Monday, March 31, 2008

The Travesties of Dorm Life

So what this blog is really about is how to run a business from a dorm room. This is something I'd better become an expert at, because I might be in college for a while if I go ahead on getting my business degree (at Indiana University, where I'll be transferring next year!)

I thought I'd show you all my "work space," if you can call it that. It consists of a desk, which my sewing machine shares with my makeup and books, and my bed. Storage space is one of those Target plastic drawer thingies. And my shipping supplies are stuffed into a desk drawer which is too full to close.
If you want to see all the photos of my dorm room "work space," visit my Flickr Account.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Front page!

It's 3am and I'm on the front page. Woohoo!! Right now I'm at 189 views, I'll update after the front page changes again how many I got.
I know, this was a really nerdy post :P
EDIT: Ended up with 393 item views, 20 item hearts, 10 shop hearts, and NO SALES. Ugh!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Sampler

So, I'm branching out my promoting this month and sending in some items for the April The Sampler! I sent in 30 button earrings - I'm starting small just to see if it's a total waste of money before I dive right in. I'm not sure how much money I spent total, but it's not more than $15. I can't wait to get my Sampler too.

For those of you who haven't heard of it, The Sampler is a package filled with DIY goodies. The items are all donated by crafters looking for some promotion, and you pay the money to cover the shipping costs, website costs, etc. It's a really neat little program and I'm crossing my fingers that I get some sales! Those of you who can't donate should totally buy one.
PS How kickass are my current biz cards?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Mildly Political Wallets Part I

So, after getting another custom wholesale order for my wallets today, and having sold something like over 100 since I created them, I think it's high time to explain my mildly political wallets to those of you out in blogworldland (yes, I made up that word, could you tell?)

First, we have my BITCH wallets. These wallets are made out of glossy copies of BITCH magazine covers. The magazine is a third wave feminist mag focusing specifically on pop culture: hence why, right underneath the word BITCH, are the words "feminist response to pop culture. I came up with the idea to make this wallet last year, when whilst admiring the huge, blatant word BITCH in giant letters, I thought how wonderful it would be to offend people with my third wave feminism every time I participated in consumer culture. So, I got out some clunky clear duct tape (definetly the wrong tape to use, I've switched since then) and covered the whole cover in tape, completely without thinking it out first. I ended up with a flimsy little trainwreck that kept popping open. So I stuck it underneath my sewing machine, which helped. Super proud of my creation, I showed it to my boyfriend (who is, amazingly, still my boyfriend.)
"What do you think?" I asked excitedly.
"It's .... okay," he said, ever the honest critic.
"How much would you pay for it?"
"Maybe $5." Ouch. He was right though, the thing wasn't very high quality.
So, I listed it. And it sold- right away! Not only did it sell, but I got 3 convos asking me if I could PLEASE, PLEASE make another wallet! I was shocked. My crappy wallet ... was popular?? I convo'd back affirming that I could make another one, but I'd have to charge more since I'd used up my only magazine copy, and I'd need to buy another one.
Since then, I've sold several hundred BITCH wallets, and the price and quality have continued to grow (currently $15 retail, $10 wholesale). My boyfriend is astounded by their popularity and maintains that he still wouldn't pay much for any wallet - it's the ATTITUDE of the wallet, I keep telling him, not the FUNCTIONALITY! I also got 3 months of relative fame when BITCH published a letter I wrote them about my wallets - including my url! Myself, I'm just happy to be spreading the word of feminism, advertising my favorite magazine, and shocking cashiers all over the world.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Things to Bring to a Craft Fair: The Ultimate List

I've been reading as many articles and posts as possible in preparation for my first 3 craft fairs, and I've compiled a giant list of things to bring (aside from your items + setup stuff, which I hope is obvious.) Here it is! Please add if you don't see something listed.

-business cards
-credit card accepting things if applicable
-lots of extra change (1$s and coinage)
-Notebook to Sign Up for Mailing List
-photo album of work sold
-prices for everything
-wear my items
-tempting basket of free candy
-other crafter's freebies/promo packs
-bags for people who make purchases (paper, staples?)
-Bring something to work on while you sit behind the booth. Doing your craft on the spot draws in customers.
-Have different levels on your display.
-Bring a CALCULATOR for sale totals
-small plastic bag for trash
-folding chairs
-bring extra lighting
-CLIP ON BACKS and needlenose pliers for jewelry, just in case of requests or repairs
-receipt slips or papers
-tape, paper, pens, scissors
-mirror for jewelry or clothing
-Sign up sheet for mailing list or custom orders
-Writing pens for customers to write checks
-Notebook to note who bought what, payment type & price
-paper towels/baby wipe/purell

Please let me know if I've missed anything!
I found another great link here
(Ps - the picture is of jewelry I made over spring break to take to my shows, so it's not TOTALLY unrelated. I think it's an awesome pic though!)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Promo packs for craft fairs: send me yours!

I'm doing 3 craft shows this summer, and I really want to help promote other crafters! Here's my plan:

-3x4" ziplocs filled with smaller promos (perfect size for biz cards with samples attached, etc)
I'm going to toss in one of these bags with every purchase, and encourage lookers to take one free from a big promo basket.
Also, they're all going to have a different card facing out the front and back of the bag, so that some people are going to *choose* the bag with YOUR card showcased, just because YOUR card looks so freaking cool to them. Those people are more likely to go to YOUR site ;)

-Other promo items
I have a bunch of freebies that don't fit into the little bags, so these are going to be sitting in a big basket with a "FREE, PLEASE TAKE ONE!" sign! If you have bigger promos, your items will be included in this lot.

Fair dates are May 3, May 20, and June 20-21, so I'll need them before then if you want to be included.
I'm looking to make as many as possible, because I'll use these until they run out and send any leftovers in packages!

Friday, March 21, 2008

About me

So, as I gradually attract more people to my blog (please link exchange with me, people!!) I think I ought to introduce myself a little bit more personally. So here I am.
My name is Lia. I am 18. I attend a 7 sisters college, but I'm transferring to get a business degree next year.
I have 1/2 pink hair, a nose piercing, and hairy legs. I am a self proclaimed feminist.
I like pink, disney movies, Rock of Love, polka dots, and Lisa Frank.
I have a boyfriend of 2.5 years who I love very much. To all you haters who said long distance in college never works: suck it!!
I've been selling crafty things since I was 6. I've been making jewelry since I was 16. Jewelry is actually my newest craft: I've been doing knitting, t-shirt surgery, collaging, and yarn crafts for way longer. I prefer jewelry these days.
I'm working as a camp counselor at jewcamp this summer again, yay!!
And I'm also attempting to build up my confidence to super-high levels after a series of personal issues which I won't go into unless you really want me to :) Let's just say it involves body image.

Any questions? I'd love to get even morepersonal!! And a recent pic of me so this is like SUPER personal.

(PS why yes I did make that necklace, and it's still in the shop!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Craft fair jewelry displays!

I spent all weekend working on these DIY jewelry displays! Feel free to grab some inspiration from my idea :)



I have several sizes, but I don't have pics of them yet!
-A bunch of frames from the dollar store, big lots, etc
-Mosquito netting
-Lots of hot glue (or any other really good glue, I suppose.)
-Paint and paintbrush.
I painted mine matte black, I haven't glossed over them with varnish yet. I'm probably going to add some polka dots or something with a paint pen afterwards to customize them. What do you think? Eye catching? Effective?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Branching out

So this summer I'll be expanding my selling venues to include brick&mortar stores and craft fairs! If you've got any you'd like to suggest to me please let me know. Here's my list right now:

1. May 3rd New England Chili Cookoff in Somers, CT
2. May20th Butchertown Art Fair in Louisville, KY
3. June 20-21st Lyndon Art Fair in Louisville, KY

and I'll be consigning at Wholly Craft in Ohio! I'm excited!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Interesting find!

So out of curiosity I searched for "Eiffel Tower Necklace" to see if anyone else was using the charm I used in my recent necklace.
Here is my listing:

Simple eiffel tower charm with a bright red heart, theme of "I love paris."
To my surprise, there were at least 10 other listings who had the SAME idea. I honestly don't think anyone copied anyone (I sure didn't!) But this is too funny:

How weird is that? :P I guess great minds think alike!
PS - I posted this in the forums and one of the responders (another seller on Etsy) bought my necklace! Proof to all that the forums ARE a good marketing tool (I've sold countless items off of the forums! Just ... not the promotions section, haha.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

When did I start?

A post on Etsy's forum today got me thinking about when, exactly, this crafting/selling business started for me. I think it was a loooooong time ago.

When I was 6, we always had colorful Red Hart yarn lying around and various beads and crafty things. I would make braided bracelets incorporating these multicolored yarns. I then sold them to my mom's orchestra friends at $1 each. Hehe. They couldn't resist.

Then I made gods-eyes (using yarn and popsicle sticks, they're so pretty!) by the HUNDREDS. I seriously had bags of those things! I sold them at a table at the music summer camp my mom runs for a week every summer.

In 7th grade, I started a friendship bracelet business. I would take custom orders and then sell them for like $5 or something. I had this little cardboard thing I made with 6 different slots for each strand of yarn and I would do it all day long. I sold several until someone else started copying me even though mine were SO better.

Then in high school I knit every single day in class (mostly to stay awake and keep my hands occupied.) I would usually just knit scarves and give them as gifts, but occasionally I'd sell a custom order or two. I did some commissions for my english teacher who quit to open up her own yarn store (The Knit Nook in Louisville).

At 16 one day during Christmas break I took a pair of needlenose pliers and set about converting my clip-on earrings to my newly pierced ears. While I converted them to my new hooks I changed them slightly, making them - in my opinion - look way cooler. Then I made some of the necklaces I had sitting around into earrings. Before I knew it I'd gone through my entire stash of jewelry and upcycled it all into earrings! I hopped on my buyer Etsy site and made a shop, and sold all of those earrings plus listing a bunch of crappy knitted items (seriously, they sucked. I've since removed all knitted items from the store, and only sell them offline. I've been knitting forever though!)

And now I'm 18 and I'm selling almost an item a day and more offline! I can't wait until I'm out of college/business school and have my own store. My parents keep saying this "hobby" is just a phase that will pass, but I've been doing it my whole life to a lesser degree. It really is my passion to make stuff and sell it!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

First blog

Hi all! I'm a devotee of livejournal, but since everyone and their mom seems to have a .blogspot blog I figured I might as well hop on the bandwagon.

So, I'm doing my FIRST CRAFT FAIR on May 3rd in Somers, CT! I'm so excited. I have a 10x10ft booth and it's a chili cookoff so there will be all sorts of people there! So I've been shopping like CRAZY for supplies. Today I took a trip to the mall (which is such a trek, it's 2 hours round trip on the stupid bus) and spent like $100. Hot topic was having an amazing clearance sale (going out of business = awesome!) and everything was INSANELY cheap, especially for HT! So I stocked up on shirts to reconstruct. Check out the booty:

Mmmmmm. It was a bit embarassing though, I had to ask the saleslady which bands were mainstream and which weren't because I have no idea what the cool kids (well, the ones who shop at Hot Topic anyway) are listening to these days. Apparently they still like Fall Out Boy (which was cool when I was in high school) and some of the other bands I bought that I've never listened to. Whatever. Check out the sweet Snape shirt, though.
I got some awesome cotton knits at JoHanns too, that all match. These will all be turned into tank tops and halters, speak up now if you have any requests :P Most of them will be sold at the fair, but some will be listed on Etsy. I also got tons of beads and buttons to have a little $3 basket of button stud earrings and stuff. OOOH I'm so excited! Any craft fair tips?

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