Crystal Kaleidescope

I absolutely love bead shopping.  I love to click around, filling my cart.  I discover a great price on the amethyst shape I love to work with…yea!  There’s a special on the wire I use…double yea!  I see the items multiplying, the discounts piling up. I only need 5 more items to reach the next discount plateau…then I’m at that point…does it get any better than this for a jewelry designer?!

Then comes check out.  Oh-oh, I can’t really afford this large of a bead order.  But just think of all the money I’m saving on quantity discounts!  And I know the sales will be high, so that justifies the cost, right?  Right.  And anyway, I’m doing all this marketing and my website is going up, so my demand will increase, so I’ll need more inventory.  And anyway, all these beads are so INSPIRING! 

With the click of a mouse the order is on it’s way.  A BEAD ORDER IS ON ITS WAY!  I love the anticipation, knowing it’s on its way to me.  I wait impaitiently until the day it arrives at my door.   Now comes the real fun…looking through all the fun stuff I ordered.  Oh, these are even better than I thought they’d be!  I can’t wait to make something with these.  Hmmm, these are smaller than I thought they’d be.  Oh, well, I’ll find something to make with them. 

Gee, I don’t have enough room in my trays…I’ll have to buy a couple more containers.  No problem.  With the shows coming up, and my website going up, and the marketing I’ve been doing the orders will be coming in and it’ll all be worth it…

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This week I:

  •  found out my X lost his job…
  •  doesn’t have another one…
  •  moved back in with his parents (he’s 42)…
  •  doesn’t get unemployment, which means I don’t get child support
  •  started a new part-time job
  •  nursed my daughter through the flu.  She missed 5 days of school.
  •  took her to the doctor today because she broke out in hives all over her body
  •  made homemade chicken soup to hopefully help my daughter
  •  made it through the half-way point in my courses this semester…
  •  etc.
  •  etc.
  •  etc.

And now I’m tired.  I came home ready to put my feet up.  My daughter’s hives have subsided for now, so it was a frozen pizza supper and a second viewing of “Hairspray” at our house tonight.  Who can stay tired or stressed during that show?  We all felt better after an hour-and-a-half of singing along and toe-tapping.

Tomorrow I need to get going photographing some jewelry, and making new designs for Spring to bring to The Old Church Gallery in Cedar River, MI next weekend.  They are re-opening on May 1st, and I’m really excited for their second year in existence.  Last year, it was so fun to head up along the bay to visit the gallery and see all the stuff…mine included…

So tomorrow in-between the laundry loads and the shopping and the nursing and the cooking will come some creative time for jewelry creation and photographing.  My photos up to now have been more for inventory’s sake than for beauty. Hopefully I’ll have something better to show soon.  Now’s the time to learn to use that fancy digital camera I got my daughter for Christmas. 

Because tonight I felt my creative urges return somewhere during “Hairspray.”  I can’t wait to play among the beads tomorrow. 

 

         

 

Fulfillment

A Year Ago Today was a really difficult day for me.  One year ago today, April 18, 2007, my divorce was final.  A divorce I didn’t seek, didn’t want, and am still reeling from.  With all the tears and the trauma involved, it’s hard to find the silver linings, but we try.  It’s gotten to be a thing with me and the kids, looking for silver linings.  For example, none of us like chunky spaghetti sauce, but we made it that way “before” because X liked it that way.  So, one of our first silver linings was smooth spaghetti sauce.  Baby steps. 

And there have been lots more silver linings.  My friends and my family have kept me going and have not given up on me.  God has been ever-present and has made me so aware of these silver linings…one of the biggest has been this jewelry business.  It was my hobby business, the one that I kept small because X thought it might interfere with my being support staff for his business, and it might get too busy for me to take care of the kids the way I always had (alone, basically).  But now I see how God gave me this business that was already trying to grow to help me provide for my children during the upheavals of the past year.  I had not worked outside the home before the divorce, and due to the growth of my “hobby business”, I have been fortunate enough to still be working at home. 

Sometimes the inspiration isn’t there.  Sometimes I feel so sad I don’t want to create.  But at other times the ideas flow and the creativity won’t be quieted without hours at my beading table.  My children are so proud of me and I am learning to be proud of myself again.  I went through the Urban Hope program to learn more about entrepreneurship.  I am finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree that has been unfinished for 23 years.

A Year Ago Today, I thought my life was ending.  Sometimes it still feels that way.  But it hasn’t been the end, it’s just the beginning of something new.  I heard once that when we lose something it just makes room for something else to come into our lives.   I have gained much this year, and there’s still room for more.  I will get up tomorrow morning and continue to try to fill it with more silver linings

 

I Dream of Turquoise

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

The Urban Hope Entrepreneur Center of Green Bay has announced that Diane Erickson of Sweet Annie’s Jewelry was chosen as one of the business plan winners from its recent classes.  The winners, who are from throughout the New North, were selected from 50 participants from two classes and will be awarded grants.  The sponsorship for the current grants was made possible by Morgan Stanley Investment Management. 

 

 

Truth be told, I wasn’t even going to finish writing this business plan.  The goal of the classes was to teach us practical business skills, the most essential being a good business plan worthy of presenting to a bank for financing.  Since my brother was providing the funds for my website and I really haven’t got strong financial records to show, I wasn’t planning on putting in the work to even join the business plan contest.  But since I don’t like to leave things unfinished, I completed the plan – actually putting in more time than I ever thought was necessary, and turned it into the Urban Hope Business Plan Competition on the very last day possible, hoping I wasn’t making a fool of my self with my “little” plan.

 

You can imagine my joy when I got the call saying I was one of the eight winners.  In addition to the grant to help pay business expenses, I felt like it was such a validation of my hard work on Sweet Annie’s Jewelry.  So much for my little “hobby business”…I felt (rightly) like the real deal.  Studies have shown that businesses who have a formal business plan are much more likely to still be in business several years later.

 

 

Who would have thought those Christmas gift bracelets would have taken me on this journey?

Countdown…5…4…3…?

April 15, 2008

I Love You Mom

This bead collage was created out of loose beads lying on my beading table by my son as a surprise for me.  It says “I Love you, Mom”.   Awwwwwwww!!

 

Any day now.  It’s coming soon!  My graphic/web designer is hard at work getting my site ready to go up.  I am so excited!  It’s been a long journey – longer than I initially planned on.  There were so many decisions to be made.  I have spent many sleepless nights agonizing over every detail…wanting to get it just right.  I finally got to the point where I knew I just had to leap and figure it all out on the way down.  Hopefully that leap will lead to Internet opportunities for business growth.

I’ve got all sorts of plans.  Thinking of things to do is the easy part.  Implementing them is hard.

It’s scary, also, because putting my jewelry pieces out there is a risk.  Will people like them?  It is such a personal thing – my “babies” are being put on display and are being judged!  What will the world think?

We will soon find out…I’ll keep you posted!

The Name Story

April 5, 2008

Every time I do a show or event, someone always asks where the name Sweet Annie’s came from.  So if anyone is wondering, here’s the answer.

Many years ago I worked for a friend’s floral shop. I worked some in the shop, but more at home doing silk and dried wreaths, sachets and gifts.  My children were small and the arrangement worked great. I did well, so I registered it as a business.  There is a wildflower (weed!) called Sweet Annie, and it has a very strong scent and it’s used widely as a filler flower.  I just loved it, and I started growing it in my garden.  All of my life my four brothers have called me Annie, so the name of the business just clicked with me.  Even though I would never consider myself “sweet” most of the time, I still thought it was a good name for the business!

When I started making jewelry, I didn’t envision it growing like it did, so I just used my existing business name and license.  Before long I had name recognition, so I didn’t think I should change it.  Many times I thought about it, but then again, the name seems to stick with people, so I stuck with it.

So that’s how it began.  Sometimes I dream of making a change to a more “jewelry sounding” name, but Sweet Annie’s has done very nicely for me and I’m sticking with it!

 

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Expo in Green Bay, WI.  I was part of the Urban Hope area.  For anyone who doesn’t know about Urban Hope, it is an organization founded by Reggie White, the late NFL great.  It is an organization to encourage and train entrepreneurs.  What a wonderful organization this has been for me!  In addition to motivation, they gave me the opportunity to learn from so many volunteer business leaders in the Green Bay community.  They’ve been my encouragement, my mentors and my friends.  Check them out at urbanhopegb.org

My Booth

 

I’m here, world!

April 5, 2008

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at blogging for a long time, and I have decided to take the plunge before I lose my courage! 

There has been so much happening in my life in the past year-and-a-half that I don’t even know where to start.  But the beginning of my business goes further back than that, truthfully.  Sweet Annie’s Jewelry started on my dining room table as a way to make personalized gifts for my nieces, godchildren and friends.  My nieces names are unusual names, and my daughter’s name is really common, so personalized jewelry was hard to come by.  When I had finished 7 bracelets (all I’d planned to do), I decided to make them for my goddaughters, too.  Then I changed the theme a little and made mothers bracelets for all my sisters-in-law and friends.  It just kept going.  I was hooked.

Before long I was talking to friends of mine who owned a coffee shop telling them about this new passion of mine, and they invited me to bring some pieces in to sell.  Because I was a stay-at-home mom, this seemed like a great way to support my habit, so I brought some stuff in and a business was born.

The most common question I have been asked is about my business name.  Where did it come from?  Check back in for my next post when I explain where Sweet Annie’s came from!

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