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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Etsy Top Sellers, An Unhappy Shopping Experience, Copper Patinas, Gabe's Photos


So I had a look at a list of Etsy’s top sellers (top sellers in volume, not profit). Not surprised in the least to see it is overrun by sellers of supplies.

Too bad I have no interest in selling supplies.

If you keep scrolling, you eventually get to some who sell jewelry only. The top sellers of jewelry sell massive amounts, of inexpensive, trendy items. The profit for these shops is in the volume, for sure. My hat’s off to them as I’d have to work 80 hours a week and have a couple of assistants to do what they do.


I had put off buying from two large online shopping sites because I don’t find their prices very tempting. One is MonsterSlayer, the other is Thunderbird.

But Thunderbird had a sale weekend a little while ago where you got the volume discount price no matter what volume you bought. Seemed like a good time to try them out.

So I get my order and get to work right away on some bracelets I need to get out for a custom order.

For these bracelets I only needed basic sterling silver ring and bar toggle sets.

I made about four of the bracelets, and on the fifth one I noticed that one side of the bar part of the clasp was very sharp.

Oh, that won’t do. So I get out my file and start to file the sharp point into a something appropriate for jewelry. In doing this, I put a bit of pressure on the clasp and to my shock discover that the soldered ring on the bar has come apart.

Well, that makes that clasp useless for me. I don’t use open jumprings with beading wire… the wire can slip right out of the opening.

But as I’m dismantling the bracelet I make a discovery… every single ring and every single bar that I purchased in that design (yes, the bars and rings were sold separately) actually has an open ring rather than a soldered closed ring to attach to the body of the bracelet.

Now, I’m not saying there’s no use for such a thing. But *I* have no use for such a thing and feel the listing could be clearer about the open rings… like maybe even mentioning them.

The item description never mentions that the rings are open and the item photo is too blurry to discern at a glance the possibility that the rings are not soldered. Going back now, I can see the split in the ring… if I look closely at the enlarged photo and if I am looking for it.

But I do wonder why the photo doesn’t show the sharp point of the bar… each of my ten bars was identical. The photo in the listing has two smooth edges. I find that disturbing.

In over a dozen years of buying findings online, I have never seen an open ring not stated as such. If ring is not soldered closed, the photo makes it very clear… not by a ½ millimeter twist, but an actual separation of the two sides of the ring so the customer knows what they’re buying. I’m not saying Thuderbird is out to deceive anyone; but I do think the listing is careless.

Anyway, either one of those is enough to turn me off (maybe I’m too harsh, whatever). But look at this sharp bar… would you really want your customer wearing that? All ten bars were cut like that.

Now here’s a photo that is blown up to about twice the size of reality. In this blown-up photo, can you tell that these rings are open, without scrutinizing?

Well, maybe I *am* too picky, too harsh… but still… it’s like going to a restaurant and getting a bad meal… kinda puts you off that place, know what I mean?


Well, it was actually a three-day weekend (again). Our office building was closed Friday due to Thursday night’s riots (after the Mehserle verdict).

I started a couple of completely different projects on Friday… continued them today… was disappointed with the progress, but am not giving up.

I’ll show you pics when I’m done.

Today was “creative day”… so I’m not happy that the fruits of my labor didn’t ripen, but that’s how things go sometimes when you’re an experimentalist.

Part of one of my projects involved copper. I decided I might want patina’d copper… which got me to thinking about all the different patinas I have (I had spent some of Friday sorting out my “things”).

So I decided to do something that may also help future projects. I lined up all my patinas, cut six pieces of 22g copper sheet, cleaned them, added texture, then put a different patina on each one, brushing off half the surface patina for comparison, drilled a hole in each piece and hung it onto its corresponding bottle.

The fifth bottle has a soaking time of 24-48 hours, so I don’t have a photo of that one yet, and the six bottle turned out to be a primer and sealant, not a patina at all.


Well, tomorrow’s clean the apartment day and photo day… hopefully I’ll have photos of something new to show you.

That’s it for now.

Oh, except that I started to put some of Gabe’s photos up… it’s only a small start (compared with how many photos he’s taken over the last year or two) and there are no explanatory labels yet because Gabe’s not here this weekend, but one step at a time (otherwise I never do anything).

Gabe’s photos


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  1. Laura, I sell supplies too. Some supplies. Seed beads, and the hand picked and hand drilled plant and tree seeds. People who sell mandrels sell supplies. Not all supplies are not hand made (though my seed beads are from the Czech Republic and most certainly not hand made by me).

    I know you're right in what you're saying. I have the same gripe about people who sell imported cloves as handmade. I could sell cloves from the tree in our back yard, but not at the price those so called hand made cloves that are imported from a low wage country are sold. We have the same gripe.

  2. Laura, it is your "pickiness" that makes your jewelry the cream of the crop. Every time I wear the pieces that I've purchased from you is perfect. Never anything that will snag, poke, or heaven forbid cut me. The fact that you are such a discerning artist is what makes your pieces as beautiful and timeless as they are.

    Please don't give into to the "thrown together and make a buck crowd".