Tag: mom blog

It’s my favorite season … Football Season! + Inspiring Quotes By Famous Football Coaches

From the desk of Goosie It’s football season y’all! My favorite season of all! Time for tailgating, spirit wear, and those after the game bonfires too. We are a huge football family at Goosie’s house! Both of my boys have been playing since they were in kindergarten, my husband coaches and I am a faithful … read more

From the desk of Goosie

It’s football season y’all! My favorite season of all! Time for tailgating, spirit wear, and those after the game bonfires too. We are a huge football family at Goosie’s house! Both of my boys have been playing since they were in kindergarten, my husband coaches and I am a faithful fan.

I sat down this morning with my coffee in hand and thought of a quote I’ve memorized (from the great Mike Ditka, *of course* lol) and it struck me that perhaps, our Gypsy Blog readers might draw some inspiration from quotes from some well-known football coaches. I mean, it IS their job to motivate, isn’t it? When you’re a micropreneur, it’s hard to stay motivated and on task every single day. Football coaches teach, mentor, and they encourage their players so if it works for them, it should work for us as well, right? Let’s give it a shot, what’s the worst that can happen?

If you find this blog inspirational or have a story to share, please drop us a comment and let us know! This is one of my favorite quotes from famous football coaches :

Speaking of football, I thought I’d also share some of the awesome handmade football themed products from our makers’ shops too, I mean, if you’re here for football coach quotes, you might dig these things as well! Remember, handmade quality is always the best quality you can get your hands on… and all of our makers are vetted for their quality and trustworthiness~ and you will NEVER pay extra for basic US shipping either. No order minimums, we pinky promise!

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Hey Girl Hey

Hey Girl Hey

  Hey girl Hey We see you, Hustlers See Hustlers While you’re out there raising businesses and babies, we’d like to invite you to take that hustle to the next level. We’re taking applications for hard working, goal setting, team oriented individuals to join our handmade nation. We’re 100 small shops strong and growing. You … read more

 

Hey girl Hey
We see you,
Hustlers See Hustlers
While you’re out there raising businesses and babies, we’d like to invite you to take that hustle to the next level. We’re taking applications for hard working, goal setting, team oriented individuals to join our handmade nation.

We’re 100 small shops strong and growing. You don’t have to do all the hard work on your own, you don’t have to do this by yourself..

If you’re willing to put the work in to drive traffic, learn SEO, improve your product photography and grow your social media empire…

We want you to apply for a shop.
Our admin team is a group of handmade rockstars- they have 89 collective years of handmade and boutique style ecommerce experience.

We are a 100% handmade platform, a community where we place emphasis on community before competition and adminstratively, we place people before profit.

Check out this page, read what we are all about, and how we do things, and then apply & we’ll be in touch
https://Gypsyspoonful.com/market/join

By the way, if you’re non-binary, or a male, you too are also MOST welcome to apply as well.

We love the diversity of our community and we want to grow in all directions with people of all colors, faiths, cultures and beliefs. You ARE welcome here, we have a level playing field where the opportunity to chase your dreams is readily available to hustlers of all kinds.

 

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.

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
Business Builders: Time Management

Business Builders: Time Management

Business Builders: Time Management When you run a small shop, it’s hard to find time to get everything done in the day. However, here are some tried and true tips to help you make the most of the time you DO have. Be as productive as possible instead of spinning your wheels.  Don’t fight your … read more

Business Builders: Time Management

Business Builders: Time Management

When you run a small shop, it’s hard to find time to get everything done in the day. However, here are some tried and true tips to help you make the most of the time you DO have. Be as productive as possible instead of spinning your wheels.  Don’t fight your body clock. Don’t try to become and early riser if you have a history of being a night owl. And don’t stay up late to get stuff done if you know your mind and body shuts down early so that you can get up as the sun rises.

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in the day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

Don’t fight your body clock. Don’t try to become and early riser if you have a history of being a night owl

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible. It may be helpful to journal your energy level for a few days until you figure out when you find yourself the most productive.

 

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Sources: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/dont-fight-your-body-clock.html, https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/dont-fight-your-body-clock.html
Theordore Roosevelt The Man In The Arena quote

Motivation Monday Overcoming Obstacles in Entrepreneurship

There is an old saying: Champions don’t  become champions in the ring- they are merely recognized there. That’s true, if you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at their daily routine. Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier stated: You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the … read more

Overcoming Obstacles in Entrepreneurship: A Lesson From Theodore Roosevelt

There is an old saying: Champions don’t  become champions in the ring- they are merely recognized there. That’s true, if you want to see where someone develops into a champion, look at their daily routine. Former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier stated:

You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the action starts, you’re down to your reflexes. That’s where your road work shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, you’re getting found out now under the bright lights.

Boxing is a good analogy for developing bossbabes because it’s all about daily preparation. Even if a person has natural talent, they have to prepare and train to become successful.

One of this country’s greatest leaders was a fan of boxing: President Theodore Roosevelt. In fact, one of his most famous quotes uses  a boxing analogy

Theodore Roosevelt

THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”
delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
download PDF of complete speech

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

*TR (Teddy Roosevelt’s nickname) was known for regular boxing and judo sessions, challenging horseback rides, and long, strenuous hikes. A French ambassador who visited Roosevelt used to tell about the time that he accompanied the president on a walk through the woods. When the two men came to the banks of a stream that was too deep to cross by foot. TR stripped off his clothes and expected the dignitary to do the same so taht they could swim to the other side. Nothing was an obstacle to Roosevelt.

Of all the leaders this nation has ever had, Roosevelt was one of the toughest-both physically and mentally. But he didn’t start that way. America’s cowboy president was born in Manhattan to a prominent wealthy family. As a child he was puny and very sickly. He had debilitating asthma, possessed very poor eyesight, and was painfully thin. His parents weren’t sure he would survive. When he was twelve, young Roosevelt’s father told him, “You have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body, the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must MAKE the body.” and make it , he most certainly did. TR began training every single day physically, building his body as well as his mind, and he did that for the rest of his life.

Roosevelt didn’t become a great leader overnight either. His road to the presidency was one of slow, continual growth. He improved himself and in time, he became a strong leader. Roosevelt’s list of accomplishments is remarkable. Under his leadership, the United States emerged as a world power. He helped the country develop a first-class navy. He was that the Panama Canal was built. He negotiated peace between Russia and China, winning a Nobel Peace Prize in the process.  On January 6, 1919 he died in his sleep. Then vice president Marshall said,

“Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake, there would have been a fight”

When they removed him from his bed, they found a book under his pillow. Up to the very last, TR was still striving to learn and improve himself.

*Source: Leadership 101 by John C. Maxwell

Slow and Steady Wins the Race Quote

What are the takeaways we can learn from Roosevelt that may apply to our lives as Entrepreneurs?

1. Be FIERCE : obstacles will come, it’s how you approach those obstacles. Are you going to say , “It’s too hard, we can’t cross this stream, it’s too deep” and turn back? Or will you strip naked and lead the way? Nothing in life is easy. Entrepreneurship isn’t for sissies. You have to get in there, roll up your sleeves and be FIERCE. Are you stronger than the obstacles in your path?

2. Even a great leader like TR started off small. He wasn’t expected to survive from his own parents! If that’s not a kick in the teeth, then I don’t know what is! Of all people in the world, you want those who love you and you share your life with to believe in you and your dreams, it’s hard when you don’t get the support you’d like. But what did TR do? He set out to prove them wrong. He was CONSISTENT, he worked towards his goal of strengthening his body every.single.day. Consistency wins the prize in owning and operating a small business. Many times it can be isolating, people in our family would rather share a celebrity’s status or meme on social media. Your loved ones may shop at a big box store rather than supporting your small shop.. you can’t control other people, you can only change how you react to them. Seek out OTHER support from friends, or like-minded individuals and other small business owners. The community at Gypsy Spoonful is a great source of strentgh, knowledge and inspiration for me everyday. I am so thankful to have people that cheer me on and totally GET what I am trying to do with my life. Everyone starts off small, it’s up to YOU to seek out ways to grow and learn new things to embolden your entrepreneurial spirit.

” slow, continual growth.”

3. The mind and body combination is important, It was once said by Henry Ford, “Whether you believe you can or can not, you’re right” . Your mental attitude determines your outcome most of all. TR blazed a trail where no one dared to go before. He traveled all over the world pursuing adventures. Each trip, each adventure prepared him for the next one. He built knowledge upon his experiences. We all fail and fall short, just like the man in the arena~ but do we get up again after we get knocked down? or do we stay down? A product might not sell, a promotion may flop… KEEP LEARNING, learn from your mistakes and build on that. Go forward with the ideas of what went wrong and how to overcome that in your future small shop “adventures”.

If you are looking for a creative community where you can find limitless support from like minded creative folks, and you feel you’ve got a great product to offer the world, Gypsy Spoonful is seeking new shop owners, please go to this page and read what we believe about handmade and how we do things. If you vibe with what we’re doing, please fill out an application. We will be screening and vetting applicants for 2019.  Go HERE

 

 

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.

New Shop: Wicked Rose : Wire Wrapped Jewelry, Made in the USA

Thursday’s thoughts turn to a new shop, Wicked Rose, Who specializes in wire wrapped pendants and other jewelry. Click on the pic to view this gorgeous Texas red jasper wraped tree of life pendant. It’s not only beautiful but the jasper has beneficial properties as well, it’s great for healing from illness, strength building and … read more

Thursday’s thoughts turn to a new shop, Wicked Rose,

Who specializes in wire wrapped pendants and other jewelry. Click on the pic to view this gorgeous Texas red jasper wraped tree of life pendant. It’s not only beautiful but the jasper has beneficial properties as well, it’s great for healing from illness, strength building and more. Red Jasper is known to enhance strength and energy. It also helps recovering from physical illnesses, is useful in generating muscle tissue and can enhance the effects of exercise. Red Jasper effects the first and second chakras. Learn more about red jasper here.

This blue wrapped agate pendant is so beautiful! The pattern of stripes in the agate is amazing. This would be such a perfect holiday or birthday gift! Click on the pic to view it in her shop.

Rose’s Wicked Wires has a passion for nature, and especially rocks and she wants to share that with you. Every stone in her shop is unique and wrapped in high quality non tarnish wire.

To visit her shop, click here to see all of her beautiful designs

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

Be Consistent

Consistency is the Money Maker in Small Business

Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Nothing is truer than this in small business. It doesn’t matter if you sell handmade products, direct sales products or pizzas at the corner store. You can’t just open the doors, put up a sign and expect the people to pour in to buy your goodies. … read more

Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Nothing is truer than this in small business. It doesn’t matter if you sell handmade products, direct sales products or pizzas at the corner store. You can’t just open the doors, put up a sign and expect the people to pour in to buy your goodies.

You have to market your business. You run ads, offer sales and coupons, restock and reevaluate inventory and share on social media. Anything to keep putting yourself in front of people that will eventually lead to sales, hopefully. If your business is not seen, you don’t have a business and you are not going to succeed and grow.

How you choose to “grow and show” your business depends on the type of business it is and where and how your target market will most likely find you. Your personality is also a factor in your marketing efforts. For example, going live on Facebook is an excellent tool to build relationships with your potential customers. You can answer questions, share your product and interact with people in real time. But, if you are like me and you can’t stand the thought of being on camera and can barely stutter your way through it, this is probably not going to be a technique you use much.

Marketing has a rule called the Rule of 7. It states that a prospect needs to be exposed to your message at least 7 times before they will actually take action. In today’s digital age, I would venture that this number may be increasing. The reality is that it is more difficult now to get your message seen in the overwhelming amount of information available now to the everyday consumer.  You need to leave an impact and you need to show up.

Regardless of how you promote your business, the one thing that I and most other small business owners have found, is that to put and keep your business marketing efforts on the right track, you have to be consistent. Now, that does not mean that you need to be doing it constantly. Just consistently. Regularly. If people are used to seeing you post weekly, post weekly. If you can do daily, even better. Here is what does not work. Binge marketing for 3 hours one day and then doing nothing for the next 3 days. It may seem like you are getting tons of work done but a very limited number of people are going to actually see all that effort.

I have to admit, consistency is my biggest downfall and what I have to work the hardest at myself. A couple of years ago, I thought I had found the perfect answer to staying consistent on my social media when I found one of the scheduling platforms that have started to pop up everywhere. While they are definitely helpful, I found that they are not the perfect solution for me either. First, you still have to set up all the posts. You are still spending the time to craft the text and find the perfect image. Second, you still need to spend time tweaking your posts for the various social media and monitor the posts for engagement. Bottom line to me is yes they are an excellent way to cover certain times but you also need to continue to post in real time so that you stay current, trending and let your personality shine through.

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. 

 

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!

Social Listening

8 Social Media Tools to Protect Your Reputation and Influence Conversations

Social Listening The most important social media conversations about your brand usually don’t involve you. It happens all the time. A customer fires off an angry complaint. Someone shares a problem that your products can solve. If these conversations don’t mention or tag you, how are you supposed to hear about them? Social listening is … read more

Social Listening

Social Listening

The most important social media conversations about your brand usually don’t involve you.

It happens all the time. A customer fires off an angry complaint. Someone shares a problem that your products can solve. If these conversations don’t mention or tag you, how are you supposed to hear about them?

Social listening is a technique for monitoring social media conversations to uncover new opportunities for your business.

With social listening, your business can identify these key moments to engage with users directly and sway their conversations in your favor.

To help you monitor conversations about your brand and transform them into new opportunities for your business, we’ve put together a collection of the top tactics and tools for social listening and media monitoring.

What Is Social Listening?

Social media is a sea of information. Content often dominates feeds, but human interaction is at its heart.

With social listening, you can track existing conversations to find opportunities for your brand to jump in and engage with prospects and existing customers. These organic relationships are the backbone of sustainable, ongoing social media growth and building a dedicated fanbase for your business.

Discovering the opportunities to build these relationships with your customers goes beyond the messages that show up in your business’ Twitter notifications. Social listening is a way for your business to monitor digital conversations at scale, saving you the massive amounts of time and effort that would be required to sort through the noise manually.

Social listening tools track posts based on keywords and phrases relevant to your business to help you find conversations that you aren’t a part of, but should be.

Why Is Social Listening Important?

Social listening is a key tactic for creating a comprehensive social media marketing strategy. It gives you an up-close-and-personal look at your customers and reveals new ways for you to connect with them and build content that reflects their values.

These raw and unfiltered conversations can provide you with a wide variety of insights about your audience. Here are the primary benefits of using social listening for your online store:

Address Indirect Complaints

In the heat of the moment, when customers are most frustrated, it’s understandable that they might not tag your brand while typing up a passionate complaint, especially since only 30% of tweets about brands actually tag their official usernames.

Unfortunately, without using a social listening tools to monitor social media feeds, these complaints would normally go unnoticed—unnoticed by you, that is.

The risk here is twofold: First, your customers will not get their issues resolved. If you can’t see their complaints, you can’t address them and help them have a successful, positive experience with your products.

Second, an unchecked complaint can spiral out of control online, fostering negative sentiment towards your brand. Not monitoring social conversations can leave your business in a vulnerable position and without the appropriate tools to protect itself. Whereas a proactive, social listening-powered approach will help you transform complaints into lifelong customers.

The key to delivering a stellar customer service experience with social listening is to go above and beyond in your response. Your customers don’t necessarily expect a resolution to their complaint since they haven’t tagged your business or product, so you need to go the extra mile to surprise, delight, and win them back

Uncover Unique Opportunities

On the other hand, social listening can also present new opportunities for your brand to create custom social media content and build relationships with your audience. By tracking keywords that are relevant to your brand, you can reach out to new customers in their moments of highest intent.

Here are the different kinds of keywords that your business should be paying attention to:

  • Brand Keywords: Words that are specifically associated with your business, including your company name and any common variations or misspellings. For instance, if your company is called Waterfall Skincare, you’ll want to track “Waterfall Skincare”, “Waterfall Skin Care”, “Water Fall Cosmetics”, etc.
  • Industry Keywords: Words that describe the kind of products or services that your store sells. For instance, a t-shirt store would track words like “clothing”, “t-shirts”, and “apparel”.
  • Location-Specific Keywords: If your business has a physical store or targets specific locations, be sure to track hashtags and keywords that are popular within the city, state, or country that you’re focusing on. For instance, a company selling Chicago souvenirs would want to track the most popular keywords within the Chicagoland area.
  • Negative Keywords: These keywords are ones that you don’t want included in your tracking. If your industry or brand name is commonly associated with non-relevant conversation topics, you’ll want to filter those out. For instance, if you sell dog toys, you’ll want to add “children”, “kids”, “babies”, etc. as negative keywords, so that you aren’t tracking conversations about children’s toys as well.

With social listening, seemingly unrelated conversations can suddenly become chances to impress new customers and engage with your current fans.

spotify twitter social listening

Image credit: Spotify on Twitter

Spotify, for example, was able to jump on this tweet despite the fact that it didn’t actually tag their Twitter account. Their response was simple and witty, humanizing their brand and making a personal connection with a loyal customer.

hilton suggests social listening

Image credit: HiltonSuggests on Twitter

Hilton has dedicated an entire Twitter account to social listening with Hilton Suggests. The account monitors keywords around the names of cities with Hilton hotels to respond to questions about dining and entertainment recommendations with suggestions for local hot spots.

Finding these moments is a three-step process, involving the collection and monitoring of conversations, followed by the analysis of these conversations to determine the intention of the speakers, and then, finally, outreach.

Intention is determined by context and context shapes the way that you should engage with the speakers.

  • What is the emotional sentiment of the conversation?
  • Will the speakers be receptive to your interaction?
  • Is this a relevant opportunity for your brand?

These questions will help you narrow down the context of the conversation and determine how your business should engage, whether that means joining in on a joke or suggesting your product as a solution to a problem.

Get Unfiltered Feedback

Want to know how your customers really feel about your products? From their biggest pain points to their favorite features, social listening gives you direct access to real, honest feedback.

The information that you pull from these interactions is highly valuable for designing better products in the future and improving your current catalogue. Pay attention to what your customers like and don’t like about your products. Try to understand their frustrations and the challenges that they run into.

Remember that negative reviews and comments aren’t personal attacks, they’re opportunities for your business to get better.

If you’ve just launched a new product, you can discover any shortcomings early on by monitoring social conversations. This can get you in front of negative reviews before they start rolling in and help you improve your current products for future customers.  Source Kevin Donnelly, Shopify Blog

If you’re looking for a place to sell your handmade products, check out this page, and to see our community in action, and how we suppport each other in our handmade community, join our Facebook Group.

Some New Shops To Check Out This Weekend

Red Rose Bag / by PiecefulDesign / small cosmetics pouch / purse organizer / Travel bag / credit card case / electronics pouch Summer Cacti Swag, Summer Wreath, Cactus, Welcome to Our Home Sign, Coral Hot Pink Orange Green, Peonies, Home Patio Porch Front Door Decor, Housewarming Gifts Sun and Moon Charm Real Flower Resin … read more

Red Rose Bag / by PiecefulDesign / small cosmetics pouch / purse organizer / Travel bag / credit card case / electronics pouch

Summer Cacti Swag, Summer Wreath, Cactus, Welcome to Our Home Sign, Coral Hot Pink Orange Green, Peonies, Home Patio Porch Front Door Decor, Housewarming Gifts

Sun and Moon Charm Real Flower Resin Necklace Nature Pendant Bohemian Jewelry Boho Accessories by Prism Gypsy

Family Where Life Begins and Love Never Ends Wood Sign – Family Sign – Family Decor – Housewarming Gift – Farmhouse Decor – Wedding Gift – Hand painted by ItsAllGraceShop

Star Wars Galaxy Slouch Beanie size M by Bear Kitten Clothing

Crazy Lace Agate and Crystal Necklace with Heart Shaped Pendant by Forest of Jewels

 

 

 

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! 

Gotta Love Baby Day!

National Baby Day is here and we are ready to celebrate. The actual origin of Baby Day and how it came to be seems to be unknown, but nobody seems to care. Apparently,  someone came up with the idea and it just caught on because, honestly, who doesn’t love celebrating babies? Baby Day doesn’t really … read more

National Baby Day is here and we are ready to celebrate. The actual origin of Baby Day and how it came to be seems to be unknown, but nobody seems to care. Apparently,  someone came up with the idea and it just caught on because, honestly, who doesn’t love celebrating babies? Baby Day doesn’t really have a whole lot of events attached to it but it is a great day to take that little bit of extra time to spend with your little ones. If you don’t have any, go find some! They are sure to make you smile. If Baby Day puts you in the mood to shop for the littles in your life, Gypsy Spoonful has so many cute things you are sure to find something that tickles your fancy.

Sweet Circle Baby Blanket from Just Bobbin Along would make the perfect gift for any baby in your life or for a baby shower gift!

Pink Plush Artist Bear Primavera by Chicago Bear Company is a 9 inch plush artist teddy bear made with love! The sweetest little thing to cuddle with around!

Primavera

This adorable baby toy set from Give A Yarn Crafts includes two fish, the larger orange fish that has a slight crinkle when squished and measures approximately 4.5″ long, and the smaller green fish that has a bell and rattles when shaken and measures approximately 4″ long.

Perfect to adorn a baby nursery decorated with fish or other underwater creatures, a baby shower gift, or just toys for little hands.

baby-toys-fish-set

So, run on out today and make sure you spend some time with the baby love of your lives and have a great day!

Don’t forget…the auction starts May 4th!! Get in the Gypsy Spoonful group now if you aren’t already in it!

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!

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)

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

Turn Around Bright Eyes…. Eclipse 2017 Info, Viewing Tips, Fun Activities and Viewing Schedules

We are celebrating the day the moon high fives the sun! At Gypsy Spoonful, we’re always in the path of handmade totality! Sometimes shopping at other venues can be confusing, you’re not sure what is handmade and what’s not anymore, but at Gypsy Spoonful, there’s never a doubt, The future for handmade is BRIGHT… Gypsy … read more

We are celebrating the day the moon high fives the sun! At Gypsy Spoonful, we’re always in the path of handmade totality! Sometimes shopping at other venues can be confusing, you’re not sure what is handmade and what’s not anymore, but at Gypsy Spoonful, there’s never a doubt, The future for handmade is BRIGHT… Gypsy Spoonful outshines the competition when it comes to supporting small handmade makers! Don’t be left in the dark and accidentally buy mass produced items masquerading as handmade, shop Gypsy Spoonful and there’s never a chance of that happening.The biggest celestial event of 2017 will take place on TODAY!!  Monday, Aug. 21, but you may miss it if you do not know precisely when to look.

Moon and Sun Cuffed Etched Bracelet click HERE to see it LIVE on Gypsy Spoonful

The moon’s shadow will travel from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States with only a narrow zone, called the path of totality, experiencing a total solar eclipse.

In this path, the moon will block out the sun completely for less than three minutes, so being in the path at the correct time is extremely important.

© Provided by AccuWeather

Western US

The first people in the country to see the eclipse will be along the coast of Oregon where the moon will start to block out the sun around 9:04 a.m. PDT and will completely cover the sun by 10:17 a.m. PDT.

Portland and Eugene, Oregon, sit just outside of the path of totality, so people looking to the sky in these cities will experience a partial solar eclipse with the sun blocking out 99 percent of the sun.

© Provided by AccuWeather

Rocky Mountains

The shadow of the moon will make its way eastward as the day progresses.

The eclipse will begin in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, at 10:16 a.m. MDT, with the moon blocking out the sun completely by 11:36 a.m. MDT.

The neighboring Yellowstone National Park will not experience a total solar eclipse. During the height of the eclipse, spectators in Yellowstone will still see a small sliver of the sun as the moon blocks out 98 percent of the sun’s light.

Casper, Wyoming, is one of the bigger cities in this part of the country that will experience a total solar eclipse around 11:43 a.m. MDT.

Central US

As the moon’s shadow tracks across the heartland of the U.S., it will pass over several cities, including Lincoln, Nebraska, Kansas City and St. Louis.

People in these cities will need to plan accordingly as each city is right on the edge of the path of totality. This means that part of the cities will experience a total solar eclipse, while other portions will not.

Carbondale, Illinois, is also situated in this part of the country and will be a popular location on Aug. 21, as it will experience totality for a little over 2 minutes and 40 seconds, longer than anywhere else in the country.

Eastern US

The southeastern U.S. will be one of the most popular areas in the country for viewing the eclipse on Aug. 21. It is the closest place for the millions of people along the East Coast to experience the total solar eclipse.

The eclipse will occur early in the afternoon across this region, but spectators should arrive at their viewing location in the morning due to the volume of people traveling to see the celestial event.

Traffic is expected to be more congested than usual, including along portions of Interstates 20, 26, 40, 59, 85 and 95.

AAA is reminding drivers not to stop along the highway to watch the event and not to wear eclipse glasses while driving.

© Provided by AccuWeather

Coastal areas of South Carolina will be the final place in the United States to experience the total solar eclipse, with the peak eclipse occurring around 2:47 p.m. EDT and the shadow of the moon moving offshore shortly after 4 p.m. EDT.

This will not be the end of the eclipse, as the shadow of the moon continues over the Atlantic Ocean.

A select few aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise will be some of the final people in the world to view the eclipse as the ship sails through the path of totality. For the exact times that the eclipse will be visible across the world, check out NASA’s interactive eclipse map.

Isn’t this love you to the moon and back bracelet fantastic? what a wonderful way to remember this day by…

Click here to see it LIVE

Love you to the moon and back bracelet

 

Got Pets?

The big total solar eclipse is set to hit North America today (August 21st), and if you’re like me, you’ve been scrambling to find a pair of viewing glasses for the big event. In all the hurry to see the eclipse, it’s easy to forget about the little guys in your family: your pets. Animals, even tame ones, have behavior that’s heavily tied to the sun and night cycle.

The big issue is, there’s not a lot of awareness of how eclipses affect animals. Some Cleveland pet owners interviewed by TV News thought their pets might want to hide, others were concerned about their dogs and cats staring into the sun and hurting their eyes. It’s a valid concern, of course, but the danger isn’t as clear and present as it might seem.

Dr. Evan Morse of Warrensville Animal Hospital thinks most animals will simply act like they do when the sun goes down normally. It’s likely they furry friends will believe that it’s nighttime and will go about their routine. Morse says dogs and cats don’t tend to look at the sun anyway, so they’re not going to be suddenly interested in it just because of the eclipse.

But if you’re outside walking around with your canine or feline friends you might want to make sure they don’t keep staring up at the sky or anything like that when they notice something changing around them. This shouldn’t be too big of a concern, but just in case you might want to shelter your pet until the eclipse has passed.If you notice your animal getting nervous or restless, chances are it’s because they’re picking up on your excitement about the eclipse. The best way to make sure that your pet makes it through the eclipse unscathed is to simply be aware and make sure they’re just as safe as they normally are.

Aren’t these sun hair bows from Bows and More By T Adorable? Here’s a link to see them LIVE on Gypsy Spoonful

Make a viewer this morning while you still have time!!

 

If’ you’re a slacker and didn’t pick up any of the viewing glasses made specifically for the eclipse ,HURRY and make an eclipse viewing box!  Here’s some instructions on how to make one from a cereal box , directly from Nasa so you know it’s gotta be safe! Click here: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/EclipseCerealBoxViewer.pdf

Take a peek at these adorable star bubble shorts on Gypsy Spoonful click here to see them today LIVE

Further Fun & Suggested Reading:

25 facts you should know about viewing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse from Astronomy Magazine

Click on the pic to get a cool craft for kids to do today!

Eclipse Craft For Kids

 

 

Outside the Blue Diamond

It Takes A Village: A Homeless Blogger in Chicago’s Wrigleyville. Meet Will from OutsideTheBlueDiamond

We’ve all heard the “it takes a village” mantra… but when we examine some of the things which are happening in current socio-political climate in America… I pose the question, do you really believe in the “it takes a village” concept? or is that one of those phrases that gets lip service, or a do … read more

We’ve all heard the “it takes a village” mantra… but when we examine some of the things which are happening in current socio-political climate in America… I pose the question, do you really believe in the “it takes a village” concept? or is that one of those phrases that gets lip service, or a do as I say and don’t do as I do things? What are you doing to participate in YOUR village? Whether you’re reading this in my hometown of Chicago, or you’re my friend Moumita across the world in Kolkata, India, I truly want to know what you are doing to make your village a better place… comments PLEASE!! Outside The Blue Diamond : It Takes A Village</font color>

One morning, while sitting in my comfortable suburban kitchen painted fun purples and lime green~sipping coffee and eating fruit salad for breakfast; I felt the goosebumps rise up on my arms as I held the newsprint in my hands.  My green eyes followed the words on the page, and a tears began to cloud my vision as I read about 49 year old Will in the lifestyle section. He’s a blogger just like me. He has used a wordpress venue to tell his story, to communicate his inner most thoughts, feelings and ideas to the world. Why is this an emotional thing for me, you may wonder? Lots of people use blogs as online journals or diaries about their lives, that’s nothing new!

Well, Will is a man who lives on the streets of Chicago- more specifically, he “lives” on the streets in the neighborhood surrounding the Chicago Cubs ball park, “Wrigleyville”.   He is homeless and has been for the last 7 1/2 years since the love of his life died of cancer. She passed away and he didn’t have the heart to go back to their apartment, and face his overwhelming grief, so as of that day, he became a resident of the streets.

He is not all that much older than me, and most nights, he sleeps on the bench outside the 19th district Police headquarters.  The streets are his home, the concrete sidewalks are his hallways, alleys are his creepy dark basement that you tend to avoid unless you *have* to go down there. The metra bus exhaust is his “scentsy” aroma of the day in his home.  He has decided the street is a better alternative than taking up residency in a homeless shelter.  Yep, there are a lot of  social services available to people like Will… but he’d rather not. He’s not mentally ill, he’s not a vagrant, a panhandler, he’s not an alcoholic or an addict~he’s just an “outside guy” so he says. He spends most of his days in front of the parking garage on Addison near Halsted. We live very different lives, yet I am drawn to him and his story.

Wrigleyville is a trendy urban neighborhood filled with restaurants and bars. Typical Chicago taverns dot the streets and public transit is the mode of transportation for most residents of Wrigleyville. As Will became a staple of the décor of the neighborhood~ soon the hipsters, students, and commuters began noticing Will in his familiar places, first they’d politely nod and he’d nod back. They’d smile and he’d smile back. It wasn’t long before they began talking to him and engaging him in conversation. He became a part of the neighborhood… a part of the village.

Just like most folks in the area, he’s a die-hard Cubs fan and says he “bleeds Cubby Blue” . He says he’s not a talker but since he’s been in Wrigleyville people seek him out and strike up a conversation. As residents began to engage him more often in conversation, they discovered for 49,  he’s lived a full life, loved and lost and he had a lot of things to say.

As the sun began to rise on a chilly morning in April, next to his belongings leaning against a chain link fence, a little cardboard sign appeared, “OutsideTheBlueDiamond.Wordpress.com ” it read.

How does a homeless man, living in the streets begin a blog? well, remember that VILLAGE thing I was talking about earlier? a 20 year old exchange student from Italy, working on her thesis at Northwestern University handed him a notebook and pencil a week after chatting with him, “You should write your story down”.  . . she encouraged him.

As he began to write and to become more comfortable in talking to more people his words began to flow…

“I realize the more people engage me in conversation, I talk more freely, my words come out better, and all this has been really therapeutic for me”

-Will Howard

The exchange student, and Will exchanged phone numbers and she then sent him some tutorials on how to set up a WordPress blog. She helped him to get it all set up, added a banner, a picture and helped with some formatting. Another Wrigleyville acquaintance designed a logo for the blog. Someone else designed a business card for Will’s handyman skills – all that he could upload onto the blog site. Will uses the free computer hours at a community center “The Center on Halsted” to type the blog posts~ of which sometimes, he follows a written rough draft from his original notebook. He explained hitting the “publish” button has become part of his inner healing.

Outside the blue diamond logo

It was in reading how the COMMUNITY… the VILLAGE… the individual people of Wrigleyville came together to help Will start his blog and in turn begin his healing process from the loss of his partner of 14 years that really touched me. It is not easy for people who live comfortable lives, in trendy working class neighborhoods to reach out and embrace a homeless man. There are so many stigmas attached to the persona of a street life.

He writes tales of love, life, thoughts about current events and a lot about his observances of common, everyday life from his very uncommon vantage point.  He says his blog is dedicated to his love, Helen.

As a blogger, I totally understand how writing and blogging can be therapeutic. Sharing ourselves and our ideas can be scary, but if you have the courage to be authentic, a little piece of you goes out into the world with each story. As I sit here and type this blog in my air conditioned living room, sipping a cold diet coke, I think about Will out there in the middle of Wrigleyville scribbling in his notebook~that someone bought for him with their own money, because they cared. I think of him walking down the street going to The Center to type it out, and maybe handing out one of his gifted business cards to a passerby. I will think of him tonight when I lay my head down on my soft pillowcase, and he kicks back on an iron bench outside the P.D. in the humidity and heat.

Outside the Blue Diamond

It truly DOES take a village, I believe in community. I believe in helping other people. This is one of the reasons I’ve set up Gypsy Spoonful the way it has been set up, with community at it’s center. Encouraging, supporting and helping each other in business~ but also in life… and although Will and I lead very different lives, I believe we’ve both been blessed and reaped the rewards of what it means to be a part of a wonderful community.

We need some painting done, I might just give him a call… or drive down to the parking garage at Addison and Halsted and hire him in person.

Outside the blue diamond

To read more about Will and to get to know him better through his writings, go to :OutsideTheBlueDiamond.Wordpress.com

Like what you’ve read? Please bookmark the Gypsy Spoonful Blog: Gypsy Blogful and leave us a comment too!

 

6 reasons why it's awesome to shop on Gypsy Spoonful

6 Reasons Why Shopping Gypsy Spoonful is Awesome

  oh and about that pants thing… don’t blame us… we were kidding… well, kinda… 😉 See ya online while you’re shopping or download the Gypsy Spoonful app today:  

6 reasons why it's awesome to shop on Gypsy Spoonful

 

oh and about that pants thing… don’t blame us… we were kidding… well, kinda… 😉

See ya online while you’re shopping or download the Gypsy Spoonful app today:

 

One skein project

One Skein Project. Free Tutorials : Snowdrops Mod Scarf Crochet Pattern by Left in Knots

I was tickled to see this adorable scarf pattern from the amazing Left In Knots. This would be SUCH a great gift for someone. I love the tappered into tassle ends, the ombre coloring is so fun too! Of course, you can choose any color skein but this one is especially adorbs! I love when … read more

I was tickled to see this adorable scarf pattern from the amazing Left In Knots. This would be SUCH a great gift for someone. I love the tappered into tassle ends, the ombre coloring is so fun too! Of course, you can choose any color skein but this one is especially adorbs! I love when makers are generous and share their patterns, so please do me a favor & go to the Left In Knots Site and follow Megan ( be sure to tell her Goosie said hello!)

One skein project

The Snow Drops Mod Scarf is a super-stylish one skein project ~This scarf is made with the star stitch with makes a beautiful-snowflake like texture.  Combine that with the icy colors of Caron Cakes “Faerie Cake” yarn and this scarf is perfect for winter! I also think the Pima cotton yarn would work amazingly well, click to see the shades of blue I’m in love with HERE~  She even has an AWESOME  video tutorial to get you started learning the star stitch 🙂
Here are the instructions (she also has a matching snowdrops skinny scarf pattern on her website)

Abbreviations
ch: chain
sl st: slip stitch
SC: single crochet
HDC: half-double crochet
HDC2Tog: Half double crochet two together (aka HDC decrease)
LOH: loops on hook

Special Stitch
Star stitch: WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE
First start stitch of a row: Ch 2, Insert hook into back loop of the second ch from the hook and pull up a loop (2 LOH), insert hook into front loop of the same ch stitch and pull up a loop (3 LOH), insert into the next 3 sts and pull up a loop through each one (6 LOH).  YO and pull through all 6 loops, ch 1 to make the “eye” of the star.
Star stitch: Insert hook into the “eye” of the previous star and pull up a loop (2 LOH), insert hook into the last post of the previous star and pull up a loop (3 LOH), insert your hook into the last stitch of the previous star and pull up a loop (4 LOH), insert hook into the next 2 sts and pull up a loop in each one (6 LOH).  YO and pull through all 6 loops, ch 1 to make the “eye of the star.

Finished Size:
Approximately 6′ long
Pattern Notes
Chain stitches at the beginning of rows do not count as a stitch
Increases and decreases will all happen on the the same side of the scarf.  This will create the triangular shape.

Instructions
Ch 3
Row 1: HDC in second ch from the hook, HDC across (2). Turn
Row 2: Ch 1, 2 HDC in first st, HDC across (3). Turn
Row 3: Ch 2, make the first star stitch of the row (1 star). Turn
Row 4: Ch 1, work 2 SC into the eye of the star stitch in the previous row, 1 SC in the last stitch (3).  Turn
Row 5: Ch 1, 2 HDC in first st, HDC across (4)
Row 6: Ch 1, HDC across, 2 HDC in last st (5)
Row 7: Ch 2, make the first star stitch of the row, star stitch across (2 stars). Turn
Row 8: Ch 1, 2 SC in each “eye of the star” from the previous row. SC in last stitch of the row (5).  Turn

one skein project

Row 9: Ch 1, 2 HDC in first st, HDC across (6)
Row 10: Ch 1, HDC across, 2 HDC in last st (7)
Rows 11-89: Repeat rows 7-10.  Row 89 will have 46 HDC sts across.
Row 90: Ch 1, HDC across, HDC2Tog in the last 2 stitches (45) Turn
Row 91: Ch 2, make the first star stitch of the row, star stitch across (22 stars) Turn
Row 92: Ch 1, 2 SC in each “eye of the star” from the previous row. SC in last stitch of the row (45).  Turn
Row 93: Ch 1, HDC across, HDC2Tog in the last two stitches (44).  Turn
Row 94: Ch 1, HDC2Tog, HDC across (43). Turn
Row 95-178: Repeat rows 91-94.  Row 178 with end with 2 HDC across.

Make your tassels (pom poms would also look great!) and attach them to each end of the scarf.  And VOILA!  You have a modern and adorable winter scarf. (see this free tutorial on craftsy.com ~downloadable ~ on how to make tassels by hand)

Tassels
If you liked this free tutorial, please stop by Megan’s blog and tell her Gypsy Spoonful sent you and give her a follow.
You may also like some of these crochet items in our marketplace and many other crochet patterns available on Craftsy as well.

Romantic Tea Stained Crochet Denim Coat, size Small

Messy bun beanie wheat color, ponytail beanie, bun hat, crochet bun beanie, wheat color yarn, CraftsbyMert

Minnie Lovey

Mermaid Teal and Purple Urban Knitted Ruffle Scarf Dolly and Me Set Toddler Girl Tween Teen Lady Adult Fashion Scarf

Have a free tutorial to submit to  Gypsy Blogful? Email us!

We’d love to share it on the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

No Stupid Questions

No Stupid Questions ! What do you want to know about Gypsy Spoonful?

No Stupid Questions What do you want to know about Gypsy Spoonful? Don’t be embarrassed of your curiosity, everyone has questions that they may feel uncomfortable asking certain people, so this place gives you a nice area not to be judged about asking it. Everyone here is willing to help. All questions are welcome such … read more

No Stupid Questions

No Stupid Questions

What do you want to know about Gypsy Spoonful?

Don’t be embarrassed of your curiosity, everyone has questions that they may feel uncomfortable asking certain people, so this place gives you a nice area not to be judged about asking it. Everyone here is willing to help. All questions are welcome such as to how to change oil, to how to tie shoes. Haha just kidding… Is there anything you want to know about how we do things? how difficult it is to open a shop? what’s required of members? what payment forms are accepted? All questions are welcome, except clear trolls, please don’t be that guy.

Drop us a comment with your question and we’ll do our very best to answer your questions in an upcoming blog post!

Want to learn more about Gypsy Spoonful? Follow our Facebook Page and Join our Facebook Group

Thinking about joining as a seller? Read this page and find out what we believe about small business and handmade first.

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!