Thursday, July 7, 2011

iPad and Square Love

I've been looking at the iPad ads and the apple website thinking that when I paid every bill and the economy turned around and sales were great that I could get an iPad... Well none of that happened, but what did happen was my 15 year old visa terminal finally quit.
I had been reading about Square for a few months. It's a new way to accept visa and it works with an iPad, iPhone or android phone. Well, that's all it took to justify getting an iPad. To get another visa terminal and pay for the software so it could take visas while on the road at craft shows was going to cost $$$$$$ at my old service, so I decided to spend my money on an iPad which I can do so many other things with, and get Square for FREE!
Yep, Square is a free service invented by the fella that started twitter and after using it for a few months, it is a real godsend to people like me who dont have a high volume and need to use a visa on the road.
I filled out an online application which took just a few minutes, and received the wee card reader within the week. It is AWESOME! It takes a few times to get the feel of swiping a card, but that is the biggest problem I had, everything else was smooth sailing.
My favorite part of using Square is that I can enter my inventory onto virtual store shelves with photos, price and color variations. You can even add an item during a sale, take it's picture with the iPad, and add details in a few seconds. If you need to, there is a numerical keyboard to just add in a price as well.
I can key in the sales tax which I can change with one of the setting buttons, which is great as I do shows in different states. I can even do several lists, because I also sell wholesale, so I've got one store section with all my wholesale and one with all my retail.
You can even use Square as a POS or cash register, as you can input sold items, then choose cash or charge. It'll even tell you how much change to give back. The great thing I noticed during the show, is that it started to make a new category, which was popular items. Since I sell lots of earrings at a show, this made it quick and easy to input a new sale as I didn't need to scan my shelves, just look at the bottom of the page and there were the earrings.
After authorizing the card, your customer signs the virtual sales slip with their finger, then inputs their email or phone # to have a receipt sent to them. The receipt has your business info and all the sales info. People were delighted with this technology. No paper to keep track of, nothing for an identity theft person to swipe, it was great!
There is a running list or history of your sales, which you are able to download from the site for your records.
If you need to key in a card, like I do for wholesale accounts, you can do that as well. The fee for keying in is slightly higher, 3.5% plus .15 versus 2.75% for swiped cards. The program tells you immediately the net amount which will be deposited.
One thing my bank tried to get me away from using square was that you can only deposit $1000 a week, anything over that is held for thirty days. Since this might become a problem, I asked square about a higher limit and received approval right away, so don't let this sway you.
You can also take Discover and American Express which would have cost me extra before.
I give Square two thumbs up, their online service has also been prompt and courteous.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Steampunk Dragonfly Pendant

Finally, after having pieces laying on my work table, then put away in a drawer for about six months, I got everything out and worked it up!  I hate to finish things.  I love starting things and am happiest when I have a half dozen projects going so I can switch off, back and forth throughout the day.
My routine is: work on the computer (hah, work) listing etsy stuff, checking discussion boards, working on web page or the new wedding line with my friend Mickey,  Checking site statistics to see if anybody found any of these sites, checking email to see if please please are there any orders (2 wholesale last week thank goodness).... then take the dogs for a walk.. my baby Shar-pei Lilli can be kinda hard on the ol' man Bear with rough puppy play unless they get their legs stretched... then go feed cows at the ranch.
Then it's lunch, where I'm currently eating a sandwich in front of the iMac while watching Brothers and Sisters on Netflix.  It's not that great, but I ran out of Dexter and Weeds episodes until the new season is released.
THEN I FINALLY MAKE SOMETHING IN THE STUDIO!  What a slacker.  It seems to take until about 2-3 pm before I get the wheels turning and work in my shop.  Even then, I'm happiest with my mp3 player in the background with an audiobook.  Right now I'm on the last few hours of Pat Conroy's "The Prince of Tides".  I'd read the book years ago and loved it.... saw the movie and hated it.  The audiobook is very good.  The fella reading is excellent, and doesn't overdo the southern accents of the characters.  I downloaded it from and have been pretty happy with their service.  I used NetLibrary, but it's difficult to search for books that you really want so I've gotten away from using it.
SO, the reason for this post is that not only did I finish something, but I'm pretty happy with it and learned how to do riveting, or cold connections.  I'd bought the rivets last fall and wasn't sure how to do the process.  I got on YouTube and found several helpful videos.  Youtube is a great teacher for any technique you want, for instance I didn't know what grafting was for a project I was knitting, and there was a video on Youtube! Excellent!

So, I gathered my different bits of metal together.... an embossed copper piece, a brass background that I drilled and hammered for texture, a dragonfly charm and vintage watch parts.  Oh, and the rivets.  I practiced a couple of times on a scrap and ruined the rivets, but when I put them into this piece with the brass tube hinge (for making boxes) that I used as spacers, it went pretty well.  Into the space went the rivets that held the watch pieces on. I added some chain and a "Wander" token and a vintage key.  I think it's done.  I want to enter it into a competition so won't be listing it on either website for awhile to see how that goes...