Category Archives: Entrepreneurial Ventures

the joy of POD books

Pen and watercolor illustrations for my next Blurb project.

The beauty of the software from the folks at Blurb is that you don’t have to know how to write code, or even have a background in layout design, to join in the immediate gratification of bookmaking. My experience with print production goes back to my early twenties, when I learned how to set type on keyboards that evolved into desktop publishing computers. Bottom line, I love typography and I love the process of assembling images and words into books. Eating Clean was my first formal bookmaking project, but that was in 2002, before the wide popularity of print-on-demand, not to mention digital book formats. There are no wholesale rates for the books made on Blurb, but if you’re not interested in the expense of inventory and relinquishing storage space to boxes of books-that-are-yet-unsold, the 1-by-1 pricing might just work for you. For now, that suits me just fine. I can keep playing and doing, which is where the joy in POD is for me.  Have you tried an online POD bookmaking service? Love to hear about it and hear your thoughts.

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3 Lessons from My Etsy Journey

The pictures on the Etsy home page are sumptuous, the success stories of featured artisan sellers guarantee pure inspiration. “Dreamers Into Doers,” another of Martha Stewart’s ventures, has been a virtual cheerleader. And at the root of my own dream are the expensive lessons from my experience with an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar store front.

When I first registered as a seller on etsy, my vision was for an emporium of the kinds of things I love to make or collect: handsewn, vintage, and photography treasures. In general Etsy seller categories are: handmade, vintage and supplies.
Lesson #1: Keep the shop offering focused and singular in theme. Do you have any idea how challenging this is? Yes, you probably do. {I finally narrowed my handmade goods to “photo treats” in this initial etsy store front; you can open additional stores, as the themes of items for sale require.}

the new etsy shop banner

Lesson #2:  The shop description should read as though you are engaged in a private, one-on-one conversation with each and every visitor — in spite of the reality that these very personal words are being shared with a universe of strangers. {I have yet to master this and consider my store description a work in progress.}

The latest evolution of my photography.

Lesson #3: Become a student of the marketplace! Like my store description, this is an ongoing part of the process. Study what kinds of items are getting attention, the artisans behind the successful shops. Consider price points and shipping. Notice appealing product photos and take notes — maybe you can bring in some of the same elements (lighting? props?) into your own presentation.

There is so much to learn about how to run a successful Etsy shop. I’ll keep you posted as I have more to add to this.

Time Travel

The Daily Count
Yesterday morning I experienced a boomerang memory spin like a scene from “Back to the Future.” One of my favorite daily reads is Poppytalk, a “Canadian design blog collecting inspiration and dedicated to promoting emerging design talent.” The posts are loaded with delicious photography. A recent guest post about a cool place in London called Go, Do & Drink struck a chord. It’s my kind of destination: a cafe with fun stuff for sale (including the furnishings!) and onsite DIY crafting, too. Wow! But the photos here are about a place that was called The Daily Count.

My Shop
This was my little experiment in cafe-retail heaven.

mural on cafe wall
Back in 2004 ’til 2006.

for my customers
It was part cafe (organic espresso with beans from a local roastery); part low-sugar, low-carb, gluten-free grocery that soon included organic, free-range meats, too; and it also functioned as a meeting location  for writing workshops and an entrepreneurial group I had co-founded.
for the love of color
There was a monthly ‘Gluten-free Recipe Club’ and annual gluten-free cookie swap. So many wonderful customers. All great fun.
mural on cafe wall
One of the shop’s features was the wall mural. It was my first painting-painting ever.
Memories of Brazil
Inspired by my Brazilian adventure in 2001. Look familiar? It’s also my blog banner. Guess I miss traveling, too …
cafe window
There are a multitude of reasons that the business closed after only two years. Many lessons learned. And without a doubt, new frontiers opened up afterwards. But boy,  Go, Do & Drink looks like a fun place to hang out and make stuff. Time to renew my passport? You bet!