Creating a Website and Social Media 101


Blue Opal & Mother of Pearl necklaces by Pam Older Designs
Blue Opal & Mother of Pearl necklaces by Pam Older Designs

Need a website and want t get started marketing your jewelry? Building a website and developing a strong online presence takes time, patience and a budget. Here are the basics so you can begin to formulate what you can do yourself and what you will need to outsource or delegate to a team member. First of all you will need to register a domain name and sign up with a web host – a company that has many computers connected to the Internet. Once you develop your website, your web pages will be hosted on their computers so everyone in the world will be able to view your site. In essence it is your site’s home and you pay an annual fee to live there. The purpose and complexity of your website will determine the cost to build one. If you want to provide full e-commerce capabilities you will need to invest in a website that will support all that is needed for that type of site. Before you seek a designer/developer, look at lots of websites to see what other companies and artisans in your field are doing stylistically. Make a list of sites with features you like and communicate those to the graphic designer and/or web developer that you will choose. You need to be part of the process or you will end up spending more money redoing your site. After your research, you should begin the process of interviewing graphic designers and/or web developers so that you can see their portfolio of work and what other services they offer. You might want to use a designer for the appearance and a web developer for the technical implementation, or you may find a web developer with designers on staff. Through the interview process you will begin to understand what is possible in terms of design, features, expertise and the cost of your project. Look for designers that can incorporate great design with animation, video and simple navigation. It’s always a good idea to provide an incentive to the buyer on your home page or through out your site; perhaps a coupon offering 10% off for first time buyers, or a message like “sign up for our emails and receive 20% off your first pair of earrings”. Buyers expect and respond to promotional offers, so let the designer know about these needs upfront as well. Once you have chosen a designer, find the best web platform-to build your site upon. The days are gone where someone has to build a website from scratch. Today’s web platforms are really E-Commerce Content Management Systems (CMS) that come with hundreds of sophisticated features, many that you will use. Read the rest of my article – The Basics of Website Creation and Social Media- click here!

Feel free to ask me any questions. If I don’t know the answers I can get you in touch with someone who does!

Artisanal Jewelry


Elegant Chalcedony Pear Shape by Pam Older Designs
Elegant Chalcedony Pear Shape by Pam Older Designs

 

People always ask what kind of handcrafted jewelry I make – it isn’t really fashion jewelry, it certainly isn’t costume, but  it isn’t usually fine jewelry either. Sydney Lynch, president of Sydney Lynch Jewelry wrote an interesting article about artisanal jewelry in this month’s Jewelry Business Advisor about the type of handcrafted jewelry I make and love and why it so popular and important to have in your shop. Here’s what she says:

“Why I focus on artisanal jewelry is very simple: women want unique and spectacular–different than what their friends have or have seen. The woman who expresses herself by wearing handmade, designer jewelry stands out in her choice of creativity and design.”

She goes on to quote Cherry LeBrun of DeNovo in Palo Alto who says,

“Younger customers may be more interested in contemporary designer jewelry rather than traditional jewelry. You can make your store feel more current by showing new types of work that your customers haven’t seen in your store before,” says Cherry LeBrun of De Novo in Palo Alto, one of the country’s leading designer jewelry stores.  The new generation of customers is less interested in staying within the confines of tradition than exploring more alternative, individual ways of making a personal statement.

Read more on the Jewelry Business Advisor site.

Do you Love Rubies? Buyer Beware


Necklace_Keira_labradorite_garnet_web__41207.1355702148.1280.1280I just came across a very scary article about imitation rubies in the Jewelry Business Advisor. These “rubies” started entering the market about 6 yrs ago and are being passed on to the public as genuine and sometimes at tremendously inflated prices. There are any jewelers and buyers that are not aware of this. I use rubies beads all the time, but not the cut stone type that is mentioned here, even so it is daunting to think that so many of the gemstones we believe are real may not be.

If you want to learn more about these fakes  click here.

Starting or Branching Out in the Handmade Jewelry Business


I recently wrote and article for a new magazine calle Jewelry Business Advisor and thought I would review the information it covers (in more detail).

Peruvian Opal & AmazoniteStarting or Branching Out in the Handmade Jewelry Business

Perhaps you are planning to open a new jewelry store, sell your handcrafted jewelry wholesale and at craft shows, or start manufacturing a unique design. Assuming you have financing, a location and are ready for the next steps, here are some practical things you need to do   to launch your business and provide a solid foundation for growth.

Begin by:

• Naming your business with originality and class, a moniker you won’t outgrow.

•  Have a logo designed to use on your business cards, packaging and website. Branding your business starts now!

•  Hire an accountant to determine which form of business ownership is appropriate: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, etc. You accountant will save you time and keep you up to date on tax requirements becoming an important business partner.

•  Opening a business banking account, obtain a tax identification number & research workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance. You may also be required to obtain certain licenses and permits.

•  Find  a business/accounting/point of purchase system that meets your needs. Hone your computer and technological skills to be able to manage your business efficiently by knowing how to use your system- it is the backbone of your business.

My business and artistic experience in magazine publishing served me well when I started my own handmade jewelry company  but it didn’t prepare me for all the work  a small business owner must take on. I found technology made it possible to do many things  by myself or with a small staff. Of course my iPhone allows me to talk, text and email, but it also takes great pictures of my jewelry and apps let  me retouch images and load them to my website. I can surf the web to source and order from suppliers, access my business system (Quickbooks Online), and of course I can do social marketing from anywhere!

If you have specific needs you may need software developed specifically for the jewelry industry, but for lower cost, integration possibilities, and flexibility I  highly advise you to research systems like Quickbooks before you go that route.  You will use your business system to create customer profiles, product categories, invoices, job estimates, track payments, write checks/deposit slips and view reports on your company’s performance.

A new jewelry business will a lot of an owner/designer – production, selling, marketing, managing staff, purchasing supplies, customer service, shipping, inventory control and bookkeeping. Build a solid foundation for your business, stay focused and organized and it will be able to grow.

This article is an excerpt from The Jewelry Business Advisor Magazine, you can read the article in its entirety at www.jbamagazine.com .

Spring Foray!


bracelet_pearl_signature_detailPam Older Designs is having a Spring party tomorrow night to sell my handcrafted jewelry and have an excuse to see friends, drink a prosecco, eat smoked salmon and donate money from the proceeds to a favorite charity- the Breast Cancer Alliance of Greenwich.  Hope anyone in or close to Larchmont NY will come! I hope you will support our cause and our local handmade business. Imports are really rampant and we take so much pride that we make everything in the USA. It is easy to say you are handcrafted but at Pam Older Designs, we really are! People who voted for us in About.com’s Reader’s Choice Contest (we came in second) said it was one of the things they like about our jewelry, that it had a look of authenticity and that it was handmade, and looked American, despite our use of imported stones and some  findings!

I hope many of my good customers join us for what is promising to be a great time and for a few prizes as well!  Just so happy to have good weather here at last!

By the way, I am running a Mother’s Day Special- 25.00 off if you use the code BEST11 online you can get a great discount. (items over 75.00).

So pass the word and let people know that if they are looking for great handmade jewelry- it is here at http://www.pamolderdesigns.com!

Garden Center Magazine Features Pam Older Designs!


bracelet_hamsa_tundra sapphiresThey did it three time- and I didn’t know about it until today! A man in Australia did buy some earrings from me online and told me he had seen them in Garden Center Magazine, but apart from one featured product, I didn’t know they were still running more!

So thank you Garden Center Magazine!  I am so thrilled you and your readers like my handcrafted jewelry! That must be where the East Hampton Shop that inquired about my line saw me as well. It seems a natural for garden shops, especially upscale ones, to carry jewelry with semi-precious stones, another element that comes from the earth!

Here are the links of the product shots!

http://www.gardencentermagazine.com/chalcedony-necklace-olders.aspx

http://www.gardencentermagazine.com/autumn-mini-hoops.aspx

http://www.gardencentermagazine.com/pam-older-designs-pyrite-cluster-earrings.aspx

Starting a New Jewelry Business- Pam Older’s Article in Jewelry Business Advisor


earrings_hoop green_webI just published an article in the new trade magazine called  Jewelry Business Advisor . It is the beginning of a 2-part series.  The first article is about the brass tacks of starting up a new venture and about the importance of a business system like Quickbooks Online as its foundation. The second part is about how photography is vital to Pam Older Designs business and about how Social Media marketing can work  for you. I also explain how your iphone might be the important piece of business equipment you own!  If you are interested in starting a new jewelry business or branching out, the new publication is now online and full of good information.

I would love to hear your ideas – perhaps I can incorporate some of your ideas as well!

Pam Older Designs, Finalist in Contest for Best Handmade Jewelry Designer






IMG_5604On March 7th, 2013, Pam Older was named a finalist for Best Handmade Jewelry Designer, in a contest sponsored by About.com.

The winner is chosen from four finalists all chosen by readers at About.com. If you like  my work at http://www.pamolderdesigns.com please vote for me (up to once a day!). Just hit the link below!

http://diyfashion.about.com/b/2013/03/07/vote-now-best-handmade-jewelry-designer.htm

I appreciate your support as I always have over the last 10 years, and thank you in advance for your vote! I don’t think there is a prize but the  recognition and publicity will help my business!

Advertise on Facebook- Keeping it Simple


18k Collection
18k Collection

As a start for this blog- please like me on Facebook!  The reason I am asking you to do this is because you should ask your customers to do this too. Also I need more likes 🙂

Start small with your Facebook ads. Use your strongest geographical and demographical base to begin your campaigns and then target to those people. Target your customer specifically- you want to reach the type of person who will spend more for your high end artisan hand crafted jewelry. Have multiple ads and see which ones preform the best. Test the waters and remember the peak times of year to advertise for gifts. Your handcrafted artisan jewelry may not be the kind of item that women will buy for themselves so reach out to men around the holidays!  Jewelry will be purchased for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas, but a lead up to these holidays is very important. People need to be reminded and see your ad many times BEFORE the actual holiday so they are predisposed and familiar with your styles.

Use a small bid and budget and work your way up or down until you see results. Remember advertising is an investment and may not pay off immediately.  I ran an ad on Facebook many months ago and did not get business from it until the holidays! When I asked people who placed orders on the web at Pam Older Designs how they found me, they attributed to seeing an ad they saw at some point early on and remembered.

I am interested in other tips from people who like to keep it simple. Can you share tips for advertising jewelry and other handmade items on Facebook? What ads, headlines targeting and budgets work and how do you make it effective but keep it simple?

Using Your Experience to Do Good!


Poster by Lia Strasser, Graphic Designer
Poster by Lia Strasser, Graphic Designer

Recently I helped organize a fundraiser to benefit the The Larchmont Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force. I always wanted to do something for this wonderful organization but could not commit to the bi-weekly Tuesday night packing and distributing of food at the Food Pantry in Mamaroneck. I admit I felt guilty.  Many of my friends and their families have participated for years.  I think it is the directness of the cause- they simply give out bags of groceries to our local neighbors who need it- that attracted me to the cause. I had done fundraisers on a smaller scale for breast cancer and ovarian cancer and attend many shows as a vendor, so I knew what had to be done.  I promoted relentlessly because I have wasted many days  selling at shows that were not promoted and felt the frustration of the vendors. I did not want to feel the rage of the vendors! It was up to us to do the best possible job without a budget to speak of.

I saw a chance to do my part after feeling inspired by a short speech given last year by Melinda Lehman, the head of the Food Pantry at Plates in Larchmont.  Melinda was so lovely, eloquent and gracious that I was moved to get out of my comfort  zone to do something. I promised I would organize a local holiday shopping boutique for her and with her help, did so.  The talented Lia Strasser did a beautifully poignant and effective holiday poster that we plastered on every doorway in near by towns and Facebook. A local printer, who wishes to remain nameless, printed 400 posters for us and I think this advertising was responsible for starting the buzz around town.  I attribute a major part of the successful event to these two people and Ann LoBue, to her PR efforts.

The success of the event was felt by the organization and vendors alike. In addition to vendors making money and contributing a table fee AND a percentage to the Hunger Task Force, we received many generous donations at the door and sold raffle tickets for gifts donated by Get out and Clay, Bradley’s, Encore, Chat 19, Anderson’s, Books Larchmont Florists, Chit Chat Wine , Durian, Vintage, Paint your art out, Dagostionos Mens Shop and so many more! The owner of Tres Magnifique Jewerly was moved to donate a 100.00 gift certificate at the event. The boutique was busy – very busy and we thank all involved for donating gifts, time and money for such a worthy cause.  A special thanks to Stephen Bartell for being our master of ceremony and drawing raffles every half hour to keep the excitement level high.

The purpose of this blog is to inspire you-  people with small businesses, who wear all the hats and do not have much time for such things. We have something many do not have- a talent, a unique product or a loyal following to support our efforts. Use this power to do good, it feels great.