Friday Footnotes

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1. Walt Disney World Badgehunting

I love Allan Peters’ Badgehunting blog posts… wherever he goes, he documents the beautiful modern and vintage type lockups that he sees. This time, in Walt Disney World. How can I not post about it when it combines two of my favorite things in the whole world? Type and Disney Parks. It always makes me happy to see people truly appreciate these details that Disney devotes so much time to. See the rest of his post here.

2. How to Conquer 6 Common Business Fears

I love getting emails from Etsy for the sellers. Like Love Love. They are always short and to the point, but so full of great information and advice! And are usually so true to where I am at and what I am feeling. Katy Svehaug emailed out recently with an article titled “How to Conquer 6 Common Business Fears” and the whole time I’m reading I am just nodding and smiling, yes yes yup, exactly! From the fear that sharing your work because it is so personal and close to your heart to being afraid to fail to the more unique, [Not Knowing] What Success Looks Like for You. It’s a great read, take a look here.

3. Not-Another-Bill

What a cool and fun concept! After you pick your interests and subscribe to their site, Not-Another-Bill will send you, via snail mail, a package/letter/parcel from one of their contributors. Now that would be something to look forward to! Read more on their site here… originally found via Brave the Woods Blog.

4. Calligraphy Video by Hej Heidi

I can watch people write in calligraphy for hours on end. Seriously. It’s just beautiful to watch the various techniques. It’s an art form as much as it is “just writing something down.” Thank you Hej Heidi for sharing!! See more on her site here. Found via Pinterest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcQPAHKxbQU

5. Plastic Bag Printmaking

This is such a cool idea! Found via Creature Comforts’ Three Things I’m Loving Right Now, what I love most about the technique of plastic bag printmaking is that you have a bit more freedom and if you mess up on the bag, you can start over without ruining the canvas! Second favorite part, is the layers upon layers you can go.

 

Starting an Etsy Shop: Some Humble Words of Advice

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I am not an Etsy expert, but I wanted to share a few thoughts that I have come to realize over this past year. And I am sure if you went in to creating a shop after doing some market research, a lot of this would be already known to you. But I just jumped into running my shop, feet first with a blindfold on… just wanting to see what would happen.

Since I’m just coming out of a booming few weeks for my little shop… i.e. doubled my total sales in less than 2 months (!!!)… I’ve been reflecting back on times of struggle and lack of movement in the shop. Just a few weeks ago, I was feeling bummed that my sales were down and then boom, now I’m struggling to keep up! It’s only just now calming down and going back to normal. I’ve definitely noticed that there seem to be cycles in the Etsy world, especially when a lot of your clients are brides. But I hope the following random bits of wisdom can help in any Etsy business, whether wedding related or not.

Custom Requests

When you’re first starting out, just say yes. Yes to custom requests that is. They may be a little more work for you in the beginning but I can vividly remember a few custom requests that came in that drastically changed my business. The first one was last November when a woman wrote me saying that she liked my address stamps but just wanted their first names written out with a typed out last name. So basically an address stamp with no address. Well that sounds easy, I can do that no problem I told her. Without realizing it, by saying yes to her and then posting this new product in my shop, I’ve now sold over 25 of them. But I had no idea that was even a need to fill, until I was asked to fill it.

your new friend sam rubber stamps-2-line-custom-stamp-jon<3megan-crepeau

What Do You Want?

List things that you wish were out there. Here’s another product that I had no idea was already out there. I wanted to hand write my own wedding vows so I thought, hey, maybe other people do too! 33 sales later, with three options to choose from, I can say that my shop is definitely leaning in this direction over the sale of shower invitations that I had first listed, and started out my shop with.

your new friend sam handwritten vows DSC_6054

Variety of Products

List a variety of items… It took me a month to get my first sale  and that was for a invitation printable. But it took my listing the original address rubber stamp for me to get more frequent orders. After being open for over 6 months, I had just barely reached 50 sales. Of course, that was still a major accomplishment for me! And then sales really started to pick up even more after listing the handwritten wedding vows printables. Now, a little over a year later, I have over 70 items with an average of 50 sold items a month! And a variety of all is bought on a daily basis, there is no “one shining star” but a few in each category… to me, this just says that if I stuck with just printables, or just stamps, I would not have the same quantity sold (However, the downfall of that is less time to perfect the existing items).

What if you only have one item to sell? Can you make more of a variety, or add items that are somewhat related? For example, I started with address stamps and then moved into “thank you” stamps, then just plain name stamps, because that’s what people were writing and asking me for. It just kept growing, all stemmed from just that one item.

your new friend sam DSC_3722 mockup address stamp etsy

Watch Your Competitors’ Products and Images

I also click through when someone “favorites” one of my items and see what else they are “favoriting.” Doing that, allowed me to see what else people are shopping for and who my direct competition is. This led me from just selling a stock Thank You! stamp and adding personalization options… all because I saw that the people liking my stamps also liked a personalized stamp which I wasn’t offering at the time.

And then while looking at your competitors shops, notice how they feature their images. For some time, I primarily just showed a photo of the stamp itself. While the stamps are beautiful, wood engraved with the design, I began to notice that for the most part, all other shops just showed the stamp design/impression… not the stamp itself. That led me to start taking a bit more time styling images with envelopes and tags, showing the variety of uses for the stamps. Then using that photo as the main image, but the thumbnail shows a slightly cropped in view of just the design. Best of both worlds, right?

your new friend sam rubber stamps DSC_4375-Thank you mockup etsy

When It’s Slow… Don’t Panic

Chances are, your shop will have a boom, then slow down, then increase in sales again… over and over again… when it’s slow, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and use that time to better your shop. Add photos of projects and finished pieces to the listings, and improve your listing descriptions. Go back and check those other favorited listsings I mentioned before, see how they’ve worded things and see what else they have for sale. Brainstorm new products you can offer. Or just enjoy a break, kick back and relax!

Wow… guess I’ve learned a lot, didn’t realize I would have so much to say in this post!

Again, I am not an Etsy expert by any means… my measly 300+ sales are nothing in comparison to other shops, but each sale I am definitely proud of as there is a ton of shops like mine out there to choose from! Most of these are just good practice, and may not lead to a growth in sale, so take my words with a grain of salt, and know what works for me may not work for you. But by trial and error, keep what works, and move on from what doesn’t!

I’d love to connect with you! Do you own an Etsy shop or thinking about opening one? Leave a comment below!

Friday Footnotes

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Guys, I used to religiously post these Friday posts… but you see, this blog is supposed to be fun! And I don’t want it to add stress to an already stressful workload. So I neglected my Footnotes posts these last couple weeks. I bet you didn’t even notice! Anyway, I’m still trying to catch up so instead of posting some inspired design pieces from around the web, I’m posting a little sneak peek into my life lately—pretty much all Etsy related. I always love making these posts, hope you like reading them!

1. New Handwritten Vows PRINTS!

As a special request, I mailed out the original copy of a hand written vows print that I created… and just for the heck of it, I kept the listing up in my shop… and it’s been bought twice more since then! What??! I guess I’m selling prints now too! Time to get me some more shipping supplies as these are a way different animal than my itsy bitsy rubber stamps! I’m truly honored that anyone deems my handwriting worthy enough to hang in their house, truly humbled by this whole experience and thankful to God for each and every sale. Okay best move on before I cry some more.

your new friend sam vows print 052

2. Personalized Made with Love Stamp

From a friend’s pin on Pinterest (thanks Trisha!), I was inspired to make this stamp for my shop. I seriously love and it may be my favorite stamp yet!

Made with Love Rubber Stamp, With or WIthout Personalized Name

3. Sunshine and Lemonade Birthday Invite for Grayson

I’ve said this a thousand times over, I love working with my friend Jess on invitations. She usually just gives me a spark of an idea and then gives me total freedom to make whatever I want. And is totally encouraging along the way. This time, she showed me a picture of a lemonade stand that he husband will be making for the party… and that she wanted on the invitation. All I could picture in my head were gray outlined illustrations, but that seemed kinda boring for a 2nd birthday party and then I was sparked with an idea to use watercolor paint. Something I hadn’t done since I was a kid! Definitely a classier kids invite, so I know it won’t be for everybody! I’m going to post more about it all later, but I sure love how it came out! 

sunshine and lemonade your new friend sam birthday invitation

4. Custom Maps

Almost a month ago I listed custom maps in my Etsy shop, without having any idea on if those would sell at all but since I’ve made them for a few wedding invitations for friends, I thought it may be a need in the Etsy world too. I’ve already sold 3 of them! But boy do I need to up the prices, because they took a lot longer than I remember to make! They are definitely fun to make and a challenge to get them to match their already created wedding invitations. Take a look at some other maps here.

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5. Geraldine’s College Graduation Photos

And then finally this past weekend, I got together with my good friend Geraldine to take her college graduation photos! Isn’t she gorgeous?! I can’t wait to show you more, I can’t even say I have a favorite. I love them all!

geraldine loma linda senior photos valley center

Friday Footnotes

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1. A Map of the World Book

I’m kind of obsessed with maps, especially maps as art. I’ve even posted a whole blog on the maps and globes we have around our house (I think our collection has doubled since that post too!). Anyway, I am loving this book of maps that has been illustrated by a variety of designers.

While Google Maps and GPS systems have become our tools of choice for navigation, contemporary maps have evolved into platforms for cutting-edge illustration, experimental data visualization, and personal visual storytelling.

See more images and purchase the book here.

2. Newsprint Vendors

Thoroughly enjoyed this post on Nubby Twiglet… I love these behind the scenes posts! She generously shares her printing vendors, and I hope she knows how appreciative we all are of her for that! And I have actually wondered quite a few times how to print a newspaper, especially since the Design*Sponge blog started their newspaper a few years ago.

3. A Kid’s Guide to How the Internet Ads Work

Pretty cute animation on how ads work on the Internet! Designed by illustrator Dominic Owen and animator Will Samuel, commissioned by the Internet Advertising Bureau in the U.K… found via swissmiss.

4. Make Your Own Typographic Art

I love making custom artwork for our home (did you see my DIY wall art earlier this week?)… especially when it comes in large oversize type! Ever since my first college class in typography, I’ve never looked at letters the same. Each one is a piece of art in itself and once the letter or number is blown up and cropped, it because so abstract and a completely different shape. Anyway, enough gushing on the beauty of type….

I am a huge fan of A Beautiful Mess’ DIY projects! HUGE fan… especially when they first unveiled using engineer prints (seriously awesome cost effective way to print big!). This new DIY project though plucks at the inner middle schooler in all of us, didn’t we all make collages out of magazines when we were 13?? But who would have thought to scan and print these ransom note-like letters into large scale pieces of art for the home! See the whole tutorial here.

5. 9 Tips for Better Jumping Photos

Okay, I’m obsessed with all the creations that come from A Beautiful Mess… so yes here’s a second feature on them! But this post on acheieving the perfect jumping photo, along with the history of the jumping (aka jumpology) photo had me smiling from ear to ear!

Friday Footnotes

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1. Lettering Index

Feeling so very thankful to Brad Woodard for sharing this wonderful lettering resource! The Letter Index is a jackpot of letters and words in a variety of styles from script to logo to hand made. It’s just amazing. Quite often I’m asked to write out someone’s name and just my handwriting will be used for their logo. That’s quite a lot of pressure on my little pen and me, so this will be a hand resource to look up interesting and new ways of adding flourishes to make their letters a little more unique. I’m going to start pinning some right away! See my Handwriting, Lettering and Calligraphy board here.

2. The Hidden Sea

For another jaw dropping typo-centric piece, I’m loving Jon Contino‘s new type and illusration work for The Hidden Sea‚ it’s just gorgeous! I’m already a big fan of Jon Contino, especially his other nautical inspired designs, but this just blows them out of the water (pun intended)… And I just love how the flourishes emulate waves… I just keep staring wide eyed at the letterforms. I kinda want to get a bottle of the wine just to have it on display in my nautical themed office. 🙂 View more images here on The Dieline.

3. Oh Joy! at Target

I just love all these new Target collections by bloggers and designers I’ve been following for years—I posted about Dana Tanamachi’s collection a few months ago! Here’s a video and sneak peek of  Joy Cho’s party collection. So adorable!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNkJ73ciP94

4. Peek Calendar

I haven’t been a fan of the iPhone iOS 7 calendar ever since first installing it. It lost quite a lot of features that I loved, even though it added quite a few! So I was definitely smitten when I saw this new calendar app called Peek Calendar on swiss miss.

5. DIY Concrete Countertops

How amazing are these concrete counters?! I seriously love them! Cost effective and super duraple! Should I add more exclamations to emphasize how much I love them??! See more on A Beautiful Mess.

Evernotes Every Friday

1. Typography Wrapping Paper

Okay now that Thanksgiving is over, how wonderfully cool is this type-centric wrapping paper?? Found via designworklife… designed by Angelo Stitz, and available for purchase here.

2. New York Specialty Coffee Map

This map of New York’s specialty coffee shops would have been extremely handy a few months ago… you can only consume so much Dunkin’ Donuts, ya know? Found via swissmiss, for purchase from Blue Crow Media.

3. Book Sculptures by Jodi Harvey-Brown

I know I’ve raved about paper sculpting and book sculptures before, but come on! They are just so so cool! This particular creation is by Jodi Harvey-Brown… found via Looks Like Good Design.

4. Fiction Inspired Wedding Suites

Speaking of books… after posting that beautifully illustrated wedding map last week, I also had found these ::nerd alert:: invitations to weddings themed after Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Gotta love the random finds of Pinterest.

5. Scrapbooking

It’s kinda crazy how obsessed I’ve become with scrapbooking over these past 2 years while working on books for the brides of weddings I’ve been in (that I plan to share once I get this last one done!). But I seriously love it… the freedom it allows gives me a creative outlet even though I have a creative job. Anyway, I just can’t wait to finish up this last “year of bridal beauty” book but until I can carve away a few moments to actually work on it, I will keep pinning away over some gorgeous layouts such as these. Follow my pins here.

Evernotes Every Friday

1. Gulp Milkshake

I think the majority of graphic design students have to illustrate an action word, making that word into an image of itself… after seeing Gulp Milkshakes, they would totally win! Found via The Dieline.

2. G & J Monogram

Seriously one of the best monograms I have ever seen in my whole life. Gorgeous work! Designed by kissmiklos, found via Pinterest.

3. Smart Lids

Another ingenious packaging design: travel lid changes color to show hot temperatures!  Designed by Smart Lids System, found via The Dieline.

4. Presents from the North Pole

Is it too early to be pinning Christmas wrapping ideas?? Because I could not resist seeing this oh so adorable and creative packaging that makes each gift a special delivery straight from the North Pole! Originally from LMNOP, found via Pinterest and Lolalina’s blog.

5. Bird Cage Table

While I am no fan of birds… inside or outside… I do think this table is pretty cool! Designed by Gregoire De Lafforest, found via Looks Like Good Design.

Evernotes Every Friday

1. The Type Deck

These are the most beautiful playing cards I’ve ever seen! Now that I’ve learned how to play poker—have I shared about that yet, Internet?—I’ve been on a playing card spree. Mostly just collecting them as souvenirs during our trip. Anyway, these gorgeous cards have already been fully funded on Kickstarter but you can still get in with a pack for putting up $15 toward the start of the project. Found via Mr. Cup.

2. Our City, Our Home Mural

Hand painted on brick… it’s just gorgeous! Love the behind the scenes images of this installation. Created by Bryan Patrick Todd, another find via Mr. Cup.

3. That’s So Crazy It Just Might Work

Go check out this Kickstarter (yes another one)… it has an awesome video (rant/ that I can’t play here… WordPress.com, please support iframe! /endrant) that you should check out. Basically, its a webshow that will interview people who have done the impossible… showing how they got from square 1 to square 70. Found via Swiss Miss.

We want to do a web show about creativity, entrepreneurship, and uncertainty. And we need your help to do it.

4. 26 Ingenious Home Ideas

This post from Design*Sponge had me smiling at the computer screen for a good 5 minutes! So many great—and easy—ideas! Of course I am showing one of the more “boring” images but its so simple, hence the label “ingenious!”

5. Custom House Portrait

Just last week I posted about Emily Henderson and my new following of her blog… well here she is again, already!

I love this concept… and to have your house in a stylized portrait would certainly make it a great memory down the road.

Just send a snapshot of the house to Danielle Krysa (The Jealous Curator) and boom, there she goes making it into art!

Evernotes Every Friday

1. Pixelist

Inspired by Jess’ guest post last week, I love this concept of turning iPhone/Instagram images (pretty low resolution for prints) into custom paintings! Their Indiegogo (like Kickstarter) was fully funded, sign up to be notified for more information! Found via swiss-miss.

2. Hugo’s

Oh yes,  would totally buy hot sauce that sets their business cards on fire to look cool… and that have a degree symbol instead of an apostrophe in their name. And I am being totally serious. Found via designworklife.

3. Spicy Type

Speaking of hot foods, type created in spices! Yum-mo! (Gee, I must be hungry…) Created for Canada’s Target, by Danielle Evans… found via I Am Mr. Cup, Tumblr.

4. American Provisions

Some more beautiful type… just gorgeous. Found via Once New Vintage.

5. H&M Home Collection

Thanks to Ez on CreatureComforts.com, I have found and fallen in love with H&M’s Home collection. It’s not too early for Christmas shopping… for myself… is it?

hm.com.home