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 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,

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 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 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 cheap and use 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, (for all those moms out there),, (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.


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


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.com

your etsy link?

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.

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

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

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 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.

Featured Seller on Etsymom blog

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

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

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?
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 more information on blacksmithing, start with . Then visit their affiliates page to find a group near you. In Minnesota start with . In Wisconsin go to

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 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 ( 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!


These great teething bibs can be found at

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.