Monday, June 1, 2015

We're Here to Pump - YOU up!

That's right!  Ok, so I don't look like Hanz & Franz aka Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey, but I love to pump people up!  Mostly I love to pump up other craftipreneurs, to encourage them to take a leap of faith!  But with good, solid information behind them!  No crazy, get rich quick schemes here!
I recently encouraged the lovely Sherri, from Wild and Raven to apply for Make It! Vancouver.  She was nervous. - the time and financial commitment to participate in Make It! is more than your average craft fair.  But what did she have to lose?  Not getting in?  Psh! She was no worse off if that's how it turned out.

I stressed to her that it was a crucial step to apply, just to do it.  Going out of your comfort zone, trying something new, is sometimes best attempted with kind encouragement. I know I always appreciate a cheerleader, even if it's the server saying I made a good dinner selection. I walked Sherri through how to look at the financial side, without having a panic attack, and how to view her sales in manageable goals.  The best part is that Sherri applied and... drum roll please....SHE GOT IN! And now she gets to be a part of one of Vancouver's largest, best publicized and well attended craft markets!  Booyeah Sherri!I want to encourage MORE craftipreneurs to follow their dreams!  I know a lot of amazing people who make lovely things, but are too scared to make a go of it.  I have years of experience in retail and marketing with some of the best known brands in Canada and I've learned a lot!  And I want to help you find your brand, your passion, and love within your business!If you're interested in taking your hobby or crafty biz to the next level, email me!  Message me on Facebook. Get at me on Instagram.  I'm around!  I am booking sales coaching sessions throughout the summer and I'm available for in person and FaceTime meet ups!  I am relatable, funny, and realistic, but best of all I know what you do.  The hours of work you put in to be a craftipreneur, the passion you have behind your craft, and I really want to help make your biz more profitable.  PLEASE don't hesitate to contact me!  Let's make this Christmas craft season your best yet!

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's a Sign

Hey Y'all! Happy March!  We just got a featured Post on Crafty Affaire Market's Facebook Page for our totally awesome banner!  Woo!

Remember this bad boy?

This is the new sign we made for our booth.  We really loved our old sign-it was coral, it was bunting, it was....hard to read.  Well that's what people told us. Oh, and their necks craned like puppies looking at a treat while they tried to read it. So we knew we had to change it!

We loved it and it fit our brand image but people couldn't read it, it was hard to hang up, and it got a bit washed out on a white background.  Sadly, our banner wasn't working.  

That's a hard thing to hear as a business owner;  that customers don't love something you made and that represents you  :(   So much work and effort went into creating this banner, it was hard to give up.  It IS important to remember that if it's not working, we have to let it go.

We took this situation and turned it into an opportunity for us to revamp our booth and sign!  

Firstly, we thought about how we wanted to be represented.  I'd recently had custom stamps made to use on my bags and tags so we chose to echo the look of the tags on our banner (BRAND CONSISTENCY!)  And we used the same font and same cameo silhouette logo.

We considered ordering a banner, but to keep costs low and have ultimate control over the final outcome we chose to make it ourselves.  Everyone's had that moment where you design something, send it to the printers and it never turns out the way you wanted :( We used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out a template for the letters and lined it up on the fabric.   For full details of how to make your own banner, check out Jill's post.

We attend shows that use both black and white pipe and drape, so we wanted something that would stand out on either colour.  Black fabric with white paint was a bold choice.  We chose classic colours with a lot of contrast.   This way if we ever chose to change our colours we wouldn't have to make a new sign.  We decided to edge the banner with some burlap ribbon so that it would stand out on black draping.

We made the sign about 6 feet long and 2 feet wide.  This gave us enough room to make the letters readable and to fill up the back of our booth. I know a lot of people put their banner on the front of their table, which I kindly advise against (if you have an option). It's too low to read.  People will have to back away from your booth/table to read it...and well, then they're far away from your goodies. If the show is really busy, there will always be people in front of it, and people just won't know who you are.

Due to not having a back wall, we had to hang our banner in front (less than ideal!)

Another key thing to remember when making your sign - think about how you'll hang it.  If we were to do it again, we might consider adding a couple of grommets to give it more durability when hanging.  

Remember our coral bunting sign?  Can you find it in the last picture with the sign on the back?  Yup!  We turned it around and used it for an extra pop of colour in our booth...and it gave us a NEW idea for our booth next year.  My booth design is constantly evolving, but I know this sign is here to stay.  It's bold.  It tells everyone who I am.  It associates a font and logo with my business (and then I use the same font and logo EVERYWHERE! Brand consistency and image.)

We hope this helps you with your branding and booth planning.  For more tips on how to make your booth its best, check out this post!    
We'd love to know which tip was most helpful for you! Leave us a comment and feel free to link to pics of your booth so we can ooh and aah!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy New Year

Hi Everyone!  I know it's  been a while since we've been active over here on the blog, but we had a SUPER busy and very successful fall market season.  "Thank you" will never really be enough to show our gratitude to all our crafty friends and awesome customers who are out there staying #prettyandwarm!

First things first.  The other day on Facebook, I posted a bit of a cryptic message about 2015 and how some unexpected challenges have already popped up.  I'm taking today to share exactly what I meant, set the record straight and just fill everybody in on what's happening with West Coast Leslie Designs.

The big news is that Tyler (my husband) has accepted a job with the Ministry of Transportation!!! So super exciting! He starts MONDAY (January 19th).  The flip side of the coin is that the job is based out of Kamloops, a city about 355 km away from our house. This is not the ideal situation, obviously.  But it's the reality.  My "day" job, being a dance teacher, keeps me in the Lower Mainland until June, because I can't just up and walk away from my students-that's not really how I roll.  What happens after June is still in the air.  And if I'm being perfectly honest, I don't know if we'll know what to do by the summer; I mean it's only 6 months away and that time is going to fly by!  But this exciting, new, awesome adventure for Ty makes me stop and re-evaluate West Coast Leslie Designs.  So while I had BIG plans for 2015, I may have to step back a bit and figure things out as we go :)

Here's what I do know, and I hope you can get excited for;

1). More frequent and scheduled blog posting.  Jill & I really want to interact with our fans, customers and friends!  We want to help you out from knowing how to care for your WCLD garments to helping you succeed with your business (handmade or otherwise).  We'll be offering some awesome info on the blog in 2015, so follow us and never miss a post! BlogLovin' is an easy way to follow the blogs you love :)

2). Community building.  What I took away from 2014 is that I LOVE THE HANDMADE community!  And I want to hang with you ALL. THE. TIME. We're on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our blog, website and newsletters.  But you know what?  We don't post the same stuff on every social media outlet.  That's boring, and overkill if you follow us on more than one platform.  Here's what you'll find on each social media feed.  Pic your favourite and follow us :)
Facebook is where we want to hang out with you-our friends, the community at large.  It's the best place for us to get your feedback and find out what YOU want.  We also link our blog posts to Facebook! Oh and we like to have contests, giveaways and SALES on Facebook!

Instagram is where you'll find a blend of my personal and business pics.  It's an insiders look at how things get made, works in progress, my day to day life and general goofiness.  I LOVE Instagram and hope you'll hop over and follow me for all the fun!

We're using Twitter a little more formally.  If you want to know where we'll be, what craft markets we're checking out, and who we're following, follow us on Twitter.
And lastly, in 2015 we're recommitting to our Blog "Try To Keep Up".  More pics, more posts, more everything!

3). Online sales.  While we'll still be working markets, we're going to ramp up our online store and open up to more custom orders.  So please, check out our Storenvy shop or shoot us an email.  We want to make online shopping easy and convenient for you!  Because some days it's literally too cold to leave your house to buy a scarf! LOL

4). Teacher at Heart.  That's me.  To a T.  From an early age I've always known I wanted to be a teacher.  Writing on chalk boards, leading others, encouraging people to learn and love learning!  So I've created a sales course to help other amazing handmade peeps sell their products.  I want others in the handmade world to be profitable and have fun doing it (without feeling like a scum bag, and keeping your brand and personality intact) so keep your eyes peeled this summer for this awesome learning opportunity!  I promise you'll learn SO much and it will really help you gear up for the holiday market season!

Ok so that's long enough!  I want to thank everyone who's been along for the ride with us.  We are continually learning, and evolving and trying things out, so thank you for sticking with us and inspiring us.  We are super excited for 2015 and hope you are too!

Monday, September 22, 2014

When is a Scarf not a Scarf?

Don't get me wrong.  I love scarves.  Infinity scarves in particular.  They're all I make.  I think everybody looks good in an infinity scarf AND no pesky ends hanging around.  I never know what to so with those ends-do you?   Anyways, I like things to be functional and versatile, while still ensuring I look cute doing it.  I mean if you can check all those boxes, I think you've got a winner.
Today, I wanted to show you all the different ways you can wear a West Coast Leslie infinity scarf!

Depending on the length, you can wear it long-like a statement necklace.  Works great with a casual white tee shirt and jeans.

Most of the scarves I make are super long and wide.  Making them a perfect make-shift hood.  Especially in Vancouver, when you never know when it's going to rain.  It's also good for keeping your hair style in tact.

In a lot of places fall weather changes every 5 minutes. Often it's not cool enough to wear a full jacket, but you can't go walking around in a t-shirt?!  That's when you can turn your scarf into a vest!

And my personal favourite, just a classic, double wrapped around the neck.  Whether you like a bit more hang or more of a cowl feel, up around your ears, there's nothing that beats the cozy feeling of your favourite scarf.

Which is your favourite way to wear your scarf?
Leave me a comment and let me know!