right about two years ago, i received a short phone call and learned that my job had "been eliminated". as i'm sure many of you unfortunately can relate to, it was totally unexpected and kind of frightening. it was the night before thanksgiving, and my parents were already on their way over to our house. i let myself cry and feel truly upset for about five minutes, then quickly cleaned up and decided to wait until just after the holiday to tell anyone (mostly because i wasn't really in the mood to spend all of thanksgiving dinner talking about it). honestly, i think i also wanted to forget what had happened for just a little longer.
making my way up to my studio this morning, i had the pleasure of walking behind this guy. and, although, despite having worked for a certain website that has more than its fair share of ironic, dare i say hipster, fashion tendencies, i'm not usually into kitschy / awesome animals on crazy garments, i was totally smitten. who wouldn't want this sweet eagle sweater hoodie? my closet needs it.
then the (highly unlikely, since honestly, i kind of hate / am petrified of birds) eagle trend of my day continued, when i stumbled across this artist's website (via designtherapygirls). i totally love the matchstick art, but i was particularly drawn to the eagle piece. so, for today, the king of birds it is.
and there you have it - i never thought i'd ever write a post on eagles, but i suppose stranger things have happened... happy weekend!
this is the second post in a small series on my experiences at the BMAC. i wrote on about preparations for this show here and here. my take on what i learned is here. later in the week i'll post on the other divisive points i mention about old school + new school crafters.
at this show, more than any other show i've participated in, it became so clear the difference between old school crafters vs. the new school of crafters that i consider my peers. everything, from attitudes about the internet with regard to our businesses, to displays, to product lines, is very different. an entirely different trade, almost. and it seems pretty obvious to me that only those willing to readily adapt their businesses will succeed during this time when the odds are poised to be stacked against artists. today, i'll tackle the old school hesitation to have an online presence.
during the course of the show, i had a couple curious old schoolers come up, and upon seeing "shop.girlscantell.com" and "girlscantell.etsy.com" displayed prominently on my banner (the one i had printed up on spoonflower last year), asked if buyers were as turned off by the fact that i run a retail component of my business online. i admit, the first time i got this question, i laughed, probably loudly... here's why...
yes, that moment you've been hoping for is finally here. after all this time, i've come up with a solution for all you crazy kids out there who just looooove diagrams printed onto useful things and can't decide which diagram is the perfect one for your kitchen / living room / bathroom / anywhere else you use a coaster / towel / all the other things i print...
that's right! i make all the decisions for you! for slightly less than what a set of towels / coasters / you know, all the things i always talk about here usually cost, you can leave all the hard work up to me, sit back, relax and wait for a superfun surprise set of whatever arrive at your door. isn't that just the sweetest thing you've heard all summer? (what's that? summer hasn't officially started yet and it's still actually, technically spring until the solstice next week? pshaw. details, schmetails...)
in the early hours of the morning, while i was sleeping after a full, tiring weekend vending at the italian market festival here in philadelphia, my etsy shop hit a milestone - 2000 sales! (well, 2002 sales, to be more precise). while milestones in my etsy shop don't really have the gravitas they used to (they're not a very accurate count of what girls can tell has sold since i've expanded to sell in a total of 4 online venues, dozens of amazing boutiques and countless events), it's still super awe-inspiring to see that number there and consider how far my business has come.
it's been just over four years since i first set up shop on etsy, and it's been such an amazing adventure. from being a part time hobby (that i admittedly obsessed over from the start) to taking a backseat when i switched jobs to being my full time everything, obviously i wouldn't be able to do what it is i do now day in, day out without each and everyone one of these sales as support of my work.
which is all just to say thank you two thousand times over! xoxo!
it seems we have nothing else on the brain except flowers lately, at girls can tell studio. it's probably symptomatic of the amazingly gorgeous weather we've been having here in the city of brotherly love.
i just received in the mail today my new super sweet vintage plates from luncheonette vintage on etsy. i squealed with delight when my studio-neighbor sheepishly brought the box through my door (he explained that he had accidentally thought it was a package he's expecting and without paying much attention, did a little opening before realizing it was actually mine. i couldn't help it, when he was explaining, i asked if he thought they were pretty. he didn't really notice, he explained.)
and, of course, then there is the newest girls can tell diagram: a ranunculus flower, drawn in a traditional botanical style, with all the bits and pieces carefully labeled. it's currently available on tea towels, coasters and vintage book page prints... look for it soon on eco-friendly tote bags!
it's been a long week of plowing through the part of working for yourself that every artist dreads most: tax time. i'm pretty organized (i do draw those kind of obsessive diagrams for a living after all), but it's still an uphill battle. gathering all the information, organizing it, crunching some numbers, figuring out which way is up, determining if the actual filing is something i can tackle myselfand then actually taking the last step and (eek!) filing. this year has definitely been a learning process, so hopefully i'll make it through to improve upon the whole thing next year.
on the bright side, i've taken a come up for air from the data entry / mountains of invoices + receipts just often enough to list some of the new work you got a glimpse of in my recent sneak peek in the online shops. so you can now find the lovely new tea set, pots and pans, and terrarium diagrams on floursack towels at girlscantell on supermarket, etsy and, of course, in the official girlscantell shop.
and, as a secret bonus for all you sweet blog readers, now through sunday (march14), you can use the code "SPRINGPLEASE" at checkout in the official shop to receive 25% off your entire order! enjoy!
at long last, here are the brand new, super sweet valentine's designs i've been working on for the past few weeks. without further ado, i present two lovely new diagrams:
i have to admit, i think i had more fun drawing the valentine candy more than i've enjoyed drawing any diagram so far...
(three guesses as to why...)
finally, i have to thank my sweet friend, rachel (who makes makes gorgeous rings), not only great idea for the diamond ring design, but also for her help in researching the bits and coming up with proper terminology for all the pieces and parts. i love it!
i'd wanted to post these sooner, but between bathroom craziness (it's coming along, slowly) and getting my wisdom teeth pulled (yes, january was a fun month to be sure), today was the soonest they could make their debut. better (almost) late than never, right?
and through sunday, all these valentine goodies and more are 20% off at http://shop.girlscantell.com! just use the code "BEMINE" at checkout for 20% off your entire order.
people often ask what the trick is to supporting yourself through a small creative business (or, we'll pretend that's what they're asking when they gawk "you can make a living doing that?" when i mention what i do for a living...). while there is, of course, no magic tip or trick to make it easy. there are simple things you can do to make things go as smoothly as possible.
the first would be to establish genuine relationships. this probably applies not only to making a living through your handmade art or what-have-you, but also just to, you know, life in general (but i won't claim to be any expert on the matter of "life in general", so i'll stick to blogging what i know...)
customers - because without them, cheesy as it might sound, you don't have a business. this might sound obvious, but i think people forget this sometimes. so be real. be relate-able. be honest. give them your best. it'll pay off.
'employees' - you might not have people on the payroll (dream as you will), but it probably takes more than you to make your business work. the people who make your venues run, who manage the boutiques or shops that carry your work, the bloggers who feature your products... it's really important to not only communicate well with these people, but being consistently easy to work with, helpful, useful and just plain friendly can be the most important thing you do for your business.
the 'competition' - the truth is, you don't have 'competition' unless you decide those other sellers are your enemies instead of your friends. which is just silly. be consistently honest, open, original and level-headed and things will fall into place. share something you learned with another seller who asks your advice or when you fall in love with someone's work, let them know - no one gets tired of hearing that people like what they do. these are the seemingly casual relationships that not only make work more fun, they really add up to more than the sum of their pieces.
the wise and witty conan o'brien said it best when he mentioned that if you're kind and work hard,amazing things will happen. truer words couldn't be spoken of succeeding in handmade business.