Friday, April 29, 2011

"Getting down to Brass Tacks", FuNkY HaRdWaRe Collection

"Getting down to Brass Tacks"
- FuNkY HaRdWaRe Collection

Times are tough as the price of silver is skyrocketing but that doesn't mean you can't still be a DiVa! The "Getting Down to Brass Tacks" (or Brass Tax) collection is for the DiVa on a Dime. Lots of fun to make and even more fun to wear!


- Tara, Treasure Trunk Designs


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Advance Pics - NEW Barbados Seaglass Necklace!

Advance Pics - NEW
Barbados Seaglass Necklace!

Here are some advance pics of my new Barbados' Seaglass Necklace - can't wait to hear what you think!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TTD Television Debut on Ottawa's "A" Morning show!

TTD Television Debut
on Ottawa's "A" Morning show
with Angie Poirier!
Watch the video here!

A BIG BIG thank you to all the staff at Ottawa's "A" Morning show!!!
Tara, Treasure Trunk Designs

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Friday, April 22, 2011

How to Cope with Rising Silver Costs - Some Ideas for Jewelry Artists!

How to Cope with Rising Silver Costs?
Some Ideas for Jewelry Artists
- Tara, Treasure Trunk Designs

Let’s face it folks m the cost of silver is not going anywhere but up for a long time to come! 
The rising cost of silver really puts the pinch on jewellery artists – such as me here at Treasure Trunk Designs – who work predominantly with sterling silver and fine silver clay. 

(Check out blog post: Why is the cost of silver going up?)

As a start-up hobby business, cash is minimal and increasing silver costs mean along with a struggling economy means that sales might slump as the costs of finished pieces rise!  What to do what to do? 
During times like this, people need to learn how to be creative and resourceful.  There are many ways to do this so don’t get discouraged! 
Here are a few tips to help get you started and ways in which Treasure Trunk Designs has been expanding in order to continue to provide a selection of beautiful jewelry for the Diva on a Dime!
1.       Copper!  Copper is an absolutely gorgeous metal, easy to work with and low cost.  A beautiful burnt orange colour, copper is perfect for fall and can be a great seasonal addition to your shop.  You can get copper wire in all guages for a fraction of the cost of silver or gold.  Search for true copper materials to reduce potential allergic reactions to nickel.  You can find  99.9% pure copper wire easily and it can be mixed with other metals to add colour and help reduce costs for both you and your clients!

2.       Recycling scraps for cash is a great way to reclaim costs.  Don’t just throw those bits of silver cut-out in the trash!  Melt them down to create beautiful silver accents on your work or sell it for cash or credit with your suppliers.  When filing sterling or fine silver, collect the dust!  You will be amazed how much silver you will get from those tiny particles floating around your work bench!

3.       When shopping online buy in bulk!  By buying large quantities, you may be eligible for price breaks chances are you will probably reduce your shipping charges as well!  For example, if you buy one cabochon you will be paying full shipping rates but if you buy two or more the additional shipping rates will be negligible if not free!  This might seem like a small amount but it adds up significantly over time.  Shop smart! 

4.       Sell supplies that don’t inspire you to create.  If you are anything like me, you have a pile of unused supplies that are sitting in a box begging to be used.  If you have supplies that just sit around and don’t inspire you to create, why not reclaim costs by selling them as “destash” items.  Many hobby artists are unwilling to buy in bulk and will pay full price for smaller quantities of beads and other jewelry supplies. 

5.       Team up!  Get to know other jewelry artists in your community.  By joining together on bulk purchases you can benefit from reduced prices, lower shipping charges while meeting new people and creating a network.  By supporting each other, you can all benefit.

6.       Is there a lapidary club in your area?  Join the rock hounds to learn more about the stones you work with, learn some new skills and maybe even start making your own cabochons.  This is a great way to meet new people, network and potentially save on material costs.  Lapidary clubs sometimes buy silver in bulk.  As a member, you may be eligible for reduced silver prices through your local lapidary club.

7.       Expand your work to include other materials such as fabrics, recycled materials, wood, plastics, hardware, clays other creative materials.  Exploring other mediums can be a fun and exciting way to expand your skills and provide interesting elements to your collections for a fraction of the cost of traditional metal work.
8.       You could use silver plated wire however, in my experience as an allergy sufferer, the plating ALWAYS seems to come off quickly.  This is no fun for delicate skin!  As an alterative, why not try silver filled wire instead? The silver is bonded to a brass core but unlike silver plated wire, the silver coating is much thicker and durable. 

      If you are in the Ottawa area, you can find silver filled wire at Rainbow Minerals.  Rainbow Minerals provides an excellent selection of gemstones, some basic beading equipment and a variety of copper, silver, gold fill and silver fill wire.

Have an idea that you would like to see added to the list?  I would love to hear your thoughts and how you have managed to cope with the challenge of rising silver costs. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TTD Television Debut on Ottawa's "A" Morning show with Angie Poirier!

TTD Television Debut
on Ottawa's "A" Morning show
with Angie Poirier!

"A" Channel - "A" Morning Show
Saturday, April 23, 2011
7 am - 9 am (interview around 8 - 8:30 am!)

Treasure Trunk Designs will be featured on Ottawa's "A" Channel this Saturday, April 23rd. That's right, TTD is going live on TELEVISION with the beautiful Angie Poirier on the "A" Morning Show!!!  

It's been a busy few days as I prepared for the show by collecting all my pretty pieces, polishing them up one-by-one, packing up my displays for the big day. I was sooo very nervous but also excited! 

What a wonderful opportunity for my start-up business!  It's only been a few months and this kind of exposure is just incredible and such a surprise.  Thank you to my wonderful clients, to my friends for being so supportive and to my suppliers who continue to provide such excellent gemstones and materials to work with.  With out you, well, nothing would be the same now would it?  You're the best! 

I would also like to say thank you to Angie, the producer Tina, the editor Frank and especially Jessie - the camera guy - who was so incredibly supportive and even helped me set up my display! 

Last but not least!
Come get your slice of the Pie!

A huge shout out to Catherine Landry from Cherry Pie for recommending TTD for the show. Cherry Pie helps women network and spread the word about their entrepreneurial activities. 


Watch interview here!

TTD television debut on Ottawa's "A" Morning show with Angie Poirier!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why is the cost silver going up?!?

Why is the cost silver going up?!?

The other day I bumped into a fellow jewellery artist in town.  Unlike myself, this artist went to school to study the craft and makes a full-time job of it (wouldn't that be fun!).  As a struggling self-taught hobby artist I was shocked to hear that my colleague had not noticed the increasing cost of silver until I pointed it out during our discussion a few weeks prior.  She made note of it this time around and expressed concern over upcoming supply needs.  I can't help but agree.
Silver is breaking new records with the cost rising daily.  No longer the "poor man's gold", the price of silver has increased in leaps and bounds from around $6 to $40 in only a few short years.  Indeed, even in the past 6 months, the cost of a 45 ounce package of silver clay has more than doubled what it was last year. 
Silver is already at a 31 year high with investment trends calling for a further increase by summer to a whopping $48 USD per ounce before a slight market correction and then continuing price increases. 
While some investment analysts attribute this increase to a long delayed price correction, others claim it is the result of demand versus supply problem. 
Unlike gold, silver has an array of uses and is in much demand by industry, artisans, cutlery producers, it’s even found in batteries, solar cells, mirrors, paint and even some medicines! 
Because much of the silver used for these purposes – such as medicines, paints, etc.. – can not be recovered or recycled, a further pressure is added to supply availability.
While the average price of silver has skyrocketed, it’s estimated that silver mine output will only increase at a rate of about 2.5 %.  As beaurocracy lenthens the time it takes to discover a site, obtain appropriate government permits and establishing a fully operational mine, silver supply is not expected to meet demand for many years to come.  
All scary news for jewelry artisans and aspiring metalsmiths like me! 
Even before learning how to create jewelry, cut metal, solder it and watch the beautiful process of melting pure silver (by accident at first but it soon became a fetish!), I have always been attracted to silver.  Gold was pretty and flashy, copper was interesting but it was always silver that compelled me to ouuu and ahhh and finally with trepidation pull out whatever cash I had in my pockets to buy that gorgeous tricket that I simply could not live with out. 
Neverthless, as silver is being touted as the “investment of the decade”, price jumps will inevitably continue to affect the cost of jewelry at both producer and consumer levels.
Want to learn more?  Check out:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

~ Honesty 4 Etsy! ~

Rating buyers is WRONG!
~ a call out to all Etsy sellers ~

How can our customers feel safe buying on Etsy or from us when we have the ability to rate them as a buyer? Moreover, what if that buyer also has a shop where they try to sell their handmade goods?

I have 'virtually' met some fabulous people via Etsy, but I'm also come across some nasty, vindictive, competitive people as well. I would like to see an end to buyer feedback. As far as I'm concerned, a "good" buyer is one that pays. If they don't pay, then they are not really a customer now are they? A buyer has only ONE obligation to the seller. That is to pay the amount due. They do not have to be pleasant, they do not have to be chatty, fun or sweet. They don't have to be pretty or popular or easy going. A buyer does not have to like you or even be happy with their purchase. They don't have to post positive reviews when truly they were disappointed with the product or customer service. Buyers have only ONE job - that is to pay the seller. This is a buyers ONLY obligation. If they are sweet, nice, easy going and fun - that's just gravy.

There are too many sellers on Etsy that use the buyer feedback to post retaliatory feedback and negative commentary in hopes of damaging the buyers reputation or bullying them into a positive review. This is not right.

As I mentioned, I am a buyer AND a seller on Etsy and I had this happen to me. I was devastated that Etsy would not help me get rid of the retaliatory feedback on my buyer profile. Etsy did nothing to help fix my problem or put an end to the blackmail and retaliatory feedback that is happening on this site.

Sadly, only a few sellers post feedback immediately after payment. Only a very few... I would like to see this change. So long as buyer feedback is an option, I would like ALL sellers to post POSITIVE feedback on a client immediately upon receiving payment.

Help our buyers feel safe on Etsy.

Don't worry about what happens next. If you care about your clients and you are providing quality products with quality customer service - that will show in your reviews. If a buyer comes along and rates you in a way you don't like - see if you can help make them happy. If there is no way to resolve the situation, then suck it up and try to learn from the experience. Because, at the end of the day, a business is nothing without customers!

Our world - as sellers - revolves around our customers. NOT the other way around. If they are annoying, demanding, whatever - suck it up! Unless you are independently wealthy, you don't get to choose your clients - THEY CHOOSE YOU!

It's wonderful to have a fun, happy, positive client who makes you feel like you're work is the greatest thing since sliced bread. That's a terrific feeling. However, that doesn't mean that the demanding client is any less of a "good" buyer. They are just different. And take all that gravy on the wrong day - your wonderful client can become your biggest headache!

My point is this - rating buyers is wrong. We will ALL - at some point or another - come accross someone who is not 100% satisfied with either our product, the shipping time or our service. This is life. No one is perfect and we all have a bad day from time-to-time. But don't worry about that. If you do your best, make the customer your focus and be honest with them AND yourself - the positive reviews will outweigh the negative and your customers will understand.

I beg of you all - stop the retaliatory feedback and bring Honesty to Etsy!

Post POSITIVE feedback immediately upon payment.

Thank you.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Eye Candy... Supply Stash!

Eye Candy... Supply Stash!
Well, when you are as hooked on jewellery as I am, buying supplies can leave you drooling and googling like a kid in a candy store.  So... I've put together a few pics of my supply staff in case you are in need of a fix of 'pretty' to get you through the night.  Aren't these rondelles delicious?!?

- Tara, Treasure Trunk Designs

Friday, April 1, 2011

TTD Gift Certificate Draw - And the Winner Is....

TTD Gift Certificate Draw
And the Winner Is....