NLA Bracelet featured in Etsy Treasury…

Happy news! A fellow Etsy crafter featured my Whimsy Mimsy Bracelet in her fun, accessories focused treasury!

Unique, Lightly Colored, and Fun!

 

Check out her treasury BY CLICKING HERE before it expires!

Thanks BizimSupplies! I’m always happy to get added exposure!

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Introducing Jalex Studios

It has bee a while since I’ve blogged and it’s been a while since I introduced any artists.  Golly…with my temporary blogging break due to our move (which HAPPENS TODAY!!!), I may have lost all of my readers.  Let’s hope not!  I found some awesome contemporary art pieces for the home on Etsy and I’d like to share my discovery of a WONDERFUL new etsy artist and his DELIGHTFULLY REFRESHING work with you.  It is a long introduction, but I hope you enjoy reading it.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  🙂  He’s truthful, real, comical, and quite enjoyably genuine.  Introducing…Jalex Studios.

The artist’s name is Jeff Alexander.  He is a 36yr old resident of Houston, TX, who is originally from a small town outside of Rochester, NY called Scottsville.  Jeff is an electrical engineer by day, and currently by night,an aspiring entrepreneur, trying to share with the world his designs and ideas.  He is married (let’s congratulate him on just reaching 10 years of marriage!), and he and his wife also have a very active 5-year old boy.   They have no pets (although, he says he keeps teasing his wife about the day their son asked for a dog)….so perhaps, no pets “yet”.  🙂  

To characterize his artistic style, Jeff says it is modern design.  I would agree and say it’s the new wave of modern design because his creations are modern with an up-cycled twist.  In his own words on his style, Jeff says, “I like to create things that have clean lines that convey a simplicity. I also like juxtaposition. What I mean by this is I like to use material that vastly different from one another (i.e metal and wood) to create some texture to my designs. I am also interested in using recycled material unique ways.”  So, what are Jeff’s favorite materials to use?  Wood, recycled material, found objects.

We know that every artist has inspiration, so where does Jeff get his?  “…from everyday life.”  On thought of this topic, he adds… “It’s kind of funny — I would always ask my wife, why does she buy so many shoes?  I would always say to her, “You don’t have an outfit to match those shoes so why buy them!!” My wife would respond – “Honey, if you buy the shoes, the outfit will come”. Needless to say, she was right (did I just admit she was right? Hmm… must be getting late).  So you may ask, what does this statement have to do with my inspiration. Everything, because many of my inspirations come about in this manner. Whenever, I find an object that intrigues me and I’m hesitant to use it, I go back to what my wife said but change it to “if you use it, the design will come”.  So, many of my inspirations come from ordinary objects that I feel have a unique quality that can be fused together to create designs that are intriguing and thought provoking and hope that someone might say “Wow, I never thought of using that object that way”.  I’d say that Jeff’s wife is a genius…on shoes and on artistic development.  🙂  And I agree that, if you can find ONE element of what you want to do and you branch off of it for inspiration, it will all come together in the end.

So, what about this town that Jeff lives in?  I often wonder about artists and the places they live, and whether or not I ask, I’m curious to see how different areas impact artists differently.  I’m a firm believer that the energy you surround yourself with has a large impact on the many facets of your life.  As mentioned previously, Jeff lives in Houston, TX – the fourth largest city in the U.S.  According to Jeff, “Houston is a great place to live (if you can stand the summer heat!!)” — He also adds, “I love it here. Houston has a small town feel to me, but yet is a large city…with great style when it comes to modern design and living.”  I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there (myself included), who when they think of any Texas city, they can’t help but think western, but Jeff reminds us not to focus on the common correlation…”Houston is an undiscovered gem when it comes to modern design/lifestyle. Most people associate modern design/living with New York, or California, but Houston has great modern design/lifestyle that makes me proud to call it home.”  Judging on Jeff’s designs, I’d have to agree with him.  Even if he was the only modern design in Texas…I’d say his art is quite an undiscovered gem of modern design!

So, what about his beginnings?  How did Jeff come to start making his modern art/craft(s)?  What is his story ?  I think you’ll enjoy reading what he says about how it all came to fruition.  “I think initially I started my craft the first year my son was born (2003). The prior Christmas, my wife and I made a resolution for the next Christmas, to not go out and buy gifts, but rather make something. We felt that it was too easy to just buy something. To make something by hand — now that would make for a memorable Christmas that would never be forgotten. Well, needless to say August rolled around and my wife comes to me and says — So how’s my Christmas present coming? I, with a look of horror andfright claim amnesia (don’t worry, if your husband hasn’t given you this look by now, in time he will!!).  So, I hastily began to design a modern armoire for my wife. Well, I held up my end of the bargain and come Christmas day, my wife got her handmade modern armoire. I think at that point, the seed was planted. When we moved into our new house, we were pretty much broke. We had this beautiful brand new house, but no money to furnish it with the style that we loved. So through necessity, came creativity. One of my first endeavors was to try and furnish our guest bedroom. Many of the items in that room I hand made (bed, side table, shelves…). After finishing that room, someone told me that I should post my work on HGTV’s rate my space page (http://ratemyspace.hgtv.com/SNC/GroupSearch.aspx?pguid=6db6be3f-1720-4ba3-a081-999042c09b6b&username=jba4718).  After posting my work, I was so overwhelmed by the positive responses back from people, that I began to realize that people had an appreciation for my ideas and designs. So, I got enough courage (as well as finally getting off my butt) and decided that I would no longer sit back and wonder what if, and change that to “And If” !! — Pretty cool story, ay?  To me, Jeff’s story is a testament to the serendipitous moments that probably happen to us all.  I like to think of it as God and the Universe urging us toward our destiny and life calling.  Lucky for Jeff, he had his ears open!  🙂 

So, we know Jeff is a busy guy.  He’s got a full-time job, andhe’s a husband, and he’s a dad, AND he’s a budding artist on Etsy.  It’s different for all Etsy artists, but how does Jeff balance his Etsy shop with everything else?  “Well, I am a fairly new to Etsy (I opened my shop in May, 2008). As far as balance is concerned, ever since I discovered Etsy, I have
been so focused on getting my portfolio out to the world in my Etsy shop.  The weird thing is, I feel rather balanced.  I know this sounds odd, but the moment I discovered Etsy, something clicked. This was the missing piece of the puzzle for me. I work in a technical field that is very demanding, but at times lacks any real creativity. I have always had a creative side to myself, but never knew of a venue to show it off in. When I discovered Etsy, I knew that this was the place that I needed to be. I am so passionate about the opportunity to show off my portfolio, that it has crept into my day job (Oops, guess I shouldn’t have said that, but it is true).  I would love to ultimately be able to sustain my lifestyle with my shop on Etsy, but for right now I am content with the adventure of getting my name out there.”

True to form, Etsy artists love handmade.  For everyone, it is different, so I like to know what element(s) of handmade really attract people to love it so much.  I asked Jeff about this and he said,

1. “I love that fact that it comes from the heart and mind. What I mean by this is that
in your heart is where your passion lies, and in your mind is where your creativity comes from. When you combine these two (heart + mind) you get handmade from the heart.”
2. “I love the fact that there is a face to the product. You get a sense of what that person has created and why they created it.”
3. “The uniqueness of the experience.”

Of course, after knowing those things, I’m curious to know about Jeff’s own favorite piece from his shop.  After cornering him on the topic (he really likes them all because each one has a piece of him), he finalized that he likes the Doors Collection of Wall Art (Introspective, Juxtaposition).

Now, with all of that, how does Jeff promote his work?  As an artist, it is great to know because it could open your eyes to a new avenue you had not thought of.  As a reader/supporter, it’s interesting to know how much additional work goes into getting a successful business off the ground.  Exposure is everything, and with today’s day and age, technology and the internet is key.  Jeff maintains a Website, blog, Etsy shop, and myspace.  His shop was also featured on Fresh Shops (http://www.etsy.com/storque/section/spotlight/article/fresh-shops-jalexstudios/1847/) on May 22nd (“I found this out a week later. Guess that explains why my views on some of my items shot up so fast”).
He’s also on Flickr and on Squidoo: www.squidoo.com/jalexstudios

You know?  I’m writing about all of this business and well, after getting to know all of that, I wonder what Jeff does for fun when he isn’t busy with all else… Jeff’s response was…”What do I do for fun? Hmm, that’s a good question. I love to spendtime with my family. I also findmyself spending a lot of time at Hardware Stores (I’m doing the Home Improvement growl as I type this 🙂 ). I also love going to Modern Home Furnishing Stores to see all the great designs (this gives me lots of inspiration). Most times you can find me in my garage/studio, tinkering with new ideas/concepts that I have in my head.”

 

Lastly, Jeff would like to share some encouraging thoughts with my readers, “Over the last year before I opened up my shop, I was in an artistic slump, self-doubt, etc.. (if you will). What I mean by this is that, I felt something was missing in my life, there was a hole somewhere, but I didn’t know where. One day scanning through the channels on cable, I ran across the movie RENT, and was mesmerized by the message of this movie. So I submit to you what I would like for your readers to take away, whether they are fellow Etsians, or contemplating becoming future Etsians — “Forget regrets, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way. No daybut today”. I think this says it all, have no regets, do it your way, and sieze the day!!”

Thank you, Jeff!  I’m certain your words of encouragement will speak to at least one reader other than myself and I would venture to bet that they’ll reach far more than that!  Jeff’s story is an encouraging one, an inspirational one, and hopefully to anyone reading my introduction, an enjoyable one!

Visit Jeff’s Etsy store now! He’s offering 10% off to any one who mentions nicoleleeartistry in their message to seller when they purchase an item from jalex studios etsy store.

Aches, Pains, and Droopy Eyelids

  Well, after much toil, teamwork and (at times) strife, our house is finally FOR SALE! Nancy (our Realtor) came by last night to finalize the paperwork and discuss the plan. Today I am taking pictures of the house and sending them to her, and hopefully by tonight, we will have a full, complete listing in the multi-listing directory! Yippee!!! Now with it all said and just about done, in reflection, the thoughts that come to mind… “Anthony and I are a Great Team!” “OH, does my body ache and my eyelids are BEGGING to close!”

Alas, I cannot indulge in my desires for a rest just yet because we are going to Pa. this weekend and will be leaving when Anthony gets home from work and we get the car packed. So, in addition to the photographs I have to take of the house, I have packing to do. And this trip is going to be a first…we are taking ALL THREE DOGS with us!  And not only that, this will be the first LONG road trip for Bam and Bella.  Normally, we take Bam and Bella to Anthony’s mom’s house, and we take little Sadie Magoo with us, but being that Anthony and I have plans to move in with my parents for a while, while our new house gets built (after the sale of the one we are in), my mom suggested we bring everyone to test the waters.  Soooo, we are all excited, and very curious to see how Bam and Bella get along with my mom and dad’s dog, Chelsea, and can’t wait to relax!  Did I mention I’m pooped?

     Once the online listing is available, I’ll share it on my blog.  Hopefully we will be fortunate ad it will have a quick sale.  🙂  In the meantime, I am going to catch up on some reading while everything is packed away and my plan is to take it easy…at least as easy as I can.  There are still things to be done, but I SOOOO need a rest.  In fact, I may just go back to bed because I’m about to fall onto my laptop…and I would much rather fall onto my pillow.  🙂

Oh!  Before I go…I was so excited to find that I was featured in Etsy’s Storque again!  Vadjutka did an article on photographing jewelry and included mention of my adorable Cherry Drop Earrings!  Yay!

Click Here to See them in My Etsy Store!

If you’re interested in learning more about photographing jewelry, CLICK HERE to read the one in the Storque.  It’s in their How-To section and is titled, “How-to Photograph Jewelry: Get the Basics with Vadjutka.” It’s a good article – easy to read and understand for the average every-day photographer. 

Well, I’m off to bed – to take a delayed snooze… As usual, I got up to make Anthony’s lunch and generally I stay awake, but today… I’m going back to bed.  🙂 

I am Woman.  I am strong.  I am so tired.

🙂 Wish us luck and say a prayer that our house sells quickly!  Have a wonderful day! 🙂

 

Introducing… Sew Flirty!

So Fun!  So Fresh!

I met another new and wonderful artist in the Etsy forums recently, and she’s a FRESH DISCOVERY, having only opened her shop this past April 16th!  So, lets’s give her a warm welcome, take some time to appreciate her artwork, and take some time to get to know her as an artist, and hopefully a friend!  Oh yeah … and MAYBE WE COULD BUY SOME OF HER WORK while we are in her store poking around!  🙂

Her name is Stacey and she is an Idaho native, who recently moved to a mid sized city in Kansas, so her husband could attend school there.  (Bonus for her – there are lots of fabric stores and places to get inspiration from!)  She is a stay-at-home/sew-at-home mom with a one year old boy, “Hudson.”  Like most moms, Stacey spends most of her days chasing Hudson around, with a few free moments to spare, trying to do something creative that provides some mom “freedom” time!  Henceforth came her Etsy store, Sew Flirty…Filled with her stylin’ crafts – modern but usable and may also have a touch of vintage to it.


We all have our crafting beginnings and this is Stacey’s story – “My mom taught me to sew with an old Bernina sewing machine, which I still use.  It is made out of metal, which you don’t see much anymore! I love it though. It works great and is reliable! Other than that, I just like being creative and sewing helps me have an outlet!”

Stacey is new to Etsy, but with regard to balancing her shop with everything else, she says she “just tries to take it one day/item at a time. Otherwise it gets overwhelming.”  She makes lists and tries to tackle at least something on it everyday. “If I do, then it has been a good day!”  I’m with her – I love making lists and crossing things off!  It’s the crossing things OFF the list that motivates me to keep going strong!  It’s sometimes hard though, to balance work with play – or at least to balance the enjoyable aspects of our crafting with the less enjoyable aspects of managing a home-based crafting business.  As I know many of us Etsy people do, Stacey has found that she is “definitely staying up a lot later now that (she) is on etsy!! It is so addicting!”  Don’t we all know it!  Especially when you’re starting out!  It can be such fun!

 

With regard to her favorite materials, she says they are Fabric, fabric, fabric!  “I love to use bright, fun, retro and unique patterns. I love to mix different fabrics that have a commonality and create something with them.”  She gets her inspiration from… “items I use everyday.  I try to find a way to put some flair into them. I also look at vintage patterns which help me give a new twist for common items. Anything that you are already using that can be changed into something more fun will create a fresh new feeling when using that item. I like to change things up and add a little flair to things.”

So, what is her favorite item from her etsy shop?  “Probably my aprons. I only have one listed right now but have a few more in the works. I have enjoyed creating patterns for them that will be flirty in the kitchen or wherever you choose to wear them! I wanted to make it fun to cook, not just another chore! Plus they are such a hot item right now! I do enjoy creating new things and coming up with new ideas though so really, anything I am working on becomes my new favorite item!”

And, what does she love about handmade?  “I enjoy coming up with an idea, then finding just the right materials/fabric to use. It is also about taking the time to put it together just right and seeing the final result! I feel like a lot of love and care goes into handmade and each item has their own personality. There is something unique to them that no one else has. Its kind of like having your own secret!”

Her ways of promoting…  “I try to go on the forums at least a few times each week. I also have a blog at http://sewflirty.blogspot.com that I update regularly. I plan to hand out business cards and offer incentives to repeat buyers.  I am just getting started with promotions though so I am looking into all avenues!”

FINAL STATEMENT FROM STACEY…  “I just always like to add a splash of flair to things. If I feel like the item will accomplish it, then I add it. I think life should always be so fun, so fresh and sew flirty!!”

INCENTIVES FOR CHATTERBOX BLOG READERS… She is offering 10% off to anyone who mentions nicoleleeartistry in their message when they purchase an item from HER ETSY STORE.

Hand-Made for MOM

I remember when I was little, how excited my mother would get over my home made gifts.  She always said that they meant more to her.  I imagine that many mothers feel the same way, and I don’t think that changes as we grow older.  With that in mind, I thought I’d share some ideas with my crafty readers, who might just decide to make their own Mother’s Day gifts.  And if you are reading this and are not crafty…well, I’ve provided some great gift ideas for you as well – all hand made items from Etsy sellers.  Hope you find some inspiration!

HGTV has a great selection of hand made gift ideas, with how-to videos and printable instructions.  The list includes Photo Transfer Pillows, Beaded Wind Chimes, Souvenir Lamp Shade, Mom’s Memory Book, Heirloom Candles, To Mom With Love Bracelet, Mother’s Day Brunch, Fun and Funky Tote Bag, Quick and Easy Flower Arrangements, and a Breakfast in Bed Tray.

Don’t like those ideas? Paint a picture!  Water color paints are easy and forgiving.  If you’re not sure how to get started, here’s a helpful beginner’s guide. 

 Write a poem.  When I was younger – probably 18 or 19, I wrote my mom this LONG poem that recalled memories of all the times I thought of her as a mother in my life…moments when she comforted me, laughed with me, scolded me, disciplined me, loved me, and as I grew older, how she also became a friend to me.  I think it is one of my most favorite gifts that I ever gave her because I put so much time and thought into it.

Let’s let our moms know how special they are.  Show much we appreciate, love and are grateful to them for the nine months of gestation they endured, their guidance and support, their laughter and joy, their tolerance for the possible agony and gray hairs that we gave them,  and all of the years that have followed.  Think about it…if you were or are a mother, what would you want your child to feel toward you?  Turn those feelings into something tangible.

And for those of you, NOT interested in making a home-made gift?  Let someone else do it for you!  Check out Etsy’s Gift Guides and the one specifically geared toward Mothers Day.  🙂  Hope you find something you like!  (Pssst…my Felicitous Green Earrings are in the Everyday $15.00 and under guide on page 8, I’m certain they’d make a mom pretty happy!)

MY GOALS FOR MAY…

Well, after yesterday’s post about the conclusion of April and the evaluation of my April goals, today brings a post about what I plan to accomplish in May.  My focus will be shifting a little because Anthony and I have made some changes in our personal plans – we plan to put our little house on the market this summer, which moves our plan ahead by 8 months!  So, I will be making some time for home improvement projects as well.  Here they are:

1. Blog daily.

2. Make and list new items – at least one new item daily.  Preferably 3 new listings or renewals per day.

3. Do at least two craft shows.

4. Complete outside landscaping projects, finish renovating sun room and laundry room, and begin bathroom renovation.

5. Post in the forums three times a day to promote my Etsy shop.

6. Continue networking to build relationships with other Etsy sellers and potential buyers, which includes visiting other blogs and posting comments regularly (at least twice a week)

7. Send, “thank you” cards to past customers and include some sort of goodie.  Send emails out to past customers with an incentive to buy during the month of May.

8. Obtain 475 hearts on Etsy

9. Profit more from my crafts than I have any other month thus far…even if it is only by one dollar more.

10. Purchase supplies and materials needed, and set up my own metal smithing space at home.

What are your goals?  As we share our goals with one another, we are more likely to achieve them!  It also helps us think of other areas we could improve upon.  🙂  Hopefully, by listing and sharing our goals, we will see increased cash flow, business success and happiness!


 

Bright, NEW MONTHLY GOALS…April Evaluation.

April is coming to an end and it begs that I evaluate my April Goals and contemplate new ones for May.  My April goals were to:

1. Get 350 hearts on Etsy (Check!  Accomplished today!)

2. Reach a total of 30 sales…still have 7 to go…anyone want to buy?  Go to my shop now!  (NO MINIMUM PURCHASE…BUY before April ends and get a FREE PAIR OF EARRINGS!)

3. Drive more traffic to my blog…sporadic.  I tried some new things and although I still have traffic, it is up and down.  Some days I have TONS and other days nothing…I suppose most blogs have that though – up and down.  I’m going to keep at it, but am open to any suggestions to keep traffic flowing.  🙂

4. Get something in a new local boutique – one shop has agreed to carry my wine glasses! (check!)

5. Make new items every day and post new items in my shop regularly.  (I consistently made new items, but was not as consistent with listing as I would have liked.)

6. Post in the forums, blog every day and stay active on Etsy, building relationships and getting to know other crafters. (Well, I almost blogged every day and stayed active on Etsy, though not as much in the evenings as I used to.)  

7. Gain as much exposure as I can. (check!)

Special news…
  I had a really nice thing happen yesterday!  If you follow my blog, you may remember Shannon from greenbelts.  Well, yesterday, Shannon had the honor and privilege of being selected as the featured artist in Etsy’s “Etsy Success Stories!” AND she wore my Lemon Drop earrings in the pictures that they used!!! 

 Yippee!!!  She also included my new “Jonquil Delight” earrings as a favorite of hers below the article!  How sweet is she?  Very!  🙂  So, it goes to show how important it is to develop relationships!  It’s all about networking!


So, for my May goals…I’m giving them thought, with regard that I will need to embrace the challenges that warm weather will brings.  I’d like to hear your goals!  Let’s help one another take off!  =)

 

Etsy Color Picker…

  Today, I want to talk about a really cool tool on Etsy.  It’s Etsy’s “Color Picker.  Why might you want to know about it?  Well, it’s perfect when searching for gifts if you want a certain color, or perhaps you’re planning a wedding or a party and you have a color theme, or perhaps you’re composing a treasury.  Whatever the occasion, you should know about this TIME-SAVING searching tool!  Here’s what it looks like when you have arrived… 

The COLOR PICKER…REALLY too cool for its own good!  Find items by COLOR.  Visually select the color you are searching for and it shows you items on Etsy that match your color selection.  It’s great because you don’t need to know the name of a color; you just slide your mouse along the color bar and watch the color bubbles until you hit the color you’re looking for… (let’s say I’m looking for purple – here’s what it would look like)

and here is how it shows results:

you can choose to see more of the same color, or move your mouse again and select a different color – maybe something complimentary (good for if your doing a treasury!)  Example…I’ll proceed and look for teal colored items.  Color picker will still show my purple items and then will show the teal ones…

It can be a real time-saver if you are searching for an item of a particular color!

     So, how do you find it and how do you go about using it?  Well, go to the Etsy web site and on the left hand side of the screen, you will see the navigation bar that is titled, “ways to shop“.  Select “colors” from the navigation bar, and viola!, you’re there!  

To make it even easier, while you’re at my blog, you can just click here to play.  🙂  So, if you haven’t already discovered it, which is completely possible because Etsy has SO much to discover, you should definitely make time to play with the color picker tool!   

Date Nights with RedBox

So, Anthony and I love renting movies and one day, the Lord above sent us a gift in a big, redbox.  🙂

 If you aren’t familiar with redbox, it’s a DVD vending machine and they are popping up everywhere.  Locally, we have them at McDonalds, but I know in Pennsylvania, they have them in grocery stores too.  Anthony and I love redbox!  If you don’t rent movies all the time, they are super!  Even if you rent movies on a semi-frequent basis, they are a great alternative to having an account with Blockbuster on line or NetFlix. 

You can go online to review movies and reserve them online, or you can drive right up to the box and rent on the spot.

The rental process is easy.  redbox has a super easy, user-friendly, touch screen

You select whether you are renting or returning  
and it walks you right through the process until you swipe your debit/credit card to pay.  Oh!  And it’s only $1.00 to rent any DVD!  Rentals are good for 24 hours and if you decide to keep them, it’s only $1.00 a day for each day you keep it.  Returns are simple.  You take your DVD back to ANY redbox location and slip the slick DVD case with clear instructions, right in the slot provided.   

     redbox will even send you email confirmations of rentals and returns, just so you feel extra secure.
The best part is that, when you set up an account with redbox, you can rent movies for FREE quite frequently, with the codes they give you in your email or even as a text message to your phone!  Interested?  Go here.  It’s a super deal and if you like watching movies and haven’t tried it out – hop to your local redbox and get started or you can click here to visit their site!

We rented Juno  the other night and LOVED IT!  It is a comedy/drama/romance movie that really hits so many good spots, it’s hard not to like.  It’s about a girl and how she deals with the life event of an unplanned pregnancy.  It won an oscar for best writing and it truly is EXCELLENTLY written, funny and just plain wonderful!  I highly recommend it if you have not yet seen!  View the trailer here.  If you are already a Juno fan, Etsy seller, scissorkix, has these great Juno themed, pinback buttons!
  Click here to view the listing.  They’re only $4.00 for all three!

 

Now, for our Creative Journey : Before this task, I ask – are you still doing your mental dumping?  If not, make time to start it.  They will help to reduce your stress levels, and will improve your clarity and creativity!  Does anyone have a poem or quote to share?  If you’re following along, please let me know!  🙂

Creative Journey Task (Day 5):  Take a walk for inspiration today.  Take in all that you can of the details that surround you.  Open up ALL of your senses.  LOOK, SMELL, TOUCH, LISTEN, BREATH.  Let those things inspire you.  Think of something to create that will reflect your walk and make it.  It could be as simple or as ornate as you like.  (I’m off to take my walk now.  I’ll share my creation tomorrow.)

When Business is Slow…

I’ve been in the Etsy forums and have read some comments and seen some bad attitudes about slowing sales.  The warm weather pulls people away from their computers and out to enjoy the sun.  It’s just a fact of life.  Complaining about it doesn’t help bring anyone business.  So, what can a crafter do to fight the change in the market?  If you’re feeling a slump in sales, whether due to the economy or the warm weather, or perhaps it’s just a slump…here’s a list with a some things I suggest you try, and please feel free to post additional ideas!

1. Sell at Craft Shows
     If people are out and about, where are they going to do their shopping for the items you sell?  Generally, farmer’s markets, boutiques and gift shops – places where they can walk around in the warm air!  Here’s a good link if you’re just getting started with your crafting business and craft shows.

2. Add Products and Services
     Try to add new things that compliment what you already have.  Offer more of what your target customers might be looking for.  What don’t you have, that you COULD offer, that would make people leave your shop and look elsewhere?  Make it and list. 

3. Raise the Customer Service Bar
You may already provide good customer service, but can you do better?  Can you offer a little more?  For example, can you ship items out faster?  Follow up with customers to say, “Thank you” if you aren’t already.  Remember that PEOPLE TALK, and if you provide EXCELLENT products AND superior service, the word-of-mouth that it generates can be invaluable!

4. Keep a POSITIVE attitude! 
     I don’t care how slow things get – always, ALWAYS keep a positive attitude and don’t tell people if you’re stressed and things are going bad because you hope that they’ll take pity.  People want to be on the WINNING team…not the losing one.  You need to assure them, that YOU are the winner!  Things always get better, so keep your chin up if things get slow and, as my mother always says, “just keep plugging away at it.”  🙂

5. Expand
Take your skills everywhere you can!  Can you teach a class?  Can you volunteer to show some skills at a local high school or community group or church?  Even if you’re not getting paid, you’re gaining exposure, which every business needs! 

6. Time for a Tune-Up!
So, business is slow?  See it as an opportunity to focus on the things you normally do not make time for when you’re busy!  Reevaluate your goals, reorganize, update mailing lists, evaluate your advertising – is there anything new you can do?  Are there ways you can cut costs?  

7. Take a break!
We all need a break.  If you’re like me, you’re hard on yourself and don’t make a lot of time for enjoyable activities because you HAVE to focus on growing your business.  However, we all need to take time to “re-charge our batteries.” There are many ways to RELAX!  Take a hot bath, visit Starbucks, make time for a good book, take a walk, listen to the birds, lay out in the sun, go on a vacation, spend time alone or with friends and family.  Do something for YOU!  You work hard, so work just as hard to reward yourself with some well-deserved time off.  You’ll be surprised what it can do for your energy and creativity! 

8. Create and send out surveys.
This is a good time to see what your customers and/or potential customers are thinking.  Ask them what they’d like to see from you.  Maybe offer a freebie or some other incentive for completing and returning the survey.  (For online purposes, I have used Survey Monkey and really like their service.  http://surveymonkey.com)

9. Take Care of Household Duties.
When you work from home, or have a home-based business, sometimes it helps to just take care of chores around the house.  Maybe you want to do some serious deep-cleaning on the kitchen or bathrooms, maybe you want to GO GREEN, or perhaps you want to clean out the shed or overhaul the garage.  Whatever it is, it can clear clutter both physically and mentally, and allow you to come back renewed.

10. If none of those things struck you, perhaps one of these will…
Learn Something, Get a Jump on Taxes, Send gratitude notes to past customers with a freebie or coupon, doodle, brainstorm, create a blog, create a website, write a letter to friends/family you’ve been meaning to keep in touch with, call someone you haven’t talked to in a while.  Don’t sing the blues…be proactive and USE the time that you’re given – it IS a blessing in diguise.  🙂