You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you. ~Maya Angelou
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drinking My Way Through The Long Cold Winter

Okay its not what you think. LOL! Not that kind of drinking. I have spent the winter months saving and recycling soda cans and coming up with some really cute creations for this upcoming year.

Soda Can Messenger bags are a happy little accident that landed so nicely. I was trying to make one of my signature boho bags with soda cans and found that I actually like it better flat as I was constructing it. A few more stitches here and there and Viola!, a new bag to add to all of my crocheted creations.

I made the first one and tested it out at the Strange Folk Festival in O'Fallon, IL last August 2010 and it sold the first day! Then I said to myself hmm this might be a nice addition and started cranking out more over the winter. I have the above mountain dew bag, a monster one, as well as some other mixed can bags.

The bag in the picture sports a total of 20 can panels. I have also made a purse side bag with a total of 15 soda can panels. (Not pictured) It is very cute as well. Have several of them made. Plan to keep making them and have an ample supply for this year's craft fair circuit.

I am planning on being in several this year if they dont fill up or I make it in (the juried ones). Will post a list of fairs I will be showing in later.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Hat For Little Bits

After doing pretty good at the Festival in O'fallon and paying attention to people and what they tended to look at I have decided to add a new product to my line of crocheted creations. Im goin to add a infant/child size Newsie hat and Skullcaps! Im really exicited about this new line. Nothing cuter than a baby in a handmade hat. :)


(The proof is in the pic of my grandbaby sporting the first of my Baby Newsie hats).

Check me out on Oct 16 in Mt. Vernon Illinois if your in the area or on Oct 30 in Centralia Illinois at the recreation center. Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Strange Folk Festival

Had a great time at the festival in O'fallon illinois! It was my first year and all I can say is I will be back next year if they'll have me. :)  Did pretty good on sales too. Sold a lot of bags, hats and cell phone/Ipod covers. I found my market closer to the big city it seems.

Lessoned learned: My type of creations are better suited for those in larger areas as many do not have the time to crochet as do many in the smaller rural areas. So I need to target the larger city venues. Downside is that they are usually more expensive in booth rental and alittle farther away to drive. Not to mention I have to have a much larger stock of items.

Next stop....My hometown Mt. Vernon! :)  October 16 is the Southern Illinois Harvest Festival in downtown Mt. Vernon Illinois. Come on by and see me there. I will have a booth set up and be selling some wildly new items! I cant wait for you to see them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

ART AND CRAFT FESTIVAL TIME IN ILLINOIS

I am gearing up for my first Artsy Festival. Ive done a couple local festivals last year but this is the first artsy one Ive done so far. Im very excited!!! What you ask? The Strange Folk Festival in O'Fallon Illinois. It will be on Sept. 25,26. I was chosen along with 149 others out of ove 300 applicants so that really has me excited to be picked! I guess the judges saw something they thought they could use after all. lol.

My Boho bags, which are my specialty are in low stock right now. I only have 10 in my shop right now. Im currently working on another one now. Its very bright and colorful. I took time off from bags to work on some soda can hats and flower baretts and combs.

Before Strange Folk Festival I do have a smaller festival I will be going to on the 28th of August in Rossville Indiana, Summer's End Festival. If your in the area look my up. :) I will be there selling my crocheted creations alongside my sister who will be selling crocheted dog and cat blankets for the pet/child in your life.

Also plan to be at Appletime Festival in Murphysboro Illinois, Harvest Festival in Mt. Vernon Illinois, Oktoberfest in Sesser Illinois, and the Art and Craft Fair in Centralia Illinois. So many craft fairs!! Hope I can keep enough stock up to sell.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Another Step. Hopefully in the right direction. :)

     Okay I called about the prospective place Id like to have my new shop. About 20,000 more than I'd like but found out that price includes all the leftover supplies in it. Which I dont want or need. So thinking I may be able to get it cheaper if I buy just the place only. Also found out its been on the market once before with no sale and the owner lives out of town. The agent assured me these were good signs I might get a better deal in the end. Right now just trying to find a price I can pitch in my business plan.

OH the dreaded business plan!!! Yuck I hate it. It started out easy but got harder very quickly. When I got to the last few pages of Key Financial Indicators, Break-even Analysis, and Business Ratios I was lost. I have no idea what they are talking about and the charts look very confusing. That part, for now is getting left empty until I meet with the Small Business Association. Hopefully they can assist me in that area.

What ever happened to simple business? Everything seems so complicated. Im not giving up though. I have my price point for the location now just need to do some more research on cost of supplies and what I plan to charge for my items. Then its a little math and write it all out.

Step 5: Spy out the competition. I am going to visit the two local coffee bars and get some idea of a competitive price as well as things they offer or dont offer. This will be an undercover mission. Gotta have a partner and since kids are all gone today will have to do it tomarrow. Plan to take my laptop and visit both places, buy something and take some secret notes. Shhhh dont rat me out. :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Grant Money Update

Okay after staying up way too late lastnight I stumbled on this website bplans.com. Here I found a very useful tool to help with writing a business plan. They actually have templates in a gallery of 500+ business plans. You can choose the category that is closest to your own business or industry, and find a plan you like and then use it for reference in writing your own plan. I found one that was in the same industry I am trying to get into and found it really easy to adjust it to fit my own personal needs. At least it gives you a visual on what they are looking for. I was really suprised with how much information they need.

After reading over it, it has helped me identify some areas I still need to do research in for expected expenses and such. Hope this helps! Let you know more as I learn more. :)

Templates for sample business plans:
http://www.bplans.com/sample_business_plans.cfm

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Grant Money Blues

     Okay I have had a dream of starting my own little coffee/craft shop for a long long long time. Yes very long time!! Many have suggested to me that I see what kind of Grant money is out there and claim that for a single mom like me there is lots.

     So today I sat down in front of my computer and searched and searched for information. Its there but it isnt there if that makes any sense. Its not as easy as people say it is. In fact, do you personally know anyone who has ever got grant money to start up a buisness? I dont.

    This is what Im going to do for myself and all of you out there who have had equal irritation on how to get government grant money to start up your own small business....Im going to chronicle my steps for you here in my blog. I wish I had a step by step myself on just how to from someone who has but I cant seem to find one anywhere.

Step One: I am currently typing down my ideas for my shop, supplies I will need, and shopping online via Ebay and other sites for some of the items to get a idea of what kind of money I need.

Step Two: I looked for any available places to have my business in. Ive been looking at actual houses that are in or close to business routes. Thought I could probably purchase them outright cheaper than a building. And, if the buisness didnt work out I can always rent the house out for a home. (Backup Plan) :) I found a place that is just 1/4 of a block off the main drag in our town. It used to be a hair salon. Its a refurbished house with a gravel parking lot on the side that could probably hold 10-12 cars.  And, since its an old hair salon, extra plug ins will be a plus!  It has a basement that if its dry will be used for a breakroom, storage room and possibly small kitchen area. I love too that it is visible from the main road.

Step Three: I am going to call the realtor on Monday and see about the asking price and get a tour of the house so I will have an idea of how much to ask for. I will be including it in my grant money asking ammount.

Step Four: After I compile all my information from step one an three I am going to contact the Small Business Association in our town and  make an appointment to get help with a business plan and see what else I need and how to get the grant money. From what Im told they know WHERE to go to get the grant money and WHAT information you need to apply for them.

Not sure what happens after Step Four but I promise to keep you posted as I go through this process. I will try to be as detailed as I can and hopefully at the end of all this I will be happy to report that YES I am getting grant money to start up my own little shop. :)