Crooked Fence Gifts

Crooked Fence Gifts focuses on new trends in Jewelry, Home decor, Wedding, One of A kind Vintage & Holiday decor. We strive to create gifts from our own designs and to use Vintage and USA Items as often as possible.

Shop local and support your community of businesses big and small. Shopping in your own neighborhood is the most direct way you can support the area where you live.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Crooked Fence Gifts: Grass Roots Advertising

Crooked Fence Gifts: Grass Roots Advertising: Tips to help Build your business by Vicky Watkins This weeks topic is: Grass Roots Advertising: Fliers Most of us have access to a computer ...

Grass Roots Advertising

Tips to help Build your business by Vicky Watkins
This weeks topic is: Grass Roots Advertising: Fliers
Most of us have access to a computer or a way to get to your local copy center.
One of the easiest and most cost efficient ways for you to get the word out about your business if you are on a budget is to distribute fliers ( you can also use business cards). 
I would start with a quarter page size flier which means you would get 4 to a 8.5 X 11 size sheet of paper. You will want to consider size as most companies have a limited space dedicated for community posts.
If you do not know the first thing about designing a flier, look for information online or look at other fliers (look at ads in your local news paper) to get an idea where to start. You may want to tie in seasonal decoration or an event you know is coming up, or a particular color paper to make yourself stand out.
You can add a special offer or coupon or even a free item to entice customers to come and find you. Don't forget to ad your contact information.
Weather you are an online only business or a brick and mortar or both chances are that not everyone in your area knows that you have goods or services for sale.
Before beginning to distribute them you will need to check with your local city and find out what their ordinance is on fliers. Can you paper the town with them ? Can you leave them on vehicles ? Or do you have to have permission to do anything at all with them ? Most cities have ordinances listed on their website.
You don't want to start out by getting on someone's bad side.

Below are several places to start taking your flier to. Most businesses are more than willing to help new businesses or have an area dedicated for community information. Note: Some do not, that is o.k. and do not take it personally, just go to the next place.

1) Grocery Store Bulletin Boards
2) Local Library
3) Restaurants
4) Coffee Shops
5) Spas
6) Hair Salons
7) Community Centers
8) Senior Centers
9) Post Office
10) Schools
11) Hospitals
12) Hotels
13) Senior Centers
14) Banks
15) Local Chamber or visitor center
16) Your local newspaper may have a low cost way to place your flier in their paper.

If you are a new business in your town with a retail location I would walk your whole area (or drive if it is spread out) and go meet people at all the local businesses in your area and tell them you are new and ask if you can leave fliers on their counters or bulletin board. If you are in their area I would offer to take some of their fliers or brochures to put out in your shop. 
If you can afford to take a sample of something you sell, that is a nice touch.
Candy baskets are nice too. You can purchase bulk candy or mints and take a small amount to each place as a thank you. Just put it in a small basket or some sort of decorative bag from your local craft store and tie one of your business cards to it.
You can also put a flier with a future offer in your customers bags when they make a purchase to encourage them to come back and see you again !

Even if you have a big advertising budget this form of advertising is useful. By the time you are done you will know what everyone else is selling and who the business is run by. This is good information to be able to pass along to customers.

Good luck running your business big or small !

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Organizing Your Creative Space

Along with "Creating" comes.... A big mess. Well, it's the truth. I laugh my head off when I see pictures of peoples craft areas that look like they are a store display. Any crafter who is busy and produces large amounts of inventory knows that it is almost impossible to keep your work space clean.
However you can keep it organized up to a point no matter what you are doing.
I wanted to share some organizing tips that I use and that work for me. I am not a "Craft Expert" by any means but I am a hands on full time crafter and have been for many years.

Some people are able to make only one thing. Then chances are that they may be quite a bit more organized than someone like myself...
Maybe, maybe not. Anyway's without delving too much into the why's and why not's....

Fabric storage can be a challenge. Especially when you use hundreds of different types. I like the craft carts that have wheels and at least three drawers if not six or eight for this. They are awesome. And I would suggest the "see through" type and not the colored drawer type, so you don't have to memorize or list what is in each compartment. I don't know about you, but I am definitely an "eye person". That means I can learn almost anything just by watching someone do it. And I take in everything visually first. So, see through storage is perfect for me, I use see through with almost everything. I can save my brain power for important things like: My next awesome design... instead of trying to figure out where I put my seam rippers or the blue buttons or anything else.
So, for fabric I use the see through craft carts ( Most of mine came from Lowes or Costco) that are pictured below, and from there I break it down into category: 1) One drawer for buttons/fasteners, 2) One drawer for ric rac & bias tape, 3) One drawer for Lace, and then I break the fabric down into two categories: either Color or Type. For example I use a lot of Cotton and many colors, so these I do by color, but Faux Fur, Burlap, Organza or Chenille I separate by type because I don't have as many "kinds".

Now let's talk about Bead Storage. I use the same principals for bead storage that I do for fabric. I separate them by Type or Color. I use a different type of organizer for findings:

This is good for the findings I use in bulk, and again they have see through drawers, ( I believe these came from Home Depot) some people even attach an item to the front of each drawer to show what is in the drawer. I don't like to waste ANYTHING !

Now for beads I use the smaller organizers (Most of mine have come from Michael's Crafts, they travel well and they also fit into the fabric grocery bags (which I use all the time to travel my supplies). These are also see through, and I break them down into Type: Maybe some beads are only for Jewelry, Maybe some are only for Home Decor etc..., Then I break them down into color, I also separate charms, and finding I use a lot in this type of organizer.
I have a small one I keep all of the ear wires I use in, and two more I keep the findings I use the most in, and then they are ready for travel. These are also easy to stack, which saves space.

Now let's talk about Embellishments ! I love embellishments, always have. The organizer I use is made by a company called Azar @ . They are awesome ! You can build your organizer anyway you want to. They have all kinds of different size attachments and different colors. Again I use the clear for ease in finding items.  Storage for: Tools, Tape, Glue, Glitter, Decorative Scissors, Wire, Foam Tapes, Stamp Pads, Alcohol Ink and whatever else can fit over there.

Now for Paper, Card Stock, Felt Sheets and other items like stencils I use Open storage (From Michael's) as you will see below:

For items waiting to be crafted I like to use plastic shelving (I have had these a long time, not sure where they came from) or bins. That way I can store things again according to type or what it is made out of. For example: Paper Mache or Wood.

When you have your awesome "Studio" or Craft Space all set up you are going to need one more thing. A really cool area where you can get your thoughts together and come up with all kinds of ideas and maybe put your feet up for minute.

I call this my "awesome thinking area". I have some of my favorite things here, I play guitar so I have an amplifier here and my Guardian.... Batman. I also have a stereo for music and all kinds of extra lighting for detail work. I painted this space a color called "Heart's Desire" because that is exactly what this space is to me. I also like pink.

My area is messy, and no I don't take a lot of time to clean it. I usually clean it when I can't find something.... Which happens every now and then because so many items "cross over" into other areas.
It works for me.
I will leave you with a few more pointers:

1) I organize paint brushes, foam brushes, pencils, hand tools, and other like items in cups and buckets so they are easy to grab and move to another area and are kept together for the most part.
2) I store my tacky glue with the lid on up side down in a cup (only used for crafting) so it is always ready to use.
3) I keep old towels to use under items that get spritzed with water or to keep over items when I am using my saws to keep the sawdust out.
4) I use a wire paint caddy  for paints, they seem to last longer. than being stored standing up.
5) I use a LOT  of "coated" paper plates. I use them for painting, over and over until they are totally used up then I replace them. I also use paper plates to catch glitter when I "glitter" something. I keep a stack that I always use for this, one for each color,  they never go bad, and then your colors wont get mixed together and you can easily fold your paper plate to pour your unused glitter back into its bottle. 
6) I use a sharpie to mark my tools when making parts that I want to make the same size, like wire for instance or jump rings, wire loops for jewelry. (Let your sharpie mark dry first)

Have fun making whatever it is you make !

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The almost Anything Charm

One of my latest inspirations have been Lucite Flowers. I love them. I like flowers anyway, but these are so versatile and they are made really well. 
Jewelry is one of my favorite items to make along with Home Decor. I have made necklaces, earrings, bracelets with the Lucite Flowers, but I really wanted to make something different with them. Something that was more than a jewelry item...
A purse charm ! That is what I came up with, but not just a purse charm. This is versatile enough to be almost Anything ! That is where I came up with the almost Anything Charm.
I made them long enough to be a bracelet or a purse charm or rear view mirror decoration or anything you like. You could use them as a tieback for a curtain. I have a customer who bought one and is going to use it for a decoration for her front door.
They have a lobster claw clasp, so no chance of coming undone. Each one is a little different.

Until next time... say what you mean, and do what you say...