Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Boutique Update, and a Few New Things

Hello!  Well, it has been just over 2 weeks since I started my booth at Top Drawer Resale & Boutique , and things are going better than I expected!  Honestly, I did not feel very well prepared for such a venture.  Coming out of my spring craft shows, I did not have a ton of inventory, so with half of it listed in my Etsy shop and the rest at the boutique, I feel like there is not a lot in either place, and I really need to beef up in both.  But of course, with it being the end of the school year, my son graduating high school, etc., there just has not been time for me to get into my craft room and make much new stuff.  Hopefully things will slow down now, and I will be able to get some things accomplished!  I have been experimenting with some new things, and that has been really fun.  One thing I wanted to share is this:
It's an earring holder that I made out of a picture frame, which I crackle painted with a nice deep royal blue base and a light turquoise top coat, and a piece of burlap where the glass would normally go.  Earring wires can be hung on the burlap, and voila- earring holder!  I have wanted to try crackle painting for quite some time, so I experimented on this frame,and it turned out great!  It was really easy too.  I painted the base color (the royal blue) and allowed it to dry completely.  Then I spread a thin layer of plain Elmer's glue and let it only partially dry, and when it was still tacky, painted on the top coat of the light turquoise paint.  As it dries, it gets the crackle effect- totally cool!  I gave it a coat of Mod Podge to finish it off, wrapped some burlap over the frame backing, and there you have it!  My ultimate goal is to try the crackle painting on a piece of furniture, but I want to make sure I have the process down before I do that.

So, I'm just over halfway through the month, and so far, I have sold enough to cover about 3/4 of my booth fee for the month.  To be honest, I did not expect to sell anything my first month, so anything that I do sell surpasses my expectations!  Most of my cards are blank and do not have sentiments on the front, because on Etsy, I customize cards with whatever sentiment a customer wants.  However, I think when people are shopping in a store, they want to buy a card with a sentiment on it, rather than a pretty card with no sentiment on the front.  I simply have not had time to add sentiments to my cards, so I figured they wouldn't sell.  But I have sold a few, so that's great!  I also sold a purse, so that was a nice chunk of the money that has been brought in.  Last week, I made a last-minute effort to make some Father's Day cards, since Sunday was Father's Day.  I took one in on Friday, went home and made several more and brought them in on Saturday morning at opening time.  When I checked back on Monday, I had sold 2 of the Father's Day cards!  Yay!  One thing I have noticed though: all of the cards I've sold there have been the smaller A2 size. I have not sold a single larger (5x7) card yet, and that's mostly what I tend to make.  Maybe it's the pricing- I am thinking of reducing the price on the 5x7 cards by 50 cents and see how they do.  Anyway, for the Father's day cards, I used a new design, which incorporated some of the geometric patterned papers that I used on my friend Matt's card-in-a-box birthday card.  Same basic design on each card, but using different colors and paper.  Here is one of them:
I did versions of this in green and red/tan as well.  The two cards that sold were green and blue.

In addition, I managed to make a card for my dad for Father's Day.  I always have a tough time with masculine cards, and I made his card before I developed the design for the cards above.  I had seen a card on Pinterest that used paper scraps to make a sort of patchwork card, and I liked that idea, so I gave it a try with my dad's card.

I took these photos inside so the light was not great and was a bit too reflective, but the square on the middle left of the card is actually embossed, not printed, with the diagonal stripes.  The lighting and shadows make it look printed though!  Again, I used the same papers I used on Matt's card.  It was fun to do this, since it was different than anything I've done before, but it was a LOT of cutting and adhering, so this design is not one I'd do a lot of in the future.  My dad is worth the effort though!

One more thing to share- I almost forgot about this, but it is sooo cool!  I made so many graduating exploding boxes this year that I got a bit burned out on them, and then had no idea what to do for my son, who was graduating this year.  He has seen so many exploding boxes anyway, that it wouldn't be that impressive.  After checking out some new ideas on Pinterest, I was curious to try out a money holder box card that I found there.  It actually turned out pretty cool!
This is the front.  If I'd had more time, I would have created the closure using a light velcro or maybe a tie of some kind, but since I was making this at 11pm the night before his graduation party, I used temporary adhesive.  I'm actually pretty proud of how it turned out, given how sleep-deprived I was at the time!  Here is the open card/box:
It's flat when it's closed, then it opens up and sort of puffs up into a shallow box.  I glued a panel on the bottom of the inside and wrote a message about how proud we are of Josh, and stuck a $100 bill on top.  I'm not totally sure he even saw the message for being distracted by the money!  Anyway, it's a really cool card, and it fits nicely into a standard A2 envelope.  I'd be curious to try this in a bigger size maybe- it would be cool to not have to fold the money to fit.

Well, that's all for now- I hope to have more to share later!  I really want to get some more stuff in to the boutique, so that will be what I'll be working on in the near future.  See you later!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I did it, aka I must be insane!

As I reported last time, I was looking into having a booth at a cool new consignment shop/boutique.  Well, I did look into it...and I'm doing it!  I think I must have a screw loose to be trying something like this NOW of all times though!  I have a child who will be graduating from high school in 5 days and a middle schooler who has a week and a half left of school, and what that means is that the next week is going to be CRAZY busy.  Not to mention I have a custom graduation exploding box order that I need to finish up, my house is a disaster and we will of course be having people over next weekend for graduation festivities for my son, and that's just in addition to the usual business of life. So, yes, just what I needed- MORE to do!  Well, you know what they say about when opportunity knocks.  It had to be now, because the shop starts their contracts on the first of the month, and that's today.  I spent a couple of hours late yesterday afternoon setting up the bulk of my booth, and am going back today to finish up.  Here's what I've got so far:
It's a small booth- only 3' wide by 2' deep, but lots of height, so I built up!  I had my wonderful hubby build me a L-shaped lattice wall, which we painted white with a soft lavender trim. I went out scouring thrift stores and garage sales for fixtures, and managed to find a collapsible 3-shelf bookshelf and tall sofa table.  The sofa table is on top of the bookshelf, and then I have a small 2-shelf unit in between the two.  My spinning card rack fits just barely between my and Megan's space- that is hers to the left.  The lattice is great- it defines the space, and allows me to hang things from it.  I got a package of nice brushed metal shower curtain hooks, and they hook through the lattice so that things can hang from them.  Right now I've got some purses- the owner told us that since it is a shop that sells resale clothing and accessories, we can add those things to our booths as well as our own products.  I went through my closet and found some purses and shoes, and also found a few purses at the garage sales I visited, and hopefully that will help to supplement my sales and help with my start-up costs.  That lattice...it was not cheap, and all I can say is that I really hope this works out!

I have a lot of work yet to do- today I will be working on hanging things on the lattice on the window side.  The window faces a very busy downtown street so there is lots of traffic there, so I want to maximize that space.  It's a little hard to get back in there, so it should be interesting!  The shop is not open for business today, so thankfully I don't have to worry about being in the way of customers, or vice versa.  I also need to work on adding some sentiments to the outside of some of the cards.  I have always left them free of sentiments for the most part, so that buyers on Etsy can choose whatever sentiment they want to be added.  However, I think for a shop like this, people are more apt to buy if it has a sentiment on it.  I unfortunately did not have time this weekend to work on it, so that will have to be a task for later.  (Much later, with the way my week is looking.)  Longer term, I plan to make some higher-end products, like exploding boxes, never-ending cards, and other novelty cards, as I think that will help draw interest.  However, right now I can't see past graduation weekend, so I'm going with it as-is until I have time to get some more stuff in there.  My big debut is tomorrow- wish me luck!