With all my talk about shopping local lately I thought I would share gift guide showing some of the holiday gifts I have bought or discovered locally this season. Remember to check out our Shop Local Directory to see if there is anyone near you listed! I have a lot of shops that will be getting listed in the new year so be sure to check back and spread the word. It is just getting started and I plan on growing it a lot in 2014!
I featured their “fox leggings” in my last gift guide and that is what I ordered for my toddler now I am thinking I want to buy this shirt for my older boy.
Don’t ever think that following someone on Instagram can’t lead to a sale! These guys started following me and then I met them at Phoenix Flea. They had such a neat set up! My younger brother loves unique t-shirts so I know he will love getting this for Christmas.
I can’t wait to fill these out to send to some special family members – such a neat idea! Again, I bought this at Phoenix Flea but also saw them for sale at Jam last week in Old Town Scottsdale.
Seriously, how cute is this! I love all of there little scarves and bought a mint chevron one for a dear friend’s daughter plus cute neon orange and white polka dot leggings.
So I am not even sure who I am gifting this to but I just had to buy it! Heehee! She has soooo many darling prints in her shop and few holiday ones that you can get for yourself. I bought this one for our house.
I was so thrilled to find this shop at Artisan Markets on Small Business Saturday! I have a friend in Chicago who loves felted goodies!
I hope you found some new shops to love! Where have you been shopping locally this season? Feel free to share in the comments!
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Store Window at Merry and Bright
Brace yourself. We’re gonna get a little bit crazy today.
Not waking-up-cuddling-a traffic-cone-oh-GOD-what-happened-last-night crazy, but a teeny bit crazy.
Are you ready?
Try this on for size:
When approaching retailers, YOU’RE SCRUTINISING THEM JUST AS MUCH AS THEY’RE SCRUTINISING YOU.
See? Crazy! What kind of topsy-turvy world is this?
That’s not how it works, right? The shopkeeper judges YOU, not the other way around.
If you’re wondering what I’m smoking, I can assure you that the only thing I’m high on right now is life.
And a ham sandwich.
Let’s head further down the rabbit hole to see if we can find my point.
The standard way to view the relationship between shopkeepers and artists is like a scene from Game of Thrones.
The retailer is the one with the crown, sitting up high on a big spiky chair made out of swords. The artist is the supplicant, the one who nervously edges forward and waits for the chance to plead their case.
The retailer is the one with the money. That means she has all the power, right?
Here’s what I want you to know. You’ve got a crown too.
You might not realise it, but it’s there. The sooner you give it a polish and cram it firmly onto your head, the happier you and your business will be.
When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to think you don’t have any power at all. That’s an illusion.
You might not have any stockists – or even customers yet – but you’re an artist. You create something valuable and you get the final say on who gets access to that value.
So how would things change if you viewed pitching your stuff to a retailer as a meeting of equals?
Many artists feel and act like this when they approach a shopkeeper:
“Please your majesty, please stock my stuff in your wondrous shop! Oh, PLEASE DO!”
That’s certainly one way to go.
But how would it be if the whole point of getting in touch was so you could say:
“Hello! I like what you do. Here’s what I do. You know, I think we’re on the same wavelength. Maybe it would be cool if we teamed up – what do you think?”
When you view it this way, you’re not a peasant begging the king for a favour.
You’re the ruler of a whole kingdom of your own and the reason you’re getting in touch is to propose a mutually beneficial collaboration.
Feels better, doesn’t it?
So if that’s the case, what qualities should you be scrutinising potential stockists for?
Here are some ideas:
A warm, friendly and respectful tone.
Let’s say a retailer sends you a message through Etsy, expressing interest in stocking your work.
Yep, that’s really exciting, but hang on for a second. Do you like the way they talk to you? Are they polite? Do they seem like someone you actually want to work with?
A frankness with information.
Have a look at their website. Can you tell where their shop is, what they do and who they are? What kind of store do they own, anyway?
A good vibe.
What’s your instinct telling you? If you put your feelings to one side for a moment, is this shop genuinely a good fit for your work? Can you see yourself building an on-going relationship with this retailer?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then you should think very carefully before deciding how to proceed.
There are two things I want you to take away from this.
First, you’re an artist and an entrepreneur. You’re doing big, difficult things and that deserves respect – especially from yourself.
Second, you’ll make a lot fewer mistakes if you’ve got your crown on your head.
When you’re really, truly in charge of your business, duff ideas and dead-ends don’t crop up so much. You’re able to steer around obstacles instead of just going with the flow and getting stuck.
So take up residence on your throne.
Be discerning about who you work with.
And go conquer the world of wholesale in 2014.
I’m wishing you every success.
Clare Yuille – Indie Retail Academy
Clare Yuille is a shopkeeper, writer and retail coach for creative people.
Download her free Indie Retail Starter Kit.
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Hello lovelies! While I was unpacking my stationery last month I discovered these holiday cards from when I used to work at Waste Not Paper. My first thought was to share them with you and my second thought was to have a holiday card exchange! I know it is a busy time of year but I thought it would be fun for each of us to receive a holiday card from a fellow creative. If you want to join in the fun scroll down for more info!
Handmade Success Holiday Card Exchange:
- You can choose to send one handmade card or a card designed by an independent artist and/or one sold at a local small business.
- If you have a business feel free to write that in the card and maybe even include a business card.
- Email me at email@example.com with your name, address, business name and social media links by Sunday, December 8th at 7pm MST.
- All cards must be mailed by the 16th of December.
- Let me know if you would like to mail internationally.
- Feel free to share photos of cards you send and receive on social media (I wanted to come up with a cute hashtag but drew a blank so I am open to ideas!)
- I will email everyone their exchange partners next Monday!
- You can keep it simple or maybe share a bit about yourself or share a bit of encouragement and/or inspiration.
- Most of all, have fun!
Ooh! I think you are going to love this infographic if you are new to Etsy. Rob from WorldPayZinc got in touch to tell me that our article 5-Step Formula for Writing Handmade Product Descriptions that Sell was part of this guide. WorldPayZinc is a UK-based company that allows you to take secure payments on your mobile phone. Rob said that they got to thinking about who would be using their product and artists came to mind so they created an interactive infographic called Beginner’s Guide To Selling on Etsy. They describe it as “A straight-forward guide to selling on Etsy. We guide you through the process step-by-step with links to great resources to help you on your way.” The guide is well designed and links to pertinent articles from various resources such as the Etsy blog, Design Sponge and our site.
Have fun clicking through!
Editor’s note: This is not an affiliate post. I just wanted to share this neat guide with you!Share on Facebook
As shop owners, I know “the most wonderful time of year” is also the busiest time of year. They don’t call it holiday rush for nothing! But as crazy as it can be, the holiday season also brings with it an incredible opportunity for you and your shop. And I’m not talking about all the sales you’ll make (which, don’t get me wrong, is totally awesome).
It’s great to see all the holiday orders roll in, but after the rush dies down wouldn’t it be even better to start out the new year reaping the benefits of a new group of happy customers, anxious to bring you more business?
Here are a couple things to keep in mind as you’re serving your customers this holiday season.
STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
With the increase in traffic, sales and customers there’s no better time to set yourself apart from other shops. Now, more than ever, is the time to put your best foot forward and provide an incredible shopping experience for your customers that leaves them feeling excited to come back for more. Friendly communication, prompt shipping, and expressing your appreciation are all ways you can make your customers’ experience with you memorable.
GIVE THEM INCENTIVE TO COME BACK
Including a discount offer or coupon code with your product is an excellent way to express your appreciation and also to encourage repeat business. Another idea I’ve heard mentioned by other shop owners is holding an after-holiday sale. Include an announcement (and bonus coupon code!) in all your holiday packages.
SPREAD THE HOLIDAY CHEER
Consider adding some festivity to your package or even shipping box. People appreciate and respond well to being treated like more than just a customer. And most people notice when someone takes the extra time and effort to add a special holiday touch to their packaging. Knowing that most shoppers are actually shopping for others at this time of year, you could even offer to gift wrap your products for them!
I’d love to hear what you’ve done in the past or are planning to do this holiday season to make your shop shine. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and much success to follow!
Sincerely from my shop to yours,
Anne McOmber – Totally Design
Hi, I’m Anne! I’m a wife and mom with an obsession with modern design, a passion for customer appreciation, and an inherited love for beautiful packaging. I spend my days playing cars, going on walks and helping my fellow business owners create lasting impressions and genuine relationships with their customers. Life is good!Share on Facebook