Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Designs!

I now have new designs out! I have added three boy designs: puppy dogs, baseballs, and blue and white plaid! I also have another girl print out: black with pink dots! So cute! If you haven't already, visit my studio, and take a look around!

I am going to be busy today preparing for Zoey's first birthday party on Saturday, so I will post more after this weekend!

And while I have you here, follow my other blog, The Secret In My Life! You can find the link on the top left side of this site!

Let's be positive today!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Join Me!

I have begun a second blog, entitled The Secret In My Life! It is focused on how I am learning and applying The Secret to my life! To get it started, I have begun a 30 Day Visualization Challenge! Follow me on The Secret In My Life blog, and join me with your own 30 Day Challenge!

As for Heart N Sew Designs, I am finishing up about two dozen more toddler bibs this week, with a goal set to finish 10 today! I am very grateful for every one of my followers and look forward to expanding and reaching even more!

Have an INCREDIBLE day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Busy Summer!

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I am still around! We have just been very busy with helping Dominic prepare for second grade and we have Zoey's first birthday to plan as well! I will be back on to post more if not later this evening, then tomorrow! I hope everyone's summer is going great!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

1000Markets....Not Impressed So Far...

I just received an email from a women at 1000Markets. She apparently wants to me to re-do photos that I have on my account that are currently just of the fabric print option for my baby-to-toddler bibs! I am supposed to only post photos of the finished products and until I do so my shop won't be published! A few of my photos are just to show the fabric because I am still painstakingly cutting and pinning together dozens of bibs, but wanted customers to know that those prints are currently available for them as I make them to order! I replied to her email by telling her just that, and then lastly asked her why she is so concerned with my photos being of the fabric options available, especially when I do take custom requests--and other photos showing my bibs finished can be seen in that shop!! She didn't say who she was, or anything--no "so and so, Senior Editor" or whatever--no title, nothing. So as of right now, I am not too impressed. If they do have a photo policy then it should be very clearly stated when you are loading your photos. And if they are going to send a message like that, it needs to be more professional in my opinion. At least if she told me who SHE is in regards to writing to me, I may be a bit more calm. But get serious--handmade items are frequently made to order and are custom!! I will post back when I get another reply. As for my fabric shots? They stay. I have about 3 dozen bibs awaiting stitching and I'm sorry if I wanted my customers to have the option of selecting a fabric that I do have on hand, but not in finished product (it takes me about 2 hours to make one bib, so even if someone ordered one right now I'd be able to mail it first thing in the morning!).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Etsy Shop Will Be Closing Today!

I have decided to bite the bullet and close my Etsy shop. I don't like that I have to keep re-listing the same items in order to keep them in the search pages, and although I've had sales from that shop, it just isn't really "doin' it" for me, ya know? I'm not too impressed with the way my store front looks on there (with or without banners). The items just look so blah on that site. Not to mention that there is just too much negative chatter on the web these days about Etsy. Just last night I found out a magazine did an article on it--and it was not good! Not something I want my business associated with! Don't get me wrong, Etsy was great when I was just starting out. And if you happen to have success with that site, then of course continue with what is working for you! For me, and Heart N Sew Designs, Etsy isn't really "comfortable" for me. I suppose I should say that after a couple of months on there, I still don't feel like it fits me. I have begun to open a shop on, so we will see how that works out! As for promoting myself off line, I am sticking with my Art Fire studio as my customers don't need to be registered on the site.

I have debated this in my head back and forth, and in the end what mattered to me was 1. having to pay each time I listed or renewed items, 2. the bad "chatter" online about the website, and finally, 3. the actual appearance of my items in the shop. I want my stores to reflect me, and how I feel about what I do. Art Fire is top of my list, even though I am listing in other places, too. However you can be sure that if I find a site isn't working for me, I will be walking away! No sense in wasting my time on things that don't work or I just plain don't like!

I plan on putting up links to any shops I have on this blog so feel free to check them all out and let me know which sites you like best (from a customer perspective)! Good luck to all in your endeavours and I hope you all find what works for you!

Monday, July 6, 2009

How Much Is Too Much?

Getting exposure for your business is great, right? But when you are doing it all online, how much is too much? How much time can you really devote to your networking sites? I've tried several, and quickly found that I don't have time EVERY day to devote to all sites! But exposure is good, so what's a girl to do?? My first thought was to cut back, and only stick to a few sites....but then who knows how many people I'm no longer reaching! I don't want to be spread so thin that I can only spend 5 minutes a day working on every site I'm linked what is my solution?

Well, they say that with a home based business you need to work it like a business in order to succeed. How does this translate? Time management. I am currently on about 11 different networking sites. Now, keep in mind I am a stay at home mother of three, thus making spare time a rare and desirable thing to have! So how do I go about maintaining my exposure online, with two boys (7 years old, 2.5 years old) and a girl (11 months old)?

Since John works four days on and then four days off, I arrange my "work week" to match his. Although he works rotating shifts of 7am-7pm and then 7pm-7am, I work rotating shifts of nap times and bedtimes! For example, if he is working the 7am shift, I will do my work before the kids wake up in the morning (they are up around 8 or 9am) and then again during their nap time (my 7 year old usually just reads on his bed, although he sometimes falls asleep, too!). On that schedule I can usually get about 5 hours in a day. Now on the night rotation, I can again work before the wake up (John gets home around 7:30am, kids wake up 8 or 9am), and then after they've gone to bed for the night (bedtime is 8:30pm). So night rotations give me about 6 hours of working time. Keep in mind, I do my actual sewing during John's days off while he's with the kids, as it's a time for me to relax a little with no interruptions! Back to my hours, though! What I have is 5 hours on day rotations, and 6 hours on night rotations. With 11 websites to stay on top of I have to divide up my days. To help with this I have to figure out which websites take more time. For instance, my blog that you are reading takes about 45 minutes to an hour to work on (comments, posts, followers, etc.). Then there's sites like Twitter that really only take about 10 minutes if that. So to keep me from being glued to the monitor all day, I have my routine as follows:

Morning rotations 4 days with 5 working hours each:
Day 1 and Day 3- Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Etsy, Living in Style
Day 2 and Day 4- MixxMade, LinkReferral, ArtFire, Blogspot, Squiddo

Night rotations 4 days with 6 working hours each:
Day 1 and Day 3- Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Etsy, Living in Style, Wee Sprout and Grow
Day 2 and Day 4- MixxMade, LinkReferral, ArtFire, Blogspot, Squiddo, misc. sites

That's just a rough idea of my schedule! Some sites are quicker to work than others. I check my email account twice a day, and am always looking for new ways to get more exposure. The thing to watch out for is to make sure that you would be reaching your target customers. Why join a networking site for jewelry makers if your business is in no way related to that?? Now if you are interested in jewelry, then by all means, join and have fun! But don't join just to advertise yourself if it isn't relevant! See what I mean? You don't want to become 'spam' on other sites! No one likes spam, even if it is for the greatest product ever made! ;)

I guess in answer to "how much is too much?", you could say that it's too much if you can't devote adequate time! Some sites only require a 2 minute update, but others are truly 'networking sites', in other words you need to reach out and 'talk' to other members! Build relationships! If a website allows you to upload photos, then do so. Take advantage of the different areas of exposure available within each site (blog, photos, status, 'walls', friends, forums, chat...).

I'd love to hear how the rest of you out there get exposure for your businesses, too! Feel free to comment and add on!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Anyone Have Suggestions?

I was thinking that when I started my business, I would have to have an initial set of patterns and prints for customers to choose from. Well, now that those are up and running, I want to know if you all have any suggestions as to prints that you would be looking for! Whether or not you have children of your own, I am interested in what styles catch your eye. As you can see from my banners, I specialize in baby-to-toddler bibs! However, I am also looking for ideas for my special needs/adult sized bibs, which are targeted to be for elderly persons, or bed bound patients....or I suppose just for fun, too! Another thought I've pondered over is whether or not to use the same prints as the toddler bibs in my newborn-to-infant bibs? What are your thoughts on this? Should I incorporate both "baby" prints as well as the older prints?? What about the adults--would wild animal prints be too much?? I'd love to hear back from all of you readers out there! You can take a look at my studio and get a feel for what I've got so far! Thank you all in advance for your suggestions!