Craft Show Tip: Let your Customers Feel Creative

Craft Show Tip:  Let your Customers Feel Creative

For today’s craft show tip I’m going to share with you something that was one of the best moves I made and gave me a lot of success!

I sold a lot of scrabble tile and glass tile pendants at craft shows.  When I first started selling them I sold them as complete necklaces.  I chose the cord type, length and color and put the pendant on and sold them together.  I made all the choices.

Customers asked me all the time to change out cords.  Sometimes they wanted to switch colors or cord material or length.

So then I realized it would be a lot more fun to sell the pendants separately from the cords.  Let the customers decide themselves.

Customers loved this.  My pendants were super popular after making this change.

I chose about five popular colors/materials for the cords and made them in several different lengths.  Then I packaged up the pendants in cute little bags separately.  Customers could choose the pendant and then the cord.  The pendants were interchangeable, so they could choose more than one pendant to go with their cord (and they often did!)

How could this translate into your craft booth?

Is there some way you could give your customers more of a chance to make choices or try putting together something themselves?

Some tips and hints for a successful creative experience for your customers:

1.  Do everything ahead of time that you can.

In my case, I obviously made the pendants and made the cords.  I guess I could have made the cords relatively quickly while they waited, but at a busy craft show that would not be possible.

Plus, it’s easier if it’s something tangible they can see right there, pick up and decide.

2.  Make it really easy for your customer.

Make sure that the prices are clear and how it works is clear.  Make a sign with steps and pricing instructions.  Not everybody will ask and not everyone will just understand right away.

3.  Make a fun, creative environment.

For me that meant having a display where it was easy to choose and having some fun other displays to hold pendants.

4.  Have some finished examples.

If they’re putting something together – even if it seems obvious to you – have finished examples for them to be inspired by.

If it’s jewelry related, you can put finished examples on mannequins and, of course, wear one yourself as well.

(Also price those examples because someone will not want to go through the steps and just love the finished one you have ready.)

5.  Be ready to help them.

Some of your customers will have questions and need assistance.  You are the artist and the expert and they may want or need your advice.

6.  Keep it neat and organized.

This can be somewhat of a struggle at busy craft shows especially when kids come through (and they will) and touch everything and move it.  Keep an eye on it.

7.  Be encouraging.

Let them know you like their choices.

How can you do this in your own booth?

Take some time to think about your product?  How can you make it more of a DIY experience for your customers?

Are you ready for craft shows?

My Craft Show Tips eBook will help you!

The key to a great day at a craft show is being prepared.  This book is jammed packed with information to help you prepare for craft shows!  Do the exercises and the 5 worksheets included and you’re sure to have a great craft show!

Craft Show Tips eBook

Creativity Countdown Week 5: Using Places as Creative Inspiration

creativity Countdown-001

Each Monday for the next 5 weeks I’ll be posting a Creativity Booster.  There will be a variety of activities to try.  Sometimes there will be videos and sometimes photos.  These activities will boost your creativity and make you feel more creative so that you can express yourself in your jewelry making.

What are we counting down to?

Well, I’m so glad you asked!  January 5, 2015 (I know it seems far off now!) we’ll be starting our next round of Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse.  It’s a six week eCourse with weekly prompts to help you rediscover or boost your creativity, jewelry lessons and jewelry projects.

To learn more about Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry, click here.

Week 8 can be found here.

Week 7 can be found here.

Week 6 can be found here.

Creativity Countdown Week 5

Just 5 WEEKS until the start of Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry.  This week we have a video:

All the links I mentioned in the video:

Print book

I’m so excited that my new book is ready.  It’s based on my eCourse, Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry.  You can use it without taking the course or it’s a great add on if you are taking the course to save you from printing everything yourself.

There are 6 modules.  In modules 1 – 5 you get a creativity booster, jewelry making lessons and then at least one jewelry making project.  Module 6 is designed to bring everything together.

Now through December 25th, 2015, get 25% off with the code:  KTP4

And best yet?  You can use that code to get a discount off my other print book, Wire Wrapping for Beginners, too!

Click here to purchase. 

{Note, you are purchasing directly from Lulu and my print books come directly from them.}

Learn more about the Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse here.

Creativity Countdown Week 6: Using Difficult Times as Inspiration (and using creativity to get through difficult times)

creativity Countdown-001

Each Monday for the next 6 weeks I’ll be posting a Creativity Booster.  There will be a variety of activities to try.  Sometimes there will be videos and sometimes photos.  These activities will boost your creativity and make you feel more creative so that you can express yourself in your jewelry making.

What are we counting down to?

Well, I’m so glad you asked!  January 5, 2015 (I know it seems far off now!) we’ll be starting our next round of Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse.  It’s a six week eCourse with weekly prompts to help you rediscover or boost your creativity, jewelry lessons and jewelry projects.

To learn more about Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry, click here.

Week 8 can be found here.

Week 7 can be found here.

Week 6

Everybody has difficult times and rough patches in their life.  It’s part of being human.  I have them.  You have them.  Every one of us has them.

At the end of September and basically lasting a month or so, I had a really rough time.  On my worst days I could only do the bare minimum necessary for living.  (Luckily there weren’t many of those days mostly thanks to my supportive, loving husband.)  On days when it wasn’t quite that bad, I used art as a way to help me through.

I remember a few years ago I was going through one of these tough times.  I could not face the world.  I shut myself in my studio and made jewelry for hours upon hours.  People would say, “You want to talk about it?”

I’d say, “No, I want to make jewelry.”

Jewelry making made me able to focus.

Within a few days I was able to talk to people.  I was slowly able to start dealing with what had happened.  I got stronger and things got better.

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Here are 5 ways that art can help with difficult times

(By art I mean anything creative.  Could be jewelry making, painting, knitting, writing, sewing, etc.)

1.  It gives you something else to focus on.  Instead of every thought and every breath being about the terrible thing that happened, your illness, your depression or whatever it is that you’re having difficulty with, you can focus on painting or making jewelry or whatever your art is.

2.  It gives you focus.  Okay, I just said that in #1, but I mean it in a slightly different way here.  Your brain actually has more concentration and focus.

3.  You can express your feelings in a more productive way.  Whatever you make doesn’t even really matter.  It can be really crappy and you hate it when you’re done.  That’s okay.  You can throw it out.

Instead of destroying a vase or throwing stuff around your house, you can express yourself in your art.

4.  It gives you something meaningful to do.  I know when I get depressed (and I don’t mean to really focus on depression, but that’s what I know best) it can sometimes be difficult to find a reason to get out of bed even.  You might wonder why you’re here.  When you have something to do — make jewelry, paint, etc — you have a reason to get out of bed.  You have a reason why you’re here.

5.  It’s meditative and can help you work out things.  Working with your hands has been shown to be really meditative.  Maybe you knit, embroider, paint or do some other art form.  Obviously, I make jewelry.  While you’re using your hands you can work out all kinds of issues and problems in your head.

Inspiration

Difficult times can definitely be inspiration for creativity as well, not just in the moment, but after the fact.  You’ve heard songs about lost love and terrible situations.  Well, you can use those difficult times to create pieces as well.

I created this painting once with reds and deep purples.  I didn’t paint exactly what was bothering me.  I didn’t draw pictures of the demons.  But the feeling of that moment is captured.

You can do the same thing with jewelry as well.  You might use certain colors or certain shapes to express your feelings.

Either way – whether you use creativity to get through difficult times or are inspired by difficult times to create – use your difficult times in a way that’s more productive and useful.  It’s difficult when you’re in the actual rough spot to see it, but pick up your pliers or a pen and start creating and see if it helps.

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This post is part of a countdown to the start of Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse, which starts on January 5th, 2015.  To learn more about the eCourse, click here.

Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry

Creativity Countdown Week 7: Weaving (And craft project failures)

Creativity Countdown

Ever have one of those weeks when your to do list is so much longer than the actual hours you have to complete everything?  (I’m sure most of us have those weeks quite frequently.)

Last week was one of them.  This post was on that to do list – optimistically.  I would be ahead of the game.  But it didn’t happen.  So this morning I had this and another thing that had a morning deadline that I couldn’t ignore.

So when I got to this post, I was distracted.  I actually didn’t feel that way at the time, but I was.  That’s how mistakes happen.

Week 7

Each Monday for the next 7 weeks I’ll be posting a Creativity Booster.  There will be a variety of activities to try.  Sometimes there will be videos and sometimes photos.  These activities will boost your creativity and make you feel more creative so that you can express yourself in your jewelry making.

What are we counting down to?

Well, I’m so glad you asked!  January 5, 2015 (I know it seems far off now!) we’ll be starting our next round of Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse.  It’s a six week eCourse with weekly prompts to help you rediscover or boost your creativity, jewelry lessons and jewelry projects.

To learn more about Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry, click here.

Week 8 can be found here.

Weaving

I had been thinking about doing a weaving project for a little while.  I had been thinking about creative things I enjoyed as a child.  One of them was weaving.  I remember using a paper plate in art class to make a circular weaving.  I also remembered having one of those looms where you would make potholders.

I decided it would be fun to do some weaving.  And I have this idea of attaching it to an abstract painting since I really enjoy making mixed medium art.

So I knew how I wanted to create the piece, but I decided to see if I could see how other people were doing it.  I found this “How to Weave on a Cardboard Loom” tutorial on Instructables.  I don’t remember doing it in quite this way, but it looked so handy and neat I decided to try it this way.

I had imagined I would just wrap the yarn all the way around the cardboard and then cut the ends and tie them close to the weaving (and as you’ll see as you go through I ended up having to do it this way), but I liked that this tutorial you simply pulled everything tightly and it was all nice and neat.

And then I made a mistake.

See, even though I was photographing this tutorial to show you what I did, I didn’t even notice that somehow I had wrapped completely around once instead of setting up my loom as the instructions indicated.

How to weave

I even took this photo and didn’t realize it at the time.  Had I realized it, I would have fixed it.

So instead, I weaved the entire piece and at the end when I went to take it off the loom I realized my mistake.

I sat there for a little bit, walked away, got frustrated and weighed out my options.  I had just spent a bunch of time creating the piece and I really liked how it turned out, besides my mistake in the back, of course.  I decided to just do what I first thought I would do, which is cut the strings and tie them at the top rather than starting over.  And I actually do like how it turned out, even though it was a mistake.

How to weave

Lesson

The lesson here is that sometimes you’ll make mistakes when creating.  Let me rephrase that.  Oftentimes you’ll make mistakes.  Maybe even a lot of the time.  Don’t let that stand in your way.  For one, I know that when I weave again in this way I’ll never make that mistake again.  For another, I may have realized that I don’t wish to do it that way anyway.

I have made soooo very many mistakes in jewelry making, too.  Sometimes mistakes have become the main feature of my jewelry pieces.  I did it differently and I’m happy with how it came out.  Sometimes I started over.

I often get emails and comments that people are so worried that they will mess up so they don’t start.  You don’t even know if you’re going to mess up if you don’t try.  And if you do mess up — and you will — then you’ll learn valuable lessons.  You may learn to not make that mistake again.  Or even better yet, you may learn a new way of doing something or a new style that you wouldn’t have even known about had you done it perfectly to begin with.

Another way of doing things

I’m a big fan of not letting people tell me how to do things.  Also, that there is more than one way to do things.  Throughout my years making jewelry there has been people out there who haughtily say “This is how you do it.  There isn’t another way.”

I don’t buy into that.  I believe jewelry making is an art.  I think when you’re learning it’s great and important to learn from other people.  (I mean, I do have this whole website teaching people how to make jewelry, right?)  But if their way doesn’t work for you, try another way.  Maybe there’s someone else who fits better with you.  Or maybe you’ll find your own way!  That is beautiful.  That’s self-expression.

If you find you hate what you made, then try again in a different way.  If you like it — despite what other people say — then go with it.  You have a voice that needs to be heard and there’s room for everyone’s voice.

Weaving

Now onto my weaving.  I have the steps below with my mistakes because I kept them and learned to adapt as I went along with this weaving piece.  If you’re interested in seeing it without mistakes, click here for the tutorial that inspired me.

The difference between my piece and the piece I linked to is that I used fabric strips instead of yarn.

Also, I was going for a more boho style rather than perfect.  I left the frayed edges and made knots visibly instead of tucking things in.  You can decide how you would like to express yourself.  You can mix it up with yarn, fabric, ribbon or anything else you can think of.  In my final piece I plan to attach the weaving to an abstract painted background and add one or more buttons to it as well.

If weaving isn’t your thing, try something else new you haven’t before or think back to your childhood and what you used to enjoy doing back then.

Creativity Countdown

Here’s the tutorial:

Materials and Tools:

  • A piece of cardboard
  • Yarn or some other sturdy stringing material
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Yarn, fabric, ribbon or whatever you want to weave

Step #1

How to weave

First I cut a piece of cardboard to about 8″ by 8″.  This doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does have to be larger than how large you would like your finished piece to be.

About the cardboard:  The cardboard I used was about the strength of a cereal box and it worked fine.  You can use a piece from a cardboard box or whatever you have around.

Step #2

How to weave

Then I made marks 1/4″ apart on the top and bottom of the cardboard.  The first marks are 1/2″ from either side.

Step #3

How to weave

Now make little cuts where you made the marks.

Step #4

How to weave

Tape the end of the yarn to the back of the cardboard.

Step #5

how to weave

how to weave

How to weave

So here’s where I messed up, so don’t make my mistake!

Pull the yard down through the first notch at the top and then across the front of the cardboard and into the first notch at the bottom.  Then bring the yarn to the front through the second notch and back up to the second notch at the top of the cardboard.  Continue until you get to the end.

Tape down the other end of the yarn to the back of the cardboard.

The third picture shows my mistake.  There should not be yarn running across the back of the loom like that.

Step #6

how to weave

I used about 1/2″ strips of fabric (but I didn’t measure them, to be honest).  I didn’t cut them, I just tore the strips so they would be frayed.

Like I mentioned, you can use whatever you like here such as yarn, ribbon or whatever else you come up with.

Step #7

how to weave

Now, here’s where the fun begins, the actual weaving!

Start under the first string, over the next, under the next and continue to the end.

HINT:  I had the idea that I would just tie all of my strips together at the beginning and start weaving.  It was a bad idea because it was too balky to weave and I ended up cutting them back apart.

Step #8

how to weave

When you get to the end bring the fabric/yarn/whatever you’re weaving with around and go back in the other direction in the same way.  If your last weave was under, go over the yarn when you turn back the other way.  Going back, the weaving should be opposite of the previous one.

Just continue doing this until you get to the end of your fabric strip or yarn or wish to change colors.

Step #9

how to weave

Now, to add in more fabric or yarn, I simply tied a knot attaching the first fabric to the second and was just careful to get the knot in between 2 of the loom yarns and pulled it to the front.  I wanted my knots to show because that’s part of the look I was going for.

If you want a neater look, then do not knot them.  Just end the fabric strip or yarn at the end and then you’ll work then in at the end.  To see this, click here to go to our instrucables inspiration since she did a neater, tuck in at the end system.

Step #10

how to weave

how to weave

When you’re done weaving, take the end and kind of weave it vertically up into your piece.

Step #11

how to weave

So here is where I realized my mistake.

Normally, you could just pull off your weaving and pull the ends tight and bring it all neatly together.  That wouldn’t work in my case.  So I just started at one end and cut the loops, tied them.  I did the top and then did the same with the corresponding bottom, pulling the weaving tightly as I went.  I continued until everything was tied.

Then I trimmed off the ends so everything was neat.

how to weave

Now you can use this for whatever you like.  As I mentioned, I plan to use mine in a mixed media art piece.  You might want to make a set of coasters or maybe a wall hanging.  Maybe just the act of weaving itself will inspire your creativity and you won’t even do anything further with your weaved piece, and that’s awesome, too!

I find that even though my main art is jewelry making, doing other art forms makes me feel more creative overall and helps me with ideas for jewelry making.

Maybe I’ll incorporate weaving into jewelry making or maybe I will just feel more creative and come up with more ideas for jewelry making having nothing to do with weaving at all.

My eCourse Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry starts on January 5th, 2015!  Get in now before the price goes up!  Get all the juicy details on this fun and creative block lifting eCourse here.

Creativity Countdown Week 8: Reconstructing Thrift Store Finds

Creativity Countdown

Today is the first day of the Creativity Countdown!

Each Monday for the next 8 weeks I’ll be posting a Creativity Booster.  There will be a variety of activities to try.  Sometimes there will be videos and sometimes photos.  These activities will boost your creativity and make you feel more creative so that you can express yourself in your jewelry making.

What are we counting down to?

Well, I’m so glad you asked!  January 5, 2015 (I know it seems far off now!) we’ll be starting our next round of Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry eCourse.  It’s a six week eCourse with weekly prompts to help you rediscover or boost your creativity, jewelry lessons and jewelry projects.

To learn more about Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry, click here.

Creativity Countdown 8

Here’s today’s creativity booster:

This week, head to a thrift store, Goodwill or other place where you can dig through some used jewelry.

You could even go through your own jewelry and see what you find.  I know we all have pieces that we just don’t really like, but we keep.

Look for jewelry pieces that have components that you like.  Sometimes a necklace or bracelet will really be something that you would never wear, but the beads are gorgeous.  Or perhaps there’s a chain that’s really unique.  Maybe you’ll like the charms on a piece even though the piece isn’t so great itself.

For some tips on thrifting jewelry, see my 9 Lessons in Choosing Thrift Store Jewelry to Reconstruct into New Jewelry post.

I ended up going to my local library’s used jewelry sale and ended up (well, with a lot of stuff), but I found what I believe is a belt and reconstructed it into a bracelet.

Reconstructed Bracelet

To get some ideas for what to make with your thrift store find, check out my ECT TV episodes or just do a search of my website and see what you find.

My eCourse Rediscover Your Creativity & Make Jewelry starts on January 5th, 2015!  Get in now before the price goes up!  Get all the juicy details on this fun and creative block lifting eCourse here.