Thursday, August 8, 2013

You Get What You Pay For.. Mostly.

We all know the old adage 'you get what you pay for' and that is certainly true about many things.

I'm very into researching and reviewing products before buying them. I like to get the most for my money, the best quality item within my budget but sometimes, the best product isn't always the most expensive and some of the pricier items don't always get the best reviews.

When it comes to jewelry, there are certain pieces you want to spend money on. Things like engagement and wedding rings, timeless pieces that you wear pretty much everyday, like a pair of diamond studs or a nice silver bracelet. There are also pieces that are more stylized or seasonal, pieces that are trendy or a certain novelty.

I think people need a large jewelry wardrobe. I love having enough pieces that I can have choices that work into an outfit perfectly. I'm not wealthy so I have to choose what to spend my money on. I invest in a few key pieces and then I can buy more affordable pieces to round it all out. There is nothing wrong with combining heirloom pieces with pieces you didn't pay a fortune for. Did you know that many celebs will wear one really expensive, borrowed, diamond item and round out the look with crystals and cubic zirconia? You'd just assume everything they had on was Harry Winston huh? Yes, you would.

When I opened my Etsy shop, I wanted to offer items that were affordable. I chose not to work with precious metals. They cost so much and really add a lot to the cost of the finished piece. I like working with stainless steel, brass and plated base metals. You can get the look for a fraction of the cost.

When it comes to trendy or seasonal pieces, they are items you don't wear every single day so why invest a lot of money into those? You might choose to wear a fun and festive Christmas tree pendant at work a couple days of the year, or maybe you want to slip on some cute earrings showing your love of your favorite football team every Sunday. The certainly make pricey Christmas and NFL jewelry, but why pay it when you can get the same look for a lower price?

I've had people ask me why my jewelry is so affordable and why I choose not to make money on it. First off I do make money on it. I'm just not marking it up 300% like most jewelry stores do! I try and price my items within the Etsy marketplace. I will research what others are asking for similar items in their shops. I also figure out the material cost of each item and factor in the fees I have to pay to Etsy and Pay Pal and then factor in a little for my labor and time. No, I'm not making cash hand over fist but I'm getting it covered.

I'd rather sell it to you than have it sitting here, taking up space. I create because it's fun... and I need to sell it to pay for the addiction I have to beads. (you think I'm kidding. I'm not)

The problem I run into is that there is a certain group of people that think affordable equals low quality or 'cheap' materials. I use genuine gemstones - both precious and semi-precious, imported glass beads, stainless steel, brass, copper and silver plated components. I use high quality specialty beads that are unique and beautiful.

I try and shop with independent sellers on Etsy for supplies when I can. I get many of my beads and most of my gemstones thru Etsy sellers. I've cultivated friendships with certain suppliers to get the best prices and the most interesting components I can.

I have a section in my shop that has 'inspired by' designs. I very often see pieces in catalogs or online from famous designers that I love. I'm not going to pay $300 for a pair of earrings unless I wear them every single day (like a pair of studs) and I'd never pay $800 for a necklace .. I mean, come on.  So, I create something similar with affordable materials and you can get the same look for a lot less. No one is going to know that you paid $300 or $12 for the earrings (unless you tell them) and think of how many $12 pairs you can buy for $300!

The top photo in this post is a pair of my Sunny earrings that I sell for $14. I saw a pair that looked identical in a famous boutique catalog that sold for $98. They were sterling silver with genuine moonstone. Mine are silver plated with genuine moonstone.

If you are one of those people that think affordable equals crappy, please think again. Please poke around on Etsy and buy something you love, even if it isn't $100 ... just so you can see the care and pride put into a pair of earrings or the time spent on a necklace. I make sure every item I sell is the quality I'd expect from someone else. It is very common for me to re-do the wrap of an earring three or four times to get it just right. I make sure I ship orders quickly because I hate waiting for anything when I order it.

Sure, personal taste and our own opinion of what it means for something to be 'quality' can be all over the place but don't assume that if something is affordable, it must be crap. Investigate, ask questions.  If you do end up with an item you don't care for, return it or give it away.

I've gotten things from Etsy sellers that were way under priced for the work I know went into them. Some people just want to get their stuff out into the universe or just out of their house. Some people bead, paint, craft, knit and crochet for fun or as a stress reliever. They just want to sell their creations so they can buy more beads, paints and yarn! It's fun to search Etsy for things that just speak to you and to see the person behind the design. To see photos of their pets and children in the profile section ... you don't get that buying an item at the mall.

I love it when I am wearing something from an Etsy seller and someone comments on it and I can tell a story about it .. about how I got the charm on that necklace from a woman who sells beads to help pay for her son to go to college or how I met an amazing mom that blows glass in her backyard as a way to relieve the stress she has of raising an autistic child. The story about how the pit bull necklace I bought benefited a rescue or how the crochet necklace is a one of a kind creation and I only paid $12 for it. How I've amassed a sizable collection of pieces from an amazing and trained jewelry designer that lives in NYC or how I've picked up a few pieces from a designer in Los Angeles who also loves to do ballet. I have wrap bracelets from a woman in Colorado that rides horses for fun and a great number of pieces from a very talented artist in Pennsylvania that has also become one of my closest friends. Isn't that better than. 'oh, I got this at Macy's'?

I think so.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Inspired By: Doctor Who

I discovered Doctor Who a year or two ago and I've become a big fan girl. My first doctor was the ninth doctor, played by Christopher Eccelston. I love him but I also love ten and eleven. I've even loved every companion, which shocks me because I do not handle change well and even tho I had great trepidation with every regeneration and companion change, I ended up being thrilled with the new faces.

While I love the cute and funky Doctor Who inspired accessories available and even offer a few myself, I wanted to also offer a few pieces that weren't as 'fan girl' as some of the items I offer. I offer more 'in your face' pieces like the fantastic TARDIS necklace and key chain, the gas mask 'mummy' necklace as well as the fun sneaker necklace, a bow tie necklace and an angel necklace, all paired up with TARDIS blue crystals but I also wanted to create a more subtle and secret way of wearing my obsession.

The TARDIS drop earrings and matching necklaces are the first subtle designs. From far away they just look contemporary but up close you'll see they have 'BAD WOLF' or 'DON'T BLINK' stamped onto the silvery disks.

I also have a variety of designs made with beads of TARDIS blue and you'll be seeing many more of those as well. It's a way to shout out your love of the TARDIS in a shushed whisper.

I've decided to do a variety of necklace wardrobes based on certain episodes. Wardrobes have individual charms that can be worn alone or together. The first one I'm offering is a Series 7 wardrobe featuring charms to indicate three episodes:

- Dinosaurs on A Spaceship (a dino)
- A Town Called Mercy (a boot)
- The Angels Take Manhattan (a wing)

My latest design idea came from wanting to pay homage to the fabulous characters of Doctor Who .. what if each character was interpreted into colors and those colors were put on memory wire for fun to wear coil bracelets?

Yes! Let's do that!

I decided to start at the beginning of the new generation of Doctor Who since that is what I'm familiar with. I will be doing each season's characters and then add in a few of our favorite monsters and bad guys.

Click thru to my Etsy site and the Doctor Who Inspired section to see the full collection of DW goods!

First up - the Ninth Doctor and his companions:

Shown left to right: 
Ninth Doctor, TARDIS, Rose Tyler, Jackie Tyler, Capt Jack Harkness
Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones not shown here.
You can see individual photos of each bracelet on my Etsy site.

NINTH DOCTOR - Christopher Eccleston mostly wore dark colors to show that the new incarnation of the Doctor was edgy and strong. He wore a black leather jacket and various dark colored v-neck shirts underneath and dark pants. His color interpretation is shiny black, silver lined purple and cobalt blue with a sprinkling of silver lined bright sapphire to play tribute to the bright blue light of the sonic screwdriver.

TARDIS - Short for 'time and relative dimension in space', our favorite police box that is 'bigger on the inside' is interpreted in the famous and familiar TARDIS blue with sparkling diamond crystal to signify all the stars in the galaxy.

ROSE TYLER - Billie Piper's portrayal of Rose gave her a tough tomboy edge with a side of girly girl. Her color interpretation is silver lined gold for her blonde hair, silver lined pink for her girly-ness and lip gloss and shiny black for her eyeliner and mascara.

JACKIE TYLER - The tough mama bear played by Camille Coduri, was usually seen wearing comfortable clothes like hoodies and blue jeans. Jackie always came across as someone that liked to wear colors like blues and bright pinks. Her color interpretation is silver lined light blue for her jeans, silver lined dark pink for her best remembered hoodie, translucent pink and silver for the silver hoop earrings she wore often.

CAPT JACK HARKNESS - The sexy, debonair 'snog and shag whoever comes along and not really a Captain', Jack Harkness was brought to life by the incredible John Barrowman. (if you haven't watched Torchwood yet, do it) Capt Jack was mostly seen in his long coat, suspenders and a black and grey palette. He often wore light blue button down shirts underneath. His color interpretation is silver lined gunmetal grey, shiny black, pastel blue lavender and silver lined pale blue.

TENTH DOCTOR - David Tennant started acting because he wanted to play Doctor Who one day.. and he did! His color interpretation is brown for his long jacket and suit coat, dark blue for his dress shirts and the color of the TARDIS, white and red for the sneakers he wore and a sprinkle of bright teal blue to play tribute to the light of the sonic screwdriver.

MARTHA JONES - Freema Agyeman portrayed the brilliant and feisty med student that hooks up with the Tenth Doctor on the MOON! I based her bracelet colors on the outfit she wears most - a rust colored leather jacket, a rose colored tee, blue jeans and her pretty black and red necklace.

These bracelets are coming soon, including a two bracelet set for Amy & Rory!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Necklace Style!

I am loving this new style of necklace I am offering. I've made myself a few different ones and I've really enjoyed how they work into my jewelry wardrobe. I love to layer and these fit in perfectly!

I wanted to post about them because I can take custom orders on these and create something especially for you.  These are a really simple design and will go with many different outfits. I'll be making more of these so stay tuned!

The style is 3 to 4 inches of beading work on wire and then I attach chain to complete the necklace. Each necklace is about 16 inches but I can make it any length for you.  If you'd like to order a custom necklace, just message me thru my Etsy site and we can start the process!

Here are a few I've made so far:

Cape Necklace

The Cape Necklace contains 9 glass pearls or Swarovski beads in either 6mm or 8mm, or a mix of the two, depending on your preference.

In between each glass pearl is your choice of twisted jump ring in silver tone. antiqued brass or gunmetal.

I can make you one with any variety of the beads shown or I may have other colors available! Cape Necklaces retail for $20 each

Click the links to see the ones in stock now ....
Jade & Coral

Black, gray & red was a custom order.

Other custom colors I've done:

Tahitian blue & light green
Dark brown & red
Turquoise blue & blue goldstone
Mixed blues & grey

Donna Necklace

The Donna Necklace uses genuine iolites and faceted silver toned beads for a bit of sparkle! The design possibilities are really endless here with the variety of size and shape of the available gemstones. Prices will vary on this style due to the prices of gemstones. They start at $20 each

Martha Jones I Necklace

I love me some Doctor Who and I've been obsessed with the necklace that the character of Martha Jones wears during her time as a companion. I've never been able to get a decent close up shot of it in order to properly copy the design so I've decided to make a few that reflect a similar design. This is the first one.

It combines 4mm shiny black hemalyke (like Hematite) beads, silver tone rondelle beads and some double sided diamond motif beads. I also used a double rope chain on this one to make it a bit dressier.

As you can imagine, the design possibilities here are endless as well! I have thousands of beads and sources for more... so message me if you want to collaborate on creating your own unique design!

Prices on this style start at $20

Monday, July 2, 2012

How To Layer Necklaces & Bracelets


If you know me in person, you know I love to layer necklaces! I really enjoy wearing multiples and it's fun to be creative and let your personality shine through by wearing a variety of pieces. It's also fun to just be able to wear more than one because you love them! Of course, the main point of layering is to bring an outfit together or to just make it pop!

The key to layering successfully is to have a point to your layering. However, your point can change. Then, you can mix up the texture and style while maintaining one thing they all have in common. For example, you can decide to wear all silver tone, all gold tone, all gunmetal or mixed metals.

You can decide to wear pieces that all have a specific color in common or a specific finish. I have a variety of pieces that are all matte sterling silver and even tho they are very different, they work together simply because they all have a matte finish. You can pull a layered look together using a shared color, style or shape.

Layering obviously means varying lengths so it's good to have a variety of plain chains in your jewelry wardrobe so you can switch simple charms around. It's also good to think about adding extenders to certain pieces or making sure you buy pieces of varying lengths.

Long necklaces, like 30 inches and longer can be worn long or short by doubling or tripling them around the neck a few times. In fact, one long necklace can actually become a layered look all on it's own!

Take into consideration your neckline and where you want the eye to fall when someone looks at you. If you are wearing a V-neck and want people to see your pretty face, then bring the layers closer to your face. If you want to accent your bust area, then make sure you have a charm piece that falls right above your bust. If you want to elongate the look then wear longer layers.


Layering bracelets is always a hot trend. I personally think you can get away with more in layering bracelets than you can with necklaces. Sometimes an attempt can go horribly wrong and instead of accessorizing and enhancing your outfit, the jewelry ends up wearing you instead of the other way around!

for a clean look - go for bracelets all in the same color.

for a pop of color - choose bracelets with colors that contrast or accent one another. Like red & black, turquoise & brown, grey & blue, pink & grey, black & green.

for a feminine look - pile on thin and delicate bracelets to give them maximum impact.

for a bohemian look - anything goes! choose unique and interesting pieces.

for a dressy look - choose all chain type bracelets.

for a professional work look- pair up a couple bracelets with your watch.

for an edgy look - pair up a color with a metal like silver tone and black.

for an industrial look - silvertone, black, and grey

Here at Lavoro Designs, I have traditional chain bracelets but I also have fun memory wire coil bracelets that create the look of multiple bracelets in one single piece! I have single 6 coils and I offer sets of two or three 3 wire bracelets to wear together or singly.

Some are all one color while some are different colors or a variety of colors and bead types.

If you've never had memory wire, it's comfortable and affordable. You should pick a few up. They are so perfect for summer!

In Closing

If you're going to load up on the bracelets and/or necklaces.. just remember to keep your earrings and rings understated. You don't want too much going on all over! If you want to wear a striking pair of earrings then layer light around your neck by choosing thin and delicate chains. Keep rings to one per hand if you are going for a bracelet stacked arm.

A Word on Matching

Do you or don't you? I think it depends. I think there are certain places you can get away with the matchy-matchy, perhaps court or a professional function, but I think it depends on your personality. In most cases I prefer to bring the look together using pieces that are similar but different. If you have a chain with a circle link, find an earring with a circle in it but not one that is exactly a match. If you want to wear turquoise, mix pieces that all contain turquoise but don't actually match one another. Match the finish on the pieces rather than the exact style themselves.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spring 2012 Trends

Lavoro Designs will have what you're looking for each season! I'll do the research and you do the shopping!

On the Lavoro Etsy site you can search under the New Stuff/Trends section for all the latest designs! 

Lavoro Designs will offer trendy designs that are affordable and wearable. Check out what you'll be seeing this spring and summer:

Colors – orange, sorbet colors, intense rose, gray-beige, royal purple, turquoise, spring green, pink-lilac, bright yellow, warm neutral brown, navy blue and designs that incorporate cream, white and light colors like pale turquoise.

Gems & Metals – labradorite, moonstone, orange and yellow gems like citrine and fire opal, pyrite (fool’s gold) and geodes. Yellow gold is making a showing this year.

Styles – geometric, tribal, nature, art deco. 

Types - bangle, cuff and chunky bracelets, interchangeable earrings and pendants, stud and button earrings, long necklaces, statement necklaces, long earrings and small chandelier earrings.

Shown here, Lasya, featuring a gorgeous coral and turquoise Tibetan bead.

stay tuned for more spring trends from Lavoro!

Spring 2012 Trends - Orange is HOT!

I was excited and a little scared when I found out that orange was a hot color for this spring! Orange is a color I haven't worked with much outside of Halloween! It's a fun, bright color that is actually very wearable with certain colors. Orange looks great with brown, blue, yellow and white. Using small pops of color is a great way to usher in the spring!

I'll be listing more orange items in the next couple weeks but in the meantime, check out Maya, a pair of pretty brass earrings with sweet pops of orange!

Spring 2012 Trends - Interchangeable Sets

I've always offered necklace and earring wardrobes but in 2012 they are actually on trend! I guess Lavoro was ahead! 

Wardrobes give you a variety of options in one affordable package. The necklaces come with individual charms and gems that can be mixed and matched on the chain and the earrings come with various drops that can be used on a single pair of ear wires. The wardrobes are great for travel. You can also use the earring charms on the necklaces as well!

Shown to the right is the crystal rondelle and blue teardrop earring wardrobe.

My best selling necklace is my custom Vegan/Raw necklace shown to the left. 

It comes with hand stamped disks in your choice of VEGAN or RAW and then LOVE or a 4 digit YEAR along with a pretty bead in your choice of color. 

Lavoro also offers custom birthstone necklaces!

This earring set, called Kenora, is one of my favorites. 

It comes with sterling silver star charms that are reversible, a pair of grey Swarovski round beads for sparkle and a pair of Czech glass beads in a mottled red and black. The charms slip easily onto the sterling silver hoops.

Click HERE to see more wardrobe sets available from Lavoro Designs