Category Archives: Business Tips

Choosing my New Look – Part 2 – Museums

How about art museums?  I ramdomly chose a few museums from a random article (how’s that for scientific?)

Here too, there were neutral backgrounds with bright splashes of attention getting color.

Random Museums

Metropolitan Museum of Art Glacier blue background, white nav box, Chestnut Brown and Black font

Smithsonian Background gray – green tint? Lots of bright pictures, blue nav tabs with white font.  Some Blue nav fonts also.

MoMa – Museum of Modern Art – white background, black navigation font, changing blocks with info – bright colors, with a orange sign in bar at the bottom.

The British Museum –  White background, black nav bar with white font.  Multi-column info area in center, white with black font – looks like a newspaper

Louvre – – White background, with peach fade to gray info area, black and brown fonts.

Vatican Museum – White background, Orange and deep red font

Well, it seems like the thing to do is design something very neutral.  That makes sense, since I wouldn’t want to detract from my glass items anyway.  Here’s where I want to argue with myself.  I want business cards with color – preferable matching my ArtFire and Etsy shops, but I don’t want a bunch of beads scattered about.

I decided to make a gradient, with just one set of beads.  It turned out much more colorful than I intended.  The orange was supposed to be muted!  Because the banner was so bright, I ended up setting the background of that to a brighter orange.  I think I still have work to do!

Header for Spawn of Flame Artfire Shop

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Choosing my New Look – Part 1 – Luxury Brands

Recently, ArtFire made the announcement that it was going to be changing the look of everybody’s shops.  As a part of this, we would need to develop a new header with a different size.  In addition, we had control over more of the colors in the shop than in the past.

I thought that this would be a good time to do some research to help me decide on the color scheme to use.  Currently, I have different colors in my different shops – not such a good idea for branding, right?

I got the idea to look at luxury brands and see what colors they use (because my beads are luxury brand, of course…) I found an article at Forbes that listed the top luxury brands.

Luxury Brands Websites

Luxury Brands Websites

#1 Louis Vuitton / White background
#2 Hermès / White background, grayish font, orange logo
#3 Gucci Brown wood panel at bottom, gold band, images, gold lettering
#4 Chanel / Black and White with grayscale images
#5 Rolex / Black background, white lettering
#6 Hennessy / Black background, black to neutral brown side panel, gold and white lettering
#7 Cartier / Black background, white nav bar, neutral brown/gray font, splash band of deep red.
8 Moët & Chandon / Black background, gray t0 black splash band, gold and soft white lettering
9 Fendi / Steel gray/blue background, black nav bar, white lettering
10 Prada , a background image of a runway show area, popups of mostly black with white lettering.

OK.  I see the pattern – very little color to distract from the products.

But!! I’m an artist!  I want color!!  What to do??!!

Tomorrow, I’ll show you where else I looked.


Tutorial – Shipping Labels – International

As promised, here is how I make shipping labels for international packages.   I use the USPS Shipping Assistant®, provided by the United States Postal Service.  It can be downloaded from the link and installed onto a Windows system.  Unfortunately, it is apparently not available for a Mac.

Since I use this package only for international shipping, I have set the defaults for international first class packages.  To set these defaults (on the version that I  have), first click “preferences” in the upper right corner of the Shipping Assistant screen.

There will be a series of selections on the left side of the screen.  I modified two of the selections:  General and International Label.

In the General Preferences window, I set the “open shipping assistant” to “International Shipping Label”.  This was the only item that I modified in this window.

Shipping Assistant - General Preferences

Shipping Assistant - General Preferences

I modified quite a number of items in the International window.  Most of my packages are under 2 ounces,  so I set the default weights accordingly.

  • weight – 2 ounces
  • service – first class mail international
  • container – parcel
  • description – craft supplies (that is what the beads are – you decide what your package would be)
  • quantity – 1
  • item weight – 1 ounce
  • contents – commercial sample (changed to merchandise, depending on the package)
Shipping Assistant - International Preferences

Shipping Assistant - International Preferences

After I have set the preferences, every time that I run the Shipping Assistant, the screen will initially look like this:

Shipping Assistant Overview

Shipping Assistant Overview

I then add each item.  In the upper right area, there is a section called “Items: Content Detail”.  I already showed how I set the default to 1 ounce and “Craft Items”.  I enter the value of the item.  I ship with the receipt, so this number is the same as the sale value of the items.  Click “Add Item” and that is added to the Description.  If I ship multiple beads or multiple sets, I add each item separately.

Shipping Assistant - Content Details

Shipping Assistant - Content Details

After all of the information has been entered, click on the calculate button.  This will show the amount of postage due.  It is not necessary to do this right now, you can just click the Print button.  I believe that you can save the labels and print a batch of them at a time, but I only do one at a time.

After the label is printed, I cut it, then glue and tape it to the bubble mailer.  These labels fit quite nicely on a 000 bubble envelope.

Again, I hope that this helps someone with their shipping!

Related tutorials:

Rosemarie Hanus makes beads (that she prints shipping labels for) in her home studio. Look at some of these beads at EtsyArt Fire, or my Spawn of Flame website.


Tutorial – Shipping Labels

As an exciting sequel to my Packing the Beads tutorial, I have decided to share how I produce shipping labels.  Please don’t laugh!  This was another step that almost had me afraid to sell online.

Of course, the simplest way is to hand write the address information directly onto the envelope.  This method has the drawbacks of taking quite a bit of time and requiring legible handwriting (or printing).  It is also not recommended for those (like me) that tend to transpose letters and numbers!  Be sure to use a permanent marker or pen – I have used the Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Permanent Marker with success.

Now, I print both of my domestic (in the US) and international label, but I use a different method for each of them.  For the domestic labels, I use Paypal and for international, I use the USPS Shipping Assistant®, provided by the United States Postal Service.

I like to use Paypal since many of my customers use it for the payment method.  It is quite easy to click on the “Print Shipping Label” button next to the transaction.  I can ship to anybody this way;  although impossible to find on the Paypal site,  here is a direct link to make a label.  For domestic shipping, the shipping can be First Class or Priority mail.  I almost always ship First Class with Delivery Confirmation which is only $0.18 – less expensive than buying it at the Post Office.  The weight cannot be more than 13 ounces.  If it is over 13 ounces, I splurge for Priority Mail.

The information that you need to enter is: the name and address where the package is going, the service type (I use First Class), the package size (I use Package/Thick Envelope), and the weight.  The weight cannot be more than 13 ounces.  If it is over 13 ounces, I splurge for Priority Mail.

I print the label on my laser printer onto regular computer paper.  The printout is the label on one half of the paper and a receipt on the other half.  The size of  the label is such that it fits easily on size 00 Bubble Mailers.

Cutting the Shipping Label

Cutting the Shipping Label

To attach the label, first I cut it out.  The quickest cutting method for me is to use my sewing rotary cutter on a cutting mat.  Then I put a little glue on the back of the label, place it on the envelope, and then tape the edges all the way around.  I like the thin width clear tape – not that I am picky.  Wait, I am picky… lol!  Just be sure not to tape over the barcodes!

I would also totally recommend using your non-cutting hand to hold the paper.  I was using that hand to take the picture… lol!

Next time, I will conclude this riveting tutorial by sharing how I make labels for international packages.

UPDATE! Related tutorials:

Rosemarie Hanus makes beads (that she prints shipping labels for) in her home studio. Look at some of these beads at EtsyArt Fire, or my Spawn of Flame website.


Tutorial – Packing the Beads

One of the things that I agonized over when I first began to ship beads was how to pack them.  I worried that they would break, but I did not want excessive packaging either.  I have shipped several hundred packages now, and for those just getting started, I thought that I would share what I do.

A little disclaimer, I am shipping mostly sets of smaller beads – earring sets or bracelet size sets (up to 15mm).  I have also shipped solid larger beads this way (up to 2 inches (50 mm) in diameter, and some 3 inches (75 mm) in length).  I would not use this packing method on more delicate or sculptural beads.

First, I put each set of beads into a little zip bag.  This is to keep the beads from going all over the place when they are unwrapped; who wants their customers crawling under a table to round up your beads?  Not me!   Next, I arrange the beads in a line near the bottom of the corner of a 6 inch x 6 inch (15 cm square) piece of bubble wrap.  I reuse bubble wrap whenever I can – I just cut the pieces from wrap that I have received.

Beads on Bubble Wrap

Beads on Bubble Wrap

I roll the wrap, starting from the corner to about halfway.  I try and make the wrap pretty tight around the beads – that way they don’t shift around while they are traveling through the mail.  This is actually the trickiest part (getting the wrap nice and tight).

Rolling Bubble Wrap

Rolling Bubble Wrap

I then fold the ends in.

Folding the Bubble Wrap

Folding the Bubble Wrap

I continue to roll the wrap into a tubular roll-up.  I do not tape it at this point.

Bubble Wrap Roll-Up

Bubble Wrap Roll-Up

I then put the roll-up onto a square sheet of tissue paper.  I make sure that the pretty printed side is down so that it is on the outside, because I am compulsive about things.

Tissue - Ready to Roll

Tissue - Ready to Roll

I roll the tissue and fold the edges just like the bubble wrap.

Tissue - Folded and Almost Done

Tissue - Folded and Almost Done

Once the wrap is done, I put a tiny bit of clear tape to hold the tube closed.

A Tube of Beads

A Tube of Beads

This is now ready to go into a bubble wrap envelope.  I also include an invoice with a written message and a business card.

Packing Ready to Go

Packing Ready to Go

Of course this only takes a few seconds.  I hope that this helps someone who may be paralyzed at the thought of shipping beads for the first time. This is the conclusion of this exciting tutorial.  Perhaps I will write a sequel soon on how I make and attach labels to the envelope.

UPDATE! Related tutorials:

Rosemarie Hanus makes beads (that she uses to ship) in her home studio. Look at some more of these beads at EtsyArt Fire, or my Spawn of Flame website.