Friday, 30 May 2008

You Are Invited!

You are cordially invited to the Fashion, Design and Lifestyle Team Debutante Ball!

We are introducing our fabulous, creative team to the world this weekend. We have challenged the members of the team to create something special and unique for our virtual debutante ball. Check out all the fabulous items in our team shop as well as our individual members shops. Look for all that eye-catching red and turquoise!

Keep checking in as we add more delicious items!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Joining the Arts & Crafts Show Circuit

You’ve signed up, you’ve been accepted, and you are all set to sell at a craft show! Or are you? What do you have to do next?


The equipment includes items such as a tent (for outdoor shows), tables, chairs, standing racks, etc. First, ask what the venue will supply and what you must bring. Second of all, borrow, borrow, and borrow! The equipment you need for a fair can be very expensive so borrow if you can. Be creative! Your local church may loan you tables and chairs. Your Mom may have the perfect coat rack.

If you know that you will be doing many shows, here are a few tips on buying equipment.

· Purchase items at local wholesale clubs, such as Costco, if you have one in your area.
· Look at sporting goods stores. Their camping area usually has tents, chairs, etc.
· Purchase at the end of the season, if you can. A $200 tent with sides may become $60 when the season is done.
· Make sure all items are easy to assemble, fold up and pack away nicely.
· Invest in a good banner. Have it made or make it yourself. It should catch customer’s eyes, reflect your logo or branding, and be sturdy and weatherproof.


Here’s where your creativity should shine! Make your booth or table look fantastic and people will be attracted to your items.

Many venues require a table covering that reaches the floor. You can hide extra inventory under the tables. Use tablecloths, decent quality sheets, or fabric. Vintage drapery fabric makes great table coverings. Use pins and Velcro to make a tidy table covering. Adding a bright strip of fabric down the middle of your display can really brighten a simple (and cheap) white tablecloth. I use round placemats scattered on a white tablecloth, mimicking the circles of my logo.

Anything can be used for a display. I have used baskets, black metal tree sculptures, and funky wooden tiered baskets from Africa. If your items are extremely colorful, you may want to try all black for your display items. Vintage luggage makes a cool display for items (and an easy way to transport them, too). Break up your display visually by adding height and dimension. Fabric covered boxes and cake stands add height. Vintage bowls are interesting and keep small items tidy. Look at what you already have in your home and how it may be used for display. Scour flea markets and antique shops. Look at items for their display and hanging value. What can you create on your own? Your local garden shop or hardware store is a treasure trove of possibilities! Inexpensive clay pots or piping can be used in hundreds of ways.

Finally, place business cards, postcards, or other marketing materials in strategic places on your table. Also include a small notebook and pen for an email signup sheet.

Set up your display at home a few days before the show. Make sure it all works before you get there! Change items as needed. When you are satisfied, pack all the display items in a box or plastic tub. This makes set up so much easier on the day of the show.


I only have three golden rules for inventory. First, bring enough to make the day worthwhile. You don’t want to pay $100 booth fee and only bring $75 worth of inventory. Second, bring multiple price points. Different price points make your booth attractive to lots of customers and may mean more sales. Third, try your best to match inventory with the potential customers. For example, if it is a fair with ice cream and face painting, I may not bring many silk wraps.

Make sure that all items are priced. Many people are uncomfortable asking for prices. If you have many small items at the same price, a clearly written sign near those items is fine. Small blackboards are great for this.

Create an inventory sheet before you go. This helps you later when you reconcile cash with inventory, as well as helping at tax time. Storing inventory in clear plastic tubs is a great way to transport and store items. As you need to restock during the day, you can easily see what is in each box.

Other Things to Remember

Bring snacks and water!! Food at many venues can be very expensive and eat away at profits. Bring some with you. Extra water is especially important at outdoor summer fairs.

Bring a friend if you can. Everyone needs a bathroom break during the show times. If you must do it alone, become very good friends with your neighbors. The crafting community is very supportive and you can usually find someone to keep an eye on your booth or table.

Do not bring your pets. Outdoor fairs may seem like a great place to bring Fido for the day but they are not. Dogs make messes, need to be tended to and may scare away potential customers.

Don’t forget what I call the “magic box”. This contains all of those items that you may need in an emergency. Load with items like tape, scissors, band aids, etc.

Next time … the third and final installment – How to Create Your Own Show.

Written by Beth
Third Floor Designs

Monday, 26 May 2008

Sketch interview: meeting Laura Baillie

Q: Tell us about yourself

I am 30 and live in a town called Paisley, just outside Glasgow in Scotland. I graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 2002 with a BaHons in Design, and my specialism was knitted textiles. I set up my business that year and have been making ever since.

Q: What you do?

I make jewellery, greetings cards, wedding stationery commissions, and do book keeping to get extra cash. I am a bit of a design all rounder and love a new challange.

Q: How did it started?

Since I can remember I have been making cards and selling them to family, when I was six I set up a stall at my Granny's house and sold 20 cards I had made for 20p each, I felt like a millionaire. I suppose that has always just stayed with me, the fact I can make things that people want to buy!

Q: How did you get to do what you are doing now?

When I left school I took a year out because I didn't know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I spent that year in schools, offices, and at a portfolio night class. I did about 20 work placements that year and found that the thing I was getting most pleasure from was the art cource, so I applied for college and did a years portfolio preparation there and was accepted to the Art School.

(Laura's favourite piece she created)

Q: What inspires you?

I know this sounds cheesey but life. Everything, nature, music, magazines, cakes, people, shopping, flowers, fabric, beads and so many other things. I keep journals and stick things I find and doodle ideas and things that move me throughout the day.

Q: Your dream for your life is...

I am a recovering agoraphobic which has made my business suffer over the last few years so my dream is to get Laura Baillie Designs back out there. Making is what makes me me and I love pottering away in the studio. Basically I would like to be as happy and fulfilled as I am today for the rest of my life, and maybe make more money!

Q: What is your passion?

Oh, now where do I start, I love working with paper, metal, crystals, photography and cooking.

Q: What you would like to do (are doing in the team)?

I really enjoy blogging and have spent the last few months researching and reading lots of them. So I would like to take more of an active roll in the teams blog. (Note: Laura will help us all with member check-up exercise and she will be moderating team's blogging activities this June)

Q: Anything you would like to tell team members?

I hope to get to know you all a bit better by doing this and that we can pool our knowledge and all grow successful businesses and develope the FDL team to its highest potential.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

You are Cordially Invited to the FDL Team Debutante Ball

We are ready to kick off Project Debutante with the Fashion, Design and Lifestyle Team on Etsy! To debut the new team on Etsy, we will create individual items using the theme of a debutante ball. These balls are fancy, formal and lavish affairs introducing young women into society. For our ball, the “debutante” is our team and the “party” is virtual.

We will be creating an FDL Team shop, similar to other Etsy teams. This shop will display and sell individual member’s items under the team banner. The listings will also include member’s shop names and other info. Use of the team’s shop is not mandatory but will allow us to garner press when we do projects together. Details on the shop will be forthcoming. In addition, we will be looking for other ways to advertise the debut, including a possible Storque article and mention in any blogs or articles that our team members may be able to get us on. Start thinking!

The date for the actual debut will be June 1st. This is a Sunday which is usually a high traffic day.

Here are the guidelines:

  • Individual members are to create an item that they feel would relate to the idea of a debutante ball. These are fancy and formal occasions in reality but each team member can create whatever they want. Some ideas – invitations, guest gifts, jewelry, clothing, tableware, etc.
  • The color theme is turquoise and red. Use one of these colors or both. It is up to you. The color theme will keep the display of the team’s items cohesive.
  • When you have completed your item, take great pictures, determine pricing and shipping, and write a fantastic description. Send this info to Renata or Beth and we will load the items into the team store, along with the artisan’s info and link to their shop.
  • All items must be completed and received by Renata or Beth by May 30th to allow us time to load the listings.

If you have questions or would like suggestions on items to create, please feel free to ask away on our Yahoo message board.

Have fun!
Beth @