How to Take Care of Your Hand Tools

A good set of tools will always serve you well, provided you take care of them, protect them against rust and damage and keep them stored neatly. High quality hand tools can cost quite a bit of money, although many people assume they require no maintenance or care and throw them carelessly into a drawer or cheap plastic toolbox. Here’s a look at the proper way to take care of your screwdrivers, pliers and all other metal tools to make them last you a lifetime.

Step One: Cleaning

All tools should always remain free of dust and debris, which can cause damage over a long period of time. If your tools get dirty or wet during use, take the time to clean them afterward. Most tools can be cleaned with a simple soft brush that you keep near your tool cabinet. Rust, the main enemy of metal, can cause permanent damage if left unchecked. Rust forms from moisture, although you can prevent it with most tools by applying a light oil on rust-prone areas. When rust does form, use a fine scrubber and oil to remove it but remember, rust will also be prone to reforming on this area in the future. If you can afford it, invest in tools that are made from high-quality metal alloys to make them resistant to rust and corrosion. Finally, any moving parts should be lubricated occasionally so they remain in good working order.

Step Two: Proper Storage

What’s the point of cleaning your tools regularly if you don’t have proper storage in place? Depending on your needs, a simple toolbox will suffice. If you have a large collection of tools or use them professionally in a trade, a metal cabinet is a good option. Tools should always be organized and sorted and put back in their designated area after each use. This way, they’re always there when you need them. Ideally, tools won’t touch each other while they’re stored. A few companies have developed storage systems to address this. Keep all of your instruments in a dry area free of moisture, dust and direct sunlight. For sharp instruments like chisels, keep them in a holder so you won’t accidentally hurt yourself when you get them out. Tools should never be left on the ground or a working area as they can pose a serious hazard. Try to group your tools together in a way that makes sense to you.

Step Three: Maintenance

Most people are injured using their tools when they aren’t kept sharp or in good condition. Metal blades should always be well oiled and replaced when they lose their sharpness. Regularly inspect your nuts, bolts, screws and other small parts for damage so you know when they need to be replaced. If you own hand tools with a wooden handle, take the time to sand and oil it regularly to prevent splinters and splitting.

Wholesale Fashion Jewelry – 5 Shortcuts to Retail Success

Something in the human spirit is always itching for independence and this itch translates to a constant flow of new entrepreneurs that so often gravitate towards fashion jewelry. What is so irresistible about this accessory? Beyond the high profit margins that wholesale fashion jewelry can open for retailers lies an intrinsic beauty that creates truly wearable art. Yes, wholesale fashion jewelry offers plenty of profit potential that enables retailers to turn small investments into the longest mark-up in the fashion industry, but the magic of fashion jewelry’s beauty stops consumers in their tracks and this magnetic attraction, more than anything else, brings the entrepreneur into retail sales specializing in jewelry.

Many of these new fashion jewelry businesses begin on the simplest level with retailers buying wholesale fashion jewelry and presenting it to friends and co-workers. Easy sales and new found profits ignite a fire to grow the business, but what step comes next? As a twenty-five year veteran of the wholesale fashion jewelry industry, I have seen business after business start in this way and often grow to become the major supplier of fashion accessories in a community. The learning curve never ends as fashion jewelry evolves as well as retail tactics, but some things never change and these key techniques will have positive impact on your fashion jewelry business.

But first, how are you going to sell your treasure of wholesale fashion jewelry? Outgoing personalities love the active sale. Visit businesses, do parties, set up in flea markets or craft shows, and bubble over with enthusiasm as you introduce stunning fashion jewelry to consumers. All they need is a crowd and permission to set up. Bingos, festivals, school picnics, car shows, sporting events-the list is endless. Overhead is low and actually stops when not engaged in sales activities. But so does sales, so many prefer brick and mortar businesses with a higher overhead, but continuing business even when you’re not there.

The quieter, methodical personality may not be up to this bubbling enthusiasm and choose a passive sales mode. Successful businesses often build without the entrepreneur ever engaged in active sales to the consumer. They connect with beauty shops and other locations to provide fashion jewelry on consignment with the owner profiting as well as the entrepreneur. Methodical personalities think out the details like how to handle shrinkage of missing items with no sales recorded. Increasing price and lowering consignment fees compensates for losses when fashion jewelry has open exposure that can result in more shrinkage. The flip side is reduced sales in secure environments like showcases or behind the counter, which reduce shrinkage, but unfortunately, also sales.

Okay, both personalities have a selling method they are comfortable with and both can expand their business with online marketing by working on websites while their sales support them as the websites grow, climbing higher in the results of major search engines. But what about the 5 shortcuts to retail success? They boil down to pricing, selection, presentation, knowledge, and benefits.

-First comes pricing the wholesale fashion jewelry. New entrepreneurs often feel shock waves as they see the wholesale cost compared to retail prices they paid as consumers. The first temptation is undercut all the competition. Stop there!-because fashion jewelry is cyclical and low prices generate low profits that don’t carry retailers through the tough times. Do you want to spend all your earnings on restocking wholesale fashion jewelry and covering overhead? Of course not, you want to grow your business and make a profit and pricing is important.

Retail uses a term called keystone-a nice word for doubling the wholesale price. Make keystone the minimum for mark-up in fashion jewelry and look for the items that give you room for far longer mark-ups. The upside has no rules. Let your intuition guide you because prices can always come down, but it is difficult to go up.

-Next comes selection and this is a factor that major retailers like fine department stores are always struggling to get right. Stroll through one and you will see they have reduced staff on the floor so selection often has to sell itself. The fine department stores need “no miss” choices and have resources, forecasts, statistics, and trained buyers to make these decisions. Small retailers don’t need to be discouraged because this isn’t rocket science and you are closer to the clientele in your location than any major retailer.

Making the perfect selection rests on the age and demographics of your main customer base. Add this to the fashion trends of the season and you are close to perfect. How do you keep up with all those rapid changing fashion trends? Well rapid change is a myth. Trends change very slowly-often over a decade. Yes, colors and subtle adjustments occur every season, but today we are in the midst of classic trends that started in the early 21st century and have a promising future. More on this when we cover knowledge.

-Now for presentation-making the fashion jewelry look special. Ever notice how necklaces clumped together on a tee bar on top of a showcase seem to scream “I’m on sale” while the stuff in the showcase whispers “I’m special”. That’s presentation and how it has changed even for fine department stores.

Teri Agins in The End of Fashion details how department stores that were once “the first visual contact with fashion” and “introduced merchandise concepts to customers” changed in the late 20th century to a collection of brands. Agins quotes one upscale shopper who “was appalled when she discovered $19.99 Nine West shoes displayed right next to $350 Chanels” in her favorite department store that was compromising its image of elite fashion. Make an item look special and it takes on the perception of higher value.

-Next comes knowledge that is worth more than price. Don’t believe it? Think of items you bought because the sales person impressed you with a deep understanding of the product. That was worth more than price. I personally experienced this lesson when I did a trade show with a colleague. I told my customers the fashion jewelry was a real value at the price. His sales person painted a word picture of the wholesale fashion jewelry with the season’s apparel and wrote more orders without the customers even knowing the price.

Knowledge is knowing the trends and knowing the item. Consumers trust a well-informed source and when you know what is today’s style and why it looks right on the customer, you remove the burden of choice from the buyer.

Knowledge today goes deeper because classic trends in fashion jewelry bring gemstone components, shell, Murano style glass, Millefiore, and more to jewelry designs. A story is worth volumes in explaining glass jewelry and knowledge of gemstones that removes the doubt about whether it is real. Don’t be overwhelmed about understanding the trends and knowledge of today’s components because everything is detailed in a report, Wholesale Fashion Jewelry-The Magic of Trends (find a link to the report at the foot of this article).

-Finally there are benefits. Think of benefits as vision-what the customer envisions. Anyone that buys fashion jewelry wants to make a positive statement. They want a look that is flattering and appropriate. So like the car commercial running on the radio, features describe the details like length, color, texture, and shape while benefits say “matches apparel while complementing your complexion”, “draws attention to your slender neck”, or “creates a youthful look that is so you”. The old adage of sell the sizzle, not the steak, gets to the point. Pick the right item for the customer, be sincere, and sell the sizzle.

Will all this work in a slowing economy? Absolutely! In worrisome times women appreciate an escape valve of some small new purchase. What fulfills this better than fashion jewelry? Apply the five shortcuts and lift your customers’ spirits with a feel-good experience.

Online Forums – How to Use an Online Forum

Online forums (also known as online discussion sites, message boards, newsgroups and internet forums) are powerful tools for sharing information. Their use has become omnipresent and wide reaching. Many people use discussion sites on a daily basis, whether it’s to gain knowledge, share ideas or simply to feel as part of a community.

Why use Online Forums?

* communicate with other like-minded people who have the same or similar interests

* exchange intellectual ideas and thoughts

* offer your opinion or advice

* submit materials for others to consider and provide feedback on such as your website, business ideas or questions

* find out new opinions and ideas

* be up to date with latest news and trends

* meet new friends and leads

Participating in forums is another way to stay in contact with persons belonging to the same community and to keep abreast of recent events. It’s a place to voice your opinions, be heard and discover other’s thoughts.

This social media outlet can become addictive. For some, Online Forums provide a haven; a place to escape the daily grind and indulge in the community aura. Forum usage is certainly a concern for employers, due to reduced productivity and procrastination on behalf of the users involved. However, most of us are thankful for their existence.

How to Use Online Forums:

The appearance of an online forum may seem daunting at first. There’s information, posts and threads flowing all over the home page in what appears to be an ad hoc manner. Occasionally, the initial reaction of first time users is to put discussion sites in the too hard basket. Here’s an easy step by step guide to using Online Discussions:

* Registration. Most discussion boards require you to become a member by registering or signing up in order to post. Invariably, you will need to provide a Username (your alias), password and an email address. The forum will also require your agreement to its terms and conditions.

* Validation. After registering to an internet forum, you will need to validate your email by following the validation link emailed to you by the site.

* Rules. Familiarize yourself with the rules and netiquette required by the forum. Generally, spamming, double posting and registering multiple user accounts is prohibited. Try to adhere in order to avoid being called a troll for unintentionally breaking the rules.

* Posting. A forum has predefined topics (called threads). Members may submit messages or comments (called posts) within these topics. The message will be enclosed in a box with the username, time and date notified either on the left hand side or appearing at the top of the post. Usually members are allowed to edit or delete their own posts. Many online forums limit posts to a certain number of characters.

* Threads. A thread (topic) is started by a post. Other members may then follow in the conversation started by the original post (sometimes called the thread starter). At times the responses and comments can become derailed. The tread generally displays posts in opposite chronological order (from first to current). The abbreviation OP often refers to the original poster. Some message boards enable you to customize the view to commence with the starting post. They may also have a thread view which shows the branching of replies in priority to chronological order.

* Moderating. Moderators monitor and enforce the message board rules. They may have access to all posts and threads or just those within their area of responsibility. Mods have the power to delete a post and to ban and suspend members who violate the discussion site’s policy. The moderator is usually the site owner’s friend. Among other responsibilities, they also help members in need and respond to complaints.

If you’re a first timer to online forums, try some smaller message boards to start with. Smaller sites still have that community feel and are more than happy to accommodate beginners. Once you become accustomed to the way discussion websites work, you can then join some larger expert message boards if you wish. Above all, don’t be shy to voice your opinion; that’s what forums are for.

What Exactly is Buffet Furniture?

Many people wonder what buffet furniture is exactly. You hear the word buffet, and you think of the best all-you-can-eat place in town. This of course is not what buffet furniture is, but it can help if you want to put out a nice spread when you are entertaining guests in your home. Buffet furniture includes different pieces for your dining room, living room, or kitchen, including: buffet tables, buffet cabinets, buffet huts, buffet sets, and sideboards. Buffets are not only functional pieces of furniture, they are also beautiful accent pieces to add to your home's decor.

So what is the difference among the buffets? It can be broken down by function and appearance. The largest is the buffet hutch, which provides spacious cabinets on the bottom, and a hutch display case for your fine China or precious knickknacks on the top. The next largest would be the buffet cabinet, which provide much more storage space for extra dishes, glasses, and table linens, as well as providing that extra tabletop during festive occasions when you could use the table space for food dishes.

Buffet tables are the smallest of the three, taking up less floor space, but providing less storage. A buffet table provides drawers for storing small items such as silverware and napkin rings, and like a cabinet serves as an extra tabletop for entertaining. Then there is the buffet set, which usually includes a matching buffet hutch and table, giving you the best of both worlds.

Another word you may hear bandied about when buffet furniture is mentioned is sideboards. A sideboard is another word for a buffet cabinet or table, and may be used synonymously for either term. So when you choose a cabinet-style sideboard or a table-style sideboard, they will add storage space and an extra tabletop to your dining room or living room.

So now you have the 411 on every type of buffet out there. It's up to you to choose which piece of buffet furniture most appropriately suits your lifestyle and home. And do not worry that all buffets are traditional or old fashioned if you have a different interior design theme in your home. There are a wide variety of styles, including antique, wooden, traditional, and contemporary designs. Whiche buffet you choose, you can be sure that it will provide beauty as well as function to your home.