Monthly Archives

November 2007


Congratulations Oh Joy!

November 28, 2007

I was just getting my daily Oh Joy! fix when oops I clicked on a link and landed on her business website spotting this beautiful image below. As I clicked around some more, I discovered that we have a star on the rise – Joy recently designed a few rug patterns for Urban Outfitters (here and here). This is quite exciting, congrats Joy!

Congratulations Oh Joy!
(image from oh joy! studio)

Etsy Faves, Objects

Kirin & Co {fabric}

November 28, 2007

We love her prints, but Kirin & Co’s Lara Cameron recently listed her latest fabric creation: Ginkgo in Robins Egg Blue. Isn’t it pretty? Living in the northeast, I’ve had this long time love of all the fallen Ginkgo leaves that I find strolling the forest here. Even Boston Common has a few scattered about on the sidewalks and I always stop to admire them, photograph them, they have such an appealing shape. Don’t you love seeing ginkgo leaves in turquoise?

Kirin & Co {fabric}
This is a limited edition run, so if you like it, click here for details. Only 10 left!

(image from lara cameron)

Arts + Crafts, Objects

Amy Butler Patterns {Free}

November 27, 2007

Amy sent out her shop updates today and in addition to her new Sweet Life bags, she’s offering (for a limited time) free pattern downloads on her site (see bottom of menu, main page).

Amy Butler Patterns {Free}
Give it a try, download a few, they’re a great project to work on while engaging in marathon trash television viewing or something. :) Who ARE the Kardashians anyway?? Plus, these patterns look fun, especially those fabric leaves) and I don’t think they’ll leave us feeling like a bunch of incompetents because they seem relatively easy.

Thanks for the great free stuff Amy!

(images from amy butler)

Etsy Faves

Pen and Paper {New}

November 27, 2007

Got a thing for woodgrain and silhouettes? Pen and Paper’s Jeeyon Shim just opened a store on Etsy that I’d love for you to visit with terrific original works and a great neutral palette.

Pen and Paper {New}

Here’s what Jeeyon says in a very nice email sent earlier today, “As an art student, I’ve always felt mildly frustrated with how polarized art can be for a student; on the one hand, if you want to buy decent, appealing art it’s usually completely out of your budget, but on the other hand if you want to MAKE affordable art the equipment and resources are usually astronomical as well.

Good point.

Jeeyon continues, “I try to make all of my pieces with this conundrum in mind. At the moment my shop primarily features handcut silhouettes with naturalist and mythological motifs, but I’ve also done a few mixed media pieces using vintage photographs and offer a few original drawings as well. I’m really looking forward to seeing what other explorations this project will guide me towards.

Thank you so much for sharing your new shop with us and we wish you the best with your new business, yeah! Go indie!

(images from pen and paper)

Etsy Faves

Etsy: Take Five Tuesdays

November 27, 2007

Tah-dah! It’s Take Five Tuesday, where I showcase five etsy artists on Tuesday, ones that I think deserve a little blog love, who have great taste, and that are items I either own or would own myself. In other words, the official holly seal of approval. I think you’ll really love today’s batch of beauties. Scrambled eggs, birds in 3-D, beads and baubles, prints from down under, and an usual suspect – pot plants! No, not the kind you smoke kids, the kind you plant stuff inside and watch legal greens emerge from.

Etsy: Take Five Tuesdays First up, postcards from Fiery Eyed Studio.
Display on an inspiration board, frame, send…
They’re positively delicious.

Etsy: Take Five Tuesdays

Then there’s Jade Scott Jewelry. I don’t know how to tell my
husband that I want everything in her store without sounding
selfish. ;) It’s all so Anthropologie-ish. Drool.

Etsy: Take Five Tuesdays

Next we have Cotton Bird Designs, with little birdies
handmade and ready to fly home with you. Rest
them on a shelf, frame them in a shadow box, display
on a stack of books, gift to a friend.
Etsy: Take Five Tuesdays Plants? On Etsy? Oh yes! Greenware Design – A Savannah-based
design duo make up this small business. Here’s my new porcelain
piece, hand-crafted by one of the artists, filled with love by the other.
These are really small, but they’re absolutely darling, sweet for a
window or on a bedside table. I love the little feet.
Etsy: Take Five Tuesdays And finally, Australian etsy artist Linda Kruger of
Yellow Monday. View more of her work here.
Sweet. Lots of forest imagery, cute characters.

Missed my 5 picks from last week? Click here to view them. If you know of an etsy talent that you’d like to share, just send me an email – I read all submissions!

(images from store owners linked above.)

Small Business

Shop Talk: Seek and Conquer!

November 27, 2007

I’m annoyed. Shopping in boutique stores is no longer as exciting as it once was for me. Maybe it’s because I know most of the products I see (sorry if that sounds snotty but c’mon, look at what I do all day). I’ve noticed now more than ever that little stores are almost as boring as large department stores and mall stores because they’re quickly becoming a cut and paste copy of all the other little boutique gift shops in town. The same candles, the same wrapping paper, the same trinkets, same, same, same! Ugh. There’s a heaping load of wonderful finds online to discover, there’s no need for small stores to all carry what the next guy has. What is happening small business owners? Some of you are losing the magic that makes shop ownership so, well, magical in the first place.

Shop Talk: Seek and Conquer! Retro Etc, a Stockholm shop that I visited with Danielle and Emma.
The owner mixes old with new for a fresh medley that is anything but carbon copy.
Great example of a how to run a small business.

Oh I know what may be weighing you down. Gift shows. While they provide a great means to find talent and view products up close and personal, try not to become completely hooked on shows for sourcing new products – branch out – there’s a lot to be found on the web and thousands of talented artists are waiting for their lines to be picked up by shop owners like you. I know many who ditched the last gift fair and scoured the web or even indie craft fairs like Renegade and Felt Club to find new and exciting things for their stores. That’s more like it. This is where blogs and online sites like Trunkt, and Etsy come in super handy. They’re completely free to browse, accessible 24/7, and your store won’t look like every other one on the block – yours will stand out.

Remember, some of these talents cannot be found at a gift show because they either do not have the means to create 10,000 pillows if approached, do not desire to go big time (and that is perfectly okay), or they cannot afford the thousands of dollars one needs to invest in a booth, booth help, and travel. It doesn’t mean they won’t be there someday, I think many artists aspire to showing at a gift fair at some point, but for now you may need to find them at sources online.

Sorry if I’m going off on this subject a little. Background: I remember my struggle. I was helping a friend with the launch of her handbag collection back in ’05 and nearly every single shop owner I spoke to said, “Does she show in the gift fair down in NY?” and the moment I told them she didn’t, they lost interest instantly. It was like I told them she spit on the fabrics she used to sew the bags (ala Who Spit On My Polymorphic Cape?). In their eyes, a gift show appearance is the golden ticket to entering the world of retail – or that it somehow says you’ve hit the big time, you are driven, you are professional, and you’re now entitled to play with the cool kids. I love me a good gift fair, but there are other ways to find talent, keep your store unique, and maintain your vision (shouldn’t your shop showcase your finds and favorite things?) without sole reliance on trade shows. Plus, some indie artists are mothers and fathers and have day jobs, they are plenty talented and professional, but they will never be interested in showing at gift fairs. This doesn’t mean you still cannot write to them if you find that their craft fits your store. Am I right?

If you own a store (online or brick n mortar), how do you find your collections? How do you keep your store from becoming a copy of all the others, selling the same merchandise? I think lots of us are curious to see what the modern store owners are doing to score their finds. Anyone care to talk shop?

To read additional posts on the topic of store ownership, click the words shop girl below.

For an example of a smart shop owner, read about my friend Enna.

{I’m not knocking gift fairs, I see their place, attend them, and even write about them for publications from time to time. However I know some very creative store owners that are building entire shops using only finds they’ve come across online or through word of mouth, and as a result their business is thriving. Gift fairs are great, but is there more? That’s the topic I’d like to explore.}

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