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Etsy: Take Five Tuesdays

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.)

Posted in Etsy Faves on November 27, 2007

Shop Talk: Seek and Conquer!

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.

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.}

Posted in small business on November 27, 2007

decor8 Discounts: Trunkt {special offers}

We love Trunkt! To continue the decor8 discounts into this week and possibly into December (yeah!), our friends at Trunkt want to highlight their member free portfolio space where many are listing their special offers right here. Trunkt is not only a great resource for independent artists to plug into, but a terrific place for shop owners searching for new product lines.

Some artists on Trunkt offering discounts include:

Alicia Bock Photography – 10% off everything,
expires 12/15/07, Enter code: TRUNKT07

Feel Design – 25% discount on any handbag or pillow,
expires 12/15/07. Mention “trunkt discount”
in the comments to seller box.

Amy Bengtson Jewelry – 20% off everything, expires 12/31/07 (fans of Amy Ruppel love these necklaces)…Even Domino mag has a deal going via Trunkt – save 25% on a 1-year subscription!
Click here for details.

(images from trunkt)

Posted in discounts on November 27, 2007

Huset Shop {New Scandinavian Design Shop}

Your suggestions mean a lot to me, and despite how far behind I am lately on responding to email – I do read them and enjoy hearing from you, especially when you send me great links to places you shop or to things that inspire you. Reader Gilly recently wrote in from eka and her suggestion ended up here as a post because she shared with me a brand new store (never been blogged!) and certainly stocks great things. Check it out.

Gilly wrote, “I have a little gem of a shop to tell you about. It’s a Scandinavian webshop situated in Malibu. I was contacted by the owner, Holly, when she told me she wanted to buy a few of my accessories for her shop in Malibu, I was pretty surprised as I am a small UK designer situated in Sweden.”

She continues, “The shop has just opened to the world and I have been reading your lovely blog for a while now and when I saw that she had home furnishings as well as textiles (this will be a massive hit I think) lighting and all I just knew you would need to know about it! Have a look at Huset Shop when you have a moment, I know you won’t be disappointed. Have a little look at the hats and bags by eka if you have time to browse (they’re mine : ) If you want to contact the store owner, she is a lovely Swedish girl called Holly Hallberg. Enjoy!” -Gilly

What a pleasure to receive such a nice email and of course, a fantastic link because this store is not only based in California but accessible online for placing orders – both really great for those of us in the US because it’s so crazy expensive to order these things and have them shipped over. Huset stocks those fab teak table stands from Design House Stockholm (they are fantastic and affordable), I’ve had my eye on them since seeing them in Living Etc. magazine last year. I was recently very tempted (design devil on my left shoulder) when I was in Sweden to purchase one, but unable to cart it home on the plane, I was able to avoid the little voice. But, now a new temptation has arrived – I can have one shipped to me at home. Sigh.

Huset also carries the 3 and the 2 tier dessert stands from Bengt & Lotta (also a stool for the kitchen in this pattern) and tea towels by Hau Hauz and defyra. She stocks a few Barbapappa things (they’re French, I know). My favorite item in her store though is the yellow Bird On A Wire coat rack. Tres peep, um chic! But seriously, they look like yellow peeps, and though I won’t be licking the walls if I install them, I’ll smile whenever I walk by. Such cuteness.

Psst: The Designers’ Bios page is not to be missed, it really helps you put a face to a name and also learn a quick bit about their background all in one handy guide.

Love Scandinavian fashion? Huset carries some clothing by Ivana Helsinki and Odd Molly, both collections are stunning. This tunic is my favorite.

Thank you Gilly for telling us about this great shop!

(images from huset shop)

Posted in shopping, travel on November 27, 2007


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