Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tax Time

It’s rolling around again. So I thought I’d spend a little time and remind folks about those things that can save them taxes.
If you happen to hold down a job, as well as working your crafts, you can file 2 forms:your regular 1040 or 1040a as well as the schedule C for business. There is so much, you can deduct through the business, you might just as well see how it works out. Right? :)
If you’re working out of the home, and even if you don’t but you keep books at home, you have a deduction, right there, for the business portion of the home expenses.
Uncle Sam, specifies that the space you use for tax deductions, can’t be used for anything but the business. So quarter off a section that’s just for your crafting, measure that space and claim it for the business.
From outside, measure the house and get the square footage. Then determine the square footage of your workspace (claimed). Let’s say you have a home measuring 2000 square feet and you use a small room, measuring 12X12 = 144 Square feet. Divide the 144 by 2000 to get 7%. 7% of the total overhead, is used strictly for business.
Now let’s say you burn 2 lightbulbs for an average of 2 hours per day. This takes a lot of estimating. Estimate, what percentage of the total electricity, is being used by those 2 lightbulbs. If your 2 lightbulbs is only about 10% of the total light bulbs being used in the house, then determine what percentage your lights would be for the total electrical use. Let’s say you run the dishwasher once a day, the clothes washer and dryer once a day, the vacuum once a week, the TV and average of 4 hours a day and the computer and average of 2 hours a day. I’d say those 2 lightbulbs are running somewhere in the ballpark of 2% of the total electricity. I’d take that 2% of every electric bill and claim it as a deduction.
Keep receipts for everything you use in your crafts. Right down to the scotch tape, ball point pen, paper, computer use, the gas to go get these supplies, replacement light bulbs, cleaning supplies.
Now how much do you use your car for business? Break that down to wear and tear on the car, plus the gas. It takes some brain cells but it’s worth every penny.
Now how about that lamp you use. Are you using it for the household or strictly for your crafts? If you’re using a lamp strictly for your crafts (crafts you intend to sell in your business), sign it over to the business and then depreciate it on your taxes. The table? Has it been absorbed by the business? Turn it over to ownership by the business and depreciate it.
Every penny you spend, in the name of creating for profit, is a deduction. Postage stamps, postage,and every supply or material.
If you’ve had a bad year, and spent more than you made back, you have a huge tax deduction that will lower your taxes all the more, giving you a bigger refund.
If you give something away, in the name of advertising or promotion, it’s deductible for it’s full retail value.
Put on your thinking cap, before you approach the taxes. Make a list of every piece of equipment, that is used strictly for the business: table, chair, rug,computer,paper,lamps, clamps,bottles,jars (seriously) pens and pencils, any patterns or reading materials (used for education in your niche), webpage hosting, bandaids, magnifying glasses, every hand tool….if donated by you to the business, depreciate it on your taxes.
Did you put product in a shop, the shop went out of business and you lost out on your product or any money for it….it’s a loss…list the loss. A water leak ruined your velvet? It’s a loss, list it. You went to a show and somebody walked off with one of your products without paying for it? It’s a loss, list it. You provided a sales rep with samples and he flew the coop? It’s a loss. List the full retail price.
Are you a ceramist? Do you make your own molds? Those molds have value, even if you made it yourself. That mold is a tool. Depreciate it. Make your own master blocks? That master block is not only a tool, it’s a copyright. Depreciate it. Without it, you’d lose out on business.
The point is to think as a business, not a hobbiest. If you’re in the business of selling your crafts, you’re in business. Don’t miss out of saved money.

Do I have to have a business license to claim it on my taxes?

For the sake of taxes, you don’t have to have a business license but you do need some sort of claim to business.
The first order of business, should be a separate bank account, strictly for your business. It doesn’t have to be a business account, you can also have a personal account for your business, by listing your name along with ‘dba Your business name’.
Keeping careful books for the business, is important. If the IRS ever comes to visit, they will be looking for the ‘business books’.
You don’t have to be formal, to be considered a business.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Safety Law affecting Crafter's producing childrens Items

There is a new safety law passed that needs your attention. If you produce any product for children under the age of 12, you need to pay attention to this new law.

You can read the content of the bill at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-4040


excerpt from cafemom



“We are doing everything we can to have it modified to include us, to be fair to us.. but at this point, we are being treated the same as big industry.. and while this will not affect them substantially, it WILL affect us. Hundreds, if not thousands, of crafters across our country will be put out of business. Those crafters are not only an intregal part of not only the local economy but they supply quality handmade goods as an alternative to mass produced and wasteful big box store goods. They will not be able to do what they do anymore if this law does not add an amendment for us. “



You can read the full article at http://www.cafemom.com/journals/read/1320853/H_R_4040_the_CPSIA_truth_

Sign a petition http://nationalbankruptcyday.com/

Another site for contacting elected officials and sending letters http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html

This is a costly law, for the small time manufacturer (crafters) and needs our attention.

True, this only affects those making items for children, but this should concern all crafter’s. In this law, we are included with huge manufacturers.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Hardest Thing to do To Our Own Crafted Products

There are times when we simply have to be business minded, especially when we look to our own crafting as a means of income.

I love my knitting machine and boy, can I design clothing to fit any body. I love designing for the knitting and I adore some of those yarns. But, there was just one problem with it, it didn’t sell. I haven’t been able to spend time with my knitting machine, since 1987. I miss it, you bet but there are other concerns on the front burner.

There are so many crafty subjects, I’ve had to leave behind, things I love doing, simply because they didn’t pay.

That’s the hardest thing, when it comes to making any kind of living off your crafts. If you can’t stand back and look at the overall picture, you doomed to playing with your hobbies instead of succeeding as a crafter.

Checking out the booths at craft shows, isn’t going to help you either. You don’t know how well, those folks are doing.

Sit back and think. Make a list of every craft you can do, including the ones you’re not very good with. Among all that talent, what projects could you work with, perfect, that could provide that ‘great excuse to buy’? Coat rack, jewelry containment,bathroom organization,dresser top organization,kitchen organization, warmth, bedding, durability, reminders, that sort of thing. Call this utilitarian.

Thinking utilitarian, what (of your talents or designs) can you apply to make an item also art?

Once you’ve decided what sort of item, and the design, start practicing and perfecting. What ever you do, strive to be the best in that field. Experiment with color combinations. Work for those ‘oohs and aahs’ from the neighbors and friends.

Any item, you can offer in small, medium and large, do so. There is always the buyer who truly desires to buy but can’t afford the large one. Bring your product down to fit the market, instead of asking the market to fit your product. In these trying times, is no time for outright experiments just to see if it will sell.

Sometimes, we have to leave our own desires behind, in exchange for success.

Times are getting tough

Will it affect you?  


As crafter's, we already know that Christmas to mid summer is pretty much dead. So how will you survive these months?  


If you have the means to do it, I'd suggest checking out the national shows. If you happen to have a quality product, this is the place to make connections with wholesale buyers.


Some of us are ready for this step and some are not. For those who are not, this is the time to reflect.  


First, lets deal with the small, at home worker, with no expansion money or with no desire to expand. The next couple of months is a good time to reflect. How well did your product move last year? Did you make profit, or did you barely cover your costs?  


If your product was well received and you did make a profit, what can you do to offer more for the money, this year? What tweak, can you add to make your product more desirable? Is it possible to make your product more utilitarian? More polished, more finished looking? Is it possible to lower your costs? Is it possible to cut your man hours?  


If your product was not well received, now is the time to ask why. Is it possible that your product is not 'necessary' enough? People are tightening the belt and it's time to think in that pattern.  


If your product was not well received, it's time to think 'new product', but before you go off in that direction, examine what traits were appealing about your present product. Possibly the theme? Was it color?  


Let's say your theme was a cute little pig and everybody just went nuts over the design but didn't buy. Now let's say your product was strictly decorative. What can you do with that same theme and make something utilitarian. Something so useful, it helps with clutter in the kitchen or bathroom. How about other ideas, like a 2 tiered trivet for the dining table or a toilet paper holder or a special rack for spices? Something that gives a better excuse to spend the money, by providing a solution to a need.  
 


For those with the means to expand, the means to grow and push your business. 


This is the time to investigate the national shows. Which ones can report to you; the gross sales, the number of vendors during that gross sales. Check out crafting boards, with chatter about those shows. Are there any complaints? If possible, contact one of the vendors and ask if the show was a success.  


Once you've decided which show and signed up, get ready. Not only do you need a good showing of the variety of design or colors, that you offer (mass produced) but you also need to think carefully about your display. 


Remember things like 'blue brings out the sheen of silver or crystal' and 'white is best for multicolor'. The slightest things, make a difference.  


Get swatches of varying materials and see how they display your product, under vague lighting, like overhead florescent. What kind of light do you need, to set off your product. Work to make your product glow. 


Remember, you may wind up in the middle of a row, surrounded by all sorts of colors and shapes and 'crowds'. Crowds (purses, bags, strollers, noise) hurts your sales. Bring them inside the booth. 


Make your booth inviting, let your possible buyers come inside, out of the scramble. Present yourself and your product. Have brochures or large cards with your story, the story of your product, etc. Have handy price lists for the wholesale buyer. Offer individualized product, be willing to make small changes for large orders. Offer corporate gifts.(even in this economy, they still have those Hawaiian conventions)


Do not price your products for the retail market. Make your buyer ask. If an individual, buying retail, if they don't ask, they don't have the money anyway. If a wholesale buyer, they would prefer the retail market not see prices.  


Be sure to price your products, with wholesale in mind, to cover your materials/labor/overhead/plus a profit. Don't cut off your nose and remember you will be offering bulk discounts.  


If you have any of your product (which is being offered at the show), already in a shop somewhere, ask that shop owner for permission to take a couple photos of your product, sitting on their shelf. Use those photos to push the marketability of your product. Include those photos, in your brochure or a stand up display.  


Stand up displays, sitting behind your product on your show table, is a great way to display varieties of use or settings, for your product, without having to build displays that show off these varying settings.  


You have a lot of work, just getting ready for this show. It's your shot for the wholesale market and for expansion. Make the most of it. Be professional. Be proud of your product. Be ready with company headings on order forms, 3 copy so as to hand the customer his copy and still have 2, for yourself. Have plenty of business cards and copies of your large cards or brochures, with easy ways to make an order. Include all information, such as shipping costs and discounts. Qualify your buyers.  


For special orders, you want a deposit to cover your costs, in the event something happens and the order fails. You never know.  


Personally, I think it's better to wear quality clothing, than to 'dress the part', such as colonial dresses and bonnets. This is a wholesale market, you're after and they are business people. They are only interested in you, as a business minded person and not your personality. Of course, it's great to be friendly but not so friendly, you look like a patsy.  


In all that you do, it's not 'Me', it's 'My people'. It's nobody's business, if you work out of your garage. That garage is your 'studio', your 'warehouse', your 'workshop', your 'factory'.  


Don't be afraid to go for the quality buyer. They are there, I promise. While it's true, most of the franchised shops are buying from company warehouses that buy from China, there are also high end shop owners, who look forward to certain shows each year. I'd say to look for that good buyer, who is that one out of each 100, passing by your booth. Don't worry about those 99. :)  


If you're going to spend the entry fee, anyway, you might as well go for it 100% and arrange for your tables and lighting and display. All or nothing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Drawing Your Attention to the New Group

We have a new group for craft business discussions. Click on the title of this blog. :)

How to Start

OK, so now the question is out there. How do I start?


Let's say you make a little doll. Let's get down to the nitty gritty and say 'clothespin dolls'.


There's hardly a market for something like a clothespin doll but that's what you make and you wonder if there is any possible way.


Actually, there is but you have to get even more creative. If you don't have the money to get someone to design and make you a heavy paper or cardboard display, maybe you can make the first one to get started. How about a heavy paper (something about half the thickness of cardboard. You've seen those displays.) Using the colored side, use a cookie cutter or any cylinder the right size, to use as a guide while you cut out holes with a Xacto blade. What you're creating is a display, to stand up your little dolls. Like those you see at the gas station, displaying cigarette lighters. You want to stand your little dolls, all in neat rows.


Fold the paper, so that it forms a shallow box, the sides and back folded down, to raise the display board up off the table. Then attach a back board that stands up behind the display. Just use solid colors to get you started.


Now you have a display. Fill that display with your best work then take a look at it. More impressive, isn't it.

Now let's say there is a gift shop nearby that can help you to sample out the product. That's exactly what you're going to ask, "Can we go at this more like consignment, long enough to test out this product. I need your help." There's bound to be at least one little shop that will give it a try. As long as they don't have to feel obligated, in case something happens, they will be more open to the idea.

Either that or a craft show, where you can set the display at the front of your table, to sample out the product.

You see, you just might have a product that nobody values, the way you do. If that's the case, you don't want to waste your time. Better to just make them as Christmas ornaments to give out, next year. If you're serious about wanting to make a living, using your own talents, don't invest in a dead product.

That, by the way, is my own terminology when designing a new product. Is it a 'go' or is it 'dead'? If it's a dead product from the get-go, I don't want to have anything to do with it. I'm not in the business of wasting money and time.

You literally have to be your own worst critic. At the same time, you have to give the product half a chance. Imagine it sitting on a shop shelf, along side other products similar. Will it look like junk or would it fit in nicely?

If you have a product that might sit in nicely, and compare with similar products, then run with it but don't bank on anything until you see that product perform for you.

One of the best ways to test out your product, is through friends, relatives and neighbors. Ask them, flat out, what would you pay for this item? Would it be desirable if you saw it in a shop? Would you ever want to collect them? Run this survey past as many people, as you can, before investing too much in it. Oh yeah, and be sure to tell your friends to be cruely honest.

So let's say you have a product that has come through scrutiny with flying colors but you don't have the money for things like shows. Can you make enough of the product, to make a nice display in a shop? Then go visiting to find the shop that will help you test out your product - sort of like partnership.

I've done it and with a very nice shop, in the bottom floor of an upscale hotel. All I had to do was talk with the owner. I let her know I was sampling the market. If she could handle just a few of a new design, and handle it like consignment (actually, we settled on handling it like an outright wholesale delivery BUT collection would happen after a few sales). This way, she didn't have to keep special books for me. I came back a couple weeks later, with more product, and to check on progress. She had sold everything I brought, I wrote out a receipt for her and she cut me a check on the spot. This way, she could handle it just like all her other buying.

Then one day, I took her a sampling of 2 sleep masks, for some folks across the country from me. I just told her, the folks wanted to test the market here and we could handle this the same way. That way, there was no problem with her tagging them and putting them out for sale. If they sold, she'd be buying them wholesale, when she saw me again and if not, I'd collect them and return them to the owners.

You have to be honest about what you're doing. It's not a sales pitch, it's a mini-partnership, to test the product. Most shop owners are willing to help, especially.....especially if you can promise them and exclusive, within a certain territory, in exchange for their help. They have competition and there's only so many ways to get out ahead. This is just one way to help them out, in exchange.

If you find yourself with a product that's moving, not only do you have your first wholesale outlet but you have testimony for the next shop. Go outside that promised exclusive territory, find a shop suitable for your product, and go visit. Tell them how well it's selling at 'so and so's shop'. Go from there and keep working it.

If you find that you can set up at a show, some day, make sure you aren't crossing your own customers. Don't sell the same product within that promised exclusive territory, right under their nose. If you do, you lose that outlet. Back scratching, all the way. Be friends with your customers and be on their side.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This was all my bright idea, I know

I'm beginning to wonder where my knight in shining armour went. I mean just because the going got tough, didn't mean he had to vanish into distant dream land. Right? Oh wait.....

I remember...this was my bright idea.

Now, if I remember right, this started back in 2006, after I got off the truck and came home. After driving 7 days a week, right through the holidays, for the past 4 years, taking an average of 3 days a year off at home, I suddenly found myself sitting like a stump and trying to remember what life was all about.

Let's see....I'll start with the right foot and see what happens next. :) No kidding, it was almost that bad.

Being so used to sleeping round constant noise; either my own truck idling, a reefer unit running, a truck stop full of idling trucks and reefers, slamming doors and street walkers banging on the truck half the night, I found it hard to sleep. It was too QUIET!!!! OK so the TV all night helped. There's an old joke about the truck driver coming home and having his wife sit on the side of the bed to keep it idling so the driver can get some sleep.

It took me 2 weeks, to start getting a grip on daily life again. The first thing I did was look around me to see what I could do to help around the house. The place got torn up, turned around and re-organized, shifted, shelved, what ever. Then there was all my ceramics business equipment, molds and tools, stored under the deck.

It all got reboxed, repaired, reorganized, thrown away, what ever! Ok so now I was tired. :)

There was this neat deck, out the back door (mountain living and a house built on a hill) and it was a great sunny spot to sit and write. I went down to Walmart and got one of those self standing umbrellas. I loved my umbrella and spent the majority of the day, sitting under it. Aah nice.

My grown daughter said, "You've always wanted to write. This is your chance". hmmmm It was a funny thing, but while I was tearing up my grandson's bedroom, feeling sorry that half my office stuff was stored in the corner in boxes, I happened across some old flopply discs.

One of them was labeled 'Mold Book' and I got curious. I couldn't remember what I had done almost 10 years prior. There it was, a whole book on 4 floppies, an instruction book about making ceramic molds. I remembered some photos I had taken for the book. hmmmm

On my trucking travels, I had picked up a Travel Scan and started using it to scan all those old pics. Now everything was rolling along, without my really thinking about it. I completed the book I had started so long ago. Now what?hmmmm

I headed out to the printer place and had them print out some copies, then I made little booklets...no wait....I had them do it. Well, I made a few and decided it was easier for them to do it.

I uploaded a pic of the cover onto ebay and listed it under an auction. Low and behold it sold. hmmmmmmm So I did it again.

I got a message, through ebay, from a young lady asking 'will this book help me to know what to do with a bunch of ceramic molds, my grandmother left me?' The answer was, "No but give me a sec". The next day, I uploaded a pic of the cover of the new instruction booklet, with illustrations. Dang, it sold!hmmmm

Well, now I had a problem. Teaching folks how to make molds, and talking about how to grow their business, meant they would need to know how to make their own master blocks, so that they could mass produce molds, so they could continue forever with turning out their own mass produced ceramics. So the next day, I uploaded a pic of the new instruction booklet, with illustrations and it sold on ebay.

So! Huh! Blink, blink. With instruction booklets, selling on ebay, I wondered what other mess I could get myself into. :)

Being a Christian and loving to write, I began writing articles for a Christian writer's website.

Pretty soon, I was building my own website. Why pay ebay? I wrote about the books and began selling through the website. Printing and mailing off the booklets, started getting to be quite a hassle and the decision was made, one day, to go all efile. That worked out great, because not only did it relieve me of a lot of work, it was cheaper on both ends.

Somewhere along the line, I started remembering the reasons I stopped working the ceramics and mold making and got mad, all over again. For sure, I didn't have the energy, any more, to keep up with the rat race but I sure could go to bat for other crafter's, who still needed to overcome the problems of marketing. Hey! Why waste the knowledge?

Let's see, now. I'll add an rss of my pics from the highway. You can see some of the things I saw along the way. Whether I ever go back on the road, remains to be seen. I've already had to go back for this past year. Yeah :) I was working the internet while on the road. My laptop goes with me everywhere and I've been constantly working toward building an online name, since 2006 (off and on). My last post on this blog, pretty much explains why. I've had you in mind for a long time, now.

I'll keep writing and posting and building. As long as I don't have to get up and spend all my time doing somebody else's work. :)

Market Yourself Not Your Product

Think about it. Who is your competition? Look on the shelves of your local mega store. When it comes to anything you can possible craft, how many of those items are stolen design? Where do you think those designs came from?


Here's an example.

This is the large Sunface nightlight, I designed in 1991. I showed it to one of my outlets, which happened to be a wholesale manufacturer, themselves. It was too big for their nightlight boxes.



I went back to the shop and shrunk down the size of 4 different night light designs, this one included.


This is a pic
of the Sunface magnet I designed. I don't seem to have a pic on the computer, of the small Sunface night light.
I made the first mold off that smaller sized Sunface night light, completed one whole piece and showed it to my customer. Why, I don't know, but they never did order this particular night light, although they did order quite a few of my other designs for night lights.
Very few people ever saw that smaller size. I did let a couple of local tourist shops try them out. About a year after I first began turning it out to the public, I walked into a Target store and there, just about had a heart attack.
In their little decor section, where you find things like small planters, was my night light design. Not as a night light, at all, but in blue clear glass, attached to the face of a candle holder. Not only had somebody just taken a print off the face of my night light, they didn't bother to change my litte mistake. So there it was, mistake and all. Where did this item come from? China!

You think the Chinese are just so infatuated with America, that they come here for vacations? Naw, people....they are infringing on the locals, picking up your products in the stores, taking them home and copying them to sell right back in our faces.

Here was my own design, stolen and being sold to my home front market. In my face. So who are we selling our hard work to?

I learned the hard way that when I designed something new, I had to sit on it, hide it even from my own customers, until I had a market large enough to flood my own home front market, hard enough and fast enough to have a name attached to that product, before China came to visit. Not only that but I had to beat their prices before they had half a chance to undercut my market with my own designs.

Does that turn your stomach? It sure does mine. Now when it came to music, our whole government got in on the infringing thing and threatened China. You think our government was going to care about one little lady in the middle of NM? Uh uh, I was fresh meat. That's just one of the reasons I finally quit feeding the enemy by stopping, all together.

So here's my point. To you, it's a small time local market. To your business competitor, it' a world market. They have and will take your product away from you, steal and walk on your face.
So where is the defense? YOU! Your name, your face, your reputation.

If you make jewelry, put your name on it some way, somehow and wear it. Turn yourself into a walking display and when you take pictures of your jewelry, model it. Put your face with your product. Put your reputation with the product. BE there! Let your market know, without having to say it, that to buy from you is to buy quallity and a name behind the product. That you stand behind your product while China won't be there for your customer. That China turns out crap replica's and you have the original.

If you make wood toys, be sure your name is on it. Make hang tags that brag about your expertise, tell the world all about yourself, where your shop is, what a wonderful person you are. YOU!

Remember the quilt of old. The quilt that still serves the family after 3 generations. And remember the rag tag fake quilt from Walmart and how they wear out and the seams fall apart Sell that!

Sell-my product is an investment even for your grand children while cheap knock offs, are meerly and investment for the next year or two. Sell THAT!

In every creative way, you can think off, get the word out that buying cheap China knock offs, has helped to ruin the economy of our own country. Don't bash people on the head. Find ways to drop the hint. "I build quality in my product, to make it last for generations"

Another thing, in every possible way, make each item distinct. Think collectibles from the get go by numbering pieces, maybe even dates and signatures.

You've heard it for years, "perfect your product". Always strive towards perfection. China won't. Why do I pick on China, when there are so many other countries doing the same thing? I suppose because of that dumb piece of blue glass that set me back on my heels, one day. It can, and probably has, happened to you.

Now get this. You have the same sort of problem on the internet. On the ground, your competition covers you up with quantity and selling to the 'big boys'. On the internet, your competition couldn't care less about your product; they care about your traffic.

Your competition, on the internet, isn't another crafter doing the same thing, it's the guy building hundreds of fake websites, using names and titles that sound like your crafty competitor, simply to get traffic to their page full of ads. I call it spamming in a mega way. They steal your traffic by getting up there on the number one page of the search, looking for your product.

In other words, somebody types in 'childrens wooden toys' (how much more detailed can you get?).That first page that pops up, will be half filled with fake websites, not yours.

While I was searching for crafter's to join in on the network at Judy's Corner, I discovered that more than half of the directories out there, AND the webrings, for artist's and crafter's, had among the list, huge numbers of fake websites. You try it. Go on a search of crafter's in http://dir.webring.com/rw
just browse through the crafty rings and see what you find. Like me, your blood will boil. These fake websites are stealing your traffic. Do half those crafter's understand who their neighbors are on those rings?

So how do we battle that one? By doing what I've been working on. Collecting the crafter's into a site that does care what's happening, by building a name on the internet, by flooding the internet with our collective name, by telling our story.

I'll tell you what I've been doing. You wouldn't believe what it takes. Check out these sites, all by me.
I'm constantly submitting about the crafter's corner here http://www.reddit.com/
and that's not all, I just can't think of them all right now. :)

Why am I doing this? NAME!!!!! I post ads, comments on blogs, belong to google and all their programs that help to spread the name. All with links that bring traffic into a circle and right through the Crafter's Corner, where they will accidently bump into your links to your products.
And it doesn't just take that! I'm working on a name on the internet that people constantly just bump into. Every bump, bringing the traffic we need, straight to our front door. It's the only way, we are going to overcome what the greedy fake websites have done to us.

To be a crafter, these days, takes thinking ahead of the mega competitor. It takes neighbors, shows and local shops. It takes the internet and selling on every possible avenue. It takes thinking ahead of the 'alligator'. An alligator is something you feed and feeds on you.

Realtors call a house that sells for more than it's worth, an alligator. Why? Because before you can realize any appreciation in value, you have to feed that alligator for years, to overcome the value versus sales price. Let's say you buy a house for $100K but the actual market value is only $90K. What's more, the balance on the loan is $93K. Where does that leave you? If the appreciation rate is only 5% per year, how long will it be before you come out ahead? In the meantime, that house is 'eating your ass'. An alligator.

So today's crafter has an alligator to deal with. If they design something new and unique, you have to get out ahead of the greedy thief and today, that greedy theif lies overseas and doing business on your own neighborhood corner. Now that's an alligator.

So think wisely. BRAND your product and get it out there faster than the theives can steal your market. Name, name, name! When people see your product on the shelf, they need to invision your name, your town, your reputation. That's what we have, to push our product, in the face of the alligator.

For me, what this boils down to is; keep putting out the name on the net (both for myself and for my crafter's), collecting hundreds of crafters so that our online presence becomes immense. By immenseness, itself, we can bring more eyes to our own personal sites and products. So come join us. :)
I'm mostly retired. Now is my chance to help with these things. I'm not holding down an 8 hour a day job so why not put my time to use? Right?

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Feeds

At the bottom of the page, you'll find other feeds that I've incorportated into my blog. You might find them interesting.

If you click on a link, right click and chose 'open in new window', if you want to keep this page open.

We'll have to do it that way until I can figure out how to get the links to open in a separate window.

Everybody have a wonderful Christmas!

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About Me

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I'm a grandmother of 1, a ceramist, a ceramic mold maker, a truck driver and writer.

I'm also a webmaster of many and have several blogs.

I help others in designing product, make custom molds and I still do restorations.