This picture is horrible. Why is it horrible? Because for years, I scanned my jewelry to list it on my website. That hideous greyish background is the white lining of the scanner lid. Yuck. Back then I had to choose my focals based not on how much I liked them, but whether they were flat enough to be scanned!
Last night, I was lying awake, thinking about my business, and my thoughts drifted back to my beginnings. More than 12 years ago, I started out stringing cheap jewelry and listing it on eBay. And I mean cheap. I used cheap beads, cheap plated findings, and I strung everything on fishing line. We actually had a digital camera for a short time. I don't have any photos of my jewelry from that far back, as I was 16, living at home, using my parents' computer, and that was back in the days before thumb drives and home wireless networks made it quick and easy to transfer your files from one computer to the next.
Anyway. I was thinking how I used to make my cheap jewelry, get Chris to take a photo of it, put it on eBay, and then... it sold! Just like that! There was no blogging, no mentioning it on Facebook, no Project Wonderful ads, no worrying about SEO. Back in those wonderful days, before everyone realized that you could make money on eBay, you could actually... make money on eBay. Without even really trying. A 16-year-old girl could make cheap beaded jewelry and sell it for enough money to buy more cheap beads and holiday presents for her entire family.
Now I use nice materials. I still bargain hunt, but I look for good deals on good beads. I use sterling silver clasps. I string my necklaces on SoftFlex. I do a lot of beadweaving. I stress about photos, I advertise everything on my blog and Facebook... and it doesn't sell. The internet has moved on, and it's no longer a simple matter of listing it and knowing buyers will find it. You have to actively promote, and try to be heard amongst a sea of other people actively promoting their work.
I don't want the good old days back. I don't miss my flatbed scanner and my dial-up internet and my cheap beads. Nostalgia hasn't yet made me forget all of those annoyances. But I can't help but wish that I didn't have to spend so much time promoting and more time creating.
Oh yeah, speaking of promoting, visit my shop Handmade Jewelry by Erthe Fae Designs, or at least tolerate the fact that I have to link it every day.