Saturday, April 10, 2010

Getting Personal With My Packaging

With the down turn in the economy, I've had more time to work on the packaging and presention of my hand made jewelry. I've been using vistaprint's free offers for my business cards, note cards( I like to include thank you notes with my mail orders), and craft fair banners for years but recently I've come up with other uses for some of their free promotional materials. I discovered that I can create great looking labels, to personalize the generic jewelry gift boxes I use, from vistaprint's free return address labels. I found a great template on the website that fit my tropical theme perfectly and had them print "Made in Hawaii by Julie Kirby" on the labels instead of my address. I'm very pleased with how great these labels look and I've been getting alot of compliments from my customers. After recieving a vistaprint offer for a free photo upload, I began thinking about how I could create custom earring hang cards using an interesting photo as a background. I discovered that the free 100 standard postcards were the perfect size if cut in half. I took a closeup shot of a banana leaf from the backyard and uploaded that photo to vistaprint. I had them print this photo onto the postcards along with my business name and my own name on either half of the front and a brief bio and my etsy URL on either half of the back. I cut these postcards in half with my paper cutter and then fold down 1" of the top to form the hang tab. Now I have these eye catching, custom earring hang cards and I can't wait to show them off at my next craft fair.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Craft Festivals in Hawaii : A New Attitude

Many artisans view craft fairs as a necessary but, unpleasant, means of marketing their art. Exposing one's creativity to a public who can, at times, make some very thoughtless remarks can be frustrating and discouraging. At times over the last few years, with the economic downturn, I've certainly felt this way but a few months ago I decided to get a new attitude.

In Hawaii, blessed with a warm tropical climate, outdoor craft festivals are held all year round. The locations are usually lovely parks often near the ocean. I sell my hand fabricated jewelry at about twenty fairs a year. My customers are a mix of locals and visitors from all over the world. Oahu is a small island and the craft community is even smaller; we all know each other and many are good friends. Now, instead of thinking of craft festivals as a chore that takes me away from my workbench and what I like doing best,making jewelry, I am focusing on what I like best about selling at craft fairs.

One of my favorite things about doing a craft fair is getting to spend a weekend outside of my workshop, at a beautiful locale, on a part of Oahu that I wouldn't have thought to visit. I participate in fairs from North Shore to Waikiki and Kailua to Ko'olina.

Another aspect that I enjoy is interacting with a wide variety of people face to face. Artisans tend to be an interesting and quirky bunch and are often extremely funny. Most of the visitors, on vacation from everywhere, are happy, relaxed and in vacation mode. Some folks can be rude, but most give my work a lot of compliments and, whether they make a purchase or not, that always makes me feel good.

Spending much of my time working in my home based studio, I rarely need to wear more than a pair of shorts and a tank top, so putting on makeup and a fashionable outfit to show off what a beautiful fashion accessory my jewelry can be is really fun for me.

I no longer think of selling my jewelry at craft festivals as a dreaded chore but rather as an opportunity to spend the weekend in a beautiful park, visiting with friends, meeting interesting travelers and looking good while doing it. And making sells? They're the icing on the cake.