Monday, December 10, 2012

90 Days of Xmas - Day ????

I started this post series 90 Days of Xmas with good intention, but so far I have written only one post. Time has not been my friend and issues such as sickness has come in the way of my creativity. I guess when they say that you need a plan and goal planner they were not kidding...

Now that am feeling a bit better I have been creating a few Christmas decorations. I found this vintage book which I have been slowly decimating its pages. These are a couple of the items I have been creating...
I thought I might put a tutorial together to share how I created the flower decoration (top image). 

To begin with I took two pages from my book. Each measures 10.5 by 18 cm. Measure 2cm increment from the edge of the page on both sides as shown below:
Cut the page into strips, you should have 10 strips which is enough to make the flower, but if you want the flower to be fuller you can have up to 15 strips.
Align all the strips together and cut a piece of hemp string which a bit longer than the paper, then fold in half and staple in the center:
Now using double-sided tape glue one edge of the top strip to the center.
Keep doing the same for the remaining strips until you have folded one half of the flower.
Repeat the process with the other side, until you've done the whole lot. 
You now a flower that can be decorated as you like it. as I wanted a more vintage feel I have simply punched 1inch circles out of one of the pages and glued a wooden button to it and glued it to the top of the flower. Also glue a circle to the back of the flower.
And voila these what we end up with. 

I hope you have as much fun doing these as I did....

And here is the ornament in the Christmas tree at work....


Thursday, November 22, 2012

A day at the Facebook Bootcamp @ Ridges Hotel Brisbane

Well the boot camp has been on through Australia for the month or and Tuesday the 20th it was Brisbane's turn. The morning started with an overview of the day as shown in agenda below:

Some key topics were discussed and also introduction was made of what is Facebook Marketing by the wonderful Nick Bowditch, who used to be a small business owner but is now working for Facebook.

We were told that the main focus of Facebook Marketing should be storytelling...sharing content is key!

"Less engagement means you are less engaging"

They also made sure we were made aware that "Edge Rank" does not exist in Facebook term, but was created by a blogger...not that I knew what it was to begin with.

The crowd was mainly divided into people who had no idea what a Facebook page was to those who were a little bit more savvy. 

The 4 main points of the morning session were:
Image Source:
Some points of interests were:

  • Find other companies in similar field to market their products in your cover photo.
  • Your "Talking About" should be 25% of your Likes.
  • Use Page Insights to optimise your page posts.
  • Publish visually engaging page posts.
  • Plan the story telling of your business using story arcs.
  • Create a content calendar...
  • Facebook is about narrow-casting not broadcasting.

That last two comments definitely started me thinking that I have been doing a lot of broadcasting so it might be a good idea to change my post contents and frequency of the posts.

  • Your cover photo should from now on be void of any text such as email, website, or telling people to like your page If that is the case your page will be deleted by Facebook after three warnings.

You can find more detailed information at the Facebook Business Page. As the morning sessions ended there was a break for morning tea.

The next session was about "Facebook Insights", what dreadful but important words. What it really is, is the measure of how your page is performing. It can be found at the top of your page in the Admin Panel:

It opens up to give you details such as demographics of your likes and the reach and also the number of people talking about your page. You should find the balance between LIKES and PTAT.

The next sessions was about creating Ads for your business. This was the part I was most interested in. They are introducing this new thing called Targeted Marketing. Now you can choose a grouping of people to send your ad to, be it mums to engaged couples, to married couples, to university students based on the product you are providing and also the market you want to cater to. The thing is the narrower the number of your target audience the better coverage of your ad. Here is an example of an ad I created just yesterday:

Other new features coming up would be Promoted Posts, Facebook Offers, Facebook Gifts, and Custom Audiences which will allow you to advertise to Offline audiences. All the new features can be accessed from the following page.

Facebook Apps was the next topic of discussion. The 5 main apps that each page should have are Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram. Other apps of interest are Fan of the Week, shopping carts such as Etsy, Pavement or Equid, others are Handmade Australia, RSS Graffiti. The main focus was on the app created by the presenter Donna Hamer. The app is Fanpage Competitions, and it is used to run competitions for all your likers or get new fans of your page by offering them a prize.

Then it was time for lunch..

The afternoon was a bit more laid back, we were shown pages of big brands and how they got it right or wrong and how we can use some of the techniques they've used to make our pages more appealing to our fans. After all the reason we are doing this is for people who like our stuff to let us know.

Pages of Interest

Disney Australia
Fanta - (Edgy)
Oreo - (Awesome)
Humans of New York


Overall the day was a great success for me and it has definitely made me become more aware of the content that I create and also the best methods and practices that I can implement to get the best out of my for 2013 I will have to come up with a much more engaging page...back to the drawing board.

I hope this account has been informative and will encourage those without a page to start thinking of one and those with one to start thinking of ways to make it better. 

I thank you for joining me and ciao for now.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

90 Days of Xmas - Day 5

25th September to 25th December
90 Days of Xmas.....that is my take for this festive season.

So to begin I have decided to post photos of all items that I make during this period in a weekly post preferably on Fridays. As I have been 5 days late in coming up with this new post series I have pics of cards I made last year before I decided to start this journey of turning my hobby into a handmade small business.

And while I was searching through the myriad of pictures from way back when I came across some of my earliest creations, and it was so funny in a weird sort of way to see how I have progressed from those cards to the ones I create now.

They were made for Christmas 2010 and I mainly used items I had such as gift tags, ribbons and bits of scrap paper I had lying around. Here are the pictures....

The following pics were I think from an even earlier time.....

Now back to our previous discussion, that of posting weekly photos of Seasonal Christmas Cards till December 25th. I was also thinking of giving away free printable of gift tags and other xmas related items.

The first posting of pics can be found on my Facebook Page but the rest will be featured as a posting here on the blog and the pics added to an album on the FB page. 

Here are the pics that has been posted for the first week, what a difference just in the style of photography. I suppose reading all these articles on how taking good pictures are vital is finally starting to sink in. I do believe there is much to improve on but I reckon I am getting the hang of it now...anyway back to the pics...

This collection was inspired by a white Christmas and the gold and silver colour scheme which is more popular for New Year's Eve.

I hope you enjoy them as much as it was a pleasure for me to make them.

Cheers, till next week!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Crafter's Essential Links....Listings No. 2

Well last time I was foccussed more on selling on Esty links and articles. This post is more about branding, social media marketing and other marketing related links.

First I will start by giving some very interesting link from Inspiration Feed. I discovered this website via another website I use My Guest Blog. After sitting here for half a day and going through awhole of awesome articles I thought that maybe I need to share them with others who may not know about this wonderful website.

I've decided to split the listing into sets of five based on the type of content.

  1. New Facebook Timeline for Brands: Rookie to Pro Guide
  2. 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover
  3. 25+ Examples of New Creative Facebook Profile Pages
  4. Five Brand Pages That Got the Facebook Timeline Layout Right
  5. Fans Share and How Brands Can Capitalize On It
  1. Build Your Following: Twitter Marketing Tips
  2. How to Make a Topic Trend on Twitter
  3. Five Great Ways to Increase Your Twitter Followers
  4. How To Communicate Effectively Within a 140-Character Limit
  5. Twitter and the Politeness Game: Etiquette on the New Social Giant
  1. How to Build Your Brand through Guest Blogging
  2. 3 Examples of Branding Done Right
  1. 4 Good Habits for Successful Blogging
  2. How to Get 1000 Blog Subscribers
  3. 5 Reasons why Blogging is better for Your Business than Social Networking
  4. How to Make Your Blog Stand Out From the Crowd
  5. Five Tools That Can Help Make Your Blogging Easier
WOW what a listing, after going through all this the day is almost over. I hope you find as much useful information from these pages as I did and that it will inspire you start implementing some of the ideas and inspiration. Now I know why they call it "INSPIRATIONFEED".

As for me I think I need to start by redefining my brand and create some awesome marketing material, then try and make my Facebook page more appealing and also to go over my blog and make some changes.

Well folks better start reading until the next listing post.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Crafter's Essential Links....

Hello all

Wanted to share some links that I have been going through during the day as I was at home nursing a headache and recuperating from a few days of celebrating of celebration, it was my birthday after all...anyway enough about me and let's talk about those links...

It all started with an email I got from Handmadeology and after several clicks and many page changes I came to these pages:
  1. 1,000 Sales in My First Year of Business on Etsy
  2. 450 Sales in the First Three Months of Business
  3. Competitively Speaking, Think Abundance
  4. Crafting a true Marketing Plan for your Etsy Business
  5. Newsletters: So Easy, An Artist Could Do It
  6. Public Relations Marketing & Scoring Free Publicity
  7. 8 Articles to read before you start an Etsy Store
Reading through some of my other emails and checking some of my facebook posts these articles proved to be good reads.
  1. When you’re trying really hard but it feels like you’re getting nowhere 
  2. What the hell is a linesheet?
As I troll through the huge list of stuff I have I will continually add to this list. I also came across this huge list of social media icons in which I hope you can find some to your interests and also use them on your blog.

Social Media Icons

Good luck going through these, it took me the better part of the afternoon, had to stop to go get some groceries or else there won't be any food for luch for the week



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Creative Business Tool Inventory.....

As I have mentioned before I am putting together of tools that I have discovered and/or use. I thought to make it more interesting I should do one tool per post.

So today I will be talking about CraftyBase

This is the perfect tool for us the creative. Their mantra is Keep track of what you make! I so agree, who has time to be calculating material costs and labour cost.

The tool can help in making decisions such as:

How much should I sell my handmade products for?

  • Automatically calculate your exact material costs per product
  • Keep track of your labor and time
  • Incorporate postage and other expenses
  • See your profit margins on each sale made

  How much did I spend to make my products this month?

  • Log all costs involved in producing your products
  • Associate purchases with projects and inventory items
  • Import your Etsy listing, renewal and commission fees instantly
  • Filter by date and view graphically to see trends

  How much profit in total did I make this year?

  • Track your sales from all channels - online and offline
  • Instant profitability calculations
  • Easy to understand graphs and charts
  • Find out your busy months so you can prepare in advance

It also helps to keep on top of other part of your business such as:
  • Stock and inventory tracking - Keep tabs on what you have in stock and what you need to reorder
  • Time tracking - Track how long it takes you to make each item you sell.
  • Importing your Etsy Data - Import your sales, Etsy fees and listings at the touch of a button.
  • Calculating cost of goods sold - makes things a snap at tax time.

You can try it for 30 days for free and see how much you like, but then it is US$ 7.99/month.

I have been using it extensively this month only but I've had it for more than 6 months and so far I like the clean interface and the ease of use. The only issue I have with it so far is that once you've imported your data from Etsy you still have to edit them again as they are created as new projects.

So let's say you've created your account or you've logged in then the first thing to do is to go to the Settings and change your currency and country to Australia. This is where you will also have to set your hourly rate in dollars. Then you can either import your Etsy shop or start adding materials for your inventory, which will then be used for making items that are added into projects.

I find that it is easier to create the projects first for all the kind of items you make, e.g. I have this new Small Bright Card collection that is a small 4in card with a matching handmade envelope. The only difference is that the colour of the envelope changes so I made one project for each of the colour change. Then I added the materials that will be used for creating those cards. I do not add things such as glue and ink for printing or even the envelope template that I used as these items are the core tools for my whole process so there is no need to add it to the price of each product. But it is all up to you how detailed you want to go to.

I reckon the best way to use this tool is try it out, test different ways of doing things until you find the method that works for your business and your way of doing things.

Wow this was meant to be a small post, but I've been so engrossed in giving a good review that I've gone on and on. I hope I have given you guys enough details to get you interested and get you to actually give the tool a try....what can you loose it is for free for 30 days.....go on I know you wanna

Until next time