16 May 2011

A Little Like Miracle-Gro

"This very moment is a seed from which the flowers of tomorrow's happiness grow."
~Margaret Lindsey

You may have thought that I fell off the face of the blogdom. Or maybe that I was buried alive and I am now clawing my way back to the surface. Or perhaps I could plead that Blogger told me to go stand in a virtual corner (but after what happened with them last week, perhaps they should be the ones being punished). But more than likely I was just sucked into the swirling vortex of my real life.

The simple truth is that I needed a break.

But I am back! I missed you all so.

Thanks to those who wondered where I went and hoped I would come back. You always make me smile. ;-)

Whatever the scenario, I can tell you that there was a lot that got done while it appeared that I was not doing much of anything.

For three years I have wanted to set up an email campaign. To use the names that I have collected from shows, through my blog, those who started as customers and now are truly friends...but I just didn't know how to go about it. Which is surprising, really, since my day job involves internet marketing and custom database list creation for clients. Or maybe it is just that after doing that all day long I want nothing to do with it when I am at home and can play with my beads. Uh-huh. That last one must be it. (Either that or I am incredibly lazy. ;-)

So this past week I did a few things that I am pretty proud of and have been dying to share with you (but given Blogger's woes, I am just as happy to have waited a few more days).

All of these things that I did this past week and then some center around my new 'simple truths' starting to blossom and grow.

It started as the tiny seed of an idea: create a line of jewelry and components that I would be proud to share with the world. Last September I found my inspiration, developed the concept, decided on test marketing different options, bought a lot of tools and materials to play with, targeted my audience for feedback... yet it wasn't until I stumbled on a tutorial on polymer clay that I was able to pull it all together and that germinating idea started to sprout roots. And grow in a different direction than I ever would have thought. But I can tell you that I more than succeeded at my original plan.

It wasn't until December 21, 2010 that I made my first 'simple truths' and it has been like being shot out of a cannon ever since. There will be growing pains and dry spells along the way, but this growing feels good.

So there I was in early January emailing my sweet friend to let her know what I was up to, asking her what she was doing. And in the course of our emails she mentioned that she was going to send in some of her components for consideration to the annual buyer's guide. I had often wondered how those pieces were selected, so I asked her if she wouldn't mind sending me the information.

I packaged up what of my very first charms (and cringe a bit now at what I sent!) and sent them off with a note that this was a new venture for me and I hoped to be selling them soon. I told them to enjoy the day. And then I forgot all about it.

It wasn't until late in February when I got an email from Interweave asking if I wanted to buy an ad in Beads 2011. Why? Because my charms were selected as an Editor's Pick!  


I quickly realized that I needed to start listing them instead of just giving them away to all my bloggy buddies (I lost count of how many I gave away!).

I have sold a few here and there in my shop...and more than a few since the Beads 2011 issue came out. And have some repeat customers...and new ones who certainly found me through this magazine...which makes me happier than you know. I am working on some new packaging ideas. Overall, the feedback has been phenomenal. Being a part of this issue has been like a wicked cool fertilizer. I just hope I can keep pace with the growth.

{Custom goodies for my dear friend Malin in Sweden...check out her new Etsy shop!}
I have had the great fortune to take on many custom orders, like this one above for my friend Malin. And ones for Janet. And a few more for Janet. And Jenny. And Kaylee. And several for Susan that were made into complete necklaces.

{We raised nearly $400!)

And 27 semi-custom dancer necklaces as a fundraiser.

I live for custom. ;-)

Next I started thinking about what I would like to see from my favorite designers...I love surprises, and things that are one-of-a-kind or limited edition (if you sell a grab bag or a set of orphan beads, those are the ones I usually want to buy) so a subscription service that would surprise me with goodies, especially unique or limited edition pieces, in a price point that I could feel good about is what I would like. Which made me think that if I wanted that, maybe there were others who felt the same way.

And the 'simple truths' sampler membership was born.

I created a flyer in Photoshop (yea, me!), set up an email campaign in Mail Chimp (am loving this *free* service) and sent out my first newsletter announcing that sign-ups for the 'simple truths' sampler club was open. And I even got my very first charter members almost immediately after doing that!

If you are interested in being included in my Treasures Found Nation newsletter list, please click the tab at the top to sign up (yes...tabs are a new thing that I worked on this past week, too!) . I will send notices of pendant updates, news from the studio, what I am working on, perhaps a few words of wisdom, future challenges and special offers, including a treat from me if you tell me your birthday (you don't even have to tell me the year ;-). I am guessing that I might have someting to say, oh, monthly-ish.

So what is the 'simple truths' sampler, you ask? A subscription based service where you will receive a new charm or pendant or component every month of your membership. I will continue to offer 'simple truths' in my shop, but the sampler club will feature exclusive pieces that will only be available to subscribers. These will be my very favorite designs in a limited run, perhaps in limited colors, but all fabulous. And there is a Phase II to all this...and the sampler will give me the right soil to test it out on. Hopefully I will get feedback from respected designers on where to go next. As a member, I encourage posting 'simple truths' designs to the Flickr group... at the end of each quarter I will select a random picture and that person will receive something special just from me.

And tonight I thought about it...I think that someone who makes these into jewelry, like the oh-so-talented Cherrie Fick of En La Lumiere would have some pretty awesome ideas, but I also know that these are just as comfy on a simple chain, so getting in on the 'simple truths' sampler would work like an interchangeable charm club for anyone.
{This simple truth is 'reveal your truth' paired with incredible opal stones}

The best part is that you can try it out for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. Commit to exactly what works for you! But space is limited to 20 participants a month. Any more would not be as special.

If I have intrigued you, click the tab at the top of the page to read more or to place your order.

And remember back in March when I teased you all with this image for my BTW?

Well, that is the ad that I created for Beads 2011. And I nearly fell off my chair when I found it on page 44 with all the other artist beads. Imagine that! I am an art bead artist!

{Enjoy the use of this code on anything in my Etsy shop from now through 08.31.11.}

This is all happening because I took a chance and planted a seed... A chance on a brand new material, on following a little known offshoot of my planned path, on trusting my instincts for growth, and watching my vision bloom. I am truly honored to have been selected for Beads 2011 as that has been a little like Miracle-Gro for me...not only has it fueled rapid growth but it has helped me see that there are other fields to till as well. If you haven't seen a copy of this annual Buyer's Guide, you really should pick one up. It is cram-packed with beady goodness! But wait...there's more! Stay tuned Tuesday for a very special art bead giveaway that I am hosting on the Art Bead Scene featuring beads, components and products from some of the fine artists and companies featured in Beads 2011. You won't want to miss this!

P.S. I just posted an Etsy shop update! Use the code above and find a treasure just for you!

If you could get something delivered to you in a subscription of 3, 6, 9, or 12 months, what would it be? Would you choose chocolate? Or flowers? Or impossibly high and pointy shoes? What about best selling novels? Or maybe cheese? Perhaps you would choose sunny days or breath mints that give you courage? What would you like to receive tied up in a pretty package each month? Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


Marcie A. said...

Congrats Amiga, I did see your ad and thought...how awesome! Moving up and moving on...we'll be watching patiently to see where this new venture will take you! ;)

SueBeads said...

Congratulations Erin! I'm very happy this is so successful for you - you're a beautiful person inside and out and it shows in your work!

Alice said...

Erin, I love the metaphor of seeds and miracle grow for this wonderful stage in your 'garden'. Watching you grow is so very exciting. I'm happy to be signed up for your Simple Truth's Samplers and can't wait until the very first one arrives in my mail box!

Congratulations on being featured in Beads 2011! I'll have to see if I can find it the next time I'm in the city.

Have a wonderful week, my friend!

Courtney said...

I am so very excited for you! It is spring, and everything grows in the spring!!! I can't wait for my first "sample"!

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story and how you arrived here! I love the things you have created... You can see the love you put into each piece!
Have a wonderful day...
Take care!

SummersStudio said...

Congratulations, Erin. I've been following your creative journey for a while now. It makes me very happy to see you acheive so much and feel good about your journey. Wishing you much success.

Also, I am very happy you are back to blogging. I've missed you.

Paige said...

Erin, I was so excited when I saw your charms in Beads 2011! Congratulations!

Your charms/pendants are absolutely beautiful and the phrases and words you choose are amazing and make me stop and take a minute to think.

If I could choose to have anything delivered to me once a month, it'd probably be a toss up between beads/jewelry supplies and books.

p.s.--blogger totally needs a timeout after last week's fiasco.

Patty said...

This is really exciting news, Erin! How satisfying it must be to have made your plans and accomplished your goals. Your components are both beautiful and meaningful, and the charm of the month club idea is great. I've often thought about doing that with lampwork beads.

I think the thing that I might like to receive in a pretty package each month is an invitation to go on a special date with my man. Some kind of adventure new to us both, that we could experience together.


Elly Snare said...

This post made me feel really inspired and happy for you in what looks to be an amazing career as an artist! I've signed up for your newsletter and your sampler looks great (although I'm trying to curb my bead spending at the moment!). I had seen the custom pendant you made for Malin on her blog and it's fantastic.

I really like Patty's idea of a monthly sampler of 'adventure dates' - would love that too! I also think a monthly sampler of treasure hunts would be cool...clues to lead you on to something in your area (or maybe online?) that then led you on for the rest of the month...until next month's final solution and new clue!


sandi m said...

Congratulations! I saw your pieces and ad in Beads 2011. How exciting - love how miracle-gro works .... I put it on my lawn; maybe I need to sprinkle some on my beady brain cells!
Will you bring some Simple Truths to B&B? Would love to see them.
It's been inspiring to see your garden-adventure grow.

Jenners said...

You never fail to amaze me with your energy, creativity and generosity. I know you will be wildly successful with this ... as you've been on all aspects of your creative path. I hope that someday you get to live this dream full-time!

Jenn said...

Erin, huge congratulations on your beautiful new line! That is a huge and inspiring success story! Lots of hugs coming your way from the state of SC!

Cindy said...

Erin, what a come-back post after taking a short break! I've enjoyed reading the history, the mustard seed of faith, that has brought you to the success you're enjoying today. Isn't it amazing how one step leads to another...and now look at you! I'm happy that your new line is such a success & your subscription service is a great one. You are constantly dreaming up the next best thing - I admire that.

Cameron said...

What amazing and exciting news, Erin!!! I'm so happy that so many doors have been presented to you with the keys right there in your own pockets.....I'm thrilled for you!!!

These Simple Truths you've created speak so well to the magical creatures in us all :)

Cynthia said...

Congrats on your well-deserved success! Having seen and held one of your simple truths pendants in my hands, it no wonder they're a big hit. They are beautiful little works of art! I just subscribed and I could not be more excited.
I can't think of anything better than receiving some monthly beady goodness!!

Brandi said...

LOOK AT YOU! Oh, friend, how exciting and thrilling it must be to cross off a big to-do item! I'm super proud of you for the email list, and the subscription - wow! I second what Cynthia said - can't think of anything better than monthy beads and findings!

quiltingjewel39 said...

Congratulations on all your successes - chosen for Bead 2011, your ad, your beautiful new line of "simple truths". I have followed your journey on your blog and couldn't be happier for you. You are an inspiration.

Erin said...

Congratulations, Erin! I'm glad to see you are doing so well. Making your own components just adds a whole other dimension to jewelry making. A deeper dimension with more meaning behind it then ever before and a closer connection to everyone in the beading community. When you make components for others to use, you are offering up a little piece of yourself that anyone can have and that creates a connection or should I say a "dialog" in your case. :) Experiencing other people enjoying your pieces and lovely creating their own art with something you put your heart into, there's nothing more special or meaningful than that. You are apart of another's joy in creating and not only that, you had something to do with the inspiration to create that piece of jewelry they made. You also get to share in the successes of your jewelry-making customers, such as making it into publications or beading contests with your pieces. It's a success for you as well. How cool is that? There is a very special bond between bead-maker and jewelry-maker that is like nothing else you will ever experience! I'm glad you get to experience that joy. I know you are someone who appreciates that aspect of bead making. That's one of the reasons why you make the perfect bead artist!

Tara P. said...

How wonderful, Erin! I love your Simple Truths line and if I weren't on a strict bead diet right now, I am fairly certain many of them would be coming to live with me immediately! I was also really excited to see your stuff in the Beads 2011 magazine - how exciting for you! I have signed up for your newsletter and am seriously considering the monthly thing, but will need to wait until bead diet is over. :)

Pretty Things said...



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