Tag: small business

world diabetes day

World Diabetes Day Has Come and Gone

Or, as I like to call it, A Little Insight Into the GS Handmade Admin Team Hi, my name is Lisa and I am a member of the blog team for GS Handmade. In our quest to provide a more consistent, better quality blog for GS Handmade, I had planned a post for World Diabetes Day … read more

Or, as I like to call it, A Little Insight Into the GS Handmade Admin Team

Hi, my name is Lisa and I am a member of the blog team for GS Handmade. In our quest to provide a more consistent, better quality blog for GS Handmade, I had planned a post for World Diabetes Day on the 14th of this month. I contacted Alysa, another member of our team and asked her to help me out with it. I picked her because she has child that has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for 10 years now.  I have a son with diabetes, my mom and husband both had it and other members of GS Handmade have it themselves or a family member has it. In fact, if I am not mistaken, our fearless leader Goose has it. I picked Alysa for this because I have never met a person, doctors and nurses included, that seems to understand the ins and outs of this disease and can explain to other people it in such way that it doesn’t just sound like ⇓

 

 

 

 

 

like Alysa can. It is like a part of her being or something. She was happy to do it for me and quickly wrote some things up for me to start with. The week before the 14th, a virus hit my house like a ton of bricks. First, my older son got sick. As always, he worked through it and it barely phased him. Then, it hit me and my younger son at the same time. He is the diabetic. He was only diagnosed a year ago and at 21 years old, he had been handling it well. 24 hours later, I dragged myself out of bed to check on him again and he was still feeling really bad and he didn’t look much better. I decided that he should probably go to the ER and get some fluids. I have been dehydrated before and assumed that was what he needed. Ironically, a couple of days before World Diabetes Day I was told that my son was in ketoacidosis (a medical emergency) and as much as I thought I was knowledgeable and aware of this disease, I was in complete shock. The first person I contacted was Alysa and thankfully and with a lot of help, we got through it. So, although I did not get this up in time for World Diabetes Day, this information is important no matter what day it is.

 

 

 

GS Handmade Has You Covered for World Diabetes Day

Every November 14th we celebrate World Diabetes Day, but do you know why we celebrate on this day? November 14th is a significant date in the diabetes calendar because it marks the birthday of the man who co-discovered insulin, Frederick Banting. Banting discovered insulin in 1922, alongside Charles Best. You can read more about Dr. Banting here if you would like more information on how that came about.

On this day we focus on educating the public about the two most prominent types of Diabetes. 

Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. 

Although the two share a similar name, they are completely independent of one another. 

Knowing the difference can save yours or your child’s life.

 

 

 

If any of the above information sounds familiar, please contact your healthcare professional to discuss your concerns. 

 

Resources for newly diagnosed families are available at the following websites:

JDRF.org https://www.jdrf.org/

American Diabetes Association https://www.diabetes.org/

ADA https://www.ada.gov/

 

Some diabetes lingo that you might hear:  

SWAG – Scientific Wild A@$ Guess 

MOD – Mother of a Diabetic

DOD – Dad of a Diabetic

DS – Diabetic Son

DD – Diabetic Daughter

T1D – Type 1 Diabetes

BG – Blood Sugar/Blood Glucose 

Dex – Dexcom Constant Glucose Monitor

Kit – Blood Sugar Meter 

Bolus – meal time insulin via pump

Basal – background insulin via pump

Correction – insulin taken when blood sugar is high

Unicorn – BG of 100

Unicorn in the wild – seeing/meeting another Diabetic

 

Alysa has even designed a few decals to help the diabetic community show their support for Type 1 and their hope for a cure.

 

Hope Cure Type 1 Diabetes Vinyl Car Decal Type 1 Diabetes Decal, Hope Cure Type 1 Diabetes Vinyl Car Decal, Warrior, T1D Car Decal, Hope Ribbon Decal, Cure Diabetes Decal, T1D Decal by A Crafty Mama Company

 

Type 1 Diabetes Hope Cure Car Decal / T1D / Hope / Faith / Cure / Warrior / Brave / Family / Super Hero / Love / Spirit / Strong / Walk fundraiser

 

Aren’t these decals amazing? To see this and all of her other creations visit her Gypsy Spoonful shop, A Crafty Mama Co.  Use code WDD10 and get 10% off any order over $10 now through the end of November. 

 

Type 1 Diabetes Word Ribbon Decal from A Crafty Mama Co.

Type 1 Diabetes Medical Alert Decal, Car Decal, Diabetic Driver Alert Decal, Diabetic Window Decal, T1D Driver by A Crafty Mama Company

One final thought from Alysa as I have been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster with all that has been going on with my son and she reminded me:

How amazing is it to love someone so deeply that you can’t control your emotions. How lucky are we that some people never get to experience true love and we have. How many people never get to meet their hero and we get to raise ours or sit next to them at the dinner table every night. The memories alone are awesome. Crying isn’t a bad thing. It is totally not a sign of weakness. It is more a sign of passion and a complete and utter expression of love.

GS Handmade has an amazing holiday season and you are not going to want to miss a bit of it! Get connected!

Subscribe to the newsletter or sign up for text alerts HERE! Make sure to join our Facebook Group too! That is where the magic happens.

 

VIP Preview and A Peek at Thanksgiving Ideas

We’ve rebuilt the entire GS Handmade website! We’ve tweaked our name a lil’ bit, and we’ve added super cool features, lightning fast speeds and the BEST part is, YOU’RE INVITED to preview it! We’re only allowing our VIP’s to view and shop it today. That means YOU get an insider’s look at the new look, … read more

We’ve rebuilt the entire GS Handmade website! We’ve tweaked our name a lil’ bit, and we’ve added super cool features, lightning fast speeds and the BEST part is, YOU’RE INVITED to preview it! We’re only allowing our VIP’s to view and shop it today. That means YOU get an insider’s look at the new look, to try out the new features and shop before anyone else! We’re so excited , we can hardly stand it!

What’s New?
Nearly EVERYTHING!!

      • Vrroom – A sleek & sexy new user dashboard, stores your down loads, all your account information, track your orders & more.
      • Wishlist : Make a List of Your Favorite Items and share with loved ones
      • Gift Cards: Give the right gift every time, no re-gifting or returns when you let them pick out what THEY want. Available in any amount from $5 – $100 an any combination in between!
      • Holiday Shopping is a breeze: Gifts for every one and every budget. Shop for gifts in your budget , $10, $20 $50 etc. Plus all of our upcoming holiday events are right on the homepage, so you know what’s coming up and when!
      • Layaway: Just in time for holiday shopping. Discover which shops offer this convenient way to pay for purchases over time.
      • Forums: GS Handmade related groups will be hosted on the site now, in addition to a public, Handmade group that is open to all! Make friends, chat and discuss topics relating to handmade.
      • New Ways to Shop: If you want to discover new categories, browse or find hidden gems, our new Home page is an awesome fully dynamic page to do just that!
      • Shop Your Way: Embrace what’s important to you, shop by maker, shop by locale (choose your state and shop local!) , shop by popular product tag, or shop in person (craft shows, street fairs and even classes our makers are teaching in their own area!)
      • Easy to find Reviews: We’ve put reviews right on the page with shops, we vet all of our makers for their trustworthiness and reliability, but you can now see unbiased, objective reviews right at the bottom of each maker’s shop.

Halloween has flown by and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This is a very special time of year filled with amazing food, family, traditions and hopefully a whole lot of joy. Thanksgiving feels a little like the calm before the storm of Christmas. One last day to relax and enjoy yourself before the chaos of December is upon us. There is also plenty going on to keep anyone from getting bored. The Macy’s Day Parade is happening and there is plenty of football and dog shows to have on the television for those that need to rest after all the food.  Virgina Hooper from Lace and Sneakers shared  “On Thanksgiving Eve we got to be tasters of the goodies Mama was cooking. Of course we always watched the parades on Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Speaking of food, more and more people are buying locally than ever, not to mention eating more healthy.  Nancy Davis from our shop, WeLuThanksgiving Day Check List SimplevDizne says “We LOVE this keto pumpkin mousse.  If you are enjoying a new keto lifestyle the Holidays may worry you. Take a look at this article for some tips to help you through the season. If you are like some of us, you may just skip over a lot of this stuff and go straight to the gift shopping for our loved ones.  

    • A Crafty Mama Company offers this Thanksgiving Day Planner Printable to you all for FREE! This instant download is for personal use only and includes 3 different file types (.jpg, .bmp, & .png) for you to make a checklist of all the things you need to do before the day arrives. It will be here before we know it.

Hosting Thanksgiving this year and want more? Then this planner kit is a must have to make sure you have all the trimmings ready for the big feast. Included in this instant download you will receive a cover page for your planner, a detailed fillable check-list, a blank template to use how you please, a detailed menu planner along with a sample menu to get your creative juices flowing, a Menu with just titles so you can fill in your own items, a detailed guest list, a detailed grocery list organized by type, and a sheet of detailed food items being served to place next to each dish. Upgrade to the full kit here at A Crafty Mama Company

Stay tuned because GS Handmade is planning an amazing holiday season and you are not going to want to miss a bit of it! Get connected!

Subscribe to the newsletter or sign up for text alerts HERE! Make sure to join our Facebook Group too! That is where the magic happens when we have our auctions. There might just be one or two coming up soon. Don’t miss it.

Here’s an extra added bonus!

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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Another Year of Shark Week Comes to an End

As another year of shark week comes to a close, how are you feeling? Did you get enough shark week? How does this year compare to previous years? Did you have a shark week party? Loving it and wanting more? Well, here it is! Shark Week originally premiered on July 17, 1988. It has been featured … read more

As another year of shark week comes to a close, how are you feeling? Did you get enough shark week? How does this year compare to previous years? Did you have a shark week party? Loving it and wanting more? Well, here it is!

Shark Week originally premiered on July 17, 1988. It has been featured annually since then. It was originally devoted to conservation efforts and correcting misconceptions about sharks. Over time, it grew in popularity and became a huge hit on the Discovery Channel with a lineup of new shows all about sharks, including the theme week’s first original movie.

“Capsized: Blood in the Water,” based on a true story, stars Josh Duhamel as the captain of a yacht that capsizes in a Florida storm as its crew is chased by sharks. Capsized: Blood in the Water‘s ending provides a follow-up on the lives of Brad and Deborah following their rescue. After five days without food and water, the sole survivors were picked up by the Russians on October 28, 1982.

One thing that hasn’t changed this year is the shark week parties that are happening. There is one woman that does amazing drinks every year for shark week! Check her out HERE!  Don’t forget the kids! Need fun and food for the little ones during the party? Check THIS out. Looking for more activities for the kids to do during shark week?  Check out this great list HERE for more fun! Speaking of fun, Gypsy Spoonful shops have some great shark items too!!

Like the Crochet Shark Hat Custom Made by A Fairytale Moment

Shark Crocheted Hat – Made in all sizes
Processing time is 3-5 days
Made of 100% cotton yarn.

Shark Hand Sanitizer Holder by Wallowa Wonders

Shark Hand Sanitizer Holder

Do you feel the need to sanitize your hands often when you are out and about?  After touching those shopping carts at the grocery store?  On vacation and need to clean up before lunch?  Working with little petri dishes of germs (AKA kids)?  Great for nurses, teachers, daycare centers, and just about everyone.  Shark case is created with easy to clean vinyl and attached to a key ring and lobster claw to attach to your purse, back pack, diaper bag, or even to a belt loop in a pinch.
Each holder includes a Bath & Body Works Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel.  Hand sanitizer scent will vary depending on availability. Holds 1 oz. sanitizer from Bath & Body Works or Purell bottles too.

 

Shark Menstrual Pad
One 10 Inch Moderate Flannel Core Reusable Eco Friendly Mama Cloth Tie Dye

One shark pad. This is the 10 inch shark pattern from Happy Hippo. Top fabric is soft woven cotton that I tie dyed myself. Inner core is four layers of cotton flannel for moderate flow. The back is teal blue woven cotton.
These have a hidden waterproof layer of PUL.
Each pad will be a bit different due to pattern placement on the fabric. Selection will be random.
All pad orders come with a drying strap.
Good for your health, good for the environment, good for your budget.

 

Scrub Tops “Sharks in the Water” Medical Shirts

Custom made classic V-Neck Scrub Shirts especially tailored for Men & Women, RN, MD, PA, Vets, School Nurses, Lab Techs medical professionals by ScrubLub

Watch out for JAWS! Can you believe it’s been 40 years since the original movie?? Custom made, Unique, Fun-printed, Classic V-neck SCRUB TOPS to bring out the smiles and the kid in everyone around you!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See all items tagged “Shark” HERE

By the way, in case you missed it, we just finished up with a FLASH auction in our Facebook Group! Great deals and it was a blast! Don’t miss the next one! Get in the group to join all the fun!

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop</font color> Written by Heather aka Goose, Owner/Founder of GypsySpoonful Just an FYI, marketing and promotion for us at Gypsyspoonful;  isn’t just about actual advertisements, that’d be boring! We’re not boring here, we’re fun!  So, what we do here at GS is multi-faceted, … read more

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop</font color>
Written by Heather aka Goose, Owner/Founder of GypsySpoonful

Business Builder Blog : Creating a multi-faceted marketing approach for your small shop

Just an FYI, marketing and promotion for us at Gypsyspoonful;  isn’t just about actual advertisements, that’d be boring! We’re not boring here, we’re fun!  So, what we do here at GS is multi-faceted, as it should be. A good advertising and marketing plan for any business should include a multi-facted approach. Never, ever put all your eggs in one basket. If something happens , you’re screwed. Always , ALWAYS, have a plan B, and C, and D… way to reach potential customers.

I always suggest to all of our new members that they should open an account and have a presence on all of the major social media platforms (for their small business at least) .

Those platforms I suggest are as follows:

Facebook (a page AND a group)

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

MeWe (new)

AllSocial (new)

(I also suggest Redditt and YouTube if you want to be super efficient)

Gypsy Spoonful’s advertising & marketing efforts attempt to cover all of the ways that have potential to reach our market. The reason I believe in a multi-faceted approach is because not everyone is on every social media platform like you.. some might prefer one over the other and if you’re on all of them, you cover all your bases and reach different people on each one.

Here’s a sample of what a good multi-faceted marketing approach looks like:

  • Email campaigns (we do a monthly newsletter plus weekly themed email blasts)
  • Blog Posts, not just to promote our products or shops, though that’s important~ but it’s always important to provide useful content to your blog readers as well)
  • Link exchanges with other bloggers and websites, the more incoming links you have, the greater your rank with SEO
  • Social media (+ boosting some posts) on all platforms
  • Display advertising on niche and specialty blogs
  • Press releases to niche blogs, magazines or newspapers
  • Networking with other small businesses where there may be customer cross-over
  • SEO efforts
  • Paid and non-paid advertising campaigns
  • Submitting articles as guest blogs, or serving as an expert or interview source for other blogs, publications, podcasts etc
  • Google & Bing ad word campaigns (and pay per click ppc programs)

Except for the paid ads and boosting social media posts, the other bullet points is what is considered guerilla marketing, organic marketing, and viral marketing.

There are several books that I have found extremely helpful over the years for organic and viral marketing, and I always suggest them to my fellow small business owners, and to our blog readers, here’s that list:

These are great tools to put in your small business marketing aresenal: (these are NOT affiliate links, so if you buy them we do not make any money)

  1. Guerrilla Social Media Marketing: 100+ Weapons to Grow Your Online Influence, Attract Customers, and Drive Profits
  2. Guerilla Marketing Remix
  3. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you
  4. The No B.S. Guide to Brand-Building by Direct Response: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Plan to Creating and Profiting from a Powerful Brand Without Buying It
  5. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, Newsjacking, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly

Do you have questions? I’d be happy to answer them, drop us a comment and we’ll comment back below. Intersted in becoming part of our handmade community, and having your own handmade small shop? Apply HERE for a shop.

 

Have You Heard The Scoop About Gypsy Spoonful’s Next Auction?

If you have ever participated in one of Gypsy Spoonful’s auction in the Facebook group, you know what a blast we have. This one will be no different, except instead of having some kind of theme like summer or fall to focus on, this time it is Designer’s Choice! That’s right! We are letting the … read more

If you have ever participated in one of Gypsy Spoonful’s auction in the Facebook group, you know what a blast we have. This one will be no different, except instead of having some kind of theme like summer or fall to focus on, this time it is Designer’s Choice! That’s right! We are letting the creativity loose! We are so proud of the team and community that we have built here at Gypsy Spoonful that it is sure to be amazing.

You’re invited to join us and bid on some TOP quality handmade items~ they’re all 100% handmade by the talented makers of Gypsy Spoonful. From bath & body products to stunning jewelry, adorable & trendy children’s clothing and the perfect piece of home decor you’ve been searching for~ You can find it all, there’s something for everyone to treat yourself or to give as gifts. Handmade from Gypsy Spoonful is completely unique and like NOTHING you can find at the big box stores or the mall. Impress your friends , they’ll be asking “where did you get that” ?

You have to be a member of the Gypsy Spoonful Facebook Group to participate in the auction. So, make sure you are a member of the group and turn those notifications on so you get all the details. If you haven’t joined the group yet you can do that right HERE.

The auction starts Sunday evening and runs until Monday evening so make sure you get in there and get your bids in! Anybody want a sneak peek at some of the goodies?? Look at these fun items you could be bidding on!

8×8 White Shadow Box Frame adorned with 25 handmade coral paper flowers & beautifyl family sentiment. Ready to hang or display on a table/shelf. From A Crafty Mama Co.

 

Brave Little Bear Handkerchief Hem Dress
Approximate size 5 handkerchief style dress. Adorable tribal bears with bows & arrows accented with blue & brown coordinates. The shoulder straps lace through loops in the elastic back for a truly custom fit. You can tie the bow as tight or loose as needed. The front laces up with a sweet ribbon.

 

Hand Painted Sunflower Stemless Wine Glass ~ The best part about this glass is it’s not just for wine! Mix up a cocktail 🍹 or fill it with ice and lemonade. Premium satin acrylic paint which has been baked for durability.

 

Brass and Rhinestones Assemblage Bracelet – This bracelet is one of a kind!!! It was made using a two brass and rhinestone connector links along with a chunky brass chain to finish off this piece. Hanging from a jump ring is a brass cross charm. A brass lobster clasp makes it easy on/off.

 

Embroidered JoJo Siwa Backpack
Full Size School Backpack 16″ x 12″ x 5″, Adjustable Padded Straps, Ripstop Construction, Machine Embroidery added, Add Name or Initials of your Choice!

 Don’t miss out on any auction info! Subscribe to the Gypsy Spoonful mailing list and Text Messages Here. Get a text an hour before auctions, 1 hour before auction close as well as news about flash sales, or special promotions.

 

Keep an open mind quote

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

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

New opportunities await</font color>

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

-Napoleon Hill

Keep an open mind quote

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

 

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

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

Check it out here

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

 

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

~Seneca or SemiSonic , Closing Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xo

Goose

Goose, Owner/Founder GypsySpoonful

 

 

 

 

 

Owner/Founder GypsySpoonful.com

Make it a Handmade Summer

Make it a handmade summer this year! Summer is truly a magical time of the year in such a different way then the winter season. While winter is filled with the wonders of the holidays, summer’s magic is more about the breeze in your hair and a connection with nature. It brings to mind state … read more

Make it a handmade summer this year! Summer is truly a magical time of the year in such a different way then the winter season. While winter is filled with the wonders of the holidays, summer’s magic is more about the breeze in your hair and a connection with nature. It brings to mind state fairs and 4th of July fireworks, picnics and swimming holes. Summer seems to bring out imagination and play and gives you a little more time to be laid back and fun whether you just have a short vacation or the whole summer off. Let Gypsy Spoonful add a little handmade to your summer to make it even better with some of our amazing summer items.

Storm Dragon Stick Pony toy by Houkreative Creations

Storm Dragon Hobby Horse

Storm Dragon stick pony is a one of a kind handmade ride on toy for kids.

Storm Dragon stick pony is a one of a kind handmade dragon hobby horse.  This dragon stick horse stands about 36 inches tall. Storm Dragon has purples, blues, and greens and is accented with gold swirls. Kids will enjoy riding around on their dragon exercising their bodies and imaginations.  Storm Dragon stick pony comes with an adoption certificate.  Our stick ponies ship with in 2 business days via USPS priority for quick delivery.

 

 

 

 

 

Sea Turtle Blanket Made to Order by APLCrafts

sea turtle baby blanket - aplcraftsBaby sea turtles, the ocean, and a dolphin. What more could you ask for in this gorgeous beach scene in a baby blanket? How about size? I believe that baby blankets should be something that a child grows with and has memories with. That’s why my baby blankets are sized larger than typical baby blankets. At approximately 40″ x 46″ there’s nothing small here.

 

 

 

 

Mermaid Crown for beach wedding or mermaid photo prop by Goosie Girl

Mermaid Crown

Goosie Girl is pleased to present Mermaid Dreams~ an original Mermaid Crown sized for tweens-adults. This piece is one of a kind, and won’t re-produced exactly so you’re assured of a one of a kind creation. It is ready-to-ship and would be IDEAL for a photo prop or beach wedding. Created from hand-painted and glittered authentic seashells and two types of starfish~ it’s embellished with amazing beads, strung pearls, silver chain and iridescent flat-back crystals. It ties in the back of the head with coordinating purple organza ribbon

 

 

 

Pokeball Popsicle Pouch Freeze Pop Holder by Firefly Threads

Little ones will be able to hold their freeze pops or frozen yogurt easier with this popsicle pouch!  Great as a party favor! Additional quantities are available upon request. Please order with plenty of time for crafting and shipping to ensure proper delivery if you have a deadline approaching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citrus Mouse Ear Headband Set Machine Embroidery Design by MGE Designs

Citrus Mouse Ear Headband Set Machine Embroidery Design Digital DownloadCitrus Mouse Ear Headband Set Machine Embroidery Design Digital Download. All designs have been stitched out by testers. Size: Ear 3.40X3.60″, Bow: 3.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

See more Summer items on Gypsy Spoonful HERE

Bluprint

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

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

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

An Introduction to Bluprint:

20181127_newyearnewyou_embroidery_snap_480.gif

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

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

At Bluprint you’ll be able to

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

Bluprint

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

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

Bluprint

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

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

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

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.

Facebook Outage

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

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

Facebook Outage

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

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

Instagram outage

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

Facebook Outage

 

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

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

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

Down Detector showed MANY large websites were having issues:

Etsy outage Etsy outage

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

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

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

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

Top reasons to have an email list:

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

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

Why Email Marketing Is Still Effective

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

David Newman

Email marketing has distinct advantages over other modern media.

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

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

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

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

The Top 5 reasons why your small shop needs SEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. SEO Builds Trust & Credibility

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

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

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

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

3. Good SEO Also Means a Better User Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. SEO Impacts the Buying Cycle

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

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

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

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

 

 

Who Made Your Clothes?

Who Made YOUR Clothes? Fast Fashion Facts

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

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

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

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

What can we do about this alarming trend?

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

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

Sad Facts about Fast Fashion:

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

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

The 100 Handmade Shops of GypsySpoonful

See our handmade community in action in our Facebook group

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

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

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

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

Willow and Sage Magazine

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

Willow And Sage Magazine

The Willow And Sage Website is equally dreamy


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

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

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

JMaeHandmade Bath And Body Products

Sears Catalog

Black History Facts: An Unlikely Game Changer

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

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

SEARS & ROEBUCK: BLACK HISTORY FACTS

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

Black History Month: Sears Roebuck Was A Game Changer

Humble Beginnings: Late 1880s to 1914

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sears Catalog

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

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

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

New Leadership and Growth: 1915 to the Late 1920s

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

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

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

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

Lauretta Charlton

By Lauretta Charlton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noveenna

Noveenna : Designer Showcase – She made it to the Hall of Fame!

“If  a girl says not to get her a birthday present that means get me a birthday present and make sure it’s jewelry.” ― Kami Garcia, Beautiful Creatures I don’t know about you, but there are a certain few people that I need gifts for throughout the year for Christmas or birthdays, and don’t forget … read more

“If  a girl says not to get her a birthday present that means get me a birthday present and make sure it’s jewelry.” ― Kami Garcia, Beautiful Creatures

I don’t know about you, but there are a certain few people that I need gifts for throughout the year for Christmas or birthdays, and don’t forget Mother’s day, yet I was continually struggling with finding the perfect gift.

I try to support indy, small shops at every moment I can, because handmade and supporting family-owned business is important to me. So I felt right at home on Gypsy Spoonful. I also think it’s awesome that shipping is never extra on GypsySpoonful. It’s always included in the price so there are no yucky “surprises” with exorbitant shipping fees at checkout.

While I was bopping around on the site, checking out shops, I stumbled upon Noveenna . She creates breathtaking, handmade JEWELRY and she’s our featured  Gypsy Spoonful shop of the month

Sometimes you just see a piece of jewelry and think of a person instantly, I sure did this when I came across her shop. I have a wishlist made on Gypsy Spoonful and I’ve been adding a bunch of her pieces to it. (Make a Wishlist on GypsySpoonful too.) What I REALLY like about her jewelry is not only does it look incredibly well-made and awesome quality, but that there are matching pieces in a collection. I can buy a beadwoven collar for Christmas for my aunt, and buy a coordinating cuff bracelet when Mother’s day arrives.

Noveenna

I have a hard time mixing and matching jewelry and I like to wear earrings, necklaces and bracelets (all 3) when I go out or get dressed up. This takes the confusion out of it for me. With coordinating pieces, it’s a breeze to accessorize an outfit without worrying that the earrings might not go with the necklace. Check out her mambo mauve collection by clicking HERE. , It’s so hard to pick just one favorite collection, I also have a soft spot in my heart for her Starlight Memories collection, so vibrant and cheery!

Noveenna

Another awesome thing about her designs, is that her jewelry is the type that you can wear to a variety of outings, or for everyday wear. Some are more statement pieces, and some are more casual. All of them are very versatile and not too over the top. They’re subtle and demure, and her color combinations are way cool.  Many times when I find a style or type of design I like, I like to have a few pieces in this same style, that’s perfect for shopping Noveenna’s shop. If you like the beadwoven collar style necklaces, there are several pieces , each in a diferent color combo that she names.  I suggest, the next time you need a gift, or want to treat yourself, you check out Noveenna’s shop on GypsySpoonful.

Noveenna

 

Drop us a comment and let us know what you thought of this blog! Join our Facebook group so you don’t miss any news about the shops of Gypsy Spoonful.

 

 

The making of a mogul : Building Your Brand, Inspiration from Kevin Durant

The making of a mogul : Building Your Brand, Inspiration from Kevin Durant

There’s a story behind the small black triangle forever imprinted on Kevin Durant‘s wrist. Like the rest of his tattoos — “Maryland” (his home state) across his shoulder blades, a portrait of Tupac on his leg — the ink is an attempt to grab hold of a moment in time and mark it as meaningful. … read more

The making of a mogul : Building Your Brand, Inspiration from Kevin Durant

There’s a story behind the small black triangle forever imprinted on Kevin Durant‘s wrist. Like the rest of his tattoos — “Maryland” (his home state) across his shoulder blades, a portrait of Tupac on his leg — the ink is an attempt to grab hold of a moment in time and mark it as meaningful.

The triangle tattoo is a symbol of the friendship between Durant, his business partner Rich Kleiman and their friend Charlie Bell. A few years ago the three men were hanging out, talking about the incredible possibilities in front of them, and someone thought it sounded like a good idea to get tattoos commemorating the bromance.

It feels a bit quaint now, even to them. Aww, friendship tattoos. How cute!

“I wouldn’t get most of the tattoos I have now,” Durant says with a smile. “But that’s why they’re cool. I got each of them at a point in my life I was feeling something I wanted to remember.”

Kleiman laughs and points to a Chinese character tattooed on his arm.

“Like, this means ‘patience,’ ” the 41-year-old executive says. “Could you imagine if I went in somewhere now and was like, ‘Yeah, what up, my man? Could you give me the Chinese symbol for patience?’

“The guy would be like, ‘OK, midlife crisis. What up, Dad?’ But when I was 19, in Miami, I’m like, ‘Yooo, give me “patience”!’ ”

We’re sitting at a shady table at the cafe atop the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. The Warriors have the day off after a win over the Lakers, and Durant and Kleiman are making the most of it. There was a morning meeting with Brat (a company that created a network for young YouTube stars), this lunch interview, house hunting in Beverly Hills in the afternoon, then a red-eye flight to Washington, D.C., to attend the opening of College Track, which prepares high school students to apply to and graduate from college, at the Durant Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Life as a two-time NBA Finals MVP and budding entrepreneur can be a little like taking a speedboat down the chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — sensory and experiential overload around every turn.

“My platform is hoops,” Durant says. “Billions of people are watching, so why not leverage it to do the cool stuff that we like to do?”

As one of the best basketball players on the planet, Durant can meet anyone he thinks is interesting, invest in any company he digs and get into any event he wants. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey? He flew in for Durant’s birthday party this year. Apple VP Eddy Cue? A huge Warriors fan whose company just greenlighted a scripted show called Swagger based on Durant’s experiences in AAU basketball. David Geffen, Oprah, Diane von Furstenberg? Durant hung out with them at Google’s invite-only celebrity camp at the Verdura Resort in Sicily the past few summers.

His world is wide open — and so the challenge for Durant and other superstar athletes-turned-business moguls isn’t just in finding the time to take advantage of the exclusive opportunities in front of them but in searching for the right reasons to do so.

The making of a mogul : Building Your Brand, Inspiration from Kevin Durant

A great brand is a lot like a great jump shot: The best ones appear effortless. And yet, underneath the surface, years of sweat, grind and refinement have gone into it. Athletes used to wait until they were done playing to start building their businesses off the court. They’d let their teams or agents with dozens of other clients handle their marketing. Even back then, they knew they were leaving money and leverage on the table. But who had the bandwidth to build out a portfolio while playing?

In the business world, that’s called a market gap. Customers want a product that doesn’t exist yet? Somebody should go create that product.

In this case, first a superstar athlete such as Durant had to believe he was capable of building his own brand while playing. Then he had to figure out how to do it.

Earlier in his career, Durant says, he mostly just wanted to do what he saw other superstars do.

“‘Gatorade, I need that. McDonald’s,’ ” he says. “I need a trading card, Upper Deck, because I’ve seen other great players do that.”

“You also thought your off-days had to be completely filled,” Kleiman says from across the table.

Over the six years they’ve been working together, Kleiman’s job has been to help Durant be purposeful and intentional about his projects and to take advantage of the creative freedom Durant’s considerable platform has afforded him.

That filtering process can be dizzying for a curious soul like Durant, who readily admits he’s still searching — and probably always will be — for what he wants to be. So a few years ago, in one of their daily deep dives, Kleiman laid it out: “You need to understand that this part of your life should be enjoyable.”

Durant had spent too long trying to fit the model of what he thought a superstar athlete “should” be doing. Just do what feels right or fun or interesting, Kleiman told him. Maybe one of his investments will turn into the next Vitamin Water or Beats by Dre. Maybe it’ll just be a cool experience to look back on. Maybe it’ll flop. But if a startup company presents a product Durant or Kleiman would use himself, or its founder had a certain je ne sais quoi they both connect to, that’s what guides them.

Take Postmates. “I’m hungry one day,” Durant says. “And Rich was like, ‘Yeah, [this company will] bring you food from any restaurant.’ I’m like, ‘They’ve got an app like that? Can you call somebody up there? We need to get involved, because we use this s— on a day-to-day basis.’ ” Soon after, in June 2016, Durant and his team bought a stake in the company, which reportedly had grown tenfold by a valuation this January.

There’s a more rigorous evaluation process after that initial spark, of course. Durant says he likes to study the industry and how a company has grown from its early stages of development before he invests. But if there’s a guiding principle behind the extensive portfolio they’ve assembled, it is to follow and trust Durant’s curiosity.

So far they’ve invested in some 50 companies, ranging from the cold-pressed juice company WTRMLN WTR to an autonomous drone company called Skydio. There’s an equity partnership in the headphone company Master & Dynamic. And starting Feb. 11, there’s The Boardroom, a six-episode series on ESPN+ and multiplatform media brand in which Durant, Kleiman and ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams talk with players, industry executives and insiders from the worlds of sports, business, media and technology about how the culture around sports is changing.

“Me and Rich always had these times where it was just him and I, brainstorming,” Durant says.

So why not turn those conversations into a show?

“It’s like Sports Business Journal but for fans,” Kleiman says. By now he’s got this pitch down cold.

“I was watching sports last year, and there was a headline about an investment that Kevin had made. Then a headline about a Liverpool investment that LeBron had made. Then some Yankees highlights.

“When I was 14 years old, I would have been so confused about why the investment stuff is in the middle of these highlights. But in our world now, that’s way cooler than the other stuff.”


There’s no job description that can capture what Kleiman does for Durant. He’s his business partner in Thirty Five Ventures, the umbrella corporation for their production company, Thirty Five Media; the Kevin Durant Foundation; and all of their investments, endorsements and business partnerships. He’s the first or second person Durant speaks to every morning, depending on how early Durant’s brother, Tony, and baby nephew FaceTime him. He’s definitely the first person Durant calls if anything ever goes wrong.

It’s more than your typical manager-athlete relationship: By all accounts, this is a genuine friendship. They refer to each other as “my best friend” and sometimes even “brother.” When ESPN shot the photos for this story, Durant preferred to share the stage with Kleiman and Williams. Yes, some of that is because they’re promoting The Boardroom together. But it’s also a reflection of just how close he and Kleiman are.

At first glance, it’s an unlikely pairing. Kleiman grew up in New York City, attending a private high school that was a member of the Ivy League Preparatory School League. Durant grew up in an impoverished area outside of DC, often taking public transportation for several hours a day to get to and from one of the three high schools he attended.

Kleiman is boisterous, excitable and intense. He has a ton of friends, sleeps with his phone on, spends hours every day workshopping ideas at home in what he calls his think tank. Durant is sensitive, creative and thoughtful. He has just a few close friends from his youth (he was too busy with basketball), spends his off-days exploring restaurants in San Francisco or record stores in Berkeley, and talks wistfully about driving his 1969 Volkswagen bus to Mexico for surf trips.

Durant had already worked with two other agents before he started working with Kleiman in 2013. But they quickly found a professional and personal synergy.

“We just met at, like, the perfect point,” Durant says of the former music industry manager he has empowered to run his business empire. “We both hit our peaks at the same time.”


Picked up from ESPN , I thought our readers would draw some inspiration from this well-written article. Photos are property of ESPN.

This guy has worked for FREE for 13 years! Who is he and Why Did Time Magazine Name Him One of The Most Influential People of 2018?

Steven Pruitt has made nearly 3 million edits on Wikipedia and written 35,000 original articles. It’s earned him not only accolades but almost legendary status on the internet. The online encyclopedia now boasts more than 5.7 million articles in English and millions more translated into other languages – all written by online volunteers. Pruitt was … read more

Steven Pruitt has made nearly 3 million edits on Wikipedia and written 35,000 original articles. It’s earned him not only accolades but almost legendary status on the internet.

The online encyclopedia now boasts more than 5.7 million articles in English and millions more translated into other languages – all written by online volunteers. Pruitt was named one of the most influential people on the internet by Time magazine in part because one-third of all English language articles on Wikipedia have been edited by Steven. An incredible feat, ignited by a fascination with his own history.

Pruitt is deeply obsessed with history, and his love of opera inspired his Wikipedia username: Ser Amantio Di Nicolao, his favorite opera character.

“My first article was about Peter Francisco, who was my great great great great great great grandfather … and if we had an hour I could probably go into the full story,” Pruitt said. “He was a sergeant in arms in the Virginia Senate and there’s kidnapping, potential piracy. If you read the story you would not believe any of it happened.”

Still living with his parents in the home he grew up in, Pruitt has always remained true to his interests.

“I think for a long time there was an attitude of, ‘That’s nice, dear. The boy’s crazy. I don’t know why he wastes his time, the boy’s crazy,’ Pruitt said of what his parents think of his volunteer gig.

That may have changed when Time magazine named him one of the top 25 most influential people on the internet, alongside President Trump, J.K. Rowling and Kim Kardashian West.

This guy has worked for FREE for 13 years! Who is he and Why ?
Steven Pruitt CBS News

How much money does he make from his work? None.

“The idea of making it all free fascinates me. My mother grew up in the Soviet Union … So I’m very conscious of what, what it can mean to make knowledge free, to make information free,” he said.

Pulling from books, academic journals and other sources, he spends more than three hours a day researching, editing and writing.

Even his day job is research, working in records and information at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He joked that his colleagues probably think he’s nuts.

“Because I edit Wikipedia all the damn time, I think that one sort of goes without saying,” Pruitt said.

Wikipedia’s Kui Kinyanjui said the site would not exist without the dedication of its volunteers. It is now one of the top five most visited in the world, among Google, YouTube and Facebook.

“People like Steven are incredibly important to platforms like Wikipedia, simply because they are the ones that are the lifeblood,” said Kui Kinyanjui, WikiMedia’s vice president of communications.

Six-thousand people visit the site every second, bringing a responsibility for the editors to present a diverse and fair platform.

“We know there’s a lot more to be done. That’s why we’re very excited about projects like Women in Red, which seeks to identify and place more content on women on our platform … Steven has been a large contributor to that project,” Kinyanjui said.

“The last statistic I saw was that 17.6 percent of the biographical articles on Wikipedia area about women, on the English Wikipedia I should say,” Pruitt said. “It was under 15 percent a couple of years ago which shows you how much we have been able to move the needle.”

How does he celebrate that victory? “Write another article, make another edit.”

To put in to perspective what it took for Pruitt to become the top editor, he’s been dedicating his free time to the site for 13 years. The second-place editor is roughly 900,000 edits behind him, so his first place status seems safe, for now.


Speaking of Most Influential People:

Some of the shops at GypsySpoonful are  seeking brand reps/influencers to join our rep team.

Please join our facebook group and we’ll connect you with them.


Wiki Wiki Wiki ( I couldn’t resist, lol)

Rock The Sock

Goosie’s List : 20 of Goosie’s Favorite Rock the Sock Items on Gypsy Spoonful

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Gypsy Spoonful Celebrates Small Business Saturday

Tis’ the Season to Shop Homemade Over 110 small business shop owners join together this holiday season on Gypsy Spoonful to offer you incomparable one on one service for all your holiday needs. From gift giving, home décor and special holiday clothing, Gypsy Spoonful shops are filled with over 6,000 quality, handmade items and all … read more

Tis’ the Season to Shop Homemade

Over 110 small business shop owners join together this holiday season on Gypsy Spoonful to offer you incomparable one on one service for all your holiday needs. From gift giving, home décor and special holiday clothing, Gypsy Spoonful shops are filled with over 6,000 quality, handmade items and all are offered with FREE shipping.

The celebrations have already started around Gypsy spoonful and there are many other upcoming fun ways to explore new venues and support small home businesses all while staying close to home and enjoying your holiday season with just a little bit less stress this year.

Gypsy Spoonful is hosting EARLY Black Friday Flash Sales all weekend long this weekend! You can join the Facebook group and find links to their flash sale items here http://bit.ly/2Qsvs9i. Or, add a little fun to your shopping! Take a look at the Thankful for Handmade Page here http://bit.ly/2AYA9m1. Everything you need for fall fashion and accessories, Hostess Gift Ideas, as well as decking out your home for Autumn and the guests that will be visiting for Thanksgiving gatherings. We’ve also got fun for the kids with a graphic design competition, a fun word search, and a coloring contest too.

 Additionally, Gypsy Spoonful has 3 upcoming events for you to mark on your calendar. Small business Saturday embodies what we are all about! Hosting games, giveaways, contests and flash sales ALL day long. The Rock The Sock Event will run for 11 Days from Nov 26 – Dec 6. Stuff the Stockings Like A Boss And Put Santa Out of A Job This Year! Flash Sales, Small Items and/or Small Budget Items that Will ROCK THE SOCK! Finally, the Holiday Auction kicks off at 6pm cst on Friday and bidding closes 8pm cst on Monday.

Gypsy Spoonful is Creativity in Community and we can’t wait to get to know YOU better. We aren’t just a shopping venue, we are a community~ building relationships between makers and admirers. Makers supporting Makers, sharing our experience, strength and knowledge. We believe in the foundational principle that each of us can make a difference in the life of another person/family by being intentional with our shopping dollars.

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If you would like more information, please contact Heather Kavolino at GoosieGirlboutique@gmail.com.

Dorcas Reilly

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

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

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

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

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

dorcas reilly

Photo Credit: Campbell’s Soup

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

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

Dorcas Reilly

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

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

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

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

Dorcas Reilly

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

*Source: The Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Meet the Makers: New Shop Chic En Laine

Hand knitting at it’s very best ~ We are pleased to announce one of our newest shops Chic En Laine . Sometimes at Gypsy Spoonful we have a new member join and I fall in love with each and every item they add to their shop, as the days go on and I see them … read more

Hand knitting at it’s very best ~ We are pleased to announce one of our newest shops Chic En Laine . Sometimes at Gypsy Spoonful we have a new member join and I fall in love with each and every item they add to their shop, as the days go on and I see them beginning to fill up the virtual aisles of their store, I say to myself “Oh now THIS is my favorite… ” and then I find myself saying the exact same thing with each subsequent new listing!  I am so thrilled Sophie has joined our creative community, and I am so much looking forward to her growing her business with us even more.  She has so much talent, and her items are absolutely the best knit quality I’ve seen.

Her classic fashions are impeccably made and made to order just for her customers from her home studio located in South Carolina. Whether it’s a sweet little set comprised of a cardigan style jacket with a darling little hat

Beautiful stitching and classic appeal (click the photo to go to this listing now)

or a classic pair of knitted pants with super sweet suspenders, they will not disappoint. Keepsake quality for sure!

Nostalgia Abounds When Viewing Her Timeless Designs (click the photo to go to this listing now)

Perhaps you need a baby shower gift, or a special outfit for a photo session for the holidays? Sophie’s attention to detail is quite obvious on each item she creates.

If you’re looking for an amazing baby shower gift, stop on by her shop and check our her designs. There are also women’s hats available for the mama too!

Boho Style Slouchy Hat is Warm and Soft (click the photo to visit this listing now)

Sophie’s attention to detail is quite obvious on each item she creates.  If you’re looking for an amazing baby shower gift, stop on by her shop and check our her designs. There are also women’s hats available for the mama too! (You deserve it, treat yourself!)

So that you don’t miss out on any of her new listings , events or sales, be sure to follow Chic En Laine on Facebook and Instagram too.

Don’t forget to Heart her shop as well! Click HERE to visit today.

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

Katy Texas Homecoming Traditions : Featuring one of our very own members. Custom Homecoming Overalls

We’re so proud to announce that one of our very own Gypsies has been featured in the Katy Texas Magazine! For decades, Homecoming has been a fun-filled, festive Katy Texas tradition that teens, parents, and football fans always look forward to.   Our very own, Trevor of KraftyMommas and  CustomHomecomingOveralls   has been a huge part of … read more

We’re so proud to announce that one of our very own Gypsies has been featured in the Katy Texas Magazine! For decades, Homecoming has been a fun-filled, festive Katy Texas tradition that teens, parents, and football fans always look forward to.

 

Our very own, Trevor of KraftyMommas and  CustomHomecomingOveralls   has been a huge part of this tradition. She creates amazing , customized overalls all sewn by herself with the utmost attention to details in her home studio. Way to go for being featured Trevor, we love your overalls and are so honored you’re a part of the Gypsy Spoonful Community. The details on her homecoming overalls are well worth every penny, not a single stitch out of place:

To see the article, go HERE. 

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. 

 

Models Vs Mannequins, the great debate rages on

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

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

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

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

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

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

DIY Product Photography with Amateur Models

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

1. Cast a Model

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

models vs mannequins

Image credit: Pixelz

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

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

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

2. Setup Your Studio Space

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

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

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

3. Shape Your Light

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

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

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

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

4. Position Your Model

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

5. Shoot with Wide Framing

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

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

6. Give Direction

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

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

7. Post-Production

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

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

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

The Case for Mannequins

stylecampaign burberry mannequins

Image credit: StyleCampaign

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

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

Mannequins Make Product Fit Easy

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

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

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

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

Branding Possibilities

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

anthropologie mannequin

Image credit: Anthropologie

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

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

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

invisible ghost mannequin

Image credit: Pixelz

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

Which Should You Choose?

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

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

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

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


shopify-author Thomas Kragelund

About The Author

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