I’ve been meaning to buy these for ages, and a couple of weeks ago, I finally did it. I had a code for free shipping, so I thought that was a good time to order! I designed these so that I could either use them as jewellery cards (for shipping) or as business cards. I ordered 1 pack of normal sized cards, and 1 pack of mini cards. I love both! I will definitely be ordering more, and perhaps have multiple sets, one for each of my different crafts.
I can’t remember how many images I used for these, but there are at least 25 different card pictures. The backs for both sizes are plain brown with text, as provided by Moo. I didn’t want to spend too much time designing the info section. I can easily get caught up in the whole process if I end up making my own from scratch — designer’s curse.
If you buy jewellery from me now, they will come on one of these lovely cards. I used to hand-stamp my cards. While fun for a while, it was also time consuming and looked amateurish. I never went overboard with colours and fancy card stock, so the outcome always looked awful. But not any more! 😀
Next on my list for MOO in Nov/Dec: stickers and single purpose business cards!
Also, I’m planning to upgrade my packaging boxes from handmade to sturdier pre-made boxes. I’ll be able to do this once I no longer have the 2cm rule. I found a packaging company in Australia that sells wholesale boxes in kraft/natural colour. These will be a lot sturdier and better for gift-giving. I can stamp the top cover for a personalised touch. 😀 Well, more info on this once I actually order them.
I went on a little donut-making spree, and realised that I am unsure about what to do with all of them!
I think these deserve to be stud earrings:
And I like these plain glazed donuts, but not sure if they should be earrings:
The two-tone icing is neat. Perhaps I will make them into studs, too. Hair pins could be an idea as well… I need a new shipment of bobby pins before starting those.
The reason I have been so absent from posting on my blog is because I have been trying to come up with a way to ship items without them getting squashed AND complying with Swiss Post’s 2cm thickness rule. It’s quite limiting to work with a thickness only up to 2cm. Swiss Post increases the postage price from CHF3.80 to CHF20 for anything over that thickness. Seems quite ridiculous!
Anyway, I have been receiving comments recently, from customers that have received crushed parcels. It’s really not my fault, but since then, I have been so worried that every package I send will arrive in bad state. There’s no way any customer would pay CHF20 for posting small amounts in a tough box, so I had no choice but to come up with something else. I started searching for affordable local packaging solutions, but came up empty handed. I think most Swiss people just prefer to pay CHF20 and be done with it, but I need to have an affordable option. I looked everywhere for plastic containers, boxes… anything that would protect my jewellery but still remain less than 2cm. I found some containers online, but only in Germany. Yet another problem — German companies don’t send anything to Switzerland, and if they do, they charge ridiculous amounts, rendering that option unaffordable. Okay, to make my long story short — I found nothing I could get in bulk that didn’t cost hundreds of Francs/Euros.
I started experimenting with paper folding to make boxes. There is an easy way to make square gift boxes, but not much way to control the height. The box is always square, and size was limited to the sheet of paper. Largest I could make was 7.3cm with A4 paper. I needed something broad but flat, and I also wanted something I could make with ordinary sized A4 paper or card, so I ruled out this technique.
The only way to go was to try making rectangle boxes. This involved lots of cutting and gluing. A lot of work, but I managed to get decent results. First, I got hold of a pattern and modified it to suit my needs in my vector editing program. Printing a pattern onto a sheet had its pros. I could add my logo and other information to the box. I also managed to find thick 160g/m² paper in A4 size from my local Migros supermarket. I could print my pattern on those thick sheets. Each sheet had one larger pattern and one smaller. I need two sheets to make one box, but two sheets make two boxes. I put covers on one sheet, and bottoms on the second. I couldn’t fit both on one sheet, so this way, I make two box sizes. Box 1 is 10.3cm x 8cm; box 2 is 8.9cm x 7cm. The smaller one is still large enough to hold my jewellery cards, so I will use them for single orders.
I got a nifty bone folding tool and some PVC glue that really help get the job done quickly. The bone tool wasn’t necessary, but I could score fold lines for a more professional look — and it also helped me fold it up really quickly. I use the PVC glue to secure the folds and here are photos of my boxes! The logo on the front was easy, I just flipped the card around to print the design.
They are quite sturdy and only 1.5-1.7cm in height. I have to change one thing about my mailing envelopes. I can’t use padded envelopes any more, since that increases the overall thickness. I ordered a roll of ‘Schaumpack-Folie’ (I think they are the thinner foam padding sheets you find with electronics). I have no idea what they are called in English, I just call them thin sheets of padding foam! 😛 They are 1mm thick, so they may help reduce dings on the boxes I send… I can’t have it both scratch-proof and crush-proof, so I guess I choose crush-proof. Who cares if the box gets dinged, right? I’m hoping customers feel the same.
I’ve been re-photographing most of my items that I think are worth it. I wanted to update my shop because sales were zip! I had used the same props and decor in all my photos, and I was getting tired of how washed-out and lifeless they looked. The real success started with my purple cupcake, where I used a bright pink background and decreased the depth-of-field. This created a blurry background. I suppose the chain in the photo added more interest, especially when blurred out.
I didn’t photograph some of my old stuff, as I no longer have some of the originals. But I’d say they are only 3-4 items. I got a few sales since I updated my photos, which is certainly a good sign. I’ll now show you how ugly my old photos were, compared to the new ones.
I think the photo on the left does not do my product any justice. Makes it look dull and boring. I re-photographed it on a postcard. I must say that my macro lens does help a lot with close-up photos. It’s really good for miniatures. I do have trouble photographing larger items like my homemade lightbox (which I will talk about in a separate blog post). I can’t zoom at all with this macro lens, so it’s cumbersome. For these large items, you’re better off with a normal, multi-purpose lens.
Oh my… Look how ugly that cake is. Compare that to the new photo! I think it looks 100 times better now. I used scrapbooking paper for the background, and the same miniature plate seen in old photos. One other tip, I don’t bother so much with colour and exposure when I take photos, because my camera is quite old and DSLR technology wasn’t as great 5 years ago. I don’t fiddle as much by saving the images as RAW files, and then later do the editing on my computer. With RAW images, I can crop, adjust white balance, contrast, and increase exposure till my heart’s content. When taking photos, it’s more important to get the right angle and make sure the image is in focus. Those are the things you can’t edit with RAW files.
With this update, I tried to adjust the angle and positioning of the items. It’s important to get them into a pleasing position on your background, and make sure your light source is hitting the item at the right spot. I also chose a background that doesn’t clash with the colours of the item. I think the overall look and feel is quite pleasing, compared to the old photo. I do sometimes make the mistake of choosing a background that blends too much with the item. The photos then go unused. I usually re-photograph till I am reasonably happy.
Here are some examples of scrapbooking material that I use as backgrounds. They are cheap and available everywhere!
Other ideas to try would be wrapping paper, postcards, printed photographs, books and magazines. I also used a recipe magazine for some of my close-up photos… and I don’t cook. At least the magazine is not wasted then! I managed to find some pages with nice coloured areas. The best thing about photographing miniatures is that you can put them up to most patterned backgrounds, and still not be able to tell what the backgrounds are. Here are some photos with my cooking magazine:
The blue patterned background is actually from a photo of a meal on a plate. And for the cherry pie, I used a photo of an icing cake with pink flowers. There are a couple of concerns regarding using magazines and books for close-ups. One, make sure you don’t reveal too much of the background to be recognisable, or it could breech copyrights. Two, you can see all the printed coloured dots from being too close. I don’t mind these too much, since most people view thumbnails when finding items, and the dots are not noticeable then. It’s a small price to pay for using your own magazines and books, since they are the cheapest means possible.
I hope my long post has been helpful, in some way! Next time, I will talk a bit about my home made lightbox, although I still have yet to use it. I always just wait for morning, and leave the lightbox for emergencies.
All the items pictured are available from my stores on ArtFire and Etsy.
Sorry posts have been far between. For once, I’ve been busy making miniature food and taking photos! I’ve also been thinking about new products and what might better suit my audience, thanks to Andrew from Plug Market. He had a good point that got me thinking about what products to target at different audience types. A good friend, Juanita from JuanitaTortilla on Etsy, also suggested that I start selling my fruit canes. It could work, but could also backfire because I lack the seasoned experience that I need to make consistent-looking canes. My luck is almost 50-50 right now. I made an orange fruit cane while Juanita was visiting, and I think I rushed it a bit. I made the canes too small and I also forgot to add a light orange layer before adding the ‘skin’ layer. You’d think a miniature fruit cane could not be too small, but it is… I made it 3mm, but I have found that I prefer slices at 5-6mm. So, while it still looks alright, it’s not really up to my standards as I had hoped.
Here, you can see how they look in varied sizes.
Now, on to photos of my products!
These were just listed on Etsy and ArtFire, along with a listing combining the two to make a set.
These are earring charms that are part of my new line of interchangeable earrings. The ear wires come in 3 sizes, and each size comes in the whole set of colours, for even more options when coordinating with outfits. I hope these sound like a good idea… I’ll also be adding more options to allow buyers to ‘stack’ charms together.
I’ve been wanting to make bracelets for a while now, but buying chains are always a daunting and expensive task. I started making my own jump rings, using only 19-20 gauge wire and different sized knitting needles. It really hurts my thumb and index finger when I do the coiling. Still, this allows me to make chainmaille! I’ve been playing around with a couple of simple designs using different wire colours:
I think these would be the best if I want to hang charms from them. I even made my own hook clasps! After making three, my fingers ached like crazy, but only from the jump ring making. I need a proper tool to coil them if I want to save my fingers…
I particularly like my solid copper bracelet, using antiqued and bare copper wires in 19 and 20 gauge. I got the antiqued copper wire from Malaysia, but I can imagine antiquing some myself using a sulphur solution. Sounds fun.
I attached the baby pink tart to it, since it already had a copper loop. I think I like it with just one charm!
What do you think? Should I list the bracelets empty and let people choose a charm to go with it, or list it already with one charm? New moulds arrived in the mail today, and I can’t wait to make new foods next week (after my Germany trip this weekend). I guess I will decide then, unless you guys can give me some input.