Tuesday, April 20, 2010

With the spring cleaning does the urge to redecorate enter your mind? In addition to purchasing new art for a space, there are some low cost ways, budget friendly ways to freshen up a room. Today's art themed article is Low Budget Decorating, High Style Looks by Kahi Lee of the Home and Garden Television show, Design on a Dime. She details a few simple tricks "do-it-yourself-ers" can do to give any room in your home a fresh, new look.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dangerous Women

May we be dangerous women.
May we be women who acknowledge our power to change, and grow, and be radically alive in God.
May we be healers of wounds and righters of wrongs.
May we weep with those who weep and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
May we cherish children, embrace the elderly, and empower the poor.
May we pray deeply and teach wisely.
May we be strong and gentle leaders.
May we sing songs of joy and talk down fear.
May we never hesitate to let passion push us , conviction propel us, and righteous anger energize us.
May we strike fear into all that is unjust and evil in the world.
May we dismantle abusive systems and silence lies with truth.
May we shine like stars in a darkened generation.
May we overflow with goodness in the name of God and by the power of Jesus.
And in that name, and by that power, may we change the world.

~ Lynne Hybels
Nice Girls Don't Change the World


Saturday, April 3, 2010

! !Goody Bags! !

The ideas for low cost swag can be applied not just to craft shows but to your Etsy shop too. Enjoy!

Goody Bag Swag for craft shows does not have to be expensive!

Goody bags are a great way to welcome and encourage visitors to arrive during a time which is typically quiet - early mornings. Visitors love getting a free gift: it makes them feel special and appreciated and it encourages them to become shoppers. It's also an amazing way to get your name out there. You can actually say to visitors - "Hey did you get that little notebook l I put in the goody bag you're carrying?" thus making for another point of conversation with a potential customer. And of course they then have some sort of way to be able to contact you afterwards if you put your phone number or email on your swag item. It's an easy, inexpensive way to get YOUR name out there & to remind visitors of you & your craft!

I've received free magnets at shows I've attended with images of artists' work and have specifically sought them out - during the show as well as after - to make a purchase just because I so liked their work represented on the little magnet. So it cost the artist maybe 10 cents to make the magnet but it translated into a $30 sale.

But it can be cost and time prohibitive to give away samples of your work. You don't want to give your work away for free however there are other things you can pass out to make yourself and your business memorable. I want to emphasize that swag does not have to be expensive or time-consuming to be an effective marketing tool. I personally give away "Fortune Fish" with a business card in all my sales and you'd be amazed at how effective a 3 cent item can be!

Here are some more goody ideas:

- One fabric artist I know made little pins by tying a little strips of her leftover fabric (with frayed edges) to safety pins. Then she pinned these to her business cards. Brilliant!!!

- One gentleman at the last Red Rabbit show, a woodworker, took slices of his leftover wood and rubber stamped his name & logo on each one to make coasters. Very cool and gorgeous. I liked the idea of stamping or printing a business name or logo onto a scrap of the material that represents your medium.

- If you happen to have a button badge machine, little 1" buttons cost less than 10 cents to make and are a great way to use fabric scraps or prints of artwork.

- Sticker paper is cheap and you can print a little bit of artwork or a logo to make great little stickers. Use a paper punch to speed things up.

- Glass artists always have lots of scrap glass around. You can fire polish or tumble the glass to remove the sharp edges and drill a hole. Add a little piece of string and tie it to your business card. Easy.

- At other shows, I've seen jewelry makers take a bead or two, and they don't have to be expensive beads at all, and string them onto a little piece of pretty thread and tie that to a business card. The giftee can later add a chain or finding and make their own artwork.

- If you've got a die cut machine (like a Sizzix or Cuttlebug) you are living the life. If you find a die that fits the theme of your art or business, this will allow you to cut your scraps (fabric, paper, cardboard, leather, etc.) very, very quickly. Paper punches in various shapes are great too although not all handle thick materials.

- How cute would it be to get a bag of those little plastic toy bubbles that you get from gumball / toy machines and put a little "fortune" inside - a scrap of paper with your business info and maybe a cute little cartoon scribbled on it? I would totally love a unique little piece of art!

- Imprinted pencils are always cool but they tend to cost maybe 30 cents each. How's about getting a box of pencils from the office supply store (or Costco!) and adding a little label / banner to the top announcing your business? Even easier if you print the labels on sticker paper.

- Don't forget about printable iron on sheets. You can print your business card sized artwork - maybe 15 to a sheet - then iron onto stabilized fabric. Cut apart then add a magnet to the back or an eyelet with a key ring. Now that's a business card that I wouldn't throw away! A variation is to print out artwork instead, make it into a pin and attach it to a business card.

- Wood (popsicle sticks, clothes pins, precut shapes) and a wood burning tool. 'Nuff said. :)

- Never underestimate the power of office supplies and their potential swagability. Rubber bands, colored paper clips, glassine or coin envelopes and ink stamps that say "Urgent" can be combined to make memorable little business card holders.

- Look around at what you've got lots of scraps of - paper, unwanted beads, cardboard, clay, ribbon, fabric, wire - and see if there isn't a way to turn that into a goody somehow. Think clever and make it cool. As long as you put some love into it, even humble leftover material can become a welcome gift.

I think the best swag is something that somehow represents your art and your business but is not expensive or time consuming to make plus it is somehow entertaining (like fortune fish) or functional (like a bookmark or magnet). You want your business info to somehow be on the swag so that people will remember you next time they see you somewhere. "Oh yeah, she's the girl who made those great magnets last time! I love her art! I think I want to buy a picture from her." It happens! I know I often purchase from artists because I remembered them from having gotten a little free goody from them once. And when you see someone walk up to your booth carrying a goody bag be sure to say "Hey! You lucky - you got a goody bag! One of my pieces is in there. Did you see it?" Heck! Offer to sign it! Then with this little icebreaker, you've just introduced yourself to a potential customer. Remember - they got there early so they are looking for art!