American Craft Week


bracelet_pearl_signature_detail

American Craft Week will run through October 12, 2014. All across the country, those of us that make and sell our unique handmade jewelry, metal work, pottery, woodwork and other crafts invite you into our studios and to festivals to see our work firsthand. American Made is important to keep our strong history and tradition of crafts alive.  Please support this week of events by sharing this with others.

Pam Older Designs will be selling at the Fall Harvest Festival in Newburyport, MA this coming Sunday, Oct 12th and Monday, Oct 13th from 10-5pm. The festival will be held on State St., Inn St. and Market Square but If you cannot make it my jewelry can also be seen at www.pamolderdesigns.com.

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!

Tips for Selling and Getting Ready for a Jewelry Trade Show


Pam Older Designs Trade Booth at in NY’s Newest section of the NY International Gift Fair

Getting ready for a trade show can be daunting, especially for the first time jewelry designer exhibitor. My company, Pam Older Designs was at the August 2011 New York International Gift Show at the Javits Center so I have some recent experiences and advice on how to do a major trade show. I started out doing a few smaller regional shows before hitting NY.  It gave me an invaluable introduction to the process.  My booth design has evolved and improved over time and yours will too.

I hope this makes it easier for you to set up your handmade jewelry booth.

It’s all about your product.  If you have a good product priced competitively you will sell!  Sometimes it takes a few shows for people to start to really recognize what you have.  Other times you could be a hit right away, don’t get discourged, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Develop a color story for your products a couple of months prior to your show and make your samples.  I find that seasonal collections are essential for jewelry and apparel, but sometimes you have customers from different climates, so don’t omit your prettiest styles just because they are not in season. A month ahead of the show, get all your samples labeled with wholesale prices and style numbers. Put them all in plastic bags to bring to the show and resist the urge to start taking them out! For me this is the most time consuming part- once I get it the jewelry packed I feel I am ready to deal with the rest of the many details, but at least the design and manufacturing is complete.

Start sending promotional emails to your customers telling them your show and booth location many months prior to the show! Closer to show time you should offer an incentive for them to come see you. Perhaps a few show specials or a discount for an order over a set amount.  Of course you should be using Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic all through the year.  This year I id a video for FB showing us setting up the booth- from unpacking and setting up to the final booth ready and open for business.

Arrange for extra help to help you set up the day before the show and someone to help man the booth during the show. It’s hard work, don’t think you are lazy! Two people for a small booth is not overkill. Just don’t crowd your customers. Pre-register online and eliminate the time spent on getting badges the day of the show. Usually you will also need to get a badge for your set up crew if you have movers.

Design your booth and lay it out to scale in your garage or living room so you can see if it is going to work in your booth  space.  Stick to a style and color scheme , consider light weight and folding shelving, pedestals and tables. You will regret heavy items or things that are not compact, especially if you are planning to pack and move it along with your merchandise and displays.  Walk the show before your actually exhibit there to get ideas of how you would like your space to look. Pay attention to the various sections – for instance the NY Gift Show has Personal Accessories, Handmade, NY’s Newest and other sections where you might be placed- or that you can choose from.

Lighting jewelry is vastly important – so figure that aspect out ahead of time. I always have a track light for my booth plus additional lighting to shine on all the surfaces. Pay for additional lighting or wattage if you think you will exceed the minimum feed. This time I signed up for electricity and brought my designer lamps.  I found I did not need to buy any additional track lighting due to the convention center’s placement of overhead lighting. I was lucky, it doesn’t usually work out so well, but from now on I will wait until I see the actual booth space and the light.  You may be able to save 100.00-200.00 if you do not need to order additional lighting.  Most shows do not provide light- so make sure you check out the details.  Lighting is paramount.

I display my earrings on upright racks to save space, and highlight my best pieces on necklace busts,  T stands, and bracelet stands. Risers can double your space!  Mirrors or natural stones look great as a backdrop for tabletop displays as well. I pin some of my pieces on padded canvases that I put in pretty silver frames and hang them for hooks secured on the booth frames for interest. They work especially well for long necklaces.  Look for unusual display ideas – a good place to find the is at discount stores or online. Get your signage ready- you are going to need a vibrant banner or poster with your company name and logo and images- that will pull people into your booth. I pack all my displays, table coverings, frames, scissors, tarp, clamps and other assorted items in large rolling suitcases. If you have room in your car a folding dolly is indispensable.

You will need a minimum of two people to transport all of your things to the show AND into your booth.  Arrange for that person to come at the show’s end to help move back as well.  SOmeone usually has to stay with the vehicle while you are unloading and then you will be required to move the vehicle. Usually you can avoid expensive freight charges if you have a large vehicle, a dolly and a strong mover – all of which will make the process go faster! Some shows include drayage and packing in fact it is often part of your booth fee.  This means you can unload your vehicle at a loading dock and  get it brought to your booth on a skid. A large show may take a bit longer using this method, but it works for a small show. Sometimes it may take a little longer (you have to wait for them to bring out your containers) but you can do it without as much heavy lifting and carrying items to and from your vehicle.

The week before the show assemble everything in one place. Pack all your jewelry displays, branches, vases, magazine clips, signage, table coverings, sheets for covering the tables at night and a big tarp to close off the front of your booth- using clamps to close it up. Also bring fishing line to hang things, extra price tags and business cards, fine point sharpies, calculators, order sheets, and chargers for your phone and computer. I have a check list that I refer to for each show:

comfortable shoes to change into after the show

water bottles and candy (for you and your customers!)

extra chair (the show usually provides one but you may need an extra)

Computer and phone

Chargers for your electronics

Extension cords

power strip

scissors

small easels

hand-mirror

email sign-in book

white out

Brochures or promo materials

Business Cards/resale tax number

folding tables or pedestals

utility knife

u-pins

Checks for things you might buy at the show!!

stapler

wipes

hooks and hangers, double faced tape

lights

plastic bags for jewelry or your jewelry cases when you are ready to pack it all up

Candy for customers

fresh flowers

organizing boxes to store things under your tables.

Plastic bags for packing up orders prior to packing up.

Your Jewelry (if you can believe it, I forgot mine once and had to have someone take the train 3hrs to bring it me!)

Ok- your’re finished.  Allow a 4-6 hours minimum to set it up so that it all works!  Cover everything up, seal your booth with your tarp and go get a good night’s sleep!

The next day get up much earlier than you would like, get a cup of coffee, open your booth, take a deep breath, smile and start selling! Good luck!

Nina Designs!


Victorian Hearts

Just completed a few new pieces that I love – The Victorian Heart & Leaf Drop earrings are both in handcrafted in pyrite. The earrings look great with my new Vintage Victorian Necklace (my all time favorite piece!).  Also fond of a little brown leather bracelet with two curled vine leaves that I did as a special order. These great charm components came from a supplier called Nina Designs!

Vine Leaf Leather Bracelet
Leaf Drop Earrings
Leaf Drop Earrings

Visiting my Indian Sister in Jaipur


stone cutters in Jaipur India

The Stone Cutting Factory

Last February,  I went to Northern India and Nepal and stopped in Jaipur to visit my friends Nidhi and Ranjan at their home and stone cutting factory. Nidhi and I connected right away in person as we had  gotten to know each other through our extensive email correspondence over the years. We had gone through a divorce (mine) and a death of  a loved one (hers) and she was my Indian Sister as soon as we hugged each other at the airport.  They met me with roses and gifts and I was overjoyed to finally be meeting her and Ranjan. Later I met their two children and his parents and was shown how their 8 year old son could preform complex mathematics using an abacus. Two feasts were prepared in my honor. The second could not be served because I was still so full from the first one and from the mid morning samosas & chai, one of the culinary highlights of my life.  I was so sorry, they had gone to such extreme measures to prepare, but I could not possibly eat another bite! After our meal, more gifts were bestowed- a lovely book on India and a traditional painting adorned with stones.

After our meal Ranjan and his number two man brought in satchel upon satchel of beads for me to look at and buy for my handmade jewelry business. They had called in their local bead contacts who sent in valise after valise of bead strands for me to inspect and buy. I bought rubies, chalcedony, apatite, citrine, and my favorite- tanzanite.  One of my new handcrafted hoop earring designs for the Sundance Catalog features these stones- take a look http://www.sundancecatalog.com/product/code/56585.do!

After the buying was done, I met the men that cut the premium calipered semiprecious stones that I order for my creations! The crew was so kind – they came in on a holiday to meet me and to show me the sorting, cutting and polishing process that goes into their work. Here is a picture of the small room where they work the top floor of a residential building (Ranjan and Nidhi live below on two floors and renters below that). The center core of the building is open to the sky and on that day we got a wet.  Outside were cows and camels and a man taking a bath in a bucket. This is still Jaipur in 2012.  Go to http://www.pamolderdesigns.com/lemon-filagree-drops/  for an example of the beautiful lemon quartz briolettes they made for us.


Romancing the Stone: Westchester Jewelry Designer, Pam Older in the WAG


Pam Older

I just met with a writer named Mary Shustack.  I had met Mary 7 years ago when she interviewed me for an article about Westchester jewelry designers exhibiting at The New York Gift Show.  Mary called me for a new article that just came out in the December 2011 WAG. The new piece is about Westchester and Southern Connecticut residents who are passionate about what they do. I am honored that she included me in the mix!

The WAG is under new ownership whose goal is to increase readership by expanding coverage of local news and personalities, making it more of a consumer magazine. The magazine is available at retail locations in Westchester and Southern Connecticut.  Click here to read the article and thanks Mary! A small handmade jewelry business is grateful for publicity!

St John Holiday Bazaar in Larchmont, Sat. Nov 19th


We are going to be at St Johns Holiday Bazaar this Sat. Nov. 19th from 10-3pm. This has become a wonderful tradition for me, seeing all my friends and neighbors and helping them choose gifts! Please come out and come early and get the best of the used books, toys, sports equipment and the best white elephant items offered in Larchmont!  Come and bring the family for a great time and– let’s not forget the delicious home cooked chili and scrumptious Pam Older handmade earrings and necklaces!

silver tourmaline necklaces
Handmade Tourmaline Necklaces

The Daily Muse & Saatchi & Saatchi Celebrate Women Who Create!


The Daily Muse and Saatchi & Saatchi are sponsoring SheMakes, a holiday pop-up festival in NYC to celebrate women who create. Pam Older Designs will be attending this unique holiday event with a special line of beautiful necklaces created just for holiday giving. Please come support all 30+ female designers and entrepreneurs! From artists to food entrepreneurs, the event is to help holiday shoppers discover emerging talent and find unique gifts from female- lead companies. The pop-up festival will be held on Dec. 3rd,  12-5 pm, at Saatchi & Saatchi, 375 Hudson St., NYC.

Labradorite Ruffle Necklace

Festive Jewelry! That time of year at Pam Older Designs Jewelry!


White Topaz Vermeil Pendant on Nugget Chain

These sparkly necklaces are just waiting for a party! The short briolette necklace is tourmaline & pink topaz, a gorgeous mix of stones is $350.00.

The sparkling vermeil (silver with 22k gold microplate) pendant on a long nugget chain can be worn long or doubled, without a pendant, as versatile as it gets at $650.00.  The circular pendant is set with white topaz replacing the diamonds I used in a more serious 18k pendant sold through the Sundance Catalog for $6,000.00! My friend tried it on with a beige cashmere sweater and it looks elegant! These are both limited edition items. If you are interested email me at Pamolder@mac.com! http://www.pamolderdesigns.com/lemon-quartz-ruffle/