Monday, November 29, 2010

Featured Crafter -- coming soon!

I am working on a SUPER Featured Crafter post! Stay tuned!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Handmade Holiday: Can you guess?

It's going to be a very frugal holiday this year. As such, I have to get started on crafting. I'm excited to make organza flower hair pins for the girls. My daughter plays roller derby, so I'm thinking about things she would want/need for that sport. I have several teenage and younger girls to make gifts for this year. I scored with the sweater above.

I can get two or three gifts out of that sweater. It's made of wool and angora. Can you guess what I'm making?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Handmade Holiday -- What are your plans?

Image by Gisele at greetingfriends on Artfire.

This year, for the girls, I want to make organza flowers, like those up there. Or maybe these, down here.

Mysterious, no? Apparently, flowers like these are made by cutting organza or some other polyester-based fabric into circles, and singeing the edges with a candle flame. They are then stacked and sewn together with little beads in the middle. I'm looking forward to simply having the time to make them.

I'm not sure what I'll do for the boys this time. It's been a while since I've made fleece hats--and heads get bigger, don't they? And now that I say that, I'm feeling tired thinking about making all this stuff. What is my time worth, anyway? Buying handmade is a great way to support indie business and invigorate your local economy. Just yesterday, I was vending at the one great craft fair that I do every year (which is done! Gone! This was its last year! Sob!), and I bought a new winter hat (knitted), and a cute, cute, cute felt hairband. Both were handmade by the vendors. Awesome! I'm glad to know where my money is going.

What are your plans for a handmade holiday?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Calm now-- no worries

I saw my blog and just realized that you all must be thinking that I'm filled with murderous rage, constantly, because I didn't update the blog.

That's what it looks like, glancing at it, anyway.

I've gotten over my rage. I really shouldn't have even let myself get worked up. Everything always works out. Always! There is no sense in getting worked up. Really. Maintain an even temper. It's better for your skin.

And here's the proof that it worked out.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Experiencing the Murderous Rage of Entrepreneurship

Yesterday, I had a horrible experience with "support" at my hosting company. I'm still upset about it, which is probably my fault. It is infuriating to deal with a situation that is out of my control.

But my emotions are still under my control, right? So if I'm upset, it's my own fault.

Cut to this morning, and I check in on my website, and it's gone. Well, not GONE gone, but the link doesn't point to the site anymore--it points to the hosting company. I think this has something to do with the nonsense yesterday, so I've decided not to get my panties in a twist about it today.

No, you cannot access my website right now. Yes, I've placed ads and changed links and I've started directing people there. Yes, today, some people will be confused when they try to go to my site.

I've got to let it go. I'm letting the murderous rage go. I can handle this. This is the result of my decision to move forward despite everything being in place. Today, I will live and learn.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Craft Business: When To Get Out or Hire it Out

Different aspects of business make me think carefully about how much my time is worth, and whether or not I should spend time on any particular thing. I think you should be just as careful with your time.

  • If you sell your soaps at a farmer's market, calculate how much money you are bringing in per hour, and ask yourself if it's worth it. I recently decided not to return next year to one particular market. Too many days had returned too few dollars, and this was the second year we gave the market a chance. Forget it!
  • If you make your own products, figure out how many products you can make in one hour, and then price that out at retail. Then ask yourself if it's worth it to hire someone else to make them for you, or to help you make them. Example: I can make 168 bars of soap in about 2 hours. Sold at full retail, that's $924 worth of product in 2 hours, or $462 in an hour. Would it make sense to hire someone at $10/hour to make the soap for me, so I can focus on other aspects of the business? How much more work could get done around here if I wasn't making soap?
  • If you sell your products at craft fairs, carefully consider the rent. If you pay $200 in rent, and you only bring in $500, and the fair lasted two whole days, is it really worth it?
  • Even better--what about a small craft fair that only wants to charge you $25? Or 5-10% of your earnings? Let's pretend you agree to it. You must add up all the time it takes you to make the stuff, pack up the stuff, load your car, drive there, unload your car, set up the stuff, and sit there, vending. Then when the fair is done, reverse the whole process. Even if the fair charged you a minimal fee, you have invested a LOT of time and effort into it. This year, I am foregoing attendance in a very small fair, because of this very thing. My time is just too valuable to take chances like this anymore. I do one big craft fair that has reasonable rent, and always gives me a good return on my investment.
  • Every year I swear to myself that I'm going to hire an accountant. But then every year, my TurboTax auto-renews, and I do it myself, anyway. I've got a system, I figure. It doesn't take that long, and I never really have the however-much money it would take to hire someone. Should I stop doing it myself?
What parts of your business have you realized you should give up? What parts will you never give up?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Craft Business: Be Direct

If you have the opportunity to talk directly to your customers and offer a sample, you should do it.

If you have the chance to tell a customer why they should buy today, you should do it.

If you are talking to a client about a large purchase, and they need to be reminded of your conversation, you should do it.

Sometimes, customers want to be told what they should do.