Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sneak Peek ~ Romantic White Summer Rose

A sneak peek at some new pieces 
I have up and coming in my Etsy Shop

Photography, jewelry design, and typography (c) Erin McManness 2011

One of my favourite parts about living in Los Angeles
was all the houses with the white roses climbing over everything. It was so romantic and whimsical, and was the inspiration behind the creation of these flower pendants, that are handcrafted petal by petal and hand-etched before baking. I was also doing some spring cleaning earlier, and stumbled across a lovely vintage glass bottle filled to the brim with unique vintage brass and gold buttons that I had fished out of a local Pennsylvanian antique shop. The shop was a 20 minute drive with a darling college friend into the leafy green summer woods of a little town called Lewisberry; it smelled musty (I love musty smells!), and had a gorgeous array of vintage and antique furniture, jewelry, and home decor. Taking my garden-inspiration and pairing it with the vintage buttons to create these pendants was such a fun, nostalgic experience for yesterday afternoon!

 Photo from Pinterest.com

As much of a chore as it is, 
sometimes I really, truly love to clean.
(I become more and more like my mother everyday!)

Because I find the best stuff! Old diaries that make me laugh [read: cringe] at some of the old crushes I used to have, sketchbooks filled with surrealism doodles from the days before my formal art training, vintage jewelry gifted or passed down to me as a child, and some peculiar but wonderful odds and ends that end up lovingly turned into jewelry!

The buttons I found (the vintage bottle is pictured on the left with the inspired necklace) are all unique and some bear unusual Coats of Arms. The Coat of Arms at the left includes crosses anchors and a setting sun. Oh, the mystery!

What's your best find while cleaning? 
This has got to be mine!

I'll be updating My Shop today and tomorrow with these necklaces, so keep a sharp eye!
Rule number one:

Always stick around for one more drink.

That’s when things happen.

That’s when you find out everything you want to know.
 John Berendt


Self-portrait in H&M.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Creating Exposure & Building a Good Business Rep

I wanted to put together a post of just 3 things that have really helped me to create my own exposure (instead of always relying on others to "find me" - you creative types know just how hard that is to count on), and develop a good business rep. Word-of-mouth is probably the most powerful marketing tool you can have (or that you can have work against you - yikes!), so make the most of it.

Talking to a few like-minded friends,
I was surprised at how many people don't do these simple things. 

1. Carry your business cards at all times.  
It doesn't matter what product you're selling or what service you're offering. Take advantage of every social opportunity and make sure you have your cards with you. You never know who you're going to meet. Seriously - in the past year, I have handed out over 150 business cards at restaurants, coffee shops, events, to friends, at work.

 Image credit to Moo.com

For the creative type, I highly, highly recommend Moo.com for business cards (and no, they did not endorse this post - I simply love my cards that much). For starters, you get cards with an array of your images on them. Trust me, when you fan them out for a potential client and ask them to choose their favourite, faces light up, and they get so excited. It's like they're already looking at your shopfront and are whetting their appetite (plus, it's just fun and a good conversation starter). The cards are slick, have great weight, and are affordable.

2. Wear and talk about your products.
I'm a jewelry designer, and so I always try to wear my jewelry out - even if it's just to the grocery store. This is how I hand out a lot of my cards! If you receive a compliment - don't be shy - start up a conversation, tell them about the item, how you made it (briefly!), and always thank them. Offer, "I have a business card, if you'd like." Most people will happily accept one, and will get very excited. If you have a product or service you can't wear or have on you conveniently, share it in conversation. For example, I am also an illustrator - so when people ask, I say, "oh, I have a card with some of my work on it." I pull it out, and start the conversation. Then I ask them if they'd like to keep the card. I've never had someone give it back to me.
{ Pictured: Sea-star bracelet by Mirilovelove }

3. Follow-up the Exchange
Many times when I meet people, I also get one of their business cards. A few months ago, I met the lovely Serena of Love by Serena (she's a gorggggggggeous wedding and lifestyle photographer - check her out!) of all places - standing in line at the post office! We started talking because she was so kind as to compliment the necklace I had worn out that day. We hit it off and exchanged cards - and laughed when we both pulled out Moo cards! Afterwards, we found each other on Facebook, and have since collaborated in a fun giveaway! Always follow-up on any business card exchange. Email/Facebook them later and let them know how nice it was to meet them, and be supportive of their endeavours.

These 3 things are incredibly easy to do in your day-to-day life
(and don't take a lot of social finesse - if you're like me and are creative enough to sometimes be awkward!).

While it's taken me some time to build up a confident, brief "pitch" about my products, the best way to do this is to get out there and meet people and start the conversation (because it will vary every single time). It might be nerve-wracking at first, but now it's second nature to me. More and more, people are starting to catch on to the Handmade Movement, and the more you can do to "put yourself out there" and relate to your buyers, the more credibility you will have and the more exposure you will create for yourself. Don't wait for someone else to discover you or feature your work. Genuine, positive Word-of-Mouth is much more powerful than any blog feature (though those are awesome!), because many friends ask their friends before trying a new product or shopping at a new store. Create positive impressions for yourself, be personable, and go create good business rep by doing these 3 simple things.

And then come back and tell me how you did!

{ Final image for girls from Pinterest.com . Texture in first title image by Art-of-Decay. }

Friday, July 8, 2011

Visual Library

Attempting to build up my visual library... 
by drawing my own hands from life for practice.

Hands are one of the most expressive parts of the body, but are also one of the most difficult things to draw in my opinion. Observation is so important because it builds your understanding of how the real world functions, so you can then translate that into 2 dimensions however you want - realistically or stylistically.

Drawings are (c) Erin McManness 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Little Update

My apologies for the lack of posts this week, I've been working long hours, and have been incredibly exhausted. Some good stuff coming your way this weekend, though!

My sister did me up all lovely in a fishtail braid. 
It seemed incredibly easy - it's exactly like how you lace a shoe! Super easy. 

And have I mentioned how crazy obsessed I am with Beyonce's new
"Run the World"? 
This looks like a killer dance workout. Not to mention the video below is her live performance, and I have NEVER seen anything like this graphics and effects wise - it's sick! Plus, I just like all of B's hairography ;) Please enjoy, and bust a move ;)

Finally, I was going to have some drawings for you guys, but my computer was acting like a total dinosaur when I opened up Photoshop to make some minor edits (check it - it took me an hour to edit 2 - count em, 2 - photos. Yikes.)

Catch you guys over the weekend - and hello to all the new followers! Thanks for checking out my blog! Please be sure to leave a comment and introduce yourselves :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lovely Inspiration

What a piece of work is man; how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable.

And a treasury I made inspired by the photograph above.

Moving photo reblogged from Fuzzington Post.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independence Day Sale

I needed an excuse to give you guys a lovely coupon code!

Please enter "LOVELY4TH" 
at check-out to receive 10% off your order 'til 
 Tuesday, July 5th  
(11:59pm EST)

And by the way, 
my windows are open and it's thunderstorming.

It's my favourite weather,
it smells fresh like rain,
and I'm jammin out to La Roux.

And it's silly that I'm awake at this hour,
but I'm one of those

so all is right in the world. 

Photography, modeling, typography, necklace design (c) Erin McManness 2011; Texture courtesy of { Art of Decay }
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