Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Problem With Pricing Formulas: Econ 001

Put extremely simply:

Let's say I make and sell mud.
My ingredients are dirt and water.
I find a cheaper dirt supplier with higher quality mud even closer to my house.
My supply costs go down.
My time costs go down.
Why should I charge less for my new nicer mud just because my costs went down?
I could charge the same and make more.
I could charge more and maybe make even more more.

Better plan:
Look at how much people buy mud like mine.
Look how much they willingly pay.
Look for the most they willingly pay and see when and why they pay that.
Don't look at "Mud for sale: $9 gazillion" signs unless those stores have paying customers.
Don't worry about people who do things that you are physically incapable of doing.
If no one wants mud, consider selling address labels.

Art: Victor Electric Adding Machine by me (JillHannah)

Monday, August 23, 2010

ramble VICTOR whirrrrr ADDING fizzle MACHINE

I want to list things but my brain is Swiss cheese. Can I just post pretty pictures with semi-coherant rambling sentence fragments?

Victor Adding Machine
Model 60-85-54
Lots of number buttons
Plug it in and it turns on and makes lots of noise and does stuff but I don't know how to use an adding machine so I don't know if it "works."
Produced 1950-1956
More information from this German site here:
Did I mention it's green?
Weighs like 20 lbs. Convert that to kilograms yourself, dammit, I can hear my brain doing the Alka Seltzer fizzle.
It's really cool. The top swings open and there's all this mechanical stuff inside.
When it's plugged in it sounds and smells like my mom's old typewriter.
Yesterday when I calculated the 1951 price in Saar francs (from that German site) and converted it into 2010 US dollars it came out to almost exactly $700. I guess it was the office computer of its time - a big important investment.
It has no zeroes. This boggles my mind.
There's two shades of green: forest green and bright spring green. It's almost a mint green but not quite blue enough.
If you press a key while it's off, the key stays down. The second you plug it in, it springs back to life.
The body has a hump on its back. I was looking through patents and other models of the Victor adding machines and most of them don't have the hump. It reminds me of a car with some extra curvy piece to appear aerodynamic and sporty. I don't know why it needs the hump, if it's style or if there's an extra function that takes up more room. Whatever the rationale, this would be the coolest adding machine on wheels. And it's green.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

NiftyKnits Untangling the Web of Business and Belief

Today, in her blog, the ever-fabulous NiftyKnits decided to poke one of her knitting needles at the tangled topic of business and religion. It reminded me of my "How Mature is Etsy" rant last May.
There's a good discussion going on Nifty's blog comments, and you will notice this blog post copy/pasted there as well, but I wanted to make this bit about the business/religion tangle clear and in my own blog.

What matters most in the grand "Is it OK to mix belief and business" debate is CHOICE--is a business abusing a captive audience? Or does the consumer have a choice?

If there is only one plumber in town and she won't unclog my toilet unless I pray with her, that is NOT ok.

If the only way I can obtain food for my family is by first listening to a political candidate's three-hour stump-speech, that is NOT ok.

If 809 of 9,034 soap sellers on Etsy require a sacrifice to Apollo in addition to PayPal or check, I can go to one of the 8,025 shops that don't demand loyalty to the ancient Greek god.

Get rid of Meerkat Nativity and where will Christian meerkats go on Christmas?
Religion and politics are part of the lives of many people, and associated merchandise isn't inherently good or bad. Like the "mature" marketplace, it should exist for those who want it and be optional for those who don't.
Art: Meercat in Green Sweater by NiftyKnits
Apollo Vintage Cameo by grigrio
Ibn Arabi Scroll Necklace by Soul Song Creations

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fabulous Find: Wrought Iron Arch

From a demolition auction in River Forest, IL:
As per demolition sale rules, you have to remove your purchases yourself ASAP. I figured a sledgehammer and my brother would do the trick no problem, but in the end my brother, father, and roommate all put forth a brilliant effort in getting the arch from the demolition site to its new temporary location:It's a nice piece, just waiting for the right home.
There is a ring hanging down in the center from which you could hang a lantern, sign, or anything else.I haven't removed the lights yet in case someone wants them on there.

More photos:

Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing the arch. I can deliver to non-axe-murderers around Chicagoland.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Vintage Supply that Begs to be Artified

I found this ring at this guy's warehouse-that-will-turn-into-a-store-if-the-loan-ever-comes-through sale. I wanted to jump into business with the guy and turn his space into something for as close to $0 as possible in return for sharing the venue, but that's another story.

The ring!

This ring is a crafts(wo)man, artist, and jeweler's dream project. It is a 1920s vintage element with structure and an art deco design for inspiration and direction, but there is so much possibility.
Someone unceremoniously ripped out the five stones settings and all, leaving behind cut marks on the gold.
A person with talent and more metalsmithing/jewelry background than a few summers at camp could make this thing gorgeous.

Any ideas?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Baby Got Back, and by "Baby" I mean "Business Cards"

Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her business cards.
They are so informative.
I like b-cards and I can not lie
You Etsians can't deny...

Business cards got backs.

If you spring for Moo cards, you're probably already using double-sided business cards with pretty pictures of whatever you sell on the back.
But there are so many other options for this second side, whether you use an international printing company, Etsy card maker, or make them yourself.
Business cards are small and easy to lose and throw away. The real trick is to make yours worth keeping around. Is there some piece of useful information a person would want to have that is also related to your shop? I've heard of size charts on the cards of clothing shops, recipes and metric conversions on all shops cooking-related, and rulers, tip charts, and calendars.
What do you have on the back of your business cards? What would you? What can you suggest for others? Please comment!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What I Really Covet Most...

I made my last month's Etsy Covet List from the hospital while being treated for my chronic migraines. My friends and family visited and fussed, but I said my usual "It's not cancer and it can't kill me."

Five days after I was discharged, we found out my mom has breast cancer.
In a matter of weeks my new medication had me retaining water to the tune of a fully increased cup size, and my mom had both of her breasts removed.

Consequently, my escapist Etsy browsing has taken on a different tone. I'm not looking at pretty things and imagining them in a life that takes me away from my own loud, hyper-present pain. Instead my mother's renewed mortality and sudden inabilities are sufficient distraction from my physical issues. Now I search for something less frantic, more numbly, and despite my dreamy glaze I keep coming back to the practical.

We expect the pathology report tomorrow to confirm things, but my mother is expected to make a full recovery.