Tag Archives: musings

An Alternative Marketing Approach: The Importance of Intention in Making Our Craft

11 Oct

Intention & Handmade Products

The secret behind a successful handmade jewelry or crafts item, artwork, or design, is a well-perfected intention, and a great amount of curiosity and love. This, I believe, is the reason why some of my work gets sold, and some items stay unsold no matter how I lower the price or re-package the product.

Intention, I believe, is the secret ingredient behind everything in life. Intention, not the one we convince our selves we have, but the actual innermost motivation that makes us nice to people, sociable, active, or none, is what really matters.

I have had around two years to witness and measure the influence of intention on marketing my handmade products and designs.

I will tell you one thing that is a solid truth, discovered during endless hours spent at craft-shows: People buy the items I most love. The products that I made as “replicas” – of pieces I first made with love, curiosity, a sense of adventure, and an open-mind – barely made it into a customer’s handbag!

All my “firsts” got sold, while many unloved replicas, are still stuck with me here in a box, a drawer or a craft-show display unit.

In the middle of noticing how intention affected the way people and customers were attracted to my products, I started realizing all my favorite pieces are getting sold, and I am getting stuck with the “replicas,” the soulless ones, the pieces I made while I was imitating the “mother” piece, the first-born baby, the handmade item I made with great love, and care.

Those first pieces were full of soul because I was shaping them for the very first time, entering the realm of “creativity,” and taking great care in choosing the beads, the colours, the form.

The replicas, however, are pieces that I made with no sense of adventure, with a little bit of boredom looming over my head,  an obvious lack of enthusiasm, and most importantly, were made in a factory-like mode!

What did I do when I realized my favorite pieces are almost gone? I started hiding them; grounding them and not taking them to the first day of the craft show I was participating in. My sales would suffer… so next day I bring some of my favorite pieces and mix them up with other pieces, and lo and behold, they get sold almost instantly!

There is a particular ring I loved so much, but I didn’t think it suited the market I was selling it to. Guess what? It’s gone, although it’s quite eclectic, and the people over here love a uniform, mainstream kind of style. But it got sold, and people started asking for similar eclectic rings; people who didn’t look like they would ever sport a ring that looked absolutely out-of-the norm. And I sold in huge numbers, because each ring was made with a great sense of curiosity, each one was an experiment on its own, no replicas, no boredom, but a heightened sense of curiosity, with a big pinch of love. I have sold all the “good” rings. Each one of them.

Did you know that “factories,” especially those producing accessories and apparel, mobilized machinery for only certain parts of the process, while the rest of the work gets done by people? Which means it’s partly handmade, yet, these products do not carry the glory and the vibe of a handmade item made by an individual, creating his/her products in a factory-less setting.

This means, every-time I entered a factory-like mode, the items I made by hand, did lose part of their soul. They were never attractive to buyers, although, they looked exactly the same as the “mother” item I made, and which got instantly sold.

An Alternative Marketing Approach: Sincerity sells!

Intention, is this covert motive that we hide behind our words, artwork, lifestyle, and even the way we dress. Even when we are vocal about what we think, or want other people to believe, is our intention, still this doesn’t mean that our innermost is necessarily on the same page. An example: A man who acts humble, only his intention is not the true nature of humility, but to impress people and attract flattery.

Another example: An artist who paints with the intention of scoring fame, while using his/her God-given talent for this mere purpose, and not for the higher purpose of actually journeying through the endless realms of art and self-discovery… for art that does not involve self-discovery, and a real search for answers, and a mechanism of change, is probably a form of artistic hypocrisy.

I have fallen into the traps of false intention so many a-times. And have grown to actually hate the very product of my hand that I created with a false intention.

This, people, feel

Customers’ eyes immediately wander towards the “good” items, the loved items… while no matter how hard I try to sell them a truly gorgeous earring, they will not buy the one I’m holding, they will buy the “original” piece or design I created first.

The most important and challenging lesson that I learned ever since I started my crafting journey is how to “perfect” my intention, before actually perfecting the handmade item I was working on.

I started asking myself questions like:

“Why am I working on this?”

“Am I waiting for applause from an audience, or am I working on this out of pure love?”

“Am I motivated? Do I feel like doing this, or am I just ‘finishing’ work like a factory?”

I realized, over the course of time, that handmade work, a painting or a design, are “deeds.” There are “good” deeds, and there are “bad” deeds.

Good deeds come from a place of love.

Bad deeds come from a place polluted with insincerity. When I switch to a factory mode and create pieces just to “finish” the work, I am being insincere. Whereas when I am putting all my attention, enthusiasm, and commitment into my work, I am positively being sincere.

And sincerity sells, exactly because we didn’t have the intention of selling when we made the ring, the painting, the design, or the article.

When we don’t have the intention to impress, to sell, to convince, and concentrate only on the process of creativity, we bring to life a product that stands out, attracts, and can sometimes become legendary.

I have seen many artists who worked so hard at getting famous, wearing certain clothes to accentuate the fact they were artists, wrapping themselves in suffering to deserve the title, artist, yet they never make it past the limited circle of like-minded artists and sufferers. Why? It’s insincerity.

On the other hand, you see artists who become eternal legends. Why? They were busy making art, they had no time cultivating fame. And for that very reason, their work became immortalized.

To work within sincerity, every day, on every item, one needs to cultivate an inner observer that knows when things are getting spoiled by other intentions and thoughts.

I pray that I would reach a level of sincerity in every item I create, and that my deeds, whether as handmade products, paintings or designs, will be “good” deeds, fueled with love, sincerity and commitment.

In Love with the Colour Green

8 Oct

Green, and the different shades of this beautiful colour, are my newest love.

Green is the symbol of rejuvenation, vitality, and freshness. It’s the colour of nature, happiness, healing, new beginnings, goodness, generosity, and good tidings. I think it is the original colour of love, romance, beauty. Most beautiful scenery is beautiful because it enjoys an abundance of greenery.

Green is the colour of plenty, prosperity, wealth (in the physical sense and the spiritual one). And of course, it is the colour of herbs that we so love, and many vegetables, and leaves. And it is said to repel envious energy emanating from jealous people, although blue seems to be the official colour.

Green invites cheerfulness, lifts one’s morale, defeats depression, and changes one’s mood. That’s why people with depression or anxiety are advised to keep in close proximity to nature, so that eventually the colour green with all it’s hidden attributes will heal their souls, minds, and beings.

Green is the colour of inspiration, creativity, and artistic ability. Throughout history, artists, writers, painters, and millions of creative people found their muses while being in the arms of nature.

Here are some of my favorite photos from Pinterest, celebrating the colour Green.

Green & Gold…
Artichoke Green…

Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Botanical plate…

Source: williams-sonoma.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

Garden accessories…
Grass-like carpet…
Vintage Green…
Source: etsy.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest
Botanical-print pillow…
Green bottles…

Take care :)

My Story with Happiness

30 Sep

I have 30-something years on my belt, and I know thousands over thousands of people, traveled many countries, worked in many fields, and finally learned the simple lesson of happiness, and it has nothing to do with any of this.

In one of my previous careers, I was actually quite famous. I played music with some the world’s legendary musicians, won international contests, and toured several countries. My involvement in another line of work was once mentioned by a Queen in her closing speech at an international conference, as being the most effective.

Do you think any of this brought me happiness?

I mean, the genuine, long-term, no-worry, raw, non-showy  kind of happiness  – not the kick one feels after watching a good movie or while having a good meal in good company (nor the one you parade to other people to make them jealous). These are little dots of happiness that are often interrupted by so many other emotions, especially if you have a difficult family and a bit of harsh social circumstances.

You might think it’s to have with a lot of money, or that maybe happiness must occur when you actually know a lot of people. At a certain point in my life I was basically one of a few people in the office who can actually solve everyone’s problems with a phone call. I knew so many people who belonged to so many worlds, cultures and subcultures in my city, that it was so easy for me to get the thing, or person or piece of information one of my colleagues needed.

It was quite weird. I often asked myself, “were other people like this?” I had at least 7 circles of immediate social gatherings and friends that exposed me to different types of people, parties, events, etc. From the highly sophisticated cultural circles, where I used to attend art galleries and poetry seminars, to playful niche gatherings that brought together anarchists and the  self-destructive folk. In between, there were the traditional folk, the conservative families and the religious ones.

I read countless books from mythology to psychology to self-help books and a few novels.

I know I sound like bragging, but all this counting is to underline one truth. Happiness has nothing to do with how vast and large you travel through life, nor the number of events you attend, or the kind of clothing you put on. Nor is it remotely linked to art galleries, fame and social status… nor career success.

It has to do with one thing only. And it is that the closest people around you are trust-worthy, truly loving and supportive, emotionally and spiritually. They bring the best out of you!

I had quite a long time to test this idea.

I found that whenever I had a toxic best-friend, father, mother, brother, colleague, in my life, I was always most of the time burdened with something I couldn’t really quite understand almost all the time, something darkish in nature, that was in essence, negative. Now I know what it was; it was that person’s toxic energy, consisting of their moods, ups-and-downs, negativity, envy, jealousy and cynicism.

There are people who punctuate their relationship with you with some kind of destructive energy to pull you down with them, as a means of subtle control, to keep you from being free.

Being “free” within a relationship is so important. Free to be who you are, to cultivate your interest in whatever you genuinely love, without being held back by someone’s comments, jealousies, criticism, or subtle insinuations that aim at bringing down your enthusiasm or poisoning your interest in something.

I have seen families who have sucked away the talent in their kids by either being over-proud about it – and exposing their kids to the humiliation of having to perform their talent in front of strangers at the father’s whim (without the slightest consideration to what the child really wanted), or… by playing a fake supporter to their kids with insincere support remarks that end up crushing the kid. There are friends like that, colleagues, bosses, and even acquaintances, who know how to suck the life out of anything while managing to look “positive” about it.

This brings us to another quality we need to have in ourselves, and definitely in the people we surround ourselves with: Empathy. Without empathy, a parent, a lover, a friend, a spouse, a best-friend… can almost everyday break something inside you, because they don’t empathize with your subtlest of psychological needs. Some of these people can be overpowering, over-dominating, demanding, or simply extremely self-centered control-freaks. The more toxic kind can include people who systematically aim at destroying people who make them jealous. There are people whose personal story is not as successful as yours. Say, you are a positive-thinking person who travels lightly through life, and who has a lot of potential, while that person in your immediate circle has a somewhat victim-mentality, where he/she thinks life wasn’t fair to him/her. They most probably would detest the notion that life is being fair to you, and therefore try to cause you subtle misery by pulling you down through countless strategies… that you can read about in countless books.

Surround yourself with people (or one person – which is quite enough), who care, who listen and respect your wishes when you tell them, “can you please stop doing that,” and not with people who want to walk all over you and treat you the way they want to without the slightest consideration of how you feel about it.

Surround yourself with positive & high-morale, caring, loving, honest and inspiring people. And if these qualities are far out of reach in this moment of life, make an effort to actually end your toxic relationships. Here, you need to be aware that toxic people are often emotional-blackmail type of people, who want you to believe you owe them! Toxic people are actually very clingy, and to get rid of them, you need to make a clear cut choice about it and forge forward. Keep moving, keep walking, and you shall succeed.

From experience, my advice for happiness is:

  • Build up the courage to get rid of all your toxic relationships, or at least limit the interaction with the toxic party to the barest minimum, to avoid being sucked back into their sick dramas. Cut the chord.
  • Stop going to toxic places filled with toxic people, who do not support you genuinely.
  • Quit your toxic job and look for a place that is less “competitive” and with a leader, or a boss who is “fair.” How do you get to know that? Well, one can write a book about this, but remember one thing, in job interviews, you are there to get an idea about them, the same way as they about you. If you think the interviewer (who might be your immediate future boss) is dominating, cynical, lacks empathy, and causes your stomach to churn, my advice is, don’t work there (even if it’s cool for your CV and the pay is great).
  • Have faith in positivity, and be very positive that you will find a job, a life, a spouse, a friend, with good hearts and caring personalities. Stick to this conviction, pray for it, and it shall happen. Have no doubts; that’s important.
  • Don’t put yourself down.
  • Don’t let anyone put you down. They are as human as you are, and if they love putting other people down and survive on predating on other people’s weaknesses, don’t hand yourself over to them. Keep your distance, and leave. Don’t engage.
  • Work at building a high-morale culture within you. Motivate yourself, look for people who inspire a high level of energy within you, who make you want to live life with a plate of pasta and a cold drink in your lap with no one worry on your mind.

What’s most important is to look for ways to keep your morale high in all kinds of circumstances.

If you are aware and mindful of how you lead your life, you will find out that negativity comes from outside, most of the time, from opinionated people who try to impose their sick ideas on others (personally or through TV and on the internet), thinking that their beliefs are “truths.” While they are only “perspectives.”

  • Look for people who have good perspectives on life, positive outlooks, genuine empathy and love for you. People who don’t want to judge you, nor compete with you, nor control your every step of the way, nor decide on your behalf. No, no, these people are the toxic ones. Look for people who are genuine and have other positive things on their minds other than being fixated on you and how you dress, or drive, or live life.
Choice, choice, and more choice… and persistence

The hardest thing I ever learned is that we have choice. We actually can choose to lead life the way we want to. People who think they are disadvantaged, are actually demoralized. They have been around toxic, like-minded demoralized people long enough to establish a few “facts” about life and continue living this way for the rest of their lives. This makes me want to cry, because I once was so demoralized and depressed that I actually thought I will stay in that place for the rest of my life, but I worked hard to save myself. I did the impossible to turn my circumstances around, I fought for it, I worked for it, I dedicated my whole energy, whatever tool, book, talent, I had to find happiness. I read books, met people, looked for answers, looked for theories about who we are as human beings and what kind of power we had over our lives, I read philosophy books to see if I could learn something that would get me out of the negative circumstances I was surrounded with (and the negative people). I read about the function of the brain, the left brain, the right brain, and how this affected how we “perceived” our surroundings. I worked on my “perceptions,” on my belief system, which I re-organized several times, deconstructing it at times. I dedicated my whole life, almost my whole focus on entering my 30’s (since my twenties where the learning phase) armed with the new “me” that will take me right into happiness. I had a target, a plan, and I actually learned a lot for the purpose of “scheduling my happiness” from management books (time-management, setting goals, etc). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and The Tipping Point, readily come to mind.

  • Know that you can turn things around in any given circumstance if you manage to keep your morale high. Learn to be positive, loving, and empathizing, towards yourself and others. Make this your life’s mission, and you shall come out of the gutter. I came out of mine!

How a parrot and a Tunisian cage taught me to fly

7 Jul

I love birdcages. Probably they are more popular around this time than ever, but I have loved them all my life. When we were kids we had a beautiful white-and-blue cage from Tunisia – like the one above. I learned from this cage that cages were not permanent; that’s how I fell in love with them.

It was decorative. The cage.

Every time we tried to convince our parrot – back then – to consider it home, it managed to use its beak to bend some of the handmade cage wires and get itself out.

It was great fun seeing my parents,  who were usually gloomy and very serious, run around the house while trying to catch the crazy bird. He was very colorful, and he left a good impression on me about birds in general, which I grew to love over the years.

The cage, too, is a staple of my psyche. It’s amazing how we, as children, form  our own imaginative world – our hidden psychological and figurative treasures – from things around us, in ways nobody else seems to notice.

Although I was very little back then, when we had the Tunisian cage,  I actually have a very good memory of it; how could I forget it when its image stayed with me for almost all my life?

Source: wafi.com via Karboojeh on Pinterest

The Cage of Freedom

I don’t know how I can explain this, but the cage for me is actually a resemblance of freedom. As a kid, I never saw a caged parrot, I saw a bird succeeding to break free from that cage every single day we had him.

This bird set an example for me.

He taught me an early lesson about hope, that’s why all my life I believed with all of my heart that I could break free from any cage anyone could put me in.

All my life I carried that Tunisian cage with me, with its easy to bend wire frame, and it helped me get out of the worst life scenarios you could ever imagine.

Till this day, I see parrots in a different light than everybody else. I view them with great respect, because one of them was an early mentor of mine, who taught me at the age of 4 that I,  too, can fly.

And I flew.


The reason I’m remembering this is that the lady who gave the cage away as a gift to a Queen, yes, a literal Queen, broke my heart today. I had to remember the cage! It was she who gave it away, when  my childhood was still clinging to its white wire skeleton and blue dotted beads. She broke my heart too many times, this woman. She, not once, saw life through my eyes or understood where I came from.

But just so that you would know. I saw the cage again. Back in 2000. I saw it at the Queen’s parlor. I know this sounds unbelievable, but it did happen. I saw it and I said nothing about where it came from.

“That cage used to be mine when I was little,” I could have said.

But I didn’t. I was way too grateful to be in the presence of both, the cage and the Queen.

People who travel through life with a knife in their hand, can never capture a child’s little shining world. They will continue to live through life abruptly, insensitively, and quite selfishly. But they can never ever stop the white wire frame of a Tunisian cage from bending open for a resilient parrot, who will always be free!

Craft Show Wisdom: Life can be Full of Surprises!

8 Mar

Karboojeh Handmade Jewelry - Display stand at craft show/fair

I met wonderful people yesterday at the Souk Shighl Ead – Handmade Craft Show. And I learned a good lesson: Never generalize when it comes to purchasing power trends and attitudes. People can always surprise you!

This all goes back to the fact that life is a huge big mystery.

I don’t want to over-philosophize this. But, yesterday, I sold three rings that I didn’t think fit into the general fashion taste over here. I actually sold two very bohemian rings that were not at all bling-y, not sparkly, and totally not the kind of stuff I see people wearing.

Karboojeh Wood & Blue Boho Rings

So… What did I learn exactly? I learned to stop making judgements, expectations, and theories based on “perception.” What we perceive is not the Truth; it’s our way of making sense of the world around us – based on our hidden insecurities, prejudices, short-sightedness, and self-centered-ness. Perceptions make us who we are, that’s why we need to be very careful before taking them for granted. Perceptions help shape our destiny.

I learned being open to the experience was more rewarding than being in “control” mode. I actually went to the craft fair yesterday with a freer mind-set, less expectations than usual, less worries about what will happen.

I also sold another ring, which I didn’t even bother take a picture of before going to the bazaar, because I was so positive it will come back with me. Well, it didn’t! I was a bit surprised when a group of women actually started debating which ring looked better on their friend’s finger. The ring stash they were selecting from was on my not-their-kinda-taste list, until I experienced this!

Anyhow, I had a wonderful time. My table this time was a bit minimalist. I put on display a few handmade jewelry items, a few rings, a couple handmade jewelry trees, & a few hand-painted tableware ceramics – since I wasn’t in the mood at all for an elaborate display stand.

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