Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What ever happened to FancifulForm?

It must've been a couple of years ago when I read the "Quit Your Day Job" article on about the artisan FancifulForm. There were a lot of striking parallels between her situation and where I wanted to be business-wise. She was young, about 22 if I recall, she sold polymer clay floral sculptures and jewelry, and the business was supporting her and her schooling.

Being the silly shallow person I was I filled with jealousy, and poured over the article and her store for clues to the magical path of success. I was trying to decipher the qualities that made her products sell themselves at art-appropiate prices, since I find it inethical to outright copy another artist's creations for profit.

Every few weeks I'd hunt down the article and her shop and scour them all over again. I refined a lot about my business because I had that shining example of what it takes to be successful to study. Most of the "Quit Your Day Job" articles don't necessarily apply to my medium because of the differences that come from working with polymer clay.

Then one day, her shining customer service rating took a nose dive, and the 3 most recent pages of feedback were negative, angry comments. "Never delievered", "shipping wrong item", "never responded to convos", etc. It was very shocking.

And not too long after that. The shop and the article disappeared.

They were erased like she never existed. Of course shop owners have the right to end their store at anytime, and maybe she moved on to bigger and brighter things. But a quick search of her company name reveals nothing but a random blogpost from an etsy fan congratulating her and another estian on making it to the front page.

The fact that the article is gone is a little confusing to me. Etsy seems to want to mull over the fact that one of their shining examples metaphorically went down in a ball of flames. I feel like they should follow up and post why it went wrong. Much like their offshoot from the "Quit Your Day Job" articles that focus on artisans still working towards that dream.

I would really like to be able to reference that article now. With my skills finally developing to a level that I'm proud of, I have to spend more time gauging what an appropiate price point is, and the easiest way to determine that is to compare to other items available. (Keep in mind I'm referring to what the market will bear, I have little interest in charging more than the market will bear for my work)

And the untold story of FancifulForm would be an excellent reminder to the rest of us struggling for financial indepedence. It will always take work. Hard work. Long Hours. Relentless application of our best work. What better oppurtunity to be reminded of the very real chance of failure than to examine the causes of a real world case from a seller that seemed so promising and untouchable.

Anyway, I wish I had that article to reference. Even though it displayed the same tried and true advice from all of the other sources on the site. Photography is paramount, have perfect customer service, and a wide variety of pieces. It's still nice to be able to reference how those principals apply to a polymer clay artist like myself trying to make it in this massive marketplace we're a part of.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I just stopped in to tell you there is a new love in my life, I've never met him but he wrote a tutorial on the US Federal Tax code geared at Etsy sellers. He wrote it in plain english, with example formulas, and common sense. Anyone who has come to grips with these forms without help can understand the frustration of it.

If you haven't, go wrestle a grizzly bear with an arm tied behind your back, that's what it's like for someone trying to understand the US tax code for the self employeed crafty small business owner.

So to all my fellow etsians who are so clever to do everything they do but desperately want a cheat sheet. Run over to

I bought the whole tamale package of all of his tutorials and I feel more relaxed and in command than l have since I tackled the forms!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I need to develop cheap and easy earrings to go with my rose pendants, l can't stand making the rose earrings and they're too expensive for casual earrings, and they never match enough to be earrings in my standards.

Would a simple fish hook earring with a large bead of the same clay as the rose interest people? I'd probably let it go for 10-15 bucks a pair, with quality hardware (maybe sterling silver?)

Any other ideas? I hate not offering matching earrings to my customers, and I fear that will hinder my attempts at craft shows.

In other news I've developed more Iris pieces for a fabulous jewelry designer in Alexandria Virginia, I would link her website but she doesn't have one. Take a look at the one of a kind pieces she ordered!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Still stockpiling for my future harrassing of local businesses to carry my roses!

My mother and younger sister geeked out at me when I asked how to tell a spreadsheet program to make a graph for me. They are borderline experts at running the software and the next hour was dedicated to pouring over a giant textbook on the program, and them showing me every isngle trick I would never need to know.

Thanks to that I have several glorious spreadsheets and histograms staring back at me filled with data on the number of roses I have ready to go right now. I have 128 roses ready to ship that are not dedicated to the shop (that number is 30) so just imagine my workspace! I have 128 rose pendants that are not even in my etsy store right now!

I'm tackling a craft show this November 6th, if not sooner. And it feels good to get a deadline set up for me. I'm ordering myself to get in at least one local shop by the end of this month as the holiday season will pick up soon. I always hated how early stores got ready for the holidays until I became a seller. Now I can see why all the fuss, it's almost as if stores are kept open year round just to maintain their name in the public eye, because every ounce of profit comes out of those few months at the end of the year.

Just thinking about it makes me want to run back and keep sculpting more and more roses! Oh question, other sellers have suggested that my wide variety of necklaces will help me in a craft fair when I hadn't even considered bringing the non rose necklaces along. Do you think the nonrose pendants would be a success? SHould I bring them along?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My poor car. I was lucky enough to be given my grandmother's old car when I was still in highschool. A white '93 Mazda 626. She was promptly named Betty Blast after a little old lady in a play that opened a roller skate resturant, but needed a push to get going anywhere in her own skates. You clever readers will notice that Betty is getting on up in years.
She just got back from state inspection. Luckily she passed with minimal repairs, but after borrowing my little sisters much younger car, I've been spoiled. The way Betty throws me around and shakes with every pebble in the road I think I'm going to keep my eyes open for any cars for sale in the next year. Even if she makes it to 18 years, I don't think I could ride in her anymore!

Now to get back to resining. Anyone see the new bird pendant in the shop? I'm very, VERY proud of how this one turned out. And it's one of 3!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cherry Blossom Pendants!

In my latest attempt at developing a new unique pendant, I've created a batch of Cherry Blossom Pendants. The branches themselve are stamped into the clay, which has been marbled to create depth like the sky or forest. Then the blossoms have been painted on by hand. The entire pendant is glazed then posted to the shop. Let me know what you think and any color requests.A small sized pendant.

And now in purple!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The etsy gods have spoken! Feedback has been corrected and I couldn't be happier!

I'm knee deep in show and therefore I'm knee deep in sculpting! Wish me luck as I bash my way through more attempts at sculpting the human face (I swear I'll get the hang of it one of these days!!!!)

Everyone stay safe in the snow, and have a happy valentine's day whether you're basking in the love of a significant other or just the love of your friends

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Well, like many of my favorite etsians, I've finally fallen victim to the crazy customer. Crazy customer is fine, but this one broke my perfect 100% feedback rating. Don't worry I've filed with the proper etsy channels to have the feedback removed, but the good people at Etsy are currently swimming in emails and it'll be a few days before I get a response.

For those who are curious, the story goes like this: An etsy customer ordered my pink rose pendant, a lovely choice. They however did not pay at checkout. After a day I sent them a friendly reminder that the item wont ship until payment clears, and that I haven't received any payment yet.

This happens sometimes, people forget, they get distracted, real life gets in the way, so I wasn't expecting anything to be different about this case. I said I'd wait a week for a response, if I didn't get any word I'd cancel the sale and leave negative feedback stating that the person is a non-paying customer.

Yet again standard etsy fare, by posting that they are a non-payer in their feedback page, it alerts other etsians (those who might be newer and very, very excited about an order) not to get their hopes up if the payment is not included at the time of purchase. I know my heart goes all a flutter when a sale comes in, especially when it's for my roses, which I am very proud about developing.

Well another day or so goes by, and I get a convo from the customer stating that they changed their mind. I was more than a little peeved about this, as all of my pieces are one of a kind, it's not a simple case of renewing an item if one sells. I have to clear off the workspace of what I'm doing, and make another one or there's a big gaping hole in my storefront. They also remove all of the hearts and veiws that the item had, and get my hopes up about selling another rose.

For those who haven't shopped at etsy, when you purchase an item, there is a big "Commit to Buy" button that you must click. That means you are committing to pay for the item, as by clicking that button, it gets removed from the store, the seller gets an email, and a little happy dance ensues at the sellers home.

This seller clicked that big magically button, then ignored payment, taking up my time, and the time of some poor etsy support staffer who has to go through the case and remove the item from our transactions, credit me back the amount, and delete the history of the item.

So I send a quick response, that the commit to buy button is purchasing the item, and that it is considered nonpaying to ignore the sale, and that it is frowned upon on etsy to be a nonpayer. I explained all of this because ther person seemed to be very new to etsy, with only a few purchases under her belt.

The customer must've been looking for a fight because she responded that I needed to check my emotions before repsonding to convos. I have written several emotional papers in my day, but this is my business. I don't let emotions in when dealing with a case like this. I apologise and say that I was not emotional when I wrote the convo. She replies that I should not contact her again. So I don't.

I delete the convo and go about the business of filing the "cancel a sale" form on etsy, relisting the item, and leave the customer feedback stating that she is a nonpaying customer.

She responds by leaving negative feedback about the quality of my item being lacking and named another seller to go to for better pieces. Not only is it impossible for her to know the quality of my items since it never shipped, it is also strictly prohibited to advertise other shops in feedback.

(I've checked out the store, it's a lovely new store, with lovely items, and the roses are sculpted in a more realistic fashion than mine are, but mine are meant to be simplier and more fantastical, they're mine! So if you are the shop owner of that store know that I hold no hard feelings and wish you many, many sales!:)

So there is a non customer who is criticizing my craftsmanship, advertising another shop in my feeback, and ruining my perfect 100% feedback score. You can guess that I'm not too happy about that, here's hoping the etsy gods move swiftly to restore my name.

In the mean time, the pink rose is back on the market, as are rose pendants that are all the colors of the rainbow!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Behold the new face of my shop! Take a look at the new rainbow of colors available as rose pendants, also notie the destash and clearance categories, both of these are at ridiculous prices to get them gone! I hate waste, if I didn't I've probably chuck them outright since I have no more room for the fabric, bottle caps, old projects and rikrak piling up. (Not actual rikrak for those crafters waiting in baited breath, I just love the term.)

Please buy all the clearance and destash, deals offered for anyone who emails/convos me about buying in bulk!