My Makeshift Conversation with Rena Tom

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Listen to This Episode Right Now In this chat with Rena Tom of Makeshift Society, we talk about starting a business out of a need for creativity, launching a retail shop, launching another retail shop, selling those and launching a third business. Rena also talk about how she helps creative entrepreneurs build their brands in a more traditional marketing way. The best part of the conversation was near the end (conveniently) where she shares her insights on what she looks for most when looking to curate new products for a retail experience. That's just a portion of all the good things we discuss, so stop reading and get to listening. This post is a snippet from the original podcast update. To follow along with these updates, the best option is to subscribe to the RSS feed, or through iTunes.  Listen In View Episode Notes Listen via iTunes Download MP3 … [Read more...]

The Single Hottest Social Media Tool Ever!

So, I probably should keep this one to myself, but the information is too good to share, and I promise you, if you start effectively working with this one social media tool, it will provide big results. Bold claim, you say? Just wait and and I'll tell you, but first I have a question for you. What was the last social media tool you used last year but don't really use now? Was it Quora? Maybe Foursquare was your thing? Vine is pretty popular right now, but I bet you won't be using it next year; maybe you will, but I doubt it. 8 years ago I couldn't imagine going through my day without checking Myspace, but I cannot even tell you what Myspace looks like right now. Facebook will probably withstand the tide, but nothing is certain. What's the point?  Social media sites come and go like rain, but we get so invested in them, thinking they are our mealticket to networking and marketing stardom. The reality is they are just the current big thing, waiting for the next big thing. Recently … [Read more...]

Certified Fresh

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I have been threatening for awhile to post work of some artists and crafters that I feel are doing good work while also making headway in the business and marketing areas. Starting today, and posting at indiscriminate times, I'll be featuring folks in what I am calling Certified Fresh. Beyond the obvious visually appealing aspects of the work, I will be talking about what I think they are doing right with their business, and also what I would say they could improve in order to boost awareness. In this first edition of Certified Fresh, I'm featuring Lim Heng Swee (aka I Love Doodle). Lim is an illustrator based out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who lives by the mantra "doodling a smile". He is an Etsy seller on the rise, but built his following with many popular designs on Threadless.com. What's Good Lim's work is funny with an excessive amount of cute, but before you think his designs are for kids, take a closer look and you'll see a lot of adult humor. I'm usually not a big … [Read more...]

Etsy Makeover: Am I Tipping the Scales in My Favor?

This post is an aside from the Etsy Makeover series, because it's more about business mindset and acumen than best practices and branding.During this makeover journey, I fully expect there to be detractors and doubters. Sometimes they will come at me directly with disdain, and others will bring up negative points of view for the sake of finding answers to the questions they wrestle with in their own business. There is nothing wrong with that; it's the nature of some to come looking for an abundant answer to their scarcity problem. I'm ok with it. After my last update went live, I posted the update to the Facebook page. My friend and reader, Maria Featon, shared in that update, "I really want to buy those scarves now! You're doing it right." That made me smile because it knew I was onto something special with this whole makeover. I'm creating a buzz around the whole series, but also creating a buzz around Michele's scarves. Then I recalled one of these scarcity questions I got … [Read more...]

Etsy Makeover: Product Offering and Pricing Overhaul

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In our very first conversation, Michele and I sat down and talked about what products we should be selling in the shop, and what should we be charging. At the time, Michele's pricing was all over the map, as was her various product listings. Just like many other creative business owners, Michele didn't know how to price her goods in a way that best suited the items. In no uncertain terms, Michele's work is art. She paints her inspiration upon silk canvases, but no matter how much she told herself that she was creating wearable art, she viewed the art as a scarf, a shawl, or a wrap. She didn't know how to price based on it's artistic and intrinsic value. Instead, she went with the pragmatic approach, and priced based on costs (materials+labor+markup). It's not an uncommon situation; thousands of sellers on Etsy are in the same boat. The obvious problem with this approach is that it drastically undervalues the work. Michele looked at her costs, compared them with others in the … [Read more...]

Jen Murse of Plastique and Papertrail Fights Battles on Two Fronts

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==  Go Direct to the Interview  == I've known Jen Murse of Plastique for a few years now, built a friendship over several meetings during local art and craft shows. Her jewelry designs are unique and resonated with me because of their graphic art themes. Who wouldn't want to wear a Golden Rectangle ring or ⌘Z necklace?  Ok, maybe not the first thing you would expect me to wear, and I haven't, but I did ask Jen to make a knuckle duster that says CMYK. Just when Jen was getting comfortable with her success, she decided to up her game with a second company, completely unrelated, with a whole slew of new products—this time, all stationery goods. On top of that, she jumped into with both feet and took her line to the National Stationery Show in New York City, the largest stationery expo in the country. Not bad for someone who had no orders placed yet. This take charge attitude is only one of the reasons I brought Jen onto the show. The rest you'll just have to find out for yourself, … [Read more...]