The value of one pair of earrings

While exhibiting at Art & Wine Shows, one question that I have been asked several times is “How long does it take you to make a pair of earrings?”   With a chuckle, I respond “After your first 500 or so pairs you get to be pretty quick.” This question makes me wonder, what is my customer really asking?  I suspect they are trying to place a value on that one pair of earrings.  So I thought I would share with you some of the steps that go into offering that one pair of earrings for sale.

My mission at Dolce Beada is to bring you jewelry that combines the traditions of Italian glass bead making with contemporary jewelry styles.  This means selecting authentic high quality beads handmade in Italy.  In doing this I am always researching new color trends and new styles with the best Venetian glass sources.  Choosing new designs is always a risk.  I want to offer a variety of choices but I also have to ask myself, “will this color appeal to my customers?”  “which colors look best in this new design?”  “Is this color going to be a classic or too trendy?”  At the same time I am offering new designs, I have to make sure that I have plenty of my most popular styles on hand as well.

Traditional Venetian glass square earrings

 After I have made my decisions about which beads to buy and how many, I have to make sure that I have the other pieces I need to make the jewelry.  So for earrings this would be the sterling earwires, the headpins and the small silver detail beads that I like to add to accent the Venetian beads.  I try to have plenty of these supplies on hand so I can make batches of earrings at one time.

Because each of the Venetian beads are handmade, they all have a little of their own “personality”.  So when I make earrings I have to hand match each pair.  I look at the thickness, the size, the depth of color, even how the foil lays under the glass in order to match up the best pair of earrings.  And sometimes a bead does not match well enough and ends up in my collection of earrings without mates hopefully to be used at a different time.

Venetian glass mateless earrings
Earrings without mates.

Once the earrings are made, they are put on a display card, priced and stored until they are ready to be presented at a show or they may need to be photographed to be offered online for sale.

Venetian blown glass earrings

Once I have put together a collection of choices, it is up to you to find the pair that you value the most.

Dolce Beada’s Valentines Day feature in Giftware News Magazine

Venetian glass heart jewelry for Valentines Day by Dolce Beada Perfect for Valentines Day – or any day for that matter because who doesn’t love a big fabulous glass heart!

I just saw my necklace featured in the latest Giftware News Magazine From the Heart Section.  It is always a thrill to see your work displayed in print and I am honored to be included with such a lovely selection of gifts.

I have been working with wholesale clients since I did my first show in San Francisco in 2004.  Because my jewelry features the highest quality glass beads handmade in Venice and Murano, I have been featured in some wonderful museums including The Field Museum, The National Gallery of Art and The Frye Museum.  I also have several boutiques and gift shops that I have worked with for a number of years including Delaney Street Mercantile in Lake Geneva, WI.Venetian glass jewelry set on display card by Dolce Beada

My jewelry is not trendy, it is classic and elegant just like Italy.  Yet I always carry the latest in bead designs and colors from the most skilled Venetian bead makers.  All of my jewelry pieces are handmade in my California studio in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  All Pendants come on slip knotted leather cords and on display cards which tell the story of Venetian glass bead making.  Perfect for gift giving.  Please check out my Etsy shop to see a sampling of my current offerings.

If you are interested in consideration as a retailer for Dolce Beada, please feel free to contact me at angelakeller(at), I would love to talk with you about the possibilities.



Venetian glass and seed bead earrings – project #2

  Okay, I think I have found my new hobby – not that I have time for a hobby ;-).  This pair of earrings was project #2 in my bead embroidery exploration.  This technique is so much fun!  It is very free form and you just kind of go where it takes you.

I started with a Venetian bead cabachon that I glued down to the backing and then did a peyote stitch around it to “secure” it.  From that point it just becomes a matter of choosing various size beads and finding a pattern that is pleasing to the eye.  I love the varying texture that comes from the different beads.  A fish hook style earwire is attached to the back and then covered in ultrasuede making the whole backing very neat.

I think I enjoy this technique so much because it is basically hand sewing beads and reminds me of quilting.  My first job was in a small quilting shop and all of my great grandmothers were prolific quilters. This pair of earrings probably took me about 6-7 hours!  I completed them in a couple of very late nights while my husband was out of town.

Stay tuned for my next endeavor!

Red Venetian hearts featured in Hey Handmade!

Now featured in Hey Handmade!

Hey Handmade is on a mission to encourage people to buy handmade this holiday season.  With that in mind Timothy Adam has produced an e-catalog with a variety of handmade items.  You can find unique jewelry, clothing accessories and home decor just to name a few.

Express your love with these small Venetian glass heart earrings.  The color is fantastic!  Gold foil is encased in red glass giving this pair of earrings a rich ruby red coloring.  They dangle from sterling silver fish hook earwires for a simple yet elegant look.  Many other colors available as well.  Check it out on my Etsy shop or contact me to request a color.

Driving with my lights off

I was working on this post earlier and it was just too bland – then a funny thing happened as I was driving home.  I don’t normally drive in rush hour traffic but I was on the highway and it was beginning to get dark and it’s bumper to bumper and this man pulls up next to me and starts waving his arm around at me .  So naturally I think he’s a freak or he just doesn’t like my driving so I ignore him and pull away.  Well he ends up next to me again and still he had his window down and he’s pointing at my car and waving his arm around.  Oh my gosh, what’s wrong with this weirdo, right – oh wait, he’s trying to tell me that my lights are not on!  Okay, I would have figured this out eventually, but he has saved me some grief and now he is not a weirdo, he is my friend.

And that’s what my post is about.  As a sole proprietor of a small business I am always going it alone and trying to stay focused on what needs to happen next.  And sometimes it’s a lot of things!  Especially at this time of year because I am gearing up for the holiday season. This means I am making lots of pieces some new designs but also many of my most popular items as well to get ready for upcoming shows. I am also shipping orders to my retailers such as Delaney Street Mercantile and working on my online presence at my Etsy shop.

So I’ve got lots of things going and sometimes it is hard to stay on track – kind of like driving with my lights off!  So this year I have enlisted a couple of new friends to remind me to turn on my lights and stay on track.

I have enlisted myself in Etsy’s Holiday Boot Camp and it has been great. They have a checklist every week to get ready for the holidays and then my 2 excellent buddies SSMDesigns and ThoroughlyModernMommy and I check in every week to make sure we are doing what we are supposed to do. So far as a result of boot camp I have greatly improved my photos and the look of my Etsy shop and I am up to 90 listings now.   My goal is 100 by Saturday. Almost there Woo hoo.

I have also signed up with Tara Gentile to work on merging my website and my blog so I can communicate with you in a more cohesive manner – or something like that.  The plan is that you will see how that goes by December.

So bottom line, sometimes you think you are cruising along okay but you realize that maybe you could use a little input from some outside sources to keep you on track.

The price of sterling silver – ouch!!!

I just placed an order for sterling silver components.  How quickly $1000 can slip through your hands!

One of the many lessons I have learned in this jewelry making business of mine is that I have to stay on top of my inventory. Between the Venetian Glass Beads and the sterling silver components, the supplies that I use in Dolce Beada are pretty expensive.  Whether it be the supplies or the finished product, if I don’t know what I have already I end up spending a lot of money unnecessarily.  And I have had to learn this lesson the hard way.  For example last week I discovered that I have 1000 2″ sterling silver headpins – that’s probably 3 years worth – just sitting here.  Oops, how did that happen. When I order supplies, I try to think of my supplies as money – I wouldn’t leave $1000 just sitting under my desk right??  So I try not to over do it when I place that order.  The other thing I really try to be careful about is that I am really ordering the component that I need.  There is nothing worse than ordering a bead for a specific project and then discovering you ordered it in the wrong size!

I think it mainly comes down to being organized.  When I have a place for everything, it is much easier to see when and what I need to reorder.  The other thing that I did a few years ago was to put all of my inventory on Quickbooks.  This was an extremely tedious process but it has definitely helped me to track what I have and also how much each piece of jewelry costs.

Now, perhaps I should clean up my desk – I may unearth some more treasures I have forgotten about.