Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Shop Talk: Pricing Your Items

Shop Talk Pricing Your Items

This post is the third in my ongoing series about being an Etsy shop owner. My previous posts can are: Etsy & The Stay at Home Mom, Developing Your Product and Six Etsy Tips (an older post).

***In this post I’m going to share everything with you about my process—down to how much I value my time at. Not because I want to be told I’m under or over selling myself, but more because I would have loved to see an example of a starting point from other sellers when establishing my own prices.***

Figuring out how to price my items was a big challenge for me initially in my shop. I would look around at similar items on Etsy, factor in how much I spent making the item, and then talk myself out of a price because I knew how much I would actually be willing to pay for something similar. A lot of my prices were landed on because that was where I felt comfortable, but then I ran into the issue of not being able to translate one price point to another with different types of products. I found it very difficult to price consistently.

So then I went looking online and saw lots of equations for how to price an item, but often times they left my item priced much higher than I felt comfortable. I think this was because many of them were time + materials = whole sale price, whole sale price x 2 = retail price. I just couldn’t justify charging $15 for a headband. Or I wondered if my product wasn’t as nicely made as other sellers’. I read all about pricing integrity and undervaluing your product, but felt like everything was pushing me to price higher than I could justify.

So I set an hourly wage for myself ($10/hr), and stuck to the equation of TIME+MATERIALS+FEES=PRICE. And I started tracking exactly how long it would take to make something, tracked my receipts to know exactly the materials costs, and got a good feel for what the Etsy and Paypal fees would be for different price points. I’ll address how I factor in profit later in the post, but for now let’s look at how I maintain a good pricing system now that my equation is in place.

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I bought this cute spiral notebook at Target and use it to keep track of pricing, time, materials, crochet patterns, and any other notes I feel like keeping permanent for my shop.

blue and white bow tie garland

When creating these BOW TIE GARLANDS (or any product for that matter), I made my first one to make sure I had the process/system down for it. I didn’t want to time myself in case there was a lot of trial and error that would happen (I account for the process of developing a product in my hourly wage). When I make the next one I use the stopwatch on my phone to keep track of how long it takes me to make the item.

timer

I timed myself to cut 9 bows and then hit stop so I could keep going with my cutting and cut the remaining bows. Then I simply hit start again when I begin the next stage of the process. Photography and the time to create the listing get added into the time tracking as well.

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Then I write in the notebook the cost of the time, materials and fees (any item over $5 I add $2 for fees, less than that is $1, and over $20 depends on the price of the item). This way, if I need to go back and look at how I priced something I won’t have to rely on my memory.

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For my SMALL ZIPPER POUCHES I am dealing with a fabric vendor and a zipper vendor, the shipping charges on the materials, and buying for several pouches worth at a time, so there’s a little more math involved.

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…but in the end the equation is the same.

It may seem like I’m valuing my time a little low since the rate for minimum wage (at least in Oregon) is pretty close to what I’m charging for my time. But I felt like I needed to establish myself and get the reviews to back up increasing my rate. I wasn’t sure how to go about doing that, though, until I read Gina’s BOOK and realized I should set goals for myself. I could have set a goal for x number of sales to justify a raise, but I preferred to have a goal pattern of business. After all, business certainly spikes over Christmas for me. I wanted a goal for my year round sales. So right now I’m working toward averaging a sale each day. Last month I had 20 sales in 31 days. The month before it was 15 sales in 28 days, so I think I’m on the right track. I’m hoping to reach my goal and raise my rate to $12/hour in August, and then continue on the pattern to get to my goal wage of $15/hour in February.

I like the idea of my prices reflecting my experience, my reputation, and my business approach. But I don’t want to raise my prices too much since one of my priorities for my shop is to be a place people like me can afford to shop. Since I’m not paying anyone to work for me, my profits are seen in what I am paying myself. I can use it to reinvest in my business or to take my family on vacation or to pay for Christmas.

I’m sure there are so many flaws in my equation or system, and other sells might find this crazy—after all, I look at other sellers who have similar products for half the price of mine and wonder how they can feel like it’s worth their time—but this works for me and their system must work for them. How about you? How do you figure out your pricing? What are your hang ups or successes? I do my best to respond to comments within the comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Shop Talk: Developing Your Product

Shop Talk Developing Your Product for Etsy

This post is the second in my ongoing series about being an Etsy shop owner. My previous posts can are: Etsy & The Stay at Home Mom and Six Etsy Tips (an older post).

I don’t know about you, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve made something, shared it on Facebook, and been told, “you could sell that!” The problem is, just because a friend says you could sell it, doesn’t mean people actually will buy it. The art you see in the thousands upon thousands of listings on Etsy isn’t just in the products—it’s also in the creating of something that people will want to buy, and then actually buy.

Shop Talk Developing Your Product for Etsy

My shop has definitely changed over time. My earliest products had the focus of being ruffled, fluttered or flowered (my first sale: a rosette clip that my aunt was so sweet to buy). And then I found myself selling a lot of infinity scarves with some of my original style of products mixed in. Eventually I was only really selling the scarves so I stopped worrying about anything else. Finally, I got bored with that, wasn’t keeping up with the current trends, and saw a decrease in customer satisfaction. So I took a break and reopened the shop six months later with a completely different focus.


You can take different approaches to your product line—have a variety of types and styles of items to attract a wider customer base or find your niche and become a leader in one type of item. It’s all about what you personally want to do. Right now I love having a wide variety in my shop—I want customers to feel like they’ve stepped in a boutique on main street in “downtown Etsy.” I personally love looking through all my different items and hope customers do too.

Regardless of which route you take (or if you go back and forth as you find your way), I feel like there are three major aspects to creating your product line: get inspired, create and grow.

Get Inspired
I love how easily inspiration can be at our fingertips—Pinterest is a never ending treasure trove, blogs, google, what your friends are talking about on Facebook or Instagram, or even what you find yourself wishing for in everyday life. Keep your eyes and ears open for what people are wanting. Share your process with your friends and keep their feedback in mind as you move forward. Watch what people pin and how they caption it. Get an idea and start searching to see what is already out there. But please, whatever you do, don’t look to other Etsy shops as inspiration. Use them to do market research and test out how much competition you might have, but don’t go looking to see who is selling a lot and recreate their items. It just isn’t nice. Plus, if they have an edge on the market already, it’s going to be really hard to take their customer base away from them.

Shop Talk Developing Your Product for Etsy

The best inspiration comes from what people ask for. A while back I posted on Instagram and Facebook a picture of a bunch of zipper pouches I had made (which I haven’t had a single sale of). A friend commented that I should make smaller ones to hold coffee punch cards. I had already made a similar concept (that I personally currently use) that was just a fabric envelope with a button/snap closure (seen HERE), so I let the idea roll around in my mind but wasn’t rushing forward with it. Then she sent me the link to a tutorial she found and said, “This is what I want. If you make it, I’ll buy it.” I played around with the tutorial and was able to make something uniquely mine (I’ll share more about it in a bit). Since then I’ve sold 12 of them between Etsy and a craft fair. And that’s almost half of my sales since I started carrying them. My friend inspired me and it paid off!

Create
Once you have a great idea in mind, you need to make it. And before you can sell it, you need to make it well. If you’re following a tutorial that someone else has made, check and see if they’re ok with you profiting off what they’ve shared. A lot of crochet patterns will say that they’re happy to let you sell products you make using them, but please give them credit in product listings. Others are willing to let you buy a commercial license. Whether or not there is a tutorial for things I make, I like to make them uniquely mine. It not only boosts the uniqueness of my shop, but then I don’t feel like I’m copying someone else’s art.

Shop Talk Developing Your Product for Etsy

When my friend asked for a small zippered pouch (which I loved the idea of so much more than a button closure!), I first read through the tutorial she sent me. The construction was a little awkward, and it had a few extra details to it that I knew would take too much time. I’ll talk about pricing another time, but part of it is paying for my time. I had an idea in my mind of what price range I wanted these pouches to be in, and if I paid myself fairly for my time, I’d have to up the price. So I came up with a simpler idea, and gave it a try (the green pouch). The zipper was just across the top. Turns out that makes it hard to dig through the cards in the pouch and easily find the one you want. So the idea of the zipper going around the corner (as it was in the original tutorial) was key. My first attempt at a two sided zipper (not shown) was awful. My second attempt was improved but the zipper started at the wrong end and I realized with something this small completely hidden seams is really difficult. The next one was what I had hoped for all along.


My pouches have the zipper going around two sides, the exposed inner seams are serged for a quality finish, and I have had so much fun choosing bright colored fabrics with contrasting zippers. I can now do a bunch of them in one sitting and have the creation process streamlined.

Shop Talk Developing Your Product for Etsy

After I shared the finished zipper pouches on Instagram and Facebook, another friend asked if I could do the same idea but bigger so it could hold a cellphone and a few credit cards. I tried making it even simpler with a magnetic closure but in the end really didn’t like what I came up with. So instead I made my pattern a little bigger and added some sewn in pockets like you have in your wallet (as seen in the black and white one with the pink zipper above, in the middle). But then the phone didn’t seem all that secure, so I added another pocket to slip the phone into.

Shop Talk Developing Your Product for Etsy

And now I have my phone wallets. None of these have sold, so inspiration from friends isn’t always magical, but you never know when something will sell (after all, I sold two Valentine and one Christmas item last week!). The key I find in whatever product you make is DO IT WELL. When people are shopping handmade they want it for the special touch that provides, or because they don’t have the time/resources to do it themselves. But they are paying money for it, so they want something that’s beyond what they could go pick up at Target or Walmart. Let your quality distinguish you. Make it so they can look at your listing and say, “That’s better than I can make.” Figure out what details will take you beyond what they could do themselves—is it a little extra top stitching? A more intricate technique? Fabric that wouldn’t be available locally? Be better at your craft than your customer and their friends. Be better than even yourself the first few times you made your product.

Grow
Once you’ve found a winner item, don’t just stop there. Keep looking for inspiration to grow your product list. In both THIS and THIS post Gina, the author of How to Start a Home-Based Etsy Business (I’m telling you, BUY THE BOOK! You won’t regret it), talks about the importance of having a lot of listings. She even says 100 is the magic number. In the past I felt like I had a lot of great ideas come to mind, but would forget them when I actually sat down to make something. So with 100 items in mind, an upcoming craft fair, and a desire to earn enough money to buy a new computer (still working toward that goal but getting so much closer!), I decided it was time to get organized.

Shop Talk Developing Your Product for Etsy

Since my phone is always within reach, I started a note in the notes app where I can add an item to the list as I think of it. Then, once I’ve made that product I get to add a check mark. I love seeing all the check marks now! I’m constantly adding new items to the list as I think of them and go back to the list regularly. Some things have been deleted once I think them through more. Others just keep getting skipped over, but may make it to completion someday. But at least I have it all in one place.

Shop Talk Developing Your Product for Etsy

It takes time to reach 100 listings, but once you get there it is an awesome feeling. And of course, the day after I hit 100 I had a sale and was back to 99. But I figured it was worth it. I’m now up to 104 and hoping to keep adding one or two new items a week. Definitely not the same drive that I had before though. While working to 100 items I spent a lot of time crafting and sewing. During Reese’s nap I’d work while Jace played and watched TV. Then, after putting the kids to bed at night, I’d go straight to my craft closet and Nolan and I would watch shows while I worked. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, I want people to feel like they’re browsing their favorite boutique when they stop in my shop. So I need to have variety and keep adding new products.

Since my life is a pretty open book, my friends are very aware of my shop. And they now send me pins when they see something they think I should make. I value their opinions so highly because I can dearly love an idea, but if no one else agrees I’ll never see profit from it. So if someone sends me an idea, and I like it too, I think it’s pretty worth pursuing. Which takes us right back to inspiration. It’s a cycle, really.

Of course, there’s more to it than just making a product. So I’ll be talking more about how I research the market, create listings, and price my products in future weeks.

How about you? If you have a shop has your process/perspective been similar? What other advice would you have for people developing their product line? If you’re new to the Etsy selling world how are you feeling about developing your products?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pizza & Play-Doh 4th Birthday


Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

Somehow this little mask wearing, cape sporting, special stuffed kitty toting little boy of mine turned 4 last month. His past birthday parties have been very theme oriented: Police, Things That Go, and Hungry Caterpillar. We usually have the party at home and just invite family since we don’t have space for more people. But Jace has made some good buddies this past year, so we decided to have his party at a pizza parlor in town. I thought we’d go with a fully pizza themed party and pinned some cute ideas. And then I made the mistake of letting Jace look at Pinterest with me, and he fell in love with a Play-Doh cake. So I guess you could say that this party was brought to you by the letter “P” for pizza and play-doh.
Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

I designed his invitation in Microsoft Publisher and then just had them printed as 4x6 prints at Costco. Seriously, if you’re able to design something yourself, this is the cheapest way to do personalized invitations. The only hesitation I had in the past for a pizza party was how to afford it with all the guests.  And then a friend invited Jace to his pizza part and noted on the invitation that pizza and pop would be provided for the kids. There was nothing rude about it, just a subtle way of saying that parents could buy their own food. Nolan and I had no problem with it and knew what to expect when we arrived. So we did the same thing with our invitation. Our pizza parlor had a kids party package where pizza, pop, and icecream were about $3/child. I figured a party at home would have cost more than that with food and decorations, so it was a great deal for us. Plus, I didn’t have to clean my house before or after the party!

Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

Jace was VERY stuck on a play doh cake (there was no convincing him otherwise), so I got to try my hand at fondant for the first time! I used THIS recipe for the cake (which a friend affirmed the choice saying that typical box cakes they used in the past weren’t strong enough to hold up well to the pressure of applying fondant), THIS recipe for the buttercream between the layers and for the crumb coat, and THIS recipe and instructions for the marshmallow fondant. I used the Wilton color gels to get the color that I wanted. And I gotta tell you, the cake was good. People who said they don’t normally care for fondant (or cake for that matter!) liked the cake. You can definitely see that I’m a fondant newbie with the lumpiness of the cake, but it’s more from not getting the buttercream smooth enough underneath. I followed THIS tutorial for putting your fondant on the cake. To do the decorative logo and lettering, I drew the lettering with a sharpie on parchment paper, then flipped it over so the mirror image was up, greased the paper, and then applied white strips of fondant to it to make the letters. I then brushed those with water and applied it all at once (or one word at a time for the top) to the cake. It worked great!

Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

Goodie bags were cellophane bags with three mini cans of Play-Doh and 3 cookie cutters. I bought a set of cookie cutters like THIS ONE at Walmart for possibly $10? $15 at the most. It came with 101 cookie cutters, so there were plenty left over for us to keep. We’ve loved having them for Jace to use with his play dough (which he’s obsessed with), and I’m happy to boost my collection.

Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

The pizza parlor we had the party at has a play set inside as well as a small arcade. We took a roll of quarters so each kid could do/get something from the arcade. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we made! Since there were only 8 kids between the couple of buddies and cousins, each kid got at least 4 quarters. They loved being able to get get prizes from the machines and then playing with those prizes.

Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

I made a double batch of the cake and just a single batch of the fondant, and was able to make a 3 layer cake and 8 cupcake. It was fun adding my own touches of colorful plates, napkins and cutlery even though we were at a restaurant. 

Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

The kids had fun sitting all together at a table for their pizza.

Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

Nolan’s dad is excellent at wood working and made Jace a beautiful wooden train. Each car is a little over a foot long, and the attention to detail is amazing. He was so excited about his train!

Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

Me and my four year old. Poor Jace was pretty subdued most of the party, and that night came down with a fever followed by a nasty bug. What a way to spend his birthday!

Pizza & Play Doh Birthday Party @ Made it on Monday

We loved celebrating Jace and I love that his party reflected him, despite how much I tried to influence it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Shop Talk: Etsy & The Stay at Home Mom

Shop Talk Etsy and the Stay at Home Mom @ Made it On Monday

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been massively promoting my shop through my Instagram and Facebook feeds, or just because I’m friends with a lot of stay at home moms who wouldn’t mind making some extra money, but I’ve found myself having a lot of Etsy-oriented conversations lately. And I find myself repeating the same things over and over again and wishing I had a blog post to refer people to. I’d also like to share some of the stories behind my items, or even walk you through how to make your own. After all—if you’re able and willing to follow one of my tutorials, you probably won’t be shopping from me in the first place. So I’m going to have an on-going series that will happen on Saturdays (when I actually post for it) called Shop Talk. I’ll cover anything from do you have the time to run an Etsy shop, to how I made something, to where I shop, to how I price. Hopefully, if you’re wanting to sell as well, grow your shop, or are just curious, you’ll find this inspirational (or maybe the reality check you were needing???). Check out my previous Etsy post, Six Etsy Tips. And the next post in this series on developing your product can be found HERE.

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A Little Back Story…
I first opened my shop in October of 2010. I just hit the 500 sales mark this week (woohoo!) and have been through several different seasons in my shop. Reaching my first 10, 20, 50, 100 sales took a lot of work. I got into a groove of selling jersey knit infinity scarves and did really well through the Christmas season for two years. But as styles changed and I found myself bored with making the same thing over and over again, I closed my shop for 6 months and then reopened it with a new purpose. I’ve essentially had to re-brand myself and find a new customer base as my product options have changed. Over the years I have had different motivations behind selling on Etsy—supporting my crafting habit, paying for a new laptop, paying for Christmas two years in a row, and now paying for a new laptop again. My hope for the shop is to have it be able to fund family vacations.

If you’re thinking of opening an Etsy shop, my first suggestion is to buy this book, How to Start a Home Based Etsy Business. Gina, who blogs at The Shabby Creek Cottage, wrote it and it is the best guide to keep by your side as you begin your business. I read the book a month ago and felt like it gave me the guidance I needed to take my shop to the next level. I even revisited all the goals and notes I wrote in it a few days ago and checked off several met goals, and make plans for the next step.


Four Keys to Consider…
The thing I felt like was missing in the book, though, is the reality check you might need if you’re wanting to start a business. Which is where this post stems from. Keep in mind, this post is written for the already stay at home mom, or the mom who is hoping to get to that point. I have four things for you to think through as you contemplate taking the step from dreaming to doing: What is my goal? Do I have the time? Do I have the space? Do I have the money?

What is My Goal? Where do you hope your shop will take you? Are you like me, and just want to have some extra income to boost the family budget and pay for extras? Then starting a shop has the potential to be a lot of fun and, in time, financially rewarding. Or are you needing a steady income that will help pay the bills and buy necessities? If you are a stay at home mom and you are in a place where additional income is necessary now, or you need it by a certain date and need it to be steady, then starting an Etsy business is not going to meet that need. At least, not right away. It takes time to build a shop and customer base. While there are wildly successful shops that provide a full time, livable wage (or more!), you aren’t going to get to that place over night. I enjoy looking through the sold orders sections of sellers I know, find, or admire, and one of the things I see over and over again is that there are major cycles in their sales. Some might have 5 sales in one day and then nothing for 2 weeks. Or they might have one sale a day. Or they have a bunch at Christmas time and then it peters out once February hits. I can guarantee you that these sellers are not depending on the income from their shops.


Do I Have the Time? I think the major factor in distinguishing the shop that has thousands of sales from the one with hundreds (or less) is time. If you are a stay at home mom because you don’t want to work outside the home or have your kids in childcare, and want to have the time in your day to do mom things like play dates, clean the house, go shopping, and then relax and spend time with your spouse in the evenings, then you are not a working mom for a reason. An intentionally at-home mom with the goal of doing mom things does not have the time to be a wildly successful, high selling Etsy shop owner. In order to have the business that makes the steady income, you will have to pour time into it. And the kind of time you need in order to make thousands of items, market them, handle customer service for them, package them and mail them, will require you to be a working mom. And being a working mom means hiring people to watch your kids or having them in school all day, or scheduling your business hours to be after they go to bed. Right now, my available work hours are while Reese naps and after the kids are in bed. But they aren’t set hours, so if Jace needs me during the nap time, I’m not working. Or if we have a social thing planned, I’m not working. Or if my husband is tired of not having much attention from me, I’m not working. I’m able to fit quite a few hours in during the week, but it has been a very slow process to build the inventory I have, and I wouldn’t be able to sustain much more business than a couple of sales a day. Not without making changes to our lives like hiring a babysitter or a housekeeper. And neither of those are going to happen since being an at-home mom really is my first priority.

On the other side of “do I have the time” is “do I have the time to wait for the income?” While I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, it’s going to take time to build a shop to a sustainable income. Do you need the money right now and if you don’t get it you’ll be in a crisis? Then you need to find another job that provides a steady income from the start. If not, and you have the time to build your business, then go for it!


Do I Have the Space? One of my biggest suggestions for moms who want to have an Etsy business is to make your products in advance. I know there are plenty of people who do great in the made to order department, but I have found that the times I list something as made to order, it’s a guarantee that when the order comes in the kids will be sick or in bad moods, I will have too many other things happening in my week (after all, I’m doing this business as a side thing, not an established work thing), or life just makes it really hard and stressful to get the item made in the time I promised. There is risk involved in building inventory—not everything is guaranteed to sell. I’ll do another post on how to build inventory with less risk. And there is space involved. Do you have the space to store finished products? materials? to do the work? to have packaging materials on hand? If you don’t, can you make the space? Is your family going to be ok with craft supplies around the house or do they need to be in a designated spot? I have found that having my set work space in MY CRAFT CLOSET where everything is conveniently accessible and easy to clean up has majorly upped my productivity.

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Do I Have the Money? It takes an investment to start a business, no matter how small. You need to buy the materials to make your items (even if you are doing made to order you still need to have an original prototype to photograph for the listings). It costs $0.20 per listing of your items. And just listing them once does not get you sales. I relist at least one item a day to help keep them fresh in the Etsy search engine. It can take a long time to get that first sale (often times buyers want to see previous sales and feedback in order to trust a seller), so that could be a lot of relisting fees. Granted, it’s only $0.20/time, but if you’re renewing one a day, that’s $6 spent just on renewing over the course of a month. And that doesn’t take into account all your initial first time listings (30 items would be $6. So you’ve just spent $12 with the possibility of absolutely no income). Is your partner ok with you putting money into the business? Are they ok with it taking time to see an actual profit?

I did a craft show in December where I had spent $90 on materials. There was a mediocre turn out for the show, and I sold $120 in items. Which meant that after I paid back our family bank account, and the $15 entry fee, I only saw $15 for all that time. I was able to then sell most of the items I had left over on Etsy for a straight profit since I’d already paid back the investment cost, but it took over a month to get them sold, and I do still have quite a few Christmas goodies in storage until next year. Before I even finished the Christmas season I had to be looking ahead to the next season for my shop, so I was reinvesting what I could into materials for Valentine projects. And once that was done I needed to create for spring. And then there was the cost of wanting to get to 100 listings in my shop in order to attract more customers, which meant more supplies. So now I’m at a great point with inventory, and have seen steady sales, and am almost to the point of averaging a sale each day. But what you see according to Etsy—that I have had $220 in sales in the past 30 days—is not reflected in my shop bank account.


Having an Etsy shop can be a lot of fun and very rewarding! It’s a cool community to be a part of and really thrilling to receive that email that says you’ve had an order. I have loved being able to contribute our finances by saving for Christmas and buying my own equipment. I have lot of fun thinking up new product ideas, bringing them to life, and then hearing about how much my customers love their purchase. If people know what they’re getting into, or are at least willing to ride out the bumps along the way without getting discouraged and quitting, I say go for it, jump in and have fun!

Are you an Etsy seller? What tips do you have for stay at home moms who are wanting to open a shop? Has your experience/perspective been different than mine? What topics would you like to see me address in this series?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Craft Closet

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

A little bit of crafting space history for you: Our guest room used to be my sewing room. It was a great space but always a disaster thanks to it being the dumping ground whenever we needed to quickly clean the rest of the house. And I never really created enough storage systems within it to keep my creativity neat. When we knew we’d be adding to our family, we began to dream about adding onto our house to create a craft room. It was beautiful. You can read about my craft room dreams and plans HERE. Well, then we had to reside our house and all our savings went there, so PLANS CHANGED. What was my craft room became REESE’S NURSERY, and Nolan and I combined closets so his could become my crafting space. You can see how nice and clean it started out HERE. We had grand plans for utilizing the space, but it just never became a priority—both with our time or finances. So then, over time, this is what it ended up looking like:

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

Are you feeling better about yourself? It’s like Monica’s secret closet on Friends, only it wasn’t my big secret and the rest of my house wasn’t spotless like her apartment. Everything just kept getting piled in there, and when I needed something I’d have to dig for it. Eventually I got so tired of digging that I’d just buy something new. So I ended up with at least three of several different things. Over time my craft storage spread to the dining room and I kept my sewing machines and basic supplies in there on a shelf.

Finally, almost a year and a half after crafting like this, in the week after Christmas I decided to do something about it and started pulling everything out. It got WAY worse before it got better. And my jump to action motivated Nolan to want to help finish the space as it should be rather than come up with temporary solutions. I’ll do a full post in a few days of how we remodeled the space, and what the cost was like (which we kept it to under $200), but for now, I just want to bask in the beauty of it. While I love it and think it could glow rays of sunshine, it’s definitely not the amazing works of decorator heaven you’ll find all over Pinterest. This is my practical, affordable, suits my 1500 square foot house crafting closet.

This post is very photo-heavy, but I’ll also be explaining how I use the space and how my storage solutions work for me. I always find it inspiring to see how other people organize.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

The closet is a little over six feet wide and 3 feet deep. The desk is a u-shape and I sit right in the middle of it. I slip around the chair (someday we’ll get one that swivels) and once I’m in, I’m in. To get things off the high shelves I stand on the chair. And if my kids join me, it gets crowded really fast. But it’s my space and I love it. When I go in, I feel like I’m at the office working. Having this designated space where everything is within an arm’s reach has upped my productivity for my shop so much! You can see that the back wall is very bare. I’m hoping to get a big bulletin board for that space soon.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

In the middle of the desk I have my sewing machine. When I’m not using it, it’s pushed back to give me more counter space. Nolan drilled a hole in the desk top so my power and foot pedal cords are able to go down through there and run to where they need to go without cluttering up the space. This is one of my many favorite things about the space. The basket to the right of my machine is a little trash basket since there isn’t room on the floor for a trash can. Big trash goes in a plastic bag I typically have hanging from my chair.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

To the left are pins, jars holding sewing tools like my seam ripper and my beloved LOOP TURNER, and my oh so stylish college mug full of pens. The post-it pads are a big element of my business—I am constantly noting how long something took me to make, or how much to charge for it, etc. Eventually I transfer all the notes to a spiral notebook, but these are great for in-process notes.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

Another favorite feature that I LOVE is the measuring tape sticker I have along the front of the desk. Before, when I’d sew, I would keep my machine on my cutting mat and found myself utilizing it for the ruler while measuring the lengths of garlands as I made them. After just sewing in here once or twice I found myself missing it. I found my sticker on ebay HERE. It’s no longer available, but you could probably search for it and find it from another seller? I paid just under $4.50, including shipping, for it.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

Stepping back you can see the left side of the space. Another favorite feature is my door hanging ironing board. I bought THIS ONE at Walmart for $23. I love that when I want to iron all I have to do is fold it down instead of dealing with pulling out my big board. I also use it as an extra work space. Just pull it down and can turn back and forth between my machine and it. It’s at counter height, so when I’m cutting small items I’m not having to lean over. And it just might be left down for extra storage when I’m in messy-busy mode and can’t clean up at the end of the day.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

This is the top shelf on the left side. It was an original shelf in the space. As much as I’d love solid shelves, this is what was there which meant it didn’t cost anything. I have clear shoe box tubs from the dollar store holding various fabric pieces and felt, all sorted by color. The baby wipes box holds paper patterns, and the blue lidded tub has fake flowers in it. The picture boxes (from Joann’s that I typically buy one at a time with 40% off coupons or when they’re on sale) hold inventory for my shop. As you can see, I’m using just about every inch of space there is.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

When buying the extra shelves for the closet, I really liked THIS hanging shelf. Simply hanging it from the shelf above meant less screws to properly anchor, and also that I’d still have some free hanging space at the end of the shelf against the wall (not pictured). In that open space I have my hanging button and thread storage that I posted about HERE. Tacked on the wall is a sewing machine foot guide and a color chart from the store where I order zippers.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

This shelf is seriously one of my favorite spots for both looks and practicality. On it I have a tub of threads (keeping it classy-this was a dog treats container originally), my serger threads along the back, a wooden crate holding my frequently used ribbons, and jars full of headband elastic, ric-rac and other miscellaneous trimmings. The way the ribbon sits and threads through the shelf makes it easy for me to pull from where I sit and cut off the length I need.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

On the desk on the left side you can somewhat see my hanging thread and button storage, a sewing basket that holds the small pieces for projects I’m currently working on, a drawer storage system topped with a basket full of small scraps. The purple box holds various ribbons and trims that didn’t fit above, and on top of it is a small wooden crate full of larger fabric scraps. Next to that is where I store my serger. As you can see I’m using every available square inch and not afraid of stacking.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

Below the desk I have more shelving and store my fabric and yarn. We have shelf tracks like THESE ($5/track and there are 4 total in the closet) with brackets supporting white shelves. I love that I can raise and lower the shelves as I change the way I use the space or need to store things differently. In front of the fabric skeins of yarn are in baskets from the dollar store, and a few bolts of fabric are propped up and more projects are piled on top of those. I’m telling you—it’s amazing just how much stuff I can fit in this space!

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

The right wall is more focused on crafting supplies. The top shelf was originally hanging lower in the closet—you can see the holes from the anchors if you look closely (we figure we’ll patch them someday). If it had been left in its original spot it would have been too close to the desk for the countertop to be useful.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

A few bolts of fabric that I don’t use very often are on that shelf since they’re harder to get to. Below that the shelf was left where it was from the original closet configuration. The hanging file box on the left holds all my precut paper dies and stationary items and envelopes. Next to that the black and white polka dot box holds packaging items for my shop, below that is more inventory storage. The coffee cup next to it is a prop for photographing my coffee sleeves (found here and here), and the purple box has supplies for fastening—glue, tape, paper clips, staples, etc. Next to it is another drawer storage that I’ll talk more about in a bit.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

Everything on the next shelf down is pretty easy to reach while I’m sitting. This shelf was originally in our hall closet, but had to be removed when we started storing a large tub of pet food in there and couldn’t open the tub while the shelf was there. It was great to be able to reuse it. The white three drawer unit has business papers/cardstocks in the bottom drawer, hole punches, craft scissors and rotary cutters (for fabric) in the middle drawer, and stamp pads, glitters and embellishments in the top. Next to the rubbermaid drawers the container is full of stencils. The old box holds all my paints, sorted by color and type, and is topped with brushes, pallets and bottles too tall to fit on the shelves. I love that there’s also some space in front of it for random things.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

Right under the shelf I have a tension rod holding the paper I wrap all my sales in before mailing. I just have to pull the paper to the length I need and cut. It’s another one of my favorite things in here. I do have to use a strip of post it note to keep it from unrolling though. On the desk below you’ll see that I store my Silhouette machine (although when I use it I typically put it on the ironing board), my Sizzix Big Shot, all my die cuts and pen set. Even though the hot glue gun can be stored in a drawer above, it never gets put away and just sits on its mat right there. There is a hole in the counter in the back corner where the cord goes down to the outlet.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

Below is the messiest part of my organization. We have more track shelving. Top left is the tub holding all my Silhouette supplies and vinyl. Next to it is a basket full of notepads, and next to that miscellaneous supplies like basket filler, raffia, doilies and large bubble mailers. Below that is a tub of small Mod Podge supplies, all my Mod Podge, boxes full of felt scraps from my BOWS, and the basket full of more shop inventory—all my bows. Below that is a basket full of random projects and old clothes to be upcycled, the green tub is full of craft supplies my kids can use (Jace regularly comes in and pulls out construction paper so he can cut it), and more random craft supplies. Sophie, the cat, is my constant companion when I’m in there. She’s always loved to be a part of my sewing.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

Here’s a shot of all the packaged bows in the basket.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

And the beautiful outlet Nolan installed for me. There was already a fluorescent light in the closet above the door, so after watching a few Youtube videos he was able to run power from the light switch. This space would not be useful for me if it weren’t for this outlet. My sewing machine is always plugged in to the lower outlet, and whatever else I’m using gets plugged in above it. I’m glad I haven’t needed a power strip because I don’t think there would be the space, and I don’t want to run too much off the amount of power that goes through the light switch. The iron in use can already dim the light.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

As for my three sets of drawers—the first on is on the desk on the left side and holds velcro and sewing fasteners in the top drawer, elastic in the middle, and sewing machine tools and needles in the bottom. The second set is on the right side and holds hot glue gun supplies in the top drawer, interfacings in the middle, and notions like zippers and bias tape in the bottom. The third is also on the right side and holds wooden beads in the top, random craft supplies like key rings in the next, metal and elastic headbands next, alligator and French barrettes in the next, and all sorts of other accessory bases in the bottom. On top of that drawer set is my double sided tape for attaching items to metal, and in front of it is frequently used small paper patterns.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

And finally, because I do have a little more stuff than will fit in the closet, we have a small shelf I bought at the Restore in our bedroom that holds more boxes. I’m wanting to gradually get more picture boxes to store these items in to help keep things looking nice. The bottom wooden crate holds craft show display items.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

And just so you don’t judge me and think that I keep things neat and tidy all the time—this is pretty typical of the floor, even when it’s clean—legos, threads and trash.

A Practical & Affordable Craft Closet @ Made it on Monday

And this is what the rest of my room looked like when I was taking the pictures.

Thanks for stopping by! I really enjoyed showing you my space and hope you liked seeing it. And maybe you’ll be inspired by how practical it is? If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer in the comments. I’ll be back soon with the full, technical details of how everything was built.