October 28th, 2009
Good day in the studio today, and yesterday, too! meaning, this morning I mailed off 2 finished pieces, and tomorrow I can mail off a third. This gets my commission list down to very manageable, so it's probably time to start trying to get more. :P
I've also been getting stuff done on a gift piece (which will remain secret until the recipient gets it), and the final scent locket- I worked out a different bail-catch technique for this one which seems to be working OK, so now all I need to do is make some pads, set it up in a box, and get a good photo or 2.
And as far as commissions go- yeah, I love doing them! But I also love working on some of my own stuff (and there's a pin for my mother-in-law that I need to get DONE before she visits over the Xmas holidays). So, if no more commissions are in the offing right now, that's cool; I can maybe finish up some of my long-ongoing projects, maybe start a new fun one or 2, and do some prototypes and Learning Experiences. Sounds like fun, either way. :)
Current Mood: accomplished
It's hard to get commissions, especially at first. Mine only really took off last year.
About 1/4rd of mine now are coming through Etsy- maybe a bit less- and the rest generally via my website.
On Etsy I mostly don't bid on the requests for items, since for the sort of things I do, the desired amount is generally insanely low- like, wanting gold rings for less than the cost of the gold itself! Occasionally I do browse those and bid, just to put a bit of reality into the mix. I think I have only had 1 or 2 actually work out, and one of them was because I was the only person who was able to do the engraving desired- the rest of the commission was really basic.
So- most of my Etsy commissions come through my shop. I have some examples of, say, my Mobius rings up on it- sold "as is" in a specific size and metal- but make sure it's clear I'm happy to make them in other sizes and metals. So people convo me to ask about that, and I point them to the "request custom item" page on my specific shop, though we generally work out the details before they place a formal bid. I like that the alchemy stuff has a way to post progress photos as I'm making the piece- I like to do that anyway, and clients seem to really enjoy seeing THEIR rings or whatever as I work on them, and at various milestones- though I do warn them that all jewelry goes through an "ugly phase" because before I did that, they got worried when they saw it! Like, when the newly-soldered rings weren't round- a couple of people got really distressed, till I told them- and showed them- that making them round was the next thing on the list. :)
Still, most of my commission work doesn't come through Etsy. A friend of mine a few years ago gave me some really good advice on reworking my website to get more search engine exposure, and that's helping a LOT. (I did pay him for it, since that's his job... and I should probably buy another couple of hours from him and see what he says now!) I also understand that I've gotten some very favorable comments on IndieBride, though they don't let sellers register so I can't see that for myself, unfortunately; I do know some people have specifically mentioned that was where they heard of me. (Which makes me realize that I shoudl absolutely start collecting data on how clients found me! D'oh!)
As well as showcasing my own work (and I need to rework the Mobius rings stuff... maybe now that my commission load is getting less frantic), I'm working on some information pages on my site about various jewelry metals. It saves me time typing the same answers tot he same questions, and it's now in the top 10 of my pages that are visited. I want to do a similar thing with gemstones, as well as improving the metals stuff, especially with pictures; I now have a set of 6 or 7 rings all exactly the same made from a variety of "white" metals, and I need to give them a final polishing (and put a brush finish on half of each), and get some good photos of the color differences. And then I will start on a similar set of not-white metals, like yellow and pink/red golds; I may throw in brass and bronze along with the yellows, and copper with the pinks, though I don't think those are really suitable for rings( the whole green-finger issue).
Anyway, I digress. :) I think having a decent Etsy shop, with some "enticement" listings, is the easiest way to start- and make sure you say how much you love commission work every place you can! And if you don't have a website, start one- and don't make it "sexy" with Flash etc.- it's really ALL about making it EASY for the search engines to find you in every possible way. Do add some analytical stuff to it- I use Google Analytics- so you can start to see what people look at and how they find you, and then improve it based on the data. Etc. It's a pain in the butt, and I'm always behind in my website work! but it's worth doing.
Best of luck to you!