Friday, June 19, 2009

Handmade nation is coming to Vancouver!

As a follow up to a previous post a couple of months ago, the Indie Documentary about the handmade revolution is coming to Vancouver for a screening! I'm super excited as I've heard awesome things about the film.
For more info:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

how to be happy in business-a diagram!

This has been a big hit on twitter this week. A great reference for us all to check in with!
For more info on the creator of this image go to:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the top ten

I found this very informative list on the top ten reasons businesses fail. Straightforward and to the point, also some very good reminders!


About half of all small businesses fail within the first four years -- a statistic that generates a shudder of fear in even the most dauntless entrepreneur. Most of these failures, however, resemble one another in crucial ways. And once you identify these harbingers of failure, you can increase your own chance of success.

1. Procrastination. When you own a small business, you will find that tasks and
paperwork pile up like snowdrifts on your desk.Putting them off is like piling up debt; eventually they could overwhelm you.

2. Ignoring the competition.Consumer loyalty has declined sharply in recent years.
Today, customers go where they can find the best products and services, even if that
means breaking off long-term business relationships.Monitor your competitors, and
don't be ashamed to copy their best ideas (assuming that doesn't mean violating patent
law). Better yet, devote some time each week or month to devising new methods,
products or services for your firm.

3. Sloppy or ineffective marketing. Contrary to the popular cliche, few products or
services "sell themselves". If you don't have time to market your product effectively, hire an experienced person to do it for you. Marketing keeps your products selling and
money flowing into your business. It's crucial that you do it well.

4. Ignoring customers´ needs.Once you attract customers, you'll have to work hard to
keep them. Customer service should be a key aspect of your business.If you don't
follow through with your customers, they'll find someone who will.

5. Incompetent employees.Hire only workers who are essential to your operation. When
you do hire employees, make sure they're well trained and able to complete the tasks
expected of them.And remember that happy employees make good workers — try to
create a work environment that keeps your staff happy and motivated.

6. Lack of versatility. You may be great at making hats or painting houses or fixing
computers, but that's not enough to make your millinery shop or house painting business or computer consultancy successful. Successful business owners tend to be adept at a number of tasks, from accounting to marketing to hiring.

7. Poor location.Even the best restaurant or retail store will fail if it's in the wrong place. When you're scouting a location for your firm, consider factors such as traffic (how many potential customers pass your firm during the course of an afternoon or evening?) and convenience (how hard is it for your regular customers to get to your location on a regular basis?).

8. Cash flow problems.You need to know how to track the money coming into and out of
your business -- even a profitable venture will flounder if it runs short of cash.In addition, you must learn to make cash flow projections that will help you decide how much money you can afford to spend and warn you of impending trouble.

9. A closed mind.Everyone goes into business with some preconceptions — don't be
surprised if you find that many of yours are wrong.Look for mentors who can give you
advice and run your ideas by them before you make important financial commitments.
Read books and magazines about small business; visit business-related websites and
network with your peers in the business community.

10. Inadequate planning.Start with realistic but precise goals for your firm, including deadlines.For example, don't just say that you want to increase sales; instead, decide that you want sales to reach $100,000 by next holiday season. Then write down the steps you can take to meet those goals on time, and set deadlines for completing those steps. Consult your goal list every day, and make sure you are doing what you need to do to meet your objectives.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

latest net findings

I will admit that I am a bit of an internet/information junkie. Cruising around the internet today, I found this!
I've been on a get myself organized kind of state lately, so I think this use of tape is incredibly clever! Its from a blog called, I LOVE STICKY TAPE. "This blog is dedicated to the art and times of sticky tape, which also goes by the names - sello tape, packing tape, gaffer tape and masking tape. It may be of interest to anyone interested in stationery, catching flies, art or design." I could seriously use this! Fun and practical!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Link to 'how crafters can make more money'!

Wow, I had to share this very detailed posting that I found on etsy, please follow the link here. It goes into great detail about refining and expanding your craft market!-Probably one of the best postings I've come across on the etsy forums.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

handmade nation documentary

The handmade nation movie is complete!
FYI: In 2006, Faythe Lavine hit the road armed with a camera. Traveling to fifteen cities and interviewing countless crafters along the way, Lavine assembled a film which chronicles the rise of the craft movement through its various manifestations of blogs, online stores, independent boutiques and craft fairs. Screenings are scheduled on the Handmade nation blog.Unfortunately, for us Canadians there are no screenings scheduled, however I did have a chance the other day to check out the documentary in book form and it looks fantastic!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

tree houses

I found this amazing collection of treehouses on the coolhunter website. Living perched in the forest has been one of the ideals for my dream home. These ones are especially awesome because they are all beautiful designs, incorporating the outside with the inside world. Imagine what great inspirations could come from living surrounded by trees!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

100 + places to promote your work

I came across this great link on the etsy forums: -A great list of a hundred and plus spots on the web to spread the word of your work!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Yay for Google Analytics

I'm sure many of you have heard already, but for those who haven't:
Etsy announced last week that Google Analytics is now available for etsy sellers. Its essentially an amazing tool to track many detailed stats on your site-such as how many visitors, what pages they looked at, the average time spent on your site, and my favorite-the overlay map of what countries your visitors are coming from-very cool! I have spent hours over the weekend (perhaps rather obsessively?) checking out the incoming traffic and where they are being directed from. I think its great and will be changing the way many indie sellers promote their products. Timothy Adams has a great little video on his blog about Google Analytics at Tip: Once you have google analytics installed, you may want to change the date to the current one as many users reported having difficulties seeing their stats. Warning:its very addictive!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

my tips for etsy shops

I've been active on the etsy forums lately, offering to do critiques. It has allowed me to share what I see as weak points in a potentially great store and also to strengthen my own shop. I've noticed that there seems to be some commonalities and want to share what I've learned as a result.

1. most important as number one is photos!

Its been mentioned over and over again, but to elaborate further, the most essential aspect to taking great digital photographs is adjusting the white balance-preferably on your camera before the images are uploaded to your computer. Its possible to do some photo editing in a program such as photoshop, but beginning with great shots to begin with makes the process much easier.
Consistency in photos-choosing a background that will allow your products to stand out, but also be recognizable to buyers as they scroll through the endless potential sellers on etsy.
Use all five photos-etsy allows you to post up to five photos for one item. When I first started listing on etsy I only posted two or three photos, but in order to truly maximize your selling potential for your work, I'd suggest using all five. Sometimes its hard to imagine how to fill those boxes up with five different photos, but if you use your imagination you will soon discover new viewpoints. Use a tripod and photograph from different angles, heights and perspectives. If it is an item that can be worn, take at least one photo of it on the body or a garment. The debatable exception may be earrings, which many people on the forums seem to feel is unsanitary.
Think carefully about which photo you choose as your first-this is the one which will be seen in the searches, albeit somewhat smaller. The stronger, more eye catching the image the better.

2. banner and avatar
I'd say that coming a close second is your banner and avatar. These are your strongest branding tools on etsy. It can either repel or draw a customer in and it provides your public face on the site. Make sure its well designed and thought out.If you are strapped for ideas, look at what you are selling-there may be common design elements or textures that you can use to brand your shop.

3. shop categories
I noticed many sellers weren't using their shop sections-or that things were not placed correctly in them. Its a small detail that can be easily overlooked when you are uploading a new item, but this allows people to navigate through your site more easily.

Those are the main things I noticed in the critiques. I hope its in someway helpful. I'm still learning as well!

looking for designers and indie shops to feature

Part of my vision for this weekly blog includes an interview/week, featuring either a designer or shop that focuses upon local production and who are in some way supporting local economies. To be considered, please have good photos of your product/store/space and have some kind of online presence-either through a website, etsy or flickr and lastly, but perhaps most importantly, be somewhat articulate in talking about your product or store. If you are interested, please let me know by leaving a message!

Craft in the NY Times

Check out this NY times article, For Craft Sales, Recession Is a Help. It was published a couple of days before Christmas and in the article notes that "On Sept. 29, a day the stock market plunged sharply, Etsy, the leading Web marketplace for handmade goods, had record sales. In November and December, the site has continued to break records. Last month, artists sold $10.8 million of goods on Etsy, up from $4.2 million in November 2007. Some 135,000 people signed up for Etsy memberships and sellers listed 1.1 million new items, both figures more than double the same month last year."

So apparently we cannot blame the 'recession' for slow sales. There is a definite wave of interest in handmade-perhaps the result of people tiring from mass produced items?

Oh, gotta love resources to share!

I am kind of a gatherer of information, so have compiled a list of favorite resources.
Please feel free to add!

For indie makers:
Craft Inc.
The Boss of You

For inspiration:
Mindfulness and Meaningful Work
Worldwide Laws of Life
Man and His Symbols
Art Lessons

BLOGS ABOUT DESIGNING: (a blog about building a craft biz)


This is just part of the list. I will list again soon. Enjoy!

becoming an etsy holic

So,I finally got my online store going on etsy. It was somewhat slow going at first-there are so many little elements to consider, but once the framework is in place the rest kind of just falls into place. Part of my process-I've begun really looking closely at etsy, finding which sellers I am into and checking out how their shops are set up. As a result, I have become quite the 'etsy-holic'. There are so many wonderful sellers on there, an endless sea of handmade goodness. I have acquired a huge list of favorite sellers.
In order to really stand out on etsy, having good photos is the key.This is a photo of my makeshift light box.Materials:cardboard box, tissue paper, packing tape and white paper. I was somewhat skeptical, but the self made device works like a charm. I got some really great photos out of it. If you do a search on the etsy forum you can find the instructions.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What its all about

a new blog which has been slowly, but surely brewing in the back of my mind. A place for indie makers and crafters to share information and network regarding the always challenging aspects of entrepreneurship, including conceiving, manifesting and releasing your art and craft out into the world.Hopefully this space can be used as a forum to connect with like minded creative individuals and share their experiences,challenges and successes!