Tuesday, September 30, 2008


A few vet visits, antibiotics, feline aids and leukemia testing to be done soon, as well as flea treatments, shots, and getting fixed, and on top of that the large quantities this little thing can eat in one day of kitten formula, we find ourselves reworking the monthly budget. So today only is a buy one get one free sale at my shop. Do it for the kitten!
a week and a half ago my husband found three one week old orphaned kittens behind our house. Two of the poor things didn't make it :( . But one was a fighter, and is now nearly three weeks old!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Morning Coffee 9-30

The next two weeks are going to be very busy with having to build up stock. My holiday show season starts on October 11th! I am working a seven day a week rotating schedule to get everything done, it goes like this: Day one, pour a cast. Day two, sand and mount previous cast while current cast cures, day three, repeat day one. So here is my list of things I must squeeze in around jewelry making!

1) Finally get the rings listed on Etsy and DaWanda, I think the camera trouble is fixed. pics taken, now have to list!
2) Get the final tweaks on the displays done.done
3) Work on hang tags and packaging, I am running low! done
4)) Finish that Project Wonderful ad, I want it in circulation by the 1st.not done :(
5) Finish and file my 3rd quarter taxes, I almost forgot, eep!done
6) Blog article.sigh...not done
7) Stick to my marketing plan, even if it kills me :)done
8) Make a bajillion (ok, an exaggeration) of the little wire rings I keep in a fishbowl for the kids at shows.made .5 bajillion
9) finish off my promo order.done
10) find time to do laundry, cook dinner, drive my son to cub scouts, spend time with friends and family, and relax! a very good effort :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Featured Artist- TagsandButtons

Danelle from TagsandButtons and DAMdesigns is one of my favorite Etsyians. She has done custom work for me in the past (in fact, she is working on a project right now!) and she is always a pleasure to do business with. Not only does she do an excellent job quickly, she really goes out of her way to make sure you get exactly what you want.

1.Tell us a little about your craft, what is it and how did you get started in it?

Well I have 2 shops. One is art, and one is promo items and paper goods. I started my art shop almost a year ago, and my promo shop a couple months ago. I have always been artistic and crafty, so when I randomly found Etsy I thought I should try and sell some of my art, so thats how I ended up here.

2.What inspires you or helps you create?

I get inspired through my own mind. If I'm sitting in a slump and feeling tired and like maybe it is just to much work, I think "Danelle, you can do anything you want to do, and you can be successful at this. Think about all the people telling you your going to fail and prove them wrong." Every time I think this I get a boost of energy and I usually make several things, or finish an entire custom order super fast.

3.What do you love most about being a crafter/artist?

Well I just love doing it. Without trying to sell anything I would still craft. I have always had something that I would be making through a phase of time. There has never been a time when I have not been at the very least making some kind of art projects, even if it was for school. I also love right now because this is my only job currently (Although I do need a part time job ha ha) so it is nice being able to be my own boss, and I would love for this to take off and be able to make enough money to have fun and support my crafting addiction, or more. :)Original art print gift tags from DAMdesigns

4.What one thing would you tell a new designer that you wish you had known when you first started?

Not to be worried if you don't have sale right away. You are swimming in an online sea of thousands of stores, and it take a lot to catch on and be seen.
5.Where do you see yourself in five years?

Well, I hope to have a BA in accounting. With that I hope to have a part time accounting job, and have a successful art and craft business. I hope with the money from both these jobs, I can support myself, and have a good chunk to contribute if I ever get married lol!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You gotta have a plan, man!

One thing that always makes me shake my head in disbelief is the sheer amount of businesses operating without a plan. A lot of artists shy away from the business side of selling their crafts. I am really not sure why. There are very few things more creative than sitting down and dreaming about tomorrow. That is really what your plan is, your dreams and visions of the future put down in writing. A plan, like an ever evolving work of art, is fluid, always changing and growing into something better and more beautiful.
Right Brain Business Plan e-book by artizencoaching

The first and perhaps most important plan you will make is your business plan. I have adapted the standard plan to fit into the artist niche. Most likely you will not be using your plan to attain outside funding (though if you are, a standard plan like the ones found here will help), but more as a personal road map to keep your business on track. Many people think a plan will limit their business,that by just taking things as they come they leave the door open to all possibilities. In truth, not having a plan limits your business more. There are many opportunities you will never discover if you don't actively seek them out. There are also many opportunities that will fall in your lap that you may be unable to take advantage of without a plan.

A business plan consists of four parts. The first part is a basic overview of your business. This is where you stand now in terms of marketing, competition, and focus. I like to read over this part and update it quarterly after I do my taxes. The second part is the financial side of things. In a traditional plan this usually focuses on loans and outside financing. Most artists are self financed, so for our purposes this is a bit more personal. We are our businesses, it is not a separate entity from ourselves. This is one of the most vital parts of our plan as it will allow us to operate in the green and avoid costly mistakes. The third part of the plan is your marketing plan. This is exactly what it sounds like, your map to marketing. The fourth and final part is the projections section. This is your long term goals, ranging from 1-5 years. Using the other elements of the plan, you will be able to make realistic goals and have the framework in place for achieving them.

About once a year you will sit down and revise your entire plan. This is a great way to see how much you have achieved over the preceding twelve months. You will most likely have to adjust your future projections, moving some things around, adding things, and even deleting things. I personally find planning a chore yet very exciting. When I hold it in my hands still warm from the printer I can't help but feel like I hold the world in my hands. A little silly? Maybe. Yet it is true. With my plan their is nothing I can't do. Economic downturn? Planned for that. My best show is canceled? That's okay, I have a plan for that too. Sleepless nights? Nope, because I have nothing to worry about as long as I have my plan. Giant boom in business? You betcha, and I know exactly how to handle it, thanks to my plan.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be exploring the above four sections. We will cover what to put in each section, why it is important, how you can use it to your benefit, and a sample plan so you can see what one looks like. We will also cover how to finance your business without going in the hole. If there are any questions, ask them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

may your business prosper!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Morning Coffee 9-22

I did decent last week keeping up with the list. I didn't finish my holiday ordering though, and it is vital I do this week! My fall shows start in two weeks and I need some winter goodies :)

1) Finish holiday budget and ordering.Done
2)List up rings and new pendants.still fighting with my camera...
3)Make a marketing schedule for my ongoing marketing. Done!
4) Make a holiday themed PW ad. not done
5) Set up my Dawanda shop. Done!
6) work on a top secret (for now) promo idea that I have brewing!done
7) Start searching/brainstorming some new displays. working on it!
8) Order/create more packaging materials.done
9) Work on the bracelets some more. waiting on supply arrival
10) Write a new article. Done!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

T'is the season...

For holiday shows and bazaars! Every October like clockwork the signs start appearing on street corners- "School craft show this way", "Holiday Arts & Crafts next left". If you are like me, you follow these signs. My reasons are twofold. 1- to meet and support other artists, and 2- to see if future shows would fit my items.

The holiday shows are some of the best in my opinion for the craft show newbie. They are usually annual events that have been going on for several years so traffic isn't a problem. Many of them are put on by schools or churches which usually means low entry fee's and guaranteed traffic from school supporters. Another benefit of the holiday shows are that they are usually inside, so no tent is required and weather isn't an issue.

Holiday shows easily make up at least 40% of my annual income, more some years. In comparison, the other big show season, spring, only makes up about 15%. Even though I am working to expand my business into the online and wholesale marketplace so I won't be so dependent on shows, I don't see myself giving them up in the near future. I enjoy them to much! There is just nothing like meeting your customers face to face as well as other artists.
So, without further ado, I bring you my list of must haves for the holiday show season!

1) Plenty of items. Bring twice what you think you will need.

2) Tables and chairs, if not provided.

3) Table cloth and displays. Make sure the cloth is long enough to reach the floor so you can hide all your extra stock under it!

4) Promo items. Business cards, promo packs, fliers, wholesale information. And don't forget to hand them out!

5) Money apron or cash box. I personally prefer an apron.

6) Packaging materials. Bags, boxes, tissue paper, etc.

7) A guest book and pens to keep track of your new customers and start your mailing list.

8) A mirror if you sell wearable items.

9) Extra price tags.

10) Inventory list and receipt pad.

11) Credit card gear if you accept them.

12) A lunch, plenty of water, and any meds you may need. I always bring Tylenol because strong scents give me headaches, that way I am prepared if my booth is near someone who sells scented items.

13) Calculator, pens, tape, scissors, needle and thread, paper towels, camera and any other odds and ends you may need.

This list isn't all inclusive by any means, but it is a good basic list to get you started. Good luck in all your endeavors!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Featured Artist- 2039 Rebellion

I am going to be guilty of a little nepotism this week and feature a very talented artist that also just happens to be my doting husband. Andrew at 2039 Rebellion sells prints from his manga series (you can read it for free at 2039rebellion.com) and prints and other items featuring his amusing cream puffs.

1.Tell us a little about your craft, what is it and how did you get started in it?

I more or less focus on illustration. My main areas are digital painting as well as traditional hand drawn works, with a little help of 2D, or 3D computer magic thrown in for good measure. At the moment my main focus has been on a Manga ( Japaneses comic book) series Called Aikoku Tora 2039; Hani ( Aikoku tora meaning mourning tiger, as well as the name of the main character. Hani being a noun "spirit of rebellion")

I started creating small comic books with my cousin when I was about 7. They were quite silly at first as far as the story lines went, but over time I built onto my characters and stories, and introduced new ones to fit the times. I came up with 2039 officially about 11 years ago, but had been playing with the idea a few years earlier following the big boom in Anime and Manga to the U.S.

2.What inspires you or helps you create?

A lot of my inspiration stems from a healthy dose of myth and folk lore, social and political climates and trends, and twisted all up with a dash of science to help me manipulate the world I'm portraying into something familiar but different.

In 2039, the main body of this story arch takes place in San Fransisco, a city well known around the world, so it's easy for people to see it and say "hey, I've been on that road," or "I saw pictures of that building before" and be comfortable in the setting. But I don't want them too comfortable, that's where I tend to borrow from science and find ways to alter or devastate the location to fit the mood the story is trying to convey. It's just fun to find natural, realistic ways to turn the world upside down and predict how the human population would respond.

3.What do you love most about being a crafter/artist?

The thing I love the most is being able to tell a interesting story and see others entertained by it. Sometimes I think that had I been born thousands of years ago I would have been a shaman of a tribe, sitting with other people around a fire using magic to enhance the stories of the gods I'm telling. An odd way to look at it I know, but I really believe that the entertainment and awe on another's face as they read or listen to a story I write, or illustrate is the most rewarding aspect.

...that being said, merchandising is a nice perk too.

4.What one thing would you tell a new designer that you wish you had known when you first started?

Why would I want to give them tips that could make them a serious competitor that much sooner? (laughs) In all seriousness, the main thing I would cover is don't second guess your gut instincts, be it in the story your trying to tell, or the look you want to have. The second bit of advice is a lot of patience and drive. You can't make a splash in this world or field without applying yourself. It may take years to finally pull in a fan base or an audience (and even I'm still working on expanding that part ), but thats no reason to throw everything to the side when it's not an over night sensation.

5.Where do you see yourself in five years?

Where do I see myself in five years?... I really would love to say that I will be sitting at home watching a movie, which happens to be an Anime adaptation of one of my series, while packing to attend several big comic and manga conventions. I know that is someplace I could be, but I'm aware its going to be a tough road to get there, but that is a path I chose to head down long ago, I can't let the boulders in the road stop me from following it to it's end.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Morning Coffee 9-15

I won't be doing morning coffee daily anymore. I am changing it to a once a week feature listing my top ten weekly goals. My reasoning is most days are now spent creating. I have two steady wholesale accounts (possibly three) and we are entering holiday show season. Though marketing is still crucial, it is reaching the maintaining point where I do not need to search out as many new venues a week. Here is this weeks morning coffee!
1) List some new rings. Not done, sigh.
2) Renew a few ads, find at least one new marketing venue. Done!
3) Post one article. Done (better late than never, ne?)
4) Order more business cards. Done
5) Work on and hopefully perfect bracelet design. Still working on it...
6) Start on holiday promo design so I can order next week. Done!
7) Restart the weekly featured seller.Wee! Done!
8) Start playing with holiday designs. Done
9) Review and update policies as necessary. Done
10) Work on holiday budget and begin ordering supplies. Started, but not done :(

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Want some swag?

Do you like winning stuff? Who doesn't! Head on over to the Giveaway for a chance to win an earring and pendant set from the Candy Corn Collection! You know you want to!

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