Saturday, April 10, 2010

Getting Personal With My Packaging

With the down turn in the economy, I've had more time to work on the packaging and presention of my hand made jewelry. I've been using vistaprint's free offers for my business cards, note cards( I like to include thank you notes with my mail orders), and craft fair banners for years but recently I've come up with other uses for some of their free promotional materials. I discovered that I can create great looking labels, to personalize the generic jewelry gift boxes I use, from vistaprint's free return address labels. I found a great template on the website that fit my tropical theme perfectly and had them print "Made in Hawaii by Julie Kirby" on the labels instead of my address. I'm very pleased with how great these labels look and I've been getting alot of compliments from my customers. After recieving a vistaprint offer for a free photo upload, I began thinking about how I could create custom earring hang cards using an interesting photo as a background. I discovered that the free 100 standard postcards were the perfect size if cut in half. I took a closeup shot of a banana leaf from the backyard and uploaded that photo to vistaprint. I had them print this photo onto the postcards along with my business name and my own name on either half of the front and a brief bio and my etsy URL on either half of the back. I cut these postcards in half with my paper cutter and then fold down 1" of the top to form the hang tab. Now I have these eye catching, custom earring hang cards and I can't wait to show them off at my next craft fair.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Craft Festivals in Hawaii : A New Attitude

Many artisans view craft fairs as a necessary but, unpleasant, means of marketing their art. Exposing one's creativity to a public who can, at times, make some very thoughtless remarks can be frustrating and discouraging. At times over the last few years, with the economic downturn, I've certainly felt this way but a few months ago I decided to get a new attitude.

In Hawaii, blessed with a warm tropical climate, outdoor craft festivals are held all year round. The locations are usually lovely parks often near the ocean. I sell my hand fabricated jewelry at about twenty fairs a year. My customers are a mix of locals and visitors from all over the world. Oahu is a small island and the craft community is even smaller; we all know each other and many are good friends. Now, instead of thinking of craft festivals as a chore that takes me away from my workbench and what I like doing best,making jewelry, I am focusing on what I like best about selling at craft fairs.

One of my favorite things about doing a craft fair is getting to spend a weekend outside of my workshop, at a beautiful locale, on a part of Oahu that I wouldn't have thought to visit. I participate in fairs from North Shore to Waikiki and Kailua to Ko'olina.

Another aspect that I enjoy is interacting with a wide variety of people face to face. Artisans tend to be an interesting and quirky bunch and are often extremely funny. Most of the visitors, on vacation from everywhere, are happy, relaxed and in vacation mode. Some folks can be rude, but most give my work a lot of compliments and, whether they make a purchase or not, that always makes me feel good.

Spending much of my time working in my home based studio, I rarely need to wear more than a pair of shorts and a tank top, so putting on makeup and a fashionable outfit to show off what a beautiful fashion accessory my jewelry can be is really fun for me.

I no longer think of selling my jewelry at craft festivals as a dreaded chore but rather as an opportunity to spend the weekend in a beautiful park, visiting with friends, meeting interesting travelers and looking good while doing it. And making sells? They're the icing on the cake.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ear Wraps

Ear wraps are my own design . They wrap around the back of the ear so no piercing is needed yet they are very comfortable to wear and they stay on great . I make the ear wraps from sterling silver or gold-fill with many different semi-precious stones . Lots of different styles are available . For more information e-mail me at or call me at (808)689-6961
Visit my online store at

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sterling silver dragonfly pendant set with Australian opal . For more information e-mail me at or call (808) 689-6961.
Visit my online store at

Saturday, August 26, 2006

14K calla lily earrings,also available in sterling silver . 14K calla lily and wave pendant set with black sapphire. For more information e-mail me at or call (808) 689-6961.
Visit my online store at

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sterling silver broach with hibiscus and wave motif set with abalone. For more information e-mail me at or call (808)689-6961
Visit my online store at

Friday, August 11, 2006

My HGTV Experience

I received notice of a call for artists through the Pacific Handcrafters' Guild, for the television show ''That's Clever'', shown on the Home and Garden TV network . I had seen the show and I liked the idea of showcasing, not the famous artisans working out of large studios with a staff of apprentices and showing their work only in up scale galleries, but rather those craftspeople who make up the majority, working out of their garages, basements, and spare rooms and selling their art at craft fairs and in small shops. I really didn't think I'd be a good fit for this program, the featured artists seem so perky and upbeat and I'm laid back and shy, but I was curious about the selection process so I emailed for an application. I was surprised, a few weeks later, by a phone call from the production company urging me to apply. I was even more surprised when they selected me to appear on "That's Clever'' so soon after receiving my application and pictures of my work. What had I gotten myself into? Preparing for the taping of the show was a lot of work but it was a good learning experience as well. The producers selected the sterling silver and abalone broach with hibiscus motif and the calla lily earrings for me to demonstrate making. I had to make a list of every step involved in hand fabricating the jewelry. There are 21 steps to making the broach. My studio (really it's the tiny spare bedroom in my home) had to be prepared too. I had to remove all the art work except my hand crafted jewelry and cover any visible brand names. My workbench was turned in order to get better camera angles and I cleared out most of the furniture to make room. I also had to ask all of my neighbors to be as quiet as possible during the shoot; not an easy thing to do on a hot Sunday afternoon in Hawaii . The producers requested that all tattoos be covered, all unusual piercings removed, and that my hair should be a normal color. I was also asked to dress conservatively. No tank tops or shorts. The day of the shoot I had two huge lights and two cameramen crowded into my work room, the soundman sat on the floor in the doorway and the field producer sat watching a monitor in the livingroom. The taping lasted 5 hours and by the end I was completely mentally exhausted. Acting perky and up beat is hard work! Would I do it again? Sure I would. Knowing now what to expect I would eat a lot more before the shoot, this took a lot of energy, and I 'd ask for more water breaks. I would also try to be prepared more in advance so the day before wouldn't be so stressful. What did I bring away from my HGTV experience? A reminder of how skilled and labor intensive my work is and how awesome the creative process is that allows me to take a vision from my mind's eye and make it a real piece of wearable art. Visit my online store at