inventive and elaborate, but that takes $$. Even my simple canvas displays made with felt and paint cost almost $400. For canvases and felt, I tell you! That doesn't even include the cost of the jewelry supplies, the foam core wall, the floor, the chairs, the catalogs, order forms, promos, etc! The first wholesale show I did cost me about $7000 before the hotel, advertising, and not including jewelry supplies. Seriously people. This is what it takes to bring Freshie & Zero to the masses. And then I get to spend about 4 or 5 thousand more each wholesale show I do. Fun, right? Who wouldn't sign up for this?

Anyway, I'm bitching a little but it's really just the money part that is kind of staggering. So when people ask me for a discount at a craft show, my first reaction is to school them on how much money I have paid to be standing before them. Then I just smile and say "I'm sorry, I don't offer discounts at shows". But that's a whole other blog post all together and wholesale accounts never ask for deals (well, almost never).

I digress. We miraculously got prepared for Atlanta on time (many late nights of hammering and lots of help from Greg!) and set up was pretty easy, except for the fact that there was a huge air duct obstructing my ceiling, which I knew about beforehand but I did not realize that it would obstruct my track lights I brought. So I had to pay the floor rate ($200!!!!) to rent 6 track lights. Sigh.

I really wanted this show to be a big success, so I spent a little more on advertising this go-round. I did a pre-show mailing to every business that had ever contacted me, which was the least expensive form of advertising I did. Then I rented a little floor space in one of the Mart buildings where you can set up a "vignette" display of your products. It sounded a little steep ($672 for 9 square feet) but I took a deep breath and booked it. Then of course, I had to buy a table, fabric, displays for that space but it was all worth it. A very healthy amount of customers came into my booth who said they saw my display. I am 80% sure that I would book it again. I keep going back and forth - I'm trying to gather a tally of how many sales were directly or indirectly related to the vignette. And if I did it again, should I revamp it a little and change it up? Mo money mo money?

I also took out my ad in the Market Magazine again, which is the best advertising dollars that could ever be spent. So worth it every time. It's over $1000 but if your ad is good, it will more than pay for itself, and quickly too!

Greg prepares our morning coffee in our little booth.

You never know who you'll be next to at the show, either, and the vibe of your aisle can really affect your show and your sales. In January, I was across from a very corporate booth that held many sales meetings for their reps across the country. It was a little distracting, and they were really rude to their neighbors, which was totally unnecessary. So I got myself moved to a different spot this time and I loved it! The aisle was really narrow, so people had to get close to your stuff. And my neighbors were awesome! I met Leigh and her mother Susan of Leighelena, who makes beautiful enamel jewelry and who was also heading to Renegade San Fran. Then Karin and Kat of KBD Studio who were also very cool and sold me some of their groovy handmade clothes. I also met Caroline Pate who is another jewelry designer living in Nashville. It was her first wholesale show and she experienced all the mart has to offer - meeting nice people and fending off nasty comments from naysayers. I also chatted with Maria of Lua Chea again and she's a total sweetheart, and her jewelry line is so fun and made of recycled materials! I met many more wonderful people, too many to list here!

So after all of my preparation and advertising, I ended up selling less than I sold in January! What??!! You have to look at the big picture, people, and overall, it was more successful. I opened up mostly new accounts, when in January a lot of my sales were reorders. Freshie & Zero is now officially in 24 states (once I get all of those orders shipped!). I got a lot of solid leads, and Greg and I learned so much about marketing and how many things we were already doing right, but also some things that needed improvement. We even went to a couple of seminars to try and become better business people! We left the mart totally happy and ready to tackle new ground.... and then we had to get ready for San Francisco in two days... to be continued...

July 23, 2009

My desk revolts

My desk has officially thrown up its contents everywhere. I usually have the right side somewhat clear but at the moment, I've given up. There's just so much.... stuff. And it's all important. I just need a better way to file things for later without putting them in my filing cabinet, because once it hits the filing cabinet, it's pretty much forgotten forever. At least Greggles emptied the trash for me today...

I got all of my Mart orders entered last night - over a week later. I just can't believe we made it to San Francisco and back in one piece! It was a nice trip, and I'm glad we went, even if my sanity is paying the price a bit. I have so much on my to-do list, I'm having a hard time prioritizing. So I'm writing a blog. And procrastinating. I guess I should get back to my list....

July 15, 2009

Zero, wet from the pool

Zero, wet from the pool, originally uploaded by Chewieez.

Zero is all smiles in my mom's backyard, after taking a dip in the pool. I'm trying to train him to not be petrified of the swimming pool. He's a great swimmer, but he HATES the water. The first time he saw the ocean as a puppy, he tried to climb onto my head to escape it!

July 02, 2009

ad for SF weekly

Check it out, San Francisco! Look for my ad above in the next issue of SF Weekly. Part of the marketing machine that is Freshie & Zero. :) I thought it couldn't hurt to advertise on the West Coast for the upcoming Renegade Craft Show since I've never taken Freshie & Zero there! In the next issue, I'll be sharing an ad with the lovely Olaria studio. Of course, the timing isn't great since I had to close my website down for the month of July since I'll pretty much be out of town the whole month... Le sigh.

June 25, 2009

Crema Coffee - Nashville TN

Crema, originally uploaded by Karen Alisa.

Have you been to Crema yet?

It's kind of made me think of Starbucks as sub-par. It's kind of made every other coffee shop I've ever been to seem sub-par.

Crema serves finer coffee and espresso and has a menu full of things you may never have heard of before. The first time I went there, I went there two more times in the next three days, and it's not down the street or anything. Well, it's sort of down the street - I take Nolensville until it becomes 4th and go through the mini-ghetto on 4th Ave. But when you get there all thoughts of ghetto-ness are gone as soon as you walk in and are welcomed by the yummy smell, the friendly service (suck that Bongo!) and the amazing menu full of so many different inspirations that you feel like you have to come back the next day to try another new one. I like the iced Cuban but it's an indulgence (condensed milk is all I'm saying). They also have some tasty summer specials up at the moment.

Crema Coffee
15 Hermitage Ave
Nashville TN 37210

June 23, 2009

Magic Bean Buyer's Brides & Grooms

the whole wedding party!, originally uploaded by magicbeanbuyer.

I love this girl's etsy store - I am the proud owner of only one of her creations, but if you ever need a little gift idea, her little sculptures are adorable!

Visit Magic Bean Buyer's Etsy shop!

June 22, 2009

New website features!

A friend of mine suggested that I create a web page for all of my color options a few months ago and I could have smacked myself on the head for not thinking of it sooner! Now you can go to one place and view all of the gemstones and pearls that I currently have on hand! Seriously, how did I not think about this before?

This will now help you decide what you would like on say, a Lula Lariat? Or a Little Leap necklace?

Another exciting yet totally simple new feature on my website is found on the Necklaces page. I have so many necklaces to choose from now that I have created subheadings with anchors to more easily navigate the page. I had no idea what that meant until a few days ago but was so psyched when I learned how to do it!

It's the little things in life, right?

June 21, 2009

Lauren Rolwing @ Nashville's Smallest Art Gallery

This modern and whimsical collection of art is currently on view at Nashville's Smallest Art Gallery, but you can also view them online! Visit their website.

June 17, 2009

Marketing Thoughts

business card by oh young designer

I've been trying harder to promote Freshie & Zero these days after a slew of unsuccessful shows. I've recently updated my Trunkt portfolio, as you can see in that groovy widget above. It's a pretty cool site but if it had a better search engine and a more user-friendly uploading style it would be perfect. I paid for it and have never directly gotten any sales from it, but maybe someday...

I've also delegated the maintaining of my facebook page to Greg. I added a group a while back, but then decided a page would be better, but for some reason it's hard for me to figure out how to run it well. Greg (my awesome husband)
is a facebook/internet master and he will be so perfect at helping me make the most out of it! We may eventually do some facebook ads and see how that goes... In the meantime, become a fan (pretty please!)!

I was also talked into joining this website called FGMarket - only because the salesperson on the phone was so good, I literally could not say no. So far, it's been a big waste o' money and I should have known better - look at this listing, for goodness sake - tons of distracting text ads on the side, and I've singled out my listing but it really gets lost in the searches. I tried to search for "handmade jewelry" and not one thing came up. Their website is really disorganized - there's no jewelry subheading under "Artisan" - HELLO!

Anyway, all to say I've spent all this money on shows, marketing, and other pursuits that I should have known better were not going to pan out. That's becoming the phrase for this year - "I knew better than that!" Sometimes you forget to listen to your gut, and I've learned the hard way the past few months. It's made me a little more careful in how I spend my cash on the biz. I've been looking at some things I'm paying for that may not be necessary or ways to save on them - not really something I do by nature. My philosophy has always been the more I put out, the more I get back but that may not be so true any more...

May 20, 2009


I know, I know, I'm lucky to be alive, yada yada yada.... But seriously - lightning struck merely feet away from myself, my hubs, close friends, my step-dad, and even a cute neighbor family while we were all on my front porch near the end of the yard sale on Saturday. It was LOUD. Sparks were FLYING from the telephone poles in front of our house and all of us felt like we had been smacked in the head - minor headaches and earaches were had by all. After we made sure our computers were okay (they were - whew!), we packed up the yard sale when the storm blew over, and took everything left (mostly) to good will.

Then we started realizing that maybe we had been quick to deem our house and appliances o.k....

Our phones (all two of them) were dead. I couldn't get a dial tone, until I hooked up an old corded phone (I know - who still has those???) and did get a dial tone so at least our phone lines were working.

Our wireless router was still working - for about two hours until it got so hot that it fried itself. The surge must have damaged its cooling mechanism or something. We are now broadcasting our wireless through Greg's old macbook that is semi-held-together with duct tape. Our internet was really spotty, so we were afraid that the cable lines were fried, but luckily it affected the whole street so Comcast cleared up the problem pretty fast. But seriously - no internet for a few hours was just like the dark ages! My computer was very angry and kept telling me to check my internet connection, because apparently every program is surfing the net in the background while I am using it. I was even wondering how I could plug in my computer to the phone line and dial up a connection - scary stuff...

Then the next morning as I lay in bed, I decided to turn on the t.v. to check the weather. I turned up the volume, and up, and up... all the way.... nothing. No volume. Picture - fine. Volume - nil. This was my first "big" purchase when I was a bonafide working girl 7 years ago - it was when flat panels were new and LCDs were thousands of dollars, so it was a big ole' boxy flat panel, about 19", and I loved it - it worked just fine and probably would have been fine forever, except for that whole electrical surge thing. Greg tested it with headphones and they didn't work either - the amp is dead and apparently it's too expensive to fix. Does anyone know of a cheap t.v. repairman?

Next, I went into my studio to work and turned on my computer. I made jewelry for a few hours before I realized I hadn't heard my computer make any noises. I turned up the speakers and turned on itunes... nothing... not a sound. Awesome. Another set of speakers broken, rendered useless by the lightning. Those were nothing special - standard issue Dell that came along with my first desktop computer, circa 2002, but they worked, dammit! Now, off to the trash they go.

The kicker is that Tad sold a t.v. at the yard sale (would have been a delightful replacement to the one in the bedroom) and Greg donated TWO phones to goodwill! Gah! The money we made at the sale for some tree trimming may also now be going to a new roof leak (all this freaking rain!!!) and the frustrating thing about all the stuff that was damaged is that none of it is really necessary to replace. We don't need a telephone because we just let it ring and never answer it (telemarketers, you know). We don't need a t.v. in the bedroom, but I have always always always had a t.v. in my bedroom (seriously - since I was 10 or 11). I don't need computer speakers. I didn't need lightning to strike my house, but that wasn't up to me.

So, instead of going out and spending retail on all these things (because I did need 4 new tires, I'm a bit short on cash right now), I just hit Craig's List for the first time. I think I can easily replace everything for about $80! That would be nice - then I wouldn't feel so guilty about replacing these items that aren't technically necessary for survival.

Now I'm off to bed to watch my volumeless t.v. - maybe I can figure out how to turn on the subtitles!

May 18, 2009

Happily Handmade Giveaway News

The giveaway is over - I hope you had a chance (or 40) to enter! As promised, I am giving away a $25 gift certificate to one lucky person who entered Happily Handmade through Freshie & Zero, and the winner is...

Laura McC. of Signal Mountain, TN!

The 25 winners of the Happily Handmade Giveaway prizes will be notified today, so keep your eye out to see if you won!

May 10, 2009

Do you have tickets? To the bead show!

So, once again the Intergalactic Bead Show is coming to town and once again, I will be out of town at a craft show. They usually send me free tickets, which is awesome, and I hate to waste them, so would anyone like to have them? I have two of them and if you want them, they're YOURS! The show is May 30th & 31st at the Fairgrounds, from 10am-5pm both days. I always find cool stuff - not just beads but chain, findings, and other groovy components. For more info about the show, visit and if you want the tickets, holla! Or just contact me at beth(at!)freshieandzero(dot)com.

May 06, 2009

Busts and Musts

So... the Athens show was kind of a bust. Oh well - the rain and wind was working against us and I should have known that a small show based in a college town would draw the cool kids - the cool kids with no money. I heard lots of "I wish my mom was here" a.k.a. "I wish my mom and her wallet was here". Since they had us tear down overnight, all of my equipment was wet and getting danker by the minute in my car so that the next morning when I saw that the forecast again called for rain and storms, I hit the road. I never neglect a commitment I have made to a show, but the thought of setting up again, maybe selling a necklace or two, and then getting stormed on after a few hours, packing up in the rain and then driving home for 5 hours sealed the deal and for the first time, I did not fulfill my show commitment. Time is money, people! I felt bad, but sometimes you just have to weigh your time and effort against the bottom line. It's the first show I've lost money in a really long time. I actually sold more on my website over the weekend than I did at that show. I guess it's a good thing I have an online store!

hmmm... to return or not to return...

Anyway, that's it for my BUST portion of the blog. Now for the MUST - the Happily Handmade Giveaway! You only have one week left to enter and if you haven't yet - go for it!!! There are 42 sponsors, so you have 42 chances to enter! Check out the amazing prizes!!! For more info about the giveaway, visit their website.

May 01, 2009

Athens, here I come!!!

I'm heading down to Athens, Georgia for the first time in 10 years to come do a super cool indie show! It's the Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa - it sounds like the Lollapalablablah of craft shows so it must be awesome. If you live in Atlanta or anywhere nearby, you should totally come to the show! And all you UGA students, studying hard for your finals - put the books down for a couple of hours and come see all the groovy indie goods! Have a little retail therapy, then hit the books again. You'll feel refreshed and you'll definitely get a better grade!

Here are some of the things you could find at this show...

super cute antipasta platter by Soup Studios

Vintage watch necklaces by Tallulah B.

April 22, 2009

Back from Virginia

Thanks to everyone who came to Spring Bada-Bing! We had a great show and a great time in Richmond! I got to debut not only my new styles, but I also tried out my new display with using a 6' table with table risers that Greg made, and it worked out great! I think I'm ready to pack it all up in a suitcase and apply to some shows that I can't drive to!

My display consists of "professional" jewelry display pieces, a spray painted vintage deer, and some wooden shelving from Target. The tablecloth was a shower curtain. Greg ironed it for me, but it got wrinkled again in the car.

We also got to visit Greg's family, including our adorable niece and nephew!

We had brunch with Greg's parents at Can Can in Carytown. Yummy - I highly recommend it, especially the Braised Pork sandwich that I had. This was Greg's "Croque Madame" sandwich (mine was delicious but not as photogenic as his):

April 16, 2009

New Jewelry!

I've been hard at work making new items! I've stayed up really late the last couple of nights hammering away (my ears can tell - they are intermittently ringing - yikes!). It was all worth it, though. Check out the new earrings!

These are the Bermuda and Little Bermuda styles. I am loving them! They aren't on the website yet, but if you're in Richmond, Virginia this weekend, you can snag them at Spring Bada-Bing or if you're going to be in Birmingham, Alabama next weekend, you can snag a pair at ONB Magic City! I will also have them available as necklaces.

If you're watching the Modern Economy Specials - you should know that I won't be changing them this Sunday, but the current ones will remain up for an extra week or so. I'll be out of town until Monday night and then I'm leaving again on Thursday so I don't have time to do all of the necessary website editing to make it happen. Hang tight, though - I'll make it up to you with a really great special the week of April 27th! Feel free to comment below with your favorite item or items that you are would like to snag at a Modern Economy Price!

April 03, 2009

Calling on Indie Crafters!

Crafty Feast, the adorable indie show I'm doing in
Columbia, South Carolina, is still looking for a few
good vendors! It's such a do-able craft show - you
don't even need a tent! The vendor list is pretty
amazing, so they seem to be on the lookout for high
quality indie craft, so if that sounds like you, contact
them soon! They only have a few spots left.

March 31, 2009

Shows 2009 - the life of a traveling craftie

I started applying to shows this year in the beginning of February and the acceptances and rejections are now rolling in! Here's a glimpse into how my year is shaping up. The amounts are what I paid to apply, but I'm not a very good record keeper as you will see...

I'm so IN!
ONB Magic City - Birmingham, AL ($25)
(score! I was rejected last year and I hear it's a good one!)

Pink Palace Crafts Fair - Memphis, TN ($?)
(this was my best show I ever had sales-wise, mere days after my brother's death)

Grant Park Summer Shade Festival - Atlanta, GA ($25)
(I love this show - I'm so glad they let me come back!)

Spring Bada-Bing - Richmond, VA ($5)
(this will also facilitate a trip to all the relatives in Virginia, too!)

Crafty Feast - Columbia, SC ($0)
(this may be a low-key show but I won't have my slave labor, uh, husband to help me)

Artfest - Dallas, TX ($30)
(I was accepted after being wait listed! My first show in Texas since Stitch. Will Stitch be back for more?)

Fountain Square Art Festival - near Chicago, IL ($30)
(this show was literally blown away by heavy winds last year, hope that's not a repeat!)

Indieana Handicraft Exchange - Indianapolis, IN ($0)
(the promoter is a sweetheart and I bet there will be some great indie goodness here!)

I'm so NOT IN!
Decatur Arts Alliance - Decatur, GA ($30)
(2nd year in a row I was denied... bitches.)

Wells Street Art Fest
- Chicago, IL ($30)
(same promoter as the Fountain Square Art Festival - funny I got into one and not the other)

I'm still NOT SURE!
Kentuck Arts Festival - Northport, AL ($35)
(man I loved this show last year - I hope they let me in again!)

Athens Indie Craftstraganza - Athens, GA ($85 - includes booth fee)
(or however you spell it)

Atlanta Arts Festival - Atlanta, GA ($25)
(not holding my breath - I've been denied at least once from this show)

Woodland Art Fair - Lexington, KY ($25)
(this will probably be my third rejection from this show. hmph.)

Forum on Peachtree - Norcross, GA ($25)
(I think I actually am rejected but it hasn't been officially mailed to me yet)

Virginia Beach Christmas Market - Virginia Beach, VA ($100 deposit)
(this show is so big it kind of scares me but I hear it's great)

It's a LOT of paperwork to apply and keep up with all of these shows!! Each one has different rules, different set up times, fees, etc... My total fees paid out so far this year are: $500!!! Holy crap! It's so scary when you add it all up... The good news is, I've got a good rate of acceptance so far this year. I'll keep my fingers crossed for the rest of them!

March 26, 2009

Domino, R.I.P.

How did I not realize that Domino was not publishing any more? I am so sad about this. I had almost let my subscription lapse since I had absolutely run out of room to decorate any more, and then we bought our house! I pored over Domino's and got so many decorating ideas from them - they were like the best blogs in print all at my fingertips. *Sigh*. Decor8 wrote a great post about it here.

part of my Domino collection