Sunday, February 28, 2010

February Reflections and a Lavender Latte

lavenderlatte1 As I am sitting here sipping my delicious “lavender latte”  (teaspoon of lavender buds and a splash of milk in my regular morning brew – try it, it’s fabulous!) I am reflecting on the start of the 3rd year of my career as the proprietor of Lavender Cottage Originals.  I  opened my first online shop on Etsy on Valentines Day 2008, and have never looked back.  I’m thrilled at where my business has taken me, and excited about the future.  I am supporting myself with my art (yes, things are tight, but growing each year, and well worth the effort), and am the happiest I have ever been in my life.  Now I’m ready to take things to the next level – onward and upward!

After opening the doors of my Etsy shop on February 14, 2008, I 1stEtsySale1 had my grand opening on March 6th, and my first sale (2 items!!) that same day.  I remember my excitement when I discovered that I had actually sold something, and still get that same feeling today, 945 Etsy sales later!  I don’t think that feeling will ever wear off. 

I have learned much along the way, not least about photography.  When I look back at this blurry photo, I feel the urge to make another pendant like this one so I can take a better picture!  This  piece was the start of an abstract series that I still continue today.  (you can see all of my abstract collection here). 

1stEtsySale2The little copper and pearl earrings that were also in that first sale are still one of my favorites, and I will be returning this design to my shop as soon as I find some great quality peacock pearls - love the color combination of the peacock pearls with copper.

I love copper, and it remains one of the materials I use most for abstract pieces.  TimeSquaredSm My favorite abstract piece sold was this one-of-a-kind fold-formed piece.  I will be developing this idea into several more pieces later this spring – I need one for myself!

Later, in October 2008, shortly after quitting my ‘day job’ as a computer programmer, I discovered 1000 Markets and opened a shop there.  I got my first sales there in December 2008, and sales have been slowing building in my shop there ever since.  1000 Markets is a great place to shop for top quality fine art as well as crafts, jewelry and gourmet food, and is beautiful to look at as well.  While not as busy as my Etsy shop, it is definitely coming along nicely, and will be where I showcase the new ‘luxe collection’ I will be developing later this year.  

So, where am I headed from here?  My biggest goal is to improve my production time, and build an inventory of ready to ship items so I have more time to create new work and one-of-a-kind pieces.SkyBlueDreaming1  

My all-time best sellers are stacking rings, and I plan to make lots of new color and style combinations.  I love these little rings as much as my customers do, and am really looking forward to putting together some new ones for Spring.

I will also be developing more floral pieces.  I simply love making flowers, and am RosePendant1 considering a series of pendants similar to my rose pendant (another one of my all-time favorite pieces) with other flowers.   It will be interesting to see where that goes this year.

And last, but certainly not least, I have made a pledge to myself to get back to creating one-of-a-kind bezel set pieces with all of the gorgeous cabochons I have stashed away over the last couple of years.  I stay so busy making rings, that these lovelies never get the attention they deserve!   MoonDream1 This moonstone pendant I made for a charity auction in January 2009 is the last big piece I set.  It is definitely high time for more! 

I have a good friend who has a bazillion fabulous cabochons left to her by her lapidary dad, and she and I have great plans!  In fact, I did one of her pieces in December –  not sure CarolsPendant2exactly what the stone is, probably an agate, with lovely subtle shades of grey and taupe.

One more little thing – I’m going to be branching out a little bit into lavender products for our local farmer’s market.  You might have guessed that I love lavender since I’ve named my business after it, and I’ve been working on ideas for recipes and gifts made from my favorite herb for my market booth, in addition to a special line of jewelry “Old Cottage Garden”  – stay tuned for more news about that soon!

Yes, lots to do this year – can’t wait to get started.  Off to the studio I go – hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy 02/14/10


I hope everyone is having a lovely Valentine’s Day!  Stevie, my sweet little African Grey, and I have  just finished up the morning coffee.  No, Stevie isn’t allowed to drink the coffee, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t try!  She is convinced that if I’m eating or drinking she should be too! 

Stevie and I have been catching up on my Facebook friends, and while I was there, I came across a ‘friend of a friend’ whose work I immediately fell in love with.  I admire anyone who does intricate wirework, as I simply can’t imagine having that kind of patience.  Meet Vanina, from Vidin,Bulgaria.  Her Etsy shop, Vanini Design,  contains amazing works of art using wire and gems, each more beautiful than the next.  The pieces range from simple and elegant to gloriously luxurious.  VaniniTurquoise1 I had a hard time picking out my favorites, but finally decided that the 'butterflys’ turquoise and pearl earrings were my favorite. I have always loved the combination of lustrous pearl against sky blue turquoise, and these earrings are simply stunning.   The delicate chains and swirling silver wire make them just perfect!

VaniniKyanite And speaking of swirling silver – her ‘moonlight’ earrings with the most delicious shade of indigo blue kyanite were another favorite!  Simple, but still luxurious, I can definitely picture these on my ears!  I think they’d look great with my jeans while I’m working in the studio! 

Another Etsy shop I found this week provides the perfect backdrop for jewelry.  I can just see the gorgeous designs from Vanini Design against the simple classic lines of Ureshii’s beautiful, form-fitting, yet supremely comfortable dresses, tops and leggings.  TabBlueDress This cobalt blue dress is made from bamboo rayon to your exact measurements.  Yes, that’s right – all of the clothing that Emily and Amanda make are customized to your own measurements – how wonderful is that!  And not just a few measurements, either – they measure just about everywhere!  Ha, and the best part about this particular dress is that according to the description it looks better the curvier you are!  Yep, my kind of dress all right!  If dresses aren’t your thing, don’t worry, there are plenty of great tops, pants and skirts, too!

TheleatherstoreOkay, so, now we need a bag to wear with our great clothes and jewels, right?  Check out The Leather Store.  Oh, my.  I can just feel the soft buttery leather on this gorgeous bag.  I NEED a new new bag……and black goes with everything, right?   I love this ruffled look, but if ruffles aren’t  your thing in a handbag, this great shop has plenty of other, sleeker designs.  Becki makes each bag completely by hand out of only the best, high quality leather. 

So there you have it – dressed head to toe in handmade couture brought to you by wonderful Etsy artists!