Friday, October 17, 2008

Halloweeeeeeen Giveaway, Secret Sale, and Updates!

Well all of our new designs are up and ready for purchase! Yesterday, as I was taking pictures, I decided to move places to get some better light. I was carrying my tray of pendants down the stairs and BAM! Fell flat on my face! I couldn't put my hands out to stop the fall since I was carrying everything so I just fell--SMACK! Of course it would not be a CRH story if I didn't look up and see my neighbors standing there staring at me--so embarrassing. . .

But, I did get all my new designs photographed and wanted to share them all with you. I am so excited about the way they turned out. So, lets have our fantastic Secret Sale and Giveaway to celebrate the launch.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Pendant Release: Giveaway Winner!

New Pendant Release: Giveaway Winner!
MelliB is our giveaway winner! Congrats MelliB! Send your address to
We are getting ready to post all of our new designs on our website and will be running another giveaway this week. Remember--you must be a blog follower to have a chance at winning.
Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

CRH Featured Artist: tsurubride

CRH Featured Artist: tsurubride

It is my honest pleasure to introduce Meghan from tsurubride to all of you. I fell in love with her designs and had to show her off but I really wasn’t expecting such a wonderful and interesting tale woven in her interview. I hope it will warm your heart as it did mine.

1. Tell me about yourself (anything from age and education to what you eat).

Hi! I'm Meghan, and I've been sewing for ages! I started by sewing clothes for my Barbie doll (very poorly!), and then my mom taught me to sew with a machine and I never looked back. I went to school for fashion, and I work full time in the industry, but since I was working with clothes every day, I got out of sewing for a while. But then, my step-daughter wanted me to make some clothes for her dolls, and that helped to reignite my interest in sewing. Since I still didn't want to play with grown-up clothes I ended up making some purses for myself, and then my friends wanted some, and I thought, hey maybe some other people might some of these as well!
2. Tell me about your art and anything that is new and in the "works"!

I just started making card holders and fun ipod holders. I kept thinking of other adorable animals to make, but they didn't all work as clutches so I tried different accessories. I have some other bag ideas floating around in my head, again, different animals, but with handles. I'm also always on the lookout for good looking vinyl. I'd like to be able to offer some items for people love animals, who don't love leather.
3. What is the best and worst think about owning your own business/working for yourself?

I love that I get to set the pace for everything: from how fast I'd like to grow my business, to how much time I spend developing products. The hardest part is that when things get busy it'd be nice to have another pair of hands to help out, prepping stuff or sewing. Sometimes I get my husband to help me cut leather, but he's not the best with the sewing machine! It would also be nice to be part of team, where I can have other people source materials or manage the finances.
4. What is the story behind your brand?

My name comes from the Japanese word for crane. In the old Japanese tale The Crane Wife, a poor sail-maker finds an injured crane on his doorstep with an arrow through its wing. The man takes the crane in and nurses it back to health. After he releases the crane, a woman appears at his doorstep with whom he falls in love and marries. Because they need money, his wife offers to weave a wondrous sail that they can sell at the market, but only if he agrees never to watch her make it and never have her create another one. The sail sells for a tidy profit and they live comfortably. But the man gets greedy and gets his wife to weave another sail, which she does – again making him promise that this will be the last and that he will not watch her weave it. This sail is even more beautiful than the last, and sells for even more. But again, the man gets greedy and haves her make one more. As the previous times she makes him promise that this will be the last and that he will not watch her weave it. The man is too curious though and he eventually peeks in to see what she is doing and is shocked to discover that at the loom is a crane weaving the wind from her wings into the sails. The crane, seeing him, flies away and never returns. This story, and it's telling on the Decembrist’s Crane Wife album, has come to have a special meaning to me and my husband. However, instead of sails, I make unique crafts with the wind, and this time with my sail-maker at my side.
5. How are you gearing up for the holiday season?

Sewing, sewing and more sewing! I'm also doing a couple of shows, which I'm super excited about. I'm trying to make sure I have lots of options in stock, and I'll probably need to limit the number of custom orders - at least as it gets closer to Christmas. I just got in some new leather, so supply-wise I should be good to go! Just need to shut myself up in the house, crank up some music and get working! I'd also like to use some of my scraps to make cut leather ornaments, maybe as free gifts with purchase, and also available in the store (I sort of have a Christmas ornament obsession...)
6. Tell about one time you have been "caught RED handed"

Conveniently enough, this one ties to the holiday season. I've also been a snoop when it comes to birthday or Christmas presents. My husband always searches for gift ideas on his work computer, and gets gifts shipped to work since he knows I'm so nosy. One year, my brother, step-sister and I went snooping for gifts in our parents room when they went out for brunch. We didn't find anything, but we thought we were so clever. However, our parents knew that we were likely to go on the hunt, and had closed the door a specific amount, so that they'd know if we'd gone in their room. When they came home we were totally busted!

CRH New Designs: Rain Delay. . .

CRH Autumn/Winter 2008 Line: Delayed. . .

Well we have been in a severe drought here in South Carolina for months but we just got RAIN! While I am so glad we are getting some much needed rain it puts the launch of our new designs on hold. I was able to salvage a few pictures to browse through but we are rescheduling their debut for Tuesday October 14th.

While we are waiting for the rain to dry up and the sun to come out I thought it would be fun to have an early giveaway and celebrate Fall! Tell me your favorite Autumn memories in the comments below and I will choose a winner!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Big Surprise and a Little Bit of Autumn:

A Big Surprise and a Little Bit of Autumn:

Surprise! On Wednesday we will be launching our final set of pendant designs until after Christmas. We have 10 new Silver Spoon pendants and 5 new Reflections in an elegant array of autumn and winter color schemes.

We will, of course, debut them here first and then put them up for sale in our shop. The Autumn/Winter 2008 collection will be accompanied by one of our famous giveaways and a secret sale for the new designs.

Happy Autumn everyone!
**Update: The weather seemed to have complicated my plans today:( My photos did not come out like I wanted so I will re-shoot tomorrow. . .

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Christmas Preperation: Shipping and Order Prep

Christmas Preparation: Shipping and Customer Service

Christmas is looming very near as we swing into October. So far we have completed our business plan, perfected our process and packaging, and lined up our vendors (see previous posts for more details). Christmas can get stressful for everyone and to relieve a little stress in both your life and your customers, it is important to stay on top of your shipping and your customer service.

Step 1: Have an ample supply of shipping materials

For a long time I was going to a local store to get my packaging. I was over paying and sometimes they were even out of stock. Here is my little shipping secret for quality inexpensive mailers with FREE shipping--STOCK UP!

Step 2: Update your shop announcements

During Christmas season it is important for your customers to be aware of your shipping deadlines. Include an estimated time it takes to ship out your items. I always over estimate just in case I make a mistake or have to redo an order.

Most shipping companies post shipping date deadlines in order to receive a package by Christmas. This is IMPERATIVE to post in your shop. This protects your reputation and gives your customers an accurate time frame in which they can expect their package to arrive. Be proactive!

Lastly, make sure to offer a faster shipping option in your shop. Many handmade venues do not allow those type of listing by themselves but you can make a note in your shop announcements that you offer faster shipping and to contact you for details.

Step 3: Customer Service

When you are buried in orders it is easy to let your customer service slide with unanswered emails and misplaced requests. There are some very simple things you can do to stay on top. First, decide on one method of communication with your customers. I recommend email because email allows you to organize and send multiple notices at once without muting your account. If someone contacts you through other means I often ask them to email me or I email myself with the information so that I do not forget the request.

Second, send out emails when an order is shipped. You can easily do this by copying each email address as you fill out packages. Copy all the addresses for that days orders and paste them (make sure to blind copy!) into an email. This allows the customer to easily notify you if there is a problem with their purchase or shipping by simply hitting reply. The faster they notify you the faster you can alleviate the issue.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Featured Artist: Eddyizm

Featured Artist: Eddyizm

I was relaxing one evening in the chat rooms when I first fell in love with the photography of our featured artist eddyizm. I was perusing through different shops when his incredible talent stopped me for over a half hour! So, I do have to warn you--don't click on his shop unless you have time to loose yourself in his digital world!

1. Tell me about yourself

Hi, my name is Eduardo Cervantes, but I also go by eddyizm in this digital world of ours. I am currently falling in love with a girl and have been falling in love with life as of my more recent years. I am 32 and a Capricorn.

2. Tell me about your art and anything that is new and in the "works"!

I just bought my first SLR less than 2 years ago and have been learning and shooting and printing and editing and learning and making lots of mistakes and taking crappy frames and finding wonderful magic since then. Photography has truly become my passion for life, adventure, travel, outdoors as well as the technical aspect and the enjoyment of others reactions. I do what I do because I enjoy it, because it makes my life complete and because I love the chance to share a part of what is inside of me, with someone else.

I just finished wrapping up 2007 and even though September is about to end, I just began posting my 2008 galleries. I have been shooting so much that I have a serious backlog but intend to catch up shortly. Coming up this year are trips to Joshua tree national park, Mt Rainer national park, Olympic national park, Grand Canyon national park, San Diego zoo, sea world, and many many more.

3. What is the best and worst think about owning your own business/working for yourself?

I don't really own my own business, but I sell prints, shoot portraits, weddings and also cover events. The best part is that I love what I do even if I wasn't paid, I would still walk out with my camera and shoot. It’s definitely for the love, not the money.

4. What is the story behind your brand?

My brand? Well, I guess my name has been around since 1999 roughly, back when there was no myspace ;-) my website portfolio houses over 1,400 images in over 100+ galleries. As they say, I let my photos do the talking...

5. How are you gearing up for the holiday season?

I have a lot of prints ready to go, lots of custom sizes and great selection of images, from flowers to animals to scenic deserts to lush rain forests and gritty urban decay along with eerie ghost towns. I would be surprised if you could not find something you liked in my shop.

6. Tell about one time you have been "caught RED handed"

I plead the 5th. Let’s just say it involved the police I WAS YOUNG ! ;-)

7. Secret Sale!

"Eddyizm is offering a Secret Sale to all of our blog readers! Include the following message in the note to the seller box during checkout and you will receive 25% off your total purchase(excluding shipping).

CRH Blog reader! Please discount my purchase 25%!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Christmas Preparation: Stocking Up!

Christmas Preparations: Stocking Up!

Christmas shopping can be so hectic--crowded malls, no parking spots, long lines, and traffic--all downfalls to the Christmas season. Most of your customers shop online to avoid some of those extra Holiday stresses and since you have already put a plan in place to gift wrap each package (see our last article on packaging) you are on your way to one happy customer!
The essential, nonnegotiable service you can provide to your customers is to have plenty of items in stock and ship them out in enough time to arrive before Christmas. This one phrase is every online Christmas shoppers nightmare--"the gifts are still in the mail!" No one wants to walk into their mother-in-laws Christmas party empty handed with the line "your gifts are in the mail". In order to meet all these demands and keep your own sanity during this holiday season there are some steps that can be taken in preparation.
First, it is essential to keep an adequate supply during the holidays. Remember--you are not the only one filling orders. Your suppliers are fulfilling orders too! This was a hard lesson I had to learn last year. Many of my suppliers had items on back order because they were just as swamped as I was. This sent me into a mad frenzy to find the supplies I needed to complete my orders on time. Well--you can imagine this is a situation that I want to avoid this year!
In order to keep an adequate supply for Christmas, begin ordering a larger amount of supplies now. For example, instead of placing my normal order for 500 tins this month I order 1000. I do this each time I order giving me ample supply for the holiday season.
I also have "backup" vendors. These are the vendors that might be a little more expensive but can provide the supplies I need in an emergency. I have found at least one backup vendor for each of my supply items. This was a lifesaver last year and I would encourage everyone to have a backup list for the holidays.
So, we have well perfected items, gift wrapped, in stock and ready to go for all of your customers--nothing more to worry about right? Okay well at least we have a good start! Until next week--Happy Shopping!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

CRH Featured Artist: The Little Stitch

CRH Featured Artist: The Little Stitch
This week's featured artist is one of the first shops I hearted on etsy. In fact, I placed one of her pillows in my very first treasury and it made the front page! Susan's work is fantastic and admired for so long and am excited to spotlight her amazing designs and craft! So take a minute, stop by her shop, and make sure to tell her we sent you:)

1. Tell me about yourself (anything from age and education to what you eat).

Well, my name is Susan and I’m the owner, designer & sewer of my very small company. I'm a born & bred western New Yorker who longs to move back east but is sadly stuck living on the west coast at the moment. I have a great love of music & sewing. They are the 2 things that make me the happiest (with Japanese magazines a close third). I also drink too much Pepsi—it is my favorite food!

2. Tell me about your art and anything that is new and in the "works"!

I love making pillows from some unknown reason it's what I gravitate to making when I'm in my studio. Eventually I'd love to do more art work type pieces, mini quilts, wall art, etc. I've been playing around with that & working with more prints.

3. What is the best and worst think about owning your own business?
The best part is doing what you love everyday & not answering to others. The worst is being disciplined; you have to really have a good work ethic to get things done. I have a tendency to spend a little too much time reading blogs & checking out my favorite groups on Flickr. Flickr is my downfall.

4. What is the story behind your brand?

The real story is too many years in retail doing visuals & not feeling fulfilled working for others. It's more gratifying being on your own. So I decided when I found etsy to try it out and haven't looked back. I owe so much to etsy.

5. How are you gearing up for the holiday season?

For the holiday season I'm trying to make more to fill the shop & have more pillows that mix & match together. A more cohesive thread that brings them together.
6. Tell about one time you have been "caught RED handed"

I'm a professional; I’ve never been caught:) And if I did get caught I'd never admit to it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Christmas Preperation: Wrapping it Up--Bringing in Holiday Traffic

Wrap it up please!
Have you ever heard that packaging is not important? I have heard packaging discussed repeatedly and have been disappointed to hear the conclusion from some that packaging is just not that important. I am here to tell you that is utterly FALSE! It truly is one of the best ways to keep customers coming back and have those customers refer you to friends. This is one of my best "tricks" for bringing in Holiday traffic (and repeat customers)--become know for a well wrapped package!
Why is Packaging Important?
The way you package your work speaks about your brand, professionalism, and the passion you have for your work. A great packaging is like "going the extra mile" and it speaks volumes to your customer. Everyone likes receiving gifts--and if you receive a lovely gift you are more likely to send the same gift to a friend or a loved one.
How Will Packaging Increase my Holiday Traffic?
I decided to use my packaging as a marketing tool this past summer and the results have been fabulous. I have had an increase in repeat customers--especially those customers who are buying gifts for others. Your customer base is vital for the upcoming Holiday season. Maintaining a reputation for quality and beauty will compel repeat customers to return and most likely bring their friends. Referrals are a powerful tool and should be utilized to their fullest potential.
The busiest time of year for purchases is undoubtedly Christmas and what are people shopping for? Gifts! So give the people what they want--give them GIFTS!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

CRH Featured Artist: Cori Dantini

Featured Artist: Cori Dantini

I am so excited to bring this week's featured artist to you! Cori Dantini is my "partner in crime" and the wonderful designer behind the artwork on all of my pendants. There is so much more to Cori than the CRH pendant designs. Her art is spectacular so enjoy!

1. Tell me about yourself (anything from age, education, to what you eat).

mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, 501's, black t-shirt, strong coffee, seltzer water, japanese pen nibs, walnut ink, small flat pebble collector, free flowin', reader, observer, fragment lover... dependable, scatter brained, forgetful, open hearted and LOYAL. did i mention i love cake.

2.Tell me about your art and anything that is new and in the "works"!

My art (and I am not referring to my day job as an illustrator here) is truly an organic experience. I NEVER have a plan... because when I do things end up looking contrived and overly thought out. There are never any surprises when I plan and I think the creative process (for me) is truly all about the experiment. Just the simple notion of moving forward can take you to many, many surprising places.

As for what is new... I was just recently approached to do paintings for the art poster market... and I am actually COMPLETELY excited about this. It seems like such a fantastic venue to explore my painting, which is something that I never thought I would have the time to do.

3. What is the best and the worst part about working for yourself?

For me, the best thing about working for myself is the freedom. Though, what I am finding is that the more I work, the busier I get (which in theory is good)... but the busier I am, the less free I feel. So the best part and the worst part are really the same thing.

What I’d like to find is a great "life" balance, of work (freelance illustration), family, and time for myself
and my creative endeveaors (etsy/gallery work). So the struggle goes on, and so does the search for how to make it all work.

4. What is the story behind your brand?

The story behind my brand... is laziness. I thought to myself Cori Dantini is my name, so I suppose I will call myself coriD (like in kindergarten). But then I thought to myself, jeeze i'm gonna have to press the shift button to get that capital D and I don't want to have to do that all the time. So I quickly typed in corid, and then I was stuck with it! Promptly I started getting teased by my friends--Horrid Corid. UGH!!! I wish I had thought more about it. Sigh.

5. How are you gearing up for the holiday season?

At the moment I am pondering snowflakes, glitter, and building silly people/dolls out of paper mache. I suppose I'd like to do another series of handmade ornaments this year, and I am hoping to have time to do another group of original paintings and prints.
Oh, and maybe a calendar (which might be entirely too ambitious) but i am thinking about this hard...1" buttons maybe, and some pocket mirrors and magnets. It all depend on how much free time I get in the next month to do all the ordering and planning.

6. Tell about one time you have been “caught RED handed”

I had to think hard about this... I really thought that I had never been caught red handed, but then I remembered! When I was 7 my baby sister was born. She and I used to bathe together, and once my mom stepped out of the room (I know I know....... not safe but it was the 70's). Anyway, while she was out I shaved the top of my sisters head and of course good old Nancy walked in and caught me (shaver in hand). Oops.

Secret Sale!

Cori dantini is offering a Secret Sale to all of our blog readers! Include the following message in the note to the seller box during checkout at and you will receive a 25 % discount on your entire order:

CRH Blog Reader! Please discount my purchase 25%--thanks CORID!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Christmas Preperation: Having a Plan

Preparing for Christmas: Having a Plan

You might be thinking--"It's not even Halloween yet--I should be thinking Christmas" as I am screaming through the computer--YES!!!!

Last Christmas was my first on etsy and I was taken off guard. I was not expecting the volume of customers that came through my shop and I was not prepared. This year I have promised myself it will be different.

I will be doing a series of articles on preparing for Christmas. My Christmas preparation plan hinges on this idea:
  • There is a time to grow your business and there is a time to maintain it.

Growing your Business:

From January to September most of my energy goes into growing my business. I spend time developing new designs, introducing new products, and researching less expensive vendors. These months are fantastic because I get to focus my time on designing! Researching and testing new advertising tactics, product presentation, and marketing consumes my life for 9 month out of the year and it has been rewarding. I have had some real success in my endeavors and really enjoyed having time to focus on designing. The actual creating is rewarding and just fun! But, there are 3 other months in the year. . .

Maintaining your Business:

We are fast approaching the "other" 3 months in the year--the months where maintaining your business is a survival tactic! From October through December my focus is solely on maintenance. These 3 months are spent ordering supplies, stocking up on my prep work, completing orders, and customer service. This is not a time to design, research, or introduce new products--this is a time to sell the perfected items you spent the last 9 months developing. These three months, if planned well, can financially support your creating endeavors throughout the rest of the year.

Both parts are equally important to a successful business. You can not survive without growth and you cannot grow without maintenance. Each part of your yearly business plan has a specific focus that can truly accomplish your goals.

So, now that we have a plan--we can start to put it into action in the upcoming months. Each week I will be adding to our Christams Preperation series in an attempt to complete my business plan for the yearso that when December 25th rolls around--I am sipping hot cocoa with Santa and all 8 of his little reindeer!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Little Negligence. . .

A Little Negligence. . .

With the purchase of our first home and the BIG move into that home (I don't think you ever realize how much stuff you really crammed into your tiny apartment until you have to move it!) I have been a little negligent to my blog. Good news--we are settled in and ready to get down to business.

Autumn is in full swing which means we are starting to gear up for Christmas! This week I will be posting my first article on Christmas preparations as well as bringing you a new artist to highlight and, of course, a long overdue Secret Sale.

Thanks to all of you who sent warm wishes and congratulations on our home--they were appreciated and cherished. I love being able to share my life experiences with so many of you. Hugs and Kisses to you all!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

CRH Update

CRH Updates!
Well it has been an insane week trying to get everything packed up and ready to move into our new home. We are so excited and a little exhausted! Because my studio is in boxes right now we will not be shipping anything out until Tuesday (Monday is a Holiday--no mail). But to celebrate our New Home we are giving away a FREE chain with every item you purchase this weekend (sale ends Tuesday Sept. 2nd). Make sure to include the following note: "BLOG READER--please include a FREE chain with each pendant I purchased."
We also wanted to celebrate CRH in the press! We were recently interviewed by the Greenville News about Caughtredhanded and the article was posted in yesterday's paper!!! Whoo hoooo!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Nightmare Before Christmas. . .

The Nightmare Before Christmas. . .
Last night I has a nightmare about Christmas and it was terrifying! It was around 3am which is normally when I do my best thinking:) I was going through a list in my head of things I needed to order and how I was going to gradually start increasing my supplies in light of Christmas. . .
That one little word--Christmas--sent me spinning. I immediately daydreamed myself into last year and the insanity that happened my first Christmas on etsy. I thought I would share a little peek into my head. . .
It twas the season of Christmas and all through the house
all the people were stirring the resin and glue.
90 pendants a day sealing, gluing, painting, sending
the good little elves kept on plugging away.
Working full time as a teacher by day,
chemical burns up her arms fighting the itch away.
Tins were a flowing red, white and green
while daydreams of New Years danced in our heads.
Stuck in bubble wrap our fingers all gluey
Racing to the postman just by 5:30
It was so busy, so crazy, so nuts
so unprepared was this little Christmas elf . . .
Not this year--she awoke with a scream!
No, not this year, our fingers will be clean
This year we'll be ready with tins all aglow
This year no beating down the postman's door.
This year--I'll be screaming, Happy Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!
Phew--catastrophe averted. I was in no way prepared last year for what happened during Christmas season but I am EXCITED for this year. This is my full time job now and I LOVE it. I can't wait for Christmas--this year I'll be ready:)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Artist Series: Ziggy+Bean

Artist Series: Ziggy+Bean!

Ziggy+Bean is one of the original sellers on and our first Featured Artist! I had the opportunity to get to know her a little better through her interview and am excited to share such a talented artist with you all! You can visit her shop at:

1. Tell me about yourself!

My name is Amy Jazwinski, and I am a 28 year old happily married mother of one beautiful little girl. I work full time in corporate america, but am building my business so that some day soon I can stay home with my baby girl (and future children). I graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in marketing. Marketing, and specifically branding, are two things I take very seriously with my business, and I think you'll see that reflected in my product line. I have an innate desire to create. I never knew I had this desire until I graduated college and went in search of a hobby that would fill the time that was now freed of studying and homework. I first started dabbling a bit in ceramics, and realized that wasn't my calling. Then my Mother-in-law got me a bead kit one year for my birthday, and boy did I take off! I started designing my own jewelry and went crazy buying supplies and trying new things. I also tried my hand at paper crafting, and I still love to make pretty things with pretty papers. I feel like my real calling though has come since my daughter was born. In search of cute hair clips to accessorize every outfit with, I started making my own hair clips. Well, I couldn't get enough (and still can't!) and I created my current line of products- Ziggy+Bean.

2. Tell me about your craft and anything that is new and in the "works"!

Ziggy+Bean is a line of "seriously cute handmade accessories." Mostly it's hair clips, but I have so many ideas in my head for new products that I feel that I'll never have enough time to get to them all. Coming soon in my shop over the weekend will be my new felt flower hair clips. I also have a fantastic idea for a hair clip holder that I can't wait to get started on. I love making accessories for children because it's just so much fun! When I was little I absolutely adored playing dress up, and dressing up my dolls and Barbies. Now I have a real live baby doll, and I'm having just as much fun dressing her up!

3. What is your favorite part of owning your own business?

Owning my own business has always been a dream of mine. I've been searching for so many years for the right business for me, and am SO glad that I've finally found what feels right. I love that one day, because of my business, I will be able to be a part of my children's lives on a daily basis, and not ship them off to day care on a daily basis. Each day I leave my daughter at the babysitter, I'm more motivated to turn this dream into a reality. I also want my children to be able to look to me as an inspiration that proves that you can acheive your dreams. I don't have huge lofty goals of millions of dollars, or building a company that's traded on the stock market- just something that will allow me to be the person I've always wanted to be, and to be the mother that I know I can be.

4. What is your least favorite part of being a business owner?

My least favorite part is approaching retailers to carry my goods! I love my creations, I have faith in my product, and am generally a good sales person. However, whenever I approach a new boutique I get really nervous because a rejection of my craft feels like a rejection of me. It shouldn't be that way, but anyone who puts their heart and passion into their craft will understand this.

5. What is the story behind your brand?

When my daughter was first born, her favorite position to be in was curled up on our chest in the fetal position- just like a little bean pod! My husband and I started calling her "Bean" and the name stuck. Her favorite stuffed animal is a zebra that my hubby named "Ziggy". When I was branding my new product line I knew I wanted the name to relate to my daughter, but still be catchy and cute. Hence, Ziggy+Bean was born, and it still brings a smile to my face when I think of it.

6. What is one thing you want your customers to know about you/your business?

I take a lot of pride in what I do. I use only the finest materials (real wool felt, genuine swarovski crystals, etc) and I put a lot of care into each and every item I make. Customer service is incredibly important to me as well- I want every customer to be excited about their purchase even though it's just a hair clip! And of course I want everyone to remember the name Ziggy+Bean because some day we'll be a national company, and you can say - "I remember when..." :-)

7. Tell me one time you have been "caught RED handed" in your lifetime:)

When I was about 8 years old I went shopping with my Mom and BEGGED to have a package Lip Smackers lip glosses that I saw in Kmart. She said told me I couldn't have it (as I had about a million of these things already). So I was all pouty and bummed out about it until I went into the jewelry section and say that someone had opened a pack of three- stole two of them, and left the grape Lip Smackers behind (apparently they were too good for the grape one). I was so excited and convinced myself with my 8 year old wisdom and logic, that taking the Lip Smackers wasn't really stealing since someone had already opened the package and they couldn't sell it like that anyway. So I stuck my new little treasure in my pocket and waited until I got in the car to take a peak at my new treasure. Well apparently, I wasn't as wise and slick as I thought, and my Mom caught me. She recognized the dang lip balm and turned a funny shade of mad!!! She marched me right back into the store and made me give the lip gloss to the check out lady and apologize for what I had done. I was eternally mortified and quickly learned my lesson that just because something was alreadu open didn't make it fair game for stealing. To this day, I get a chuckle every time I see a Grape Lip Smackers.
Secret Sale!

Ziggy+Bean is offering a Secret Sale to all of our blog readers--15% off your entire purchase.!During checkout just include the following coupon code in the "message to seller" box: CRH Blog reader! Please discount my purchase 15%!

**Make sure NOT to make your payment. Amy will send you an updated invoice with the discount included.

As Always--Happy Shopping!

Artist Series: Unbelievable Talent!

Yesterday we announced the weekly discussion of selling techniques and today we have another surprise! Starting tomorrow we will be bringing you talent from all over the world--some from etsy and some not.
We want to spotlight some amazing artists of all different mediums and venues and let them share a little piece of their world with you. We will be interviewing each featured artist so that you can get to know them, their history, and even a little bit of CRH humor tacked in the mix.
Some sellers will even be offering secret sales for you--CRH blog readers! We hope to launch our first featured artist this week.
If you have a suggestion for an artist that you would like to have interviewed or that deserves the spotlight--please don't hesitate to include their name and link in the comments.
As Always--Happy Shopping!
(Photo Credit: Laffy4k at Flickr)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Little Sharing. . .

Sharing. . .do you remember the first time you had to share your icecream or maybe even a little attention with a new brother or sister? Pure agony in the beginning huh?!
As an artist, sharing has taken on a whole new world for me. I love being able to share my experiences as well as learn from others. It is one of the greatest joys I have had in starting caughtREDhanded.
I am going to start a series to share some of my experiences (good and not so much) here every week and I would love for you all to add to the conversation with experiences that you have had as well. I will be starting this series next week on wholesaling--if you have anything specific you would like me to address or share please do not hesitate to ask:)
I would like to share one thing with you all this evening. Since I have started making jewelry I have bought most of my supplies from one fantastic store here in Greenville SC. They have been FANTASTIC and are just a pleasure to work with. If I needed something that they did not have--they got it for me. All together I could not have asked for a better supporter. They have recently started their own website which I am thrilled to share with you all. It is still in the works and does not nearly show the amount of unique products they have available but definitely a site to bookmark.
Like Always--Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Phew. . .What a Week!

Have you ever had one of those weeks where NOTHING seems to go right? Well that is the kind of week I seem to be having. No matter what it is--if I touch it this week it is going to break!
I could go down a list of horrible and ridiculous things that have happened to me so far this week but I figure--what's the use of dwelling on the negative right? Instead--I wanted to take a minute and dwell on the positive;)
Every morning I get to wake up and spend my day doing what I love and loving what I do. I have a fantastic husband who loves me and is so good to me. God has given me a wonderful family, my health, friends and a brand new home to live in--see this week is looking better already!
Sometimes I forget to take a little time out of the busyness and remember the little things that make life so precious. Today--I think I am going to take a minute to just take in the world around me.
Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Autumn is HERE!

Autumn Preview: Waist Candy

Well, we have been working hard on choosing the perfect patterns and pieces for our Autumn collection and thought you might enjoy a little preview.

Purple is this season's "in" color so we thought we would kick off our Autumn collection with some varying shades. The MOD style buckle to the left is one of my favorite designs in our new collection. I love the mini rainbow colored trees on the contrasting white background--just fantastic!
We have designed this collection to last until the beginning of winter and then we will discontinue the patterns and present the winter line.

Autumn Preview: Silver Spoons
Cori created her designs in a variety of colors that compliment each season. We will be adding 9 new pendant color schemes that are perfect for Autumn. To the right we have featured the 3 pendants from our Bhindi collection. We will also be introducing 3 pendants from our Animal collection as well as 3 for our Floral collection.
All in all, everything should be available for purchase in our shop by Monday and of course we wanted to give our blog readers a chance to view them first!
To celebrate Autumn, we will be giving away a free sterling plated chain with each autumn pendant purchase. During checkout please include the following not in the message to seller box:
" BLOG READER--please include a free sterling plated chain with my new Autumn Silver Spoon pendant."
As always--Happy Shopping!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Welcome to Lollishops!

Welcome to Lollishops!
I am so excited to tell you all that I have been accepted to a new and up-and-coming online shopping venue that allows me to be the girly-girl that I am!
When I first started on etsy, I had a very romantic vintage style that has morphed by the desires and clientele here on etsy into modern-chic. I really have developed a taste for modern and have enjoyed creating our new summer line that is completely modern! But I noticed that I seemed to have 2 styles in my shop and have been looking for a place to sell and cater to a more girl crowd and I think I have found exactly what I am looking for!
Sadie Lou is developing a fantastic site that is juried (meaning you have to apply and be accepted to participate) and it centers around 3 essential styles:
  • Elegant Whimsy--Definition: Of high grade or quality- the sumptuous elegance of whimsical imaginations. Playful, light hearted, amusing or childlike in it's beauty. Artists who claim speciality in this category will appeal to those who like a bright and cheerful color palate; a love for candy-coated sweetness.

  • Romantic Inspirations--Definition: Marked by expressions of love or affection; timeless. A particular influence of ephemera; of days gone by--a wistful approach to design that inspires a sense of "beauty with age". Artists who claim speciality in this category will appeal to your emotions through their use of antiques, vintage elements and a Victorian color palate.

  • Fanciful Creations--Definition: A tendency to indulge the senses in fancy; frivolity. The very example of froufrou and fuss! Delicate, velvety, rich or indulgent in it's design. Artists who claim speciality in this category will appeal to those who enjoy the luster of imagination and the feeling of being lost in another time or place; an emphasis on a soft, feminine color palate.
I applied for the Elegant Whimsy category because of my LOVE for color and am so excited to tell you I have been accepted! Stay tuned and I will keep you updated on developments and launch dates. In case you would like to follow the development yourself--here are the links!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Customer Appreciation . .

Say hi to Azure! I recently got an email from one of my beloved Canadian customers about her birdie going missing. She was so sad when she emailed me and ordered Mr. Blue Bird as a memorial to her favorite bird that was now just a warm memory. I was so moved by her story I sent her a little gift with her purchase hoping to cheer her up.
About a week later I got another email thanking me and letting me know that Azure was found scared but safe by a kind stranger in the next CITY! Yeah for Azure!
The whole experience got me thinking of the foundational goals here at CRH. I love creating jewelry, designing, and bringing people joy by creating, original, affordable, and unique items. But one of the greatest pleasures of being an artist is the relationships that I have been privileged to cultivate and watch mature into friendships. I have met some truly amazing people and have really enjoyed getting to know you all. I truly am blessed by my customers that have turned into acquaintances, compadres and friends. I love hearing stories and sharing experiences with you all--it motivates my work and keeps it all in perspective. This idea is the motivation behind my "Gold" club. So--thank you to all my CRH customers, pets, and loved ones--I hope you know that you are appreciated!
Update. . .
I have some new Autumn color scheme pendants debuting this week and you know I will have to be including a giveaway as well as a secret sale! Stay tuned. . .

Friday, August 8, 2008

The "WOW" Factor!

Tips and a Few Updates:

The other day I received a note from one of our customers about our new packaging. She LOVED the pendants but the packaging is what put her over the edge and made her write to me.

I spent a long time deciding how and sifting through prices of packaging materials before I settled on what I thought would be the perfect way to present our products and our brand. The driving force in that search centered around the idea of a gift. I wanted each and every customer that comes through our shop to feel special (whether their purchase is for themselves or someone else)--to feel like they were getting the perfect "gift". As my husband would say "You want the WOW factor" and that was exactly what I wanted!

After weeks of searching and trying out different packaging I think we finally found what we were looking for--the perfect gift for you or someone you love!

CRH Update:

I have not written in a week or so after the whole disappointing "house" deal but I have some fabulous news--we got our house!!! I am so excited and we close at the end of the month! God was so good to us and we found a lender who would work with our situation.

We are still working on our line of rings so stay tuned!

Secret Sale:

This weekend I would like to highlight our XL collection. With the purchase of any XL pendant you may choose a classic square pendant FREE. Just include the following note:

"Blog Reader--please include the ________________ classic square pendant for free!"

As always--Happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Self-Employed BUMMER: The Disadvantages

A Little Disappointment. . .
After quiting my teaching job and going full time as an artist/jewelry designer I could not have been happier. These last two months have been so liberating and I have really enjoyed my time developing a completed accessory line. I never thought I would find such a fulfilling career that I could sink my whole heart into.
My husband often tells me I am a little nostalgic. Well that outlook really took me to a discouraging place this week. My husband just got this fantastic new job and my accessory line has been doing well so we decided to take the plunge and get our first house. Hey--even the Swiss Family Robinson's get a tree house (that's where the picture comes in)--surely we can find one right?
In the world of self-employed artists and husbands who make more in commission than salary, houses are not granted. Uncle Sam does not think this is the right time to purchase a house you see--my earning do not count until I have a two year track record. To say the least I was disappointed but I am not giving up yet. Right now our little apartment will just have to be home:)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Going GREEN!

CRH going GREEN!

We have been brainstorming different ways to GO GREEN here at CRH for some time and are now in the stages of implementing these ideas. Purchasing reclaimed game pieces is just not enough; overall we felt we were not doing enough to protect our planet and to really become a GREEN company.

As we grow and expand on the jewelry and accessory scene, it is important to us to remain true to our ultimate vision and protecting the environment is a huge part of that process. We have a 4 part plan in making CRH a truly GREEN company. If you can think of anything that will help our efforts or that we have neglected to mention--PLEASE post in the comments below!

1). Use reclaimed, recycled, or environmentally safe materials.

2). Reduce energy costs in our studio and overall production

3). Produce less overall waste

4). Promote GREEN living

So far we have found a sealant that is comparable to what we use, that is environmentally safe, while still being sturdy as well as waterproof. We have found a company that uses recycled materials in their packaging products so that we are not being wasteful in our little extras we have become known for here at CRH. We have reworked our schedules to use all natural light in our studio to cut down on energy use and here on our BLOG we are promoting and doing a series on GOING GREEN in your daily life.

This is just a start--just the beginning but we feel it is a good start. We are excited about a few other ideas we are developing but for now we feel we are on our way to becoming a truly GREEN company!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Blues

Monday seems to be my busiest day of the week. Running around, trying to get all my orders together and shipped from the weekend while getting back in the daily "work" routine--it's 11:15 pm and I am just sitting down for the night! Between my brothers birthday today and my husbands this weekend--I am glad to just have a moment to breath.

Well I have a few surprises up my sleeve for this coming week. I am working hard on getting them up for a sneak preview before the end of the week but no promises;) Until then--I have a little secret sale to tide you over:)

Secret Sale
Order ANY pendant from my Silver Spoon collection, Silver Spoon XL collection, or our Reflections collection and receive a free silver plated chain for FREE. Each customer will receive one chain per order. Here is a link to the sections in our shop.

During checkout put the following note in the message to seller box: BLOG reader! Please include one free sterling plated necklace please.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Reflections Collection: Update and Secret Sale!


We have just finished adding 10 new pendants to our Reflections Collection. The Reflections pendants are our high-end collection completed in sterling silver and packaged beautifully. This is my favorite collection that we have done. It is elegant and stunning! Here is a link to the entire collection:

Secret Sale

Of course we can not introduce new pendants without giving our BLOG readers a secret sale option. From Thursday July 17 through Sunday July 20, we will include one free sterling silver plated chain FREE of charge. Just include the following message in the message to the seller box during checkout: BLOG READER--please include one free sterling plated chain please! Happy Shopping!
**One chain per customer.