Thursday, September 27, 2012

"I can make that!" Thoughts when the public says this about your product!

Crafters and artisans hear this all the time.  You're at a craft fair and you overhear someone looking at your beautiful product saying, "I can make that!"

Sure you can!  But will you?? Will you take the time to find 300 buttons in the size and color that you need to re-create one of my beautiful bouquets?  And put in the hours spent creating it?

 As artisans, we want to produce a fine product and the meticulous work that goes into each product is mostly unknown to the browsers who make comments like the one above.   Should we post a sign?  Let it slide?  Is this a problem for you and how do you handle it?

As a demonstration, I was curious about how many tiny steps go into one of my products so I tracked the steps to creating my cork place card holders.  While documenting the steps, I realized there are many things that customers don't even think about - like sticky glue strings!

I just finished an order for 35 simple but rustic elegance cork place card holders.

1. First, find at least 105 usable corks.

2.  From that collection, combine the corks in sets of 3 of approximately the same height and width keeping in mind the styles and designs that create an artistic combination.

3.  Glue 3 corks together, choosing one as the front cork and leaving a space for the place card to slide into.  This is an important step because if the place cards have nowhere to sit, they are useless!

4.  Figure out the length of twine needed.

5.  Cut 35 pieces of jute twine.

6.  Wrap, bow tie and knot this twine around the corks.

7.  Glue the knot to the center cork to keep it from slipping off.

8.  From a selection of tiny shells, choose 3 for each place card holder that are visually appealing with each other.

9.  Carefully glue each shell to the top of one of the corks, being mindful to put just enough so that the shell stays, but not so much that the glue spills over. 

10.  When the glue dries, look over each cork place card holder removing any strings of glue that were left.  I did this at least 3 times!  I also removed any excess glue that I found so the corks didn't look sloppy.

11.  I slipped a place card into each cork holder to make sure that I had left a space to slide them into.  I found 2 that had accidentally turned upside down so I was glad I checked!

12.  I counted and counted and counted again to make sure I had exactly 35 and wasn't forgetting any or missing any.

13.  Find a box that perfectly fits 35 corks.

14.  Pack them up, one by one, including pretty tissue paper and a lovely note.

15. Weigh the box and print postage.

16.  Wrap and tape the box and label.

17.  Deliver to the Post Office.

17 steps and so many hours to create these simple rustic cork place card holders.

So the next time someone says, "I can make that!"  Say, "Of course you can!  But will you?"

Angela's Artistic Designs

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Angela's Artistic Designs: 10 Tips When you feel discouraged with your business

Angela's Artistic Designs: 10 Tips When you feel discouraged with your business

10 Tips When you feel discouraged with your business

Feeling discouraged about your business?  From what I've read and heard, it's normal.  Businesses go through flush times and lean times. And if you're not where you want to be financially, there can be an added element of fear, despondency, a sense of wanting to give up.

So what do you do about feeling discouraged?  Here are a few tips I've gleaned: 

 1.  Make a list of accomplishments since opening your business.  What have you done successfully so far? Opened your shop, created some beautiful products, marketed it, did a craft fair.  List them all.   Feel good about this.  It's more than many people accomplish.

 2.  Do you have tangible evidence of what you've been able to do, financially, with what you've earned so far?  I've been able to pay my personal bills from business earnings.  I'm proud of that!

 3.  If they've sold once, they can sell again!  Look over your sold items.  Relish in them!  Enjoy the feeling of having successfully sold your artistic treasures. 

 4. Keep moving.  Put one foot in front of the other.  Do the next right thing. Crawl out of bed, put away the Oreos and lose yourself in your work!

 5.  Focus on a time when you had multiple sales.  Recently on vacation, I sold 5 items!  If it happened once, it can happen again.

 6.  Lots can happen in a day, overnight, in a month!  Keep sight of that fact because none of us knows what's around the corner. Tomorrow could be your best day yet!

 7.  Review where you started and where you are.  I've learned so much about marketing, made some wonderful contacts, made many brides happy, had my bouquets published in several magazines. Do I need to have a daily reminder of my wonderfulness?  If so, I have a bigger problem than being discouraged!

 8. Your business is a marathon, not a sprint.  It takes pacing and it is a process.  You can't get to the end without the middle!  And in the middle is a lot of work. 

 9.  Turn it over--to your spiritual power, guide, angels or God.  When we feel powerless, it helps to have a higher power to turn to.  Let go of what we can't control and let the universe take care of the rest.

10.  Believe.  In yourself, in your dreams, in your potential.

Angela's Artistic Designs

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