Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another giveaway--not even mine

Head on over to I Heart Handmade and enter to win THEIR giveaway. Look at that cute baker's twine. I think I would use it for the upgrade of my book that I'm going to do this summer. I want to enhance the "packaging your soaps" section with photographs and examples. Baker's twine around a complementary-colored paper would be cute, right?

Giveaway Winnah!

The winnah is:

Siliva, of SV Soaps!

Thanks to all who played along. Keep in touch--these crafter features aren't going away! Do you know someone (maybe yourself) who wants to be featured? Let me know.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Featured Crafter: Amaya Labrador of sybaritic

Classy. Elegant. Cute. Steampunk.

This is the motto of Amaya Labrador's shop, sybaritic, on Etsy. Her jewelry combines a steampunk approach with a modern look--elegant and edgy at the same time. Please visit her shop--all of the photos here are linked--and consider a purchase. Also, read the interview and find out how to enter a giveaway from Amaya's shop!

Where are you attending college?

I am about to finish my first year of the Masters of Architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology. My M.Arch. is a professional degree, so when I finish next year I'll be one step closer to being a licensed architect. I'm currently focusing my studies on healthcare architecture, so, I'll hopefully get a job in that field.

How does the study of architecture inform your jewelry creation? Or is it the other way around?

Often times I'll be building an architectural model, and come up with a cool way to use this or that material in jewelry. Or, I'll be looking at a photograph of a famous building and try to figure out how to get that feeling from a piece of jewelry. Mostly, I think my personal design aesthetic and taste influences both the architecture and the jewelry design.

What pleases you about the steampunk aesthetic?

The 'bits and bobs' aspect of it. You can get in an explore the pieces; there are often several things to look at. It's interesting but not cute -- there's that raw, industrial feel to it. The clock gears for example, I harvest from old watches (broken ones that even watch repairmen have given up on); it's incredible to see the little jewels, think how the watches are put together and marvel at the fact that often times, they're older than my parents!

Have you seen Hellboy?

Uh... I think I have, but part of the silver lining of having really bad memory is that I can see movies over and over again and not particularly remember them!

Hellboy has a great steampunk aesthetic with the costumes and weapons/gadgets. It's a "comic book movie" so if you enjoy that genre, I think you will really love it. Do you have favorite steam punk movies?

I'll put it on my 'to watch list' then, but I'm afraid I don't have a favorite steampunk movie! I'm actually a pretty normal gal, who just happens to like making jewelry with funky stuff.

Do you produce certain “lines” of jewelry, or do you just create what is in your head at that moment?

Although I never restrict myself creatively, I concentrate my commercial efforts on two lines. The first is a classy version of steampunk, with clock hands, cogs, hearts and keys. The second line, currently only available in boutiques and at shows, takes classic clock hand shapes to a more modern material, acrylic. I design and manufacture these laser cut pieces myself, so they truly are unique.

This blog is about business and crafting. What can you share with our readers about the best parts of being in business? What is the most challenging aspect?

My favorite part of being in business is being able to create something and then send it out into the world. I also enjoy the process: coming up with an idea, tinkering with it till it works, finding sources for supplies, assembling each piece, photographing it (okay, I don't always enjoy THAT!), figuring out cost and price. As to the challenging stuff: bookeeping and accounting. I can do it at the micro level. I know what each piece costs me and how to price it. But figuring out profit/loss, cash flow... *shudder*

Thanks, Amaya!

Amaya is sponsoring a giveaway with this post! Have a look at this necklace:

This is an example of the line Amaya creates for boutiques and shows. They are handcrafted by her. The photo is linked, so you can see other options. A CUSTOM NECKLACE is the giveaway prize! Holy Mother of Steampunk! You will get to choose your color, style of the clock hand and charms, and color of the 30-inch chain. Awesome with awesomesauce, folks.

Here are the ways you can enter:

1. Visit Amaya's shop on Etsy, and leave a comment here about your favorite piece = 1 entry
2. Subscribe to this blog = 1 entry
3. Tweet this blog entry = 1 entry (button below)
4. "Like" this entry on Facebook = 1 entry (button below)
5. Link to this entry on your own blog = 1 entry
6. Follow either soapcrone or sybaritic_esty on Twitter = 1 entry
7. Befriend either Amy or Amaya on Facebook = 1 entry

For all entries, we must be able to tell it's you, so leaving another comment with your info for Facebook or Twitter or such, telling us what you did, is probably a good idea. Good luck, everyone! Spread the word!

The small print:

This giveaway is open through Friday, May 21, 2010, at 8pm. (Update--giving you a little more time, people! Share! Tweet! Etc!) On Saturday, I will get up and compile all the entries, etc. and choose a winner at random. The winner I choose is the winner, and that's final. I will try to find your email through your entries (i.e. find it at your website which is linked through Twitter or Blogger, for example), and I will email you and Amaya to hook you up. At that point, she will email you about the prize and getting it to you, and I will be out of it. Shipping will be to a US address only.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Business: To Whom Do I Listen?

Photo by ky_olsen on Flickr. Used with permission.

Do listen to:

  • your gut
  • your friends who own their own businesses
  • other entrepreneurs who are doing what you are doing, but are doing it better than you
  • gurus in books who make sense to you

Do NOT listen to:

  • random people on the Internet who email you with messages that start with "You should."
  • your friends who don't own a business
  • your mother

People, seriously. I just had someone email me, saying, "the only reason I emailed you is because your picture shows someone who looks sad...Please just trust me. your twitter photo is shows an extremely sad look...from the nose down...from the nose up is ok...consider another picture where your expression is not so down...just want to help...rarely do I critique what smart woman do in business...wish you the best."

Seriously? Out of the blue, you are gonna email someone and tell her that you don't like her photo?

Buddy, please.

1. You are a man. I don't give a shit about your opinion.
2. You are a man. I don't exist to seem sexually available to you, shocking as that may seem.
3. I don't listen to random people on the Internet.

I do, however, use their emails for blog fodder, as needed. Oh, and dude? That photo was taken on my boyfriend's bed, when I was 24. It's not sad. TRUST ME.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

On Being Yourself

Your business is you.

More than ever, people will buy from you because of who you are, not necessarily what you are selling. Don't mistake me--you must have a product that folks want. You must provide your niche with something fantastic.

But telling your own story, and being true to yourself--that's where you will make the sales. Social media can help you to tell your story, and people want to hear it.

Ironically, the Internet can facilitate connections with people and help you to create a community. This is your community--the people who want to hear from you. The vast expanse of the Internet lends itself perfectly to niche-ing.

So, who are you? Are you a witty writer? A science guy? A fantastic public speaker? Are you the crazy public school teacher who also makes soap and sells it at the farmer's market? Are you the woman whose husband died, and who is making a living by publishing ebooks and selling candles? Are you the crazy cat lady down the street who sells aprons on Etsy?

Who are you?

This morning I made a video of myself, and I'm going to post it on You Tube. I'll share it here, of course. In the video I am wearing no makeup, my hair is up in a ponytail, and the counter behind me is an absolute mess.

And I don't give a shit. It's my house. It's often a mess, because I make messy stuff, and we use our kitchen for actual cooking and eating. It's who I am, and the folks in my community won't care, because they want to know more about me. Julia Child was not a perfect, skinny, stylish, "television-ready" person, but she was the perfect person for the job.

So am I.

So are you.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

My third book: PUBLISHED!

It's here! My third book is published today:

Hooray! Click the title to read more and to buy it. I have received good reviews on it from pre-publication buyers. Heck, I've had great pre-pub sales! I love being an author and a publisher.

I absolutely love it.

Monday, May 03, 2010

How to Add a Facebook Button to Your Blog Page

I'm trying out something that I read here. I already use the Tweetmeme button on my blog, to make it easy for folks to share a post. Now, if you like a post, you can share it on Facebook, too. Please do! Share this one, so everyone knows how to put a Facebook sharing button on her/his blog.

This past weekend I was attending an AMAZING convention. I will post about that soon, after I upload the photos from my camera and iPhone. For today, I'm going to rest. The convention was a blast, but it feels like I worked from Thursday at 6:30am until Sunday night until 9;30pm, straight. I need a day, people.

So please, go off and put a Facebook and Tweetmeme button on your blogs, so people can easily share your thoughts. This is one of the easiest things you can do today to build traffic for your blog. Go tell your story. I'm off to get more coffee.