Starting Over

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So, you can maybe thank (or blame, depending on how you look at it) Jolene for this one. Although, it’s possible that the Great Identity Crisis of 2016 just ran its course and died a natural death, having accomplished what it was meant to.

At any rate, here’s the big announcement: I am moving to a new blog and will be basically archiving this one.In the process, I will also be republishing a lot of my Odin material (the stuff I set to private here during the second half of 2016), and making it available on the new blog, alongside new writings. (And the usual seasoning of shop promo–won’t lie, that’s gonna be there too, but I have some exciting news to go along with it: Wytch of the North is going to be moving towards becoming a full-service occult shop once again. Because it’s what people want, it’s what I’m good at, and in these dark times we need our occult arms suppliers, amiright?)

Why start a new blog and not just make old posts available here again?  Because after eight or so years of blogging here, things have gotten pretty cluttered and I’d like to start fresh, with a new perspective and in a more organized and systematic way. You can read more about my goals for the new blog here.

Beth Wodandis  is up and running and will continue to have new posts go up in the coming days. I won’t be posting anything new to the old blog (the one you’re reading right now) after this announcement, so if you want to continue following me and seeing new material, check out my new pad!

Brand new today: BEESWAX Elemental Votive Candles!

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Brand new in the shop today: BEESWAX elemental votive candles!

Nothing brightens up your home or sacred space like the warm golden glow of beeswax candles! Each candle comes to you in a glass votive holder hand-painted in matte colors (black for Fire, pink for Earth, celery for Water, and lavender for Air) and adorned with the relevant elemental symbol.

The beeswax has been blended with creamy organic virgin coconut oil (which reduces burn temperature, for a cleaner burn in container candles) and pure essential oils. (Sage for Earth, lavender for Air, lotus for Water, and rosemary for Fire.) Wicks are cotton and paper wick. (NO zinc.)

Beeswax is chemical-free, clean and pure, naturally honey-scented, and hypoallergenic. Burning beeswax candles actually IMPROVES air quality and is recommended for people with breathing issues.

Each votive is $10, and shipping is FREE within the US (only $7.99 elsewhere). I have a limited supply of these–get yours here!

New Limited Edition Candles!

Happy Wednesday! I currently (as of 1/25/17) have two VERY small batches of limited edition candles available in the shop. Just as a reminder, I am not taking custom orders for these, and they are not available on a made to order basis at this time; once these are gone, they’re gone. (I’m still working with the supplies I have on hand and will not likely be repurchasing the materials to make more of these for some time, if ever.)

If you follow me on Facebook you’ve possibly already seen these, but I now at least one of my blog readers wanted a heads-up on candles, so…

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So, as you can see, there are basically two types:

  1. Pagan prayer candles–except that, unlike the ones I was offering in my former Etsy shop, these are made from soy wax and are hand poured, and then dressed with herbs, oils, and glitter. You can find all of the specifics to each candle in the product listings, but the ones I still have available are for Lucifer, Apollon, and Freyja.
  2.  BLACK mason jar candles: I’ve hand-painted these a matte black and decorated them with a chalkboard pen to give them a more sophisticated, somewhat gothy vibe that I absolutely love. Made from scented soy wax topped with glitter, they all make beautiful little offerings of fragrance and light for your shrine. I still have these available for Odin, Loki, Aphrodite, Freyja, Ganesha, Lucifer, and Lilith.

Some of the ones I listed have already sold out, so if you see anything here that you’d like to claim for yourself, I wouldn’t wait.

Coming soon: a limited edition line of beeswax and coconut oil painted glass votives, plus a batch of limited edition soap.

And I’m also busy working on my new jewelry line, which will feature leather with beads, bits and bobs. Here’s a sneak peek:

boho leather earrings

 

My new Wytch of the North Shop is now live!

…and the Sea Bunny shop is now closed.

There is less stuff, currently, at Wytch of the North than there was at Sea Bunny, since there are some product lines I can’t afford to continue at this time. But the inventory will grow in the coming days as new products are introduced, and I’ll let you guys know as that happens. Just FYI, everything I am going to be carrying there for now will be either one of a kind or made in tiny batches. And we’ll go from there!

I am very happy with my final design for the shop, at least–stop by and check it out!

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My Patreon intro and rewards have been updated!

Yeah, I know, I already updated them not too long ago, but two things prompted me to make some changes to my Patreon profile yesterday, which I’ve already shared with my current patrons and thought I’d share here, too:

1) My shop is bringing in next to nothing currently; I’m sure some of this is due to normal post-holiday slowness, but it’s making me realize I needed to seriously examine what I can and cannot afford to promise as monthly Patreon rewards.

2) I just had a $50/month patron quit–which hurts (not gonna lie) and would be a serious disaster if Jo hadn’t gotten a better job almost two months ago now. I think incense was the deal-breaker for this person, ultimately, and I simply cannot afford to keep doing incense anymore the way things are now. (Not only are the ingredients–essential oils, DPG, charcoal sticks–pricey, but I can’t test burn it without making the dog cough.)  BUT it did get me seriously thinking about how to attract more lower-level and mid-level patrons.  I would RATHER have a greater number of lower-level patrons, in fact, since if I can get five additional $10/month patrons and one of them quits, it’s not as big of a deal. So I’ve worked at making the lower-level rewards more appealing! (And I’m going to start advertising my Patreon on my YouTube channel. too.)

If anyone has suggestions, especially if you’re already a patron (but even if you aren’t), fire away! Some of your ideas might not be feasible for me, but I’m certainly willing to listen! Please check out the new reward levels first, though, to make sure it isn’t something I’ve just finished adding already. (For example, I just added readings back–2 cards now rather than three, and probably a bit less detail than I was providing before–at the $15/month level.)

New Intro (shared here in case you don’t feel like clicking over, since I’d really love if everyone who finds value in my blog or YouTube channel would at least consider pitching in, even if it’s only a dollar per month–see above about attracting more lower-level patrons):

I am a long time (since 2002) devotee of an Odinesque/Mercurial liminal deity I now refer to as the Traveler, in addition to being a diviner (Tarot and oracle cards), artist, crafter, witch, and sometime writer. I suffer from several invisible illnesses, most notably fibromyalgia, arthritis, and IBS/IBD. Because these conditions worsen with age (I am now 51), in 2015 I found myself unable to continue working a conventional job, and managed to quit to work from home on my (then) Etsy shop. Things were great for a while. but then business began to die down due to some changes Etsy made to their site, and, well, here we are.

My big goal for my Patreon is to help fill in the gap between what my partner (soon to be wife) brings in from her job and what we need per month for the rent/food/pets/etc. Normally (prior to the Great Etsy Disaster of 2016) what I made from my Etsy shop was accomplishing this. Now, not so much. I have a new shop now on my own website, but sales are slow and I imagine it will take a while for it to build momentum. I am also once again offering on-demand Tarot and oracle card readings (in which I have roughly 30 years experience) exclusively via Paypal on my blog.

One of the reasons I was unable to make my Etsy shop work for me (besides their nasty algorithm changes) is that I spread myself too thin trying to make too many different types of things in order to keep my customers interested and compete with similar shops. (It doesn’t help that since Etsy is an international marketplace, it can be very difficult for US sellers to compete price-wise, with the cost of living so high here compared to most of the rest of the world.) My first impulse in regard to this, as I’m trying to rebuild my business, was to scale back to concentrating on only a few types of artwork/crafting. However, I have received a negative response to this from some of my longtime customers and supporters, so this has left me in a bit of a quandary. I want to keep my supporters happy, but I still can’t afford to purchase the wide range of supplies I had access to back when my shop was doing well.

So, I’ve decided on the following compromise: I will be offering a variety of products and services for sale, but possibly not offering ALL of them ALL of the time. I am going to make a real effort to stop redefining myself from a business perspective every two weeks, and concentrate instead on actually creating things that are too awesome for anyone to pass up. This may indeed involve some cycling through different types of offerings (since it’s hard to always know in advance what people are going to want) but hopefully without the accompanying declarations about any of them being my “new thing” or, conversely, “something I’m no longer doing.” But expensive craft supply purchases will need to be made when I can actually afford them, and if things aren’t selling they will probably not be continued, so you are likely going to be seeing a lot more one of a kind items and limited editions.

Edited to add: The stick incense is definitely GONE for now–sorry about that!–but some of the other supply/type items I’m planning to make include loose herbal incense (which I’m hoping the dog will be able to tolerate better–he is a late stage congestive heart failure dog and I simply can’t (translation: won’t) burn things that make him cough more), magickal ointments (including a non-toxic flying ointment), and dressed stick candles). I will possibly also be trying my hand at candle holders for the candles, deity statues, and elemental tiles for shrines (all made with polymer clay). And as I continue my self-apprenticeship in leather craft, there will be additional leather items, such as jewelry, bowls, and bags. (Cuff bracelets are next, as soon as I finish up the last couple of late holiday gifts I’m working on.)

My other goals include:

  • Going deeper into my work with Tarot, and breaking away from the standard Rider Waite Smith definitions to work more deeply with numerology and the elements in interpreting the cards.
  • Studying astrology, which will help me to add even more depth to the readings I offer.
  • Spending more time making visual art on paper–which will eventually result in prints for my store and electronic Patreon rewards (such as printables and coloring pages, perhaps) here.
  • Growing my YouTube channel, to widen my community and get more comfortable on camera. (Because once I’m more comfortable on camera, I can begin offering things like video or live Skype readings, Skype chats and lessons, live DIY, etc. Some of these things will require my upgrading to a better video camera–I currently use my phone, which limits the types of videos I’m able to make; that and the fact that I’m an introvert are why these exciting things aren’t happening quite yet.)

Anything I make beyond the “filling the gap” amount will enable me to put more money into art and craft supplies, thus helping me to provide more of the types of things people would like to see me offer, in addition to upgrading my recording equipment to improve my videos (and offer the above video-related services).

If I can raise $725 a month to cover our rent, I can put more money into my business, and Jo and I will actually be able to work towards getting out of debt and putting some money into savings . So $725 per month is my big goal–but believe me, every step along the way towards that goal helps tremendously! And anything I make over that amount I will use towards pledges to other creators here on Patreon. (I am already donating towards a number of people, but would like to do even more to help.)

To sum up: chronic pain, digestive issues, and cognitive challenges + new business person = MAJOR learning curve. ANY help you can give to reduce the pressure is WILDLY appreciated. I love you all, and not a day passes but I thank ALL of the gods for the friends I have. Thank you in advance for giving me this opportunity to create or you!

Current reward levels:

$1 or more per month–Thank you, friend!: Thank you so much! It may not sound like much but even a dollar a month helps.To help us get to know each other better, you will now have access to my patron-only feed, where we can chat, you can ask me questions, and I’ll post photos, both from my life in general and of things I’m working on.

$5 or more per month–Let’s get coffee! If we were really having coffee together we’d probably chat about Tarot, bullet journaling, crafting, food, polytheism, witchcraft, and the like, so in place of a latte you’ll get to see pages from my grimoire as I create and update them, PLUS I will share random things such as Tarot spreads, recipes, portions of my Tarot journal, and other goodies in addition to my usual patron-only feed of photos and random thoughts. You can also ask me questions about any of the above topics and get answers!

$15 or more per month–Let’s do a reading for you! (plus eventual printables) In order for us to really be friends I’m going to need to get to know you a little better, and what better way than to read your cards? For $15/month you get all of the above rewards, PLUS a two card Tarot reading. This can be either a monthly forecast or a response to a specific question; check my Patreon feed at the beginning of each month for a prompt to let me know which you prefer! At this level you will ALSO have access to any coloring pages or printables I post here.

$20 or more per month–Help me out with product testing! $20/month comes with all of the above PLUS a full or sample sized container/package of a product I am developing that particular month. Since my product line, going forward, is going to be pretty varied, there is really no way I can pin down what Thing I will have to send you every single month (it could be room spray, candles, an oil or salve, etc.) but I promise it will be something awesome! PLUS you will get one patron-only coupon code for 20% off a purchase from my shop per month.

$30 or more per month–Artwork! Now we are getting to be real friends, so naturally I want to send you even more stuff! This pledge comes with all of the above, plus one small piece of flat and/or lightweight artwork per quarter. This may be either leather, fiber, or paper-based–like a bookmark, ritual cord, felt poppet, small skein of yarn, drawing or painting, etc. 

$50 or more per month–Special Love Mail! You are really helping to support me and my family at this level, so you get  ALL of the above mentioned perks, PLUS special love mail from me! Twice a year (at the summer solstice and winter solstice) I’ll send you a package with a piece of artwork created just for you! This might be a leather fauxdori notebook, a weaving, or anything else I’m inspired to make for you. You’ll also receive a copy of any pdf coloring books, ebooks or other such goodies I made during the month.

And there we have it! As you can see, I do give away a LOT of stuff at the higher patron levels, and before revising the rewards I was sending people a lot more stuff than that; it was starting to become overwhelming and to be honest I was barely breaking even with some of it. (Also, it wasn’t leaving me with a whole lot of time for interacting with my patrons, which is the whole reason a lot of people support artists on Patreon in the first place.) The best example is the incense: $15/mo patrons were formerly receiving 20 sticks of incense per month, which had previously been selling in my shop for $8. Add $5 shipping to that and I am really not making any money by offering it; plus, if I have to order supplies that month–essential oils, DPG, and charcoal sticks–it ends up costing me money instead.

So, changes needed to be made. I know the incense may end up being a deal-breaker for at least one or two other people currently supporting me at the $15 level (I think at least one hasn’t yet noticed it’s gone), so I’m going to be promoting my Patreon more actively both here and on YouTube in an effort to recover from those potential losses, in addition to the (ouch) $50/mo one.