Every serious small business lady needs a stylish bag, don’t you think? I have a plain Jane black nylon bag (ashamed to admit) but I’m considering dropping the cash to give myself a bag that doesn’t scream COLLEGE KID. Before signing off for the weekend, I want to mention a special promotion that Irina from Milchmaedchen in Hamburg, Germany would like to offer to decor8 readers until the end of October. It’s especially useful to readers looking for a well designed, good looking laptop bag made especially by business women for girls on the go.
If you recall, I visited Irina in her shop this past August and wrote about it here, her shop is so nice and it is exciting to have her in nearby Hamburg because I find her style very good and her products well chosen. The special offer that she’d like to extend is a 10% discount to decor8 readers (and free shipping within Germany, if outside see details below) on a brand new collection of stylish laptop bags designed by German designers Miriam Paschmann and Anja Heinz of Haikouella.
To view them click here and then look for “unterwegs mit laptop” in the left column. The website is in German but within the description of each bag Irina has an English translation.
I don’t know about you, but finding a stylish laptop bag is nothing short of a nightmare for me. I can’t seem to find anything that looks professional yet has some character… something unique about it, a pattern that is subtle but definitely noticeable. I think Haikouella does a nice job at being stylish, grown up, yet fun.
Re: Shipping — Shipping costs differ from destination to destination (within Germany shipping is free, within EU: 15.- Euros; Overseas: United States with DHL logistics within 10-12 days: 32.- Euros/ within 6 days: 45.- Euros). Orders from the U.S. and other countries outside of the EU need to be processed individually so please order via email and let Irina know that you found this offer on decor8. Contact Irina: shop AT milchmaedchen-design.de. Offer good until October 31, 2008.
(images from milchmaedchen design)
I meet a lot of people who have websites or shops on sites like Etsy and DaWanda but they do not have a business card. Let’s all work together to change this okay? Maybe indie artists and designers feel uncomfortable passing them around but really it’s how we can maintain contact with those we meet on the street. Don’t be shy! It’s okay to be proud of your business and to share what you’re doing that makes your little heart sing and beat extra hard!
I think women tend to hold back a little sometimes, don’t you? Maybe the idea is that? offering a business card comes across as desperate or aggressive perhaps? Do you think that this is the case? I don’t believe so. I think people want to know who we are and how they can reach us after the conversation if they need to. Most of us are so forgetful and busy that cards actually help us to remember prior conversations. Many times I’ve had great conversations with people and days later wished I could remember their name but because they didn’t give me a business card and my memory failed me, I was unable to get in contact with them.
When I spoke at the DaWanda blogging event a few weeks back in Berlin, lots of people asked me how to offer a business card in conversation without coming across a bit arrogant or pushy. I advised that you can simply hand someone your card after an introduction is made and say, “If you’d like to stay in touch or reach me online, here’s my card”, and that’s pretty much it. I find only about 40% of those I’m meeting in Germany who run a small business online have an actual business card. Many at the DaWanda event did not have a card and I wish they had because I met so many that I would have loved to have looked up online now.
Don’t have business cards… Now to get to the real meat of this post. How to change that for $15 or less! :)
Meet Avis Wampler who runs Avie, a small paper goods company. Avis wrote to me last week to introduce her paper shop but I noticed that she contacted all the blogs so everyone wrote about her at once. I thought since she must have gotten hit with a lot of orders and traffic that I’d wait a week and blog about her today. Time to share her with the decor8 audience. :)
What I like about Avie’s shop is that she creates quick and easy calling cards that you can hand out to those who ask you where they can find you or the things that you make online.
No name, no mailing address, no phone number, no problem… Just your website. Once there, people can find all the rest of that information anyway. If you don’t have a business card this is your chance for only $15. Remember if you don’t talk about (and share) what you do no one else will, right?
(images from avie)
Hello! Quickly I want to let everyone who has reserved a seat for the decor8/Dawanda event that the location has changed so please click here for location details and a map. An email was sent to all confirmed attendees of this change so you may already have heard, but for those who may not have reserved a seat via email and have decided last minute to attend — please note the location change. We originally had a lovely space booked but due to an overwhelming amount of interest we had to locate a larger space to accommodate everyone.
If you plan to attend this event please make a point to come up to me after my talk to meet me and give me your business card, I want to meet as many of you as I can so please do not be shy. Truth is, I’m a little scared to because this is my first big blogging event so we’ll all feel awkward at first but with drinks and cupcakes, music, and a room filled with creative people I’m certain everyone will feel instantly at home.
See you in Berlin tomorrow!
And to my other friends who cannot attend, I wish you a delightful weekend filled with plenty of creative projects and inspiration!
(postcard designed by enna)
I have to spotlight Natasha Mileshina today because a parcel arrived from her in my little mailbox this morning and it absolutely made my day. I blogged about her etsy shop, bubbo-tubbo, in Take Five Tuesdays last week and like so many artists I feature here I end up becoming a customer because I want to own a part of their world.
I absolutely appreciate and love the American arts & crafts scene, and though there is one here in Germany that is growing and blooming right now, there is still something about the American aesthetic that I really like. Of course, I am partial since I am American so of course I’m going to appreciate things about my own culture that others in different lands may not. I think Natasha Mileshina’s style is so positively perfect, I really enjoyed the package of goodies that arrived because everything was so carefully wrapped and arranged. It was special to just open it and after turning back the papers to reveal the contents – ah, bliss!
“Nothing to put on” print, 5 x 7, $12.
Natasha lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland… not exactly the ‘hub’ when it comes to creativity like other places in the U.S. (Brooklyn, San Francisco, Portland OR, etc.) but I imagine that at times it must be nice to not live in uber creative communities because you are able to really be alone with your work and spend time developing it and fine tuning your style. Does this make sense? I guess I think this way because I lived for years in Boston and only when I relocated to southern New Hampshire did I really ‘slow down’ enough in my head to focus on my own artistic and creative spirit. Everyone is different of course. I cannot doubt the explosion of creativity I feel whenever I’m in San Francisco, L.A., even parts of the south where I grew up… But you can really be creative anywhere on this planet and though many artists pack up and relocate to the hip cities to be part of the local culture there, there are plenty of artists who do just as well in their little corners, too. If you’re like me, I go to cities to be inspired but I feel completely fine living outside of creative hubs now because I don’t need to be immersed in it 24/7. It almost stresses me out if I spend too much time in New York City, for instance. I like it there but I find equal inspiration walking on the beach in Maine.
I think in really creative hubs there are so many people making things that yes, it can inspire, but sometimes it may also feel competitive or stressful… like you must continuously churn out new designs or you are no longer ‘the hottest thing’ in your community. I wonder if anyone reading this lives in a creative hub and can comment on this. Here in Hannover, Germany we have many creative types but no one really sticks together, in fact it’s a little competitive and ‘high school’ sometimes just as it was in the beginning days of blogging for me online. I am trying to change this here in Hannover, but it will take awhile. But I have an idea…
“Cat on my head” print, 5×7, $12.
I want to host a street fest here with the local artisans and craftsters but I’m scared no one will mingle because they seem to not like one another! I think these problems exist in the states too, but when I was at Renegade last summer in Brooklyn I didn’t get the sense that vendors there were competing or even jealous or upset at the success of the more popular vendors. I think this is one of many reasons why Americans have such success with their small businesses — the majority seem to support and rely on fellow small business owners knowing that their success comes, not by shunning or excluding others, but by holding hands with others and showing support. I don’t know if craft fairs like Renegade really exist here in Germany, but I’d like to get involved in hosting one here in Hannover to see how it goes. My friend Enna and I are in discussion over this so I’ll let you know what we churn out. I’m thinking next year, a summer fest. :) I want to have a ‘decor8′ table at the fair to show the work of my American friends, and even those from Australia, England, and beyond that may like to introduce their work to the German market. I want to expose more Germans to crafts outside of Europe, too.
You may be shocked to learn that most of my creative friends here aren’t even online, do not blog, and they’ve never heard of Etsy! Half or more do not even speak English, another problem if they want to reach customers outside of Germany. This is one of the major reasons I’m speaking this Saturday in Berlin, I want to encourage the many creative types who will attend the decor8/Dawanda event to blog and reach out to the world if they aren’t already doing it. I feel so confident in the indie arts scene in Germany but not many people outside know what’s going on in this country outside of Oktoberfest and beer. Not even many Germans know what’s going on because so many seem to create in their ateliers, closed off from the rest of the world so to speak, and not much is seen outside of their own city. This is only my opinion as a non-German but I think small business here (at least arts & crafts) is where American small business was back in 2004/05 – blogging was just picking up speed, indie craft fairs were starting to appear nationwide, more and more people were connecting online and making new friends, etc. It’s fun to be over here in the beginning stages of it all. I can’t wait to see what develops!
“Fake NYC” by Natasha Mileshina, processed using the fake tilt shift technique, most likely in Photoshop.
I think I’m running off on a tangent here (what’s new!?), but this was on my mind when I awoke this morning so I thought I’d talk about it today to see what your opinions are on this topic. Do you need to be in the heart of a creative hub to create and network? If you lived in a city where shop owners do not seem to support other shop owners, how would you promote peace and encourage a more supportive environment? How do you overcome feelings of competition with fellow creative types?
(images taken by holly becker for decor8)