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Advice

Maker Resources

6 Videos That Will Help With Designing Your Website

October 11, 2013

the panel of How To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoodsWe had the pleasure of hosting our latest How To Make It event at the Wix Lounge in Manhattan with the help of Wix.com staff. Since Wix is a website-building platform, we thought it would be very appropriate to dispense advice on setting up your company’s website with the help of jewelry designer Catilin McNamara, UncommonGoods Assoicate Art Director Rebecca Paull Marshall, and Wix Training and Support Manager Ariele Krantznow. To make the discussion even more specific, the panel critiqued the websites of three guests in attendance, sharing what they loved about the site and what areas needed more work.

Although we would love to get to meet you in person, we understand not everyone can make it out to our events so we thought we would share the key points from the panel discussion with you on the blog! Below are 6 clips that will help design your website.

How To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoodsPelzers Pretzels! | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoods

When building a website, where should you start?

What are some ways to best tell your story on your website?

What should you expect from a hired graphic designer?

What are some tips for DIY product photography?

What are your best DIY smartphone photography tips?

What is a style guide?

Still want more? Watch the entire discussion below.

photos courtsey of Wix Lounge

Design

Eileen Baumeister McIntyre’s Journey to UncommonGoods via Flourish & Thrive Academy

October 9, 2013

Jewelry designer Eileen Baumeister McIntyre | UncommonGoodsNow that our Jewelry Design Challenge runs all year round, we try to find new groups and organizations to partner with to help spread the word. A couple months ago, we learned about Flourish & Thrive Academy, an online meeting space for jewelry designers to connect with experts to gain the tools they need to succeed as creative business people. It felt like a match made in heaven until we realized one of our newest and most popular jewelry designers Eileen Baumeister McIntyre is a F&TA alum. That kind of gave us goosebumps. Learning about Eileen’s experience with F&TA made me realize that there are many other designers out there who could gain from the community Tracy Matthews and Robin Kramer are developing. So we asked Robin to interview Eileen about how her business has developed since making the connection to F&TA.

Flourish & Thrive Academy: One of the brilliant things about being in the jewelry industry is learning more about the artist behind the product. Recently, I sat down with one of our Mastermind students, jewelry designer, Eileen Baumeister McIntyre to discuss her jewelry business and her recent success.

Eileen is the epitome of what we consider an “Artiste” and using her art to fuse her passion for jewelry and the garden. Eileen has a BA, cum laude and an MA in fine arts, studied botanical illustration and learned metalsmithing from master jeweler, with Kathleen Di Riesta.

As a New York State Certified Art Teacher, she has been teaching art in the public school system for 25 years. Currently, she teaches at the high school level and has been awarded multiple grants to share her jewelry design and entrepreneurial knowledge with her students.

Eileen's Golden Sunflower Necklaces| UncommonGoodsF&TA: How long have you been designing and making jewelry and when did you decide that you wanted your jewelry to be a business?
Eileen: About seven years ago I decided to take a glass fusing class with two good friends of mine. It was so much fun and I became totally addicted to making glass fused pendants wrapped in sterling silver and adding them to beaded necklaces I created. It became a real problem because I started amassing hundreds of them.

I wore a different pendant to work every day and started to catch the attention of my coworkers. They asked me to bring in trays of the pendants and I would sell them at work. My coworker, and good friend Joe, suggested that he host a jewelry party at his house for me. I didn’t know what to expect or how to run a jewelry party but said, “sure!”

Joe invited about 20 guests, he has a reputation for being an amazing cook and his wife Janet was a wine buyer, so fabulous food and wine were guaranteed. That evening I sold about $1700 in Joe and Janet’s kitchen and Garden of Silver was born.

The next two years consisted of home jewelry parties and then on to juried fine art/craft shows on the sidewalks of NYC, which was profitable but absolutely physically brutal. I somehow ended up tearing ligaments in my wrist, which required surgery. I recruited my mother to help me at these exhausting outdoor shows because she is the best unpaid employee ever!

In 2011 I decided to forget retail shows and aside from my own website, focus on selling wholesale.

F&TA: What made you seek out help for your jewelry biz?
E: Initially I was learning the handcrafted jewelry business by trial and error with many costly errors along the way. Over the span of the last three years it became apparent that I lacked a host of business skills, particular to the jewelry industry, to make my jewelry company successful.

F&TA: How did you find F&TA?
E: I found out about Flourish & Thrive Academy from an email I received from Andreea Ayers of Launch Grow Joy. Andreea had interviewed me on her website the previous summer and knew I was a jewelry designer.

F&TA: When did you start working with Flourish & Thrive Academy?
E: I watched the video on the Flourish & Thrive website, read everything I could about F&TA and felt Tracy and Robin were a perfect fit and would provide precisely what my fledgling company needed.

My choice of Flourish & Thrive Academy proved fortuitous. Tracy and Robin were not only the most experienced and professional consultants; but proved to be easily accessible, personable and generous with their expertise.

Eileen's web pageF&TA: What made you want to be in the F&TA Mastermind program and what changes have you seen in your business since working with Tracy & Robin?
E: After taking the first F&TA course called Laying the Foundation, I had every confidence that Tracy and Robin could facilitate significant success in the growth of my business and decided that it would be a smart business investment to join their Mastermind program. I was (and am) determined to make Garden of Silver a highly successful jewelry design company and wanted to make sure that I was oriented in the right direction, learning from experts in the industry and getting individualized advice along the way.

I feel like I have been in business school for the last year and have extended my knowledge into dimensions that I couldn’t even have imagined.

F&TA: What changes have you seen in yourself since working with Tracy, Robin & The F&TA community?
E: I previously owned a very successful six-figure art instruction studio business for 15 years that I sold 8 years ago. I had erroneously assumed, on the merits of my previous success in business, that I had an adequate business sense.

The wholesale jewelry world is quite distinct, a different story, from my previous business. I simply did not know what I did not know. After working with Robin and Tracy, I feel confident that I am doing the right thing professionally. Tracy and Robin are so available, supportive and positive. Their coaching keeps you going when things are tough and appearing insurmountable.

F&TA: When did you learn about UncommonGoods and how did you come about submitting your work to UncommonGoods?
E: I had learned about UncommonGoods via a friend and a couple of years ago, when I was exhibiting at a trade show in Florida. Two buyers from UncommonGoods came by my booth. Last spring I decided to apply to be a vendor (on their website) because the company has an amazing reputation working with artists. Personally, I love their website and catalog!

Since working with Tracy and Robin I have created a marketing calendar, a list of my DREAM clients and I am regularly contacting those “dream” clients. UncommonGoods was at the top of my “dream’ client list.

Eileen's Windy Grass Earrings | UncommonGoodsF&TA: How has it been working with UncommonGoods?
E: Working with UG has been fantastic! I have spent all summer filling new orders for them. The buyers have been great, easy to work with and responsive with feedback. The company is extremely well run, plus their people are professional and a pleasure to work with.

Recently, the buyer contacted me with amazing news that my jewelry was their number one product launch of the year and that she wanted to put it in their holiday catalog! This is a DREAM come true for me and quite an honor!

I can’t believe the growth and exposure to my company in the last few months. Garden of Silver has been put on the map.

F&TA: What is your hope for your jewelry biz and where do you see yourself in 5 years?
E: I see my business expanding tremendously in the next five years with more wholesale clients and bigger collections. I am currently working a full time job teaching high school art in addition to launching my jewelry company. I envision being able to retire from teaching soon so I can follow my dream of being a full time artist/jewelry designer.

F&TA: Is there anything you would like to share with other jewelry designers?
E: Yes, make the investment in yourself and your jewelry business and learn from the best. I highly recommend Tracy & Robin (or finding someone like them)! You will NOT be disappointed!

Come have fun and play with us in October. Check out how our 151 ways you can boost your Holiday Sales this year!

GO HERE TO GET YOUR FREE LIST OF 151 WAYS

About Robin & Tracy:: Tracy Matthews, a successful bespoke jewelry designer, and Robin Kramer, a rock star independent sales and marketing consultant, co-founded Flourish & Thrive Academy, in order to create an active community of dynamic jewelry designers who share design tips, sales successes and marketing secrets.

F&TA began as a solution to a problem many new jewelry designers face: how to treat their business like a business instead of a hobby. It has evolved into an answer to the plea, “I wish there was somewhere I can learn everything there is to know about starting a jewelry business so I can focus on being creative and work on the big picture.”

In addition to the vivacious community, F&TA offers incredible designer support services such as a complete jewelry business program, individual and group coaching, and an ever growing library of free sales, marketing, and business resources.

Design

How To Make It: Designing Your Website | Design Panel + Happy Hour

September 17, 2013

How To Make It: Designing Your Website | UncommonGoodsDesigning a webpage from scratch can be daunting! There are so many design decisions to be made to properly showcase your handmade designs. On Tuesday October 1, meet UncommonGoods Associate Art Director Rebecca Paull Marshall, jewelry designer Caitlin McNamara, and Wix.com Training and Support Manager Ariele Krantzow at our next event and get their advice on putting together a beautiful and effective website. Submit your website for a direct critique from our panel during the discussion.

Stick around after the talk for some drinks, snacks, and networking with the UG team and other local creatives.

Wix.com enables everyone to design, publish and host stunning HTML5 websites. No coding, no previous design skills, just log in to Wix and start creating with our easy drag-and-drop website builder! In that spirit of encouraging creativity and enabling entrepreneurship, in 2010 Wix founded the NYC Wix Lounge. The Wix Lounge is a completely free co-working, event and exhibit space for creative professionals. Grab your laptop, pop into the Lounge and enjoy a productive work day, great networking opportunities, and amazing events. The Wix Lounge provides free support to New Yorkers, giving them the tools and tips for successfully launching and managing their businesses’ online presence. To learn more about the Wix Lounge, please visit http://www.wixlounge.com.

To learn more about the panel and sign up, visit our Events page.

Maker Resources

7 Tips for Setting Up at the NYNow Trade Show

August 23, 2013

Advice from our artists at the NYNow trade show | UncommonGoodsThis week New York City welcomed hundreds of designers and brands to the Javits Center for NYNow, nee NYIGF. This trade show is big time for designers as well as buyers since retailers are getting ready to stock their holiday assortments and are looking for products that are new and interesting.

With trade shows being so expensive for an exhibitor, there is a lot of pressure to make an impact on retailers walking the show. I walked through, visiting our UncommonGoods artists – some seasoned NY gift show veterans- asking them for their best advice for other exhibitors. Some of the tips they told me are truly golden!

Cat Studio's booth at NYNow | UncommonGoods1. Be flexible with your display.
CatStudio, designers of beautifully illustrated geographical home wares, comes with a loose plan for the display of their booth and room and time for improvisation. When they get to NY from California, founder Terrell heads to a flea market in Chelsea for vintage props. The team heads in with an open mind and the result is a display that is personal and exciting.

Jeff Davis's booth at NYNow | UncommonGoods2. Leave your booth in NYC.
Designer Jeff Davis knows he is coming to NYC twice a year to exhibit at the gift show, so instead of bringing his walls and props with him to and from Philadelphia, he leaves it all in a storage facility in Manhattan. Some storage facilities will even drop off your stuff at the Javits Center. This way you can focus more on packing your merchandise and marketing materials.

Jenny Krauss's booth at NY Now | UncommonGoods3. Design a booth that doubles as storage.
Setting up a booth for Jenny Krauss is as simple as opening a trunk. She designed two large cases that open up into a display and hired a local contractor to build it. It wheels into the convention center full of props and merchandise and allows for an easy clean-up!

Jim Loewer's booth at NYNow | UncommonGoods4. Lighting is everything!
Bad lighting could make or break your product display, and since your booth doesn’t come with lights of it’s own, lighting is all on you! Glassblower Jim Loewer understands the importance of light in his display so he constructed a light box to show off his sun catchers. Experiment in your home or studio by shining a flashlight over your product, if it looks better in the light, it should have a spotlight on it.

Melanie McKenney's booth at NYNow | UncommonGoods5. Build some private space.
Things can get cramped in a small booth, so husband and wife team Justin and Melanie McKenney build a small room into the back of their booth where they store supplies, papers, and a chair for resting. I won’t show it to you, but the couple says it keeps them sane (and still married!) while exhibiting Melanie’s designs throughout the week.

great idea to get buyers to remember you at the next trade show | UncommonGoods6. Bring bottled water!
Melanie and Justin know from exhibiting more than once that water at the Javits Center is expensive and hard to come by. So they come prepared with cases of water they buy in bulk at home. It’s a nice gesture to hand a bottle of water to someone who is clearly parched and not interested in shelling out $3 for a bottle of water, but they make sure that retailers remember how special the gesture is by replacing the labels with custom labels with their brand name and booth number. I glanced at their logo so many times throughout the rest of the day and was even reminded of them when I got home and emptied my bag!

getting my caricature done at NYNow | UncommonGoods7. Offer an experience they can’t get anywhere else.
Back at the CatStudio booth they took advantage of their talented illustrators to offer caricatures to people visiting their booth. It got me to sit there for a bit and chat with founders Terrell and Carmel to learn more about their company. I also walked away with a great souvenir to have after the show. If you have the space and resources, try planning something creative that highlights what makes your brand unique and will leave a lasting impression.

Advice from designers at NYNow | UncommonGoodsAnd my advice for walking the NYNow? Wear comfortable shoes!

Maker Resources

8 Videos from How To Make It: Pitching Your Designs

August 15, 2013

How To Make It event at Union Hall | UncommonGoodsLast week we had the pleasure of hosting another How To Make It event, this time, in the basement of Park Slope’s Union Hall. We love hearing from our artists and buyers on the panel, but especially love getting the chance to meet local designers.

How To Make It event at Union Hall | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It event at Union Hall | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It event at Union Hall | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It event at Union Hall | UncommonGoodsHow To Make It event at Union Hall | UncommonGoodsThe conversation was all about getting the word out about your designs to the media and retail buyers. UncommonGoods Senior Buyer Erin Fergusson, jewelry designer Emilie Shapiro, and myself chatted about the dos and don’ts of email pitches, trade shows, and pr reps.

Even if you were unable to make it, there was some great information shared that you can benefit from as a designer and business person. Here are 8 great clips from the panel.

How to submit your designs to a design challenge.

How to create an email pitch that won’t get lost in the mix.

Bloggers and editors need different information than a buyer. Here’s what to send when pitching to the media.

Trade shows can be expensive, but are they a wise investment?

Some advice on setting up your booth at a trade show.

Erin shares how the UncommonGoods buying team schedules and organizes themselves during a trade show.

What kind of information should a designer share about their company and designs at a trade show?

Emilie shares her tips for keeping track of contacts at trade shows and following up after meetings.

Want more? Check out the entire talk.