Saturday, February 18, 2012

Entrepreneur? Doesn't feel right

Calling yourself an entrepreneur seems tacky, like giving yourself a nickname or declaring that you are witty. Plus, I have a hard time pronouncing it. I tried "cottage industry" on for size but that doesn't make sense to me; might as well say "Hobbit Conglomerate" or "Treehouse Manufacturing." I imagine a quaint tiny earthy space where little people toil away and the boss is pulling her hair out because she wishes she had a more productive work space. I think I already wrote a whole blog post about the murky waters of calling yourself and artist; that's like walking up to the deli counter and saying "I'd like meat and cheese." (picture the annoyed need-more-information look.)

I'll wear "small business owner" for a while and see how that feels. It's not that I don't understand the need for these names and labels. I do. I can't very well go around saying "I am a fine artist specializing in fiber sculpture, which is made by poking wool with a needle over and over, and further more I am branching into providing supplies, kits, and services in this field."

Yours Truly,
Small Business Owner
Sara Renzulli

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This is for you Etsy Sellers

Are you an Etsy seller? Here are some tips....

The 10 Commandments of Etsy

Stay Current - Shoppers are usually set on the chronological sort option. If you have not listed in a week your item might be as far back as the 10th page. Be sure to list something on a regular basis. If you do not have anything new to list than renew an existing listing.

Love your Shop like a baby – Your etsy shop needs to be nurtured. Shoppers can tell the difference between half heartedly listing stuff you have laying around and investing your energy into making a shop that expresses you and your art.

Have some Cohesion – Visually it is pleasing and inspires confidence in the buyer. It would be great if we all made and sold one thing - a plethora of perfected items from which the shopper could choose the perfect one. But we are all scatterbrained artists following the muses. At least photograph your items with the same background and be consistent in your style of description.

Use Great Photos! – Good photos are not good enough. Especially when you are selling something like jewelry and have 1000s of competitors. Etsy prides itself on being a visual feast. To be on the menu you have to go top shelf with your photography.

Provide something extra – Packaging, service, documentation, communication... customers want to be babied. If you treat a customer as if they are the sister you never knew you had, they will be your customer for life. Give them that something extra. Let them know that you appreciate that they spent their hard earned money on something you made.

Use all of your tags – you have 13 “tags,” key words to direct your customer to your product. Make sure to use all 13. These descriptive words can be subject, occasion, color, texture, feeling, season, use, etc.

Have a Banner - Your banner is the first thing people see when they visit your shop. It might be worth paying the $15 that other etsy sellers charge to design your banner.

Tell a Story - One of the reasons people shop on etsy is to support the little guy. You are honed in on a market that cares about the origin and artistry of a product. Give your shoppers more to go on; describe why you were inspired to make and item, what you personally love about it, an anecdote about how it came to be, etc. They love this stuff!

Believe in what you offer – There is a buyer for every product out there. Some may be more difficult to sell than others. If you love and believe in what you do than they will come.

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Felt Good" and Other Possible Names

I am driving my family crazy; all I can talk about is launching my business. So I am reaching out into the mysterious internet world with my burning unanswered question, "What should I call my felting business?"

2012 has brought into light many avenues for my felting career. I have spent the new year obsessing over how to navigate the avenues and bring them to fruition. I am on the precipice of change. I want to at least have a parachute before I jump.

Here is what is on my list:
Branding/naming my needle felted art and supplies
Moving my studio out of my home and into a nearby Mill
New website
Unifying my logotype and developing brand recognition
Training help
Marketing kits and supplies

If I do all of this, when will I make the critters?! And when I do make them, what the heck will I call them?

Here are few names:
Felt Good
Soul Felt
Stock Pile

In the meantime here is a picture of a recent critter so that this post was not a complete waste of your time...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Horses and Leather

These are a few of my favorite things. It's like chocolate and peanut butter, cookies and milk, snow and a sled, cheese and more cheese. Horses and leather are good alone but together take it to a whole new level of sublime.

Saddles, tack, saddle bags, holsters, boots (boots really deserve their own post), fringe, chaps, scabbards, sheathes. I love them all. I admire the stitching, the craftsmanship, the smell, the feel, the look, the practicality.

I am in the process of transitioning from English to western riding. English of course has it's own appeal; tailored, classic, and athletic. But western riding opens up a whole new world of well made tack, utilitarian horsemanship, American history, and purposeful riding.

Ortho Flex fit her but not me - sent it back

In the search to find a well fitting western saddle for my wide horse I have been on quite a learning curve. Although I have been riding for 30 years, the Western lingo is completely different. The tack has mostly the same parts but different names. They are measured differently. The saddle sits differently on the horse. The rider sits differently in the saddle. There is a lot to learn.
Beautiful roping saddle did not fit her - sold it on ebay

I have also realized, after three saddle purchases in an effort to find the right one, that I love western saddles. I can see myself becoming a collector. (Don't tell Dave). Maybe a saddle to go with every pair of boots?

Fisto admires the saddle I bought yesterday, a used Circle Y. Hope this one works!