A Social Media "Fast" + Lots of Insights ensue. . .

I’ve been on a self-imposed social media break since July 21st. For me that means I’m not engaging with or using Instagram or Facebook except when absolutely necessary. Trust me, in today’s day and age there are times when I HAVE to use social media - especially since I’m running a small business that at least partially relies on some social media use. Any other social media that I use is either so minimal it’s not a factor, or is simply me pushing content over from IG or FB. 

    at the Alameda Point Antiques fair earlier this year

   at the Alameda Point Antiques fair earlier this year

So. I just checked the calendar and I see that it’s been a two week break so far. And all I can think is “It hasn’t been long enough.” My intention when I started this break was to go for a month. At this point, I don’t think a month long break will be a problem. I’m also not being strident or absolute about it. I plan to pop into both IG and FB tomorrow or Monday to post about this blogpost. I want you all to know what’s going on with me. I want to share my thoughts on this social media break as I’ve seen other folks do because I think that the insights I’ve gleaned are important.

It’s been, and this is without hyperbole or exaggeration, quite startling to see how much stepping away from social media engagement is changing things for me. (And two weeks in, all I can think is, “this is just the tip of the iceberg.”) My time feels more expansive. I am accomplishing what I want to in the course of a day more easily. I’m feeling more focused. I pick up books to read more often. I’m finding it easier to read a whole email from start to finish without going into “oh I’ll just skim it” mode. I am less distracted. 

Although I should probably stop right there. For while I am less distracted, this little experiment has shone a very bright light on one little yet big distraction: my phone. It beckons to me when it need not. I can be in the middle of a very good lunch, reading a very good book and I will need to “check my phone.” In the middle of conversations I have the urge. I will be at my workbench, in the middle of drilling holes in several handmade components and I’ll think “just need to check my email.” Do I need to check anything in these moments? Probably not. Almost certainly not. I’m starting to think that in many ways our phones are the newest addictive substance we’re consuming on a daily basis as a culture.

That is to say over the last two weeks, one things has become abundantly apparent: I want more of this using my phone less. I have no desire to go back to how I was doing things. I want to watch one of my favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix and not “distract” myself by checking IG every 5 minutes or so. I want to see and feel and hear and taste the details in my life again in a way I have stopped doing. I plan on taking my email app off of my phone. I don’t want to be able to check email unless I am at work or at home sitting in front of my laptop and intentionally sitting down to work. I will definitely return to social media engagement once my month-long break is over, but I plan to set guidelines for myself. I want to make it work for me. And I think, the minute it starts to feel like an addictive substance that I can’t live without, well, I think that will usher in another social media break. 

I know I just wrote about some unintentional social media breaks that I took earlier this summer in my last blog post. I’m almost certain that those small breaks helped fuel my desire for a longer break. Also a break that is taken while living my regular ‘ol day-to-day life. The other, smaller breaks, were both taken while I was on trips. (One work related and one mostly for fun.) I wanted to see what it would feel like to live my life, my as I already stated “regular ‘ol life”, that can sometimes get boring and sometimes feel like drudgery (honesty here). There’s so much to say here, it almost makes me cry with the profundity of it all. I need the boredom. I need the drudgery. It fuels my creativity. It fuels my drive. It gives me beautiful little moments where I’m able to slow down. 

Does anyone else ever feel really strange and sort of “buzzy” after a few too many minutes spent scrolling through IG? I’ve always felt like that afterwards. Spending time on social, unless I handle that time with great care and purposeful intention, always leaves me feeling drained. Disconnected. Spacey. What it hasn’t been is a moment to slow down. Usually, after “falling down the IG hole” I am appalled by how much time has gone by. My phone feels truly capable of stealing my time away. . . if I give it the power to. It’s like a cryptic, modern day fairytale. 

I think maybe the most sobering part of all of this is that we all know that we need these things: that we need boredom in our lives. That if we really want to be connected in conversation with someone we can’t “just check in” with our email during conversational lags. That if I actually want to enjoy my favorite show on Netflix I can’t interrupt the viewing every 5 to 10 minutes with a quick IG scroll. That if I want the colors in the sky to truly thrill me, the smell of the fresh baked pizza to actually intoxicate me, if I wan to sincerely lose myself in moments - in moments that add up to my life - to a lifetime, I have to be engaged most of the time. 

And I haven’t been. 

Now, this isn’t meant to put all of the blame on my social media use. I am human and therefore I am innately an expert at distracting myself from what is directly in front of me. But I want to change that. In that desire I believe lies the real root of my decision to take this social media break. I want to examine all of the ways I am taking myself out of the present moment, and I’d like to work towards putting myself back there. 

I used to think that the documenting of my life was adding to it. That it was putting more color and flavor into my day. When I think about the roots of it all (um, hello, My Space?) I do think that initially it did all ADD to my life. But the newness and the notoriety of it all has worn off. I’m seeking a more intentional and useful way of using social media; not one that has me falling too easily into comparison traps. And I’m seeking a more minimal and pared down way of using my phone.

Regarding some practical matters: to keep all of my Tangleweeds collectors, fans, friends and family up-to-date I’m going to make an effort to keep this website much more up-to-date. I know this year I have not always posted about my events on my Events page, and I certainly haven’t blogged much. But given that I haven’t decided to go 100% off the technological grid, I do want to make an effort to keep the folks who care about Tangleweeds informed. I suggest bookmarking my website as a way of staying up-to-date with my goings-ons (both professional and otherwise) if you like. I will also continue to send out at least monthly newsletters. If you prefer staying up-to-date that way you can sign up for my newsletter here.

A year ago I couldn’t have imagined doing this, but now that I am I’m so grateful I took the leap and made the decision to take a break from social media. It’s shinning a light on my life in ways I could have never anticipated. 

Lastly, I’m incredibly curious: what have been your experiences with social media use? The good the bad and the in-between. Have you ever taken a self-imposed break? If so, what did you get out of it? If you haven’t taken one, are you considering it? Leave a comment below if you like. 

Life’s a crazy journey and really just one big experiment if we all let it be that.

Thoughts on Social Media and Running a Business

I’m back! And only one month since my last post on this blog. Feels not-too-shabby ;-). How has everyone been?!

Social media and social media tools are such funny things. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I use these tools in my business and the rest of my life a lot lately. Honestly, it can be difficult balancing it and not getting sucked into 101 different social media channels. And then, those channels come up with ingenious new ways to hook you! (I’m looking at you right now, Instagram.)

 this is what my home life looks like most days when I sit down to write 

this is what my home life looks like most days when I sit down to write 

I’m going to stop for a moment, before this starts to sound like a totally anti-social media blog post, which it’s not. I’m grateful to social media and the many doors it’s opened for me: from meeting fellow creatives, to gaining new wholesale accounts, to finding out about new and exciting arts and crafts festivals to sell at. It’s a fantastic resource, one that I want in my life.

Here comes the BUT. But, after I took two unintentional breaks from social media this year (for four days while I went to the Women’s Herbal Symposium and for 6 whole days while I was vending at the Kate Wolf Music Festival), I could clearly see how the less I engage with social media the less anxious I feel and the less I find myself falling into the sticky and icky comparison trap game. 

 a nearly full moon at the Women's Herbal Symposium

a nearly full moon at the Women's Herbal Symposium

Sometimes it can feel to me like there’s no middle ground with social media. Like it’s either abandon ship and go back to snail mail (j/k) or I’m all in, losing vast swaths of time everyday to mindlessly perusing beautiful IG feeds and the like. In light of my two “digital detoxes” and the light it shed on my social media use, I had to get really honest with myself about how I use it and how I want to use it. . . 

For now that’s going to look like this: Getting back to blogging, but mostly in this very organic, very journal-y type way, and continuing to share my day in pictures and stories on Instagram. I want to be intentional with my FB engagement, but for now I don’t think I’ll be producing any original content for that platform. And regarding my ideas about starting a You-Tube channel, as I had announced via IG stories a while back, I’m putting that on hold for now while I consider what that would look like and how I would fold that into my life in a way that feels good to me. In the meantime I’ll continue to post the occasional tutorial or “how-to” mini-segment in my IG stories. . . and maybe give IGTV a try. . . 

Well! I honestly didn’t realize I could write that much about my social media use. I think it’s tricky for all of us, even those of us who don’t need to engage with it for work and can more or less choose to simply set all social media use aside without any work-related anxieties. ’Tis the times we’re living in. If any of you feel called to leave your own thoughts/comments about your social media use and how you manage it all I’d love to hear them. Leave them in the comments below =). 

 some OOAk River Rock earrings I made for the Kate Wolf Music Festival - these sold at the event, but I plan to make some more similar ones in the future

some OOAk River Rock earrings I made for the Kate Wolf Music Festival - these sold at the event, but I plan to make some more similar ones in the future

In the meantime I’ve got a mostly no-work weekend coming up! Woo-hoo. I’ll be headed to the San Mateo Gem Show to buy stones (yes, work related, but I LOVE it so much I can’t even call it work, or maybe I’m just that lucky to call it work?!). I’ll be headed over to the 40th street block party in Oakland after that. And then, who knows? Maybe I’ll check Renegade out on Sunday, maybe I’ll just have a lazy day at home with the cats on Sunday. What are your weekend plans?

Let's Wabi-Sabi this thing called life

And just like that, my blog got reeeaaaallly quiet this year. 

It’s all the usual reasons, life gets busy and things get prioritized and re-prioritized. I know you all know how it goes. But even when things are busy, my blog is always there in the back of my mind, reminding me that I REALLY like writing over here and that as soon as I can make the time to dive back in, well, I’m diving! So, I’m back =). But not with an exact purpose. Mostly to catch all of you up on the goings-ons with me and Tangleweeds. 

 me vending at the annual Whole Earth Festival in Davis (this year)

me vending at the annual Whole Earth Festival in Davis (this year)

The month of May marked two years of living in Vallejo. Those of you who follow along with my blog, may remember this post, Moving Hiatus, when I first announced that I would be moving to Vallejo. Since then, I’ve moved my studio space twice, ultimately settling in with a workshop at home in my garage. I’ve pondered where I see myself settling more permanently in the years to come and have definitely decided that I won’t be staying in Vallejo too much longer. Where exactly I’m headed next will depend on many things, but I’m hoping to find a way to move back to Oakland. 

 Downtown Oakland

Downtown Oakland

With the current prices of housing that is a TALL order though, and may or may not work out the way I hope it will. This year I’ve put a lot of energy into really cleaning up my finances and taking a long hard look at how I spend my money. I’m hoping to combine this energy with the momentum I’ve gained with Tangleweeds over the last two years towards a healthier financial life for myself. (If you haven’t picked it up I highly recommend the book Worth It by Amanda Steinberg.)

I’m also open to the possibility of moving away from the bay area too though, and in this way I am simply trying to keep myself open to possibilities that I may not have considered. 

 Dolly exploring her newest toy. I adopted this affectionate and loving gal at the very beginning of 2018. 

Dolly exploring her newest toy. I adopted this affectionate and loving gal at the very beginning of 2018. 

This is all to say, that while living in Vallejo has really given me many things I need: a home of my own, a secure place to park my craft fair-loaded car overnight, a workspace at home, a yard and outdoor space for my cats to roam around in (and all of this at a price I can afford) it hasn’t really proven to be the community that I need at this time in my life. I know that many people are very protective of Vallejo, and may object to the way I perceive it. And I can relate. I feel VERY protective of Oakland at times, what with the way the city is portrayed on the news. But what I know matters to me is the simple fact that Vallejo does not feel like the place I’m meant to call home for much longer. 

 My workbench in my home studio

My workbench in my home studio

By this time next year I hope to be taking the steps towards moving somewhere that speaks to my heart. 

Sometimes, as I’m working towards making big changes in my life, I’ll consider what a younger me might think of the decisions I’m currently making. And I think a younger me would find a way to move MUCH sooner. Three months of living in a city that doesn’t feel like home would feel like an eternity to a younger me, let alone a year! But a younger me was also much more stubborn and much less willing to see the good that came out of frustrating circumstances. That is all to say, that there is much good that has come out of my time in Vallejo, and there is more good stuff to relish in the year to come. 

 One of the HUGE benefits of moving my workspace home has been the fact that this guy wanders in and out of my garage studio pretty much all day long =)

One of the HUGE benefits of moving my workspace home has been the fact that this guy wanders in and out of my garage studio pretty much all day long =)

And in the meantime I intend to start dropping in here more often. I don’t have much of an agenda right now. I’ve written many series for this bog, from my Creative Tenacity posts for fellow creatives to my Listening-Wearing-Making posts to my Handmade Love series where I featured fellow creatives’ work. While all of those series are fun for me to write and were created for one simple reason: these were the things on my mind that I wanted to share with all of you, currently I’m in a more reflective and organic place. Which means, at least for the time being, expect more “wabi-sabi” like posts. A Tangleweeds journal in the truest sense of the word.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

warmly,
Jeannine

My Antidote to Finding the Stress in the Everyday

Last year I started a little feature in my newsletter (and sometimes shared here on the blog) called “The Tangleweeds Tool Kit.” This tool kit was full of suggestions for finding the beauty in the everyday. I’ve loved putting these tool-kits together and plan to continue with them this year (come late February/early March you’ll see them back in your in-box.) As I consider the different things I’d like to include in the 2018 tool-kits, I realized I wanted to share my reasoning behind my message with Tangleweeds: the message of “finding the beauty in the everyday.” While I hope that my jewelry embodies this idea - with pieces that easily fold into your everyday lives - I wanted to more directly address where this message sprang from in my life and business. 

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I think my back story is one many of you can relate to: I’m really f*$#ing good at finding the stress in the everyday. Some days I’m better at it than others. Over the years, as I grew Tangleweeds from a hobby without a name or much focus and eventually into the sustainable business it is today, I only grew more adept at finding the stress in the everyday. 

I would wake up most mornings and instantly my brain would start churning on all of the things I needed to do that day. “Ugh, there’s still that pile of dishes in the sink, and I need to write that blog post, and shoot, I forgot to get back to 100,109,560 emails yesterday, and oh-my-god Christmas is only 6 months away and I haven’t EVEN STARTED prepping for the holiday season!!!” Basically I’d wind myself into this tight ball of stress over things that weren’t even real, or certainly weren’t worth the added stress.  

Even more significant was that many of the “to-do’s” were things I was very excited to get to. But I would over-think and over-stress myself so much that it would take much of the joy out of the things I wanted to do (designing new pieces), let alone the things that were pure drudgery (book-keeping). 

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Somewhere along the line, around the second or third year of running my business full time, I simply started to realize that I was making myself miserable. That, yes, there were many things about running Tangleweeds that were stressful, but that ultimately I was making the situation that much worse with my constant worry and need for control at all times. And, of course, you can bet if I was being like this with Tangleweeds I was also being like this with most other areas of my life. 

Slowly I learned to stop worrying so much, and to cede control when it was possible, and to not shoot for perfection all of the time. All of these things are easy for my conscious mind to understand, but not as easy for my unconscious to unwrap. Many of the tools I use are similar to the tools you will hear many experts praise: I make time to slow down, I meditate, I schedule off-days from work. And maybe, most importantly, I schedule down time within my work day. Just yesterday I was listing to a show on NPR and there was this time management expert on. (I’m not 100% clear what his area of expertise was but he said something that really stuck with me.) He said that (paraphrasing here) basically it’s not the amateurs in life who take breaks or step away form work when they’re tired, but it’s actually the seasoned experts who do this. That to acknowledge the need for rest is actually an incredibly mature thing to do and that the idea of just “powering through” is the amateur’s way. I heard this and honestly gave a sigh of relief. I think the more that the mainstream can soak up this message the more it will begin to be accepted in all areas of life. 

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Hand-in-hand with allowing myself to slow down, came the ability to appreciate the small things more. I wish I could point to a moment when all of this just became easier, but as I described above, it’s all been a slow process, one that is still unfolding. Finding the beauty in the everyday became my own personal mantra and naturally became the underlying message I wanted Tangleweeds to embody. Whether it’s a pile of un-raked leaves in the fall (a personal favorite), or the smell of damp cat fur when one of my feline babies have just come in from the rain, there are too many small moments of beauty everyday to count. 

I’m looking forward to continuing my adventures in slowing-down and appreciating the everyday, and most of all I am excited to share them with all of you this year!

warmly,
Jeannine

Changes Ahead in 2018

Oh, the new year! For me it’s always a similar feeling: I’m jazzed up about the momentum I feel to make new changes happen, but I’m also intimidated and daunted, afraid that I’m going to let myself down. I usually have to temper that second part or I’ll stress myself out so much I manage to make nothing new happen.

Can you relate?

 Wearing some of my favorite Tangleweeds pieces. 

Wearing some of my favorite Tangleweeds pieces. 

I’ve realized over the years that part of making the new happen means letting go of the old. This isn’t always easy - many times the old masquerades as SUPER important. Mainly because it’s what I know and am familiar with. Oftentimes, sorting out the old that I want to hang on to and the old I want to release involves list making. Almost every time, when I make the first list, there is literally nothing I can see as non-essential, or ready to be released. It usually takes coming back to that list a few times over a few days or even weeks for me to finally begin to see the openings - the old things that can be let go of to create openings for the new. 

All of that is my way of saying, this year I’ll be discontinuing quite a few of my designs. I’m still culling that list, sorting through what I think I need to hang on to and what I really want to hang on to. 

 Stepping into the new year in my brand new boots.

Stepping into the new year in my brand new boots.

You guys, my valued Tangleweeds collectors, mean a lot to me and through all of this I’ve had you guys on my mind. With that said, I plan to offer a sale along with an announcement in the coming weeks with the specific date at which you will no longer be able to buy these designs. 

I’m also offering the sale because come February, I will be raising my prices across the board. It won’t be a dramatic price increase, but it will be noticeable. I strive to and make it a top priority to keep my prices as low as possible. I haven’t raised my prices in a while, so the time has come to adjust them to better reflect the current costs of running Tangleweeds. 

 A Tangleweeds classic - the By Chance necklace

A Tangleweeds classic - the By Chance necklace

I am extremely excited by what this next year holds for me and Tangleweeds. I feel like some things are becoming more defined in my mind, that my vision for what I want Tangleweeds to look like and feel like has never been more clear to me. That also means that as I usher out some of the old, there will be much new to welcome into those openings. These new things will include offering creative classes, a recycled sterling silver collection, lots of great newsletters and blog posts full of stuff that, I hope, will help you all find the beauty in the everyday a little bit more easily. I also hope to explore my jewelry design process some more and am excited to see that comes out of this endeavor. We’ll see where this all takes me and I hope you’ll share the journey with me!

 At the annual retreat for the Creative Pursuit Collective - a small women's creative business incubator that I helped found almost three years ago. 

At the annual retreat for the Creative Pursuit Collective - a small women's creative business incubator that I helped found almost three years ago. 

For now there are no specific dates. I will announce all of the specifics via my newsletter first, so if you haven’t signed up, now is a great time to do just that (click here to be directed to sign up for my newsletter)! Roughly though, any designs being discontinued will be pulled from both web-stores (Etsy and my shop) by the end of February. 

In the meantime, I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Trying to build on what’s already there to realize the dreams I have. That’s all any of us can do, right? It makes me think of the motivational quote that goes through my head often, when I’m feeling over-whelmed: “Starts where you are.” I love the simplicity of the statement, but also the raw verve it suggests. It challenges you to simply start, to acknowledge that nothing ever happens without first starting something. Coupled with the “where you are” comes the acceptance that we all have restrictors on our time and energy, and that to set our own pace and carve our own path at our own rates is what will give us the deepest satisfaction in life.

Thanks for joining me in this path so far! Here’s to a wonderful 2018!

warmly,
Jeannine

The Tangleweeds Tool-Kit

Well, well, well, this little blog here sure has been quiet this year! Between moving my studio twice and traveling more than usual for events, I simply found myself with less time for certain endeavors. Sadly, the blog was one place I had to limit my time. I'm hoping to drop in here weekly again soon (yes, I know it's crazy to set new goals during the holidays, but I have a strategy in place ;-)

Today I wanted to pop in and share some fun stuff that I've been including in my newsletters this year. (simply click here if you'd like to sign up for my newsletter). I call it the "Tangleweeds Tool Kit." It's full of stuff that I hope will make finding the beauty in the everyday a little bit easier for all of us, and especially this time of the year!

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The Holidays Edition
It's my sincere hope that these little goodies might help you have a more beautiful holiday season, even as the days keep you busy. 

1. Wanting to gussy up for the holidays? Why not try a new hairstyle? Ideally one that doesn't take hours to create! Try all of the great hair options at the Beautiful Mess blog and website.

2. MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE RECIPE. EVER!

3. Need a fun and festive activity that's family friendly? The Union Square ice skating rink in San Francisco is in full swing! 

4. Looking for a charity to donate to this holiday season? This list is a great list of charities that specifically kids will get excited about. I think they're pretty awesome from an adult's perspective too ;-). 

5. Lastly, I know the holidays can be a trying time for all of us, but especially if you're struggling with depression or don't have family close by (not to mention all of the reasons life can be painful at times.) Please, if you are feeling down and need comfort, consider sending a text to The Crisis Text Line. And please share this info with anyone you think may need it.

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I leave you with some Arlo lovin' for today. I hope everyone out these is enjoying their holidays! 

Plans for the Early Bird Holiday Sale 

Time for some real talk. This year's been a doozy. I've moved my studio twice all amidst continuing to run my business. It's also been an ever-evolving process adjusting to my new life in Vallejo. There's been lots and lots of good stuff this year, but still, it's probably been one of my most challenging years in quite some time, at least regarding running Tangleweeds. 

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With all of that said, when I started planing for the holidays I had a mini-panic, meltdown wondering how I was going to make all of the prep happen. There were two things that immediately went though my head:

1. I have to accept that what I can do is enough. (I'm always on this journey of accepting my best as "enough.") 
and
2. How can I do things differently that will help alleviate some of the stress and craziness? 

Almost immediately I found myself thinking, "why not have my BIG holiday sale early?" That way I can get most of the holiday orders out the door and shipped to all of the amazing Tangleweds collectors out there and still have time to prep for my events. I also hope this early sale might help alleviate some of the last-minute holiday crazies for you too!

With all of that said, I'll be announcing my sale via my newsletter next week.* I'll be offering 35% off all regularly priced items in the webshop for one week only, from the 13th to the 19th of November.** You'll want to subscribe to my newsletter here to receive the coupon code so you can take advantage of these great savings when my sale starts!

In the meantime, have a lovely rest of your week and weekend!

*Subscribers will get first dibs on the sale, like always!
**sale applies to retail prices only

Creative Tenacity: The Importance of a Great Display

Morning folks! I hope everyone’s month of May is chugging along nicely - I seriously cannot believe how fast this month has flown by! This month I decided to continue to talk more about craft fairs. For most of us makers who sell at craft fairs, the season doesn’t really get into full swing until about May/June (maybe late April), so I feel like a second craft fairs related post is timely for most. 

Today I want to focus on one main topic: effective displays. Such an important and nuanced part of selling your work at craft fairs!

Your display matters at least as much as the quality of the product you are selling. Without a great display you’re going to have a difficult time pulling customers into or up to your booth as they walk along, taking in many points of visual stimuli at once. Your display needs to be pleasing to the eye, but also needs to make sense with your brand. Sometimes a great display will actually be rather simple, as that can be the best way to let the items shine.

When I put my display together at craft fairs, I often think of the fashion editor, Diana Vreeland, who was known to say “The eye has to travel.” You need to give your audience various points of visual interest so if the first thing their eyes land on is not to their liking, they can naturally find something else of interest to take in. To put it much more simply: create layers of height and depth in your display! There are many different ways to do this, from commercial risers that you can buy, to a basic cardboard box or container hidden underneath a table cloth, to more interesting elements like old trunks, and wooden fruit boxes. Obviously, I am most adept at creating displays for jewelry, but the basic concept of creating height and layers to a display can apply to most any product. 

craft fair booth display

I belong to the SF Etsy team, and one of their wonderful members (Lisa Spinella of Tickle and Smash) has put together a Pinterest board that has a lot of great inspirational photos to help you out with display ideas if you’re not sure where to start. Another great place to look is through the online photo albums that various craft fairs will put together and make avaible to the public after an event has passed. Renegade, West Coast Craft, and Urban Air Market are just a few great ones. When you look at photos of others’ displays I encourage you to take inspiration from these great displays and make it your own. Just as we, as artists, do not want to copy others’ work or have our work copied, to blatantly copy another’s booth display is not the best idea either. You also want your display to make a mark, and if you look too much like other vendors, you will loose this great opportunity to form a lasting memory in people’s mind.

Creating a beautiful display doesn’t have to cost a lot either. My display has evolved over the years, but early on I simply used cardboard boxes of varying heights hidden under pretty cloths or tablecloths to create different heights and layers in my display. 

Another important part of your display will be your pricing. Specifically, making your pricing easy to find and read and understand. Whether you choose to price each item individually, or create price signs for items that are all the same price, is up to you. The easier you make it for your customer to find the prices and understand them the more likely your customer is to stick around and look for a while and hopefully buy. Many customers want to be able to compare and shop around through your display, selecting an item or items that fit two categories: fall into their budget and are pleasing to their tastes. If they have to ask over and over again what the price is on an item, they will often loose interest and venture elsewhere. If you’ve priced everything clearly and someone still asks for the price on an item, always respond politely! I tend to reply by saying something like this: “That necklace is $40. And if you’re wondering about the price on any other necklaces, just look for the gold tag on the chain.” I’ll then point out the prices and mention something like “it’s easy to miss these!” Basically I do everything I can to make the customer NOT feel stupid for asking about the price. I can’t tell you how many vendors will simply reply, vaguely about the price being on the tag leaving the customer to feel like they were an inconvenience. I don’t think I need to say this, but your customer is not an inconvenience!

You also want to think about creating a space for any promotional or branding materials you may have. Business cards, flier or postcards for other upcoming events you may have scheduled, and a newsletter sign up form all fall into this category. 

Overall I find it helpful to look at your display as your main way to communicate the essence of your brand. It is the thing that people will notice before they notice your product as they meander through busy events. And it is often the thing that will either draw them in, or make them decide to walk the other way. Also of import: clear signage indicating what your business’s name is. This is twofold: as you develop a following people may come out to events specifically looking for you. And two, you want people who like your work to remember you. Clear brand signage will make that much much easier. 

I want to wrap this post up by emphasizing oner thing: you can always change it up! If at the first event you venture out to, you find that your display does not work for you the way you need it to, then dedicated yourself to trying something else at your next event. (This is good advice regarding any area of your handmade business: you can always change whatever it may be if it's not working the first way your conceived of it!)

Good luck in all of your craft fair adventures this craft fair season! Now I'd love to hear from you guys - what's been an effective displaying technique for you? What really hasn't worked? I'd also love to hear any of your fun or unusual craft fair stories in the comments below. 

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Full Circle ~ Changes Ahead and Summer Thoughts

Two weekends ago I attended and vended at the Whole Earth festival in Davis. It was a wonderful time, and I got to see vendor friends that I only get to see once a year, at this event. In so many ways, being a vendor at many different craft fairs all year long is my own version of a traveling circus. We vendors joke about that often!

I came back from this event with lots of thoughts about where Tangleweeds is headed and what I want the business to look like in the years to come. Running a handmade business, there are always so MANY things to consider and sometimes the changes you hope to make get swept under the rug in the running of the day to day, week to week, and month to month. 

So I'm putting this out there, not sure if I'll still want this in a few months or even the next year, but I'm seriously considering finding a way to raise the capital to invest in a better traveling vehicle and to begin to travel further afield for events. I love the idea of hitting the open road more often, and even creating a small work space in my home on wheels so I can work while on the road. 

whole earth festival booth photo

When I think about all it will entail to make this dream happen I get a little overwhelmed, but I'm hoping to break this down into manageable steps that will get me closer to my dream. Already I am planning an event in Nevada this year, and while that's not that far away, it's a step in the direction I'd like to head. 

For now though, the dream is in it's infancy stages. While I'd like to say I'll update about the progress on it here, and I will, in all likelihood progress will be slow and I may not have much to share for a while.

In the meantime I'm starting to dream about my plans for the summer. I'm really hoping to fit in at least one big music festival (of the bluegrass/country ilk preferably.)

What's on your mind for summer plans this year? I'd love to know!

warmly,
Jeannine

WINNER of the Everything is Connected Giveaway

Jamie, you are the winner of the giveaway! Sometime in May I will be sending you your very own pair of Swoops earrings and a copy of the spring issue of Jewelry Affaire magazine. When you have a chance, shoot me an email at jeannine@tangleweeds-jewelry.com with your preferred mailing address. 

To everyone else who entered the giveaway contest, thank you so much for all of the wonderful support of my handmade business and my journey with it! I will continue to blog about it all here from time to time and hope that you do stop in regularly to say hi. I will also be running more giveaways this year, as they are a fun thing that I am happy to offer to my collectors!

Have a wonderful week everyone =)