Monday, October 3, 2016

#Secret #Lives of #Etsy #Shops

Many etsy shops work very hard at making a living through a platform that has changed since I began in March of 2009. At first, the process seemed user friendly and items sold quickly compared to present, puzzling SEO and lack of transparency behind etsy's murky algorithms. 

Since 2008, I extended my brick and mortar shop through etsy and all was okay at first. Over time, many etsy changes stymied the best of long time merchants. Old gave way to new and included corporate shifts as well as the premise of the site. 

Over the years, many shop owners became frustrated as etsy seemed to pass it's sales focus on to shop owners insofar as making SEO a money maker through billing shops to be seen. Those who did not partake lost rank in site visibility and google indexing tossed them off the map of search-ability. This was furthered by creating a less handmade - come - social platform (of irony) due to the numerous closed fora posts and muting calling for transparency. Compliance did not do much for sales, but it lent a cape of supremacy at will by corporate.

In the meantime - shops struggled to pay the essential bills through their place on etsy. All that glittered was hardly gold and many felt the struggle in their ability to juggle work/life balance in a sustainable way. All this without panic. Shops were shuttered without notice and lives were negatively damaged as a result. Messing with someone's ability to feed and clothe their families is an outrage and one etsy never much cared about. When the corporate end of things has a paycheck, the real world can wait it would seem. 

The lives behind etsy shops are peppered with independent life struggles including those recovering from divorce, loss of family, school and caring for elderly family.  The list goes on. The struggles these shop owners face are grace under pressure. Many cannot find work in this horrid economy. The young graduate and over 50 or divorced women find the job market in general very hostile and unwelcoming. Etsy is a way to eat at least another meal or to keep the lights on.

I recall one difficult winter in which I sold one of my beloved paintings to none other than founder, Rob Kalin, to whom I will always be grateful. His support allowed me to have heat in winter that month. He may not realize it, but his purchase gave me hope during an abysmal Christmas, post divorce. That he saw value in something I envisioned and put my heart into,  gave me strength.

I currently care for my elderly parents and visit my handicapped brother nearby. I also work as a health coach as needed for a local company which I love. I only wish this was offered as a FT position. I maintain a 4.0 while in grad school for Adult EDU. Seems as a prior business owner and hard worker plus student, I would have better luck with finding a health coaching job FT. Unfortunately, employers can skim candidates as they want based on things down to the age and hair color.

I want to know if you would like to share your story - the life behind your etsy shop and how you keep it all together. 

Love - 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

New site for Beltane Moon

Greetings, earthlings! Beltane Moon is excited to announce the development of our new site .

At this juncture, the new site redirects to our shop hosted on etsy. Exciting developments will continue to offer the same quality products, plus new items customers have been asking for. Expect to see

  • new body jewelry styles & designs
  • body jewelry tools 
  • piercing kits
  • after care products 
  • jewelry care products
  • art & extended applications (mugs, cards)
Beltane Moon's autoclave sterilization service will extend to qualifying products such as tools and piercing kits.

Why change? Beltane Moon has outgrown the increasingly limited and confusing parameters of the etsy platform. While our presence will remain on etsy, our new site will transition to a more inclusive, fully functional site to include:

  • secure SSL encryption payment
  • optimized customer service
  • product line support
  • alternate shipping options
  • return policies on guaranteed products

We loved etsy, but we grew to love our customers more. Beltane Moon owes a gratitude of service that is not available as a cog in the growing wheel of our previous platform.

Join Beltane Moon on the new journey!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Clean, Disinfect,Sterilizing : a brief look into autoclaving body jewelry

There are major differences in the decontamination of jewelry which has become a source of some confusion relative to body jewelry. The following briefly explains the differences between of the methods of : cleaning, disinfection and sterilization. Let's take a brief look into methods of "decontamination" as relates to body jewelry 


 Auto means 'self",  clavis is Latin for "cleaning". A bit of a misnomer as an autoclave is not an every day household cleaning implement. 

An autoclave (as defined by Wikipedia ):

 " instrument used to sterilize equipment and supplies by subjecting them to high pressure saturated steam at 121 °C for around 15–20 minutes..."

Sounds Familiar!

These units have a broad design in both size and  application as well as method. The autoclave is primarily applied within the health care industry and has a wide scope of application within these institutions. Industries in which the autoclave is commonly employed include (but not limited to); Veterinary, medical, dental, piercing, tattoo and nail salon industries for the purpose of sterilizing associated tools and equipment. 

Autoclave use is most often used in the medical field.  Medical waste requires sterilization in favor over incineration (thermal oxidation) due to  environmental concerns . There are exceptions to this rule, for example, such as when dealing with pathological waste. An designated autoclave is used for medical waste only. 

As for piercing jewelry, the method for sterilizing new jewelry in an autoclave employs the use of an autoclave pouch. An autoclave pouch has a sterility indicator printed on the outside which changes color upon proper processing.
Example of pouch

Disinfection, Cleaning, Sterilization

It is important  to recognize the difference between cleaning, disinfection and sterilization in relation to proper jewelry and piercing care. Disinfection and sterilization are part of a decontamination process. 

In the absence of owning an autoclave, cleaning and disinfecting your jewelry is a wise (and hopefully ongoing) personal responsibility. Let's start there.

1. Cleaning is essentially part of infection control in the reduction and removal of surface  microbial contaminants. Simple, mindful cleaning begins with the removal of body jewelry and its components as applicable. Use clean water and antibacterial soap with a soft brush in and around the components to remove debris on a regular basis. Use a clean, disposable paper product to dry the jewelry and allow to air dry. In oral jewelry, it is wise to remove plaque accumulation from jewelry parts by soaking in clean, warm water before removing with a soft brush as it can be difficult to remove. 

Ultrasonic unit aids in the process of the removal microbial contaminants that may not be visibly removed. These can be purchased through online sources. 

2. Disinfecting is the process in the limited elimination of most pathogenic microorganisms (excluding bacterial spores). The most common type of disinfectant used in jewelry cleaning is alcohol. Pure alcohol is not favored as much as rubbing alcohol. Pure alcohol immediately coagulates a germ cell's outer wall which creates a protective barrier which does not effectively neutralize the inner protein. Therefore, the germ cell can reactivate. Rubbing alcohol works more slowly thereby allowing entry into the protein and killing the bacteria, before total coagulation of the outer wall is complete.

3. Sterilization -  Autoclaves utilize steam or gas to destroy microorganisms such as bacteria and spores which cannot be done through cleaning and disinfecting methods. 

Similar to the old fashioned pressure cooker, a steam autoclave boils water at a temperature higher (approx.20°C hotter) than the normal boiling point.

In my steam autoclave, the process is as follows:

The jewelry is inserted into the pouch and then into the autoclave for sterilization.  The chemical or steam indicator color change reflects successful exposure to time & temperature during processing. A symbol or lettering on the pouch indicates color change and should state as such. 

In my shop, I use an FDA approved Prestige unit accepted for piercing jewelry. The temperature specs for this unit are: 
Sterilizing temp': 121°C
Sterilizing temp': 250 F
Arriving at sterizing temp: 16 mins
Cycle time - total 26 mins

As a professional piercer I find it essential & morally ethical to autoclave-sterilize piercing jewelry.  I autoclave-sterilize body piercing jewelry (where applicable) prior to shipping to my Beltane Moon Etsy customers.Please keep in mind that all body jewelry in my shop jewelry is new and has never been worn. 

I hope this lends some clarity on the basic concept and mechanics of what an autoclave is and how it is used in my shop. If you have any questions, please contact me and I am more than happy to respond!

Copyright 2016, Beltane Moon 
Cite Reference for use