Saturday, April 26, 2008

Are you ready for batch 5?

Batches 3 and 4 of the Basic Polymer Clay workshops rocked! Two consecutive days of teaching has left me exhausted, but very happy. To see all the creations, and to hear the feedback makes everything worth it. The participants' work as so creative!

I'm changing the term Basic workshop to Extensive Beginner's. Based on the participants' feedbacks, the term "basic" doesn't give justice to the workshop's extensive and intensive activities. So there you have it, the Extensive Polymer Clay Workshop for Beginners.

Are you ready for batch 5? :) I'm limiting each class to 4 participants instead of 5; the smaller the group the better. :) Keeps things very personal, as all your individual techniques are observed carefully, so you'll leave the class like pros.

10 hours of pure claying bliss await you. You'll not only learn to make what's uso, but the very extensive class will teach you all the techniques for endless possibilities - only your imagination will stop you.

Everything included, lunch and heavy snacks too! It's not a WORKshop, it's a party! :)

Send askyummy@gmail.com an email, so we can send you the course outline.

WHEN: May 18, 2008 (Sunday)
WHERE: My residence in Pasig, full details will be disclosed upon registration

*A 1k downpayment is required to reserve a slot.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The year that was

Happy first birthday Angeli's Art Beads! Grabe, what a blessed year. Thank You Lord for everything. On April 21, 2007, I became a full time entrepreneur. Here's the year (plus a couple of months) in review.

February 2007

This crazy roller coaster ride I call my small business caught fire because of this first post in shopcrazy. This post started all the media exposure, and in turn, started the overwhelming response to my work. My deepest gratitude to Ms Steph Dychiu who wrote the article.




March 2007

It was a trying month, what with my dad catching malaria (he's okay now), and my super stressful month at the office. It was also my first summer bazaar ever (i think?).



Grabe, seeing this pic makes me smile. How we changed as entrepreneurs! Far from this tiangge-like stall in last year's AAVA bazaar, our brands (Angeli's Art Beads, Charm's Ichigo, Lara's Silly Me, Nixie's Tacona, and Pao and Joyce's BBB) have now found their identity.

April 2007

April 07 was a month of many firsts. The first ever newspaper article about Angeli's Art Beads was published in the Philippine Star. I remember how I had to sneak out of the office (break naman eh, hehe), head to the pool area of Crowne Plaza where it was bright and sunny, and take photos of my work, to be published. I couldn't afford a professional photog! (I still can't, harhar).



It was also the month of my first on-cam interview. Super ngarag! I was still working that time, so I had no time to prepare for the shoot. After work, I had to dash to the Podium to look for something decent to wear, then head home to bake more pieces. Since I didn't know how to put on makeup, I frantically called people up in the middle of the night, asking if anyone was free the next day. Lara of Silly Me came to the rescue! She somehow calmed my jitters.



I don't think it ever aired though! hahaha.

A few days after, I got another call from another TV station, this time they wanted me to be in the studio for a DIY project. You'd think I'd be more relaxed this time, but I was even more stressed out because it was not just an interview, i would actually have to clay on air. (I cut my finger with the huge clay blade!!!)


I got to meet Ms Lucy Torres and Ms Wilma Doesnt! It was fun chatting with Lucy, coz she was into crafts too! Before the shoot, the makeup artist fussed over me outside the dressing room. Referring to my untweezed eyebrows, he goes "Inday hindi na uso maria clara ngayon!". hahaha. Then proceeds to give me a heavy stroke with the eyebrow pencil, giving me a Betty La Fea-esque look. Uhoh. Teehee.

And a few days after that, I got yet another call from another newspaper. Grabe, April was truly a blessed month!



The Manila Bulletin article was almost one whole spread, and the pictures were great! I am thankful for the opportunity to talk about how the business started, about the whole design process, about everything actually!

As if that's not enough, Us Girls called! I've been a viewer of F (that show with Angel Aquino, Daphne Osena, and um, who was the other one?) in high school, so I was excited to learn that Angel Aquino was hosting my segment. Jodi Sta Maria, another celeb from my couch potato past (Tabing Ilog, hahaha), was the cohost. I made photo jewelry for them, too bad I didn't take pics! The segment was taped at my tita's place in Antipolo. The staff probably found the venue nice, they shot the episode's intro at my tita's garden! haha.
Here I am (the one in red) with cousins Kat and Kristine, and Jodi and Angel.


May 2007

The gang (BBB, Ichigo, Silly Me, Angeli's) got into our first Rockwell Bazaar! I shared a booth with Silly Me Clothing.

I didn't have much clay stuff then, but I had lots of mannequins - and they were a hit!



June 2007

Site views went up like crazy, after the April features and the May bazaars. I couldn't keep up with the demand!

June saw two media features, one online and one on air.

I got featured on clickthecity.com! On the day of the interview, the guards at the condo gave the writer a hard time and wouldn't let her in! tsk. Buti nalang I went online and saw her email, that she was stuck outside (so sorry about that Ms Bea). The article was heartwarming, and the photos were lovely!


I got to meet Charlene Gonzales and Marjorie Baretto on At Home Ka Dito. I taught them how to make Id necklaces with clay. We gave a pair of cupcake earrings, a cupcake bracelet, and an Id necklace to an unfortunate girl named Alwynna, who sells bananaque on the streets.

July 2007

In July I started consigning at Peppered Cherry, this chic and cozy store at Serendra.


And my work finally lands on the glossies! Some of my charm bracelets and necklaces got featured on Candy Mag, and my golden heart necklace got published in Cosmo.

I used to collect magazines. I have always dreamed of seeing my designs on a magazine, so this feature on Cosmo and Candy was really a big thing for me!

August 2007

August was another triumph - Preview included me in their pages! It was such a pleasant surprise because I didn't know I'd be featured. I thought all along that they'd simply include a photo of one of my necklaces, like the Cosmo feature in July. But to see my name on that page, along with those other designers, was so surreal.

September 2007

I got to meet Pia Guanio in September. I was featured on Ang Pinaka, her show on QTV11. She was nice! We had a few drinks in a bar near the GMA compound - so surreal! haha. The story: My interview was taped inside the GMA compound. (The staff was very maalaga, by the way!) Rich from Starstruck was the host for my segment, Pia wasn't there. So I asked the staff if I could meet her by any chance? They set a date, and I visited her at one of the show's tapings. We went to a bar and had a few drinks. (I was in a ratty shirt and flipflops, and they (Pia and the kind staff of Ang Pinaka) were dressed up - kahiya!) Thanks Carol ha! :)
September was also Candy Fair month. It was so much fun! I blogged about it here.

And I got featured on Kids on Q, this cute kiddie show on QTV. Ella was super cute!

After the shoot, I found out that the Ella was the ghost pala in Sigaw. I am deathly afraid of horror movies, no matter how corny. So my cousins were laughing when they were watching the episode, wondering if I knew who I was talking to! But no, I only learned about it after they told me. Good thing, because it would have been awkward!


October - December 2007

These months were quiet ones, publicity wise. We focused on bazaars and the Christmas gift giving rush. I was home in Bacolod for most of October, and spent time with the family in December.

We had a trunkshow at Ms B's for halloween. That was fun!

Rockwell's third bazaar of the year in November was a huge success! It must be because of my ID that says BREADS. hahaha.

Some of my stuff (the envelope bracelet and mannequin) got featured on 2bu's Christmas list in December, but I don't have a scanned image of that. sayang. The Pretty In Pink teenytiny dress necklace was also published in Woman Today in December, but I don't have a copy of that either! (If anyone has a copy, pwedeng hiramin?)

January 2008

Started the year right and registered the business. Red tape sucks. tsk.

February 2008
Just when I thought I was done with media features, I got a message from someone from ABS CBN, inviting me to guest on Boy and Kris. I was intimidated at the thought of meeting Kris Aquino, and was glad to find out I was meeting Boy Abunda instead. (I have nothing against Kris, just that she can be unforgiving with comments. Kung ang celeb nga nababara niya, ako pa kayang probinsyanang nene?) Tito Boy was super nice, and so was Rachel Ann Go, cohost for my segment. There are celebs who make you feel small, but there are those who make you feel right at home, and these two are good examples of the latter.



A few days after, I got a message from from Achie Pao saying ANC might feature me along with BBB. I didn't take it seriously though, because it was already a few hours before their scheduled shoot, but I still haven't heard from the producer. Then around noon, I got the go signal, so I rushed to the mall to buy something to wear (coz I'd have to look
pormal, this was ANC!). An hour after, I was at the studio, having my makeup done. It was aired LIVE. eeeeek. I may have pulled a Janina San Miguel!


March 2008

We joined the Pinay In Action Bazaar! I had a my yummy cart made for the event - my super creative lolo made it for me! What's great about it was I got to spend the entire week with him, which I have never done before. I didn't know we had so many things in common. He has this workshop full of carpentry/fishing/handyman tools, and for the first time, I saw it in a different light: so many tools for exciting new projects! His helper, his carpenter sidekick, said to me while I was bent over some nails and a hammer, "Mana ka nga sa lolo mo!". I was so proud! hehehe.
Here's a prettier photo of the cart. We improved it by adding a new roof made of a pretty gold and pink pinstripe fabric, and attaching the Angeli's sign on the body instead of hanging it from above. Marco made the roof - the men in my life are so creative! haha.

April 2008
Like the year that was, this month was pretty busy! My 23rd birthday and Angeli's Art Beads' first year anniversary falls on the same month. Plus there are three batches of basic polymer clay workshops this month! Not to mention the Urban Bazaar. Crazy crazy month.

We are grateful for this craziness, for it is what keeps the business going. Thank you Lord for all the blessings, for all the dreams-come-true. The year was by no means all glitz and glam, but it was a fairytale nonetheless.

Here's to another crazy, crazy year.














Monday, April 21, 2008

Bazaar Nightmare: Lifestyle Bazaar at Fully Booked

I have promised myself not to post negative blogs anymore.

I will have to break my promise this time though, to bring to your attention the horrible experience we multiply sellers have had this weekend. I am posting this not to create an issue, but to inform you about the treatment sellers received at the Lifestyle Bazaar at Fully Booked Topshelf.

I have been joining bazaars since 2005. I join more than 4 bazaars a year. That's almost twenty bazaars to date, more if you count the trunkshows my friends and I organize.

Last weekend, I was part of two bazaars: The Rockwell Urban Bazaar at the Rockwell Tent, and the Lifestyle Bazaar at Top Shelf. The Rockwell Bazaar rocked, sorry for the pun. That was my fourth Rockwell Urban Bazaar, and like the previous ones, we did well on this one. If there's one bazaar you should join, that's the Urban Bazaar (or Powerplant Mall's bazaars).


Suffice to say that I am a bazaarista. I would like to believe that the past bazaars I've joined have given me enough experience to determine what "crowded" and "nilalangaw" means.

The other bazaar, the one at Topshelf, was what you'd call nilangaw, despite what the organizer claims. There was light customer traffic, and I had zero sales. Zero. Zilch. None. Nada. I didn't want to complain about that however, for fear of sounding bitter. I wanted to charge it to experience, to forget about the whole thing.

But last night's events changed my mind. Here's what happened from my point of view.

On April 18, Friday, we arrived at Fully Booked for ingress. I was surprised to find how cramped the place (Top Shelf) was. I knew we'd get small tables lang (I was sharing two booths with BBB and Ichigo by the way), but I didn't know the aisles would be that narrow. The place was cramped, I tell you.

My assistant manned the Fully Booked booth, and I went to Rockwell to man our booth there. The whole day I was checking with Achie Joyce of BBB about the sales and the foot traffic, and the answer was always the same: zero sales, super konti ng tao.

On the other hand, my booth at Rockwell was getting a lot of traffic, despite being outside the tent. At some point, I couldn't handle the customers, because there was just too many.

I thought at first that maybe Friday isn't a gimmick day at Bonifacio High Street, so maybe it was understandable. But when we arrived there that same night, there were a lot of people outside!

That's the key word: outside.

So I decided on Saturday morning to pullout my stocks from Fully Booked, and transfer everything to Rockwell where I was doing good (paubos na actually).

The next day, the story at Fully Booked was the same thing: zero sales, super konti ng tao. The concessionaires were the only ones buying from each other. Sales were still super slow. I was texting two sellers there this time. Sunday saw the same conditions: super konti ng tao. The whole time I was texting sellers at Fully Booked, checking up on how they were doing.

One of the sellers, Jing of Fabtrinkets, texted the organizer to complain about the almost nonexistent foot traffic. She suggested they offer us a refund. (Slots at the bazaar go for 8,500 for a small table).

She got very rude texts in return, one implying that maybe it was her products that were at fault, and that the organizers did everything they could to draw a crowd. A following text said they'd warn other organizers about her, about how a pain in the ass she was.

Sunday night, a confrontation between the concessionaires and the organizer took place. The concessionaires signed a petition, demanding for a refund.

At one point, the organizers said the same thing they told Fabtrinkets: maybe your products are unsaleable, we are not at fault.

They are not at fault?

This is why I am blogging. But my partner says if I wanted this blog to drive my point (which is to warn people from joining their future bazaars, and to make them realize that they ARE at fault), it should be constructive.

So here are three points:

1. MARKETING/PUBLICITY.

When they were looking for concessionaires, they banked on the location of the bazaar, and lured us with mentions of "Bonifacio High Street" and "Serendra" in their multiply account. That's what got me to join the bazaar in the first place. Their marketing plan was to distribute flyers and put up streamers or whatever you call them. As it turned out, you can't distribute flyers about a bazaar at High Street and Serendra! So you know what they did? They distributed flyers in Fully Booked instead. Meaning, they were only targetting fully booked customers pala. Had we known, we wouldn't have joined. We expected announcements in the area, not inside fully booked lang.
SUGGESTION: Thou shalt advertise and publicize well. And thou shalt stick to the plan, and not give false hopes.

2. COMMUNICATION.

On the night of the 18th, I checked their multiply account, wanting to leave a reply. Surprise, surprise, they disabled replies to everything, and even took out their contact infos. And on the 19th, the organizer wasn't at the event. People were looking for Sheryl the organizer, but she wasn't there. I have never encountered an organizer who leaves her bazaar, and I've been to almost 20 bazaars!
SUGGESTION: Thou shalt not leave thy event unattended.

3. THREATENING CONCESSIONAIRES/INSULTING PRODUCTS.

They said maybe the products we were selling weren't saleable, kaya we couldn't make a sale. Some of the concessionaires at the bazaar were big names (on Multiply at least, and some even around the Metro), so you can't say their products aren't saleable. BBB and Ichigo Shoes, Methilation, Vida Jewelries. Not saleable products? This only means the organizers didn't do their homework, because they don't know these brands. Plus, to even imply that the products aren't saleable only means you didn't screen your concessionaires in the first place. Why accept an unsaleable product in the first place? And to threaten to tell other organizers about how a "pain in the ass" one is, is plain unprofessional.

SUGGESTION: Oh, I don't know... DON'T INSULT YOUR CONCESSIONAIRES!

And oh, just because it's hard to move inside a room, doesn't mean "there was a crowd". A cramped space plus a few people will make it seem there was a crowd, but it doesn't mean hindi siya nilangaw. Everyone said there were almost no people going in. Your word against the concessionaires.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On leave, offline

hello friends!

Angeli's Art Beads will be out of reach online from April 16 to April 20.

askyummy will be on leave starting today till after the bazaar to attend to some family business. I, on the other hand, will be offline too as we prepare for the two bazaars this weekend. As you know, I make all the yummy clay goodies myself, so you can just imagine the backbreaking, sleepless days towards the bazaar.

The raffle draw winners shall be pm'd later tonight. :)

Please drop by the 2 bazaars this weekend! I have new stuff you haven't seen yet. The new stuff is to blame for my swollen fingers, and blindness - they're super duper intricate.



Saturday, April 12, 2008

I'm 23, tsk. (and Angeli's Art Beads is turning 1!)

I'm a year older. tsk. If only we could all stay sixteen! haha. Thanks to everyone who texted, sent a pm, emailed, you guys made my day! :) I'm very mababaw, so it's not hard to make me smile.

sorry di ako nakapagreply sa iba (gixywixy, brends, tita babes, ateen), my phone gave up on me! :( The phone's number 2 button doesn't work anymore, then it went dead. waaaaaa.

Anyways, Angeli's Art Beads is turning 1! I know, i know, i started this in college pa. But it was simply a hobby that was paying for itself back then. It was last year lang when I decided to do this full time, to turn it into a real business. Read about it here: http://beadlady.multiply.com/journal/item/33/Taking_the_plunge

So officially, we're turning 1 on April 21! Yey!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The workshops

How do you pack five years of experience into a one-day workshop? This was my ultimate challenge and goal when I started planning for the basic polymer clay lessons.


I started this business creating average-looking jewelry with the same old materials from Quiapo bead stores. It was just a pastime with no intention of making money, a hobby that soon turned into an obsession. After almost a year of working with copper wire and stringing semi-precious stones and beads through cords, I got bored. Everyone was doing almost the same thing!


So I did a bit of research into designing unique jewelry, and I stumbled upon a book with a few pages about an oven-baked material called polymer clay. The possibilities enthralled me! I searched locally for other designers using this cool material, hoping to get some tips on where to buy it, but I couldn't find anyone into clay (or maybe I just didn't know how to look).

I searched the net but came up with no answers. All directions pointed me to importing the stuff from the US, but that was out of the question at that time. I didn't have the resources to order online (it wasn't so easy back then), so it took me months to actually get my hands on this elusive clay.

I finally found the stuff in a now defunct craft store in Eastwood. Finally, I thought, I could create the designs that were brewing in my head. But fate decided to play a game on me: P150 for a tiny bar? I was a sophomore on a tight budget, so that was equivalent to more than a day's allowance already! Of course I couldn't get just one color – you had to have different hues to make beads. It was frustrating to finally find what you've been searching for, then finding out you couldn't afford it.

It was my cousin Kristine who saved the day (I am forever in your debt, cuz). We split the tab, but she ended up paying for the lion's share (I am so kapal!). So off we went, happy with just three colors. (And I didn't even choose the most useful ones, tsk.)

But little did we know that what you found in books wasn't really the real deal. The book said to roll the clay between your palms to create a round bead. And so we did. But the book didn't say how to control sticky clay, nor did it instruct us how to create the hole without distorting the bead, or why the damn thing never ends up round, or why when I bake the beads in the toaster, they either turn up crumbly or scorched. The book certainly left out a lot of things. I searched for other books but like the first book, they were simply filled with how-tos, not with actual problem solving.

So I called up the craft store, asked if they offered lessons. Yes, they did. For half the price of my entire semester in UP. Yikes. I would save up, I promised myself. But by the time I came up with the money to pay for the lessons, the store was gone, dead, defunct. I was left with no other choice but to learn the hard way.

I wasted many bars of clay, bought the wrong brands, used the wrong materials, scorched beads because of the wrong equipment, spent many hours doing the wrong thing before finally doing it right. In the end, I spent almost the same amount I would have paid for the workshop, but wasted more time than was necessary.

But do I regret being self-taught? No. The years of hard work provided me with enough experience to build the business I have today. The same way experiences make good writers, years of trial and error make good techniques.

So there lies the basis for my workshops: time-tested techniques, beyond what the books offer, beyond what the internet tells you, beyond what you thought you knew.

Call me stupid, but in every workshop I teach, I can't keep my secrets secret. I don't have the heart to send off participants with false information, or with something half-baked (literally and figuratively). I don't want their work ending up like most of the poorly made, carelessly thought-out clay fstuff now in the market. As I always say, strive for perfection. No one can ever be perfect, but you can be close. (Although as one participant said, "too perfect won't make your work look realistic"… so if you're making food jewelry, aim for realism instead. Haha!)



To share that aha moment with the participant – that moment when you see the truth dawn on their faces (ah, ganun pala yun!) – is priceless. More than the financial rewards of teaching, it is my own aha moment I look forward to. Every workshop I teach renews my interest in polymer clay. It keeps my creative juices flowing; it has awakened days of uninspired designer's block. When I take out molds that have long been forgotten and see the participant's face light up after she makes her first charm, it's like seeing everything for the first time all over again. Teaching has given me a fresh perspective, and at this point in my career, nothing beats a fresh idea.

And boy, do I have ideas. There are so many details I want to share in the workshops that I end up getting tongue-tied trying to organize my thoughts. As snippets from a past experience here or a past mistake made there are shared, the course outline I prepared becomes a mere guideline than an actual lesson plan. As I tell my participants, the outline is just the tip of the iceberg.

And the rest of the iceberg? It is presented in a well-planned, easy-to-understand-and-remember approach, thanks to my background in Dev Com. I never would have thought I could tie up my BS degree with this passion for the crafts. (Hard to believe right, considering how technical and noble the field of Dev Com is and how artsy fartsy I am right now?) But as it turned out, all those lessons in journ, edcom, and scicom, and about "bridging the gap between technology and the masses" would prove to be useful in this teaching endeavor. Sounds technical, I know, but all I mean is that I understand how to make technicalese sound like plain English for beginners.

But the workshop is not just for beginners - it's for non-beginners, too. Because the sad truth is, the sudden interest in all things clay has sparked a hasty plunge into commercialization, with handmade clay stuff beginning to look like clones of each other, like the way chunky semiprecious stones and Swarovski jewelry were all the rage when I was starting out.

I've always been critical of mediocre craftsmanship. This is why I decided to teach. This is why I can't keep my secrets. I aim to address this mediocrity, this pwede na attitude. I aim to make others understand the importance of good quality, of striving for perfection. If second-rate products (read: fragile, messily crafted) are continuously introduced out there, then clay will never be taken seriously, despite its potential. I am not an expert, because I do not know everything, but I've made my share of mistakes over the years, and made enough realizations worth sharing.

So how do you pack five years of experience into a one-day workshop? The answer is, you can't. But I will damn try.




Here's to Ms Pars, who patiently waited for a year, who shared her thoughts and made suggestions. I learned a lot from you.

To Ms Ghie, who trusted me enough to make the long trip from Bulacan to Pasig , who always texts to cheer me on.

To Ms Jhasy, who made my day in Alabang last Monday, who was the buena mano but doesn't know it, whose lovely color choices have inspired me.

To Ms Hazel, whose works were prettier than mine, and a beginner at that!

To Ms Bang, who already makes wonderful and unique clay stuff on the onset, but still searched for perfection through the workshop.


Thank you!

delinquent blogger

I haven't blogged in 6 months!!!

Ack!

Just a rundown of what I was up to since the last blog (will blog about these separately in the future).

1. business is doing great, (thank you Lord!).

2. Part of October was spent at home in Bacolod. It was fun fun fun. Went to Sipalay. ahhh, escape.



3. November... shucks I can't remember. A blur of bazaars...

4. Despite the hectic bazaar schedules and tons of custom orders, December was a blast, as always. Spent time with family.

5. Part of December was spent moving out of my old apartment and into a bigger one. Now I have lots of space for my crafts! I turned the upstairs living room into my work area/craft studio. One room became the storage room. There's a terrace where I like to take pictures of my work. The space is amazing! Will blog about it after I get everything organized. Some stuff are still in boxes because there simply isn't time to unpack yet. (Yes, I have a ton of beads, so there's no time to organize right now.)

6. We went to the beach in December! Subic and Batangas!(Or was it January 1?) hahaha. I caught a fish! First time to go fishing. Went with lolo and the boys. I caught a fish! Wootwoot. Can't find the pic though, tsk. Here I am in Subic with my bros:

7. A family reunion and Lola's bday in January. Here we are hanging out while the oldies drank the night away. haha.



6. Started the year right... registered the business, yey!

7. I got interviewed in Boy n Kris, got to meet Mr. Boy Abunda and Ms Rachel Ann Go. It's on my Youtube. Photos on multiply. :)

8. I got interviewed in Shoptalk, a show on ANC hosted by Ms Pia Hontiveros. That was live, so super unnerving. Didn't get to see it, kasi nga live. Photos on multiply.

9. Had my yummy cart made. Lolo is da best! hehe.

10. Joined Pinay in Action Bazaar. That was fun! Photos on multiply.

11. Started the workshop series for the season. I love teaching workshops! Super inspiring.

So many things to write about....

Will post soon.

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