Hello and thanks for your patience today as I know decor8 has been down for about 12 hours. Lucky for me, most of you were cozy in your little beds so you may not have noticed, but being 6-9 hours ahead of my friends in the states, I have been diligently working on the problem to see exactly why the little decor8 blog has been sick while you were asleep. I think I may have blog diva Heather Armstrong to blame. Even if I don’t, I will blame her anyway because I feel like it. :) No, serious… it really is all her fault. The moment she blogged about me on her mega hit blog Dooce I was screwed. One part happy another part oh crap! (in that order) because when she wrote this I was happy (and shocked and flattered because we all know she is next to take the seat when Oprah passes the torch to the next big thing) and then 5 minutes later I couldn’t access my blog anymore, a so-called “server error”. I think she sent some kind of crazy traffic spike my way because my server couldn’t take it. I have the prima deluxe ultimate mega server package too so I have no clue why it turned into the little blog that could…n’t but longggg story short, I’m happily blogging again! And thank you Heather, you made my day!
Okay so what shall we talk about today? I’m thinking I’ll start with Etsy Take Five Tuesdays and go from there. Sound like a plan? Okay… Here are my Five Faves for the week.
Cards and calendars never steer far off of my radar as I find myself always loving them. Half of the cards I buy I never send though… it’s more like a paper obsession thing. I love looking at them, tacking them up on my inspiration board, placing a few on my magnetic board, I can’t get enough. Jessica Gonacha makes it easy for paper addicts because finding something you’ll love is super easy. Great product shots too. She gets major props for that.
I don’t think I’ve ever included the High Street Market in my weekly round up of fantastic Etsy sellers and thing is, I’ve meant to ever since she opened up her lovely shop! I know I blog a lot of ‘cute’ things but High Street Market is more grown up for those of you who are looking for some seriously nice (and affordable) home accessories and furnishings. Owned by a talented interior designer, items are carefully collected and made new again to resell in her fab Etsy shop. Such a great selection and best part… it updates constantly so be sure you sign up to be on her mailing list (HighStreetMarket [at] gmail.com).
And finally we have the talented Bow & Arrow out of Brooklyn with letterpress cards… Letterpress is like a totally ‘new’ concept here in Germany for cards – I can’t find a single paper shop that sells them. I’m not sure why, but paper products here are not that great. We need a really kick butt paper seller in this country to establish a chain of high quality stationery and gift wrap shops. Seriously. I see this happening in the future…
Next up is Toast. Puffy fabric floral pins for my jacket? I’m IN on this trend because whoa is this not the cutest ever?? Oh my heart… it’s melting! I really like seeing fun brooches and after realizing lately that my personal style could use a bit more color (I wear wayyy too much purple, gray, silver, and black) I think I’ll place an order with Toast. I want to pin some to pillows too. BTW: Speaking of fashion I have a quick trend report from Germany for ya: Gold (bright yellow) tights are HOT for Fall. They are everywhere here and I heard that they’ll be hot in most northern European cities over the next few months. I noticed them in Berlin over the weekend paired with lots of bright purple. It’s 1988 all over again…
Any Etsy sellers that you’re into this week? I go through phases so my favorites are constantly changing as I’m sure yours as too. Please share, even if you want to be totally shallow and give your own shop a plug. No problem-o!
(images linked to their sources above)
This past weekend I teamed up with DaWanda to create Make It! Shop It! Blog It!, an event to celebrate blogging and small business! (You can click here to get a taste for what we did and I will show you a bag that I made in the video or watch the video over on YouTube here).
We had around 130 attend from Berlin and other parts of Germany and the weather was perfect for what we had planned: Two speakers indoors (Nicole and I) and a screenprinting workshop outside given by Nadja of Smil and Britta from Bloody Bunny (they are hosting another workshop next week for a fee if you’d like to attend, more info here in German.)
After we spent the afternoon indoors mingling, eating, listening to Nic and I, everyone then had a chance to step outside for a screenprinting workshop. All could select between three motifs: bees, clouds, or a sailor bear and each were given a cotton tote to screenprint on and to keep at no extra charge. I selected the bear, you can see my finished bag in this video. It’s really cute, thank you Britta and Nadja for the great workshop. Everyone loved it.
I was scheduled to speak first and was given a two hour time slot and I was a bit scared because I had no idea how I would speak for 2 hours straight from a podium before a sea of strangers. I was a bit scared but I didn’t want to appear nervous because that would only make the DaWanda team feel stressed and I saw no need to do that. I didn’t even write a speech, I only had a few notes that I had scribbled down on the train ride there. I guess I didn’t expect a stage, a microphone, so many people to REALLY show up. When I arrived and saw the huge room full of chairs I became a bit tense! Lucky for me, I have a technique for calming my nerves which I used many times before going up on stage and they worked because the moment that I started speaking I was completely myself and felt like I was before friends. I couldn’t believe all of the smiling faces as I looked out at so many, men and women together, all there to learn more about blogging and how they can use a blog to expand their business. Yay!
Nicole from Luzia Pimpinella during her lecture on blogging and how she uses her blog to connect with customers and grow a small business as an independent designer.
I observed many taking notes which made me want to keep talking because everyone was really focused on what I had to say. I was so impressed by that, it gave me the courage to continue. Funny thing is, I wasn’t alone because I asked the audience a lot of questions so it became more like the way I operate this blog — a discussion — I throw ideas out here and then all of you jump in and comment. My talk was structured in a similar format. This is how I love to approach public speaking — getting as many in the audience included as possible because it helps steer the topic in the right direction so that I was able to spend time on points that the audience truly wanted to hear. I once gave workshops and lectures when I worked in the corporate setting but that was several years ago so I wasn’t sure if I could still draw from past experience and count on it to see me through… but public speaking must be like bike riding because if you have done it before and stop for awhile it seems like doing it again isn’t such a problem. Funny how my background helps me out now as a small business person. That’s why I never doubt the path I’ve followed in my life because all roads brought me to the point where I am today just like so many of you and so one cannot regret past career decisions. It seems a skill from an old job, no matter how much you thought you’d never use it again, can be a valued and needed skill a long way down the road.
What did I talk about? Well for one, I gave tips on blogging and promoting products through a blog, from writing on a regular basis, keeping your content fresh and positive, putting your store widget on your blog, the importance of responding to comments left on your blog, sharing your inspirations with readers, how to handle days when you have nothing to blog about, visiting other blogs to leave sincere comments, not letting the copycats (people who copy your products) get you down, being patient and not sticking too closely to your stat counter, approaching larger blogs to see if they’ll talk about your work, sticking to a theme (don’t veer off of your blog topic too much), carry business cards to promote your business and your blog, and the importance of taking crisp clear photos of your products that are true to color to post on your blog. You have to know that these tips are truly new and exciting to many in attendance because blogging in Germany within the craft community is still new and maybe it’s at the stage where American craft blogging was back in 2004ish. It felt exciting to speak to a crowd that was so enthusiastic and excited about breaking into the world of blogging.
We also discussed a bit about photo copyrights, and I was so pleased when my husband Thorsten raised his hand to share the research he has done on the topic being a photographer himself. Thanks, Tee!
Note: For all those who are interested in learning more about blog photography and copyright law in both the U.S. and Germany, Thorsten pulled together his research for you in a PDF file that you may download here. It contains plenty of links and should answer your questions on this topic.
I also mentioned to everyone that I would provide a list of some of the larger blogs that you may want to contact to see if they’d be interested in writing about you and your business. I have so many in mind that I do not know where to start, but since I mentioned Apartment Therapy in my lecture I’ll begin with them. A few others that I personally have had write about me in the past that I also read and respect are: Creature Comforts, Oh Joy!, Bloesem, Style Files, Emmas Designblogg, oh and perhaps this may be a great resource: Check out the international design blog slideshow that I pulled together for Domino magazine online. You can contact those lovely bloggers, too!
I want to thank DaWanda for teaming up with me, accepting my offer to do an event like this in Germany in the first place, and for giving me an opportunity to meet many creative and lovely new people. I have had this dream of pulling together a function like this in Berlin for over two years now so to see it come to life for me was a huge dream come true and meant SO MUCH on a deeply personal level. I also must thank and recommend the Gotischer Saal for events if anyone is looking for a place to rent in Berlin for a function. The building is beautiful and the couple who run it couldn’t be sweeter.
For those not in attendence, DaWanda taped both of the talks and will turn them into a podcast so when those are finished I will blog it with a link so you can listen in.
(photography by thorsten becker)
Big news from eBay today… I was pleased to receive a press release this morning announcing the launch of eBay site World of Good. The products offered on the site have a positive social impact on the people who create them and also on the environment. Many products are fair trade certified, made by impoverished artisans or farmed by small farmer cooperatives in third world countries. Most are created from recycled, reclaimed and/or sustainable materials. Some products are considered upcycled meaning new products have been made out of partial or full materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
The image quality isn’t that great, but I also really like this wool felted runner. It would look great in a long hallway, very graphic!
As you can see, World of Good offers items that range from rugs to baskets and boxes, furniture, and beyond. Yay for eBay! It’s great to see such a large influential company extend themselves in this direction.
(images from eBay World of Good)