Monday, August 30, 2010

Open House Tomorrow

I've been busy as a little bee here in WI.  Buzzing around, tying up loose ends, putting up my table, re-arranging, trying different things and creating special designs that are going to be debuted live & in person at my first Open House - TOMORROW!  I'm extremely excited and very greatful to my friend Carol for asking me to be part of the open house. 

While I don't strive for perfection most of the time I think I'm almost ready!  YEAH!  I've made sure all of my designs are well labeled so people know what quality materials I use and the size of the necklaces, bracelets & anklets.  With people starting their Christmas shopping, I think that knowing sizes of things really helps people to have an easier time buying jewelry as a gift.

I can't wait to meet new people from my area, and see some that I haven't seen for a while!  Should be a grand time and I'm looking forward to sharing my custom designs with an audience that has yet to experience Designs by Dawn Marie!

Wish me luck!
{Hugs!}

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sneak Peak - Blogmania Giveaway Prizes

As we're getting closer and closer to Blogmania, Team Favorite Things is starting to put all of our goodies into a Santa sack for one lucky winner!  Because I like you... I'm going to give you a sneak peak.  But only because you're special.

Just look at what two of our sponsors have sent me to be included for the winner!!!

Stacy at SLM Petersen has sent a collection of products worthy of drooling over... seriously.  She has written her own cookbook about Budget Friendly Cooking, included a washable mini cook book, an ADORABLE Brecipe book awaiting your recipes and a recipe-card-carrier to go.  I love the "To Go" recipe card holder - it's perfect to take to a potluck with copies of your dish to pass recipe - OR- for students that study from note cards... what  PERFECT back to school organizer that fits in any backpack or purse!

And would you just look at this?

Vanessa at Butterfly Fondant Cakes & Desserts has included this adorable high heel cake server!  It's absolutely precious and has such a classy style.  It's perfect for the princess birthday cake - or the bachelorette cake or a baby shower cake even.  I'm also very excited to share with you that Vanessa has just launched a brand new website to help her customers with choosing their cakes & desserts, but also to include her party planning supplies and ideas in the future.  You can take a look for yourself at: http://www.partybutterfly.com

One thing is for certain, whomever wins this prize package is going to be in for a HUGE treat!  It'll be like Christmas in September!

I can wait to share more as I receive more pieces of Our Favorite Things package.  I really want to thank our team as this giveaway is bigger than I ever would have imagined.  I've had so much fun seeing everybody's creative work all summer long and I can't wait to share their creations with you in the future!

If you're interested in participating in Blogmania in 2011, we're already starting the planning.  As a Team Leader I will be taking a more active role in promoting the entire event in addition to giving excellent PR to my giveaway sponsors.  For more information, you can visit my website and find out how to be on the Blogmania 2011 Dream Team.  Or if you'd like to partner with me, send me an e-mail and I'll get you more details on how we can work together.  designsbydawnmd@gmail.com

Can't wait to share more with you and help you build your blog!

Have a fantastic day!
{Hugs!}
Dawn

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Day of Earrings!

Yes, for me that was yesterday.  We had to have a new boiler installed in our house yesterday, so with 3 HVAC guys going in and out all day, my two ahem.... adorable dogs decided to have a not stop bark-a-thon.

After the first 1/2 hour, I decided I needed to figure out a way to hush them up without sitting on them. :)  Enter my earring making mission.  If I sat one of my dogs on my couch and the other one laid at my feet, I could grab their collars as necessary and they were good as long as I was sitting right there with them. (Translation: I was not able to leave the room without them barking their freaking heads off.)

So I grabbed 3 random bead boxes, and my box of findings and away I went.  I made 10 pairs of earrings, an adorable bracelet, a beaded eyeglass chain in turquoise colors and started a new spiral rope seed bead chain.  (Which I can't wait to share with you because it's turning out AWESOME using black & silver.)

My earring marathon turned out to be a double bonus.  I now have more items for the open house I'm having next Tuesday.  It adds more items that are great last minute additions to any back-to-school gift pack for teachers or daughters. :o)

It 'twas much fun, and a great bonding experience with my dogs.

101 Wire Earrings: Step-by-Step Projects and Techniques

Monday, August 23, 2010

Winner - Pearl Earring Giveaway

Thanks so much to everybody that entered.  I appreciate your friendship, and all the tweets & posts you made to spread the word about my giveaway.  What I love is that we're all making new friends from all over the globe and friends are the family we chose for ourselves.

So for my very, very scientific process of choosing the winner... I wrote everybody's names on paper for each entry and bonus entry you made.  Then I dropped them all into a beautiful glass bowl.  And randomly chose one name out by hand.  But I was blindfolded... by myself, and I prayed I didn't knock the glass bowl off the piano onto our hardwood floor.

And all ended well, especially for ......... GWEN!  Gwen please e-mail me your mailing address to designsbydawnmd@gmail.com and I'll put the earrings in the mail to you.  Also let me know if you'd rather have them on a leverback style hook and I'm happy to swap it out for you.

Please feel free to stop over to Gwen's Blog - Get Paid and Get Fit to see Gwen's tips for healthy eating and staying fit.  http://www.getpaidandgetfit.net/

Thanks again to all who commented.  I hope to see you back here on Sept. 15-16th so you can enter our Blogmania Giveaway where Team Favorite Things is giving away over $500 in artistan created wears!  I can promise you, it's going to be an amazing prize package! :)

{Hugs!}
Dawn

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gemstone Jewelry for Fall

While we've had a LOT of heat this summer (which I love by the way) I know fall is just around the corner.  And while I'm just fine 'n dandy having Ms. Fall visit I really do not welcome Mr. Winter.  Yes, cold, snow.... not wonderful in my book.

But in preparation for fall, the trend in jewelry is to go toward more earthy tones.  Longer necklaces to accommodate turtlenecks and gasp dare I say sweaters.  There I've said it, but enough of this cold talk business.  Back to pretty fall colors.  :)

As I prepare for my first LIVE open house at the end of this month (Aug. 31st in Delavan, WI for anybody local) I know shameless plug.  I'm designing some new pieces of jewelry.  Never seen before and not listed in my online store.  This gemstone necklace is one of those pieces.  It's a whole host of different colors, shapes and textures AND it's perfect for fall.

So as our local county fair approaches (and I stuff myself on cream puffs & eclairs) I am preparing for fall... and bracing myself for winter.  Looking on the bright side, cold weather means more snuggling! Woo hoo!

{Hugs!}
~Dawn

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Blogmania Sponsor - With A Touch of AWESOMENESS

You'll think so too when you meet Julianna Cannon from Juls Beads!  I am so excited to introduce you to our newest team member.  As part of Team Favorite Things, our Blogmania giveaway centers around some of our favorite things.  Well this girl... she just LOVES Fire & Glass.  And you should see what she does with her fire & glass.  She makes the most amazing lampwork glass beads.  I met Juls while wandering around Blog-o-sphere a while ago.  I instantly loved her sense of humor and the way she communicates with her readers.  Seriously if you visit Juls Blog and don't laugh... then you probably aren't yet fully awake and should grab another cuppa java!



Not only does Juls create one of a kind beautiful glass beads with her bare hands... but the finished jewelry she creates is equally amazing.  What she can do with those itty bitty seed beads never ceases to boggle my mind.  Juls Jewelry (wow that's a tongue twister) is stunning and sure to tease your eyes as well.

When Julianna inquired for the scoop on Blogmania I was tickled to share with her.  She has been inspiring me with her blog and beautiful creations for some time.  She's one of those gals when I met her I felt like we could be sisters from different Mrs. & Mr.'s.  She's a southern gal from Alabama, quite the free spirit moving and creating as inspiration strikes.  She's also stubborn like someone else I know (after all, I am a redhead!) :)  When I asked Juls what made her tick, here's what she said.

"Art is reflection of the soul; fueled by emotion and awe inspired. While we may leave a part of ourselves with every person we touch, our words inevitably fade to whispers. In art there is a melody we sing right out loud; leaving behind a footprint of tangible expression~ of ourselves and of our humanity."  ~Julianna Cannon


I just love her artist statement and I've grown to love her as one of my blogger sisters!  I'm really excited to be able to introduce you to Juls.  If you've been a follower of my blog, you saw many moons ago about one of Juls beautiful beads that I won... because I made her laugh so hard she snorted Dr. Pepper up her nose... true story! :)  As a special treat for you and to kick off Juls joining Team Favorite Things Blogmania Giveaway, she is hosting a Back to School Sale in her Etsy store! She's put EVERYTHING on sale... yes everything.  But you only have until Saturday to scoop up all the beautiousness you can handle. 

To get in touch with Juls and share a few giggles you will want... no wait... need to book mark her site!

Blog:  http://julsbeads.blogspot.com
Lampwork Glass Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/julsbeads
Bead Destash Etsy Store:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/dietbeads

Juls, welcome to our team!  I hope you feel cozy enough to put your feet on our virtual coffee table. :)  One thing is certain, whomever wins our prize package (which is currently over $500) is going to be one lucky person!  It'll be like Christmas in September.  To find out more about Blogmania visit my blogmania page above.  Hope you get a few giggles as you get to know Juls!  She's really a wonderful friend!

{Hugs!}
~Dawn

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Open House

Dearest Jewelry Designers and Crafty Creative friends... I'm seeking a bit of advice and your opinions. 

I've just been approached about sharing my jewelry at an open house a good friend is having.  She has a home business as well, so rather than doing a "formal" party, she's going to host guests "Open House" style so people can come and go as their schedules allow. 

She knows I've primarily been working with custom orders and customers from all over the globe and so kindly offered to have me join her to introduce my jewelry to local friends.  I'm excited... have some butterflies and that's why I come to you.

My question is display related.  I have some "props" that I use in my photos and for my own hanging jewelry.  The party is indoors, so I don't have to worry about windy or rainy weather.  (thank goodness.)  If you could share a tip or two on what you find most important/helpful when displaying your pieces at home parties, craft shows, art fairs, etc. I would greatly appreciate it.  How do you display your wears?

It's my first go-round offering my jewelry on display for a live show... I can't wait.  I appreciate your feedback in advance!  You are the best!

{Hugs!}
~Dawn

Monday, August 9, 2010

Putting the Service in Customer Service

Recently I had read a post on another blog about Customer Service.  (I'm sorry, I wish I could remember who's blog and where the post is... but I forgot to bookmark it.)  The author was discussing how 98% of your customers are happy with their purchase and very appreciative... but... the other 2%.  Well that's the 2% that will make or break your business.  Especially in this digital age where bad publicity travels 10x faster - and farther - than the good publicity and advertising you pay for.

I wanted to share a personal experience I just had 2 weeks ago.  I sent a package down to a brand new customer that had purchased from my Ebay store.  Through no fault of theirs or mine, the post office delivered the package looking like it had been run over by a bulldozer - and it was torn open.  The product obviously was damaged beyond use.  When I shipped, I did not get insurance because A. I hadn't had a problem before and B. The value of the items wasn't high enough to warrant it.

So upon receiving the product, the buyer e-mails me and sends photos of how the package arrived.  I immediately felt terrible, I put myself in his shoes and knew I'd be upset if I received that package.  Now on ebay, each store has a different policy.  As I sell cosmetics, I have a no returns policy for obvious reasons.  But this was the exception to that rule.

I responded immediately to the buyers e-mail, apologizing profusely and offering to ship new  products to him or give him a full refund.  He had purchased the product for his wife & daughter, so after checking with them he asked that I send new product.  I put together what they ordered and an extra little something for each of the ladies - double bubble wrapped the product - packaged it up and immediately went to the post office to BUY INSURANCE :) and ship it.  Just in case this too was damaged, which I didn't expect - but just in case, I'd now be covered.

Skip ahead 5 days and I sent a follow-up e-mail to make sure the package arrived safe & sound.  I received this e-mail back.

"Everything arrived undamaged this time, I thank you so much for help making my wife and daughter more beautiful.  We will check with you when we need more.  Thanks for treating us like customers used to be treated."
Bob

I felt so relieved, but proud too.  Proud that I could give small business owners a positive review in the eyes of this gentleman, his wife & daughter.  Yes, it was my cost to re-ship the item with insurance and yes, it was more product out the door.  BUT for me to have a happy customer that is willing to communicate with me about a problem and then be satisfied enough to offer their repeat business is priceless.

I really wanted to share this experience because I know as entrepreneurs we encounter challenging and negative situations often.  Some people snap back and then potentially lose that customer's  business forever.  Not to mention the negative reputation and remarks that the unsatisfied customer can put out there about you and your business practices.

Custom Birthday Gift Wrap
On the flip side, with my jewelry designs, my goal is to exceed customers expectations from the beginning.  If they are getting one of my custom designs as a gift for someone I am more than happy to gift wrap the jewelry and send it directly to the recipient if necessary.  From many brides in particular with their bridesmaids' jewelry, when I send them a box with each set completely gift wrapped and decorated with curly ribbon.  So many brides have 10,000 things to do before their wedding and the last thing they have time for is wrapping 5 or 10 little bitty gift boxes.  So it's just part of what I do, and I love doing it! 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Seed Bead Bracelet - Trying a new stitch

In my post earlier this week I spoke about trying new things!  I really think as individuals it's so important to try new things in order to grow - both personally and creatively.  Often when I try something new it sparks a fresh level of creativity that opens my eyes and allows me to create beautiful things.

This is a spiral curvy snake chain I made using Bugle Beads, Size 5/0 and 10/0 seed beads.  The way it twists is much like a ringlet of hair and has a beautiful bounce to it.  It was much fun to create and different than the styles I've been working with.  It's funny though, working with the smaller beads was truly therapeutic.  I felt so relaxed as I sat at my table and beaded... and today I woke up refreshed and the ideas just flowed to me. 

What do you do to re-energize your creative juices?  I'd love to hear all about your muse!

{Hugs!}
Dawn

Beaded Jewelry The Complete Guide

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trying New Things

I think it's SOOOO important - both in life and in profession - that in order to grow, we have to try new things!  That's why I love following other blogs that share tutorials for different styles and techniques for jewelry design and beading.  It allows me to play which = peace and serenity AND who knows when that new technique will become a critical "WOW" in a new piece!

So today, I want to share with you one of my favorite blogs for learning new things!  Mortira over at Inspirational Beading is often sharing different styles of beading.  Over the weekend I saw her tutorial for the double spiral rope for making bracelets and necklaces.  I LOVE IT!  If you remember, earlier this year I was thrilled to learn how to create a simple spiral rope with seed beads.  But now, a DOUBLE spiral.... is that like bliss for this curly girl?  LOL

If it's sparked your curiousity, head over here --> to Mortira's Inspirational Beading and check out her great tutorial.  What I love about Mortira's tutorials are her AWESOME how-to photos.  She makes it so easy to she exactly what goes where. 

Thanks Mortira for sharing your beady knowledge with so many people.  Your work is amazing and you are an inspirational teacher!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jewelry on Display

I have to share a few pictures I was e-mailed of Designs by Dawn Marie in action!  It's such a good feeling to hear the happiness and in these cases see the joy on my customers - even the little ones' faces.

This photo is one of my beaded eyeglass chains.  This little cutie wanted to wear "Gamma's Necklace."  And then made sure that Grandma took her picture!  "I pretty Gamma!"

Yes sweetie, you are adorable!

The next photo comes to us from the "surprise jewelry" I sent out a few weeks ago.  I got this e-mail from B's mom.

"Thank you SOOOOO much! You did not have to do that, but I very much appreciate it. B loved them so much, she put them on right away! :) I have a feeling I'll be having a hard time getting them back as well, however she did tell me when she took them off tonight that she put them back in the box and put them away for when I want to wear them. She said, "We can share them, ok Mommy?" lol So frickin' cute! :)
So thank you again, Ms. Dawn! You do some amazing beautiful things."
I just love making people happy!  Thanks so much to both of you for sharing the photos with me.  They made my day and I feel so lucky to have brought so many smiles to yours!
Hope you are all having a terrific weekend!
{Hugs!}
Dawn

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