Monday, August 31, 2009

A Month of Milestones

August 2009 is a month that Tilleyjewels won't soon forget! Several milestones were reached this month which makes me very optimistic about the upcoming holiday season.

I've been selling online for 3 1/2 years now with a lot of various wishes/goals/milestones in mind. There was one milestone that I was beginning to wonder if I would ever reach--an online sale for every day of the month. Not necessarily one sale every day (though that will be a fun one to shoot for next), but 31 sales during a month with 31 days. Tilleyjewels finally saw that mark this month, with sale #31 on Friday with three days in the month left to go! Yippee!

Last night saw the purchase of the 600th item sold in the original Tilleyjewels Etsy shop! That lucky customer who purchased this necklace from my "Last Chance Sale" section will find a special treat in her package when it arrives.

I'm also ecstatic over this month's sales in the new Tilleyjewels bridal boutique! I never dreamed that shop would take off the way it has. Seperating out the wedding collection into it's own shop was the best business decision I think I've ever made.

I have such a great appreciation for everyone who has made reaching these milestones possible. This jewelry designer is really enjoying all the wonderful friends and customers in my life right now. Thank you!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jewelry You Won't Find In My Online Shops (Part 1)

About 10 years ago or so I started what has become a Tilley Family tradition. Every year for the girls' birthdays I make each one a special piece of jewelry that somehow reflects where they are in their life at the time--hobbies, favorite colors, milestones, etc. Because they are so personalized for my girls they are pieces that will probably never be repeated, but they are some of my favorite creations and I wanted to be able to share them with you.

Many of these special pieces of jewelry wouldn't have been possible without the help of some of my favorite artists and I also want to take the opportunity to give a shout out to each of them as I present this series of "jewelry you won't find in my shops".

The first piece I want to share was a 13th birthday gift for middle daughter Emily (who we lovingly call Midget) in 2006:

Emily has always liked monkeys and has a special love for Curious George. Earlier in that year there was an exhibition of original childrens' book illustrations at the local art museum where I was working at the time. The girls came to the exhibit on opening day and Emily had her picture taken by a newspaper reporter standing next to an original Curious George sketch. The photo was published in the paper the following day with the caption "Curious Emily visits the museum".

The awesome polymer clay image pendant on this necklace was created by my dear friend Rachel from Analiese Designs. I found Rachel's shop just shortly after joining Etsy and quickly became a fan of her work. I've bought countless pendants from her over the past 3 years to use in my work. Rachel created this pendant for Emily as a special surprise after our discussion about her love of Curious George. I immediately fell in love with the design and found beads in my stash to mimic the balloon image up throughout the black suede necklace. It's a favorite piece that Emily still wears when lots of others have fallen by the wayside.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Introducing My Other Child...

I often get asked about this picture that I use when posting custom orders and "reserved" listings in my Etsy shops. This is Princess Katie at age 3 along with her constant companion Buddy Green. Having Buddy around is pretty much like having a fourth child, other than he doesn't eat real food.

The Christmas before Katie was born there was a package under the tree from my parents labelled "to Audrey and Emily's new sibling". Inside was a fresh and fluffy teal green Ty Beanie Buddy Bear. When Katie was born that April, the at that time nameless bear was waiting for her in the bassinet. Katie was a preemie and Buddy was bigger than her when she first came home. From the time she was big enough to start lugging him around, she never went anywhere without him. He has his own stocking at Christmas and gets his own costume at Halloween (last year Katie was Little Bo Peep and Buddy was her sheep).

Starting school is always a big time in any kid's life, but when Katie started kindergarten she realized that she was going to be away from Buddy all day long. In order to ease her mind, I announced that I had enrolled Buddy in "Beartere Elementary School". The bus would pick him up after she left for school in the mornings and bring him back in time to be home when she got home from school. I bought him a doll sized bookbag and mini pencils and notebooks. That first year I even went to the extreme of filling out his homework sheets and writing notes from his teachers.

Tomorrow is Katie's first day of 3rd grade. She announced earlier today that Buddy was ready to start back at Beartere tomorrow also. Her teacher this year is Mrs. Frisby. She said that Buddy's teacher's name is Mrs. Star. They both seem very excited to get started back to class. Katie misses her friends and Buddy has a girlfriend at school named Rose Julia Hotrose who he hasn't seen all summer!

You'll probably be reading a lot more about Buddy Green in the future. He's a big presence in our household.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Did everyone hear a loud shriek of jubilation around 4am this morning? That was me after FINALLY decoding the elusive HTML code that has been plaguing me on the wholesale website for weeks. I can't believe that it's almost done--and just in time as my vacation sadly ends this weekend. That was my main "to do" for my vacation time and I came in just under the wire.

When I created my "policies" page for the website I used a very long, rather convoluded tutorial that resulted in a beautiful page that I could not repeat on my other pages no matter how hard I tried. Turns out that I was doing things the hard way--where that tutorial used dozens and dozens of lines of code, I found another much simpler way of creating the same basic effect for my other pages using only 5 or 6 lines. Gee whiz!

Not much left to do before I'll be able to launch--one more page that should be a cinch now that I know what to do and then a final edit for typos or missing product information. I'm starting out with only bridal pieces on the site, but plan to add the rest of my jewelry lines soon. This will make it SOOOO much easier to work with stores and hopefully take my wholesale experience to a whole new level!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Surrounded by Sparklies!

My magpie syndrome is getting a good fix right now. I'm surrounded by tons of sparkling goodies that arrived yesterday--and the best part was they were all FREE!!!

Shipwreck Beads is holding an ongoing giveaway right now. Go to and sign up for their newsletter and you are entered to win a $250 gift certificate that they are drawing for every week. You check their website every Friday to see if your newsletter number is a match--if it is then you call in to verify your information and they credit the prize to your account. I was one of July's lucky winners!

I've spent most of the evening sorting out all my new playthings--sparkling rhinestone montees, fun decorative toggle clasps, tons of Czech crystal teardrops and a restocking of my favorite Swarovski colors. And I still have some credit left to spend later on!

New designs will be coming to my shops soon after my new friends and I spend some time getting acquainted...

Monday, August 3, 2009

So What's Up With All the Pink?

Any one who knows me from the past is probably in shock when they see my shop, blog, Facebook pages, Twitter, etc. How did a heavy metal loving, slasher flick watching, black clothes wearing former "goth" girl (though they didn't use that word back in my high school days...) end up surrounded by so much PINK?!?!

I discovered Etsy near the end of 2005 when I was researching how to set up a website to sell my jewelry online. It was the perfect solution for me and I decided that if I was going to make the leap to online selling it was long past time to rebrand my business. Living with three daughters naturally there are a lot of books lying around full of princesses and fairies. My oldest daughter, Audrey, had a fairytale puzzle book with a story in it that had always fascinated me. It was called "The Royal Jeweler"--the story of a jewel beetle who created beautiful jewelry until a farmer's plow destroyed his home and workshop. The queen of the fairies found out about his situation and set him up in a safe new place with all the supplies he could ever need because she loved his work so much. (Couldn't we ALL use a benefactor like that?) The more I thought about that story, the more the idea formed for the new look for my own line. One night the line "fairytale jewels for the everyday princess" popped into my head, and though I didn't fully understand it's meaning at the time, it stuck.

If you've ever visited my shop, you've surely seen my various mentions of Audrey's own Etsy shop where we sell her fantasy artwork Her favorite thing to draw has always been fairies, so there was no way I could follow through on the whole fairytale concept without her assistance. I gave her some ideas of the look I wanted, and a few days later "Jewelfairy" was born. She has become my "corporate spokesfairy" and a stylized version of her magic star wand is my logo. If you're going to go fairytale, then you may as well go all the way, so pink, pink and more pink it was. Though the whole pink/fairy/princess thing is the complete opposite of my personal taste I couldn't possibly love my branding concept any more. Like with most things, I have a tendancy to take it to the extreme--pink tissue paper and ribbons on the boxes, princess stickers in all my packages, I even redid my entire craft show booth in fuschia, black and silver. No one can ever say I don't follow through when I put my mind to it...