Behind the scenes at Victoria Camp Designs – Fab.com sale wrap up!

Oh my – I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since my sale with Fab.com!

When my sale started, I’d created half of the available inventory up front so that it would be ready-to-ship upon purchase, and the other half was made-to-order.  I was able to send my first big shipment the day after my sale ended, and sent the second shipment less than a week later. As of early last week, all of the merchandise has been received at their warehouse, which means it should be in most customers’ hands by now! Hooray!

It’s sort of funny that no matter how much prep work you do,  once the sale starts, it’s still a (happy) whirlwind! I thought it might be nice to share a few ‘behind the scenes’ photos from my sale event with you..

LOTS of vintage lockets..

 

I took the above photo before I got started. I used almost all of these lockets for my sale. Doesn’t it look so daunting?! I spent a an entire month preparing the inventory for my sale, before it went live.

 

Prepping large heart lockets and tiny constellation lockets for the Fab.com sale!

 

Work in progress photo above, with a collection of large map heart lockets towards the front, and tiny constellation lockets amassing in the back…

 

Orion constellation lockets

 

An army of Orion’s.. I painted each constellation type in groups. There were 14 all together – the 12 zodiac constellations, plus Orion and Ursa Major (Big Dipper.)

 

Fab.com Shipment - Victoria Camp Designs

 

My sale event was 3 days long, and I could hardly sleep the night before it started; I was so excited! I joked with my mom (who lives 3,000 miles away) that I spent all 3 days just staring at my computer, watching the ‘sold items’ number increase. She would routinely check in with me by email, asking, “What’s the current number?” We both got a kick out of watching the little red “sold out” flag appear on the item styles.

The morning after the sale ended, I had the final item numbers and could begin gathering all of the ready-to-ship pieces for the first warehouse shipment! At this point, I was feeling pretty thankful that I had already packaged and labeled each item individually. It saved a LOT of time later on.. time which I now needed to finish up the made-to-order items! The box for the first shipment was so large, I just had to take a photo of it next to my “floor manager,” Butters, for comparison. I think he was disappointed that the box did not contain any treats for him. Sorry, Butters!

 

Tiny Initial Notebook Locket Necklaces in progress..

 

Once the first shipment was on it’s way to Fab, I resumed work on the items for the second shipment. The first designs I needed to get started on were the Tiny Initial Notebook Locket Necklaces, since the finish on them needed adequate drying time before heading off to the customers.  The above photo is one of my favorites, because you can see all the various letters in the font design – so much fun! (I offer these in two different fonts, and with one or two letters, on my website.)

 

2-smallheartmaplockets

 

The second item style I needed to complete were the small heart map locket necklaces. I offered 15 different cities for the sale event, and made sure to double and triple check the quantity of each city that sold. The most popular cities were Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Orleans. (The first two didn’t surprise me – although the third one did!) San Francisco has always been one of the popular locations. Can’t say I blame you guys, as I do live in the Bay Area myself!

 

Another view of the small heart map lockets..

 

An overhead view..I still can’t get over this! I’ve never seen so many map lockets on my table at one time! This photo didn’t even include the lockets that I’d completed earlier. Crazy.

 

Second Fab shipment..

 

Five days later, and the second (and final) shipment is ready to go! *whew!*

I spent the week after the sale trying to relax a little bit, and working on custom orders. This week I am back to what is a little more “normal,” and have finally had some time to work on new designs.

Hope everyone is having a great March!

A Glimpse into my Product Packaging Process..

One of the perks about shopping handmade is that there is a real person behind the item you’re purchasing. There is thought, love, care, and attention within each carefully crafted item, not to mention a unique product that you wouldn’t find at a mass retailer.

For many of us that sell handmade goods, the fun doesn’t stop as soon as we’ve finished creating the item – there’s still the joy that arrives when the item is purchased and sent to a new home somewhere across the country – or globe!

 

constellation packaging example

 

As an independent designer and “one woman show,” as its often referred to, I tend to get a little excited packaging my jewelry. I want my customers to be delighted, and think of each package as a gift (even if the customer is buying it for themselves!) My packaging has somewhat morphed from when I first began selling online, and I expect that it will continue to evolve as time goes on.

 

As the real person behind this business, I wanted to share with you a glimpse into my packaging routine.

 

packaginginprogress01

My very first step is to set aside each item that is ready to ship. I keep my inventory well organized, so it’s quick and easy to find the items that need to be mailed. If I am sending out custom orders,  I also move them to the ‘completion table’ here when they are finished.

packaginginprogress

The next step is really a multiple step process. I put out the “care instruction” cards for each applicable item, and affix a little decoration to the box when available, (in this case, I attach a map cut-out for the map jewelry, and a constellation map cut-out for the constellation jewelry.) Once those materials are prepped, I package up the jewelry and put it into a bubble mailer with the recipient’s name on it; this helps keep everything organized so that the customer does not receive the wrong item! Each box includes a business card with a quick note written on the back, and a satin ribbon tied around it.

floormanager

This is my Floor Manager, Butters. (Get it? Har har..) His responsibilities include chasing after runaway beads (don’t worry, he’s not interested in eating them,) greeting the mailman, and making sure I remember to take scheduled breaks and pay him some attention. He gets paid in belly rubs and squeaky toys.

finishedpackages

Once all of the boxes are tucked safely inside their respective bubble mailer (these ones are biodegradable!,) I print out all of the shipping labels and attach them to the packages. It’s somewhat of a matching game, especially when I have a large shipment. When the labels are printed, each customer receives an email notification that their package has shipped.

And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed a little behind-the-scenes view of what’s involved after you place your order.

Fine Silver Rose Earrings

Happy 2012! I’ve been using my new kiln for the past month, and wanted to share one of my new (sort of!) designs. “New,” referring to the medium more-so than the design. If you’ve visited my website or Etsy storefront, you’re probably familiar with my clay roses. I’ve recently returned to working with precious metal clay, and decided what better to use to start off with than the roses?

For those that aren’t familiar with precious metal clay, let me give you a brief explanation: precious metal clay is composed of microscopic particles of precious metal, held together with an organic binder. Although the working properties of this clay are slightly different than other clays (for example, it dries out much faster) it can be cut/shaped/molded/carved in a similar fashion. The clay is then dried, fired (heated/cured,) then burnished (hardened,) polished and buffed. The organic binder is burned off in the firing process, leaving just the metal behind! Pretty neat, huh?

Precious metal clay is available in fine silver, copper, bronze, gold (22k) and most recently sterling silver.  I’m using fine silver right now, since I’m already familiar with it, and will be using the copper next! (Note: Fine silver is higher quality and does contain more silver than sterling silver: .999 instead of .925.)

I thought I’d share a few photos from the process involved in making my fine silver rose earrings. It takes a long time to complete each rose (and earring) but the finished result is beautiful and well worth the effort.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose earrings

(A finished pair of fine silver rose earrings.)

First and foremost, I shape the clay. I make the fine silver roses by hand, petal by petal – the same process used in my polymer clay roses. (No molds are ever used for my roses – each one is unique!) I sand and smooth the clay, then let them dry.. sometimes overnight, sometimes in the kiln.

Next, I fire the roses in my kiln. The temperature I use ranges from 1200-1500F degrees, depending on the design. (Yes, that is HOT!)

Victoria Camp Designs - kiln

Once the roses are fired and have cooled down, I take them out of the kiln. They appear “white.” This is a crystallized layer that must be burnished to remove. You can use a tumbler or a burnishing tool.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose1

I use a hand burnishing tool for these, since I need to get in between all of the little creases and crevices of the petals. You can see on the top right petal, burnishing also makes it shiny! (It helps harden the metal, too.) The rose must be burnished on all sides, top to bottom, around every edge.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose2

Once burnished, the rose looks shiny. As you can see, the final product is in fact a solid metal piece. This one is fine silver, which contains more silver (.999) than sterling silver (.925.)

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose3

“Shiny” silver is nice, but I want a little more depth in this rose design. My next step is to oxidize the silver. Both fine silver and sterling silver will naturally oxidize over time (this happens with exposure to air, water, etc.) but I use a chemical solution to speed up the process. Here you can see that the roses have oxidized, and look dark gray/black. I actually like how these look oxidized, but will keep going..

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose4

After oxidizing, I polish the outer edges and petals of the roses (as well as the earring posts) to return certain areas to a pretty shine. I use a polishing pad and polish each rose by hand. You can see that I have left some of the oxidization on the inner portion of the petals, to create some texture and depth.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose5

A close-up of the rose.. doesn’t that look pretty? I definitely prefer the oxidized details over the previously completely shiny rose.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose6

Here’s a photo of the roses in various stages.. Starting from the left, the two light gray roses are fine silver clay that has been sculpted and dried. They are ready to go in the kiln, but haven’t been fired yet. The shiny silver rose to the right of them has been fired and also burnished. The two small roses to the right of that have been fired, burnished, oxidized, and polished. The earring I am holding has also gone through the complete process as well, from creating to firing to finishing.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver roses

 

The item listing for the petite fine silver rose earrings can be found here:

http://www.victoriaallison.com/Hand-Formed-Small-Fine-Silver-Rose-Earrings-p/finesilverroseearrings-small.htm

Winter Bridal 2012 Photoshoot Sneak Preview

Wow – it’s been a busy September! I’ve been gearing up for the photo shoot for my Winter 2011/2012 Bridal line. I am SO very excited about this one!

The shoot will be held in the gorgeous lobby of the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley, CA. I won’t give away all of the details for the shoot and collection (I love the element of surprise!) but I thought I’d give you a little sneak preview of what has been keeping me so busy the past 4-6 weeks.

I had a very specific aesthetic in mind in both designing this collection and considering the styling options for the photo shoot. There are a lot of beautiful vintage rhinestone pieces and even more clear vintage glass beads, and I wanted to follow the same path of the vintage meets modern vibe. Admittedly, I have “perfectionist” tendencies, which can be both a blessing and a curse. In other words, I wanted the dress to be perfect for the shoot, too!

What’s a girl to do? Well, this girl happens to have a degree in fashion design and a “DIY” mentality to boot… can you guess where I’m going with this?

I designed and made a dress for the photo shoot! My actual model is built slightly different than the dress form, but we did some test fittings on her and it’s going to fit beautifully. (Despite how it may look on the dress form..)

Here’s a peek..

Bias cut slip dress - Victoria Camp Designs

There’s a low drop in the back, too, but you’ll have to wait for the photo shoot for additional views!

The majority of my Winter Bridal earrings are one of a kind (and I won’t model OOAK earrings on real people) so I made a couple pairs of earrings just for the shoot..

Bridal earrings - Victoria Camp Designs

I also envisioned a certain style of up-do for the model, and made some hair combs for her as well! She will wear either one depending on which necklace is being photographed at the moment. The comb on the bottom is made with a vintage rhinestone brooch, and the one on the top is made with freshwater pearls.

Hair combs - Victoria Camp Designs

Okay, I think that’s enough of a preview for now! Expect the full Winter Bridal line to be ready in early October. I will keep you posted!