Posts Tagged ‘Durban’

So, this time of year seems to be a bit quieter with shops – but I’ve been lucky enough to have been kept busy with some interesting custom orders 🙂

Here are some pics of some of them – a nice variety, I think!

PicMonkey Collage

Have a great day 🙂 xxx


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Hi all.. Can you believe it’s October already?! This year is flying by faster than the Man of Steel & his sonic booms! Anyhow…

webpage 1

I’ve just been updating the custom orders page on my website, and wanted to share a few words.. After a really good conversation with my husband yesterday, I realised I am charging far too little for custom pieces.. I so want to be able to accommodate everyone, but the truth is, custom work takes 2-3 times as long as any other work – from designing (with options!), meeting clients, working out costs & quotes, and actually manufacturing – often trying something I’ve never done before! Anyhow, I’ve realised that I need to actually start charging for my time, or else it’s just not worth it for me to do :/

So – if you check out my website’s custom orders page, you can see a new pricing guide, with some minimum costs.. As you can see, I’m keeping custom name necklaces as low as possible, as these don’t take me long to provide a few font options – but for necklaces and rings, well, those have definitely gone up! I hope this doesn’t put too many people off – you will be getting absolutely awesome custom pieces if you order, but they will cost a little more..

Name Necklace Gerri

Click here to see some new pics of custom orders recently made up, as well as new pricing guides: http://www.starbrightgirl.com/custom%20orders.htm

Have a fantastic day everyone 🙂 Megs xxx

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So, this has been an insanely busy week – a large new order sent off to Fringe Arts, Cape Town on Friday, a new order to be done by Tuesday for their new shop (it’s going to be in Lonehill, Johannesburg), and I’m going up to Joburg this week to visit my mom before she jets off to Germany to meet her new grand-daughter.. 🙂

On top of all of this, I had the wonderful fortune of going to the Etsy Craft Party (the only 1 in South Africa!) in Durban on Thursday night – a big thanks to Nadia van der Mescht for organising it!

Etsy Craft Party Collage

It was wonderful to be surrounded by other crafty people – and those who just wanted to try it out! (Mostly ladies, I must add – but apparently one of the male bartenders made a valiant effort!) Our craft for the evening was gift tags – and we had a lot of fun gluing & cutting the assorted items given to us.. I also discovered the joy of Washi tape – and will experimenting a lot more in the future!

Then, yesterday, I went to a full day’s creative business workshop, again with Nadia van der Mescht. This was really a wonderful learning experience, as it is tailored towards smaller creative businesses, with an emphasis on planning, setting goals, and social media.. As you can see, I’ve already made some changes – I’ve updated my blog a bit, set up categories (which I didn’t even know about before!), and have a new Pinterest page, too! http://pinterest.com/starbrightgirl7/boards/

NVDM Business Workshop Collage

The workshop was held at the Benjamin Hotel, in Florida Road (a big thanks to them for the lovely food supplied!), and was just a fantastic, intimate day (there were only 7 of us) – with lots of time to tell stories & ask questions.. I can honestly say I learnt so much – so hopefully can make many changes for the better whilst growing my little business 🙂

So, that’s me for now – time to bath & get ready for a full day’s work at my bench – the pendants don’t pierce themselves, alas! Hope everyone has a fantastic & inspired week! Megan xxx

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So – by now you should have your Etsy shop set up, and hopefully have a banner posted at the top of your page, too? Now, it’s time to start selling your goods!

If you click on “List your first item” – it will take you through all the steps:

Etsy shop setup 2I’m not going to go into much detail here – Etsy really do make it easy to follow – just make sure you fill in everything as accurately as possible. One thing I do recommend, though, is including as much information in your “Description” as possible – sizes, materials etc – and make it a bit interesting! If you have a personal anecdote, add it here – I think it creates a connection to the buyer 🙂 Also, another thing to remember, is that most Etsy buyers are in the USA, so it may be worthwhile including inches as well as centimeters to your measurements! (I don’t always do this, as my jewellery pieces are generally quite small, but would definitely recommend it for bigger items!)

Under “Tags” – this is where you need to put keywords, to help customers find your item.. Include materials, colours, shapes, patterns, sizes, styles – whatever you think might help – think about what customers might type in when searching for something similar!

Ok – now, price.. As I mentioned previously, I always sell in dollars – so it may be useful to bookmark a currency conversion page, so you can get a good idea of what to charge. I would recommend padding the price very fractionally, just in case the exchange rate drops – you don’t want to lose out badly, but you also don’t want to be changing your prices every 2 weeks, I think customers wouldn’t like that!

Under shipping time – if you’re only selling items you’ve already made up, this is easy, you can ship almost immediately. I often have to make items up, so I usually make my shipping time 2-3 days, just to give myself some leeway. Make sure you select “Dispatches from” – make sure your country is selected – otherwise people will often just assume you’re close, and will expect their items in a few days! (Shipping from South Africa to most places worldwide, using airmail, usually takes about 2 weeks on average)

Ok, now – shipping charges..

I’m quite lucky as all my shipping is done using a small padded envelope (I always pack into a small box inside, for safety from battering!), and my parcels are always under 100g. I send using registered airmail from the local South African Post Office – this currently costs R55.40, and I charge $7.50 for postage and handling – most people seem content to pay this.

However, if you’re dealing with different sized items, I would suggest you visit your post office, and ask them to give you a Postal Rates booklet, so you can work each item out accurately. (I would also suggest investing in a decent digital scale, to get your weight charges right!) But I always send Registered Mail – this gives you a tracking number (the new numbers can be tracked using international website, such as usps.com), and also allows you to be able to claim if something does go missing.. (I’ve had about 4 parcels go missing in about 500 – it does sometimes happen..)

Also – if you’re sending higher value items, I’d perhaps look at sending EMS (Expedited Mail Services) via the SA Post Office – it’s much more expensive, but is a courier system, so much quicker & safer..

Ok, then – only 1 last thing to cover now, and that is PHOTOS

Photos are possibly the most important thing in your etsy shop – as they show customers what to expect, and can either draw in customers – or make them abandon your page quickly!

I have a fairly simple setup – I use a plain coloured background (I use grey, as it works well with silver items), and have set up a very basic “reflector box” using 2 pieces of white cardboard I have sticky taped together – very simple, but effective! (It helps to cut reflections – which are a nightmare when photographing jewellery!)

photo taking

I have a small Panasonic digital camera, which I always ensure is set to macro for jewellery (the little flower icon!) – I’m not going to go into teaching you how to take a photo – read your manual or ask a friend! – but I will stress one thing I learnt when I studied video technology years back – the most important thing to do (ALWAYS) is to set your white balance! If your photos are ending up yellow or blue, it’s because of this – auto white balance sucks! Make sure your camera is on manual, then go into your settings.. I just focus on the white reflector boards, and set it on them 🙂

Then, just one more hint – always try and take photos in natural light – by a window for example, but never in direct sunlight – it creates harsh shadows! A cloudy day is best, or else early in the morning, or late in the afternoon 😉

Ok, this post is becoming very long now! I’ll go into some photo editing in the next one.. We’re lucky enough to have Photoshop at home (yay for Creative Cloud!), but I’ll just run through some basic setups for your listing photos next time 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend! xx


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Ok, South Africans (and others!), hope all is going well.. If you’ve got your Paypal account all set up, great – if not, please see my previous post! 🙂

So – here are the basics on how to sell on Etsy:

Etsy 1

  • Go to http://www.etsy.com/sell?ref=so_sell and click on “Open an Etsy shop”
  • It will then ask you to sign in – if you are already an Etsy member, do so – otherwise you will have to click on the “register” tab
  • Fill out the info as required. Now’s the time to note – if you open a 2nd shop, you will need a different email address for this!
  • Once you’ve done all this, check your email, as they’ll send you a verification link you’ll have to click on before continuing..
  • Your shop settings should come up – I keep all my listings in dollars – I find this much simpler. Etsy doesn’t offer a Rand value (we’re not a big enough market!) – and as I previously said, most customers seem to be in the US (and Canada) so this seems best..
  • Next up – your shop name – fill it in 🙂

Wow – I’m doing this as I type (I’m setting up a shop to sell some of my vintage Sanrio collection) – and they have made it so nice and simple! So I’ll just list a couple of things you might not know:

Etsy shop setup

  • For your shop banner – they are very specific – the image must be 760×100 pixels in size, no bigger than 2MB, and I’d recommend a JPEG. If you have a photo-editing programme like Photoshop, you can do this there.. Otherwise, ask a knowledgeable friend to help, or else you can always browse Etsy – there are lots of graphic artists who will design a banner etc for you, at a charge 🙂
  • You can also now add a profile picture and shop announcement. You can also add shop sections (useful for jewellery – you can separate earrings from necklaces etc, which makes browsing easier for the customer)
  • I would also suggest adding SHOP POLICIES now.. These will basically state your policies towards shipping & returns etc.. I know it seems a bit scaly, but what I did was look at a whole lot of other established sellers of similar items on Etsy – you can learn a lot from their policies, and then refine for yourself 😉

Here’s a look at a quick banner I made up – kept it really simple, as this is really just a temporary shop for me!

SBV Banner

Ok, now it’s almost time to add your items for sale! Etsy recommends listing at least 8 items to start, but I personally aim to have 30-40 listed at a time, so your shop listings at least go onto a 2nd page 🙂

I’m going to list photography tips & item set up in my next post (hopefully tomorrow) – but in the meantime, here a few more things you might need to know:

  • You are charged 20 cents (US$) for every item you list, and when you sell it, Etsy takes a 3.5% commission on your sale. They’ll send you a bill every month, which will need to paid by a certain date. You can pay with your credit card, or with Paypal.
  • When you’re setting up your shop – you will see a “Get Paid” tab at the top – click on this for payment options. I would suggest just clicking on Paypal (you’ll just have to enter your Paypal login email address), and letting all customers pay that way. I have “Other” set up on my shops, in case a local customer wants to do an EFT – but I’ve had soooo many customers click this hoping to pay with a credit card, then I have to send a Paypal payment request etc etc – it’s quite a schlep! So, just Paypal payment is my advice!
  • 1 more thing before the shop is setup – click on the “Billing” tab at the top. You will have to enter your credit card details here, and they will validate your card. This is for billing purposes, although, as I have said, you can pay with Paypal funds. But you have to do this to verify yourself as a seller..

Ok, so that’s a whole lot to do for now. I hope this helps with the setup of your shop – and will post more about Photography tips, postage info etc soon 🙂 Have a great rest of your weekend!! Megan xx

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Valentine's Promotion 2013

Open to all South African Residents 🙂

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First of all – Happy New Year! 🙂 Hope you all had a fantastic festive season – and for those in snowy climates – I am soooo jealous right now!! 😉

It’s been far too long since I last blogged, something I want to sort out this year (I’m not saying I’m going to aim for every week, but once a month would be good!) For this first blog post, I want to talk about charms…

Just before Christmas last year, my mom phoned me, and asked if I’d be able to make some little charms to go in the Christmas pudding – she said when she was young, they’d had silver charms in theirs, as opposed to money.. I said yes (even though I was hectically busy!), then suggested each charm be customised for each person.. This led to the following set of charms:


The star charm was for me (I’ve always loved stars, hence my business name), the bow & arrow for my husband – who loves archery, the airplane was for my uncle – who used to be an airplane engineer, the puppy was for my aunt – who has 2 golden retrievers, and the kitty for my mom’s best friend – who loves cats!

Even though these were just tiny, fun charms – it led me to think about charms – as well as traditional totems and amulets.. For thousands of years, different cultures have carried tokens as symbols of their tribe or family (totems), or as good luck charms (amulets), or simply to portray a piece of their history (where they’ve been or what they’ve done) or show off something they liked (like with charm bracelets)

I don’t know if I’m really a believer in something protecting you, but I love the idea of showing off your love of a particular thing – be it an animal or TV show.. I’ve done this for ages with my starbrightsilver geek range of jewellery on etsy – the designs are based on oblique references from geek culture, which allows only other geeks to recognise them, and thereby instantly form a subtle allegience with the wearer.. Some examples below:


I think this has had an effect on my design choices for the rest of my work.. I started doing Africa heart charms ages ago, and they’re probably my most popular item – I guess people love to show off where they’re from, especially when traveling. From this I progressed to making other “items” as opposed to just designs.. I have a range of little animals & birds with hearts (like a squirrel – which is probably my favourite animal) – and I love to hear people at the market exclaim how much they love a particular animal when they see the pendant on display! I also have some other objects – like the bicycle, and a classic camera – which fans of cycling and photography seem to love..

ImageSo essentially, for me a charm (whether to be worn as a pendant or on a bracelet), is about showing off the things in life you love..

Towards the end of last year, I also had a request to make a wild dog pendant – as the customer could not find one anywhere.. It was a challenge,but so wonderful to see her so happy with it when it was done!


So, I’m going to keep on doing what I do – creating items for people to show off a side of themselves that the world might not know about – whether it’s a geeky side, or just loving the cuteness of hedgehogs! Whether it’s a charm, amulet or totem to the wearer is irrelevant – as long as it’s something they love, I’m happy 🙂

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