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Taking a step back, and pausing the Etsy shop.

Wild Fae Leather Headpiece

Friends, I’m going to take a giant step back in hopes that it will get me moving in a better direction.

To start, I’ll be putting my Etsy shop on pause as of March 31st, 2019.

So if you like to shop with me on Etsy, please do so this week before I put the shop in vacation mode! My website will remain open during this Etsy break, but I won’t be adding new work for a bit, and older designs will be retired as they sell out.

Last week I shared that I found counterfeits of my work on Amazon –

What I didn’t share is that this is the 4th time this year that I’ve found my exact photos, designs and/or writing reproduced by other vendors … and it’s only March! While it’s true that this is just an occupational hazard for online sellers, this ©rap is getting out of control. It’s simply unsustainable for my small business and sanity, and I need a minute to regroup.

As awful as that sounds, it’s been a big wake up call. This has forced me to really think about how this current version of my business aligns with my goals.

Somewhere along my Etsy journey (and through the recession years) my focus gradually shifted from creating work that I love and feel challenged by, to worrying too much about making “stuff that will sell”.  And apparently, that stuff is attracting the wrong element. So I’m taking a breather in order to refocus and realign.

As terrifying as it is to just walk away from my primary source of income for a couple of months, I really need to love what I do again. Otherwise, what’s the point?

To get to that, I’m taking this really scary leap of faith and giving myself permission to make the things that my heart really wants to bring forth into the world. Hopefully the world wants those pieces too, and the *right* people will connect to them. Or maybe I’ll just fall. Either way, this has to change.

Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me along the way! And many thanks to my beautiful daughter (pictured) for her insight and encouragement in making this choice.

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If you see my creations on Amazon, be skeptical.

red rose leather hair stick barrette

Friends, I do not offer my creations on Amazon. Nor have I authorized anyone else to do so.

Should you see my work there, be skeptical. I’m not affiliated with any active Amazon shops, and cannot be held responsible if they rip you off. Even if the hypothetical listing uses my exact product, images, logos, titles, and descriptions.

I was invited to sell on Amazon Handmade during their beta phase, and I did start setting up a storefront there during the early stages of their launch. That storefront was never opened, because I had reservations about their policies. That is the ONLY Amazon shop that is remotely connected to my business – and it was never (ever) stocked.

So if you like my work, please shop directly from my site. Here, you can be sure that the work is authentic and handmade by me.

Last but not least, If you sell jewelry or hair accessories, you might want to do a quick search over there for your own stuff. I’m no expert, but it looks as though these vendors have copied entire product categories from another well-known handmade crafts site.

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Featured in Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine spring issue!

beaded leather luna moth necklace

So happy to share that my work is featured in the Spring issue of  Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine, hitting the stands today!

I’m still waiting on my copy, so I’ll share better photos when it arrives. In the meantime, here’s a photo of a beaded leather luna moth necklace that was included in the article. This one features a boulder opal cab with brilliant fire, along with Nevada turquoise, moonstone, Moss agate and charoite.

Many thanks to Stampington & Company for this wonderful opportunity!

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Vintage Photos from My Vending Days

Thought I’d share these “vintage” photos from vending days gone by: The first photo is from the Chumash Pow Wow in Ojai, CA, circa 1994. We’d just finished breaking down our vendor booth. By that stage in my life, I’d already been vending at art shows and festivals for about 7 years!

The woman on the left was a sweet friend from England, who used to import my work so that she could sell it in her stall at the Glastonbury Festival! (Does that event still exist?). The babe in my arms is now 26 years old, and in grad school.

The second photo shows some beaded leather bags that I made around that same era. As you can see, my style has changed a bit in the 25 yrs since these pictures were taken. Some things remain constant: my material choices (beads, leather, natural gemstones), a love of color and natural themes, skilled craftsmanship, and passion for my work and the people who inspire me to create.

handcrafted beaded buckskin bags circa 1994

This path has not always been easy, but I love it all the same. I’m grateful for all the lessons behind me, and hopeful for many years ahead. Some of you have been with me through this whole journey (thank you, I love you!) and some are just joining now (thanks, you rock!).

Please know that I genuinely appreciate every bit of support and encouragement along the way. May it come back to you tenfold  ❤

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Competition, Community, and Respect

leather raven feather ponytail holder or shawl pin

Had a rough day today, contemplating an unsavory situation. As luck would have it, I came across these words that I wrote last year. It was a timely reminder of where to focus my energy. While the lame situation still needs resolution, I’d like to pause from my pissed-offedness for just a moment, to acknowledge the good:

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy griping about those unethical competitors who copy, undercut, and just generally slither around the internet. It’s true – they are many. But perhaps I haven’t spent enough time acknowledging the friendly and ethical competitors who have treated me kindly. There are many of you as well. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀                                                                                      ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to know countless artists who’ve helped me to hone my craft and to learn the ropes as a vendor.

Despite the fact that we’re “competing” in a similar market, you’ve treated me with integrity and respect, helping me to learn and encouraging me to grow. We’ve empathized with each others’ struggles, and celebrated successes.

These positive professional relationships have endured time and trends, and many have grown into genuine friendships that enrich my life. Thank you for this! It proves that “competitor” doesn’t have to be a dirty word. We all choose how we conduct our businesses (and ourselves) and we CAN lift each other up without detracting from our own goals. In this way, we all thrive.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
So yeah, the jackasses are out there – but so are the good ones!

I’m grateful for those of you who choose to take the high road (even when it’s not the easy road) and I promise to treat you – and your work – with the same integrity and courtesy that you’ve shown me.

Raven feather ponytail holder © 2010 Andrea Adams/ Beadmask

photo courtesy of Priya Alahan Photography

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Gem Show + Delayed Shipping February 2nd – 8th

amethyst geodes

Travel Advisory: I leave for the gem show tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. All orders placed before 12 pm Pacific time on Saturday 2/2 will ship before I leave town. After that, all orders placed from Feb 2nd – Feb 10th will ship on Monday 2/11.

My apologies for the shipping delay, but I promise to bring back wonderful treasures to share!

PS. This photo is from gem shows past. It showcases several large and gorgeous amethyst geodes, since amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February. So welcome, February – and much love to my fellow Aquarians 🙂

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Celebrating Wild Things – Little Brown Bat

leather bat barrette

Sharing this leather bat barrette in celebration of the wonderful little brown bat that I found in my driveway yesterday! I’m not sure if it was injured, or if it was in a torpid state. Perhaps the high winds knocked it out of its roost, and out of hibernation?

The wildlife rescue that I called was unable to make it out until the next day, but someone explained how to safely capture the bat until qualified help could get there (bats can pose health risks to humans & animals, so it’s really best to leave rehabilitation to the pros). .

Thankfully, the little fella made it through the night, and the rescuer was able to pick it up today. She’ll check it for injuries and tend them if needed … or just give it a safe space to crash until it’s ready to come out of hibernation. In either case, the bat survived, and is now in more capable hands. I’m so grateful that there are folks with the knowledge, skill, and heart to do such work!

Bats get a bad rap for being vicious and spooky, but in truth, they’re lovely creatures who play an important role as pollinators. With that said, this post is a celebration of bats in general, and particularly, the little creature that I found yesterday. This barrette is a fantastical shade of shimmering burgundy-purple, but the real life bat that I met was an adorable little brown bat.

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December 13th shop update + year end SALE!

leather raven necklace with iridescent gemstones

New work just added ~

I’ve just posted a small shop update, which includes a small collection of necklaces, leather pendants, and hair accessories!

While I’d hoped to have more to share tonight, it just wasn’t in the cards. As is typical for the Pacific Northwest this time of year, it has been dark and gloomy and dumping rain all week. Not ideal weather for photography (in fact, I’ll likely go back and re-photograph many of these pieces the next time that the weather is favorable). Perhaps I’ll trickle in a few more pieces over the weekend if time and light allows.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy the pieces that I’ve shared tonight! Also, just a friendly reminder that my holiday ordering dates are coming up quickly. If you’re in the US, there’s still time to order for the holidays, though I’d urge you not to procrastinate too much!

Year end Sale  (*added 12/15) ~

Enjoy tiered discounts through the end of 2018:

* Orders of $50+ enjoy 10% off

* Orders of $100+ enjoy 15% off

* Orders of $200+ enjoy 25% off

Hopefully, this helps you with your holiday shopping, and it certainly helps me to clear the way for new work in the year ahead! Thank you for empowering me to do what I love for a living!

Sale runs from 12/15/18 – 12/31/18

Cali Love Fire Benefit Tattoo & Holiday Gift Bazaar on Sunday 12/16 ~

Last but not least, I mentioned in my last post that my November giveaway winner is choosing to donate her prize to the Cali Love Fire Benefit Tattoo & Holiday Gift Bazaar this Sunday 12/16 at Eye of the Tiger Tattoo in San Francisco. The proceeds from this event will go to benefit the families who are working to rebuild their lives after the #Campfire in Paradise, CA last month. Two of my friends’ families lost their home in that fire, so this event is near and dear to my heart. With that said, I am choosing to match Angel’s donation of my Sacred Heart sugar skull mask, by adding a second “Abuelita” sugar skull mask. If you’re in the Bay Area this weekend, please consider attending and supporting this special cause!

leather sugar skull masks

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December Giveaway and new work soon.

leather christmas ornaments

A small celebration of kindness ~

For December’s Giveaway, I’m offering a $50 gift certificate good for any ready made item at my website or my Etsy shop.  To enter,  simply share a comment about a random act of kindness that lifted your spirits! Did someone surprise you with a free coffee, or did you have a chance to pay it forward for someone else? Tell me your tales of kindness and goodwill, and I’ll choose a winner at random on Friday, December 21st at 6 pm PST.

As is often the case this time of year, I’m noticing a lot of sad, angry people out there! Maybe they’re stretched too thin with year end goals and holiday commitments, or they’re stressed out by all of the pressure to shop and consume. Perhaps these folks are grieving over loved ones who are no longer here to take part in holiday traditions, or maybe they’re worried about the state of the world. Whatever the cause, winter just seems to dredge that stuff up for a lot of us. The weight of it can be heavy enough to make the best of us act poorly. With that said, I’d like to offer a little bit of light this holiday season – just a small celebration of kindness to remind us of what’s really important.

Shop update on 12/13 ~

I’ll be adding a small shop update on the evening of Thursday, December 13th. It will include a few unique jewelry pieces and hair accessories. I was shooting to have it ready today, but honestly? My creative work has been happening very slowly of late. While I really wish that I could be more prolific, for the sake of my health and wellbeing, I just need to honor that pace. Hopefully this weekend will give me time to finish up a few special pieces and get some better photos! Thanks so much for your patience, and for understanding.

Cali Love Fire Benefit Tattoo & Holiday Gift Bazaar ~

And in keeping with the theme of kindness, the woman who won last month’s giveaway will be donating her prize to help raise money for the people of Paradise CA, who lost their homes in last month’s #Campfire. The mask below will be available at the Cali Love Fire Benefit Tattoo & Holiday Gift Bazaar at Eye of the Tiger Tattoo in SF, CA on Sunday 12/16. If you’re in the Bay Area, this will be an excellent opportunity to do some holiday shopping AND do some good for others! I’ll post another reminder as the event date draws closer.

leather sugar skull mask
Sacred Heart Mask

 

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November Giveaway Winner & International Holiday Ordering Deadlines

winged leather necklace

My husband drew the winner for my November customer appreciation giveaway last night. Congratulations to Angel! She’ll receive the Day of the Dead mask shown below:

leather sugar skull mask
Sacred Heart Mask

Many thanks to everyone who entered and sent a photo. Your entries are valid through the end of the year, so they’ll count for my December giveaway also (more info on that in the week ahead).

Also, a quick reminder for my international customers: if you’re hoping to receive your order by December  25th, please be sure to place it this weekend! You can find more detailed info about winter holiday shipping deadlines here.