Important Brown Dog Studio Tidbits

Monday, January 25, 2021

Hellooo...2021 and ValentineCollection

Although I've been back in the studio (if I'm being honest, it was re-al-ly almost immediately after Christmas, that's not a real break!) it was mostly for some promised large custom orders, the dreaded paperwork that comes along with having my own business, and some aRt time (you'll be excited to hear about that SOON!).
I've been getting some happy items ready for the upcoming ValentineCollection which will be part of the studio's Valentine Trunk Show February (4?) or 5-10. 
I plan (weather permitting) to have the studio open for in-person shopping Friday and Saturday, switching over to the virtual-shopping portion, beginning Saturday afternoon-Wednesday. I am still considering a bonus Thursday evening preview. IF weather does not permit in-person shopping, the show will be shifted to virtual only. 
I have a handful of original Valentine shakers, all one-of-a-kind. I made bronze bezels for some new resin hearts, assuming I can get the studio warm enough for pouring resin. I currently have 4 left from the last time I created the hearts! There are several new glass charms and NEW silver/hearts/bangles and more! Oh my!!!
I am currently working on a possible add-on page to my website that would allow me to make all of these new creations ready for online purchasing during the show. This will be a test-run for a virtual shopping page for future shows, as well as temporary fix while I begin the work of building my new website that should debut in August. If you remember, adding new jewelry and editing the current website is very time and labor intensive, making it impractical for my new dual-show format. If I get the add-on page finished in time, it will appear HERE as a link on the WEBSITE Valentine Trunk Show Page and the Home Page. After several days of research and design I really hope it all comes together, but if I can't work out all of the bugs (and really, I do need/want/no NEED! to keep working on the actual reason we all get together...the jewelry) I will go back to the FB album format with Paypal invoicing that I used for Christmas. More details will continue to be added to the Valentine Trunk Show Page on the WEBSITE.
So you KNOW that I am always working on new pretties and collections, but here is a quick listing of some information and updates in the works...
  • Weekly Facebook Live sessions will resume Tuesday February 2 (8pm). 
  • Look for more frequent postings on FB and Instagram.
  • I am currently submitting applications to "more than a handful" of shows in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and beyond!
  • I will be focusing on collecting new emails and editing my current list. A new email with an invite to the Valentine Show will be coming out Tuesday or Wednesday of this week!
  • There is always a giveaway recipient chosen from subscribers each time I send out a monthly-ish email.
  • Did I mention how much work building the new website entails? But it will be very lovely...
  • If you know of a good show/opportunity/idea for the studio? Let me know!
As always, I want to thank everyone who helped me finish out the past year, and this was one that threw a lot of curves. On a VERY positive note, 2020 helped me try out lots of new ideas and many of those ideas were ones I'd been mulling over for a LONG time...Would I have done FB Lives in a normal year? Doubt it, and as awkward as I am in them, a part of me loves showing up there for you! Would I have finally gotten around to changing my out-dated website? Probably not! I am very slowly learning some prioritizing and I hope that it shows in what I bring to the studio and YOU, my friends.

Note...if you want to comment on this post, you just click below on the link that (right now) says No Posts. After there are comments, you would click on 1 comment, etc.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

It's November...When did THAT happen!

 So...a combination of my busy show schedule, LIFE and then orders (yay!) completely side-tracked me from "business" goals...but not really, because still making it all happen...even though I'm less organized than I'd re-al-ly like to be.

(photos show pretties currently in studio!)

In a perfect brown dog world, I would have and stick to a schedule for my lists of workbench projects, website tasks and social media posts (FB Live sessions, InstagramShopping and Auctions). But really? Just gonna say it's more than THIS one chickie can do smoothly, because I get side-tracked. I'm going to tell all of us here...yes ME and YOU...that I recognize that I'm/we're going to have to make do with this not fully-organized Sarah. 

Yes, I have had fewer shows in 2020 which should in theory be giving me more time to get my ducks in a row, everyone else, I've been spending (too much) time rewriting HOW to make this work and learning new platforms and how to coordinate it all. AND...if we're being honest here...I'm busy making art...that's really my love, priority and goal (and what YOU want me to do...but then you want me to figure out how to make it too!).

 So! I thank everyone for hanging in there with me while I figure this out! More time being wasted used to try to tame FB Live for our Tuesday evening sessions, doing paperwork after InstagramShopping, putting what I create onto the website...

Now...HOW am I going to make SHOPPING available?

  • TWO remaining Studio Trunk Shows...Open to all, no appointment needed, wearing masks (schedule in sidebar but you will need to get on the studio email list for invite in order to have my address).
  • Tuesday evening FB Live sessions at 8pm. I plan to make some of these a Show and Sell theme. These are not ideal...yes you get to see me in my most-Sarah-ness, but I still haven't figured out the best way to conduct these for optimal Show and Sell, the show part is the problem. Todd is trying to help me with camera, but right now I am supplementing the video with after-photos in the to suggestions of a better techie person!
  • Sunday postings of InstagramShopping and Auctions...I originally started these a few months ago, heavy on the auction format. But to me, auction implies that I want these bid up or that you may get a "killer deal," and that's not really the studio way of thinking. So...Look at these as a way to find some seasonal/NEW/one-of-a-kind/you've been asking for these items pretties. I plan to throw in a special auction item from time to time to keep it exciting AND I've been adding in a give-away promotion to many of these. 
  • A few virtual shows...there's no way around this. I have many folks just not comfortable with shopping on-site at the moment, so I need to decide HOW to make this work. Honestly? adding items to my website to create a show? Not feasible with my current website. It takes a full week of me devoted full-time to add a collection and clean up the website enough to call it show-ready and I don't think that's going to work for the deadline I'm up against for Christmas OR allow for any time to create ART. (I don't have anyone behind the scenes...oh you're laughing...of course I don't have a tech person...or at least they should be ashamed of their work if I did!). THE SCHEDULE for PROPOSED VIRTUAL SHOWS... Saturday afternoon-Sunday following my next 2 Studio Trunk Shows!
  • Scheduled private shopping in the studio...dates to be decided...

Clear as mud, right? I'm planning to add dates to the sidebar and LINKS to better instructions on the Website for all of these shopping next few days...Thanks for all of your patience!!! xoSarah

Sunday, August 16, 2020

august goals and september travels...

I have lists of goals (I'm referring to the studio...this isn't about LIFE goals, that's a whole different set of items to tick off, and you really don't want to hear about those...)

The creative side? That's easy enough...I keep lists, a combination of tight and loose objectives...daily, weekly, longer term. I have projects and collections sorted into stacked cupcake tins, lists of techniques, sketches. 

When I look back on some days-weeks-months, I'm surprised at meanderings that often lead my work in unplanned directions. Sometimes I go back to my sorted project tins and decide I'm kind of meh about what I wanted to make and other times I just know it's gonna be good...I find that keeping my creative goals a bit looser can have wonderful outcomes.

I took a creative journey in July that turned into the "Slow-BenchWork" Collection I offered at the Studio Trunk Show and Hastings Art in the Park, my second (the first being back in February) "on the road" show of 2020...I compiled a list of projects from past workshop samples and inspiration from an online artist group I'm part of. My self-imposed goal was to create single examples of each project, unless making an additional piece allowed me to delve even deeper into the technique. The resulting pieces were quite varied...keum boo and granulation earrings, box clasp closures on my popular big link bracelets, layered gemstone pendants, fused sterling shield rings...very focused studio days with many notes in my bench journal. Remaining pieces will head to website (as SALE items leave) this week.

Then there is the business side of the studio...I have goals to which I have been trying to adhere...Let's see if I am able to check these off...

  • My monthly blog post...a friendly, wordy studio update that I like to think is the most conversational Sarah you can find online, unless you participate in my FB Live sessions (more in a minute!). Additionally, I list my monthly goals, show plans and travels, new collections on the blog. It acts a bit like my studio-accountability. I allowed this blog to go silent for nearly 4 years, and that did not help keep friend comments on the blog are very welcome (hint-hint). CHECK! 
(a note...a studio friend attempted (and finally succeeded!) to post a comment...not an obvious task! Still would LOVE your comments...go to end of each post you are will see NO COMMENTS or 2 COMMENTS (for example) on that and you will find the area to post comments. I am looking to see if I can add a widget that makes commenting easier!)
  • A monthly updates, especially focused on show dates and special collections. Besides the excitement of receiving a letter from me in your inbox each month...I know, right!'s the sole means of getting invited into my personal studio for Trunk Shows. You're not on the list? Well, go HERE and get signed up! As an added bonus, I do a monthly give-away to one random subscriber! CHECK (mostly)!
  • More frequent postings on Facebook and Instagram...these are snippets of current work, collections, reminders leading up to shows, views from a show I'm at (not many of these lately, but MORE SHOWS ARE COMING!!!). This gets a HALF's some Sarah-honesty...I don't stop what I'm doing at the bench often enough to take photos or make a posting. I don't use IG Stories to our best advantage, thinking I have to get it perfect for it to "work" for all of us...oh you're laughing now because I just said I wait until I can get things done perfectly?..."That was PERFECT, Sarah?" we're both laughing...
Less travel time and more time at the workbench equals a lot of thinking time...and I have had (what I think are) some amazing ideas...Have I made them happen? Nope! But I'm writing them here and planning to talk about them on a FB Live tomorrow evening (Monday August 17) at 8pm EST.

  • themed Instagram posts (many of these will carry over to FB), some encouraging "play along" posts...I am proposing #mystackmonday and #facetimefriday among others, but there may be some further modifications before I "finalize" these...
  • weekly FB Live, probably a weekday evening, during which I have a proposed theme for the visit, potentially a RealTime selling event for some of the weeks? Content would be available to rewatch after the Live event. Not every week would follow same theme...I need to come up with a way to let you know content ahead of time...either website or as an announced EVENT on FB...
  • Instagram Auction on Sunday afternoons/evenings? I will be requesting input for best time period for this style of event. of my big concerns has always been not wanting my studio friends to get the impression that I think "I'm all that!". I have serious over-post'll not want to hear from me if I post too much or too frequently. I used to only send out 4-5 emails a year...strictly ONLY when I was having a show in the that I wouldn't have people unsubscribe...

But I know that YOU know that I'm not asking you to take notes about every time I'm going live or making a post. You do know that, right? And...I've decided not to compare myself to retailers who think I want 3 daily emails in my inbox...if my one a month is too many, just lie and tell me you check me out on FB or IG...

...and I like talking to you. Sarah


Thursday, July 16, 2020

more studio opening...

So in June...we did our best normal in the studio! What does that even look like?

One virtual show, hosted by Des Moines based Vintage and Made Fair and a Studio Trunk Show! A whole lotta beauties released onto the website...I created special collections for each of the shows, curated from studio favorites (including every single piece of the gorgeousness found in my own wrist stack!) and new additions to my Display Case Jewelry...can we all ooh and ah over gemstone and sterling earrings? I continue to rearrange collections on the website, but I'm pleased with the changes thus far...

Thank you to everyone who joined me during the studio FB live sessions, shopped on the website, and came to the studio for your reserved shopping session! You make it possible for me to keep making the designs I dream... up! Real Studio Trunk Shows!

First... July 30-Aug 1 I'm throwing open the studio doors!!!
Shopping open to all, no reservations needed, Friday July 31 (noon-8pm) and Saturday August 1 (11-3pm)
Shopping by reservation Thursday July 30 and early Friday and Saturday.

Masks required for all who enter the studio...If you have special health concerns or just want to make sure I can devote time to just you, I ask that you consider the reserved sessions.
You'll need to be on the studio e-mail list to receive an invite/address for the studio.*

The collections from my previous virtual shows and the June Trunk Show will be available, as well as a very large selection of SALE items. 

So here's the SCOOP on the studio's current sale items...

They're really great...I have been clearing out oodles of older styles, many of them have been appearing on the website under the SALE items category. In addition to sale glass charms (which aren't even on the website), I have been clearing out some sterling rings and ALL THE SPINNER RINGS, almost all of my resin (want to make more!), all the little metal charms that used to be on my "silver ribbons", license plate letter jewelry, more leather cuffs and SO MANY items that I've set aside to make room for whatever newness I'm creating. With the exception of my sale rack bracelets and necklaces that currently have a special place in the studio, I have plans for the majority of the sale items soon after this show. They can't live in the studio forever...

In other should come shop the new collections AND if you've been longing for spinner rings, little stamped bits and anything else on the sale page...get them while you can! 

In other news...

Look for an upcoming auction format...thinking weekly? any "votes" for day of the week?

Weekly??? Facebook Lives...or does anyone really need that much of me? Maybe "shop talk" or showcasing something I'm working on?

"Pop-up" studio travel??

Next Studio Trunk Show...Sarah's Jewelry Box...offering designs based on my own wrist stack, necklace styles, as well as selling some one-of-a-kind projects from jewelry retreats and cleaning out my private collection. 

*Remember that subscribing to studio emails gives you access to Studio Trunk Shows AND automatically enters you in the monthly random-number giveaway, announced in the email!

Sunday, June 7, 2020

the SHOWS must go on...June

Here we a year like no other, I have two (virtual) shows scheduled for June. For the time being, this is my new normal; all shows I regularly attend have been cancelled through at least August, and several through the end of year! (Please note that June Junkstock IS happening, but as I do not normally do that show, I opted not to try to squeeze in. JS is planning to offer some other options for those of us who were to be in the May event...I'll keep you updated!)

I have looked at ways to provide the best online experience for virtual shows...I know my studio friends will be patient with me as I bumble along! I'm certainly open to your sweet suggestions.

First up! Vintage and Made Fair's Virtual Summer Edition June 12-15. I have participated in this Des Moines area show several times in the past. It is one of the home-iest shows I have ever amazing combination of artists, vintage dealers, crafters, live music and food trucks. The virtual show's platform is on the VAMF Facebook page. You will be able to get a taste of a normal VAMF event with live music performances which will take place on the FB page...each vendor will have a photo with links provided to take you to his or her shopping page (I don't have my photo link yet, I will be adding it soon). Please note that all sales will be through individual vendors...VAMF is not having a live event to sell vendors' wares.

Here's a run-down of how to interact/shop with Brown Dog Studio (ME) during the virtual event.

  • On the VAMF Facebook event page This page is GREAT if you want to take advantage of more of the virtual event beyond just my studio. You will have to scroll through 70+ participating artists and vendors to find the photo/link for Brown Dog Studio. The Brown Dog Studio section on the VAMF FB page allows you to comment/ask questions...and that link takes you to...
  • Brown Dog Studio's website...I have two main things set up for you here...FIRST, an evolving "how-to" page that explains my participation in the virtual event, including a schedule JUST FOR THE STUDIO, (including my Facebook Live schedule). SECOND...SHOPPING!!!, I have created a special collection for the studio, especially with this weekend's virtual event in mind. THE COLLECTION IS CURRENTLY BEING LOADED AND EDITED...IT WILL GO LIVE AT 9AM FRIDAY JUNE 12! You are more than welcome to shop the entire website, but this collection will include several brand new items, studio favorites and some discontinued sale items. Like my previous virtual shows I will offer a free local pick up option for paid website purchases, as well as single shipping payment, in case you decide to shop throughout the only pay shipping once!
  • Brown Dog Studio's FB page...This will be the most interactive part of the virtual show. I will have Facebook Live sessions each day (see schedule here) in order to show and model jewelry, take questions and help with custom orders. 
I'll be very available throughout the weekend, as if I were set up in person. I bounce around to all of the studio's social media accounts and the VAMF page, but I highly recommend that if you posed a question and you haven't heard back from me...message me on Brown Dog Studio's FB page in case your comment or question got hidden or overlooked. 

This format worked very well for last month's virtual Junkstock show in which I participated. Hopefully I have worked out a few kinks!

June 25-28 Brown Dog Studio Virtual Trunk Show...This show will be very similar to the Mother's Day edition I hosted online last month, but I'm kicking it up a few notches as I figure out what works best! Watch for a "how-to page" on the website, a special collection for the event (several items JUST in time for this show!), give-aways and FB lives (including our preview party Thursday evening...get ready for a whole-lotta Sarah lol). NEW!!! Barring any new virus constraints (pooh...I said the V word!), I will be adding RESERVED IN-PERSON SHOPPING. More details will come after this week, but I will be offering reservations on the website for 30-minute shopping sessions during the show (on the hour so there is no overlap) for you and a friend. I'm very excited to add this dimension to shows. If it works out well, I may offer a few sessions periodically between events. 

Other studio news...use of drop box is working out well for order pick ups. Don't be offended if I remind you a few times to find the box next to studio and NOT at our front door. My family (some of whom are currently working from home and are often on conference calls) have been instructed NOT to come to the door to direct you. PLEASE give the same instructions to husbands who come to pick up orders lol.