Monday, April 30, 2007

Bizarre and Mayhem Craft Fairs, Workshops

Mafia Mayhem Craft Fair: Indie craft fair sponsored by the Anchorage Craft Mafia. Located in Anchorage, Alaska. May 5, 2007, 12-6 pm.

Odd Ones Bizarre: Alternative arts and craft show sponsored by The Mantis Collective. Located in Harrisburg, PA. May 5, 2007, 11-7 pm.

HOW SHE DOES IT: How And Why Women Owned Businesses Are So Successful: Inspiring workshop on why women’s businesses are successful and tips on how they continue to become successful. Sponsored by the WITI. Located in San Diego, CA. May 2, 2007, 12:45-4:30 pm.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Immedium: Inspiring a Word of Imagination

Founded in San Francisco, California in 2004, Immedium is an independent publisher of wonderfully illustrated children’s books, and titles on Asian American topics and contemporary arts and culture. Currently, Immedium has less than 10 employees, who range from graphic designers, artists, editors, and administrative staff. Meet Oliver Chin, publisher of Immedium and accomplished author whose works include children’s books The Year of the Dog and The Adventures of Wonderbaby.

Preparation for Immedium
“As a cartoonist in college, I wanted to continue work in publishing and help spread ideas worth sharing. Then my work career became marketing and selling products from media companies, both large and small. I learned how products are created to satisfy a demand, target audiences, and build customer loyalty. But then I took the opportunity to write two books. This experience inspired me to return to my roots and build a publishing company based upon imaginative ideas that are well executed.”

Not Just For Children
“Though most of our books are categorized for young children (ages 4-8), Immedium also aims to please parents and gift-givers who appreciate being entertained when they read to kids.”

“However, we occasionally publish specialty titles, such Desert to Dream: A Decade of Burning Man Photography, which certainly attracted adults with an alternative/artistic attitude.”

“[B]ecoming parents motivated us to start Immedium. Once we started searching for good books to read to our children, we realized there was still room (and, more importantly from a parental perspective, need) to create stories that had stellar art, contemporary relevance, and timeless themes. [We are motivated to make] great books for kids and parents – ones that resonate with humor, understanding, and engaging art.”

Landing a Wholesale Account
“Immedium landed its first wholesale account before we actually incorporated. Trade distribution was essential to the business’ viability, so we submitted proposals, got multiple offers, and chose one. Once we inked that, we were off and running.”

Selling Books
“We sell through our web site ( as well as others like Amazon, which get books from distribution, or a few that work directly from us through consignment. We have done limited consignment, experimenting locally as well as with stores far away which have a compatible clientele.”

“[Aside from selling] through bookstores (traditional and online), [we] are actively building a network of specialty retailers and community associations.”

“[We market our products] through our distributors catalogs [and by contacting] specialty retailers directly to get orders.”

“[We also] contact news outlets and send press releases. [In addition,] we actively try to get out books reviewed (print and online) and set up author events. We are experimenting in keyword/search engine advertising.”

Challenges with Building a Company
“Beyond raising and committing the capital, every step is challenging: from coming up with a marketable concept and finding talented artists, to printing the books and convincing retailers and consumers to buy them. We can make the best titles ever, but if people don’t see them on store shelves, they may never know what they’re missing.”

“Being a small company, we lack the marketing, distribution, and sales of larger companies. We have to compensate by constantly building our own network of customers who value our products and help generate awareness.”

Recommended Business Resources
“The Small Business Administration is a good place to start. Generally, you need to read the trade media particular to your market, and keep abreast of social trends from your local newspaper and national periodicals.”

Artistic Inspiration
“[I am inspired by ] artists whom I work with. I enjoy befriending creators who really produce dazzling art and push me forward to share it with others.”

Words of Advice-Be Your Own Best Sales Person
“Beyond coming up with a salable concept, you can’t be afraid to contact people. If you think your product is worth buying, it is worth calling a stranger about or saying hello to someone in a store. You have to be your own best sales person, because you know your creation best.”
Publicity Department
P.O. Box 31846
San Francisco, CA 94131

Thursday, April 26, 2007

IE Tip 6: Upcoming: Be Informed

Upcoming is a great website to learn about upcoming scheduled events all around the country. Search for craft/shopping shows, entrepreneur and networking events, and keep yourself informed. My favorite feature is the ability to export the details of your events to your own Yahoo!, Outlook, or Google calendar.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

IE Tip 5: Get FREE Paperback books

Looking for entrepreneur. business, and other resource books? Head over to, and dive into a slew of books on entrepreneurship, leadership, business law, marketing and sales for almost nothing (the sender pays for shipping).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

IE Tip 4: Comparison Shipping

Shipping packages and want the best deal? Comparison-shop through and find the best rates and services among carriers like DHL, Fedex, UPS, and USPS. After that, you can ship, track, and manage shipments online.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Business Challenge, Trainings, Workshops

Women 2.0 Napkin Business Challenge: Join the finalists of the Women 2.0 Business Challenge as they present their business ideas to a judging panel. Great chance to meet fellow entrepreneurs, meet judges, and network! Sponsored by Women 2.0. Located in San Francisco,CA. April 25, 2007, 6 pm.

Training for Success: Build a Fulfilling Art Business: Workshop on entrepreneurship for artists. Focus will be on building your portfolio and developing a marketing plan. Sponsored by the Empowered Women International. Located in Silver Springs, MD. April 25, 6-9 pm.

Craftstravaganza: Indoor market featuring works of 90 artists, crafters, and designers. Also has live music by local bands and hands-on craft workshops. Located in St. Paul, MN. April 28, 2007, 9 am-4 pm.

Learn-A-Palooza: Unique community-organized event in which businesses, homes, and community centers in certain D.C. areas open their doors to hold short workshops on diverse topics ranging from “Yoga Basics,” “How to Use Quickbooks,” and “Be AYouTube Star.” Located in Washington, DC. April 28, 2007, 10 am-6 pm.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Jennifer Casady is the jewelry designer behind Jewelry By Jennifer Casady , an online boutique featuring handmade gemstone, sterling silver, wire-wrapped, lampwork and chain maille jewelry. Her fascination with jewelry began as a little girl who attended jewelry shows with her parents and grandparents. Fast-forward to 2007, and she is definitely the main designer now!

Keeping Jewels in the Family
“As I grew older I [enjoyed going] through my Mom's jewelry and listened to her tell me stories of where and when she received each piece. My father used to travel around the world with his jobs and would buy strands of gemstone beads to bring home. He taught himself how to make knotted jewelry and made my grandmother, mom and I beautiful necklaces and bracelets. Several members of my extensive family make their own jewelry, some of them for many years.”

Trying her Hand at Jewelry Making
“ I wanted to try my hand at making jewelry for years but never truly had the opportunity to start. In December 2005 I finally had the chance to visit one of the local bead stores in my area where one of the staff members kindly took the time to show me how to use various beading tools and suggested several needed items that an individual would need to create jewelry. I had a ball picking out strands of gemstones, findings and tools. I ran over to a book store to pick up some instructional books, went home, studied pictures, made my first necklace, and fell in love. I officially started my business in January 2006.”

Background Training for a Future Entrepreneur
“My ten years as a legal secretary has given me an entirely new appreciation for paperwork, taught me how to write coherently and multi-task. Of course, as any parent knows, one of the benefits of raising children is learning by necessity how to multi-task. I have learned how important it is to keep your business organized.”

Typical Customer
“[My typical customer includes] anyone who loves hand crafted jewelry! Most of my customers are females in the 25-60 age range who have an appreciation for custom, handmade elegant jewelry. These women know quality work when they see it and are more than willing to invest in special pieces that will be worn frequently and cherished.”

"Besides word of mouth, my main outlet for selling my jewelry is online on my website which is where I concentrate the majority of my marketing energy. At this time I also have one display case in a store and am working on branching out to additional boutiques and galleries. "

Overcoming Challenges
“Everything about starting my own business was a challenge. I did not even know how to build a website. One of the first things I did after making my decision to start a jewelry business was to call one of my aunts who has a very successful online business that she has built with her husband and get her advice as to where to even start. We’ve all heard it before, but, knowledge truly is key. Once I started finding out what I needed to do and what my objective was, I armed myself with knowledge and plowed ahead, teaching myself what I needed to know and just doing it.”

Marketing Techniques
“I have just started researching different marketing techniques and am very new to the entire subject of marketing. I am currently taking online SEO and marketing courses to help me learn how to better optimize my website. I frequent the Switchboard forum to glean any bits of marketing information I can and have started to take advantage of the various advertising opportunities that are posted there (such as submitting products for review, etc.) I have a lot to learn, especially about press releases, how to contact magazines, etc., and I am delving into that with a passion this year.”

The Best Advertisement
“ My favorite way is the most basic way to market one’s product -- wearing my jewelry and handing out business cards. My friends and family are also fantastic marketers of my pieces. Jewelry is what I call a “sense inspired” purchase, therefore it is very difficult to sell online. Most women need to be able to see and touch a piece in person before they actively fall in love with it. Women want to see how the light reflects off the gemstones (very difficult to achieve this affect through photography), they want to look in a mirror with earrings held up to their ears to see how they frame the face, they prefer to drape the necklace around their neck to gauge the fit against a favorite blouse.”

“Jewelry is an impulse purchase and can be very hard to sell online, especially when many women prefer to handle the jewelry themselves before they make that decision to buy. If the business you are consigning with is not totally focused on selling jewelry and on marketing your product to the best of their ability, then one needs to make the decision if that is the best place to have one’s product.”

Inspired by Different Sources
“My inspiration to create jewelry comes from various sources - the beauty of nature created by God, a conversation with a close friend, a certain color, the sound of music in the background, or simply the gemstone beads themselves. Each stone is unique and I want to express that individuality and beauty in my designs. My inspiration for running my business comes from watching my husband in his career. He is an amazing, hard-working man, husband and father, and I am constantly praising the Lord for the wonderful gift of my husband.”

Online Mentors
“I don’t think there has been any one person whom I could say has specifically been there to guide and tutor me continually along this journey I am on. But there have certainly been a plethora of women whom I have met since I started creating jewelry who have given me direction, inspiration, knowledge -- little bits of themselves to help round out my experience. Many of these women are on my favorite online forum, Reasonable Insanity.”

Words of Advice-Step Back and Have Fun!
“Have fun. Always….have fun. If it starts to be too stressful, take a step or two back and relax until its fun again.”

Jennifer Casady
1135 Artic Quill Road
Herndon, Virginia 20170
(703) 862-9854

Thursday, April 19, 2007

IE Tip 3: Be Your Own Publicist

Although directed towards freelance media professionals, is a very helpful site for creative entrepreneurs. I find the forum particularly helpful, where you can post questions (and get answers) to issues like how to get product placement and self-pitching to magazines. If you're lucky enough to live close to cities where they offer courses, you can take a class on topics like Understanding the Web (learn about blogs and RSS feeds) and Intro to PR (for those who want to do self-PR).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Up for the Challenge? Eco-Style

Until May 6, 2007, BBC and Newsweek will be accepting nominations for the World Challenge 2007, a competition that seeks out businesses and projects not only make a profit, but also put something back to the community. So go ahead and nominate an eco-entrepreneur!

Last year's winner was Maximus, a papermaking firm that makes high-quality products from a variety of wastes, including paper from offices and bark from banana trees. But what sets them apart is that they manufacture paper from elephant dung, with a portion of the sales donated to an elephant orphanage.

IE Tip 2: Ladies Who Inspire

Read up on fellow women entrepreneurs at LadiesWhoLaunch, as they share their tips, business challenges, and success stories. Also has a schedules of Ladies Who Launch Live, one-day events in different cities featuring inspiring speakers and educational workshops.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

IE Tip 1: 411 Information for Free

You're in the car and you're lost. Where's that craft /art store again? Before you make a 411 call and spend $1.50, try 1-800-FREE-411 (800-373-3411) and get free directory assistance. Only catch is you have to listen to a short ad before receiving your requested number, but you'll get to your destination in no time.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Markets, Fairs, SkillShare 2007

Handmade Market: Event showcasing local crafters such as jewelry makers, designers, and others. Located in Chicago, IL. April 21, 2007.

Boston SkillShare 2007: Annual weekend event featuring diverse workshops on a variety of skills, such as yoga, grantwriting, and ballet. Located in Boston, MA. April 21-22, 2007.

April Showers Craft Fair: Craft fair of handmade goodies. Located in Toronto, Canada. April 21, 2007, 12-5 pm.

Spins and Needles Craft + DJ Fair: Work on your art projects and listed in DJs all night long at this funky cultural event sponsored by Spins and Needles. Located in Toronto, Canada. April 22, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Baby Starlet

Meet Deborah Nolan, the designer and owner of Baby Starlet, an online boutique that sells beautiful handmade Moses baskets and other delightful baby accessories.

Launching a Business
“I launched the company in August of 2006, but had the idea of making baby bedding when my younger sister was pregnant with her first baby. I made custom curtains, added design elements to an existing crib set and made custom cushions for her glider for the nursery. I enjoyed so much that I decided to make it into a business.”

“My background is in sewing – I started sewing at 10. I also trained in a workroom setting making custom curtains with my mother. She is a big inspiration for me.”

Juggling Parenthood and Business
“I currently am working on my business full-time while also watching my two girls – who are ages three and one.”

“I balance parenthood and working by being efficient during work hours and I really try and spend quality time my girls during lunch and after dinner. We usually play games after dinner and, when the weather is warm enough, I take them to the park after lunch. It’s hard because I feel like I am being pulled in two different directions. I have found that when I focus during work, I am much more productive. During the times I am with my daughters, I really try to take off my business hat and focus on being an attentive parent.”

Building a Niche Both Online and Offline
I currently sell my products through my own website, Baby Starlet, along with several retailers such as In Style Moms and LA Baby Couture. I also sell my products through brick and mortar locations such as Bel Bambini in West Hollywood and Spanky Lane in Pacific Palisades.

Consigning and Wholesaling Products
“For my brick and mortar stores, I do mostly wholesale but also offer consignment. Consigning is a good way to get into a store as a test run and an inexpensive way for the owner to offer your products. The only trick is to make sure you are consigning with a reputable store, otherwise you may never see any money for the items you sent them to sell. I personally have never encountered this, but was made aware of the situation of one of my brick and mortar stores. You just need to be careful and make sure you get a signed contract.”

“I landed my first wholesale account by setting up a sales appointment and bringing my samples to show the store owner. The actual sales appointment is not that hard for me, but calling to set-up the appointment is hard for me. I always feel like a telemarketer. But, it is a necessary evil.”

Best Marketing
“ The best marketing was through Bust’s Craftacular. One of their producers from iVillage’s Stuff We Love saw my Moses baskets and loved them. She ended up doing a feature on my Audrey Moses basket. I am still getting hits from this feature and it was from a few months ago.”

Generating Press From Blogs to Magazines
“I am currently contacting other blogs to see if they would be interested in doing a review of my products. When I first launched I sent out my Elizabeth Moses basket to Parenting magazine and heard nothing from them. I did not follow-up with them – my bad – so now I contact magazines first and then send out samples. I did send one to Child Magazine – but they did not have an editorial that would work with it – so they sent it back. I guess it’s just as well, as the magazine is closing shop. I have also sent a press release to the local papers when I went out to LA for the Pre-Golden Globes Boom Boom Room and got a write-up in the paper and an interview with the local 24 hour news channel.”

“I also advertise with Indie Fixx which is a great website and resource for indie businesses and shoppers.”

Start Up Challenges
“The most challenging part for me is perseverance – not giving up and just pushing ahead and following my dream. Initially, I did not get any orders, which was very discouraging, but I kept submitting samples to blogs for review and paid for some advertising through Indie Finds. My orders have picked up, not to where I would like them to be, but that have picked up nonetheless.”

“Production will [also] become an issue as business picks up. Do I hire employees or send out the products to a manufacturing facility?”

Motivated By The Entrepreneurial Drive
“I really love being an entrepreneur so every little success I have really helps me to say focused. I also have a mental log of ways to help build my business through branding, so thinking up new ideas also helps me stay excited and enthusiastic about my company.”

Mentors and Inspirations
“My mother is a mentor for me especially when it comes to design questions. She has been sewing for about 30 years and really knows her stuff when it comes to technical questions. She also doesn’t let big jobs intimidate her, she takes everything one step at a time and that helps me stay focused on my day to day duties rather than just looking at the big picture – which can be quite daunting.”

“Other indie businesses inspire me, especially those that have really unique and well-made products. Heather Flottmann of Liliputians NYC is a big inspiration for me. She has the most amazing designs and really works hard to get press for herself.”

Words of Advice-No Regrets, Just Go For It
“If there is something you always wanted to do, go for it. You don’t want to regret it when you are 93 and looking back on your life. It is going to be a lot of work but will be more rewarding than you can imagine. It also helps to surround yourself with positive support from families and friends. Everyone needs a little cheering squad who believe in you because some days you may not even believe in yourself.”
Deborah Nolan

Monday, April 9, 2007

Fashion Day, Business Writing, Creative Workshops

Admit It: You’re Creative Workshops: Workshops designed to unleash your creative potential. Sponsored by Ontario College of Art and Design. April 17, 2007, 6:00-9:45 pm.

Virginia Spring Craft Market: Features 200 fine artists and craftspeople from across the nation offering fine arts, handcrafted jewelry, wood, glass, photography, candles, woven baskets, clothing, toys, folk art and specialty foods. Located in Virginia Beach, VA. April 13-15, 2007, 10 am-6 pm.

Fashion Day Soiree: Shopping event which brings 50% in designer shopping and accessories. Located in Los Angeles, CA. April 14, 2007, 10 am to 4 pm.

2007 Business Writing Conference: Workshops on strategic business writing, speechwriting, business blogs, writing for the web. Conference registration includes all conference sessions, two continental breakfasts, two luncheons with guest speakers and a three-hour writing session. Sponsored by the International Association of Business Communicators. Located in Chicago, IL. April 12, 2007.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Moondrop Clothiers, LLC

Sarah Paquette established Moondrop Clothiers in 2003 to help fulfill the need for responsible commerce in today’s world. Her mission is to to encourage people to feel and look beautiful, be comfortable, and remain stylish using eco-friendly, ethically-produced, high quality, fairly-traded goods.

Where Fashion and Passion for the Environment Co-Exist
“Moondrop Clothiers LLC is an earth-friendly as well as socially-conscious business that truly cares for the consumer AND the [creator of the] products. We offer the latest fashions, home decorating trends, and practical household items at very affordable prices, provide superior customer service, while also creating an awareness of the impact our shopping choices can have on the environment and the less fortunate people of the world.”

“Our store offers Recycled, Gently-Worn, Handmade, & Brand-New Clothing, Artisan Jewelry, Accessories, Books, Home Decor, Soy Candles & Incense, Handcrafted Vegan Skin Care, Sustainable Market Bags, Hemp Products, & Fair Trade Imports where each purchase supports low income artisans & their families.”

For the Eco-Conscious
“Our website’s demographic is mainly women, although there have been quite a few eco-conscious men who have purchased items as well. Our sustainable market bags and hemp products suit just about everyone’s fancy.”

Commitment to Being Green
“We purchase 100% post-consumer recycled paper and other eco-conscious products for our office supply, minimize waste by re-using shipping cartons and other packing materials as much as possible, host our websites with a socially responsible green web hosting company who offsets 100% of their energy consumption with certified wind power, and our one-and-only full-time employee (the owner!) helps to save one of our fragile planet’s refined natural resources (gasoline!) by working directly out from home. In addition, Moondrop Clothiers LLC continues to find more ways to reduce its environmental impact in all aspects of its business.”

Persevere and Persist to Overcome
“As the website was being developed, I knew absolutely NOTHING about web design or even how to run an e-commerce business. It became financially daunting to make mistakes that always needed to be corrected, so I spent hours and hours doing research, networking with other small business owners, getting advice from family and friends. I also went to a few small business workshops at our local community college. To date, I am still in the process of learning new things.”

Niche Marketing
“Our store networks through reciprocal link exchanges with other independent and like-minded businesses. We also advertise in local newspapers and newsletters, post business cards on bulletin boards whenever possible, and keep biz cards on hand at all times (you never know when you’ll need one!). We also have a spot on myspace that generates a lot of traffic.

“Our shop has also been inducted into Co-op America's Business Network (CABN), the original socially-responsible business network, stamped with their Seal of Approval, and given a spot in their National Green Pages ™.”

Making a Difference
“In order to do my part as a concerned citizen for the well-being of our planet, I established Moondrop Clothiers with just about a dollar in my pocket, an overstuffed closet, and the firm belief that one person CAN make a difference.”

“My shop is based on two simple concepts - to help fulfill the need for socially-conscious, responsible commerce in today’s world and to educate consumers on the importance of purchasing ethically-produced fairly-traded goods. Moondrop Clothiers LLC is a unique place on the web with larger-than-life intentions to save the earth. It is a reflection of me, my ideals, and my life's work. To quote Mahatma Gandhi, "We must BE the change we wish to see in the world."”

Business Resources For the Green Business Entrepreneur
“For anyone wishing to establish or expand their eco-friendly or “green” business, refer to Co-op America for advice, resources, and direction. They are a wonderful group of individuals who operate their businesses in ways that solve, rather than cause, both environmental and social problems. These businesses adopt principles, policies, and practices that improve the quality of life for their customers, their employees, communities, and the environment. “

Inspired by…
“Knowing that one person CAN make a difference... Seeing the love and care that goes into hand-crafted goods… The community that seems to gather around earth-conscious living and fair trade commerce… The satisfaction of knowing that by supporting fair trade, I am helping people succeed in life and doing it consciously.”

Words of Advice
“Patience, patience, patience....It takes time and persistence to grow a successful business. Keep a firm eye on your long term goals, and remember that bumps in the road and set backs are to be expected. There is nothing more satisfying than circumventing the obstacles in your way and reaching your goals-the more difficult the path, the more satisfying the rewards. Peace.”

Sarah Paquette
Moondrop Clothiers
Sister Site: The Conscious Child

Monday, April 2, 2007

Networking Events

All Media Party: Networking party for media professionals sponsored by Media Bistro. Located in Seattle, WA. April 3, 2007, 7-9 pm.

Denver Wild Women Entrepreneurs: Networking event for entrepreneurs in the Denver area. Sponsured by the Denver Wild Women Entrepreneurs. Located in Denver, CO. April 10, 2007, 6 pm.