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It’s been an eventful week. I’m making the final purchases of equipment and supplies, based on the requirements of tooling in the metalsmith class. That order should be complete by end of next week. Comparison pricing slows us down. The financing is complete. The credit card processing service is selected and approved and ready for application to the website. I have a comprehensive list of shopping cart providers that will link the individual items and be the go-between from my website to the credit card processor and banking institutions and back. Reviews of the policies of each shopping cart provider are necessary before a final selection is made. I have the pricing model for each item, which takes the accumulation and depreciation of all the classes, equipment, supplies, permits, I.T., software, website, and communications we’ve established into consideration, and made a best guess as to the number of items required to be sold per month to cover our expenses.

This leaves us with what I feel is a very attractive sales price for about twenty of the twenty-four items we have listed. The four that are above average in price are the models that are in part 18k gold designs. The price range of the majority items is between $20 and $40. Price fluctuations are based on the spot price of the silver and gold content of the designs, in that I’m trying to keep the prices as realistic and low as possible. I prefer that pricing model over one that compensates for spot price fluctuations by having a blanket overage that may keep the individual items at a fixed, above average price.

I’m reviewing the legal policies, required for posting to the website, this week. I have two photographers I have to interview, and make a choice of one, to take pictures of my designs for upload to the website and link to the shopping cart. I have to contact the web developer to spiff up the website, or I may decide to use new formatting supplied by the credit card processing company, an unexpected plus I wasn’t aware of that came with their service package. I’ve selected a shipping service and only need to establish a business account with them.

So lots of accomplishments this week, but there still remains lots of details to finalize as we move into testing, production and also completion of the website.

To keep our expenses low, a few minor items of equipment come from overseas with, unfortunately, longer shipping dates. The final pieces aren’t scheduled to arrive until the end of October to middle of November, so it looks like our end of October opening date may now be end of November. The expected shipping dates are just estimates though, so with some luck, we may receive all of our equipment by the middle of October, which should help to keep us very close to our October opening date.

Quote of the week:

“Why do anything unless it is going to be great?”
~ Peter Block

Things Are Happening

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It’s a great relief to have the project folders completed. It remains to be seen if any of the designs will expose production problems. Screenshots of the models are larger than life and some of the finer details may be too intricate to work with in true scale as we go into our production testing phase. As an example, the two inch diameter Quetzalcoatl pendant, as seen below, will require the casting of one hundred different pieces, of which ninety-nine will be soldered into an exact position. I have planned alternative methods to the design and production which will eliminate much of that approach, but that method may also present its own problems. This is why we are doing the production testing, to find the best methods to incorporate both design and production methods to eliminate difficulties in casting and finally, time management.

Quetzalcoatl

Final material quantities of silver, brass, copper and gold are actually very close to the original “off the top of my head” estimates and don’t present any problems for ordering and stocking. So I’m satisfied with the final equipment, supplies and purchasing needs. If any of the models present any problems in production I can always recast the metals for other backup designs I have prepared for replacement, should that need arise.

I have also applied some time to research “green” alternative measures in production, such as the use of biodegradable materials. The initial casting wax and investment casting “plaster” in particular are available as biodegradable materials, as are some other chemical agents required for post production finishing of pieces. I haven’t completed my studies of all of the materials available, but I’ll make use of them wherever I can even if at the cost of premium prices to acquire them. Save the planet!

Quote of the week:

“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe”.
~ Abraham Lincoln

Material Needs

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I added six new models to three different folders this past week. The Steampunk folder is now complete, two more in the Aztec folder completes that one, and three in Women’s Jewelry. I’m working on the sixth and last item for the latter, and the folders will then be complete for the present time. I have many more models in my library of designs, but those will be added gradually after the webpage becomes operational.

I have three more metalsmith classes, requiring the the purchase of additional equipment and supplies. Once the equipment purchases are finalized and all is tested for operation, production will begin on the portfolio items. After producing at least two of each item, arrangements for card processing services, shipping services and new website development are next on the agenda. If those efforts can be coordinated and applied within a week or two I should be ahead of the game. Things are progressing smoothly for the moment.

Quote of the week:

“Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before”.
~ Franz Kafka

One to Go

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I’m itching to get the show on the road. The long hard work is getting ready to pay off soon and I’m getting pretty excited about opening day. I’m 90% complete with my sixth Steampunk design, so that leaves four models to develop, for the Women’s Jewelry folder .

The second metalsmith class of three hours was so much fun it was way too short. So very interesting to learn new techniques and the time just flew by. Four more classes to go. I should soon start reviewing professional webpage developers and formatting, along with all associated consumer service information, shipping information, disclaimers, and so forth.

I’m anxious to return to the organic modeling software and I’ve been mulling over including Maya in our bag of tricks. For those of you not familiar, Maya is another organic modeling software. There are lots of of details to finalize, for marketing, advertising and presentation, but the bulk of the work will be, or should be, well developed by end of September. From there it’s downhill all the way.

I include a sneak peek at the sixth Steampunk design below. Eyes, nostrils, tubing from the cylinder to the wings, and embellishments to the tail are all that are left to do.

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Quote of the week:

You need to aim beyond what you are capable of. You must develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end. Try to do things that you’re incapable of… If you think you’re incapable of running a company, make that your aim… Make your vision of where you want to be a reality. Nothing is impossible.
~Paul Arden

The Long and Short of It

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R & R in this case means rest and recreation. Next Monday is Labor Day. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country. And with that, our office will be closed for the Labor Day weekend. No business of any kind will be conducted after Friday closing. Offices will open on the following Tuesday. It’s been a long stretch of hours from the middle of February until now, working seven days a week. It’s time for a well-deserved rest.

The metalsmith class started last Tuesday and was very informative, and crucial to our opening, and in applying the new skills to the output of the portfolio items. I think I may have the portfolio’s models completed by end of this month, and with the last metalsmith class on the first Tuesday of October, that should set us up very nicely to complete our equipment purchases and begin our first test runs of the products. Once that is completed, we move on to continuing our organic design software classes and the fantasy figure models. We’ll also need to start tinkering with our marketing efforts in our stock and in other business to business connections.

For those of you in this country, I wish you a safe and enjoyable three day weekend. For our friends that follow us overseas, a big thank you for following us to this point, I hope your coming days are filled with good times, great friends and close family.

Quote of the week:

Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.
~Louisa May Alcott

R & R

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