November 06, 2011

New earring styles on the website!

I just added some new earring styles mixing sterling silver and gold filled metals to the website! My personal favorite is the Gold Swirl Teardrop, but the Honey Halo is a close second.  I'll be adding lots of new items and images to the website over the next few weeks, so keep checking back!

September 05, 2011

Brush up on your resume and interview skills

Print by Suzanna Anna

*I am writing to you from the trenches of hiring an assistant, but I decided not to post it until I had firmly made a hire.

I recently posted a position for a jewelry assistant on craigslist and thought that maybe I'd get 3 or 4 resumes, but I received dozens - over 40 in one week! I've been sifting through resumes, cover letters, and emails, and it's been difficult to narrow them down, because there are so many good ones in the bunch! I proceeded patiently and during my hiring process, I learned quite a bit about what it takes to make a good impression on your new potential boss, and I'd love to share my thoughts with you!

While looking through dozens of resumes and cover letters, I tried to pick out something that made each candidate stick out (Sound familiar? I hear my college career counselor rejoicing). Number one was jewelry experience, but after that, I wanted to get an overall vibe of the person based on where they worked, how long they worked somewhere, and their additional skills such as Quickbooks or Photoshop experience. I needed to know if they could write well and pay attention to detail by studying their cover letters/emails (and checking their spelling). Want to know what works and what doesn't? Read on.

Resume Tips:

* It doesn't really matter if your resume is beautifully designed. The prettiest/coolest resume I saw was literally too difficult to read. Stick to a basic layout - the person reviewing it will appreciate it. Add some color or some simple graphics for each header if you must, but keep it simple and legible.

* Do not write an overly fluffy cover letter. Do not get philosophical, do not get metaphoric - just be natural yet professional. I do not want to read a bunch of b.s. of how you are a butterfly just coming out of your cocoon to go on a job seeking mission. On the flip side, do not write a super short, overly simplified cover letter. Also - do not talk about your personal life unless it is relevant to the job (but it probably isn't).

* People who are hiring notice your typos. This may seem like a no-brainer, but spell check your resume and then ask a friend to spell check it, too. Print it out to do this - it's much easier to notice spelling mistakes on a piece of paper than a computer screen. ALSO check for typos in your email/cover letter/subject line. Excited about a job and want to send your cover letter immediately? Great! Just take the time to spell check before you hit send! I saw so many typos and it is definitely a strike against the candidate because it relates directly to their lack of attention to detail.

* Include where you went to high school. Who knows, the interviewer may have attended your high school or their best friend or husband may have gone there and then what do you have - a personal connection to the interviewer! Score!

* Do not make it necessary to use a magnifying glass to view your resume. I know you want to keep it short, but try not to make the font too tiny in order to achieve this.

* Do NOT submit more than a 2 page resume. It doesn't matter how much experience you have, keep it to 2 pages. Edit out the jobs you didn't have very long or didn't like very much. Major gaps in your work time line aren't necessarily red flags, so don't think it will reflect poorly on you. If you are just dying to tell more about yourself, put it online and include a link to it in your cover letter.

* If you are responding to a job posting by email, it should be just as professional as your resume. It should also include everything the job posting requested, or an explanation of why you had to omit it. Keep all of your communication professional - don't use a million !!!! or ???? or ALL CAPS to get your point across.

* Finally, think about what you want someone to take away from your resume. Do you want them to know you are a people person who loves a fast paced environment? Do you want them to know you are a diligent worker who loves a more mellow environment? Try to think of words and adjectives to get you across when describing your duties at each job you held. This is where you want to stand out. If you list that you know Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop, Word, Blogger, Twitter, etc - you are letting them know you are multi-faceted. The software skills you mention are important so try not to leave any out - even if it's a random program! Think outside the box - the person reading your resume will notice. Have you been to a foreign country to work or travel? Have you done any volunteering? Mention it! Make the interviewer want to know more about you. Try to be more than your piece of paper.
Interview Tips

Lucky you, your resume was noticed and you've been selected for an interview! Sweet! Do some online research to get prepared for those behavioral questions that are all the rage these days. Beyond that, here are some do's and don'ts:

* If you are picked for an interview and you really want the job, find out more about the company. There is nothing worse than the interviewer asking you a question relating to this and you have no idea what to say. If the company has a blog, read it! Mention something you read in it during your interview.

* Look the interviewer in the eye. You don't have to stare them down, but looking at the floor the entire time is not a good idea.

* Don't fidget. Sit still, be engaged, and if you find yourself picking at your fingernails or shirt hem, etc., stop!

* Don't be late. If you're late, apologize profusely.

* I know we've been told there are no stupid questions, but in an interview, there are. Don't ask a question that could have easily been answered if you had done a tad bit of research about the company. (For example, don't ask a web-based business if they have a website. Believe it or not, someone I interviewed asked if I had a website.)

* Be yourself, albeit a professional version of yourself. If you have no rapport with the interviewer, don't fake it. You may just not be the right person. You do not want to get hired under false pretenses and then be miserable after two weeks at a job working under someone who irritates you.

I really hope that these tips help you! It's a tough job seeker's market out there - do everything you can to stay on top of the pile!

August 07, 2011

Kind Words

print by Please Be Still

Every so often, I get a little hard on myself, overworked, overwhelmed, and I start to doubt what I'm doing and what I'm making. Sometimes it's because I haven't been feeling very creative lately. Sometimes it's because I simply need more sleep (or more coffee). It can also easily happen if a customer goes all crazy on me - maybe they're having a bad day and they decide to take it out on me (or maybe they're just a bitch). I'm sure no matter what line of work you're in, customers (or coworkers or bosses) have been unfairly unkind to you and it's easy to get bummed out or worse - down on yourself.

To counteract these dark moments, I've made a folder in my mail program called "Kind Words". Whenever someone writes anything nice to me, I drag the email into that folder so that I may revisit it whenever the blues set in. It's like a pep talk and can turn around a bad day for me! Here are a few happy thoughts from that folder:

Hi, I bought the post rectangle gold-filled earrings at the Renegade arts fair in Chicago and they have quickly become one of my favorite pairs of earrings-- I cannot take them off! They are beautiful and elegant and go with everything, I have been wearing them almost every day for weeks, to work and out. You have a new customer, thank you!!! Erica


You may or may not remember, I accosted you at Yazoo a while back to compliment you on your work. I continually get great comments on your pieces whenever I wear them, and I'm so happy to get to add to my collection. :)


Hi Beth,
This is a quick note to say thank you so much. I am loving my new earrings (Kiwi in gold) and having so much fun wearing them! Your jewelry is so beautiful. I met you at Stitch in Austin several years ago and have been ordering from you ever since. Many, many thanks! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to seeing more lovely jewelry from you in 2011. Best, Kate


*Sigh* People can be so nice. And it's so easy to forget that when you're dealing with a not nice one. Take a minute to make a Kind Words folder of your own - put your favorite emails in it (even if they're from your best friends). You may need to use it one day when you're in need of a virtual hug!

June 03, 2011

My new studio

So last month, I took a big business leap of faith and moved out of my house and into a separate studio. My life had changed, so it was time to change my work, too. What was this change you ask? Why, that cute little bundle of joy I delivered a year ago - my adorable daughter whom we will call Rah Rah since that's what she calls herself.

My workflow had been broken up since Rah Rah came along - I could only hammer upstairs while she was downstairs and if she was napping upstairs in her room, I had to go downstairs in the kitchen to hammer.

Rah Rah & Zero

Another problem was that since my entire business was home, I could work anytime. So I worked all the time. I'm sure this is something all self-employed people have to deal with. I tried to set office hours, but that was like nailing jello to the wall. For me, I seriously needed a physical separation of work & home.

And then of course the distractions - the hubs, the baby - they're both cute and were taking up a lot of my time in which I could be working. And it wasn't like it was quality time - it was just me hanging out with them while I procrastinated and avoided what I really needed to be doing.

And lastly - my studio in our 100 year old house gets ALL the afternoon sun and there is no insulation. It's pretty hard to work indoors when the temperature is 85°. I used to just work at night but now with that cute little baby I'm soooo exhausted by 8:30. Did I ever mention that I used to to go raves and stay out all night? This early bedtime is slightly demoralizing but I can't help it!

So I looked around and found a basement room in a downtown building that seemed perfect, and after a brief period right when I moved in and I had a few moments of panic and feelings of isolation - I settled in. For me to be comfortable, I need to be surrounded by color, art, and well, happy stuff. So once I got my stuff in, I felt much, much better.

lots 'o stuff in my shipping area

So anyway, now I'm in my downtown space and while I type this I'm enjoying some sushi from Jimbo's in the Arcade (I know - what a name for a sushi restaurant!). I get to walk to all my business destinations like the post office, Fed Ex, and the bank. I get to blast music without annoying anyone (love that). I can hammer without annoying anyone or waking the baby. It's pretty sweet.

The best part, though, is that now when I am with my family, I'm truly with them. I have no work in front of me or haunting me in another room. We go to parks, festivals, Target, whatever. It's good, quality time. And that's worth paying rent for!

May 10, 2011

Expressing gratitude

Here's my dirty little secret. I am terrible at expressions of gratitude.

Don't get me wrong - I'm full of gratefulness for all things associated with this creative job of mine - my retail customers, wholesale customers, wholesale orders, getting paid to make jewelry, etc., but expressing it verbally is just not one of my strengths. Saying "thanks!" should not be so hard! Of course, saying "Sorry" isn't super easy either for me either, but I digress.

I'm really good at fixing issues that arise in my business. I've gotten better at calming angry customers (which thankfully doesn't happen very often). I'm excellent at schmoozing in person, face to face, and I enjoy it! But whenever I receive an email from a happy customer expressing how pleased they are with their jewelry, I clam up. I have no idea how to thank them so I say nothing.

I even received a glowing voicemail from a happy wholesale customer - seriously it was the nicest voicemail ever. I saved it, I played it for my husband. It was so sweet. But I never called them back to say "thanks!". I felt like it was akin to sending someone a thank you card for a thank you card, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't have done it!

I'm better at giving gifts to show my gratitude. My way of saying thanks is buying someone a cup of coffee, or sending them a little something. It's my love language (along with acts of service - yes I'm a bit high maintenance). Speaking of, I still haven't finished reading that book (I'm more of a Cliff's Notes person although I hear now they're called Sparks or something like that).

I don't know what's wrong with me. I need to get better about this. Do you have problems expressing gratitude? Do you have any pearls of wisdom to make it easier for me to do so? I'd be so grateful.

April 20, 2011


Radnor Lake

Yep, I've been away from the blog. I've written one post all year. Blogging takes time, and I am seriously in short supply of that so far in 2011.

I've been busy.

Two wholesale shows in January resulted in more sales than ever before (take that, economy!) and 90% of them were to ship asap - yikes! So I've been cranking it out and decided that maybe it was time to get some help. Maybe it was time to move this operation out of my house. And then Anthropologie came a'knockin'. And they wrote some orders. Some big, fat, scary orders. So I got some help, found a studio, and signed a lease. And I started making jewelry around the clock with the help of my husband and my friends. And then it was shipped. It was over. Whew.

So now I'm still really busy but it's not the complete insanity that was February and March. I have a show in May that I'm getting ready for (the Harding Art Show), I am hopefully moving into my studio this weekend, I've been training my two helpers, and I'm planning my daughter's first birthday party which probably would be simple if I hadn't been spending lots of time on Pinterest working on my Party Inspiration board. Her first birthday will be beautifully decorated if my end result looks anything like my pin board....

Luckily, baby girl and I got to go for a stroll around Radnor Lake yesterday. It was perfect weather for a walk, and unfortunately it reminded me how out of shape I am. I was proud of myself that I huffed it with a stroller for an entire hour. I'm sure many of you who exercise regularly are laughing out loud right now, but did I mention my new studio comes with the use of a workout room? Boo-ya!