To purchase any of these necklaces please log onto http://www.etsy.com/shop/lukagwa…….
My favorite lyrics repeatedly rang in my mind as I made preparations to fly out to the Big Apple.
“It was all a dream, I used to read it on Word up magazine”, these lyrics are from a famous song called Juicy.
Showcasing Lukagwa’s Shela collection in New York,NY NOW 2015 was a dream come true.
Once the cold air from the air conditioning slapped my face I knew I was in a different world.
I spent a number of days in New Jersey in a nice neighborhood that was populated with the Latino community.
My days in the city of New York were filled with long walks trying to find my way around and frequently getting lost in between avenues and streets.
Every day was a compulsory workout until I mastered the art of using Google Maps to find my way around.
The friendly nature of the Americans took to me and the junk food made my appetite shrink.
In the midst of all of this unfamiliarity I found a place I called home in Queens Borough; a small apartment that was filled with love and warmth. My host Margaret was very pleasant and welcoming, her good nature helped ease the hustle of the city.
Being your typical tourist I made a point to visit Times Square, 5th Avenue, Mac Store, The streets of Brooklyn and Empire state building. I missed out on the statue of liberty and the amazing museums which are definitely on my bucket list.
My main reason for being in New York was to attend NY NOW Artisan Resource at the Javits Center.
This is a yearly event that showcases handmade products and home décor items. This year in the month of August more than 200 exhibitors from different parts of the world gathered at Javits center for the famous NY Now event. The different levels on Javits were filled with creativity that was magnificent and breathtaking.Lukagwa was part of the Market Incubator Program hosted by By Hand consulting at the NY Now. This program offers enlightenment on the products for overseas markets and connects artisans with wholesale buyers.
During this show I networked with people from different cultural backgrounds and countries. The exchange of information and ideas was an invaluable experience. Pam Friedlander an image consultant of Positive Reflections had a deep liking for our African jewelry and wore it to her convention. The Masai beaded necklaces were popular because of their colorful and vibrant nature. The choker necklaces appealed to specific buyers because of their dainty and elegant style.
This event which was hosted at the Javits center had a good attendance by people from different parts of the world. It wasn’t all work a little bit of play was added to the event. We had a cocktail party to network with fellow exhibitors.
IN 2010 the month of September a close friend held my hand and took me through the path of opening an online store on Etsy.When we started out there were a number of hurdles; like I couldn’t withdraw money from my Paypal account. At that time getting good photos proved to be quite costly.
I am currently running my online store on Etsy and very happy with the performance. Each time I interact with my fellow artisans, I sell to them the idea of starting an online store on Etsy.After spreading the gospel about Etsy,Abeba Sirak Of MeskelAbeba decided to open an online store to sell her Ethiopian jewelry.
First thing I started on is taking crispy clear photos of her Afro-centric Ethiopian Jewelry. In Etsy one of the selling points of your store is good photos of your product. The sort of photos that the client can see each aspect of the jewelry and envision how it would look on them. In a few hours we had managed to capture good shots of about 20 pieces of jewelry.
Once we were done with the photography,we proceeded to set up shop in Etsy and Paypal.Taking note of important points like very comprehensive descriptions,title tags and Keywords so as to achieve Search Engine Optimisation.Off cause your product doesnt automatically appear on the first page of Etsy or Google when somebody keyes in one of your Keywords.To achieve this takes abit of effort and consistency in updating your site.As much as one would like to use a lot of repetition in their description ;the way one describes the jewellery must be creative and captivating to the buyer.You must always think like the buyer.
It is not enough to just update your site with new products and do the same on social media sites.You must have a marketing strategy.It might be exciting for you to post your sales but that doesnt necessarily interest a buyer.You must pick social media sites that will bring traffic to your shop.In my case Pinterest and Tumblr have brought quite abit of traffic to my store.You can engage your clients by giving them a sneak preview of the process you go through to come up with your product.It is also important to have CSR activities.One must think of creative ways to capture the clients attention.
Once we are done i like to act as a mentor to the artisan.In case you would like a more detailed approach to opening your store please get intouch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.Here are some images of Abeba,her workshop and I guiding her on how to set up shop.
To spoil yourself with some of her amazing African jewelry, log on to Etsy and search for a shop by the name MeskelAbiba.
Join us on Etsy……..