Further reminders of my engagement in NYC this weekend. So psyched! So pumped! It’s going to be a lot of work but I hope that some of my friends can make it over and say “Hi!” I just sent out the official BUST Facebook invite and jeez! there sure are a lot of folks in the NJ/NYC area that I have yet to alienate.
“I’m so excited! I’m so scared!”
I’ve been working extra hard (like a maniac, you might say…if you are Dave… because he said that to me… tonight) to create a great set-up as well as get some fun, new things ready for their retail debut. The biggest news is that I’ve spent the past year thinking, squinting, and fact gathering- all in an effort to do the most effective and useful editing to my shop, my line, and my future career as a small jewelry business. This means some good things as well as some bad things.
In short, the bad things mostly have to do with tightening up my stock. So, fewer one-of-a-kind pieces and things made from old stuff. In addition to fewer item, prices are going to go up. I’ve talking to many artists and artisans about this; pricing is ALWAYS the hardest part for any maker. I want to keep prices cheap because I have a frugal heart and cheap-ass brain. But I want to charge fair prices because I believe that I deserve proper compensation for my work, my thought, my education, and my tenacity. Unfortunately, the former and the latter of this paragraph rarely overlap. I’ve been closely looking at the prices of jewelry companies that I admire and will be trying to adapt and grow my company more in their direction. When it comes to selling out, I plan to fake it until I make it. Please, don’t let my younger, more-earnest self know about this.
The good things are that having smaller, more definite “lines” will make it easier/better to do things like search out wholesale opportunities and to present myself in a professional and serious manner. I’m talking line sheets. I’m talking press kits. I’m talking photo shoots. Having a smaller stock also makes it less maddening to process orders and shipments. I’ve become soured on “made-to-order” as it were. I don’t really like to spend my Sunday night making a disparate group of little things so that they can hit the mail on Monday morning. It’s always nice when the shipping step is the shortest in the process.
I’m also really excited to have a more cohesive body of work. Variety can be fun but it is also very satisfying to hunker down and really work an idea, you know? In a way, having a strong base allows for more fun, solid, and fully-realized opportunities. Being scatter-shot and half-assed is no fun. Time to reign it in and become close to the idea of doing only a few things but doing them really well.
You made it this far? Thanks so much for wading through my grousing and musing. You really must be a good sport (or my mother). As a reward, here is a photo of my awesome Thanksgiving outfit. Sunglasses that I bought at a thrift store the first day I hung out with my friend Jess (almost 10 years ago!!!!), a dress I bought this summer when Dave and I went “down the shore” worn over a black slip that definitely had some blood on it (uh….?), black budget-Spanx, and leopard print wedges- cut out of the shot. Also visible is Dave’s collection of “things with magnetic tape”. Which is actually only a small part of his collection. It’s extensive.
It’s changing time.
I’m sure that you don’t spend your days bopping around the With Care Etsy shop, furiously looking for any minute changes that I may have made. In fact, if you were, I think I would feel more-than-a-little uncomfortable. I’d be doing that thing where my lips are smiling but the rest of my face is clenched. You know the look. I know you do.
I’ve spent the last few days trying to develop something of a new product photo scheme. I like well styled photos but, dammit, I also love the look of items photographed against a simple seamless background. Daily Memorandum, I’m looking in your direction.
So, if you do stop by the With Care shop you might notice that I’ve added more by adding less. Simple styling with lots of white space for items to float in. I even went as far as building a light box and curating a small collection of neutral props from the detritus of my studio.
A few weeks back, one of my friends called my aesthetic “pristine”… which kind of knocked me on my ass, knowing myself and my habits for as long as I have. But I’ve decided to roll with it. I’m aiming for something that straddles “pristine” and “production”. And there’s always the third p, “Providence”: my kind host and unwitting inspiration.
Yay? Nay? Discuss.
Check it out! I’ve been featured on Italian blog Cosebelle!
Since it is all in Italian, I have only various internet translators to rely on. Google Translate gave me this great snippet:
I also like many of these fans are junk and I believe in the magic that occurs rousing little treasures in some remote spot of the globe. Elizabeth is also obvious.
If you want to talk shit on me, please, do it in Italian. I’ll never know. “Obvious” my ass!
POST SCRIPT: Cecilia, the author of the article, added to the comments below with a much more logical translation:
“the price (of your jewels) is low, but the result is high, as always happen with things you find around street markets. i am a fan of this little stuffs and i believe in the magic that occurs when you rouse little treasures in some remote spot of the globe. Also Elizabeth evidently believe in it (the magic).”
Thank you so much, Cecilia, for your kind words!
Please, be good to us.
But first, some 2011 business:
One: some treats picked up in Western, CT. Slim study books with dreamy colors and a plastic anchor buckle.
Two: some teeny vials. Seriously. Teeeeeensy.
Three: I discovered one of my new favorite stores, Summerhouse, in Point Pleasant, NJ.
If my studio had a lineage, I think that Summerhouse might be its mother. (An old timer’s garage would be its father.) Point Pleasant has many vintage and curio shops but they almost always skew towards the “shabby chic” vibe that reared its round-aboutly cute head in the 90s. Summerhouse is probably in some interior design vein of that but… wow. It really is a place that is impeccable. I could feel the curatorial eye in the best way possible. The owner allows all of her wares some room to breathe. No effin’ ’round here. Finally, a beautiful wooden spool is allowed to just sit on a (similarly beautiful, old, metal) shelf, being a beautiful old thing of integrity without having some crazy jerk decoupaging an inspirational saying onto it.
So yes, pristine, historic, minimalist aesthetic married with religious icons, a very, very impressive collection of old fixtures and display units and peppered with just enough French items to feel rarefied. And you can touch everything. And most everything is for sale. And the prices are really good.
Fouthly: Obviously this-was-the-place because I found this box of silk military ribbons just waiting to come home with me. Other treasures included 2 tiny American flags (made in Japan), little spoons, a ceramic “e”, Virgin Marys and a scapular because, well, why not? If you are going to love Catholicism, you might as well live your love. (In addition to this, my new favorite scents are frankincense and myrrh, so in addition to being arrayed like I could be struck down by the divine power of God, I also smell like a funeral. Ecclesiaste not ecdysiast, friend.)
What I failed to notice until I arrived back in RI was that the box came from only a mile or two away from where I was currently standing. Hurray!
Now for the 2012 stuff.
Last year, I had a long list of intentions to parade before you, the court. I think that I did a fair deal at tackling them. In fact, I even went out today and bought a nice night cream. Because I care about hydration, fine lines, and wrinkles. I also kept up my PMA (except for when I didn’t) and I read all of the books on my nightstand as they appeared in this photo from 1/1/11.
This year, I’m going to try and get better about working out and exercising on my own. I’m very good about it when I have to be accountable to others (like the Co-ed Fight Club for Girls Wednesday work out group) but I’m really shitty at it when I only have myself to disappoint. Truthfully, this is really just a microcosm of the rest of my life. No denial here!
My second intention for this year is to learn how to take a compliment. It’s hard! I can get very awkward! Sometimes, it has been pointed out, I will end up saying something inadvertently mean. That is a shame because I wish to be only overtly mean.
Also of import in 2012 are these:
Dig on these great little trinkets, they might be my last update for a while.
Not that With Care is going away. Hardly! But I do plan on making good on my threats of “upping my game” and, to do so, I’m going to have to reduce my efforts in certain areas. Like, rapid product development. But rest assured that, by the end of this year, I really want to have a true “line” with handsome jewels and accessories that are both good looking and well constructed from quality materials. I want to fine tune my photo style (with slightly more stylized photos, as some of the above are hinting at) and develop a press kit and a website and all of that good stuff. I might not want With Care to be my main source of income but, I do want it to be my main source of infamy.
Thank you for helping my past year be “good”, friends. Here’s to a new year that ends even better.
Last year, I had a blast selling at this faboo studio sale that my friends put on but, it was a little like an art speakeasy. This year, we are coming above ground, working in conjunction with New Urban Arts, and expanding in pretty much every way possible. If you are in the Providence area, you should come on over and spend some quality commerce time with some of your favorite working artists.
11am-4pm, Sat. Dec. 17th. New Urban Arts. Westminster St. Yes. There will be snacks.
Entry is super simple. So simple that I am expanding it to you, With Care Blog Readers! Just zip over to the With Care Facebook Fan Page and tap that little “Like” icon. Then, sit back a wait. On Friday, December 16th (that is, ON MY BIRTHDAY!) I will announce the winner via FB. The victor will be chosen at random and it is very important that you are all set up to receive announcements from With Care. Don’t let your lucky day pass you by!
I’m trying to get better mileage out of my Fan Page and this is just the beginning! Expect fun updates, weird info, bands I like, stellar deals, secret handshakes, brilliant recipes, celebrity hang-outs, a shoulder to cry on, a light in the darkness, and more chances to win a free thing from time to time!
And speaking of golden birds, I’m so happy to finally have had the prescription for my golden glasses filled.
Actually, they are more of a brushed bronze and, when paired with the hair, they look exceptional.
The good news is that the With Care empire embraces Manifest Destiny and has already moved some of its wears to the other coast of this pretty alright nation!
What I mean to say is:
I’m very happy, pleased, and chuffed to announce that With Care-ables will now be sold at the intriguing, exciting, and enthralling Tumbleweeds Odd Shop of San Diego, CA. It is just one of the many things that super-talented duo Beca and Doug are responsible for. Another thing that they are doin’ it well on? This ridiciulously amazing sun glasses series:
which features professionally set wood (actual wood!) veneer of, literally, many stripes. I love glasses and I am particularly enthused about these. Eye glass frames are probably my most expensive and regular financial indulgence (with bicycle gear coming in a close second and gaining) and these have certainly made it onto my “fill with prescription” list. The most difficult part is choosing which pair I like the most.
Speaking of the vision-times, I made my twice-yearly pilgrimage to Providence Optical today. Not only can expect one new and one good-as-new set of glasses waiting for me next week, but I finally brought by the first-ever pair of vintage glasses that I bought. I had purchased them at least 4 years ago and had them filled before realizing that the fit problems were not something that I could easily fit myself. Today, it took all of 2 minutes in their able, detail-oriented hands to bring the ol’ gals back into proper shape. Thanks, Providence Optical!
(the little silver blobs in the corner are two stars where the hinges are bolted in. Not sure if this is typical of the Victory brand eye glasses of the era but, a detail with just the level of whimsy that I can get behind.)
It’s Black Friday sale time!
I’m not a huge proponent of going out and spending tons of money on crap you don’t need but, if you are considering buying a holiday present or two anyway, why not save a buck or five? Attend yourself to the above infographic and save 20% off of any With Care purchases that you might, um, “care” to make this weekend.