Monday, October 19, 2009

I managed to cross a couple of things off my to-do list from the previous post, hurray!

I got some bags and printed a logo on them. There's only about 20 of them for now, and they're actually favor bags from Party City, but they totally work! And once I get a feel for how well my business is doing I'll be ordering larger quantities of bags that are intended for actual merchandise, rather than party favors.

I actually bought the business cards, but can't print them out yet since the website I was using to design them started doing maintenance just as I was about to click "print." Quite frankly, I'm not surprised by my awful timing. Hopefully it'll be back up today.

I found a stand for displaying bracelets for about $5, so that's taken care of. Still need more stands for necklaces. And I may have to just go ahead and order an earring display stand before I get any actual income, because...

I am going to start doing craft shows! I'm planning on sending out the paperwork to do a craft show at a local high school. They're doing it as a fundraiser, and the fees are $10 for the table plus 10% of sales. I like this setup for my first craft show, since the table itself is cheap compared to any other listings I've seen so most of the fee is dependent on my sales. If I do poorly, it's not that much out of my pocket, and if I do really well then I still get to take home 90% of what I make.

I also have one request already for a jewelry party, and potentially a couple of orders for custom pieces. Hopefully those will all pan out.

I have definitely decided that I prefer working with chains as opposed to wire, although the stuff I've done with the beads strung on exposed wire has definitely evolved. And I've started doing some necklaces that are totally beads with no wire exposed. These are actually a bit easier than the ones that aren't completely covered with beads since I don't have to worry about putting crimp beads in exactly the right place. I just lay out my design and start putting beads on the wire til I'm done.

That's pretty much all that's been going on in the wonderful world of Mischievous Kitty. The Etsy shop should be up in a week. Pretty sure no one actually reads this, since I haven't even told my friends and family about it, but just in case a random passerby stumbles upon this site, I'll be posting the link. ;-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Party Time!

In two weeks I'll be celebrating the official launch of Mischievous Kitty Jewelry.

I decided the best way to do so would be to host an "open house" for my jewelry collection. The afternoon of October 25, I'll be displaying my jewelry in my house and inviting friends and family over to take a look at my work. Hopefully my offer of a 25% discount off of the list price will encourage a few purchases too.

I feel like there is soooo much to do between now and then. I'd like to make at least 20-25 more pieces of jewelry. I'd like to design a website that will link to my Etsy shop, contain a portfolio of my best work, and list upcoming shows where I will be selling my work (once I actually start doing craft shows, that is). I need to make business cards. And I would really like to get some bags for people to take their jewelry home in. My husband, wonderful man that he is, is designing my logo. Hopefully that will be done this week so I can put it on my business cards. He's also going to be hosting my website because, again, he is wonderful. (P.S. Go pre-order a copy of his movie!)

I've figured out everything I need to do tax-wise, so now it's just a matter of keeping accurate records. I've figured out how to do that, so now I need to focus on the little details that will make my business seem more professional and official.

On my to-do list once I start bringing in some money:
  1. Order a custom stamp with my logo on it, so I can put my stamp on boxes and bags and whatnot.
  2. Order bags on which to put my logo (boxes are already ordered).
  3. Open a business checking account.
  4. Buy shipping supplies for internet orders.
  5. Get more jewelry display stuff for when I do craft shows. (Right now it's just one necklace stand. I should really consider getting something for earrings and bracelets.)

Hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll be able to cross at least a few of those things off my list!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Conquering Excel

At the moment I'm sitting at the reference desk, about 3 hours into my 4 hour shift. (This is after working 8 hours at my day job, mind you.)

It's been a slow night, so I took advantage of the peace and quiet to create an Excel document to track my inventory, revenue, and expenses. (One of the many advantages of being a part-time librarian is being able to work on stuff like this during the free time you get when there aren't a lot of patrons!) The worksheet tracking inventory has a record for each item, and each record includes a sale date, sale price, shipping charge, and sales tax amount to be filled in as each item sells over the course of the year. The worksheet that tracks my sales gets all its information from the inventory sheet, but is broken down by month.

My attempt to make this work resulted in a 2 1/2 hour long battle with the "SUMIF" function, since I couldn't quite seem to get it to pull the numbers based on a date range. I did finally figure it out, thank goodness. I'm feeling pretty accomplished at the moment, though I can barely see straight after staring at the computer for so long.

If this works as planned, all I'll have to do is plug in numbers from here on out. Yay!

A Twinkle in My Eye

That's what this idea has been for close to a year now, and it's finally becoming a reality.

When I was in middle school, I had a little jewelry design business. Simple necklaces, bracelets and earrings, not bad for a 12-year-old, but certainly nothing spectacular. The important thing was that I had fun doing it, and even made a decent profit when I went to craft shows.

Lately, I found myself missing the creativity that goes into designing jewelry and the sense of accomplishment I got from seeing my ideas become a tangible reality. I'd been toying with the idea of designing jewelry again, but never followed through on it.

Until last week.

I decided to take a little bit of my own money and invest it in some supplies. I took a trip to the craft store and stocked up on tools, storage, beads and findings. I was there at least 2 hours, rather overwhelmed by the vast selection. I started out with about 20 different types of beads made from glass and semi-precious stones, as well as beading wire, earring hooks, head pins, clasps, crimp beads and jump rings in silver, gold and copper.

Thanks to a decent sale and some coupons, I didn't spend nearly as much as I'd expected. I spent the weekend making necklaces and earrings. 5 matching sets, as well as 2 necklaces and 5 pairs of earrings that will be sold as stand-alone pieces. I expect to continue improving, but what I made was a vast improvement over what I'd made with thread and plastic seed beads in the 6th grade.

I made a few more pieces during the course of this week, and last night I made another trip to the craft store to pick up some additional pieces. I wanted to start working with metal chains, since they lay a bit nicer and are more substantial than anything I could make using beading wire.

Working with the chains is definitely more time-consuming, but I've found that the final product is really worth the effort. I'll most likely continue working with the wire as well, since certain styles and materials seem to work better with it, but it's nice to know that I am capable of using either.

Also, it should be noted that an undergraduate degree in business is turning out to be both a blessing and a curse.

On one hand, I already have knowledge about accounting, advertising, creating business plans, etc. that will help me make good decisions about my little business. (I hope!) I've already figured out a good method for tracking inventory, revenue, expenditures, etc. and there will probably be much less trial and error involved in my recordkeeping that if I was going into this without a business background. This in turn will make things LOT easier come tax time.

On the other hand, I have been overcomplicating things quite a bit. This is a SMALL business. I have no employees. It's just me, myself and I. I need to stop thinking this is going to be as complex as a large corporation. There are no personnel issues to worry about. I am my only investor(and technically so is my husband, since I borrowed our mutual money for my startup costs). As long as I can accurately track my revenue and my expenses, as well as whatever sales tax I owe, there's not much else I really need to worry about, at least from a legal standpoint.

So here's hoping that I can make my business at least a modest success. 2 weeks until Mischievous Kitty Jewelry is officially open for business!
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