Archive for August, 2013


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As summer winds down, I am proud to say that I realized one of my major business goals for this year – to participate in two summer craft shows. It was a large endeavor in which I invested money (purchasing tent, tables, displays, etc.) and time (building my show inventory from practically nothing), but the experience and positive feedback were more than worth it. Now my plans for the fall include getting my Etsy shop inventory back up, revamping two of my bracelet lines, launching a new bracelet line, following up with my wholesale account, and lining up two craft shows for the holidays…Wow! That is a huge agenda for a part-time business!

I admit, Ms. Easygoing is actually feeling a little overwhelmed here! So I decided to take this weekend off…spent yesterday shopping with my sister and today hanging out with Mia and Chase, the Weimaraners. I also spent some time reflecting on my business. This year, I have experienced a nice amount of growth – in addition to the craft shows, my Etsy sales revenue has increased by more than 50% over this time last year! So how do I juggle the extra time my growing business requires? Inspiration does often come in the oddest places…

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Try not to be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life…

I recently read an article about Pearl Jam in Forbes Magazine (yes…that’s right…Forbes). The basis of the articles was how PJ chose to scale down their success at the height of their popularity in the early 90’s and forge a lifestyle business that has lasted for over 23 years:

“Pearl Jam’s answer to their hot streak of hit albums was to scale back their success and become a lifestyle business. Rather than focusing on growth, expansion, and increasing return on investment, the goal of lifestyle businesses is to enable their owners to earn a living and sustain their lifestyle. Lifestyle businesses allow their owners to fulfill their ambitions without sacrificing things that are important to them.”

I think that a lifestyle business appeals to most creative types…time always needs to be available to find inspiration and nothing is as detrimental to the creative process as burnout. The main reason I started Serendipity Blu was to feed my creative spirit. I have a great job, but it is in the left-brained dominated financial industry. When I come home from a stressful day at my office, nothing is as soothing as creating things of beauty. (Except maybe Weimaraners!) The added bonus of my creative venture is beefing up my travel budget, my greatest passion.

With that in mind, I have made some important decisions for the fall. I have chosen to not do craft shows until the holidays, even though fall is the busiest show season. I was worried that, after my busy summer, I would feel burnout if I prepped for any shows in the next month or two. Instead, I am taking some vacation time to travel to Salem, Massachusetts in October to experience Haunted Happenings. I also have a couple of big concerts lined up (PJ in Philly in October and Chris Cornell in Atlantic City in November). I also have to remember that I have three months to accomplish everything on my list and it is best to just focus on one task at a time. So for the next two weeks, I am going to work only on getting my shop inventory back up and enjoying these last few precious weeks of summer…

If you are interested in reading the entire PJ article from Forbes, I have included this link:

Pearl Jam Return To The Spotlight As A Mature Lifestyle Business

Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

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FROM THE BRIDGE TO THE BEACH

I am just wrapping up a crazy busy weekend that began with a very fun work event at Campbell’s Field where I watched the Camden Riversharks, a local minor leaguer baseball team. One of my favorite things about the ballpark is its stunning views of the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia skyline. Very early the next morning, I had to head east about 60 miles for a beach craft show in my former hometown of Ventnor.

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JUST A LAID BACK BEACH TOWN

Ventnor is simply a laid back little town that lies between Atlantic City and Margate on Absecon Island. It has a boardwalk, which, unlike its northern neighbor, has no casinos or other businesses, making it ideal for walking, running, or cycling. All of the pizza places deliver right to the beach. And, unlike the resort towns of Ocean City and Wildwood, there are no weekly renters. Just the beach and the community…very quiet and so lovely! For close to eight years, I called Ventnor home, and I miss it quite terribly in the summertime. I was very pleased when the opportunity arose to participate as a vendor in the towns’s annual Ocean Breeze Arts and Craft Show.

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BOHO ECO CHIC

This show was my second official craft show. (I participated in one last month that was a great learning experience, but rather slow with the foot traffic.) It was also the second opportunity I had to work with my friend, Alison, who owns Back Alley Chic, and creates amazing tote bags, aprons, and pillows from recycled coffee sacks. My rustic leather and recycled glass jewelry is a perfect complement to her earthy and eco friendly bags. While I am by no means an expert on craft shows, one piece of advice I feel confident in giving is to find a buddy and rent a double space like we did. We had a large area to create an inviting space where customers could feel comfortable browsing. By co-mingling our items, we also kept our displays very interesting.

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WORKING OUT THE DETAILS

For my displays, I chose natural wood finishes to complement, rather than complete with my jewelry. Since I use glass beads that have a matte seaglass quality, I was afraid stark black or white displays would not have as positive an effect as it does on more traditionally styled jewelry. I used my extensive seashell collection to accent the display. I also decided to display prints that tell the story of both types of recycled glass beads I use. I got many questions and comments on the recycled glass from Indonesia and Africa, enough that it was a definite selling point. Many customers also took photos of the prints or asked if I had copies for them so they could share the stories of the glass bracelets they purchased. Something to consider for the next show…

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INDONESIAN RECYCLED GLASS BEADS

Recycled glass beads from Bali, Indonesia are made from molten fritters of colored glass, creating a soft beach glass effect. I source my beads from a small Indonesian-owned company that believes in sustaining green principles and supports the ecosystem by using discarded items such as bottles, jars, and windows as crude materials. Each bead is individually handmade using centuries old techniques passed down generation by generation. This crude process does not use chemicals —a green process of bead production. It also helps to keep the beaches of one of my favorite places in the world clean!

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AFRICAN RECYCLED GLASS BEADS

These amazing beads are made by the Krobo People of Ghana, Africa. They are made 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. This technique has been used in Africa for centuries. These beads are also Fair Trade Certified. The end result is an amazing piece of eco-chic jewelry!

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All in all the show was a successful outing. The day was perfect: not too hot with a glorious breeze coming off the ocean! The crowd was great, I far exceeded my sales expectations and I handed out many, many business cards. It is definitely a show I plan to line up for next summer. It also gave me a chance to meet up with two of my dearest friends, Sue and Ingrid, who were so gracious and modeled some of Alison’s amazing creations.

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Ingrid shopping for some unique burlap throw pillows.

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Sue modeling the adorable burlap bag she purchased for her daughter.

Please check out Alison’s Etsy shop for more of her fabulous one-of-kind items:

Back Alley Chic

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time…peace, love and flip flops!
~Erin

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I purchased a wonderful tutorial this summer to create leather infinity links. As soon as I saw the links on Pinterest (yes…I actually DID something I pinned!), I knew they would be a fantastic anchor for my rustic Betty Bracelets and a great way to freshen up their look for fall. I just listed five of these new Infinity Bracelets in my Etsy shop, Serendipity Blu, today. All are crafted with eco-friendly Indonesian recycled glass beads and distressed leather. Here is the round-up:

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LOVE

This feminine beauty features pale pink and chocolate brown beads and is accented with silver hibiscus toggle and love charm. Feel the love…

Love Bracelet

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NAMASTE

This enlightened accoutrement features lotus blossom shades of sea green and bright pink. The look is completed with silver mandala toggle and Om charm. I honor the place in you of light, of love, of truth, and of peace…

Namaste Bracelet

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WISDOM

This smart accessory features ice cream hues of mint and chocolate chip accented with antique brass Tree of Life toggle and owl charm. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be…

Wisdom Bracelet

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IMAGINE

This free-spirited bracelet features beads in soft aqua blue and pale Coke bottle green. The fun look is completed with silver daisy button and imagine charm. Imagine all the people living life in peace…

Imagine Bracelet

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HARMONY

This burnished beauty begins with soothing shades of aqua blue and chocolate brown accented with rich copper compass toggle and Hamsa charm. We are all one world…

Harmony Bracelet

If you are interested in learning this technique, the tutorial can be ordered from Tracy Statler through her blog here:

Make Bracelets Blog

Hope you enjoyed browsing my new fall collection. Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

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Where has the time gone? I can’t believe it is August already! So far, this summer, I have been prepping for my first two craft shows (the photo above is from one I did last month and my next one is coming up in two weeks!), which I did not realize would be so much work. To balance all of that frantic energy, I spent the rest of my leisure time hanging out with my friends at the beach and being lazy with the world’s two most spoiled weimaraners. What has been lacking, however, is the amount of time I have been spending on my Etsy shop and my blog. I am pleased that the creative juices are now flowing again and, for my first shop post in a while, I would like to introduce you to two new Betty Bracelets inspired by my recent trip to New Orleans.

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JAZZ

This delicate beauty is flirty and feminine with alternating hot pink and petal pink recycled glass beads surrounded by very chic deep brown leather. A lovely silver fleur de lis toggle completes the look. The full listing can be viewed here:

Jazz Bracelet

This bracelet was inspired by the many jazz clubs I visited in NOLA. While the hippest ones are located on Frenchmen Street, one of the most important ones, Preservation Hall, is located right in the French Quarter.

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Preservation Hall opened its doors in 1961. The hall was created as a sanctuary, to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz which had lost much of its popularity to modern jazz and rock n roll. Allan and Sandra Jaffe, the hall’s founders, wanted a place where New Orleans musicians could play New Orleans Jazz, a style, they believed, should not disappear.

Today, over 40 years later, the hall is still going strong. On any given night, the hall is filled to capacity with people eager to hear New Orleans jazz played by veteran musicians as well as younger ones learning and embracing this incredible genre.

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VOODOO

This whimsical bracelet begins with rustic honey brown leather surrounding ethereal pale aqua blue recycled glass beads. It is accented with a spirited sugar skull artisan toggle. The full listing can be viewed here:

Voodoo Bracelet

Voodoo is almost synonymous with New Orleans. On my last visit, I learned about the Bone Gangs of NOLA, which is a wonderful blending of voodoo traditions and jazz music.

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The North Side Skull and Bone Gang, based in the Treme neighborhood of the city, has been waking up New Orleans at dawn to usher in Mardi Gras since 1819! They dress in skeleton costumes, which is an homage to their voodoo roots, while playing lively NOLA jazz. I first learned of this wonderful tradition from the work of local artist, Joy Gauss:

Joy’s Clay Art

If you would like to keep up with the happenings of the North Side krewe, you can follow their blog here:

NOLA Skull & Bones

That’s about it for now…I have a crystal clear pool and two doggies waiting for me outside…

Thanks for stopping by!
~Erin

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