Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #35: Irate Irene - Hurricane Happenings

Hey, everyone! Sorry I am later than usual. Hurricane Irene swept through New Jersey this past weekend and left a big mess in her wake (no pun intended).

A large tree limb fell from a Township tree and yanked the power lines out of our house. Unluckily for us, we were the only house affected with a loss of power. We also lost our landline phone and internet service (I presume because the router is not plugged into a viable power source at the moment) and water. Rumors are that it may take up to five days for the power to be restored, and up to two weeks for water to be drinkable. We were told to boil water before use prior to the service being shut off completely.

As our sump pump is electric, we had almost a foot of water in our basement before my uncle stopped by and suggested we run an extension cord over to the neighbor's house. The basement is now dry, but it smells awful...as does our garage. We will have to air them out considerably -- or buy a case of Febreeze! LOL

As of yesterday, the town and power company did not move the tree branch or the live wires on the ground. Unfortunately for our neighbors (on the opposite side from the extension cord family), the power lines are draped over their car parked in the driveway, and the yellow police tape blocks their house in entirely, so they are stuck for now. The branch is blocking their driveway, anyway, so they couldn't leave even if the tape and wires were not an issue. :p

Needless to say, I am glad the damage was not worse. When comparing Irene to Hurricane Katrina, she's little more than an extreme inconvenience.

I've been online all day trying to catch up, and I need a break. If I don't post again until early next week, it's because the power has not been sufficiently restored or the cable company has not fixed the phone/internet lines.

Take care and stay safe!

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011: Special Edition -- Our First Contest!

Something Tangible's Strut Your Stuff Photo Contest!

Time: Friday, August 19 at 10:00pm - September 30 at 12:00am

Location: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, other social media, email, snail mail, carrier pigeon, personal delivery...whatever works for you!

Created By: Something Tangible LLC

Background: I have a wall mount jewelry case that I received as a gift from my sister & her family. There are 12 spaces for photos on the front door, currently displaying the photos of strangers that came with it. I want to see people wearing Something Tangible pieces in those 12 slots!

Here's the deal:
Submit a candid photo of you strutting your stuff -- i.e. wearing piece(s) from Something Tangible -- or of your friends or family members strutting theirs if they were gifts. ;) Some items aren't really wearable, so any "in use" photo will suffice. :) I've created a Strut Your Stuff! album on the company's Facebook page, and, hopefully, photos can be uploaded there directly (I have to find out where to set the access for that), or to our other social media pages (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) For those not on Facebook or uncomfortable posting pictures publicly, feel free to send me your photos via email at info@something-tangible.com, snail mail (contact me for the address), in person, etc. Please let me know if I have permission to post your picture in the Strut Your Stuff! album on Facebook (I know some people are technically-challenged)...I will happily honor your wishes in that regard. ;)

Photos will be collected until midnight EST on September 30 (giving you that final day in case you need the extra time to take photos :D). Twelve pictures will be selected at random to go into the jewelry case collage. Each of the 12 winners will receive 20 percent off one in-stock item from our website (there's my incentive to update the store by the deadline! LOL)! I will probably have to handle the discounts personally via email, as I'm not sure I can add a coupon code to Go Daddy...I will let you know about that as we get closer to the deadline.

I hope you all have fun with this! I can't wait to see you strutting your Something Tangible stuff! :D

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Tangible Tidbits 2011 #34: A Week of "Firsts!"

Hi, everybody! I started using Microsoft OneNote this week to help keep my thoughts/ideas organized, and one of the first things I put in there was a section for Blog Notes! This way, I can remember everything that happened during the week that I want to mention. Until now, I'd pretty much posted what I remembered, unless I specifically wrote myself a note. I have a paper cup FULL of notes that have piled up over time I now have to go through! Hopefully, OneNote will keep me much more focused. I've also set up Windows Live ID account so I can save OneNote notebooks on the web and access them remotely. :)

I'm super excited because I received my first affiliate marketing check from the Virtual Mall's social media activities this week! It wasn't a lot, but I was especially pleased because it was unexpected. :D Followers have been steadily growing on Twitter, and I have been following the companies we promote in the hopes that they will retweet some of their own promotions. It's taken a little more than a year, but I'm not really surprised it's taken this long. I think people needed to get comfortable with me and see what we have to offer. Hopefully, the activities will eventually bring in enough to hire someone to take over that function for me. It takes up a lot more time than I'd anticipated. So much for "passive" income! :\

BTW, I did sell the necklace I've been telling you about for the past couple of weeks. I'm so relieved she loved it! :D

In social media news, my Facebook profile hit 1,000+ friends (1,002) this week! I don't pay too close attention to that number, as I usually focus more on the page numbers -- which are more or less constant. I did gain a half dozen or so new "Likes" this week on the Something Tangible LLC page. I suspect that's because I recently tagged people who have purchased items on those Facebook product photos. I also tagged a few people whose kits I used...it couldn't hurt to show them what I've done with their concepts. ;)

And, finally, I created a Facebook photo album for people to upload pictures of themselves (or others) wearing my pieces this week, as part of Something Tangible's Strut Your Stuff Photo Contest. This is my first official "promotion." You can check out the details on the Facebook event page I created, and I will also be posting the information on the blog for those who don't have Facebook. There will be 12 winners, each of whom will receive 20% off an in-stock item if their photos are randomly selected to put in my wall mount jewelry case. The contest goes until midnight EST on September 30. Wish me luck that I get at least 12 photos submitted! :o

Stay tuned for the details on the contest, and have a great week! :D

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #33: Win Some, Lose Some

Hey, all! I hope you didn't think I forgot about you. ;) The weather was dreary, wet, and gray yesterday, so I took a Mental Health Day and just watched movies with my mother. I may have mentioned this before, but I tend to have low energy when the weather is bad. :\

So, what's new this week? I saw an old friend at a pool party on Saturday. We've known each other since junior high school. He's one of those people that I can potentially not see for a decade, and when we do finally connect it's like nothing has changed...except we're both a bit older, and possibly wiser. ;) Anyway, he didn't know I had started my own company -- he's a Facebook friend, but if it isn't on Farmville he doesn't know about it! LOL Anyway, he's very charismatic and a good salesman, as well as a kindhearted person. He immediately offered to help me out! That's why I love him, ya know? :D Given my public relations and marketing background, I may have already thought of or tried some of his suggestions, but I also know he'll give me a different perspective and possibly a few avenues to explore that had not occurred to me. :) I may have said it before, but I will say it again...any success I have already achieved, as well as my future success in this business, will be attributed to "a little help from my friends." ;)

The private lessons are on hold until after Labor Day. The person I was working with canceled on me twice, then she finally opted to hold off until the end of the summer. I may or may not hear back from her, but at least I gave it a shot. :)

The necklace I told you about last week -- the one I ended up putting on a ready-made chain instead of a handcrafted wire knit chain -- did not impress my client. So, I went back to the drawing board and worked with the second chain I had made last weekend. I ended up making it long enough by pulling it through the drawplate a number of times, compacting the wire more and more and lengthening it each time through. I'm sure this will be what she wants, but the price tag is out of her usual range. I had warned her about that, so we will see if she loves the necklace enough to pay the price or if she passes on it. :o

Ideally, I would like to get some stuff on my To-Do list completed -- finishing incomplete projects, updating the database and website, etc. -- before next week, but I don't think I will get it all done. My coworker will be on vacation all next week, so I'll be working a lot of overtime. I've accepted the fact that I can't do his job and leave before 5:00 p.m. (or later). Luckily, he doesn't take full weeks out too often. ;) Anyway, I will be out the week after that on my own vacation. YAY! I plan to work on a few of the jewelry-making kits I have here during that week. That seems to be the only time I can work on them, as I have not much else to do during my downtime away from here. ;)

Can you believe summer will be over in a few weeks already? The weather has cooled off considerably here due to frequent rainstorms, so it's been more bearable. When it gets cool in early September, I always think of that as back-to-school weather. It is often followed by a final burst of summer heat, usually around the third week of September. :p

As always, thanks for sticking with me and have a great week! :D

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011 #32: Thank You For Your Support!

Hey, all! The line "thank you for your support" always reminds me of the two old-timers in the Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler commercials from the 1980s. Do they even make that stuff anymore? ;) :o

I really do want to thank those of you who heeded my mid-week plea to check out Wire-Sculpture.com's 2011 Gold Club "OOAK" (One-Of-A-Kind) Contest and vote for the Popular Choice winner. Although I could not campaign for my piece, a few determined friends did email me to verify their choices were the one I'd created. ;) Most knew my style, although one or two were a bit overwhelmed with the choices. I did not win, which didn't at all surprise me. Most of the entries were well beyond my current wire-wrapping capabilities. That will hopefully change by next year! :) I have to say, some of the pieces were beautiful, but others were too elaborate for my taste. Some of the wire and beadwork overshadowed the one-of-a-kind pieces, which is a bit silly in my opinion. If you have a special stone, why would you want to detract from it with a lot of embellishments? Save that for the plain, ordinary stones! :p

The reason I did not post yesterday -- aside from the fact that I sent out a Special Edition on Tuesday -- was because I had a wave of inspiration/creativity hit me last night, and I thought it best to go with it rather than stop to write my blog post. I struggled most of the day with one particular project, and once I finally completed it, I tackled another three relatively painlessly. ;) Most of them are "on spec," so I may or may not sell them even though they were made by request. I have a hard time estimating projects in advance, simply because I don't know what materials will end up in the final piece until I've completed it. I started out with the intention to create a wire knit chain for a pendant, but after three attempts -- two using different wire gauges and a third switching to WireLace® -- I ended up using a ready-made chain I had in my stash. The first chain was too bulky for my drawplate and I had to fight with it to make it fit through the holes. The second one was too short, and I ran out of one of the three colors of wire I was using. The WireLace® knit chain turned out very nice, but it ended up making the overall piece too expensive for my buyer. So, I looked through everything I have and came up with something that complimented the pendant nicely. However, that was not at all my original plan, so had I given an estimate it would have been inaccurate. :\

In any case, I've completed most of my "promised" pieces...I have two more that were "abandoned" concepts from last year, but I came up with ideas for both during yesterday's burst of creativity. :) I hope to develop them this week, and maybe salvage those potential sales. :)

Second quarter sales weren't much better than the first quarter, but I was not surprised in the least by that. I kind of "burned out" after the December holidays from working full-time as a temp at the office and trying to maintain my business at the same time. Plus, I was devoting a fair amount of time to holiday craft shows/exhibits, so that took up many of my weekends. Accepting a part-time position at the office back in January took the pressure off a bit to generate sales so that I could pay my bills, and I took a physical and mental health break for a few months. Needless to say, that affected the bottom line. In the past month or so, I have gained some of my momentum back, and I will hopefully be able to balance things better from this point forward. Wish me luck with that! LOL ;)

I have a bunch of new photos to post to the Facebook photo album later this week...I will be starting a third one pretty soon, as the second one is approaching the 200-picture limit. :) I still haven't updated the website, but I don't think it gets much traffic, anyway. :o

Moving right along...I have go price out some items for display at my chiropractor's office tomorrow. Have a great week! :D

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tangible Tidbits 2011: Special Edition -- Got A Minute?

I'd like to ask a favor, and it can't wait until Sunday's blog post.

As I think I mentioned, I entered Wire-Sculpture.com's 2011 Gold Club "OOAK" (One-Of-A-Kind) Contest this past week, and the popular voting is open from now until Friday morning, August 5.

Voting for the Popular Choice Prize is open through 10am Mountain Time Friday, August 5. Winners will be announced Friday afternoon. Please vote! Just click the button on the page, or email rosem@wire-sculpture.com with the name of your favorite entry. You can only vote once, so choose wisely!

I can't tell you which entry is mine, as they asked we not "campaign" for our pieces. However, if you've seen the Facebook page or read recent blog posts, you can probably figure it out. ;)

Thanks so much for your support!

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