Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Spiral Wave

I just finished a new design that I'm calling The Spiral Wave.  I wanted to add a note, or an addendum of sorts to the actual ETSY listing.  My wife Erin, the "Director of Everything Else",  didn't feel that it was appropriate to add this addendum to the actual listing, I'm sure she's right, she always is.


"You may want to refrain from studying this design to closely if any adult beverages have been consumed, as it could make you dizzy."

I've been wanting to try some of these more intricate abstract designs for years.  The fact is though, I never had the nerve, because I didn't have the skill to inlay such fine designs. Today I bit the bullet and gave it a shot.  When I cut through the inlay, it literally made me dizzy and I hadn't even cracked a beer...

This is going to be some fun stuff!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Grinding or Cutting?

Good Morning,

I wanted to share with you a little "behind the scenes" information, that I've never really explained before.  I'm sure many, if not all of you have asked yourself at one point or another, why are the sticks priced as they are?  For example, we currently have a holly purple paua bordered with abalone, listed for $150.  Erin will be posting a similar stick shortly, made from ebony, natural paua with an abalone / purple Biwa mix for the border, and it will be listed at $125.  There are other reasons why some are pricier than others, but this is probably one of the biggest drivers.

... So what's the difference?  The answer, grinding or cutting.

For those of you that might be interested, 98% of the time, I work with a tool called a bedan, 3/8's of an inch to be exact.  I always work with an extremely sharp edge, razor sharpness.  Whenever and whatever I inlay, the inlay material (gemstone) is always initially piled up well above the band or design on the stick, trying to fill every pore of the cavity that I'm inlaying.  Once I'm finished inlaying the gemstone, I can use the bedan to cut through most inlays, cutting to the exact surface of the stick (something that has taken me years to accomplish, cutting to within 1,000th of an inch).  Now, this works with most inlay materials, but there are those it won't work with.  Lapis for one, this stone is incredibly hard, and all I do is dull the bedan's cutting edge.  Another example where it won't work is with any large chunk inlays like abalone or Biwa pearls.   If I try to cut these large pieces, the inlay invariably explodes, because these large pieces are glued to a very small surface initially. The only alternative in these examples is to grind, and it's a nasty, time consuming job, thus the reason for the price difference.

So there's a little "behind the scenes" explanation on this dreary Wednesday morning in Kansas City.  Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Erin discovered yesterday that international shipping went up by $3.  We've been charging $13, but now with this increase we need to raise the shipping price a little to offset the increase. We've raised international to an even $15, sorry about that.

Have a great day!

Friday, January 15, 2016

FNS Change of Plans

Good Morning,

It seems kind of lame to have a FNS with only 3 sticks in inventory.   When we announced the sale I think we had 9 sticks in inventory, plus I had 3 more days to go leading up to the sale.  At that time virtually all of the custom orders were on hold for one reason or another, so I had anticipated adding another half dozen or so to inventory for the sale, thus making it worthwhile for everyone.

Shortly after the FNS announcement, the customs began coming off of hold, so that's pretty much what I've been working on for the past few days.  That said, a deal is a deal, so we're not going to officially have the FNS, but we will mark the remaining inventory down to FNS pricing at 1:00.

Sorry if this messes anyone up, I didn't anticipate that much inventory selling leading up to the sale, but that's a good thing (at least for us).

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Good News!

Just a quick update, as I've told no less than 100 ladies over the past 6 months that we didn't have any in stock because our supplier went out of business well over a year ago...


It's here... and it's some good looking stuff!
We found some and order a half pound yesterday.  Hopefully it's good looking stuff.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Friday Night Sale

The next Friday Night Sale will be held on  January 15, 2016 beginning at 1:00 PM CST (US), 8:00 PM (CEST). We will de-activate all inventory Friday morning for price adjustment with an overall discount of approximately 20% - 25%. 
Good Luck! (Please check your own individual time zone to make sure the start time aligns with 1:00 PM Central Standard Time in the United States.)

Monday, January 11, 2016

4,905 Sales

Good Morning All,

It finally dawned on me last night that we have a pretty big number approaching, at least in our world.  I can assure you that the actual number of sticks that I've made is far greater than what's represented in the total number of sales.  I'd venture to guess that the number is likely closer to 7,000 actual sticks that I've made between those that have sold, been given away or simply didn't make the cut and ended up in the trash can. 

So we're approaching 5,000 actual ETSY sales, and we're kind of proud of that number.  Each even thousand that we've hit along the way, we've celebrated in some fashion or another, but 5,000 is a milestone for us, and we're going to do it up right.

At our current rate of sales, I'd guess that we'll hit 5,000 sometime toward the end of February 2016, so I've got some lead time.  I'm tentatively planning (remember it just occurred to me last night so it's a fluid plan at best right now) to put together a "5,000 Sales Commemorative Collection".  There will only be one collection made, and it's going to be a variety of the best that TT has had to offer over the years.  While that actual 5,000th sale will register on ETSY, that sale will technically be number 5,001 from our perspective.  When we hit number 4,999 on ETSY, the Commemorative Collection will be posted here, on Facebook and on EBAY.  Each item in the collection will have "5,000" subtly incorporated into the design in some fashion, so there is no confusion whether the item was included in the collection or not. 

Why EBAY you ask?  While I suspect the reason is self evident, it's because for this one time out of 5,000, we're going to allow the market to set the price as opposed to us setting the price.  With little or no reserve, this might be a huge loss on our part, and I'm OK with that because but it's part of  the TT story and history.  Alternatively, if it exceeds expectations (which are pretty low), then that would be a good thing for us. 

I'll be providing updates along the way, with maybe a sneak peek or two of items in the collection.  The challenge for me is guessing the length of sticks to make, as we've taken orders from 4.75" to 10" in length over the years.  I'm guessing I'll be making them in the 6.25" - 6.75" neighborhood, which is actually the most popular lengths requested.  At the end of the day however, the length's may be a moot point, as this is going to be a Commemorative Collection that might actually be worth something someday when we're no longer around, or simply a dust collector, who knows.

Have a great week!


Friday, January 1, 2016

New Years Day Custom Announcement

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe New Years Eve, and that not too many heads are pounding this morning.

I've updated the custom guidelines on a separate page which you can access from the link on the upper right hand side of the blog.  For now, we're suspending the "Custom Time" and "Surprise Custom" games and going back to the custom list.  Details are outlined on this page.

Thank you all again for your support in 2015, let's make 2016 a Great Year!