Archive for January, 2013


In yesterday’s post, I defined my style as beach-rustic, targeted my customers as grown up surfer girls, and found my niche with leather macrame bracelets. Today, I am going to focus on pulling all of this together by building a brand for Serendipity Blu.

What is branding? A brand is simply your image. It is who you are and how this translates to your business.



This is a great exercise to determine how to define your image. Use 10 words or phrases to define YOU. This is my list:


Since I am a jewelry junkie, I have a great collection of PJ adornments to wear to shows, so we can eliminate that off the list…and I am basically left with a collection of descriptions to apply to my image. I have decided a whimsical way to pull my image together is to use retro beach and vintage surfer themes and images.



SHOP BANNER & AVATAR – My shop banner and avatar on my Etsy shop and my gravatar on WordPress all feature images of my jewelry that have been enhanced to look like vintage photos. I run my business mostly from my iPad and I have acquired quite a collection of free photo FX apps. For my banner (shown at the top of this post), I first selected three pictures of my Betty Bracelets and gave each of them an aged appearance. Next, I used a photo collage app and one of my own photos of the Caribbean Sea as the background. I added the aged Betty photos and my shop name in a casual text. Finally, I used the same editing app I previously used on the jewelry photos to crop and size the banner according to Etsy specs. I then decided to add some distressing to make it look even more rustic. Te entire process took only about an hour and the result was very much worth it! For my avatar and gravatar, I also used one of my jewelry photos, but this time the editing was much more simple. I only used the editing app to crop the picture to a square, age it, and size it to the proper specs.

PHOTOS – I think it is very important to develop your own photo style to distinguish your work. I have two image styles I always use. The first one features my Betty Bracelet propped up on natural seashells placed on a piece of cream colored scar booking paper. I always use natural light for this shot to capture the truest hue of the beads and sharp details of the leather and toggle. This is the photo I used as my “cover photo” for my Etsy listings. The second image is taken in direct sunlight on dark distressed wood. I love these shots because they really show how amazing the recycled glass beads look shining in the sun – remember, I am marketing to beach bums like myself! I often use these images in my blog. At first, I thought taking all of my photos the same way would be redundant, but then I realized it would make them recognizable. It is also imperative to make sure your photos are crisp and clear. My best advice is to purchase the best camera you can afford (don’t be afraid to buy a used camera if it is high quality), always use the highest resolution setting, and take many photos at various angles. My camera is a few years old, but it still takes amazing pictures, so I have no plans of replacing it anytime soon. It is a Fuji FinePix with 16MP and 10x optical zoom.

WHAT’S IN A NAME? – Serendipity is one of my favorite words…I love both the way it just rolls off the tongue and the fact that it loosely means, “just seeing where life takes you.” My favorite color is aqua blue, so I chose Blu to complete my shop name for that reason and also because it conjures up images of the ocean. I thought about adding “jewelry” to my title, but I was afraid it would limit my craft. I am a macrame artisan and I may also like to add bags or scarves to my shop. My shop tag line is BOHO BEACH CHIC FOR A FREE SPIRITED LIFE. I think that pretty much sums it up. My shop sections on Esty also evoke images of the beach: Betty Bracelets, Mermaid Tears (for my wire wrapped seaglass collection), etc. I also name each of my items; I feel it helps customers to remember special summer or vacation moments. For example, all of my Betty Bracelets are named for surfing beaches.

PRICE POINT – Does my price point match my target customer? My bracelets currently range from about $25 to $35. My designs are geared toward my customers’ more casual attire and I feel this a fair price for a quality artisan piece.



I have chosen these three printed items to complement my business image. For my business cards, I used the same image from my avatar and gravatar (remember my mantra, BE RECOGNIZABLE) and chose a square card format – these are 2 inches square. I like to feature just an image on the front; I wanted the card to mimic a vintage photo to keep with my theme. The print on the back is black on a white background. I chose a fun font for my shop name, since it is larger, and a plain, easy to read font for my contact info. I ordered these from UPrinting and I was very pleased with both the quality and the price. Here is a link to their website:

I found a fantastic deal through Etsy for these great MOO Mini Cards! I use them for discount coupon cards when clients make a purchase. I love how they feature the Etsy logo. With this special offer, you can get 100 mini cards free and only pay shipping. My total cost was $5! Here is a link to this great deal:

I just love these tiny kraft tags (1 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch) from Dolphin Bead Designs! They perfectly complement the rustic look of my jewelry. I like to tie them with hemp cord. The quality and price are great. Dolphin Bead Designs has a wide range of tags and earring cards and a variety of finishes. Definitely check them out here:



I like to tie my look together with rustic packaging. I use natural muslin bags and recycled kraft jewelry boxes. I wrap everything up with hemp cord and ship it in a recycled kraft padded mailer.

For my craft show displays, I choose natural wood displays, cream (rather than stark white) linens, and seashell accents.

That is a whole lot of info! I think this is my longest post yet! I hope I have inspired you to really get creative and develop a unique look for you and your business. I would love for you to share any thoughts, ideas, or tips through my comments section. I have one last pearl of wisdom to share:


This wonderful little book, The Handmade Marketplace, has been a great reference for me in getting serious about the business end of my craft. It is available on Amazon for about $10 in both print and Kindle editions:–Line/dp/1603424776/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359250287&sr=1-1&keywords=the+handmade+marketplace

Thanks for stopping by!




Layering, or stacking, lots of boho bracelets is a big look for spring. I just introduced four new Surf Safari Betty Bracelets that were designed just for this trend: the distressed leather is just a little thicker, the recycled glass beads from Ghana are just a little smaller, and the accent toggles are just the right size to fit perfectly in the line of the bracelet.

Here is the line up:

TUNISIA with honey brown leather, mint green beads, and Celtic Knot toggle.
CASABLANCA with honey brown leather, blue & white marble beads, and heart toggle.
ZANZIBAR with deep brown leather, electric blue beads, and hibiscus toggle.
MADAGASCAR with deep brown leather, soft teal beads, and Tree of Life toggle.

The entire collection can be viewed here:

Thanks for browsing!



I have had my Etsy shop, Serendipity Blu, since July, 2011. It started as more of a hobby, my creative outlet. I have had moderate success with very little effort, or as I like to say, lolly gagging through the whole Etsy process. This year, I decided to focus and exert some effort into marketing and planning. In addition to my virtual shop (my little cyber beach shack as I like to call it!), I also plan to exhibit at some local craft shows this summer. Jewelry is definitely a saturated craft category, and it is challenging to find innovative ways to make your work stand out. I decided to share my business planning journey with my fellow jewelry artisans. Please feel free to comment on this post if you have any ideas or inspirations that you would also like to share.



This should always be your starting point. Did you start as a hobby? Was it a skill you learned from an older family member? Was it to fill a void? Or is it simply to feed your creative spirit?

I began weaving friendship bracelets when I was a teenager many, many moons ago. I would buy embroidery floss in every color. I would make them for all of my friends. I would often wear several at a time on both wrists. Shortly after I discovered the art of macrame, I turned my attention to beading. Do it yourself bead stores became all the rage, and I visited them frequently. As I got older, I drifted away from jewelry making until my dad passed away a few years ago and I revisited this old hobby as almost a stress therapy. I also started to make jewelry as gifts for friends and family, and after much encouragement, Serendipity Blu was born.



Where do your designs come from? Why do you choose certain colors? Why do you gravitate toward certain materials?

I love the beach! I am soothed by the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide. I am invigorated by the scent of the salt air. I choose to create jewelry to capture that laid back lifestyle that I adore. I use softer colors; many of my pieces are in ocean hues of blue, turquoise, teal, aqua, and green. I feature eco-friendly recycled beads in my work for their soft seaglass-like finish. I also work with distressed leather for the way that, when leather wears, it almost becomes a part of you.



For many of us, we are our first customers. Crafting often results from filling a need for something particular. My boho beachy creations are a direct by-product of being unable to find non-massed produced original jewelry when shopping on the boardwalk.

Do you value your work? Are you willing to spend what you price your jewelry? Could you see yourself wearing what you create? If not, it may be difficult for you to see others purchasing your work and could have a negative impact on your marketing.

Describe your typical customer: My typical customer would probably fall between the ages of 25 and 55. She is starting to or has developed her own style rather than follow all of the trends. She may shop at Lucky Brand and would prefer a Fossil bag over Coach. She lives in flip flops. Her weekend style is casual and she, of course, loves the beach! She is looking for unique boho pieces at a moderate price ($25 to $50) that remind her of her favorite vacation spots and inspire simple pleasures.



When I first started to sell on Etsy, I worked in several different mediums (macrame, decoupage, wire work) and utilized many varied materials (recycled glass, Czech glass, Swarovski crystals). While I enjoyed having such an eclectic assortment of beachy creations, it did pose some problems. As I stated earlier, jewelry is such a saturated craft. I have found more success carving my own little niche with a few unique designs, rather than have several styles. It is about creating memorable pieces to appeal to your focused target customers instead of producing many generic pieces to appeal to the masses. I have learned that not everyone likes my vision, but those that do not only love it, but are also very loyal customers!

I decided to go with my first instinct. The initial pieces I listed on my Etsy shop were leather macrame bracelets accented with recycled glass beads. I called them Betty Bracelets because they were created with grown up surfer girls in mind. After experimenting with different pieces, I settled on the Betties and now they make up the bulk of my shop. They are a simple design, but the combo of materials I use have made them a unique find on Etsy’s vast marketplace.



Now that I have defined my style (beach-rustic), targeted my customers (grown up surfer girls), and found my niche (leather macrame bracelets), I am ready to take the next step in marketing my art. Stay tuned for part 2 of my GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS series which will focus on building a brand for jewelry artisans.

Thanks for stopping by!


african surf safari


I am so excited! I recently acquired some amazing African trade beads for some new spring designs. They are made by the Krobo People of Ghana, Africa, using a centuries old technique. The process begins by pressing glass into a fine powder and heating it until the particles fuse together. The glass is then poured in clay molds and the stem of a cassava leaf is used to make the bead hole. The beads are then baked in an oven, causing the glass to melt together and the stem to burn. The end result is a soft matte finish very similar to seaglass that just POPS in direct sunlight!


The colors are just incredible! I am very much in love with marbled effect on some of beads. I also love that these beads are not only crafted with recycled glass, but are also fair trade.


The beads I chose for this series of Betty Bracelets are larger than what I normally work with – a whopping 14mm! I decided to use thicker leather (1mm instead of .05mm) in a soft distressed shade of honey brown. I spaced the beads a little further apart using the above pattern, which is a variation on a basic square knot. The bracelets are then terminated with a bold button to complement the beads. Here is the roundup of the new collection:



Named after a very challenging surf break in Cape Town, South Africa, this Betty features stunning cobalt blue & seafoam green marbled beads with a white-washed copper dragonfly button. More details are available here:



Named after the capital city of Sierra Leone, an up and coming surf destination, this Betty features earthy brown and clear swirled glass beads with a white washed brass tribal sun button. The full listing can be viewed here:



Named for a popular surf beach on the southern coast of exotic Morocco, the Betty features delicate blush pink beads and a brass nautilus shell button with a verdigris green finish. Item details can be found here:



Named after another impressive surf break in Cape Town, South Africa, this Betty features cobalt and clear swirled beads (together they create the hue of a perfect summer sky!) and a pewter tribal artisan button. It is available here:



Named after an archipelago off the Atlantic Coast of Africa, this Betty features seafoam green beads and a fun daisy pewter button. The full listing can be viewed here:

Thanks for taking the time to view my new Betty Bracelet collection! Be sure to check often as I am adding more great new designs for spring!



Searching for unique Valentine’s Day gifts? Trying to go green? Want to shop locally in the South Jersey area? Here are some amazing hand-crafted finds for your sweetie!


This lovely pendant begins with a broken piece of vintage china, which is then shaped to fit an oval sterling silver bezel. A black satin cord completes the look. Very shabby chic! It was created by Kim for her Etsy shop, Kimagine and is available here:


This beautiful wall hanging began with reclaimed wood, and was hand-painted in a delicate cherry blossom pattern. It has also been treated so it can be hung indoors or out. It is just a perfect rustic accent! It was crafted by Monique for her Etsy shop, DuTill and Daughters and is available here:


Think pink with this whimsical recycled paper bead bracelet! The handmade beads began as a special edition pink newspaper to raise breast cancer awareness. It would make such a loving and thoughtful gift for any breast cancer survivor! It was created by the mom and daughter owned Etsy shop, rbcreation and is available here:


Want to heat things up for you and your sweetie? This incredibly unique red hot cinnamon scented fire starter is sure to get things started! It can also be used as yummy “potpourri.” It was created by Kim and Mark for their Etsy shop, three1seven and is available here:


My Playa Rosada Betty Bracelet also makes a wonderful Valentine’s gift! The soft blush pink hue of the recycled glass are accented by an artisan pewter heart button. Delicately bohemian! It is available from my Etsy shop, Serendipity Blu here:


Are you smitten? Perhaps love struck? These rustic wood coasters are a perfect gift! They are created from discarded tree branches by Lisa for her Etsy shop, Rooftop Creations. They are available here:

Thanks for supporting your local crafters!


more spring shopping


My spring shopping spree continues…I am planning a trip to Austin, Texas this spring and I am searching for some versatile and fun pieces. I want easy, breezy items that pack well and look free spirited this vibrant and hip city.



I totally adore this simple gauze peasant top from Aida Coronado. The white color is fresh and the easy shape enhances the boho style. Aida Coronado has a lovely shop on Etsy and creates amazing Mexican style fashions. For more info on this fun top, and to view her entire line, click on this link:


These great flare leg jeans from Lucky Brand go perfectly with the white top. The relaxed fit is perfect for lots of walking and the distressed finish can be dressed up or down. They are available on the Lucky Band website:,default,pd.html?cgid=womensLilMaggie&selectedColor=460


I really love the look of the peasant top cinched with a great belt, and my choice would be this gorgeous embroidered one, also by Lucky Brand! The blue hue adds a vivid flair the clean white top. More details can be seen here:,default,pd.html


If I make one splurge this season, it would have to be on these spectacular wedge sandals from UGG! Wow! The color is dynamic and the style is incredible. They are the perfect blue footwear to pull this look together. They are available here:,default,pd.html?dwvar_1002697_color=NGHT&start=2&cgid=women-sandals


My Cozumel woven leather choker is a perfect accent for this fun spring outfit! The distressed leather and gorgeous turquoise blue beads add some boho panache! It is available from my Etsy shop here:


The final accent to this collection is my Rocky Point Bracelet Trio. The chunky turquoise blue bracelet is paired with two smaller ones for instant layering! More details are available here:



This next look begins with the same Lucky Band jeans, but takes on a more casual look with this Minty Fresh Free People Tee. The pale green shade and super soft cotton fabric will definitely make this a favorite for warm weather! It is available here:


This simple neutral bag from Fossil is perfect for toting all of your essentials in style. The lightweight gray and white striped canvas is accented with saddle brown leather to give this casual tote a rich feel. It is brand new and can be viewed on Fossil’s website:


These Sanuk flip flops are perfect for travel. The slight wedge gives them style, while that classic Sanuk comfort lends them to lots of walking. They pack light and the neutral tones go with everything, especially the soft tones of this serendipitous outfit. Full item details are listed here:,default,pd.html?dwvar_SWS2185_color=TAS&start=26&cgid=womens-sandals


The soft yellow color and rustic finish of my Bit O Honey Seaglass pendant is a perfect pairing to the pale green and light neutrals of this outfit. It can be seen in its entirety here:


Another perfect green and yellow accent is my Baja Sur Bracelet Trio. The distressed leather and recycled glass beads add a boho, yet delicate, look to the casual ensemble. Full details can be viewed here:

Be inspired and happy shopping!


shopping for spring


I am definitely a warm weather gal, and it most evident when one investigates my January shopping trends. Most of my friends are rooting through the clearance racks for rock bottom prices on sweaters, coats, and boots. I, on the other hand, am perusing the new arrivals on the websites of my favorite brands. My style is beach casual and I tend to own a few high quality pieces rather than several discount items. I firmly believe that, if you are wearing more than flip flops, you are overdressed. I also love color, and this year I am swooning over coral and aqua blue!



I love, love, love this Dhara Dress in Tide Blue by Athleta! The hue is reminiscent of tropical waters, the fit is quite flattering (it is available in petite…yay!), and it packs well – very important for a gypsy like me! You can view the full listing here:,5927263,SDDhara1_1&clink=5927263


Olu Kai is a Hawaiian-based company. Olu is Hawaiian for comfort, and Kai, ocean. I bought my first pair of their Paniolo flip flops in Tobacco (a rich deep brown) last year, and they made it through three vacations and two music festivals comfortably and fashionably. The quality is high, so do not be overwhelmed by the $85 price tag – you’ll be strolling down the beach in them for years to come. For this spring, I’d like to buy the lighter Dune that is pictured here. More details are available here:


A perfect accent to the beautiful aqua blue dress is my Polu Kai (Hawaiian for Blue Water) Pendant. It is genuine seaglass wrapped in silver wire and accented with opalescent Swarovski crystals. It is completed with a soft tan sueded cord with a handmade silver clasp. For more photos and ordering information, please view this link to my Etsy shop:


This Hanalei Bay Bracelet, also from my Etsy shop, is another beautiful accessory for your spring ocean tones. It is named for a popular surf spot on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It is crafted with delicate pale bottle green (think vintage Coke bottle) recycled glass beads, woven with soft distressed light brown leather. The Aloha look is finished with a lovely white-washed copper hibiscus toggle. Additional photos and information is available here:



I just adore the vibrant coral pink color and easy fit of this Lucky Brand Tilly Top! It is a soft tone-on-tone paisley pattern with a versatile 3/4 length – perfect for early spring or summer evenings! I would pair it with skinny denim capris. More information can be viewed here:,default,pd.html?navid=search


While I am utilitarian when it comes to shoes, I am quite the handbag junkie! Fossil is my favorite brand, and I possess a very impressive collection! This Saddle Austin Zip Pouch will most certainly be the latest addition! The small size (only 7×5) makes it perfect to slip into a larger tote bag or to carry your essentials on a night out. Details are listed here:


The soft coral pink of the recycled glass and the light distressed leather of my Kaihalulu Betty Bracelet perfectly complement the shades of the top and bag. Kaihalulu is a red sand beach in a secluded cove on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Details on this chunky surfer girl bracelet can be seen here:

Thanks for stopping by…I hope you have enjoyed my fashion selections. Be sure to check back for more warm weather finds!


black crowes 2013 tour


After their much hyped hiatus, the Black Crowes are finally returning this spring for a UK and US tour. I snagged my ticket this morning…Friday, April 12th at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. I first saw the band in 1991, shortly after their debut, Shake Your Money Maker started to gain recognition. They opened for ZZ Top at the now demolished Philadelphia Spectrum. It was groovy love at first sight for the Robinson Brothers and company, and I have attended several shows during their always funky, and sometimes bumpy, 20+ year journey. After nine studio and four live albums, the Black Crowes still maintain their free spirited indie status and almost rebellious artistic freedom.


The last show I attended was on October 17, 2010 at the intimate Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ. It was an amazing performance highlighted by the rowdy opening cover of Joe Cocker’s Give Peace a Chance, a haunting rendition of Lou Reed’s Oh Sweet Nuthin’, sung by Rich Robinson, and a totally jammed out version of one of my favorites, Thorn In My Pride. Of course, they rocked out on all of the usual suspects, including Hard To Handle, Jealous Again, She Talks To Angels, and Wiser Time.

I am totally stoked for this April show. One thing I can honestly say is that the Black Crowes never disappoint. I hope to hear a little Soul Singing.

Thanks for stopping by!



The stores are starting to fill their seasonal aisles with all sorts of Valentine’s Day gift items. Why not break away from the crowd this year and surprise your special someone with a beautiful handmade gift! All items featured are crafted locally in South Jersey and are available on Etsy.


What could be a more personal, loving gift than a lovely album filled with special photos! This gorgeous LOVE mini album was created by Lara for her Etsy store, Artful M Designs. You can view the full listing here:


Instead of the usual jewelry gifts, why not give this stunning handmade heart necklace! The rich jewel tones are the perfect accent for the lovely hand-forged wire heart. This beautiful piece was created by Rose for her Etsy shop, Rose’s Wire Art Jewelry. For more details, click on the following link:


This adorable “Hello Love Bug” handcrafted lady bug card is perfect for your little sweetie! It was created by Michele for her Etsy shop, Scrap Secrets. You can view the full listing here:

Michele also has a fantastic blog with great tutorials and scrap booking info. You can check it out here:


Another great idea for your little one is this precious Valentine’s Day hair bow! Such a fun accent! It was made by Caroline for her Etsy shop, Bow Sweet Bow, and can be purchased here:


Who doesn’t love Oreo’s? And when they are covered with white chocolate with pink accents, they make a perfectly delicious Valentine’s gift! These yummy edibles were created by Julia for her Etsy shop, The Charming Cookie. You can feed your sweet tooth here:


And speaking of yummy, how about a sweet cherry scented handmade candle? This pink beauty was made by Tony for his Etsy shop, Candle Kraze and would make a truly lovely Valentine’s gift. The full listing can be viewed here:

I hope that you enjoyed this sampling of locally crafted gift ideas. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more suggestions featuring South Jersey artisans.



To chase away the winter blues, I decided to add two very warm hued Betty Bracelets to my Etsy shop. May they conjure up images for you of warm, sunny beaches…


This is Playa Rosada. It is named for a famous pink sand surfing beach in sunny, steamy Nicaragua. Light brown distressed leather enrobes delicate blush pink Indonesian recycled glass beads. This natural beauty is completed with a lovely artisan pewter heart toggle. The full listing can be viewed here:


This is Kaihalulu. Imagine a stunning red sand beach in a secluded, almost hidden lagoon on a lush tropical island. That is Maui’s Kaihalulu Beach, this Betty’s namesake. The bracelet begins with light brown distressed leather woven around vibrant coral-rose-pink Indonesian recycled glass beads. A beautiful white-washed coral hibiscus toggle adds an accent of Aloha to this hot spring accessory! More details can be viewed here:

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you noticed the Nerd Wallet Indie button on my sidebar. It links to an exclusive coupon just for my blog readers!


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