Friday, January 30, 2009

Green Pledge

Today I "pledged" my green business as part of the Greening Chaleur Businesses Program. This program has been initiative by the Chaleur Green Initiative whose mandate is to:

•To educate the Chaleur business owners and community leaders about sustainable development with a focus on local implications and benefits;
•To stimulate and implement green and environmentally sustainable concepts and practices within individual businesses and communities in the Chaleur region and
•Become the leaders in the community for both business and community alike to be wardens of best practices and the information provider for programs, services and information to all aspects of sustainable development, education issues and climate change issues.

I think this is a great program. I pledged to:
* Reduce waste in packing my items for shipping by only using what is necessary
* Use recycled packaging in as many cases as possible
* Use recycled paper for labels, business cards etc

Obviously my business itself is based around recycled material- so I mentioned that as well. This is a photo of some of my products on display. I had quite a few positive comments from the people in attendance and one request to display some of my coffee cup sleeves at a local art gallery.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Coffee Cup Sleeve Saga Complete

YIPPEE!! I have completed my order (the full story starts here) for 220 coffee cup sleeves. Everything is ready to be shipped and the only reason that they are not being shipped today is because we are in the middle of a blizzard and I am stuck at home! First thing tomorrow the sleeves will be off to their new home.

I have to say that I never realized how long and tedious it was to make the labels. I had to cut each with a cutter and then I punched this cute little maple leaf in the corner as my "made in Canada" symbol on each one (which took a hour alone!!). For the most part the sleeves fit on nicely and those that did not, I secured them to the labels with some hemp (which for some strange reason my cats became fascinated with!!)

Here are some of the final photos:

These are my labels and my tools to get the job done.

All of the sleeves packed up tight. I bundled the sleeves up in groups of 5 (made it easy for me to count and kept it nice and neat).

This is the final product...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Continuing Coffee Cup Saga

Well I thought it would be good to update everyone on my coffee cup saga. I AM DONE ALL OF THE SLEEVES!! Yes I have 220 coffee cup sleeves done (223 to be exact)!!! I finished them up Saturday evening and I felt very triumphant!! I worked my butt off to get them done, so that I could spend Sunday working on the labels- not that was work!! I have to cut, print and then cut again all of the labels. I am using file folders as the paper for the labels, because it is durable, the colour and texture I wanted and it is made out of 75% post-consumer waste. So before I could run them through the printer I had to cut them all, and then because they were so think, I basically had to hand feed them through my printer and then I had to go back and cut them out... I worked on them all day on Sunday and I have 169 cut, so I am almost there! I will then have to punch holes in them and attach them to the sleeves- that will probably take me to Tuesday night and then hopefully I can get them couriered out on Wednesday or Thursday. I am so happy that everything is working out!!!

The boxes with all of the sleeves!!

The labels in progress!! I will get there eventually...

Friday, January 23, 2009

~~One Heart One World Give-away~~

This is my first time entering- but the third year for the the One World-One Heart event (OWOH). Click on the badge to go to the main event's blog where you can find a list of everyone who is offering a giveaway for this year's event.

I am giving away a "the funky fun diva" kit as my give-away! The kit includes a really cute denim bikini should bag (that hangs about 24 inches), an adorable scrabble tile pendant, a bouquet of 5 fun button flowers and the rock my heart coffee cup sleeve. This would be great for yourself, your daughter grand-daughter or anyone who loves fun, funky handmade goodness!!!

So, how can you get a chance to win this great "funky fun diva" kit? Very easy. Leave ONE (1) comment on this post (not any other post on my blog)and have an active blog (meaning that you update it at least once a month) or a valid email address (leave it in the comments or have it on your Blogger profile).I also encourage you to check out my shop and let me know what your favourite item is!! You do NOT need to be a OWOH participant. Anyone can participate BUT I need to have a way to contact winners. Most people follow these requirements but if there is no way for me to contact you, I will remove your name from the entries.

Winners will be announced on February 12th. Good luck!

The Coffee Cup Sleeve Saga

Well this is it- the journey I have embarked on to complete a large volume order of Coffee Cup Sleeves....

Last Tuesday I was contacted by a person who said they were a marketing rep for a company and they were interested in purchasing 200 of my recycled sweater coffee cup sleeves to use in a promotion that the company was doing to launch a new environmentally-friendly line of their products. Of course I was both skeptical and elated! She wanted to set up a time to discuss this with me and so I told her that I would be happy to speak to her about this opportunity. Before I went any further though, I did some research to verify the legitimacy of the company (of course you want to be safe and this was a huge order). We chatted the next day and she expressed her delight in finding a person who not only made coffee cup sleeves (as she had been considering other ones) but ones that were made out of recycled sweaters- it was perfect for her product launch and she was so keen to use someone who sold on Etsy as she has been a fan of the site for ages. We continued to chat and then got down to business and discussed the arrangement for payment, etc and then I asked the question- "When do you need the order filled?" Oh she said, by the first week of February... What?!?!? OMG that was only 2.5 weeks away and I also needed to have them shipped. I still felt confident that I could do it- she also encouraged me to include with each one a story about how I made them and the value of a coffee cup sleeve. We finished the call and the next thing you know I get another email for an additional 20 sleeves- bringing the order to 220!! OK- I was already going to do 200 in 2 weeks so what's another 20?!?!

Well I got started:

This is a photo of the pile of sweaters I started out with. I am very fortunate to have my BF's mother- she loves this and went searching for sweaters for me and found a ton of them- most of them were ripped and so they were really inexpensive!!!

I worked diligently each night and all weekend:

This is a picture of me working away in my basement. I tended to cut and prep everything in my studio and then in order to be sociable I would gather everything up and head downstairs to assemble the sleeves.

One week into the job I have 171 sleeves assembled!!!

This has been such a great experience and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to help out such an environmentally conscious company and get my name out there! I love to take orders of any size!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Craft Explosion

It is really quite interesting and exciting to see all of the energy around the inauguration of Barack Obama today as the President of the United States of America. Even as a Canadian, we can't (and don't want to) escape the excitement, with virtually every Canadian media outlet covering the big day. As a die-hard CBC listener, I have been able to sit here at my desk and listen to the various opinions/perspectives of various people about this historic day and the impact he will have on the world as we know it today. With that being said, he certainly has impacted the crafting world and am completely blown away by the amount of people on etsy who are selling Barack Obama inspired handmade goods. As you can see by the front page there are an amazing amount of fantastic items out there if you want to show your support for Obama.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Etsy shop makeover chronicles day 4 Creating a Perfect Brand

Guide to Branding: Create an Identity for Your Business
Creating a good brand is much more than getting a good logo and slapping it on all of your communications. What should you have, and how do you get them? That's what we're going to work out in this guide.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Esty Shop Make-over Chronicles Day 3

Well it isn't actually Day 3- it's more like 3 or 4 days later, but SOOOOO much has happened in the past week that I have not been able to keep up with everything! It has been a tremendously exciting week and quite honestly is all related to my shop makeover, so even though I have not posted in a bit- I have been working away!!

What has taken place this week you ask?!?!? Well I will tell you!!

1. Registered my business in the province of New Brunswick
2. Hired a graphic designer to help with the branding of East Coast Kitsch
3. Re-takes of some of my photos
4. Purchased some additional project wonderful ad space
5. Received a wholesale order that has completely changed my business!!!
6. Invested in some new tools for my business

It has been a crazy week- but completely rewarding!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Esty Shop Make-over Chronicles Day 2

The dreaded light box...

OK so right now my light box looks like a two year old kid made it. It has served a purpose for the past month, but I do need to make some improvements. I have purchased some white bristol board, which I am going to use as a background as I am thinking of repaces the white fabric that I using right now with some white tissue paper. I am also looking for some better lights to use. I currently am using a 100 w bulb, but would prefer to find a better light (goose neck desk lamp) so that I can get something to be right in the middle of the top of the box. I am going to work on this tomorrow and hopefully I will be able to start taking some wonderful photos very soon!

This the tutorial I used to make my light box in the first place....
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Esty Shop Make-over Chronicles Day 1

OK- well yesterday was my 1 year Etsy Anniversary and although I am thrilled with my 49 sales and 300 + hearts, I really did want to make some major improvements to the look and feel of my shop. I have great success selling my products at craft fairs and I felt that my shop was not doing my products justice. So I stepped in the the Etsy Virtual Labs for a Critique of my shop- and one thing you have to know about me is that I am very sensitive to critisism, so this was huge for me. I have so say it wasn't that bad- thanks so much Daniellexo for your great critiques and the rest of the etsy sellers who were in the lab helping me out. I think the major points that I got out of the lab were:
1. Pictures- I need to be consistent, make better use of my camera settings (macro), use my lightbox more effectively and choose good backgrounds
2. Tags- use all 14 and make sure you use good key words (being a Canadian, I also need to recognize that we spell some words differently so I have to consider that as well i.e. colorful vs. colourful)
3. Shop Announcement- Keep it short and direct people to your policies if you have more to say. You need to see some items in that opening shop page or people will navigate away.

Check out the esty shop make-over article for some great ideas!!

So yesterday I decided to set out a plan of action:
1. Get myself set up and organized to put this plan in motion. This means I need to go out and get a new light for my light box, bristol board to use as a backing and figure out what props I need for my pictures
2. start re-taking photos and playing with picasa
3. look over my product descriptions and add/subtract text, ensure spelling is correct
4. tags!!!!
5. invest in a new banner and avatar (I have been planning on doing this for a while, because I want to develop a consistent brand)

My goal is to have this complete by Friday, January 16th and I want as much help as I can get, so I am engaging the etsy army. I encourage people to check out my shop and let me know what I can do to improve the look and feel- be gentle!!!
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Twitter me crazy...

Well I do have to say that have become quite enamored with the idea of twitter. I recently signed up and have been thoroughly enjoying learning about other people, visiting their blogs and shops. I originally joined to promote both my artfire and etsy shops, but it has gone beyond that now. I am now able to connect with people who have like interests and broaden my scope of knowledge about everything else that is out there.

I have also learned about some interesting opportunities to earn some additional cash through promoting on twitter:

TwittAd: TwittAd was formed to give Twitter users and advertisers the opportunity to meet for product placement & website promotion on a Twitter user profile. Our goal is to not fill Twitter with ugly & obnoxious advertisements. We give advertisers templates and ideas to help keep the integrity of Twitter background images.

Magpie: :Magpie is an ad network for Twitter. Our customers sign up and create campaigns which consist of magpie-tweets (i.e. ads). Twitterers allow us to post magpie tweets among their tweets and for them to get paid for it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Be a Smart Cookie!

I have just begun reading the Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough and am in love with it. I find that is very practical and provides real ideas on how to improve your financial situation. I have to say that I practice many of the ideas that they promote, however I am looking forward to finding out how they recommend pursuing your own business (still a couple more chapters away). They also have a website where you can download all of the work sheets that they recommend in the book- very handy!!


Monday, January 5, 2009

Touche Organik

It's official- I am now featured in a local shop and also on their website:

Touche Organik is a shop that provides Eco friendly products for the home and garden including cleaning products, fertilizers, insect control, seeds...