Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Job = New Clothes + New Shoes

Now that's my kind of math.

On my lunch hour today I went on a mini shopping spree. With a brand new job on the horizon (Marketing Coordinator for Corner Bakery Cafe), I wanted to update some old staples, replace some cheap and worn pieces, and just splurge a little to celebrate my accomplishment (and my birthday, which was this past Sunday). Living within my means on a daily basis makes an occasional splurge like this possible! Check out my booty:





Forts, Crafts and Cocktails: Austin Recap

My birthday weekend was a beautiful mess of toys, hotel fun, crafty sales and cocktails. We hit the road Friday morning - me in my Element loaded with my handmade goods and displays; my mom, Grandy and Ian in their car loaded with 182 toys:

Saturday morning was a whirlwind of setting up my booth, drinking lots of coffee, and preparing for a day of charming customers and making sales. After nearly six years of doing craft shows, I've got my set-up nailed down and had over an hour to kill before the doors opened:

Saturday night Ellen and John (good friends and owners of Holy Cacao) took me and Jason to Haddington's on 6th. We had copious amounts of tiny chi-chi cocktails with names like Devil's Moustache (mescal, a flaming orange slice + a whole bunch of other stuff). We also had tiny portions of fancy food that cost more than my weekly Tom Thumb bill. Everything was incredible.

Sunday was day 2 of Renegade sales. In the meantime, Ian and the family made forts, went swimming and basically had fun in Austin. I didn't get a chance to do any site-seeing or shopping while I was there - maybe next time!

Oh, and then there's this:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's on like Donkey Kong, y'all.

This weekend! Austin, Texas! My birthday and Renegade Craft Fair!! Boom:

Come find me in Booth #40 next to my friends Dowdy Studio and Cut Out and Collect! We'll be the ones making all the dang noise in the back left corner. Don't be surprised if you see me dancing to Kool + the Gang while I sell all my handmade stuff. That's how I roll.

Here's a sneak peak into my display set-up. If no one buys anything from me, I can just hold a "Necklace a Day" contest for the next year and a half.

Oh. Hello there, Beethoven.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This is my son, and he's awesome.

Ian came home from school last week with the most awesome child craft ever. In case there's any doubt about Ian being my spawn, I present Exhibit A:

and Exhibit B:

Marketing Your Craft: Give It Value!

Okay you guys.

I'm getting real tired of seeing under-priced items riddling the aisles of craft shows and covering the pages of Etsy. While overpricing may hurt the individual seller, underpricing hurts us all.

You don't have to be a marketing genius to understand that if your price is too low, the buyer is going to think your products are cheap. And "cheap" is the last thing we want people to associate with our handiwork.

When the general shopping public is exposed to an abundance of under-priced handmade work, they are going to start believing that handmade work is tantamount to bulk generic diapers at the Shop & Save. We have got to banish this Wal-Mart mentality when it comes to the art and craft we work so hard to produce.

Keep in mind, you still want to price your items fairly, and not alienate your potential customer base. Here are the things I consider when pricing my items:

+ How much do the materials cost? Include the gas it took you to drive to the place where you bought them, the postage you paid to have them shipped to you, and any other costs associated with acquiring the raw materials.

+ How much is the design worth? If you're working off a tutorial or pattern, this price point should be lower than if you designed the item yourself.

+ How long did it take you to complete the item from start (design) to finish (completion)? At a bare minimum, you should charge yourself no less than $10/hour. Making an item by hand is worth more than flipping burgers - give yourself a proper wage.

+ How are you selling your product? So you have your finished product, but you aren't anywhere near done. Build into the price the cost of maintaining a web site, creating good product photography, and selling at craft shows.

+ What about all that other stuff? Yes, long-term overhead costs should be built into your pricing. Think: business cards, office/studio space, gas/travel, paper, ink toner, computer, internet service, utilities. In other words - all the things you expense in order to create and promote your handmade product.

+ Finally, as a person who appreciates and understands handmade art/craft, I ask myself: What would I pay for this?

If you still feel uncomfortable paying yourself a fair wage for your handmade work and (gasp!) actually pricing it so you make a profit, do these three things:

(1) Say this out loud, "My art/craft has value. If I believe it's cheap, everyone else will, too." Repeat this to yourself until you get it.

(2) Tell the world your story. It's time to get comfortable talking to strangers, y'all. Do craft shows, work on your web copy - tell your story so everyone knows exactly why they should pay $35 for this handmade, originally-designed t-shirt.

(3) Pick up a book at the library on shopper psychology and read it. You'll soon learn why the same shoppers who shell out $98 for a mass-produced necklace at Anthropologie balk at your better-crafted $30 handmade necklace. It's the perception of value. Make people believe your stuff is worth buying, and they will buy it.

I'm not writing this to help you. Really, I'm not. I want all the sales for myself. Okay, that's not entirely true, but I'm not going to lie to you and say I did this altruistically. I want the handmade market to improve, and the only way to do that is for us all to collectively improve the way we sell our items and the story we tell the public.

So get to it! You have a lot of homework to do and the clock started ticking 2 minutes ago.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sew, work, sew, listen to music, work, sew

I'm on a mad sewing blitz these next few weeks as I prepare for Renegade Austin. I don't even think I'll have time to bead a few of my new big wood bead necklaces unless I clone myself.

I'll work on that.

Until then, I'm listening to a little She & Him and Florence + The Machine and sewing like mad in the car at stop lights, on my lunch breaks, in queue at the bank, ANYWHERE.

Here's a crappy photo I took last night of some of my new triangle arrow designs. They are pretttyyyyy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Next Up: Renegade Austin

Now that the 3rd Annual Spring Bash is over (whew - so much work), I've got my sights set on the 2nd Annual Renegade Craft Fair in Austin TX. It so happens to be on the weekend that I'm celebrating my 36th birthday and my and Jason's 10th anniversary. So come buy my stuff okay!!

The hotel room is booked, time taken off from the real job, the parents are coming with to watch Ian, and now all I have to do is:

(1) Make more designs like this one (above). I sold out half my inventory at the Spring Bash!

(2) Make more yo-yo earrings and rings. DONE

(3) Shine the sterling silver chain from some of my necklaces. They are looking a little dull from so much air exposure as I've been preparing for this crazy spring show season for the past couple of months.

(4) Make more fabric hair clips. These sold like crazy at the Bash!

That's about it. Can you believe how prepared I am? Whoo!!! Now come see me in Austin and buy me a birthday beer already.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Get up and booty bounce to this: