In the Artfire forums, there is a grea thread going about how you decided the name of your store. I am not sure if I have ever really told you? Well here goes....
When I set up Butterfly-Crafts in late 2008 I wanted a name that reflected me and my idea. I chose Butterfly-Crafts because I adore beautiful butterflies, I think they are so delicate and pretty and I could sit and watch them in the garden for hours.
But it runs a little deeper than that! In its lifetime a butterfly goes through a few life changes! It starts off as a catterpillar and then a chrysalis before finally transforming into a butterfly. I feel a little similar.
In my day job I feel like i can never keep up with what i need to do, like I need a hundred pairs of hands and it is never quite good enough. But once the click hits 5.30pm I leave the office and shut my eyes on the commute home, as if I am going into my shell to become a chrysalis. When I get home (after a minimum of 90mins commute), I eat and then transform into doing the work that I love - my craft and my business. I might not create every evening but I am working on my business be it blogging, plurk, facebook, listings, promoting or just networking - I am working on what I love and what I hope can create a better life for me - just like a Butterfly.
Sunday, 1 November 2009 | 0 Comments
From Saturday 10th to Sunday 18th October you can enter to win two Christmas cards and a 20% off coupon for a future purchase. I will pick two winners from a random number generator. The cards are currently not made but you can check out the Christmas section of my Artfire store to see examples of what you might win.
Newsletter - Sign up to the Butterfly-Crafts newsletter and receive 3 entries
Saturday, 10 October 2009 | 12 Comments
So with all your new found publicity skills you might just have been promoted in a magazine article or a feature on Hand Made News or receive a thousand hits from a high profile blog feature but what was todays feature will be tomorrows fish wrappers as the saying goes. You will need to start thinking longer term to the next six or twelve months and ask yourself one question: How can I keep the momentum going?
A successful marketing programme is based on frequency and keeping your business name and products in your audiences face until they recognise your brand and then buy your products.
Before devsing a marketing plan or create your marketing materials, you need to have a clear understanding as to who your target audience are. Get to know your customers, how do they spend? How much to they spend? What blogs or magazines do they read? That way, you can create materials they will respond to. Knowing your customers specific wants and needs will help you put together products to meet those desires.
As you begin to put your marketing plan together, assess your goals and budget. If you need immediate results to stir up interest quickly try advertising or getting into a high traffic blog (like mine!) However for most of us small business owners in the craft world we have the time but no money! In this instance, put your money into publicity rather than advertising. Send new material to editors, follow up and remind them of your company until they bite. Publicity is not a marketing method for the impatient, you may spend days putting together press kits and sending them out and get no response, it might even take months for an article to be published.
It is also worh bearing in mind that not all of your ideas, products or sales are appropriate for PR activity - it is for you to decide what is important to publicise and what can be skipped over.
I must admit, writing this blog has made me think about having an actual marketing plan, something I donot have as yet. It would be great if you have any marketing tips to share, please comment......
Friday, 9 October 2009 | 2 Comments
A publicist is paid to sing your praises from the roof tops to the press but also consult with you on every aspect of your business. The most imporant thing a publicist can do, is develop your marketing strategy.
A publicist will want to present your products to their contacts every season so you will need to be prepared and committed to delivering an agreed quota. You need to ask yourself if you are really ready for major recognition and the sales (and production) this will bring - I know I'm not just yet but Butterfly-Crafts will be one day! Finally, and most importantly, can you even afford one?
Remember you are hiring a publicist for their expertise and contacts and this unfortunately does not come cheap. On top of their monthly fee, you may also have to pay out for their telephone calls, postage and copying costs. You will still have to create your press kit and advertising because although the publicist can advertise you, they are not necessarily a graphic designer.
If you do decide to take the next step in marketing and hire, choose carefully and pick someone you have a good rapport with and who you feel will represent you well. Do your research with different companies and ask fellow store owners for their contacts. But, when it comes to signing that contract, put your expectations in writing and stay in contact.
It is really important to realise that a publicist can be selective about who they choose to work with. Like all of use, they will want a client who is easy to work with and whose talents and skills they truely believe in as you are likely to be committed to a minimum contract.
One thing to bear in mind with a publicist however is that the results are cumulative so you may not see immediate results but when they do start, they are likely to snowball!
Monday, 5 October 2009 | 1 Comment
If you hear back from the editor or their designers from the publication you approached, it is possible that they will be working on a deadline and want your information yesterday. The best way to be prepared for this is by having a web page with high-res images, key facts, press releases and suchlike that can be downloaded quickly. Sometimes this approach can be quicker than snail mail and if you make work easier for your contacts, they may be back for more.
However, it is good to have a hard copy press kit as one way to express your creativity in your business material. Standard components of the press kit would include:
- a catalogue with clear photos and descriptions,
- a line sheet with product numbers and whole sale prices,
- a biography,
- colour copies of any press cuttings,
- press releases if what you are announcing is newsworthy,
- a few samples if you can spare them as often Editors prefer something visual to a press release.
A press kit is a great chance to be imaginative, but is can go terribly wrong if you try and jump through too many hoops and end up confusing the viewer and losing the message whilst you're at it. If you can balance out simplicity and creativity you'll have a winning kit. You may also consider:
- Including your contact information on the bottom of every item in the kit,
- Reflect your brand by reinforcing your colours and logos,
- Everything in the kit, aside from samples, should remain flat as editors often keep a stack of kits on their desk - and you wouldn't want to be the person who sent in a poster tube and you roll off or get binned.
- As a precaution label each and every item in the case it were to be separated from the rest.
- Don't include too many loose small items incase they get lost.
A note of caution though regarding samples - if you send unsolicited samples to publications, it is very unlikely that you will receive them back as they would be considered gifts. However if an editor was to request something specific from you, you will be more likely to see it again.
So your challenge for this week is to think about what you would include in a press kit.......
Image from http://www.theangryrobot.artfire.com/
Friday, 2 October 2009 | 0 Comments
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 | 0 Comments
The book is set in NYC, in a knitting shop called Walker and Daughter run by Georgia and her daughter Dakota. The knitting club meet every Friday (shocking revelation I know) to knit, chat and share in each others lives. There is KC the aspiring lawyer, Lucie the music video producer, Darwin the PhD student, Peri the aspiring handbag designer, Anita the always there older woman and Cat, the long lost friend. The book follows their ups and downs, lifes, loves and laughs.
There is a bit of a twist towards the end, I would say a shocking twist because it actually made me shed a few tears! That is the first time I have ever reacted like that to a book, especially a fiction story which just went to show me how involved I felt.
I could not recommend this book highly enough. It is just an easy going read but I loved it, it was a good story and allowed me to dream of having my own craft store!
What books have you read that have had a reaction like that? Please share and comment below.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 | 1 Comment
In an ideal world, you should aim to spend at least two hours a week working on publicity and getting your brand and products into the media. If it is applicable, might I suggest a trip to the local newsagent or library to research your target publications?
For magazines, bear in mind that the lead time is often three to five months and if you have Christmas products, you need to approach them in the Summer time. Take note of the Editor for the section your work would fit in and send them a press kit. Double check that the address you have found is not for advertising or subscriptions as often these are managed separately to the magazine. Once you have the information you need, write the Editor a letter, talk a little about your business and show that you have read their publication bt explaining why your product would be a good fit.
Editors are looking for something that stands out against the crowd so it is likely you will write to many editors. What ever you do however, don't get lazy and send off a generic letter or just fill in the blanks of a stock letter, tailor each letter to the editor you are writing to.
Monday, 28 September 2009 | 1 Comment
If you are after more web space for your business then a blog may be the answer. However you chose to manage your blog, whether it be business or personal, it can help keep an audience interested in you and return to view your recent posts and updates.
It is vitally important to know that blogging is time consuming and if you do it well you will need to post frequently to maintain an interest from your audience. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Myspace or the other social networking sites, a regular blog reader will search for authenticity and honesty in a posting not a complete sales pitch of new listings and special offers. If you were to use your blog as just another marketing tool then you may lose regular readers.
I have put a lot of planning into my blog and if you are a follower you will see I post business tips, an artisan feature of a fellow Artfire artist, the Crazy Marketing Train, some of my new listings and more personal nature to let my readers learn more about me as a person and artist.
Monday, 21 September 2009 | 1 Comment
1) If you had to work by a creative mission what would it be? Create what you love. After creating jewelry pieces for about 6 months in, I had an epiphany of sorts. I was making things I didn’t particularly like. Making things "to sell". Not fun for me and wasn’t filling the creative void nor was the act of creating them particularly stress reducing. I decided that going forward, I would ONLY create things that I loved. Items that I would wear if they weren’t purchased. So that’s what I do today.
2) Have you had any creative disasters? Besides spilling a large bead stash on the floor at least once a month? I also have to admit whacking my fingers more than once with a texturing hammer or jabbing myself with a pair of pliers.
3) What is your favourite item in your collection? I’ve become very
4) Sum up your collection for me: ShinyAdornments is artisan handmade beaded and wire wrapped jewelry, handcrafted in Wichita, KS. I use sterling silver, gemstones, SRA lampwork, glass, and polymer clay beads in my work, which includes bracelets, bangles, earrings, necklaces, hair sticks, and cocktail rings for both work and play. I make jewelry I would wear myself. The materials depend on my mood and inspiration. My goal is to create wearable items for work and play that offer an interesting statement about the women who wear them.
5) Is there another craft you would like to try? I’m taking a silversmithing class this summer in order to further my skills. I’m most interested in learning about enameling.
6) What is your favourite craft store? Wow, that’s a tough one. There are multiples online that I love. Monsterslayer and Otto Frei come to mind.
7) From where do you draw your inspiration? More than anything else I am inspired by color, specifically botanicals.
8) What made you do this for a business? I started making jewelry because I couldn’t find pieces to coordinate with my work attire. I love being able to hammer components into submission. Creating little wearable expressions of color has become a stress reducing therapy for me.
9) How do you like online selling? I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of years. One of the things that I like the best is that my pieces are being worn by wonderful buyers from all over the world. That makes me smile.
10) What tip can you pass to a new online seller? Develop a business plan. Stick to it. Get a really good camera and learn how to take really really good photographs.
11) Describe yourself in 5 words: Silly, geek, Mom, sarcastic, analytical
12) What has been your favourite vacation/holiday? A cruise, any cruise, any time
13) What's a good book you have read? Anything trashy and scary, preferably with guns, ghouls or crime, or all three
14) Which season do you relate with and why? I’m a fall, all the way. The color palette is my favorite, I don’t have to sweat. Love the fall.
15) What is a favourite film of yours? Shawn of the Dead, The Big Lebowski, Star Trek
Thursday, 17 September 2009 | 1 Comment
- Include a bio so that customers can learn about you
- Use a domain that is not too lengthy, isn't confusing and more importantly is easy to spell
- Update the site frequently with news or new products
- Consider running a mailing list
- Include details of other sites / social networking you are involved in if it is appropriate
Another aspect of being online is the online communities or social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Plurk. If you are looking to aggressively promote your business, social networking will allow you to post pictures and descriptions of both your business and product. Following this, you can invite your friends and customers to connect with your pages which will in turn connect to their friends and so on. As an enhancement you might also like to consider a giveaway or discount to those who join your community.
I use Facebook for personal use but I also have a Butterfly-Crafts fan page where I talk about projects I am working on, offer special offers and giveaways, show new products and brainstorm. Followers of my Twitter are able to see new listings shortly after they are created along with blog posts. Plurk is more of a social tool for me but I do use it for some business purposes.
Next time we will look a little into writing blogs!
Friday, 11 September 2009 | 0 Comments
So, after a long hard think I decided to use a silver background, I just bought some wrapping paper, and use two props in all of my photos: purple butterflies and a purple pen, that way my store front has a uniformity to it and I am so pleased!
I have gathered a few tips on photography and would like to share:
- Do not use a flash as this can distort the product colour
- Use indirect light as direct light can create harsh shadows
- Buy daylight, tungsten or halogen lightbulbs as incandescent ones can create a yellow effect
- Use soft, diffuse lighting such as a photographer's umbrella or a light box.
- Use a tripod as your hands will shake no matter how steady you think you are.
- Get to know your camera as some digital cameras have manual settings allowing you to programme the shutter speeds and apertures.
- Think about using the macro setting (I do!) as this will help focus when taking up-close pictures
- Be creative with your backgrounds/settings or just use something plain. Something too busy will distract from the product
- Take multiple shots of the same item (I take about 10) and think how the buyer would want to see the item. I photo my cards from all angles I can think of and then close up on specific parts. Make jewelry? Then make sure you photograph the reverse of the item if appropriate.
- Learn how to use a photo editing software as you will need it!
Some links you may find helpful:
- Understanding your camera settings
- An introduction to the depth of field
- What is aperture and why should you care
- Shutter speed and its effect on photos
- ISO: What is this funny little number?
Coming the next time for Business Tips (Friday) - Having an online presence
Monday, 7 September 2009 | 1 Comment
1) If you had to work by a creative mission what would it be? I intend to work with integrity, stay true to my beliefs in handmade art from quality components and to respect all other artisans and their craft.
2) Have you had any creative disasters? Any attempt at needle craft. My mom is a brilliant knitter/crochet-er/cross stitcher, etc. Me. not so much!
3) What is your favourite item in your collection? My asian lantern pendant shown here
4) Sum up your collection for me: It's really just a collection of simple items that I think are beautiful. I really treasure simplicity and hope my items reflect that.
5) Is there another craft you would like to try? I've tried a few and right now I'm very happy playing with my clay!
6) What is your favourite craft store? hmmm, Michael's probably although I'll shop at any of them!
7) From where do you draw your inspiration? Just about everywhere. Nature, especially water, is very good for my muse, but just about anything might strike a chord!
8) What made you do this for a business? My "real" job as a scientist went away a couple years ago. I wanted to stay home with my son and work on my Master's degree, but still be able to contribute to the household budget. I'm still a fledgling business, but every day I learn something new to help get me to my goal!
9) How do you like online selling? I love it! I love being able to "go to work" any time of the day or night and getting to "meet" people from all over the world.
10) What tip can you pass to a new online seller? Don't get discouraged. If you do quality work and promote yourself, you will get sales.
11) Describe yourself in 5 words: smart, sarcastic, caring, impatient and true (to family, friends and myself)
12) What has been your favourite vacation/holiday? So far, it's the Alaskan cruise from last summer. I have lots of places I want to visit though!
13) What's a good book you have read? "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver is outstanding!
14) Which season do you relate with and why? I love all of them! That's why I love Michigan! Four beautiful seasons, each with their own merits.
15) What is a favourite film of yours? ahem, I am a geek at heart...Star Wars original trilogy...
Well thank you for letting us get to know you a little more! Here is my showcase of your wonderful items on Artfire
If you would like to be featured another time, please leave me a comment or contact me through my Butterfly-Crafts
Wednesday, 2 September 2009 | 0 Comments
Tuesday, 1 September 2009 | 2 Comments
Material Cost - the cost of each material directly used including packaging
Labour Cost - Calculate how much your time is truely worth
Overhead Cost - Everything that is not labour or materials such as a trade show stand, equipment and promotional items.
Profit - Money in your pocket when you have paid all of your expenses
Mark Up - The % of materials and/or labout costs added to an item to reach a price.
Retail price = wholes ale price x markup
It is recommended that a minimum markup for wholesale price is 100% to cover overheads and profit but if you can increase this it can only be to your benefit.
The retail price is what you suggest your wholesale customers (if you have any) sell your items at. If you sell directly to your customers online or in your own shop, you still need to sell at the retail price or you will be underselling your wholesale customers and risk losing them. Selling at retail also increases your profit margins and enables you to have sales or special offers because even if you have a sale at wholesale price you still make a profit.
Evaluating your prices every few months is essential. Pricing is a balancing act between your costs and what your target market is willing to pay - I find this balancing act very difficult as do many. An alternative method is to work in reverse starting with what you think people are willing to pay, half it to get a wholesale price and then realise that you have to use materials in line with this price. You may be surprised to find your profit margin may increase this way.
If through evaluation you discover that your prices are indeed too high, look at ways to reduce your costs, such as wholesale purchasing, before automatically dropping your prices.
Next time - we start looking at marketing and publicity.
Image from Salvagenation
Saturday, 29 August 2009 | 1 Comment
So, what's new in the world of Butterfly-Crafts?
Well, I bought a domain name not too long ago and have a website that is a work in progress: www.butterfly-crafts.com I am yet to decide the structure of the website yet so watch this space for updates.
I will be sending out the first Butterfly-Crafts newsletter shortly, there is still time to sign up for the first issue, just click the link over to the right of the blog. The newsletter is going to be sent every 4-6 weeks and include highlights of new items, special offers and general news. I am hoping that the new Artfire coupon codes will be up and running by the time I mail as then I can offer my newsletter recipients a very special offer to launch the coupons.
Something exciting is that I now write for Handmadenews and had my first piece pubished this week. I am writing a series on cross stitch at the moment and will possibly follow up with a series on knitting.
Finally, a really exciting development is the Artfire Kiosk being added to facebook. This is such an amazing development by the Artfire staff enabling verified members to have an application similar to rapid cart available on their facebook pages where buyers can buy directly from the facebook page. Take a look at my kiosk on the Butterfly-Crafts fan page.....and maybe even become a fan!
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 | 0 Comments
Friday, 21 August 2009 | 2 Comments
1) If you had to work by a creative mission what would it be? My creative mission is to create “fine art” that is affordable for everyone – without commercially producing my art. My solution is to hand-paint or sketch magnets that are reasonably priced but still remain a work of art. Don’t get me wrong, I have more expensive items for sale, but magnets are really my focus. Everything is handmade by me, including the sketches, the paintings, the leather wall hangings, and the silhouettes of the wood cut outs (although I have a craftsman actually cut them out due to the lack of strength in my hands). I paint what inspires me and every piece is original.
2) Have you had any creative disasters? Sure! Lots of them. Crafting is a trial and error process. Many of my creative disasters turn into something someone out there just loves – even though it is a disaster in my mind. That’s the great thing about art – everyone’s view is different.
3) What is your favorite item in your collection? My giraffe magnet! I’ve
started a new “Safari Collection” based off of him! My husband and I were married at Reid Park Zoo in Tucson , Arizona between the Giraffes and the Lions. It was a memorable moment that I draw on for inspiration. Throughout the day, the giraffes were trying to reach over their enclosure to nibble on my bouquet of flowers!
4) Sum up your collection for me: Hand-painted wood cutouts (magnets) and hand-painted leather wall hangings with a focus on wildlife
5) Is there another craft you would like to try? I would like to experiment with some kind of metal craft – not jewelry, though. More like furniture or home accessory design.
6) What is your favourite craft store? Sarnoff Art Supplies – it’s a local Tucson Store
7) From where do you draw your inspiration? My love of animals and the southwest. Animals have always been a huge part of my life. From growing up with animals, to currently having four dogs of my own, animals have a unique place in my heart. I love to see their expressions come to life in my paintings, and consequently, how my paintings make animal lovers feel when they see them.
8) What made you do this for a business? I’m actually a custom home designer struggling through this economic downfall. I turned to art (after 20 years of not painting) to fill my time and make some extra money!
9) How do you like online selling? It’s interesting. It’s a lot more work then I thought it would be. It’s difficult to keep up each day, but I love the community and seeing other’s work.
10) What tip can you pass to a new online seller? Promote, promote, promote! It’s all about networking and marketing – which I’m not very good at yet but I’m getting better. My advice would be to try to get your name out there, be supportive of other artists, and don’t be shy about the art/product you create. Be proud of what you make and share your site with everyone you know!
11) Describe yourself in 5 words: Wow! That’s difficult! If you are looking for adjectives I would say, “Creative, emotional, technical, artistic, and a ‘problem solver’ ” If you are looking for a phrase, I would say, “An artist on a mission!”
12) What has been your favorite vacation/holiday? My honeymoon! My husband surprised me and took me to Las Vegas and then to Catalina Island . It was very romantic!
13) What's a good book you have read? Sad to say – I don’t read many books. I never have. It’s just not something I can keep my interest in – I just think about everything else I have to be doing while reading, and then I have to read it all over again!
14) Which season do you relate with and why? Fall – it seems to be the season the season that everything happens. Maybe because the weather is cooler!
15) What is a favourite film of yours? Oh – there’s too many! I like We Are Marshall, August Rush, 27 Dresses, basically any kind of love story or anything with Kevin Costner!
Thanks Misti, it's great knowing you're an Artist on a mission!!! And now, for the showcase....
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 | 2 Comments
Monday, 17 August 2009 | 0 Comments
Friday, 14 August 2009 | 1 Comment
Monday, 10 August 2009 | 1 Comment
- What products already exist and is there already market saturation?
- What products are missing?
- What trends did you notice?
- At craft shows, how many tables are selling similar products?
- Why did certain designs appeak to you?
- What are the wholesale and retail prices?
Attending a craft fair or trade show is a fantastic method of research. However, try not to make it too obvious you are on the hunt for ideas! Trade shows can be hard to access initially as you often have to prove you are a legitimate business. But, once you gain entry, check out the floor plan and booths you wish to visit and get moving! If you are able, pick up a price sheet and catalogue and always keep a notebook handy to write down the information - but perhaps over a coffee and not infront of the booth.
Craft fairs can be easier to access, I attend a minimum of one a year to check out what's new and behave like a shopper - all in the name of research for Butterfly-Crafts you understand!
If you return home in a major panic about all of the work required to reach the standard of those at the craft shows or trade fairs just remember - everyone had to start somewhere
Coming next time in the Business Tips (monday) - Tempted to copy?
Friday, 7 August 2009 | 0 Comments
1) If you had to work by a creative mission what would it be? Make things because you love to create, invest a little of yourself in every piece, never be afraid to try something new.
2) Have you had any creative disasters? Yes, heaps of them. It is part of the process of creativity in my opinion. I always learn something from the disasters, and I think it makes me a better artist.
3) What is your favourite item in your collection? It tends to change from day to day, I like all my pieces for different reasons. Currently I really love my 'Lolly Drop' earrings
5) Is there another craft you would like to try? I would love to try making Lampwork beads or fused glass.
6) What is your favourite craft store? My absolute favourite store is online - Over The Rainbow - http://www.polymerclay.com.au/
7) From where do you draw your inspiration? I dont really know. Lots of things inspire me, but I guess most of it comes from within.
8) What made you do this for a business? I was making lots of things, more than I could wear. So I started to think about selling some pieces. The owner of a forum I work on opened a store on the forum, sort of kick in the pants for me to get on with it. I talked to my family about trying it out and then if it worked pushing it further. When I heard about ArtFire I realised it was time for me to get serious about selling. This is what I want to do with my life.
9) How do you like online selling? I love that it costs less than a bricks and mortar store! I have also made heaps of new friends. It has opened up new opportunities for me. Yes, it is hard work at times, but I dont regret my choice one bit.
10) What tip can you pass to a new online seller? Promote, promote, promote. Seriously, it is the only way to get your name and product out there. People will not come to you unless they know you are there.
11) Describe yourself in 5 words. Creative, compassionate, passionate, hardworking and goofy
12) What has been your favourite vacation/holiday? When I was pregnant with my youngest child we drove interstate with our 4 kids and my mum to help celebrate my Grandparents 90th birthdays. It was the first time we really had a family holiday, even though it was only a weekend. It was also the last time the whole family was together, including both my brothers. My Grandmother died a short time later, 2 weeks before my daughter was born.
13) What's a good book you have read? Terry Pratchett DiscWorld novels... any of them, I love his work.
14) Which season do you relate with and why? Summer. I was born on the last day of Summer (in Australia), always my favourite time of year, even if it does get really hot.
Well now we have learnt a little about Jennifer and Haffina Creations, lets take a look at some of her beautiful work.......
Wednesday, 5 August 2009 | 1 Comment
I 'discovered' BHR during the 48forLarry silent auction one weekend in July and they have gained me as a dedicated listener now. I really like BHR because I felt welcomed from the outset in the chat room, I may be in the UK but I get included in the chat. The others who are in chat are so friendly and it is a great place to bounce ideas around like I did recently for a product idea I had. I also love the chat because if you post a link relevant to the talk, like a blog, it will be read on air - what a great promo tool for Butterfly-Crafts!
Tuesday, 4 August 2009 | 5 Comments
Monday, 3 August 2009 | 1 Comment
Monday, 27 July 2009 | 0 Comments
Thursday, 23 July 2009 | 0 Comments
Tuesday, 21 July 2009 | 2 Comments
Monday, 20 July 2009 | 0 Comments
Friday, 17 July 2009 | 0 Comments
A partnership is much more than just dividing up the work and the profits, it’s also about taking advantage of each individual’s strengths. A partnership can be very satisfactory if it works well, but emotionally draining when they aren’t working right. What ever legal structure you decide upon will determine your taxes and personal liability. The best recommendation I can give here is to seek professional advice.
When you set up a business, one of the biggest concerns is the finances. Many craft businesses are started as a sideline career or an extension of a hobby and therefore require little capital investment (like Butterfly Crafts). But if you plan to work full time on your new business, many business advisors recommend that you save up twelve months of living expenses – just in case!
For me, book keeping is the least exciting task as a business owner but it is so important to have an effective record-keeping system. Keep copies of invoices, bills, cheques and receipts and file them. I bought a little expanding file with 12 compartments that I file things in by the month. With a little bit of thought and organisation, the way you run the financial side of things and file records will help in the long run at tax return time!
Monday, 13 July 2009 | 0 Comments
Business License – you are often required to keep your business license mounted on the wall at your place of business.
Zoning – you may need to verify that you are allowed to run a business from the location you choose.
Fictitious Business Name – if you run a business under a name that is not your legal name, you will need to file a fictitious business name (FBN), also known as a DBA (doing business as).
Sellers Permit – if the goods you sell are taxable then you will need a sellers permit.
Federal Tax ID – if you have employees then you will need to have a Tax ID number. If you are the sole proprietor then you would fill out a self assessment form instead every year.
Trademarks – a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or picture that distinguishes your goods from another company’s. Getting a trademark is a protective measure to prevent someone else opening a company or selling a product with the same name.
House insurance – if you are running your business from your home you need to make sure you have enough insurance to cover your tools, equipment, materials and products.
Health insurance – sometimes joining an artists’ guild or association can provide discount rates.
Product liability insurance – this covers you if someone suffers an injury from your product and decided to sue you. Items that may be affected include candles (fire) and bath and body products (skin irritants).
Phone line – it is illegal to have your home phone line as your business line so you will either need a mobile phone or another land line.
Business bank account – it is far better to use a separate bank account so that you can keep track of expenses and keep the income separate. It might also be a good idea to open a separate savings account to set aside money for the tax bill.
Friday, 10 July 2009 | 2 Comments
1) If you had to work by a creative mission what would it be? My creative mission is to make as much of each piece by hand as I possibly can. You can see this the most in my metal work as I dig many of the stones myself and finish them as well as design and make the settings. I am hoping to learn to make lamp work beads in the future which will help make my pieces more "mine" as well.
2) Have you had any creative disasters? Almost every day! I am quite good at melting metal!
3) What is your favourite item in your collection? Right now I really like my rustic wildflower pendant series
4) Sum up your collection for me: Elegance with a touch of whimsy
5) Is there another craft you would like to try? Umm everything else in the jewelry field I haven't learned yet! I came late to the jewelry but have spent many years doing other crafts.
6) What is your favourite craft store? Rio Grande
7) From where do you draw your inspiration? From the stones, from nature, from color and shapes
8) What made you do this for a business? My compulsiveness to create and my addiction to stones and beads of course.
9) How do you like online selling? Actually I love it! BIG learning curve but well worth it. And I have met so many wonderful people I would never have met otherwise.
10) What tip can you pass to a new online seller? Take really good pictures, be willing to work harder than you ever have and be patient.
11) Describe yourself in 5 words Christian, Mother, wife, metal smith, jewelry designer
12) What has been your favourite vacation/holiday? Germany
13) What's a good book you have read? If you want to walk on water you have to get out of the boat.
14) Which season do you relate with and why? Spring, Summer and Fall. Spring is for new beginnings. Summer is the best, I love the warmth and the sun, and Fall just has such beautiful colors that can't fail to inspire.
15) What is a favourite film of yours? Lord of the Rings
Well thank you Sonja, and here is a spotlight of my favourite items available at Silver River Jewelry:
Wednesday, 8 July 2009 | 2 Comments
Earning an income from your creative hobby is not purely about someone buying your products; it’s about making a livelihood that works for you. The early days are about development stages where it is important to include all the activities you love or you will soon grow tired of something that started as a hobby.
One of the first items on your business “to-do” list has to be deciding on a business name. The name should reflect your product but ask yourself this: Will the name still sound good in 5 years time and will it give me the space to grow? I chose Butterfly-Crafts because I am fascinated with butterflies and how they go through many changes, I could develop a good brand and also cover many crafts. If I’d chosen Butterfly-Cards, I would’ve put a constraint on myself.
Coming up with a business name can be fun, just remember though that you will have to live with the result so it pays to do some homework and groundwork. Research on the Internet to see if your name has been taken, check with any agencies if necessary but overall, make sure the name you choose is a perfect fit!
Coming in the next Business Tips blog on Friday: Business Set Up Part 2 - Basic Necessities
Monday, 6 July 2009 | 3 Comments
Saturday, 4 July 2009 | 1 Comment
I am a paper crafter and supporter of all things handmade! I love to create cards for people but not only papercrafts I also like to sew, knit and make soap.
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- Artisan Feature - Exquisite Studios
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- Business Set Up Tips Part 18 - Being your own publ...
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- Business Set Up Part 3 - Finances
- Business Set Up Part 2 - Basic Necessities
- Artisan Feature - Silver River Jewelry
- Business Set Up: Part 1
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