Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tips for marketing/promotion #2

The week seems to have gone by so quickly! I hope that everyone in the east is surviving the snow. On this grey and blustery day I thought I would expand on my post from last week in which I shared with a crafty friend some of the things I have done to promote the supplies shop I run with my mom, Rouge River Beads. In case you missed the first post you can check it out here.

There are a ton of Etsy forum posts that discuss branding or creating an image for your shop. In addition to having a coherent look, banner and avatar there are plenty of blogs that you can place ads on to get your name/image out there. One of my fav's is Project Wonderful because it allows you to place bids for the amount you would like to spend and many sites even offer FREE spaces (great while you are learning the ropes). There are oodles of crafty bloggers that have spaces to advertise on and I find it easy to use. Not sure how to get started with Project Wonderful? Feel free to send me an email and I would be happy to send you a set of step by step instructions at no cost to you. Need an ad designed? I'd be happy to help out with that as well. I have a super deal in my Artfire shop right now so stop by and check it out!

Sounds like alot more fun than shovelling doesn't it?! More tips/tricks next week so stay tuned!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just Around the Corner ~ Colleen's Custom Sewing

"Just Around the Corner" will be a monthly feature highlighting a local shop for your shopping pleasure! There are so many hidden treasures to be found locally and I can't wait to unearth them all!
Whether you are a crafter yourself or just enjoy shopping for unique handmade gifts you are sure to find a treasure you enjoy at Colleen’s Custom Sewing. Located at 2 Cameron Street @ Laidlaw (behind the Village Bulk Foods store) in beautiful Cannington, Colleen’s store is your one stop shop for alterations, handmade gifts, fabric, buttons, notions and more! Colleen is extremely excited to announce that she will begin carrying Gutermann all purpose sewing thread starting in March. On a recent visit I was astounded at the treasure trove of buttons that she has begun to display and couldn’t resist bringing a couple home to use in my own projects. Not local to the area? Never fear, Colleen also has an online Etsy shop where she showcases a selection of her handmade items and supplies. Sometimes the greatest finds are “just around the corner!”

Friday, February 19, 2010

Some Fun Sites to Check Out!

Today I thought I would share a couple of fun sites to check out.

picnik-a great site for photo editing and other fun picture treats!
craftcult-if you are an Etsy shop owner and have yet to discover this site you need to stop by. Check your shop and item hearts just by entering your shop name. Be careful, it's addicting!
craftcount-check out Etsy top sellers in handmade, vintage and supplies.
project wonderful- a great tool for placing ads on blogs. Allows you to bid on ad spaces from $0!
meylah-lots of fun reading here including business tips, tutorials and more

These are just a couple of sites to explore that I enjoy. What are some of your fav's?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Featured Artist~ Agawa Canyon

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's weekend. I am thrilled to bring you an interview with a very talented artisan, Mary of Agawa Canyon. I hope that you enjoy learning more about her and her beautiful creations.

What would you like people to know about you as a person?
I’m a positive person, have a great sense of humour, love the world’s wild places and won’t live long enough to explore all the things I’d like to. I’m always learning about the natural world and use my art to express that.

Tell me a bit about your art and your products? What inspires you?
I’ve been an artist ever since I was a child and have explored many different mediums from painting to stained glass to woodcarving, quilting and even making teddy bears. I’m a huge animal lover; if I ever won a lottery I’d go see great white sharks off the coast of South Africa, Orcas in BC, lynx and owls in northern Ontario…I’m constantly working out designs in my head to put subject matter into my jewellery. So far, I’m having more luck with oceans and landscapes than animals!

How do you share your creations? Where can find you?
Word of mouth; I always show my work to my friends and coworkers to get their input. I’ve only recently begun showing online. Find Agawa Canyon on Etsy or Shop Handmade

What is your most important lesson since starting your craft/ business?
You can’t allow yourself to get discouraged. You must do your market research but don’t get lost in the pricing trap. Know what your work is worth, charge a fair price and stay focused. And, don’t take offense when people offer constructive criticism; it helps you produce top quality work.

Some fun tidbits:
-Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?
Always coffee, preferably Timmys
-Your favourite candy?
Those chocolate orange balls you have to smash to eat!
-Your favourite colour?
Deep forest green
-Your favourite movie?
The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy
-If I were to catch you grooving it would be to this song….
Full Moon from the movie Twilight

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Follow!

What a great chance to meet new people, read some great blogs AND gain some new followers for you own blog! I'm so glad that I checked my reading list this morning and saw this post from Audrey's Country Crafts. So here's how it works:
*Follow the hostesses for today (the first 3 links in the list)
*Link up your blog name and URL using the MckLinky below. Only need to add on one blog to be seen on all the blog hops.
*Comment/follow/enjoy as many other blogs as you like!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hanging out with a crafty friend!

I took advantage of the fact that we were lucky enough to escape the snow and went and visited my friend Colleen today. She owns an alterations shop in Cannington, 2 Cameron Street @Laidlaw, and also showcases her handmade goods. She also has an Etsy shop and had some questions for me.

Keep in mind that I currently don't have anything listed in Kawartha Beads but do have experience with Bijoux Designs For You and Rouge River Beads. When we spoke on the phone this morning I mentioned that I had been doing a lot of promotion yesterday for Rouge River Beads and she said she didn't have the faintest clue where to begin.

I thought it might be helpful to share a couple of little pointers that are part of my daily routine. She found them helpful and I hope you will too:
*Did you know that you can search the Etsy forums? Click on forums and then type in key words such as "looking to buy", "looking to feature", etc. If you are busy mom this saves you having to wade through oodles of posts to try and find people in search of products or looking to feature shops on their blogs. I also type "twitter" in the search function to find new and fun people to follow.
* We also built a light box. Yep, the poor mans version but WHAT A DIFFERENCE. Find a cardboard box, cut a big rectangle in the top, cover the rectangle with a double layer of white tissue paper or even wax paper if you are stuck. Place light source above opening and click away. I love the way Colleen's Flower Hair Doodle turned out!

I'll save some more tips for tomorrow including a little bit about Project Wonderful. Most of all, we both felt rejuvinated and inspired! Take some time today to share a moment with a crafty friend or leave a comment here for all of us to enjoy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Calling all Mommies! A quick giggle for your day!

I don't have time to share my own today (little tummies are hungry and no longer interested in amusing themselves) but if you are a mom and need a giggle be sure to check out this blog post:

Can You Relate - Link Up at Smart and Trendy Moms

Monday, February 8, 2010

11th Annual Indoor Yard Sale

The 11th Annual Indoor Yard Sale, sponsored by Kawartha Lakes This Week
When: March 6th from 9-2
Where: The Moose Lodge, Lindsay

I did not attend this show last year, although a couple other artisans that I know did and had great results. I have decided to take a table and will be bringing along a selection of my handmade jewelry but the majority of my booth will consist of supplies including beads, charms, findings, fabric, ribbon and more! So if you are local to the area I would love it if you came by for a visit. Please note that I will not be bringing everything listed in our supply shop so if there is something specific you are after please don't hesitate to let me know and I can bring it to the show for you.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Make Your Own Beaded Bookmark!

I posted this on our Rouge River Beads blog last year but making bookmarks is so much fun I thought I'd share with you again. They are a fairly easy beginner project and make the perfect gift!

7" of beading wire
two crimp beads
a charm
6-10 beads depending on size
1 jump ring
1 beadable bookmark
flatnose pliers or a crimp tool

To begin, thread the beading wire through the crimp bead and the charm.

Bring the beading wire back through the crimp bead and crimp with a crimping tool, or flatten with pliers.
Add your beads in whatever order you like.

Add another crimp bead. Thread wire over the jump ring then thread the tail of your wire through your crimp bead and a couple of beads.

Crimp or flatten your crimp bead. Trim excess wire.

Open your jump ring and add the bookmark. Most bookmarks have a hole through which you can thread something. I find it easiest to attach everything to a jump ring. It's easier to turn around if you happen to have your charm backwards!

And voila! You now have your own bookmark to enjoy or give as a gift

For supplies you need to make your own beaded bookmark stop by Rouge River Beads.
Happy crafting!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Looking to spruce up your shop?

As I'm sure fellow artisans with online shops can relate, you definately wear more than one hat (artist, accountant, photographer, shipping and receiving, marketing guru and graphic designer).
Being in a partnership with my mother allowed us to take our own strengths and divide the roles. Mom takes care of all the bookwork and I have focused on the marketing and promotion of our shops. One of the things I have enjoyed the most is the creation of banners and ads. It's still a form of creativity only in digital format. I would love the chance to work with some other artists and fuel those creatives juices so I have offered a couple of banners and a project wonderful ad design option on Artfire. Stop on by and please feel free to contact me if you would like to offer me the challenge of designing something for you shop:)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Banner Winner!

Congratulations to MattsCraftyWife winner of the Valentine's banner giveaway! I want to extend a special thanks to all my new blog and twitter followers. Watch for more giveaways later this month! If you are still looking for a Valentine's banner for your shop I have listed this one and one other as PIF's (pay it forwards) in my Artfire Studio. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!