Shop Update

Last month was an exciting month on the shop front. I had, what I would consider, my first successful show.

And I mean success in a variety of ways. There was, of course, conventional success. People bought my shirts. They bought my napkins. I went home with less inventory and more money. And that was nice, obviously.

But the success of the show was more than that. I got to talk to people. Real people. About my *art* (gasp!). I got to get honest reactions and feedback. I got to find out what people thought and liked. I got ideas…

Like this. I had already done the first two lyrics to the song, but a customer wanted all three. She was willing to get just the two and buy an elephant for the third kiddo, but I decided to work with her.

Because that’s the awesome thing about this gig. I get to make things that, hopefully, make people smile. And that’s pretty awesome.

And it doesn’t just stop there, or with that one woman. Over at my Etsy shop, I get frequent requests from customers who see something they like in the shop but want something just a bit different – different color print, different size, different sleeve length. And they ask.

And, most of the time, I get to say Yes! Yes, I can make that for you! (Just look at my Sold Items page, it is overwhelmed by my little Custom Order icon)

And then I do.

And I get to feel a bit like a magician.

Yup, this gig is pretty awesome.

The fact that I can do it while staying home with my little ones and loving on my dear “assistants,” major bonus!

(Oh, and there is still time if you’d like to place an order for the holidays. Just get in touch!)

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Feeling Inspired (Again)

After preparing for my first show, I was left feeling a little drained. In the days and weeks leading up, I spent so much of my time with a pencil in hand, carving blocks, printing. It was so good, but I also needed a rest. I needed to step away and pursue other things, if only for a little while.

Now, three weeks later, my head is brimming with ideas. Blocks I want to carve. Different ways I want to print. Adult designs, just starting to emerge.

Last week I finally got back to it and, I’ve gotta say, a lot of it looks promising.

Take today’s prints, for example:

While they are a little brighter than I would like, my work tends to have a more subtle and natural palette, I am pleased with the start.

I used watercolors to wash the paper in color and I love the texture and interest that that process provides. I like the way the paper feels like my shirts. A little uneven, with a bit more depth and interest than a commercially dyed shirt or stock would.

While these are just test prints, I can see some real possibilities here. Art prints. Postcards. Greeting cards.

And, with all the possibilities that working in a less functional medium provides, I’ve been having all sorts of new ideas. And I’m excited again.

There will, hopefully, be a new design or two in the shop in the next little bit. But for now, feast your eyes on a few of my first gift sets. I’m rather happy with them.

And I hope that you are too.

Happy Monday.

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My First Show

It was a late night last Friday. After a week of solid work I had inventory. Real inventory. Inventory I was proud of.

I had a booth. A booth that, despite it’s very last minute construction, I was proud of.

I had a very short list of last minute tasks to do.

I was confident. Ready.

Saturday morning started early and despite a few small wrenches being thrown, I made it to the venue, got set-up (my booth goes fast – just about 15-20 minutes) and was settled down with Xander, ready to make a go of it.

And, nobody came. Not literally nobody, but it was extremely quiet. I guess it was to be expected. Beautiful day on the last Saturday of August. Odd little location off of the beaten track. I made a few sales to friends (Thanks for your support, guys!!) but that was it. I spent the majority of the day sitting in my chair, chatting with other vendors and flirting with Xander (my newly bottle-rejecting little one).

While in the most traditional sense (I didn’t turn a profit) the show was a flop, there are a few good things that came from it.

First, the deadline really pushed me to create. I have a lot of product that I’m pretty happy with. A lot more than I would have had without the deadline.

Over the past few days some of that inventory is making its way into the shop. Go over, have a look, I think the place is looking quite spiffy.

Second, I got a chance to get out. Test out a booth set-up. See if this is something I could really see myself doing (it is, I think).

Third, I got to talk to a bunch of other vendors. I got to see their set-ups. I got to hear their tales.

Fourth, I realized that if I want to do this. Really do this. I have to get serious. That started this week with taking a real look at the finances behind this little venture. I should probably develop a business plan, too.

But this week I took a little break from it all, but now I’m feeling ready to go. I have a few new ideas for blocks that should hit the pages of my sketchbook soon. I have a few new ideas for products and promotions. I have a few plans for where to go from here. I am energized. I am ready.

Let’s go!

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Checking In

It would go to figure that just days before my first show, both boys would get sick. Fever and runny nose for the smallest babe. Croup for the big guy. I guess the blessing, very cleverly disguised, in all of this is that it has forced us to stay home and in every single available moment I’ve been dyeing and printing and readying myself.

With just three days left, I’m not sure how I’ll get everything done by Saturday. If I had to venture a guess it’ll require a few late nights, a handful of stressed tears, a wee tiny bit of luck, and a smidge of letting go.

Here’s what the living room (uh, my studio) is looking like right now.

If you’re in town, stop by the Urban Folk Circuit at The Hideout on Saturday. I will be there with 20+ other artists/crafters and some live music to boot!

If you’re not around, don’t forget to check out the shop. There will be plenty of new items hitting the virtual shelves next week. New colors! New designs! Such fun!!

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Putting Myself Out There

A few months ago when I decided I really wanted to make a go at selling some of my wares, Etsy seemed a natural starting point.

There are so many things I like about Etsy, including the fact that it was easy-to-use and already well traveled. But most of all, I like the fact that it is fairly anonymous.

I’m not very confident, you see. With Etsy, I can post up some of my work and if people like it, they click on it. Often one of my items will be marked as someones favorite. And sometimes they even make a purchase (22 times now!!).

If people don’t like my stuff, well, I never hear about it. They just never click on it. They step away and I never even know about it. I kind of like it that way, but I know that it isn’t the best plan.

A few weeks ago in a rare moment of bravery and boldness (I do believe my husband had just complimented one of my designs), I scoured the internet and found a few local shows that I could apply to.

I decided to start with just two. Again, this was the internet. Anonymity still ruled. I’d put myself out there (just a bit) and see what happened. If they liked my stuff, I’d get in. I’d go to the show. If they didn’t, well, I’d receive that little bitty rejection email and quickly archive it, pretending nothing had ever happened.

Well, wouldn’t you know it. I got into both.

Next month I’ll be hanging out at the Hideout with the good folks from the Urban Folk Circuit.

Then in November, I’ll be joining the ranks at the DIY Trunk Show hosted by the Chicago Craft Mafia.

I’m ridiculously, over-the-top excited about both shows. I’m also ridiculously, over-the top nervous. I know that if I want to grow, this is a great way to do it, but I can’t help but worry about rejection (I think I’m still about 12 years old). Will anyone really buy my stuff? Will I show up with heaps of product only to pack it all up and go home. Will I even recoup my booth fee?

I’ve got only a month to prepare for the first show, so I’ll be a busy little maker the next few weeks. I can’t wait to share more about the shows, my new designs, and my booth! Stay tuned!

Oh, and, don’t worry, I’ll remind you as the dates for both get closer. If you’re local, I’d love to see you out. I’ll be the one hiding behind all the adorable block-printed t-shirts, shaking in my boots – should be easy to spot. 🙂

 

 

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