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Thursday, December 13, 2007

End of Season Reflections

It has been a year, of sorts. Frankly, had anyone (in the past) told me that I would end up actually selling some of my seaglass to other collectors and to jewelry makers around the world, I would have looked at them like they were nuts. It surprises me a little, in a way, because I have been seeing jewelry made with seaglass for many years. I suppose I always figured that the jewelers got their own glass from personal trips to the beach.

Now that I think about it, that doesn't necessarily make sense-- some of them lived in locales 100s or even 1000s of miles from the nearest coastline.
And, as one person at a street fair pointed out to me, earlier this year: "Making jewelry and going to fairs takes up all the time I have. I can't really afford to give up a bunch of days to go find my own glass, and then not be assured that I even get what I need, when I give up an entire day."

The thing I had "overlooked" is that a lot of artists live in financially precarious positions, and so the $100 they could save by doing their own beachcombing doesn't make up for losing three days of work. Apart from which being able to buy a batch of glass that has already been sorted by color, and selected for "jewelry quality" is a lot more reliable than depending on whatever turns up, on any given day at the beach.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

North Beach Treasures eBay Store

I have been encouraged by the favorable response I have received from people, as a result of my seaglass auctions on eBay. Seems that a few folks out there believe I am "doing it right."

I never really envisioned my selling some of my "excess" seaglass as being more than something I "dabble" in. Certainly, I never contemplated it as "a business," and I still don't. It's a hobby, first and foremost.

That said, I have had a few of my seaglass-for-jewelry customers suggest to me that I put up an eBay "store," rather than just rely on periodic auctions. I understand their point. As I have been going, so far, I just bulked up whatever I had left to sell every 3-4 weeks and put it out for auction. In a way, an "all or nothing" approach.

An online store makes sense (from a buyer's perspective), because people can go there and buy supplies when they
need it, not based on when I happen to have time for auctions.

Of course, it costs
money to have a store on eBay, but since I'm not really trying to have a business, per se... the cost seems negligible, vs. the benefits to people out there.

So, with no further ado, I am pleased to announce the "opening" of my eBay store:

North Beach Treasures

If you're a sea glass collector, you'll find some better individual shards-- unusual and rare. If you're a jewelry maker or doing crafts projects with sea glass, you'll find bulk lots and "selections," often listed by quality grade and color.

Monday, August 13, 2007

2007 Sea Glass Festival

I am feeling a bit bummed that the 2007 NASGA Sea Glass Festival is October 7-8, which overlaps with a retreat I am co-hosting in Estes Park, CO.

One of the people who buys glass from me on eBay asked if I was going, and I had to admit that I am not. The Colorado thing was a prior agreement.

It will probably be a couple of years before I can go to a seaglass festival, as rumor has it the next one they schedule will be on the east coast. I don't really know enough people back east to be sure I have a free place to stay.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Summer Beachcombing

Although I do try to make it to the beach pretty much year-round, summers are more fun. The tides are more favorable (most of the fall and winter, low tide occurs in the middle of the night), and the longer days make for more time to walk further and pick things up.

It seems to be a general rule that the further you are willing to walk, the better the pickings. When I say walk, I am referring to how far you walk from the nearest land access to the beach. Once you get much beyond three miles (or an hour+), the pickings start to get better, especially if part of the hike is difficult, over a beach that is mostly large round rocks, making footing rather treacherous.

I have been finding a few rarities, recently. I have a much better sense of why they are "rarities," now. Sea glass marbles seem to be getting scarcer every year, too... I guess it may be a product of modern times-- kids don't play with maerbles anymore.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Customer service?

So far, it would seem, I have done fairly well with my sales on eBay. People seem fairly pleased with the lots I have offered, and and the majority of my lots have sold.

I experienced some "trickiness" around going to the retreat in California-- it's hard to run an Internet business when you're not actually somewhere where you can connect to the Internet.

I had expected summer to be a pretty good season around here, but I am discovering that this is such a tourist town that most of the beaches are actually picked clean, around this time of the year. Seems that leaves me either with "friendly" tides and little glass, or "unfriendly" tides, and better glass. Not sure what to do about that. Of course, I am not really running a "business," per se, so maybe I just shouldn't worry.

But speaking of business, I have been surprised at the number of people who have actually been surprised that I answer emails, and answer questions on eBay. I find that a but mystifying. Why would a seller not take the time to answer and inquiry? Not that I am necessarily all that surprised, since I heard much the same kind of feedback in the stamp business.

I really haven't found a great number of rarities around here. Naturally, there's lots and lots of common glass in common colors, but not very much in unusual colors. Heh! Maybe that's what makes them "unusual!"

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Summer Solstice

It's hard to believe that it is already summer, and that we have rounded the longest day of the year. The extreme summer tides that make beach glass collecting so enjoyable are still here for a few more months, before the times start to become "unfriendly."

Since I have started selling glass on eBay, I have also started wondering how I will manage to have anything to offer during the winter months when tides are unfavorable. Ironically, those who make jewelry with sea glass probably have the greatest need before the Christmas holidays, and in early spring, before the spring and summer crafts fairs start up again.

Monday, April 30, 2007

eBay and Sea Glass

After poking around a bit with searches, I have created an eBay account to try to sell sea glass on eBay.

When I looked, it appeared that there are lots of people who offer sea glass, and quite a few of the listed items actually end up selling. From what I can tell, their glass isn't necessarily any better or different from what I typically find.

The spectacular emerald heart was what got the whole thing started-- it's flawless and large, and people seem willing to pay good money for sea glass hearts in almost any condition.

If I could use this to add a couple of hundred dollars of "pocket money" a month, it would not only answer the question of what I am going to "do" with the glass I am finding here (which is significantly more than I have found on other beaches where I have beach combed), it would bring some much needed supplementary income to the stamp business... which is not really going as well as I might like.

Fortunately, the new camera has a decent macro setting, so I should be able to present decent photos in my auctions.

As I pondered this (yesterday), I decided I am going to take the same approach I have always taken with stamps-- and anything else I have sold on eBay: Have better and more attractive photos and better descriptions than anyone else in the market. It either forces others to "snap to" and up their game... or their stuff will simply just not look as appealing.

I am thinking I will use starting prices of $2.95 for better individual pieces, and $3.95 for "lots." Some people seem to start all their stuff at 99 cents-- I suppose, to take advantage of eBay's lowest listing fee-- and some seem to have a horribly inflated sense of what their glass is worth. I guess I'll be going along the "middle way," until I settle into a pattern. I just can't visualize selling anything for 99 cents. What's the point? It's not that I'm trying to be greedy... but after eBay and PayPal and packing materials? That 99 cents would be eaten up. As Brian Hunt used to say "It takes no talent to GIVE away good material, it takes talent to SELL it for a fair price." Of course, he was talking about stamps... but still...

Wishing myself luck here, with this new endeavor.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Changing Scenery

The beach I typically visit is forever changing. Perhaps it's because I live in a place that has large tidal variations, and because it faces the often wind-whipped Straits of Juan de Fuca.

Some people might say "So what? Don't all beaches change?"

Truth be known, they don't.

Our house in Denmark, when I was little, was about 1/4 mile from the beach. It was a beach on a fairly protected sound, close to the Baltic-- tides were minimal, and rarely did storms do much to alter the beach landscape.

As a teen, I lived on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, near the straits of Gibraltar. Although there were strong currents and occasional storms, those beaches changed very little-- and tides in the Mediterranean tend to be fairly limited, proximity of the Atlantic Ocean notwithstanding.

There's a significant difference in what treasures you might find on a beach where the most exciting thing a storm brings up is some seaweed, and a beach where the storms wash up logs the size of a small house.

Having lived near both kinds of beaches, I prefer the changes-- even when they have a negative impact on what I find, during my beach walks.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

40th Anniversary?

It would be a pretty good guess that I could be having my 40th anniversary as a seaglass collector this year.

Of course, I am just guessing.

I do know that I first became fascinated by these small treasures from the sea when I was maybe six years old. My parents would go to the south of France a lot-- and while my dad was at work, I would go with my mom to the beach. At some point, I noticed that there were "small blue stones" on the beach, so I started collecting them. Of course, the "small blue stones" weren't stones at all, but tiny shards of sea glass.

I don't have any of those original bits of seaglass from my childhood-- they were long lost through a series of moves. However, I still have the fascination with things found on the beach, and these days I am fortunate to not only live just a half-mile from the beach, but also in a location where there is a fairly good supply of glass to be found.

These, then, are the ramblings of a beachcomber.

About Me

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1960 vintage Danish national now living in the Pacific Northwest... active in the global HSP community; active beach comber and sea glass collector; lifetime collector of postage stamps from Scandinavia; writer and consultant, primarily to the metaphysics and self-help industries, writer at OM Times magazine; artist who doodles on rocks; eBay & Etsy entrepreneur and studio and production assistant at Radio Nahmaste.

Diverse enough for you?