Saturday, February 27, 2010


I'm the person who will take pretty much anything you want to give away and find another use for it.

For that reason, I have acquired and entire garbage bag full of vintage jewelry. I know, I know... it makes me happy too!!

Recently, I decided to start taking all the jewelry apart and mixing it with other pieces to make all new jewelry. It's a result of boredom.

I made these earrings from a pair of 80's earrings, mixed with some beads from an old necklace, and some chain from a different necklace.

If you like, you can purchase them in ::my etsy store WHISPER AND HUSH::

If you don't like these, go look anyways. You're sure to find something you love!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rainbow Brite

Was Rainbow Brite not the best thing ever???

I've noticed they are trying really hard to bring her back. I've seen the dolls at that store with the bullseye logo. I'm not sure if it's really catching on. My 7 year old wasn't all that impressed.

As an "adult", I can't really use the doll so much. But this painting by ::SHANNON BONATAKIS:: I can very much use!

What girl wouldn't want this??

**click the link above to redirect to shannon's blog and view more art**

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tip 9 l "Fair" Well at Craft Shows

by guest blogger, Shirley of ::Wild Blueberry Ink::

A great option for any arts and crafts business owner is the craft show. This is a great opportunity to introduce your product to hundreds of people for a fairly low fee. There are no commissions to pay nor are there any commitments. However there are a few things to consider before you take the plunge into the craft show world.


I personally suggest starting off small. Maybe a church fair, a local school market or try shows that are for one day only. If you work your way up to the big shows you will be much more prepared for them. Small shows give you the opportunity to try out displays, test your prices, even see the competition. The larger shows also cost a bit more money to enter. You certainly do not want to spend that money until you are 100% positive about your product, prices, and displays.

Below you will find some links that may help you locate a fair or festival near you.


Once you have your application approved it’s time to start thinking about how you will showcase your products and what you will need to bring. Your booth is the customers first impression of your work and when it comes to displays my suggestion is to always think outside the box. Every craft fair has its own rules and regulations about your area. Read up on them beforehand and plan ahead. Give your customers a shopping experience. By that I mean when they walk into your booth you want them to think they are in an upscale boutique and not the local school gymnasium. Your display should reflect your artistic sensibilities and provide an appealing backdrop for your work. Choose fabrics in colors and patterns that compliment your jewelry. You can engage customers by creating a booth that invites touch. Texture can be played up by using wood, glass, metal, fabrics, natural stone, and in surprising elements, like fresh cut flowers, rice, and coffee beans.

This past weekend I visited a local craft market and absolutely fell in love with one booth. She had purchased faux wood vinyl sheets from a hardware store and laid it out on the floor. She draped this beautiful fabric over her tables and used old windows with screen to hang her jewelry. While I was shopping with her I seriously forgot where I was. I wanted to spend money with her because she thought enough of her pieces to put that work into showcasing them and as a result I valued her items a little more than I did some of the others I saw that day.

Wear or use your product if possible. If you have helpers, have them do the same. A living, breathing display is the best way to showcase your work and if you leave the booth, you take it with you allowing other fair goers to catch a glimpse.

If your product can benefit from a demonstration, do so. This grabs the attention of those walking by who may have otherwise not noticed you at all.

An inexpensive yet appreciated marketing tool… a bowl of candy! This gives potential customers a positive impression of your approach to doing business. I’d go with something wrapped, for obvious reasons, like Hershey’s Kisses, miniature candy bars or peppermint. Beside the candy, put out a book for contact info such as email addresses to add to your mailing list.

If you have a show stopper piece, put it on dramatic display. This will be your attention getting piece that stops traffic. Even if they don’t buy it, it will have them at your booth looking at the other items you have to offer.

Last but not least is traffic flow. If a customer feels crowded and can’t move easily through your display, they will move on to the next booth. ”L” and “U” shapes encourage natural flow. If you can create an “entrance” and “exit” point that will work best. Of course, it will depend on the amount of space you have to work with so do your best with what you are given.

Do a few mock set ups of your booth and displays before the actual fair. This way, you will be sure to have everything you need. You don’t want to be 50 miles away and realize you forgot your tent!


Signs give your customers price and product information and may help get the attention of shoppers as they pass by. Signs should answer questions such as “how much is that”, “what does that do”, “what might I use that for”. Keep them short and to the point. Signs that are too wordy will loose the attention of shoppers. And no sloppy handwriting. If you can’t make a neat sign, use a printer or find someone on Etsy to make them for you!


Fair goers often feel pressured at craft shows which just makes them want to get away from your booth as quickly as possible. Greet customers warmly and with a kind “hello”, but don’t over sell it. Engage them in conversation without being pushy. Customers like to feel that their opinion matters. Ask them what their favorite stone is, for example. This allows you to steer them in the right direction while also learning what your customers are looking for for future reference.

Always smile and stay positive, even when they seem completely unimpressed. An upbeat attitude inspires confidence in your designs.


As mentioned before… the easier the purchase, the more purchases you will have. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a craft fair, purchased and amazing piece of art from a talented vendor and then the checkout was a nightmare. I’ve seen vendors with no change. I’ve seen booths left unattended. I’ve seen other vendors keeping an eye on booths that didn’t belong to them.

If at all possible, have someone help you out. Recruit a family member, a spouse, a friend… anyone who can successfully stand guard while you go to the little girls room. Someone who can run and get that much needed cup of joe or veggie wrap. You’re gonna need help. This other person should always know the prices and special deals going on. More times than I can count I’ve managed to ask a vendor “How much is this” and the response was “Oh, this isn’t my booth”. Okay, well… on to the next booth. Sale lost.

Always put the check out area at the “exit” or in a designated spot. This makes checkout so much easier. You know where to pay and who to pay. No reaching over other customers, no money flying all over the place (you may think I’m exaggerating… I’m not).

Have change! It’s a craft fair. People are coming with money to spend and odds are, they are coming with big bills. If you don’t have change, you can lose the sale.

Lots of shoppers go to these events with a certain amount of cash to spend. Almost always, once the cash runs out they find one or two or three more things they absolutely “must have”. What if they find those last items at your booth but they are all out of cash? It wouldn’t matter if you accept credit cards. Accepting credit cards has been known to increase sales by up to 30%.

| Extra Tips |

You can easily meet your best customer at a craft fair so it is important to make a great impression. There could always be a shop owner in the crowd, so be sure to have business cards displayed and keep lots and lots of extras. When I owned a brick and mortar store, my sister and I would go to craft fairs looking for suppliers. We would leave with stacks of business cards. Even if we didn’t buy from them that day, we were in contact just a few days later. Pass your business cards out to everyone, if they do not use it they probably know someone who will.

Everyone loves freebies! Mini soaps or candles, buttons or magnets anything you can send home with a shopper will help them remember you in the future. Be sure to include your shop name and contact info.

Be prepared, get lots of rest the night before, be you and do what you love.

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Magic by Moonangelnay

I (Whisper and Hush) was featured in my very first treasury today on etsy, thanks to Moonangelnay!!! She featured me in her weekly Monday Magic etsy treasury!!

Tip 6 l Where Can I Get That

by guest blogger, Shirley of ::Wild Blueberry Ink::

Now that you have your business up and running, it’s time to get out there and sell that stuff!

It’s been proven time and time again that word of mouth is really the best marketing strategy out there… and it’s free! But we really can’t talk about your business if we don’t know it’s out there. So, where do you begin?

Why not begin with the old fashion approach and put your stuff in stores. No I am not talking Claire’s, Bloomingdales or even Target. I am talking about something cooler, hipper, something local. Start in your town and look for funky consignment shops or antique stores, cool cafes, locally owned bookstores, independent clothing stores, artisan boutiques, and really any sort of privately owned store that you would like to be associated with and just ask if they would be interested in carrying your items. You’re may hear a no or two…. but it will be worth it when you get that yes!

Always approach the owner prepared. Have samples of your work, catalog of all the designs that you offer, an idea of cool ways to display your products and an what kind of deal you are looking for. I am going to suggest a consignment deal. This will benefit you and the store owner and they will be more likely to give it a test run if they know they are not at risk of losing any money.

When I had my own store front, I loved to get inventory in there with no over head. If it sold, the artist got their cut and I got mine. If it didn’t, the artist just picked it up - no money lost. It was really the way to go. With the economy in the state it is in at the moment, now is the time to hit these stores. They may have said no two years ago, but can’t really afford to turn you away now. And you don’t have to stop with your town. On your next free weekend, take a road trip and hit every store you can find. My sister and I lived in Raleigh but were selling our jewelry in stores at the beach which was two hours away. You can’t go wrong with those tourist towns.

Odds are, stores like this already have a consignment agreement on file just waiting for someone like you to come along. But come up with your own just in case. This is a form with your terms ie) pricing, payment and percentages, display, and consignment period. You want to have some sort of agreement. You are after all giving these people your items at no charge. It’s really easy to find examples of consignment agreements online. Just find one you like and alter it to fit your needs. It’s even easier than it sounds.

Once your items are being sold in local boutiques, it’s just a matter of time before you over hear someone talking about you in line at Starbucks! It also makes it easier to direct someone to your goods. Always carry business cards with you that list all stores that carry your products and YOUR ETSY SHOP. You never know when the topic may pop up in conversation.

Think about it. . . you are in line at the grocery store and you of course are wearing your brand new glass pendant with one of those totally awesome Wild Blueberry designs. The clerk says “I LOVE THAT NECKLACE where did you get it” You simply pull your card out and say I made it and you can buy one just like it through my etsy shop or at “The Totally Awesome Gift Boutique”. (I made that up but you can use it if you ever open up your own shop - haha)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tip 8 l To Blog or Not To Blog

by guest blogger, Shirley of ::Wild Blueberry Ink::

I am a sucker for a good blog. My daily blog list is long and sometimes I think if I unplugged the internet and stayed away from these blogs I would release 12 new designs each week. I CAN’T!! I am addicted I have to check them every day. Did they post a new freebie? What tutorial is posted today? Did the teach me how to make those cute little felt animals that I love? My need for knowledge - useful and sometimes not so useful - makes me log in everyday and read these blogs.

That being said, sometimes a blog isn’t for everyone. How do you know if a blog is right for you?

A blog is a wonderful opportunity for you to allow your customers inside your world, get to know you and even develop a friendship with you. However just like any relationship if you don’t keep in touch and keep that fire sparked it will die out. Therefore, the first and most important factor that has to be considered before you start a blog is your availability! Do you really have the time for it? Maintaining a blog, or at least a good blog, is a lot of work. It requires daily maintenace, research, preparation, and personality.

If you screamed “YES YES I HAVE TIME” then listen up. I am going to offer a few suggestions on how you can create a blog that will showcase your talent, products and help make you money!

1 | VISUAL - Maybe it’s the artist in me but if I click onto a blog and it is cluttered or visually displeasing I quickly click off. I am there to gather information not fight my way through a traffic jam of graphics, photos or worst yet decorations. I do enjoy a good design theme but don’t let the theme outshine your content. Your theme, graphics and background should only highlight what it is your blog is about. For example if you blog is focused on kids and family don’t pick a template that has a modern/technical feel. Something like this would be more fitting:

Template Number | 20433
Available for purchase from

2 | CONTENT - Above all, blogs need to be interesting to read and convey a message which is unique. Your opinion is unique. Blog writing should be kept on a personal level about your opinions and your experiences. The human aspect of blogs is what makes them stand out from what else is available on the web.

Other factors also can make a blog successful. The blog does need to be informative, and the best way you can do this is by researching what you are writing about. Your blog should also be about something you have an interest in anyway, or are actively involved in. Writing about something you know nothing about will make life really difficult and could make it extremely boring too. Be an authority on your subject and try to give something unique that people are unable to find elsewhere. Uniqueness not only keeps people reading and coming back, it will also do you wonders when it comes to getting found in search engine results.*

A few ideas for content that can keep readers coming back:
a | contests - people love free stuff! This is a great way to get your product in the hands of someone who would never consider purchasing it - that is until they win it and fall in love with and decide they must have MORE!
b | tutorials - teach people something. You don’t necessarily have to teach them how to make those awesome bottlecap magnets you make but if you did don’t worry 9 times out of 10 people would much rather purchase the item. When I decided to start making collage sheets my intention was to use the artwork to make my own pendants and sell them. One saturday I purchased all the necessary material and sat down for a crafting extravaganza after 2 hours I was frustrated, confused and annoyed at how crappy mine looked. I decided that day my destiny was to be the artist that enables all you crafty ladies to make those beautiful pendants.
c | showcases- feature other artists you love. Trust me if you show love, love will be shown to you. Whenever someone features me on their blog I blog about it, I facebook it, I tweet it and in turn my followers retweet, refacebook it and sometimes reblog it.
d | life stories - don’t get to personal but do share some of your life on your blog. This will help your followers connect with you and a connection means you are a name they will remember. If they need 50 scrabble pendants for their daughter’s soccer team they are going to call you because they remember that last week you were boasting about how your daughter’s socceer team just one the championship.
e | inspiration and creative process - elaborate on your process. Do you work at night when everyone is asleep? Do you have your own studio? Don’t be afraid to share.

3 | TECHNICAL - this section may go over a head or two but I beg you to do your best to follow along and if you have questions PLEASE ASK!!!

When picking your blog be sure to look at all the different blog publishers and choose the one that fits your needs best. A few of the most popular ones are: Blogger, TypePad, and Wordpress. While I chose wordpress for my publisher I usually recommend newcomers use blogger. It is a great site for those who are not interested in paying monthly fees but want unlimited features. It is also very user friendly and best of all it controls spammers for you. I have personally never used Typepad but from my research I feel like it is a tad expensive for a beginner who has not yet committed to blogging.

Once you have your publisher chosen goolge FREE TEMPLATES. If you find one that you like but would love to personalize it don’t be afraid to ask someone to do that for you. It is fairly inexpensive but the smallest details can set you apart. If you want to take the extra step and have your blog match your website or have a blog design that is strictly your own shop around. There are some great Etsy Sellers who do this and they usually offer great packages. I am personally a fan of Studio 71(here is some of her work)

I also really love the work of Graphic Designer - Altered Hope

Now that your blog is up and running you need to do two very important things - TRACK and PROMOTE. If you choose blogger than google analytics will help you do that. It will tell you how many hits you get, how they found your site, even searches they did that led to your site. This will give you a good idea of what is popular on your blog and also help you set prices if you decide to sell ad space. Another good tracking site is Get Clicky.

To promote your blog get involved with other blogs. Comment and leave your link. Include your link on email signatures, business cards, shop announcements, facebook pages. Create badges for your blog so others can post them on theirs.

4 | MAKE MONEY Once you have your blog setup look into google ads. This is one of the easiest ways to make money and requires you to only post some code ONCE. When you have a good following sell ad space on your blog. Some blogs will have 15-20 ads on their site and each ad will pay $75 and up a month to be there.

One last opportunity is Link Share. They offer an affiliate program that will help you make money just from referrals from your blog. All you do is submit your application and then add the companies you want advertised on your blog. You can search by industry or companies. Some companies will even pay you a commission on what is bought from referrals.

I hope this wasn’t information overload. I would love to hear your thoughts and please link me to your blog!!
| Shirley |

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tip 5 l Good Karma

by guest blogger, Shirley of ::Wild Blueberry Ink::

I have always had a need to comfort and help living things. I remember when I was growing up and participating in various youth groups the one event that always seemed to stay with me was when we would visit nursing homes and sing or deliver gifts. I was always amazed at how a little kindness could change someone’s entire day. As I grew older I became more and more involved and I continued to become more aware of those in need. In the past 10 years I have been very active in several charities and do my best to help them as often as I can, some I have chosen and some have chosen me.

For example about 11 years ago my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Soon after she had a sister who was also diagnosed with BC and later they lost a brother to prostate cancer. As a result our family became very involved with the American Cancer Society and the fundraiser Relay for Life. We of course had a team but we needed something to help raise money for our team. My sister and I had started playing around with making jewelry so we put our head’s together and came up with this bracelet similar to this one:

This bracelet was available in all the various cancer ribbon colors and of course purple (Relay For Life Colors). Some had silver block letters with the words survivor, hope, or faith. We put together a kit for everyone on our team and sent them out to sell. We donated $7 from every bracelet sold to our team and cancer research. We soon found ourselves bombarded with orders not only for these bracelets but for money other types of jewelry. By the end of the summer we were selling jewelry via ebay, an online store, and lots of local stores. We continued this jewelry business for about 2 years and then we decided to open up our own boutique.

Why participate in a charity?
Not only is it a primary means for developing a powerful network but also it helps others in the process. People feel as if they are making a difference when they purchase products from businesses who are helping people. Also, charities will be willing to market for you or allow you to piggy back on their marketing because they know that they will benefit from your sales.

How can you maximize your charity association?
Linking your name with the charitable cause is an important part of charitable marketing. Even if you are participating in a charity for altruistic reasons, there’s no reason why you should not benefit from the resulting positive exposure. Here are some ideas to maximize your exposure:

1. Publicize your donations of goods or services to charities by sending press releases and photos to the local media.
2. Include your charitable involvement in your marketing materials such as newsletters, brochures, signs, displays, advertisements, and commercials.
3. Give away information about your charity as a part of your business transactions such as placing pamphlets in your retail outlets, having employees wear clothing or pins and buttons publicizing your charity, or placing charity information with your product when it ships.
4. Be sure to ask your charity to recognize your support in their publicity efforts.
5. Advertise your products and services in the communication vehicles of your charity such as newsletters and magazines.
6. Offer special discounts and targeted promotions to people who are associated with your charity.

How do you choose your charity?

Look for charities that you believe in and to which you have some affinity. Not only will it be more fun, but also you’ll be happier giving your time and means.

From a business standpoint, look for charities that will give you meaningful exposure to a large number of influential people. In my corporate consulting days most of the partners sat on the boards of various charities with other business executives. You may also want to volunteer your time in a position that will show your talents and skills.

If you are sponsoring a charitable event, try to choose one in which your target market would participate. For instance, if you mostly make jewelry for for young girls/women think about creating specific school or sports pendants and donating a portion of the sales to the school’s Booster Club or PTA.

Even though this article has been about building your business through partnerships, your primary motivation should always be to help people or society. We should all do our part to give back and leave this earth better than we found it. There are hundreds of opportunities that will allow you to get involved and make a difference in your community. Let your heart lead you and I promise you will not go wrong. And don’t feel ashamed to profit from your charitable giving. Hundreds of charities are searching for special businesses to help them in their cause. Find them and lend your helping hand.

I personally like to participate in Relay for Life, Second Chance (a local non-kill animal shelter), and Operation Military Family. If you are interested in finding out more about them just click on their names and you will be directed to their websites.

This article was written with the aid of David Frey’s article on

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