Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Work Space Smirkspace

Doing my daily rounds this morning -  Coffee, breakfast for the Soldier and then dishes, followed by email, facebook fanpage updates, checking etsy and then twitter. Wash and Repeat.

While on twitter today, saying good morning and seeing what friends have to share I came across Froggy Girl Designs and a new Blog post and link up that she is doing called Dishin' About Business. A way to share and inspire the creative Handmade Business ideas, work spaces, issues and tips. This weeks Dish, what does your work space REALLY look like and how do you stay creative?

Well My work space is a little different then most. Whether I am about to create a New scarf, picking out colors for the next washcloth set or Planning this Falls Scarf collection, I start off on the floor.

Yes this is my room I call is my Studio. No chairs, just the floor
I do have a desk (see next picture) but really that might only hold the laptop while I watch a soap or TV show on Hulu and a few odds and ends as well as a buddha statue and finished products before labels get added. So the Floor is were I work best. I purchased a plastic mat that was meant to be under a treadmill or exercise equipment, But I saw it as a place to lay out my yarn with out worry of getting carpet *stuff, fuzz what not, on the yarn or newly finished items.

The Floor allows me to spread out, draw up plans and sketch out ideas on a Dry erase board. I can see all my projects at once. Which I usually have three or four going at one time. Along with custom orders and the next great idea looming in another corner. 

I have tried to work at my desk but I feel boxed in and pulled away from my Yarn and paper. I like to be in the thick of it. That is what keeps me motivated and coming back for more. It's like being a writer, in order to be a writer you must write. Well to have a handmade business you must create and doing it daily, in some form, is a great way to stay motivated. For me being on the floor helps me with that. Keeps me in touch with what I do.

The hardest part about Owning your own Handmade business, You are a one woman show.  My room is a self contained, production studio, photography studio, labeling and packaging world. So once an item is finished I stretch over to a small table, set up my Items and take pictures. I then plug my camera into my computer and while waiting for pictures to load I start in on the  next crocheted item. When my fingers get tired from crocheting I edit the photos and when my eyes start to see double or I can't tell whether it is a great angle I return to my yarn. And don't worry I don't crawl around to do all of this, there are random moments of more coffee or tea getting, some yoga poses and impromptu dancing to a random 80's song that pops on the radio. Plus, lunch for the soldier when he gets home along with Laundry, dusting, dinner and more emails. Not to mention a blog post and visit to the post office. Did I mention I was a one woman show?

Hope you join the link up and share your creative space with us.

Friday, July 23, 2010

This Could Get Messy

I am trying to start a Collection.

It feels like a big word. A word that I only know to use for fashions done by a designer say for the fall/winter season of a certain year. Something exclusive and something beautiful with a theme or idea that ties them all together. So I am going to attempt to do a Collection. A work of fashion and design. All while trying to hold off on putting any of them in the shop until all the pieces are ready. Wish me luck.

But I will give some sneak peaks and glimpses in this process that is a first for me. One thing I need to figure out is what to call this Collection. It involves natural products, organic yarns and the shape of a cowl-infinity-eternity (what ever you wish to call it) Scarf. I would love to hear any ideas you may have for a name, who knows maybe it could be a contest. Thinking about that. But while I think, here is the first half of the first Infinity Scarf

For the first Infinity Scarf I settled on Natural Organic Undyed Cotton.
*This Scarf will be apart of the Fall winter collection for 2010

To see more photos of this Scarf visit the Fanpage album on face book.

The Girl Creative

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Custom orders

Sorry for the absence and lack of Etsy Treasury Finds.

My excuse... Custom orders. Three to be exact and I am loving every minute. Although when I first opened my shop I was a little apprehensive to take on Custom orders. How would I quote a price and How would I know what to do? Well that fear went out the window when I was first contacted and now when the requests come in I am just as excited as the first. A key part to custom orders is Communication and asking lots and I mean LOTS of questions. 

My fear (before I actually received a custom request) was that I would translate what was being asked of me wrong. But when it happened I found that I naturally wanted to please and know EXACTLY what they wanted.

The most recent custom orders have been so great to come across. One order that was recently mailed out was a custom scarf, 100% cotton and ORGANIC. Jen from Itty Bitty Bag on etsy had an exact color and scarf style that she liked but kindly asked if I could make it in Organic cotton. Of course I jumped at it. Working with Organic Cotton was a dream and I am hoping to convert my entire shop over.

Custom order Coffee Cup Cozies

But doing that will have to wait for two reasons. I received my First Wholesale order. For a coffee shop in Washington. Coffee cup cozies and I am so Excited. She only asked that I include a variety but to make sure I get the local High schools colors in. And the Other was a Scarf, one of my very first custom scarves, Wrap me in bacon, has come up again and looks like I a making two versions of that mind boggling work of wearable art/breakfast delight.
Custom order Wrap me in BACON

Moral of this story. Don't fear custom orders. Only great things can happen.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Getting started on Etsy part2

Part 2 of Getting started on Etsy. 

You have found Your Etsy name (from part 1). You shouted it from the roof tops and have gotten your friends involved. Now to building your Shop. First would be your Policies and Profile. 

When I first started I didn't have much. I had simple policies, paypal payments, shipping and return options. Very simple and very short. But as items sold and as I came across small things that could have happened but didn't I decided to put more detail into my policies. I didn't want to make it overly complicated but I wanted it to be clear and cover most scenarios. I also Copied that entire page and include it in my invoice that gets sent with the item to the customer. The biggest thing I left out, explaining that Handmade items can have unique attributes and inconsistencies. Second to that was My custom order return policy. You can decide what is best for you. But for myself I decided that once production and deliver was done there would not be returns on Custom orders.

With my Profile I was mixed up a bit. I had half of my profile on the Announcement page and then the other half written in my actual profile. The Profile was pretty plain just explaining my items and how long I had been making things. Once I realize I was too spread out I condensed the Profile page and included a bit of a personal touch to it. But with all things I am still working on it. 

The great thing about getting my front page, Announcement space, cleared up I was able to put information that was meant to go there. Announce new items, sales or a little blurp about a particular product. It also made it short enough so that when you first come to the page you could see my featured items just enough to know that you can scroll down further on the page. Now I present myself with a challenge everytime I change the announcement to see how small I can make it but with enough detail you want to see the start of the store. 

So watch your spelling, make small changes and put the bulk of your info in your profile and policies. Let people get to the reason they came to your shop. To Shop!!!

*Just a small note. I don't claim to be an expert just giving you what I have found and tried or learned as of yet.


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