Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Karen Snyder and I've been a crafter for about as long as I can remember. I am a stay-at-home-Mama of two beautiful children with a husband who makes my dreams possible.

This blog is about all sorts of crafting. I am a paper-crafter from early days, a jewelry-maker with an unending obsession for chain maille. I make chain maille purses, many of which will be chronicled in this blog as their future owners await their completion. I love metalsmithing. I am an indifferent beader and don't get me anywhere near seed beads... they scatter, screaming to get away from me. I love to try new things, have a short attention span so if its a long-term project... I'm probably not doing it LOL.

If you have questions, ask. If you have tips, share. Same with suggestions - share! I want this to be a great forum for people to brainstorm and problem-solve with a good attitude. Crabby Apples need not respond, this is a feel-good kind of blog :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

1800 Facebook Fans Rock My World

Well here we are again, another Facebook fan milestone and I'm flabbergasted!  I keep thinking that it can't get better than it is, and all of you keep proving me wrong.  From the bottom of my tickled-pink heart, thank you!

Now, all of you know that when I reach a milestone, I do a give away... and this time is no different.  The prize this time is one of my brand new Romanov micro maille rings in copper.  It will be sealed so that it will stay bright and tarnish-free.  You may choose to have it made up as a Mother's ring, family ring, or just a fabulous cocktail ring depending upon the crystals you choose for the sections.  These rings are an exclusive O. Sebastian design that I hope you all will love as much as I do!

So what do you have to do, right?  It's usually a comment here on my blog, but that's not how we're going to roll this time.  This time we are going to have fun and see just what kind of ruckus we can raise!

If you are around my page much, you know I have a thing for Sam Elliott.  "Thing" might not be strong enough... it would border on obsession if I didn't have a hubby, two children and my own business to distract me!  I've decided to give into the urge and wallow in Sam-ness for this give away - so the first thing you have to do is go like Sam Elliott's Facebook page.  (If you are so young that you don't know who he is, google him!  If you don't agree that he's the hottest thing since Houston asphalt in July, well... I don't know how to help you with that but I'll still love you just the same LOL.)  Then you need to go to my Facebook page and leave me a comment that includes the @-tagged name Sam Elliott - that's how I'll know you've liked his Facebook page.    That's all you have to do to be entered into the drawing.

I'll take it one step further - if all the tagging and liking his page results in a comment from Sam on my page, I will give away two rings!  (This, of course, would be after I awoke from my faint and regained the power of speech!)  My intention is NOT to try to get him to come visit my page, but I sure wouldn't hate it if that happened :)

So let's have some good, silly fun with this give away.  Entries will remain open until Sunday morning, February 27, 2011 and I will announce the winner Sunday evening.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First Law of Sales: People Buy From People

This is the first installment in a series, where I will focus on sales, business concepts, and strategies for improving your exposure and customer base.  I am hoping that this series will be helpful as well as bring people together to share ideas, ask questions and improve all of our businesses. 

Having said that, some of you might wonder why I have any business doing the writing.  I spent 15 years in corporate AV (audio visual) sales, during which time I helped grow three separate offices from the ground up.  I began my career at the reception desk and learned the entire back house part of the business before ever selling a thing.  I was able to have a very successful sales career because I understood every person, piece of paper, piece of equipment and signature associated with each transaction.  When it came time to open my own business, I found that my years in the corporate world had taught me more than I'd ever realized.  I sure don't know it all though - so this isn't about me preaching.  This is about me sharing what I know and hopefully encouraging others to do the same so that, together, we can all improve our businesses and our profits.

The word "sales" strikes terror in the hearts of those who've never done it and have heard all their lives:  "You are either born a sales person, or you aren't."  I don't agree.  I WAS born a sales person, or at least that's what I've always been told, but I know for a fact that I wasn't born a GOOD sales person.  I worked my tail off for 15 years to improve and grow a skill set that would enable me to work hard and smart.  What I finally realized was that the first lesson I learned was the most important - People buy from people.

So, that is First Law of Sales:  People buy from people.  Seems pretty straight-forward, right?  It is.  Sales becomes so much less daunting when you realize that the buyer is a person, just like you.  They want you to give them a reason to buy from you - some connection that has more to it than just grabbing something off a shelf or putting it into an online shopping cart.  Isn't that what YOU want when you shop?  I know it's exactly what I want. 

So how do we accomplish that feat - how do we become people to our buyers, instead of just a selection of wares on a website?  Let's start with my own personal favorite - Facebook!  I've been on Facebook less than a year and have 1740 (at last count) fans.  Do all of them make purchases?  No.  But they all have pages and friends who see where they comment, what pictures post on their walls, etc.  The networking possibilities of Facebook and other social networking sites is astronomical, so take advantage of it.  Twitter is also another amazing resource, albeit one that I don't yet use.  I know I should and have it on my "to do" list of things to figure out.  Have no doubt that I'm still learning too - and technology is an ever-changing creature that we all chase. 

But that still doesn't really tell you how to become a person to all those fans, does it?  The simplest answer is to tell your own story through your work, your posts and your comments.  I share bits and pieces about my family, share the laughs and cries that come with each day of being a WAHM with 2 small children.  I post pictures of new creations and finished orders, share links from other business pages and just generally try to be me.  Hard-nosed, pushy sales will never work in the online world because people just don't like it and they don't have to accept it.  They can, and DO, choose to spend their money where they find good products, good value and excellent customer service.  So that's the good news, right?  Sales doesn't have to be pushy and uncomfortable!

Facebook and other similar tools make it easy to show your work right away and get a response.  What you do with that response is critical.  Do you reply with answers to questions?  Do you thank people for stopping by and leaving you a comment?  Do you return the favor when someone visits your page by visiting them back?  Do you post pictures of what you buy from other businesses and thank them when they do the same for you?  Never forget that every single post and comment you make can and will be seen by others - make the most of those opportunities.

When it comes right down to it, think of it as selling to yourself.  Imagine that you are your own client - what would you want to see?  How would you want to be treated?  A gentleman who taught me the world about sales once said to me, "Sell unto others as you would have sold unto you."  That's really a brilliant way to put it, and I'd be willing to bet that one thing you enjoy is a buying experience that feels warm and friendly.  Give that to your clients and they will come back to you again and again.

1700 Fans Pendant Winner

Do you want to know who won the tulip pendant?  Me too!  I fired up the generator over at Random.org and it decided that today's luck number is 25.  I went back to the comment list and found that Jamie, who loves purple pansies, is our winner!  Jamie, if you could leave a note on this post with your email address, I'll send you all the details to claim your prize.  Congratulations!

Thank you again everyone for making this journey of jewelry such a pleasure for me!  I couldn't do any of it without all of you :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to Celebrate 1700 Facebook Fans

In the midst of snow and ice storms here in the Dallas, Texas area, I was bowled over by my Facebook page reaching 1700 fans!  I don't think I will ever get over the thrill that comes every time my page reaches a new milestone :)

So when it came time to put together a give-away piece, I was looking through my beads and couldn't help but be side-tracked by this gorgeous tulip bead by Heather over at Blissful Garden Beads.  If you spend any time around my page, then you know about Heather's beads.  Glorious, that's what they are!  Anyway, I had just a single fuchsia tulip left and had been struggling with what to do with it.  After some fiddling and fussing, this gorgeous pendant is what I created.  In addition to Heather's amazing bead, this design also uses sterling silver and genuine Swarovski crystals.  Winning pendant will come with a black silk pendant cord.

To enter, please leave me a comment and tell me:  What is your favorite flower?  Mine, in case you were wondering, are tulips :)  Entries will remain open through Saturday night and winner will be announced Sunday, February 13th.  Good luck everyone and thank you for bringing me to this milestone!