Sunday, 31 July 2011

Looking for a Custom Piece??? I Can Help :-)

I have been trying and trying... and trying some more to get a note done on facebook to advertise the fact that I would LOVE to start doing custom items for you!!  But facebook doesn't seem to want to cooperate.. sooo.. I'm just gonna leave a link to this (genius huh.. lol)

Anyhoooo.. on to business. 

I have been playing with the idea for a while of offering custom creations, so I've been practicing with the program I bought, as well as a couple I found online; and now that I can actually use them, I'm really looking forward to working with people on custom creations.

I have done a couple so far ..
A heart shaped glass tile pendant with a picture of my friend's grand-daughter. <- no picture of that one since I don't want to post pictures of other people's kids :-) 

Then, I had someone contact me wondering if I could do something that wouldn't require a metal chain (or even clasp) touching her skin since she is sadly allergic to metals.  and here's what we came up with ..
a leather cord with the clasp by the pendant

I'm happy to say that she loved it.. and yes.. it still has metal in it, but it just requires a slightly higher necked shirt so that the metal never touches her skin

As I mentioned before, I did a picture as a glass tile pendant.  So I took some of my pictures from when we went to the Calgary Zoo and made them into magnets to give you an idea of what a picture can look like under the glass:

This is a 7/8" and a 1" square glass tile of the same butterfly (different shots though)

This snow leapard is one of my favorite shots from the zoo.  This picture was cropped and then I added the text so we could remember when we went later on in life :-)

This is what the original photo started off like.  And I have made the cropped image into a 2" square as well and the quality is still great.
The other thing I have been doing is adding text to images I have and here are some of the results:

I did a custom necklace of this Inspire pendant, but in brown for another lady and it is just as pretty in the brown!!

As long as the word, name or phrase fits, just about anything can be put onto this type of image where there is enough of a blank background that it will show up nicely.

And lastly for pictures, this is one that I made up with ALL 7 of my kid's names on it.  It was the first custom image I did and I learned from it (I will move the names closer to the center for sure!!).  But I love it.. and I love that I can have something will 7 names on it... there aren't too many images I could actually do that on :-)

So.. if you have something you would like made into a pendant, a magnet, or a bookmark please let me know.. or if you have another idea please let me know.  I will be upfront with you about whether or not I can actually accomodate your request and also if there will be any extra cost involved. (there may be up to a $1. for sizing / cropping your image and extra printing costs .. that is $1 for the entire order by the way, not each piece...  but nothing else unless I have to order in something I don't carry regularly)

You can contact me either through email or Facebook :-)

Talk to you soon :-)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Craft Shows .. do's and don'ts??

So my friend Megan over at The Mrs.  is doing a craft-fair link up party and asked me to join in.

There are some really great articles on there with lots of tips and advice for anyone wanting to participate in a craft fair.  So I'm not really sure what else I can add to all the awesome tips that people have already put up.. but here goes :-)

I've only done 4 craft fairs in my short little crafty life (notice I said crafty life.. not life!!)  My BEST one to date was definitely the most recent one this July 1st for Canada Day.  And it got me to thinking about why?? At all of the shows I have gotten tonnes of compliments on my work.. but the first 3 were nothing like I had hoped they would be with respect to sales.  And.. to be honest.. as much as I wanted people to like what I created, I wanted them to buy it just as much!!!

So for this craft fair I figured that since I have a good stock now, I didn't need to worry so much about "would I have enough?"  I know now that I'm not going to sell out and come home with just my tables and a pocket full of cash .. ok.. I know it.. but I still want that.. LOL.  No.. this time I decided to focus on my display.. to make that creative, to make it more inviting somehow.  Since I sell small items like jewelry and magnets, it doesn't matter how creative I am with them, if I can't draw people in then I'm not going to sell anything. ..... make sense???

And... I'm SO blessed to have met up with some very creative people on facebook, and my friend Tricia from I Heart Rock n Roll (and my crafty things too) also happened to be doing a craft show not long before mine and she posted a great tutorial for a display she made (see here ---> Picket Fence Tutorial ) .. anyways.. to make a long story shorter.. it gave me some ideas of my own.  I bought and painted and made my own necklace holders (yep.. you can even check it out here ---> Jewelry holder tutorial  , I painted wooden stands bought from thrift stores, and my AWESOME hubby and kids built me a wooden riser to fit my table so that I could add some height and depth to my one table.  All in all.. I loved my display.  There are still things I'm planning on adding to it, but I was so thrilled with it and I think my enthusiasm showed!!

Here's some of the pics from it: 

oh.. and it wasn't the greatest of July days.. so ya know.. bare with me on the darker pics

What people walking by saw: 

This wasn't the end result.. if you look reaaaallll hard you can see my cork board in the back right hand corner... I ended up moving it to the front left side... and almost sold out of everything I had to put on that board!!!

My magnets and Canada Day pins.. they started out semi-organized and ended up being quite the jumble by the end of the day.. I just couldn't keep up

The next few are of my larger table.. see the 3 canvases.. yup.. painted by yours truly (artists of the world you have nothing to fear.. LOL)

My first few craft shows I had the majority of my necklaces as just pendants, neatly displayed in a couple of nice wooden trays.. This time I put a chain on every single one and laid everything out.. I'll tell you.. I sold 50 necklaces that day.. yes.. 50 .. compared to only 4 or 5 at each other craft show over 2 days!!!  (but I also had a pricing strategy this time.. so read on :-D )

and last, but not least, my cute little cork board that I hung my leather corded necklaces from
this is the board I ended up moving over to the front side of the tent.. and it seemed to work!!!

And lastly.. I also worked on a pricing strategy.. specific for the day..

Canada Day was a day of fun.. people weren't out like at a fall craft fair.. looking for Christmas presents , they were out to have a great day of celebrations and to party.  So for me to sell jewelry and magnets, and headbands etc etc, I figured I would have to:

1) Have a price point for the day that wasn't too high since it would be more of an impulse purchase for most people and
2) Make my price point something that was easy to part with cash wise (ie.. like a $5 bill , or a $10 bill.. something where people weren't going to have to hand over multiple bills unless they were buying more than one item.  
.. Now.. did I take a hit on my profits.. yes.. a large one.. BUT.. I acheived what I wanted to that day.. a lot of sales.. and .. a lot of sales with people taking home something with MY business name on it.. access to my email, and to my facebook account. 

I guess my advice to anyone wanting to do a craft fair is this... research each particular one.. don't assume that what you have for sale is what people want at every fair.  And then.. if you still decide that a fair is something you want to do.. plan your strategy for display and price according to the market you're going into.. some artisan markets you can price higher.. some you have to price lower.. but.. LOVE what you do, and have FUN doing it.. greet each and every potential customer (makes them feel liked.. and cuts down on theft).. and no matter what.. SMILE .. if you look like you're having a bad day.. no one is going to want to spend money or ask a question.

Well.. I hope this helps someone.. and if not.. I hope you can send me some of your ideas to help improve on mine :-) .. Have a great day all!!!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Craft Fairs .. and the Power of Prayer

Wooo hooo.. the first craft fair of the season (for me anyways) was this weekend.  Yeah.. I'm happy now.. but I was a complete basket case for a couple of days weeks before it.  I'm a planner.. a list maker.. an ocd organizer.  And it is so hard for me to not be able to control things...

Take for instance this Canada Day..

I got accepted into the crafter's corner for our local festivities..
step one.. check.

 I made up all my product (and then some!!!) .. all ready to go..
step two.. check.

 I worked on my set up and made holders and painted holders for all my goods..
step three.. check

 2 weeks before I started checking the weather reports.. all sun and good stuff (I mean it'll be July.. how could it not be good weather)..
step four.. check 

 1 week before.. I double checked the weather report.. mostly sun.. and a few clouds..
step four.. still checked.

5 days before.. the weather report now says mostly cloudy..
 step four.. gulp.. still checked 

 3 days before.. cloudy.. with a few showers.. crud.. but I can still deal with that.. after all.. I'm under a tent..
 step four.. check 

 The day before.. rain, rain, and more rain in the forecast..
I cried..
no more check on step four :-(

 I mean.. we paid money for the tent, we paid to get into the craft fair.. and it's going to pour down rain all day?? No one will come out, I won't be able to sell anything... add to this is the fact that my husband has not been able to go back to work for over a week because the road into the town he's working in is washed out, and the road into the mine he's working for was closed down due to the heavy rains as well.. I worked out our money situation and we have the choice to pay our bills or buy food (and with all our kids... food it would be)

So.. I prayed .. Dear God.. please let me at least make back the money we paid out so I'm not being more of a burden to my husband.  ... Lord.. please provide for my family.. yes.. I'm sure you can guess how my prayers went. 
And then.. I did what is hard for me.. I did my very best to leave it in His hands.. and I did pretty well at that.. I wasn't as nervous, I actually slept the night before and I woke up with the "what will be, will be".. attitude ..
I still didn't expect to do well.. I woke up to clouds and rain.. But..  you know what.. when we left to go and set up.. the rain stopped.. I got everything into my tent.. and the rain started again.. timing..perfect timing.  So, there I was set up.. all alone and cold.. very cold..(and I'm thankful too that my wonderful husband brought a heater back with him an hour or so later).. But.. I figured since I was there I was going to make sure I smiled at anyone who came out in this weather.. whether they were walking by my tent or coming into it.. if they were as crazy um.. brave as I was by being out on such a day.. they at least deserved a smile :-)
And then it happened.. my prayers were answered.. Someone came into my tent, just after I finished my set up.. and bought something .. at quarter to ten, I made my first sale.. and then I didn't sit down again until 5:40 that evening because He smiled upon me that day.. and I had more customers than I could ever have hoped for.
No, I didn't sell out of everything.. but I made enough.. we can buy our groceries, and pay our bills, and I was given a gift too.. there was enough left over for a couple of items that some of my friends make that I have wanted since I saw them.  We don't usually have a lot extra, and we still don't.. but it was a wonderful, wonderful day and I have been saying thanks over and over.  It was humbling and amazing all at once.

This Bible verse says it all to me,  and I need to try and live it better!!

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
What else can I say.. I hope you ALL have a wonderful and safe holiday this weekend, whether you're celebrating Canada Day or Independence Day.  We live in two very blessed and wonderful nations :-)