Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday Faves

While in search of the perfect little black dress I didn't make it past this shop! Clairelafaye's dresses are exquisite, the lace and frills are so feminine and sexy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Craft Fair Tips for Papercrafters

Ensure your packaging has your shop name/url on it

Just getting your feet wet with craft fairs? Here are some thoughts and insights I gained from my recent multiple-day fair experience.

  • The 1st tip, unfortunately is, stay away from venues that are not specifically geared towards "handmade". While the press release for this event called for "handcrafted vendors", out of the 12 booths onsite, only 4 of us actually made what we were selling. I ended up next to the lady who sells really inexpensive mass-produced jewelry at one of the local flea markets, whic is exactly what the fairgoers were interested

  • So, how do you find out info on upcoming shows in your area? There are many online eventlister services, some are free and others provide you a list of fairs a few months in advance for a membership fee such as Eventlister. Your local Etsy Street Team will probably also have a list on their blog or forum. Start looking early, at least 2-3 months in advance as some shows have a fairly large list of established vendors and are very competitive to be selected for. For example, applications for Ft. Bragg's November Yule Mart go out in the summer and are usually due by September.
  • When choosing a venue, seek as much info as possible about the fair, ie., is it new? Been around for several years? Is there an admission price for fairgoers? Will there be onsite concessions? All of this will affect your potential sales, especially in this economy.

  • If possible, set up your booth in advance, either in your yard, or wherever you have space (I used my living room) and take pictures to facilitate quick set-up at your event. Be creative with your booth, afterall, it's HOW your booth looks that will draw people in. Look around the house for interesting items, like baskets, picture frame stands, you can use for display. Use on-hand items like boxes hidden under your tabloth to create "risers" or heighth on your table. Check out Etsy for great banners, design your own (with cardstock and vinyl lettering that you can have laminated) or take advantage of free offers from internet marketing companies like Vistaprint. I use their free rubber stamps to stamp the back of all my cards. For smaller items, I print my shop info on a mailing label and adhere it to the outside of a clear resealable bag. Business Cards with a punched hole can also be tied to bags and larger items.

  • Draw more attention by offering freebies or having a drawing to win some of your wonderful goodies. Use up those scrapbook paper remnants by creating little matchbook notepads. Sometimes I enter people in the drawing just for signing up on my email listing (have a clipboard set up for this and one for custom orders too).

  • Set up a Make N' Take Station. Big Kids as well as wee ones enjoy craft-making so why not set aside a little space to let them make a card on the spot. Since the fair opened just before Mother's day, I assembled several card kits from leftover paper and cardstock and sold them for $2.00. I printed out various Mother's Day sentiments on cardstock and let the kids choose their desired phrase. Be sure to advertise your station and the price for making the craft.

  • Photo Memory Board came in handy to protect against wind.
    Elevated photo trees make an eye catching dislay

  • Prepare for varying whether conditions. We had to contend with rain and strong winds, either could spell catastrophe for our fragile papergoods! Relied on this memory board to keep cards from being blown away. I displayed cards with a greeting inside on this board. I hung blank cards in clear resealable bags (to protect fragile ones from too much handling) from this photo "tree". Don't forget to snap pics of your booth for future craft fair applications if needed.
Memorable experinces? Please share! For more great tips, check out Etsy's blog, the Storque and happy fair-going!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reflections of an Eclectic Crafter

I'm supposed to be cleaning my house right now for friends coming over for a cook-out tomorrow, but I just had to blog about a question that I've been grappling with for some time now...WHAT IS MY STYLE??? Why does this matter? Well, in my hours and hours of blog-hopping and virtual window shopping on Etsy, the most successful sellers are branded and seem to have a style. If you see their work, then you automatically say, hey that's Papercakes' shop, or Boodybabies, or Wylesstyle or Rockerchic or whomever the seller may be. Is the same true of my work? Does it need to be? I go back and forth on this, because some days I feel like a little vintage, some days something polka dot, strawberry and chocolate will tickle my fancy, and then some days I can go totally rustic. Deep down inside, I think I prefer all things cute and sweet. So, why don't I just focus on this? All my life I've been told, I'm so cute, which is fine when you're 8 years old, not nearly 40. Funny how my own cuteness seeps it's way into my work. I've tried to do edgy or beautiful, but it just keeps coming back to CUTE. At the craft fair I recently did, someone wanted to buy a card and asked if I had anything not so girly and cute...I thought, nope, that's what I like, so that's what I make! I think I've been stretching myself too thin trying to create a little of this and that for everybody instead of a lot of what I love for the people who will love it too! What's your STYLE?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cuttin' Up with Cricut..My 24-hr Word Book

Some of you might remember, about a year ago Hubby got me a Cricut Expressions machine. Thought it would be great for churning out greeting cards and scrapbooking embellies...well, I have been slow to realize it's full potential until a couple of nights ago. I had two days to make a "BABY" Book for my sisterfriend. Typically I use the precut ones from Bo Bunny which are great, but I've seen some pretty creative ones while bloghopping and really wanted to have the ability to do it. And for anyone who's used the precut books, you know how time-consuming it can be to cut the paper for both sides of each letter, trim, sand edges, etc. So, in a panic, I decided to give cutting my own book a whirl...and wound up creating this in just over a day. I followed the detailed tutorial found on this fab blog, "Invincible Summer" . She graciously walks you through creating your own Word Book with Cricut Design Studio Software, which is about $90. Being thrifty, for now I'm just the free trial version of the software which allows you to cut with the cartridges that came with your machine. Ain't no stoppin' me now...I'm on the move!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Showin' the Teachers Some Love!

While bloghopping the other day, I came across a fabulous site: the "Cutting Cafe" and did she ever save me in the knick of time! I needed something quick and easy for the end-of-the-week teacher gifts; we'd already given them cards made by the kiddos and "sweet treats" (based off Stamper's Dream's tutorial), so we continued with the handmade goodness! Remember my pack of K & Company "Wild Saffron" paper? Well, I put it to use with these monogrammed notecard holders, aren't they delish??? The look of surprise and delight on the teachers' faces made it all worthwhile! Need some crafting tips or gift-making guidance? Check out TipJunkie's Blog; it's chock full of helpful ideas for any occasion.