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Recent Reviews and Feedback So Great - You Will Think I Bribe My Customers! Read hundreds more here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Your...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

4 BIG Benefits of Being an Etsy Mentor

Share Your Strengths

The Benefits Of Mentoring Someone on Etsy

I can already hear the balking. “ Mentor? I can’t even mentor myself”; “I don’t know enough to mentor someone else”;   “I don’t have enough sales to be respected as a mentor”, etc.

Phooey, I say. You know more than you think you do.  If you have figured out that selling on Etsy is not a straightforward endeavor, you officially know more than a new seller.

Allow me to compare apples to oranges for a minute to make a point.  Selling on Ebay  IS a straightforward endeavor that you can figure out as you go. No need to read a lengthy sellers manual.  Ebay walks you through very simple steps.

  • You decide to sell an item, any item.  
  •  You take a photo or two or twelve. They can be really bad photos and nobody cares
  • You look around at other items like yours to research a price.  Decide to auction or sell.  Pricing is a cinch!
  • Choose a category and write a title stuffed with catchy keywords, willy-nilly.  (No worries about # of characters for the pesky Google Bot
  • No matter how lame your description is, it sells. No one expects colorful language. You don’t count the characters or words to feed the Google Bot.
  • Your item goes live
  • You answer a bunch of email questions (maybe)
  • Your item sells. You get paid through Paypal, and you print a Paypal shipping label and ship.
  • You get feedback, with most transactions

If it is so straightforward, why don’t I just go and sell on Ebay, you wonder. Baaaa! Don’t get me started.  I am simply illustrating that it is a different selling experience from Etsy. In many ways, (most not good). It is quite a different world. It is not a warm and welcoming community of crafters and artisans like you will find on Etsy.

So, if you have established your shop, been active in the Etsy community, (Teams, Forums, etc.); have kept up with the ever changing tips and rules for improving relevancy and being found in search, then, face it, you are a well -seasoned Etsy-er. 

The numbers do not roll in over night in any new business, and the very competitive online handmade, vintage, and supplies (businesses) are no exception.

You do not need high sales to be able to share your strengths: 
your empirical wisdom and experiential knowledge

You know what I think? Now, as I learn something new  in business, I feel if I can’t share it, it is being wasted. I am not worried about giving the competition a leg-up. Once you become generous with your knowledge, it seeps into your core values and you find yourself feeling like a giving, better person every day,

Give  and  You  Shall  Receive

4 Benefits of Being an Etsy Mentor

  • Learn new things!

Mentoring a younger person will undoubtedly earn you a hearty education in a technical area you may have previously been clueless about.

    It’s inevitable that someone younger than you will know  (a lot) more about a topic you’re less familiar with.

For example, if you have always wanted to ease your way into Instagram, perhaps a Generation Y mentee can help you learn it in a day.

  •  Develop leadership and management skills.

Becoming a mentor can help you learn how to oversee and guide others. If you have never been in a professional setting as a mentor, a casual mentor/mentee relationship can help you discover skills such as coaching and feedback and tap into leadership abilities you never knew you had.

  • Professional Esteem
People who are seen as mentors are granted   higher credibility and are seen as greater performers. You appear as more connected and will draw others to you for consult.

  • Impress Yourself

You take for granted all that you have learned and the skills you have honed over time.  When imparted onto someone new, this knowledge sounds vast and sage. It is great for an ego boost and a reminder of how far you have come.


Why would you pass up an opportunity to feel good about yourself? 

You can truly open up someone’s world with a small time investment. Very simple words can give people new ideas and opens doors for them. It can truly change lives. You open their minds to possibilities, expecting nothing in return. This, in turn, gives you more meaning in your life

Following is a quote from Gloria Flynn of Earth Energy Gemstones on Etsy. I asked her to tell me about her experience with her mentor. They have been together more than a year:
Gemstone Triple stacking bracelets   https://www.etsy.com/shop/EarthEnergyGemstones?ref=l2-shopheader-name
EarthEnergyGemstones on Etsy

"My Etsy mentor is the lifeline for my jewelry business.  From the very beginning she had my back and encouraged me to join her team called Jewelry on Etsy (JETs). From the moment I was welcomed into the team, she has been an active participant in my success.

She makes herself available for me and responds to questions in great detail, and with love; everything from what to include on my listing tags to how to make jewelry from recycled silver. When I'm not asking her questions, she's asking ME questions. For example: How often do you tweet? Do you have a Google+ account and are you using it? She explains how things work in social media, and tells me what to do--but in a good way, like how I could be using it better.

She builds me up when I'm down, and constantly encourages me to stretch my wings a little, like "You should be making (fill in the blank) because they are in the top searches and will bring more traffic to your shop”.

The Etsy jewelry world is HUGE, and it's easy to get lost--but not when you have a mentor who shows you the way. Mine has and I'm so grateful!"

Thank you for reading!
Norah Downey

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wax Seals: A History and How-To

A History of  Wax Seals

wax seal stamped initials
My personal collection of wax seal stamped initials from 1750 - 1972


Personal Wax Seal Stamps from 3500BC to Today

If I could get back the hours I have spent scouring the earth for antique wax seal stamps I could have another college degree.  I love and hoard wax seals. Not just because I make silver wax seal jewelry, but because of the history behind them and all the stories they must have to tell.

The use of wax seals largely disappeared long before the popularity of handwritten correspondence did. The disappearance most likely corresponds with the invention of the sticky envelope in the latter half of the 19th Century when automatic envelope folding machines, and more importantly, pre-gummed envelopes, were developed.

The history of the wax seal is long and romantic. They have served many purposes over centuries. They have been  used to identify a sender, authenticate documents, and to insure privacy.  Seals of one form or another were used by royalty, government officials, religious entities and military officers.

From my Personal Collection - I Have Drawers and Drawers of These!

As a pre-teen and teenager in the seventies, we were not quite as genteel as the Royals.  We bought our wax seal stamps in the “head shop”  and used them for sheer grooviness. Peace signs, zodiac signs, dragons, moon and stars and the like. But no letter to a friend at camp was sent without one... or six.

I still find them so appealing that I have begun adding them to my few and far between written correspondence.  They add an element of distinction (and, perhaps for me, give subtle subliminal promotion of my wax seal jewelry business.)  

wax seal jewelry
Shameless Plug for my Aforementioned Wax Seal Jewelry at Your Daily Jewels
A Seal Emblem from Notre Dame de Paris, 1780, Can you see the "N" and "D"?

If you’ve ever been curious about wax seals, I will cover their history here, and my post  next week will be a photo tutorial on how to make them yourself.

A Little History of Wax Seals

The use of seals can be traced all the way back to the world’s first civilizations, and have been found in Mesopotamia and are believed to hail from 3500BC. They were made with clay that was impressed with engraved cylinders or rings. 

Ancient Turquoise Carving Used as a Wax Seal

Seals have served as a stamp of indisputable authenticity throughout history, just as a signature is accepted in the world today. The use of seals can be traced back to the Old Testament, wherein it is written that Jezebel used Ahab’s seal to counterfeit important documents.  


Each stamped seal is unique. It allows the reader to instantly know whether a document has been tampered with.  Some might say this was the wax seal’s original function.  However,  in a time when many were illiterate, they were used in place of a signature to authenticate agreements, contracts, wills, letters which conferred rights or privileges – any act executed in someone’s name. 

The seal itself often bears a distinctive emblem or symbol specific to the sender. Because these seals were symbols of power and used to authenticate a person’s wishes, they were typically destroyed after the owner died to prevent posthumous forgeries.


My Wax Seal Wheels from the Early 1800's

The use of wax seals  gradually spread to aristocrats, monasteries and guilds (for example, butchers would sign agreements with a seal bearing the image of a hog or cow), and eventually to ordinary freemen by the 13th century.

Romano-British Gold Signet Ring Wax Seal Stamp, 4th C. AD.  A cross on a circular bezel, within a dotted border. A very rare Roman, Christian ring during the occupation of Britain by the Romans.

Utilized in this official capacity, seals were sometimes placed directly on an official document but were most often attached in the “pendent style" so not to become lost. The seal was applied to a cord, ribbon, or strip of parchment and hung loose after being threaded through a hole or slot at the lower edge of the document.

 (above) When the Swiss decided they wanted to go to war with Charles, Berne removed its wax seal from this Treaty for Peace that they had signed with Burgundy in 1467.  Look closely, you can see the two holes left by the absence of the Swiss seal. 

Wax Seals in Private Correspondence
 Seals were used  to seal handwritten letters which were the only form of correspondence available to express one's deepest true feelings and thoughts for a great part of our history. I am sure many a Victorian-Era parent cracked the seal of a letter from a suitor to an anxiously awaiting  daughter.

"Am I Welcome"  Wax Seal, 1790

Wax seals take me away. I can't help but envision  a young Victorian lady seated at her vanity opening a letter from her beau with a wax seal that reads "Am I Welcome", hinting that he soon shall be in her area of the country and would love to stop in and see her.  The other wax seals are  from my collection. See the loops? They were often worn as necklaces, on charm bracelets or as watch-fob adornments so they were always handy.

In the Middle ages, using a wax seal to keep a letter closed, ensure it hadn’t been tampered with, and confirm it was indeed written by the supposed sender was a  practice used in this period,  but the widespread use of the seal did not really take off until the post-medieval period.

 As travel, emigration, and colonization increased, wax seals were not simply applied to keep communication confidential, but as a practical necessity. 
Before the British and American postal reforms of the mid-19th century, sending a letter was quite expensive; it cost 25 cents in the US to send a letter over 450 miles – quite a lot in those days.

Furthermore, postage was based on distance and number of sheets
An envelope would have counted as an additional sheet – doubling the cost – so letter writers used  a single folded piece of paper and then sealed it shut with wax to avoid the extra expense. Envelopes were considered a frivolous luxury.

Three Antique Wax Seals from my collection, primarily used to create Sterling Wax Seal Jewelry

During the Industrial Revolution a burgeoning pre-gummed envelope industry emerged. The use of the wax seal slowly diminished after postal reforms significantly reduced the cost of postage and changed its basis from the number of sheets to overall weight.  The seals only added more weight, and thus, more cost to mailing.

 Letter writing became much more accessible to the masses and the volume of letters mailed increased fivefold, but not the use of the faithful wax seal.

If you’re interested in creating wax seals as in days of olde, check back next week for part 2 when I will post a photo tutorial how to create a wax seal.

Thank you for visiting and reading!

More Sources on the topic:
1.  The University of Notre Dame has a large website showing Medieval Seals from their collection  of facsimiles of the originals. 
2.   Durham University Library displays a collection of Medieval Seals.
3.   The History Box web site, presented by a former head of seal conservation at the National Archives, displays a range of seal facsimiles. You can buy one if you like. 
4Archim, the website of the French National Archives, has an exhibition of Seals from Burgundy.

If you prefer a book, try:

1Tommochy, A.B. 1952 Catalogue of British Seal-Dies in the British Museum London: British Museum or Harvey, P.D.A. and McGuinness, A. 1996
2.  A Guide to British Medieval Seals London: British Library and Public Record Office. A number of black and white drawings of seals in this section have been derived from Bloom, J.H. 1906 
3.   English Seals London: Methuen and Boutell, C. 1899 English Heraldry London: Gibbings and Co.

The complete catalogues of seals in the British Library, or the British Museum as it was when these antique tomes were produced, can be found on the Internet Archive.

For a slightly different perspective, The Weekend Wanderers Metal Detecting Club shows an assortment of seal dies and matrixes that careless people have lost in the fields of old England over the centuries.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme records small archaeological finds, which include numbers of medieval seal dies and matrices.

If you are interested in the heraldic aspect (as I am,) or want a seal identified, try the College of Arms or The Heraldry Society.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Who's Your Daddy? Celebrating 7 Typical Types of Dads

Who's Your Daddy - Is He Here?

Fathers Day Gift Idea: Recycled Sterling Anchor Pendant by Your Daily Jewels
Your Dad - The Anchor of Your Family

F A T H E R S   D A Y 

is around the corner, (June 15 - for those wondering which corner.)  

 It's time to celebrate the man who brought you into this world, and all his lovable eccentricities. My dad wore black socks with sandals at the beach and this is a true story. He did not know how to dress casually. If he wasn't in a suit he looked like he may have been dumpster diving. 

1. He was a "Type A" dad, but, back in the seventies, this kind of dad was a lot different than today's Type-A dad.

Similarities: workaholic, white collar, successful, driven.  They are "doing it all for the family-dads", (although they were not around much.)

Differences between then and now: Type-A in the Seventies: 4 martini lunches; 
Today: 4 Triathlons a year.

Sterling Wax Seal Monogram Key Chain - Father's Day Gift for the Guy Who Has Everything

2. "Hip-Pop or Pal-dad: He's "down" with your friends and wants to hang with you any chance he gets. Your friends love him and you do your best to make him feel included by sharing "just enough" information. He lives for his family.

Sterling  Realistic Wolf's Claw Pendant for Dad!

3. The "Older" Dad: All of your friends had cool young dads who wore blue jeans on the weekends.  This dad has never owned blue jeans. "Traditional" barely begins to describe this solid, wise, family man

Your Father Has Always Kept You on Course

4. The "Glory Days" Dad: He wears his original Grateful Dead tee-shirt any chance he gets and blasts the classic rock station while mowing the lawn. To your horror, you have seen him playing air guitar when he thought no one was looking.  He's more than happy to recount again and again, stories of his mis-spent youth. He keeps a close eye on his kids because he knows what he was up to at their age. He would do anything for his family.

Can't Loose Fathers day Gift 3mm Sterling Ball Chain from Your Daily Jewels on Etsy
The "Perfect" Mens Chain - Sterling 3mm Oxidized Ball Chain 

5. Hard-ass Dad:  Maybe he’s a cop or ex-military, but you grew up knowing  the boundaries  (and how to sneak around them). Your friends are still scared of him even though you are all in your thirties now. You know that deep down he is a softy, who would probably kill or at least maim for his family.

fathers day gift idea Handmade sterling Eagle pendant
Over-sized - 9-11 Never Forget Pendant - Father's Day Gift Idea

6. “The Renaissance Dad.”  This Father is all about family togetherness, and makes a point of being home for dinner every night.  When not with their families, he is  usually out jogging. Weekends and vacations are spent as a family;  camping, church activities, volunteering, or just being together somehow. 

Moving away and having your own family is no excuse for not being all together on the holidays. This dad's motto is "family first, forever".

eco-friendly sterling hand carved arrowhead mens pendant - your daily jewels on etsy.com
Hand-carved Eco-friendly Arrowhead Men's Pendant

7. The Bad-dad: This guy has to be mentioned. Even if you never met your dad, or if he hurt and/or abandoned you long ago, you feel his presence on Father's Day. If you bum-out every Father's Day, this year, try being thankful for him and letting go of some of your anger. Someone once said to me,

 "Holding onto anger is like taking poison and hoping the other guy suffers"   

It is pointless and hurtful only to you.

Without him, you would not be here, and who you are,  and that is worth celebrating.

The Combo-Dad: No dad can fit perfectly into any of these categories, and I could come up with a lot more dad-stereotypes. Your dad probably has some characteristics of several of these dads, but one common thread runs through all the dads discussed here. They are all about their love for their family. That's worth celebrating on Father's Day. 

Thanks for visiting and reading!


Men's Heraldic Shield Pendant  - Your Daily Jewels on Etsy