Friday, July 27, 2012

Sad Day in New Orleans: Hubig's Pie Bakery Burned

Savory Simon--say it ain't so!  Unfortunately, the news is bad:  Hubig's Pies in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood in New Orleans burned to the ground early this morning.  The good news is that though the bakery was a total loss, no one was injured.

Hubig's Pies hold a special place in the hearts of southern Louisianans.  The iconic fried pies have been around since 1922 and for many, have been the go-to snack of choice ever since.  Many a late night out listening to music has ended with my husband and me heading over to Verti Marte to grab a Hubig's Pie to hold us 'til morning.  They've been my less-than-healthy breakfast a few more times than I'd like to admit, too.  But, for my husband and me, they were part of our New Orleans ritual.  Hubig's uses seasonal fruit so, it has always been fun searching the shelves to find the first blueberry pie or the first strawberry pie of the season.  We've even hung our heads in sadness when we knew a pie was the last of the season.  I've heard a few heated arguments about which pie is the best, too.  Hubig's offered a custom labeling option which we used for a party back in 2010.  Though I'm not usually prone to being overly sentimental, I saved a few empty pie wrappers to remember that day.

Hubig's Pies survived the Great Depression (though they did close their Texas locations) and they survived Katrina (the bakery was not in an area that flooded).  Residents exalted in the reopening of the bakery which happened as soon as the gas pressure was finally high enough that they could run the fryers.  It marked another small step of progress and a return of something familiar.  Like Verti Marte which burned in May 2010 and reopened in February 2011, the owners have also vowed to rebuild and I suspect, will come back better than ever. 

How Hubig's Pies Are Made 
Update:  I am saddened that Mr. Ramsey has chosen to question the goodwill of my friend who was making blown glass pie ornaments to raise money to help them rebuild.  His character is impeccable and his work is known worldwide.  This changes my opinion regarding Hubig's Pies and I will not be scrambling to purchase any when the factory is rebuilt and reopens.  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Simon's Cat Video!

Simon's Cat:  Window Pain
My shops have been dead lately (summer lull--not to mention Etsy's tinkering with code) so, I've been making items for autumn and the holidays and enjoying some of my favorite adorable short videos.  Simon Tofield's videos are some of my favorites.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

If Websites Were People :

I have two shops on Etsy but I don't always understand the Etsy "culture".  This video pokes fun of some of the more ridiculous aspects of Etsy. 
~Hope you get a good laugh!~

Friday, July 20, 2012

Men: Shopping For Handmade Jewelry

man pushing shopping cart
Many Etsy shops are running Christmas in July promotions and it got me thinking about the upcoming holiday season and how men shop.  It's never too soon to start getting our merchandise and shops ready.

Most of you who read this blog are women who design & make jewelry and have online shops.  If you're like me, you've wondered how you can increase the number of male customers in your shops.  Only a handful of guys have bought jewelry from me but one thing I've noticed is that they seem to be very decisive.  None of my male customers have favorited any items and purchased them later.  According to Ron Sabando, "Men generally shop with the swiftness of assassins. Of course, you will find indecisive specimen among us, but most of the time shopping keeps us from other activities, so it must happen quickly. We generally know what we are specifically looking for,  so it is mostly seek and buy."¹ 

They Want Convenience:
A Wharton study found, "'For women, "lack of help when needed" is the top problem (29%). It is also the likeliest reason that stores lose the business of women shoppers. Indeed, according to an analysis of the study's data, about 6% of all female shoppers could be lost to stores due to lack of sales help. Men, however, ranked "difficulty in finding parking close to the store's entrance" as the number one problem (also 29%)."'²  This explains why some men prefer online shopping.  They don't have to find a parking space or brave a crowded mall.  Ernie Wilder wrote a comment to the same article stating that he "will choose "self check-out" most times to avoid a potential hold-up".  Etsy's check out process is not ideal, but it is certainly faster than waiting in line during the holiday rush.

According to Forrester Research, men "spend more, make fast decisions and as a group, tend not to return the stuff [they] don’t really want."³  That description of male customers is rather idyllic and gives me the impression that we should be trying our best to make sure that our shops appeal to our male shoppers, as well as, our fellow females.

Here are a few of the things that I believe will help:
  • Item titles that are straightforward and descriptive  
A male customer will understand "Tiffany blue Czech glass & sterling silver earrings" but might not understand if those earrings are titled "Audrey"

  • Describe items well and be sure to include measurements
We all know how deceptive macrophotography can be.   For my earrings, I even include photos taken with a ruler for those who need a visual size reference.

  • An orderly shop with shop sections that make shopping easier
I know that Etsy makes this one difficult.  I struggle to make my shop sections  work within the number limit that Etsy imposes.  Group by category or by type of materials.  This will help all your shoppers find what they are seeking.

  • Clearly mark all items that are not available for immediate shipping (made to order items) and label made to order items with their lead time so that customers will know how long before the items will ship.
A lot of men like to wait until almost the last minute and want rush shipping.  Made to order items will not typically appeal to those men.

  •  Consider offering gift wrapping in both all-occasion and seasonal (non-holiday specific) options.
Most of my male customers have specifically requested that their purchases be gift wrapped.  If they are on Etsy or another site known for handmade items, they may feel like they have already gone the distance and may want to save themselves the trouble of wrapping.

I'm sure that I have left out lots of ways that we can draw more male customers to our shops and welcome all your suggestions!  What other ways can we improve?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just a little light reading...

Very interesting...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Question For Those Who Make Jewelry...

For those of you who make jewelry and include beaded jewelry in your repertoire, do you get criticism for making "beaded jewelry"? I ask this because I continue to get criticized for my jewelry that contains beads--independent of whether they are commercial or handmade art beads. There have been times that I have felt like I could only show certain pieces of jewelry to certain people. PMC people like PMC items, metalsmiths only respect pieces made through traditional metalsmithing and have an immediate prejudice towards PMC and sneer at anything beaded, silversmiths look down on those who use copper, etc. I know that those stereotypes don't apply to everyone who works with those materials or in those fields but I've encountered a lot of people who have openly exhibited those prejudices.

Why can't a person like to make items using *all* those methods?

I've found that even people who I've considered friends see nothing wrong with saying things such as "I hate that beaded sh*t" straight to my face.  I've been told that PMC artists have "brought down the quality of silver jewelry".  And, my favorite was when I was told that making PMC jewelry "doesn't require any skill". 

What have you experienced as a jewelry designer?  Or, if you are a person who buys handmade jewelry, do you have strong feelings about certain types of jewelry and why?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Libellula Jewelry Now On Big Cartel, Too!

I've been trying to not "put all my eggs in one basket" as the old saying goes so, I opened another Libellula Jewelry today on Big Cartel.  It's just a free shop with five items as a test.  Most of my jewelry is one of a kind or one of a small series so, there is no overlap between this shop and my Libellula Jewelry Etsy shop.  It should be interesting to see if I get any views!
My Shop Avatar In The Big Cartel Directory

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Woman's Exchange Shop

I am thrilled to announce that eight of my pieces of jewelry have been accepted by the Woman's Exchange Shop at the Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses in the French Quarter in New Orleans. 

If you have the chance to visit New Orleans, be sure to tour the Hermann-Grima and Gallier Houses.  The tours are very informative and the houses are steeped in history.  Here's a link to a bit more information about the organization behind the museums:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Earrings Giveaway!

hammered copper earrings
 Antiqued Copper & Czech Glass
Domes & Bead Caps:  24 g Cu Sheet
Ear Wires & Wrapping:  20 & 22 g Cu Wire

I promised that when my number of blog followers reached 50 that I would start having earrings giveaways and it has finally happened!  I would like to thank all my readers--followers or those who drop by occasionally.  The contest is open to both domestic and international entrants and the winner will be announced on August 1st.  Here are the ways that you can enter:
  • Follow this blog using Google Friend Connect (if you don't already) = 1 entry
  • Follow either or both of my Twitter accounts = 1 or 2 entries
  • Tweet about this contest = 1 entry
  • link to the contest from your blog = 1 entry
  • Pin an item from either or both of my Etsy shops (please remove price from photo) = 1 or 2 entries
  • Be sure to leave your email address in the comments and tell me all the ways that you have entered (7 possible entries per person)
 Best of luck to everyone who enters!