Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ocean Fire Pottery Holiday Extravaganza Weekend

I participated in two amazing craft fairs this past weekend, and I have two more coming up! Thank you to everyone who came out to shop at the brand new Etsy Maine Team Artisan Fair at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk, Maine! Thank you also to the HUGE CROWDS shopping Craft Fix at Buoy in Kittery this year -- that fair, now in its 8th year, never fails to astound me with the most talented, kind artists and supportive customers around. I am so grateful to have participated in both of these shows!

Coming right up, Ocean Fire Pottery's Holiday Extravaganza is this weekend, also celebrating its 8th year! I love participating in this event and am honored to have a spot in Amy Clark's pottery studio on Saturday, December 3rd from 10am to 5pm

Amy will host different artists in her studio each day, Friday through Sunday, featuring her own stunning pottery plus jewelry, candles, body scrubs, cards, calendars, driftwood gifts, coasters and other home decor. Other activities include mini-lessons on the pottery wheel (for adults and kids!), raffles, wood-fired kiln opening (check out Amy's incredible backyard pottery kiln), chair massages and refreshments each day. Don't miss this one! 

Artists throughout the weekend include:
Amy Clark of Ocean Fire Pottery - (our fearless host) handcrafted, wheel-thrown gifts
GLOW - A Holistic Wellness Studio - Chair massages all weekend. Treat yourself!
Becky Louison of Hoppy + Hippy 
Cherie Herne & Cheryl Patten of Salty Girl and Long Dog
Sam Goodall
Ellen Braley of El's Cards
Erin Donovan of Vessel and Co 
Ellen Lamoureaux

Here's a sneak peek:

Some of my latest Lofted Designs creations
Ocean Fire Pottery
Salty Girl & Long Dog
Ocean Fire Pottery
Vessel and Co
Vessel and Co
El's Cards
Salty Girl & Long Dog
Ocean Fire Pottery

The event runs in conjunction with the Festival of Lights in York Village, and is a quick walk around the corner from festivities including the Festival of "Fostering" Trees, Festival of Lights Parade (Saturday), 12th Annual Gingerbread House Festival & Santa Claus at the library and Center for Wildlife's Holiday Bazaar (Saturday: I've donated some jewelry to this event and all proceeds go to wildlife care!). 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Read the Etsy Shop Review That Made Me Blush

Each Etsy customer has the opportunity to leave a review after making a purchase. There is a 1-5 star rating system, and an optional text box for additional comments. I recently read through some reviews that came in over the summer and WOW...I have some of the nicest customers EVER.

It's so awesome when people take the extra time to leave a comment, especially when they are so happy with the quality of the products and my customer service.

Yes, it's true...if you tell me your order is a birthday gift and you need it by a specific date, you'd better believe I will do everything in my power to get it to you on time! I will often include a gift note or even gift wrap your item free of charge (if you ask nicely).

This reviewer was kind enough to comment on the craftsmanship and style of my handmade earrings, as well as my packaging and speedy shipping. Awesome!

What?? That order was an engagement ring?! That's pretty much the best compliment a jeweler can know your piece was selected as a symbol of commitment to hopefully be worn until the end of time. Incredibly special.

This repeat customer's review warmed my heart!!! What a wonderful testimonial.

And finally, this shop review made me blush! 

10 stars?! A perfect experience from start to finish? Kinder words were never spoken. Like I said, I am the luckiest and have the BEST CUSTOMERS EVER!

You can read more Lofted Designs Etsy reviews (all 243 of them, and counting) here. And, if you'd like the opportunity to write your own Lofted Designs review on Etsy, purchase one of my items here. Thanks!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Year of Quitting

So far, 2016 has been my year of quitting. I didn't do it on purpose. One thing just led to another and before I knew it, I'd pretty much removed myself from society. Here is how it's gone down:

1. I quit volunteering at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Or at least, I tried to. Volunteering my time is super important to me, but sometimes there just isn't any time to give. Greeting patrons there and ushering was a great way to get myself out of the house and, as a bonus, get to see a free show or movie now and then. But Lofted Designs got extremely busy in January (see last post) and I felt guilty about never signing up for any volunteer shifts. So when the time came to confirm my commitment and sign on for another season with The Music Hall, I opted out. I didn't fill out the form. I quit. At least I tried to, but for some reason I continue to get their emails each week asking for help. Who knows...maybe I'll go back sometime.

2. I dropped out of my book club, which is actually way cooler than a regular book club (it's a deep dive into a specific topic for several months, looking at literature, film, cultural relevance, art, music, etc.), but the pressure of committing to regular get-togethers was too much. I might re-join again soon because they are discussing super interesting topics right now. I'm just feeling non-committal.

3. I stopped consigning my jewelry at Pear Tree Gifts in Dover, NH. I've been consigning jewelry there since the store opened, and long before that when it was Lucy's Art Emporium. It's a fabulous store, filled with many wonderful things, but consignment just isn't a good fit for my business right now. It took me a long time to come to terms with that.

4. Finally, I just recently made the decision to close my Etsy shop. It's temporary, but my work-life balance was (and is) way out of whack. Lofted Designs has never been my full-time job, but has always been a creative outlet and relief from a long list of full time jobs I didn't quite like. For years, I worked in bustling offices filled with energy and noise, and the studio in the loft was my respite. My evening and weekend haven, with space to myself, quiet if I needed it. About two years ago, I found a day job I actually like that allows me to work remotely from home! This removed some of the need for quiet studio time to myself and I "needed" the loft less and less.

Then, in the last few weeks, my day job got a little crazy. I've taken on some new responsibilities (not necessarily by choice) and I find myself traveling quite a bit and working until 7pm or 8pm most days just to keep up with the extra workload. This doesn't leave any time or energy for creativity in the evenings, and I am reserving my weekends for recovery from my weeks (i.e. doing absolutely nothing). I've received a few desperate emails from customers who were hoping to place orders and it pains me to view my shop stats and see all the sales that could have been, but I'd rather miss out on some Lofted Designs studio time and disappoint a few people than end up working 24/7 and risking my sanity.

So that's that. I'm hoping to relaunch the shop this summer with a new look and some exciting additions to my jewelry line. In the meantime, I'm coming to terms with being a quitter. And I think I'm OK with it.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thanks, Buzzfeed!

I didn't see it coming. Everything was nice and quiet, January-style. I was out of town attending work meetings for my day job when I got the Etsy notification: 

"Kudos, one of your listings is getting a lot of views!"

Huh? But it's the middle of January. And it's a Monday afternoon. What is going on here? A quick view of my Etsy stats showed Buzzfeed as the primary referring site. Well, that's interesting. 

It didn't take me long to figure out the source of all those clicks:

Buzzfeed curse jewelry list

I absolutely love the title of the post: 
19 Completely Fucking Exquisite Pieces Of Jewelry For Your Best Friend Who Curses A Lot

And the brilliant subtitle:
Goddamn, these shits are fucking elegant as hell.
My Lofted Designs secret swear ring was featured as #9 on the list of 19, with the caption "Because there are just some things you can't say quite so obviously to your in-laws." So true.
Lofted Designs fuck you secret swear curse ring

People have asked me what I did to be featured in this brilliant post, and I tell them the truth: "Your guess is as good as mine." Honestly, I think I got lucky with one of those right-place-at-the-right-time scenarios. I haven't been doing any paid advertising (not even sponsored Facebook posts or promoted Etsy listings). I semi-regularly post Instagram pics and Facebook and Twitter updates, but I think the real key is having a unique and clever product with an optimized shop and listing, and decent photos. 

And really, if my diverse shop featuring seaglass necklaces, pet tags, button earrings and other random items is lucky enough to be recognized for one single product, I'm pretty fucking glad it's this one. I'm very proud of this ring design and its therapeutic properties that will hopefully help people all around the world deal with shitty bosses, rude customers and the like.

I'd like to send a shout out to Nora Whelan for recognizing greatness when she sees it and for coming up with such an incredibly inspired list.

Now it's back to the jewelry bench to make more of these fuckers. Thanks to everyone who has placed an order! I'm filling them as quickly as possible.