April 16, 2014

Micro Loans Funded Around the World Thanks to Nina Designs Customers!

Filed under: philanthropy — Tags: , , , @ 10:00 am

At Nina Designs, we focus on producing high quality jewelry supplies and findings for our customers, but we are also devoted to aiding fellow women artisans around the world. Through our Micro Loans program, we provide women in countries around the globe with an opportunity to grow and expand their livelihood and small businesses.


Up to the start of 2014, we have funded women artisans with almost $60,000 in loans to help them start or run their small businesses, and produce their craft, all over the world. A truly global contribution! Nina Designs is proud to report that we have accomplished the following to date:

- Funded $59,000 in Micro Loans

- Funded Micro Loans in 20 Different Countries

- Assisted 120 Women Artisans

- Helped Women Produce Over 50 Different Forms of Arts/Crafts


We offer our loans to talented women artisans through two great organizations, Kiva, and Novica. (Take a minute to explore each of their websites, they do amazing things!) As you can see on the map below, we have been fortunate enough to help skillful women on almost every continent.

microloans map2

Skilled women artisans have been given small loans through these programs to make jewelry, clothing and textiles, sculptures, masks, wood carvings, tapestries, purses and bags, recycled art, knits, embroidery, and more!

microloans collage

We like to remind our customers that your business of course plays a large role as well, and we wouldn’t be able to donate as much to our philanthropic endeavors without all of you! We continue to donate and participate in micro loan programs, and look forward to growing our contributions more and more to support talented women worldwide.

April 10, 2014

Facebook for Jewelry :: Advertising :: Step 5 of 5

Filed under: Jewelry Business Tips — Tags: , , @ 10:00 am

Facebook advertising sometimes gets a bad rap, but we have found it extremely helpful in building our fan base.  Facebook ads are really easy to set up!

We like to run two ads simultaneously with only one small difference and see which version is most successful. Then we take that version and test a new change.  This is called A B Testing, and it’s very effective. An ad for our silver wing had almost 1,000 more page likes than our ad for a gold tree. Guess which one we kept?

Popular wisdom is that photos of smiling women get the most clicks but we have found that a close up beauty shot of one of our most popular charms is most effective.  You only have 135 characters of text, so get right to the point and always include a call to action.

With ads, you can target specific groups of people, including people who already like some of your successful competitors. This feature helps ensure that people who see your ad might really be interested in your jewelry. You will have a choice of pay per impression, or pay per click. We chose per click.

We recently used Facebook Insights to refine our advertising strategy. We were able to see that while many younger women view our posts, most of our engagement is from women 25-64, so we decided to restrict our Facebook Ads to that demographic.

You can also limit the geographic scope of who sees your ads. Interestingly, we found we got many more likes when we increased our range from just the US to include Canada, Europe and Asia.

The timing of when you start an ad campaign is also important. We found that if we launched on a Friday, we got terrible results because the ads just sit over the weekend and there is no momentum built. If we launch on a Tuesday, we get dramatically more traction.

Promoting Posts is another way to amplify your message. Facebook only shows routine posts to a fraction of your fan base but you can pay to promote a post, which means more people will see it. You can choose your budget and who you want to promote to. We are very selective about which posts we promote. Usually, we only promote posts that directly impact our revenue like messages about special sales or new products.

boost posts

I know the numerous facets of Facebook can seem like a lot to tackle at first, but you’ll be a Facebook professional before you know it! I hope this series gave you some insight on where to start, and what works best.

April 7, 2014

Facebook for Jewelry :: Attract Fans :: Step 4 of 5

Filed under: Jewelry Business Tips — Tags: , , @ 10:00 am

It can be tricky to build a fan base when you first launch your site. Reach out to your existing customers and ask them to like your page! Make it easy for them to like you by adding Facebook “Follow Us” buttons to your website.

We did a sweepstakes and gave away an iPad within the first few months of launching our site and the campaign was very successful. You had to like us to enter the contest. This is called Fangating. It did not matter that most of the people liked us just to join the contest & were not necessarily interested in jewelry because almost everyone has a friend who makes jewelry and those friends were exposed to us as well when they saw that one of their friends liked our page. The same can be true for you as jewelry designers because half of the world is women, and most women love jewelry, so anybody who likes your page will most likely have lots of friends who love jewelry! We added a few thousand fans with that campaign. We followed up by giving away one jewelry charm a day for a month, which brought us fans who were specifically interested in jewelry.

Contests are a great way to build up a fan base but be careful! Facebook has strict rules about contests. Until recently you had to use a third party service to run them. They have eliminated this restriction but check the rules carefully before you proceed with a contest or sweepstake. There are state and federal regulations about sweepstakes and contests so we prefer to use a service called Shortstack to run ours. Shortstack also lets us schedule posts to several social media platforms at once, facilitates custom apps and enables fangating.


Fangating can be part of an ongoing strategy to attract and keep fans. We often have a Facebook Special that you can only see after you like our page. This type of incentive can help persuade existing and perspective customers to follow you.

Advertising is another way to build your fan base.

To learn how to use Facebook Ads effectively, read my next post on Facebook for Jewelry :: Advertising

April 3, 2014

Facebook for Jewelry :: When to Post :: Step 3 of 5

Filed under: Jewelry Business Tips — Tags: , , @ 10:00 am

How Often to Post

3-5 posts a day are often recommended but I have found that daunting. Our company aims for 2 to 3 posts a day, which seems to generate good results. Facebook has a system of ranking pages on engagement. They don’t automatically show all your posts to all your fans. (Which is very frustrating!) The percentage of people who see your posts depends on your ranking, which in turns is affected by factors like how often you post and how many people like or comment or share your posts. So, the more you post, the more people will see your posts.


I highly recommend that you set up a calendar to schedule when and what you plan to post. If you do this monthly it will save a HUGE amount of time. It is just incredibly more efficient to do one deep dive into Facebook posts than to sit down every day, get into the right head space and figure out what to post.  It also reduces the chance that you will get sucked down the Facebook rabbit hole and come up several hours later with nothing accomplished.

Once you have your monthly plan, you can actually schedule out some of the posts on Facebook itself using the little clock icon that appears under the status window when you post. Some posts you may need to drop in here and there as the information becomes available, like a photo from the company holiday party or event at work.

facebook scheduling


Facebook is social and interactive. To build a vibrant community you need to participate actively.  Check in as often as possible to respond to comments or inquiries. Several times a day is optimal, but if you can’t manage that, check in at least once a day.

For tips on building a following, come back next for Facebook for Jewelry :: Attract Fans!


March 31, 2014

Facebook for Jewelry :: What to Post :: Step 2 of 5

Filed under: Jewelry Business Tips — Tags: , , @ 10:00 am

Although it is tempting to flood Facebook with product information, limit sales messages to 15% of your posts. For ideas about what else to post, study the competition to see what they are posting and how much engagement they are generating. It can also be useful to look outside the jewelry industry at national brands with lots of staff and research and development money to see what they are doing.fb what to post


Try to think of 2-3 subjects that your customers are most likely to be interested in. We have found that our customers really like inspirational sayings, cute animals and behind the scenes photos taken in our office. We often find posts on other pages and Share them with our fans. We also share information about jewelry and creativity. We get the highest number of likes and comments on posts that have nothing to do with our products but that is OK. The engagement helps our FB ranking, so more people see our New Styles or Special Sale notices when we do post them. It also makes our page a fun & entertaining place that people like to share and visit.


Include great visuals with your posts. People respond much better to images than to text. Facebook photo posts get up to 120% more engagement than average posts.  If we have a message, we often convert it into a fun image before we post it. Pic Monkey is a fabulous free tool for this. It is super easy and quick, with almost no learning curve. You can upload a photo and add text to it, make a collage or just create a colorful poster for your message. If you have a message and no visual, include a link to a relevant website and Facebook will pull in an image from the page you link to.

Call to Action

Every post should have a call to action! Ask people clearly to share, like, comment or visit your website for more details!


Facebook is rolling out a fabulous new Insights feature that provides analytics in amazing detail. Don’t be afraid to explore! Aside from basic metrics, you can get valuable information about which posts are most effective so that you don’t waste your time.

facebook insights

To create a consistent strategy for posting on Facebook, stay tuned next for Facebook for Jewelry :: When to Post.

March 28, 2014

Facebook for Jewelry :: Creating a Business page :: Step 1 of 5

Filed under: Jewelry Business Tips — Tags: , , @ 10:00 am

In Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: Facebook :: Step 3 of 8, I made the case for setting up a Facebook Business Page with a few caveats. In this Series, I will give you important tips for creating a successful page. Please keep in mind that Facebook changes all the time! If you are reading this post long after it was originally published, some of the technical information may be out of date.

Let’s get started!

To begin, click “Create Page” on any business page in order to create your own. Once you do that, you will be guided through the set up process. Here are a few specs that are helpful to have up front:

Timeline Photo

Your Timeline cover photo should be 851X315 pixels for best results. There used to be prohibitions against having your website address on the image but now you can add your contact info as long as the image is less than 20% text.  To keep people engaged, change your cover photo often and make it as unique as possible!

Profile Photo

Your profile photo should be 180X180 pixels. This photo will represent you on Facebook. It is best to use a headshot or a very clear, iconic product shot that will look good when small. Keep in mind that the profile photo will appear embedded in your timeline cover photo as well as next to all of your posts. Test a few different images to see which looks great in both places.


There are four App Boxes visible on your page. The first one is always for your photos but the next three can be customized for things like Newsletter Sign Ups, Contests, and Special Events Announcements, like a Craft Show or Holiday Sale. You can even get apps that help you set up a store right on Facebook! Add a custom thumbnail for each App 111X74 pixels in size.

fb post 1

To start developing your Facebook content, stay tuned for my next article “Facebook for Jewelry :: What to Post”

March 24, 2014

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry :: Managing Change:: Step 8 of 8

Filed under: How to Start a Jewelry Business — Tags: , @ 9:00 am

“The only constant is change itself” Isaac Asimov, based on Hericlitus

How did an ancient Greek philosopher know so much about social media? Perhaps the internet just distills the basic truths of life. I am not sure but my kids are the only other thing in my life that seem to change as quickly and unpredictably as the world of social media.

Social Media Strategies for Jewelry  Step 8 of 8-BLOG

So, before you get any further, I want to suggest that you reserve you name NOW on as many social media sites as possible. By doing so, you keep your options open in case one of them becomes the next Facebook. I learned this lesson the hard way. We were late to Pinterest and Instagram. As a result, the name Nina Designs was already taken on both. We had to become NinaDesignsPins and Nina Designs Jewelry, which is confusing when customers try to find us.

This Social Media Strategies for Jewelry blog series has covered a lot of territory. I hope I have left you feeling empowered and eager to start exploring the world of Social Media. It is a big playing field with many options for Jewelry Designers. My advice is to start one small step at a time and slowly build a portfolio. The scary and nerve racking, quickly becomes routine with a little practice. Before you commit, take some time to play, but don’t forget to reserve your name now!

March 18, 2014

How To Video :: Make a Multi-Strand Silk Charm Bracelet

Tiny star and moon gold vermeil charms paired with earthy silk cords will delight the senses in this multi-strand, celestial bracelet design. Deer hide leather and a button charm make for a crafty clasp that is both rustic and feminine!


 Browse our tiny charm collection for inspiration! Any combination of charms and silk cord will bring this design to life!










Learn to make this design by watching our How To Video. With step by step instructions, you’ll have your own silk charm bracelet in no time!

Find the parts list for this design here and create your own today!

March 12, 2014

PayPal 101 :: Learning to Use PayPal with Nina Designs

At Nina Designs, we carry high quality original designs, charms, and jewelery supplies for you to purchase. We want to ensure that when ordering your jewelry supplies, checking out online with Nina Designs is as clear, easy, and efficient as possible!  When you place orders with us, you have the option of paying using either a Visa or MasterCard credit card, or you can pay using your PayPal account.

Here is a step by step guide outlining how to check out on NinaDesigns.com with your PayPal account:

  • When you are checking out through our website, once you get to the “Payment” options page, it will ask you if you would like to use a credit card, or pay using your already set-up PayPal account. This is where you would choose the option to pay via PayPal if you wish.


  • After choosing this option, our website will let you know that you will now be temporarily leaving our website, and are being taken to PayPal’s website to sign in, and complete the approval for the payment on your order.


  • On the PayPal page, you will have to login to your PayPal account to complete your order.


  • Once you have logged in, it will display your account information, and have you confirm the PayPal transaction for the amount of your order. After clicking on “continue”, you will be taken back to the Nina Designs page.


  • When you are back to the Nina Designs page, you will then be on the order review tab or the checkout process, and the payment method listed at the top will display “PayPal”. Be sure to finish your order! Click the Send Order button after you review your information to complete your order.


  • After you have placed your order, you will receive a confirmation e-mail from Nina Designs confirming your order with us, and you will also receive an e-mail from PayPal summarizing your transaction through your account there.


  • After your order is placed, you can then login to your PayPal account through the PayPal website to track your transaction.


  • When your order is placed with us, we do not actually charge your order until we have pulled the items you ordered, in case we need to adjust your total if anything is out of stock. This prevents us from having to issue any refunds, and confirms that the total is correct for the merchandise you are receiving. While your order is being processed and pulled, and before we capture the total for your order, your transaction on your PayPal account history will show as “Pending”, meaning that you have authorized the amount of funds that your order total came to, but we have yet to actually charge you, and remove the funds from your PayPal account.


  • After your order has been pulled,we adjust your totals in case something you ordered was out of stock. We will then charge your order. When we charge your order, we only will be taking the final order total amount out of your account, which can sometimes differ from the original amount of your order due to our adjustments for out of stock or backordered items.  After we charge your order, a second transaction will appear on your PayPal account summary, which will read “Completed”.


  • In the end there will be two transactions listed within your PayPal account. The first is your “Pending” transaction, which is from you checked out, for the original authorized amount. The second transaction is your “Completed” transaction, which will be for the amount we charged you for once your order was done being processed. In the end, we did only charge you once, not twice, and there is sometimes a different in the amounts due to adjustments to your order’s total.

Hopefully this guide will help you understand the ins and outs of how the PayPal payment process works, and can be something for you to refer back to if necessary. We also have a great customer service team full of ladies who love to talk jewelry, and can answer any questions you have regarding placing your order with us, or our products!

Thank you to all of our loyal customers. We appreciate your business very much!

March 6, 2014

Launch Your Jewelry Business :: Get Help! :: Step 10 of 10

Filed under: A Business : 10 Steps — Tags: @ 9:00 am


It is easy to get overwhelmed running a business. There is always too much to do. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Stick to what you do best and delegate what you do worst. There are very inexpensive resources that make it possible to delegate on even the tightest budget. ODesk is a great place to find expert help. Remember, you are not saving money if you sink large chunks of time into tasks you are not likely to master.

That being said, you MUST stay involved in your book keeping and understand the numbers.

Find Advisors

With a little research you can find city, county, state and federal agencies that offer free support to small businesses. For instance, the SBA SCORE program provides free mentors.

Peer support groups and advisors are amazing resources. Too many entrepreneurs spend their time re-inventing the wheel. Business issues are similar regardless of the industry. Any problem you have in your business has already been solved 1,000 times. People like to help, all you have to do is ask.

step 10


You have worked your way through all 10 Steps. I hope you agree with me when I say,

“You can do it!”

Good luck and let me know how your jewelry journey progresses.

Older Posts »