Sunday, December 30, 2007

End of Year Sale

All Holiday Items are at least 50% off until Jan. 10, at which time they will no longer be available.



My Mirror sets are $25 until Jan 15 at which time they will be $40 due to the rising cost of materials. I have several available so if you are interested in more than one set please convo me.

Hope, Joy and Peace Mirrors
Faith, Hope and Love Mirrors

All custom orders are 10% off until Jan 15 as well. When you convo me for details on your order please reference code NEWYEAR and I will make the adjustment!

Hope everyone has a happy new year!

Monday, November 5, 2007

First Monday Sale

Hello to all this fine Monday Morning

I am offering 10% off in my store today! Plus free gift wrapping

This includes custom orders (not included are the accordion books)

Happy shopping!

TP Design

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fabulous Giveaways

Hello All!

I just wanted to let you all know about the fabulous giveaways that are being offered on the EtsyMom Blog. I am offering 3 holiday cards and 6 gift tags and there are several other Etsymoms also offering wonderful items. Check out the EtsyMom Blog and leave a comment to be entered. It's that easy! You can enter all of them or just the ones you want. Also there is a link for other great giveaways as well on the blog. Check it out!

You have until Saturday, November 3 at noon to leave a comment.
Thanks for the support!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Etsymom's Say Thanks to a SAHM of 6

For those of you apart of Etsymoms you should already know about the promo basket that we are putting together for Dawn, a mother of 6 and author of the blog Because I Said So. If you are not in the group let me fill you in. Dawn has begun to receive national attention from this blog containing crazy stories about her life and the battles of being a mom to 6 kids. She first gained recognition from an Ebay auction that she listed for a pack of Pokemon cards that her kids slipped into her basket at Walmart. Nothing special about the cards other than the hilarious story that accompanied it. The cards sold for over $100. And her fame has gone on from there. Newspapers from all over the country as well as national tv stations, like ABC, have picked up on the story and are telling the world about it.

Dawn, much like the rest of us stay at home moms, was looking for a way to get some extra income for her family when a friend suggested blogging. Well it paid off she announced recently on her blog that she just signed a book deal and Hollywood is calling for her to write a sitcom based on her life's misadventures.

Anyways one of the Etsymom members, crochetmaggie, came up with a great idea to send her a promo basket, filled with goodies from the Etsymoms. As a thank you for making us laugh and to remember to laugh at ourselves every once in a while too.

Now when I first took this on I thought great idea, but what are the chances that we will get this to her let alone get some kind of response back. Well I took a chance and emailed her, letting her know about Etsymoms and the basket that we wanted to send to her. I also let her know that I was going to be in town for Thanksgiving (yes I am originally from Chicago) and was wondering if I could meet with her then to deliver the goodies. Amazingly enough she emailed me back and said she was flattered and would loved to meet with me! Yeah, she shoots, she scores! The crowd goes wild! Ok, the Etsymoms go wild!

Oh wait, I didn't get to the good part yet. Not only did she want to meet with me but she asked if I, and the Etsymoms, would be interested in having our products being reviewed on her blog! Now we can do the happy dance! Yes we will be reviewed on her blog if we can work out the details, but I don't think it will be to hard to work it out.

I am so excited about this opportunity for me and my friends in the Etsymoms group. Wish us good luck on this adventure and pray that this brings a little exposure to us. I know we could all use a little extra help!

If you would like to know more about the project please email me or wait for the updates that I will be posting here and on the Etsymom Blog.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My First Craft Fair

Well I survived my first craft fair this past weekend! I was beat tired after it, but I learned a lot of do's and don'ts from it. While the fair itself was a bust, it was a good stepping stool for my next ones.

This craft fair, I was told had about 900 people at it last year...this year was closer to 200! And that included the vendors! I was so disappointed, but I did make some sales, some good contacts for future sales (I hope) and manage to make a profit after the booth fees and various other materials I needed to buy to create my booth. So all and all I guess it wasn't too bad. Let me give you the run down of what happened.

First, they let us set up the night before the show started. Thank Goodness! With the 2 hours they gave us the night before and the 2 hours the day of we just barely finished setting up in time for the show to start...of course most of this is because my friend and I are perfectionists and we hate things that are just thrown together. I shared the booth with a friend of mine that makes amazing fold out greeting cards with scriptures and quotes. The two of us work really well together.




Out of all the booths we probably had some of the most unique items there. Most of the booths were pretty general items that you expect to see nothing really unique. Of course this is probably why we did so well, compared to everyone else. I think I was more disappointed in that then the turn out. I was really hoping to see some unique gifts that I could get for my family or to get ideas from. But not really.

Now I don't want to make you think that this craft fair was a total waste, in fact just the opposite. I am actually grateful that the turnout was terrible, it gave me a chance to think about what to do better next time. So here are some things that I came up with to think about when getting ready for your next craft fair.

First, be prepared. Do an inventory checklist, know what you have and how much. If someone wants to buy several items, know how many you have for them. Keep your inventory together and categorized. If you keep things that are similar together it makes it easier for loading and unloading, not to mention if you have extras that are not out for the customer to see you will be able to find it quickly. Label everything, know what's in what bins for easy access and quick recovery. Remember time is money so the more time you waste trying to find something under the table the more sales you will lose, people don't want to wait around for something. Most people at craft fairs buy on impulse. They are not looking for something specific, just something unique. Also know your venue. Know what other vendors are around, know where the bathrooms are, the water fountains and the food. People will come back to you to ask questions but as they do, something might catch their eye and presto a sale. Plus it makes you look more professional and knowledgeable.

Also know your products! This is pretty self explanatory and I thought pretty straight forward, but you would be surprised at how many people I talked to that had to look up a price or look to someone else on how something worked. Why? If you have someone helping you out, make sure that they know your items as well as you do. You look very unprofessional when you can't answer a question about your own work! If you offer different colors, papers, sizes; know all this and let the customer know if they are not all out. They can't read your mind, they don't know that your underwater basket weaving comes in 3 sizes if they are not all out or you didn't tell them.

Think like the customer! Walk around your booth what jumps out at you? What doesn't? Does everything make sense? What questions would you have? Price, color, custom orders or do you take CC? All things that they are going to want to know so how are you going to let them know?

Offer CC sales! If you are not sure how to do this go through ProPay. They seem to be the easiest and cheapest way to offer them, plus you can get a mastercard linked to your account so you don't have to worry about transferring money back and forth between accounts! More than half of my sales came because I offered this, plus I made connections with other vendors. So many of them didn't know how to go about offering CC and they came and asked me how I did it, 1 of them bought something from me and 4 took my card for the future.

Next look at your booth set up. When you look at your booth is everything at the same level? Or did you build it up so things have a sense of hierarchy? This was a huge thing I noticed at the fair. There were several booths that just laid things out on their tables, no levels, and no real sense of order either. There are several things that you can do to "add levels" to your table display. First, look at what you have to display. What might get lost or what do you want to show off most? Use empty shoe boxes, paint cans (small and large), plastic bags/newspapers or anything else that will give height to your table. Then use a table cloth to cover them up and bunch it around the items, don't make it form fitting (you don't want to give away your secret). Once you have things were you think they need to be start adding your items, your boxes and paint cans may need to move slightly in order to fit the actually items but at least you have a starting point. Once it is all set, Ta Da you have hierarchy! And a table that will attract attention from passersby.

Make friends with the vendors around you. More than likely if they are from that area they have friends that will be dropping by to say hi and if that is the case, they will probably point out something in your booth that they fell in love with and can't live without. I had 2 sales because of this. Not that that sounds like a whole lot but I only had 7 sales total...I recommend going around and introducing yourself to as many vendors as possible actually, this way if they have a break during the day they might come over and say hi and look at what you have plus they can send people your way if they find out you are selling something close to what that person is looking for. Word of mouth is a great tool at craft fairs! One of the booths that the craft fair this weekend had cake mixes that you make in a coffee mug complete with frosting! A great invention, anyways she sold out of almost everything because of word of mouth. All the vendors were talking about what a great idea it was, especially for teacher and secret Santa gifts where you don't have a lot of money to spend. Well one vendors spoke up and said she was starting to run out and that started a frenzy of buyers. Buy the end of the day I think she only had 3-4 types left out of the 14-16 that she was offering. Remember as you are walking around too to be handing out business cards, even if they don't get around to seeing you during the day they may take a look at your sight later.

Another thing to consider is participating in a silent auction, if it is offered. Not only does this get you exposure but sales. I had 3 sales because people were bidding on my Faith, Hope and Love Mirrors and didn't win. Plus the lady who won took my business card to tell others about my store!

One last thing, enjoy yourself. Engage in small talk step outside of your comfort zone. People are more willing to linger if you get them talking about a subject they enjoy talking about. not sure how to start it...look at what they are wearing, complement them on the jewelry, hat or top. Ask where they got it or if their is a story behind it. If they are wearing a sports team talk about that. Ask what or for who they are looking for gifts, sounds dumb but it works every time.

Follow these simple guidelines and you will do great and have a great time with less stress.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Another New Venture

I have been asked to write a branding/marketing post on the EtsyMom Blog once a week. I am so excited to be doing this. EtsyMoms are a great group of moms who own shops on Etsy and a lot of them have become great friends of mine. I am hoping this new outlet helps get the word out about EtsyMoms and Etsy itself, one of the greatest sites for finding handmade gifts and with the holidays coming up there is no better place to shop. Check out both sites and share the love.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Craft Fairs and helpful ideas

After countless hours researching craft fairs here are some great ideas to keep in mind as you get ready for your next craft fair.

Make sure you have a good little "survival kit". These are things that you should include: a small tool set, a first aid kit, a cell phone, extra batteries (for things like the kid's games and your cash register), snacks and drinks, a blanket and my all time favorite: the ever-so versatile duct tape!A few other things include glue or glue gun, hammer and nails, etc. to fix the crafts that didn’t survive the trip to the show and a roll of paper towels you never know when you or your customers might have an accident.

Other things that you need to remember to bring are plenty of busniess cards, any promo items, good signage, table cloths, pen and paper (write down new ideas), reciept pad or cash register and last but not least a good friend so you don't get board!

When it comes to inventory control this was one idea I came across... When we were big into the retail scene, we simply kept a hand-written log of sales as they occurred. At the end of the show, the list would be organized by the type of product sold and then the information would go into a simple database. This made inventory easy to track and we would always know what the best sellers were and what product lines needed to be filled before the next show.

Next how much money should you bring for change? Always a great question. Around $50 - $100 per day should be enough for an average sized show, when you are in your home town/area. If you are out-of town at a large show that will be lasting for several days, you will want to bring more. Remember that many people use $20 bills. And if someone wants you to provide change for a $100 bill, just ask them for something smaller, or to use a credit card if you accept them.

Always make sure to bring plenty of inventory. New and old. How much should you bring also depends on your show size. I am still looking for a good answer to this question, so if you have any ideas post them here and share with the rest.

I hope this helps you all as much as it has for me.

THIS WEEKEND

This weekend I am particapating in my first craft fair! If you are in the Denton/Cornith area stop by and say hi. I would love to meet some fellow Crafters and Etsians. I plan to have several items that I don't have listed in my Etsy store and plan on taking custom orders as well. I hope to meet some of you!

The craft fair will be held at the The Church of Corinth there is a printable coupon on the site as well as directions.

I will let you all know how it goes and have some tips to share with you when I get back!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Craft Fairs

Well I have my first craft fair next weekend! I am getting really excited and really nervous at the same time. I love meeting new people and showing off my designs, but at the same time I worry about how I will do, how I will be excepted, will I have enough merchandice...Not ever doing one before these questions haunt me. All week long I have had different dreams; one where I run out of things to sell (great! but then an angry momb of people come by wanting stuff and we they see I am completely sold out they begin to throw tomatoes (where the tomatoes come in I don't know). Another dream is that I am laughed at for trying to sell what I have brought or they thumb up their nose at me from being discusted at my merchandice and it's quality.

I think my biggest worry right now is to know how much to bring. Since most of my items are greeting cards I don't know how much of each design to bring, or even how many different choices to bring. Plus some of my other items (like the floral arrangements) there is only one of those so how do I let people know that they are one of kind. I never make the same thing twice.

How to disply my items is another big problem. With not a whole lot of money to spend I am trying to figure out what is the best thing to put the greeting cards in. Something that will hold them in place while still being easy for the customers to thumb through them to see what they like...what type of signage to put out. How to grab people's attention without being too obnoixous.

If you guys have any experience in this I would love all the help I can get!

Thoughout the week I will be posting different things I find that will help me get ready, so hopefully when you get ready for a show you will have the answers that you are looking for too.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Organizing, part 2

Now that you have had a chance to go through everything in your work area and get an idea of what you would like to do there it's now time to look at your paperwork and filing systems. This might actually be more important than product organizing, but for many of us it's even harder. We think artistically not analytically.

When it comes to paperwork the number one answer from my fellow Etsians was to use a computer program like Excel or iWorks to document all your expenditures and profits. Another great thing to do is to have bins, photoboxes, expanding folders with all your receipts, invoices and other paperwork. smittenkittenorig goes one step further and organizes her paperwork by each month. Then at the end of the year she hands everything over to her accountant. I recommend using an accountant, spend the $125-150 to get their expertise. It's a tax right off and they can help you save money in places you would never expect.

LisasLovlies says she makes up "grocery lists" in different notebooks to keep track of sales, orders, designs - measurements and other related paperwork. And lolbaby says that she uses Google Earth to keep track of her sales and where she ships to.

For keeping tracking of my schedule I use the calendar on my phone. It's always with me and I can set an alarm if I need to. Our favorite contributor TheWorldsDresser prints out a weekly schedule from Outlook. Each day has her appointments/meetings along with 2 hours of crafting, 1 hour of promoting (posting, creating or handing out samples...) and 3 hours of studying. I also recommend color coding your schedule. Pick different colors for different reoccurring things in your life. Business meetings, craft fairs, kids schedules, dates, dr appointments, etc. That way at a glance you can look at your schedule and know what type of things you have going on that day.

Email is another thing that needs to be organized. Most email systems have folders systems that you can utilize. Keep track of your custom orders, inquires, purchases, billing and anything else that you need to organize. Wrapsberry swears by this, along with bookmarking pages that she needs for supplies, blogs and sales/marketing tools. These can be but into folders as well for easy access to your information.

If you have more ideas please post them in the comments here. Or if you would like me to cover another topic let me know. I love sharing knowledge, whether it's mine own or borrowed. I like to help those around me the way that others have done for me. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Favorite Sayings

I am getting ready to create a new line of greeting cards that I hope to have done for Christmas.
They will feature "Favorite Sayings"

So I am holding a contest to get some ideas. Please add your favorite sayings to the comments on this post and the "Winners" (the ones who's sayings I pick to be in the line) will get a free copy of a card of their choice from this line. I will announce the winners at the end of the month and post the winning card designs so the winners can choose.

You may enter up to 5 different saying, but if more than one saying is picked you will still one get one choice of card designs. The "sayings" can pertain to anything for any occasion.

Thanks for your help and I am looking forward to what you all come up with!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Organizational KEY, part 1

Organization for a business is KEY, but for so many it becomes a forgotten thought or a last minute scramble. There are many reasons why you should take a moment and rethink your organization, first and foremost it is much easier to stay on top of things when you know where they are and how they are progressing. Second, and just as important, it will help you keep your sanity! Instead of scrambling to put together an order or to know what bills are do when or what you need to follow up on you can keep it all organized and be less stressed. Yes, less stressed! Now I am not talking OCD type organizing (not to offend anyone) just some simple tools that you can implement in your day to day work to put your ying and yang back into it's place, at least for this part of your life.

Now, I took the liberty of asking some of my fellow artists on Etsy to help me compile a list of their favorite ways to stay organized. And after 13 pages of answers and more still coming in, here are just a few of my favorites.

Overall I think the most popular answers were drawers, boxes, bookcases, some sort of object to place all the chaos in. While this is all well and good, most of the time it just becomes a contained chaos. Of course there were some that answered me with their whole system like TheWorldsDresser who wrote me a dissertation on how she kept organized. Amazingly organized! But I am not sure that we all have to go to her extreme. Please don't get me wrong, my goal in life is to be that organized, but I know I will never achieve do to lack of concentration. So I think somewhere between just drawers and queen of organization is where we will aim.

Our first stop is the drawers, boxes and bookcases. One way to keep them from becoming chaos is labels. Use the labels on the outside to let you know what's in each drawer; paper, tools, beads, etc. Then when you open the drawer have it sectioned as well. Do it by what's easiest for you to remember. Color, style, size, type. And the biggest thing to remember is to put things back when you are done! Don't let them get piled on top of each other, you will forget what you have out, lose something, spill something...well you get the idea, chaos.

I guess where we should have started is where you do your work. Have a designated place, even if you are in tight corners you can still have a place to work, it just might be more work on your end to stay organized so you can put things out of the way when you are done. I myself, have an office upstairs, but I don't use it. I now have a 6 month old son getting ready to start crawling at any moment so being confided to my office is not practical at the moment. So I moved everything to my dining room downstairs for the time being. That way I am close to him if he is playing and I can still get some work done. In this space I have my computer, since that is what I use the most, along with my printer, scanner, and a small flat file for papers, greeting cards and other things that I am using at that moment, but that I can change out as I need to. I almost always have a sketchbook as well that I am using to keep my latest ideas and custom orders in. I also have a small card table set up to actually do the physical parts of my work; the painting, cutting, gluing, etc. When it comes to this type of stuff get things that you are able to work around. I got my tables at Ikea, which is a great place to get organized cheap and still keep your style! But for some like kateisgreat80 they buy a fancier cabinet that holds everything and stores it out of the way. Great for small spaces and if you have small children. You could do the same thing with a repurposed Armour or TV cabinet.

If you are working with something that has several steps to it, you might want to think about having different areas set up to hold the items as you work on them. inediblejewelry says that each of the different areas set up for making their charms also has the tools they will need to complete that task. Another great idea, so you are not running around trying to find something especially if you are working with time sensitive materials.

StarletTwinkie had a great idea if you are working with something that needed multiple pieces to it. Use a clear pocketed shoe hanger bag that hangs over a door. Easy access to all your pieces and you can see what's inside them. If you can't find a clear one, just tape one of the pieces to the outside of the pocket so you know what in there.

TheWorldsDresser also recommended photographing every single one of your creations to make a catalog in a power point document separated by medium. Great for these reasons
-When you have a juried show you have a place to pull pics from without looking too hard
-If you have electricity at your show, bring a laptop and have the images rotate - it brings folks over
-If you do home shows it allows people to get a good grasp of your work and helps them decide on custom orders
-If you intend to sell to shops, you have a portfolio of your work all ready to go (have it professionally printed and bound at an office supply store) without lugging every piece over.
Like I said she gave me a dissertation. Amazing!

Design4u says that flower pots are great for holding paint brushes, markers, decorative scissors, etc. I have found that this coffee mug organizer works great too!

That should give you a good start on you product organization, next time we will cover paperwork, final products and scheduling. Hope this helps and a big thanks to all who supplied me with answers.

Below is a list of stores to look at when trying to get organized:
Ikea
Duluth Trading Co
The Container Store
Target
Any office supply store and ebay

Monday, October 1, 2007

FIRST MONDAY SALE!

I am running a sale today only 20% off anything in my store, except the accordion cards. And with everything $30 purchase or more you will recieve a free gift! Stock up now for Christmas! Custom orders are welcome and the discount applies to them as well! Check it out!

TP Design

Thanks and happy shopping!

Also check out this thread for other sales from Texas Artists!

First Monday Sales

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tag I am it

Ok I guess I will play along since I have been tagged twice now...first by Wrapsberry and then by Mooretaste. Now I have to share six unique things about myself with all of you, if you fall asleep you were probably too tired and need to come back and read about my exciting life ::yawn:: Then I guess I must make six others share my fate.

So here we go

1. I met my husband through a mutal friend while living in Chicago at a country bar. We used to go dancing at least twice a week (yes, linedancing and two-steppin'). Now that I live in Texas I think we have been twice total the 7 years we have lived here.

2. I have interned at the happiest place on earth twice! (Walt Disney World, FL) First time I worked at Epcot in Innoventions. One day I met a lady and her brother who were there celebrating his 98th birthday! He had never been to Disney before so his sister suprised him with a trip there. I found this out and gathered a bunch of passers-by (50 or so) and made an announcement about his birthday to any one who could hear me and had them all sing happy birthday to him. One of the happiest days in my life, I never knew the impact that human kindness could have on others, since then I try to brighten everyone's day around me.

3. I had a dog in high school named Harley. I asked my mom for a motorcycle when I was old enough to drive and of course the answere was no, so she got me a puppy instead. (Which I named Harley) With the hopes I wouldn't want a motorcycle anymore. It worked, I have yet to get one.

4. I just found out recently that my Grandmother sells paintings that she does in galleries all over NY. (I didn't even know that she painted) She also does some of the most amazing needlepoint I have ever seen.

5. I am far from being domestic, in fact my husband usually did the cooking, cleaning, laundry and so on for the last 6.5 years that we have been together, but now that I am a mom the "leave it to beaver" switch was turned on and now I want to do that stuff. Wierd I know...

6. I started up 3 companies on my own without capitol. I at the moment they are all making a profit (not a big one, but a profit none the less)
TP Design my Handmade Goods Store
Eternal Blooms Wedding Flowers and invitations
And TP Design my graphic design studio...

That's me in a nut shell. I am off to tag
Cozy Moments
Donna Pool
One Girlie Girl
Happy House Quilts
Such Pretty Colors
Dancing Hannah

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Being Disney to your customers

So you have been working on your branding for the past week. Since I have not heard from any of you either things are going well or you haven't started, ha ha. No worries my posts will be here when you are ready. If you need help or have additional questions please email me, I don't mind if fact that is why I started this blog.

So now that you have a good handle on your branding it is time to start thinking about your marketing/advertising. Now if you are anything like me you have zippo start up capitol, so you need out of the box ideas for getting your name out there. Here are just a few ideas...

First and foremost, make business cards! This is a priority not a suggestion. There are so many things that you can do with them. You can get some designed for you if you have a little extra money or get them at vistaprint.com for free, these won't be well designed but they will do for now. (**Now on a side note, I do design business cards for fellow Etsy sellers at a huge discount compared to my usual price for design, for the reason of I know what it's like to try starting up a company on a dream and a prayer.)

There are a few places that you can use them at; first restaurants: leave them with your tip or drop them in the "win a free lunch bowl". Believe it or not the people cleaning out that bowl every week take the time to look at who's in there, especially if you get cards that stand out. I made my cards 2" x 2", they are not the normal size of business cards (2 x 3.5), which brings up a good point, they don't have to be the usual size. Things to remember are: you want them to fit in people's pocket/wallet without being a problem.

The second thing you can do with business cards is leave them on tables at Starbucks, or bulletin boards, Barnes and Nobles, leave them on a bench in the mall - you can leave them just about anywhere for people to find them. Liana, at BusyMomCreations, suggested leaving them in your back windshield wiper for people to take. This works especially well if you have a car decal. Which by the way she sells at a fantastic price! Here is the link if you are interested,
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6089748

Lastly about the business cards, they are great for handing out face to face, or giving to other shops for their promo bags. Etsy has several groups that get together and "trade" business cards for the purpose of helping each other promote, check out the forums for how to get involved. BTW - you don't have to always be the one handing out the business cards. Give some to your family, friends, co-workers anyone you believes in your store and can talk you up! Or place a couple extra business cards in with your orders, if your buyers really like what they get they are going to talk about your shop with others and if they have extra cards they can give them those.

Some other out of the box ideas are, moving billboards, not actual billboards. Your car. You drive all over the place, place an ad on it. Great exposure there. If you use the link from above to check out BusyMomCreations, you can get your name and URL made into a vinyl sticker that you place on your car. How cool is that. Pair that with some business cards and you got a good thing.

Think about your packaging too! How is your stuff packaged? Do you just throw things into a box and ship it off or do you take the extra step to package things nicely before sending it off. One shop I know of makes their own bubble mailers to ship their products in. They were nice of enough to share how to do this here http://thisis.notarobot.net/2007/08/make-your-own-bubble-mailers.html. Now you don't have to go this far, but think on what your customers sees when they receive your package. Go beyond their expectations and they will return. Why do you think Disney is so popular? They didn't become they #1 vacation destination by meeting every ones expectations, but by blowing them out of the water! Think Disney when you are branding, marketing and advertising yourself and you will have more customers than you know what to do with.

Something else that you can do is link all your sites together. What sites, you ask? Or better yet what sites should you have? First you should have an online store where people can view your work. If you are not on Etsy.com and you sell handmade goods you should be, if you do something else make your own website with a store. You can buy a domain name at GoDaddy.com cheap and use weebly.com editor with free hosting. If you are on Etsy you can still have your own website and link it to your Etsy store with Etsymini. Other things to think of are myspace.com, cafemom.com (for all those moms out there), indiepublic.com, flickr.com (I have yet to set this one up) and a blog just to name a few. There are more things that you can do but these are the main ones I use. Myspace, cafemom and indiepublic all have the same general idea the are a meeting place, but they can be great exposure for you as well. You can put an Etsymini on your page which links your page to your Etsy store. You can blog on these sites and check out others you think could be potential buyers (use your info about your target market to decide who to target) invite these people to check out your shop. You can also let people know of new items you have with pictures that you post or leave comments so they know about coming sales or other info you would like them to know. These pages also let your potential buyers know a little more about who you are. I don't know about you but I am more willing to buy from someone when I know more about them. Plus an extra added bonus is that you can make more friends with these sites and more people backing you and your store. Again if they believe in you and your store they will tell others.

This next section is mostly for Etsy sellers, though you might be able to apply some of it to other shops as well. Other great ways to get your name out there is in the forums. Join in on discussions, or start one yourself. There is also a chat room on Etsy that has some cool features to it, like posting photos of some of your work or others in the room that you like. Remember people like to be complimented about their stuff, you if let them know that you like something of theirs odds are they are going to check out your shop and see what you have. Just from participating in the forums on Etsy I have notice a huge increase of traffic at my store. And more interest in my items.

Another great way that costs nothing is joining groups on Etsy. I belong to Etsymoms and EtsyTexasCrafters. Both have their own forums that I can post to, to get the word out about what's going on with me. I also find out what is going on with others, how their shops are doing what sells and what doesn't. All of these are great for finding out if it's just slow right now or if I am doing something wrong. You can bounce ideas off these new "friends" and since they all have shops and are wanting to make it - they are likely to be more honest then your mom and Aunt Kitty. (No I don't have a Aunt Kitty).

One last thing is when you do sell something remember to include a handwritten thank you or free gift. Let them know how much you appreciate their business, 80-90% of your business should be repeat customers and word of mouth. Remember that the next time you are rushed with an order...

These are just some of my ideas for marketing/advertising. I would love to know your ideas, post them here on my blog and let others know how you capture your customer's attention. Next time we will discuss an often overlooked part of owning your own business...organization. Stay tuned for the exciting story and how to master the clutter of your office (this could be your living room, dining room, bedroom, garage - where ever you work)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Outcome of Marketing

To all of you who are following this blog. I would love to see the outcome of how you are using the information that I have been giving you. Send me an email, pictures or let me know if you have noticed more business. I would love to know how this is helping you, what you have found that works or what you are not quite understanding.Last but not least what would you like to know more about or what topics would you like me to cover. Thanks for your support and time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Marketing Family

So let's recap. We have answered the 3 questions, we have taken words that describe our products, services, us, whatever and made mindmaps or word lists out of them. From those lists we have picked the most intreging words (the "key" words) and we are going to use them to create our brand.

Here are some examples of words that could have been choosen. From Handmade I got, out of the box, drawn, sketch, worn, built-up, pattern...and so on. These words are what got me here.

tpdesign

Now I went through several versions before I got here, but the general idea is here and was at the begining. Now on a side note, not all the words need to be used at the same time. Something to keep in mind and not to get frustrated if you can't make them play nice together...

Now this look is carried over from my banner, to my businesses cards, my invoices and if I do any advertising it will be there too. Not all of the pieces need to match exactly either, they just need to seem like they are from the same family. Think of all your marketing tools as brothers and sisters of each other and kids of your products or company; they won't look exactly like but have some of the same features.

Best thing to do when looking to brand yourself is to look at your compeitors. What are they doing? How do they brand yourself? Look outside your field and see what grabs your attention. Use bits and pieces glued together to make yourself, afterall as an artist you should be inspired by the world around you for your ideas, why should your branding be any different.

Now I realize that we do not all have the gift to create a logo or a business card, so look to those who do, ask them questions. If you don't have the means to pay them for their services do a trade if they are willing. Maybe you have the means to create something but not sure about your ability to do so, again ask for help from those around you - get opinions about what you have created and don't just go to those few trusted friends, unless you know they will tell you the truth. EX: I love my dad to death, but if it comes to asking him for some feedback on what I have created, I would usually get "it's nice dear" or "you are so talented" (this is my personal favorite) My mom on the other hand will tell me like it is, I may not agree but I can respect her view of it and I must keep in mind if she sees something wrong someone else will too!

Once you have created what you think will work for your look you will need a slogon. Now your slogon needs to be something consise and to the point. It takes everything that you have decieded describes you and your business and puts into a nice little package. Good examples...

Nike - Just do it
Geico - so easy a caveman could do it
at&t - more bars in more places

you get the idea. They can be funny or they can be clear cut. Remember Picky and the Brain from last time, this is where we revisit them and their thinking. Do you want something that is clear and to the point "Just do it" or do you want something that makes them laugh "so easy a caveman can do it" (this may not make you laugh anymore, it's a little over done for my taste, but you get the point) or lastly something that makes them think "more bars in more places".

None of these are the wrong answer just make sure that the fit the rest of the family. If you ever have any questions or if you would like some more help on the design aspects please contact me.

Our next topic will be "Marketing: out of the box ideas"

Monday, September 17, 2007

Featured Artist: Cozy Moments


CozyMoments

Essence Handcrafted Spa Soap - A very refreshing bar of soap

My featured artist this week is Michelle, owner of Cozy Moments. Cozy Moments handcrafts moisture-rich bars of Soap, CozyBody Bath & Body Products, and CozyHome Natural Soy Wax Candles. These are great products, sure to tingle and sooth your senses. Check her out and let her know you heard about her from me!


Who are you? Michelle, owner of Cozy Moments

What do you craft? Soaps, Bath & Body Products and Natural Soy Wax CandlesWhy do you do this? I LOOOOVE it. I have always loved handmade soap, handmade bath & body products and handmade candles so about 5 years ago I started my research and experimentation. My family/friends loved everything I created so I decided to start 'Cozy Moments.'

What do you love about your craft? All the people I meet and the fragrances!!! I love to try new things too. I love to research and learn and share that knowledge in my products.

What is your favorite items to make? Why? Soap. I love making/using handcrafted soap. Each bar is poured with a lot of passion in my heart, as is each item I make. Soaps are so much fun to create and use and sell. ;) I feel using handcrafted soap is a very pampering experience and we should all be pampered!

What makes you stand our from everyone else? The passion I put into my products. I try to evoke a soothing, pampering mood in each product I create.

Tell me something interesting about yourself...We adopted a little girl from Guatemala in 2005. She is an angel and we are sooooooooooooo in love with her!!!! We are blessed to have her!!!

Where can I find you? (myspace, blogs, etc)http://CozyMoments.etsy.comhttp://cozymomentsblog.blogspot.com/http://www.flickr.com/photos/cozymoments/http://www.myspace.com/cozymomentshttp://www.cafemom.com/home/CozyMomentsWhats

your etsy link? http://CozyMoments.etsy.com

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Big Week

WOW! This has been a big week for me and my store. First, I was picked to be in a treasury. Then, I sold the item that was in the treasury! My first sale! And now I am in another treasury! Created by the Etsymom who made my first sale! Whoo hoo!

Check it out here.
http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=9618

Of coarse if that was not enough, I was asked to head up a big project for the Etsymoms. (More details to come at a later date) and I was asked to help out 2 other graphic designers with some over overflow work. My advice for those who are thinking it's not worth all the extra effort to promote or to even have a store. I say keep your head up, it can only go up from here! I hope the rest of you are having a wonderful week too. Please if you have some great news too. Share it in the comments. I would love to hear about it!

October Wedding

I just finished creating some flowers arrangements for a wedding next month. I loved creating these for a couple reasons. First it has been a while since I have had a new client (outside of my family) and second I was able to make it around my favorite season, fall.

I grew up in the midwest, where fall is beautiful - the changing colors, the falling temptures, brisk mornings, cool nights and the campfires. But alas I now live in Texas. Leaves don't fall until December, it's hot, muggy and never cools down. So when I have the chance to work with fall colors my days seem a bit brighter! Anyways these flowers are created in all of falls glorious colors. Enjoy looking and reminiscing about your favorite things about this season.







Friday, September 14, 2007

I finally made it!

No I am not talking about Mary Tyler Moore, although she's cool and all, but no. I am talking about the Etsy Treasury. After looking through the Treasuries for the last couple months and wondering if I would ever have someting featured...I finally do. I just about fell out of my chair when I saw that little gold star next the the Treasury listing. WOW! Someone liked my work enough to feature it. I am so honored, you have no idea how excited I am!!! Ok so maybe you do have a little idea...

Anyways here is a link to the treasury, check it out leave a comment, maybe it will make it to the front page...we shall see

http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=9348

My Weekend Project

Last weekend I had the opportunity to paint a mural, something I have not done in a really long time. It was a simple project for a nursery, the theme was TRANSPORTATION and she (my client) just wanted something in each of the corners. Here are some pics of the final work.








I think it came out pretty cool myself, but I have to tell you some interesting things about this mural painting. First off, I am deathly scared of heights!!! The thought of climbing ladders gives me the chills! So to paint these murals atop a ladder was a big step for me. I agreed mostly because I didn't realize I would atop this ladder for 8 hours!! I also didn't realize that I would have to paint around the furniture that was in the room, I figured I could move it around. But alas that would have been too easy, no they already had the furniture attached to walls , makes sense since this is a nursery (don't want it coming down on baby). So that wonderful train you see pictured above was painted around the changing table that had a hutch attached to it! Oh well all in all it looks good and they loved it so that is what matters. Enjoy and let me know what you think!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pinky and Brain Marketing

Well we have now answer the 3 questions
1. Who are you?
2. What do you do?
3. Why is that important?

We have looked at other aspects in our lives and we have even asked what others think about our product(s). So what do we do with all that info?

First things first, write it all down. Even if you don't think it is important, write it down. Some of my best ideas came from nonsense. You will understand why soon. Make a list of everything that you have learned about yourself and your product(s). Then make a list of everything that describes your target market (this is who you are trying to reach). Figure out what is important to this group of people, you want to play towards their interests. Pick out interesting words from both lists serious or silly, but make sure they are "key" words. From these key words you are going to create several different mind maps.

Mind maps are a train of thought, maped out. Here's an example: Let's say your key word is GREETING CARD, put that in the center of a blank piece of paper, put a circle around it. Brach off this word (draw a line from the circle out), what the next thing that comes to mind? PAPER, draw a line from PAPER, to TREES then to OAK or WOOD or even BARK - the list goes on. When you think you can't go on, start again from the begining, soon the whole paper will be filled with different words, phrases, pictures. It works best if you give yourself a time limit, make sure to write all things that come to mind, don't leave anything out!!! Some of the best ideas come from jibberish or another way to look at it is you are making room for the good ideas to surface to the top!
*NOTE if you would rather work in a linery fashion you can do that too.

Once you have filled all the pages with your mind maps go back through them and pick out words that best describe you, your business, your market and your products. From these words you can come up with your marketing and branding stratigies. Use these words to create your logo, your slogan, your ads and your overall style/look. If your words are straight to the point, precise or composed - then a more corporate look will probably suit you best. Although, if your words are creative, casual, fun - then a more stylized fashion friendly look is best.

If you have ever seen the cartoon Pinky and the Brain, Brain's thinking was very straight forward you knew what he was thinking at all times "Take over the World". But with Pinky you never knew what he would say next. Think of these two mice as the two different stratigies I just talked about. Out of these 2 which one do you fit? There are different levels or styles within each of these, but that is for another time.

Get started with this assignment and I will get back to you with how to apply it later. If you have questions about any of this feel free to contact me with questions.

Monday, September 10, 2007

ineed2change.com

Do you ever feel like you are stuck? Or maybe you think no one understands what you are going through? Or you are thinking, If they only knew the real me...?

We all have things about ourselves we want to change. Some people dread, even avoid change, while others seek it out like the next big thing, latest fad or adrenaline rush.

What do you want to change about yourself, your life, you...

Check out ineed2change.com see what others are dealing with, add your own change.

Sometimes it's the smallest change on your part that can make the most significant change in your life and the lives of others.

Three's a Charm?

I am also featured on dancinghannah's blog. Maybe this week I will have my first sale through the Etsy store! Here's a link to her blog, enjoy.

http://keeperofthechocolates.blogspot.com/

Featured Seller on Etsymom blog

Check it out I am also a featured seller on the Etsymom too!

http://etsymom.blogspot.com/

HHQ: Featured Artist - TP Design

Check out the Happy House Quilts feature on me this week!

HHQ: Featured Artist - TP Design#links#links#links#links#links

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Featured Artist - KnitSteel


Knitsteel
Handforged Solid Bronze Cross Pendant

Who are you?I’m an Artist specializing in Custom Bronze and Ironwork. I make nature themed jewelry, home décor, artwork and sculpture.
What is your Etsy Shop Name/link?http://knitsteel.etsy.com/
What tag categories do you specialize in?Art, Jewelry, Handmade Supplies, and Housewares (home décor)
Do you create for children or adults, women or men?I create for adult men and women, but my work often appeals to teens and young adults.
What do you like about Etsy?The opportunity to list whatever I want, when I want. I can list something whether I’ve got 1 or 10 available, whether it’s $10 or $100. It’s also wonderful to be selling directly to the customer and to develop personal relationships with buyers and other Etsy members.
What do you like about creating?I get to use the talents God has given me and to work toward the visions that fill my mind. It’s also very rewarding when someone writes and lets me know how my work has enriched their life.
What do you love about your business?1.Making money with my talent.2. Getting to meet and work with all sorts of highly skilled and creative people.
What is your favorite product right now?It’s hard to pick just one. I always love the single leaf wallpieces.
What makes you unique at Etsy?I’m a highly skilled and experienced metalsmith. I work on large scale commissions outside of Etsy. I exhibit work in art shows. I specialize in the techniques of Chasing & Repoussé and teach workshops regularly. I make and sell my own chasing tools.
What makes you unique as a woman?I’m a blacksmith.
What do you love about Kids?My kids have been the greatest joy and the greatest responsibility of my life. They’ve helped to focus all of my energy, in my art and in every day life. They teach me new things all the time.
What are some other sites to find out more about you and what you love to create?My blog is probably the most informative http://knitsteel.blogspot.com/For more information on blacksmithing, start with http://www.abana.org/ . Then visit their affiliates page to find a group near you. In Minnesota start with http://www.metalsmith.org/ . In Wisconsin go to http://www.umbaonline.org/


Thursday, September 6, 2007

What about my identity?

What happens when I have more than one product to market, then what?

You should always be able to market and brand yourself no matter if you are selling 1 item or dozens. But how you ask? First things first, you have to look at are the 3 questions.
1. Who are you?
2. What do you do?
3. Why is that important?
There is a commonality in these questions no matter what you are selling. What is that you ask? That's easy, it's you! No matter what you are trying to sell, you are your own commonality. You made it, designed it, created it whatever you did in the process you did it. So what you need to do now is think to yourself what ties it back to me.

Let me show you what I mean. Take a look at my store http://tpdesign.etsy.com. I have created several different things note cards, mirrors, floral arrangements, paintings, etc. But if you take a closer look the commonality is they all have some handmade detail to them. The note cards have paintings on them, inked details or hand lettering. The mirrors are also hand lettered. So on and so forth. So in my case I have decieded that my description for my store is "Home Decor and other handmade items". My reasoning comes from the second factor that you nedd to look at when decieding who to brand yourself. What do my customers think about me?

Your customers make up a great deal of your business, in fact they are your business. So why do they come to you? What is it about your items that they love? What do they purchase the most of? In my case I have been told that my home decor is simple and elegant and the handmade elements make them stand out over other pieces that are similar. My best sellers are the "Faith, Hope and Love Mirrors (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6471021). So because of that I decieded that Home Decor should be known first and then handmade elements.

A strong brand is invaluable. Don't be afraid to talk with your customers, see what brings them back to you. Your branding is the foundational piece in your marketing stratigy and something not to be taken lightly. Of course all this said, it won't happen over night either. It's important to spend time researching, defining and building your brand. Talk with others get their opinion. Ask them what they think your commonality is, you may be surprised by the answers. If you are ...well that's for another post.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Make yourself stand out

Knowing how to market yourself can make the difference. But how do you do this? What makes icons like Nike and Coke stand out from it's competitors? This unsure land that businesses sink or swim in is called the brand gap. It's knowing the difference between marketing and branding and how to use both.

Now I know that you are asking yourself, there is a difference in marketing and branding? I am here to tell you there is! We will start with marketing. The easier of the two, well maybe. Let's start with a product, it can be anything, now you take this product and deciede that you need to advertise it. Get the word out. Well what are it's features? What does it do? What do you want people to think about it? And other such questions... So you come up with a campain. Now after you figured all that out and who you want to sell it and have your campain to you think you are ready to send it out into the world to make you money.

But have you asked yourself, what is the lifestyle of the people buying this product? Or even better what do you want them to think their lifestyle is after they buy your product? Studies have shown that it's not necessarily what the product can do for their lives that sells the item but what people think of themselves after they have bought the item. Does it make them feel hip, cool, in the know, or even rich. The iPHONE (or any product from apple) is a great example of how this works. You can buy an iPHONE and feel like you are part of the "cool" group or "in the know", even though you haven't changed who you are one bit.

Now some people think you can get by with just one or the other of these two different strategies. And some companies do. But if you combine the two together...that's when you get the Apples, Cokes and Nikes of the world.

But now you ask is there some magic formula to get there. No, but there are things that you can do to help you get there. First ask yourself 3 questions:
1. Who are you?
2. What do you do?
3. Why is that important?

The first two are simple, it's the answer that you give to the third that will make you stand out. Of coarse there are a few other things too, but one of the most important is you are never afraid to try anything. And if you fail, get up and try again. It's always ok to fail, just never fail twice the same way. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

New Designs are here!

Hello to all...
I have started listing my new line of cards at my esty store. There are just a few of the new designs up right now but the rest should be up later tomorrow. I am really excited about these new designs. They are based on many of my different inspirations: graffiti, pop coulture, vintage, letterpress, and many others. Check them out, let me know what you think. If there is something there that you would like but in a different color, pattern whatever let me know I will work with you. Look forward to seeing you at my shop! Remember Christmas is almost here, time to start shopping!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

New Greeting Cards launch this week

Later this week I will be launching a new line of greeting cards online at my etsy store. These greeting cards will vary from birthday to congrats to good luck or just blank. I am so excited about these cards because I am using my own paintings, photography and designs to create them. I have so many ideas for these cards. All will be blank on the inside so you can add your own personal message. Some I will be offering with the option of personalizing them with your own message, name or intials.
I have included a sneak peak at a few of the new designs, let me know what you think of them. I would love some feedback.





Saturday, September 1, 2007

Teething? Look what I found!

georganne




These great teething bibs can be found at http://georganne.etsy.com/.

She also has some other great items for your little one! I just thought that this was one of the greatest ideas, especially since my 6 month old son loves to chew on his bib.

Friday, August 31, 2007

THIS WEEKEND ONLY

This weekend only, I am offering 20% off at my etsy store. This is in honor of the holiday weekend! All you have to do is put "blogger" in the details line at check out and I will discount the sale for you. This will include custom orders!

Act fast this will only be valid until Monday, September 3 at 12:00pm.

If you have any questions, convo me anytime.

http://tpdesign.etsy.com

My Etsy Shop, part 1

I love graphic design! But I do love to create things by hand still, so I have opened a shop on Etsy.com. At this shop you will find great items for your home or for gifts. Things to make your day at little brighter or to brighten someone elses.

Let me know what you think and if there is anything that you would like to see.

Here is a list of things that you will see at my shop.

Hand painted mirrors
Floral arrangements
Greeting cards
Paintings
Home decor

and coming soon, photography and a new line of greeting cards!

Here is a link to my store, in advance thanks for stopping by!

http://tpdesign.etsy.com/

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Samples of My Work






Graphic Designer

As a graphic designer, I partner with each of my clients to present their organization, product or service exactly how they envision. I listen to what they have to say, about who they are and what they do, then I work with them to present a creative approach that fits them. My aim is to make each client stand out from their competition with imagination and vision. I look for new ways for my clients to invent and reinvent themselves while staying true to who they are. Each company has their own story and it’s my job to help tell it through advertising and design.


Design Skills:
o Logo Design
o Page Layout
o Illustration
o Photo Retouching
o Package Design
o CD/DVD Design
o Image Manipulation
o Typography
o Printing