Shop Re-opened!

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I am now the proud mother of two 🙂 Baby number two is a healthy girl, growing rapidly. I’m finally getting the hang of managing two young children, so I am ending my maternity break and adding the business back into the equation. In addition to tweaking both this site and adapting to the changes that Etsy made during my break, I am working on expanding my product lines in preparation for the holidays.  Keep an eye on instagram for more updates!

Prospect Heights Craft Fair, Saturday April 25

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This Saturday I’ll be selling at the Prospect Heights Craft Fair. The show is located at P.S. 9 and the proceeds benefit arts programs at the school.

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I haven’t had time to sit down and photograph things properly, but these are a preview of what I’ll have available. Above is geometric line art in a chevron pattern.

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This one I’m pretty sure will be a hit. Pretty Mother’s Day cards available with rose, yellow or orange flowers. Once I get these photographed nicely I will list them in the shop, but that may be awhile so your best shot is to come to the show this Saturday 🙂

Shop Announcement: Maternity Leave

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Koto will be closing temporarily while I go on maternity leave. Timing maternity leave when you own a business is a tricky thing, particularly a one-person business. My due date is set for Monday, September 16, and rather than worrying about someone putting in an order right as my water breaks, I’ve decided the best thing to do is close things up preemptively. The shop will be closed for around 2-3 months, though I’m hoping to get listings up and running again around Thanksgiving in time for the holiday season. Thank you for your support!

New Items in the Shop

The past couple of weeks have been insanely hot! The upside is that it makes it easy for me to justify staying indoors to work on getting new items up in the shop.

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First up, new constellation cards! Most people don’t recognize the constellation of their zodiac sign, but Orion and the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) are two constellations that are among the easiest to identify. I had gotten a request at a market awhile back for Orion, so I thought I would add a couple more constellations to the constellation series of cards.

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I’ve also expanded the selection of notebooks to include these sketchpads. Due to the popularity of the bike mini-notebooks, I added bike sketchbooks. There are also flower sketchbooks and other designs.

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I’ve also listed the black and white notebooks that I premiered at the Handmade Cavalcade. These include the small and large versions of the notebooks inspired by the earth houses of Burkina Faso and modified chevron design.

I’ve shot pictures on several more items, and I’m working away on other projects with a big impending deadline, so hopefully I’ll back soon with updates on those!

Koto Showing at the 2013 Spring Handmade Cavalcade

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Apologies for the long silence, following a long break after the holidays, I am gearing up for the next big project for the shop. I am very happy to announce that Koto will be showing at the next Handmade Cavalcade on May 4 at The Space in Williamsburg (503 N 3rd Street).

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I’ve been designing, poking and sewing away trying to roll out a variety of new products for the show.

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Since Mother’s Day is the following weekend I prepared several cards that would be appreciated by moms.

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Above you’ll see a mother and baby owl card, a trio of flowers, and geometric MOM text cards.

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I’ve also expanded on the super popular bike mini-notebooks and enlarged them into sketchbooks.

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In addition to the bikes, you’ll find a variety of geometric patterns on sketchbooks.

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These notebooks are inspired by the decorations on the earth houses in Tiébélé, Burkina Faso.

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After the show I’ll be updating the Etsy shop with new listings for everything, but to get first shot at these products (and to avoid the wait of me making new inventory), come check out the Spring Handmade Cavalcade, this Saturday, May 4!

Coming up

I have a lot of plans for new items in the shop. I am half finished adding monthly planners (blank, so you have the flexibility to start on any date!), and there will be quite a few new notebooks soon.

The other big line I’m working on is for Valentine’s Day. No pictures yet, but here’s a preview…

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Handmade Cavalcade Recap

This past weekend I sold at my first handmade show! In case you missed my many updates, it was the bi-annual Handmade Cavalcade (holiday edition) put on by the New York Etsy Street Team. I think I made a good choice making this my first show since all the vendors were extremely supportive and friendly.

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The finished mural!

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The days leading up to the event were pretty exhausting, despite my best efforts I still had ridiculous amounts to do and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning the last few nights before Saturday.

Saturday morning I arrived way too early, greatly overestimating traffic. No surprises setting up, I even had time to run grab a pastry for breakfast.

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Here’s how my display ended up. I never actually got around to putting the whole thing up in a practice run at home, but everything functioned as I hoped.

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See the cash only sign on the right? That was my major mistake of the day. Luckily for me, right after I had finished setting up, one of the other vendors came over and recommended that I ditch the sign and grab a Square reader to accept credit cards. I had a smart phone and someone had spare readers, so I was able to download the app and set up an account on the spot. Good thing, almost a third of my sales were credit card, several from people who had no cash on them.

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The booth! The stand on the left was a major headache to set up (I made it stand up with shelf brackets nailed/screwed into the bottom on each side) but I think the height was worth it.

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I was at the end of the lane between handmade light switch/electrical covers by Lu and gorgeous handwoven scarves and blankets by Jean of Fiber Dance Weaving.

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The decorations were minimal but I think the crystals turned out well –I watched them stand at the tippy top of a very tall ladder to put them up!

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I also added some new items exclusively for the show. There were some new card designs, plus day planners (above) and snowflake gift tags (below).

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I’ll be adding them to the shop soon once I have time to take nice pictures.

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I couldn’t walk out without a bit of shopping –I picked up these lovely coasters by Wishbone Letterpress.

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I also did some card swapping with the incredibly talented Ursula at Pepper Press.

Overall it was a really great experience, and I learned a ridiculous amount. I don’t have time to prepare for another fair this holiday season, but I’m looking forward to see what comes next!

Cavalcade Mural

So this will be another short one I’m afraid, but I wanted to share a quick update. One thing that makes the Handmade Cavalcade special is that it is 100% run by members of the New York Etsy Team volunteering their time. Part of the way this is organized is that all of the vendors are assigned to subcommittees to make sure that all the work is divided up.

I was assigned to the mural committee. I’m not much of a painter, and when I woke up to heavy drizzle I was less than enthused. Fortunately, Michelle of My Zoetrope had everything organized and set to go.

All we had to do was fill in the outlined letters. There will be crystals and penguins too I believe, but those will wait until better weather.

I was also very lucky to have my artistically-gifted sister in town visiting me. She helped out with the lettering and we finished pretty quickly, despite the cold and the rain.

Only a few more days until the Cavalcade, coming up this weekend!

Getting Ready for the Cavalcade

I’m planning on posting some more complete information on what I’ve done to prepare for the upcoming Holiday Handmade Cavalcade. Unfortunately I’ve been so slammed trying to get everything done while working and taking care of the rest of my life, that I’m not able to sit down and properly photograph and record what I’ve been working on. Until then, here’s where I’m at:

I acquired a table over the weekend, an old fold-up one that I got from some veterans of the street fairs. Yes it’s covered with a bed sheet. That giant frame on the left is something I’m working on turning into a display, we’ll see how that works out…It’s far from finished but it’s on it’s way!

 

Craft Show Card Display

I have my first craft show coming up and I’m pretty excited and nervous. I’m trying to counteract the nervousness by being as prepared as possible.

One huge difference between selling live and selling online is that you need to totally rethink the way you display things. For my Etsy shop I do my best to take nice photographs, but since my items are all 2D I just show them flat on a plain background. For my table I needed to figure out a way to display my items vertically so that shoppers walking by can actually see what I’m selling.

I had two major restrictions on my display, it needed to fold flat for ease of transportation/storage and be relatively cheap. Since I’m new to the whole craft show scene I’m not quite ready to commit to a large investment until I have a better idea of what works and how often I’ll be doing these shows.

I did a lot of searching on flickr’s Show Me Your Booths group and found a lot of really nice displays. Many displays use a spinning rack, like you see in stores, or tiered wood racks. Unfortunately both of these solutions violate my criteria of being cheap and relatively flat. Another common theme I saw was the use of clothespins and string to display flat items. I really loved this display by Your Secret Admiral, where she uses a wood frame to hang strings and then pins her cards with mini clothespins.

With this idea I headed to Michaels to try to find some way to create a base and stand for my clothespin card display. After a failed attempt with buckets of stones and sticks, I found two wire folding-easel wreath stands. Only $2.50 each! I bought a dowel and after a bit of black paint, I ended up with this:

The dowel sits where the wreath would hang, and I have it attached with twisty ties. Then I swung by goodwill and bought an old black curtain. I cut it up and sewed covers for my two stands:

I took the top part of the curtain that I had left intact and hung it on the dowel through the existing pocket to create a solid background for my cards. On the stand covers I left strategically placed gaps in my seams so that I could sneak string through the seam and tie it to the wire frames. Unfortunately, at this point I discovered that the tension of the string would pull the bases together. After a LOT of experimenting (which I did not document) I finally settled on adding another pole across the bottom, which I twisty tied to my stands to hold everything in place. The hanging curtain covers the pole across the bottom. My finished product looks like this now:

Apologies for the terrible photos, at this point I had been fiddling with the thing for awhile and I didn’t want to re-set up the whole display with better lighting/positioning. I’m debating sawing off the ends so the top looks less awkward, or expanding the bottom to make the display wider.

Once I figure out how I will acquire a table I will stage my entire table setup to see how the whole thing works together. Otherwise my backup plan is lots of baskets!