A Guide to Pinterest – Tips on How to Become Very Pinteresting – Part 2

This two-part series was written by our guest, Faith Marcus – the talented artisan behind Faith Marcus Designs. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter @FMdesigns and, of course, Pinterest!

Thank you for sharing these tips with Craftsyble readers, Faith! Your Guide to Pinterest has inspired us to work on Craftsyble’s Pinterest boards. 🙂

If you haven’t yet, please read Part 1.

***

Remember : Content is king! So pin images that are the most visually inspiring !

Other ideas that will help spring- board your following :

1) Create a group/community board — invite followers to pin on a board. When you create, (or hopefully get invited yourself — I now receive board invitations almost daily!!) to pin on a group board, the board will post on your page, and everyone who is included, as well as their followers will see this in the pin stream (this is great way to go viral). I would suggest creating a group board once you have a substantial following. Make it a “theme”, as a random board becomes a mess over time. If you create a group board too early in the game, chances are no one will pin to it, and then it’s sort of a “flop”. I am on two of these boards right now, and it’s primarily due to “lack of theme” provided. I am also on five community boards that have thousands of followers, so I make sure I pin to those on a regular basis! Do not ask to be invited to a board. Post great content, and you will be noticed and invited !

2) Pin It To Win Contest : On my to-do list, I will update when I have some results.

3) Do keep up to date with marketing reports, and also Pins that are generated from marketing sources, chances are you will find a lot of valuable information.

4) Use the statistic sites, pinpuff and pinreach to see which boards and pins are popular. Pinreach also provides you with your most influential followers. Make sure you know who these people are, and see who they pin from, and look at their followers. Take some time to see what makes someone with major followings so sought after. Chances are, they have great boards! Use these as inspiration and follow suite, make it you own and do not copy!

5) Use FaceBook and Twitter to share your Pinterest profile, as well as a great board. Twitter is also a great source to find pins, as all major publications are posting updates that will likely have a “pin it” button on their site.

Other Resources to check out:
www.repinly.com
www.pinpuff.com
www.pinreach.com
www.url2pin.it

I hope you have found this information useful, and that it will help you gain lots of followers and help you become a Pinterest rock star!

I would love your feedback! Thank you and happy pinning!!

Faith

P.S. Please follow me: www.pinterest.com/fmdtreasures

A Guide to Pinterest – Tips on How to Become Very Pinteresting – Part 1

This two-part series was written by our guest, Faith Marcus – the talented artisan behind Faith Marcus Designs. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter @FMdesigns and, of course, Pinterest!

Thank you for sharing these tips with Craftsyble readers, Faith! Your Guide to Pinterest has inspired us to work on Craftsyble’s Pinterest boards. 🙂

***

I hope you will find these tips helpful in building a following on Pinterest, and driving people to your site! There are many marketers and bloggers now offering tips for brands, some of these may be covered in what I will share. This is primarily to help you build a following and to give you the basics on how to create a dynamic Pinterest profile.

I had heard about Pinterest when it was first in Beta, and thought it was silly. I joined in March of this year, and decided to pin just for fun. When I signed up, I had 19 followers. At the beginning of April, I crossed the 100 follower mark, and in mid July, I reached my first initial goal of 1,000. I now have (as of August 5) close to 1700 followers, with an average of 50 new followers daily, and continual visits to my website (which I track on google analytics), and sales! I hope my tips will help you to achieve the same results!

If you are new to Pinterest, and don’t have a good grasp on the basics, I highly recommend you go to “BootCamp”. This is a very insightful video series that will cover all you need to know to get started. Also, follow Jason Miles (search by this name and click on ‘People’ on Pinterest), he provides a lot of good marketing tips for brands. The initial video series was free, but this offer has ended. It is excellent, and highly worthwhile, if you are just getting started, and don’t know where to begin! There is also plenty of great free info on the site for brand marketing, if you don’t want to purchase the program.

http://marketingonpinterest.com/2012/03/05/pinterest-boot-camp-launched-but-its-not-too-late/

“Because storytelling, and visual storytelling, was put in the hands of everybody, and we have all now become storytellers.” — Levar Burton

● Unlike FaceBook and Twitter, where you can shout it out, and communicate with words and images, one of the most important things to understand, is that Pinterest is a site that people (the majority being women) go to be inspired, and to collect images that they enjoy. Your “job” is not to bombard your page with your products, but to tell your own story through images. This will, hopefully, lead people to your page, to follow you, and to find out what it is you do sell, and then will click on your links and visit your site.

● If your boards are all about you, or your brand, you will likely be considered “spammy” and not very interesting, nor Pin “worthy”, so be inspirational (and patient)!

● If you are just getting started, create about 12 – 14 boards. The boards should be varied, with depth! What are you passionate about? Photography, design, cooking, nature, travel, fashion? The possibilities are endless, but think about what you do sell, and try to build your boards from this “core”, before developing boards that do not relate to your product. So, for example, if you are a jewelry artist, you might want to consider well – known jewelry that you find inspiring, period jewelry, gemstones, etc. If you are a photographer, boards on nature, people, places. Where do you come from? Boards about places are great, and add some identity ! Consider each board a “magazine”, remember you want people to repin your pins, and to follow you! Be a visual curator ! This is the number one golden rule of Pinterest! Beautiful images get repinned! People who post exciting, beautiful content get followed — it’s really as simple as that!

● If you have a business name, use it! You will gain much more recognition as a brand with your business name, than your personal name.

Like Twitter, the more people you follow, the greater your chances are to be followed! Need some ideas for developing boards and finding people to follow? Let’s say, for example. you love the color blue, and would like to create a “Blue Board”. Go to the main search bar and type in blue, and see what comes up. Or use the category search to find what you are looking for. If you find a page that is interesting, and fits your style, repin and make sure you follow that person! If you have a follower, and they have pinned something you like, hover over the person they pinned from, and visit that page! Another way to ‘pick up” interesting people to follow. SEARCH is to the left of the Pinterest logo.

● Pinterest has its own set of etiquette, so do not repin more than 3 images from another page and not follow! Be considerate!

● Want to gain the attention of a cool or influential pinner? Then “like”, repin and comment! People who have tons of followers will not always see the comment, as the stream (on the left hand side is a bit time delayed, and only gives you a handful of recent updates), so do not be discouraged! Commenting and liking are not as “popular” as repinning, so this is one way to get noticed and stand out! Do not ask for people to come check out your page — be genuine! Check in with the people who do follow you, and see who they follow or repin from. This is to the right of your profile page. Or, scroll through the list of a popular pinner, and see who follows them. Another way to connect with like minded followers. If you are following someone with hundreds of thousands of followers, chances are they will not notice you, so stick with pinners whose boards and style relate to yours and go from there! Broaden your following list on a regular basis, as the more diverse your circle gets, the more interesting the content pool will be generated.

● Make sure your boards have “interesting names”, don’t just name a board, ‘cookies’, or ‘soap’ or ‘fashion’ or ‘things for my house’, try to come up with something a little more creative.

● Make sure your boards are categorized properly. This will help in others finding you by proper category. Also, using hashtags (the same as Twitter) in your pin descriptions is helpful. Check out the categories which are below the Pinterest logo. If you are adding a pin description, the source of the image is always best: ie, the name of the brand, photographer, etc. Avoid “cutesie” comments like, my daughter will love this, or anything too personal, that someone else will have to edit before they repin it!

● Rotate your boards so that your page looks cohesive, and make sure your cover photo is set with one of your most visually inspiring and dynamic pins. You can rotate your boards by using the “edit profile” feature (see screenshot — and don’t forget to save!). Freshen your page by changing the cover photo from time to time. If you were a store, you would want to change your window every once and awhile, right?

● Your own board should be in the top row, either in first , second or third position. Do not be discouraged if your own products are not repinned. It takes time for people to discover you, and products are less likely to be repinned, so be patient. Do not pin to your own board each and every day! I pin my own work maximum of three times a week, sometimes less! If you do not have an established following (at least 1,000 followers), I recommend that you have only one board for your work. If you are a photographer and a jewelry artist (or a soap maker and a stationery designer), make one board for each. Include your celebrity gifting and press in one
board (chances are no one is going to repin these, they are more for info and showcasing your brand). Make it the best of the best, and cohesive !

● The top two rows of boards are probably the ones that will have the most attention. Profiles with 100’s of boards can be overwhelming. Remember quality, and depth! To see your most popular boards and pins, check your stats with www.pinpuff.com and www.pinreach.com. Keep your less popular boards, or boards you are developing on the bottom. You can always rotate them at a later date.

● Look at your page with an outsiders’ ‘eye’ : do your boards flow, and look inviting? You want people to discover your board content, so give them a “visual reason” to do so !

● Do not make boards of family, friends, customers. etc, wearing/and or posing with your items. Or your pets, home life, etc. These photos belong in your FaceBook photo albums, not on Pinterest! People will not repin them (unless you want them there for your own personal enjoyment!) . If you create tutorials, then put them in a separate board, along with others that are a good “fit”. Tutorials and DIY are great boards to develop, especially if they relate to your brand.

● Don’t pin “tiny” images or ones that are so long they take up three or four columns. They are generally not repinned ! Try not to pin images with very dark backgrounds, they are difficult to see, and do not ‘pop’ !

● If you are pinning others work a board is fine, but, you can also pin these images to other boards. For example, someone who photographs nature, might work well on a “flower” board. If you have a board dedicated to products you love, or color boards are also a good way to vary who you pin and where. Try it both ways and see which one gets more pins.

● In order to gain followers, you should be pinning daily! Yes, make it a habit! At first it may seem daunting, especially if you are not following a lot of people, so pin outside the box! Use sites such as tumblr, google, twitter, blogs, and major websites to generate your own pins. And make sure pins that you originate have a clickable source. Do not just upload them from your computer (see the Pinterest guidelines for this).

● At the point when you reach several hundred followers, you should be gaining 3-10 followers daily. If not, then you are not active enough on the site. Once you get to 1,000 followers, your daily number of followers should have doubled, and now it gets easier, as, if you are pinning regularly, your following will increase accordingly.

● The best times to pin are morning (I am basing this on PST), between 7 – 9 AM, around lunch hours (12-1 PM) and after 6 PM. Marketing statistics will show you that many pinners are working, successful people, so these are the best times to catch the activity. It varies on Fridays (with a pick up of about 4 PM), and on weekends. There is a bit of a lull mid day, seven days a week, so try to pin during these times, if possible. Try to scatter your pinning time, some in the morning, some in the evening.

● If you have thousands of pins and less than a few hundred followers, it’s time to clean up those old pins and start fresh! Much better to catch followers in a brand new stream of activity. Very difficult to gain followers if you have 50+ boards filled with pins that have no activity!

● To price or not to price, that’s a good question. In my opinion, the price tags are tacky. I think it totally depends on what you are selling. Try it both ways and see what happens. When you do add a price, it goes into the gift section, under categories. 99% of all marketing reports I have read suggest this, but I have found the reverse to be true, so do what works best for you and your brand! Pins with prices may not get you repins, however pins with prices may get you more “clicks” via the gift guide. The best way to gauge your stats is with Google Analytics. (Sorry, I don’t know how this works for Etsy users).

I hope you have found this information useful, and that it will help you gain lots of followers and help you become a Pinterest rock star! I would love your feedback! Thank you and happy pinning!! If you liked this post, check out PART 2!
Faith

P.S. Please follow me: www.pinterest.com/fmdtreasures

Interview with Artisan Beth Reiman

Today I am delighted to introduce you to Ms. Beth Reiman, the talented artisan behind BPR Designs. She kindly answered a few questions for Craftsyble readers. Before we start, I just want to let you know that Ms. Reiman makes the most beautiful glass soap dishes I have ever seen! Enjoy!

Handmade Glass Soap Dishes by BPR Designs. photo courtesy of BPR Designs

1.      When did you start BPR Designs and why? Whose idea was it?

I started my business just about three years ago. I had retired from my previous business career and had been spending even more time doing my glass work.  My house was full and it was either find a way to sell some pieces or get a bigger house. Selling seemed like the best alternative!  Of course I wasn’t sure anyone not in my family would buy anything, but I figured why not give it a try?

2.      Why glass?

I have always loved glass (stained, blown, fused) and decided about 5 years ago to take a fused glass and see where it led me. I was hooked almost immediately!  I love the colors and the textures of the glass and the fact that it is part science and part art!  You never quite know what you will get when you open the kiln, since the glass can be somewhat unpredictable.  I have had plenty of both happy and sad surprises since I started!  And the practical side of me loves that glass can be functional as well as beautiful.

Blue plaid set. Photo courtesy of BPR Designs

3.      What do you like the most about your business?

I love that is has given me the flexibility to still play in my shop, but it makes my “addiction” affordable!

4.      Having your own craft business has pros and cons. Can you please tell us about the cons of having a glass business?

I guess the biggest “con” I have seen is that it takes so much effort to promote the business that it cuts into my creative time. I think that is likely to be true in most art and craft related businesses. That’s why I try to support other artists and crafters when I can, because I think if we help each other we can all get back to our real passion — creating!

5.      Which, in your opinion, was the turning point in your business?

I took an “Etsy Basics” class here, in Portland, and I found it so helpful in condensing some key elements together: you need a great product, great photos, and promotion.  I stopped waiting for people to come find me and just got out in the forums, Facebook and lots of handmade sites and said “here I am!”  Once I started to have some sales and feedback, things just continued to build.

6.      Could you please describe a regular day at BPR Designs?

The morning looks like this most days: 1) Make the coffee!  2) Pop open the kiln.   3) Check Etsy site, e-mail and Facebook for any overnight sales and updates (keep to under an hour).  4) Package up any shipments to go out.  5) Check the light to see if it’s a picture day or not! (I live in Oregon — the winter has lots of “not” days!). If it’s not a good photo day, then I often use that as a “promo” day to network, work on ads, submit to blogs, follow up on FB, etc.

England flag. Photo courtesy of BPR Designs

Afternoons are more like this:  6) Out to the glass studio to work on projects.  7) Edit photos and/or post new listings to Etsy and FB.  8) Check e-mail, Etsy, FB, etc. for updates and convo’s.   9) Catch up on paperwork (I try to stay on top of all my accounting!)   Oh, and I usually sneak in a Pilates class several times a week, as well….(I have a really nice boss — me!)

7.      One of the questions I like to ask a lot: if you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?

I would have spent more time on my photos early on to draw people in. When I go back and look at them now I think — how did I think people would want to buy my glass from those photos? And I would have realized sooner how important networking and promotion is. I floundered around for nearly a year before I figured those two things out!

8.      Where can we find your products?

My Etsy shop: http://bprdesigns.etsy.com
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/BPRDesigns
In Portland: at Local Discoveries on NE Alberta and 16th and at Mag-Big at SE 33rd and Hawthorne

Woven plate. Photo courtesy of BPR Designs.

9.      What’s next? Any plans?

I am always working on new lines and new methods for working my glass projects.  I have a notebook full of experiments to try!!

10.  Any piece of advice for new crafters?

There is no such thing as “your work sells itself.” Of course, you have to have a great product — that is your ticket to play. But no one can buy what they have not seen!  Promotion is part of the process if you want to sell your work. If you don’t spend some energy on it, you will get left behind. You get back what you put into it.

In the Spotlight: Quiltz 4 Pawz

quiltz4pawz_4We are delighted to introduce you to Lyndi Cutting, the talented artisan behind Quiltz 4 Pawz. She makes beautiful quilts for pets! We caught up with Lyndi and asked her a few questions so you get to know her better. Here we go:

What’s the story behind your company?

In December 2015 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and as a result, my ability to function as a nurse manager was impacted. Not anticipating such an event at this stage of my life it was time to pull out a “Plan B” file and go to work on something I could do on my own. I’ve always been a pet parent to one or more animals and I find creativity to be extremely therapeutic, so a combination of the two led to the creation of Quiltz 4 Pawz.

It was important to me to create something unique about the quilts, so I made two firm decisions about the direction I’d go. First, I wanted to reflect the pet’s personality… something stately for a Great Dane or playful for a Beagle. Second, I’d never make an identical quilt. It may be a very subtle difference, but I want people to be assured they own something exclusive.

quiltz4pawz

 

What inspires you?

I brought home a German Shepherd 2 years ago and it was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself. Through our training together, Xander has taught me so much about selflessness, persistence, respect, the importance of playtime and naps, and the meaning of deep loyalty. I am proud to say there is a little of Xander in every quilt I make.

quiltz4pawz_6What is your favorite product to make?

The dog quilts are definitely my favorite, although I’m having a really good time with the new kitten “mini’s”. They’re only an 18” dimension, but because they’re for kittens they’re whimsical and fun. We did a show last month and they got a lot attention!

How would you describe your style in 3 words?

Versatile, Relaxed, Simple.

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?

Flexibility and focus. I have an ability to work around appointment and treatment schedules and it keeps my mind and hands busy doing something outside of myself. Every pet parent likes to talk about their dog, so it’s an easy question to start conversation and bring smiles while waiting. If I’m not actually working with fabric my mind is churning ideas for future quilt designs or marketing strategies.

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?

I would have been better informed about social media marketing. There is a wealth of information and tools out there… and incredibly knowledgeable people to help steer the course. I wish I’d have had a better grasp on both. I’ve been on the learn-as-you-go-plan for these past 7 months, but it’s been such a positive journey of discovery and growth.

What’s next? Any plans for the future?

I’ll continue the creative process with new designs and may expand with a few more “accessories”.

quiltz4pawz_7

Contact information:
Name: Lyndi Cutting
Website/Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/Quiltz4Pawz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/quiltz4pawz
Blog: www.quiltz4pawz.com (Opening August 1, 2016)

Eco-Friendly Christmas Crafts – Sustainable Projects for the Holidays

Our planet suffers the most during the holiday season, because more waste is produced and disposed of at this period than any other time of the year. Eco lifestyle blog Use Less Stuff published statistics about holiday waste—it was found that the extra waste generated over the holidays amount to 25 million tons of garbage. Also, every year there are 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold in the US, enough to fill a football field ten stories high. It was also discovered that reusing two feet of holiday ribbon when wrapping gifts significantly reduces 38,000 miles of ribbon.

This holiday season the best gift we can give to our environment is to come up with solutions and initiatives to reduce if not completely eradicate trash. We must follow green initiatives set by different organizations, such as British retailer Marks & Spencer‘s Christmas card recycling program. Under this movement, Woodland Trust will be able to plant over 60,000 trees if people in the UK recycle one Christmas card at M&S. We can come up with eco-friendly craft projects so in our own little way, we can contribute to the improvement of our planet’s status.

denim Christmas stocking
photo courtesy of ChaosToArt

Here are some ideas for eco-friendly Christmas crafts:

  • use old puzzle pieces to create Christmas tree ornaments or even a tree skirt
  • what else can you use to make Christmas tree ornaments? Soda can cut-outs, old gift tags, soda can tops, wine corks, cookie cutters, bottle caps, painted plastic spoons, decorated jar lids and even cds or old motherboards.
  • make a wreath out of buttons
  • denim Christmas stocking

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In the Spotlight: Mylana

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Clare Corcoran and her company, Mylana.

What’s the story behind your company?
My company, Mylana, was founded in 2010 a few months after I was unexpectedly widowed. I had made soap and candles since high school, having learned from books that my mom had helped to publish at her job. She worked on proofreading and typesetting the craft books at home, and once I found them, I was hooked. After my husband died, I was very lonely and I also needed to make some extra money. So, about 3 months later, Mylana was born. I took my company name from a World Of Warcraft character that I played, a mystical toll priestess. The start of my business was very rocky and I struggled a lot with making enough products and getting presentable photos, but I started getting orders from my mom and friends from real life and online. Three years later, I am still crafting strong and trying to expand my handmade business. During the course of my business, I have learned new crafts and added jewelry and bath salts. I am always interested in mastering new crafts and materials.

What inspires you?
I am inspired mostly by nature and some of the fantasy scenery in World of Warcraft and other video games I play. Sometimes I think about a certain character or place when I am blending my scents. I also rely on other boring and conventional means to decide what to make, like asking my customers directly what scents they would like, and often from requests I get to make a specific color or scent.

What is your favorite product to make?
My favorite product to make is candles, in particular, deep, dark, rich patchouli essential oil candles. I also like musk and spicy scents. Currently, I am out of patchouli essential oil candles, because the lighter citrus and bakery fragrances are more popular, but when I make something special, just for me, it has to be strong and sultry!

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Colorful, rustic, simple.

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
I enjoy having a lot of autonomy of design and creative choices. Product design and manufacturing is the most fun part, but I also love packaging items and ordering supplies and inventory. Photography and web design has grown on me, but I have to admit, I still don’t enjoy accounting or filing my taxes!

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
Well, if I had the ideal start, I would have saved capital for supplies and insurance costs, so I could have offered a more upscale product, with sophisticated packaging and luxurious scents. Instead, I had to start with what I had, and constantly reinvest in my business. I didn’t even have a printer when I started. Additionally, I would have been on social media in the beginning and had more knowledge about marketing. There is a lot I learned from my online soap community and the Etsy forums in regards to marketing and pricing. Finally, I would have started out with higher prices. I didn’t think my items were very good, so I priced them cheaply. Soon, I was overwhelmed with sales from people that were buying my items, simply because they were the most inexpensive, but I wasn’t making any money to buy more supplies or equipment. In fact, I was losing money, and I had to ask my mom to buy me candle wax for Christmas so I could restock my store. Soon, I changed my prices to accurately reflect the cost of materials, and I didn’t sell as much as before, but I could finally save up for supplies and buy labels and packaging.

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
Currently, I am saving up to produce more cold processed olive oil soaps and sugar scrub bars. I also need some real patchouli essential oil back in stock! There are no immediate plans for me to sell outside Etsy at this time, because I have a difficult time keeping enough inventory in stock. If I am able to build up a bigger stock of products, I would like to open a stand alone website. E-commerce is a lot more advantageous to me than selling at craft shows or consignment, because I don’t drive due to a disability. That makes is hard to deliver to consignment stores and set up booths at fairs. With online venues, I can make everything at home and walk to the post office, or schedule a pick-up of packages from my mail carrier. Sometimes, I dream about how great it would be if someone else opened up a handmade craft shop with candles or bath and body products in my neighborhood and I could work for them and supplement my income doing all the “fun” work of creating the products, but let them worry about the insurance, taxes, capital, and accounting. Another fantasy would be to write a book about candle making or other crafts, like the ones my mom used to proofread. My biggest dream though is earning enough to own a candle and soap supply company and get to offer all the latest scents, oils, and waxes.

Contact information:
Name: Clare Corcoran
Website/Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/Mylana
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Mylana.creations
Twitter: @MylanaEtsy
Blog: borocrafters.blogspot.com

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

Casting Commercial to Feature Female Entrepreneur

We have just received an inquiry from a Casting Director with Strickman-Ripps, Inc.

They are casting a TV commercial that will feature a female entrepreneur, her small side business and product! Specifically, the person must have some type of full or part-time job she works currently until she is able to leave to pursue her flourishing business full-time.

Ideal candidates would be women who create, design and sell something tangible and fun (unique crafting, baking, puppet making, fun decor, kid’s toys etc.)

This is an exciting project because it is a huge promotional opportunity for whoever is cast! If you are chosen, please let us know and we’ll feature you on our website, as well.

In order to be considered for this casting commercial, all someone need do is fill out this secure form. http://form.jotform.co/form/33155198294865

In the Where did you hear about this opportunity? field, please type CRAFTSYBLE. Good luck, everyone!

In the Spotlight: MicroPendants

We are delighted today to introduce you to Cliff Spielman, the talented artisan behind MicroPendants! We caught up with Cliff and asked him a few questions so you get to know him better.

What’s the story behind your company?
MicroPendants is mostly a tale of trying many unique ideas over the years until one or two appear to have not only artistic potential but business potential.

What inspires you?
Ideas that people haven’t had before. Even better if those ideas lend themselves to a creative outlet…such as a jewelry. I love to convey messages in unexpected mediums, such as microscopic text in jewelry. Not to mention that it’s fun to see people scratch their heads for a minute or two while they figure out what they’re looking at. And then comes the “Hey that’s really cool”.

What is your favorite product to make?
At the moment I’d say that any of my Digits Of PI products are at the top of the list. Though we offer many other text selections, this one is the most populate. I still get a massive kick out of having almost 3,500 digits of PI in a tiny little pendant. In terms of the specific configurations, I’d say earrings are my favorite because unlike necklaces that have only one pendant, earrings have two! So that’s around 7,000 characters of text hanging from your ears.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Original, Techie, Eclectic

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
Taking an idea and seeing it to its fruition, whatever that ultimately means for that particular idea. Having the freedom to explore that process is priceless. Oh, my other favorite part is no suit and tie. Come to think of it I don’t own a suit and tie.

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?

Less procrastination and less listening to naysayers.

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
At our MicroPendants shop on Etsy, we just launched unique and beautiful text pendant earrings as well a few new stainless steel necklace options.

Beyond that, we’re working on a new product that will take the microscopic text theme to the next level. Very exciting and very cool. But I can’t say much more than that before we finish the product development.

Contact Information:
President/Designer Name: Cliff Spielman
Etsy Shop Name: MicroPendants
Web Site: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MicroPendants
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MicroPendants

In the Spotlight: Eleusa Creative Design & Notebooks

What’s the story behind your company?
My name is Anastasija. I am a sister of the Orthodox Monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God Eleusa in the village of Veljusa, Strumica, Macedonia. That’s where the name of my shop comes from – Eleusa creative design & notebooks.

The first stitches of the first notebook I ever sew, literally could be described as “opening new horizons” for me. Except for the irreplaceable value of a handmade book, I was clear about the fact that for me bookbinding is binding moments of our life into an unmerited gift of our existence. Putting together each new, unique journal from choosing the first pages of paper and sewing them all together, until creating the original design for both, the outside and the inside covers, became the way to express myself artistically.
Eleusa creative design notebooks
I wanted it to be a part of the situations of our everyday life where someone could draw inspiration from or store there precious thoughts, cognition and remembrances. Noting down on a piece of paper is what we do all our life, maybe eve unconsciously, looking for the special something to write onto. That’s why, as each of us is unique, I wanted my design to be personal and to reflect the beauty of the wholeness of human diversity which is unrepeatable.

As it was my wish to participate also in the preservation of green environment, I made my notebooks eco-friendly, from ecological material. Although outside covers are a reprint of the original design, this is because I wanted to keep it as a uniqueness I could share with others. No matter how many books I could sew with the same reprint, still each of them, as it is handmade, has its own particularities and there are no two completely the same. One more thing differentiating them from others is combining the inside covers with paper and fabric which is a part of an old bookbinding technique truly rare nowadays.

Eleusa creative design & notebooks has emerged from the stillness of mine and my sisterhood’s monastic living as an inspiration and companion for personal everyday life.

Eleusa creative design & notebooks

What inspires you?
The inspiration for creating the original design is something I put in the name of each of my notebooks and into the texts describing them. In my Eleusa collection of hand bound journals, you will find names such as: “Vivacity in green”, “Simple permanence”, “A nature’s bliss”, “Tranquil fragments”, “Remembrances”, “Transfiguration”, “Breaching light” and so on. As I previously mentioned, they all reflect moments of our everyday life.

What is your favorite product to make?
I find it is difficult for me to say that I actually have a favorite product since each one that I make is created as unique and personal. For the moment, only my handmade journals are available for buyers but I hope to add new products such s bookmarks and cards in the future.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Merging of various techniques.

In your opinion, what is the best part of being an entrepreneur?

I think that the best part of being an entrepreneur is when you see that your products are reaching others and the feedback that you receive, more exactly the satisfaction of your customers and knowing that you are offering a truly quality product and you buyer on receiving it, recognizes the same. Moreover, I would say it is knowing that someone is truly pleased with the products bought from you.

Eleusa creative design & notebooks

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
Time brings experience, so from a time distance, there is always something we wish, we could have done differently. But, we must value the cognition of this experience! For example, at the beginning, I wasn’t aware how important it was to have a good photo of my product and an accurate description too. It took me quite some time to realize that I have to “talk” about what someone can only see and that the whole presentation of my products must be as authentic as possible.

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
Some new designs for the journals are in the process of being finished so I hope they will appear soon. Some new handmade bookmarks, too.
As far as it concerns the plans for the future, I would always like to keep this personal, unique expression of my design so it would not be only my own but of all the others who recognize in it their expression as well.

Contact information:
Name: sister Anastasija Supan
Website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Eleusa

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: AlyxAndrea Design

Introducing today: AlyxAndrea Design!

What’s the story behind your company?
AlyxAndrea Design was basically started by accident. I have always loved crafts and as my daughter is getting older I was looking for projects we could do together. I got lost in the time vortex known as Pinterest and found a tutorial on how to make a necklace using beads and ribbon. The design was very simple and looked basically like this necklace. It was easy enough for my 12 year old daughter to do as well. I started experimenting with different designs and quickly evolved past the basic design from Pinterest. I feel I have created pieces that are now unlike anything anyone else has ever created.

My daughter and I started making more necklaces and bracelets than we could ever hope to wear or give away so I started looking into on-line jewelry sales. Since my daughter’s name is Alyx and my name is Andrea I named our store AlyxAndrea Design and created http://www.alyxandreadesign.etsy.com/ on Etsy.

I quickly learned that having an on-line business takes a lot of work and there was a lot I needed to learn. I have come a long way in 8 very short months and have been afforded many amazing opportunities including having my work for sale at Art Market in Edgerton WI, becoming a member of The Artisan Group and being accepted to be featured at The RAW Artists Showcase in Madison WI this summer.
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What inspires you?
There is nothing really magical about how I come up with designs. I generally stare blankly into my supply case which happens to be a tackle box. I pick up and put down different combinations of beads and ribbon until an idea pops into my head.

What is your favorite product to make?
Necklaces allow for the most creativity and are therefore my favorite to make. I have the option to use one or two ribbons, different pendants and many different beading techniques.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Avente Garde, innovative, trendy

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
I love that my whole family is involved. My husband is a multimedia designer and he helps design promotional materials and is helping me develop my brand. The three of us go to craft shows together and work as a team to develop new products and designs.
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If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
I may not have chosen to only create one-of-a-kind pieces. My husband came up with the tagline – Every Design One of a Kind because I like the idea that each person who makes a purchase can have the guarantee that no one else will ever have the same thing. However, as a business this is difficult to maintain. I have to take photos and create a listing on Etsy and promote every single product I create. This is very time consuming and not cost effective. Someone that has a product line can keep re-listing the same product on Etsy (or other marketplace) over and over again and re-produce the product only when it is sold.

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
I’m getting my feet wet at doing Art and Craft fairs and I’m hoping that I can be successful and have fun with them. This year is more of a learning experience to hopefully be more educated for choosing the right venues for next year. My first outdoor fair involved my tent turning into a crumbled heap of metal due to the wind completely destroying the frame. So that was a HUGE learning experience. I will be using my new, sturdier tent from now on.

I recently joined The Artisan Group and I had the opportunity to have my business cards distributed to celebrities at GBK’s Emmy Awards Gift Lounge this September which may open some doors for me. The next step would be to have my products gifted to celebrities at an event but that may come much further down the line for me.
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Contact information:
Name: Andrea Mitchell – AlyxAndrea Design
Website/Shop: www.AlyxAndreaDesign.Etsy.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HandmadeJewelryByAlyxAndreaDesign
Twitter: twitter.com/AlyxAndreaD
Blog: alyxandreadesign.blogspot.com

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: Andrea Wysocki Jewelry

Today in the spotlight, we have the talented Ms. Andrea Procida of Andrea Wysocki Jewelry. We asked her a few questions so you get to know her better.

What’s the story behind your company?
I would love to say I grew up dreaming of being a jewelry designer, but I didn’t. When I went to college I thought I was going to study Graphic Design. During my second semester I took a jewelry class and there was no turning back, I was hooked. I discovered that I absolutely love working with my hands but I also love working with people. I felt that jewelry design was a great way to do both.

Andrea Wysocki JewelryEach piece is handcrafted in my Oregon studio where I am surrounded by nature. My pieces tend to have an organic feel to them, which comes from the incredible environment around me. You will notice a lot of sea greens and blues as I am drawn to subtle, soothing colors. I started adding a hammered texture to my work a few years ago which has now become my signature look. It is a way for me to leave my mark on every piece.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by simple shapes and nature. I love creating jewelry that can be worn everyday.

Andrea Wysocki JewelryWhat is your favorite product to make?
I love making earrings and they are my best sellers. The funny thing is I wear more necklaces.

How would you describe your style in 3 words?
Clean, simple, modern.

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
I love that I can make my own schedule and be home with my two boys. I am able to do things for myself and grow MY business not someone else’s.

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
I want to say that I should have ventured out on my own sooner but I actually think it’s good that I didn’t. I learned a lot working for someone else for 9 years and was able to have my two kids while slowly working on my business. Once I felt ready I went for it and have never been happier!

Andrea Wysocki JewelryAny advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Be patient. There are a lot of other people doing the same thing as you. Make sure you stand out from the rest and that your product and branding are cohesive.

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
I am working on expanding my business and doing more wholesale. I would love for my jewelry to be seen in stores throughout the US. I am really excited for my newest collection for the fall! You will have to stay tuned until then.

Contact information:
Name: Andrea Procida
Website/Shop: www.andreawysocki.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/andreawysockijewelry
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/awysockijewelry
Blog: http://andreawysocki.wordpress.com

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***

In the Spotlight: Kunoichi Creations

Introducing Rebekah of Kunoichi Creations!

What’s the story behind your company?
Kunoichi Creations combines a love of mythology and fantasy with crafting. In early 2011, I started creating items inspired by some of my favorite fantasy/science fiction games as well as mythological concepts, spurred on by my love of archaeology and ancient religions. Since realizing that interest in my creations goes beyond close friends, I began selling on Etsy, at craft shows and renaissance faires, as well as, most recently, in physical shops, expanding my product lines from elaborate wire-wrapped jewelry, including elf ears, ear cuffs, necklaces, and earrings, to crocheted creatures and tissue paper flowers. I discovered a passion for transforming the fantastical into reality through my products, and after many attempts, I’m finding more and more ways to get that enthusiasm out there to share it with more people.
kunoichi creations
What inspires you?
Most of my inspiration comes from mythology, whether it’s ancient legends or modern fictional media; I’ve always enjoyed reading about ancient religions (it’s no surprise that I went to college for Archaeology), and I love being able to create products that reflect that obsession. Many of my first ear cuffs were influenced by the incredibly rich lore in the Elder Scrolls games. With some of my more recent jewelry, I have started drawing from ancient mythologies, particularly those of Mesopotamia and the greater Mediterranean region.

What is your favorite product to make?
When I first started selling my jewelry, my first creations were wire-wrapped elf ear cuffs. Those are still my favorite, as they seem to lend themselves more easily than other mediums to fantastical concepts and random whims, which explains why ear cuffs still comprise the largest portion of my offerings.

kunoichi creationsHow would you describe your style in 3 words?
Fantasy made reality

In your opinion, what’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
Freedom. I love being able to utilize my creative impulses to make beautiful things, without restraint (other than time and money, of course). I still have a day job where most of my decisions are really made by other people and I can’t always do what I want, the way I want, even when it would improve or simplify the process (I’m in web development–I have to answer to multiple supervisors and clients).

If you were to start all over again, what would you do differently?
I probably would have saved myself some (mostly small) inconveniences had I experimented more with materials and certain parts of my design process at the beginning. I became a little obsessed and gave full rein to my ideas for different styles before focusing in on a basic, stable design, so some of my earliest concepts didn’t really work out.

kunoichi creationsAny advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting?
Keep going. It takes a tremendous amount of trial and error to succeed, and though there may be times when you think you’ll fail, you have to believe in yourself and keep trying.

What’s next? Any plans for the future?
I’d like to start designing full costumes, in addition to jewelry and accessories. I’ve made a few over the years just for myself and friends, but I have so many ideas I’d like to turn into reality and I think there’d be a pretty good market for fantasy costumes that follow the themes of some of my products–particularly my more popular, ostentatious jewelry.

Contact information:
Name: Rebekah / Kunoichi Creations
Website/Shop: http://kunoichicreations.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KunoichiCreations
Blog: http://www.kunoichicreations.com/blog/
Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/KunoichiCreations

*** If you are a successful artisan with an online store and fabulous products and would like to be “In the Spotlight”, feel free to submit your info. ***