Thursday, June 18, 2015

Taking a Break for the Summer

With the launching of my new site, summer activities with family in full swing and everything in between, I've decided I need to take a break from this blog. You can still find me on instagram and I am active on pinterest.

I hope your summer is wonderful! Filled with memories and time to breathe!!

Breathe - by http://www.karmomo.com/

Monday, June 15, 2015

MamaBleuDesigns.com has launched!

If you follow me on instagram you probably saw my announcement about launching my own site last week. It’s still in it’s early stages but MamaBleuDesigns.com is now open for business!!

Some of you have been asking me why I decided to create my own website and others are wondering if I will be staying on Etsy. I thought I’d cover some of those questions today for you.

the store front for MamaBleuDesigns on Shopify


WHY I'M STAYING ON ETSY 

Etsy is a platform for artists (and others) to set up shop and sell their wares. The five years I’ve been with Etsy have been extremely fruitful. I’ve been able to build a full time business from my home studio and I’ve received so many opportunities along the way that I would have never received on my own.

I plan to keep my shop open on Etsy because they have a reach that is far beyond anything I could establish on my own. I have an established presence there which is woven into the fabric of Google and I don’t want to lose that.

I’ve established a loyal customer base who come back to my shop time and time again.

My 5-star customer satisfaction rating is something I don’t want to lose.

I know how to work the Etsy system so I can count on consistent sales throughout the year.

Basically, Etsy is a tool to help me get seen by more people, more publishers, more bloggers, more influencers. 


WHY I OPENED MY OWN SHOP 

At first I thought that opening my own shop was something people just DO after they establish themselves. At 5 years old, it just seemed like a good idea, but as I researched about this choice it became apparent to me that it’s much more than that.

Etsy is not MY shop. It’s a place I call my own but Etsy can close it down at any time. In fact, they took down one of my listing a month ago because I used the word “Tiffany” when describing the color blue. They didn’t ask. They just did it.

Another thing that Etsy shop owners may not even think about (I know I never did until fairly recently) is that Etsy is collecting all the emails for their OWN newsletter. 

For the most part though, I just want my own shop. I didn’t go as far as having something designed from the ground up. I asked around and I mostly took advice from my son (aka....my business mentor) about what ecommerce platform I should us. He highly recommended Shopify for a lot of really good reasons so that’s where I’ve landed. But seriously, I did a lot of research and this platform has a great rating on the web and their customer service is awesome!

I got to try it for free for 2 weeks and then I went forward with signing up and finished my site. I do have a lot more I want to do with it seeing that I can customize it so much more than I ever could with Etsy. But, with some basics in place and the shop doors open I can slowly move more of my items in.

You can go to my New Shop and sign up for my newsletter. By doing so you’ll immediately be sent to a hidden page that gives you a discount code for your first purchase. It only works for MamaBleuDesigns.com (not on Etsy).

I also have another blog there. It will be all about celebrating the large and small moments of our life. I’m pretty excited about it!!

I still have a lot to share with you HERE about being a Mama, a Maker and a Mentor. I’ve recently gotten requests for more “Etsy Science” business tips for success. And as I build my business on Shopify, I’ll be sharing success tips for that platform as well.

If you are considering opening up your own shop, check out Shopify for 2 weeks free. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!! If you have further questions for me about why I’m staying with Etsy or why I opened my own shop please feel free to ask!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Studio Tour

Even when I have orders lined up across my wall I make it a priority to get out of my work routine and switch things up. As an entrepreneur working from home my job can take over every minute of my week if I let it. 

display of collection of art print cards in Mama Bleu Designs Studio

Last Friday was a good example of how crazy it can get here in my studio. My daughter has just started helping me with my work load and I am so thankful she was here that day. I had a really tight deadline and knew I needed to get a wedding order in the mail by 5pm. It was 4:15 and I noticed that one of the zippers was pulling apart. Even though I check and double-check every small detail, it is inevitable that something is going to get missed.

As that moment I wish I had a video of how quickly we made the correction! Heather turned into a power stitch-ripper and I finished packaging up the remaining clutches. By the time I was finish, the pieces were apart, pressed and ready to stitch again!!

The wedding order went into the mail at 4:45pm!! We looked at each other and had to laugh at how we pulled that off and how great we worked together.

Call me crazy but at 5pm I said let’s leave the orders and move some furniture around to clear the piles on the floor and make the work space feel fresh.

With new art work hanging in the windows and on the walls and all those miscellaneous piles of this and that put away in organized drawers for easy access, I’m ready for a new week!! 

Mama Bleu Designs studio space with mood board wall

pennant made from art print cards

collection of mood board cards strung as hanging pennant in a window

Mama Bleu Designs | Maker's Studio | working artist home studio

organizing sewing supplies | Mama Bleu Designs

JoyFul pennant banner

Mama Bleu Designs studio with a print by Cori Dantini

Monday, June 1, 2015

Making a Living as a Working Artist

I’m convinced that if you find something you are passionate about and are willing to work hard at it, you can definitely make a living as a working artist. It’s not easy but it IS possible.

My husband and I took a weekend trip to the Central Coast and I paid a visit to the "Shops at the Garden Shed" in Cambria which often fill me with inspiration. The Garden Shed itself used to be a single shop with beautiful garden decor and live plants. I watched them struggle through a few years of decline and wondered if they would shut their doors like several other businesses in the area.

To my delight they reinvented themselves and divided the property into multiple shopping areas where other small businesses can share the rent and have a place to sell their artistic creations!

JunkGirls is a new business there and it first caught my husband’s eye. He found me lagging behind him as I meandered slowly through the gardens and told me I needed to check them out because he knew I’d love their shop. Uh yeah…...I was awestruck with just about everything they had there!!

custom stamped pendant necklaces | MamaBleu.com

vintage American flag | MamaBleu.com

I didn’t get out the door without making a purchase which Melissa (the shop co-owner) patiently helped me with. We had a great conversation and her customer service was outstanding! She has been in business for over 6 years and in this location since December of 2014. 

JunkGirls in Cambria, postcard | MamaBleu.com

custom stamped necklace pendant | MamaBleu.com

She and Jenny (the other half of JunkGirls) are not offering anything I haven’t seen before but the way they are presenting it to their customers and their obvious passion for what they are doing comes through loud and clear. I don’t think anyone left the store without making a purchase so what they are doing is contagious in so many ways! 

chalkboard wall with stamped spoon jewelry | MamaBleu.com

repurposing muffin tins, storage for jewelry parts | MamaBleu.com

repurposed muffin tins | MamaBleu.com

I was completely inspired and if I were to invite other artists to sell their goods in my new online shop (coming soon), Melissa would be one of the first people I’d start a conversation with about it!

Here are a few of the photos I took during my shop visit. Enjoy!!

chalkboard wall for shop display | MamaBleu.com

vintage rolling pin | MamaBleu.com

creative idea for framing a display | MamaBleu.com

junk yard finds | MamaBleu.com

store display | MamaBleu.com

chalkboard wall for shop display | MamaBleu.com

JunkGirls shop jewelry in Cambria California | MamaBleu.com