Category: News Affecting Handmade

Keep an open mind quote

New Opportunities Await : Refreshing business model, Gypsy Spoonful is a pioneer in the handmade world

New opportunities await</font color> “To the untrained eye, a geode looks pretty much like an ordinary rock. But a trained geologist knows that inside the geode there is a beautiful crystal lining. The story is the same for those who refuse to examine new possibilities because their minds are closed. Life’s greatest opportunities, like the … read more

New opportunities await</font color>

“To the untrained eye, a geode looks pretty much like an ordinary rock. But a trained geologist knows that inside the geode there is a beautiful crystal lining. The story is the same for those who refuse to examine new possibilities because their minds are closed. Life’s greatest opportunities, like the geode, often come in ordinary packaging. Do not allow yourself to become such a creature of habit that you simply go through the motions and let life happen to you. Just taking a new route to work, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, reading a newspaper instead of watching television, or visiting a museum at lunchtime will stimulate your thought processes and may help you open your mind to new possibilities.”

-Napoleon Hill

Keep an open mind quote

The past 10 days I’ve been busy, busy, busy recruiting makers for Gypsy Spoonful. We have had 25 new shops join in that time. I am so thankful for these new members for keeping an open mind, and listening to what Gypsy Spoonful can offer them. I’ve probably contacted hundreds of people telling them about the opportunity GS holds, many didn’t reply … some did reply and weren’t interested, but I tried to remember, that’s most likely not even about what I’m “pitching” to them.. it could be that they are in a difficult season of their life, or it could be that they’re undergoing some business or personal challenges right now. I truly believe that those who are meant to be here, will be here, at exactly the right time. We’re not for everyone, but we are for the RIGHT people.

 

It’s a very exciting time for Gypsy Spoonful.. we’re kicking it into high gear and taking this bus to the next level.

Are you a maker/designer/artist/crafter/sewist/quilter/painter or other type of creative entrepreneur? Check out what we believe about handmade and what we believe about small business in America.. if you vibe with what we’re all about and our business model, then please, fill out the application and we’ll be in touch

Check it out here

Just like Napoleon Hill said in his quote as outlined above, just keep an open mind, this could be the best thing that has ever happened to you personally or professionally, but you’ll never know if you shut down the very thought of it. Just be open to being open is all we ask. We know that new opportunities await, if you’ll just open the door, and apply.

 

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

~Seneca or SemiSonic , Closing Time

Truth be told..We are NOT Etsy, we don’t claim to be… and in all honesty, we don’t want to be Etsy.. they’ve lost their way which is definitely disappointing~but I digress… GypsySpoonful can most definitely offer you things that Etsy can not.

We can give you a FOCUSED market that is ONLY looking for handmade items~ not vintage, not supplies… they appreciate handmade and all the good things that encompass it.

We can give you a supportive, community of makers where we help each other, cheer each other on, support each other and encourage each other.

We believe in community before competition. Yes, there may be makers that make similar items in our ranks but we HELP each other, rather than COMPETE with each other. You will find no other selling platform with a hands-on admin team that mentors and teaches shop owners. I guarantee it.

We are SERIOUS about selling and making money with our shops and handmade products, the positivity is not pollyanna or apple pie in the sky, it’s genuine, authentic entrepreneurs who are hustlers but are not cut-throat and back stabbing. It’s a very refreshing business model that you will NOT find anywhere else.

We will welcome you with open arms and meet you where you’re at, no matter what your business goals, dreams and strategies may be.

Give us a shot.. have an open mind… and check us out. You’ll be happy you did, I think!

xo

Goose

Goose, Owner/Founder GypsySpoonful

 

 

 

 

 

Owner/Founder GypsySpoonful.com

Bluprint

Bluprint : What Is It? And Where Did Craftsy Go??

*Damn right these are affiliate links! LOL!! 🙂 , if you click on a link and make a purchase, we may  earn a small commission on that sale. This helps up keep the website hosted, and other admin fees we don’t have a budget for! LOL! So Help your favorite gypsy mamas out and click … read more

*Damn right these are affiliate links! LOL!! 🙂 , if you click on a link and make a purchase, we may  earn a small commission on that sale. This helps up keep the website hosted, and other admin fees we don’t have a budget for! LOL! So Help your favorite gypsy mamas out and click through.I have no problem recommending this company to you, as I know it’s amazing.

An Introduction to Bluprint:

20181127_newyearnewyou_embroidery_snap_480.gif

Craftsy is gone, and the site is now called BluPrint. What happened to Craftsy? They’ve combined the spirit of Craftsy with the magic of Bluprint, It’s Been Years In the Making! This is so exciting!!

The Craftsy experience you’re used to, with affordable supplies and accessible classes, is staying the same – it’s all available at Bluprint.

At Bluprint you’ll be able to

• Watch all of your previously purchased classes
• Order project kits + high-quality supplies <—- I LURVE THIS!!

Bluprint

You can choose a membership plan- What a GREAT idea!
Sign up risk-free for unlimited access to every video, pattern and recipe on Bluprint.
Read a letter from the founder and find out why they made these changes, and what’s in store for you.

You HAVE to get on over to Bluprint and check it out!

Bluprint

  • Thousands of Classes: Stream high-quality videos taught by experts you can trust.
  • Hundreds of Projects: Step-by-step guidance on projects at every skill level.
  • Help If You Hit a Snag: Get technique refreshers and quick fixes for common mistakes.
  • Supplies You Need: Members get an extra 15% off all kits and supplies from our shop.
Bluprint

Download the Bluprint app HERE, it’s super convenient to have on the go.

Do you enjoy the GS blog? Drop us a comment and let us know how we’re doing~ Then join the Facebook Group and Follow Our Instagram to see our community in action! If you think we’re pretty cool, and want to open your own small , handmade shop, check this page out.

The Psychology of Smell by Rebecca of J Mae Handmade

Scent is a powerful tool. Between my interest in psychology and my use of fragrance in my bath & body products, I decided to compose a post about the psychology behind our sense of smell. Our sense of smell, or olfaction, is very important to our every day life. We use it distinguish thousands upon … read more

The Psychology of Smell

Scent is a powerful tool. Between my interest in psychology and my use of fragrance in my bath & body products, I decided to compose a post about the psychology behind our sense of smell.

Our sense of smell, or olfaction, is very important to our every day life. We use it distinguish thousands upon thousands of different scents. It can warn us of danger, such as spoiled food or an unseen fire, as well as inform us of something good. Many times our sense of smell is an instinctual or subconscious power. Did you know that it goes into a deeper subconscious level than you may sometimes realize? Complex emotions and memories can be triggered by a simple sensory cue. From the smell of coffee taking you back to Sunday afternoons in your Grandma’s kitchen, to the smell of leather taking you back to your first competitive horse run. Smells are very closely tied into our memories.

Many people undervalue the power scent can have. Fragrances have the ability to bring forth both positive and negative psychological states of mind and reactions in just milliseconds.  People may not even notice when buying something such as a lotion that they gravitate toward fragrances based on their personal experiences. The more vivid the memory/emotion attached to a fragrance, the more preferred it is and more likely it is to be purchased by said personThe Psychology of Smell

So why are scents linked in with our memories? It is said to be most likely due to our brain anatomy. When scents come through your nose, they are processed by the olfactory bulb which runs along the bottom of the brain. The bulb is connected to two parts of your brain that are involved in memories and emotions, these are the amygdala and hippocampus. Smell is most strongly associated with memories and emotions because they run through these parts of the brain, whereas our other senses do not pas information through these parts of the brain.

While most scent associations are based on your personal experiences and history, there are some cultural smell-related perceptions. For example, North America and Europe heavily associate lavender with being calming and citrus with being bright and invigorating. Meanwhile, Japan associated jasmine with relaxing and rose water as energizing/happy. So some of these things are a learned subconscious (or even conscious) response to fragrance.

Essentially, fragrance is a huge driving factor in our every day life. If it brings bad memories, we avoid it. If it brings good, we flock to it and surround ourselves with it. Whether it boosts our productivity or helps us to relax, we use scent to shape our daily life all the time.

Facebook Outage

When Social Media Goes Down, The top 2 things you can do to ensure business as usual

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date. WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected. … read more

Facebook Outage

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date.
WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected.

Checking DownDetector, we can confirm Instagram seems to be hugely affected…

Instagram outage

And Facebook’s issues loomed even larger with a total black out of 32% among reported problems

Facebook Outage

 

Roland Dobbins, an engineer with network performance firm Netscout said the outage was due to an accidental traffic jam issue with a European internet company that collided with Facebook and other websites.

“While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis,” he said.

Some users of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp reported having issues sending photos on the popular messaging app. As with nearly every Facebook outage, users headed to Twitter with the hashtag #facebookdown quickly becoming the top trending topic in the United States.

Down Detector showed MANY large websites were having issues:

Etsy outage Etsy outage

However, there is a rumor spreading that it is is denial of service (DoS)  malicious attack from an unknown source since so many platforms including youtube, Etsy and the USPS are even affected...this rumor has been denied by facebook and instagram and others.

What is a small shop to do if they sell on a platform that goes down, such as Etsy, or Facebook? Larger platforms such as these would logically seem to be safer because of the funds available to diagnose and prevent these problems, but in the case of the unsubstantiated DoS attack rumor, it may seem the bigger the platform, the bigger the target for those types of attacks. Sometimes bigger is not always better yo! I ALWAYS say never to put all your selling eggs in one proverbial basket. If Etsy suddenly decides to censor you and take out half your products because of your beliefs about vaccination, and that’s your only platform, then what will you do? If a DoS attack takes our your whole Facebook store… then what will you do? It is WISE TO DIVERSIFY… sell on multiple platforms, never sell on only one platform. (Learn more about selling your handmade products on Gypsy Spoonful HERE)

Sooo… What can we, as small shop owners, learn from a situation like this ? So many influencers, marketing and advertising people as well as  small shop owners depend on social media to get the word out about their events, sales, products and other news. I happen to have the blessing of having been in business for 15 years BDSM… that means Before the Dawn of Social Media (get your minds out of the GUTTER , y’all! lol) so what did we do in the days before social media was so prevalent

1. Build an email list… Seriously, I could tell all the small business owners I know 24/7, 365 and some still do NOT have an email list!  The best return on investment is building an email list of contacts, customers, prospects and fans. Sign up for a mailing list on MailChimp Today, don’t wait, do it NOW. Get a free Mail Chimp Account HERE. Email is a measurable business marketing practice that you can’t afford to be without. Marketing and Advertising folks KNOW that if it’s NOT measurable, it’s of no use.

Top reasons to have an email list:

For some business owners, email marketing may seem archaic. With the prevalence of social media, and a hundred other forms of messaging, the traditional email format feels relatively old. However, it still remains one of the most powerful and thoroughly understood “modern” forms of communication. That’s why just about every social media platform requires you to have an email. (and in the cases of social media going down and being virtually useless to your business as it did today, you can’t afford NOT to focus part of your energy on email!)

For small shop owners, email lists can yield dramatic rewards. According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the US. Can you say that about your social media marketing campaign?

Why Email Marketing Is Still Effective

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.”

David Newman

Email marketing has distinct advantages over other modern media.

  • First, it’s direct, meaning that every person on your list receives an email the same way that they’d receive a piece of mail. It’s much different than finding a piece of content in a newsfeed, even if it’s personalized.
  • Second, email is necessary. You can go for a few days without checking social media or video chatting with your friends and family, but most people check their email several times a day.
  • Third, it’s highly customizable. You can create an email campaign on any subject, and add any bells and whistles that you need to get the job done. It’s also incredibly inexpensive and well documented by email marketing experts.

Sign up for the Gypsy Spoonful mailing list HERE so you don’t miss out on any news about handmade or small shop management.

2. Work on your SEO! Being found in search engine searches is not hampered when a denial of service attack happens, or some other random technical glitch that makes your entire message go down in flames.

Search engine optimization nowadays is way more important than ever and it is necessary for every small shop owner to understand the true meaning of SEO as well as the potential it creates for every business, no matter which platform they sell upon. SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a web site. Users trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching, increases the web site’s trust.

The Top 5 reasons why your small shop needs SEO

(written by Sam Hollingsworth of the Search Engine Journal, see the full article HERE)

Many brands and businesses know (or think they know) that they need SEO for their digital properties, and the benefits they will get from that SEO work being implemented on their behalf.

SEO will certainly improve a small shops’s overall searchability and visibility, but what other real value does it offer? Why is SEO so important?

These top 5 reasons should offer some clarity, regardless of the industry or business size, as to why businesses need SEO to take their brand to the next level.

1. Organic Search Is Most Often the Primary Source of Website Traffic

Organic search is a huge part of most business’s website performance, as well as a critical component of the buyer funnel and ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement.

As marketers know, Google owns a significantly larger portion of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and the many, many others.

That’s not to say that all search engines don’t contribute to a brand’s visibility — they do — it’s just that Google owns about 75 percent of the overall search market. It’s the clear-cut leader and thus its guidelines are important to follow.

But the remaining 25 percent of the market owned by other engines is obviously valuable to brands, too.

Google, being the most visited website in the world (as well as specifically in the United States), also happens to be the most popular email provider in the world (with more than 1 billion users). Not to mention YouTube is the second biggest search engine.

We know that a clear majority of the world that has access to the internet is visiting Google at least once a day to get information.

Being highly visible as a trusted resource by Google and other search engines is always going to work in a brand’s favor. Quality SEO and a high-quality website takes brands there.

2. SEO Builds Trust & Credibility

The goal of any experienced SEO is to establish a strong foundation for a beautiful website with a clean, effective user experience that is easily discoverable in search with thanks to the trust and credibility of the brand and its digital properties.

Many elements go into establishing authority regarding search engines like Google. In addition to the factors mentioned above, authority is accrued over time as a result of elements like:

But establishing that authority will do more for a brand than most, if not all, other digital optimizations. Problem is, it’s impossible to build trust and credibility overnight — just like real life. Credibility and Trust is earned and built over time.

Establishing a brand as an authority takes patience, effort, and commitment, but also relies on offering a valuable, quality product or service that allows customers to trust a brand. We, at Gypsy Spoonful have been effectively establishing trust and credibility since 2016.

3. Good SEO Also Means a Better User Experience

Everyone wants better organic rankings and maximum visibility. Few realize that optimal user experience is a big part of getting there.

Google has learned how to interpret a favorable or unfavorable user experience, and a positive user experience has become a pivotal element to a website’s success. (Learn what a bounce rate is, the GS site has a 23% bounce rate, anything under 70% is considered very good) .

Customers know what they want. If they can’t find it, there’s going to be a problem. And performance will suffer.

A clear example of building a strong user experience is how Google has become more and more of an answer engine offering the sought-after data directly on the SERPs (search engine results pages) for users.

The intention of that is offering users the information they are looking for in fewer clicks, quickly and easily.

Quality SEO incorporates a positive user experience, leveraging it to work in a brand’s favor.

4. Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions

With the rise and growing domination of mobile traffic, local search has become a fundamental part of small- and medium-sized businesses’ success.

Local SEO aims at optimizing your digital properties for a specific vicinity, so people can find you quickly and easily, putting them one step closer to a transaction. (Goosie’s suggestion:  If you want to emphasize that customers can #shoplocal, work on local optimizations!

Local optimizations focus on specific towns, cities, regions, and even states, to establish a viable medium for a brand’s messaging on a local level.

SEO pros do this by optimizing the brand’s website and its content, including local citations and backlinks, as well as local listings relevant to the location and business sector a brand belongs to.

To promote engagement on the local level, SEO pros should optimize a brand’s Knowledge Graph panel, its Google My Business listing, and its social media profiles as a start. (If you haven’t created a business profile on the Google site, –buy an inexpensive domain at idotz, forward it to your small shop and get on it loves!) 

There should also be a strong emphasis on user reviews on Google, as well as other reviews sites like Yelp, Home Advisor, and Angie’s List (among others), depending on the industry.

5. SEO Impacts the Buying Cycle

Customers do their research. That’s one of the biggest advantages of the internet from a buyer perspective.

Using SEO tactics to relay your messaging for good deals, groundbreaking products and/or services, and the importance and dependability of what you offer customers will be a game changer.

It will also undoubtedly impact the buying cycle in a positive way when done right.

Brands must be visible in the places people need them for a worthy connection to be made. Local SEO enhances that visibility and lets potential customers find the answers, and the businesses providing those answer.

 

 

Who Made Your Clothes?

Who Made YOUR Clothes? Fast Fashion Facts

Who Was It That Made Your Clothes?. Do You Even Know?! That’s Ok, most people don’t know who made their clothes. Unfortunately in the world of fast fashion, where clothing is made to be easily accessible, short-term and disposable, people don’t always truly know WHO made their clothes. The sad fact is that fashion can … read more

Who Was It That Made Your Clothes?. Do You Even Know?!

That’s Ok, most people don’t know who made their clothes. Unfortunately in the world of fast fashion, where clothing is made to be easily accessible, short-term and disposable, people don’t always truly know WHO made their clothes.

The sad fact is that fashion can come with a very high personal cost to the people that create it, and also to the planet.

What can we do about this alarming trend?

Don’t buy it! Mass-produced clothing is not the best quality, nor is it the way to reflect the values YOU hold dear. Society is consuming fashion at a rate like never before. We call this monster: fast fashion.

Fast fashion is the phenomenon we use to describe garments that go from design to store in a quick flash; sometimes within the space of a week! As the price of fashion dives lower, and the accessibility of new trends increases, fast fashion is being put in the spotlight.

Sad Facts about Fast Fashion:

  • Eighty billion pieces of clothing are consumed globally every year.
  • The US spends an estimated $2.6 billion on Halloween costumes every year: worn for one night only.
  • 250,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves in the last 15 years due to the stress of debt they accumulated through buying genetically modified cotton seeds to keep up with demand.
  • The wages of workers in garment factories overseas can be as low as $1-$3  a day.
  • Some overeas clothing factories use forced prison labor to make the clothing
  • Some clothing factories use child labor (sequins and beading can be an indication of this)
  • Fast fashion giants actually make clothing to fall apart: they are obsessed with the bottom line, so will do anything to make you buy more clothes.
  • Using the restroom during a 10-hour shift in a garment factory can cause a major uproar from managers.
  • Fast fashion brands put out new collections every week or month to make it seem like your wardrobe is all off trend. This is the reason you sit and stare at your full wardrobe thinking you have nothing to wear

The fast fashion industry is shocking. When you look at the facts and figures, it’s hard to swallow.Change isn’t going to happen from walling Just like building a house, avoiding fast fashion is easy when you have the right tools in front of you. Head to the Gypsy Spoonful site, we are completely transparent, and when you buy clothing from one of our small shops you will know EXACTLY who made your clothing and don’t have to worry about the circumstances it was created under.

The 100 Handmade Shops of GypsySpoonful

See our handmade community in action in our Facebook group

Shop GypsySpoonful.com
Join The Conversation and let us know how you feel about Fast Fashion. Was this the first you’ve heard about this?
http://facebook.com/groups/gypsyspoonful

Willow and Sage Magazine: Your source for DIY bath and body product inspiration

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I … read more

For the last year and a half I’ve really enjoyed this magazine I stumbled upon one day. It actually had a small hand in my initial interest in learning about creating bath and body items. I don’t even remember where I found it, it might have been Sam’s club (we go there a lot). I glanced through it and instantly was drawn to it. This magazine is called Willow & Sage. As stated on their website-

Willow and Sage Magazine

Willow and Sage magazine is filled with more than 70 unique recipes, uses, and beautiful packaging ideas for homemade bath and body products, paired alongside stunning, Somerset-style photography. In addition to showcasing natural bath salts and soaks, soaps, face masks, chemical-free make-up, lotions, sugar scrubs, how to use essential oils, and more, Willow and Sage features refreshing new layout designs that include hand-illustrated tips and educational information, such as eye-catching infographics and the benefits of specific ingredients. Also, if you’re looking for the perfect homemade gift idea, for any occasion, each issue provides DIY inspiration for creative packaging and the most unique gifts or spa bundle

Willow And Sage Magazine

The Willow And Sage Website is equally dreamy


The magazine is a quarterly magazine that starts in Feb. It’s an odd start date but when you look at lumping Jan into the winter issue, it makes sense. I totally understand doing the issues to follow the seasons, but it kills me to have to wait so long between publications! I usually go read it within the first two or three days, but definitely within the first week. It’s always interesting to see all the different ideas brought forth by other creators. I also enjoy the packaging ideas, bundle ideas, and ingredient spotlights. It’s a good way to learn about new benefits as well as help me with potential trend ideas. I have definitely used some of their ingredient spotlights to help focus on what ingredients to highlight to my customers.

So, if you’re looking for a beautiful magazine with a lot of fun diy ideas I would definitely give Willow & Sage a look. A quick side note is, many of the submitted recipes do not have preservatives in them therefore will not last for more than a few days or so.

Written by GS shop Owner, Rebecca Reynolds of JMaeHandmade ,  Stop on by her shop and take a peek at her awesome handmade bath and body products, and Heart her shop while you’re there!

JMaeHandmade Bath And Body Products

Sears Catalog

Black History Facts: An Unlikely Game Changer

I recently ran across an article on Facebook and wanted to share, (I could not find the original poster but tried) .  I found it very inspirational as I learned more about how the Sears Catalog allowed African-Americans, during the dark times of Jim Crow~ access to goods via mail delivery that they might not … read more

I recently ran across an article on Facebook and wanted to share, (I could not find the original poster but tried) .  I found it very inspirational as I learned more about how the Sears Catalog allowed African-Americans, during the dark times of Jim Crow~ access to goods via mail delivery that they might not have had access to previously~ also at a more affordable, fair price (white owned businesses often gouged prices for Blacks which was totally wrong and unfair to offer the same product to different groups of people for different prices!) This sort of reminded me of how the internet has begun leveling the playing field for people of all types, cultures and colors.  I couldn’t help but draw the conclusions and I thought there are some similarities here. Drop a comment and let us know what you think.

SEARS & ROEBUCK: BLACK HISTORY FACTS

Company History:
With a network of more than 870 full-line department stores and 1,300 freestanding specialty stores in the United States and Canada, Sears, Roebuck and Co. is the world’s fourth largest retailer. For more than a century Sears has provided consumers with top brand names synonymous with durability and quality. Craftsman tools, Kenmore appliances, Diehard car batteries, and WeatherBeater paint are a just a few of its most recognized products; Sears also provides a variety of competitively priced apparel for men, women, and children featuring its own brands (Canyon River Blues, Covington, TKS Basics) and such staples as Levi’s jeans and Nike athleticwear. A newer addition to its empire came with catalogue and online retailer Lands’ End, acquired in 2001.

Black History Month: Sears Roebuck Was A Game Changer

Humble Beginnings: Late 1880s to 1914

Sears bears the name of Richard W. Sears, who was working as a North Redwood, Minnesota, freight agent for the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad in 1886 when a local jeweler gave him an unwanted shipment of pocket watches rather than return them to the manufacturer. Sears sold them to agents down the line who then resold them at the retail level. He ordered and sold more watches and within six months made $5,000. He quit the railroad and founded the R.W. Sears Watch Company in Minneapolis.

Business expanded so quickly that Sears moved to Chicago in 1887 to be in a more convenient communications and shipping center. Soon customers began to bring in watches for repairs. Since he knew nothing about fixing them, Sears hired Alvah Roebuck, a watch repairman from Indiana,

A shrewd and aggressive salesman–a colleague once said of him, “He could probably sell a breath of air”–Sears undersold his competition by buying up discontinued lines from manufacturers and passing on the discounts to customers. At various times from 1888 to 1891, thinking himself bored with the business, Sears sold out to Roebuck but came back each time.

In 1888 the company published the first of its famous mail-order catalogues. It was 80 pages long and advertised watches and jewelry. Within two years the catalogue grew to 322 pages, filled with clothes, jewelry, and such durable goods as sewing machines, bicycles, and even keyboard instruments. In 1894 the catalogue cover proclaimed Sears was the “Cheapest Supply House on Earth.”

The relationship between capitalism, white supremacy and civil rights is a fascinating one marked by boycotts, sit-ins and bus rides. All of these activities are centered on access to money and markets.

African-Americans who lived in the rural South during Jim Crow usually had to buy goods on credit from local white store owners, who would often gouge them. Then came the Sears catalog. It sold everything from clothes and furniture to cocaine. But it also gave black consumers access to goods at national prices. The enterprise was so successful, store owners would organize bonfires and burn the catalogs to avoid losing their black customers.

Sears Catalog

The company changed its name to its current form in 1893, but Alvah Roebuck, uncomfortable with his partner’s financial gambles, sold out his share two years later and remained with the firm as a repairman. Sears promptly found two new partners to replace Roebuck: local entrepreneur Aaron Nusbaum and Nusbaum’s brother-in-law, haberdasher Julius Rosenwald. The company recapitalized at $150,000, with each man taking a one-third stake. The company continued to prosper; when the cantankerous Nusbaum was forced to sell out in 1901 after clashing with Sears, his interest was worth $1.25 million.

There was little harmony between the two remaining partners, Rosenwald and Sears. Sears believed in continuous expansion and risk-taking; Rosenwald advocated consolidation and caution. Rosenwald also objected to his partner’s fondness for the hard sell in the catalogue and advertising copy. Had the Federal Trade Commission existed then, some of the company’s advertising practices probably would not have passed muster–but it should be mentioned that Richard Sears invented the unconditional money-back guarantee and stood by it.

In 1905 construction began on a new headquarters plant on Chicago’s west side to consolidate all of the company’s functions. To help raise the necessary capital, Sears went public in 1906. Yet Wall Street was leery of the incautious Richard Sears and he resigned as president in 1908 when it became clear he was obstructing the firm’s progress. He was appointed chairman, but his heart was never in the job and he retired in 1913, never having presided over a board meeting. Sears died the following year at the age of 50. Near the end of his life, he summarized his career as a merchant: “Honesty is the best policy. I know, I’ve tried it both ways.”

New Leadership and Growth: 1915 to the Late 1920s

Sears was now Julius Rosenwald’s company to run and he did it with such skill and success he became one of the richest men in the world. Sales rose sixfold between 1908 and 1920, and in 1911 Sears began offering credit to its customers at a time when banks would not even consider lending to consumers. During this time the company grew to the point where its network of suppliers, combined with its own financing and distribution operations, constituted a full-fledged economic system in itself. Rosenwald’s personal fortune allowed him to become a noted philanthropist–he gave away $63 million over the course of his life, much of it to Jewish causes and to improve the education of Southern blacks. As a result of the latter, he became a trustee of the Tuskegee Institute and a good friend of its founder, Booker T. Washington.

The depression of the early 1920s dealt Sears a sharp blow. In 1921 the company posted a loss of $16.4 million and omitted its quarterly dividend for the first time. Rosenwald responded by slashing executive salaries and even eliminated his own. He was also persuaded to donate 50,000 shares from his personal holdings to the company treasury to reduce outstanding capital stock and restore the firm’s standing with its creditors. Sears thus weathered the crisis and benefited from the general prosperity that followed.

In 2018,Sears filed for bankruptcy after 132 years in business. Louis Hyman, an author and professor of history and consumerism at Cornell, wrote a compelling thread on Twitter that explained how the Sears catalog empowered black consumers during Jim Crow. Mr. Hyman walked me through some of these ideas in the interview below, which has been edited.

Back When Sears Made Black Customers A Priority: An interview with Louis Hyman by

Lauretta Charlton

By Lauretta Charlton

Your thread sort of positioned Sears as a radical commercial entity during Jim Crow.
A huge theme in my history of retail class is Jim Crow. Access for black people to competitive markets is pretty radical because a lot of the history of the relationship between black people and capitalism has been a monopoly relationship. Sears is not the story of would-be radicals trying to overthrow Jim Crow. It was about people trying to make some money, which is radical in a certain way, too.

Q. It seems easy for Americans to forget this kind of history.
A. I was really touched that so many black readers connected with this history. People were sharing their stories about their grandparents and the way in which they felt connected to people under Jim Crow. Obviously people recognize that being followed in a store today is not the same as Jim Crow, where if you step out of line or do the wrong thing you and your family could be murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. But I think the larger point is the exhaustion of having to deal with racist store owners, whether it’s the 1900s or 2018.

Q. What is the equivalent of consumer empowerment for people of color today?
A. It’s tricky. The thing about Jim Crow is that it’s not about shopping, it’s about white supremacy. Not in the sense that we understand it today, but in a very transparent way. That’s the difference. I think today the feeling that you can be who you are and buy what you want was most clearly expressed through trans people who are able to buy what they want to wear, even if it doesn’t fit people’s expectations for their bodies.

Q. Do your students think capitalism can be a form or empowerment for people of color?
All of my students feel like the ability to buy something is a pretty foundational right in our society. They’ll say, “Oh, maybe you people don’t have a right to a job, but I should have the ability to shop.” And when they see how that plays out in different ways for African-Americans, for women, gay people, it is pretty remarkable.

Q. Are your students thinking about things like wealth distribution and race?
A. Of course! What I like about it is I get the future ibankers of tomorrow who are like, “we need to have more efficient markets that are neoliberal and are not discriminatory.” And then you get the students who are on the left who are like, “we need to have a basic income, and capitalism is racism and racism is the patriarchy.” I like to have those students in conversation because I feel like that’s the conversation we need to be having.

Q. What kind of blowback did you get after your post?
A. People said that I argued capitalism is anti-racist, but that’s not true. All I’m saying is that in this one particular instance, this catalog helped some people in this way, and it’s an interesting way to understand the complexities of capitalism, particularly Jim Crow capitalism. It’s always surprising to me that white supremacy and consumer capitalism squared off. And in some small measure, white supremacy lost. And that’s really incredible because white supremacy was so powerful. It was this powerful organizing principle in American politics. That’s fascinating.

*sourced, not an original written piece, added comments here and there HLK

2019 Trends

Trending : Handmade and Design Trends, Predictions we’ve got our eye on for 2019 from Gypsy Spoonful’s Blog Team

This blog post is a compilation of fresh trends our blog team is noticing across Gypsy Spoonful and the handmade industry as a whole: what makers are creating, what shoppers are loving, and what’s hot right now in the wider market. These trend predictions for 2018 are based, in part, on past top searches across … read more

Trending

This blog post is a compilation of fresh trends our blog team is noticing across Gypsy Spoonful and the handmade industry as a whole: what makers are creating, what shoppers are loving, and what’s hot right now in the wider market. These trend predictions for 2018 are based, in part, on past top searches across categories on GypsySpoonful.com

What is STILL going strong, carried over from 2018?

In 2018 we continued to see a moderate uptick in the popularity of Unicorns and Mermaids as well as Donuts and Foxes.  It was a year filled with magical motifspastels, and all things Beachy. Gypsy Spoonful shoppers took to these trends and seem to still be holding onto most of them. Cacti and Succulents made a big impact and that does not seem to be deminishing

As we march on into 2019,  some have predicted that the trends will move away from idealist distractions, and shift towards reality. This year we’re actively embracing our own, individual realities, whatever they happen to be – from living life to the max, or celebrating a lazy, day on the couch. Shoppers are about to “get real” – so we are officially declaring 2019 the year of Being Real, which includes using all-natural products, focusing on sustainability, and being realistic when it comes to decorating and living.

Sh*t Just Got Real

The world isn’t perfect (and you don’t have to pretend that is), but you can also do something about it. – See Craftivism

Pantone’s color of the year: Living Coral

While millennial pink and ultraviolet are still having their respective moments, We’re excited to see this cheerful tone take over our homes, outfits and accessories. This floral-inspired hue is whistful (yet grounding) and unapologetically natural – exactly what we need in 2019.

https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/color-of-the-year/color-of-the-year-2019

 

Living Coral accented items on Gypsy Spoonful are plentiful and you can expect to see a great deal more in 2019. It’s so visually appealing, dontcha think? See all items tagged “Coral”here.

Tends: Pantone's Color of the Year 2019 Living Coral

Tends: Pantone’s Color of the Year 2019 Living Coral

Racer Back Feather Dress by That’s So Addie, Beadwoven Cuff Bracelet by Novenna, Cactus Home Wreath by Wreaths by Jacquelyn, Piece work Beach Bug Pillow by Scrappers Snips N’ Stitches, Handpainted Alcohol Ink Pendant Necklace by Studio1153

Chaos and Mayhem…

haha, not really.. but whatever the polar opposite of minimalism is… Yes, kids this is the moment you’ve secretly been waiting for! It’s an all-out  rebellion against the often unrealistic quest for order and perfection in our homes and lives. What was once considered clutter is now on-trend – clashing patterns, styles, prints and colors are all permissible, as there’s no limit to this eclectic trend. We predict, in 2019 you will begin to see mashups of prints and patterns coming from the small shops of Gypsy Spoonful. Embrace it, it is futile to resist!

What else do we see as growing in trendiness?

More …

Cacti and Succulents

Click on the pics to see these up close now…

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also predict MORE lemon… scented, and decorated, lemon decor, bath and body products as well as fabric prints!

We also predict MORE Llamas (eeps, one of my favorite things right now!)  Isn’t this llama zippered bag adorable? Click to visit this listing now 

View all of our llama listings HERE (not to be confused with alpacas! lol) . Also trending, Anything Retro, Especially 70’s inspired items and also items with all-natural and dried flowers, botanicals, and herbs!

What do you think? did we hit the nail on the head? What do YOU think will be trending this year? What inspires you in these trends and predictions. Drop a comment, and continue the conversation here on our blog, and also in the Gypsy Spoonful  Facebook Group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dorcas Reilly

Dorcas Reilly : Who is she? and Why Are We Thankful For Her This Thanksgiving?

It started with a call from the Associated Press and a question: What’s a good recipe for a vegetable side dish that features common pantry products? It is the dish everyone is expecting on the holidays, and it is so easy to make, you can serve it any day. If you plan on eating green bean … read more

It started with a call from the Associated Press and a question: What’s a good recipe for a vegetable side dish that features common pantry products? It is the dish everyone is expecting on the holidays, and it is so easy to make, you can serve it any day. If you plan on eating green bean casserole this Thanksgiving, the memory of it’s inventor will live on. Created by Campbell Test Kitchen Manager Dorcas Reilly in 1955, its creamy, smooth sauce and un-matchable flavor combined with its simplicity makes Green Bean Casserole so appealing. Just six ingredients and 10 minutes to put together, this family pleasing side has been a favorite for over 60 years.

In 1955, the AP, like other newspapers and magazines of the time, was running a feature of an easy-to-make Campbell’s Soup side. The question came with a caveat: the recipe had to be built around green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, two items most Americans regularly had in their homes in the ’50s.

The request fell to the Campbell’s Soup Co. test kitchen in Camden, N.J., an arm of the company that focused on coming up with recipes for its products. Dorcas Reilly, a supervisor for Campbell’s home economics department, was tasked with leading her team to figure out what could be done. The group would test and grade recipes repeatedly. Only a perfect score would qualify it as ready to go. In November of that year, Reilly and her team settled on what would be first known as “the Green Bean Bake,” an easily adaptable six-ingredient recipe of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper and French fried onions that takes 10 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake.

dorcas reilly

Photo Credit: Campbell’s Soup

“We worked in the kitchen with things that were most likely to be in most homes,” she told NPR in 2015. “It’s so easy. And it’s not an expensive thing to make, too.”

During a time when many women were homemakers, Reilly embarked on a career at Campbell’s Soup in Camden, New Jersey.  She worked in the test kitchens, where she and her colleagues brainstormed recipes that used Campbell’s products, and then did blind taste-tests. The test kitchen employees rated a recipe on a scale of one to ten, tweaked it if necessary, and then submitted it to headquarters for approval. When Campbell’s started to put Reilly’s recipe on the cans of its cream of mushroom soup in 1960, the popularity of the dish hit new heights. More than 60 years since the dish was invented, green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving staple, with an estimated 20 million-plus American households expected to serve it this year, according to Campbell’s.

Dorcas Reilly

Throughout her life, Reilly, a culinary trail blazer during a time when women were often on the sidelines in corporate America, remained astonished at the success of a dish based on green beans and cream of mushroom soup, one referred to by Campbell’s as “the mother of all comfort foods.”

“We all thought this is very nice, etc., and then when we got the feelings of the consumer, we were really kinda pleasantly shocked,” she said in a Campbell’s promotional video for the dish. “I’m very proud of this, and I was shocked when I realized how popular it had become.”

Reilly, an influential innovator of beloved comfort food in the U.S., died on Oct. 15 of Alzheimer’s disease in Camden. She was 92. A visitation and celebration of her life will be held on Saturday in Haddonfield, N.J.

Rest in Peace Mrs. Reilly! We will all remember you this Thanksgiving as we take a big scoop of our favorite comfort food, We’re all thankful for you and your recipe!

Dorcas Reilly

photo credit: https://www.nj.com

*Source: The Washington Post

What’s the takeaway that we can learn from Mrs. Reilly?

1. Sometimes we can think we are just “doing our jobs” but to other people, it may make a big difference. This lady invented a recipe that was just a day on the job… but 60 years later, here we are, blogging about her and being inspired by her. Her recipe has been on a kabillion soup cans since 1960, everyone knows what “green bean casserole” is.

2. She was a team leader, and when talking about the challenge, she never took all the credit. She always said “we” when speaking of herself and her team. The TEAM was important, each member of the team contributed something, and she never lost sight of that. Although Reilly cooked up the recipe, she does not take sole credit for it.

“It was about the team working together,” she said. “I didn’t do it; we did it.”

3. Sometimes things start out small, and we never know how they may end up… I’m sure when Dorcas Reilly went to work that day, she never imagined her recipe invention would be called the “mother of all comfort foods” … She didn’t give up though, she stood by her work, and her work spoke for itself in the end~ gaining fame across the country. Keep your chins up, and keep on doing the “little things” that you may think are unimportant… you never know how they may end up in the long run. Dorcas Reilly was quoted as saying, “It was such a rewarding feeling when your recipe was published,” she added. Further stressing the importance of sticking with it, and following your ideas through to fruition.

4. She was a pioneer of sorts, in post World War II America, more than most women became homemakers. Dorcas pursued a college education. In the early 1950s, there was a cultural shift; a post-war wave of consumption was prevalent in America. Marketing departments of major companies were pushing products heavily, because Americans were spending more and the economy was flourishing. Campbell’s in particular published their signature recipes (all whipped up in the test kitchen) in ads, newspapers, magazines, and on their product labels. When Reilly’s green bean casserole recipe appeared in print, it took off. Some say its popularity was initially due to the fact that it used ingredients that were typically found in American pantries; others say that the flavor alone skyrocketed it to fame. Regardless, it was a dish that was being prepared in countless American homes.

5. The Campbell’s website boasts new, more modern spin offs of the recipe, and even more current versions but there is never quite anything like the original, is there?  This reminds us to appreciate the original, to respect the creator of the REAL recipe, and give credit where credit is due. This reminds me of handmade vs handmade knock-offs… what once was a totally handmade market (not mentioning any names) that is flooded with mass -produced goods masquerading as handmade… being produced in overseas factories and imported. Nothing is as quality as handmade, nothing can capture the attention to detail that a handmade garment, sign, purse or home decor item can. One person working on one piece at a time, paying attention to the details, giving the customer one on one service and customer care.

Small Business Children’s Artwork Contest Open NOW

The biggest and best day of the year for small business is almost here.. and we’re SO excited to announce an opportunity for your child to SHINE! Gypsy Spoonful is pleased to present our FIRST annual Small Business Children’s Art Contest We believe in encouraging children’s creativity, and we also believe wholeheartedly in small business. … read more

The biggest and best day of the year for small business is almost here..

and we’re SO excited to announce an opportunity for your child to SHINE!

Gypsy Spoonful is pleased to present our FIRST annual Small Business Children’s Art Contest

We believe in encouraging children’s creativity, and we also believe wholeheartedly in small business. Marry the two and the idea for this awesome contest was born!

Living a creative life can inspire us to continually live better, create more, and be more true to ourselves and our visions. It can also remind us to nurture our children’s creativity.

Who: Children Birth-18 years., Age Groups of 0-4 years, 5-8 years, 9-12 years , 12-18 years. (1 grand prize winner, and 1 consolation prize will be awarded to one child in each group).

What: Have your child color, paint, or draw the most fantastical, creative Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday or winter scene and incorporate the idea of “small business” in the artwork somewhere/somehow  (Santa runs a small business with the help of his elves, afterall!)  Take the best quality photo of the artwork and then add it to the thread in our Facebook Group .  Please include child’s name and age in your comment when you leave the pic of their artwork on the thread. These must be added to the thread prior to Saturday, November 17. One entry per child, please.

What Next? The Gypsy Spoonful admin team will put them into a photo album in our group and open up the album to voting on Saturday, November 17. Tell your friends and family about your child’s art contest entry and have them help you by voting for your child’s artwork.

How To vote: Voters must join our Facebook Group . Instruct them to go to your child’s entry, then voters must like AND comment on your child’s artwork entry, Voting will close on Small Business Saturday, November 24th at 8pm cst. 

Like buttonThe artwork with the most votes /likes will win We will announce the winner Monday, November 26th at 8pm cst.

Prize: A prize package will be awarded to the winning artist worth over $100 from select Gypsy Spoonful shops, and one consolation prize per age group. (if there is a tie for the top 2 grand prize winners, we will host a run-off vote)~we’ll also have a surprise for the parent/grandparent that enters the child’s artwork.

The small shop owners of Gypsy Spoonful will use the winning small business artwork to promote select holiday events, and your child’s artwork will be in the spotlight all season long! The winning artwork will also appear on the Gypsy Spoonful blog announcing the winners.

By entering this contest, you agree to allow Gypsy Spoonful use your child’s art on social media promoting the event as well as in future promotions.

Join our group and join in on all the fun!

 

Top 6 Tips To Stretch Your Shopping Dollar This Holiday Season : Tis the Season To Be Smart

Top 6 Tips To Stretch Your Shopping Dollar This Holiday Season This Thursday’s Thoughts turn to how to help our awesome customers at GypsySpoonful stretch their shopping dollars this Holiday shopping season. Nobody wants to go into debt, we all want to maximize the opportunity to make our gift buying budget a little farther – … read more

Top 6 Tips To Stretch Your Shopping Dollar This Holiday Season

This Thursday’s Thoughts turn to how to help our awesome customers at GypsySpoonful stretch their shopping dollars this Holiday shopping season. Nobody wants to go into debt, we all want to maximize the opportunity to make our gift buying budget a little farther – and who knows, if you save enough, you can treat yourself to some well deserved handmade goodness, or a gift card to use at a later date.

Treat Yo Self

Here’s our top 6 tips for the shopper who means business!

1. Many sites will offer a welcome coupon to new visitors on their site, search the site map for it. It may not be publicized widely. (coming soon to GypsySpoonful, YAY!!)

2. Many sites will offer a discount on your first purchase if you sign up for their mailing list. (coming soon to GypsySpoonful as well, woohoo!!)

3. Ask for gift cards for a site for your birthday, Christmas, Channukah,  or any other gift giving occasions, and save your gift cards for when there is a sale, if you sign up for the welcome coupon or the first discount/welcome as well (we call that piling on in the shopping world!)~ Did you know Gypsy Spoonful has a very cool wishlist feature? You can click and add ANY product on the site to your wishlist, so you can direct your family and friends to the handmade GS products you are admiring.

4. Search the terms “Clearance” , “Close Out” , “Discontinued”, “sale” or “discounted” on the site, or do a search engine (such as google) for sites that are going out of business and you may score big!

Top 6 Tips

5. Find out if the site has a loyalty program or an affiliate program where you can earn points or discounts, or even cash back on purchases people you refer to the site. Some sites offer social cred, if you share their products on your social media channels, you can earn points to redeem for merchandise on the site, or bonus gear not available to the general public. (May be in the near future on Gypsy Spoonful)

6. Become a brand enthusiast/influencer. If you love the products, inquire /search and find out if the site has a brand ambassador program. Sites will often give discounted products in exchange for your peer to peer marketing and promotion (which can be as simple as a selfie wearing their clothing, or holding their product and hashtagging the company)~ if you’re interested in becoming a brand ambassador or enthusiast, please email the head Gypsy HERE

Top 6 Tips

I hope that you find these tips helpful while shopping the awesome handmade marketplace, and independently owned and operated small shops on  GypsySpoonful.com. 

We are the new home of handmade where we are un-apologetically handmade with nothing imported and nothing massproduced. We invite you to shop our marketplace, and be sure to drop us a comment on this blog below if you have additional ideas and tips to help fellow shoppers save money and stretch that holiday shopping budget.

Craftivism

Craftivism : Alive and Well At Gypsy Spoonful

Craftivism ‘Buying and selling directly from the maker challenges the all pervasive corporate culture that promotes profit over people” Are YOU a craftivist? Not Sure? Read on! Gypsy Spoonful is built upon a solid foundation of: empowerment support education and craftivism We believe being Intentional with your shopping dollars can make a very real and … read more

Craftivism

‘Buying and selling directly from the maker challenges the all pervasive corporate culture that promotes profit over people”

Are YOU a craftivist?

Not Sure? Read on!

Gypsy Spoonful is built upon a solid foundation of:

  • empowerment
  • support
  • education
  • and craftivism

We believe being Intentional with your shopping dollars can make a very real and very strong impact in a REAL person’s life. Buying directly from an independent crafter/artisan/sewist helps support local families and economies.

people have grown tired of so-called traditional ways of activism~They are looking for a way to connect and deepen their understanding of things. Yelling doesn’t change things, but dialogue does.

Because it is possible to go beyond banners, email petitions, and chants as ways of fighting for a cause you believe in. …This is less about mass action and more about realizing what you can do to make things around you better. This is about doing things intentionally in order to learn and better process the happenings in this world. This is about creating dialogue with others in the hope for positive change. “

-sourced from Craftivism.com

Many of our makers not only support their families by the products they create, many help others with their time, skills and talent also. This is ALSO Craftivism in action.

By advocating the use of creativity for the improvement of the world, craftivists worldwide taught knitting lessons, sewed scarves for battered women’s shelters, and knitted hats for chemotherapy patients. In a world that was growing increasingly large and unfamiliar, craftivism fought to bring back the personal into our daily lives to replace some of the mass produced. In promoting the idea that people can use their own creativity to improve the world, craftivism allows those who wish to voice their opinions and support their causes the chance to do just that…but without chanting or banner waving and at their own pace.

-Betsy Greer,
“Craftivism.” Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice. 2007. SAGE Publications.

 

Further Reading:

To discover more about the Craftivism Movement, please look HERE

The True Cost of Disposable Clothing Article

Making The American Man Documentary (Trailer) – Currently streaming on Netflix

Hashtags : Supreme List of Instagram Hashtags

Supreme List of Handmade Hashtags : the best hashtags to use for Instagram

Supreme List of Handmade Hashtags for Instagram You’ve been accepted to Gypsy Spoonful, Set Up Your Shop, Worked on Creating your first 10 product listings, and graduated to the bigger group… Now What?  How do you get found and get any real, engaged followers? Does it feel like you’re just talking to yourself (I can … read more

Supreme List of Handmade Hashtags for Instagram

You’ve been accepted to Gypsy Spoonful, Set Up Your Shop, Worked on Creating your first 10 product listings, and graduated to the bigger group… Now What?  How do you get found and get any real, engaged followers? Does it feel like you’re just talking to yourself (I can relate!)

Hashtags : Supreme List of Instagram Hashtags

On many social media platforms, but most of all Instagram, hashtags are one of the quickest and easiest ways to grow your following. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, so here is a quick and dirty list of some great Handmade and Gypsy Spoonful specific hashtags to use for your copy and pasting ease.

  • #GypsySpoonful
  • #GSShopOwner
  • #GypsyStrong
  • #GSsellersofinstagram
  • #GSseller
  • #GSlove
  • #GSfinds
  • #GSsuccess
  • #madeintheusa
  • #handmadegifts
  • #shopGS
  • #smallshop
  • #shopsmall
  • #handmadefavorites
  • #mamamade
  • #makersgonnamake
  • #artistsofinstagram
  • #AmericanSmallBusiness
  • #shophandmade
  • #shopsmallbusiness
  • #shopsmallbiz
  • #handmadesmallbusiness
  • #handmademarketplace
  • #shopGS
  • #handmadesale
  • #handmadetribe
  • #handmadebestsellers
  • #handmademen
  • #handmadewomen
  • #handmadesellers
  • #handmaderevolution

If you are looking for more specifically handmade, but not specifically Gypsy Spoonful hashtags, here is a list of my favorite of those:

  • #handmade
  • #crafter
  • #handmadewithlove
  • #artist
  • #maker
  • #creativelife
  • #makerslife
  • #makerlife
  • #makersmovement
  • #handmademovement
  • #waketomake
  • #calledtobecreative
  • #handmadeisbest
  • #makersgottamake
  • #createmakeshare
  • #instamaker
  • #instahandmade
  • #handicraft
  • #handcrafted
  • #instacraft
  • #wearethemakers
  • #creativeatheart
  • #supportthemakers
  • #supporthandmade
  • #createmakeshare

I’ve found it is a great idea to use a variety of hashtags — switch it up, and rotate often, some about handmade items, some about Gypsy Spoonful specifically, and some about your particular niche and geographic location.

Geographic location? What does that mean?

Examples:

  • #handmadeinTexas
  • #chicagoartist
  • #kansascitymakers

Do you have any particular hashtags that work well for you? Of course We’d love to hear them!

Interested in finding out more about being a shop owner/seller on Gypsy Spoonful? Read this page and see if you vibe with what we’re doing. See the members of our community in action and interact with them in our Facebook Group. 

 

Have You Heard The News?

  Have you heard the news??? The Gypsy Spoonful Fall Auction is in it’s FINAL DAY!! Some items don’t have bids yet! Snap up a deal , and snipe those auction items! We have over 110 MUST HAVE handmade items, Get on over to our Facebook Group and see what you can win!  Sew Sweet … read more

 

Have you heard the news??? The Gypsy Spoonful Fall Auction is in it’s FINAL DAY!!

Some items don’t have bids yet! Snap up a deal , and snipe those auction items! We have over 110 MUST HAVE handmade items, Get on over to our Facebook Group and see what you can win! 

Sew Sweet Pea's Handmade BoutiqueSewSweetPeas.comSize 2THere is an elegant, yet comfortable dress is perfect for…

Posted by Paula Marie Miguele on Friday, August 3, 2018

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216501056661599&set=oa.1824886650922942&type=3&hc_location=ufi

MYSTARA HAND SCULPTED POLYMER CLAY DRAGON Starting bid: $55.00Bid Increments: $1.00US Priority Mail Shipping:…

Posted by Eli Mattingly on Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Starting bid $30Bid increase $1Shipping: $3.50 1st classAqua & coral Sparrow apron knot dress by That's So Addie….

Posted by Raenita Bennett Deal on Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Big, cuddly, gorgeous handmade crocheted snowflake afghan throw blanket is 52" x 52" by…

Posted by Jacquie Kaegebein on Friday, August 3, 2018

Made by SALT WORKSFall braceletSB: $18 with $1 bid incrementsBIN: $24 (void after first bid)Shipping is…

Posted by Cindy Perkins on Monday, July 30, 2018

Debra Engelbrecht's Paintings Auction Item #3“Waiting Boxer” PrintHand drawn with pencilsFramed artwork…

Posted by Patricia VanSant on Sunday, July 29, 2018

Jack Skellington and Sally size 5 dress is proudly made by Lace And Sneakers. This is a OOAK in this fabric. Jack and…

Posted by Virginia Hooper on Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Handmade Crocheted Little Birdie baby hat and cocoon size 0-3 months by…

Posted by Jacquie Kaegebein on Friday, August 3, 2018

She blinded me with science apron 25 opening1 dollar increments 3 dollar shippingJoin my group to see more…

Posted by Michelle Sherod on Thursday, August 2, 2018

*** Buy It Now ***Magical Memories By Jessica BoutiqueGoofy T Shirt $23 each shipped — this includes free…

Posted by Jessica Sines Lee on Thursday, August 2, 2018

Sew Sweet Pea's Handmade BoutiqueSewSweetPeas.comSIZE 6Y Dress.Here is an elegant, yet comfortable dress is made…

Posted by Paula Marie Miguele on Friday, August 3, 2018

Fall Musical Infinity Wreath By My Spinning Mind Home Decor Special sale price for the Fall auction…

Posted by Rachelle Ihrig on Sunday, July 29, 2018

See Even more auction items in the photo album HERE

Models Vs Mannequins, the great debate rages on

Guest Blog Post: Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years While using professional models is a great way to showcase your products, it isn’t always cost-effective. The best … read more

Guest Blog Post:
Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years

While using professional models is a great way to showcase your products, it isn’t always cost-effective. The best alternative options are amateur models and mannequins.

When deciding between amateur models and mannequins, you’re largely factoring a risk/reward scenario, ongoing costs, and how much you’re willing to manage people.

Models, even amateurs, are more desirable because a live body helps a customer relate to your product and adds a higher degree of professionalism, but it can also make for an unpredictable process. Mannequins are great because they’re affordable, consistent, and easy to work with.

Let’s take a step-by-step look at how you can create quality DIY product photography with amateur models and then we’ll go over the advantages provided by mannequins.

DIY Product Photography with Amateur Models

If you want to take a professional-looking product photos with amateur models, follow these seven steps:

1. Cast a Model

If you’re going to use an amateur, there are three primary factors to consider: Your comfort level with the model, their long-term availability, and your apparel’s fit. It doesn’t matter how attractive your model is if your dress is dragging on the floor because the model is six inches too short to properly fit it.

models vs mannequins

Image credit: Pixelz

Comfort level: Communication is important and the easier time you have communicating your vision, the more efficient you will be when shooting. Also, the mood in the studio comes through in images: If you and the model are frustrated and unhappy, you’re not going to get good photographs.

Availability: Plan long-term. If you want a consistent look, especially since amateurs introduce more body type variation than professional models, it’s beneficial to use just one or two models throughout your photography. You will also find that later shoots become more efficient as you and the model increase your comfort level and understanding of each other.

Fit: How does your product look when worn by your model? Focus on the product’s appearance and make sure it’s flattering and requires as little adjustment as possible—you don’t want to create wrinkles because you’re pinning excessively to compensate for a poor fit. Sizing is key. Pick one size and use that same size throughout your photography for a consistent appearance and a more intuitive understanding of sizing by customers shopping your site later.

2. Setup Your Studio Space

Select a space that allows your model to move freely when following your instructions, but don’t choose an area so large that your model might wander out of frame. Designate specific backdrop boundaries to help herd the model and aim your camera.

Your exact equipment will vary depending on your needs and budget, but as a starting point a white backdrop like a roll of seamless white paper or a sheet is always a good idea. White backdrops are required by many ecommerce marketplaces, simplify post-production, and are easy to light in session. If you’ve never set up a studio before, here’s a guide to how to build your own photo studio on a bootstrapped budget.

Be sure to use a tripod. Camera stabilization allows for longer exposure times, improves consistency, and saves you time between shots because you don’t have to readjust your camera’s aim. The result is usually a sharper image and more of them.

3. Shape Your Light

Renting or buying lighting equipment is a big decision and a critical step when capturing product images. Lighting equipment is expensive, so take your time and invest wisely. It may not be necessary to buy equipment: If you’re not going to use a piece regularly, consider renting.

The most common product photography setups use 1-3 continuous softbox lights or 1-3 external speedlights and umbrellas. If you’re in the market, here’s a shopping guide for product photography lighting equipment.

When positioning your lights, try to mimic the softness of natural window light. Continuous softboxes do so automatically, but speedlights may be too harsh and direct even with umbrellas. If that’s a problem, angle your speedlights to either side of the model and bounce the light off nearby walls, like in the image above.

Test out your lighting setup and experiment with different options—but do it before the model arrives so you don’t waste valuable photoshoot time.

4. Position Your Model

When your model arrives on set, it’s time to communicate your vision and position them in frame. The simplest way to position them is with a classic “X marks the spot” approach. Tape an X on the floor either directly beneath their feet, or closer to the camera but in line with where they should stand (so they’re not constantly looking down). The X creates a target for the model so you don’t have to constantly ask them to move.

5. Shoot with Wide Framing

Leave space on all sides of your model when capturing the image. If you’re going to be selling your product in multiple marketplaces and channels, they may have different requirements for cropping and sizing. It’s much easier to crop down to someone’s standards than it is to try and scale up.

Even if you intend to crop out faces, arms, and legs, always keep them in frame. Again, it’s much easier to edit something out then to add it back in—if that’s even possible. You don’t want to have to reshoot.

6. Give Direction

Stay positive and build up your model’s confidence. Remember that they’re an amateur and that you want to shoot with them long-term, so help them realize their potential.

Give the model the instruction they need to help you fulfill your vision. Be clear and precise: For example, if you want the model to look in a particular direction, tell them to look at a specific object instead of pointing. Keep poses simple, so that you don’t distract from the product or lead your amateur out of their comfort zone.

7. Post-Production

After you’ve captured your images, it’s time to optimize them for the web. You can edit the images yourself with this post-production guide, or you can outsource the labor to free yourself to focus on the creative aspects of your business. At Pixelz, for example, we offer a feature-rich and easy to use interface for creating specifications, uploading images, comparing before-and-after images, and rejecting images that don’t meet your standards.

The goal of image editing is to help you create high quality and consistent imagery. Steps like removing the background will create a professional impression by cutting away your DIY studio and also minimizing file size, speeding up your page loading time. Consider using post-production to make lighting adjustments, touch up skin, remove wrinkles, straighten your product, and perform cropping and resizing.

So that’s how to stage a photoshoot with an amateur model. Now, let’s take a look at mannequins.

The Case for Mannequins

stylecampaign burberry mannequins

Image credit: StyleCampaign

Even for high end fashion brands, mannequins are a budget conscious product photographer’s best friend. You can buy them for anywhere from $60-$600, depending on your needs, and that’s it. There’s no overtime, no rate hikes, and they’re always available for reshoots.

Those are the most obvious differences, but there’s more.

Mannequins Make Product Fit Easy

Whether you’re dealing with a professional or an amateur, you need to spend time when casting a model, have them try on your clothes and see if you like the way it looks. You can improve fit with styling, using pins and clips and other techniques, but you need a good foundation to build on.

Alternatively, with a mannequin, you may only need a few moments of browsing online to find the perfect one. Finding the right fit is simplified when you can click around and see exact measurements. This is especially true if all your samples are the same size and you only need one mannequin.

You’ll have less flexibility with posing, but your mannequin won’t complain about being poked or prodded while you’re styling it.

There are many types of materials mannequins are made from, but none is necessarily superior to another. It’s about a different kind of “fit” here; make sure your mannequin style matches your brand.

Branding Possibilities

Mannequins don’t communicate branding as completely as a fully styled model, but they’re not a blank slate either. We can use Anthropologie as an example; until about two years ago, they used mannequins for most of their ecommerce images. Here’s how they used to look:

anthropologie mannequin

Image credit: Anthropologie

It’s clean, vintage, and subtly decorated by a knob at the top. You don’t want your mannequin to be distracting, but anything that’s being seen by a customer should reinforce your brand positioning. If you’re bohemian, use vintage mannequins. If you’re modern, get something more sleek.

There’s also a 3D technique that’s growing in popularity: the invisible mannequin.

If you want to remove all distractions while still demonstrating fit, you can use the invisible mannequin effect. With a little planning and Photoshop know-how, you can create the effect in post-production yourself. If you don’t have the time or the desire to do it yourself, you can offload post-production to a company like Pixelz.

invisible ghost mannequin

Image credit: Pixelz

An “invisible” or “ghost” mannequin image is basically a combination of two or more images. Your product should be photographed as normal, and then repositioned in such a way that any portion that was originally covered by the mannequin can be photographed. Later, the photos are combined into a single image. For more detail, read this invisible mannequin guide that will walk you from basic principles all the way through post-production.

Which Should You Choose?

Models are essential for projecting a professional standard, while mannequins are cost-effective and consistent.

Many boutiques and brands with limited budgets combine the two with great success. You may want to consider shooting a lookbook with professional models, and using those images throughout your store for branding. You can then use amateur models or mannequins for product images.

A mixed approach will give you the best of both worlds without forcing you to choose between branding and your budget.

What have your experiences been like with models and mannequins? Do you have any tips or questions? Let us know in the comments below!


shopify-author Thomas Kragelund

About The Author

Thomas Kragelund is the CEO and founder of Pixelz, a leading product image solutions partner for internet retailers, bloggers, designers, photographers and webmasters worldwide. He has been working in ecommerce for the last 15 years.

Be intentional

Being Intentional: Doing the RIGHT thing vs. the EASY thing.

It’s an add to cart kind of day! The best way to start your day is to be INTENTIONAL. Yes, kiddies, that’s the word of the day.. Intentional… What does that mean exactly? in·ten·tion·al inˈten(t)SH(ə)n(ə)l/ adjective 1. done on purpose; deliberate. 2. done with purpose; intended Let’s take a look at what that means in … read more

Be intentional

It’s an add to cart kind of day! The best way to start your day is to be INTENTIONAL.

Yes, kiddies, that’s the word of the day.. Intentional…

What does that mean exactly?

in·ten·tion·al
inˈten(t)SH(ə)n(ə)l/
adjective

1. done on purpose; deliberate.
2. done with purpose; intended

Let’s take a look at what that means in the context of the “support handmade” and “shop small” movements.

The easy thing to do when you need to buy a gift is to run to your local retailer and pick up a gift card for another retailer, most likely a chain store, or corporately owned restaurant chain… Everyone likes gift cards, don’t they?

The easy thing to do when you need an outfit or accessory for a special occasion is to go to the mall, and look around until something “speaks to you”… or go to the closest big box store and find something there, right?

Well, I am here to tell you that the easy thing is not always the RIGHT thing to do.

doing the right thing

Being intentional in this context is about doing the RIGHT thing, not the easiest thing. Every single dollar you spend is a vote for the type of world you want to live in. Do you really want to line the pockets of CEO’s of fortune 500 companies? Do you want to give that CEO that extra vacation … OR would you rather know that your money is giving a little boy little league, or a little girl dance lessons? Would you rather see a small family be able to go out and see a movie together? or would you rather give that big box store’s corporate management team a big fat bonus when they’re already raking in the cash… or would you like to know that your purchase MEANT something to ONE work at home mom or dad?  I’d sleep a lot better at night if I was MORE intentional with my shopping dollars. Sure, it might make some forethought and planning out to buy a birthday gift for someone from the Gypsy Spoonful marketplace, and it may just be easier to grab that gift card from your local pharmacy store.

Gypsy Spoonful has 165 independently owned & operated small shops~ each one representing a very hard working mom or dad, or a student working their way through college, a person who has a disability and may not be able to hold a traditional job, a homeschooling parent who wants to be home with their children and teach them while also working and adding to the family income. EVERY single sale matters in the life of a VERY REAL person. It makes a difference in their household.

Doing the right thing is not always easy, but it is ALWAYS the right thing to do.

Shop the Gypsy Spoonful Marketplace Now

Check out what we believe about handmade, and small American business, if you vibe with what we’re doing, and you’re a maker/artist/crafter… apply to open a shop HERE . 

Want to see our community of makers in action, and get to know the person who owns a shop? Join our Facebook Group. You can also request a custom item on the wall in the group!

Do you know who made the items you bought this week?

From the desk of the empowered and crafty woman dropping knowledge on the world, lololol What is happening inside my brain today: (thank you “secret squirrel cbd strain haha)   As we all know by now, Gypsy Spoonful is what we promote as “American handmade”. and no , we don’t have international sellers (yet) .. … read more

GoosieGirl.com

Heather AKA Goose, Owner/CEO at GypsySpoonful.com

From the desk of the empowered and crafty woman dropping knowledge on the world, lololol

What is happening inside my brain today: (thank you “secret squirrel cbd strain haha)
 
As we all know by now, Gypsy Spoonful is what we promote as “American handmade”. and no , we don’t have international sellers (yet) .. and the main reason for that at the onset was because so many imports were flooding Etsy and other marketplaces, and people were reselling imported copies of handmade products. Then it also came down to the shipping issue, if we were giving site wide, shipping for free (aka included in the price), it may not be feasible for us to ship internationally, or if someone overseas made a sale and had to ship it, it might be very hard to figure the cost when including shipping. (That has evolved a little bit over the last year but I’ll revisit that later) .
I am aware that today is International Fair Trade Day (5/12 every year) , and this brings me to something I am very passionate about, When someone purchases an imported item (especially from China) they have no way of knowing WHO actually created that item, OR how it was produced, or under WHAT conditions. I love the fact that the fair trade organization and guarantee exists, because of those reasons. (it’s time for a fashion revolution, people!) 
 
I think it is VERY important to understand, that imported items may have been created in sweat shops, where people are treated inhumanely and very poorly, or there may be human rights violations such as using child labor or forced prison labor. China has the WORST record in the entire world of human rights violations, they are a communist country afterall. Some day, if it’s possible to add international sellers , it is extremely important to me that we know their creative process (to be sure each item is individually handmade and not mass produced) as well as under what conditions they create the items, and that the people are being paid a fair wage as well. For more evidence and information about imports from China, go HERE
 
Just a message from the girl with the Gypsy Spoonful vision she’s trying to impart to everyone. Thanks for reading! Thoughts? drop a comment below and please share using the social media share buttons! 

Facebook Speculation Rumors Swirl: Zuckerberg Suggests There Will Be a PAID Version in Future

Zuckerberg Suggests There Will Be a PAID Version For years, there have been rumors running around on Facebook saying that the social media giant was going to start charging for it’s use; and for just as many years a quick fact check on Snopes will easily put this top 15 urban legend to rest. However, … read more

Zuckerberg Suggests There Will Be a PAID Version

For years, there have been rumors running around on Facebook saying that the social media giant was going to start charging for it’s use; and for just as many years a quick fact check on Snopes will easily put this top 15 urban legend to rest. However, something wicked this way blows~ and it sounds like things REALLY may be changing.

Repost from Bustle:

Facebook Founder And CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress yesterday, (April 11, 2018) regarding privacy breeches encountered at the hands of what is being called The Cambridge Analytica

“There will always be a version of Facebook that is free,” Zuckerberg said when Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch asked him if the service he created will always be free to use.

The phrasing of that remark strongly implies that it’s at least possible that there will at some point be a version of Facebook that isn’t free. Many speculated that this hypothetical paid version of Facebook would be ad-free, given that Zuckerberg was discussing the importance of advertising in Facebook’s business model when he made the comment.

Of course, this is all complete speculation. Zuckerberg made a throwaway comment that didn’t close the door to the possibility of a paid version of Facebook — but that’s about all he did. Zuckerberg made no official announcements, and didn’t even confirm that the company is looking at the possibility of a premium version. He simply hinted obliquely at the possibility.

The idea of a paid, ad-free version of Facebook has been floated in the past. In 2013, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone proposed that Facebook adopt such a business model — not as a means of protecting users’ data, but as a means of making more money.

“I’ve got an idea for Facebook,” Stone wrote in a Medium post. “They could offer Facebook Premium. For $10 a month, people who really love Facebook (and can afford it), could see no ads. Maybe some special features too. If 10% percent of Facebook signed up, that’s $1B a month in revenue.”

Moreover, a rumor circulated in 2009 (and several times since) that Facebook was going to start charging users to access the website. Needless to say, that never happened.

Not everybody is sold on the idea of a premium version of Facebook, however. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told USA TODAY on Wednesday that he doesn’t think users would pony up the extra cash for an ad-free Facebook experience.

“You would say, ‘I’m really paying $1,000 a year for this Facebook service when I can do email and other sites?'” Wozniak hypothesized. “There’s a lot of ways to be in contact with people.” He added that an ad-free version would provide “one little level of guarantee and privacy,” but probably wouldn’t alleviate all of users’ concerns about how their data is used and shared.

Goosie Commentary: I think most of the analysts who are predicting an “ad-free” version of Facebook may be off target. Where I see this going is offering Facebook free for regular users, and then Zuckerberg and his crew creating a paid version for businesses. I don’t think ad-free is ever the way they’re going to go.  Ad dollars are their bread and butter. Offering premium services to businesses to be seen again by followers (instead of boosting posts) will be the way it goes in my humble opinion. The slippery slope to a paid version for businesses seems to have started a couple of months ago with Zuckerberg’s statement when he basically killed Facebook Pages for Business and Brands.  He hinted then that there would be a separate place for Facebook Pages. And I believe that was the first step in separating “Regular Facebook users” from “Business Facebook Users”. I knew this was coming, I can almost guarantee that Businesses and Brands will be offered a premium version and if they don’t subscribe they’ll remain “dead” in “no man’s land”, or eliminated all together.

How will this affect Small Business Owners that use Facebook to share, promote, market and otherwise grow their customer base and reach? it’s going to hurt a lot. I think it’s going to be a pay to play type of scenario, and most of us are on shoestring budgets and live sale to sale as it is now.  Don’t quote me on my commentary and my prediction, but I’d be you dollars to donuts this is what will be happening in the future.

What do YOU think Mark Zuckerberg was alluding to in regards to the future for his social media cornerstone? Drop us a comment and let us know what you think.

If you’re a small business or handmade shop owner, would you pay to have a business facebook account? How MUCH would you be willing to pay per month? Drop a comment below and join the discussion.

 

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!

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques</font color> Learn the top 5 tips on how to get your handmade products carried by local boutiques. My amazing friend, Sarah Shaw of Sarah Shaw Consulting just released a free guide on how to get your small business’ products into brick and mortar boutiques. I’ve considered … read more

5 Steps To Get Into Brick and Mortar Boutiques</font color>

Learn the top 5 tips on how to get your handmade products carried by local boutiques. My amazing friend, Sarah Shaw of Sarah Shaw Consulting just released a free guide on how to get your small business’ products into brick and mortar boutiques. I’ve considered her an expert in her field for a long time now, she’s shown that she knows the proven ways to succeed in this rough market. Just the other day in our member’s only group, we were discussing this very topic! Great timing huh? Don’t waste any time wondering how to succeed at this like a champ!


Sarah Asks,

Are you afraid to call boutique buyers? I was too when I was first starting out.

Sarah has prepared this special guide to share her time-tested formula so you can get your products into the stores of your dreams.

  • You are going to get:
  • 6 ways to find the perfect buyers who already want your product!
  • The “My friend saw your store” copy and paste email script
  • Her “Perfect Follow Up” phone script so you can close the deal
  • And more…..

I know you’re absolutely going to LOVE what she’s sharing with you. There’s no time to waste, so shake a leg sister!

To get started right away and access her free PDF guide, click this link to access your guide

 

Hustle: Do you have it? What does Hustling Mean To You?

The definition of hustle varies with different individuals. To some, its the art of working extra hard to meet your goals while to others, it’s a lifestyle you live by every day. As they say, the end results justify the means. We asked CEOs what hustle means to them and here are the responses. #1- … read more

The definition of hustle varies with different individuals. To some, its the art of working extra hard to meet your goals while to others, it’s a lifestyle you live by every day. As they say, the end results justify the means.

We asked CEOs what hustle means to them and here are the responses.

#1- Powering through the hard parts

Thanks to Jake Jorgovan, Lead Cookie!It’s not about working nights and weekends forever, that just leads to burnout. Instead hustle is about working those nights and weekends when it’s necessary to get over that next hump. Too many people confuse hustle with being a workaholic. You simply can’t stay in hustle mode for your entire life. There are seasons for hustle, and there are seasons to focus on your personal life. It’s important to understand that balance.

 #2- GSD’ing

Thanks to Spencer Chambers Hustle to me is summed up in what I like to call GSD’ing. What is GSD’ing you may ask? In appropriate language, this means Get “Stuff” Done. Work hard, never take no for an answer, make things happen, etc. It’s a really simple concept, but it takes hustle to truly execute and get stuff done on a daily basis.

#3- Simple

Thanks to Taran Ghatrora, Ellebox!Hustle to me is having a clear vision and an unbeatable work ethic to get there. You can’t get stuck in the planning phase or in overthinking.

#4- Executing things

Hustle is the ability to execute steps forward on ideas using discipline to motivate you, instead of inspiration or whim. Your idea is pretty much shit, unless you actually execute on it and do the thing.

Thanks to Ben Woods, Weathered Coalition!

#5- A number of things

Hustling is pursuing your passion when others aren’t. Hustling is saying no to happy hour to work on your business. Hustling is waking up every day at 5 a.m. to write a new company blog post, answer emails or listen to motivational videos. Hustling is spending most of your days alone because you are fervently working to grow your business.

Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC!

#6-Having grit

Hustle means having grit. Sticking to it and getting things done while thinking strategically and being engaged. Hustling is about being effective and following through. It’s about the process — start to finish. Be strategic, savvy, and execute. It’s a go-go-go, get it done mentality.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!

#7- Performance and productivity

For most entrepreneurs and small business owners, hustle in its most literal sense means that you have to perform and be productive at a high level each and every day. If not, your competitors are likely to get a leg up on you. In a more subjective sense, hustle is a term used regarding a side hustle, which is how many of us get started. If you can find something to do in your spare time which generates income for you, there’s nothing to say that it can’t eventually turn into a full-time position and career for you.

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!

#8- Motivation and persistence

Thanks to Tom Szaky, TerraCycle!To me, hustle is motivation and persistence. It is being motivated by the word “no,” or the desire to do something others think is not possible. It is thinking big and not settling for anything less than great. Mediocre will not suffice. When TerraCycle first started about 15 years ago, we sold organic worm poop fertilizer. Selling to mom n’ pop stores would’ve been easy, but I wanted more. I wanted to see it on shelves in big box stores so I called relentlessly, no matter how many times they didn’t respond. Finally, we got a meeting and a short time later our fertilizer was on store shelves. Today, we no longer make the fertilizer and TerraCycle is known for recycling difficult to recycle materials. We operate in 21 countries and were just qualified by the SEC for a Regulation A offering which enables any level investor to purchase shares of the company. The capital raise will be used to acquire businesses, allowing us to continue to innovate ways to solve some of the world’s biggest waste problems. Thinking big and persevering despite the no’s in life is my definition of hustle.

#9- Making things happen

It takes drive, creativity, energy, passion, chutzpah, and resilience. As the founder and CEO I know there are going to be times when doors close or I have to pivot to turn my vision into reality. If it were easy someone would have thought of it and done it before. If you are committed to making your dream come true you have to hustle. No one else wakes up every day thinking about your business. It is on you to hustle. If you want it more then you just have to work harder and hustle to make it happen.

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

 #10- Solving problems

Hustle is a term that gets thrown around a lot by entrepreneurs, we say with pride that we worked 14 hours a day for the last week. I’m working on being more conscious of framing my relationship to the word hustle, I now relate it to resourcefulness. When you’re running your own business, a lot of different things come down the pipe, and you’ve got to be able to dig deep and have a high capacity for problem-solving.

Thanks to Justin Shaw, One & Zero!

#11- Hard work

Hustle is working day in and day out even when the results aren’t showing. It’s doing all of the work when you don’t feel like it or you’re stressed. Hustle means not complaining and putting in the hours no matter what because you’re dedicated. In business, it takes a long time for the fruits of your labor to show their effects. I believe you have to be willing to work very hard now for rewards later. That’s what hustle means to me.

Thanks to Carmine M, Pierro Shoes!

#12- It’s everything

Thanks to Rune Sovndahl, Fantastic Services!Business and hustle go hand in hand when being an entrepreneur and it can be fantastic, but also really challenging at the same time. What is “hustle”, you may ask? It’s everything. To me it is breathing, living and feeling the pulse of the business. It’s about making constant growth sustainable. Hustle is about a constant state of peak performance and ability to find the positive in every situation. It is also used to remind one that good things don’t come to those who wait – it comes to those who work hard, sleep and breathe work, and deliver. No matter what type of problem is thrown at you, you have to keep hustling!

#13- To keep moving

Hustle to me means rolling with the punches and never giving up. When your business or your professional career there are going to be low times, failures and even lull’s. You need to make sure to keep working through these times. This is where most people give up and try something new. Have faith and believe in yourself. Hustle your way through these hard times.

Thanks to Garrett Smith, Pitch + Pivot!

#14- Several things

Being the Executive Director of a very small nonprofit, hustle means something very different to me than how the average CEO probably sees it. For me, making as many connections as possible and going to as many networking events as possible are critical. I also need to be fearless when it comes to asking people, companies, and organizations for support and resources for our organization whenever we need it. Hustle also means having my elevator pitch down to a science, so I can easily and efficiently sell our organization to potential new supporters and partners on the spot. For me, hustling also means keeping in touch with connections even if you can’t work with them right away, because you never know if they might be able to help you later on, or who else they might know who might be able to help you, too. Additionally, being ready with a list of things you need assistance with – and being ready to vocalize that list of needs when opportunities arise – is definitely critical to hustling, as is working all channels available to you (like using social media for instance) to crowd-source resources and connections that can benefit us as well.

Thanks to Melissa Norden, Bottomless Closet!

#15- When you say, enough talking – it’s time to do something

Your business began with a dream, that dream morphed into a vision which then becomes a goal. The world is full of dreamers. You have to do more than dream and believe; you have to have a shared goal and hustle to reach it! We teach our team in our EntreLeadership classes to clearly define dreams, visions and goals, share them and share them with their teams. Hustle happens when the team fights and claws together to get there.

Thanks to Dave Ramsey, Ramsey Solutions!

#16- Making it work

“Detroit Hustle” is a known state of mind in the Motor City, where my outdoor advertising agency is headquartered. To me, hustle means always making it work and never giving up. I’ve worked essentially 24/7 since starting Brooklyn Outdoor 5 years ago and I wouldn’t change it for the world. My days are jam-packed with meetings, conference calls, and tight deadlines. I think the most important part of the hustle is being invigorated by hard work instead of feeling drained.

Thanks to Candice Simons, Brooklyn Outdoor!

What does hustle mean to you? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join

(courtesty of CEO Blog Nation)

Buy A Domain Name: Where to Buy The Cheapest Domain Registrars Around Reviewed

You’ve got your business up and running, you’ve opened your Gypsy Spoonful shop and now you are looking to secure your WAHM owned small business with a corresponding domain name, but you don’t want to pay a fortune for it. Who offers the cheapest domain registration? There are so many domain registrars out there, how … read more

You’ve got your business up and running, you’ve opened your Gypsy Spoonful shop and now you are looking to secure your WAHM owned small business with a corresponding domain name, but you don’t want to pay a fortune for it. Who offers the cheapest domain registration?

There are so many domain registrars out there, how do you know which one to work with? We’ve published this article to give you some insight into the different companies out there!

So, here we’re going to focus solely on price.

What is a Domain Name?
According to Wikipedia, “A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Domain names are formed by the rules and procedures of the Domain Name System (DNS)”. In more plain English, this is kind of like your address because it gives all internet servers around the world one unique place to find you and your website.

Since not all domain names are available, you always need to check whether or not the one you want to use for your company is taken.

A domain name is the identity of your business and, therefore, you have to be very careful when choosing one. It should be meaningful and serve your purpose well. Of course, having a memorable domain name can be useful and having one that falls off the tongue is great for marketing purposes

For example, for a business website, a domain name which contains the company name is an ideal choice. It could also refer to the website’s content or at least allude to it. For more creative applications, you might consider a quirkier domain name that will intrigue potential visitors.

Read more http://how2oo.com/how-to-get-a-domain-name-free/

Finding a Reliable and Affordable Domain Name Registrar
First, the most important function of a registrar is that they allow you to easily and effectively administer and manage your domain name. Functionality or features to look for in a domain name registrar include:

  • An established reputation (given the ease of becoming a registrar, there are many fly-by-night outfits out there that will take your money and run so BE CAREFUL! )
  • No hidden fees (such as a fee for transferring a domain out to another registrar)
  • Comprehensive administration (for nameserver, mail, who-is records, etc.)
  • Reasonably priced registration fees
  • Accredited by a governing body (such as ICANN: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non-profit organization)
  • Easy transfer of domain name in and out of registrar
  • Domain name forwarding (something we suggest to all our shop owners on GypsySpoonful
  • Manual and auto renewal – Careful with this one. Many registrars will try everything they can to auto-renew by default, which may result in you renewing a bunch of domain names every year that you don’t want to renew.
  • Private whois registration – Conceals your whois data, i.e. your name, address, phone, etc. from prying eyes

Find out MORE About WhoIs

  • Do you need email accounts? Some registrars will host your domain’s email for you. This is practical if you need email up and running but are not yet ready to host.
  • Customer support – It’s crucial that your domain registrar have good customer support, whether via phone, email, or live chat.
  • Note: We leave hosting out of this discussion because we don’t recommend you host with your registrar. Why? Because they are two very different specialty areas and it is hard to be great at both… it’s like eating at a restaurant that sells both Chinese and Thai food and expecting both to be authentic!

How We Chose Our Rankings
This blog post’s rankings were based on price. So you may be confused when you see that there are some companies with more cons than others that are ranked higher up. Just keep in mind that the rankings are purely based on the renewal price.

Inexpensive, Reliable Domain Name Registrars (Table)
These rankings are based on price, but we also recommended the top 2 above because they are quality registrars where you will be able to reliably host your domain names. You may well find a less expensive option, but odds are they are not an approved registrar and you may have difficulty managing your names.

#1 Idotz Review

Idotz has the cheapest introductory AND renewal pricing. It’s been established for a super long time, making it our #1 pick!

Namecheap Review
#2 Namecheap
Namecheap has the cheapest renewal rate and an established business history, making it our #2 pick. If you’re looking for easy and affordable domain management without unnecessary frills, Namecheap is a good company to go with. It’s easy to transfer your domains in and out as well.

1&1 Review
#3 1&1 While 1&1 has a great introductory rate of $0.99 for the first year, the renewal rate of $14.99/year will make this more expensive than iDotz or Namecheap if held for more than 2 years. *Also, please note, if you’re paying with paypal, you aren’t allowed to pay with your paypal balance for some reason. Only a credit card or bank account transfer is allowed. (that seems a bit sketchy to me, so be careful)

 

Below are the reviews for other companies ranked according to price.

GoDaddy Review
#4 GoDaddy

GoDaddy comes with a big name and is best known for their web hosting solutions. It’s easy to get started with GoDaddy except checking out can be a bit confusing for some. Customers say they constantly try to upsell which is extremely annoying and their customer support could use some help since they have long wait times. Be careful if paying with paypal, they auto-renew your domain(s) and if you only want it for 1 year, you’ll be billed the following year, and the following year…and so on…

Host Gator Review
#5 HostGator
Host Gator is a big corporation with many awards under its belt. They’ve been around for a long time so they’ve had plenty of time to build their company. They pride themselves in customer service and have many features to choose from.

Moniker Review
#6 Moniker
We tried to research Moniker but had difficulties finding reliable information on them. If you’ve used Moniker let us know! It’s the cheapest that I’ve found for 1 year without a super low introductory bait & switch tactic. 

Who’s Your Favorite Registrar?
While there are quite a few domain registration companies out there that meet the above criteria, there are even more that don’t. And of those that do, there are many that charge above and beyond the wholesale price of a domain name (for example, register.com, which charges a $38 renewal rate, or Network Solutions, which comes in at a hefty $35 per year).

Want to learn more about domains and websites? subscribe to the Gypsy Spoonful Mailing List

Which domain name registrar have you used? Was it a good or bad experience?

Zuckerberg Announces BIG Changes for Business Pages on Facebook. Coming Soon in 2018. Small Business Apocalypse.

Did you hear about the BIG changes coming to Facebook for businesses??!! straight from the horse’s mouth: Last Thursday, Zuckerberg stated the company intends to bring personal interaction back to Facebook, ensuring that users see more of their friends’ posts and less content from brands, media and other groups that utilize Facebook pages. While this … read more

Did you hear about the BIG changes coming to Facebook for businesses??!!

straight from the horse’s mouth:

Last Thursday, Zuckerberg stated the company intends to bring personal interaction back to Facebook, ensuring that users see more of their friends’ posts and less content from brands, media and other groups that utilize Facebook pages. While this will make for a more enjoyable social experience on Facebook, one of the drawbacks of this change is that many of the businesses, brands or media that users want to follow will not be visible as often. For instance, if you follow a business page and enjoy seeing their posts, this new change will hide most of their updates.

Zuckerberg Announces Big Changes for Facebook Pages in 2018

As if the algorithms and the pay to play post “boosting” didn’t do enough damage to our small businesses, now he’s coming right out and saying that businesses and brands will be buried and hidden even more!!

Those of us who managed to dodge paying to boost posts just to reach a 1/10 of the people who actually follow our pages, will suffer even more. Small businesses who don’t have an advertising budget will all but be obliterated in the new Zuckerberg Facebook 2018 plan…

For those of you that have trusted my advice and suggestions in the past as far as social media go, I want you to know I am working on an ebook to explain these changes and I’m brainstorming workarounds for this “new era” for businesses coming SOON on facebook. I”ve been quoted in several publications (blogs, newspapers, magazines etc) as well as being quoted in two books as a small business and social media expert. If there’s a will there’s a way, and Goosie is on the case…

Please comment and let me know if you’d be interested in my ebook, and what you think of these new changes Zuckerberg thinks will be so awesome


Starting your small business: Top six tips for new businesses

So to get started, create your own simple, one-page business plan that is a high-level overview of the small business you’re about to start. Preliminary Steps: Define your vision. What will be the end result of your business? Define your mission. Different to a vision, your mission should explain the reason your company exists. Define your objectives. What … read more

So to get started, create your own simple, one-page business plan that is a high-level overview of the small business you’re about to start.

Preliminary Steps:

  1. Define your vision. What will be the end result of your business?
  2. Define your mission. Different to a vision, your mission should explain the reason your company exists.
  3. Define your objectives. What are you going to do — what are your goals — that will lead to the accomplishment of your mission and your vision?
  4. Outline your basic strategies. How are you going to achieve the objectives you just bulleted?
  5. Write a simple action plan. Bullet out the smaller task-oriented actions required to achieve the stated objectives

That’s it. It might be longer than one page, but it will surely be more organized and shorter than a full business plan, which could take weeks to write. If you need more information on the one-page business plan, or want to write out a full-blown finance-centered business plan

Decide on a budget

While I highly recommend you keep your costs as low as possible, you’ll still need to determine a budget to get started and how much you’ll be able to spend. If you’re self funding, be realistic about numbers and whatever you anticipate your budget to be. I’ve found that an additional 20 percent tacked on for incidentals is a realistic overage amount that helps you plan your burn rate.

Your burn rate is how much cash you’re spending month over month. It’s an important number for you to figure out to determine how long you can stay in business before you need to turn a profit.

You should set up your business with profitability in mind the first 30 to 90 days. It’s possible. But have a budget reserve so you can survive if things go leaner than expected.

Decide on a legal entity

Filing paperwork to start a business costs money. Often, depending on your state, it can be a lot of money. You’ll need to account for city or municipality licensing, state incorporation or business entity fees and more. Do a thorough search ahead of time to determine what the filing fees are for your city, county and state before starting any business.

Often in the initial “test” phase for your small business, it can be wise to start as a sole proprietor, as it means less paperwork and up-front expenses. That can save you some big-time cash while you determine the viability of your business. Do be aware though that acting as a sole proprietor can put you at personal risk, so you’ll want to weigh the benefits vs. risks and then speak with a local attorney or tax professional to decide which is smarter for your short-term vs. long-term goals.

You can always file for a business entity once you’ve proven in the first three to six months of business that you’ve got a viable, sustainable model.

Take Care of the Finances

Whatever business entity you decide on, keep the funds separate from your personal accounts. This is a big mistake that makes tax time and financials so utterly and horribly confusing. It’s really easy to set up a free business checking account with your local credit union or bank. All you’ll need is your filing paperwork, sole proprietor licensing information and an initial deposit to get set up from most financial institutions.

Don’t pay for an account or get any kind of credit lines yet, just get a holding place you can keep your money separated from your personal accounts. This should take you no more than hour at the financial institution of your choice.

Get your online presence/Website:

Regardless of whether your business will be brick or mortar or online, you’ll need a website and that means securing a URL. Popular domain sites such as idotzdomains and Go Daddy will allow you to search for the website domain address of your choice and purchase it for as little as $.99 (be careful with GoDaddy though, they will jack the price up in subsequent years so be sure

If you’re starting an online business, you can tie your domain to an online shopping cart and store front such as Gypsy Spoonful  or you can build a basic website yourself on top of your URL with do-it-yourself drag-and-drop site builders such as Weebly for a low fee.

Test Sales

You have enough of a foundation now that you can start testing some sales. Try to spread the word in inexpensive and creative ways.

If you have a service-based business, get involved with your local chamber of commerce or small-business chapter immediately and ask what resources are available for you to speak, present or share information about your business. If you have a product-based business, test the viability of your product at local flea markets, farmers markets or other community events to test what the public really thinks (and if they’ll purchase) from you. Start social media accounts and post photos of your products to see if the public is looking for the items you create.

Drive traffic to your shop/website through simple Facebook Ads with capped budgets, or set up a simple Google AdWords account with a budget cap to test if traffic is going to your site.

The admin team of Gypsy Spoonful is happy to help you learn how to drive traffic to your shop~ where else can you get hands on help from the owners of the company?

 

 

goals

Why Join The Gypsy Spoonful Creative Community?

On Gypsy Spoonful… ?we are 100% handmade ?nothing is imported ?Everything is hand crafted from real people who operate their own independently owned American small businesses. ?We allow you to run your business the way YOU want, we TRUST you to make great decisions on what products to sell, we TRUST you to be able … read more

what if I fall? oh my darling, what if you fly?

On Gypsy Spoonful…
?we are 100% handmade
?nothing is imported
?Everything is hand crafted from real people who operate their own independently owned American small businesses.
?We allow you to run your business the way YOU want, we TRUST you to make great decisions on what products to sell, we TRUST you to be able to get inquiries and be able to EMAIL the sender directly, we don’t keep communication trapped within the site (because we TRUST you to be responsible)
?We allow you to put outside links in your listings (to your facebook, or instagram for example) , because we TRUST you not to circumvent customers to another platform.

Empowering Women

?We won’t shut your shop down based on a random complaint, we have our maker’s backs and will investigate FAIRLY and give you the opportunity to respond as well.
?. There is no monthly shop fee, there are no listing fees, and no renewal fees. You can relist when and how often you want, listings run forever. The final value fees are modest , even on digital/pdf products (some sites take 50% of pattern sales! Gypsy Spoonful only takes 2.9% + Paypal fees and a 2% masspay fee) . If it doesn’t sell, you don’t pay a thing!
?You have the support of a creative/entrepreneurial community, cheering you on the whole way. Our admin team has over 30 years of online selling experience (in the handmade/boutique worlds) . We know what works and what doesn’t work. The founder (me, Heather Gray) has been in business for 14 years selling boutique/handmade items, she’s a published author, has designed for a-list celebrities, been on television, been blogged about, used as a small business expert in articles and books. We have experience in the trenches, we have tried different things, let our leg work be on your side. We’ll save you time and effort by giving suggestions of what we’ve learned over the years. We’re always experimenting, trying new things in the way of marketing and promotion for our makers. In just 8 short months we’re getting amazing traffic, inquiries, sales and we’re up to about 125 shops right now.

 

empowering women
?We may be new, but that means it a ground floor opportunity to get involved in a VERY EXCITING movement ~ we’re not just about selling, we’re about making handmade a LIFESTYLE. A viable choice in the marketplace, where disposable products have sullied the quality of goods that consumers have as a choice. We believe in handmade, and all that it represents. We believe in small business. We believe in supporting local small businesses before big box stores and fortune 500 companies. We believe in America, and that as Americans, we can bring superior products to the marketplace as exceptional choices for consumers.
? Where else can you get training, tips and help from the people that run the site? When was the last time the CEO of any selling platform sat down with you and gave you tips on taking photos, asked for your input on an idea for an important new feature for the site? YOU count, and MATTER at Gypsy Spoonful. We aren’t out to profit on your hard work, we’re also here to help you GROW because we believe in empowering other small business owners.


?If you’re interested in getting involved in what we’re doing, we’re looking for new makers, we are a curated site, meaning we don’t allow everyone to just join, there’s a vetting and interview process (and we do have a wait list). If you’re a hard worker who is not afraid to put in the time/effort/work and be involved in a community setting, with helping make decisions and give input about the direction we are going, we want you to be a part of Gypsy Spoonful.

https://gypsyspoonful.com/market/join/

?We’re also looking for bloggers who want to contribute as guest bloggers with small business topics, marketing & PR, & branding tips, handmade DIY tutorials, etc (email goosiegirlboutique@gmail.com)

If you made it through this LONG post, you deserve a HUG!!

Image may contain: one or more people and text
Blogging

WAHM? Not Blogging? Top Ten Reasons You should be!

Blogging According to a recent U.K. survey, bloggers have ranked as the third most trustworthy source of information, following only friends and family. That’s right — bloggers are trusted more than celebrities, journalists, brands, and politicians. Here are the top 10 reasons blogging can help promote your handmade small business: Top Ten Reasons You Need to Be … read more

Blogging

Old fashioned camera

According to a recent U.K. survey, bloggers have ranked as the third most trustworthy source of information, following only friends and family. That’s right — bloggers are trusted more than celebrities, journalists, brands, and politicians. Here are the top 10 reasons blogging can help promote your handmade small business:

Top Ten Reasons You Need to Be Blogging!

When I network with small business owners and online marketers, I often find myself asking them if they’ve launched their blog yet.  Adding a blog has so many important benefits and it’s no wonder that huge corporations and megastores are also getting into blogging. Especially for the micropreneur however, blogs have several distinct advantages. Here are a few.

1. A blog is search engine food! Google and the other big search engines love content and a blog can help you get free search engine traffic. Recently search engines are giving more weight to blogs because they want to offer the freshest, most relevant content to internet searchers.

2. Blogs create community. Because they are interactive, a blog draws people back to your site again and again. Your visitors will read your post then leave their comments, read comments left by others, and come back to see how the conversation is flowing. Blogs are much easier to manage than message forums too. With RSS (Real Simple Syndication), people can subscribe to your blog feed and be notified automatically when you update your blog.

3. Blogging puts you in control of your site. Posting to your blog is as easy as typing an email or a word document. Why pay a designer to add a page to your website when you can update your site whenever you like, easy as pie? You can blog as often or as rarely as you like to serve your particular needs.

4. Blogs help you grow your bottom line. There are many ways you can add additional monetization streams to your blog so you can make more money in your business without working harder.

5. Your customers love blogs. They can ask you questions, read info about your products and services, and share their opinions. Generally, it can feel more interactive and personal to readers and potential customers.

6. Blogs help you know your target market. As you observe who is leaving comments on your blog, you get to know your market better. This education helps you be a smarter marketer.

7. Conduct market research. A blog is an easy way to conduct surveys and polls to help you get inside the mind of your customers. This information is invaluable to you.

8. Blogs help your customers get to know you. A blog gives your customers a chance to see your personality shine through. People buy from people they like!

9. Blogging is fun. I’ll admit it, blogging is addicting once you get going! There are so many benefits to your business. What’s not to love?

10. As a small business owner, you have a limited marketing budget. Blogging is a free marketing tactic – it only costs you a little of your time.

Old fashioned camera

 

Here’s a helpful resource list for bloggers

It’s always a great idea to mix a little personal / lifestyle with your business to keep readers interested~ so here’s a list of suggested blog topics to get you off to a great start:

Blog Ideas

Like what you’ve read? Please join our facebook group  and follow our facebook page

 

101 Reasons To Buy Handmade

101 Reasons To Buy Handmade

In order to support the handmade community, and promote the importance of buying handmade goods, we asked artists, designers and shop keepers to provide us with 101 reasons why one should buy handmade. Here are their replies: Please help us spread the word, and link back to this page (feel free to bookmark, and subscribe to … read more

101 Reasons To Buy Handmade
In order to support the handmade community, and promote the importance of buying handmade goods, we asked artists, designers and shop keepers to provide us with 101 reasons why one should buy handmade. Here are their replies: Please help us spread the word, and link back to this page (feel free to bookmark, and subscribe to this blog, thank you)!

1. help contribute to establishing a new economic model

2. w/ the exception of postage cost – contribute to decrease in fossil fuel erosion
(purchasing mass produced products generally come from overseas – barging it all over, production costs etc, sweatshops, fair labor etc.)

3. this new wave of craftspeople are using recycled materials. this is CRUCIAL. there is too much stuff in the world already.

4. purchase from artisans/craftspeople who ENJOY creating their wares. the object holds that positive energy and it spreads.

5. support the artisan directly. the artisan needs more support for their vocation – more than most.

6. support local community. thus building.

7. buying from craftspeople is a conscious decision. people need to be more conscious of spending of where their hard-earned money is going, changing hands etc. this contributes to the bigger picture.
Sonja Ahlers

8. My favorite reason to buy handmade is just that – it’s handmade, which means quality, and a whole lot of love!

Another reason:
9. I buy handmade because someone else is using their talents to create gifts and decor that I myself cannot make. Buy handmade today!
Cammi Higley

10. Because handmade = made with love, care, and thought.
Madeley Rodriguez
11. Handmade products are more than just a product. There is love, creativity and uniqueness. And that shows.
Karin 
12. Love. You give gifts with love. When you buy handmade you can be sure that your gift is also made with love. You can think of love as a fairy dust that has been sprinkled over your gift throughout the making and gift giving process. And that fairy dust will make your loved one feel so much better than formaldehyde residue.

13. When you give a handmade gift it’s more like writing a letter to someone than giving them a newspaper gift-certificate.

14. Human rights & ecological aspects. Buy handmade and you support a true artist. You can be sure that human rights are respected in the making of your gift. Handmade gifts are for many reasons often more ecological than mass produced: indie artists are superb recyclers (and we mustn’t forget upcycling, upcycled gifts are a big hit this year!) and of course handmade in most cases outlasts mass produced.

15. Price vs. value. If you buy your best friend a handmade journal instead of a mass produced one and spend twice the money, it’ll be worth every penny. Treasures are handmade with love and thought, not mass produced.
Kaija

16. When something is handmade, very likely the craft person is deliberate and mindful about that next right stitch, next right bead, next just right rusty object that looks more like a dog nose on a found object sculpture than the last rusty treasure they picked up. Handmade products always feel more personal to me. I think about who might have been the artisan and wonder at how they managed to produce the item of the moment I am most smitten with and can’t live without (no doubt, that rusty dog sculpture). I love knowing I’m supporting someone’s passion. And even though I buy from handmade artisan’s in states and countries I’ve never visited, I feel a sense of community when receiving an item that travels from their hand to mine. I like that I know who to contact to say “it’s here! I love it!” – one person to another.
Manny
17. Giving handmade is truly the essence of gift-giving. When you give a friend or loved one a gift, you are really saying “I care about you.” A handmade gift conveys so much more than something pulled off the end-cap display of a mega store. Of course there are the obvious economic benefits of supporting independent makers and artists, but buying and giving handmade is, at heart, a loving act.
Cassie
Clementine Jewelry
18. You are supporting local artisans and craftspeople and not large big box stores.

19. It guarantees that no one will give the same gift as you!

20. The items are much more fashion forward….there is no “wait-time” for large businesses to design and then mass-produce. One indie designer can list something *today* that he/she made *today.* (So it wasn’t designed and planned last Christmas…for this Christmas)

21. Many items are much more environmentally friendly since there is no use of large manufacturing machines, chemicals, labor (some of it probably illegal) and waste. Many Annie and Olive items (for instance) are made from sustainable wool felt that has been naturally dyed, a needle, thread and my two hands.

22. It’s fun to see the creativity and excellence of the very, very talented designers out there. It harkens back to the days of old when craftsmanship, creativity and quality were paramount – You are buying items not mass-produced and impersonal but are very personal not only to the buyer, but to the maker.
Bethany

23. The biggest reason I buy handmade is to support the many talented people out there who are trying to get started with their business. I find the care and love taken in making everything I buy comes through when I get it. I feel a sense of extra worth and pleasure with each purchase knowing I have helped someone get one step closer to their dream. Supporting each other is after all the most rewarding gift we can give each other!
Bueller
24. When you buy handmade you create a direct relationship with the artist or designer of the product.
25. You can be proud knowing that your supporting small businesses.
26. It’s great for the economy
27. You don’t have to say that you bought it at Ikea.
28. You can be the first one of all your friends to discover a great designer…
Avril Loreti
29. “I give handmade gifts because the artist/crafter who made the item probably really enjoys what they do. I know they put their imagination, best craftsmanship, and love into making that gift unique. It has heart and that’s what I want to share with the special people in my life.”
Heather Smith Jones
30. To support the idea that something made from hand from a fellow human is a little more precious than the something which is not.
Susan Schwake
When you buy handmade you …..

31.) are getting something that is made with love by someone who loves what they do

32.) are giving the handmade artist a huge compliment and actually saying “I love what you are doing” which in turn keeps the artist “doing ” it.
33.) are making a personal connection
34.) are telling the gift recipient that you cared enough about them to buy something as individual as they are.
35.) are contributing to an insurance policy that helps to keep the crafting industry alive, in return allowing for more unique and different items to become available each year.
Stacy Altiery
InkSpot Workshop
inkspotworkshop.com
36. -it’s unique
37. -personal
38. -well made
39. -supports an artist
40. -builds community
41. -people appreciate handcrafted pieces
42. -affordable
Mike McDowell
43. Not only are you receiving a beautiful creation made with genuine love and care, but when you are by buying handmade, you are also supporting and BECOMING part of the dream of: freedom, financial independence, being in charge of your own moral compass, having a daily life’s purpose, experiencing more joy, all as a result of doing work you truly love. There’s nothing better.
Marisa
44. Because normally, buying handmade does not require fighting for a parking space, having your ears pierced by blaring holiday music, walking around in a daze under flourescent lights, fighting to push a shopping cart with one bad wheel, or having a cashier you don’t know ask for your phone number and zip code.

45. Because handmade items are what your Great Great Grandma used to buy.
susyjack*
contemporary paper
susyjack.com

46. When i buy handmade i am buying more than a product. i am supporting an artist who has put care, creativity and love into the product. i am supporting their vision. the product has such a personal history and story.
Pamela Sherry
47. Buying handmade is win-win situation : You enrich your life with beautiful handmade goods, and you enable an artist to continue following their creative dreams.
Stephanie Levy
48. You make two people happy. (buyer and seller)
Amy
49. There’s a personal connection between you, the product, and the product’s creator. There’s someone you can email and say “I love your product! Thank you!” and actually get a response back, which spreads the warm and fuzzies around for everyone.

50. Supporting handmade artists, which is absolutely vital in this current economy. We need to support local, small businesses and artists over the big corporations.

51. It’s handmade! Someone’s hands touched that product, and put their time, attention, and love into it. It wasn’t mass-produced in some factory where several people attached one item to create the whole over and over and over again.
Molly Schlemmer

52. ITS THE BEST WAY TO AVOID SHOPPING MALLS!
Cecile Blake
53. Exclusivity: Each of the handmade things is a unique and a one of a kind. There are not two handmade items that are the same, which makes each item a special object. Crafty hands are behind each object fabrication process, from the design sketches till the wrapping and shipping.

54. High Quality: the things I make are things I would buy. Many times I need things and when I look for them at the shops I don’t find anything that I like or that covers my expectatives. And in fact, this is one of the reasons I began selling handmade things. It was common when I made one for me and then my friends began asking me for them.

55. No human explotaition, (but myself and since I enjoy doing the things it can’t be called explotaition!): people that make handmade things usually control the whole ‘fabrication’ process. When we need someone else’s services, we know the people who works with us and pay fair prices for their work. We like to ask for their families and know their children.

56. Environment careful : it is common to use recycled materials when making handmade items.

57. Boost creativity: everyone loves to see and have handmade items around! It makes people feel special! It inspires!

58. Handmade items are great works of art (at affordable prices)!

59. Customized items: how many times you like something someone’s wearing and then you go to H&M and notice it was bought there?…and then, everyone is wearing it and all are uniformated.With handmade items you can be sure THIS will never happen!

60. Encourage traditions: how many happy hours have I spent learning how to knit with my mom and grandmom? There will never exist a knitting machine that can tell so many interesting stories!

61. You can always meet and talk directly with the designer, craftmaker or artist that made the piece you bought!…and we will be so happy to talk to someone who bought one of our handmade items!
Martha Gomez

62. Buying handmade gives me that instant feel-good factor, knowing I’m supporting a fellow artist and that my money goes directly to them. I love the personal touch, whether I’m emailing with a customer or talking to a seller – I get the best of both worlds! The handmade revolution has meant that art is suddenly so much more accessible, and the pleasure derived from having beautiful art in your home is made all the more special when you can email the artist and thank them.
63. Have inbuilt positive energy and soul. Making things is fun- even when it’s your job. It’s the difference between buying something that was made carefully and joyfully rather then buying one of a million made in a factory by a machine. Yay Soul!

64. Money is well spent. Rather then most of the cost going towards the profit margin of a huge conglomeration you’re paying for a fair wage for one (or a few) people.

65. Special and unique. Even something that is handmade in multiples from patterns, cast, etc will still always be a unique and made just for you.

66. One of a kinds. You can have detail and personality in a handmade item that is hard for a machine to reproduce. It is actually better creatively for and artist/designer/crafter to make one offs.

67. Quirkier. Companies won’t commit vast machines/factories to make quirkier, riskier odder things at the risk of not selling 1000’s or millions of mass produced units. But that is exactly what is best and fun about making something oneself. Experimenting with new and different things! Odd shapes and combinations that may not be commercial but are definitely fun.

68. Connection and transparency. It is lovely to know where, how and by who something was made. I’m a born collector (and occasional documenter of said collections) and I love the personal aspect. I particularly love getting little bios with handmade things.

69. Made to last. Unlike Old Navy, Le Chateau, or the many other manufacturers who make things with a purposelessly short (seasonal) lifespan a handmade item will be made to last. This, of course, is much better for the environment. Quality over quantity!

70. Sincerity. People don’t hand craft things just to make money. They’re not just the product of a slick R&D department for profit. They make things that involve years of learned skills, passion, enthusiasm, commitment and sincerity.
Colleen Baran

71. Buying handmade shows our children that not everything in this world needs to be mass produced. It teaches them to love and appreciate the unique and the imperfect. And it inspires them to do their own creating as well.
Jill Bent
Jill Bent Bags and Pillows
jillbent.com
72. By communicating directly with the artist you may be able to customize your item! If Target only sells that scarf in blue and > green, you can’t ask to have it in black and white.

73. Individuals as opposed big groups tend to come up with more unique things. There is less need to compromise to suit the masses of group think. You support inventiveness and originality.

74. Buying handmade celebrates humanity.
Julie (jb) Booth
linkedin.com/in/juliebooth
75. Fosters the value of self-expression and creativity, which in turn will inspires everyone.

76. Is buying directly from the maker, which is a much more intimate and personal shopping experience that isn’t available from corporate companies.

77. Shares a story; whether it’s about the maker, the material used, or the origin, it adds more interest to the item itself. Knowing this increases one’s appreciation of the object and decreases the likelihood of throwing it away.

78. Builds a higher appreciation for things they are made with quality, devotion, time, and care.

79. Embraces how things are made and where they come from. This keeps everyone more grounded and appreciative of things.

80. That are often one-of-a-kind and that in turn makes shoppers feel more special.

81. Delivers honestly made merchandise at a honest prices. Products are not marked up purely for their label, but they’re priced to sustain a living for the maker.

82. Rewards creative thinking, entrepreneurship, and craftsmanship.

83. Encourages independent thinking that breaks corporation’s homogenizing tendencies.

84. Typically supports goods made with greater consciousness of their environmental impact.

85. Embraces and celebrates the diversity of regional cultures, ideas, and resources from around the world.

86. Allows opportunities for customization where shoppers can participate in the creative process to further personalize the item.

87. Inspires collaborations that progressively build upon interesting ideas and products.

88. Celebrates the inherent variety in handmade goods that allows the buyer to more accurately express their own style and personality.

89. Supports the concept of keepin’ it real!!
Chika, Dylan & Jean

90. What everyone said, plus:
Handmade puts humanity back into our lives. You carefully choose something that you love, that was created with love, and will be received and cherished with love (if it’s a gift)
91. Because we’re individuals!
Sophie
duckduckgoosestuff.co.uk
92. Because you are not just buying an item, you are buying a piece of the artist. You are supporting the love, sweat, tears, future, family, confidence, mind, body and soul of that person. It creates an amazing relationship between 2 people: the buyer and seller. You are not just a customer, you are a supporter, a fan, a collector of art.
Kim Quinn Nicholson
93. Avoid the malls! No crowds, no traffic, no sea of same, same, same, no depressing crush of commercialism.

94. As wonderful as the cyber world is, it is virtual, untouchable. In some ways it connects, in other ways it creates a disconnect—it can be all image and no substance. Handmade is a terrific balance to this tendency. Actual objects that are made by hand have a visceral connection to the real world and to real individuals. They connect and root us in the tangible world in a life-affirming way.

95. When you buy handmade, you buy from the producer. You aren’t lining the over flowing pockets of some corporation or distanced executive. You are taking part in a process of revising our economic model to one that rewards hard work, talent, creativity, initiative and personal responsibility.

96. It’s just simply delightful.
Erin Sledd
Key Lime Design
keylimedesign.net

97. I enjoy buying handmade toys for my children because you can’t get toys that are so cool anywhere else. They are well made and many made with recycled items.

98. I also enjoy buying handmade because you can help design what your looking for its a whole different way of shopping.
Crunchy Crafts

99. Because somewhere out there in the world, you are helping sustain someone while fulfilling their DREAMS of being a painter, sculptor, milliner, printmaker, etc. without their having to worry about applying in a big corporation only to be told that “You’re not what we’re looking for at the moment.”

100. Because somewhere out there in the world, you are providing additional financial support for stay at home moms, who have chosen to stay home to take care of their kids & provide personalized care & guidance for their children, who in turn will (hopefully) grow up to be better people who will have wonderful memories of their childhood with a parent.

101. Because you could own the next Rothko, Mapplethorpe, etc!

Click here to be transported to our online, hand-picked, handmade market, Gypsy Spoonful. You buy directly from the designer/artist’s shop!

Hobby Lobby, You’re in time out!

Hobby Lobby’s hobby: smuggling artifacts Turns out, there’s a pretty strict return policy on pillaged artifacts. A New York district court has ordered arts and crafts chain, Hobby Lobby, to hand over thousands of rare antiquities it purchased from a questionable dealer in Iraq back in 2010. Ummmmmm… what? How in the hell did a … read more

Hobby Lobby’s hobby: smuggling artifacts

Hobby Lobby is in the time out chair

Turns out, there’s a pretty strict return policy on pillaged artifacts.

A New York district court has ordered arts and crafts chain, Hobby Lobby, to hand over thousands of rare antiquities it purchased from a questionable dealer in Iraq back in 2010.

Ummmmmm… what?

How in the hell did a place that sells scrapbooks, silk flowers and throw pillows get embroiled in such a scandalous plot?

Well, for one, Hobby Lobby’s president, Steve Green, is a kinda strange man fervent artifact collector. In fact, one might say he has an obsession: to-date, he’s spent more than $500m building a 430k square-foot Bible museum, which includes — among other things — Elvis Presley’s personal copy.

Back in 2010, Green took a little trek to the UAE to secretly meet with an antiquities “consultant.” While there, he was “informally” presented with 5,548 artifacts — ya know, just casually — including ancient tablets worthy of an Indiana Jones reprise.

Apparently he liked what he saw

Green had Hobby Lobby wire him $1.6m to pay for the goods, then stuffed everything into boxes labeled “Tiles (Sample)” and shipped them back to the States.

But, Hobby Lobby was caught — last week the company was hit with a $3m fine, and ordered to forfeit all of the artifacts.

This isn’t their first time in the courtroom

In 2012, the company sued the United States for requiring all employers to cover emergency contraceptives, on the grounds that it interfered with their Christian beliefs. The case went to the Supreme Court, where it was ruled in the company’s favor.

A day after craft chain Hobby Lobby agreed to pay a $3 million fine and return smuggled Iraqi artifacts, two professors called on the company to reveal the source of thousands of other antiquities in its massive Bible-themed collection.

The evangelical Christian family that owns the retail firm has spent tens of millions of dollars amassing 40,000 ancient items but hasn’t publicly identified the provenance of most of them, said Candida Moss and Joel Baden, academics who co-wrote the forthcoming book, “Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby.”

That’s a problem, Moss said Thursday, because “if you don’t know where the item you have bought came from or who it was legally sold to … it’s possible that item was stolen.”

And HL’s latest transgression has a larger implication: ISIS routinely loots and sells artifacts in the region, which has caused some to point out that Hobby Lobby — could’ve funded terrorism with their purchase. (Ruh-Roh!!)

Hobby Lobby Is In Time Out

You sit there until you think about what you’ve done, Hobby Lobby!

Am I surprised?

notsomuch~ I mean their stores are filled with Chinese knock offs of handmade products originated from the handmade and boutique communities~integrity and ethics don’t seem to be high on their list of company policies although they’d claim otherwise. Many craft chains like Hobby Lobby take stolen ideas pilfered from hard working makers, and turn around and send them to factories overseas, mass produce them and take the products and market them in their stores for less than I could probably buy the supplies to create such things. Hobby Lobby is part of the problem in undermining the handmade ecosystem, to be honest.

Kermit: That's None of My Business

and while you’re at it, take a peek at this article written about ethical hypocrisy at the highest levels of Hobby Lobby’s management when selling goods manufactured in China, but espousing objections to certain requirements of Obamacare on the grounds of Religious beliefs: (I found that an interesting read)

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/leslie-marshall/2014/03/26/hobby-lobbys-china-hypocrisy

An excerpt:

Hobby Lobby imports billions of dollars of products from China. Don’t take my word for it. Walk into its stores and turn its items over and you’ll clearly see: “Made In China.”

Now there are those that have mentioned this specific hypocrisy before, but I would like to go further. Let’s look at how China, its government, and specifically its treatment of its people is completely contrary not only to the very issues that Hobby Lobby claims to have issues with, but that the Bible clearly speaks out against as well.

We all know that China is a communist nation, and doesn’t allow its people to have the freedom to worship freely. According to a new annual report from ChinaAid (a Texas based organization that monitors religious freedom), persecution of Chinese Christians not only continues, but increased this past year. There were 134 cases of persecution reported; many people fear retaliation if they make claims of their abuse.

And although the one child policy was technically lifted, abandonment and selective killing of female babies continues. Forced abortion, although technically frowned upon by the government, is still a regular practice in China. Is the disruption of creation of life only relevant as a Christian when it’s an American life?

And what about the factories those people work at in China, those factories that make the products Hobby Lobby buys and then sells. The people of China who work in factories are exposed to a variety of dangerous working conditions. They are victims of unfair calculations of work time and low wages. Their employers often fail to pay for insurance or pay for injuries that are work related.

 

It seems Hobby Lobby’s in some hot water… but again….

Kermit: That's None of My Business