Structure

It helps me keep on track with what I need to do and, for me personally, it’s procrastination’s strongest enemy! I’m trying to re-apply it to several aspects of my day-to-day, whether it is at work or home, and I decided it’s time to do it to BeeBiju/Bee’s creations.

I’m therefore introducing this as a structured blog… not too structured though, as I don’t think it would be wise for me to commit to x number of posts per month or specific days across the whole year – that would just bring added pressure, which is precisely what I’m trying to avoid.

My aim is, instead, to focus on different topics, month by month, and include tutorials, ideas, items from my shop, etc. I am also bringing back the Monthly Picks: at the end of each month I will be telling you about my favourite item and that will bring discounts with it!

Onto October… Autumn is here (I can definitely feel it in the air with our 2°C mornings) so let’s talk about Autumn jewellery this month. Let’s bring out the colours and styles for this season!

Watch this space for more 😉

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Reading reading reading

Hi everyone!

So, this was a really long absence and I have a feeling it’s not quite the end of it yet! Nonetheless, I really miss jewellery making and all aspects surrounding it.

Why the absence?! A pregnancy, a not-so-smooth house move, a charity course and lots of work! Now, despite the fact things are not quite where I want them to be yet, I am actually able to sit down and write for the time being. So before going into what this post actually is about – jewellery making/business tips and articles – and just so you know where I’m at, here’s what’s happening: I am reaching the end of my pregnancy with just a few weeks to go (and Peanut is jumping and moving around like he’s having the time of his life) and therefore I just went into Maternity Leave. At the same time, I’m still going through the house move and I am now trying to catch up with my year-long charity course (for more details, feel free to have a look at my separate blog In Briana’s shoes, in which I tell of my journey as a Charity Apprentice).

Well, without further ado… One way to kick myself “back into shape” is by beginning with my emails, including all the pending emails that I’ve received about starting up a business and jewellery making. Because of this, and because I have a lot of them, the vast majority from Etsy blogs, I decided it would be a good idea to go over my most interesting reads and share them with you:

I know, I know, I get addicted to everything I read about time management because I’m so bad at it myself. But I love the tips in 10 ways to get more done (and stress less)  and how easy it is to relate to this article and make sense of what Vana is trying to convey!

I didn’t pay much attention to articles about workspaces before but now, going into a new house myself, they seem to suddenly be full of interesting ideas for different spaces! There is also the alternative to rent a desk or space, should you need to expand the business at some point. Here are a few Inspiring Workspaces:

  • (r-ki-tekt) – Gorgeous workspace and her story shows… patience pays off!
  • La Lisette – I’m in love with the space! It’s bright and simultaneously cosy, perfect to create new items… And can I just say… the watermelon bag!!
  • PataPri – Working with a seaview? Yes please! I’m sure it inspires Yuko everyday!

Again, to put it bluntly, I didn’t really see the use of reading about other people’s successful stories before – mostly because I didn’t want to feel discouraged in comparison – but let’s be honest, it’s not easy to make it in a market full of starting business owners who are trying to thrive just as much as you are! But these inspirational stories might be exactly what you want to read when things are not going according to plan and you’re in need of a pick-me-up!

  • La Loba Studio – I love how the business started off for Emese and her reasons for doing what she does.
  • Gardens of Whimsy – again, an unusual start for this business but it just goes to show things sometimes start from the unexpected.
  • BespOakInteriors – how a business can, quite literally, branch out from a career.

On a different note, with a lot happening in the next few weeks, who knows when I will have down time to write again. Either way, I’m counting the minutes, and with moving, I cannot wait to put my little workspace together – post coming soon!

Until then, take care everyone!

B

The Disneyland of Jewellery Makers

Christmas Party at the London Jewellery School? Super in!

LJS are renowned for the wide range of courses and qualifications.

I wanted to take a closer look and, just as well, received a notification for their December Annual Christmas Party… and was I impressed! Based near Liverpool Street/Aldgate (see details here), the school and staff are very  welcoming and, right away, I could tell that they’re everything I can see online and more!

The evening was filled with activities from beginning to end, all of them around, of course jewellery making. Many prizes were given with games and competitions. I met really interesting people, from staff to students and people who, just like me, were visiting the school for the first time. Some have online shops, some were trying to figure out whether they want to get into it and I even met someone who sells her pieces at a local shop in her area!

As for the school, I cannot wait to start doing some of the courses. They really do have lots to choose from and as soon as I saw all their class list, I started making plans in my head. Take a look at their 2016 prospectus here, it’s great and the feedback from the other students was really positive (I met a particular lady who, since retirement, has done a number of courses with them; the necklace she was wearing on the day was made by herself using Fused Glass).

And for you, WordPress fans… guess what they also have?! That’s right! Here is their blog, full of super interesting posts!

What about you? Are you thinking about paying them a little visit? 😉

Briana

Let’s talk Business

Normally, it would make more sense to have the experience, perfect it and then blog about it but I think that the struggle is an important part of any process and subsequent accomplishment so here we go.

As I mentioned before, I am starting a small business and with time, I decided that there are 3 components that I would like to maintain: creating, selling and blogging; and as much as possible, I want them to go hand in hand which will hopefully give the buyers a little bit of context while providing the readers with ideas to create and buy.

Creating
Well, my business is all about handmade jewellery pieces so yeah, pretty important step! As I get more comfortable around my pliers, findings and beads, I enjoy it more and more. I am getting more familiar with materials, brands, shops and techniques and it’s great in many ways; the self learning process, that so desired break from the being-at-the-office-the-whole-day routine, the therapeutic effect, not to mention I don’t really buy as much jewellery for myself as before!

Blogging
Ever since I was little, I’ve always enjoyed writing and as such, the blog seemed a great idea to share my experiences. For me, it is also one of the best ways to go back to my light and positive self at times of frustration. I usually see blogs around of very cool and successful people that are through the starting part of a business so I often think (silly me!) that I should already be selling all day every day… No! Kick starting is difficult and I’m sure everyone goes through a similar experience, in their own way… So why not share the not-so-good side of it as well? And it’s one way to gain visibility!

Selling
I started selling to friends and at some point Etsy was mentioned by a friend as a selling platform. After checking it out, I fell in love (hard not to!) so I decided to give it a go. There is a world of things about starting up a business to learn and not only Etsy provides you with the “webspace” to do it, it also offers continuous support, with all the blogs, instructions, chats and materials.

Also an important part of the whole process involving my business is research. I find it important to make some time to do a bit of study, whether it is for blogging, creating new pieces, learning new techniques or for the business as a whole.

Now with a clear(ish) idea of what I want for BeeBiju, I can ensure I set weekly/monthly goals that I can achieve but are, at the same time, challenging. After all, setting up a business is not meant to be easy! 😉

Time management

While I initially made this blog exclusively for jewellery making purposes, jewellery making is now a part of my life and, in Briana’s logic, this allows me to post about… well… my life (jewellery making related and not)! So, this time around, and since this is something I’ve struggled with since I was born (I suspect), let’s talk about the forbidden subject: time management (wooooo)!

Generally, I don’t like to wait if there is something I want to do… this means I often find myself “up to my ears” with an endless to-do list. So when 2014 came to an end, I decided to choose what was more important and stick to it (Needless to say that it took me a few months to actually put a plan in place!). If time management is a challenge for you too, then here is possibly a useful read.

I start by making a list of things I want to get done not worrying about when and for how long, that can be done later.

– Social time – There is a reason why it’s at the top of my list… If I become too immersed in my own things, I can easily, and without even noticing, isolate myself from the outside world.

– Exercise – I had to make some choices so I gave up the gym but I started incorporating quicker at home exercise sessions into my week. This also includes some training for the Colour Run my friend and I signed up for as well as a 30 day Abs Challenge to keep me motivated!

– Beebiju – Etsy shop and blog, advertising both, Facebook page… and of course this also involves creating new items, taking pictures, doing research, trying new techniques… Love it all! But it requires time. Little tip: I linked the Etsy shop and this blog to my Facebook page so all updates go on it automatically… Unless I want to post something different, I barely need to worry about it (time saver!).

– Wedding – I’m now planning my Wedding; I’m loving it and I’m really looking forward to the day, but this takes time too (after the magic happens I shall post a few photos and DIY ideas).

– Charity work – I’m on a break! However, I am purposely keeping it in my list; as soon as I’m a bit more settled with the must-dos above, I will include this in the plan!

– Of course my full time job needs to be considered too!

So now I thought about what you want to do as well as what you have to do, I can assign times to the tasks. I find that making a monthly schedule would set me to fail miserably – I cannot plan successfully that long ahead. So I make weekly plans (usually on Sundays, before the mad rush of the week starts again). Set realistic goals, don’t commit to exercising 3 times that week if you know before hand you will only have time do to it twice. Allow yourself enough time to relax; you don’t want to get to Friday with your mind and body begging you to stop, there is an excited weekend ahead that’s been waiting for you for 5 days! These “rules” also apply if you work on rotating shifts or don’t have Saturdays and Sundays at home.

Here is my schedule for the coming week as an example:

20150315_142549

The weekly plan looks absolutely packed but if you look at it in detail, yes, it’s demanding, but perfectly doable. The times written correspond to my times at work (provided I’m not doing overtime). On Monday, for example, as soon as I get back home from work, I can do the Abs Challenge and exercise – if you exercise at home you may want to get a plan from Pinterest. I am currently using a few circuits such as these ones. And the blog research can start off on Monday morning, from bed! I am having dinner with a friend of Tuesday, spending time with family on Saturday and left a few blanks (see for example my Sunday) to spend time, of course, with my fiancé. The Wedding planning is actually going pretty well so this week, apart from replying to a few emails (as we’re getting married abroad), I will give it some rest. And house chores? My personal view is that the world would be a better place if the dishes magically washed themselves or dust never settled around the house but this not being the case, one can look around and see what needs to be done. I therefore have no intention to make chores more dreadful by seeing them up on my board! ;P

Here is hoping that I stick to my plan for the week!

Last advice: if you don’t fully stick to your plan, don’t beat yourself up, you don’t want to waste valuable time stressing and feeling helpless. It’s ok, things happen and in all honesty, what’s the harm in accepting a last minute invitation to the movies or just falling asleep in the sofa after a hard day at work? 😉

Get creative!

Right! Now you have your starter kit and any additional materials and tools that you might want… time to crack on!

How it usually happens in my world:

Stage 1 – “I love making new pieces and can create anything I want!”

Stage 2 – “I’m SO OVERWHELMED and I never ever ever want anything to do with jewellery making EVER again!”

Stage 3 – “Woossaaaaaa. Let’s regain control. I’ve got this!”

Let’s try to skip stage 2 and break things down a little. If you have no clue what you want to do to start with, you can, based on your materials, look around to get some ideas or, as I usually prefer, you can switch it around and do a bit of research first to then incorporate your materials.

Check local libraries for books on jewellery making, use Pinterest to look for tutorials or visit some shops for ideas. Let’s focus on some online suggestions:

Blogs: just as this one, there are many blogs out there with tutorials and ideas. Hobbycraft (of course) have some ideas of their own they want to share (take a look here).

Pinterest: starting the search will take you no more than a few seconds but I should warn you: IT IS MASSIVELY ADDICTIVE! 🙂 Here is a very generic search you can do… or you can be more specific.

Google: yes, our lovely friend Google had to be here! Not only it can direct you to specific tutorials or just images of something you will know how to replicate with your own touch, but it can actually give you numerous official websites with classes, tutorials and much more. Many of these websites actually belong to suppliers who you can buy materials from. Personally, I quite like PandaHall. I bought from them in a Jewellery Fair in 2013 and started following their work online. Not only they sell many nice findings, beads, etc., they also have quite interesting tutorials. Beadaholique also has a great range of ideas!!

Videos: if you’re a fan of video tutorials then Youtube really can get you started. Just like Pinterest, you can tailor the search to exactly what you need or just look around and browse. Also, with all the research I did back when I started, I found a very cool website with a huge number of classes with techniques that originate beautiful pieces – Beaducation.

From experience, I can tell you that with some new techniques and certain pieces, it can all get a bit frustrating. If needed, put this piece to the side and make something you’re more confident with instead, but don’t hesitate to come back to it later. You’d be surprised how much a technique can improve when you try it over and over… and over… and over… and over again! Practice makes (less and less imperfect im-) perfection!

Step 1

Hi! 🙂 I’m relatively new to blogging (specially one that doesn’t involve charity work) and a newbie in the jewellery making world so I thought it could be a good idea to learn and develop those two fields together.

I’ve always found jewellery making quite interesting but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I started looking around, buying some materials and actually making pieces myself.

While I am still raw in the “business”, I’m very happy to notice that my little developing passion hasn’t gone away (specially after the lovely, long and addictive trips to Hobby Craft and pounds given away).

I have to confess that between my full-time office job and busy lifestyle it can be quite challenging to find the time to focus on a hobby that demands this level of brain-work and, more than anything, patience! But it’s a great getaway to the stress that builds up so easily!

Last year, I went for my first creation: very simple, easy to make earrings that actually caught some of my friends attention. Here they are:

The compliments I got were a huge boost so I went off and tried some more:

Eventually, I had a jewellery class to help me kick start on necklaces and bracelets and this was the result:

Before I noticed, my friends were asking me to create some jewellery pieces for them. It felt great as I did my best to try and personalise as much as they wanted. Here are some of the results:

Snowmen just in time for Christmas

Alice in Wonderland themed earrings

In the meantime, I’ve been onto my creations, on and off, due to such a busy schedule but I am very tempted to schedule time during the week so I can develop this new hobby. I have to say I am really enjoying this!

I will post more of my past pieces as well as the new ones once I’m blogging again…
Thank you for reading! 🙂