And So It Goes…

I must lead one of the most boring lives of everyone I know. This last couple of weeks have proven it to me. I go to work, I come home, I watch TV, listen to my audiobooks, and then go to bed. Then I get up and do it all over again. Pretty repetitious.

But the end is in sight–my day job as overhire at La Jolla Playhouse is coming to a close very soon, and I will be returning my attention to my own business. I feel like I’ve neglected Relished Artistry a bit–but I’ve still had a couple sales, so that’s been exciting! I know that I could be spending some more time on it, however, and I’m actually looking forward to creating some new things. Fleshing out my “stock” is the first thing on my priority list, and I have a list of items that I am going to make.

I think my time at La Jolla has taught me a lot–I have a new understanding of knits now, so I’m excited about making some new knitwear. I had done a couple samples of some women’s tanks with a cute little rose in the center front by the neckline, and now that I know how to hem them and sew them better, I’m less hesitant to take the leap. We’ll see how it pans out, but I anticipate I’ll have some cute little black stretch velvet tops soon.

I’m also going to investigate some menswear in the form of smoking jackets… Higher quality, lined, with some masculine embellishment on the center back (maybe a silhouette of a bird? Skull? Tree? Scorpion?), but I need to find the right image first. I’m leaning toward using tribal tattoos as reference and inspiration. The challenge is painting crisp, sharp lines on a velvet pile…hehe… Not the easiest thing in the world…

And I’m going to put together a “fantasy” cape with a piped collar and leaf embellishment along the hem. We’ll see how a more overtly “costume-ish” item is received.

I have yet another coat to put together that I am working on, ready to put in the sleeves and the lining. It’ll be done very soon, but until then it rests on a dressform in my studio until I get the “gumption” to finish it off. Having energy to continue sewing at night after sewing all day can be a bit difficult… But I won’t have to worry about that soon.

Alrighty! Another post soon! Live Life with Relish!

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Purchasing Fabric Online, Wholesale Dreaming, and New Projects!

WavypreviewsidebackI recently ordered a bunch of fabric online.  I’m not used to doing that…   I’ve been told that people are getting more and more comfortable with it, but personally I like to feel the “hand” of the fabric that I’m purchasing before I actually buy it.  But regardless, I bought what I hope is a very basic, traditional fabric that should arrive with some of the characteristics is usually has when it’s in a store: black cotton velveteen.
This’ll be a first for me–I’m starting to explore wholesale sources.  I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase things like that.  I’m still not sure I know all the “ins-and-outs” but with some practice I think I’ll figure it out.  I look forward to the rates at which things can be purchased with a “reseller’s license”.  What I don’t look forward to is the necessity to buy everything in bulk amounts!  Just because I can get 100 yards of a particular fabric at an incredibly cheap rate doesn’t necessarily mean I can use it, nor that I can afford to pay for it no matter how cheap it is!  I’m still “bootstrapping” this business, so it’s gonna be a while before I see any profit.
There are several things that I am looking forward to being able to do, one of which is to be able to explore the Garment and Fabric District of Los Angeles with a little more “gravity”.  I am looking forward to visiting “The Mart” (I think that’s what it’s called) with friends to guide me through it.  I live way too close to LA not to take advantage of what they’ve got up there.  I need to explore it a LOT more if my wearable art venture is going to succeed.
In the meantime, I have been trying to use up what little fabric stock I have that’s left over from my 30-some odd bankers boxes of fabric that I regrettably “donated” to my former university over the last 10 years…  What I found is a bunch of odd fabrics of odd shapes that have been tantalizing to use…  It’s really forcing my creativity!
Left over corduroy, strips of old upholstery fabric…  It’s been my own little “Project Runway” of challenges–“How can I possibly use this?!”  Below is a picture of the 30’s-inspired corduroy coat I pieced together (listed on Etsy, by the way!).
And finally, here’s a preview pic of a coat I’m making with leftover upholstery fabric samples.  I found a picture of a coat by Poiret from 1923, and I’m using that as inspiration… Simple little “kimono-esque” look.  But since all the pieces were 8″ wide, I had to get creative…  Thus, a wavy, asymmetrical look…  I’m still workin’ on the sleeves (pieces is taking a LONG time), but it’ll get there…
Okay, enough for now!  Live life with Relish!

I recently ordered a bunch of fabric online.  I’m not used to doing that…   I’ve been told that people are getting more and more comfortable with it, but personally I like to feel the “hand” of the fabric that I’m purchasing before I actually buy it.  But regardless, I bought what I hope is a very basic, traditional fabric that should arrive with some of the characteristics is usually has when it’s in a store: black cotton velveteen.

This’ll be a first for me–I’m starting to explore wholesale sources.  I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase things like that.  I’m still not sure I know all the “ins-and-outs” but with some practice I think I’ll figure it out.  I look forward to the rates at which things can be purchased with a “reseller’s license”.  What I don’t look forward to is the necessity to buy everything in bulk amounts!  Just because I can get 100 yards of a particular fabric at an incredibly cheap rate doesn’t necessarily mean I can use it, nor that I can afford to pay for it no matter how cheap it is!  I’m still “bootstrapping” this business, so it’s gonna be a while before I see any profit.

There are several things that I am looking forward to being able to do, one of which is to be able to explore the Garment and Fabric District of Los Angeles with a little more “gravity”.  I am looking forward to visiting “The Mart” (I think that’s what it’s called) with friends to guide me through it.  I live way too close to LA not to take advantage of what they’ve got up there.  I need to explore it a LOT more if my wearable art venture is going to succeed.

In the meantime, I have been trying to use up what little fabric stock I have that’s left over from my 30-some odd bankers boxes of fabric that I regrettably “donated” to my former university over the last 10 years…  What I found is a bunch of odd fabrics of odd shapes that have been tantalizing to use…  It’s really forcing my creativity!

Left over corduroy, strips of old upholstery fabric…  It’s been my own little “Project Runway” of challenges–“How can I possibly use this?!”  Below is a picture of the 30’s-inspired corduroy coat I pieced together (listed on Etsy, by the way!).

Caramelswirlfrontb

And finally, here’s a preview pic of a coat I’m making with leftover upholstery fabric samples.  I found a picture of a coat by Poiret from 1923, and I’m using that as inspiration… Simple little “kimono-esque” look.  But since all the pieces were 8″ wide, I had to get creative…  Thus, a wavy, asymmetrical look…  I’m still workin’ on the sleeves (piecing is taking a LONG time), but it’ll get there…

Poiretkel55nwopftlsy Wavypreviewsideback Wavypreviewsidefront

Okay, enough for now!  Live life with Relish!

Quality of Life

Will: No, I need to provide for my family.
Emma: But provide what exactly?  The understanding that money is the most important thing?  Or the idea that the only life that’s worth living is the one that your really passionate about, Will?”
Glee, Pilot Episode
I watched the rerun of the pilot episode of Glee tonight.  I’d not seen it, and with all the promotion it had been getting, I decided to check it out while I was flipping through the channels.  I landed on it seconds after it started, so I figured this was my chance-I was president of my Select Choir  in high school… I wanted to test it’s veracity, I told myself.
I enjoyed it.  Still a little High School Musical cheesy, but with an edge.  Not dramatic like fame, but more like a sugar coated black comedy.  Sometimes sharp, sometimes needing to be sharper…  Still feeling a bit Disney-fied in the end, though.
But this exchange between these two characters hit me like a ton of bricks.    It reminded me of another conversation between two very different characters in a totally different kind of film:  Golden Boy from 1939.  I’ve never seen it, but I’ve shown this exact clip of it in my old intro to theatre classes.
Anyway, Golden Boy is a Depression era movie about a man who is struggling between choosing the life of a prize fighter and instantaneous financial success, or the life of a classical violinist which is his heart’s desire.  He wants to support his parents and siblings, and tells his father that money is the answer.  His father, on the other hand, wants his son to do what makes him happy.
In the clip, a debate ensues between the two, where the son says that his father wants him to live for tomorrow, but tomorrow may never come.  The world moves too fast, and owning things makes people happy, and money is the answer to it all.
His father says that things and money don’t make a person happy.  He tells his son that only when he does what is in his heart will he truly awake and sing and be who he was meant to be.
We’re in the middle of bad times economically in this country.  But the lesson is the same:  Life is not printed on the back of dollar bills.
Follow your passions.  That’s what life is about.

Will: No, I need to provide for my family.

Emma: But provide what exactly?  The understanding that money is the most important thing?  Or the idea that the only life that’s worth living is the one that your really passionate about, Will?”

Glee, Pilot Episode

I watched the rerun of the pilot episode of Glee tonight.  I’d not seen it, and with all the promotion it had been getting, I decided to check it out while I was flipping through the channels.  I landed on it seconds after it started, so I figured this was my chance-I was president of my Select Choir  in high school… I wanted to test it’s veracity, I told myself.

I enjoyed it.  Still a little High School Musical cheesy, but with an edge.  Not dramatic like Fame, but more like a sugar coated black comedy.  Sometimes sharp, sometimes needing to be sharper…  Still feeling a bit Disney-fied in the end, though.

goldenBut this exchange between these two characters hit me like a ton of bricks.    It reminded me of another conversation between two very different characters in a totally different kind of film:  Golden Boy from 1939.  I’ve never seen it, but I’ve shown this exact clip of it in my old intro to theatre classes.

Anyway, Golden Boy is a Depression era movie about a man who is struggling between choosing the life of a prize fighter and instantaneous financial success, or the life of a classical violinist which is his heart’s desire.  He wants to support his parents and siblings, and tells his father that money is the answer.  His father, on the other hand, wants his son to do what makes him happy.

In the clip above, a debate ensues between the two, where the son says that his father wants him to live for tomorrow, but tomorrow may never come.  The world moves too fast, and owning things makes people happy, and money is the answer to it all.

His father says that things and money don’t make a person happy.  He tells his son that only when he does what is in his heart will he truly awake and sing and be who he was meant to be.

We’re in the middle of bad times economically in this country.  But the lesson is the same:  Life is not printed on the back of dollar bills.

Follow your passions.  That’s what life is about.  Live life with Relish.

To Tweet or not to Tweet. That is the question.

I have set up a Twitter account, and wonder if it’s worth it…  I’m worried that it’s the CB radio of the 21st century…
I have some real misgivings about Twitter.  I have heard all about it and really like it’s ability to speak to so many globally–that’s a wonderfully useful asset for so many reasons.  It’s unbelievable how handy it can be for certain situations–take the Iranian incidences that happened during their recent election, for example.
But I am unsure it’s really worthwhile anymore for promoting handcrafted items…  From what I can glean, it’s usefulness has slipped in an incredibly short amount of time…  I’ve read articles that have suggested getting into Twitter at this point is a useless endeavor; that the time has passed on it’s effectiveness, and it’s fallen into mass junk tweets.  Much like email, now people are trying desperately to avoid junk tweets as much as they avoid junk emails, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do so even though you can accept/decline following.  Determining who is worth listening to is problematic, and therefore it’s starting to become convoluted and complicated.
I’ve not heard that much that’s actually good about Twitter from the handmade community.  Sure there is the ability to let all your followers know when new items are available, but I am not at all sure that’s actually useful in the long run.  Sister Diane, on CraftyPod, did a podcast that discussed this briefly a while ago.  (FYI, I highly recommend her podcast–good good stuff!)  Her concern was that we are sending the wrong message when all we use our online community for is to flood it with messages regarding our new products.  It somehow cheapens the whole and makes a bad impression.  I agree with that…
So I’m a tad hesitant to jump into the “Twitter Pond”.  I’m not at all sure it’s going to be something that I can actually use beyond simply informing others when my stuff becomes available.  I guess I feel I have other means of doing that…  Because, frankly, if people are in a shopping mood, and they’re looking for something I am making, I’m not that hard to find.  I’m just not sure artistically handcrafted items are the “impulse buy” sort of thing.  Art doesn’t seem like an impulse buy to me.  And I somehow feel that advertising using Twitter is about encouraging impulse buying.  It would seem to me there is a much more discerning consumer that purposely purchases handcrafted items, and no amount of twittering is gonna speed up that discernment…
I think in the end, I respect my customers too much to do that…  But am I making a mountain out of a molehill?  I’m not sure I want my items to seem so easily “pushed” on others… I’m just not that easy, I guess (haha)!  Ease of access is one thing, but there’s a fine line between informing interested followers and simple mass advertising…
I guess I respect my potential customers too much to inflict what I feel is a certain “cheesiness” on them…  I mean, I might as well text everyone’s cell phones…  Would that prompt anyone to run to their computer to buy a new vest??
I feel like Twitter is some kind of carrot on a stick, and it’s dangling in front of me, and I’m not sure if I really want it…  Hmmm…
Thoughts?  Lemme know.
Until next time, live life with Relish!

I have set up a Twitter account, and wonder if it’s worth it…  I’m worried that it’s the CB radio of the 21st century…

I have some real misgivings about Twitter.  I have heard all about it and really like it’s ability to speak to so many globally–that’s a wonderfully useful asset for so many reasons.  It’s unbelievable how handy it can be for certain situations–take the Iranian incidences that happened during their recent election, for example.

logoBut I am unsure it’s really worthwhile anymore for promoting handcrafted items…  From what I can glean, it’s usefulness has slipped in an incredibly short amount of time…  I’ve read articles that have suggested getting into Twitter at this point is a useless endeavor; that the time has passed on it’s effectiveness, and it’s fallen into mass junk tweets.  Much like email, now people are trying desperately to avoid junk tweets as much as they avoid junk emails, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do so even though you can accept/decline following.  Determining who is worth listening to is problematic, and therefore it’s starting to become convoluted and complicated.

I’ve not heard that much that’s actually good about Twitter from the handmade community.  Sure there is the ability to let all your followers know when new items are available, but I am not at all sure that’s actually useful in the long run.  Sister Diane, on CraftyPod, did a podcast that discussed this briefly a while ago.  (FYI, I highly recommend her podcast–good good stuff!)  Her concern was that we are sending the wrong message when all we use our online community for is to flood it with messages regarding our new products.  It somehow cheapens the whole and makes a bad impression.  I agree with that…

So I’m a tad hesitant to jump into the “Twitter Pond”.  I’m not at all sure it’s going to be something that I can actually use beyond simply informing others when my stuff becomes available.  I guess I feel I have other means of doing that…  Because, frankly, if people are in a shopping mood, and they’re looking for something I am making, I’m not that hard to find.  I’m just not sure artistically handcrafted items are the “impulse buy” sort of thing.  Art doesn’t seem like an impulse buy to me.  And I somehow feel that advertising using Twitter is about encouraging impulse buying.  It would seem to me there is a much more discerning consumer that purposely purchases handcrafted items, and no amount of twittering is gonna speed up that discernment…

I think in the end, I respect my customers too much to do that…  But am I making a mountain out of a molehill?  I’m not sure I want my items to seem so easily “pushed” on others… I’m just not that easy, I guess (haha)!  Ease of access is one thing, but there’s a fine line between informing interested followers and simple mass advertising…

I guess I respect my potential customers too much to inflict what I feel is a certain “cheesiness” on them…  I mean, I might as well text everyone’s cell phones…  Would that prompt anyone to run to their computer to buy a new vest??

I feel like Twitter is some kind of carrot on a stick, and it’s dangling in front of me, and I’m not sure if I really want it…  Hmmm…

Thoughts?  Lemme know.

Until next time, live life with Relish!

Growing, Friends, and Inspiration

I got two more garments done today, as I sewed the buttons on two vests that I will be posting in the next couple of days to my two online vending sights.  Here’s a couple pics as a preview:
Vestredfrontpreview Vestredbackpreview
Interestingly, the way to make sure that more people see your stuff is to not post all of it at once.  A wise online entrepreneur using Etsy and Artfire and other handmade-centric merchant sites won’t post all their inventory in the beginning.  One trickles it in, because the merchant sites all have “recently posted” features.  The more you spread out the posting of your items the better it is, because then you show up more often in that mechanism and more people see your post.  If you post everything all at once, you’ve sort of wasted a lot of opportunity to be seen over an extended period of time.  So I’ll be posting these new vests over the next week, but not both together.

I managed to put together a new “Page” to my Facebook profile, which is centered on Relished Artistry, and sent out a mass email to all the people on my friends list (regardless of how I knew them) so they could join as “fans”, and not have to be constantly peppered with business-related posts through my own personal profile.  I’m gonna try really hard to keep the two separate and distinct, as I don’t like the idea of using my friends to promote my business.  My ethic is this:  I do what I do and I have what I have.  I don’t need to push it to within an inch of it’s life on all of my friends who don’t really care.  That’s not cool in my book.  I’ll share new stuff once in a while, but I want to keep my friends not lose them to capitalism.  I’m excited about the Page–we’ll see what happens.

I was told through my partner that my greenery looks like grape leaves.  I think I’m gonna run with that… I am gonna start practicing bunches of grapes and see how they look on velvet.  We’ll see what happens.  I’m also exploring pushing the “medieval” feel of things, and considering using “illustrated manuscripts” as inspiration for artistic expression.  We’ll see.  I’d like to figure out something to actually say with that style, not simply decorate stuff.  I’d like to incorporate some kind of statement that’s fun and interesting, as well as artistically expressive to wear, but we’ll see.  I have some thinking to do about that.

Okay, more later!

Live life with Relish!

Artfire and Etsy and Facebook! OH MY!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.
Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 day, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)
My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, 2010 will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.
Having a store in both places can’t be bad.
But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.
But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share what you’ve worked diligently on with your friends, quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.
I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let them know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?
So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  And constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not what’s in my future.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…
Live life with Relish!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 days, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)

My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, in 2010 they will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.

Having a store in both places can’t be bad.

But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.

But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me somehow.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share with your friends what you’ve worked on diligently, and quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal and honest” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.

I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let everyone know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself on them over and over.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?

So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  Constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not  in my future, I know that.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…

Live life with Relish!

The E-Myth Regurgitated

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.
This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.
One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.
But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.
And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.
<sigh>
I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.
What’s the point?  Vacations?
People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.
Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.
Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?
Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.

This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.

One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.

But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.

And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.

<sigh>

I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.

What’s the point?  Vacations?

People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.

Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.

Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?

Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

Lunch with Chickenscratch!

ON Tuesday, I had coffee with another Etsyian, Beth Merriman.  Beth has her own Etsy store, http://www.chickscratch.etsy.com, where she sells vegan candles, bath, and body products that she makes from scratch.
I had gone on Etsy a while ago, investigating the different San Diego participants who had storefronts there.  There were a LOT!  And there still are…  There is an East County “team” (i.e. a loose group of sellers banding together through philosophy or geography) that has a huge number of members…  Beth is a member of that one as well as the Vegan team.
So I met her to pick her brain regarding her experiences in Etsy.  I asked her just how she does it!!  The items that she sells look wonderful–the quality of the photos is great, the variety of items is incredible, and she’s actually selling enough to keep her really busy!  Of course, she works as a dresser at the Globe as well, but between the two, she’s making it!
We chatted about her different experiences, and she shared with me some websites that I didn’t know about that helpful resources, and some features of Etsy that I wasn’t aware of.  I have a lot more to explore now–my brain was a tad overwhelmed…
After that, I headed out to Joann’s and bought a women’s vest pattern (oy, I’m being lazy lazy lazy…) and cut out two size 18s from the remaining black velveteen I had left over from the 50’s coat.  I actually have enough to make a couple handbags as well!  I sewed up the fashion fabric side of one and started to paint it–a project that I will continue in earnest on Wednesday.
I’m also gonna do several other things: 1) I experiment with different photography setups…  I’m going to take some kraft paper and mount it to the fence in my back yard, and see if it’s a background that works in the natural sunlight.  2) I finish one of the vests and post it.  3) I investigate more on Etsy and other sites that have information regarding it, 4) I research places to purchase checks, 5) I explore more of what my resale license does, business-wise.
Alrighty, more later!  Live life with Relish!

On Tuesday, I had coffee with another Etsyian, Beth Merriman.  Beth has her own Etsy store, www.chickscratch.etsy.com, where she sells vegan candles, bath, and body products that she makes from scratch.

I had gone on Etsy a while ago, investigating the different San Diego participants who had storefronts there.  There were a LOT!  And there still are…  There is an East County “team” (i.e. a loose group of sellers banding together through philosophy or geography) that has a huge number of members…  Beth is a member of that one as well as the Vegan team.

So I met her to pick her brain regarding her experiences in Etsy.  I asked her just how she does it!!  The items that she sells look wonderful–the quality of the photos is great, the variety of items is incredible, and she’s actually selling enough to keep her really busy!  Of course, she works as a dresser at the Globe as well, but between the two, she’s making it!

We chatted about her different experiences, and she shared with me some websites that I didn’t know about that helpful resources, and some features of Etsy that I wasn’t aware of.  I have a lot more to explore now–my brain was a tad overwhelmed…

After that, I headed out to Joann’s and bought a women’s vest pattern (oy, I’m being lazy lazy lazy…) and cut out two size 18s from the remaining black velveteen I had left over from the 50’s coat.  I actually have enough to make a couple handbags as well!  I sewed up the fashion fabric side of one and started to paint it–a project that I will continue in earnest on Wednesday.

I’m also gonna do several other things: 1) I experiment with different photography setups…  I’m going to take some kraft paper and mount it to the fence in my back yard, and see if it’s a background that works in the natural sunlight.  2) I finish one of the vests and post it.  3) I investigate more on Etsy and other sites that have information regarding it, 4) I research places to purchase checks, 5) I explore more of what my resale license does, business-wise.

Alrighty, more later!  Live life with Relish!

Weekend Shmeekend

So today is Saturday, and I’m spending time at the computer starting to develop a community for my blog, and eventually my Etsy sight when I finally get it started. I’m going back and looking at all the blogs I’ve subscribed to, and following as many links as I can from those websites to others that may be interesting to me…
I am actually subscribing to more blogs… … I can’t keep up with what I’ve already got! There are so many! And they’re all so good! Many of them have craft projects, or record new and upcoming events and craft shows that each blogger is getting ready to attempt. I am discovering that there are actually different “types” of blogs that I am recognizing…
One is the “Professional Crafter” blog. These are the ones that sell items, books, and outline projects. Many of them are either just starting out, or they are very well established in the biz, like The Crafty Chica.
Another category is the “Journaling Crafter” blog. These are bloggers that record their normal everyday ins-and-outs of their families and adventures and their crafting. Many of them share stories of their personal lives, like Angry Chicken.
Still others are “Cataloging Crafters”, where the bulk of their blogs are about sharing things they have discovered that are really eye-catching for them, and could serve to inspire others. So they are full of links to juicy and thought-provoking stuff! Like one of my favorite blogs ever, Dude Craft.
It’s important to realize that none of the blogs that I’ve found out there easily and clearly fit into any of these categories. And incidentally, these also have the three ingredients that Alyson Stanfield of Artbizblog.com says are necessary for a good blog in the first place: being Informative, Inspiring, and Entertaining.
So that’s what I’m doing today, and let me tell you there are way too many really cool things out there to explore. I am going to try to center my efforts on the “business” side of art/crafts, so hopefully I’ll have a lot to share in my next post.
Until then, an update on my current projects: I trashed the grey, 1950s-inspired jacket, and remade it out of black velveteen, which was the right choice. I found some really cool black “fur” for the cuffs, and I’m incorporating a silk scarf into the coat that will create a beautiful soft bow over the center front closure. I think it’s going to be quite striking with the 1950’s-inspired brushwork all over the surface. I’m excited! Almost done! Here’s a preview!
Until then–live life with relish!

So today is Saturday, and I’m spending time at the computer starting to develop a community for my blog, and eventually my Etsy sight when I finally get it started. I’m going back and looking at all the blogs I’ve subscribed to, and following as many links as I can from those websites to others that may be interesting to me…

I am actually subscribing to more blogs… … I can’t keep up with what I’ve already got! There are so many! And they’re all so good! Many of them have craft projects, or record new and upcoming events and craft shows that each blogger is getting ready to attempt. I am discovering that there are actually different “types” of blogs that I am recognizing…

One is the “Professional Crafter” blog. These are the ones that sell items, books, and outline projects. Many of them are either just starting out, or they are very well established in the biz, like The Crafty Chica.

Another category is the “Journaling Crafter” blog. These are bloggers that record their normal everyday ins-and-outs of their families and adventures and their crafting. Many of them share stories of their personal lives, like Angry Chicken.

Still others are “Cataloging Crafters”, where the bulk of their blogs are about sharing things they have discovered that are really eye-catching for them, and could serve to inspire others. So they are full of links to juicy and thought-provoking stuff! Like one of my favorite blogs ever, Dude Craft.

It’s important to realize that none of the blogs that I’ve found out there easily and clearly fit into any of these categories. And incidentally, these also have the three ingredients that Alyson Stanfield of Artbizblog.com says are necessary for a good blog in the first place: being Informative, Inspiring, and Entertaining.

So that’s what I’m doing today, and let me tell you there are way too many really cool things out there to explore. I am going to try to center my efforts on the “business” side of art/crafts, so hopefully I’ll have a lot to share in my next post.

Until then, an update on my current projects: I trashed the grey, 1950s-inspired jacket, and remade it out of black velveteen, which was the right choice. I found some really cool black “fur” for the cuffs, and I’m incorporating a silk scarf into the coat that will create a beautiful soft bow over the center front closure. I think it’s going to be quite striking with the 1950’s-inspired brushwork all over the surface. I’m excited! Almost done! Here’s a preview!

50scoatfront 50scoatback

Until next time–live life with relish!

Finally, News from the State!

Well, it came today–my reply from the State of California.  I checked the mail early this morning, and opened it up excitedly!  Inside was another form to fill out…  Figures.  Apparently, once you file your Articles of Organization, you have to fill out a Statement of Information.  Essentially, it asks for the filing number of the Articles, and asks you to fill out who the contact people are, the members of your LLC, and the address.

It didn’t give me a business number, though, which is what I thought I was really waiting for…  I’m also trying to fill out an application for a Seller’s Permit, and it’s been a bit of a challenge!  I’m working my way through the form, and discover that it asks for a series of things I don’t have yet… First, I discovered I needed my “Business Number” from the state… Well, after a few phone calls, I learned that LLCs don’t actually have business numbers.  So I’m supposed to leave that part blank, according to the technicians at the Secretary of State’s office…  <sigh–so why does it ASK for one???>

Second, it’s asking for a bank account or a merchants account, of which I have neither.  So that’s something I need to get.  Upon consultation with a friend of mine, the bank account is all I’ll need unless I want to pursue Point-of-Purchase sales…  And that may come later, but not right yet…

I also got my very very first “tax” form…  FTB3522, which is the LLC Tax Voucher form that goes out to everyone who forms an LLC.    The tax form says I have to pay $800 for my annual LLC tax.  I expected that.  That’s actually what keeps a lot of people from forming LLC’s and instead create Sole Proprietorships.  Everything I read, however, suggested that when it comes to attire, it’s smarter to create an LLC.  Sadly, 99% of most clothing endeavors fail miserably the first time out, so creating one with your own name (if you actually want to be successful in the industry) probably isn’t a good idea…  So I created an LLC, and since I’m trying to do this on my own, I’m stumbling along figuring out what I’m supposed to do…  I know I have to pay taxes, so it’s pretty safe that paying the $800 is a given!  Haha!

So, in a nutshell, I’m moving up!!  It’s happening!  I have a lot to do, but I’m confident it’ll happen.

More later.  Until then, live life with relish!

“It’s Etsy as Pie!”

Last night I was up way too late for any rational human being, and I decided to start checking out what Etsy was all about.

I discovered the “teams” section, and found two teams that were specific to San Diego. Teams are groups of sellers that band together to promote their work–these teams were local ones in that their commonality as sellers was the fact they all lived in this area. So I was up until 3:00 in the morning clicking through all the different team members, scoping out their stores, looking at their profiles and searching for blogs… I found a LOT! Over 25 blogs and personal websites of just local Etsy sellers…

I found a trend. Most of the sellers were stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs for short–apparently that’s the “lingo”) or jewelry makers. And not that it’s bad at all–good grief I love making jewelry! But it was all so overwhelming at one point… The jewelry itself was all so very distinct and different, and very little of it actually looked simple to make. I am just stupefied that people can stand out from the crowd with so many actually in the crowd!

And this morning I did a search on Etsy by geographical location… and got over 100… I’m a little floored. That’s even more than were on the “teams”. So I think I will have my hands full exploring and looking…

One awesome thing that happened: I found a young lady who is also in theatre, like myself, who is selling her own wares. She puts together her own massage candles, body butter, and bath bombs in her spare time when she is not being a dresser for the Old Globe Theatre. And her stuff looks awesome! The quality of her photographs is so appealing, and her stuff is totally Vegan–I can’t tell you how cool it is! And she just started a little short of a year ago. So she’s new to this, too. I emailed her through Etsy, and she introduced herself, and we’re gonna do lunch sometime, hopefully! Here’s her Etsy store: Chicken Scratch.

So off I go to work on a my women’s coat project. My mother had suggested that I create something that was short, and I’m tired of seeing stuff made only for women that seem to be very tall and thin. I wanted to make something beautiful for someone with a figure like the average woman: a Sz 14 and larger. So I’m gonna. More pics later!

Still