Top Tips On How To Create A Beautiful Life!

Creating a beautiful life for ourselves is possible. And in order to do that we have to strive for balance and that means addressing all areas of life. I observed that last year I was very much only focused mostly on one area of my life and that was my businesses. I thought that I would use this blog to show you what I have been up to and also how I have got the balance back in my life.

Having just become a representative of Miessence selling certified organic personal care and house hold products meant I needed to pay careful attention to keeping my life balanced.  I have two other small businesses to contend with meant other parts of my life had become unbalanced so this year was about adopting a holistic approach to get that balance back.

I thought that I would write this blog for people who tend to focus only on one part of their life. I thought I would use use my own experience and show you how I have been getting the balance back in my own life to help you do the same. Plus I thought that it would give you an opportunity to see what The Earth Faeries have been up too.

Firstly I looked at my creative area. I realized that while I was making accessories for my customers I rarely had time to make anything else for myself or my loved ones. When mum expressed interest in what I was making I always said I would make her something but never got around to it. Time was always a factor so I read an article about creating more time and doing things that are important to us.

I devised an affirmation that has worked wonders in my life and has done just that. As they say we are living in a quantum field and thoughts become things. And so do the affirmations that we recite every day. The affirmation that I use is: I always have time for the activities, people and experiences that are important to me. And sure enough time has been created and I suddenly have more free time.

And so I got to work on my mums ornament that I have made her. I made it in her favorite colour which is buttermilk yellow. You can find my full range here. It comes with a little hand made scroll too with a personalized poem in it so I am just working on that at the moment. I just hope she likes it. Here is a sneaky preview of the rose I have made for my mum. Each rose is named after its owner and I called this one Barbara Frances after her.

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Secondly I decided to start focusing on doing more self development work on myself. I am a qualified and practicing life coach – specializing in spiritual coaching and well being coaching.  I knew working on myself would creating more energy and momentum in my life to facilitate change.

As part of my self development I do earthing while practicing mindfulness in my big garden, forests, and woodlands.  I practice earthing otherwise known as grounding about once a month but now have started to do it every day and am observing a massive difference in my energy levels. So how does it work?  The free electrons in the earth move through our feet and into our body and create well being in our mind body and soul.earthing.jpg

Many have lost their connection with the natural power of earth because Rubber and plastic soles on our shoes. They are not conductors so they prevent the free electrons from the earth moving through our body. So taking the shoes and socks off and walking on the mud, moss, forest floors, beaches, and grass is a great preventative measure. It is also a way to stay well and  increase our well being and energy levels which contributes towards having balanced and a beautiful life

My word this year has been contribution. Giving back! Giving feels so good so I thought I would like to do more of it. I am all for looking after our planet so I decided to volunteer at Garth organic fruit and vegetable garden in Wales. It was the most enjoyable day that I have had in ages and it was lovely to do something different and to help others out too. It is surprising what opportunities you get given when you get out of your comfort zone because I got asked to run a mindfulness work shop there so am making time now to devise my lesson plans and I am due to run them this August!

Earth Faeries doing voluntary work in Garth Organic gardens!
The earth Faeries love getting inspired in nature so I started some voluntary work in an organic gardens!

It was an eventful day. I learned how to grow baby onions. Although I have grown potatoes carrots and lettuces in my own garden I have never grown onions. A lesson learned from there was not to plant them upside down and I suppose metaphorically speaking the same applies to us – so always reach for the light to get you to the places you want to go.

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I also learned how to grow the food in rows and to measure the depth I was planting them in as well as how to space them correctly so they had room to grow. I did this by using rope tied around pieces of wood and put in the ground. The rope once stretched out helps you to plant the crops in a straight line.

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I also got to see some slow worms too which resemble beautiful snakes – as Jude the owner of the organic gardens prized back the soggy straw they sliver deeper down into the earthy layers. They slithered away before I could get my camera out.

I got to meet some other lovely volunteers too and it was nice to share a common goal with them which was looking after the planet that I love so much. Plus I got an abundance of organic vegetable and salad in return for helping out. There is something lovely about eating fresh salad and sprouting broccoli from a garden that you have picked yourself. It tastes so much nicer!

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I have just been asked to come canoeing in Llangollen canal with my daughter and while my mind says I have this to do and that to do I stopped, and said to myself I always have time for things, people and events that important to me so I said yes. My other friend has just invited me to London for the vegan and vegetarian food festival and I said yes! So one of the secrets to having a beautiful life I have learned is to say yes to more opportunities.

Getting balance in your life so you can have a beautiful life is not a destination. It is a journey. We are always striving for it as circumstances and goals change so we have to continuously address the balance. And what I have discovered is that with those changes we have to pause, reevaluate what is serving us and what is not so we can modify our goals and then get back in flow.

For me having a beautiful life is about keeping the balance in my own life on a consistent basis. For me keeping that balance means coming up to smell the roses regularly and not being hard on myself when I go off track slightly. It is also about being mindful too – living in the moment, being non judgemental if my mind strays elsewhere and jumping straight back on again.

What other techniques or practices are you using to keep your own life well balanced?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The History Of Swarovski Crystals

Swarovski hair vine

I like to be known as a transparent business which means letting people know what materials I use in my business and how I or my suppliers contribute to the environment.

I love wearing beautiful things but I realized that in order to do this I have to have a planet not only to live on but one that sustains me too. I also have a conscious and want to know that my suppliers do too.  Hence why I only use materials to make my jewellery with that shares my ethics and pays their workers a fair income with great working condition’s for their employees.  It is these ethics that has been the driving force behind my business practices and the products that I make.

In today’s blog I am going to be looking at one of the materials that I use in my designs – Swarovski crystals and Swarovski Pearls. You will learn who Swarovski is, what a Swarovski crystal is made of, how it differs from other crystals and how to care for it plus much more.

I was introduced to these wonderful orbs several years ago when a family member gave me a bracelet that had been made out of Swarovski. I was mesmerized by its brilliant shine and how it looked very much like a diamond and I was hooked!

A couple of years later when the Earth Faeries was born I decided to use it in my collections.

Hand made rose bridal hair comb
A handmade hair comb with Swarovski Crystals & Swarovski pearls

 

Firstly I was looking for vegan materials and was delighted that they passed the cruelty free test.  Secondly they are environmentally friendly business and the company is an ethical one too so I more than happy to use their products in my creations. Here is a report detailing their good ethics and how they are protecting the environment. Click here for the report. Thirdly I love their cut, clarity, amazing vibrant colours (my favorite is blush pink) and their contour. Contour means perfectly shaped crystals. How could I resist?

Swarovski Crystals
These beautiful beads are authentic Swarovski Crystals that I using in my new designs

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I often get asked by my customers and friends about what Swarovski crystal is made of etc of so I thought I would write an article on it.

Who is Swarovski you may be wondering? Daniel Swarovski was the son of a glass cutter and following in the footsteps of his father he became skilled in glass cutting. Danial had a dream of creating a diamond that everyone could afford to have. He invented and patented an electric cutting machine in 1892 that was revolutionary. This allowed the crystal to be cut with more precision than by hand and create a wonderful piece of fine man made gem that had the brilliance of a diamond.

These beautiful crystals are used by well known designers and brands such as Chanel in their fashion collections.  Famous models have adorned them on the catwalks all around the world. They have been featured in Victoria secrets collections – a famous lingerie brand.  The Austrian brand has dated back to 1897 – spanning five generations of the Swarovski Family.  You may be surprised to discover that the brand has dressed big names back in history such as Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe in Gentleman prefer blonds and Audrey Hepburn in breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Swarovski crystals where used in her tiara. Seasonal collections are added every year and the crystals are used in combination with precious and semi precious stones too.

What exactly is a Swarovski crystal? Unlike quartz crystals that are made by mother nature and found in the earth – Swarovskis are man made by using natural resources such as sand, quartz and minerals.

Why are they more expensive than glass? They use only the finest natural materials, the crystal is cut with precision using a special patented machine and are polished to a brilliant shine. The entire process is very complex as the crystal is created to have hundreds of identical facets in several directions. Each direction of the reflected light must be calculated on a computer then has to be simulated in 3D, optimized and converted into programs for the machinery to make them.

How do you know if they are the genuine article?

  • there should be no bubbles inside of the crystal
  • each one is identical size to the other. There should be no variations
  • the same colour family are identical shades
  • If there is scratches on the crystal or an oily sheen then this means its not an authentic one.
  • apart from the Swarvoski pearls the crystals come loose and are not stringed together
  • All facets of the crystal meet and point upwards.

How do you care for Swarovski crystals? They should be treated the same way as fine jewellery.

  • remove your crystals before swimming or any form of exercise and before applying any lotions or make up. If getting ready put make on and put lotion on and wait a couple of minute for lotion to penetrate into skin before put them on. If going to bed take Swarovski crystals off first and then do your nightly routine.
  • Mild soap and water and a cloth should be used to clean and polish them. Swarovski recommend drying with a soft lint free towel and finish with a cotton Swarovski cloth. When handling your crystals it is a good idea to wear cotton gloves to prevent getting finger prints on them. Swarovski do sell cleaning packs to keep your crystals in pristine condition.
  • Do not use any cleaners containing alcohol, sonic cleaners, commercial jewellery cleaners or boiling water as this will have a damaging effect on the crystal.
  • Store them in the original packaging or place tissue paper over them after use to prevent them scratching metal or loosening the crystal.
  • Do not store in excessive heat or sun exposure. Make sure you never wear them for bed time, bath time or when exercising.
  • Chains and necklace will retain their shine better when they are hung when not worn.

Adhering to these guidelines will keep your Swarovski crystals beautiful and lustrous for years to come.

Hand made silver Swarovski hair vine
A delicate hair vine with lustrous Swarovsksi pearls and shimmering crystals.

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6 tips to take your business forward in 2018

In this blog I am going to talk about what The Earth Faeries have been up too – my high lights and the challenges too and how I have overcome them. I am also going to show you some of the places that have inspired me and also any new skills that I have learned on the way.

I have been going through a re-brand over the past couple of months and have made all of my products vegan. I thought I’d share with you some of the new materials I have sourced out so you can see what my products are made of and tell you about a new product I am working on that I am excited to finish so I can reveal it to you.

My highlights have been that my venture has started to become more visible and has attracted more new customers that I am very grateful for. There is something wonderful about seeing your products traveling around the world and putting smiles on peoples faces. My groups is growing organically and I am making some very helpful connections.

I am still learning about the changes to face book and Instagram algorithms as it affects all online businesses. If you are a business owner I know that this will resonate with you. It is also important to keep abreast of the field to ensure our businesses continue to get seen and grow.  Otherwise we are offering a great disservice to our customers as they are never going to get to experience our lovely creations.

I have also finally learned how to take a picture that you can see now and no more glare from my blue tinge backgrounds. However it is all still a work in progress but each day I am learning more.

I am looking forward to using my new camera as at the moment I have been using my camera on my phone and pictures can become blurred if taking the pictures too close up to my products. Plus pictures on mobile phones can look beautiful whilst on there but once made bigger they become very pix-elated. I want them to look as beautiful for you all as possible so I am going to keep on practicing and will be able to get better results with my new camera.

I got rid of the white backgrounds and replaced them with a wooden one as firstly it fitted in more with my brand and secondly no matter what I tried I couldn’t get rid of that blue tinge. I have used my wooden window ledges in my new photographs and the light in the bedrooms at a certain time is perfect for doing photo shoots so no hanging out of my windows anymore.

This year I wanted to learn how to style my products. I think not only does it make them look more appealing but it adds interest to the pictures. Plus it’s where my passion lies and I am always on the hunt in my garden, house and shops for props that I can use. Here are some of my new product pictures of my hand made personalized roses that I styled. I made these two for my dinner table and I wanted it to look like a wood land theme. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself sat in a woodland with a long wooden table full of beautiful wooden cutlery, twigs and flowers for decorations. Faeries joining you for dinner and squirrels watching with interest from the nearby branches. This vision is what helped me to style my products.

 

Lavender pink personalized rose

Hand made table decorations for weddings
A hand made rose table decoration with a choice of having your own words in the scroll or a bespoke poem created by me especially for your loved ones.

Neon purple rose table decoration

 

rose table decorations for special occassion
A soft neon purple hand made rose with a poem in a scroll created especially for you!

I am always in awe when I look at other makers websites or shops as they have perfected the art of styling.  I was always taught if you want to learn something then learn from the people who have already done it.  And so I am on a mission!  Several online courses later and after studying others who had perfected it I finally did my first product shots that have been styled with props. The wooden cup and cutlery is courtesy of my friend and a family member. The last picture is out of focus slightly so I will be retaking these with my new camera very soon and look forward to seeing the results.

I am also having to learn how to style my dolls heads hair so I can show case my hair slides so people can see how they look when they are worn. A friend of mine is a hair dresser and she has showed me some lovely but basic styles so now I have to put it into practice. It is all fun and creative in the Earth Faeries house hold.

My Challenges

I came up against some challenges in 2017. A super glue that I was using wasn’t lasting for long which meant that a couple of months down the line my flowers that I was wearing in my hair were coming off the hair slides.

I want to make strong products that last and that are the best on the planet so I knew I had to resolve this straight away. I contacted all of the people who I had sold my hair slides too and only one said it has happened to her too. I thanked her for her honesty and have since made her a replacement and thankfully I still have her as my client.

However challenges are there to make us grow and as long as we learn from our feedback and strive for better so we can resolve it then it is always a win win.  After lots of trial and error I finally found another vegan glue called gorilla glue that I am now using and seems strong enough to glue a house together.  Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea.

I have also taken photography up as my new hobby. I have been photographing landscapes and buildings in the countryside. I was also put in for a black and white 7 day photography challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed and learned lots from it.

Making my hair accessories used to be a hobby but once I turned it into a business it became something quite different. Being up to early hours to ensure products are dispatched on time can take its toll so it’s important to get the balance. I counteracted this through taking up my new hobby and I am out in the countryside practicing my photography skills most days. There are so many beautiful places to visit where I live and getting out in nature is a sure way to replenish and change ones mood. Here is some pictures of my travels and some of the places that have inspired me.

The river rapids in Llangollen in Winter
Views of the river rapids in Llangollen

 

The Faeries day out - hiking
The Earth faeries are out for a hike in the wilderness in Wales – near Ceiriog forest.

This was taken near Ceiriog forest – a beautiful wilderness of different  green hues.

Castell Dinas Bran in Llangollen
The ruins of a castle. This place is called Castell Dinas Bran in Llangollen. It means fortress of crows!

Castell Dinas Bran in Llangollen – the ruins of a castle on top of hill with the most beautiful views of the countryside, cliffs and bigger hills.

The new products I am working on.

I am currently working on some new table decorations that can be used as home ornament too. My new project is a tree of life made out of wire work and beads.

I am making it for my daughter and her partner but there are plans to make them available to buy on my online shop and website in the near future. I planning on putting the Tree of Life on a pebble or rock because I want to add some of nature to the design. I have just received some of the Swarvoski crystals today that  will be using in my new project.  They are a lovely emerald colour and I thought that they would look lovely as leaves.

Swarovski Crystals
These beautiful beads are authentic Swarovski Crystals that I using in my new designs

Here are some of the things that I have learned last year and this year too that I thought would help you in your business.

6 tips to go forward in your business in 2018

  • One of the biggest things I learned last year is either to make things that people want and to make them in the colours that are trending. Rather than what I like. Yes, it was a big learning curve.  I have been researching the colour trends for spring and I must admit I do love all of the pretty colours that are going to be in for the Spring.  Lavender pinks, navy’s, naturals, yellows, mint to name but a few are all going to be working our way into our wardrobes. However I have found that there are customers who don’t buy because of the trends and they wear the colours that they love and reflect their individual personalities. One of the things I love about the clays that I use I can create most colours with them.  I mix them so if someone can’t find a colour they like in my shop or on my website I can mix them to get their preferred shade or colour. So you still get to be uniquely you and I get to have even more fun as it is one of my most favorite parts of making my products.  You can see some of the spring collection on my online shop. Please click here.
  • I also learned that if something isn’t working to do something different. That way you get different results. But no matter what the outcome there is always something to learn from it and as long we learn from it, and strive for better then its always a win win!
  • Keep up to-date with changes in your industry. The internet is constantly changing all of the time and marketing strategies have to change to keep abreast of the field. Marketing that worked six months ago may not work now since the algorithms have changed so keeping update in this area is crucial if small and big businesses are to go forward.
  • Once your hobby becomes a business it is time to get a new hobby to keep the balance.
  • Get the best pictures of your products that you can. I am still learning and have a long way to go. That’s the beauty of life though. There is no such thing as perfection but we can strive to be best that we can be. And most importantly as one very successful online shop owner told me don’t get so caught up with trying to reach perfection with your pictures. This can prevent you from getting your products out there. Or you may be waiting for ever. Just do the best that you can and keep practicing. We all have to start some where and as your business grows you can always outsource.
  • If your phone camera pictures look pixelated once the pictures are made larger (like mine) then it is time to invest in more up to date model or buy a camera. There are some very good quality cameras out there that don’t run into hundreds or thousands which is great news if you are on a small budget.

What two most important things in regards to business did you learn last year?

Until next time….

Love Melanie

The Earth Faeries

 

 

 

 

 

 

The legend Of The Welsh Lakes

In this blog I am going to talk about a faerie legend in Wales. I feel privileged to live in such a beautiful country that is steeped in rich legends and which is often the backdrop for my photographs. I am also going to look at the development of The Earth Faeries and show you some of my new products lines that I am working on as well as tell you about the stories behind them.

The door way to the other world

Lakes in Wales are seen as a port hole to another world. A world where another species live – faeries as is the case of red lake, Llyn Cwm Llwch, and Llyn Fach. According to legend it is through this port hole that fathers, brides, and their sisters from the faerie kingdom can pass through into our earthly realm. Legend has it that humans have been able to pass through this other realm each May day but the privileged was stopped as it was abused. I believe that one has to learn to look after our own world and each other before we explore others. What do you think?

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The lake at Llyn Fach

Wales is spectacular and is every artists, historian and craft persons’ dream as it is steeped in rich history and legends. It is one of the reasons that I love to live and run my business here. When I look out of my windows at the dramatic landscape of the hills and hear the rapid running river I often see stories there and wish that they could talk.

I often go hiking where I live as this gorgeous vast terrain of hills, forests, mountains and rivers is all on my doorstep.  Some times when I am looking for different back drops I will take my products with me to photograph. I was up in the forest yesterday. It is only a short walk; about ten minutes away from my house. I was equipped with my phone camera and a box full of my new products plus a Labrador racing in front of me to smell all the scents of the tracks that the wild life leave.   The forest I visited today was the same location that I celebrated my birthday in with my family.

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This was part of my picnic for my birthday in October that was held in the forest.

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My birthday picnic in October with my loved ones!

As I took my socks and hiking boots off to walk barefooted on the damp moss (called earthing) I was wondering about the folk lore of where I live and particularly this forest. I haven’t found any folk lore attached to this forest yet so I have widened my search to other places in Wales and will be writing about them soon.

I was taking pictures of my products on the logs whilst our family dog was chewing sticks and rolling around on the spongy ground that was covered in moss.  However the lighting wasn’t right so I didn’t get all of the pictures that I was hoping for. Although I did manage to get the right light to get this picture when I got home.

 

Hand made peach rose
A hand made rose in a peach hue with a beautifully crafted poem especially for you.

It was still an eventful day as all of the fresh air made me feel creative and I began to think up some new designs for my products. Plus I got to take my pet dog for a walk and play some frisbee with her which I thoroughly enjoyed.   Having fun certainly stimulates the imagination as I was feeling super creative when I got home and began to doodle some new designs.

The challenges I have encountered

The past couple of weeks have been productive ones. I have been designing and am still designing a new product range. I have found this to be the easy part however the real task has been photographing them.

I am not a professional photographer so I have had to learn really fast and am still learning. My daughter told me me it takes her friend who is a professional photographer thousands of photographs to get the perfect handful and hours of editing. This made me feel better and got me to realize I was having way to high expectations from my handful of pictures that I had taken. After weeks of taking pictures and editing I finally managed to get some of my products up on my online Folksy shop. You can check my products out here

I have been doing some online learning about the rule of two thirds and also how to get rid of the blue tinge that my pictures so often have. And as I have said before although I am no David Bailey ( I wish I was) I feel I am making progress.

Here is one of the products that I have made

 

Hand made accessories
A hand made flower hair comb in a natural shade

Who has influenced my designs?

I was asked by a customer where I got my inspiration from for the peach rose hair comb above. I love stories and this one was an interesting one so I was happy to share it with her. When I was 13 I was a member of a dance school and used to perform on stage doing ballet, tap, jazz and modern dancing with a group of about 25 other girls.

We performed on the theater, in clubs and even in residential homes for senior citizens. My friend had a starring role singing somewhere over the rainbow. I dreamed of the day that I too would have a staring role and perform a solo. Sure enough it happened and I was given my own slot singing Modern Milly. I remember feeling elated but slightly nervous. Maybe nervous was an understatement as my knees had started to knock together at the thought of performing in front of a crowd.

I always remember how happy I felt wearing the white satin Charleston style dress and green head dress that my dance teacher had made for me. I was still nervous to perform though.  However once in my new attire I took on a new persona and my confidence soured! Clad in tap dancing shoes and a long string of faux pearls around my neck I created happy memories for myself and the lovely people who were watching me. It was from then that my passion for the Charleston era began including the music, fashion and accessories. I feel this has influenced my new collection.

Who else has their own business making things? And what has influenced your designs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What It Means To Me To Be A Sustainable Business.

Daisy hair comb

In this blog I’m going to talk about why I decided to rebrand and become a cruelty free business. But also to tell you about why a rebrand can take so long and why it is  not an overnight solution.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. And this metaphor can be applied to everything in life. Indeed it applies to my own business. I started out making authentic pearl jewellery, and for ethical reasons decided to make my entire range cruelty free to reflect myself and my brand. That meant my brand going vegan and myself!  This meant a total rebrand of my business which is still a work in progress.

It is surprising how many people I have spoken to who told me that they make sure that they source out cruelty free clothes and house hold items etc but have never considered that this applies to jewellery. And this applied to me too.   My research left me stunned and I thought  that I would use my blog to educate others.

It hasn’t been an easy task sourcing out cruelty free supplies as I have had to source out new manufacturers and new materials. Some of them replied promptly whilst others never replied so the search went on to find good quality materials that were ethically sourced and cruelty free.

Lots of the professional pictures I had taken when I first started out making my jewellery had the old products featured in them i.e pearls so were no longer suitable. ( I will tell you more about why later). The hardest part was taking the pictures of my jewellery off my blog and website as hours of work, creativity and love had gone into the wedding shoots that had brought together a photographer, event organizer, hair stylish, make up artist, bouquet maker, a model and obviously myself who had designed the jewellery.

I will admit I was a little disheartened at having to go back to basics, new materials,  new suppliers and new photographs. It seemed such a big task but well worth it because it’s important for my business to reflect my ethics.  To make the whole process easier I broke the goal down into small components and began tackling each one. I had to source out animal free glues, animal free clay’s, and faux pearls. I soon discovered and to my surprise that even faux pearls weren’t all cruelty free. All faux means is fake so beware of this when your shopping for your jewellery.

It was a costly mistake I made as after ordering some beautiful faux pearls in a vast array of colours I began to question how they had got the beautiful colours of their faux pearls. It was a good question and sent me on a quest to enlighten myself.

I soon learned some faux pearls have animal by products in. It was big learning curve! Thankfully I hadn’t sold any as I was just in the middle of making the new product line with them. I contacted the supplier and she told me that she wasn’t too sure what the colours were made of but would contact the manufactures. That supplier never replied back to me so those faux pearls ended up in my draw never to be used. However I learned a lot from this experience and it helped me improve my customer service by making sure I always kept in touch with my customers each step of the way.

Exactly the same applied to my ribbons.  I had to go and find suppliers who didn’t use any animals or by products in their ribbons. I was always taught good business practice is knowing what your products are made of. It was surprising to find that so many businesses had no idea whether their products were vegan or not. And I was astounded to realize that I had been one of those people. I just presumed that Faux pearls meaning fake pearls had no animal by products in.

Some times I’d make progress and other times I was hitting brick walls.   I was surrounded by so many good people who told me to keep going, it would work out for the best. And it did because I managed to find all of my new suppliers so I could begin making my hair accessories again. I eventually chose Swarovski pearl beads which the company assured me were cruelty free and sent me an information pack over of how they are made and what they are made of. It was a good start and so I started making my products again.

However with no professional pictures and no professional photographer to help me this time round to put together the photo shoot and style it etc I had to learn photography skills as soon as possible and fast. I had so many great people around me giving me tips and I enrolled on some online courses, read everything in sight and just kept practicing. It is surprising what you can do when you are passionate about something and determined to learn.

I experimented with flat lays, different backgrounds, props, and through trial and error learned what looked great and what didn’t. It is all still a work in progress and I’m no David Bailey but I finally have some pretty decent picture of my products to put onto my shop now.  I used hair dressing dolls to photograph my products on and my daughter has kindly let me photograph the hair accessories in her hair.  Where there is a will there is always a way I have always said.

I was asked why I had decided to make my hair accessory range vegan. Up until my re brand I was a vegetarian and had been for about 8 years. I had become vegetarian purely for ethical reasons.  A friend of mine sent a video over of what they do to the mollusks in order to get the pearls.  See it here. I think that was a life changing moment for me and so the re-brand of my business began.

Several weeks after watching another video of what is happening in the dairy & poultry industry I finally became a vegan. I knew that I couldn’t make jewellery and claim that I was making something magical when living creatures had suffered to make others feels beautiful. Was there anything magical about that? I couldn’t see anything magical at all.

It is surprising how we can wear things without even questioning what they are made of or what the process is to get that product. I had loved pearls for as long as I can remember, having no idea what happened to the mollusks to get them. Did you realize that they actually place irritants into the mollusks to create the pearl. This causes the mollusk great distress and the pearl is the result of the protective barrier that the mollusks makes.  My love affair ended with pearls when I realized this and I could no longer glamorize or justify  wearing lumps of  materials that were basically a result of an irritant. And yes it is true that this does happen naturally in the sea to them when a grain of sand gets inside of their shells. But mother nature always knows best and does not mass produce. Whereas the mollusk farms do. I don’t think I’d like an irritant stuck in me on a continuous basis. Find out more here

Here are some of the new product lines that I have made. I have just had them measured so I can send away for some boxes for them. They don’t fit into standard boxes so I am having to have them made to measure. I am just in the process on deciding on the colours of the boxes so it fits in with my branding. My logo is aqua so I am thinking about going with that colour. Although I am drawn towards white too so I’m going to take time out to think on this.

These are made out of clay, the finest Swarovski crystals and Swarovski pearls which are all 100% vegan. Just got to cut the ribbon off the hair comb and then ready to go!

Hand made rose bridal hair comb
A handmade hair comb with Swarovski Crystals & Swarovski pearls

 

 

A flower hair comb
A hand made flower hair comb in a natural shade

 

So what have I learned from rebranding? Be patient, trust the process of life to work for you and know why you are doing it. Plus think of all of the questions that you need to ask your prospective suppliers before hand to save making costly mistakes like I did.

Do you have any rebranding tips to share with me? Please share in the comments section below.

 

 

4 Top Branding Tips for your Business

In today’s blog I am going to give you a look behind the scenes of The Earth Faeries. It has been a busy start to the month and apart from making jewellery for my customers I’ve been working on my branding, business cards, doing stock checks, and updating my business plan. Plus I have been learning lots!

Talking of stock checks it was time to do a big order from my suppliers. It’s always a good idea to do regular orders for your materials as when you receive an order from your customers there is no waiting round for it to come through. I love when the post man comes as I’ve been receiving lots of nice packages in the mail lately. And today is no exception as two large boxes greet me. Big boxes of craft supplies always puts a smile on my face.

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I have a craft stall in August in Whittington in  Shropshire so I’m preparing for it now. I have bought some crafting materials i.e polymer clays and  a variety of beautiful black velvet jewellery display stands for necklaces earrings and bracelets. I’m just waiting for some more polmyer clays and jewellery display stands to display my choker necklaces that I have made.

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I have learned from my first stall where my jewellery was laid on the tables with no decorations or table cloth. And the second stall I did I had a table cloth that had so much detail on that it detracted from the jewellery. It’s a cringe moment now I know everything I do is part of my branding but it is a good learning experience.  You could say my business reflects my personality so its always a good idea to make a good impression. This year I’m also equipped with a beautiful table cloth for my stand plus some table decorations to uplift anyone who views my work. I think it also makes your craft stall look so much more appealing and welcoming  It certainly has been a year of learning but in a good way.

I have also been investing in myself and working on my self development. My daughter bought me a Leonie Dawson business work book that has been helping me make much progress. There is so much to do when you start a business and making the jewellery is only a small part of it. There is stock checks, book keeping, creative time looking for ideas, marketing, branding, packing, craft stalls, and networking. That’s not to mention all of the time I’ve spend researching all of the online shops so I choose the right one for me. It’s looking like I’m going with Folksy which is a British company. I will keep you posted when I open my online shop. I’ve also had to find the time or as I say make the time for other things that are important to me too such as hobbies, friends and other goals etc.  This book certainly has helped me and would thoroughly recommend to people who have businesses or are even planning on opening one.

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One of the things I have been working on this year is my logo. I think it was one of the hardest parts of the business so far. I had some ideas for example I knew I wanted a faerie and I knew I didn’t want it to be a cartoon tinker bell type one. But when it came to colors I was stumped. Choosing a logo is a lot more than going for your favorite color as it represents your whole brand and either attracts the right type of customers to you or not. So getting it right was crucial!

Here are some tips on having your logo designed:

  1. Know who your customers are. For example what they buy, what magazines they read, what’s important to them. This will help you create the right colours, image and words to appeal to your audience not only on your business cards but on your website, in your blogs and newsletters to name but a few.
  2. Look around the internet for examples of other logos in your field to give you ideas.
  3. Give your designer as much information as possible about your business colours, your target audience i.e women getting married who have children, are 35 years young and are business owners who care about the environment. The more you know who your customers are the more you can give them what they want. Which means being able to make jewellery they love and also write articles they are interested in reading.
  4. Create a pinterest account and make some boards under the secret option and pin them with examples of others logos. This gives your designer a feel for what you want. The secret board is where you can keep your own images to look at and where other people can’t view them without your permission.

 

I shouldn’t have worried about getting my perfect logo designed because my designer, a lovely lady by the name of  Charlotte Mike Cob from F & R Designs really worked her magic wand. And so the earth faeries logo was born. Here she is. I love her. What do you think?

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I have just ordered some business ca20170505_093333-1_resizedrds from Moo and they have arrived today! I chose to design them myself which was relatively easy as the lay out is all there and all you have to do is upload your pictures and logo as well as write your text. I went with Moo as they have something called printfinity which means that you can upload up to 50 product pictures on the back of your cards. Meaning I have a nice little portfolio to give to my prospective customers when I hand them my business card.

I ordered the green version of cards which are 100% recycled from sustainable forests and come in a lovely recycled pulp box to fit in with my ethics. They are also hand packed meaning no machinery so they are good for the environment.

Although I love all aspects of my business I think that my most enjoyable parts of it apart from making the jewellery is photographing it in my own garden and doing wedding shoots. Doing the wedding shoots means I get to see behind the scenes actions on the photo shoot which is interesting and fun. Plus I meet lots of lovely business and creative people in the process.

I love being outside in nature and some of the professional wedding shoots I have collaborated in  have been in beautiful locations which have really helped raise my vibration.  I believe that a persons energy goes into the products they make so the more happier, creative and inspired I am the more my jewellery is beneficial to my customers. As I say it is nice to pass feel good energy onto others.

I even got to have a beautiful horse on one of wedding shoots courtesy of my friend and neighbor Sharon Roberts owner of http://www.penyfedwcottage.co.uk where we had the photography wedding shoot.

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Photography by Philip Antrobus

 

What’s the most enjoyable part of your business?

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5 Unusual Ways To Display Jewellery

Creative Items & Places To Display Your Jewellery

It has been quite a while since I wrote my last blog because I have had writers block & repetitive strain injury.  Not a nice words I know and something I’ve never been able to understand as have never had it until now.   Plus more recently I have also been nursing my little furry friend (my cat Mr D) back to full health so took a break from writing.  However I am back now feeling as creative as ever and note to self to slow down! Despite not updating my blog there has still  been a lot going on behind the scenes of The Earth Faeries from booking craft stalls to improving my photography skills, servicing my clients and having my new logo designed to name but a few.

I have been playing around with different types of back grounds to display my jewellery. I’m very close to opening my online shop ( it’s a choice between Folksy or The Craft Stall Collective) and regardless of which one I choose I need lots of pictures. That’s okay if you are a professional photographer but I’m not so its been a huge learning curve and I’m still learning. Nether the less it has been a fun & magical experience. I thought I would use this blog to show you some of the unusual places or things I’ve used to photograph my jewellery. Some of them I have tried and some I still have to try.

White Card

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Pale yellow rose bobby pin
A delicate yet striking rose bobby pin

 

I found a piece of cut off wood in garden shed for this picture. My other house mate always uses them to photograph his art work so I thought I’d give it a try.

Back of glitter felt

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I ordered some silver glitter craft felt to make another product and used the back of it to photograph this. I loved the way there was little pieces of glitter in the felt but not many so it didn’t detract from the jewellery.

 

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My Swarovski collection photographed in my friends garden

This shot of my jewellery was taken on a sun dial by Philip Antrobus who is a professional photographer. I’ve collaborated with Philip on several projects and he has a  wealth of ideas for great places to display items. Here’s a another photograph he did for a wedding shoot I was show casing my collection in. The wellies featured Ann Dibs beautiful handmade bridal bouquet. We wanted a Welsh countryside theme as that’s where my handmade jewellery is created hence the garden and the wellies.

My friends flower bouquet

Photograph by Philip Antrobus

Other ideas I haven’t tried so far are hanging earrings on painted milk bottles, tree branches, insides of books and even displaying other items of my jewellery on table coasters made out of sliced logs. You can get as creative as your imagination allows you too. When I was in school all those moons ago my teacher used to say to me Melanie stop your imagination running away with you! I say now to anyone ‘if you want to build a business or in fact do anything that requires you to step out of  comfort zone let it run and let it run very far!’

If you are avid photography fan or have a business yourself what have you used to display your jewellery or other products on?

To have a look at my range of products please click here

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8 product development tips!

Behind the scenes of the development of The Earth Faeries company

I love product development and it is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my business.  It means I get to sit there with my pencil and paper doodling ideas and sketching the finished product. I use coloured pencils to play around with colours so I can get the contrast right.

I’m not an artist and my drawings may look as if a five year old has done them but they help me create the vision of what the finished product will look like. In my minds eye they don’t look like a five year old has done them thankfully and it’s that vision that helps me create beautiful pieces that I know my customers and family will love. It was my daughter who persuaded me to start to draw my ideas down on paper as she said it would really help me create them and bring them to life in my mind. And she was right and I’m so glad I didn’t let not being up to artist standard hold me back from giving it a go.

Being a crafter means I am always looking for the best materials to work with that are not only good quality but enjoyable to use too. I make a wide range of products from Swarovski crystals vegan silk clay jewellery (no silk worms here but refers to texture) polymer clay fridge magnets to hanging mobiles for babies. In this blog I’m going to look at product development which includes the type of materials I am using and at present sourcing. I am also going to give you some product development tips in-case you want to have a go at making your own.

Here are some of the items that I design and hand make:

Faux Pearl & Clear Swarovski set

Faux Ivory Pearl & Clear/Pink Swarovski Set

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The beginning of a new product

I’m just in the middle of making my baby hanging mobiles however they are also great for adults too. I’m making my grown up daughter one for her bedroom. They take about 10 hours or more to make as they are hand made and hand painted but they are very relaxing to do. And the one below is a work in progress. I originally made four horses (all baked in my oven) and realized that it would look more balanced with another four so I am just in the middle of making them.

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Here’s me painting my figurines for my hanging mobile.

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These are still being painted but I’m nearly there.

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I originally sanded and painted the wooden hoop I am hanging the figurines from. I wrapped a beautiful gold shimmer ribbon around the centre of the hoop so the pink paint would still be visible either side. However although it looked beautiful it didn’t match the vision in my head. I knew I wanted this product to be very eye catching for little ones to bring them a source of pleasure and entertainment when they are lay in their cots or beds. And having had my own child I knew babies loved anything sparkly and it would capture her attention for a long time.

I envisioned  beautiful glitter flags around the hoop that would give a canopy effect so the hunt was on for the material that I could use.

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I came across glitter felt and it felt like being a child again in candy land. Felt on one side and a beautiful glitter on the other side. The felt is really easy to work with and great to trace around my hand made template triangle (for the flag canopy). It is easy to cut and  my scissors glide through it.

I currently work with Fimo which is a polymer clay but I am always always sourcing out different materials. I recently sent away for some air dry clay but I didn’t enjoy working with it.  It cracked very easily so I had to keep using lots of water on it which I enjoyed. However it didn’t do very well in the moulds and because some of my silicone moulds are very deep it didn’t dry properly. I am just looking at porcelain clay now which is vegan and if I like it then there are plans to make the figurines on the hanging mobiles out of it in future.

As soon as the project is complete I will write an article on it so you can see my finished creation.

Perhaps your thinking about starting your own project but not sure how to get started. I thought I would give you some product development tips that have helped me enormously.

7 product development tips

  1. Look round on the internet or in magazines to help generate ideas. Don’t copy though. It is nice if your work is original. It can be similar but have fun adding your own twist to it.
  2. Sketch your ideas. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw as only you is going to see it. You will find it helps construct the vision of the product in your mind.
  3. If your planning on selling your product decide how your going to price yourself? For example work out how much something costs you and then selling it a price that you make a profit on. Or alternatively charge an hourly rate if the project takes a couple of hours to make.
  4. If your planning on selling what you make ensure you do your market research and find out who your target audience is and also whether there really is a need for your product.
  5. Take lots of walks in nature. All of that fresh air increases energy and adds oxygen to the brain cells which means more thinking power. With more thinking power you’re more likely to be able to use your imagination to come up with something beautiful.
  6. If making jewellery think about using a bead design board. It allows you to play around with your designs before you string them. I have one of these and it makes the design stage so much easier.

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8. Learn how to do meditation and do it every day. It will clear you mind and without the sea of endless thoughts ideas will come more readily. It will replenish you thus helping you be more productive.

And if making things isn’t for you then I offer a great selection of beautiful gift ideas for every day use and for special occasions for you to choose from. Please click the link to see them. https://theearthfaeries.com/portfolio-2/

Additional Note

I no longer work with Fimo as have discovered it has animal by products in but instead now work with cruelty free clays.



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Harper & The Faeries

Moving to Wales about 9 months ago was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only is is it a magnificent country with lots to see and do to ignite my imagination but it is steeped in history and faerie Lore. I love anything faerie related so I decided to write a blog each month about the different faerie lores in Wales. This month I’m going to write about Harper & the faeries.

Shon Robert who was a Harper lived in a remote part of Denbigshire called Hafod Elwy. He was a musical soul and was always being invited to parties to play for the singers and dancers. This evening he had been called to a party in Llechwedd Llyfn, in the neighborhood of Cefn Brith. After a lovely evening everyone parted company and he headed home. His path was over the bare mountains which led him past a lake called Llyn-y-dau-ychain and on the verge of it was something that he had never seen before. It was a vividly illuminated grand palace. He however proceeded on his way and to his amazement came right in front of the palace. A faerie footman invited him in. Curious, he accepted the invitation and entered into a a magnificent hall where a grand ball was taking place. Much of the furniture was lavish and made of solid gold. The faeries all drank from gold goblets and a waiter stopped by and offered him a drink from a goblet that was adorned with jewels to which he accepted.

Soon he was surrounded by friendly faeries and to his astonishment addressed him by his name. They asked him to play for them and their guests which he gladly did. And much to his delight a hat was passed around and in it was put many pieces of gold and silver coins.

The magnificent feast and merriment of the guests continued until near dawn and one by one the guests took their leave. Until he was finally alone. Sleep was calling and he found a  a couch and lay down. He was soon fast asleep.  He did not wake until mid day and to his surprise he founds himself lying on a heap of heather. The palace had vanished and the gold and silver he had transferred from the hat and into his bag the night before was changed to withered leaves.