M.I.A.

Okay, so I have been seriously absent from the blog…but with good reason. I’ve been at my new job about a month now and “busy” has taken on a whole new meaning.

It’s been work, then home to play with the baby, get some things done around the house, get the baby ready for bed, then crash for the night! Although I really miss getting to be at home with Brady and getting to work on my products full time, I’ve really enjoyed going back to work.

I do promise to get back to posting on a regular basis! I think I’ve established some what of a pattern now and looking forward to working on some new products and getting ready for the upcoming craft show season. All of it, however, will start in June when the family and I get back from vaca and some much needed r & r.

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Take 5 – Red Otter

When I saw the gorgeous handmade books and journals by the Red Otter, I just knew that I had to feature the shop in a Take 5! Check out what Jewels, the artist behind the masterpieces had to say!

Tell us about yourself and your shop.

The Red Otter shop was born out of a desire to make books by hand. Last February, I was working for a small children’s book design firm. It was fun, and challenging, but I missed the more hands-on aspect of building a book by hand. When I found Etsy, I swooned! It was the perfect forum for a wee little shop like mine! I don’t make huge quantities of journals right now, simply because I don’t have the time, but every journal I do make is special, unique and thoroughly enjoyable!

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

This is an exciting question for me! I love to plan and scheme for the future! In one year I want to have done at least two art fairs with Red Otter. I would like to have developed my own website for a more independent forum. In five years, I want to have evolved into something more refined, more independent. I’m not exactly sure what that will entail at this point, but I want to grow this little business, slowly.

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

I think I would have started my blog earlier. I never realized what a valuable tool blogging can be. It’s my way of saying hello to the art world. I’m able to tell people more of what is going on behind the scenes and I’m able to find my niche and support other sellers, other artists, other creators at the same time. It’s the most lovely thing!

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

Well, I just started a new job at an engineering consulting firm, so my Red Otter office time has pretty much halved. But, when I’m in my studio its usually for three or four hour spans. It usually involves me spreading my book making supplies all over my living room floor, mixing and matching papers. Getting glue over everything and then finally stitching the books together. It’s a fun process. And nothing beats that sense of satisfaction when I’ve finished sewing that last stitch and I turn the book over in my hands. It’s marvelous!

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

Be patient! Be patient with yourself. And then be patient with the art world. Especially as Etsy continues to grow, it’s easy to become discouraged at the beginning. But, if you keep at it, post regularly, hop on the forums or the chat rooms, it’ll happen.

For more on the Red Otter, check out the blog and shop!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all! This is my first one and I couldn’t imagine a better gift than having a happy, healthy little boy! Here he is just relaxing on his pillow. I can just see this same look ten years from now when I’m trying to wake him up!

Purse Envy

I got an email about a Neiman Marcus sale today and I found lots of things to my liking – too many in fact. You know how Imelda Marcos is known for her gazillion pairs of shoes? Well, I’m like that except with purses. Maybe not exactly like that but I have far too many purses for one girl. Amidst all of my online shopping, I find this beautiful gem:

Isn’t she gorgeous? Oh, I’ll bet she is just super soft and ready to hold all my belongings! This is the Prada Cervo Antik Structured Hobo and it’ a mere $1,690. So needless to say, this little lady will probably stay on my wish list for a very looooong time. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Take 5 – Laura Baillie Designs

I am so amazed at the beautiful pieces of jewelry from Laura Baillie Designs! Her earrings and charm bracelets are a combination of elegance and style. Check out the fabulous interview with Laura, the artist behind Laura Baillie Designs.

Tell us about yourself and your shop.

I graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2002 with an Honours Degree in Textile Design. My specialism was knitted textiles and when I started my business I made felted bags and corsages. It has only been in the last 2 years that I have started making jewelry for a bit of a change! I have been doodling and making all my life, creating from found objects and collecting scraps of wrapping paper for cards. I was making and selling cards to my family when I was 5!

I started selling my bracelets and earrings on Etsy in October 2007 so I am still quite new to all and finding the best ways to promote and find new customers.

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

During my first year on Etsy, I would like to invest more time listing and driving new customers to the shop, and by October of this year, I would love to have reached 100 sales. Over the next couple of months, I would also like to add different products like cards and prints.

In 5 years, I would love to be making a steady income from the shop hopefully to live off of.

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

I started my business 6 years ago and the only thing holding me back has been some health issues. So no, I wouldn’t do anything differently, apart from finding Etsy sooner!

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

First I check emails, Etsy, and my blog “daily reads” to see what is happening out there. Then I spend the afternoon making, photographing, and journaling. I have learned over the years that this is my most productive creative time, when the sun is high and it is bright outside. Evenings are when I update my blog and do paper work and try to sort out my desk afresh for tomorrow.

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

Ask lots of questions. Do something that you love and brings you pleasure. Don’t try to be something you are not, it shows. Trust your gut instincts and tell everyone you meet about your venture and always have some business cards on hand.

For more information on Laura Baillie Designs, check out the blog and shop!

Shameless Plug – Almost Lovely Blog

Just had to pop in really quick to share with everyone a fabulous little blog about one gal’s quest for style (and that one gal happens to be my sister)!

Feliza authors Almost Lovely which chronicles her wardrobe choices. She is even brave enough to show us pics of her outfits and discusses the rationale of why she picked it and how she feels about it. It’s pretty interesting and it has actually made me think twice about why I pick the outfits I do everyday and it turns out it’s not just about what’s clean and ironed for that day. 🙂