Thursday, December 6, 2007

Artists and Fleas in Brooklyn on Saturday December 8

So ... I've been very busy this week. Had lots of chains to put together and get out ... the site is coming along well. I spent some time optimizing the index page for a new target phrase, and can see results already - I watch our search engine positioning very carefully.

I also dropped the affiliate relationship we had with Plum Island Silver. I just wasn't happy with the arrangement. Our shoppers trust us to offer them only the best quality jewelry; I like to see the merchandise personally before I offer it for sale, and you can't do that with a catalog company. And to be honest, the stuff is everywhere ... they have thousands of affiliates. I am taking the site back to its original focus - handcrafted silver jewelry. I want it to be DIFFERENT - not the same as every other silver jewelry site.

We're looking forward to another Saturday at Artists and Fleas on December 8. The crowds are getting pretty serious - lots of foot traffic. We really like it there. We'll have to see what happens ... we'll probably want some time off in February but for now ...

It gets pretty cold in there. It's a concrete and cinderblock warehouse. The door is open all day. There are two propane heaters ... but they don't really do the job. We have a secret to warmth ... we use those foot and hand warmers that hunters like so much. I have never been a fan of winter ... I can't wait for spring already. BRRR!!!!! But the people are great ... and SO talented. I have a guy bringing me a custom made Robert Smith mousepad ... WOW! For those who don't know who RS is ... his band the Cure has been my favorite since 1980 ... This guy makes the best psychedelic pop art I've seen recently. I may have to collect and frame his mousepads ...

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Friday Rant ...

Just got back from dropping off packages at the UPS depot. The place was really busy ... I had to park a block away, and its in a very industrial area - nothing but warehouses. The line was out the door ... but virtually everyone there is picking up stuff, and I was the only one dropping off packages. I get everything ready before I go - I print pre-paid UPS labels so all I have to do is drop 'em off. The thing is, the people waiting to pick stiff up don't want to let me get past them ... they think I'm trying to "cut the line". They get incredibly nasty ... UPS policy says I can just walk to the front of the line and plop my stuff on the counter, but they don't wanna hear it ... and when they see what happens, they NEVER apologize for saying the nastiest stuff you can imagine ... they still look at me like I did something personal to them ... it can make a guy VERY uncomfortable!

This afternoon I am going to get stuff ready for tomorrow at Artists and Fleas. When we get there we want to open without a 2 hour setup. We really don't like setting up while shoppers are in the place, because they just pass by ... and that's a waste. I have some new pieces to go out this week again (I try to make a few every week) - a couple of Egyptian style .999 fine silver rings made with PMC and a 14k gold and ruby cabochon ring. Things are moving along well, and we expect things will go a lot more smoothly with our display.

And if I have time ... my other desktop PC is being VERY uncooperative ... I just put more memory in so it has 2GB Ram now ... I have never been able to get the on - board sound working, and so I bought a new sound card ... put it in ... Win XP says its working properly ... but still no sound. I have been building PCs since 1998, and the human always wins. Eventually. I love a challenge ...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Artists and Fleas in Brooklyn is our new Saturday home base

So, we've got two days under our belts at Artists and Fleas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I can already see that if we stick it out we'll build a following there. The place is a great mix of stuff; and although there are established jewelry sellers at A&F, ours is different so we fit in fine. I really thought it would be an inconvenience to get there, but it takes just over a half hour - through the Bronx and Manhattan, then over the Williamsburg Bridge - no tolls, free parking ... MUCH more convenient than I thought it would be. People in the neighborhood are very cool - and appreciate what it takes to create. We'll have to see ... but so far we like it. We'll be there Saturdays - Dec 1, 8, 15 & 22 - and plan on going out there once a week.

We've decided its time to stop banging our heads against a brick wall (not literally, of course). For several years we've chased the holy grail keyword term - "silver jewelry" - getting very close to the top of the Google search engine for that term. But we really don't want to sell the same old tired silver jewelry everyone else has, and the sites at the top all sell the same stuff out of catalogs. Our strong point is that we make handcrafted silver jewelry - true artisan pieces - that they cannot get. At this time of year, sites like ours get pushed aside by the big sites competing for the same search terms that they couldn't care less about in July. So we now have a new plan. If it works out we'll be a lot stronger in a few months ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This Sunday - Etsy Day at Artists and Fleas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY

Terry and I are REALLY excited about this coming Sunday! We've been making jewelry for Etsy Day at Artists and Fleas in Brooklyn, and have some great stuff to bring with us. We didn't go to our last street fair due to bad weather in the morning, so its been three weeks since we sold offline. But the time wasn't wasted ... we got to work and plan to do more.

ARTISTS & FLEAS is a weekly artist & designer market that features the works of local New York City talent with new vendors every week - for more information visit http://www.artistsandfleas.com.
ARTISTS & FLEAS is located at 129 N. 6th Street between Bedford & Berry, 1 block from the Bedford Avenue L Train.
Open EVERY Saturday & Sunday from 12PM-8PM.

So, that's the scoop on A&F. I'll have to get back to this ... I got a pneumonia vaccine shot today. The stuff is making me very tired and my arm's SORE. But its better than going through THAT again ...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The sad state of the street fair biz ...

Well .. this Saturday is our last street fair. The last two were washouts due to weather, and it looks like this Saturday its gonna ... rain. Again. Not a happy vendor. We will NEVER pay for nearly 30 street fairs in advance again.

On a more positive note, we are going to set up at Artists and Fleas in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for four days - once each weekend - to sell our handcrafted silver jewelry and silver chains by the inch. We visited the place and were very happy to see a vibrant market with handcrafted jewelry, hand made silk-screened clothing and tees, an artist selling original prints, hand knit and crochet items like scarves, hats and gloves, a DJ selling collectible records (VINYL!) ... a great place for us to try out. We're looking forward to it!

It seems that most of these venues are great - for the people running them. Not so great for the vendors. Sticking to our website for now ...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Street fair update

I have been a busy guy ... lots of website sales lately, keeping me busy. The past few street fairs have been pretty good as far as sales go, but last week (Saturday) was not fun ... it was very windy and I spent the day picking stuff up. Our canopy was OK because we weigh it down with sand on each leg - but other a lot of other vendors were NOT prepared. The PSYCHIC should have known ... her canopy went flying! We have 3 fairs left this season. This week (Saturday) it looks like its gonna rain so we may skip it. I hate to do that but if the weather is going to be bad, no one will come out anyway. We'll have to see ...

Here are the three we have left:

Saturday October 27 -
Park Avenue South Autumn Fair -Park Ave. South from 17th St. to 23rd St.

Saturday November 3 - A.D.A's "World's Largest Block Party" -
Madison Ave. from 42nd to 57th St.

Saturday November 10 - Madison Avenue Holiday Expo -
Madison Ave. from 42nd to 57th St.

This was a failed experiment. Learned a lot ... but all in all, not something I want to do again.

Sticking to our web store ...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Last Saturday ...

We had the best spot EVER to set up ... right across the street from Radio City Music Hall! We have never seen so much foot traffic. As usual, people were very friendly and we had a blast!

Our neighbors on the left side were two Italian guys from Brooklyn selling Zeppoles ... basically deep fried balls of dough coated in confectioner's sugar. They were fresh, hot and FABULOUS. On the right we had a kid from Mexico selling hand knitted sweaters. That's what is so great about these fairs ... they reflect the NYC melting pot - so many different cultures here adding to the mix is awesome ... trying all the different foods is making me gain a few unwanted pounds but its so much FUN!

Sure, we sold some stuff ... but after talking to lots of other merchandise vendors I realize they aren't selling much either ... people come to these things to walk ... and EAT!

I think we'll be looking for a different venue to work outside next year. The experience is a good one though ... and it satisfies my curiosity about these fairs ... but they are not shopping destination events.

On another note ... we have set up two online venues off our site to showcase our handcrafted items. One of them is on a "mall" site, and the other is an Etsy shop. We will not be selling our regular "commercial silver jewelry" on these sites - just handcrafted or "altered" items.

Here they are:

Our Main Street Mall store - Closed. Not worth the time, effort or expense!

Our Etsy Shop - Still going on Etsy!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Selling jewelry on the streets of New York City ...

Well, it has been a wild summer. I really wanted to keep up with this journal, but I just haven't had the time. The street fair thing has been a real experience; we have learned a lot! Terry and I have tried a lot of ways to set up, we've tried different merchandise ... its not at all like selling online.

At first we brought eight glass and aluminum showcases. We sold very little.

So we ditched the cases. We sold more, but ... it seemed people were looking for less expensive things. A lot of our jewelry is priced in the $20 - $50.00 range, with many pieces priced much higher. People loved the stuff; they just didn't want to spend that much on an impulse buy. So we bought stuff we could sell for less than $10.00, and found it sold a LOT better. Stuff like stretch bracelets, gem chip jewelry, shell necklaces etc. Lower priced silver chains and bracelets do sell; but not as well as we thought, considering that silver jewelry is currently very fashionable. New York has always been a gold and diamond town ... silver jewelry never has sold well here. But costume jewelry sells like crazy in NYC. There is no middle ground. Jewelry has to be VERY expensive - or VERY cheap.

The fairs we're doing are basically a neighborhood "pedestrian mall" type affair. We really expected big crowds, especially in Manhattan, but the people running these street fairs don't promote them very well ... so we get mostly people who live in the neighborhood just out for a walk mixed in with a few New York visitors (tourists). I have to say people are VERY friendly - and MUCH more honest than we expected! Last week a mother and daughter came in. The daughter tried on a ring ... and forgot she had it on her finger. They talked with us for a while, then moved on. A half hour later, they came back - and returned it!

So, we are finding our "niche" so to speak. And we're having a lot of fun! We get to meet lots of people from outside NY, and have become friendly with many of the "regular" vendors. So far we've been caught in the rain twice, but the weather has generally been very good. In all, a very positive experience!


No more street fairs. Fun but a financial loss. Concentrating on our website!

Monday, April 2, 2007

NEW ... 1.5mm wide silver box chain

We added another box chain today. This 1.5mm wide silver box chain is a good choice for a pendant chain. We now offer five different size sterling silver box chains - 1.1mm long box, and classic style 1.5mm, 1.7mm, 2.7mm and 3.5mm silver box chains in any length.

Friday, March 23, 2007

NEW ... 5.2mm Rolled Anchor chain

We've added another new chain - 5.2mm Rolled Anchor silver chain. This bold sterling silver chain is an attractive and strong style that appeals to men as well as women, and makes a great bracelet or short neck chain. Available from 4" to 36" or in any custom length with a standard lobster claw included or your choice of an optional fancy clasp.

Monday, March 19, 2007

NEW ... Silver Madeira Chain

We just added a new silver chain this morning ... Madeira chain. This silver chain is a very solid and strong style that looks great worn by itself or with a pendant. Usually available only as a gold chain, madeira is very attractive in silver and is a classic looking design sure to please just about anyone who loves silver jewelry. Of course, it can be ordered in any length ...

Friday, March 16, 2007

New Products

We have an extensive line of silver chain that can be purchased in any length, and it continues to grow. This week we added two new styles - sterling silver slope chain, and sterling silver charm bracelet (double curb) chain.

The double curb chain is THE classic choice for charm bracelets and charm necklaces. We currently offer a limited choice of charms along with the chain, but we plan to offer many more in the near future. Building a charm bracelet could not be easier or more convenient ... and the charms are permanently attached with soldered jump rings ... no more lost charms!

The slope chain is a "designer style" that is rarely seen in silver. It is a glittering beauty ...

All pieces are finished with a lobster claw clasp - with the option to choose a fancy lobster claw clasp or a toggle clasp instead. In addition to the choice of charm and clasp shoppers can choose any length from 5 inches to 36 inches - and of course, we can make chains any length on request.

2007 NYC Street Fair Schedule

Saturday September 15 - The Great Irish Festival -
6th Avenue from 42nd St. to 56th St.
Sunday September 23 - New Festival - 8th Avenue from 42nd St to 57th St
Saturday September 29 - Broadway Autumn Fair -
Broadway form Waverly Place to 14th St.
Saturday October 6 - Union Square Autumn Fair -
Park Ave. South from 17th St. to 23rd St.
Saturday October 13 - 8th Avenue Autumn Festival -
8th Ave. from 42nd to 57th St.
Saturday October 20 - Washington Square Festival -
Waverly Place from Broadway to 5th Ave.
Saturday October 27 - Park Avenue South Autumn Fair -
Park Ave. South from 17th St. to 23rd St.
Saturday November 3 - A.D.A's "World's Largest Block Party" -
Madison Ave. from 42nd to 57th St.
Saturday November 10 - Madison Avenue Holiday Expo -
Madison Ave. from 42nd to 57th St.

silver bracelets for men

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A beginning ...

Hi ... I'm Bob Edwards, the guy behind www.jewelry24seven.com - and I'm looking forward to having a bit more freedom to write what I want to here ... it seems all I write on the site is product descriptions etc ... Here, I'll be getting into lots of stuff related to silver jewelry, ranging from making it to selling it on the web and at street fairs here in New York City.

The site has been online for about six years now. It is growing - in size and popularity - at a steady pace. Our silver chains by the inch have been shipped to every state from Maine to Hawaii. Our Balinese sources supply us with beautiful earrings, bracelets and barrettes. And our hand crafted silver jewelry has gotten better and better ... its hard for me to believe, but my partner Terry and I have been making silver jewelry for over 30 years now ...

Terry likes working with chain, wire and beads. She makes some really wild and cool stuff.

I am more of a metal worker. I make rings, bracelets, earrings ... and lots more. I also cut and polish cabochons to set in my jewelry ... like opal, turquoise, chrysoprase and petrified wood.

This year, we're booked into 29 Manhattan street fairs. I will be working the fairs with my partner in life and business, Terry ... and my niece Melissa. I will post a schedule soon ... the first one is on April 22, and they run through November - one each weekend. Should be fun!

A couple of my hand made rings ...

This ring is set with Lapis Lazuli

This ring is set with a hand cut
Lightning Ridge black crystal opal