Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Products and New Demensions or why I love Felt!




Ok so felt used to be relegated to kindergarten arts and crafts projects but I have always had a lust for its vibrant colors and shades, it's durability and the sheer fun factor. So when sunflower express wanted to branch out into handmade products to support our mission I imeadiately turned to felt because it's wonderful qualities.

I started with pendants. I love the fact that people don't know that they are felt when they look at them... They are substantial statement pieces that are totally affordable and with everyone selling off their gold and silver why not have a blinged out textile piece that says fun or elegant, that also can't be pawned in a moment of deperation!

Since the pendants I have started to move on with the addition of bracelets or felt cuffs with fun and sophisticated patterns for adults and kids. Currently I am designing earings and even rings embellished with buttons and beads. I primarily use wool and eco fi. I realy enjoy the wool felt as it is way more durable and the colors a bit more subdued than the lollipop kaleidescope of Polyester felt!

Felt is such a luscious material it deserves better treatment and to be moved from the bottom of the craft food chain.

visit my etsy shop to see what I mean!

www.sunflowerexpress.etsy.com

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Modern Networking or this Crap really does work...

So I've always wondered about ways to draw more attention to our little show and shop... but how do you do that without being chained to a computer 24/7 and still have a family a life outside yourself and still get your craft on?

Ok so I've read alot about setting up a facebook fan page. That was step one. It's pretty simple just make sure you follow facebooks instructions and click on the linky poo for the create a page for a business. It's pretty easy after that... you upload a few pictures and put some content up there and there you go!

The second step which is equally helpful especially if you are craft fairing this season, Mix and Mingle and slap that business card and/or flyer in that bag! We have gotten some really great business leads just from talking to customers and fellow crafters about what we are doing. Being social is key! Make sure you have a mailing list for people to sign up on and hand your flyers out to everyone who stops by... yes this is marketing in real time vs. webtime... BUT... people who see your work and like it, but don't have a need for something you are selling, might come back around later on if they stumble upon your card or you signed them up for a mailing list and are regularly sending them information. Even in this modern era this still works!

Ok so I read some really great information about twitter on Timothy Adams blog, It was basically about how to get followers.... Seems simple right???? But this can be daunting... It's pretty simple just find people who's things you love or who have businesses you like to get started add some of their followers. I basically searched for etsy and went thru some of those... Get your friends, look for people who do what you do or who do something similar. Initially might take you a few minutes of searching and following people but most of the time those people follow you right back! Most people do have twitter and post your twitter feed info on your facebook... Post your twitter follow me button or feed on your blog, on your website and tell everyone you can follow me on twitter. In a few hours I'm up to 88 followers... in a few hours! I'm hoping this will lead to more traffic here and to the sunflowerexpress website and eventually to sales popping off in my etsy shop.

Break the marketing down in to phases and set yourself some acheivable goals and if you are anything like me you will only have to spend a couple of hours online a week devoted to managing your "networking empire".

I'll post updates on our progress!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Notes from the Montpelier Festival of Herbs, Tea and the Arts


Greetings!
I figured our first post should be from a Craft Fair! We survived the threat of rain and the turn out has been better than expected. It stayed cloudy and cool and It was so fun to meet other crafters and just being outdoors in the beautiful Montpelier Setting was amazing!

Well as you know we are relatively new to the craft fair circuit and thru trial and error have realized that picking great fairs has alot to do with your target audience. We have been to a few bummers that had us doubting our confidence... But the trick is to remember that your products are not always going to be a right fit for the fairs you are attending and even careful research can yeild a hit or miss.
Our Strategy is that generally we sell products that appeal to adults and we sell lots of kid stuff but our market is a more indie, city dwellers than country market. Our goal for our Craft fair scheduling this season is to stick to what we know and stay in the DC Metro Area. For the remainder of our craft fair season we will be mostly in PG County and then a couple of stops near the chesapeake.
Another tip we learned in tweaking our display this week was to dial back on the table cloth motif... we went with a crazy display last time that had way to many colors and distracted from the colorful nature of our product line. I love light blue and thought that light blue would be a subtle color that would help our stuff stand out but not be too busy. After a quick trip to Joanns where we settled on an okay color... we got to the cutting table and realized that the fabric would cost us 50!!! dollars... I was like okkkkkkk lets go to target and get a sheet. Cynt and I picked out the most perfect minty blue and I really think that that change made people linger longer over our table.


We had some really great conversations and the one product we didn't think we'd sell that much of, our logo T shirts for kids we actually sold 3!!! Since our TV show is new and noone has heard of it we didn't know how it would go over. It just goes to show how far a good design will go! We've had several adults ask for big people sizes and we are mulling it over...

I will be a busy girl this week replacing stock and I am very much looking forward to the Main Street festival in Laurel next weekend. This week you may see several posts on products for the upcoming fairs!!!
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