Rio Grande Emerging Artist Call for Entries -- Deadline December 3

Rio Grande is one of the world's leading wholesale suppliers of jeweler's equipment, materials and finished goods. Every year they sponsor a design competition for jewelry artists in many categories. This year, the entry deadline for Emerging Artists is December 3, 2009.

The Emerging Artists category is for designers 18 years or younger. First place is a $500 gift certificate to Rio Grande plus having your winning entry named during JCK Las Vegas in 2010.

This is a prestigious competition not to be missed. Submit your entry online at the Saul Bell Design Award website. The website also contains details on entry qualifications, examples of past winners and more.

Black Friday 25% Off Coupon for!

take a break from cooking and shop early! Here it is, a huge 25% off savings for Handmade Jewelry by Peggy Li Creations! Just enter coupon code "holiday09" at checkout until 12/1!

Items that normally are $49 are now just $36.75!

There are new Swarovski crystal earrings and Swarovski crystal necklaces on the site. Go shop!


FAQ: Why Social Media?

This year has certainly been the Year of Social Media. Suddenly you can't turn around without somebody mentioning Facebook or Twitter. As sites like these continue to blend the lines between friends and businesses, information and speculation, it leaves many small businesses wondering, "do I need to get involved?".

It's especially difficult because small biz owners are already so busy! We run our sites, manage our orders, write in our blogs (remember them?). The first question to ask yourself is, do you have time for the upkeep additional outlets would require? They only work as long as you can feed the beast. Luckily, there are a few tricks to make this part easier, but it still requires time... keep reading!

What are the benefits of having a Facebook page and Twitter account? Here we go:

There are millions of people using Facebook these days to interact with friends (and let's be honest, it's great virtual people-watching). It makes sense to put your product/brand where the people are! In addition, you get "free" promotion by taking advantage of the Kevin Bacon effect -- when you build your pages you can populate it with your friends and current contacts. Any action they take on your page is pushed out to the News Feeds, where *their* friends, who may not know your company, can see it!

I recommend making an official business (or "Fan") page for your business. That way you can keep your personal stuff personal (but realize customers may find you there, as well) and business just business. If you stay disciplined, you can absolutely keep the two separate, and Facebook provides permissions tools to help you manage those accounts.

With Facebook, you have a platform for people to become "fans" of your work and interact with you directly. The interface is probably something they use already (unlike blogs), so it's easy and spontaneous for them to reach you. Give your fans insights into your daily work life, plus don't forget to try special offers/coupons just for fans!

Twitter: Twitter is a strange place. It's like an ongoing stream of information, and your customers can "follow" this stream of updates from you. In many ways the content is similar to Facebook -- give followers a peek into your everyday business life. It is also a platform to instantly communicate to your followers -- they will most likely only see the message if they are online at that moment. Keeping this in mind, play with Twitter to do "of the minute" promotions and contests.

It can be difficult to keep up with all of these outlets in addition to running the business. However, there are tools to help you connect your blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts so one update can appear in all places.

You can follow Peggy Li Creations Handmade Jewelry on Twitter.

and on Peggy Li Creations on Facebook!

Have other thoughts on Social Media? Post a comment here!

Good luck,

Holiday Jewelry Picks From Peggy Li Creations

It's never to early to get gifts for the holiday or pick out items for your Wish List! Here are my top picks from Peggy Li Creations for everyone on your gift list.

The Girl Who Has Everything

There's only one answer for this one; diamonds! Classic, classy, and oh-so-unique, I recommend these Rough Diamond Hoop Earrings.

The Girl Who Doesn't Wear a Lot of Jewelry
This is always a toughie. You wanna give a little glitter but not go too over-the-top. Luckily, Peggy Li Creations Handmade Jewelry has a wide variety of styles to choose from! My pick is my Simple Dot Necklace, because it is exactly that -- simple and easy to wear!

The Girl Without Pierced Ears
No worries! Most of my handmade earring designs can be converted to clip on earrings. Click here for more info.

The Fashionista
I like to take trends and do them my way -- right now the tangled chain look is hot hot hot. My version is a little more refined while keeping the edge! Oxidized Mesh Necklace.

The Hippie Chic Chick
I can't pick just one! Check out all of my Yoga/Spiritual Necklaces; you can't go wrong.

The Fashionable Mom
No question, a great pick for Mom would be a Personalized Necklace, like my Floral Initial Necklace.

Need other suggestions? Post a comment, let me know!

FAQ: Where Do You Get Your Materials/How to Navigate a Bead Show

I go to the International Gem and Jewelry Show at the San Mateo Expo center every time it is in town to get fabulous beads for Peggy Li Creations Handmade Jewelry. This November 27-29th you can browse for amazing finished jewelry as well as for everything you need to make your own! These large shows can be very overwhelming for the first-time visitor. Here are a few tips and hints for making the most of your visit if you are looking for jewelry making supplies.

1) Sign up for the event mailing list. They will send coupons and brochures previewing the exhibitors that will be attending the show.

2) Dress comfortably -- you'll be on your feet for potentially a few hours!

3) Bring a snack and water with you, the only concessions are your basic greasy/soda offerings.

4) Bring a shopping list, set a budget for yourself and walk the whole floor! The best way to stay focused is to have an idea of what you are looking for and to walk the whole floor before making a purchase decision. Many vendors will carry the same supplies at different prices!

5) If you have a resale license, you can enter the wholesale area at the back of the venue. Bring a copy since you will get great wholesale deals and exclusive vendors in the back!

6) If you are trying to match stones or other materials, bring a sample with you so there can be no question about what you want to get.

7) Pick up business cards or catalogs from your favorite vendors so you can find them again next time!

8) Get your hand stamped at the door if you want to exit and reenter later. They also often hand out free passes for the rest of the weekend at the exit, so be sure to grab one.

9) When in doubt, don't buy. If you're not an expert in the materials you are looking at and you feel pressured to buy something, go home and do research and sleep on it, or if you do buy, ask whether there is a return policy (often there isn't). There's always going to be some cool supplies you wish you could get, but put it on the list for next time rather than have buyers remorse!

10) When you get home, write down notes on your favorite vendors, including what you bought from them and the prices.

Shows like this one can be a fantastic resource for the jewelry maker. If you follow these tips, you'll have more time to focus on your creative inspiration while you're there! Have fun and see you there!

Do you have other tips? Feel free to add them as a comment, below!

JA Warns Industry About 60 Minutes Segment on Gold

JA Warns Industry About 60 Minutes Segment: "Jewelers of America sent out a letter Monday in an effort to prepare the jewelry industry for the upcoming CBS 60 Minutes segment that focuses on the issue of artisanal gold mining in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo..."

I had a jewelry customer ask me yesterday if I knew where my gold came from (I've also been asked about my diamonds)... alas, I do not know firsthand. And when I've tried to source materials, often my suppliers don't know the true origin, either. This information is often lost in translation or because materials change so many hands before becoming a final product.

This has gotten me thinking -- I see many jewelers who claim to be "eco-friendly jewelry" that state that their materials come only from recycled metals, etc. How do they know this? I'd love to hear better ways of sourcing my materials.

I do want to say that I source the majority of my materials through the largest US companies as well as through local suppliers. I'll try and do a little more research, though, and will post on what I discover!