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Organization

I lost an entire day today to organization. That’s the real kicker of being organized, you have to put in the effort at the start to create a process, or somewhere down the road you’re going to have to spend a lot more time and effort organizing the chaos you’ve created to make it into a functioning system.

I went from having a few random fat quarters of fabric to having an amazing collection of full and half yards in a short period of time. Add to that the fact that my workspace is in the middle of the main living area of my apartment and you get an organizational nightmare. Not only does my space need to be organized for me to do my work, which is now my sole source of money, but it needs to look good too.

My solution was to get a couple of cubical storage shelves, and toss everything into the fabric bins that fit inside. Which worked…poorly. Every time I needed a particular fabric, I had to rummage through all of them looking for it. In addition, I started keeping my most popular fabrics in a basket on my desk, which cut into my workspace. Enter a tip I had seen a million years ago, before I started sewing. I remembered it because it was clever, but I didn’t save it anywhere because it was irrelevant to knitting or jewelry making.

What was that tip, you ask? Get some hanging file frames, (I have two different ones here because I wanted to see what worked best, and they were not expensive) and buy some hanging files. Cut the bottom folds off the folders, and then fold your fabric over the top of each one, then hang it on the frame. Suddenly, all my fabrics are easily visible and accessible!

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Visual Marketing

Last year when I first talked about opening my own business, my friend Tina Aitala Engblom, a talented graphic designer, created this cropped-logo_thistlecraft_color.jpglogo for me.  Since then I’ve used it on my website, my blog, business cards, post cards, and my Facebook page. I’ve printed stickers and used them to decorate my envelopes when sending purchases to my customers. Now that I’m planning on attending craft fairs, I decided I needed to up my packaging game. After all, you can have a really cute, one of a kind product, and if you don’t put any thought into your packaging, there’s a chance you’ll be passed over for someone else who knows that customers aren’t just buying your product, they’re buying idea of a boutique experience.

So with that in mind, I used Tina’s logo and Zazzle to create these adorabPackagingle necklace and earring cards. The simplicity of Tina’s logo allows the jewelry to shine, but at the same time draws attention to the name of my business. The back of the card has my phone number and e-mail address, the front of the card has my URL at the bottom. I’m pretty confident that my items will be eye catching and that my customers will remember me!

My sister also wants me to consider getting a table cover printed with my logo and one of those booth canopies also branded. I think it’s a good idea! Especially as I go to more and more shows, it will help repeat customers find me. Yes, I’m trying to be super confident that anyone who buys one of my pieces will want to buy more!

I would say that anyone who is starting their own business should definitely consider having a professional design your logo. I was very, very, very lucky that Tina is a friend and did it for me as a favor, but it would totally have been worth every single penny if she had charged me for it. Having a logo that is professionally designed shows that you are serious about what you’re doing. It also sets you apart from everyone else and is a chance to, in a single image, give an idea of who you are and what you do. And if you’re looking for a logo designer, I highly recommend reaching out to Tina!

Happy Fall!

Jessica

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Organization…

Bet that’s not a word you expected to see on a jewelry designer’s blog. Bucubet I find it incredibly important to my work flow. Since I started working from home full time, I’ve been struggling with organization, both of my space and my time. Today I finally got the storage unit I needed to organize my space. Now all my paperwork is organized and in folders, my packaging is in one spot, my scale is handy to my printer, and all my paper and labels and things are tucked away where they won’t get dirty and won’t drive me up a tree!

As you can see, my space is rather limited. (It used to be my dining room) So organization is a must.desk

Next up is organizing my beads a little better. Right now I tend to pull out what I want to use, and then when I’m done with them shove them back in whatever box has an opening. I think I’m going to organize them in color groups and separate out the findings. Then I’ll probably spend the next week trying to figure out where I put everything! 😀

In the meantime I’ll have new designs coming out over the next few weeks, but I also need to concentrate on making enough to take to craft shows so there may be fewer new designs than usual.

See you later!

Jessica

 

Musings

Changing Seasons

They say that everything happensMe for a reason. I may not believe that entirely, but I do believe that whenever an unexpected event hits your life, you have a choice. You can let it beat you, or you can use it to change your life for the better. Recently I was laid off from a job that I have had for the better part of my working life. I honestly planned to retire from there. But, it seems it was not to be. Instead I got a severance package and unemployment, and an opportunity to explore what really excites and motivates me. When I sat back and thought about it, the idea of learning to navigate the politics of a new office, learning new systems, and likely having to dye my hair back to a “natural” color just didn’t appeal. Shooting Stars

Instead I thought about the shapes and colors of the beads in my collection, the ways I’d like to raise awareness of my designs, and the ways I could use my designs and my shop to effect change in the world around me.

So, this year I’m taking a huge leap and depending on my own skills and talents to support me. I hope you come along for the ride, it’s sure to be a fun (if occasionally terrifying) one!

~Jessica

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Inspiration

Copper Elephant charm earings
Copper and glass earrings

I often find that inspiration lurks in strange places. I was recently reading a romance novel by Dana Marie Bell (If you like supernatural romance, go check her out. I’ll wait!) in which the Viking Gods were alive and living in present day Philadelphia. This made me think about other pantheons and what they might be doing if they were living among us pretending to be human. I like to think that Ganesha would be a college professor in the sciences encouraging young scientists to new discoveries. In his off hours he’d go to gallery openings and bring attention to aspiring young artists.

Which brings me to the earrings pictured above. While I was thinking about what the gods would be doing, I came across these copper charms and decided I had to make at least earrings out of them, in honor of Ganesha’s place as an obstacle destroyer and patron of the arts and sciences.

Ganesha was always a favorite of mine, now I wonder if Coyote or Anansi are going to want their turns since they have also been the stars of some of my favorite stories. We’ll have wait and see!