Working Girl

Well, as of this week, I am officially employed! Yes, I went and did it and got a jobby-job! I had the wonderful opportunity to stay at home for much of my pregnancy and after my son was born which gave me time to focus on really getting Keepsake Couture situated.

In the time I’ve been home, I’ve been able to work on getting the website redesigned and this fun little blog up and running. Both would have still been accomplished had I been working full time but it would have taken much longer I’m sure! The time off has also allowed me to have time to create and brainstorm on different products and ideas.

While I’m disappointed that I don’t get to work on Keepsake Couture full time any more, I’m really excited about going back to work! My new job is a marketing position for a start-up, both of which I have loved in the past. My new challenge is making sure that I’m diligent with the time that I have to create, blog, etc. so I can still experience the best of both worlds. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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Take 5 – Macaroni and Glue

Macaroni and Glue’s stationery is fun and fabulous! With styles that range from feminine to classic, there’s something even for the most particular of card buyers. Kelly, the artist behind all the fabulous greeting cards, announcements, and invitations gave us a peek into her world with a Take 5 – check it out!

1. Tell us about yourself and your shop.

My name is Kelly Drill and I’m a stay-at-home mom, political activist and habitual entrepreneur. Since leaving my corporate job to stay home with my daughter, I’ve done everything from designer clothing resale to multi-level marketing. I’m happy to say that I finally feel at home with what I’m doing.

Macaroni and Glue has been around for a little over a year and started completely as a fluke. I’d been making handcrafted gifts for friends and family in an effort to save money after leaving my job and made a set of thank you cards for my sister’s baby shower. People seemed to love them and pretty soon I had several orders for custom invitations, announcements, note cards, etc. Just from friends, family and referrals, I had more than enough work to fill all of my available free time. I was having so much fun designing that it never really occurred to me that I’d started a business.

My sister came across Etsy and it seems to be a perfect fit – it offers me an online storefront with a minimal investment, allowing me to focus my resources on advertising and pursuing business opportunities off Etsy.

In addition to my Etsy shop, I have a portfolio on Trunkt.org and several of my note card sets and greeting cards will be available at Flourish Boutique in South Bend, Indiana – grand opening in June!

2. Where would you like your shop to be in 1 year? In 5 years?

I don’t have a particularly aggressive one-year strategy since my first priority right now is being a mom to my two-year-old. In the immediate future, all I ask is that I break even financially and continue to see growth in my design work. At the end of my first year, I hope to have established several wholesale relationships and to expand my presence in brick and mortar shops, both locally and beyond.

Ultimately, I would love to transition Macaroni and Glue into an online boutique that features an eclectic mix of emerging artists and designers – that’s the five-year plan.

3. Looking back, if you could do anything differently in starting your business, what would it be

I would have started it sooner!

4. What is a typical day in the office like for you?

Complete chaos. Literally.

In addition to my rambunctious preschooler, we have a black Lab puppy, I provide part-time childcare in my home, and I’m the Fundraising Chair for my local Democrats group. I wake up between 4 and 5 a.m. every day just to have a little bit of quiet time in which to (hopefully) be creative.

Beyond that, all my work is done in “stolen moments,” those few and far between times when no kids are awake, the dog’s not destroying anything, and there’s a little bit of time before dinner needs to be ready. And an amazing amount of my work is done via my beloved iPhone.

5. As a seasoned entrepreneur, what advice or words of wisdom do you have for those that are just starting out?

I say this all the time and even struggle with this myself, but I think it’s really important to know what you want from your business and to tailor your shop-keeping activities accordingly. It’s better to do one thing well than to do a thousand things badly, and it’s easy to get caught up in all the hoopla and try to stretch yourself too thin. You don’t have to belong to every street team, be on every social networking site, go to every craft fair and have shops on five different craft sites. Just do what you do, present it well, and then develop a cohesive plan for sharing what you do with others.

For more on Macaroni and Glue, check out the blog and shop!

The “Apple” of My Eye

Okay, so I went and did it. I crossed over to the other side today and didn’t even see it coming. It all started out rather innocently actually. As some of you may know, my trusty, 4-year old Dell laptop got “sick” about a week ago with a nasty virus. I, of course, couldn’t live without a computer and Internet access so I was so glad when my sister let me borrow her old Mac laptop. I thought, “Oh boy, this is going to suck but it’s better than not having access at all, right?”

Over the past week, my brother-in-law has been doing as much as he could to get rid of the virus and clean up the old Dell. We’ve had some luck and I’ve been able to go back and forth between the two to get things done here and there. Funny thing was I kept doing Mac-type things on the Dell. I actually found myself liking the darn thing!

So today was my 3 year wedding anniversary and my husband knows that I’ve been seriously considering getting a new laptop so for my gift, he got me a Best Buy gift card so I could pick one out. (Isn’t he wonderful?!?) I got there (with my sister and bro-in-law to help advise me) and was certain that I would walk out with a Sony Viao – the ones I’ve had my eye on even before the Dell got sick.

After about an hour’s worth of seriously considering walking out empty handed, I went over to the Apple aisle and I did it. I bought a MacBook. It didn’t even take much convincing. I’ve crossed over and I don’t think I can come back. I love, love, love my new toy!!!

Take 5 – Blaze Danielle

I found out about Blaze Danielle’s amazing artwork while visiting other WordPress blogs and I’m so glad I did! Her Etsy shop is full is beautiful prints of different characters, animals, and scenes. Check out the fabulous interview with this talented artist!

Tell us about yourself and your shop.

My name is Blaze Danielle Robertson and I am a junior in college majoring in illustration. I decided to start my store at age 20 so that by the time I graduate, I can have a little launching point for freelance illustration and a foot in the art world. My shop is currently all illustration prints, however it’s going to be changing soon – at least there will be more types of goodies! This summer I am happy to say that I’m going to do Etsy full-time! Expect big things from the Blaze Danielle Etsy store! 😉

I have been creating ever since I can remember. There is even a home video of me painting with watercolors when I was three and it made me just as happy as it does now! I remember sewing aprons in first and second grade during “choice time.” College has just focused my excitement, and has taught me how to use my talents.

Where would you like your shop to be in 1 year? In 5 years?

In one year, I will be graduating and to be honest, I really hope to immediately shift into being a full time artist. This is a high goal, but I hope that my shop will grow in the next year so that I can ultimately jump head first into the art world, paying the bills one print at a time. 🙂

In five years, I hope to be a successful Etsy seller and perhaps on my way to publishing some children’s books. I’d like to be working from home and creating every day.

My dad has given me great advice that has stuck with me: “When you do what you love, the money will come.” I think this is exciting and I am willing to work extra hard to do what I love.

Looking back, if you could do anything differently in starting your business, what would it be?

Looking back isn’t that long ago for I just opened my shop this past fall. However, I wish I had participated in the Etsy forums earlier! There’s so much help and support over there. A beginner can find a lot of encouragement and many friends just by striking up a conversation.

What is a typical day in the office like for you?

I am currently in school right now so I try to make time for personal art whenever I can. I even have specific “studio days” when I dedicate a whole free day to art time. This summer, I plan on blogging in the morning, painting in the afternoon, and crafting in the evening! I am excited to see how it goes!

As a seasoned entrepreneur, what advice or words of wisdom do you have for those that are just starting out?

I would advise to make personal studio time and to stay disciplined with making art. Take many walks, think out ideas, journal down your inspirations, get excited over little ideas, protect those ideas, make the most of studio days, get involved in your Etsy community, and self-promote!

To find out more about Blaze Danielle, check out her shop and blog!

Dinos & ‘Bots

It seems that now that I have a little boy, I look at patterned paper just a little bit differently. I like pretty much the same things but I find myself gravitating towards more “rough and tumbly” boy papers that I can use for a variety of different Brady projects. For example, every time we have new pictures to send out to everyone, I just get a piece of fun patterned paper, trim it to size and use it as a notecard to send with the pic. Here are new favorites of mine:

Basic Grey Archaic Dino Paper
Basic Grey Archaic Dino Paper

Basic Grey Archaic Dino Paper
Cosmo Cricket Cogsmo – Mr. Roboto

Call for Take 5 Inteviewees!

I hope you all have enjoyed the Take 5 interviews so far! It is amazing how many incredibly talented artists there are. So many, in fact, that I’m sure I’m missing out on featuring some fabulous shops. I typically look through the shops at Etsy or get suggestions from those that have done the Take 5 to find who to interview next but I’ll bet there’s some others I’ve yet to encounter.

So it’s time for an open call! Now don’t be bashful or modest! You know your stuff is amazing and you’ve read the interviews and already know what you would respond to each question. So what are you waiting for?!?

If you would like to be featured on the blog on a Take 5 interview, just drop me a comment with your email address or email me at emily@keepsakecouture.com and I’ll send you out the list of questions. Can’t wait to hear from you!