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Ask the Makers ~ What Do You Leave Off Your To-Do List?

It’s officially the start of the crazy season for makers and while this month has been all about how we can’t do everything at once, I thought it would be insightful to see what each of us doesn’t do. So I asked the contributing writers what they leave off their to-do list when the orders come hard and fast.

Danielle’s Answer:

I get a lot of borderline spammy emails – requests for free product, invites to things I’m not interested in, etc – I tend to ignore and delete these especially during busy times. I also tend to skip things like, grocery shopping, so if anyone wants to eat-in, they *ahem, husband* will need to work that into their schedule haha.

Eleanor’s Answer:

When things get crazy my motto becomes: ‘Good Enough is Fine.’ For example, my in laws are coming to town and I’m not going to drive myself nuts trying to home cook everything. I plan on being like the Grandma in Sixteen Candles, opening the pack of doughnuts with a knife and a announcing ‘Breakfast is Served!’.  I also tend to do inbox triage, ignoring non-urgent mails until after the storm is passed.

Megan’s Answer:

October through December a lot of stuff falls off my to-do list. Cleaning waits till the new year as does any shopping just for ‘fun’. A few years back I wised up and began donating to charities for all of my friends’ and family’s holiday gifts. This saves me the time of going out to shops when they’re crazy busy and it gives money to the people and organizations who really need it. I also have to put aside fun reading of books until the middle of December, which is the hardest thing to take off my to-do list when the holiday season hits.

Cat’s Answer:

I hate to admit it but what I always let go is all the stuff I do just for me! So at exactly the time of year I need to take care of myself the most – I don’t! Ugh! I was a little better last year and am resolved to not put myself on the bottom of the list this year. I skip my walks, my books, acupuncture, healthful cooking and especially sleep. I have been known to just get up at 3am and work. Then I collapse when it gets too late to ship. I wouldn’t recommend this!

What about you? What gets pushed off your to-do list when the holiday season comes round?

C&T Recommended Reads ~ Week 42, 2014

From Megan:

From Jess:

Little Known Ways to Sell More at Market

During the past 4 years that our Firefly Handmade Markets has been in operation in the Denver/Boulder area, we have been continually amazed by the fresh, creative and quality products that our artisans offer at our market. It’s part of what makes each market exciting for us. Also amazing, however, has been the failure of a good number of these artisans to capitalize on the several advantages inherent in selling their products in a physical marketplace as opposed to an e-commerce site; namely the ability to connect with their customers and give them the opportunity to touch, feel, and experience with their handmade goods.

With that in mind, here are our top 4 tips to make your market opportunities more productive.

Be Approachable

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Put a smile on your face, show a willingness to engage with those who stop by your booth, and be yourself. We realize that this can be challenging to artisans who are not inherently comfortable with dealing with the public. However, even if you have to step out of your comfort zone, in our experience, positive attitudes beget positive responses and interest from shoppers; translation-a smile is contagious! It’s surprising how many artisans we see who retreat into a corner of their booth and sit seemingly glumly on a chair. If you aren’t excited about your goods, why would a customer be? And don’t underestimate the value of a touch, a handshake, making eye contact. Can’t find that on the Internet.

Engage Customers In Your Creative Process

Whether through in-booth demonstrations, pictures of your awesome creative self in action, or simply a willingness to describe your creative process, give customers an appreciation of the skill and hard work that goes into your goods. If you provide them a reason to be invested in what you create, then your customers will naturally understand the thought and quality that goes into what they could own. And customers do want to own the authenticity and quality of your products.

Create A Storefront

Make no mistake-your market operator is selling you valuable real estate. Between the venue cost, utilities and equipment, marketing/promotion and manpower, your booth space is just not a random spot on a piece of ground. So take advantage of that by creating a welcoming and unique “storefront” for your booth space. It’s your pop-up shop and enhancement of your brand; maybe even an opportunity to imagine what a permanent storefront could be like for your business. Include creative signage and other touches that give someone a reason to wonder what great things are going on inside.

Don’t Scrimp On Your Display

True story-we had an artisan who was selling magnificent, high-quality products – maybe the most expensive price point to be found at our market. Yet, all of that awesomeness was being exhibited on an obviously inexpensive display set-up; the kind with faux velvet plastered over cardboard that was so flimsy it would be airborne if a small breeze kicked up. The disconnect between the quality of the goods and that of the display was obvious. Our market goers are smarter than that and could see through the lack of engagement with the product, and sadly, she sold nothing!

Simply said, how you display, what you display on and a positive attitude should be a reflection of you, your product and your aesthetic. Happy crafting and selling!

Monday Viewing ~ Susan Colantuono

Susan Colantuono: The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get via TED

While this talk is aimed at more ‘traditional’ career women, the advice applies to every entrepreneur. We all need to stop slogging in the assistant roles and rise to be the CEO of our companies.

So what are you going to change today to start moving up in your own company?

C&T Recommended Reads ~ Week 41, 2014

From Megan:

From Jess:

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