I have neglected this blog dreadfully, but I have had a huge dose of Real Life this year and my energies have had to go elsewhere. I am in the ongoing process of settling Dad's estate, which is almost a full-time job. I'm also still grieving, as he was my best friend as well as father. I'm a little more melancholy as last year at this time we were enjoying the fall - he was making strides with his physical therapy, getting out in the crisp autumn weather that he loved, and I hoped for nice quiet winter together as he gathered his strength. Alas, that was not to be, but we did share a very special time in his life, for which I am grateful, even though I am still in shock that he's really gone. I haven't felt much like making jewelry or fussing with costumes, and it shows in this blog and elsewhere. I have made a few new pieces celebrating fall and the colors I love, but the new vision for the shop will have to wait until next year. There is still so much to do, yet I am trying to take some time for myself, reading, cultural events around the city, fixing up my apartment, and plain old relaxing. The pressure of online marketing, blogging, Facebooking, and now the chaos at Etsy over so many issues there is forcing a re-think about where to put omy focus as far as running an online business. The arrows are pointing to an Online Portal of My Very Own, even if it only re-directs to my various online shops.
Etsy, where I started this venture in summer 2006, is now so huge that jewelry shops like mine are going unnoticed. There are so many resellers in my category that the search engines cannot cope with the volume of items that are waiting to be found; they desperately need to upgrade their servers and programming, and I hope that they will, but it has been a dismal year with a huge drop-off of views. I have been visiting the forums there and there are many unhappy sellers, but it's not clear what Etsy's objective is these days - to become the next Ebay and open their doors to mass wholesalers and resellers of goods from China, or somehow get back to their original notion of handmade? Buyers may not be aware of all of the problems over there, but there is a revolution in process. In the meantime, we struggle to stay visible and have to figure out the best places to advertise to our target markets. I have *never* paid to advertise, so that will be something to investigate in the months ahead. I was at 1000 Markets, which was an interesting place, and was juried, but the owners lost their grip on the project, despite heroic measures from many market managers, and they were bought by Bonanza, formerly Bonanzle. My shop was transferred over there, but it's not a well-known site. I just opened a shop at ArtFire, which will hopefully catch on. I have been at other online handmade shops over the years - smaller outposts, including DaWanda, which is huge in Europe, especially Germany, but Etsy has by far been the most successful place, though something is in the wind there on the eve of their going public.
A goal for next year is to be carried in shops in NYC and elsewhere, and to do some craft fairs again, as well as getting some more blog and magazine coverage. This all takes time and peace of mind, not to mention energy.
Anyway, I will try to blog a bit more often, and not just about what's new at the shop. I have been saved this year by my own personal work and caring friends and family, and have made some new friends; these relationships have been most nourishing. I have also left some relationships behind that were not helpful, but that is part of growth and I am not troubled by this.
It is almost Halloween, when supposedly the portal to the spirit world is at its most open. I am thinking of loving spirits who have passed on - my family , of course, and some dear friends who I miss very much. Fall is such a thoughtful time of year, symbolic of endings and transition, as nature winds down and prepares for the winter ahead. It has always been my favorite time of year, as for some reason I am drawn to things dark and sad, or "gothic", a trendier way of putting it. I am a fan of mystery and wonder, and my imagination runs amok on these cooler nights with a hint of wildness in the air.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween, everyone. I will not be Trick or Treating this year, but I am posting pictures from last year's wet and windy adventures, including two of my favorite little ghouls, which, you may remember. May it be cool and dry this year, and don't eat too much candy. I just had 4 wisdom teeth pulled, so cavities and other dental mayhem are very much in the forefront of my mind. Heed the warning, but have fun, angels and demons alike.