Another favourite bead shop

Photo by stephane_p on Flickr

I wrote about the quest to find good sources of quality beads about 3 years ago. Back then I shared information about the shop I found, Magpie Gemstones.  I no longer buy gemstone beads so often as I once did, but when I do  – I often end up buying from Magpie. I also try to shop from another good source of quality beads, Nelson Beads.

As Magpie, Joanne at Nelson beads will give you all information you need to make a knowledgeable purchase.  She focuses on round gemstone beads, and has a variety of different gemstones. Some of the beads she carry are absolutely gorgeous. Just check out her golden obsidian for example. I have made myself a pair of earrings using these, and I just love them.  She also carried some remarkable rose quartz beads from Madagascar, that was of a much higher quality than the usual dyed Chinese stuff I had previously bought. She no longer have that available, but wrote she might get some more in the future.

I am not affiliated with Nelson Beads at all, nor Magpie. I just want both these shops to thrive and prosper, so I can continue to buy from them when the need arise. I stumbled upon both from blog posts such as this one. Here is hoping they both get more customers because of my blog post.

Opening crafts.tomi shop


Grønn turkis , sølv og grønne øreringer , ekte turkis , briolette øreringer , håndlaget i Norge

I am so excited! For awhile now I have been working on getting an online commerce solution up and running on this site .  The major hurdle was choosing which one of the many different payment solutions I wanted to add. There are many options, but most of them are rather costly with monthly fees. I ended up going for two  that only charge a fee whenever I sell something.  Paypal and Stripe.  Installing the plug in WooCommerce went without a glitch, but I had to have some help getting the SSL-certificate installed.  Now all I have to do is actually adding products. Whew!

So why going through all this trouble? I like working out from my own site, as I see the commercial ones changing the algorithm often. It can sometimes be time consuming to keep up.  I want to test this out for a bit, and see where it leads. Besides, it is fun doing new things. I will continue to add to my Etsy shop , as well as doing a few shows every year.


Name and shame

As an avid netshopper, I sometimes stumble over companies that utilize business practices that are …strange.

While I expect that from some shop owners in certain parts of the world, I do not expect the same from a big company in north america. When I was shopping around for some soap supplies, I was directed to a big company called Essential Depot. I always check shipment options on new websites, what they charge for shipping and handling to my country.

So I added an item in my cart, and proceed to checkout to get the shipment cost. I could not believe it. They wanted 215,24 USD to ship some mango butter to me. I checked out the weight of the item I had added, and it weighed 2,5 pound. This is probably some mistake I thought in their software, adding the most expensive option without me being able to change it. So I tested out with a lighter item, this time with 8 oz of mango butter, that is approximately 227 grams.

Notice how it says “Duties paid” right next to the amount they want to charge me for shipping.  There are no duties to pay for an item like this when importing to Norway. None. Now, of course even big companies like this can make mistakes. So I contacted them by email, pointing out the blatant error I just encountered. Since this was a big company, and the error so very obvious, I thought this was an easy fix. Not so…

This is their answer.

“Essential Depot shipping is calculated by distance and weight, for our international customers duties and taxes are paid by us. The quote you received at is correct.”
So, the correct amount for shipping a 227 gram bottle of mango butter to Norway, is 215 USD. There are no one in that company that find that slightly over the top, at all? No one that even raise their eyebrow, and try to correct the blatant mistake?
I contacted the norwegian custom office, just to be on the safe side. They confirmed what I already knew was true, that there are no duties or taxes to pay for this item, at all. And Essential Depot cannot charge these in US in any case, they are charged by Posten Norge when the package arrives in my country. The one I was talking to on the phone, suggested I stay away from a company like that.


So, why does this company lie?  It’s not that the claim above from the company cannot be checked and double checked. Why waste time telling me something that clearly is not true? One reason is that they charge me a fee for a low cost order. There are a few companies that do that, and I have no problem with that, as long as it is clearly marked as such. Not here though. Maybe there are benefits for companies that offers their goods internationally,  in corporate America. That the shipping and handling fee is  high ensures that no one use that option. I don’t know, I find it weird for sure. If someone out there know why, please do share!

I  am a returning customer with many companies that offer other and better shipment options to my country. Metal is heavy, and often far heavier than the 227 gram of mango butter above, but I am happily importing that while being charged sane shipping costs. It can be done.


It’s alive!

handmadeEarlier this year, it became clear that Amazon had plans to add a handmade section to their site. That was exciting, as they can offer a much larger market than Etsy. On the other hand, the user of Etsy is perhaps more used to the handmade nature of things, and are more willing to pay what handmade costs.

The sellers were screened beforehand, and you needed to fill in an application for it – so I did. And was accepted! The first year they are wavering their monthly fee, so you can check it out first. What they charge when you sell something is not cheap however.

In any case, I found this to be very interesting on many levels, so I have worked to be able to have a few listings ready when it opened. Since they use a different photo set up I need to take them again. Oof. From the looks of it, the search algorithm is something entirely different from Etsy, and many have already been vocal against the “clumping” – that you see many items from only one shop in your search result. The same thing that made me decide against using the norwegian Epla at first. Maybe they will change this at a later date, for handmade at least.

I am still not entirely satisfied with my own little corner over there, that is why I do not link to it yet. But I will for sure, when it is ready.