|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on July 28, 2015 at 4:25 PM||comments (0)|
We are creative people and business owners. We have a LOT to do. While the majority of our brain is constantly occupied with creating and filtering new ideas for a new art or craft project, the other part struggles to do everything else effectively. The problem is that we still need to put in the time and effort that is required to make it as a successful entrepreneur, or else nobody will hear about us. Advertising cost effectively. That’s why tips and tricks that cut down on both time and effort are more than welcome in my world!
Being everywhere, all the time
If you go to one of my social media channels, chances are I *just* posted an update. It could be a tweet with an interesting link, a Facebook update with a quote that inspired me or a new Pinterest pin with one of the designs from my shop. This means I should be pretty active over there, right?
Sure, it’s just that at the time these social media updates were posted, I was either having a coffee somewhere, strolling the River Walk, or sketching up new patterns. I only spend about two minutes a week on all of the business related social media posts combined. I later go back to these updates to reply to and interact with the friends I’ve made over there, surely, but the initial update was all taken care of beforehand.
How to schedule a week’s worth of social media updates in two minutes
The service I use to automatically post on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest is around.io. It’s built specifically for shop owners (currently mainly supporting Etsy and a few other marketplaces) and automatically fetches products from your store for you to schedule with the click of a button.
Here’s what the process for scheduling pins looks like for my shop, for example:
By clicking the Pin all day button on the left, a list of pins at random times is being generated for me as a suggestion to either edit or approve in bulk. By clicking ‘save pins’, these updates are now scheduled to be posted on my Pinterest account. That’s it. I’m done for the day.
The process for scheduling tweets has a similar interface and offers some more options:
You can see some interesting quotes are generated, as well product images and links to my Etsy shop. You can choose what’s being generated using the drop down menu in the upper right (leaving out the quotes, using only image posts, etcetera). Clicking ‘Save tweets’ will now schedule all of these updates to be sent out throughout the day. Done.
What’s interesting to note on the ‘Post all day on Facebook’ tab, is the ability to post to groups (next to posting to your fanpage), which could be very helpful if you’ve joined Facebook groups that allow sharing and promoting arts and crafts. Many members of these groups have notifications set up that will give them a heads up when a new listing has been posted. One of these members could easily be your next best customer.
Tumblr is just as easy to schedule as the other social platforms, and if you have more than one Tumblr blog, you can select “Post to Random Blogs” to spread your information!
You can image it takes just a couple of minutes to repeat this process for the rest of the week.
You can also add some custom posts on set times (if you’re running a sale, for example, or have a special announcement on a specific date and time) on your around.io ‘home screen':
You’ll get a 7 day free trial to try and play around with around.io, and if you like to continue the service, the fee is $9.99 a month.
I’d love to elaborate more on it, but it’s just that simple.
Etsy traffic on autopilot
|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on July 21, 2015 at 3:40 PM||comments (0)|
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the boy from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
“I want to repay you,” said the nobleman, “you saved my son’s life.”
“No, I cannot accept payment for what I did, “the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.
“Is that your son?” the nobleman asked.
“Yes.” The farmer replied proudly.
“I’ll make you deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of!” and that he did.
Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and, in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.
Years later, the same nobleman’s son, who was saved from the bog, was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill, father of Sir Winston Churchill.
|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on July 14, 2015 at 3:20 PM||comments (0)|
Our Mentors and Advice
As we have been attending events over the years, we have made MANY mistakes and suffered MANY losses and learned MANY lessons.
Some of those lessons we learned on our own. But MANY, MANY, MANY lessons and ideas have come from other vendors that we are pleased to now count among our friends!
I want to recognize them publically here. I hope that when you see them at an event, that you would go to their booth in the full knowledge that they are good, no! OUTSTANDING people!
Ann and Paul of The Heelan’ Hound
We met these wonderful people at our very first games in Anderson, SC. We have vended at the same events MANY times and gotten into many events we may not have except for a good word from them. If you have a dog, you MUST see their products!
Sherry and Danny of Crafty Celts
These talented, wonderful people took a chance on us and allowed us to offer their product at events we were attending that they were not. You really need to see their offerings! Over 25 years experience and now, HOLLYWOOD!
Rick Sainz of https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Celtic-Store/169681699710509" target="_blank">The Celtic Store
We met Rick in Panama City, Florida, when he scared us to death setting a humongous fire ant bed on fire between our motorhomes! We all got quite a laugh and we continue to laugh together these many seasons later!
Deanna Hubbard of Clip Clocks
I have never met Deanna face-to-face, and yet she is one of the best people I have ever met. She came to our aid after the tornado that destroyed our home and saved my business.
B.J. Phillips of Fan-Glasstic
BJ is one of my closest friends. She got me on the road to learning to make jewelry and refining techniques. She and I vended together for quite a while. She makes more non-Celtic jewelry and her things are stunning! She was and has been my savior not only after the devastation of the tornado, but ever since, as well!
My daughter. It is her “fault” we are here in the first place. She has served as “load master”, “grunt”, “heavy lifter”, comic relief, and love of my life. She still serves as my sounding board and attends events with me when she can take time away from her busy life.
Next Week: “True Story!”
|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on July 7, 2015 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
How Trends Change Our Business
Every single event is different. Even the same event differs from year-to-year. EVERYTHING affects the events – weather, gate count, gate fee, local economy, other events the same weekend, musicians appearing at the event, a large event the weekend before, etc. All these variables combine to make or break a vendor’s success at an event. I think, also, the number of years an event has been going – it reaches a “saturation point” for the locals, especially true in smaller population centers. Unless you have something new and exciting to offer, of course.
CASE: Scotland County Highland Games (NC) 2009. These were their inaugural games. Kelsey and I began selling before the gates opened and DID NOT STOP running between customers and ringing up sales until WAY after they closed for the day! Luckily, we had a food-seller next to us or we would not have been able to eat. Even potty breaks were few and made on the run! It was also good that they were only one day, because we nearly sold out of product! We did almost $3,000 in sales that day which, for a vendor our size, is outstanding!
CASE: Another games event, which shall remain nameless, has been going in the same location for more than 30 years. It is well-attended … by Clan tents and groups. There are almost 100 Clan tents, alone! The dancing competitions are huge and the music is in the same large tent as those competitions. The Clan groups bring chairs and flow out the back of their Clan tents. They bring food to share with each other, cook out and visit all day. It is a fun time! I’ve done it myself, before I started vending. But – there’s not much traffic in the vendor area, and if it rains, the vendors run the risk of losing money! Very easy when you look at expenses.
Vendors spend a lot of money to be at events. Booth fees run $30-$300.00, depending on the event, fuel, lodging, food (seldom do we get “vendor discounts”, and many venues won’t let us bring in our own food, or sleep in our tents). If you want to plug in lights or chargers, there’s another $50 in fees. Liability insurance coverage of $1,000,000 is required at many venues, as well. We have not even provided product yet! I have spent as much as $800.00 to attend an event, so I need at LEAST that in sales to break even on expenses, NOT product! It is a challenge to come up with new designs, yet keep “traditional”.
Another thing I run up against is my source for either product or components for my jewelry "drying up". Either they stop carrying certain items, or the manufacturer retires, or some such. It can get a little frustrating. Sad when I have a customer asking for an item they saw me carrying at a previous event, and I cannot accomodate them.
Next Week: “Our Mentors and Advice”
|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on June 30, 2015 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
How Did You Start Your Business?
It was Kelsey’s idea!
We had been to Highland Games and Renaissance Fairs and loved them so much that we were trying to figure out how we could be more involved and part of the action.
So, in 2007, Kelsey made a bunch of necklaces of Celtic-y charms on leather and we got a few other items together (wind chimes, Irish-themed coffee mugs) and we got our $40 shade tent, packed everything in cardboard boxes, grabbed a folding table and we were off to the Anderson (South Carolina) Highland Games! We didn’t even know we had to pay a vendor’s fee! A storm came up packing 40mph winds and relieved us of our shade canopy, soaked our cardboard boxes, and got us a space INSIDE the concert venue for the evening. We were inundated with customers every time the band took a break and had a blast! It was also our first Seven Nations concert!!!
Before our next event, we invested in plastic tubs for product and a steel EZ up with side walls. We paid our vendor’s fee in advance and I began making jewelry. I made a few cross stitch items and made posters from them. We contacted some homeschooling friends of ours, Crafty Celts, and asked if we could carry some of their products. We added more folding tables to our configuration and we were growing!
I had purchased a Clip Clock online several years before and wondered, “Hmm ... I love this thing! I wonder if she would let me carry some of her product?” WHAM! BAM! Another growth spurt!
We bought a little open trailer.
We were doing 12-14 events a year and travelling all over South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee. I was getting better at making jewelry. Hotels were getting expensive.
My hubby bought me a motor home for my birthday!
My husband wanted to retire to Texas. We lost Crafty Celts because of the move. Our event schedule dropped SIGNIFICANTLY. We lost our new home, belongings, much of my business three months after the move (but I’ve blogged about that before), and eventually, the motor home (it was just too damaged). Kelsey began school, moved out, and got married.
We are recovering. Slowly.
My husband helps now with the heavy lifting, but we’re both not getting any younger! I love making the items we sell and hope to get our online business built up! We are back to staying in hotels, for now, and, since we are not doing so many events, it’s not so bad.
Next Week: “How Trends Change Our Business”
|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on June 25, 2015 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
Would You Rather Pay By Mail?
Lately we have seen more interest in paying for your order by mail. If this interests you, we want to make sure you are aware that we do offer payment by mail when you place your order. Just look for this option when you place your order. Also, it does take a little extra time in the mail and clearing your check, but this is a nice alternative for those of you who are nervous about placing orders online. Just click "Lavender Lace Order Form", print it out, fill it out, and mail it with your payment.
It's in the Mail!
|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on June 23, 2015 at 7:30 PM||comments (0)|
In Today's newsletter, we have some great articles on food, gardening, and nutrition. Lee Flynn has an article for all those of you who are beginners out there on seven survival skills that every prepper should know.
But before we get into the newsletter I want to tell you about our upcoming webinar. You'll want to tune in Thursday of next week (July 2nd at 5PM Pacific Time) We will be discussing what the food industry doesn't want you to know.
In the webinar you will learn:
The effects of poor diet and lack of essential nutrients
How many Chronic Diseases can actually be avoided by proper nutrition
How parts of our bodies are being overfed with unhealthy ingredients while being severely starved of the most important nutrients
Learn about the solution to the world's global health, nutrition and food problems
Find out about meals that cost less than a sugar filled Naked smoothie, and how families are spending less, NOT more
Discover over a dozen perfect food, snack and smoothie varieties for you and your family. Each with 50% of your Essential Nutrients, 26g Protein, 6g Fiber and 1g Omega 3s
This will be a live webinar and will be open to questions and answers.
Register to the Webinar Now by going here:
Oh, by the way, we're going to give you a chance to win $120 worth of great tasting healthy food just for attending our webinar. You can enter the drawing here. Just don't forget, you will have to be present to the online webinar to win (That's the time that we will announce the winner.)
|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on June 23, 2015 at 3:30 PM||comments (0)|
What to Do? What to Do?
No, you didn’t miss posts of my “weekly” blog, I did. I just let time get away and “stuff” get in the way and didn’t get it caught up. But I’m back, at least for a while and will try to keep up!
This is the time of year I begin working in earnest on my “Wanna-Do” list for the summer. All those things, those projects, that take more than a few hours to complete. You have one of those lists, too, I’ll bet. Comment below and make us all feel inadequate! HA! Seriously, let us know about some of your upcoming plans and projects. Maybe you can remind us of something we forgot to add to our list!
It has now been a couple of weeks since my Substitute Teacher job ended for the summer. I have been “lazy” long enough!
There are no events for Lavender Lace Celtic scheduled until September. That’s really the start of our “season”, anyway. There is what is affectionately referred to as a “sweat-fest” in August, but I did one of those in Charlotte, North Carolina one year and, after nearly dying of heat exhaustion, swore off them! Anyway, pretty-much nationwide, the vending season for Highland Games and Renaissance Fairs run from Fall through to the beginning of Summer. So, on my “Wanna-Do” list for the summer … MAKE JEWELRY!
I have noted in my calendar for the summer, a different emphasis on each week, just to keep things from getting stale. For example, bracelets one week, earrings another, yet another week for necklaces. Then some sets, polymer projects and some beading. I try to price as I go and I have a plan to photograph one day each week for Etsy store posting purposes, and as a “portfolio” of sorts.
I have Home Projects that SORELY need attending to! I still have no kitchen three years after the tornado and continue to wash dishes and vegetables in my bathroom sink. My frustration level elevates and becomes harder to suppress. I need to finish my Studio space, as well. That’s a “simple” matter of packing EVERYTHING in the room up and removing it to get the sheetrock half-done*, the shelves hung and counters set up. *Half-done refers to the fact that the top 1’ of my 9’ walls will not be completed because the ceilings are not in yet and, at some point, I will have to take everything out AGAIN in order to finish that, tape, mud, sand, and paint.
I thought about offering some “Jewelry–Making 101” classes, but I cannot think of a location to offer them. Libraries here, in this part of Texas anyway, are teeny and ill-suited, and my house is not yet complete enough to host a class here. Maybe NEXT summer.
Well, that is all for this week. Tune in next week for the answer to the scintillating question, "How Did You Start Your Business?"
|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on May 5, 2015 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
This week -- TODAY, as a matter of fact, marks my mother's 77th birthday! Now, I could get all mushy (I am), or wax poetic (I am), or pull some great quotes others have made about their mothers (I WILL!), so here goes:
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ―Washington Irving
My Parents - 1955
No matter what I write today, or what ANYONE has written in the past, mere words could not possibly express how much my mother means to me. She is strong and independent, yet knows when to yield. Those may be some of the best lessons I have learned from her.
Another big family event this week is the graduation of Kelsey's fiance from the University of Texas in San Antonio. John has become a member of our family, sometimes to his regret! HA! We and his parents and sister from California will be in the stands at Alamo Coliseum on Saturday, apparently for many hours! I am a little nervous because we have never met John's parents before.
I will have a BIG announcement next week!
I also just found out that my German daughter, Simone, got married and has had her first child! A boy, Frederick! Simone came and lived with us for a year in 1995/96 as an exchange student. Her parents came from Berlin at the end of her school year and we have been friends ever since. We even hosted Simone's little sister, Julia, for a year in 2005/06!
NEXT WEEK: "I Could Not POSSIBLY Do This Alone!"
|Posted by Sabrina Robertson on April 29, 2015 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
Admittedly, I am a terrible photographer! I have improved since I first started taking photos of my items for sale, but still have a LONG way to go!
No matter how expert my photography skills become, however, NOTHING beats you holding the piece in your hand while I tell you how and when I made it and why I chose the materials I did and what it meant to me -- and I ask how it speaks to you ...
I meet many, many people, but I may not have met you. The next best thing to meeting an artist face-to-face, I believe, is admiring and interpreting their work.
If someone comments on that Lavender Lace Celtic piece you are wearing -- you tellling them where you got it and the fun you had selecting it, or commissioning it, or receiving it as a gift, is the BEST referral I can receive! No one can possibly know how much it means to me to have my jewelry appreciated by others!