Tag: social media

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.

 

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.

 

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

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)

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.

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. 

 

Social Listening

8 Social Media Tools to Protect Your Reputation and Influence Conversations

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

Social Listening

Social Listening

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

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

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

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

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

What Is Social Listening?

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

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

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

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

Why Is Social Listening Important?

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

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

Address Indirect Complaints

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

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

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

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

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

Uncover Unique Opportunities

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

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

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

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

spotify twitter social listening

Image credit: Spotify on Twitter

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

hilton suggests social listening

Image credit: HiltonSuggests on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

Get Unfiltered Feedback

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

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

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

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

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

Some New Shops To Check Out This Weekend

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

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

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

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

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

Star Wars Galaxy Slouch Beanie size M by Bear Kitten Clothing

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

 

 

 

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

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

GoosieGirl.com

Heather AKA Goose, Owner/CEO at GypsySpoonful.com

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

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

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

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

Zuckerberg Suggests There Will Be a PAID Version

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

Repost from Bustle:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

#1- Powering through the hard parts

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

 #2- GSD’ing

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

#3- Simple

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

#4- Executing things

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

Thanks to Ben Woods, Weathered Coalition!

#5- A number of things

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

Thanks to Zondra Wilson, Blu Skin Care, LLC!

#6-Having grit

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

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!

#7- Performance and productivity

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

Thanks to Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers!

#8- Motivation and persistence

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

#9- Making things happen

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

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

 #10- Solving problems

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

Thanks to Justin Shaw, One & Zero!

#11- Hard work

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

Thanks to Carmine M, Pierro Shoes!

#12- It’s everything

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

#13- To keep moving

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

Thanks to Garrett Smith, Pitch + Pivot!

#14- Several things

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

Thanks to Melissa Norden, Bottomless Closet!

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

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

Thanks to Dave Ramsey, Ramsey Solutions!

#16- Making it work

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

Thanks to Candice Simons, Brooklyn Outdoor!

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

(courtesty of CEO Blog Nation)

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

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

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

straight from the horse’s mouth:

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

Zuckerberg Announces Big Changes for Facebook Pages in 2018

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

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

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

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


Starting your small business: Top six tips for new businesses

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

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

Preliminary Steps:

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

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

Decide on a budget

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

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

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

Decide on a legal entity

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

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

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

Take Care of the Finances

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

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

Get your online presence/Website:

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

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

Test Sales

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

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

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

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

 

 

Collaborators on Pinterest

HOW and WHY to add collaborators to Pinterest

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

Collaborators on Pinterest

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

How can you maximize your time on Pinterest?

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

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

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

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

What Are Pinterest Group Boards?

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

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

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

Key Benefits of Using Group Boards

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

#1. Dramatically boost your followers

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

#2. Exponentially increase the number of repins

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

#3. Put your pinning virtually on autopilot

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

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

#4. Increase engagement and create brand ambassadors

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

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

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

How Can Businesses Use Group Boards?

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

How To Create A Contributor Board

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

Collaborators on Pinterest

 

Then select the option to Create a Board.

Create a Pinterest board

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

 

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

Collaborators on Pinterest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to add collaborators to Pinterest

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

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

6 Reasons Why Shopping Gypsy Spoonful is Awesome

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

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

 

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

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

 

Why we do it : Who Am I and Why Am I Part of Gypsy Spoonful?

First you may ask; What is Gypsy Spoonful? (or GS for short) By now I am sure you have taken a look at the website and realized just how awesome it is! It has several makers and over 3k listings! That’s right…3 THOUSAND strictly handmade items from small businesses! GS is a website that has … read more

My Why by CharmsCoutureBoutique

First you may ask; What is Gypsy Spoonful? (or GS for short) By now I am sure you have taken a look at the website and realized just how awesome it is! It has several makers and over 3k listings! That’s right…3 THOUSAND strictly handmade items from small businesses!

GS is a website that has an Etsy-like setup. Meaning? Well it means that the website is home to more than just 1 individual maker. It is home to over 112 individually owned shops on one platform that offers everything from pdf sewing patterns to one of a kind products and props. However, unlike Etsy; Gypsy Spoonful does not accept any mass produced items such as knock-offs or China Cheapies. Everything…EVERYTHING is made by hand!

So how do I fit in?

Why am I writing a blog post about this? Why is this important to me?

To understand my blog post you need to know a few things about me first.

For starters; I am one of the makers on GS. I sell custom handmade clothing & accessories as well as handmade soaps that hold no harsh chemicals. I come from a background of giving unto others. When I was a child at Christmas time we got to open our presents and play with our toys for 1 week. After the week was up my mother would tell us to pick our #1 favorite toy that we received, the rest of them we packed up and donated to the local children’s shelter. As I got older and went into HS, I volunteered several hours a week at various places such as Nursing Homes and Bingo Nights. When I became an adult, I began working with children and teens who were labeled with [severe] behavioral issues; i.e. opposition to authority. Many years later many of “my kids” have become mothers and fathers and I keep in contact with them to this day! As an adult not only do I have my shop on GS, I also make dresses and other items and donate them online to Pay It Forward Groups.

This community is incredibly important to me. It allows me to use my creativity to help others! It allows me to be ME and in the process allows me to help support my family. I am a military spouse with an ever growing 11 yr old stepson who resides with us! Every single time someone purchases from my shop, not only does it help MY family, it allows me to continue helping other families! For every bar of soap that is bought, we donate 1 to either nursing homes, battered womens shelters and childrens shelters.

My entire life has been about helping others.

When I began thinking about expanding my business to reach more clients, I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to accomplish. I have goals and business morals that I am not willing to compromise and GS has helped me keep to that integrity. I have always been about my clients and ensuring their vision comes true with my work rather than “making a quick buck”. I firmly believe in helping out other makers if I am able and do not see other shops as competition. I see the other makers as collaborators; business associates, even friends if you will.  Without their help and support, GS would not be what it is- just a few short months after its birth!

I wanted to write about my experiences, my beliefs to help those who are either thinking about shopping on GS or even becoming part of the GS family! When you open a shop on GS, you do not do it alone. Other makers are there to lend a helping hand, answer questions and help you get your shop setup correctly so you receive sales! Makers give advice on getting better photos for listings, how to appeal to your target market and how to best answer potential customer’s questions! GS is not just a website that sells handmade products, it is a community of individuals with a common purpose, a common ideal that have banded together to offer quality products! Products that can become heirlooms and keepsakes for generations to come!

This community blog post was created by Donna of Charms Couture Boutique, you can view her Gypsy Spoonful Shop and all the items she offers here.

 

One skein project

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

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

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

One skein project

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

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

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

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

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

one skein project

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

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

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

Romantic Tea Stained Crochet Denim Coat, size Small

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

Minnie Lovey

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

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

We’d love to share it on the blog!

 

 

 

 

 

101 Reasons To Buy Handmade

101 Reasons To Buy Handmade

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

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

1. help contribute to establishing a new economic model

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

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

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

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

6. support local community. thus building.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

82. Rewards creative thinking, entrepreneurship, and craftsmanship.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The New Revolution: Gypsy Spoonful

Back in 1776, our American forefathers gathered and penned the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, notice I didn’t say forefather.. nope,..fathers, as in multiple people came together to add their ideas, their thoughts, their verbage and their beliefs to the incredible document that formed our great nation. I’m fairly certain that if COLLABORATION hadn’t … read more

Back in 1776, our American forefathers gathered and penned the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, notice I didn’t say forefather.. nope,..fathers, as in multiple people came together to add their ideas, their thoughts, their verbage and their beliefs to the incredible document that formed our great nation. I’m fairly certain that if COLLABORATION hadn’t been a part of it, we would have crumbled years ago~ I believe the American forefathers knew intrinsically that everyone had something valuable to offer. I believe they understood that any sort of risk those colonists were going to be taking fighting King George for their freedom was weighted and everyone had skin in the game, and therefore they should have a voice in the newly forming Government.

 
I admire the process of collaboration , and community. I value multiple view points and opinions. When you surround yourself with others who can add their expertise and experience to a situation… or the birth of a country …or even perhaps a business… and they all come together for the good of all, then that’s something very special.
“Teamwork is harmonious cooperation that is willing, voluntary and free. Whenever the spirit of teamwork is the dominating influence in business or industry, success is inevitable…harmonious groups of two or more people who come together for a specific purpose, or around a specific topic, bring forth the power of creativity and support that you can’t find when you go it alone.”
~Napoleon Hill
 
If you are operating a small handmade business alone, or are lost in a sea of makers on a large selling platform~ and you feel like a number, or your voice doesn’t count, I would like to tell you about how Gypsy Spoonful can change your outlook. If you want to be part of something truly unique and special, we invite you to discover more about how Gypsy Spoonful differs.
I built this site for my maker friends who were very disillusioned creative sellers who felt they weren’t being heard. They felt as if their wares and creative process was not being valued, they felt it didn’t matter if they voiced their opinions in forums or chat boards to tell management about their unhappiness with the current climate.
I am not a do-nothing type of girl, I have been in this community of handmade makers for 14 years and these people are my friends. I know how dedicated they are to their craft, and how important the creative process is to them.
Handmade products are being undercut by imports and mass produced goods masquerading as handmade on many online platforms. It was very disheartening, they had invested their lives, their livelihoods, time, sweat and tears into building those venues and their small business~ and it’s like the table cloth was being pulled out from under them in a slow motion slight of hand magic act. Truth be told, it’s their venue, they will do what they want, they will do what is best for their stock holders, not their sellers. They will do what suits them, not what suits anyone else, and to be honest, it’s their venue, they can do as they wish. . . but I just knew I couldn’t be a part of it any longer.
I began talking to my friends, and the first group of Gypsy Spoonful community members surfaced, ready to take on a challenge of something new. Ready to believe in the vision of a totally handmade marketplace where art, passion, and creativity is valued. Also a place where community supercedes competition. After the word spread (kinda like a wild fire in a dry as hell California canyon) we were busting at the seams with more makers than we knew what to do with~ and it was then that it became very clear, I needed to give my friends more~ I worked 6 months tirelessly to build the site we have now, and it’s still being built, worked on , improved and tweaked every day~ but look at us go!
Today, on this Independence Day in America, We are celebrating over 100 glorious independently owned and operated shops, the vision is coming true! We’re ready for our next phase of development now, I believe~ and it’s only going to grow and get better from here.

Lack of representation or lack of understanding from the powers that be in one place, has led to the birth of an even better community~(sound familiar? ‘MURICA!) In this new place, there are business values I much more closely associate with, and we are hearing from so many people every day who think similarly.

We put community before competition, and we support each other in business and friendship~ and we’re smashing goals every. single. day.
 
We invite you to learn more regarding what we believe about handmade and small business,
and if you feel what we’re doing resonates with you and your business, please apply for a shop:
Apply Here! and add YOUR name to the new home of Handmade.

Happy Independence Day

Everything Unicorn for your summer!

Unicorns and rainbows are on trend right now, The elusive unicorn from medieval legend has been making a comeback. Once only found in enchanted forests, unicorns have been popping up in social media with shimmering unicorn-themed food and drinks;  Gypsy Spoonful has brought Unicorns into the limelight~ and now you can find all your favorite unicorns right here! Click … read more

Unicorns and rainbows are on trend right now, The elusive unicorn from medieval legend has been making a comeback. Once only found in enchanted forests, unicorns have been popping up in social media with shimmering unicorn-themed food and drinks;  Gypsy Spoonful has brought Unicorns into the limelight~ and now you can find all your favorite unicorns right here!

Click on the pictures to see the listings, spoon them (what’s that? : Spoonage)  and save them for later, or  buy them now. From digital embroidery designs, to necklaces, clothing, keychains, hairbows, toys, and other accessories, Gypsy Spoonful is your unicorn headquarters!

  

Here are some things about unicorns you may NOT know…

  • Unicorns are described as a beast with a single, spiraling horn coming from the forehead of the creature.
  • The first known depiction of a unicorn—found in the Lascaux Caves of modern-day France—dates to around 15,000 BC! Or so people thought, until they realized that the so-called Lascaux unicorn had two horns, drawn confusingly close together.

 

  • The unicorn is thought to hold the power to divine truth and will pierce the heart of a liar with its horn AND According to Jewish legend, the unicorn can easily kill an elephant, a testament to its immense power and strength.
  • Gypsy Spoonful currently has 30 listings with the word “Unicorn” in the titles, these awesome handmade products are made by designers located in the United States~handmade items are the best quality you can find, anywhere.

 

  • Purity: It is believed that the unicorn is attracted to purity and innocence, giving rise to the legend of the virgin and the unicorn. According to this ancient legend, only a virgin sitting naked under a tree holds the power to capture a unicorn. Seeing her beauty and pureness, the unicorn reportedly will venture close and lay down beside the virgin placing his head in her lap, where the hunter can then kill or capture him.

  

  • Untamable: It is said that even if the unicorn is captured, it can never be tamed. Unicorns are earthbound and do not have wings. If a unicorn and a Pegasus (a flying horse) mate, the babies may become flying unicorns.
  • They are difficult to catch (not unlike some horses who don’t like to be caught) and in many myths, can only be tamed by young maidens (more specifically, virgins!)  They are a symbol of ferociousness, freedom, power and speed and appear on many coats of arms and emblems.

 

  • In his travels, Marco Polo believed he stumbled across unicorns. He wrote, “They are very ugly brutes to look at. They are not at all such as we describe unicorns.” (pssst….That’s because they were actually rhinoceroses!!)
  • At its height, “unicorn horn” was literally worth 10 times its weight in gold. In 1560, German merchants sold a unicorn horn for an astronomical 90,000 scudi—then about £18,000—to the pope. Pharmacies in London sold powdered unicorn horn as late as 1741.
  • There are seven famous Gothic tapestries depicting the hunt and capture of unicorns

  • The King James version of the Old Testament contains nine references to unicorns, thanks to a mistranslation of the Hebrew word re’em. The original word was likely the Assyrian rimu (auroch), an extinct species of wild ox.
  • A unicorn’s horn, and the substance it’s made from, is called alicorn. It’s long been believed that alicorn has magical properties capable of healing wounds, neutralizing poison and purifying stagnant water

  • Several unicorn skeletons have been discovered, but all have also been discovered fakes. In the 1600s, a German Scientist and Inventor Otto Von Guericke created a fake unicorn skeleton with bones locals found in a cave, and a sketch based on the model was even included in a book on natural history written in the 1700s.
  • Unicorns are also often depicted as having cloven hooves like cattle, deer or goats. So while the rest of their bodies may be horse-like, they have the hooves of a biungulate, not the ungulate (single-toed) hooves of a horse. They are often depicted with similar coat colors to horses, but most often they are described as being white.

  • Unicorns have been attributed with many magical qualities. Unicorn tears and blood are said to be healing. Powder of unicorn horn is said to be an antidote for poison and Harry Potter’s wand contained a strand of unicorn tail hair.
  • Unicorns can be any color, from jet-black and brown to dazzling gold, brilliant red or pure white. Anyone who touches a pure white unicorn will find happiness and joy for his entire life.

  • One of the principal characters in the book Remarkable Creatures, by Tracy Chevalier is based on the life of Mary Anning. Mary Anning collected fossils and but didn’t understand what the fossilized creatures she was collecting were. One fossil, the nautilus, that we now know are cephalopods were thought to be coiled snakes. However, straight cephalopod shells were also found, and many thought these were unicorn horns back in the day

More Unicorn Fun!

Looking for a fun summer activity to do with the kiddos? Have I got a FUN one for you!

Unicorn Poop Slime!

The recipe to make this outrageously fun DIY is located HERE


Didn’t get to try Starbuck’s infamous Unicorn Frappuccino when it was out temporarily? or want to experience this super treat once again in the comfort of your own home? I am happy to hook you up:

Check this out:


Learn to make your very own felt Unicorn Headband with a DIY tutorial from blogger: Katie Miles, Here.

and once you master that, you’re ready for the next skill level, and move onto creating this amazing Unicorn Hoodie. Full DIY instructions, materials needed and more wonderful photos are located HERE at the Make It Love It Blog


Wouldn’t these awesome Unicorn Cream Cheese Cookies be so much fun for a party?!  (Recipe Found Here)