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[126] The Legalities of Handmade Business with Christina Scalera [Part Two]

 

Listen to Part 1 Here.

In part 2 of my interview with lawyer Christina Scalera, we talk copycatting and branding.

We also discuss the Digital Millennial Copyright Act and how it can help you protect photos of your work.

If you have any legal questions after listening to either of these 2 episodes, please leave them in the comments below!

 

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Quote and highlights from this episode:

  • When you and another maker have a design that is very similar this falls under copyright.
  • Copyright infringement focuses upon two elements: access and similarity.
  • Access refers to previous contact with the design. This can be as little as subscribing to an email list or pinning an image on Pinterest.
  • Check for similarity between the two designs – if it is uncomfortable for you it is probably uncomfortable for them.
  • If the access and similarity check reveals someone has unconsciously inspired you take the design down.
  • “There is nothing wrong with inspiration whether we forget that we are actually being inspired” {Christina}
  • “If you see someone and you think they have copied you – just let it go and move on” {Jess}
  • Branding is important – tie your shop listing and designs back to your brand.
  • “It is easier to protect a brand than all of your designs” {Christina}
  • Your brand, logo, name, email lists are brand assets that you are building.
  • The “Digital Millennial Copyright Act” covers product photography. For example if something pops up on Pinterest, as the copyright holder you can request its removal.
  • If you find unauthorised use of your content try communicating directly with the person first. Keep to the facts, remove emotion and ask that the image/content be taken down.
  • Jess shares her experience with her content being used without credit or consent.
  • “Take screenshots of everything that preserves the date and time.” {Christina}
  • To see where your images are being used use images.google.com
  • Watermarks are a personal preference – consider how the inclusion impacts on design and the message it conveys about trust to your audience.
  • Get Christina’s free guide: Legit Profits
  • And check out her website here: The Contract Shop

 

Download or listen to this episode.

 

You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher)

PicMonkey Vs. Canva – What to Use When in your Handmade Business

PicMonkey vs. Canva

 

Do you use PicMonkey or Canva? Have you tried them both and decided that one’s your ‘thing’ and you just don’t get the other one at all? And even though you love a whole bunch of things about the one you do use, there’s some tasks that you can’t do in it and it just frustrates you?

They’re quite different beasts for sure – and the difference really stems from their purpose. PicMonkey is aimed at everyday photo-editing – so it covers all your basic edits plus filters and overlays (including a few special tricks especially designed for correcting/enhancing photos of people), whereas Canva is aimed more at producing graphics that are suitable for a range of digital and print applications such as images for social media and blogs, infographics, special document layouts, letterheads, business cards, posters, etc.

In both systems, you can upload your own images, layer things, and alter their transparency to create interesting texture and effects. Both allow you to do basic edits to photos, adjusting qualities such as brightness, contrast, saturation and more, and both offer a range of pre-set filters.

But as you’ve no doubt discovered, each platform has its limitations.

So, have you ever considered using them in tandem?

PicMonkey to do the the things that Canva can’t, and vice versa? Their capabilities are quite complementary, if you’re looking for cheap/free image editing solutions. I’ve put together a summary of the best points of each, as well as some of things I find the most limiting/annoying.

Also, I’ll mention that in each system, the paid versions extend their functionality considerably, so you might want to consider that option too (PicMonkey Royale is $64AUD/year and Canva is $157AUD/year… although if you’re prepared to fork out moola, I’d probably get a sub to Photoshop CC instead as it’s around the same price as Canva for Work and has a huge amount more functionality).

 

Canva

 

Some things I love…

  • The huge array of perfectly pre-sized canvases for almost any application you can think of, from social media posts to e-books to desktop wallpapers to business stationery and a whole bunch more
  • Intuitive layout, easy to find your way around and get what you want
  • The great series of tutorials on design, as well as a fab blog on various aspects of graphic design
  • Some nice pre-made (and free) graphic templates, so all you need to do is alter the text and colours to suit your needs and you’re done
  • A fabulous ‘snap’ functionality, which helps you centre your work, or snap it to the edge of the canvas
  • A good range of preset filters, with a dialogue box that shows you what changes the filter has made to the image, and allows you to tweak aspects such as brightness/saturation/contrast/tint/blur/etc at the same time
    you can create a free account, which will always keep the graphics you’ve already made (AND they remain editable), as well as all of your own images that you’ve uploaded
  • Canva auto-saves your work as you go. Download it whenever you want

 

Some things I don’t like about Canva

  • You can’t stretch many of your elements; photos can be resized by holding down the shift key and dragging, and lines can be extended; but generally, the rest of the elements you can only resize them in their correct proportions
  • You can’t upload your own fonts in the free version (you can in the paid Canva for Work)
    you can’t make an image with a transparent background, so creating logos is not an option (you can in Canva for Work)
  • You can’t change the image size once you start (you can in Canva for Work), although you do have the option to save for either low quality (.jpg) or higher quality (.png), and in two different resolutions for PDFs
  • Making a text mask (where you have an image showing through text) is painfully slow, and you can only use the one block font they offer frames in

 

 

PicMonkey

 

Some things I love

  • You can make overlays with transparent backgrounds for your brand which you can use for your images wherever you need them. You could also make a simple logo in PicMonkey which you can overlay onto any graphic you choose. Consistently branded images are great for blog posts, social media, etc
  • You can use your own fonts from your computer
  • Stretching anything to fit is easy – hold down the shift key while dragging a corner of the image or overlay
  • Making a text mask is a piece of cake, and you can use any font and any image you like
  • A MASSIVE range of filters and effects, so you can really make your images distinctive
  • A draw tool, and an eraser tool so you can do spot-editing, pixel by pixel
  • A good series of tutorials, written for non-designers

 

Some things I don’t like

  • You can’t save any of your designs into their system, and you can’t save editable images to finish later – when you save, the layers are automatically flattened before it’s downloaded to your computer
  • Update: you can now save editable files in their Hub, which is an add-on to PicMonkey Royale (the paid version)
  • It’s SUPER hard to centre anything (like text, or shapes) – PicMonkey doesn’t have any ‘snap’ function, nor any other easy way of figuring out if things are lined up (and that’s why I made this handy overlay grid a little while ago. You’re welcome)
  • It’s much harder to find your way around because you have to click in and out of the individual sections each time to test the effect of each one, and some effects and overlays are also hidden in the Themes section

 

What I’d use when

 

Creating logos

Firstly, I would definitely use PicMonkey to create any sort of logo, or other brand element that you intend to use as an overlay in your graphics, because it allows you to create a shape with a transparent background.

The thing that you need to remember when you’re saving your shape with its transparent background is that it needs to be saved as a .png file – if you try to save it as a .jpg, it will automatically convert your transparent background to solid white – which means that it becomes completely useless as an overlay.

With this example, there are two steps – first creating the separate shape file so you can use it again and again; and then creating a new file for your chosen image including the overlay.

simple logo example

In the first step, I used PicMonkey’s Design option to create a canvas with a transparent background, then into Text. Click on ‘My Own’ at the top of the side panel, before choosing the fonts you want (I used a combination of Goblin, Times New Roman, and Helvetica Neue). To do this, you’ll need to load up three separate text boxes so that you can make them different colours, change their sizes slightly, and layer them up. After moving them around, then I simply save (remember, it has to be a .png to preserve the transparent background).

Once you’ve saved your logo, every time you need to use it on an image, you can simply go into Overlay / My Own, and choose it from your files (but you’ll have to load it up again, every time you need to make a new graphic).

2016 aug - graphic

EVEN BETTER, switch over to Canva now, and upload it into your Canva account – that way you’ll always have it handy for every graphic you want to produce!

 

Image editing

PicMonkey every time. Canva will only add filters or change simple aspects such as brightness, contrast, tint, and blur to a WHOLE image; there’s no “Draw” tool to add in your own bits.

PicMonkey has a “Draw” tool in Effects; you can change the size and colour of the tool, and you can alter things as small as 1 pixel. It also has an eraser so you can erase parts of one layer or effect so that the original image shows through. Clever use of the eraser and the pencil together can create elements that look like they wrap around each other.

 

Templates

Always, always in Canva for this! For two reasons:

1. It always keeps your files editable, so all you need to do is make a copy of your original template (from the main page that shows all your designs, click on the little arrow in the top right of the image you want, and “Make a copy”).

2. Good graphics need good alignment, and I LOVE their snap tools to help you get everything centred/justified. Perfect for when you need to change text and other elements around frequently.

 

Resizing

As I pointed out earlier, once you’ve chosen your canvas size in Canva, you’re stuck with it. If you want to resize things, or start with a flexible size because you’re not really sure what you want to end up with (like when you’re creating a logo) use PicMonkey, every time.

These are a few of the specific situations I’d choose one over the other. There are many, many other specific situations where the flexibility of one outweighs the flexibility of the other – it’s up to you to choose what suits you best. Hopefully the list of likes/dislikes above will help you figure that out.

 

Have you used the two in tandem? Have you only stuck to one and now you want to try the other? If you have combined them already, I would LOVE to hear what you’ve made and why. Pop a comment below!

 

[70] How to Organise a Professional Photo Shoot with Christina Lowry

The Create & Thrive Podcast 70

In this episode, I chat with Christina Lowry about how to organise a professional photo shoot for your handmade business.

Christina is a jeweller who began her creative journey via a silversmithing course. She then secured a jewellery apprenticeship, which led her to work in the traditional world of retail jewellery for a number of years. It wasn’t smooth sailing though, and eventually Christina realised she should start her own business. She jumped in the deep end and it took off from there!

One of the things that Christina has done differently to many of us was to organise professional photo shoots of her jewellery collections, almost from the very beginning of her business a few years ago. She has organised many of these shoots now, and has a lot of wisdom to share on how to do the same for your business without breaking the bank.

We discuss the ins and outs of creating a professional ‘look book’ for your products, the challenges you might come up against, and the nitty gritty details of things like: ‘how do I find a photographer or model in the first place’?

There are so many decisions to be made to ensure you get the most out of a professional shoot and lots of little details that need to be considered. We talk about how to get all this done economically and so that all parties benefit!

If you are a C&T email subscriber, there is an awesome downloadable photo shoot checklist that Christina has put together for you waiting for you over in the Handmade Business Toolkit!

If you’re not a subscriber, click here to get access to the free Toolkit.

Handmade Business Collection Photo Shoot Checklist - Create & Thrive

 

Great photos are SO super important for your business, so make sure you listen to this episode for all the right pointers on how you can organise a photo shoot to show your products off in their best possible light.

 

EPISODE 70 QUOTE

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Good quality photographs are a must for small business.
  • ‘If you are producing things that are high quality then you want to be imparting that image of your brand.’ {Christina}
  • You can reach a broader audience with professional photographs.
  • The investment really pays off for the long term as the photos can be used across all mediums.
  • It can be very important to have a collection in order to have a vision.
  • You can find photographers and models who may be interested in bartering as a cheaper and collaborative way of getting great photos.
  • Look to your friends and family who may have great locations for photo shoots.
  • Going on location scouts can be heaps of fun too!
  • The location needs to offer amenities such as a place for the model to change. Make sure you check permissions and also see if there are any fees involved with using the space.
  • Make sure you give yourself plenty of planning time and also a back up plan in case the weather turns.
  • Make a list: you may need more than you realise so take whatever will be useful or could be useful.
  • Write an itinerary so that all people are on the same page with how the shoot will run.
  • Have a shot list to ensure you are getting the pictures you want.
  • Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration on the style, ideas and props.
  • Set out an agreement so that every party knows what usage rights they have with images.
  • It is so important to attribute the work to those who put in the hard yards. It is so great to collaborate and celebrate each others skills.
  • ‘It’s lovely how being a creative person attracts other creative people to you and opens up a world of  possibilities.’ {Christina}
  • Don’t make it too complicated to begin with. Use what you have and work from there. You can start small.
  • Head to the Create & Thrive Product Photography Guide for further reading.
  • EXCITING NEWS: Set Up Shop will be running again starting October 3rd, 2016!

 

Download or Listen to This Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

3 Passive Income Streams for Your Creative Business

 

 

 

Passive Income3 Alternative Income

There are loads of ways to make money out there and often, as Creatives, we can get caught up in the art of what we’re doing and forget about the business of art.

To continue doing what we love, the undeniable truth is: we need to make money.

Without money, there are no tools and materials to work with.

Without money, we don’t have time to take a holiday to find our muse and allow creative thoughts to flow.

Without money, there is no food to fuel our creative imagination.

In short, just like everyone else, Artists and Creatives need money to do what they love.

Now that we’ve established that ‘making money’ aren’t dirty words and the act of making moolah is, in fact, extremely necessary, we can start thinking about options of getting that cash into your hands to help you live your best life.

You might have a small or burgeoning creative business where you make items individually by hand and this takes a lot of time (but you totally love it).

This can be so rewarding – but there is always going to be a time when you hit a ceiling of how much you can make in the time you are awake.

You can take on staff and grow your business if that’s what you want.

OR you could try to find some passive income to supplement your income from your handmade business.

What is passive income?

Usually it’s the kind of thing you can ‘set and forget’ and it slowly ticks over and makes you money.

Passive income is not necessarily easy and it can take hard work to get it up and running, but the reward is rarely having to work on it once it’s done and available to the world.

I’m going to give you a list of income streams which you can get going that might compliment your creative business, but that you don’t have to work on day to day after the initial set up.

 

  1. Write an eBook

Whether you’re a writer or not, chances are; you are an expert at something. {Hint} Whatever you’re making and selling – you’re an expert at that!

If you’re a silversmith, perhaps you could write a simple printable with tips and tricks that a beginner might need to get their own workshop started and how to sell their own products.

Or perhaps you’ve had loads of success with marketing your business and getting excellent PR. If you write that down and offer your expert information in the form of an eBook, you can charge a fee each time it’s downloaded.

The passive part: Once you’ve written the eBook, you only need to advertise it from time to time and let people pay for your expertise.

 

  1. Sell Stock Graphics or Photos

camera-581126_1280

Have you mastered the art of photography through your work on your business?

I see so many amazing Creatives who have incredible photos in their online stores. If that’s you, I bet you have a catalogue of awesome pics which you can sell to people who want stock images for their own website, blog or business.

Some great places to start are Shutterstock, iStock Photo, Alamy and 123rf but there are loads out there which all have differing payment options.

For the graphic designers out there, some of the photo sites will also sell your graphics or you can find companies which specialise in using your graphics for saleable items.

Most people know Threadless Tees and then there’s Society 6, Redbubble, Zazzle and inPRNT which do most of the hard work for you – you just submit the design and forget about it.

The passive part: Take new photos or just grab some from your collection then submit and forget.

 

  1. Monetise your blog

So if you’ve been reading this website for a while, you’ll know that having a blog is still a must for your business these days. It tells your story, helps with your SEOs, builds relationships and lots more – read all about it in Megan’s excellent post here.

There are lots of ways to monetise and you can definitely do your own research but the first thing you should consider is whether or not you want ads on your blog.

It’s ok if you don’t – you absolutely don’t have to – but it is a way of adding a passive income stream for almost no effort. Some companies will let you target ads so that they match your target market which means they won’t turn off your loyal followers.

You could also charge for premium content on your blog by having a members-only section where VIPs get exclusive access to content. This could include printables, downloads, special discount codes or expert information.

Affiliate marketing programs are another great way to get some extra income however they can take a little more time (making them less passive). If you have become an authority in your field, you can recommend products adding an affiliate link which identifies you as the referrer and rewarding you with payment.

It’s best to always identify that you are being paid for your review or link to ensure your followers are on the same page.

The passive part: Once you set up these items on your blog, you will only have to come back to add content or write a review

 

There are so many more ways to make passive income to supplement your income from your creative business. 

At some time or other, every Artist and Creative worries about money and how to make sure their business is a success.

Just as in life, diversifying and adding alternative income streams might be a way to give you some breathing room via a regular and reliable income.

As I said before, it’s not easy to set up a successful passive income stream. But once you have, it will hopefully make you more financially comfortable in the future to get on with creating what you love.

The 15 Must-Read Posts of 2014

 

 

 

The 15 Must-Read Posts of 2014

Hey Thriver,

The end of 2014 is almost upon us, and hopefully you’ve carved out a bit of down-time over the Christmas/New Year period. If so, you might be in need of a bit of holiday reading to get you geared up for 2015… so I’ve put together this round-up of the best posts that we’ve published this year!

 

In no particular order, here are the 15 must-read posts on the blog from 2014

Enjoy… and I’d love to know your fave for the year (whether it’s on this list or not).

 

Stop Trying to Do Everything

Do you fall into the trap of trying to do everything all at once? Here is why you need to stop.

 

Should You Sell Your Craft Online?

Is selling online really right for you and your handmade business? This post will guide you through the process of deciding.

 

5 Things You Need Before You’re Ready to Sell Your Craft Online

So, you’ve decided that selling online is the way forward for you. Before you get started, you need these 5 things.

 

My 12 Favourite Apps + Tools for Managing Instagram for Creative Businesses

If you want to rock Instagram, here are my recommendations for the best apps and tools for you to use.

 

4 Ways to Share Someone Else’s Instagram Post on your own Instagram Feed (or Elsewhere!)

Want to share someone else’s IG post on your feed, but don’t know how? Here are 4 ways to do it.

 

5 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Etsy Shop – and How to Fix Them

Mistakes are an inevitable part of doing business… but if we don’t realise we’re making them, how can we fix them? Make sure you’re not making these 5 mistakes with your Etsy shop.

 

Why Pay for an E-Course When You Can Google the Information for Free?

Sure, you can pretty much learn anything you want by googling it these days… but is that the BEST way to learn? Find out why and when you should invest money in an e-course rather than muddling along on your own.

 

When You’re Selling, Always Ask Yourself These 2 Questions

If you can answer ‘yes’ to both of these questions when you’re considering the interaction between you and your customer, then you’re doing it right.

 

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Own Success

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy – our own roadblock. Are you sabotaging your own success in any of these 5 ways?

 

Stop Focussing on How Many Sales You’ve Made & Start Focussing on What Actually Matters

If you’re measuring the success of your business by the number of sales you’re making… you’re focussing on the wrong thing. Find out what you should be focussing on instead.

 

3 Ways To Grow a Healthy Business With Leaps and Boundaries

Do you find yourself overwhelmed, pulled in too many directions, and lacking boundaries? You need to read this.

 

The 7 Qualities that ALL Successful Jewellery Brands Have in Common

In this post, Tracey Matthews outlines 7 qualities you need to grow a successful jewellery brand (and if you make something other than jewellery, this is definitely still worth a read!).

 

5 Things You Must Get Right to Take Stellar Product Photos

Awesome photos are absolutely essential to successfully selling your craft online. Get these 5 things right and you’ll be ahead of the game.

 

#CTWordsofWisdom: What YOU Want to Tell People Starting a Handmade Business

Earlier this year I asked YOU a question: what do you wish you had known when you started out? This post shares all of your answers so we can learn from each other.

 

How to Create a Simple + Streamlined Order Processing System

In this post, I break down, step-by-step, how Nick and I process our orders – from when it hits our inbox until it goes out the door. Systems are crucial to your business running smoothly, and I hope this post helps you streamline and organise your own order processing.

 


If you follow C&T on Instagram and Facebook, you might have seen a little teaser for something awesome I’m bringing your way in January to help you have your best year in biz yet. Keep an eye on your email to be the first to know when I announce the challenge!


Have you helped me help you by filling out the (super-quick and anonymous!) C&T 2014 Questionnaire yet?

Click here to help me give you the most useful, relevant content to help you grow your biz and thrive in 2015.