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!

tool kit.jpg

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.

24312492_2016447455050441_160588716021093117_n.jpg

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. 

FrontPagePromo.jpg

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 =)

Full Circle ~ Family Times

Last week I went to Disneyland for a few days with my sister's family and my dad. It was great to have this kind of time together, as it can be difficult to get everyone's busy schedules to all line up such that we can go on a trip together!

me and my 9 year old nephew, Noah. He's not bored, he just hates having his picture taken.

me and my 9 year old nephew, Noah. He's not bored, he just hates having his picture taken.

This week, being back to work with Tangleweeds has felt great. Sometimes stepping away form something you love is just what you need to re-charge your batteries. 

As a quick reminder, tomorrow is the last day of my Everything is Connected sale (use code "connected" for 25% off all orders) and the last day to enter my giveaway by the same name. Good luck and enjoy!

Everything is Connected

Good morning! I'm excited today to announce the publication of an article I wrote about my creative journey and the creation of Tangleweeds. It's called Everything is Connected and you can find it in the spring issue of Jewelry Affaire magazine, available on newsstands tomorrow (April 1st)! You can find Jewelry Affaire at most major book retailers. Read on for how I'd like to celebrate this moment with all of you.

April is full of so many celebratory things in my life - the first day of spring, my birthday on the 11th, and now this article being published. I want to share all of this great energy with you guys by offering 25% off all web orders through April 15th*. Simply use the coupon code connected and you'll receive your savings. This is a great chance to snag one of the newest designs at great prices! I'll also be offering a celebratory giveaway. . . 

(*all web orders placed March 31st through April 9th will ship the week of April 10th. I am out of town on a short trip with my family in early April, but still wanted to celebrate this moment with all of you!)

The Giveaway
Along with the Everything is Connected Sale* that I'm offering, I'll also be giving away one free copy of the Jewelry Affaire magazine along with a pair of Swoops earrings (one of the designs featured in the article, and pictured below) to one lucky person. To enter the contest simply leave a comment on this blog post. Say hi, or tell me a story about a time when the dots were connected in your own life. I leave the commenting up to you!

(*all web orders placed March 31st through April 9th will ship the week of April 10th. I am out of town on a short trip with my family in early April, but still wanted to celebrate this moment with all of you!)

Sitting down to write this article for the Jewelry Affaire magazine ended up being quite the gift to myself. So often I find that I don't take the time to slow down and reflect on the progress I've made with Tangleweeds. Writing this article allowed me that space and time. I think it's an article that you will enjoy even if you don't make jewelry yourself!

The winner of this giveaway will be announced April 16th, both here and on my Instagram account. Also, the magazine and earrings will ship by the beginning of May. Good luck!

Creative Tenacity: Doubt and Her Cousins

Excerpted from Rosanne Cash’s memoir, Composed:

T-Bone Burnet, an old friend, once told Joe Henry, “Don’t stop working, just stop worrying,” advice that Joe passed on to me [Rosanne Cash] that has since become my silent mantra. Now, even when I do worry, I keep working. Work, I remind myself, is redemption.

Let’s talk about doubt - about self-doubt for a moment. 

The truth. I can be terrible about following my own advice: the advice that it’s pretty much no good to anyone to compare yourself and your work and your accomplishments to the creatives around you. 

You see, I am continually inspired and pushed to do more by looking around and seeing the amazing things coming out of the amazing women in this creative world around me here in the SF bay area. And most of the time it gets me revved up and feeling super lucky to say “hey, I know that woman!!” 

But, sometimes it can make me feel like I’m not doing enough. Leaves me wondering when my big break is going to come. Or when it’s all just going to get easier.

The other day I was listening to this bio series about Oprah on KQED. And it was riveting. To hear her talk about her team’s strategy as they worked on maneuvering Oprah from being a sensationalist talk show to one that was about how to live your best life. “You have to keep your eye on what you’re doing. You have to wear blinders. Don’t look at other folks’ ratings. Don’t look at what others are doing and think “I need to do that.” You have to stay in your lane and keep looking ahead, because it’s when you start staring at the other folks, in their lanes that you start to slow down.” (that’s a rough quote of what Oprah said.)

I heard that and I was like “uh, huh! Yes!” So many good ways this can apply to creative entrepreneurs. 

I have my own take on this advice, of course, one that’s a little more inclusive and more involved with the people around me, but I definitely took that advice to heart.

Part of that stew is the fact that I am a woman, and in so many ways programmed to look towards others for advice and validation, to look towards others for the “okay, yes, keep doing what you’re doing” high sign. That way of making decisions can be self-sabotaging though. As you run your handmade business you’re going to need to develop the strength to make many decisions on your own. That will only be harder if you need your decisions validated by others. It may even keep you from making decisions that you need to make, and possibly that you need to make quickly.  

Doubt, self doubt, second guessing yourself, not feeling confident, low self-esteem about the way your business is going, these will all be things you’ll deal with if you decide to turn selling your handmade work into a business. You will not be without these things. And while too much of these feelings will drag you down and keep you form doing the work that needs to be done, an occasional dose of doubt and it’s cousins will help you to keep trying new things and pushing forward with your work. 

You can’t outrun the doubt. It will be there. Even if you manage to grow your business into something that is successful by anyone’s definition of success, the doubt will always come eventually.  

There’s a Rumi quote that I especially like, that I feel is relevant to many of the harder things in life. I think it’s relevant to dealing with your “doubt demons” too:

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

Basically it’s the difficult stuff in life that’s in someways a gateway or a path to the more transcendent things we reach for and grow towards. I think when I was younger I thought that the point of living “successfully” (whatever the fuck that means!) was that eventually I would wake up everyday fully confident in everything I was doing, that there would be no second-guessing myself, there would be no DOUBTS. I also thought that eventually I would only create work I was 100% happy with and learn to always say exactly what was on my mind in a perfectly clear way that the person I was speaking to would understand. I had a lot of learning to do.

Doubt will be your bedfellow if you venture into this creative business world. She will tag team you at craft fairs, she will sit on your shoulder when you’re creating new designs, and she will sometimes keep you from doing some really stupid things. But if you let her take the reigns too much she will keep you from ever doing the work you truly want to do.

I think self-doubt and believing this story that doubt is telling us (Because it is a story, anyone who has become really good at telling themselves that their work rocks and they are awesome is also telling themselves a story. This is neither good nor bad, simply helpful to remember so we don’t put too much stock in these narratives.) goes hand-in-hand with the rabbit hole that many people fall down into. The wanting to wait until it’s all perfect rabbit hole. This also sometimes sounds like I just want to wait until I’m ready. Ready to launch a new product, or take a business course, or simply to try to start selling one’s work. 

The key to reaching for your dreams is to get comfortable with taking steps towards those dreams even when you don’t feel ready. 

Now, that is going to look different for everyone. Everyone is going to have a different threshold for the amount of uncertainty and unpredictability that they can handle. Some of us thrive on it, others need to parcel it out so as to not go into complete overwhelm. As a personal example: I was (relatively) comfortable with quitting my day job well before my business was making much money. It was profitable, but barely. I had reached a tipping point where I felt like working another job was taking too much time away from my biz. I accepted that money would be tight and that things would be a bit uncomfortable for a while. But I was more willing to accept that than say, continuing to work at the day job while working on my job into the wee hours and losing sleep. We all compromise where and when we can. And you will learn to too. 

I wrote this slightly rambling Creative Tenacity post about doubt because when I reached out to my fellow makers, creative business cohorts and my blog readers, this was resoundingly the topic most of your were interested in. I hope that it helps some of you through what may be a dark period or moment of questioning what you are doing. When you get to that place, just remember that it is not necessarily a sign that you are doing anything wrong and that even the most successful amongst us struggles with doubt regularly! I would say even daily. 

I’m going to leave you readers with these points, in summation of this slightly stream-of-consciousness post about doubt

Get used to feeling a bit uncomfortable, or outside of your comfort zone.

Develop a healthy habit of pursuing things and starting things before you feel 100% ready. Doing the thing or starting the thing will make you ready.

Learn to sit side by side with doubt and her cousins. Accept that doubt will never go away. You will simply learn to live with it. 

Lastly, I wanted to include a short list of resources that I find to be helpful when my doubt demons start to get too loud, or I’m in need of a personal pep-talk of sorts -

Stephanie St Claire

Marie Forleo

Tara Mohr

I also find that talking to a fellow creative when you’re feeling especially low or full of doubt can sometime be the best balm of all. 

Keep pushing and keep making your beautiful work everyone!

Full Circle ~ Calico Seasons

My newest collection is here: Calico Seasons. And I'm so happy with how it all came together. The palette really speaks to spring and newness and light femininity, but with an underlying strength. I'm also playing around with mixed metals again, which is definitely getting my creative juices flowing in a whole new way. 

There's also a small selection of OOAK pieces and limited editions, like the Sepia Seasons necklace (above, middle) and the Serpentine River Necklace (above, bottom.)

This collection, surprisingly (or not, depending on how you look at it) came our of a rather dark place. After the elections in November and the divisiveness that arose in our country, I was walking around feeling over-whelmed, angry, and hopeless. When shit goes sideways so to speak (and pardon my french) I often want to throw my all into fixing things, making things better, and I didn't see a clear way to go about fixing what was now, in my view, broken about our society. 

Slowly though, and with the help that comes from talking about these feelings with friends and those I care about, I started to see that the best work I could do would be to continue to do my creative work. I'm now really trying to put more of an emphasis on connecting with others too, helping other creatives out in whatever ways I can. (Part of that work is with the Creative Pursuit Collective, which you can read more about here.)

There four photos above are part of the Vista Series in the Calico Seasons collection. In particular, the Vista Bangle has quickly become a go-to piece for me and I'm finding myself wearing this piece nearly daily. I love this design (in all three - the earrings, the necklace and the bangle) because it's almost "shield" like in it's shape. It feels powerful. And I imagine that from our vantage point, or Vista, as we rise above the mess of the last few months, things will start to sort themselves out and become a bit more clear. 

As I've been saying, this collection is inspired by "nature's lessons and nature's patience." The designs came out of a confused and frustrating time for me, and a time when I found myself calmed and put at ease by simple things, like sunsets and sunrises, the birds chirping in my yard in the early morning or the light fog cloaking my street as I went about starting my day. 

It's funny how something inspired by very confused and dark emotions can end up feeling so light  and cheery, but that's exactly how this collection came about to be manifested. Or it's not so funny at all and in a way makes perfect sense. . . and shows me yet again how most things in life come full circle if we only give them the time. 

Through Wednesday, 3/22, take 15% off all pieces in the new collection with code nature. I will also be including small, hand-written bits of poetry with each item from the new collection. I hope to convey a certain feeling and idea with each design, and the poetry that will accompany each piece is my gift to you. 

Happy Monday everyone!

LWM ~ Wearing Handmade

Happy Monday everyone! Dropping in with some listening tunes and style inspo. to (hopefully) brighten the beginning of your week. . . 

Listening ~ This was an easy one this week. I've been voraciously listening to Alison Krauss's newest album, Windy City. Every song on the album sounds beautiful, as does her soulful voice. The album is a mix of covers and original songs. 

Wearing ~ I LOVE to wear other folks' handmade goodies. The outfit I managed to capture today was a nice showcase of wearables made by other talented folks. It also continues my trend of more monochromatic outfits as of late.

dress and cardigan ~ thrifted
quilted bag ~ Laura Lee Fritz      
hand-dyed rope necklace ~ Roxanne Young
Full Moon Eclipse Earrings
River Rock Bangles

Making ~ Honestly, this last week had me busy with mostly non-making things. I carved out some time to work on my current weaving project. Which is slowly but surely coming closer to completion. (I might actually sell this one!) The jewelry work was mainly photographing and editing photos for my new collection for spring/summer, which will be available in the webshop on March 15th! The photo below is from the photoshoot.

That's it for now! Have a wonderful week!