Monday, 26 December 2011

Colour Palette #1

Happy Boxing Day everyone!

Throughout my blog, I am going to be doing a series of 'Colour Palettes'. I don't know about you, but sometimes I just need to kickstart my creativity when it's been stuck in a hole for a short while.
One of the best ways I find to get inspired is to just grab my iPhone, and go take 10 totally random photos with it. No thinking, no dissecting. No running before I walk. I then put them together, and see what happens. Something may, something may not. But sometimes, it's just what's needed to inspire a new colour scheme, or just change my mood or outlook.

So here's the first I'd like to share with you...aptly named 'Colour Palette #1' (now if that's not inspired, I don't know what is!). All of these images were taken with my iPhone, in my back garden. It's amazing where inspiration can lurk - sometimes you may have even been staring it in the face...

The colours that sprang from the board are (left to right) - a cool dark brown (#332d21), an intense teal (#293d3b), a warm grey (#b6b8b0) and a fresh and uplifting blue (#a2c2bf).

I just love the contrast of the chocolate and blue tones... it's somehow rustic yet warm and cosy. Until I decide to use this palette in my designs, here is a fabulous Etsy find for you to feast your eyes on...

This gorgeous reclaimed wooden box frame with cute chair card by 'jerseyicecreamco' is the perfect example to show how well this palette works - you can purchase by clicking on the image above.

Happy Creating!

Cerries x

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Indecision, indecision...

I have to say, I really didn't know I was this indecisive.

I have been playing around with a fresh new look for the blog for quite some time now...but I haven't quite found what I was looking for. I guess it would help if I knew what that was, but hey...I'm a creative, and that's just not how we work!

Anyway...I've been sketching, colouring, playing around in Photoshop and Illustrator...and I just couldn't figure out how I wanted the blog to look. But I think I've cracked it now! I hope you like the new I'm off to decide what to have for tea...this could take a while...

Til next time!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

7 of my Best Tips for Packaging your Products...

Over the years, I have tried and tested many ways of packaging my jewellery. From organza gift bags and velveteen pouches, to recycled card boxes and business cards that double up as earring cards. You name it, I've tried it.

Some things worked, some didn't. It has very much been a journey of trial and error. But during that journey, here are some tips I picked up along the way...

#1 - Quality is EVERYTHING. You would assume that this is fairly obvious, but I have bought many a handcrafted item which has been lovingly created, and then shoved into a cheap and tacky pound-store type box. Your packaging is a major reflection on not only yourself and your brand, but also the quality of your product. If your product is beautiful and well-made, reinforce this confidence by using quality materials in your packaging....

#2 - ....bearing in mind that 'quality' doesn't have to cost the earth. Get inventive! The main aim is to let your customer know that you care enough about your product to put substantial thought into how it is presented. What could you use to make your own packaging? If your item is jewellery, you could use a standard gift box, but add some luxurious tissue paper or a satin ribbon to make it feel special.

#3 - Wrap/package EVERY item as if it were a present from you to your customer. Absolutely every one of my pieces are supplied in beautiful packaging...even my mini stud earrings. You're not just selling your item to your're selling the experience of buying from you. And that experience needs to make them feel special...which in turn, will make them want to buy from you again.

Swarovski Crystal Sterling Silver Stud Earrings in Gift Box - £9.95
#4 - Consistency is the key! Spend time researching what packaging would best suit your product - order samples from various manufacturers, try your product out in them to see what it looks like, ask for feedback from family, friends and customers - road test different ideas to see what suits your product best. And once you have found the perfect solution - stick with it! Your packaging is an important aspect of your brand - and keeping it consistent throughout is vital for getting customers to buy into your product or business.

#5 - Logistics. This may sound like a strange thing to consider when thinking about how to package your product, but believe me - I learned the hard way! When I first started out making glass beaded jewellery, I didn't really have the funds to invest in boxes for my pieces. Each piece came with its' own organza gift bag. But then when I started making designs using Sterling Silver chain, transporting them to and from fairs and parties (and posting them to customers) became an issue I had to deal with very quickly. The boxes I now use for my jewellery are all uniform - they stack well, they are super-easy to transport, they look great when they are out on display, but most importantly...the days of tangled chains are over! Try to choose packaging that has a dual purpose - boxes that are easy to stack and transport are ideal if you do lots of shows or events.

#6 - ALWAYS include a business card! Or if not a business card, some other way of letting the end user know what the product is, and where it came from. Not only is this required in case the end user has a query or needs to contact you, but also it can and will lead to new custom. Again business cards needn't cost the earth, but I would strongly recommend investing in the best that you can afford. As you can see in the photograph above, I have my business cards and printed postcards at every show or event, and always include either one or the other in every box or bag. It looks professional, and shows the customer that you really care about what you do.

#7 - And finally, always remember that the little details go a LONG way! If you sell handmade clothes or garments, could you wrap each item in a piece of beautiful tissue paper? If you make homemade jam or chutney, could you cover the jar lid with a piece of pretty fabric? Think about your own experiences when buying something that was packaged in a special way...One of the best examples I can think of is buying lingerie or nightwear from La Senza. Those of you who have will know exactly what I mean! The item is carefully wrapped in soft tissue paper, which is then placed in a beautiful branded boutique-style bag, with stylish rope handles. Then some mini scented balls are sprinkled into the bag, making your purchase smell delicious. And this service is provided whether you're buying expensive lingerie, or an everyday bra or pair of knickers. Provide a magical experience for your customer, and you're guaranteed to get repeat business from them in the future...

So there you have it! Seven tips I have found over the years that have helped me to grow my business. I'd love to hear your packaging ideas! Here are some more photographs of how I package my jewellery...

Welcome to my New Home...

You made it!

Well, either you've just found me, in which case...welcome! Or you've navigated yourself over from my previous blog, in which case...welcome!

Either way, welcome to the new home of the Carabijoux Blog! Sometimes we all need a change...of scenery, of attitude, of approach...I guess I kind of needed all of these things, and thought a good way to start is to revamp my blog. I hope you like the new look!

Thanks for stopping by!