End of Season Sale!

Being the last day of February, I’m starting to prepare for spring and summer items in the shop.  But first I’ve gotta get rid of all this winter stuff!

40% Off - Hand Knit Fingerless Gloves - with or without White Pom Pom

Welcome to the End of Season sale, where all ready-to-ship items are 40% off! (Yes, it’s awesome, I know.) So, if you’ve been admiring anything in the shop, now is the time to pick it up before the sale ends.

40% Off - Chainmaille Earrings - Bronze Mobius Flower

I’ll also be featuring a different item in the sidebar everyday for the sale, so check out the shop to see if anything catches your eye!  Start stocking up on scarves for next year’s holiday gifts or get yourself a cool new pair of earrings just for the heck of it.

Go crazy at LittleNoteCrafts!

40% Off - Long Crochet Fashion Scarf - Open Lace Design in Ocean Blue

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Avant-Garde Summit County Craft Show

This past Sunday I did my second craft show at the first ever Summit County Avant-Garde Craft Show.  It had a lot more vendors than I thought, and it was great to meet new people and see all the wonderful talent from local artists and craftsmen.  It wasn’t as successful as I was hoping, but I gave out a lot of business cards and learned a few things:

  1. People really liked my fingerless gloves, but many times they commented on wanting a different color or adding fur trim.  These are ideas I will consider for future productions.
  2. A lot of people will comment that your stuff is cute or beautiful or well-done, but that doesn’t mean they will buy any of it.
  3. Family can be your best customer.  Be thankful for their support.
  4. It’s just as important to get your name out there and socialize as it is to make sales.  Brand recognition can lead to future orders and networking can take you places you can’t even imagine.
  5. Above all, stay positive, even if you’re feeling a little defeated.

Here’s my booth, set up and ready for the show:

DSCN2684

You can see all the pictures from the craft fair on my Facebook page, including close-ups of my items and display.

I’m considering doing the Avant-Garde show in the spring, but for now I’m back to work on some more holiday orders.

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

Win a Free Pair of Fingerless Gloves!

Megan over at Megan’s Creative Blog has been awesome enough to feature me this week, and as a thank you I’m offering up a free pair of fingerless gloves to a lucky winner!  Just in time for the colder months too (for those of you who live in the northern climates anyway).

I love fingerless gloves even if just a little chilly out–they let me text, confidently hold my cup of coffee, type at my desk where I always get cold, pick up change at the store, all sorts of stuff!
If you’d like to enter, visit Megan’s Creative Blog to read all the rules and ways to enter (you can get multiple entries for more chances to win too). Good luck!

green fingerless gloves

Win this pair of forest green fingerless gloves!

Self-Taught Knitters Interview

As the December 2nd Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show approaches, read all about the vendors and artists attending to get to know them and their crafts.

Today’s interviews were all about self-taught knitters (me included!).  Learn a little bit more of my story on the Avant-Garde Blog.  Happy Reading!

 

Want to attend the show?  (of course you do!)  Put it on your calendar now and get all your unique handmade holiday gifts!

2012 Summit County Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, December 15, 2012 11:00am-6:00pm
The Tangier
532 West Market St.
Akron, OH 44303
Perfect time to finish your holiday shopping! This large show will feature artists and crafters selling their original handmade items at this beautiful venue! The show will also feature a la carte lunch items from Tangier’s and a full bar! Admission is free to the public. A portion of proceeds will benefit local animal rescue non-profit Jade’s No Kill Rescue for animal rescue.

10 Awesome Reasons to Buy Handmade

I believe a key part of growing any business in the handmade community is not only about gaining the support of fellow handmade artists, but convincing regular consumers that buying handmade is a smart, viable choice for their hard-earned dollars.

If you search for ‘reasons to buy handmade’ in your favorite search engine, you get a LOT of results.  On one hand, that’s a good thing.  It means people are talking and thinking and posting about why the world should buy more handmade goods.  Being a handmade artist myself, I fully support this.  But I found that many of the reasons were the same, and if I was just a regular consumer (not a member of the handmade community already), I’m not sure I’d be very convinced that handmade shopping is the easiest way to go.

Yes, I said the easiest way to go.  Certainly handmade is the better way, and I’m not sure many people can argue with that. Look at all the ways it’s better:

1. You support local artisans, and therefore their local economy and community.  Supporting local business has a huge list of benefits all to itself, far too many to list here, but it’s a good thing, trust me.

2. You get high-quality items that are built to last, not all the stuff that has the “How cheap can I produce this?” mentality.  It’ll probably fall apart in a year or two, but handmade items have longevity.  Artisans have pride in their work, and want it to last.  Even the materials are hand-picked by an individual, and what big manufacturing company can say that?

3. Your gifts are the best on the block.  Cool, trendy, unique, and usually one-of-a kind, you can find some really awesome handmade stuff that’ll make everyone ask “Where can I get one?”

4. Customization!  Since each and every item is made by hand, and you are usually talking directly to the person making it, you can tweak the color or size of something you are interested in, or even get a fully commissioned custom order done.  This avoids you having the excuse of “it was all the store had left.”  Want a cool case for your new gadget, but maybe you have some weird size the store doesn’t offer?  Get is custom made to your exact dimensions!  Doggie sweaters from the store never quite fit your beloved pooch?  Customization to the rescue!  The possibilities are endless really.

5. You’re helping the environment.  It’s always a nice feeling to ‘go green’ isn’t it?  Handmade items aren’t made in a waste-producing factory and shipped halfway around the world using fuel and energy.  Buying handmade (especially really locally) can greatly reduce your carbon footprint on the world.

6. You gain a unique connection with an artisan.  You can be in direct contact with the person who made the item with their own hands.  For some reason this is just really cool.  I mean, think about how awesome it’d be to meet your favorite clothing designer, artist, author, or chef.  It’s kinda like that feeling, but on a much smaller and more intimate scale.

7. Let’s not forget the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you helped support someone very directly.  For example, when you purchase something from my shop, you just helped put food on the table for another meal (and I thank you deeply for that).  You don’t have to pay the shop’s cashier and the various levels of management and the supplier and the designer and the manufacturer, because just one person is all those things!

See, that’s at least 7 really strong reasons why buying handmade is better.   But let’s be honest, when the holiday rush hits, a lot of buyers may not be looking for better as much as they are looking for easy.  The holidays can really sneak up on us, and we all just want to have the gift shopping DONE and the gifts wrapped with plenty of time to bake those cookies and relax a little bit before running to 100 different holiday parties and dinner.   So today I offer you reasons why buying handmade can be the easiest holiday shopping choice you make:

1. Avoid crowded stores.  How annoying is it to maneuver yourself (and your cart, and possibly kids) through packed store aisles only to fight with someone for the last thing on the shelf then wait in a line for hours with a cart full of stuff and realize you still need to get something for your mother-in-law or coworker or neighbor?  Talk about stressful.  Buy handmade items at local craft fairs, markets, and boutiques, or shop online to avoid people altogether.

2. Get it gift wrapped.   This may not apply to all handmade goods, but a large number of sellers do offer a gift wrapping service (sometimes even free). Even if it’s not free, the few dollars it costs you may be well worth it, especially if you can’t find the gift wrap you bought last year so you have to go out to another crowded store to buy more, then find a free afternoon to clear space on the crowded dining room table for all the wrapping paper, tape, scissors, gift bags, tissue paper, and gifts.  Save time and energy!

3. Get it all done at once. Find a large craft show in your area and get all that holiday shopping done at once.  Craft shows usually offer a much wider range of goods than your typical store, so you don’t need to run to a bunch of different places to get everything you need.  This is even easier if you shop online.  Online marketplaces have goods from thousands of handmade artists all over the country, and from around the world, so you’ll have no excuse not to find that perfect gift for everyone on your list.

What can be easier? And if you start to protest that maybe you are more into the high-tech gadget-y stuff, no problem, but you’ll probably need a case to protect that new expensive item, so consider a handmade one before you run to the store.  And if you object that handmade is so expensive, then I refer you back to the reasons why handmade is better.  You have to pay for quality my friends, and be smart shoppers.

I encourage each and every one of you to buy more handmade this year and every year, not just for the holidays but for all special occasions, or maybe just because you want a new throw pillow for the couch or a beautiful new necklace for yourself.  The sky is the limit!

Need help finding handmade gifts?  Besides looking at my shop 🙂 you can check out the artisans featured here on Homegrown Joy every Friday for ideas, or visit online marketplaces like Etsy or Artfire. Happy shopping!

Newsletter Sign Up = Free Shipping in November

Sign up for the LittleNoteCrafts newsletter before October 31st and receive a special code for Free Shipping in the November issue of the newsletter!

And don’t worry, I’m not spammy.  Newsletters come out about once a month and include updates on new products before they launch along with any specials or discounts I’m offering that month.  Try it out!

This super cute kitten wants you to sign up

Achievement! My First Sweater

Lately there seems to be a lot of talk about sweaters.  Maybe I’m the only one that notices because like a nerd I read a lot of knitting blogs and have knitters for friends.  Sweater-talk is to be expected though as the weather turns cooler, and as I listened to chatter about cable knits and cardigans that I thought, “I must make a sweater.”  Mind you, I’ve never made a sweater before in my live, knit or otherwise, and I don’t have a large desire to knit a sweater at all (thought owning a hand knit sweater would be a treasure, so I might invest in one).

 

But in the spirit of fall and sweater-talk, I did learn a new pattern for this thick, warm, and cozy number just for lovely Lola. (Yes, it is crocheted, not knit, in case you were wondering.)  I’m so glad she likes it!  I have a lot of ideas for new products this holiday season, but I am considering working on a line of different sweater designs for dogs for next fall.  In the meantime, Lola makes a great model!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Exactly What I Was Going For (Partial Crafty Fail)

This week I embarked on a new adventure in knitting–making a cozy for my Kindle! I love to take my reading with me, but am always afraid of scuffing up my Kindle by sticking it in my purse or bag.  I seriously don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier.  On Friday, I thought my progress was coming along nicely…

 

Really just getting started

 

Well, since I wasn’t really following a pattern (how hard could it be to knit a rectangle that closes at the top?), it did not turn out quite like I had hoped.  FAR too big for a Kindle, one of my stripes only matched up on one side, and the top….one side was taller than the other!  At first I thought, total crafty fail!

 

Aw, sad

Ok, so here’s a better, less dramatic shot. Notice the small stripe doesn’t match up on the side.

 

But I was pretty determined not to let my hard work go to waste, I did spend two days on this thing after all.  New plan–use it for real books instead!  When I’m not using my Kindle I do still love to pick up a real book, but I hate when my edges get bent and worn, especially with paperback books.  This little number fits the pretty thick book I’m just starting called A Clash of Kings, the second book in The Game of Thrones series.  (Side note, if you haven’t started reading these, you are really missing out.)

 

Nice and cozy

 

So, I’m calling this only a partial crafty fail.  It may not have turned out to be what I originally intended, but experimenting and mistakes are all part of the creative process.  I did like how the stripe pattern turned out, and am incorporating it in a dog coat I’m currently working on.  I also gained a great book cover that will fit even my fattest books and stretches to cover taller ones too.    For now, I’m off to find new inspiration and a new pattern for the elusive Kindle cozy I’m searching for.

 

Just the right size!

What about you?  What crafty failures have you used for inspiration?  Or had to re-purpose for something else?  Let me know, I’m interested to hear!

 

Antiques, Crafts, and Lots of Mud

This past weekend I attended my very first craft show as a vendor.  Boy oh boy, was it an experience!  It was a two day outdoor show, which posed a lot of unique challenges. muddy car It had rained the entire day on Friday, making Saturday morning a mud bath.  I was shocked at all the trucks that got stuck driving in, and I was so afraid my poor little car wouldn’t make it!  Even in the least soupy spots the mud got all over the place.

 

Saturday though the weather was gorgeous! Sunny and bright and good for business.  I do think I need to improve the display a bit to be more inviting (I’m not a huge fan of the blue), but it was a good, albeit long, day.  With Sunday the rain rolled in, and while we didn’t have to set up or tear down in the rain (thank goodness) it did keep attendance low for a large part of the day.  I did have two of the most wonderfully fun young women come in towards the end of the day–they were the big spenders of the weekend picking up a few flower pins and a scarf!  They certainly lifted my spirits on an otherwise slow day.

 

me on Saturday

 

Despite the rain and mud, I still made double my table fee and am really glad I went.  It was a learning experience on how to display and personally sell my items, what people really think of my items, and I gained a lot of great feedback.  Some of my most popular items were crocheted flower pins and small marble charms, but everyone commented on the beauty and colorfulness of my knit items as well.

 

I’m not sure the show was necessarily my target market, but as I’m learning I think I’ll gain a better understanding for what shows work for me and which aren’t really worth it.  I will say though that the people I met were wonderful, and I handed out a lot of cards…..so maybe more online sales are on the horizon for the holidays?  I can only hope so.

 
Want to more pictures from the show?  Check out my Facebook album for all the wonderful items on display.  Now back to focusing on Etsy and getting ready for my next Avant-Garde show in December.  I’ll be developing some new Christmas and winter items specifically designed for gift giving (even if the gift is just for yourself!).  Stay tuned for updates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stocking Up and Crafting Like a Mad Woman

One week and two days from now I’ll be attending my very first craft show EVER.
Each year, in the quaint little town of Birmingham, Ohio, over 100 sellers, vendors, and crafters gather to share their wares at the Country Harvest of Antiques and Crafts.  I attended this show for years as a buyer–and by years I mean since I was in a stroller.  Yes, really!  My grandmother’s birthday is near the same time, so all the girls of the family go and spend the day together browsing and shopping.  The show has good strong memories for me, so I’m super excited to be a part of it this year.

At the same time, I’m scared witless.  For a few reasons:

  1. I’ve never done a craft show before, so every detail needs to be considered from inventory levels to display set up to transport all the way down to putting price tags on everything and remembering food to snack on
  2. It’s an outdoor show, so there’s things like the weather to think about–oh and a tent!
  3. Speaking of tents, the one I have is only about half the size of the space I reserved, so I’m not sure if that will look too odd
  4. My tent (12×12) is actually bigger than my living room, making an indoor mock set up an interesting adventure
  5. It’s a two day show, so gauging how much product inventory I still need to make is a mystery

After all the worrying questions run through my mind (What if it rains?  What if I run out of stuff?  What if I don’t have enough change?), I remember something–no matter what, it will be great.  Despite all the details I need to remember and all the things that could go wrong, there are so many more wonderful things to get excited about:

  1. My grandmother will be helping me man the booth, and a day with her always makes for good memories
  2. I’m getting my name out there and meeting customers face-to-face
  3. I get to meet other vendors and (hopefully) make some new friends
  4. I get to enjoy the invigorating atmosphere of all the hustle and bustle of a thriving craft show
  5. There’s fresh kettle corn!
  6. With any luck I can do a bit of Christmas shopping myself and pick up some locally handmade goodies

See, that’s 6 good and awesome things to look forward to and only 5 worrisome things.  If you’re getting ready for a craft show and are just as nervous, try to remember that it’s supposed to be fun!  Find things that you’ll look forward to, and if nothing else happens you got your name and your product out there.

I fully realize I’m new to this whole thing. I’m inevitably going to forget something, make mistakes, and think of all the things I should have done–but learning from these experiences allows a business to grow.  Finding out which products customer really love, or the best way to display items, or which promotions are effective is all invaluable knowledge, so use it!

If you’re in the area and want to stop by the show, please come visit!

Address

Birmingham Methodist Church
15018 South St.
Wakeman, Ohio 44889

Hours

Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Admission

Admission: 4.00
Children (under 10): FREE

Events Dates:

10/6/2012 – 10/7/2012

Of course I’ll keep everyone updated on how it goes in a few weeks.  In the meantime I’m stocking up my inventory and crafting like crazy, hence why I’m still awake at 3am.  Tomorrow, on to more knitting!