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!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Craft Sale Tips - Your Booth

Hi all you West Coast Leslie readers! I'm Jill, Leslie's little sister and I thought I would take over Leslie's blog today to start sharing some of tips and tricks we learned last year doing our first craft sale. 

(That's me!)

Even though it's summertime, we're busy gearing up for this year's fall, winter, and holiday markets!  Last year we did one big planned show (Crafty Affaire), and then a couple more later that happened to just come up.  This year our plans are bigger and better than last year.  

I figured that we're probably not the only ones that are thinking about this right now, and I definitely have some tips from experience that I haven't really seen anywhere else in my research.  Ready? Let's go!

Plan your product line - Pick a few main items!!!
The very first craft sale I did on my own was a few years back now and it was a bust for a couple reasons - one, it just wasn't the right crowd, most people weren't interested in buying (more show research might have helped here) but two - I was selling a bunch of different items.  People are easily overwhelmed.  Your product should draw them into your booth.  From a distance your customer should be able to see what you're selling.  You will make more sales like this and it will make your life easier! 

Here's what my booth looked like for that show:

Here's the booth Leslie and I set up last year:
Even with the pinky instagram filter you can easily see that the WCLD booth is much more coherent than my Envirocraftiness booth.  

Pre-plan your display
Know how much space you're working with, what display items you want, and where your product is going to be.  Set it up at home and then take photos so that 
a) you can use them when applying for shows (if required) and 
b) if you have family or friends helping you set up it's a good reference for them to know how to help.  

Will your booth look identical to your photos? Probably not, but that's okay! 

Here's Leslie's at home set up of her booth
Throughout the show you might need to move product based on what's selling or not selling.  Don't be afraid to deviate from your plan! 

When planning your display, here's a few things we like to keep in mind:

1) Does it look too perfect? You want people to touch and interact with your product.  If you can get people to pick up, feel, try on your product, you're much closer to making that sale! (more on that in the next post about sales!) It should be accessible.  Customers shouldn't have to wait for you to get something down for them to look at - some people WILL NEVER ask, and you just lost a potential sale.

2) Is all that really necessary?  Obviously you want to show off your product in the best way.  However depending on the length of show, the size of your booth, and what your product is, an elaborate setup may not be worth it.  I would  personally not be the vendor hauling a dresser to a show that's less than 16 hours, and even then, I'm not sure this would be my best strategy!!  Leslie and I have revamped this year's booth to include wine crates which both create depth and dimension, still allowing us to show off the product (you don't want your display to outshine what you're selling), and as a bonus, we can pack product in them.   Same goes for the trunk Leslie found, I foresee that being a great way to store additional inventory! 

Avoid clutter.  People get overwhelmed easily.  If you're not able to put all your merchandise out make sure you're familiar with your inventory so that you can grab it when a customer can't quite find what they want. 

What works to display jewelry is not going to work for big crocheted scarves, or handmade soap.  Look for ideas from people who sell similar or similar SIZED items as you.  ie what works for baking might also work well for selling soap!  

3) Does your customer know what you're selling?  This may sound obvious, but we were at a market where this one vendor had a phenomenal set up, but, we asked each other "do you know what she's selling?" 

4) Is your design appropriate for you product? This one has two meanings.  First you want your booth to represent your brand.  You want your colors and logo to stand out.  One mistake we made was that people struggled to read our "West Coast Leslie Designs" banner - we'll be revamping this for sure!  While we wanted that cute bunting banner which matches our brand image, it caused confusion and could better represent the WCLD brand.   
Secondly, the branding of your business should match the product you sell.  For instance, a booth across from us sold dog treats.  Here's a pic of their setup:
Simple, clean, and you can see the product and price list right out front, and they have a great visually attractive and self explanatory sign right there!  PS. These guys from Sparky Snacks were some of the awesome people we became friends with at the show! 

Now think of how it would look if they had a crafty vintage setup like our WCLD booth...weird right?  Make sure your design matches what you're selling.

5) Don't forget that YOU are part of your display!
Don't have so much "display" that there's no room for you.  Don't sit behind a table piled high with product.  Make sure you have ample room to move around, access your product and are available and approachable to help customers.  Wherever possible, wear your product (if it's wearable!)...and this leads me into my favorite selling tip:

Before I tell you what my FAVORITE selling tip is I want to give you a sneak peek at what's coming up:

Updated West Coast Leslie Designs booth - see how we've revamped our booth for 2014 and applied these tips

Leslie and Jill's best tips to selling like pros and making your sale fun and profitable! 

Alright, now here's what you've been waiting for.... one of my favorite sales tips of the weekend:
Be a walking model.  Wear sellable items and DO sell the shirt off your back (or scarf around your neck, as the case may be).  Often people were drawn to the scarf I was wearing, they can see how to wear it, how it fits, how it works with your coloring, etc.  If they express ANY interest in the piece you're wearing, take it off, offer it to them to touch, try on, etc.  This works for some people, but not for others.  If the customer feels awkward about buying "your" item.  Casually put it down on the table and keep helping them.  Once the scarf is on the table, BOOM! it's back to being part of the merchandise and it's not longer a weird "personal issue."  Chances are they will buy it.  

A big part of being successful with this technique is to look well groomed.  Obviously for your show you want to look good, but if you notice, all the pics of me I'm wearing my hair up.  I shed like MAD! Nothing is ickier than stray hairs on things you want to buy.  So in order to sell the scarf I was wearing, it definitely helped to be well groomed and not be overly scented (good or otherwise)!

I'm headed out to Vancouver to hang with Leslie and work on our fall strategy towards the middle of the month, definitely be sure to come back and check out our progress and great tips to make your sale more successful too!

What have you found works for you when designing your booth? What ideas have flopped? Share with us in the comments! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Crochet Health Benefits

I've always been one to distract myself.  Tyler laughs at me.  When life gets too stressful, I play meaningless iPhone games.  

Oh, and I also crochet.  I've been crocheting almost daily since the day my Dad passed away.  It's been a way for me to channel my grief (and maybe something deeper-I can't really put my finger on it). In fact, the night (morning) he passed away, I stayed up late working on an ear warmer. The one I'm wearing in that picture  I sometimes feel like this was one of the last pictures of me with a real smile. After Dad passed, my smile is dimmed.  At least, I feel like it is.

I saw this great article with a link to a Crochet Health Survey (which I took).  I believe in the power of art to heal.  Music.  Dance. Fine Art.  Crafts.  These are tools we can use to heal both physical and mental pain.  I've seen it in my Gramma, who suffered a brain aneurysm several years ago and can still crochet, knit, write and remember all her grand kids names!!!  And crochet has helped me channel, distract, and heal.  And it still does.  I often feel that if I stop crocheting I'll loose my Dad forever.  It connects me to his last day and that's really important to me.  

Do you know anyone who crochets or knits for mental health?  Share this survey with them, or just share it with friends.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Father's Day/Showtime

Father's Day is a great day.  I think dads are WAY TOO OFTEN overlooked in favour of mum.  Don't get it twisted, mums are great, but I think Dad's don't get enough credit.  There are some amazing Dads out there.  

But for me Father's Day is tough.  Since losing my Dad in 2011 Father's Day is a giant reminder that I have to celebrate in a different way.  In fact my sister and I nicknamed Father's Day "Sister's Day".  Luckily I am usually so busy on Father's Day weekend that I don't have much time to be sad.  This year I have my dance studio's year end shows that weekend.  But that raises a lot of other emotions.  My Dad was my Stage Dad.  I miss that he's not physically there in the audience, watching my dances, cheering for my students, congratulating me on my good numbers.  I mean I know he's cheering for me, just not in the same way.  


This year I created a lyrical number to Passenger's "Let Her Go" with my Dad in mind.  For me, the song is about loss. I don't really believe that you should have to/want to give something up that you love.  But there's a moment in the grief process where you have to let go, and for me that's what the song is for me.  I know Dad will be watching my dances this weekend.  And I really hope he likes his dance.  I love you Dad; Happy Father's Day.