Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Web Pictures

Who doesn't love a blue topaz gemstone band?

I recently got a slew of new pictures from one of the manufacturers I purchase jewelry from, and when I say a slew, I mean it. I thought it would be easy to just look through the CDs they supplied and pick and choose which pictures of items I would put on my web store. When multiple CDs came and I began looking, I realized that I had maybe a thousand pictures to view. What was I thinking? It’s easy to get in over your head when running a web store. I do it all the time. I have great intentions, but sometimes life gets in the way and pictures are a part of life.

 Pair it with a blue topaz and amethyst gemstone ring

The idea was to add some new items to the store. I am now carrying a line of charm bracelets that are fabulous and a line of stacking rings. These stacking rings are particularly nice, not too thick, not too thin, and perfect for stacking. This is a factor that may seem harder to pull off than you think. I’m a fan of a thicker ring band and since I have fairly long fingers it works for me. Those with delicate fingers they may not be able to stack rings as well since it gets crowded pretty quick. This is the beauty of this line, the rings are well thought out and fit together without a hitch. The delicate finger looks great with several rings stacked neatly together. Having the rings fit together well is an important feature, otherwise it looks like a hodgepodge. No one wants to look like they threw together an outfit without any thought, although there are those who can do this and it comes out great. I know I can’t do this, I have to think about what I will wear and accessorize with before, during and after I try something on.

 Or maybe a gemstone flower?

Well loving a jewelry line is not getting the pieces up on my website. I wish this was true because I would be done by now. This is an ongoing process and working on a web store takes a lot of time and patience. So while the picture may have come on neat little discs someone still has to put them up and that someone around here is usually me. This is the problem with being the chief cook and bottle washer. I just don’t feel comfortable delegating this task to those who have little interest. It’s not that writing a description of a product is that difficult, but let’s face it; I’ve read some bad ones so I know they exist. I guess I will just have to devote a weekend to work, rats. This work thing is seriously interfering with my party during the holidays and playing with jewelry. So keep an eye out, there are some new categories coming to the store and hopefully everyone will enjoy the new items as much as I do!

 The possibilities are endless, they even have square bands!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Shopping

 Maybe a charm for my charm bracelet?

Okay, yesterday I thought people may have had enough of shopping and getting mauled at the mall and made the incorrect prediction that this year Black Friday would just be lukewarm. Boy was I wrong! According to statistics this year’s Black Friday was not only successful, but it broke records. I guess that opening early thing only made employees mad. Shoppers hit the stores in droves and hopefully after all the numbers are calculated this will be the shopping year that helped get America back into recovery. But is this really what we should be striving for, shopping till we drop or are retailers just getting desperate?

According to a survey released by the National Retail Federation Black Friday weekend shows that spending reached $52.4 billion. This is a new record. Apparently before the turkey leftovers had been wrapped people were out shopping and hunting for bargains. While many people are shopping and buying some analyst claim that this weekend was great but don’t expect it to continue. The theory goes, those bargain hunters and hardcore shoppers came this weekend and now they are done. The remaining shoppers are people who have very small lists or really don’t want to spend a whole lot. This means that sales may slide as time goes by.

 Clip on charms that you might just love

Another disturbing side was all the violence on Black Friday. Since the poor hapless employee who was trampled to death years ago, shoppers are pulling out all the stops when it comes to getting that bargain. Nearby a shopper was shot in a San Leandro CA parking lot when he refused to give up his bounty to a robber. A woman pepper sprayed and sickened twenty shoppers so she could get the upper hand. People practically rioted over $2 waffle irons and an older shopper was injured by security guards who thought he was stealing. Personally I think its way safer to stay home and shop on Cyber Monday. I like to think of Cyber Monday as Black Friday’s safer and saner cousin.

The holiday shopping season may not necessarily be over and while Black Friday and Cyber Monday are becoming distant memories there is always on-line shopping to meet the need. I personally love browsing on-line, looking at pictures and maybe sending a question regarding something that’s really interesting. So shop on-line, give your car a break and I bet you’ll still find something you love, no visit to the hospital emergency room required.

 Maybe an adorable little giraffe is just what I need?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shopping During the Holidays

Shopping malls across American are packed, there’s no parking and consumers are consuming. On the other hand, imports are down and California ports are noting this trend. So which is it, retailers are having a happy holiday season or there is less demand for products? Most analysts want to have it both ways. It is simply not possible for less product availability to make for happy and spending consumers. I’ve recently come across multiple articles that state that Black Friday was a success and the stores were packed with shoppers spending. There are even interviews with the happy hunters explaining that they got a great deal and only spent $3000.00 for the privilege. Even some of those picked for interviews exclaim “while hosting two large bags of clothes” how they got great deals and spent about 60% less than they normally would have to spend for such bounty. But what about all those other people who walk out of the store bagless without spending a dime?

I think that Americans are so conditioned to shop during the holidays that we wander around local malls like zombies in a movie looking at things. Since zombies don’t have wallets and even if they did they wouldn’t know what it was for, zombies have poor memories, they don’t buy. This can be a problem. It becomes almost a duty that people perform even if they have no intention of spending. Although some people are obviously spending, who else would proclaim that they saved money on their haul unless they actually bought something? The real question is whether what they bought was worth the credit card bills come early next year.

For years consumers have engaged in hardcore consumption with disastrous results. People bought houses they couldn’t afford, maxed out their credit cards and generally lived a lifestyle they couldn’t sustain. How times have changed. Today’s shoppers are paying cash more frequently and I find myself doing the same. There are also people paying with the good old fashioned check instead of the credit card. I was recently shocked by a store that could not handle the process of taking a check for a purchase. One would think I was trying to pay with Euros or something. This is probably why the malls are packed but shoppers aren’t crowing about the great deal they just got. If you’re not willing to overextend yourself, you might just opt out of the whole thing. Also a lot of people bought a ton of stuff before the recession and really don’t need any more. After all, how many flat screen TVs do you really need?

On the other hand, jewelry sales appear to be holding their own. Shoppers are holding out and making a large purchase for something special or simply buying affordable well chosen pieces. Jewelry doesn’t always have to be expensive or the alternative, costume. There are many inexpensive, well-made pieces available and no, it’s not an oxymoron. I’ve also noticed that many jewelry purchases are also “add to” pieces. This means that you buy a basic set or start a bracelet and add to it as time goes by. This spreads out the purchasing into smaller more affordable chunks. Another theory I have is more people are investing in jewelry just in case the world devolves into chaos they can quickly grab a commodity and go, although this theory is probably not solid. So remember during the holidays it’s the thought that counts and if your thoughts turn to jewelry, it’s possible to find a great value without having to wear riot gear to fight your way through a crowd.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Unofficial Holiday

 Gabrielle Bruni Creations chocolate diamond necklace

While many are taking today off, some are recovering from the feast, others are shopping till they drop, and I am celebrating an unofficial holiday. Today is eating pie for breakfast day! This is of course not an official holiday, but in my house there is always tons of leftovers and pie is one of them. Having leftovers is great. I don’t have to cook for a couple of days; maybe, it will depend on how long they last. This is great because not cooking frees me up for more important things, like working.

 Matching chocolate diamond ring is stunning

Today I will be having a little show in downtown Pleasanton at American Laser Skincare at 5000 Pleasanton Avenue, Suite 120. They will be giving free consultations on skin care and various procedures performed at their facility. This should be interesting. I’ve never shown my jewelry at a skin care place before so this is a first. Since everyone that I’ve met at trunk shows is both kind and gracious I am looking forward to this afternoon. It should be fun and since I love to show jewelry and talk about jewelry I can’t help but get excited. This will be a new group of people who haven’t seen my jewelry and I am hoping they will love it as much as I do.

 The chocolate diamond bangle has beautiful craftsmanship

So come on down to American Laser Skincare from 3pm to 7pm and have some fun with jewelry and free treatments. Since it’s an unofficial holiday, eat pie, view jewelry and have some relaxing “me” time. Indulge before the craziness of the official holiday season begins.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday

As everyone knows by now, tomorrow is Black Friday. While some stores are still sticking to Black Friday beginning on Friday, some are opening on Thanksgiving Day. This is not unusual since retailers have been pushing Black Friday for quite some time. I don’t participate myself, something about missing all that great turkey, pie and other stuff to stand in the cold for hours doesn’t seem like an appealing trade-off. I prefer to do my shopping on-line. Many on-line stores are now offering special deals for Black Friday. Before on-line shopping became so popular and a reasonable option there was Cyber Monday, this was the day that on-line retailers would pronounce their special deals. Now it all shopping all the time no special codes required just about everywhere and who wouldn’t want to shop from the comfort of their home computer?

I have to admit I was a little turned off by the stores that announced they were opening on Thursday instead of Friday. It just didn’t seem right. I understand that many retailers have had bad years recently and some are still struggling but is this really an excuse to stomp all over one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving? Many of my friends have the same feelings, we all think that Thanksgiving is a day to get together with family and friends, cook a huge meal and then sit around the dining room table with a glass or two of wine. I’ve always enjoyed the lazy camaraderie of this holiday. No rushing to set up decorations, buy and wrap presents or worry if you got the right gift for your spouse. To see Thanksgiving as simply a day to begin our Christmas shopping is more than a little disturbing.

So in protest, not that I ever shopped Black Friday, I am going to sit home, cook a 20 pound turkey and eat pumpkin pie till I am forced to take a nap. Who’s with me? Let’s occupy our homes and our couches. There is always tomorrow for shopping and an experienced and savvy shopper knows that there is more than one day to find that perfect gift for that special someone. Take it from a retailer and a customer; the world will not collapse if we don’t stand in the cold for five or more hours waiting in line. So hug your family, take stock of what really matters and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Happy Thanksgiving!