Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ask The Mavens

The Jewelry Box
The question came up this week as to how to pack and present your jewelry, something I've struggled with too. Lots of trips to multitudes of stores hunting for just the right box for a large beaded necklace or a wide cuff.

Here are some of our suggestions.
  • Check out your local Tuesday Morning....around this time of year they carry some hard cardboard Christmas boxes around 8x11x1". If you don't want the Christmas look cover the box in a wrapping paper you do like.
  • Ross and TJ Maxx carry some book boxes...they look like a book but are a box...usually flock lined and if you can find the smaller sizes they are great for special pieces.
  • Consider candy boxes....dressed up with a pretty bow these can be fab!
  • My fave are these candy boxes from that close with a flip magnet and come in white and gold.
  • For small pieces the little gauze favor bags are great and nice to keep your jewelry in.
  • Check out Etsy and Artfire for handmade boxes, I get some darling little pillow boxes for my polymer beads from an Etsy seller and tie them up with some wrinkled ribbon from another Etsy seller...this is the karma handmade/sell handmade :)
  • Another box I love from PaperMart is the Polka Dot Box collection which have a size great for those bead embroidered cuffs.
  • Linda came up with the idea to use personal pizza boxes which could be dressed up to make a very original presentation box.
  • If you know someone with one of those scrapbooking die cut machines see if they can make you some boxes...there are a few styles available.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas and a couple of sources. Do remember the size and weight of the box if you're going to have to ship it as this can bite you in the profit! Try and get a gift box that fits into a flat rate box if you ship Priority Mail to avoid sticker shock.

Also box according to price, you don't want to put a $20 piece of jewelry in a $20 box or a $300 piece in a 50c box.  You should be building the price of your jewelry to include it's presentation box....I like to allow up to 5% for my presentation....which means for a $20 piece I won't be spending any more than a $1 on the box and wrappings.  And it gives me money to work with for the more expensive pieces.

It's great to recieve something you bought when it comes packed with love and care, it's something that's remembered and will get you repeat customers.
Well...I hope that helps a little because it is that time of year when the beading gets boxed up and on it's way to it's new home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The $5 White Box

As I mentioned on Sunday I use a little white box when taking my photos and it helps a lot without costing a bundle. These are the instructions I put together for my bead society so they could make their own.
You can shine an angle poise lamp through the fabric on the top or just have it facing a window...experiment and see what works best for you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ask The Mavens

The questions have come in about photographing jewelry.  If you're going to sell your jewelry or enter competitions it does not matter how gorgeous your work is if the photos don't do it justice.

So here are a few of our tips for taking good photographs.

Cindy's tip is:
To increase light, use white cardboard as a reflector; to add sparkle, a bit of tinfoil can be used to bounce light where you want it; to cut down on glare, or eliminate reflections in shiny bits, use black cardboard.
Nancy's tip is:
Photo shop is your FRIEND! Sometimes an edit or a crop can make a big difference.

Mikki's tips:
When I first had to take photos of my jewelry I thought "No problem", I'd had photography training at college so thought it would be a breeze.  Boy, was I wrong. My photos were ghastly!  I immediately searched online for any tips I could find, tried everything, and every combination until I was happy with the results.  Did it work?  Well...I started having my work published online and in magazines and I won a few, yes it did.

Lighting is key but also the layout is important.  Having something in the shot with the jewelry...hanging earrings on the rim of a glass, some flowers, shells, stones, etc can make it all so much more interesting.  However, if you are entering a competition be sure to read the rules because they will often request the jewelry be shot against a certain color background, usually white or grey, with nothing else visible.

Daylight shots are great, they bring out the true color but can be tricky. Try shooting in the shade on a bright day to avoid the glare of the sun. If you are lucky enough to have a window where the sun streams in set up your shot there....too much sun? try a sheer white fabric over the window to diffuse it.

I take most of my shots in a little white box that I made, and I have to say it works extremely well. I'll be giving the directions to make your own for under $5 in my blog post on Tuesday.

I also tweak my photos with MS Digital Pro....typically I'm adjusting the lighting a tad or cloning out something in the back ground I didn't see when taking the shot. Photos are great for reminding you that you forgot to trim a thread!

Just a little about photos....if you have a specific question head on over to our forum and ask....we'll do our best to answer.