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My first craft show…

13 Jun

Summer is looming…it’s hot in Phoenix, so why not go to the mountains and while I’m there do a local craft show…sounds like a good idea, right?  First, I had to send in my application, money and pictures.  It was a juried show, after all.  In anticipation, I ordered the Square to take payments, opened a small bank account for my business, found some commercial display stands at garage sales, and was relieved I already had a state tax license.  I applied late for the show, and was told they were full and would put me on a waiting list. Just in case, I scrolled through Pinterest, googled booth layouts, read advice for craft fairs,  and laid out all my hand crafted jewelry on the dining room table.  

It was the Wednesday before the craft show.  I assumed I didn’t make it in the show.  Mid-morning I was walking into a movie with a girlfriend and my phone rang, I didn’t recognize the number so I almost didn’t take the call.  I answered, and here was the question, “We had a cancellation, do you want to be in the show?”  My answer was a stuttering, question filled, “I guess”.  Side note here…if you are in charge of a craft show and someone tells you they’ve never done this before, take the time to answer their questions or direct them to a website or something.  The first timer is freaking out!

Leaving the movie, (yes, I sat through the whole movie, I can’t remember it but I didn’t want to leave my friend by herself),  I called my husband.  He is amazing in a pinch, offered to borrow tables, print signs for the booth, and do whatever I needed to help.  The next day I went to Costco, bought a white canopy tent with sides,  scoured thrift shops for black tablecloths, then made up business cards on my printer.  I spent that evening pricing my handcrafted jewelry.  The next morning I headed out with my car loaded to the roof.

That afternoon we sat up the booth.  

I spent two, hot days, hawking my jewelry, meeting people and learning a lot.  Here are some of my observations:

There is a lot of jewelry competition.  Sell something unique.  

The tent is tricky to set up the first time, there is a front and back.  Of course, we had it backwards. For weights (to hold the tent down in case of wind) use pvc piping with cement inside and eyelet hooks at top, no more than 25 lbs or they are too heavy to carry.  Put the sides on right away, you can roll up later, but it’s much easier to attach at the beginning.

Meet your neighbors.  They gave me lots of insider information, for instance; it takes about five shows to dial in the process, attract repeat customers and know what sells.

Leave product somewhere safe overnight (I took it with me in a rolling cooler) and bring it back in the morning.

Set up tables, tablecloths and displays the night before. (Take a picture so you can reassure yourself later)

Bring packing tape (I used to tape the tablecloths down), screwdriver and hammer for tent set up, stapler, binder clips, safety pins to pin tablecloths to each other at bottom, step ladder (I couldn’t reach the top of the tent for signs)

Pvc pipe for leg extenders on the tables to make them counter height

A comfortable chair, counter height is best.  Bring water and lots of things to do, down time was the worst part.

Rearrange product often (another vendor told me this) so if someone comes back by they may see something new

I re-configured my tables on day two and stood behind a table instead of in the middle.  Worked much better.

Be ready to change a clasp, lengthen a necklace with an extension chain, take orders, whatever it takes to sell a piece of jewelry.

Remember what an interested customer is wearing, a hat, clothing color, or something to identify them if you see them again.  I had a lady interested in one of my nicest pieces but she didn’t like the length.  After she left I got to thinking that I could modify the piece and did, but then I couldn’t remember what she looked like to find her.

Another vendor shared this tip…burn a candle, the smell will attract people.

Include sales tax in your price to avoid making small change and figure sales tax amount owed later.  You can then pay it out of your profit.  

Doesn’t this set up from day two look better?  


Copper and Kumihimo

6 Oct

Copper and Kumihimo: two elements that are fun to work with and go well together. In this necklace, we combined kumihimo braiding using Magatama seed beads, cube beads, and copper wire elements. The copper has a patina to give it an aged look. The wire beads were done by wrapping copper wire around a dowel to start and then hand forming to finish. The ends of the kumihimo are wrapped with the same aged copper wire to keep the elements uniform. Magatama seed beads were threaded onto the copper jump rings to add color contrast.

This is just one of our designs incorporating the ancient art of Kumihimo. Click here to see more creations CAAZandEffect


Kumihimo tricks and tips

15 May

The lady at the bead shop told us in the spring of 2012 that we were about a year ahead of the kumihimo trend. When we first started making bracelets with buttons we could only find one other person incorporating a button in their kumihimo design and the way they finished off the bracelet was completely different. Well, it looks like the lady at the bead store was prophetic! We are amazed at the kumihimo and button creations showing up on Google and Etsy these days.

Now that the kumihimo trend has caught on, I thought it would be nice to share some tips and tricks we learned along the way.

1. If you use Magatama beads, you will need a bit more C-Lon then just seed beads. Adjust the length of your cord for larger or smaller beads accordingly. The larger the bead, the more cord you need.
2. We usually measure one strand of C-Lon or S-Lon by measuring it from our hand to shoulder with arm extended.
3. I like to measure all eight strands at the same time and then cut once, keeping four strands doubled (to make eight strands). This way I can thread the strand through the button holes and have eight strands ready to go.
4. At the beginning, don’t braid more than 1/8″ or your button will stick out. You want the button to lay as flat as possible on the wrist for comfort.
5. Be sure to keep your cord taught on the loom. This will keep your design uniform.
5. If you need to take a break, do it when you have three cords at one spot. Then you will know right where to pick back up.
6. When finishing, use a good glue and be sure your knot is secure.
7. If you run out of cording, you are toast. You can always add beads but not cording.
8. Remember your cording will show, so match it to the beads or button.
9. If you miss a bead and don’t find it until after the piece is done, you can add a bead by threading cording and a bead on a needle and working it into the missed space. Just run your cord through a few beads on either side and secure with a hidden knot, like in sewing.
10. Don’t make your finished loop too long. If you do (we did this many times at first), go back and re-tie your finish knot, cut off the excess, and be sure the loop is just barely big enough to fit around the button. Otherwise your bracelet will look odd.

Hope these tips and tricks make your kumihimo experience a bit easier. Enjoy!

View our creations on Etsy


Tucson Bead Shows 2013

6 Feb

Today I drove a little over two hours to attend several bead shows in Tucson. At the first show called,The Best Bead Show, one of our favorite vendors, Bello Modo, was in attendance. They had plenty of Magatama beads and were as friendly as can be. I was able to preview the new Magatama colors that are coming out soon (hopefully by summer), and chat with them about how hard it has been to find silver Magatama beads and black matte Magatama beads. Another topic was the price increase of the Magatama beads. It seems the price of glass has increased and since the beads are made from glass that cost is passed along. Looks like we will have to raise our prices soon.

From there I travelled to several more shows in the area. I’m amazed at the many new products and ideas. One beautiful product was at a booth with a vendor called SilverSilk. Check it out, great ideas and projects are made with this product. Another innovative vendor is Turtle Moon Arts. They offer great kumihimo endings at reasonable prices. If you work with leather or fibers, they offer whale tail closings and other large end cap options.

Overall a fun and informative day. It would have been better if my business partner, Debbie would have been with me.


Large button lengthens Kumihimo bracelet

3 Jan

As you can see from our Kumihomo bracelets, we primarily use buttons for our closure method. Sometimes we find a fantastic large button.

Two cautions.

First, check to see if the button holes are large enough to get eight strands of cord through. There’s nothing so frustrating as selecting your Magatama beads, cord and button to match and then finding out you can’t use the button because the cord is to thick for the button holes.

Second, remember the larger the button, the longer your closure loop will be to fit around the button. So if you had a 3/4″button, for instance, your closure loop would be a bit larger than 3/4″ in diameter (which measures about an inch and three quarters of kumihimo braiding at the end). Not only does that lengthen your bracelet, it also makes the large closure loop a focal point. Since the loop is unadorned (no beads), the color of the cord is front and center. Also, be sure to reduce the number of Magatama beads or you will have a really long bracelet once it is clasped and the slack is hanging from the button.

To view our Kumihimo bracelets…CAAZandeffect
We hope these tips help you with your button selection for your Kumihimo bracelets.


Kumihimo bracelet stretched

29 Nov

Our experience has been a Kumihimo bracelet made with cord, (we use C-Lon or S-Lon), will stretch if it gets wet. Be careful about wearing it when washing your hands. I made a beautiful black bracelet with C-lon and Magatama beads. A few weeks later I found it had stretched about a half an inch. This made the problem even worse because the longer the bracelet got, the more likely it was to get wet when washing hands. This has only happened on the one occasion, however, it is a good tip to know.

So be sure to take the bracelet off or push it up on the wrist when washing hands. See our beautiful Kumihimo bracelets at CAAZandeffect


Kumihimo bracelet with Magatama beads cost per bracelet

11 Nov

We were recently discussing our Kumihimo bracelets with Magatama beads and the cost per bracelet.

I thought I would share a perspective of what is takes to create one of our CAAZ and effect Kumihimo bracelets with Magatama seed beads. First we need supplies; a beading mat, braiding disk, plastic bobbins, beading needle, scissors, hanging weight, and book with pattern suggestions.

Next we need materials. We typically use Magatama beads and C-Lon cord. A tube of long Magatama beads costs anywhere from $5 to $12 a tube. We usually use from three to five colors. C-Lon cord runs about $4 per spool and we match the color of our cord to the bead, using several colors per bracelet.

Once we have counted out the beads for each of the eight strands, string the beads, and wind the cord on the bobbins, it’s time to braid. It takes about two hours to complete the braiding process. Once the braid is complete it’s on to finish the piece. This includes a button, large bead, and often a charm. Each of these items need to be purchased adding to the production cost.

We sell our Kumihimo bracelets with Magatama beads for $48. Unfortunately not a lot of profit. It’s a good thing we love the creative process!

Feel free to view our products at CAAZandeffect