Displaying jewelry at celebrity events in Los Angeles

I started the new year with a bang by displaying jewelry at one of the celebrity events in Los Angeles! Several of my handcrafted jewelry items were showcased, in association with The Artisan Group®, in a by-invitation-only luxury celebrity gift lounge hosted by GBK, honoring the nominees and presenters of the 2018 Golden Globes.

Beadloverskorner displaying jewelry
Bead Lovers Korner displaying jewelry at celebrity event

I have been a member of The Artisan Group for several years and have participated in many events, but never as a part of the display team.

This was a great experience! I highly suggest pushing yourself to try something you’ve never done. Not only is it exhilarating, but it teaches you new things about yourself and your business.

Asia-Ray wearing Bead Lovers Korner necklace
Asia Monet Ray (Dance Moms, American Crime Story) wearing quartz crystal necklace by Bead Lovers Korner

My top 4 benefits from displaying jewelry at celebrity events

Today it seems like EVERYONE has decided to go into business for themselves. The gig economy is trending and it’s easy to start your own website or sell on many social platforms, etc.  How do you compete with all that? Somehow you have to stand out from the crowd.

Displaying at a celebrity event gives you a way to stand out. Below are what I feel were the top 4 benefits from participating in this event:

  1. Great PR for a small business! I live in Central Florida and no one cares, but this consequently gives my small business credibility. View my Press Release here
  2. Awesome photos of a two celebrities wearing my jewelry. I couldn’t have gotten any better “model shots”!
  3. A new cool display for my jewelry should I ever decide to go back to setting up at local craft or art fairs.
  4. Most of all this was a great morale boost because I did have to apply and be accepted onto the display team 🙂
Jill Martin at The Artisan Group
Jill Martin (Emmy Award-winning TV personality & sportscaster, Today Show correspondent) trying on wire wrapped Lapis Lazuli sphere pendant by Bead Lovers Korner.

Will I do this again?

Absolutely!! Not only did I display my handmade products, but I also gifted attending celebrities a sample of my jewelry.

Bead Lovers Korner necklace in The Artisan Group gift bag
Scarab Green wire wrapped pendant gifted to attending celebrities.

The result of this puts one of my products, and also one of my business cards, into the hands of people I would never see at a craft fair or art show here in Central Florida!

You just never know where it might end up!

How to take pictures for selling online

If you are wondering how to take pictures to improve your online sales but have no photography background, look no further and check out my photography tips below.

I have been selling online since 2001 and have learned quite a lot about how to take pictures of products so that customers can see the detail and not be disappointed when they receive the item.

I often get compliments on my product photography and comments about how detailed and professional they look.

I decided to write this blog post as a sort of “Photography for Dummies” and share how to take pictures so that others can learn my process and get excellent pictures without being a professional photographer.

How to take pictures for Etsy, Ebay, etc.

When I began selling online I would take a picture on a textured surface but I have since learned how to give it that photo studio look using a white background, and I have been re-shooting everything. You can check out some of my new photos in my Etsy Shop.

Texture vs white background
Textured vs White Background Before and After

I have read many blog posts on photography, and most of them go way deep into stuff I didn’t want to know. They suggest special light boxes, lighting and other fancy gear. That wasn’t for me.

I have NEVER read my camera manual and do not know any of the technical stuff about light, shutter speed, blah, blah, blah…. but I DO know that natural lighting is THE best way to photograph beads, jewelry or just about anything.

Check out my photo studio below.

Outdoor photo studio
My outdoor portable photo studio, nothing special

Photo studio set up

My photo studio set up is in my driveway!! I always try to take advantage of the natural light outdoors. I currently use an orange storage box with a piece of tile on top to make it a flat surface, and a piece of white paper is covering the tile (see photo below).

Many items that are seen online have a white background or something really light. Ebay encourages a clean white background and Amazon requires it. In fact Amazon even patented their technique. Maybe I should patent mine!! No seriously, my process is simple and is not patented!!

The beach towel is there to keep me from getting dirty, and the concrete is really not friendly on the knees so the towel helps 🙂

This set up is portable, keeps me flexible (having to get up and down), and was totally FREE since I already had these items. No expensive light-box, lights or other fancy equipment.

Taking Pictures of beads outside in natural light

Indoor pictures need special lighting or they might turn out yellowish, have reflections of the surrounding items, flash or annoying shadows.

I take nearly all of my pictures outdoors on a cloudy or overcast day, sometimes I get good shots first thing in the morning before the sun comes out, but many times that is too blue. Light cloud cover is the best.


I have an Olympus C-4000 Zoom, 4.0 Megapixel, Optical 3x Zoom/Seamless Zoom 10x Optical x Digital. Not sure what all that means, but the optical zoom gets super close and super resolution! When I download the pictures onto my computer I can then zoom further with Photoshop.

Let me repeat my previous statement above:

I have NEVER read my camera manual and do not know any of the technical stuff about light, shutter speed, etc.

I only read the quick start guide and I have never had a photography class.

When I bought my camera it was set to take pictures on a really large format (like a poster), and I have never changed anything. This way I can have a really large picture with high-resolution at then resize it as I choose.

I spent about $500.00 on this camera and have had it for over 10 years. So today you can probably get an even better camera for less money. In fact many of the smart phone cameras are pretty good!

Photo Editing

Photo editing is a very important part for me. I have Photoshop, which was quite expensive when I bought it, but all photo editing programs have some sort of brightness and color features to edit photos.

This is what I do for pics that are a little too gray or blue. In Photoshop I use the levels tool to set the white point which will adjust the picture.

Photoshop leverls
Setting White Levels in Photoshop

To set the white levels in Photoshop you select: image>adjustments>levels and then you will see the setting box like above. The eye dropper on the far right is for white.

Using White Levels in Photoshop

Select the dropper for white and then touch the area of your photo that should be white.  See what a difference that makes??

You can then clean up any dust or particles surrounding the item with the paint brush. Crop your photo and then make it any size you need!

I hope this information on how to take pictures has helped simplfy things for those who want to keep it simple. Happy Photographing!!


Packaging photos – are they important?

Showing photos of product packaging when selling online is important if you have room to display the photos. Some people don’t really care how the items come to them, but many people are swayed by attractive packaging.

Show photos of your product packaging to improve online sales

Many of you have read different articles about creative packaging and if you sell on Etsy you have probably read articles in the sellers handbook about branding, packaging and so on. I have read them all too!

I even took a photo several years back while I was in the middle of shipping packages so that I would have a picture. However, it was pretty lame. See below…

Old Packaging
Old photo of product packaging

Looking back now I see how lame that photo was, but at the time I took the photo above, I was thinking

“This is great, it shows how the product is mailed, and what the bead or item purchased would look like when it arrives!”

However this was only a small representation of how items are packaged and mailed from Bead Lovers Korner. Then I set out to improve the photos.

Gift bags in organza and silk

Take time to shoot new photographs

I took some new photos to show the different ways that beads and small items are sent to customers. Most of my products ares small and are sent in organza bags like in the example above.

Gift box
Rosaries and delicate items come in a gift box

I use gift boxes for Rosaries most of the time, and some jewelry items also come in a gift box. This helps to protect the item in shipping and is also convenient for customers who are giving the item as a gift.

In this new era where everyone has a smart phone, it is really easy to take photos that are worthy of posting in a listing.

That extra photo in your Etsy listing just might seal the deal and convince a customer to buy from you!

Think about how you like to receive products that arrive through the mail? Is product packing important to you? Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment with your ideas for product packaging.

The secret to selling on Etsy using Etsy tags

Have you been selling on Etsy and wondered what the secret was to get more sales? I think a lot of people wonder about this and I wanted to share what I discovered about Etsy Tags and how to use them.

This method I use seems to have made a big difference on how often my items are found, viewed, favored and sold. More importantly my revenue increased significantly!!

If you are not currently selling on Etsy, then open an Etsy store and get started selling on Etsy with 40 free listings.

Which words to use selling on etsy
Ever wondered what the big secret is to getting views and sales? It’s the words you use, and Etsy Tags are a big part!

What are Etsy Tags?

Etsy tags are different terms used to describe and identify your item and make them relevant to a customer search.

You can use single words or common phrases to describe an item as long as they are relevant. Be sure to read the House Rules in the Seller Handbook to make sure you know the do’s and don’ts.

I read the directions and helpful tips from Etsy on how to use tags, but the light bulb went off for me when I saw what was coming up in my Top Keywords section under Etsy Stats.


Top Keywords

These are words and phrases that customers have searched for and successfully found your item.

I don’t remember specifically which keyword in the shop stats made the “light bulb go on” for me, but it was something generic like “crimp beads” or “horse clasp” and I suddenly REALIZED that I had everything tagged totally wrong!

I was using words in the tags that I thought people would search for, but not really checking to see what words customers were actually using in their search. It is amazing that they found anything at all since my terms were so generic!

Search Etsy Bar
Use the search Etsy bar at the top of each page to see how people search for items.

Search Etsy for keyword tags

It suddenly dawned on me that the terms that people are really searching for are provided in the drop down search (as shown above).

I began the arduous task of double checking all of the tags on my items and comparing them to terms found in the Etsy search drop down. I removed terms that didn’t show up and changed to words and phrases in the search drop down.

I also used these terms in the title of my item and in the first sentence of my descriptive copy. You can also use the Google Keyword tool on adwords to help you come up with phrases people use on the web.

After just a few days I had a huge increase in views, favorites and orders, which was phenomenal. My orders increased by 60%!!

You have to continually check and update these terms as customers change the way they search. This also keeps your listings “Fresh”.

Other factors when selling on Etsy

There are still other factors needed to be successful when you sell on Etsy, which includes:

  • A nice variety of items
  • Great photos
  • Good descriptions
  • Good customer service

For more on photography check out my previous Blog Post “How to Take Pictures

I hope this helps to unravel the mystery of using Etsy tags and getting found on Etsy. Leave a comment below and let me know!

3 Reasons to downgrade my Ebay premium store

My Ebay premium store renewal date recently arrived, below are 3 reasons why I decided to downgrade my Ebay premium store to a basic store.

Beads and jewelry components used to sell on Ebay like mad! I was always very busy selling and making money on Ebay in my Ebay store. I did this successfully for over 12 years, and had lots of fun selling on Ebay.

But increased rules for Ebay sellers have made it not such a fun and friendly place to do business anymore.

Why I downgraded my Ebay premium store

  1. Ebay is overcrowded – For my main product and category, a quick look shows 350,000 listings on Ebay as opposed to approximately 51,000 on Etsy.
  2. DSRs (Detailed Seller Ratings) and Defects – I was not against the Ebay DSR until the recent inclusion of defects and making sellers responsible for the post office or delivery services. Additionally, if a buyer asks a question it’s a potential defect automatically. You are much better off if the buyer does not contact you, which is totally backwards since communication is a big part of relationship building with customers.
  3. Ebay slow sales – Over the past few years the sales volume has rapidly declined, either from the overcrowding or the newest skewed search engine.

In my humble opinion

There is no point in paying premium Ebay store fees for sub-premium sales, while also being held responsible for things I can’t control (a shipping business and customer questions).

I did not wake up one day and suddenly decide to make this change, it was made gradually over the past few years as I watched my Ebay sales decrease while my Etsy shop and my independent website had growth.

Want to try selling on Etsy? Get started selling on Etsy with 40 free listings.  It’s a great community and they give you tons of information on how to be successful.

Do I really need the Ebay store anymore?

Yes, I want to keep a presence there since some customers really enjoy making online purchases via Ebay. My Ebay listings will be a small portion of my top-selling items or recently found “treasures”.

Perhaps with a smaller store inventory I will be able to figure out the Cassini search engine and implement changes that will work better for the future.

For those Ebay store sellers scratching their head about having slow sales on Ebay, here is an article that might help to get your inventory seen on Ebay.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Why it’s important to have a responsive website design

Last year I thought just having a mobile configuration for my website was great, but now I understand why it’s important to have a Responsive Website Design. Nearly half of all web traffic is done on a mobile device, that’s huge!

People search and browse on mobile devices for information, products, and of course hang out on social media where a lot of businesses advertise. Think about your own browsing habits…..

Tablet and Iphone
The number of people using mobile devices such as iPhones or Tablets has increased so it’s important to make your website easy to view.

The number of people using a mobile device increases every year,  so having a website that automatically adjusts to the device it is viewed on is really important.

How many times have you gone to a website on your iPhone and it was so small that you just clicked out of it and continued to search for something you could actually see?

A perfect example of why a responsive website is necessary

Mom is sitting in the bus loop waiting to pick her kids up from school and is using her cell phone to search for items on her gift list, or maybe she is planning a vacation, party, etc.  She may not be purchasing anything yet, but if she finds what she wants she may go back later to make the purchase on her desktop computer.

Many people browse on mobile devices and return to their desktop computer to complete the purchase. Having a responsive website will display on all devices correctly.

As a small business struggling for every sale, I want to be sure that my website is found in her search, along with the big guys, and that my website is easy for her to see.

In case you don’t know

Google will give preference in search to those websites that are mobile-friendly, effective 4/21/2015. The only reason I know this is because I received a newsletter from my web hosting company with information about this important announcement and offering solutions to those of us with Shopsite shopping cart software.

LexiConn: Google Wants Your Ecommerce Site to be Responsive

Not sure if your website has mobile friendliness? Then you can check your website pages with this Mobile Friendly Test on Google

Shopsite Users

Shopsite has several different templates that are responsive so I picked one and made the switch. I WAS NERVOUS, I sat there with my finger on the “publish” button for quite some time, fearful that my years of work would be destroyed if I changed anything.

Then I took the plunge, it was now or never! Fortunately LexiConn, my web hosting company, is great to work with and very helpful, so within a couple of days I had all the kinks worked out.

It’s nerve-wracking to make a switch like this, but it is for the best. According to Internet Retailer Less Than 10% of Small Businesses Have a Mobile App or other way to reach consumers via mobile devices.

I say don’t think about it too much, just get it done! What do you say? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

What Happened to the Etsy Front Page?

I know I am not the only person selling on Etsy who wonders what happened to the Etsy Front Page, where is the featured Etsy Treasury and what is the incentive to continue making an Etsy Treasury?

I had lots of questions ❓ and not many answers, so did a little digging in the Etsy Forums and came up with some information to share for those of you who have questions too.

What Happened to the Etsy Front Page

The link above is a thread that has a lot of discussion in the Etsy Forums about the changes. I am just thankful that I still have my Etsy Shop banner and they haven’t done anymore messing around with individual Etsy Shop layouts.

New Etsy Front Page Feed

New and Improved Etsy Front Page

The new Etsy Front Page has a continuous feed of items that they think you might like, based on your favorite items and favorite sellers.

They mention that treasuries may surface on the front page, and I believe that means when you or your favorite sellers make or favorite a treasury, then it shows up as a small image along with the mix of other items.

They say it’s “A New More Democratic Homepage”.  😯 Really? What if I want a Republican or Independent homepage? That reference totally leaves a bad taste in my mouth! But I do see the logic of populating the front page with lots of items (similar to Pinterest) instead of the sixteen items it used to show.

Treasuries are a great marking tool, but now that they won’t be used on the Etsy Front page, I have questions to research for the future,

  1. Why spend an hour or two making a really cool treasury if it doesn’t have the chance to make the front page?
  2. Does that mean I can now make treasuries to market my own products?
  3. What about using more than one item from a shop?
A Crisp Morning Treasury. The one time that I had an item in an Etsy Front Page treasury.

Focusing on teams, friends and themes, the treasury acts like a digital advertising flyer that can be sent anywhere!

So I will continue to use them and appreciate the times I am included in another persons treasury. But gone are the days and the thrill of having your item seen in a treasury on the Etsy Front Page.

I would love to have feedback and comments on this topic!