Thursday, December 31, 2009

crafting an MBA - business thinking for designers & makers

I alluded to it in my last post, but I wanted to officially announce the launch of my new website - crafting an MBA - business thinking for designers and makers!

Its seems long overdue that I would start a blog focused on business thinking - its something I always love to talk about. Over at craftMBA, I'll be sharing useful tips on running a business, marketing, pricing, social media and more, my recommended and currents reads (which are sure to triple since I got a Kindle for Christmas!) and my thoughts on trends in the craft and business world.

Its only because of the support I've received on my business related posts here that I had the courage to start crafting an MBA, so thank you! Won't you join me in my new space? The new year seems like the perfect time to focus and get our businesses into shape!

(No worries, I'll still be blogging here as well.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

my year (and decade) in review

The Personal MBA has a really great post up about taking some time to review your accomplishments at the end of the year. Its likely that you've reached the end of the year feeling disappointed at what you haven't accomplished (which is how I feel all the time) but by taking the time to list out what you've done, you should realize that you've accomplished a lot.

(I sure hope that's the case, because reading the list of Josh's accomplishments at the Personal MBA has just made me feel more inadequate.) So here's my list:

In 2009, I:
  • launched a new line of home decor goods at the New York International Gift Fair.
  • traveled to Arizona, Ohio, and New York to speak to students at Arizona State, Kent State, and FIT.
  • traveled to San Francisco to participate in the SFMOMA trunk show for the second year in a row.
  • taught 5 classes at Towson University (including integrating new assignments and processes into the curriculum).
  • exhibited at the Museum Store Association Show and NYIGF.
  • designed and launched the cozy/cuff!
  • completed 2 triathlons.
  • coached middle and high school cross country.
  • traveled to Washington, DC to advocate for bicycling.
  • organized a fundraising bike ride.
  • launched a new website dedicated to business thinking for designers and makers. (This one's so new I haven't even posted about it on this blog yet.)

And since its the end of the decade, Josh recommends looking back at what you've accomplished in the last 10 years as well.

In the last decade, I:
  • graduated from Syracuse University with a BFA in metalsmithing (and with honors).
  • designed and implemented a program with my Residence Hall Association that won National Program of the Year.
  • received an MFA in jewelry/metals from Kent State.
  • was awarded a SNAG Student Scholarship.
  • was a Searchlight Artist at the American Craft Council Baltimore Show.
  • was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Towson University my first year out of grad school.
  • have continued to teach at Towson, where I helped redesign the intro metals and jewelry class.
  • presented "Navigating the Web 2.0" at the SNAG Professional Development Seminar in Savannah.
  • traveled to Santa Fe to consult with Patina Gallery on using web 2.0 technologies.
  • started this blog and launched my Etsy shop.
  • participated in many retail craft shows.
  • got married.
  • bought a house.
  • adopted a dog.
  • ran a 1/2 marathon, a lot of 5ks, and completed 3 triathlons.
  • won a 5k.
  • coached middle and high school cross-country for 3 seasons.
After making my list, I'm still not completely satisfied. Perhaps I'm too much of a perfectionist, or need a serious self-esteem boost. Or perhaps I should take my own advice and do some big picture goal setting so that I can look back on the next decade with more satisfaction.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


So I guess I wished everyone happy holidays a little early, because I still haven't started my Christmas vacation yet.

I've been working on some new "packaging" for the cozy/cuffs. While they've been selling really well online, I'm having a little trouble with them in retail venues. Online, I can totally communicate all the product uses with a few good photos, but in person they are hard to understand.

Ok, that's not entirely true - if you see one being worn or used on a coffee cup, they make perfect sense. Its just in a retail display, they are a little tricky. And with the gift fair right around the corner, I really need to resolve that.

So I'm trying to work on a tag that clearly displays the dual function of the cozy/cuff, without bogging it down with excess packaging. And since I took some new product shots that I'm totally loving, I'm working on incorporating those into the "packaging."

Monday, December 21, 2009

happy holidays!

How can you resist a face like this?

Thanks for all your support in 2009! Have a safe and happy holiday season and a wonderful new year!

And if you're lucky enough to have a white Christmas (like it looks like we will in PA) go out and enjoy it!

Friday, December 18, 2009

you buy, i buy

I've been feeling the Etsy love lately, and this morning I came up with an idea so crazy it just might work. As of this morning, I had $142 in my paypal account, and decided, "wouldn't it be fun just to spend it all on Etsy today?" A little holiday treat for myself + I get to support other independent makers. And then I thought, "what if I sell anything else on Etsy today?"

So I decided, for every dollar of sales in my Etsy shop today, I'll turn around and spend that money back on Etsy, today. The more I sell, the more I buy.

So if you were thinking about buying something from my Etsy shop, today is a good day to do it, because you'll be supporting another Etsy seller as well. How cool is that?

And if you're in the US, any orders placed today will still arrive in time for Christmas.

Happy holidays!

PS. The You Are So Loved print by Jess Gonacha was my first purchase today - and she's having a sale, all screen prints are $5 today.

Monday, December 14, 2009

cozy/cuff SKINNY SNAP

One last addition to the latest cozy/cuff redesign is the cozy/cuff SKINNY SNAP. The SKINNY SNAP is a narrower version of the original design - perfect if you want a smaller bracelet, but still big enough to protect your hand from that hot beverage. Available now in my Etsy shop.

And don't forget, I'm still offering free shipping on all cozy/cuffs. The last day to order for guaranteed holiday delivery (if you're in the US) is Sunday, December 20th, so don't wait too much longer! The cozy/cuff makes a great (and totally unique) gift!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

recent press

I've had two very busy days in my Etsy shop thanks to some really wonderful press. First, Grace featured the cozy/cuff on design*sponge. Then Tara did a lovely post on the cozy/cuff and my new ornaments over at INK + WIT. Thanks, ladies!

You might be wondering how I was lucky enough to get such nice press, but truthfully, it wasn't all luck. I actually emailed both ladies (along with several other bloggers). It really is as simple as that. (Sort of.) The key is to make sure you send a polite, personalized email with great pictures and a clear description of your product. To a blog that's right for your work. And don't get angry if they don't feature you. And be sure to say thank you if they do.

Thanks again, Grace and Tara! And thanks to everyone who bought something. And thanks to you for reading this! This is one of those weeks where I can see how truly blessed I am, and what an amazing job I have. Thank you!

Friday, December 4, 2009

blue +

I am officially sold out of original turquoise blue cozy/cuffs in my Etsy shop, and won't be getting any more before the holidays. But a little birdie told me they are available over at I'm so excited to be partnering with a company whose goal is to stop the spread of cheap disposables.

And of course, don't forget the new cozy/cuff SNAP, which is available in a lighter turquoise blue in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

two lectures by Garth Clark you must listen to

When you do as much driving as I do, you start to look for ways to make your commute do double duty. I'm a big fan of audiobooks, but my preference for niche non-fiction means that many books on my "to read" list haven't made it into audiobook form.

Thats why I was so excited to discover all the lectures from the recent American Craft Council conference were available as podcasts on iTunes. The standout, must listen to lecture of the conference has to be Garth Clark's "Palace and Cottage". This is a follow up to Clark's 2008 lecture, "How Envy Killed the Crafts Movement" at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland. Both lectures express a sentiment I have often thought - craft needs to stop aspiring to be art and move on.

I must admit I have grown a little disgusted with the crafts world in the last 18 months, and have actually distanced myself from it. (Or at least, distanced myself from the craft establishment.) But Clark's lectures have reinvigorated me and reminded me that craft is worth fighting for - or as Clark would say, resurrected.

I highly recommend you listen to both lectures, they will certainly give you much to think about. You can download "Palace and Cottage" from this page, and "How Envy Killed the Crafts Movement" here.

A big thank you to Gabriel Craig of Conceptual Metalsmithing for making me aware of these lectures.