Sunday, January 3, 2010

What's a trunk show, you say?

Ok, truth be told, I don't know the "true" definition of a trunk show, but I know what I've seen in my LYS. For a knitwear designer, they send a "trunk" with all of their made up designs, we sell some patterns, suggest some yarns. It allows for exposure of that particular designer and helps those shoppers who need to see the garment in the flesh. Certainly it works the same for bags, doesn't it?

One of the struggles of being a one woman show is how to continuously - yes continuously - market oneself to to ensure sufficient growth and customer base to sustain life. A home based business plateaus as any other business if one does not keep up with the marketing.

During the last 2 months of 2009, I had two trunk shows. One hosted by friends. One in my LYS. I have one more scheduled for February of 2010.

Consider this --- if hosting a trunk show in your abode - or the abode of a friend, it really is no different than a Pampered Chef party - or think Mary Kay. I know we've all been to or been invited to one of those! You simply invite a lot of people, serve some refreshments, tell a bit about yourself, display your goods, and take custom orders if you wish. There are a tools to help you facilitate this (Think Evite, Microsoft Word to create invoices...)

When hosting in a Yarn Shop or other brick and mortar establishment - arrange a time frame that your goods will be on display and available for purchase through the establishment. It is also important to work out details of shipping to and from and pricing and payment.

The bottom line, there are no hard established rules for doing this type of thing - you just have to figure out what works for you and the person whom you are working with!

Happy 2010 and good luck trunk showing!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"That Hobby Looks Like a Lot of Work"

Annie found and e-mailed this article to me about people who make their full-time living selling on Etsy (although they briefly mention supplicating income through craft shows, wholesale, etc.) and I wanted to make sure we shared it here. 

"That Hobby Looks Like a Lot of Work"

There's a section in it that just made me want to scream:
While most people would find it impossible to meet a mortgage payment selling $8 crocheted mug cozies, some top-sellers on Etsy have moved beyond the stage of earning pocket money and are building careers — in some cases, earning six-figure incomes.
But even the successes add a note of “seller beware.” To build a profitable business on the site, they say — well, it’s a business. You need to build a brand identity, which often means courting design blogs or the news media. You need to manage distribution, which might mean standing in post office lines with a baby on your hip and a garbage bag filled with 30 self-packed boxes to ship. And as with any start-up, you need to maintain the morale of the labor force, which can be particularly challenging when you are the labor force, and the workday runs from “Good Morning America” to “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.”
 Um, DUH.   If it's your JOB...then you have to WORK.  It still boggles my mind that some people just don't get that!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Excellent Article on Copyright Basics

Having filed for a patent myself, I'm always looking for articles that apply intellectual property laws to crafters and artists.  This is an excellent one (heads-up, it's a PDF file): Copyright Basics Including 12 Myths About Copyrights for Artists and Craftpersons

You can find more awesome craft-related business articles here as well!  Thanks to Craftmarketer for sharing!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Handmade for the Holidays

It is now December 8 and Christmas is only 17 short days away from us! I am feeling the crunch, as I am sure many of you are, too! For those who we buy Christmas gifts for, I try very hard to make the gifts meaningful and thoughtful! I think handmade is best... The problem: I don't have time to make everything myself! And in comes Etsy... There are so many wonderful shops out there with fabulous handmade gifts!

First up... To a T. To a T is owned and operated (with help from her mother, of course!) by Taryn Peine of Houston. I went to high school with Taryn and was able to reconnect with her through Ravelry - of all things! I've already purchased two darling outfits from Taryn to gift to the little loved ones in our life... If you need something cute and unique - be it Christmas gift of baby shower, check out to a T! Below is our interview with Taryn where she tells us how she got started and shares some of her inspiration...


Q: What inspired you to start an Etsy shop?
A: I always admired other Etsy shops, and I thought it would be fun to see if I could do one too, even though I'm terrible at accounting, math, billing people, and business in general. I re-discovered my love for sewing this year thanks to my mom, so I knew I wanted the shop to involve sewing something, but I didn't know what. Then, POOF, suddenly everyone in Houston was pregnant and I discovered handmade baby gifts were in high demand. So that's how I ended up with a baby shop, even though I myself have only a dog and a husband. They both act like babies sometimes, but they no longer fit in onesies.

Q: What is your creative process like?
A: I get a little gaggy at the sight of cutesy baby items, so my creative process starts with seeing an adult fashion and thinking of a way to scale it down to an infant size. For baby boys, I'm always inspired by my husband's abundance of argyle and tweed, and for baby girls, I try to create something I wouldn't mind wearing if I had my 19" waist back.

Q: When did you start hand-making things? Who taught you?
A: I've been crafting all my life, beginning with art projects in Girl Scouts. I took my first sewing class when I was in the 7th grade. I made a giant patriotic vest that was a big hit with the gentlemen, as I'm sure you can imagine. My mom taught me everything I know. She's incredibly patient, and loves creating just as much as I do. In fact, she's in charge of creating quite a bit of the items in the shop!

Q: What has been the biggest challenge of running your own shop?
A: Definitely the business aspect. I am from a family of accountants, so everyone in my life is constantly asking me about spreadsheets and bottom lines and profit margins and cost per item and that entire sentence is pretty much a sleeping pill for me.

Q: What is your favorite thing about running your own shop?
A: I get such a high from being in my sewing room all day, creating things for little ones I've never met before, watching precious outfits come together. I love it when someone loves what I've created. And I love collaborating with my mom!

Q: What are your plans for the future of your shop?
A: We're still young, and our goal in 2010 is to find ways to expose people to our shop. We're brainstorming some new designs to come out next year, and we're so excited to watch it grow. And we're learning better ways to photograph our products so everything looks more professional and less camera-phone-ish...

For more of Taryn Peine, check out her blog She shares hilarious thoughts on life and yummy recipes, too!

Thursday, November 19, 2009 A Review

Man, I really seem to be on a review bender, eh?  Well, if it helps you in your business, then I'm happy to be the guinea pig!

Ever since I started Julip Bags back in August 2007, I've only ever used or PayPal's shipping tools, primarily because they were free and convenient.  PayPal has the added benefit of automatically importing the buyer's information...all you have to do is click the "Print a shipping label" button at the bottom of the sale info screen.  It even automatically sends an e-mail to the buyer that their purchase is on the way with a customized message!  Super-fabulous!  So why in the world was I interested in paying for a shipping service?!?  Check in after the jump for my reasons why!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I enjoy the "f" word, so much so that I use it as many times as I can in a day....I'm working on several designs at once, both sewing and knitting and this "f" word has moved from "favorite" word to "THE word!!!!!!". But I'm headed to the "other" side for inspiration...which means, I'm headed to the East side of MI next week for some knitting/sewing inspiration and some eastside Mason Jar moonshine... I will either triumph or will be found in an eastside gutter in a bunch of felted wool topped with Amy Butler...discuss......

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Strike A Pose

When I hear the phrase strike a pose, I instantly think of Vogue! Well, my friends, RoseKnits made the pages of what's new in knitting in the Vogue Knitting Holiday edition! This is following an earlier release of the Knit Simple Holiday edition where RoseKnits made the Knits and That section!

Press, in itself, is exciting. Press from people you don't know, double exciting. Press in a nationally published knitting magazine by people you don't know: priceless! It is a great honor and I am humbled by their recognition! The people at the magazine are super nice and encouraging and I will be forever grateful for the kudos.

Amby and I are working hard at Julip Bags and RoseKnits to bring you guys great, new, affordable holiday items! Please check out our shops when considering your holiday shopping!