Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day Scavenger Hunt for my Special Valentines!

Valentine's Day is upon us and this year I am super excited for the loves of my life to get home from school and find the scavenger hunt I made for them. I got the idea from this post then adjusted it for my own hunt. I found these foam hearts at the dollar store then just used a sharpie to write my clues right on the hearts. Inexpensive and festive! I've listed the clues below (answers in brackets). For your own hunt you can mix them up however you like. I made sure to hide one downstairs then the next clue would lead them upstairs so they can hopefully burn off a bit of energy! I'll give them the first clue in the van when we get home from school. Of course there's a delicious prize at the end tooπŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

  • To find your Valentine's gift you'll have to follow the clues. Your first one can be found

    where we keep the shoes! (in one of the boots on the bootmat)
  • It's loaded with paper and filled with ink. It isn't a book so you'll have to think! (on the printer tray)
  • For this next clue, you'll have to rush. Search in the place you keep your toothbrush! (the basket where the toothbrushes are kept)
  • In here is where we keep the food cold. Open it up before you get old! (the fridge)
  • Don't be slow, be quick as a wink. Go look under the kitchen sink! (under the sink)
  • Don't give up, you're almost there! Go look under a kitchen chair! (taped under one of the kitchen chairs)
  • This one's easy, just take a'll find your next clue with all the books! (on my oldest's bookshelf)
  • You haven't finished, don't get uptight. Look where mommy sleeps at night. (under my pillow)
  • The hunt is almost over but before you can relax...chek the place where you can find delicious snacks (the pantry cupboard)
  • We come in different styles. You'll find us in a drawer. You use us as a tool...Just another BITE more! (the silverware drawer)
  • You found the prize and solved the clues-but the treasure I LOVE MOST is you! Happy Valentine's Day! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Your Handmade Business and Etsy

***This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy here***

The world has changed so much with technology and the internet compared to when I was a kid (my children cannot believe there was no such thing as internet then!) I remember travelling to craft shows with my mom and that was how you sold your handmade creations back then. Nowadays there are many selling platforms available online for those who want to sell their craft and Etsy is definatley at the forefront. For those of you who haven't explored this amazing marketplace,  Etsy was launched in 2005 as an ecommerce site for handmade and vintage items as well as supplies. While it has changed and grown over the years I personally still find it extremely user friendly and economical to list on. There are tons of great resources out there for those looking to start or grow their own Etsy shop.

 In my recent post Looking Ahead in 2019 I mentioned that I wanted to refocus on my products in my Etsy shop. While great products, appealing pictures and good use of tags (words that people use to find your items) are essential I have found that adding more products translates to more sales. Makes sense right? In previous years I have had as many as almost 200 items listed and if I'm really serious about focusing on continued growth for Kawartha Beads (which I am!) then I would like to get back to that number. While this tactic may not prove true for everyone or even attainable, it is something that I KNOW works for me. Additionally, in the early days of Kawartha Beads I wrote a series of posts Etsy Shop Blog Series and I went back and reread those articles and most of that information still holds true today plus it made me take a look at my shop through beginner eyes again vs. those of someone who has been selling there for almost a decade.

I mean seriously when was the last time I went through and reviewed what tags were on my products? Do my products have more than one picture? I changed how I present my products several years ago and as I went through my listings I noticed that many of them do not have a picture of the new cards I put my products on. Something to add to the to-do list. Watch for my Etsy shop check-in in the weeks to come!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Stretching My Creative Muscles: New Product Line Coming Soon

For those of you who follow my Facebook page you may have seen some of the gifts I made over the holiday season. Lets face it after almost a decade in business most of my friends and family have plenty of charming creations but I still like to create something new and special for them for Christmas and it gives me the opportunity to stretch my creative muscles so to speak and try something different.

I dabbled with some burlap gift bags the previous holiday season then  a tshirt last spring for a coworker who was leaving and then I wanted a table runner for myself and lastly the gifts I made for my friends and family this December.
 I found that I loved the different creative expression that it has given me and while there are plenty of materials I could experiment with I have found that I am drawn to burlap and textiles.
There has been such an overwhelming response to these pieces that I am thrilled to announce I am working on some burlap table centrepieces and runners to become regular additions to the Kawartha Beads product offerings. Stay tuned to see the final products soon!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Looking Ahead in 2019

It's hard to believe that we are already almost half way through the first month of 2019! The Christmas decorations are finally away and as the kids are back in school so it's time to think about what the year ahead holds for Kawartha Beads!
I am happy with the regrowth of my business in 2018. After taking time off to get life in order it was great to get back to creating and reinforced that for this year I want Kawartha Beads to grow to the next level so here are my goals....hopefully my loyal fans will help keep me accountable!
I have been a part of Etsy since 2010 and while it has grown and changed a lot it continues to be a great selling platform. Over the past decade I typically hover around the 100 listings mark. That's a pretty good variety of items but to take it to the next level I would like to challenge myself to get to AT LEAST 200 items although closer to 500 would be ideal. 
2) Retail Opportunities
I have had the pleasure of working with many great businesses over the years selling wholesale, through commissioned opportunities and through renting booth space. I'm exploring all 3 options for the current calendar year.

3) Craft Shows/Markets
The craft show scene is one area I have never quite mastered. The shows I choose just never seem to be well attended and while I usually cover my table fee and expenses for the day they do not tend to be a great money maker. I do however, try to use each show as a learning opportunity. It is a great chance to actually get my products out on display, interact with people and see what they are looking at and interested in in person and to make other contacts in the craft business. I am going to try and do several shows in 2019 and hopefully I land on afew that are a good fit for Kawartha Beads.
4) Amazon Handmade
Amazon launched its handmade category in 2015 on its .com and has expanded in recent years to include other marketplaces...such as .ca. Amazon handmade is juried, meaning not everyone can join, you have to apply with your products and be accepted. Kawartha Beads was lucky enough to be involved very early in the process and while I didn't have a huge response with the .com since the Canadian version has launched it is an area that deserves more focus. I am currently working on sending all of my items to FBA meaning that Amazon will fulfill my orders for me and they can be part of Prime, etc. I will delve more into this in a future post. 
5) Home Parties
In the very early days of Kawartha Beads I did a ton of home parties and it is an aspect of my business that I greatly miss. Home parties are intimate and a great opportunity to truly interact with your customers. I have done lunch hour parties where I set up in the break room, porch parties where I set up on a beautiful after on the porch and evening parties. For the year ahead I definitely want to relaunch home parties. If you would like to be a hostess feel free to message me on Facebook to discuss!

6) Blogging
Last but not least this blog! I want to commit to write at least one post a week for the remainder of the year sharing with you not only my journey but a breakdown of all of the above topics in greater detail, new products, crafty business tips, ways to organize your workspace, some of my favourite crafty things and more! What would you like me to write more about? Stop by the Kawartha Beads Facebook page and leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Custom Creations for Christmas

This holiday season certainly has kept me hopping! I always love to create custom pieces and this year I have made lots of incredible goodies. Heres just a sampling...

Always a pleasure to handstamp those hard to find terms of endearment such as Nano, Gigi or Gima
The recipient of this order wanted to add some bead bling to jazz up her pieces.
So many different variations for the men in our lives as well. They all seem to like hockey though!
While I am closed for the season to custom pieces theres a whole new year and plenty of ideas waiting!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Our Trip to the Toronto Christmas Market

Nothing gets you feeling festive like a trip to the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery District. I decided to take a day off and adventure with the kids and I'm so glad we did!

As a newbie to the market I wasnt sure what to expect nor was I sure if the kids would like it. My boys are a bit older now and luckily for me are into both shopping and eating and there was plenty of that! I would recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time if you are going on the weekend (the market is free admission weekdays and before 5 on Fridays). We went around 3pm on a Saturday and got in ahead of the lineup.

There are tons of little pop up booths with food and gift items in addition to the regular shops. My favourite food treat were the potato tornados from Das Kartoffelhaus but there was no shortage of goodies for those with a sweet tooth. The kids brought home some sensational sugar and gingerbread cookies from The Gingerbread House. The hardest part was only choosing a couple!

In addition to all of the shopping and eating we enjoyed listening to the wonderful carollers and the boys couldn't resist a ride on the carrousel and Ferris wheel where they had a great view of the CN Tower. After dark the giant Christmas tree and all the lights were absolutely breathtaking! And what better way to finish the day then a visit with the jolly man himself at Santa's House.

Check out the full list of what you can find at the Toronto Christmas Market website.