Thursday, May 26, 2011

Handmade Packaging

Packaging your products doesn't have to be expensive. Just invest a little time and shop for FREE supplies from your recycling bin.

I made 4 pillow boxes from 2 boxes of cereal, left over scrapbook paper, and ribbon. (I didn't purchase anything) This is a great finish to your products and a very inexpensive and eco-friendly way to add that finishing touch to your handmade products.
Materials needed for this Project.
*scissors (not your good Pair)
*scrap 2 x 12 strip of scrapbook paper (you can make 6 strips from one page, Perfect when your scrapbooking stores have paper marked down to 5 for $1)
*Other emblishments that you choose.
*Glue (your choice, elmers, rubber cement or a glue stick)

1. Trace your pattern on the outside of your box, Leave the brown on the inside. I found my pattern HERE. Size your pattern to meet your needs. I cut one of the folded notches out and just fliped it around 4 times to make my notches. You could also print 2 patterns one for the outside and one for the insides. My Boxes are about 4 1/2 x 6

2. Cut out your pattern, and score your folding marks. I scored mine by pressing hard when tracing, and backing my box with a thick cardboard. It really made scoring super easy.

3. Glue down the flap. I set a heavy object on top of it while I traced and trimmed the other boxes.

4. Fold down your edges. I used my 1" circle punch to make the notches at the end but you can just trace and trim those notches if you don't have a circle punch.
All that is left is to decorate. You can make you can make your packaging as fancy or as understated as you want.

Today I counted the boxes in my recycle bin and I have about 7. Some I could make 2 Boxes from some I can make 1. If I owned my own handmade business that would be about 10 FREE boxes a week. A great TIP would be to trim out your boxes and store in a place out of the
way. Be sure to put your left over trimmings back in your recycle bin.

I embellished this box with 2 different types of paper, a tulle flower and paper rose flower. Just to show you can go overboard with your packaging if you wish.
I chose this paper because it matches the box perfectly. I used some thin embroidery floss to wrap the package. I used my 1" circle punch to make a small tag. You could stamp an image or write "thank you" on this tag. It is up to you.

I used a clear label on the package and couldn't see it as well as the label printed on white paper.
But I think the over all appearance matches my blog perfectly.

I could have just used cardstock and paper I purchased but I really wanted to make this project for inexpensively as Possible, and as GREEN as possible. I would love to see your pillow boxes if you make this craft I would like to see it. Post a link in a comment or email it to me.

Here are some I saw online that were just tooooo cute.


Monday, May 23, 2011

A Few Do's and Don'ts

When representing your business on the web via your blog or other social media outlets here are a few guidelines. These are going to be hard to hear.

1. DO NOT revel your political positions on the politics or current events. YIKES did that hurt.

While your political position is an important aspect of who you are you don't want to offend any potential customers. Today's handmade business owners find themselves celebrating great success all over the US and beyond. (I have sold products to customers in London, Canada, Australia, and Malaysia.) I gaurentee they would not purchased from me if I expressed my political beliefs, or maybe they would. Either way it is important not say.

On your business blog try not to follow any political websites publicly. Unless your business caters to a particular population. For example if your Etsy shop sells Religious Catholic merchandise, I can understand following a relgious cathloic organization or blog publiclly........ BUT if you sell jewelry and you follow an atheists site and it is branded all over your blog.... Expect to drive customers away rather than draw them in.

On facebook and twitter be sure not to make your daily posts about What the hell "politician"was thinking on press conference even if it seems to be a popular opinion. Your business facebook page and twitter account is a platform to post your business information and not a place for polictical debate. DO post thoughts and prayers for Earthquake and national disaster victims. Even go as far as to maybe letting folks know that a portion of your proceeds (to the red cross) are going to help such disasters. (make sure it is going to happen, what an awful thing if no donation is made) If I see an artist I like I may go ahead and make a purchase for a charity.

If you sell green or eco products. Make sure you are not posting about something you did that wasn't environmentally friendly.

I personally don't follow sites or purchase from shops who are constantly posting their political opinions. Whether I agree or not.

2. AVOID making comments on blogs, facebook posts, twitter posts, and emails about your a customer or person getting on your nerves. It is a matter to be kept private, or in a feedback comment. Even if the other person is participating in cyber bulling keep your composure. If you participate in back and forth banter you will be the one looking like a fool in the end and your business with suffer. If you are a mom, your kids are watching how you are handling things. Are you taking your own advice about cyber bulling? Of course if you keep it all business, and less personal you will not have any problems. Unless someone is jealous because you are so awesome they want your success, so take any attacks as a pat on the back for your great success.

As proud as you may be of your city and region. Don't put down a particular city or region. ****On a side note. I am from Texas. I take all Ani TEXAS comments personally YALL***
At the same time I love to hear about things going on in other parts of the country and beyond. I am so jealous when I see your snow photos. It is perfectly acceptable to share your regions culture. EVEN more so if it helps sell your products.

Do not hit any other hot buttons with respect to social media. This includes off-color comments, bad language, raunchy jokes etc. That is content not to post. What may seem like an innocent post on social media could shed a bad light on us if what we are posting is any way offensive to someone else who might read it. Remember, if you are using social media for business, the idea is to attract others not send them running for the hills. Do not post something you don't want the whole wide world to see forever. That may sound silly but as human beings we sometimes run on emotions. What we post can stay there for all prosperity. If you aren't sure you will feel the same way tomorrow, it's better not to post it. Take a deep breath, sit on your fingers or hide your computer keyboard if you have to. Anything that could be viewed as unflattering or negative is best left off your social media outlets.

3. DO NOT solely blast out sales messages by social media. If that is all you ever do, you are missing the boat. Social media is also about attraction and engagement. No one likes to be sold all the time. This is a fact that is true in both business and life. There are many other ways to add value to your social media content that work to attract more people instead of repel them and we will cover some here. Do not become a spammer. If it is spam, feels like spam or even has a hint of spam, it's best not to post it. Spam is spam no matter how you slice it and no one likes that diet. One general rule to use is that if you would not want to receive it or would consider it spam, do not send it.

DO talk about yourself and what makes what you have to offer special. You are special. TALK ABOUT Some beautiful fabric you saw at..... Share a product you found while web surfing....Share a great idea for your home or business..... BE a customer purchase something from another handmade business and give a comment......Talk about your kids winning a spelling bee or getting all A's...There are several things you can do to make things not so cold but professional at the same time. It depends on your business.

I personally have a weakness of awful grammar and tons of misspellings. It is something I really try hard to work on. I hope that I don't loose any potential customers because they feel I am not competent enouph to be their designer if I can misspell a simple word. I know that I am constantly working on improving. We all have our weakness. Sometimes my store name Vampire Craftin draws folks away. BUT I do love vampires, my last name is BITENC (biteneck) and I am always asked to REVAMP logos. No need to make it worse by not following the guidelines above.

If you need any more help or advice you can always ask my friend on Sammi She has a talent for launching business in to the next level.

What do you think? Did I miss anything?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Finding logo Inspiration

You can find inspiration for your shop appearance and logo anywhere. You can inspired from the city you live in, your culture, your product, or a handmade greeting card. I often receive photos just like this one from customers who want me to be inspired by the image to create the perfect logo for their business.

I was blog hopping the other day and loved this card. I just love the colors. It is a custom design by Sampin' Pretty she has awesome card designs, and since she is a stampin up consultant you will know exactly where to find the products she designs with. You can also find tutorials on her blog as well. Follow her newsletters so you don't miss anything.

With this inspiration I designed this Etsy shop great for any handmade business. It is not an exact duplicate. I just used it for inspiration.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How to edit your Navigation Bar.

A common feature on blogs is a horizontal navigation bar just above your blog's banner. Here's a tutorial to show you how to change that bar's appearance. Some bloggers find that the Navigation bar can clash with their design or if it is to light it can't be seen. For blogger the bars contains valuable information such as your Dashboard, log in, Design button and more. You want to be able to see this feature.

To Edit this bar click on Design in On your Navigation bar. When
your design screen pops up click on EDIT. This will give you the options that are available.

Choose a bar that works best for your blog. Don't forget to save.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What are those number signs On Twitter?

What are those # number signs On Twitter? I often get asked this question.

The hash marks or hash tags (#) before a word in a post allows you to tag that post for that word. However, in order to get tracked via a hash tag, you need to opt-in and follow Once you’re following Hashtags, every time you make a post in Twitter and tag it with a hash mark. For example If you are a handmade business and you sell hair bows or tutus you might want to put a HASH MARK or # in front of that key word so anyone searching for that product would find you.

If you then visit, you can click on any tag and it will show you all of the posts that have been tagged with that keyword.

I use the term “keyword” with a grain of salt since some of the tags aren’t keywords in the sense that you know them related to search engine optimization, because some of the tags are completely non-sensical in nature. And although you can get a complete list of words that have been tagged on the site, there is no way (at least currently) to search for a specific tag.

Here are some sites you might find useful.

  • – Twubs are groups of words using the hashtag in Twitter. It’s kind of a neat little site so I’d check it out.
  • – This site is useful as well. It helps you understand what those Hashtags mean. For instance the hastag #TLS means “The Love Stories”. All kinds of goodies here and you can even help define them yourself.
  • – This helps you follow Hashtag trends.

How to set up a Twitter account

What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service, that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.

First you must set up an account. For your handmade business you will want to be consistent when selecting your name. Select the same name on your etsy shop, facebook shop, and twitter accounts have the same name.
You can find me at @vampirecraftin My twitter account is just for my craft blog and I love following all of my favorite shows on twitter as well. Twitter is great about walking you threw the steps. Just take is slow, and you will get the hang of it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How to set up a Facebook Fan Page

With today's handmade business a personal connection and interaction is at an all-time high due to the increased use of social media tools like facebook and twitter. On one scrollable newsfeed page, a potential customer can see what is going on with your business at a glance, and get immediate feeback on your product or services. Facebook enables you to build trust through informative updates, pictures, videos, and timely responses to consumer questions. Fan pages are visible to everyone, regardless of them holding a Facebook account or not. If you send an email or Tweet (from Twitter) which includes a link to your Facebook page, anyone will be able to view your page. Facebook provides analytics and ‘like’ widgets to keep you informed of the weekly number of visitors to your page along with their gender, age range, location, and language spoken. By posting relevant information from your blog or website on your Facebook page, you will point Facebook visitors back to your Web site and gain more traction with a highly engaged target audience.

With all of these benefits and virtually no risk or cost, there is no reason why your small business should not have a Facebook page. Of course, you’ve got to commit. Starting a page and abandoning it may have a negative effect on your clients and potential clients.

Here is a great tutorial for you to follow to set up a fan page.

Monday, May 2, 2011

qr codes for the handmade business

Here is my Code. Give it a scan.

If you’re not familiar with QR codes, they’re similar to the barcodes. We all shop so we have seen bar codes at our favorite retailer. The key difference between the two is the amount of data they can hold or share.
When you scan a QR code with your iPhone, Android or other camera-enabled Smartphone, the image will kick back information from the QR code.  The information shown is up to YOU...In order to read a QR code. You must install a free QR code reader on your phone. The QR codes have the ability to hold information and their ease of use makes them practical for small businesses.
So how can you use a QR Code to promote your handmade business? Let me count the ways:
  • Print out a sign and display it at your craft fair. This will allow your foot traffic to take a digital business card. Works with Google Places (or a simlair site) so when folks tweet their location....You will generate web traffic.
  • Did I mention this is VERY VERY GREEN.  As a person that hates to waste.... my heart breaks when someone has a GREEN or ECO friendly business and they waste so much in product packaging, and business cards that just lay one the table and will more than likely be tossed in the trash.  The Small business Association states that you get 1 customer from passing out 10 business just passing them out.  The return is much higher for customers who have made purchases and receive a business card.
  • You can even post all of your contact information and when a customer scans your QR CODE your contact information can go straight into their phone address book. HOW COOL IS THAT
  • Great way to build up social media traffic.
  • Use as a digital business card for potential customers you meet on the go. If you sell something you wear out. When you get a complement. Have something for that person to SCAN
  • Use as coupons for Sales or specials.
  • On your CAR, because no one ever has a pen or the time to wright down your information.
  • All of your brochure or marketing materials. Even your price tags.
  • Your Blog address
  • A blog hop would be so fun with QR codes.
The possibilities are endless. Do you have a QR code for your handmade business? Get one...They are the future. Start out small with your web addresses, etsy shop address, blog... and build it up as you are more comfortable. Take this nerds word for it. USE THIS....It is FREE you have nothing to loose...

Here is a simple QR code Generator. EASY to use. When you generate your code If you click on the buttons Watch or Download that is NOT what you want. It is easy to make that mistake. You only want the code. I checked out several generators and this was the best one.

If you Don't have a smart phone but you want to read a QR code. Here is a QR code reader.
Did you use a QR Code if so how....What do you think?

If you feel comfortable use Jumpscan I can do a long explaination but it is a QR code on crack.