Archives for March 2013
We asked designers this week to create fabric designs inspired by the idea of what life would be like in a novel by Jane Austen, the great 19th-century English novelist. Choose your favorites and we'll report back next week with a literary top 10!
This week's participants are:
1. 2_victorian_heart by
2. A Bevy of Beautiful
Bonnets Ready for a Romp in the Garden by glimmericks
3. a cup of tea and a
chat by karinka
4. A Timeline of Quotes
from Pride & Prejudice by love,witty
5. an outward display of
decorum by weavingmajor
6. anna_sewell by cherb
7. Austen Ephemera by
8. Austens_world by
9. Austentatious by
10. Becoming Accomplished
With the Easter holiday nearly upon us, in our most recent contest we challenged designers to create fabrics featuring painted eggs. The winner is French designer Virginie Ozanon, whose 'Easter Joy!' fabric you can buy on its own or as part of a fat quarter bundle that includes all of the top ten designs from this week's contest. Keep in mind that the painted egg fat quarter fabric bundle will be available only through April 3rd. Congratulations to the top 10 designers!
The final votes:
1. 491 votes for Easter Joy ! by demigoutte
2. 410 votes for Egg-stravaganza (painted eggs) by groovity
3. 352 votes for Ukrainian Mania by dianne_annelli
4. 342 votes for Lithuanian Easter Eggs by cathyheckstudio
5. 339 votes for Decorative eggs, after Fabergé by su_g
6. 324 votes for Painted Eggs by fattcheese
7. 308 votes for Easter Eggs by kimsa
8. 306 votes for Easter Garden by amel24
9. 291 votes for Painted Eggs by nicoletamarin
10. 284 votes for The Chicken or The Egg by mag-o
This week we're giving away another great resource for helping turn your creative passion into something that can help earn you a living. One of our favorite people in the crafting world, Sister Diane of CraftyPod, is offering a 3-week online class on how to make money from your craft blog. The class, which normally costs $150, starts on May 6, 2013. Enter anytime between now and June 2, 2013, and we'll announce one lucky winner on June 3rd!
Congratulations to last week's winner of Amy Flurry's book Recipe For Press (and 3 yards of Spoonflower fabric), Jennifer Kesler!
This week's Market Yourself March advice comes from Heather Dutton, of Hang Tight Studio. Heather shares her fun approach to marketing her creative business through colorful postcards, great goodie bags, and more!
If you're anything like me, the word marketing sends shivers down your spine. We're designers and artists, we'd much rather spend our time designing and being creative, right? Like it or not though, marketing is a vital part of running a successful business whether you're a big company or a small independent designer. It's easy to get lost in the sea of talented designers that are out there. You could be a design rock star, but if you don't market your amazing creations the only people who will know it are your friends and family. As wonderful as it is to have their support and encouragement, odds are it's not going to help grow your business.
It's easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to marketing your creative business. It's an industry all on its own and people major in it when they're in college for goodness sake! Since I clearly chose a different path by going to art school and spreadsheets make me break out in hives, I decided that first and foremost I needed to find a way to make marketing my business fun. If I'm not creatively inspired by what I'm doing and I'm not having fun doing it, then I'm definitely not going to stick with it.
When I opened my Etsy shop years ago I saw it as a perfect opportunity to let my customers know a bit more about me and my other creative endeavors. A new customer might not even know that I design fabric or that I run a creative business outside of my Etsy shop. Free samples and little treats make me absolutely giddy so I decided to create a little self-promotion goodie bag that I include with each of my Etsy orders.
My marketing budget is pretty small but I've found that a little investment goes a long way. One of the first things that I treated myself to was a custom rubber stamp for my design studio. It's an easy (and FUN) way to add your logo to just about anything. Another fun and affordable way to get your name out there is to create small stickers for your business. Moo.com is a great resource, especially since they allow you to have a variety of designs within one order instead of being limited to just one image.
My goodie bag includes a variety of little treats that all get tucked inside a small muslin bag that I've stamped with my logo. It's a little bundle of Hang Tight Studio fun and it changes whenever I have something new that I want to promote.
One of the newest additions to my goodie bag is a small swatch sampler that I created to help spread the word about my Spoonflower shop. Fabric is such a tactile product and I thought this would be a fun way to show people how amazing Spoonflower fabrics really are.
All of the little details add a personal touch when you're connecting with customers and they don't require a massive budget, just a little bit of time. Be creative, keep a notebook to jot down marketing ideas when they pop into your head, create a Pinterest board for inspiration, find a method that works for you and above all else, make sure you're having fun!
- Heather on Spoonflower
- Heather on Facebook
- Heather on Pinterest
- Heather on Instagram
About Heather Dutton
As we approach the end of our March series of posts about marketing your creative business, modern quilter and surface designer Thomas Knauer shares his simple approach to marketing.
Marketing can feel like an exceedingly complicated thing, especially as one gets into the weeds of particular decisions: this card or that, to place an ad or not, etc, etc. It can be mind-boggling, expensive, and often garner little to no reward. That is why I do very little of it, at least in those particular ways. My business cards are simple; I’ve never taken out an ad. I’ve stopped doing giveaways because that traffic doesn’t really endure, and I don’t do a newsletter. When it comes to all of the usual marketing suspects, I don’t do much.
For me, all of those particulars that are the trappings of marketing make up the surface of marketing, not the substance. For me, marketing is all about the plan—the long term perspective—and the plan comes from two simple questions: Who am I? and What do I do?
I don’t look at marketing as a means to reach an audience, but a way to tell the stories that flow from those two questions. The individual things you do—the cards, the ads, the giveaways, and the sales—are simply tools for conveying the core message, and the first thing you need to do is figure out what that story is. That means really making sense of and understanding your business and putting together a vision for what you want that business to be (a really honest one, not the sudden celebrity version).
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the indie maker world doing incredibly awesome things. In an ideal world just being awesome would be enough, and at a certain level it is, but in order to succeed you need to actually build an audience, which is different from just reaching people. You need an audience that will come back again and again, one that will support you creatively and materially.
All of the practical decisions, then, need to support that goal. Blog posts don’t just show the things; they share the nuances, the bigger picture. If a blog post is there for no other reason than to generate hits to support ad revenue or bolster stats you are doing yourself a disservice. Rather than host giveaways I build relationships based on mutual respect that leads to supporting each other through our work and our resources; you have no idea how much working with other makers can do. The goal should always be to market through good content; the mechanisms should support meaningful things, not just the mechanisms themselves.
To put it into blunt terms, lots of eyeballs are meaningless if your conversion rate is terrible; the blunderbuss is a pretty terrible tool. Reach is great, and is important as your business grows, but the key is to not sacrifice quality for quantity, mouse impressions for human impressions.
Yes, the ads, the cards, the newsletters can all help, can all get the message out there, but the most important thing is to seriously invest in knowing just why you should succeed. And then, of course, do the insanely hard work of doing amazing things; without that all of the marketing in the world won’t mean a thing.
About Thomas Knauer
Thomas Knauer holds MFAs from both Ohio University and the Cranbook Academy of Art, and before entering the quilting world he held faculty positions at Drake University and the State University of New York. He currently designs fabric for Andover Fabrics and is expecting his first book with F+W in early 2014. At times he thinks it might be best to flee to Outer Mongolia.
With spring getting ready to hop like a bunny, the theme of this week's fabric design contest is painted eggs. Here's your chance to vote for all your favorite Easter-ish fabric designs. Voting is open through Wednesday, and we promise to report back next week with a very colorful top ten!
The participants this week are:
1. Just add Flour and Eggs! by
2. The Birds of Easter Island by
3. "An Eggsellent Easter"
4. -paintedegg by kikivanpersie
5. 01 by hassansiraj26
6. A Basketful of Painted Eggs by
7. A Beautiful Bunch of Painted
Easter Eggs by pencilmein
8. A Bees Knees Egg by karenharveycox
9. A Dozen Eggs in a Dozen Colors by
10. A Tisket, A Tasket… by
After weeks of preparation, much gnashing of teeth, innumerable exchanges of bitter looks, and a week of voting, we are pleased to announce the winners of our annual internal craft smackdown. This year Spoonflower crew members were divided into teams and asked to try their hands at something that, in many cases, they had never tried to do in their lives: creating a quilt. The fifteen teams produced a number of witty, creative and in some cases even beautiful efforts. They included an LED-lit quilt, a 3-D quilt that showcased fabric manipulation techniques, a scented quilt with a flower design, and a tribute to Spoonflower's hometown of Durham. But the winner turned out to be a tribute to Spoonflower itself, and to the many talented designers who make up the Spoonflower community. With all the votes counted, the Staff Challenge winner is the Spoonlandia quilt by the team of John, Abbey and Laurie. Their prize will be a set of cooking lessons at one of Durham's most cutting-edge restaurants, Revolution. Thanks to everyone who voted and cheered them on!
We're not going to post vote totals on this one, partly because — at least in our book — we think all the teams are winners. But just to remind you of the entrants, here's the list in no particular order:
1. Beth, Anne, and Kimmie: Team Mandala
2. Caroline, Joey and Leah: Team Bumblebee
3. Adam, Chad, and Kelsey: Team Color Wheel
4. Abbey, John and Laurie: Team Spoonlandia
5. Mary, Thomas, and Kerry: Team Minimal
6. Danielle, Kim F., and Kate: Team Texture
7. Deron, Kelly W., and Lindy: Team Steampunk Chess
8. Holly, Paula, and Yoalder: Team Music Tapes
9. Allie, Theresa, and Kimberly: Team Hey Girl
10. Anna, Jorren and Emma: Team Horror Closet
11. Katie, Stephanie, and Sharon: Team Haiku
12. Jesse, Kelly B. and Stephen F.: Team Durham
13. Caitlin, Jaysen, and Sarah: Team Rocketship
14. Janet, David and Stephen B.: Team Baum
15. Becca, Darci and Gart: Team Kite
Today we are very excited to announce the return of the Fabric8 Contest from Spoonflower and Robert Kaufman Fabrics. This year’s Fabric8 contest theme will be Geek Chic! Fabric8 is an annual contest designed to discover the next groundbreaking textile designer for one of the most respected fabric companies in the industry. One of eight finalists will be chosen as the recipient of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to release a collection through Robert Kaufman that will be sold in stores across the US and around the world.
This year's theme is intended to inspire rather than to limit the designs created for the contest, and – while we haven't undertaken a literal definition of Geek Chic — we have created a Pinterest board to help jumpstart your creative brainstorming:
Judges from Robert Kaufman and Spoonflower will select 100 semifinalists from all of the entries submitted. Semifinalists will be announced May 9, 2013. Voting in the semifinal round will be open to the public from May 9-15. The winner will be offered a contract from Robert Kaufman Fabrics, a $1000 advance against royalties, and a Wacom professional digital drawing tablet. Each of the eight finalists will receive $150 in Spoonflower credit.
This year we're happy to welcome American Patchwork Quilting as a media sponsor for the contest.