Month: March 2018

Meet Our Makers – Heather aka Goose- Gypsy Spoonful – Goosie Girl

Heather aka Goose Maker of Goosie Girl, Creator of Gypsy Spoonful In part of celebrating the upcoming, one year anniversary of Gypsy Spoonful we bring you our “Meet Our Makers” blog thread. I feel the best maker to kick off with is Heather (aka Goose) the founder and creator of Gypsy Spoonful. Who is Heather? … read more

Heather aka Goose

Maker of Goosie Girl, Creator of Gypsy Spoonful

In part of celebrating the upcoming, one year anniversary of Gypsy Spoonful we bring you our “Meet Our Makers” blog thread. I feel the best maker to kick off with is Heather (aka Goose) the founder and creator of Gypsy Spoonful.

Heather maker of Gypsy Spoonful, an inspiration to entrepreneurs every where!

Who is Heather?

I asked Heather to tell me a little bit about herself, and although she is VERY passionate about business, I managed to get this bit of information out of her.  🙂

When I’m not working (which is never ha ha) I love to spend time with my sweet man (soul mate, love of my life) and my kiddos. My oldest is on the autism spectrum (Kayla 22). Then there is Matthew (18), a senior in high school and an amazing athlete and lastly, Jack, who is in 7th grade and a comedian. I also have 3 dogs (animal lover) and I love to garden, and do home improvement/decorating projects. I love life and love to laugh and have fun, I’m a free spirit that would just die if I had to work a regular 9-5 job ever again in my life. A cubicle would be a death sentence for me, if I’m not creating, I am not happy.

Heather decorated her home coffee bar with some sweet handmade decor listed in one of the shops on Gypsy Spoonful. 😉

 

Heather tells the story behind Gypsy Spoonful

I asked Heather where the inspiration to create Gypsy Spoonful came from? Even though we were holding the interview in the board room of all instant messaging, lol, I could tell her fingers lit up with excitement!

I’ve established myself over the years by designing original boutique accessories and photo props~ it all started with one bow for a cheer team wayyy back when my kids were little and it took off…

I started with a shop on eBay and migrated to Etsy,  before people even knew what Etsy was… then went to my own site, and my friends who were still designing started telling me they were looking for a new, completely handmade place… so I went to work and created a brand new site. We have really big plans for it, but there are two hard and fast rules… nothing mass produced, and nothing imported… like supplies or knock-offs masquerading as handmade products.

The beginning…

We began selling on a blog in 2016, and it grew like wildfire, we soon outgrew the blog postings, and everyone said they wanted more… a dedicated marketplace where each person could have a shop, and set things up the way they wanted to for their businesses. About 10 months later, after trial and error and baptism by fire, I had built the Gypsy Spoonful website.

New beginnings…

We launched, April 30, 2017, and there’s been no stopping us ever since. We had a vision, and the “founding members” who started on the blog with us believe in it and helped it grow, and we’ve been growing every single day. In the last 11 months, we’ve grown to 127 shops with 8 pending.

There are no monthly shop fees. There are also no listing or renewal fees. Listings run forever, although we encourage people to re-list items to keep things fresh. If a product does not sell, you don’t pay a dime. If it sells, there is a small fee of 3.5% (the same as Etsy) plus the normal PayPal fees of course. We also have instant download for patterns, ebooks, embroidery files (that you create).

Our sales started rolling in the first week we were open! We have such a GREAT core of members. We believe in community over competition, and people before profits.

Gypsy Spoonful – The New Home of Handmade

Heather’s skills and knowledge are an asset!

I have been in business for 14 years, and before I was doing this, I was in advertising and marketing so I am very active networking, marketing and promoting the site, both through paid and non-paid means. We want our members to grow their business and reach new markets, so we teach/mentor and support them by doing little “boot camps” on social media marketing, helping them with SEO (search engine optimization), and teaching them tricks/tips/advice we’ve learned over the years~ I have 2 wonderful admins and between the 3 of us, collectively, we have 30+ years of online selling experience with handmade products.

Gypsy Spoonful is, indeed, a dedicated marketplace where each maker can have a shop, set things up the way they want to, and where you feel like family!

Who was Heather before Gypsy Spoonful?

I was a maker before GS, just like all of my friends~ I was creating and selling handmade photo props, boutique accessories and writing pdf patterns/ebooks. My business is GoosieGirl.com , and I have been blogging on my blog there for ten years. In my past life, I was in advertising and public relations as well as law enforcement.

Heather’s handmade shop on Gypsy Spoonful; Goosie Girl.

Unicorn Headband created by Heather – Goosie Girl (click photo to purchase)

Heather’s accomplishments

I asked Heather what she felt her biggest accomplishments are. Her responce is what made me an official Heather Goose fan!

I am a published author and small business expert cited in many online publications and magazines. I’ve also designed for several a-list celebrity clients and their children over the years. I tell you this, not to toot my own horn but because I want you to know this has been my life… it’s not a hobby, a side gig or some flash in the pan idea I have had. I love handmade and everything it encompasses. My passion is empowering other women to be successful and help them achieve their dreams and goals. I have a passion for empowering other women who own small businesses.

Heather as a child

I was curious where all Heather’s passion and inspiration derives from. So I dug even deeper into her past. I asked her what is her fondest childhood memory? You will want to keep reading to know all about this sweet story!

I loved playing dress up and having tea parties with my Grandpa. (I lived with my grandparents growing up). My Grandpa would come home from work on the train every night. When he got home, he would play tea party with me. I’d dress him up, put his hair in rollers, and serve him pretend tea while my grandma was making dinner. Fond memories. I was also very close with my cousins.

Goosie Girl Click photo to support Heather as Goosie Girl

Taking Better Product Photos : Guest Blogger Heidi from Stuff N’ Junk By Heidi

Taking Better Product Photos</font color> Hey there! Heidi here from Stuff N Junk by Heidi! I am a long time seamstress, a handmade business Gypsy Spoonful shop owner, a homeschooling mom. What I am not is a photographer. When I was younger I would love taking photos with my 35 mm camera and then collage-ing … read more

Taking Better Product Photos</font color>

Hey there! Heidi here from Stuff N Junk by Heidi!
I am a long time seamstress, a handmade business Gypsy Spoonful shop owner, a homeschooling mom. What I am not is a photographer. When I was younger I would love taking photos with my 35 mm camera and then collage-ing the photos into memory albums, but with the invention of digital cameras (and camera phones) and thanks to a busy life in general, I stopped taking as many photos. I never really learned all of the ins and outs when it came to lighting and camera functions, so when it came time to open my first online shop, my photos were dark, fuzzy and down right horrible! Over the years I have picked up some tips and tricks when it comes to product photos, so today I wanted to share some of the tools and tricks I use and how my photos have “developed” over the years.
Taking Better Product Photos

one of my first “product photos”

Before I had an online shop, I made diaper bags and baby blankets for family and friends. After many years of encouragement, I opened my first shop and my photos were far from appealing. I knew that I needed them to be “light and bright” but I wasn’t really sure where to begin. I didn’t have the extra funds to purchase high-end photography gear and I didn’t know enough about photography to know what a good value would be. My photos were dark, rough and many times blurry.
After very little research, I began mimicking what I thought looked good in other online shops. I started seeing this trend of photos on wood backgrounds. With no understanding of how it all worked, I purchased some scrapbook paper and started taking product photos. Still dark, still out of focus, I was getting frustrated.
Taking Better Product Photos

A first attempt at indirect light. The background is white cotton fabric.

Taking better product photos

Another “early days” photo, background is scrapbook paper.
There are lots of classes and free videos to coach you through photography and editing, but I got lucky and had a little one-on-one help from someone I met on Facebook. With her help, I ordered some vinyl backdrops and got a light kit, I upgraded my cell phone and my photos started getting better.
Taking Better Product Photos

Lights, Camera, Backdrops!

Taking Better Product Photos

Getting ready to take photos with my phone (Galaxy 8 plus)

When it comes to the actual photos, I found that you don’t need an expensive, high-end camera! Most new cell phones today have cameras that are more than capable of getting a good product photo. A few tips I learned along the way:
  1. Take the case off of your phone when taking photos. Many times the case will cause a shadow around your camera lens, causing the photos to be darker than they should
  2.  Clean the lens before and during your photo shoot. The smallest smudge may not be visible when looking at the phone display, but when you go to edit your photos, they will be blurry.
  3. Take lots of photos! The great thing about digital photos is that you can take a lot of photos of the same thing and simply delete the ones that don’t cut it!
Taking Better Product Photos

Photo taken with my camera (Canon, Rebel T6)

Taking Better Product Photos

Photo taken with my phone

Let’s talk photo backgrounds…

There are a lot of opinions about photo backgrounds. Some people will always recommend a solid white background. Some will tell you to use mockups. Lifestyle photos versus flatlays are also something to think about.
So here’s my two cents:
  1. Your photo background should compliment your business aesthetic. Is your logo blue and green? Don’t use a black backdrop… Do you sell wall/home decor? Photographing your products outside on the grass is probably not going to help your customer imagine that piece in their home. No matter how much you sew, a cutting board is not a good backdrop. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on photo backdrops! Vinyl backdrops are a number one choice as they are specifically designed for taking photos. There are many shops now that offer a variety of sizes and styles to give you plenty of options. I have also used contact paper (dollar tree) and scrapbook paper. The downside to the contact paper is that some are glossy and will give a lot of shine behind your product, with scrapbook paper you are a bit limited with regards to size. If you are looking to use a plain white background, poster board can be a great budget-friendly option!
Taking Better Product Photos

My chevron background is 2’x2′ and matches my branding. Vinyl backdrops can come in so many patterns and sizes! The roll is contact paper I picked up from the dollar store.

2) Mock-ups and props. You always want your product to be the main focus of the photo. If you are using props, be sure they complement your product but they really should be a back seat item, never the focus. If you do mockups, be sure that you are clear in your description of what is included with purchase. If I go to a shop filled with digital mockups and no finished products, I generally don’t make the purchase.
3) Lifestyle photos. These can be great to help sell your online items. Since your customer can’t touch or try on your product while shopping, seeing your product in use helps customers imagine that item in their home. I myself and still working on getting lifestyle photos, so be sure to check back for more on this topic!

Lighting, Lighting, Lighting…

I struggle with lighting. I have always struggled with lighting. I feel like no matter what I do, my lighting is just never “right”. How in the world do we get “indirect light”? Although I am still working on getting that perfect lighting down, I do have tools that help!
1) Lightbox! These can be purchased or you can make one yourself. We’ll be doing a lightbox tutorial soon, so be sure to subscribe to the email list! Although I own a lightbox, I don’t use mine much as my backgrounds and products tend to be too large. Whether you are using indirect light or electric lighting, a lightbox helps filter and soften the lighting when taking your photos.
2) Stand lights. I have the light set listed below and I just can’t live without them! My lights have covers, as shown, which helps filter the light coming through so I’m not getting a bright glare on my product and background.
3) Sunlight. I struggled with good old Mother Nature for quite some time. I tried early morning, different afternoon hours, in the shade, outside, inside, nothing seemed to be working! After doing a little research I finally figured out that I needed to be at my living room window between 10 am and noon (your time and place will vary) to get the best indirect lighting for my photos. Even with that, I still use my stand lights to help with angled lighting.
Taking better product photos

I use a combination of indirect sunlight and two light stands.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to product photography is that you want it to represent your business and give your customer the impression they would get if they were standing in your brick and mortar shop.
Thanks so much for visiting the Gypsy Spoonful Blog : “Gypsy Blogful: A Journey In American Handmade”  and feel free to drop a comment or question!

Gypsy Spoonful: Supporting the Shop Local Movement #shoplocal

BUYING LOCAL IS SUPPORTING YOURSELF TOO Source: Sustainable Connections Keep money in your community. Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the … read more

BUYING LOCAL IS SUPPORTING YOURSELF TOO

Source: Sustainable Connections

Keep money in your community. Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community. (Click here to see summaries of a variety of economic impact studies)

Did you know Gypsy Spoonful has a page dedicated to the shop local movement? You can choose to support shops located in your state, or local area

Let’s explore WHY shopping local is a great idea:

SUPPORT COMMUNITY GROUPS

Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses.

KEEP YOUR COMMUNITY UNIQUE

Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home, let’s celebrate it! Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. It’s what distinguishes between being here, versus when you’re in a big chain department store just as easily being in the same one in Phoenix, Arizona or St Paul, Minnesota.

“When people travel they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” – Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust

REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation, and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.

CREATE MORE LOCAL OWNERSHIP AND GOOD JOBS

Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents. Let’s encourage more start-ups!

 

GET BETTER SERVICE

Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

INVEST IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Local businesses are owned by your friends and neighbors who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future – just like you.

BETTER PUBLIC SERVICES

More local businesses mean a stronger tax base and  more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally- owned stores entering the community. This means better public services like schools, transportation, emergency response and more for you and your family.

BETTER SELECTION FOR YOU

A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

ENCOURAGE LOCAL PROSPERITY

A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. This also means a better use of community space. Big box stores can be highly attractive but… Wouldn’t it be better to have more local businesses that can make use of existing empty space in a heritage building downtown?

THINK LOCAL FIRST + BUY LOCAL WHEN YOU CAN = BEING A LOCAL!