Thursday, October 17, 2013

Opportunity Knocking.....

I went for my monthly massage today.  I LOVE my massage therapist. She's amazing, she's a lovely person, she's so knowledgeable about SO many things, and she's passionate about baseball!  She's just the best.
She is located in a building that is about 30 minutes from my home.  The building is old, but it's kept up all right.
As I walk into the building I usually stop to read the bulletin board in the entry-way.  There was a sheet up there with information on it about availability of space for rent in the building.  They offer heat/AC (a must for me - I MUST be cool in summer), high speed internet, and one month free (not sure how long a lease would have to be signed for in order to get that).  To top it off.....the rent is only $250/month!  I mean, seriously? 
I believe in putting things out to the Universe.  The Universe usually answers my requests.....the only one I've had issues with, is winning the lottery!  Go figure.  The other things usually turn out just fine - parking spaces, no traffic around me, little things like that.....
I can't remember when I started wanting to find a craft that I'd love, and not get tired of doing, and to have a shop from which I could sell goods that I make and supplies to make the things like I make.  I mean, I'm 57 years old - and I have been dreaming this at least since I was a kid.....it's been a LIFE-LONG dream for sure.
Up to now, I didn't think there was any way for it to come true.
Of course, my hubby is the income person.  I'm the spend person.....and I don't like it that way.
I've tried to sell my goods on Etsy, and on my own website.  Neither has been successful.
There are 2 other shops in the area, and when I say, in the area, I mean, within 40 miles of where I live (I'm kind of in the middle).  One is North, and she lives on the edge of a mountain, and it's quite tricky getting to her studio.  Her studio isn't really a selling studio, she and her daughter mostly work out of the studio, though if you want lessons or to buy fiber, she is available to sell to you or give you lessons.  The other studio is South of me, also on the side of a mountain - and a tricky driveway to get up.  This studio IS a good studio to go to for lessons and weaving yarns, but she doesn't carry much fiber.....
Both these ladies are older than I am.
Both of them have their studios at their home.
Putting a building up on our property would cost about $13,000.  Maybe more.  That's just for a small building.  I can't really advertise open hours, but I could put a sign out. 
In this building where the space is for rent, I'm not sure I can put a sign up.  I also am not sure how much traffic I'd get.  I don't know what it takes to have a business in that county, either.

On the other hand, if I got a space at the building for rent, I'd have to drive there every day I want to be open....which in winter, could be tricky.  Of course, if the roads are that bad, no one would be out shopping - whether it be at the for rent building, or here at the house.

Oye.  This is a dream for me.....but I fear, only a dream.  It is an idea, growing in my head and heart.

Dear hubby is skeptical, and he worries.  Money going out hand over fist, to run my business, when I'm not making much, isn't a good thing....if only my online business was going better.

Well, I just needed to write this all down because it's in my head, and even though I talked to hubby, bless his heart, it's not something he's going to think is a good idea.............

Well, that's my post for today............
Thanks for listening to my dreams...............

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New colors

I have some new colors in the shop.  Nutmeg and brown.  They go well with the gold and red and burnt orange already in the shop.
If you're interested, take a look HERE. 

I've applied to be a vendor at Shenandoah Fiber Festival in 2014.  The venue is lovely, there is so much to choose from, and we can drive up and back. It'll make for a couple of really long days, but that's okay.  We can do it.  I hope we get accepted.

Don't forget to mark your calendar for April 2014 for the Powhatan Festival of Fiber too.  We're going to be there.

For these 2 festivals, I plan on carrying a lot of add-ins - both ecru for people to dye themselves, and some hand-dyed.  My winter mission will be to get lots of that ordered, and dyed. 

We recently had some improvements done on the house, and one of them was to add electrical outlets in the basement, and a bit more power, so I can run the microwave and/or the slow cookers.  The outside faucet (just outside the basement door) has been replaced which means I can use it for the water source.  I'll have to do a lot of in and out dumping water, but that's okay.  I also recently purchased a new spin dryer, and it works WONDERFULLY!  I'm really glad I invested in it. It will make drying fiber and yarn much quicker and less messy.

I haven't felt too well the last couple of days.  Last week, we had 5 (FIVE) days of rain in a row - steady rain - everything from a mist to downpours, but mostly a steady shower day in and day out.  I think that has affected my allergies, and I have yucky stuff dripping down my throat, it makes me cough, and I feel generally drained.  I'm resting up because I have so many ideas and things I want to get done!

I also have a rigid heddle loom on order, and I will be busy with that, once it gets here.  Fun things coming from that, I hope, with my handspun yarn and bits and bobs.

I have some new things I'm ready to try.  I want to try spinning some boucle' yarn.  I've seen it done on YouTube (where I learn almost everything I do).  I can hardly wait to try it!  I'm also going to work on some more art yarn.  I still need to photograph my dream catchers - they are SO hard to photograph - they are long, so I have to do close-ups separately.  It's hard to see the details in the distance shots.  My new camera, the Nikon D3100 is working well.  We are still getting to know each other.

Fall has arrived, even though 10 days ago, it was 90 degrees over the weekend (before the rains hit).  It's been cool and lovely out since.  I love the cooler weather and usually feel much more energetic (except when the allergies are attacking me).

That's about it for now.  Please visit the shop and buy something!  ;-)
Take care,
Martha

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Updating, decisions, and new stuff!

Hi there!  There was an interesting discussion on FB on one of the fiber groups.  It was about Etsy, their fees, and what might be good/better/best. 
I came to the conclusion that I'm not that big and famous as some of the people that posted.  I'm a beginner seller, and things are going slow.  I have faith that I have the right stuff, it's priced right, and that I can make a go at this. I've been in business less than a year, and although I myself keep forgetting that it's "only" been a year, I gotta give myself a break.

The shipping fees were bothering me on my items.  I hated that I had to put a fee that covered all that is involved in the shipping, to include the labels I use, the ink, printer, tape, plastic bags, boxes or envelopes, gas to get to the post office (about 20 miles away), and the fees incurred with using Etsy when something sells.  There is a LOT that goes into having a small business, that is done both on internet and at shows (when I can get IN to a show).

I decided to charge a flat rate for my items, and that increased the costs, but in the long run I believe it saves the buyer some of the fees of having separate shipping costs for each item.  I'm hoping I'm right.  I upped my prices on some of my fiber by $4.00.  That is to help me cover all the costs involved and still feel like I'm making money. I think I hope that I have kept my prices competitive, covered my costs, and can still make a decent profit. 

It's all in where you are in business and what you can handle.  I tried having my own website and selling from it, but they were nickel and diming me to death on the costs to have an online shop.  It was time consuming and a pain in the butt.  Therefore, the ease of using Etsy was appealing to me, and let's face it, the less time I spend on the computer doing business, the more time I can spend creating and enjoying what I love to do!  Time IS money!  I may get rid of the website in the end, and just have my blog, FB page, and Etsy (and sell in person when I can).

I received an order on Monday night which included some milk protein fiber and a couple of fall colors of fiber.  I'm trying to decide if I want to spin the fiber into yarn, and mix the colors or make a striping yarn, or if I will just put it all up for sale!  The colors are lovely.  I'll get pics soon.  I have to break down the fiber into 4 ounce braids, label them, and list them.  Today will be a good day to do that, as it's sunny out.  On the other hand, the stinkbugs are out in swarms and it's awful!  It's hard to get into the house without being attacked and having to whack about 20 or 30 of them off the door!  In the afternoon, they are all over the windows.  It's quite disgusting! 

I can't remember if I've also mentioned that I have a new camera - a Nikon D3100.  YAY.  I have been watching the dvd.  I keep thinking I need to put it in the player, and lay down with my eyes closed, and hope it comes to me through osmosis!  There is SO much to learn.  I do want to get a micro lens eventually.

I was just popping around on Etsy too, and found they have APPS they suggest using.  I clicked on this one called Foto Fuze and it takes you photos, and you highlight the items, and anything you don't highlight, it turns to white.  Messy backgrounds disappear.  And it's free.  Go here and it should link you to the page.  Quite easy to use and interesting.  I hope it will help me with my photos!

Speaking of which, I need to get busy taking photos of the dream catchers.  Here is one that I did on Foto Fuze. 

I think it turned out pretty cool.  I also was able to brighten my photo on Foto Fuze.  So there ya go. Now to try it with some close ups.....

That's about it from me.  It's lunch time and I'm hungry (no big surprise there....).

Take care of yourself.  Today, do something for you, something you love to do, or just take time to take care of you.
Always,
Martha