New Product- Plastic Scales Great for Crochet, Knitting ,Crafts and Chain Maille

DSCN1445Something Fun I have been Playing with, Plastic Scales.

I love to try out new crafts and really got a kick out of working with this one.  Even made a Coif for a Medieval outfit.

104_3000 Who wouldn’t love fighting a dragon in an outfit covered with Dragon Scales.

 

Contact me if you are interested in the plastic scales.

All it takes is a little imagination.

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A side note about shipping

I was anxiously awaiting some material for  an order of sewing.  Later than expected, it finally arrived.

And this has happened more than just once and not just through this carrier.  It has happened through other carriers as well.

oops!

oops!

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When shipping a package, there are a few suggestions I would like to make that might help your merchandise from being completely destroyed.

There are many carriers for mail and packages now available.  Not all carriers are without accidents.  So don’t hold the carrier of this package in contempt for what happened to the package that appears in these images.  It could happen to anyone including yourself as you trip on the way to the post.

The suggestions I have will help even you save some future merchandise.

1. Packaging of merchandise.

For soft merchandise, Those items that will survive dropping,  include a protective wrap around your item, such as a plastic wrap (preferably air tight) or paper wrap if the item will not self destruct when invaded by water.  Think about possible rust, water spots, spoilage, dissolving,  or any other harmful damage that would make the merchandise a second or would not pass inspection for resale.

After a protective layer then consider a second layer just to ensure safe delivery.

If the merchandise could be damaged by dropping, hard merchandise, then consider a layer of peanuts or bubble wrap that would give a layer of safe movement through a rough ride.

If extremely fragile  merchandise is being considered for delivery, then stop and think again.  You may want to deliver it personally.  Talk to the carriers and see what they would suggest for packaging.  I personally know that some of them will package it for you, usually for an extra amount, but it might be worth it to have someone that is knowledgeable to complete the packaging process.

2. Insurance.

Cover the product with insurance through delivery for the amount you expect to get out of selling the item.  Remember you will probably have to make another one to replace the broken product.

3. Include Shipping costs in your original selling price or as an add on for the buyer.  Some one has to pay for it, it might as well not be you.

4. Signature confirmation Is a reasonable request.  It insures that your package arrived to it’s destination.  If you are really concerned, request a specific signature.

5. Follow up on the delivery.  Make a call to see that all arrived to the merchant’s expectations.  This is also a time to possibly further your sales and recommendations, both for other buyers and future sales.

6. Follow up with damaged product, file for insurance if needed, see if you can make amends for broken product by extending the time limit on delivery for a new product.  This is the time to show that you stand behind your product.

If you are serious about a business, now is the time to step up.  Make it good, Make it right.

“The customer is always right” is an old slogan almost out of style, Bring it back into style.  Increase your reputation and make your business stronger.

Until next time, Wishing you the best…

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Crafters, Artists, Seamstresses (part 3)

(cont.)

5. Pricing your items

There is a term used for retailers called “Keystone.”  You take the price of an item and triple it.  1/3 of the price allows for replacement of said item, 1/3 of the price is for an additional item to be added and the last third is divided by your profit and overhead.

This same formula can be used for the home-made product.  The problem is that by using this formula you sometime over price a product.

The price of materials can fluctuate in cost depending on how, when and where you purchase them.

Once a product is in the finished stage, look for materials that can be bought in bulk at the closest location possible. Gas prices as well as shipping come into the equation if you have to drive or have the materials shipped over a long distance. Purchase the materials in the season that they are available or during closeout for reduced prices.  Just be careful that the materials will be continually offered or else you will have to change the product or take it off the market because of unavailability.

First and foremost is the demand for the item. You can charge whatever you want to for a product, but, if the public doesn’t like the item then it will not sell, whatever the price.  Then again, if it is a trending item you could probably ask what ever you would like to for a popular product.  One day it is in style and the next day it is not!  Get what you can for it while it lasts.

6. Materials

 The type of materials used can also stipulate the price of an item. Natural Materials like clay can be purified at home making it free to cost with only labor involved.  The same applies to leaves and flowers.  It just takes the time to grow or collect them.  Then when completed the Product will bring a higher profit margin, at the same time they can be marketed or advertised as “All Natural” and the price can be adjusted to a trending item price just as “Made in the USA” is a marketing idea and by itself can help in selling the item at a higher price.

 Be aware of the trending items as you make your product.  When sewing I would find that making a period Dress from all cotton material would sell better than a cotton blend. And marketing said dress for Renaissance, Medieval or LARP costuming was considered a high trending item because of Renaissance or Medieval Faires.

 7. Fear

One factor that make pricing or marketing your product impossible is that age-old adversary, FEAR!  Learn to take a chance once in a while and you might find that you will sell more products.  Don’t let Fear of failure stand in your way.  What is the worst that can happen?  Not selling your wares!  You haven’t sold anything yet so there is nowhere to go but Up!  Try it you might like it.

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Crafters, Artists, Seamstresses, (part2)

3. Time Management

You work at home, now, so any time you have is usually devoted to work. With that said, it is the way you use the time that will make the difference.  If you are jumping from one thing to another it doesn’t make a dent in the progress that needs to be accomplished.

When I am making a batch of elephants, for instance, I have found that sewing all the eyes at one time, on fifty different elephants, saves time because of the same color of thread being used. Or sometimes a different type of foot on the sewing machine is used. Therefore, I save time, cutting down the times threads and feet on the sewing machine are changed.

There have been times when I have three sewing machines set up, each one with different colored threads, so that I can go from one machine, on a gliding chair, to the next without changing colored threads.

Take the time to plan your strategy of production. It will save time in the long run.

Looking at the big picture, Production, can you farm out these little, simple things to other people, and save time to pay someone else to do the job? Just think about it.

My Boss had some other Crafters that couldn’t keep up with the orders. With their permission, my Boss hired other Crafters to do part of the labor.  Sometimes she even had the workers pay a deposit for the materials used to be returned when all were completed. This would save on the cost of supplies getting lost in the shuffle of new employees or those that could not do the work and didn’t turn it back in.

One last thing, Even though you are home, schedule your work time.  Remember it is now a job and if you don’t show up for work, you won’t have a job to bring in the money.

4. Investing and Re-investing in your work.

Being a seamstress was only one of the jobs I had.  I also learned to paint wooden ornaments, statues,  and even learned to make ceramics for the same Boss. And I accomplished all of this at home while my kids were growing up.

In order for my own home business to increase I found myself investing in new materials to accomplish these new talents.  I even got so bold as to submit my own lines of work to my boss rather than making just her ideas.  And all of this took a little cash to get started.

But in the long run the investment paid off. Each paycheck I would invest a little bit more into materials and invent new products. Not all of them were accepted, maybe 1 out of 10 was accepted as saleable, but they were my own idea and it gave me a great deal of self worth to know that I accomplished this.

Learning a new trade took a great leap of faith on my part. To go from seamstress to ceramicist was a gigantic leap and quite a bit of reinvestment. A Kiln is not cheap.

Fortunately I did not need a large kiln for what I was going to learn to make.  I could fire up to 300 ornaments at a time in a test kiln.  This job started out as an opportunity to help another artist fill the orders needed for my boss.  Although I was not able to fully copy this other artists work I managed to make enough to help. At the same time I came up with a totally different line of ornaments that took off like a sky rocket in sales.  My new talents paid for a lot more comfort.  The re-investment was worth it.

5. Pricing your items

(continued)

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Crafters, Artists, seamstresses, and any one else interested (part1)

I was reviewing my life, my successes and failures and I remembered a couple of things that helped to make my life just a bit easier and sometimes successful.

I thought I would share a few of these ideas to help other crafters and artists.

Crafts have been a large part of my life’s interest, knowledge and work.  While I was young I was very sickly and had Rheumatic fever which made it hard for me to go outside and play.  Several times my parents sent notes to school excusing me from gym as well as recess, meaning I had to stay inside. It also meant I missed a lot of school and my mother had to find something to keep me busy.

Magazines like Woman’s Day, Family Circle and any other craft magazine was left for me to read at my leisure. Or should I say when my eyes were clear enough from fever to read.  Then some how my mother would find the materials or substitute materials to create some of the items I wanted to learn how to make.

Paint by number, crochet, jewelry, ornaments, embroidery, paper dolls, stuffed animals, etc. became a way to pass the time and enjoy life.  And when I was feeling like getting out of bed the sewing machine became a refuge of serenity.

I learned to let the pain flow over me during these times of creativity and forgot all about the outside world.

During high School, I seldom had the set backs of youth and had learned to integrate myself into the hectic life of teenage social scheming. I think I made up for all the time in bed by joining any club I could manage to find time for, Art club, Adagio, Orchestra, Acting (thespians), Chorus, Minorettes (Girls marching field team), Acapella, Home-Ec (sewing in particular) and friends when I could fit them in.

Through it all my love for sewing and crafts remained.  Very rarely did I buy a dress for the dances, they were all home-made and I would find myself going to a store and studying the way an outfit was made rather than purchasing it. I even crocheted a whole dress to wear to school.

Once I had a family of my own I found myself using my skills in every facet of life but one, Work.

One of my young daughters was having a problem with babysitters and one day I found her sitting at home in a corner rocking back and forth, not saying a word.  It took me almost 2 hours to finally get her to say anything and when she finally did she burst fort into hysterical crying.  From that day forth I realized that no amount of work could make up for the fact that my child needed me.

Through a lot of prayer and hard searching I ran across a card on the apartment post-it-board.  Some one was looking for a full-time seamstress, work at home available.  Putting together samples of my sewing, especially technical sewing, I called for an appointment and interview.

That call was a life saver.

The person I met with was ambitious, hard-working, motivated and everything I wanted to be.  She had just started a home business and realized that she needed help in order to keep up with her orders.  She was fortunate to have enough money on hand to further her business.  I came in at the ground floor and during my time working for her we made it a world-wide enterprise.  I worked for her only a short time, but during those 14 years, 7 of them kept me at home and with spendable cash for our family. this made the difference between paying the bills and barely getting by to comfort.  I am not a greedy person and neither was she so we both had what we needed.  A home based job.

She retired after 14 years and I moved away.  But her knowledge and work ethics will never be forgotten.

I have worked for one other person with almost the same attributes and still work for this second person part-time.

1. Finding a craft or passion that can lead to a paying job.

This is the hardest of all concepts:  What to do to make money.

I had to take a hard look at my passions and put it to the test: Sewing.  I started the first job as a seamstress, sewing patriotic elephants and donkeys then selling them to the Smithsonian Gift Shop.  In this process I began to look at the craft of sewing as a  manufacturing operation. I was no longer sewing one item I was sewing pieces of an item one after the other until multiple items were put together.

2. In order to make money more than once for a product you need to manufacture it.

A twist of thought or new attitude is needed to forge ahead. Instead of factoring the price of a product and how long it takes you to make it, you need to see how much time can be cut for the manufacturing of said product . Instead of looking at a product and wondering how much you can get for it, you need to think: how much more can I get for the product if I charge less and sell more.

3. Time and Management

Continued

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It’s That Time of the Year

It’s That Time of the Year again.

The time when there is no time… no time for writing, no time for family, no time for friends and yet we make the time.

It is also the time that we make up for the time that we have not used wisely.

It is also a magical time.

Here is my present to all of you for taking the time to visit.

Happy Holidays and Merry Magical Christmas to all from Monster Classics.

The Twelve Magical Days of Christmas

On the First Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me:

A Magical White Unicorn.

2 Gargoyles

3 Cockatrice

4 Pegasus

5 Elven Rings

6 Phoenix Flaming

7 Mermaids Swimming

8 Trolls a-mucking

9 Faeries Flying

10 Centaurs Leaping

11Ogres Stomping

12 Dragons Humming

Have a Merry Magical Christmas

I made this into a mini leather bound book including pictures for my grand kids.

I hope you enjoy.

 

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Happy New Year

Time for real life to intrude and new goals to be met.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas (which I celebrate) or happy holidays.  Christmas was everything I could have wished for including having all my family together.

Only two complaints:  It was too short and I had to fix the car twice!

Sometimes real life likes to intrude too often.

Without those intrusions life would be boring,so as my Father is always telling me: Life is Good!

Have a Happy New Year and God Bless everyone!

Sondi

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