Tag Archive for 'vinyl'

where to go next?

*warning* long-winded post musing on craft business outlook below, reader beware!



(all photos from girl on the rocks)
I’ve been grappling for the last year or so about where I really see myself fitting into the craft business world. I have visions of the products I want to produce and I how I think everyone should love them, but I have been hesitant to really put in the work to go the extra distance and create a true promoted business. The path I have taken so far is to half-heartedly embrace the idea. I’ve produced a few things that I’m really excited about, but I haven’t spent much time marketing or polishing up an image that I can promote them on. The reality is that the business-y side of things doesn’t really interest me. I like creating and designing, but I’m not as excited about promoting or bookkeeping. I guess I viewed the Bazaar Bizarre 2008 as a bit of a test. If people seemed to like my items and buy them maybe it makes sense to put a little effort in on the business side and try this world out for a bit.



I thought I made a good faith effort, at least with the bags, wallets and chickens I made. I’ve been busy with work and traveling but it feels like I spent all of my spare moments sewing. I made a coat rack full of bags, each of which I thought was awesome. I put in the effort to sew bike inner tube edging on many of the bags (it is really difficult but is such a nice durable material). I made stacks of wallets and card holders out of a range of colors from vinyl banners. I sewed with salvaged high-tech sailcloth–a material I don’t see around in the craft world much but which is familiar to me because of my sailing background. I was hopeful and a little expectant, but my sales were rather dismal. Tweed Chickens did well (which is great) but I sold only two wallets (and both were to friends).



What went wrong? I have a few observations and a lot of questions. First, a lot of other people at the Baz Biz were selling wallets and bags, so I had direct competition. I though my display looked nice (but I may be wrong?) and people noticed the wallets. A lot of shoppers picked them up to examine them, but returned them to the table. People were especially drawn to the sailcloth ones – they look unusual. I suppose this shopping season is probably slower than last year and people might be choosing what they buy very carefully. Still, the other booths seemed to be making sales and I wasn’t. The only info I provided about the materials was “recycled wallets.” Do I need to provide more of a storyline for the materials I use? Were my prices wrong (either too high or too low)? My prices were in the same range as wallets at other tables, and the bags were difficult to compare since I don’t really think there were other bags like them.



Now I need to decide where to head next. Do I bail out now and abandon this whole project? Should I ramp up the effort and try again given the lackluster response last weekend? I know there is a lot more I could do, but given the response so far should I just give up now?

I’m trying to look at the situation objectively and not whine too much about it. I do feel like it is time to make some decisions though. Does anyone have some insight? Did anyone see my table set up and have comments or suggestions for how it could be done better?

lasers




This past weekend I attended the Maker Faire. In addition to being a fantastic people watching event I had a few excellent conversations with folks showing off their creations. The people at the Instructables booth were even willing to laser engrave my vinyl bag for me. Fantastic! Epilog Laser was also in attendance and for a mere $8000 you can buy your own laser engraver. After learning this n spent the rest of the day asking how much he could charge me for engraving each of my bags and wallets. Considering my current sales numbers I am unlikely to help him pay that off…

I walked briefly thorough the Bazarre Bizarre but I was so over-stimulated and it was so crowded in there that I couldn’t calm down enough to actually check anything out. It is too bad, but the day really isn’t about shopping anyway.

I was also excited to see Ponoko there. I’m fascinated by the idea of being able to produce goods on fancy schmancy machines from my own designs. And locally no less! They are just getting started with shops in the US and I can’t wait to design something and send it their way. As an added bonus, I had a nice chat with the guy manning their booth (I’m sorry, I can’t remember his name!) who told me that he wanted to start Ponoko after he was involved with a climate blog called Celsias. I haven’t spent too much time looking around yet, but the site looks like a combination of science & policy news and discussion as well as networking for projects to reduce the impact of global warming. Yay solutions!

Every time I have been to the Maker Faire I spend a good part of the day thinking about how much my dad would enjoy it but I’ve yet to get him to come along. This year I spied a three wheeled car with a motorcycle license plate. Lets just say there has been some experience with that around his house. The ride may or may not look something like this:

(video from Karrie)

Get ‘em while they are hot!

The Tweed Chicken had a photoshoot today out in the lovely spring sun.

Why so much attention? Well, I’ve opened an etsy shop. Thats right, now you can get your very own tweed chicken via etsy and the US Postal Service.

I’m also selling wallets made from recycled tyvek envelopes and vinyl banners from the bart station.

You can even get a button to show your tweed chicken pride.

I havent actually sold anything through etsy yet, but I know there are a lot of people out there who could use a little tweed chicken in their lives and hopefully this will help spread the love.

abmatic on etsy