Thursday, March 24, 2011

Project Nursery

I just came across an awesome find, the Project Nursery Website!! They have this great Project Gallery where people can upload pictures of their nurseries. I have a feeling I am going to be spending a lot of my time drooling over all of these pictures. Check out these beyond gorgeous designs- and this is just a sampling.

How sophisticated is this?! I love how they didn't use a traditional "baby pink", but instead used that gorgeous blush color.

I love the bright pops of unconventional colors in this nursery.
Ultra feminine and Victorian! I love clean and modern styles, but often times my tastes lend to my girly side, too.  The nursery furniture I ordered this weekend resembles the shabby chic style of this crib. 
How can you not love this room? It's so cheerful.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Beautiful Trees

Oh my god, I am dying to start working on my baby's mural in the nursery! I have decided to start the mural fairly soon before my belly gets too big. I will post progress as I begin working on the project. I am having visions of a huge, beautiful white tree with lavender lovebirds. I love trees. I think they are one of the most beautiful forms in nature; they have a lot of curving lines, the leaf comes in so many visually interesting shapes, and the tree is an overall comforting symbol of shelter. I decided to look online for some ideas, and I found so many gorgeous inspirations.

What a fabulous idea. A functional mural that incorporates shelves!

Loving the birch trees in this mural. The pops of orange
are so pretty, too!

This was the kind of look I originally had in terms of color. I like the white stylized tree
with the birds in a different, vibrant color so they are emphasized.

I used this example in a previous post when I was designing the mural at Scarlet Fiorella. I really, really love way this tree was drawn. The organic, flowing lines are beautiful, and I really enjoy how it bends over the crib, so that the tree and crib interact.

I am not a huge fan of the style of this particular tree, but if you look closely, the lovebirds have different patterns in them. It also seems they are three-dimensional appliques. Liking that idea a lot.

Stay tuned as I post updates on this project!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

100 Sales

A few days ago I hit 100 sales on Etsy. When I first opened up my Etsy shop last February, I had envisioned this day; the journey to get to 100 has been both trying and wonderful. Some things I have learned so far (in no particular order):
  1. A lot of people are willing to help. Maybe I'm just lucky to have a really great support system, but I found that when I reached out, a lot of friends and family genuinely wanted to help in a variety of ways. Many willingly spread the word about Gypsy Lane Designs, and I believe that word of mouth has really helped pushed me to sale number 100.  
  2. Check out your competition. Don't just briefly scan through the products that are similar to yours. You really need to see who you are up against. Check out their products, photos of their products, prices, and policies. Why do you think that shop may be successful/struggling? How do you compare? If there are a lot of products like the ones you offer, what can you do to stand out? I even decided to contact some sellers whose shops really impressed and inspired me. I found that most Etsy sellers were happy to respond to my questions and offer advice.
  3. Stay true to your style. Let your talents shine. Make sure you are passionate about what you are creating. If you are not, I think that it shows. 
  4. Constantly re-evaluate yourself and your ideas. Don't be afraid to make a change. You have to be honest with yourself. If something isn't working, there is usually a reason why. I kind of had to find my niche as I developed my Etsy shop, and it has definitely evolved in the year since I opened. There are many ideas I just had to do away with.
  5. Connect with other people on Etsy. If you sell on Etsy, do yourself a favor and start conversing in the forums now. I can't believe how much valuable information I obtained. I discovered how to ship as cheap and efficiently as possible; other artists were willing to offer critiques; or even just offer kind words during rough patches. Even though I have a great support system through my family and friends, they can't completely empathize with me as they personally haven't experienced the specific frustrations that go into maintaining an Etsy shop.
  6. You need to be willing to put in even more time than you thought. I literally feel as if I am working two full time jobs right now. Expect to feel overwhelmed. Etsy is constantly on my mind; thinking about new product ideas, packaging in a visually appealing way, making sure I shipped everything on time, communicating with customers, finding the lowest prices for my supplies, taking the best possible pictures, keeping myself visible through a blog and on Facebook, branding my shop with logos, deciding if I want to offer discounts/sales, making sure my customers are satisfied. I believe many people think I'm just having fun and painting. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE making my creations, but after a full day of work, it can be exhausting. 
  7. Show your buyers great customer service. They really do seem to appreciate it. I personally like being able to email with customers to make a connection. It's nice knowing a bit more about who I am designing for.
  8. There is always more to learn. Always. My shop is still very much a work in progress....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Birthing the Elephant

Did you know that  every 60 seconds, five women launch new ventures somewhere in the United States? Looking for some reading material to help with  your start-up business?

I am in the middle of reading "Birthing the Elephant" (The woman's go-for-it guide to overcoming the big challenges of launching a business) by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman and so far I would definitely recommend it. As I push forward each day with my vision, I wasn't doing something important: stepping back and evaluating the big picture. They identify four stages of birthing a business: starting your start-up; running your own show; achieving breakthrough; and finding your business rhythm.  I love reading the real-life stories of other small-business launches.

Some entrepreneurs and experts- both famous and less well-known- who share their insight and advice in the book:

  • Bobbi Brown of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
  • Liz Lange of Liz Lange Maternity
  • Crystal Johnson of Sienna at Home (a home and fashion decor company)
  • Alexandria Brown, Internet Specialist and Million Dollar Marketing Coach
  • Ray Miller, Stress relief and self improvement expert
The book also lists 10 pitfalls most women fall prey to when starting their own company:
  1. Romanticizing being your own boss
  2. Not getting the right help early
  3. Not understanding how to network
  4. Running yourself ragged
  5. Spending money for the wrong reasons
  6. Not valuing your time highly
  7. Not pricing properly
  8. Spending too much on advertising
  9. Not trusting your gut
  10. Not thinking enough about the big picture
I love all of the little nuggets of inspiration I've already gotten from this book. I took my pen and furiously marked something that Dr. Robert Gilbert, a peak performance coach points out in the first chapter, "Everybody is blessed with more potential than they'll ever need. You have all the ability you need to succeed already inside of you. What you are lacking is strategies.... If number one, you believe in your abilities, number two, you have the right strategies, and number three, you put them into action- and you get out of your head that ignore the little voice that says, 'but, maybe, impossible'- then you're going to get results."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Inspirational Workspaces

My living room has served as my art studio for the past year as I have been building my business. It has become a beast with a life of its own! Time to tame it.

As I prepare to set up a professional and creative workspace in my basement, I am beginning to look at other workspaces for inspiration. Kind of like creating a piece of art.... the best designs always start with extensive research and observation.

I love all of the shelving in this space. Since I will have a small area to work with,
I will need to get creative and use the space as functionally as possible.

This table is SO COOL! I love all of the hidden storage. Now... where to find something
like this that will work with my budget?

I am not the most organized person, so having these sorts of bins and storage spaces
is really important. I think this can work well in a small space like mine.

Something tells me I will not be able to get all of this custom shelving in my basement.
The area is so neat, clean and airy though- which I will strive for in my new studio.