Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Adorned Atelier

This could be a "before" and "after" post had I not been too lazy to photograph my desk in its previous state, but I'll just have to go with a "ta-da!" approach instead. 

My new workstation and I first crossed paths at a secondhand store in town. It started life with a school-desk hue (you know, like an orange stain that resembles someone who's indulged in too much spray tan). During the last two summers, I stripped and sanded the piece until it was back to its natural color. It was carried up and down a flight of stairs a million times so I could work on it little by little outside with adequate ventilation. The desk even spent a winter in our hallway, waiting for the day when it would be finished and put to use.

Finally, the weather perked up few weeks ago and I spray painted the desk with a couple of cans of Krylon. 

I'm thinking it'll have to be sealed at some point. I also bought a porcelain accent knob that will one day replace the original wooden one. In my mind, though, I consider the desk done and ready for use. I'm ecstatic with the results of my first "stray" furniture revamp but I learned that my artistic leanings require way more instant gratification. Taking more than a year to complete this recycling process took more time than I initially anticipated. All in all, however, I'm very proud of my project. I'm glad this desk gets a second chance, and I can't wait to make good use of it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I kinda need this.

This amazing terrarium by Score + Solder encompasses a lot of my recent aesthetic preferences. I enjoy the form of this piece and the mixture of the hard quartz points juxtaposed with soft succulents and fine sand. Plus, terrariums are living worlds encapsulated in glass, and I have a major attraction to glass cases with interesting contents-- whether they be wearable bubbles on a necklace, or antique shadowboxes with Victorian-era contents.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Consignment Case Example

**Please note this is a post from a few years ago that I removed because I felt conflicted about sharing something negative in a blog that is supposed to be inspiring. I've purposefully excluded the name of the  business mentioned because my intent is not to spread ill will in this post. Upon revisiting the piece, I do feel that there are many positive aspects to analyzing and sharing this particular experience, and I think that the tips offered may be helpful to others.**

I want to share a consignment case example that illustrates some of what I've learned in this genre of business. Although this particular happenstance has a lot of negative connotations, I've still gained valuable experience from it. Maybe it will save those just starting out in consignment a few steps along the way.

If you don't feel like reading this epic tale, feel free to skip to the bottom for some quick tips.

Case example: You may have noticed a store that used to consign my work was recently removed from my link list (what, you don't obsessively check out my blog and notice such details? Pshaw). Although I really don't want to speak ill of a business that promotes indie designers, I think it's important to analyze what happened so that I will never have to experience a repeat of the situation. As it occured a few weeks ago and I've finally been able to move past this debacle, I'm ready to rehash the story.

I had been consigning at said store, let's name it Store X, for a number of months, and had been paid only once until the day I walked in there and pulled all of my items out-- despite clear rules in the store's consignment contract that stated payment would occur on a monthly basis. There were calls, drop-ins and e-mails within this space of time, in which I tried to unsuccessfully to confirm current/sold inventory and get paid. Having a 9-5 job doesn't make it easy to just drop on by a store, but when I do, I expect it to be productive. I had even given Store X my address multiple times, which leads me to my first warning sign.

Perhaps I should have been wary the first time I finally got paid, when I went to Store X and happened to catch the owner there. She told me the check she had mailed a few weeks earlier "had come back in the mail," and yet she wrote me a new one instead of just handing this supposed check to me. But, I gave her the benefit of the doubt (along with my address again), as it is a business relying soley on indie designers and things may get lost every now and then.

As I said, since the initial (and only) payment, I had tried to get in touch again with the owner and stop by the store many times (the owner's employees were unable to help me and she was never around)-- seeking that confirmation of inventory and payment. Every time, I was put off for some reason or another. The store owner claimed she had confirmed my inventory list in e-mail (noticing a trend here?), but did not resend it when I asked. I finally got fed up with this treatment and sent her a very assertive letter (about two months ago) explaining that I wanted to see her and straighten everything out in order to continue a business relationship.

Despite all of this, call me gullible, but I was still considering working things out if the owner was able to get me the info I needed and catch up on payment. The thing is, she always acted sweet and constantly let me know customers were buying my work, so I knew it was doing well at this boutique. Also, Store X had been in multiple local and non-local publications and was getting a good amount of press as a unique place in Astoria. So, it seemed it was a prime spot to carry my work.

This all leads up to the fact that after the owner responded to my e-mail and acknowledged how annoyed I was, we set up an appointment to meet and... she missed it! Wow, right? Yeah. I got pushed off, after all of this, on to her assistant. The assistant said the owner was getting married the following week (none of which had been mentioned to me) and was unavailable. I'm ambivalent about this info in terms of being an actual excuse (how long would it have taken to meet with me?). In any case, I'm certain that it's totally unprofessional to set up an appointment with someone whom you work (and has clearly stated she has reached her boiling point) and then brush her off on her assitant-- without even telling her. I found out about this the day of my meeting.

Although the assistant had been alerted that I was to visit the store that day, all she had been told was that I wanted to see what was currently in stock. She had no idea that I hadn't been paid for months, and that I needed to get updated on what inventory they had left, so I could at least discover how much I was owed.

Sigh (if you've held on this long, congrats! we're almost to the end).

This resulted in me having to inconveniently set up an appointment with the assistant two days later and finally straighten things out, because she needed to look over records/receipts or whatnot and find out how much they owed me. She said she would contact the owner and get this information.

I get to Store X, and lo and behold I'm handed a list with maybe seven items on it. This would have been fine except for the fact that I had originally put more than 30 pieces in that store, and since there were only a few left in stock, clearly more than seven items had sold.

I was hugely frustrated because when I dropped items off, they were all tagged with my last name and numbered-- I assumed, so that the owner could keep track of to whom she owed what. As I said, the store is full of independent designers, so there's an absolute need for some kind of system to keep careful track of inventory. When I looked at the leftover items, barely any of them had tags still on them and the "special list of seven" in the assistant's hand had prices that didn't match up to my records-- oh thank goodness I made myself keep meticulous records!

If I hadn't recorded exact prices and descriptions (this is so key), I would have had no idea how much I was owed because clearly Store X had kept track of anything except the money going into its account.

So, I added everything up, got my money from the assistant who was still telling me the store wanted to feature me in a trunk show, packed up my leftover inventory and got the heck out of there.

After consulting with other local designers, I found out they had similar bait-and-switch experiences trying to get paid, and there is even a pending lawsuit. This makes me think the owner is not, in fact, as dumb as she acts but is fully aware of what she is doing. So clearly, I'm not the only Astorian to get screwed, but hopefully I will be the last.

Tips for Positive Consignment Experiences:

1) Absolutely, without a doubt, keep extremely detailed records of the items you are consigning. Include descriptions along with the consignment prices and the amounts you expect to be paid upon sale. Make a copy for your consignor to keep so s/he acknowledges the items, even if there is a store-specific system in place. I'm considering asking consignors to sign the sheet that I have.
2) Carefully read your contract (if the store has one). Are you responsible for collecting payment, or will the store automatically mail you a check each month? For how long will your items be displayed? How much notice must you give before removing items?
3) Work with a place where you can easily access the "boss" and express concerns when you have them.
4) Don't be afraid to ask who will be responsible for the cost of lost or stolen items.
5) Check in often. It's easy to sit back and relax while your items are (hopefully) being marketed and sold by someone else, but there's always the possibility that your items have been covered by the newest plush stuffed animal to enter the boutique and are just wasting away. That's inventory you could be selling in other venues. You also want to know the store is willing to work with you and give you feedback on what items have sold so you can update your records for payment and note what products are selling. Don't stalk the store, but show its owner you care about your products so s/he will, too.

Lastly, go with your gut! If you sense something "fishy" is going on, get out of there! Yes, stores will suddenly go out of business, but will they leave with your stuff (see tip number 5)? Are your products on some shelf so high up no one can see them or the pretty dust they're collecting, even though you've already asked the owner to do something about it? Are you getting a weird vibe from the owner/employees or just not clicking? The excellent part of consignment is that (with a fair contract) you should be able to walk away with no loss to you as long as you give the store the notice it requires. And there are plenty of venues in which to consign these days, including the Internet.

I haven't meant to put you off consignment by telling this tale, as I've met some lovely people through consignment and have overall had mostly positive experiences.

So, don't be afraid to give it a go. Get out there, be wise and be aware.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I am absolutely in love with the concept of being a Mudlark and plucking antique treasures and artifacts from the banks of the River Thames in England. The term "Mudlark" may be used to describe mud scavengers in search of discarded or lost valuables in London during the 18th and 19th centuries. While it initially had a negative connotation, "Mudlark" is now a proudly worn title by those who enjoy the sport today. ThamesArt on Etsy has compiled some delicious and creative artwork with her finds obtained from her adventures as a Mudlark.

Barring a trip to England any time soon, I'm going to keep an eye on her shop for the perfect arrangement.

Perhaps this could be a wedding present to myself? That pottery shard (top right) in particular from an 1800's Scottish shipping company has me hankering for it.

Discover more about the world of mudlarking via

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sock Drawer Spelunking

When I work from home, I get to have a feathered coworker keep me company.

In order to distract Papaya from jumping onto my keyboard and prying up the keys, I let him romp around in my sock drawer, which he loves.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lily of the Valley

Etsy member AmyMilor has kindly featured my newly listed Steampunk Lily of the Valley necklace in her treasury. I adore this flower, and I'm happy to be in this cutely curated group. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Astoria and Time Out New York

(Photo: Adorned by Morgan Glass Bubble Necklace)

SITE, a one-of-a-kind design boutique in Astoria and carrier of Adorned by Morgan, was recently highlighted as one of the best places to shop in Time Out New York: