Tag: business

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!

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!
Collaborators on Pinterest

HOW and WHY to add collaborators to Pinterest

We’ve talked before about the importance of being on Pinterest and listed important steps to set up a business account on Pinterest.  In this article, I’ll show you how to use Pinterest as a tool for collaboration in your business. Pinterest isn’t the first tool that many people think of when it comes to collaboration, … read more

Collaborators on Pinterest

We’ve talked before about the importance of being on Pinterest and listed important steps to set up a business account on Pinterest.  In this article, I’ll show you how to use Pinterest as a tool for collaboration in your business.
Pinterest isn’t the first tool that many people think of when it comes to collaboration, but the visual nature of Pinterest makes it ideal in many respects.

How can you maximize your time on Pinterest?

But how can you maximize your Pinterest activities without spending a ton of time on it? Well, along with scheduling your pins, one of the most effective but underutilized strategies to get more exposure from Pinterest is by using group boards.

Now, if you’re new to Pinterest, you may only know of regular boards that only you can pin to. You may have never have heard of group boards. Or maybe you have but you don’t know how to use them or don’t think they apply to you.

I’ve been dabbling with group boards over the past few months and have seen a dramatic increase in followers since I strategically introduced them to my Pinterest marketing.

So in this post I am going to demystify group boards, explain the advantages of using them and outline a few ways you can get started straightaway with this strategy.

What Are Pinterest Group Boards?

A group board works like a regular Pinterest board. The only difference is that along with the board creator, other people are also allowed to pin.

Group boards go under many different names – shared boards, contributor boards, community boards and collaborative boards. Regardless the term, they are all exactly the same thing.

There is currently no directory of Pinterest group boards. In order to distinguish a group board from a regular one you need to look out for the group icon at the top of a board when you are browsing someone’s page.

Key Benefits of Using Group Boards

Group boards are not only a great way to organize ideas and bring people together, but they can also have real tangible benefits for your brand and business.

#1. Dramatically boost your followers

If users select to “follow all” of any contributor’s boards, then they will be added as followers to a group board you are part of. The increased exposure and visibility you get through group boards will increase your follower growth at a faster rate.

#2. Exponentially increase the number of repins

The more followers you have the more likely they (and their followers) are to see your content, repin your pins and click through to your website. This means more traffic to your site and potentially more subscribers, customers and clients.

#3. Put your pinning virtually on autopilot

Implement this strategy correctly and you could get other people creating content for.

Certainly at the start, Pinterest can be time-consuming but managed well, you could soon have a team of people perpetuating your content for you across their networks.

#4. Increase engagement and create brand ambassadors

Your customers may already be liking, commenting and sharing your content with their followers on Pinterest. But inviting them to pin to your brand’s group board will get them more engaged and involved in your online conversation.

It will also elevate them to the role of brand ambassadors, who their followers are more likely to take note of.

Let’s take a look now at some ways you can harness the power of group boards in your business.

How Can Businesses Use Group Boards?

  • Collaboration – are you working with other people, employees or co-workers on a specific project? Use group boards to share industry-specific tips, training materials and resources. Make the board “secret” if you want to keep the information under wraps.
  • Planning – are you a wedding planner, interior designer or in charge of an event that requires input from others? Invite the stakeholders to join you on a group board where you can collect and share design ideas, compare menus, color schemes, flower arrangements, room layouts, fabric samples and so on.
  • Promotion– thinking of running a contest, raising funding for your big idea or promoting a worthy cause? Group boards are perfect for engaging your audience, getting customers to interact with your brand as well as sharing data, statistics, success stories etc. to raise awareness about your brand or a particular issue.
  • Networking – why not invite other pinners to pin about a common topic and expand your network at the same time? Bloggers especially can benefit from group boards by using them to connect with other bloggers and actively re-pinning each other’s content as part of a blogging network.
  • Authority – are you knowledgeable about a particular subject area? Create a themed group board and contribute regularly to build credibility and establish yourself as a thought leader to the board’s followers.

How To Create A Contributor Board

Go to the Pinterest home page and click on the Add + tab at the top of the page.

Collaborators on Pinterest

 

Then select the option to Create a Board.

Create a Pinterest board

Next choose a name for your new board, select a category and whether you want to make it a private (secret) board or a public one. The final sCollaborators on Pinteresttep is to decide who you want to add as a contributor.

 

How To Add Contributors
Today I’m going to share three different ways to collaborate on Pinterest:  Secret Boards, Group Boards, and reaching out to others.

Collaborators on Pinterest

Reaching Out To Others
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when I talk with other business people and clients, I’ve realized that many people don’t take this step.  Reaching out to other people in your industry who are already on Pinterest is a vital step to building business relationships.

This starts in your comments.  I’m still amazed at people who don’t respond to comments someone has left for them on a pin.  Pinterest isn’t the most social of the social networks, so when someone does this it really stands out. Comment back!  Don’t just say “Thank You.”  Continue the conversation and say things like, “What did you like about that pin?”  or “When you read that article, what was the most helpful piece of advice?”  Building on the conversation is key.

Once you’ve built up a history with each other, and they express interest in using Pinterest for marketing, start asking each other for advice or work together.

My Pinterest marketing skills have grown because I’ve been able to build relationships with .  Now, if I’m struggling on an image or what exactly to pin, I can turn to my friends for advice and they can do the same with me. Having colleagues who can give helpful criticism and support is crucial when trying to take your Pinterest marketing to the next level.

Group Boards
One of the most significant benefits of joining group boards on Pinterest is the exposure of your own content.  This is vital when you are first starting out.  For example, if you join or get invited to a group board that has 1000 followers and you’ve just gotten your Pinterest account up to 100 followers, that extra 1000 can make a big difference on how many people see your content. Finding high quality group boards relevant to your industry used to be a chore, but with sites like pingroupie.com,  finding group boards for your industry is much easier. Group boards can also help grow your Pinterest account more quickly.  If you are providing great pins that are relative to a Pinterest group board and that audience, more people will become interested in your profile, and in many instances start following some of your boards.

Creating your own group board is a great way for you to curate great content for your audience.  For example, I had a board called Instant Instagram Tips which is ranked on Google Search.  I mentioned this board to Peg Fitzpatrick, and she became a contributor. I then turned that board into a group board for the two of us to pin to.  Having just one other person who pins great content makes it a lot easier to make that board a place where people can go to for resources on Instagram.

Secret Boards
Secret boards are a powerful tool on Pinterest.  We’ll go more in-depth on some power tips for secret boards in a later article.   Secret boards are just that, secret.  The public on Pinterest can’t see them.  You can pin recipes, gift ideas for your spouse, what the competition is doing, or  article ideas for your blog…you get the picture.
You can, however, share your secret boards with users you select.  This can be used quite effectively in business.   I’ve created and shared secret boards with logo designers where I share logos I like, and they pin concepts that they have created.  It’s a really fast way to drill down to a design quickly.

 

How to add collaborators to Pinterest

Do you have a Pinterest board that you would like allow friends, workmates or colleagues to pin images to?  It’s easy – add them as a collaborator!  Here’s how:
Log into your Pinterest account and navigate to your boards
Click ‘Edit’ on the board you wish to add a collaborator to
In the ‘Who can add pins?’ text box, start typing the name of your new collaborator, and select their name from the drop down box when it appears (Note:  They will need to be following your board before you can add them) and click ‘Invite’
Click ‘Save Settings’
Your chosen collaborator will now receive an invitation to which they will need to accept and then they’ll be able to start pinning to your board!

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!

Entrepreneurship Ain’t For Sissies

I’ve often said it takes a special breed of person to be an entrepreneur. Being your own boss, starting your own business and growing that venture will test you to every limit you have. Personally, it will either make or break you. In the boutique and handmade world, we see trends come and go, we … read more

I’ve often said it takes a special breed of person to be an entrepreneur. Being your own boss, starting your own business and growing that venture will test you to every limit you have. Personally, it will either make or break you. In the boutique and handmade world, we see trends come and go, we see hot products everyone wants… supply and demand ebbs and flows, but what makes a small or micro-business be able to stand the test of time?

I’ve personally been the owner of my own small business ( Goosie Girl) for almost 14 years now. The Wall Street Journal reported in September 2013 that 56% of Americans thought that they were capable of launching their own company while 9% actually took the plunge and took steps to start a business. Against this backdrop of optimism and confidence stands another set of sobering statistics that outline the causes of small business mortality. Small business failure rates vary, but from 50-70% fail within the first 18 months.

To gain insight to the contributing factors to business mortality, researchers at the University of Tennessee studied failures of thousands of small businesses and attempted to identify the primary culprit leading to demise. They grouped their findings into broad categories but “drilled down” within each to identify root causes of failure.

The leading cause of business failure was determined to be “Incompetence”. Fully 46% of failures could be explained by this broad-brush term. The specific behaviors that underlie this headline, however, are fairly specific and revealing. These include:

  • Taking an emotional approach to pricing
  • Non-payment of taxes
  • No knowledge of industry pricing conventions
  • No knowledge of financing requirements and conventions
  • No experience in record-keeping
  • Living beyond the means of the business
  • Lack of planning

Next in line as a primary contributor to business failure was “Unbalanced experience or lack of managerial experience”. This condition explained 30% of small business failures and was manifested primarily by poor credit-granting decisions.

Eleven percent of failures were attributed to “Lack of experience”. Specific shortcomings that proved lethal included the failure to maintain adequate inventory, no knowledge of suppliers and wasted advertising budgets.

*Source http://isbdc.org/small-business-failure-rates-causes/

The point is that few entrepreneurs, especially first time entrepreneurs, are ready for what comes at them from a people perspective when building a business. In order to succeed, they need to be able to step outside of their comfort zones and reinvent themselves – finding the courage to do things they never thought they’d have to do, or that they’d be capable of doing. I have often said, in business you must constantly reinvent yourself, or find new products, or find new ways of doing the important things which keep a small business afloat such as promotion, networking and marketing.

So how can entrepreneurs get out of this conundrum and learn to reinvent themselves while at the same time reinventing their business?

  • The first step is two-fold: recognizing that reinventing yourself is just as important a task as reinventing your business. Then, once you’ve convinced yourself of the imperative, doing an inventory of your challenges. No one likes to admit weaknesses, but just as you look for the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) in a business deal, use that same rubric on yourself. Where are your blind spots? What do you struggle with? Be honest.
  • The second step is to assess your own personal motivation. You’ve done your personal  analysis and find that you struggle with sales, or networking or at delivering bad news. The next step is making sure that this is something you actually care about improving. What’s in it for you to get better at this? Will it help your company grow and thrive? Probably. Will it help you become a more effective businessperson? Will it help you achieve your goals and ambitions? Definitely. Embracing your internal motivation is an essential step for making anything happen, especially personal transformation.

  • Finally, the last step is to beta test your newly reinvented self. Try out the new behavior. Look at how others do it, and ask friends for help. Maybe even enlist the help of a coach. If beta test number one doesn’t work, try again. Tinker with the behavior, or try it in a different setting. Remind yourself of your motivation to go out there and do it, and just like you’d beta test and improve a product, do the same with this new version of yourself.
  • *Source: Linked In Article by Andy Molinsky

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

there are many reasons to tweak your business model–or to try out a whole new one–that make perfect sense. If you do it thoughtfully, it could be the best business decision you ever make. ~ Entrepreneur Magazine

If this information has urged you in the direction of reinvention of your small business,and tipped the scales for our readers who are makers looking for a new venue, such as Gypsy Spoonful here are the top three tips on HOW to do it sourced from Entrepreneur Magazine and some experienced business coaches such as Karyn Greenstreet, a Philadelphia-area small-business coach specializing in self-employment and business reinvention as well as Steve Strauss, a business speaker and author as well as a columnist for USA Today

  1. 1. Know When to Make a Change : Timing Is crucial. The first step is deciding if it’s the right time for a change. (Every.Single.Day. I receive applications from makers wanting to abandon the venue they are currently selling on and joining up with Gypsy Spoonful. A popular marketplace has definitely changed, and many are jumping ship. If it’s working for you, I’d advise to keep selling there, but NEVER keep all your eggs in one basket. A variety of marketplaces are GOOD to reach different customer bases. By all means, if it’s not working for you anymore due to policy change, lack of support, mass produced or imported items being sold on the same venue and undercutting your pricing… then it’s time to move on. We are entering a new season for handmade~ and the time is ripe for a marketplace solely dedicated to handmade goods.)
  2. Decide What You Want
    After the decision is made to change, you need to decide what type of change is necessary to meet your goals. “Once you decide there’s something you can do better, you need to decide whether to make a little tweak or a major overhaul,” Strauss says. “You have to decide what’s best for your brand.  (Learning a new craft and/or adding a new item to your product line up can bring new life to your handmade microbusiness. Once you decide what it is you truly want out of your business, It is so true to say “Entrepreneurs have more ideas than they have time for. The absolute first stage is deciding to cut off all those other ideas and focus on one. Making a decision to make a decision is the hardest thing for entrepreneurs to do.” Once you have clarity on your goals and values, making a decision should be easy. (We often ask potential new members to read what Gypsy Spoonful believes about handmade, and small business, and doing business in America before committing to applying as a maker. You can see this our ideals and values by clicking here.)
  3. The next step is something every business owner should be experienced at–making and following a business plan. “You need to act as if you’re starting from scratch,” Strauss says. “You need to think it through thoroughly, figure out who the competition is, how you are going to beat them and what the costs are. Strauss and Greenstreet suggest sharing your plans with other business owners or a mastermind group. “Entrepreneurs tend to rely on intuition a lot, but you need to make sure other people think your plan is a good idea,” Strauss says. (This is why Gypsy Spoonful has been built around the concept of “community”, we rely on our “mastermind group” to support, share and build each other up. Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely venture, if you are in community with other like-minded small business owners, it makes it more enjoyable, less stressful and you can learn from other’s successes and mistakes as well).

“Business owners sometimes need people to bounce things off of to keep them from going off in crazy directions,” – Pamela Wilson

During the transition, you’ll likely be running two shops at once as you phase out the old business model and ramp up the new one. “Sometimes reinvention means running two businesses simultaneously for almost a year,” Greenstreet warns. “It’s overwhelming, and business owners are often so excited about the new model, they want to let go of the old model. It’s like going through a long divorce before committing to a new relationship.” The solution is to create a detailed exit strategy. (Gypsy Spoonful doesn’t want to be the only venue you’re a part of, we just want to be the best and favorite one 😉  )

Entrepreneur’s article suggests to : “Be transparent through the whole process with vendors, customers, employees and, most important, your family. Give everyone notice that changes are coming, when they will happen and what it means for them.”

If it’s time to reinvent your business and switch venues, and hop aboard the NEW home for handmade, we encourage you to go through the application process: Get the process started here

 

 

 

News: Congressional Microbusiness Caucus. Mom and Pop Shops Matter on Capitol Hill

Congressman Tim Ryan Announces the Founding of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA) announce the founding of the bipartisan Congressional Microbusiness Caucus. The Small Business Administration considers microbusinesses to be any firm with one to nine employees. There are 3.7 … read more

Congressman Tim Ryan Announces the Founding of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus

Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA) announce the founding of the bipartisan Congressional Microbusiness Caucus.

The Small Business Administration considers microbusinesses to be any firm with one to nine employees. There are 3.7 million microbusinesses in the United States, providing 10.8 percent of private –sector jobs and making up 75.3 percent of all private-sector employers.

The purpose of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus is to define and elevate the narrative of microbusinesses in Congress and provide a forum for micro business owners to have constructive conversations about obstacles and regulatory barriers preventing entrepreneurs from starting and scaling their business in the United States. The Caucus seeks to empower U.S. microbusinesses in an effort to strengthen competitiveness, foster economic growth, and promote entrepreneurship in America by holding briefings and other events to facilitate discussion on relevant issues.

The founding co-chairs of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus are Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA).

“Technological and entrepreneurial innovation is accelerating at an unbelievable rate, and even though there are immense challenges ahead of us to ensure that our country works in a way that benefits everyone, this is an exciting time to be a participant in the American economy. The very nature of work is changing, and microbusinesses are a driving force behind that. Congress must stand ready to rapidly respond to the needs of workers and employees of micro businesses. Our economy will be stronger for it,” said Rep. Ryan.

“Microbusinesses are today’s mom and pop shops with an even greater potential for success thanks to advancements in technology. It is remarkable that with a click of a mouse or on a smart phone, a one-person business can potentially reach millions of customers across the country and globe,” said Rep. Tiberi. “We must ensure that burdensome government regulations and other barriers to growth aren’t holding them back. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this caucus to advance solutions to empower our microbusinesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and contribute to a thriving economy.”

“This new bipartisan Microbusiness Caucus will provide entrepreneurs with a platform for their voices to be heard in Washington,” Rep. Eshoo said. “Microbusinesses are becoming a critical piece of our national economy’s backbone, constantly creating new jobs and fostering innovation. While this new business paradigm brings its own set of policy implications and challenges, the Caucus will help navigate those challenges and allow businesses to thrive and promote economic growth.”

“I am pleased to join with my colleagues in the formation of the Congressional Microbusiness Caucus where we will work together on commonsense policies that provide small start-ups and innovative initiatives the opportunity to begin, thrive, and grow.  We know that women comprise about one-third of business owners so this is also a way to expand opportunities for women business owners.  It is critical that we forge policies where small business owners can develop and boost our economy and create new jobs to provide opportunity throughout all of our communities.  We can be a hub for initiatives to allow our entrepreneurs to have a voice for commonsense policies for microbusinesses,” said Rep. Comstock.

On Gypsy Spoonful, all of our shop owners are considered independent microbusinesses. The development of this committee and caucus is hopeful to the growth of not only our nation’s economy but also, it hits home for all of us involved in the #makersmovement and #gypsyspoonful. Unnecessary regulations, stipulations and rules that impede growth are not helpful. We encourage our lawmakers and especially those four mentioned in this caucus to focus on the true issues that affect handmade. Please visit these elected officials websites to voice your concerns, hopes, goals and ask questions. It’s encouraging to see this topic is on their “radar” and it’s of national importance. Thank you!

May The 4th Be With You

Gypsy Spoonful is celebrating international Star Wars Day in style! Where else but a small business such as the shops owned by a Gypsy Spoonful independent maker who creates one of a kind, or small quantities of their products is it more possible to find something totally unique? We can tweak , personalize, and customize nearly … read more

Gypsy Spoonful is celebrating international Star Wars Day in style!

Where else but a small business such as the shops owned by a Gypsy Spoonful independent maker who creates one of a kind, or small quantities of their products is it more possible to find something totally unique? We can tweak , personalize, and customize nearly anything you can imagine, it’s just a matter of reaching out to the maker and ASKING. Our businesses depend on our abilities to offer awesome customer service, and willgness to give our clients what they’re looking for. That is something a big box store CAN NOT and WILL NOT do.

May the 4th Be With you all! We have items you can not find ANYWHERE else on the internet. All of our maker’s items are made with the utmost attention to detail and skill. You definitely can’t beat a handmade item’s quality, when a maker creates an item by hand the piece is excellent quality. It will last much longer than a mass produced, factory made item. The care that is given to each piece when a maker creates things in small quantity raises the bar for all products. When you shop the maker’s of Gypsy Spoonful, you’re supporting a small business owner with dreams and hopes that stretch the galaxy!

Luke, I am your father!

Bathtime just got real my friends! Take a peek at this hooded Darth Vader Bath Towel from Firefly Threads

Click on the picture to visit this listing

Everybody’s new roly-poly favorite ! A BB-8! Grab this chunky bubble gum bead necklace before it’s gone!

Click on the picture to get all the details and to see this item created by BuildABraceletBeadDesigns :


 

Your little Battlestar Baker needs this awesome apron, dontcha think?

Click on the pic or visit all of SewingAtTen’s listings

This skirt is on sale TODAY! Snag it before the price isn’t $15 anymore! What a GREAT deal for such a CUTE skirt!

Click on the picture to go to this listing from PlayPatch

Rey is in the house! Click on the picture to check out this embroidered hooded towel from JustBobbinAlong

This BagLadyAmI bag is so amazing, not only is it the trendy cross-body style, it’s got so many details!

Click on the picture to see it now

We’re glad you’ve joined us for our May the 4th product showcase. The Gypsy Spoonful Marketplace is reeling with independent small business owners. We’re a creative community, and we would like to ask for your support of our small businesses. The next time you’re on an online shopping bender, or have a gift to buy, need something for a special occasion, we invite you to search for what you’re looking for by clicking HERE