Thursday, May 31, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Where To Find Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend

You can find these team members at the following events ALL Memorial Day weekend!


Meerwiibli will be at the Woodstock-New Paltz Arts and Crafts Fair at the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz.


Tickled Pink Knits will be at the Paradise City Fair of Fine and Functional Art in Northampton, MA  

Have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Craft Show Preparation (Part 2 of 2)



Norma Rudloff runs the shop Dough Roses and has almost 30 years of show experience under her belt. She was asked to share her insight on preparing for a craft show and how to deal with the unexpected stress it can bring and hope make the experience easier. Last week she shared how to prepare for your Craft Fair, this she goes further into some things you may not think about, especially if you're getting ready for your FIRST show.

SAFETY
Always think safety - both yours and that of your customers coming into your booth. Don't box yourself in so that you can't get out from behind your table easily and don't use a display that can tip and break. I've seen glass shelving topple over and break and had a customer catch the footrest of her wheelchair under my standing folding display last year. Who would have thought about that happening in advance? Even good planning can sometimes fail and you need to do everything to keep yourself from getting sued!

If you are using a cash box, where will it be kept? Keep it closed but not latched if someone should reach across your table to grab it, they'll be in for a big surprise as everyone's attention will be riveted on them at the sound of cascading coins!

INSURANCE
Consider it! It's too risky to do a show without it! I have a business policy through RLI and have never considered having my insurance tied into my homeowners policy. Years ago at a show in Fishkill, a customer tripped over a concrete curb in front of a tent and ended up suing the craftsperson, the show promoter and the town. I never followed through to find out what happened as a result but have never wanted to take the risk of being sued personally!

SHOW ETIQUETTE
Take a chair but don't plan on sitting for long periods of time. Don't bother to bring your favorite book either as sitting and reading are a big turn off to potential customers. Dress comfortably and neatly, you are presenting yourself as a craft "professional". Setting up and taking down your display can be stressful based on a lot of factors: the location of your vehicle, the time, whether or not you have a dolly, the person you are setting up next to, and other factors.

If you are traveling with a partner and things aren't going well, try to keep your comments quietly contained. Your mood can affect others around you. Also, if you are traveling with a partner, take turns watching your booth. Sometimes two people standing behind a table can be intimidating and made worse if those two are being silly or are in deep conversation with each other.  If you are alone, keep in mind that you are there for one reason only, to sell your work! I've seen too many people leave their booths to go off to gab with another vendor and lost sales as a result.

If a problem develops with another vendor, don't air it in front of the customers walking by, if it can't be easily resolved, call on the show promoter to help!

SALES TAXES
As vendors, we are required to collect and remit sales taxes to the state of New York and any other state that we do business in that collects sales taxes. There is nothing more aggravating than to have a customer tell me that I'm one of the few collecting sales taxes at a show.

Be aware that there is a possibility that your potential customer might be a member of the sales tax department and be aware of the fact that at some of the larger shows, agents walk the shows to see if you are in compliance with their rules like having your sales tax certificate posted where it can be seen.
Be aware that if you do shows in other states that you need to register with those states and file reports just as you do in New York and be aware that some of those states can really clamp down on anyone who isn't in compliance. Some states have agents who walk large shows with small computers strapped around their necks with the instant ability to check on the history of the vendors attending the show. I've heard of a vendor being shut down at a show in New Jersey for not having filed his sales tax reports for previous shows. He ended up having his vehicle confiscated and a large fine assessed - not a good ending to his day for sure! You have to be careful and cover yourself legally when doing business. I never fool around with the Sales Tax Bureau.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that a show might be a financial disappointment but is never a loss! Sometimes the people you meet and the information shared is even more valuable to you in the long run than the money you might put into your checking account. Have fun and recognize that you'll gain confidence with each new experience and make new friends who are experiencing the same things that you are.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fishkill Craft Fair Sneak Peek!

As the team is getting ready for our first big show of the year, we wanted to give you just a taste of the vendors who will be in Fishkill on Sunday June 3rd. Here is just the first group. Get your shopping list ready!






Friday, May 18, 2012

Where To Find Hudson Valley Etsy This Weekend

The season has kicked off into high-gear and our members will be all over the Empire State this weekend!


This Saturday you'll find Stelladottie, Sarah-Maria - Meerwiibli, and Wishbone Letterpress at Crafts in Chelsea in Manhattan.


Anjali Creations will be at Lexington Craft Fair Saturday at 10 am in Queens - 25th Avenue between 73rd and 75th St, Jackson Heights, NY 11370


On both Saturday and Sunday, Get Glassy will be at the Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY


Pine Bush Farmer's Market starts this weekend and both New Prospect Pottery and Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio will begin their monthly stay.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Craft Show Preparation (Part 1 of 2)

Norma Rudloff runs the shop Dough Roses and has almost 30 years of show experience under her belt. She was asked to share her insight on preparing for a craft show and how to deal with the unexpected stress it can bring and hope make the experience easier.  This will be broken up into two blog posts where this week we learn about the standard preparation.



Filling out the show application is the first step in the process of doing a show. Receiving the acceptance letter is the second, and then you start asking the big question "Now What?" Whether it's a little one day church show with a 6' table supplied by the church or a four day event requiring a backdrop and sides, the process is the same -good planning and a list!

THE LIST
A list will save you grief as you start your planning for the show. From the sales support that you pull together - your business cards, sales books, brochures, and anything else that you might use to advertise yourself and your business to the little things that you might want to stash away in a plastic tub like scotch tape, a stapler, duct tape, scissors, and bags to put all of your wonderful sales into. Your list will save time and effort as the show grows closer!

SALES SUPPORT
You might find it beneficial to have a sign with the name of your business displayed along with business cards & free materials to be given out to your customers. Consider hang tags for every item you sell - giving the customer a little information about the item, what it's made from, who designed it etc. along with your name or the name of your business and how that customer can reach you in the future for repeat business.

DISPLAY
For anyone new to the world of craft shows, I've always recommended walking a couple of shows before doing one just to see how others are displaying their work and to get ideas as to how to effectively display without resorting to just laying everything flat on a table. It's important to think about how to get the items at eye level of the customer walking up to your table or into your booth while planning on safety at the same time. If using a table as a base, don't use a wrinkled bed sheet or gaudy flowered table cloth to cover it. Three yards of polyester fabric will cover an 8' table and look nice as it doesn't wrinkle. Suspender clips or safety pins should be used to pin the ends so no one trips on it. There are many ways to create an interesting display but keep in mind that you have to transport it too! Put a lot of thought into what will work best for you and your creations!

INVENTORY

How much to take? Years ago, the rule of thumb for a show to be considered a "good show" was 10 x the space fee. In today's economy, since I'm no longer doing large shows, I don't know if that can still be expected.  If I signed up for a show and paid $100 for the space fee, I could easily expect to earn $1,000 or more at that show. To accomplish making $1,000, I felt that I had to take at least 3x that amount in inventory value. I've done shows that had space fees of $600 which meant that I had to plan on over $18,000 in inventory and a way to transport it and a display to show it all properly. (By that time, I had invested in ProPanels and a U-Haul trailer!)

Speaking of show fees, you might think that you are risking less by signing up for shows that have low fees. Not if no one comes! Most of the time, the one thing that you get for the higher fees is advertising! Without that, a show is destined to be a dud and a complete waste of your time!


Next week Norma will share safety, the benefits of having Insurance, show etiquette and sales tax

Monday, May 14, 2012

Find Hudson Valley Etsy on Pinterest!

Are you familiar with the fast growing popular website and super time-waster Pinterest?

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite.

There are several Pinterest boards dedicated to the Hudson Valley Etsy Team to click through...

Etsy has made it real easy to pin your favorite item on to a pinboard.   Every item listing has a "Pin It" button which will give you a pop-up from Pinterest letting you choose which board to add your item to.


So use our team tag "hvny team" to search through Etsy and start pinning!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Quitting Your Day Job With Reclaimed Designs

Jenny Strohm is a mosaic artist who recently took that daring leap of pursing her art, Reclaimed Designs, full-time, here she shares her experience and how it's been going.

Last December, after nearly 30 years of being employed in various jobs as a Registered Nurse, I decided to take a hiatus. My emotional state was becoming more important than the money that I earned, so I decided to follow my heart’s desire; to work full-time creating and selling my handmade mosaics. With a savings of less than I had planned on, and with the complete support of my family, I took the plunge.

The first couple of months were exhilarating. I was ecstatically happy and confident. I was consumed with creativity and my every ounce of energy went into prolifically producing mosaics and posting them daily in my etsy shop. With all of the hard work that I was doing, I was disappointed to have only made a couple of etsy sales, however I remained positive.

I joined Bliss co-op in Sugar Loaf, placed my mosaics in Karmabee in Kingston, participated in a show at Cornell Street Studios in Kingston, joined The Treehouse in New Paltz, and had a few pieces accepted on consignment into Hudson Valley Finds and at Bumble and Hive, both in Rhinebeck. I started an etsy vintage shop and due to a surprising amount of sales, my energy seemed to shift away from my etsy mosaic shop.

After four months of working for myself, I can say that I am content with my accomplishments so far. My profits have been tiny, but satisfying. Sometimes I wonder if I can keep up the momentum and the creative juices flowing. What I miss the most is having the comfort of a steady paycheck. I rarely get lonely, although I do get restless for a change of environment at times. When that happens, I have the luxury of being able to take a walk, or a nap, or a drive somewhere and there is no time clock running. This is my job now, and in order to make it work, I have to keep pushing on. There are so many opportunities still yet to pursue, and I have to get my etsy mosaic shop running again.

I know that it would be very difficult to return to the rigid and structured environment of a “real” job, so I frequently remind myself how lucky I am at this time in my life. I am fortunate to have a husband who is able support us financially. Hopefully my good fortune will last, my profits will get larger, and I can continue to work for myself.

Jenny will have some of her artwork displayed at Passion for Fashion at Cornell St Studios in Kingston, NY starting this Saturday May 12th.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

THE GARDEN -  PART 2

Every year I try to make an improvement to the garden.  I was sick of looking at the shabby grass around the raised beds.  The enclosure is too small to get a mower around and too big to be using a weed whacker.  I wanted to neaten the place up.  Let's spruce up the walkways!



The first step was to lay landscaping cloth over the grass to keep grass and weeds from growing up through my ground cover, defeating my purpose.  Pretty easy work as long as you don't mind being down on your hands and knees for an hour or so.  Didn't pay too much attention to precision or neatness - it's not carpet.  I did make sure I used plenty of landscape staples to keep the cloth taught and less easily compromised.



I explored a couple of options for ground cover.  Initially, I thought of pea gravel, that stuff that is common on walk ways that makes that lush, crunchy sound when you walk on it.  It's a little expensive and really out classes my humble wood beds.  Also, no doubt bits would find their way out of the enclosure and into the lawnmower blades and that would not be good.  The other thing I thought of was crumbled rubber, a product that is gaining popularity on playgrounds and being touted as earth friendly because it is made from recycled tires.  I had seen it at Home Depot, not too expensive but before I lugged all those bags home I took a look on the Internet to get the real story on it's safety.

Good thing.  Because it is made from tires which involve rubber (not too bad) and petroleum products (uh-oh), gardeners were reporting that they were not using it around their organic gardens because of chemical leaching.  Not only is my garden organic but a) I go to great lengths to do my part for the planet and b) I live about 50 yards from the Mahwah river which is a primary water source for upper Bergen County, New Jersey.  Needless to say, no rubber pebbles for moi.

That left good old fashioned mulch.  It is environmentally safe and it eventually just composts to soil.  Yeah, I'll have to replace it every couple of years but it's worth it.  The garden looks neat and it will keep weeds and grass from jumping into the beds.



Mother's Day is coming up and then it'll be time to plant the veggies.  Can't wait!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Where To Find the Hudson Valley Etsy Team This Weekend!

New member Danielle of Wishbone Letterpress will be selling her beautiful hand-printed stationery and more at the 5th Annual Prospect Park Craft Fair, located at the Bartel Pritchard entrance drive to Prospect Park at 15th Street and Prospect Park West in Brooklyn, NY. The show is on Saturday, May 5 from 10 am - 6 pm, so you won't forget to pick up a nice card for your mom this year, right? Good.