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D&O Celtic Jewelry Featured In The Quad City Times

Quad City Times Motherhood Knot Necklace

I was recently interviewed by Jack Cullen of the Quad City Times and the article was published today. They were very interested in learning about what I do and how I got into jewelry making. I always enjoy explaining how this works. Here is a part of the article:

What happens in this Davenport basement does not necessarily stay in this basement.

In 2012, Deere & Co. engineer Dan Foley began tinkering with computer-aided design software in his home-based workshop with the goal of crafting something tangible.

At the time, Foley knew a little about 3D printers since Deere worked with the machines, but he never explored other business opportunities the technology could provide.

After conducting a bit of market research, the married father of three noticed a demand for 3D-printed jewelry, and went to work.

Foley began sending digital models to Shapeways, a New York City-based company that offers 3D printing services. While many of his first attempts were rejected, the techie kept at it, shifting his designs to comply with 3D printing standards.

“I wanted to understand it,” said Foley, who at first assumed Shapeways solely used and manufactured plastics. “But they also offer metals, and that’s what blew my mind.”

You can go to this link to read the full article:

Notes @ Noon: Engineer designs, sells 3D-printed jewelry on the side

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D&O Celtic Jewelry Featured in Local Pittsburgh Magazine

Katie C'Etta

I did a recent collaboration with actress and model Katie C’Etta. She had spotted some of my jewelry on Instagram and reached out to me about working together. After learning a little bit about Katie, I quickly realized it was a unique opportunity that I should not pass up.

Katie is involved in a lot of different things. She has three films in the works, has appeared in commercials and has modeled for many different brands. She also has her own blog where she features local fashion and other projects she is working on. You can see one of her short films on Vimeo. It is called Circles and was directed by Reese Hayes.

Katie C'Etta Local Pittsburgh Magazine
Katie C’Etta in Local Pittsburgh Magazine

She featured the Dragonfly Necklace and Triquetra Bracelet in her Instagram account. It was also featured in a photo shoot she did with Local Pittsburgh magazine. The photo featured the Dragonfly necklace is on page 53. I’m told that Local Pittsburgh is the top local magazine in Pittsburgh. This is pretty exciting because it is the first time one of our pieces has appeared in a print magazine. The jewelry will also appear on actress Emily Goode in the upcoming film The Way That I Am, which is tentatively planned to be released in 2017. That will also be a first. I will share more about that as I learn more about the film and when it will be released. You can read more about Katie and track her budding career at her web site.

As I said, this was another collaboration that originated from Instagram. Instagram has been great for finding people like this that have a common interest, and that I can work with in a way that is beneficial to both of us. I wrote about what Instagram can do for budding artists and small businesses in this earlier post.

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D&O Celtic Jewelry 2015 Recap

Claddagh ring - from Instagram

I started out in the summer of 2012 not knowing really anything about 3D printing or jewelry design or internet marketing or anything really. I try to remember that I basically started from nothing and keep a humble view of this business. I do these year-end recaps more to keep myself motivated than to try to brag. However, 2015 was a really good year so it’s hard not to brag a little.

New Designs

In 2015 I did not really have to think very much about what I should be designing next. I had a steady stream of customers reach out to me to ask me to design something for them. I then could take these designs and list them and try to sell them to other customers. A couple of them have proved to be pretty popular. Here are the new pendants that I designed on request for customers this year:

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Outreach

I made a conscious effort this year to reach out and collaborate with others in a mutually beneficial way. I reached out to other jewelry designers and people getting into modeling. I would send them jewelry. They’d post pictures of themselves wearing it to social media or web sites. Then I’d also post the pictures to my various sites to return the favor and gain them a little exposure. This got my jewelry in front of different audiences. Many of these people I collaborated with provided me with great, great pictures that I could use on my own web sites and social media. This was something I think I sorely needed. Before this year I just didn’t have many pictures of people wearing my jewelry.

A lot of this interaction and outreach happened on Instagram. I just joined Instagram in January of this year. Through outreach and interaction I was able to gain over 2,100 followers. It’s hard to know how much traffic was driven to my site from Instagram, but it had to have helped. It was also a source of some new ideas. A few of the custom pendants came from customers I met on Instagram.

One really neat moment from this year was I was searching Instagram for topics related to Celtic jewelry. I came across someone who had posted a picture of one of my Claddagh Ring designs. It turned out that it had been used as an engagement ring.

Here are some pictures of people who were awesome enough to share pictures of them wearing my jewelry in 2015:

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Site Traffic

At this time last year I spent a lot of time trying to optimize my web site for search engines. I settled on the WordPress layout that I currently have. The Yoast SEO plugin has been indespensible for this effort. I did a lot of keyword research at the same time which I think helped in some regards.

Another thing I did during my outreach was building some backlinks to my site. I think that probably had a big impact on where I ranked in searches. I also tried to blog on a somewhat regular basis, although that proved to be hard at times. It’s hard to know though which of these SEO tactics worked, or if it was a sum of all of them. The biggest traffic driver to this site are people searching for the meaning of various Celtic symbols.

In any case, the traffic to this web site nearly tripled in 2015 over 2014. Some of that is to be expected since in 2014 this site was still in its’ infancy to a large extent. In January and March I did a couple giveaways that drove a ton of traffic. After doing those giveaways my traffic hit kind of a bottom in April. The thing that surprised me though was that traffic increased every single month after that this year. By October, I was getting more organic traffic than I did in January or March which were boosted by giveaways.

Sales

My total number of sales increased by 42% over last year. To me that is really important but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Last year I did a lot of craft fairs that really contributed a lot. About 40% of my sales last year were at those craft fairs. This year, I only did one craft fair and barely made any sales. I focused all my energy on online sales. My online sales increased by more than double (237%!). So this more than offset the lack of sales at craft fairs.

The main reason for this was that I opened an Etsy shop. Last year I was not on Etsy at all, which was probably an oversight. I tried Etsy back in 2012 and 2013 and did not make a single sale. So I gave up on it for a while. Someone recommended I give it another shot. I got on Etsy again in January and started to make some sales. In all, Etsy accounted for a little over half of my online sales this year.

The number of sales through my Shapeways shop was up only slightly, but my revenue from Shapeways was up 83%. People were buying more expensive items. A big chunk of this increase was due to three ring sales where the customers purchased the rings in solid gold.

Finally, the number of sales from this web site was still pretty modest. It only accounted for about 15% of all my sales, but I did double the number of sales from my web site over last year. This shouldn’t be a surprise since traffic increased so much. My ultimate goal is to keep growing sales through this site.

Coming In 2016

One thing I came across during all my interactions were bangle bracelets. I’ve already made three of my designs available in a bracelet version and if it proves to be popular I may offer more.

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Leaf Necklace Photo Feature

Shayna Rae Leaf Necklace

Instagram has been an amazing way to meet people with similar interests. While surfing through hashtags I connected with Shayna Rae (@theavalanches_ ). She is a model that has does a lot of nature-themed photographs. She works with several different photographers. I sent her a Leaf Celtic Knot Necklace to be featured in a photoshoot. The photos were taken by Kathryn Herron (@kathryn_louiseh) who also does pretty amazing work. Here were some pictures from the photoshoot:

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D&O Featured On Style In A Small Town

Fellow Midwestern blogger Hillary at Style In A Small Town did a feature on the Celtic Eternity Knot Ring recently. She has several really nice pictures. Here are two of them and a quote from the article:

One of my favorite things to do is to shop and support small business. When they are from the Midwest, it’s even better! So when I was approached by a small local jewelry designer I jumped at the chance to work with them! This Celtic Infinity or Eternity Knot Ring by D+O Celtic Jewelry is so pretty and unique and it’s the perfect addition to my everyday jewelry collection. I love Celtic jewelry because not only is it unique, but it tells a story.

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