That’s right! We’re once again giving away a rad pair of Freshly Picked moccasins AND a $50 shop credit to marshmueller.com to one lucky winner!
Freshly Picked is an amazing Utah-based company that started with a mom on a mission to make baby shoes more functional. She started with her second son as a mocc-tester, and armed with a bag of scrap leather, Freshly Picked was born. It has grown into a company with a cult following, beloved by fashionista mamas and celebrities alike, and even seen on Shark Tank.
Susan Petersen, the founder of Freshly Picked, is a supporter of the Made in USA movement, small businesses, and empowering fellow entrepreneurs. We love following Freshly Picked on Instagram, where Susan’s enthusiasm is contagious, and she offers snippets of advice for business owners.
MarshMueller (in case you’re new here) is a handmade Oregon-based company that started with a mom on a mission to make useful baby accessories look good. She started with her first son’s nursery set, carefully curated fabrics, and MarshMueller was born whilst on maternity leave with her colicky son. The line includes our bestselling bibs and burp cloth sets, and includes other essentials like our premium Boppy cover, and our proprietary Diaper + Wipe Clutch. The company has grown to selling on multiple online platforms (marshmueller.com, Etsy, and Amazon Handmade), selling at various live events including Crafty Wonderland in Portland, Oregon, and has products being sold in 20+ retail stores along the West coast.
Holly (Chief Everything Officer) lives in Astoria, Oregon with her husband of 13 years, her two sons, ages five and two, two Pomeranians, and one Ragdoll cat.
So go ahead and enter the giveaway below!
LE FINE PRINT::
PLEASE NOTE :: Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, 18 years and older. If you’ve been a super lucky duck and have won a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins from any sort of giveaway within the last 60 days, you are ineligible to enter. One winner will receive a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins and a $50 voucher toward a purchase on http://www.marshmueller.com. Giveaway is valued at approximately $110 USD. Giveaway ends Saturday, May 27, at 11:59pm PDT. Void where prohibited. Winner must comply with all national and local regulations and is fully responsible for applicable customs and taxes. Winner will be selected randomly through Gleam and will be notified by email. Winners have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Gleam are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information exclusively to MarshMueller. We do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
It’s the Crafty Wonderland Spring Art + Craft Market!
225 amazing and talented makers and artists will fill the Oregon Convention Center’s Hall D and you can shop your handmade heart out. There will also be a DIY/craft area, plus a few local non-profits to help spread awareness.
I went to Ventura, CA for Craftcation last week, and while I’m definitely glad to be back with my husband and my boys, it was still difficult to go back to the “real world.”
As the fog in Astoria is slow to dissipate to sunshine, I am missing those sunny California skies (and my lack of allergy triggers!), but am glad I managed to take some of that warm weather with me.
Craftcation is a business and maker’s conference that features business workshops and DIY/crafting classes. It’s four days of sheer awesomeness, and once you walk into the Ventura Beach Marriott, you’re immediately immersed in the vibes of a come-as-you-are, everyone’s welcome, creative community. If you’re attending the conference, you’re part of the not-so-secret club, whether or not you have a business, or are crafty at all.
Last year I attended my first Craftcation and brought along my husband, and we had so much fun that I was compelled to contribute in some fashion the next year. Fast forward to 2017, and I had the incredible chance of teaching a course.
photo courtesy of @academyofhandmade
I taught crafty folks how to make a Gamaguchi Clutch (aka my Oh, Snap! Clutch) Thursday morning, the first day of the conference.
It was SO much fun, and I think my students had a great time, too! I’m thankful for the skills I picked up in college theatre courses, for we had to improvise when the arsenal of irons tripped the circuits outside the classroom, and when the glue wasn’t what I use at home, but my students were great at rolling with the punches and in the end EVERYONE finished their clutch!!
I had a few people in the class who either hadn’t sewn much, or had ever touched a sewing machine! I was so excited they were willing to give it a shot- the next thing I knew, I saw a few folks trying out sergers in the general sewing area once the class was over! I’d call that a success. 🙂 I was also thankful that I had the same Bernina B350 at home, so I was able to troubleshoot with the ladies who lent the Cotton + Steel Berninas from Baron’s Sewing Center.
Friday evening was the Wanderings experience; an art walk where attendees can create an experience, right in their hotel room. Other attendees wander from room to room, gathering stamps on their Wanderings Passport, and experiencing whatever the rooms had to offer. Experiences ranged from a “Get Lucky Lounge,” brought to you by Lela and Shannon of Lucky Break Consulting (they also won for best room), to a Dinosaur Jesus experience (I was so bummed to have missed this one!!), and many others.
I opted to host an experience this year, and my smarty pants creative husband came up with the idea:
IRON CRAFT AMERICA!
It’s like Iron Chef America, but with crafts. I created three “stations” in my room, where competitors could go head-to-head in the ultimate crafting competition!
Competitors had a basic crafting pack that consisted of paper, scissors, glue, markers, and pencils. In paper bags were the “Secret Ingredients,” which each mini competition had to work with their basic craft pack. Each competitor had only five minutes to create a craft consisting of their basic craft pack and they had to incorporate the secret ingredient in some fashion.
LEFT: A rad nameplate with “I’m CEO, BITCH!”, and RIGHT: Rosalie gets fed up and creates a popsicle-stick creation declaring “Fuck Crafts!”
It was SO much fun, and SO many people really committed themselves to the competition, having fun, and being incredibly creative. I was in awe at all the amazing creations that were being constructed in five minutes.
I hope we get to recreate Iron Craft America in some form for next year!
Delilah and Nicole, the forces behind Craftcation (and Patchwork Show, and their Dear Handmade Life podcast, and their own respective businesses–do they EVER sleep?!), do SUCH an amazing job at coordinating and planning the event. They have an incredibly rad core of employees and volunteers to help the event run smoothly.
We got to have lunch at Ventura City Hall twice, and each meal they served (including dinner on Thursday night) was so so so good.
And yes, The Tavern (location of the Saturday night Dance Party) still had my favorite magical Swedish cider in stock that I discovered last year. Win-Win!
It was really interesting comparing my experience from last year’s Craftcation to this year’s conference. Last year, I approached the conference head-on, and in the most Type-A fashion (as I do). I took ALL the business courses, and sent my husband to the ones that conflicted with the ones I was taking.
I think Craftcation is magical in that you get out of it what you need most at that time. Last year, I needed lots of help in wholesale, pitching, and social media. While I wouldn’t say I’m “done” with learning about those aspects of my business, Craftcation helped push me to make progress on those things to the point where I’ll need to pay someone to go even further (this is a GOOD thing, people!).
This year was different. This mama is tired. This mama works A LOT, for not a lot in the bank account. I went to Craftcation with a plan, but one that was fluid. There were definitely some things that HAD to get done (teaching my class, conducting office hours to help other makers, Iron Craft America), but I found myself taking more down time, taking more crafting classes, and simply chatting with others.
I had the opportunity to sit and eat lunch on the lawn of Ventura City Hall with Arianne Foulks of Aeolidia and Lela Barker of Lucky Break Consulting and simply listen. I’ve worked with Lela before (I took her LBU wholesale course last year and it was amazing), and I got to meet Arianne for the first time in person, which was especially rewarding, as I’ve read her blog and been a newsletter subscriber for a while now.
While I definitely did my share of talking at Craftcation, I find myself shutting up and listening more. I’m not sure if it’s an age thing, or doing this more and more in life in general, or the fact that much of my time is spent listening to voices of humans under the age of six. Regardless, it was refreshing to sit among other makers and listen.
I had an unexpected moment to have Office Hours with Arianne and Shoshanna from Aeolidia, and in 10 minutes, they KICKED MY ASS regarding my website. Don’t worry- it was all very very good feedback. They pointed out things that I didn’t even notice, as I tend to get too close to my own business to see obvious things that might confuse customers.
I had the opportunity to host Office Hours, where fellow attendees could sign up during a predetermined timeslot and get one-on-one time with an expert.
While I don’t consider myself to be an expert of any sort, I signed up to host Office Hours on a whim last year for this year’s conference. It ended up being just the thing I needed- ever since the beginning of this year, I’ve grappled with a huge case of Impostor Syndrome, and have had a hard time shaking it.
Hosting Office Hours, while terrifying at first, was exhilarating, especially when most of the folks who actually signed up with me (yes, I had people sign up! That in and of itself was exciting!), told me that I had helped them. My focus was to help others break down a seemingly insurmountable task into smaller, actionable chunks. In the span of 15 minutes. Good thing I’m a fast talker. 🙂
It was redeeming to have successful Office Hours- while again, I am no expert, but I do know I am good at knowing where to go or look when I’m figuring something out.
Not to get all woo-woo on you, but with Mercury being in retrograde during the conference, it might mean transportation snafus (there were definitely some!), it also is a great time to reflect. I found it an excellent time to step outside of my business, something I don’t take time to do on a regular basis. I’m planning on implementing some changes to further my business, but also offer up some more freedom to you know, live life and everything.
I hope to get an opportunity to teach and help other makers at Craftcation next year! I hate that I have to spend a year not seeing all the amazing faces and talented folks I connected with this year.
In celebration of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, you can get 10% off ANY item in my shop when you enter PDXETSY2012 at checkout until Monday, 11/26 at 11:59pm.
Seriously, this is a big effing deal.
So do it.
Hope you survived Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Worst. Thanksgiving. Ever.
The Boy came down with the flu right as our turkey was finishing up cooking (let’s just say as all y’all were Instagramming your delicious dinners, we totally could have posted the mess The Boy made, and you’d lose your appetite, too!). Pumpkin pie was not made, I didn’t eat until two hours after dinner was done, and invited guests were promptly uninvited as I scrubbed down a barf-covered boy in the tub. BUT- dinner did get finished, The Boy’s crib was cleaned up, and I was fed thanks to my amazing husband, who helps me not lose my mind with all the what-ifs and trouble with simple cooking tasks I’ve done a gazillion times. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing family…even if one of them made me swear off Annie’s Organic White Cheddar Mac & Cheese forever. 🙂
But Black Friday?
Totally turned things around.
Like I said earlier, it was the first year I actually wasn’t required to work at an ungodly early hour on Black Friday, and there was no way in fucking hell you could get me out of bed for anything less than the goddamn Oregon Lottery Thanksgiving Raffle that we did not win.
Except for Rob’s alternator went out in his Subie WRX, and I had to drive him to work. The Boy was STILL sleeping, and we had to wake him up so we could go.
I backed out of the driveway waving a sad goodbye to the potential added shut-eye I could have had.
But the bright side?
I slept in until…
Which is usually the time I’m at work. Which would be two hours into my shift working Black Friday.
I was still grateful.
Then on the drive back home, the Starbucks drive-through goofed and gave me a venti americano instead of a grande (what I had ordered), but only charged me for the grande!
Totally makes up for the unpleasantness of Thanksgiving.
It’s the little things.
Like the sale in my shop! HA–had to get the shameless plug in again sometime, right?
I work in the Retail industry for my day job, and while I love it, Black Friday has usually been a day of getting up butt-ass early, painting a smile on my face, and dealing with friendly shoppers.
Okay, there are a few assholes within those friendly shoppers, but it’s just enough to make me loathe saying goodnight to my family at a super early hour on Thanksgiving, only to lay in bed and not be able to sleep, because it’s only 9pm.
NOT this year, bitches!
I’m currently in a position where I am not required to work out in the stores on Black Friday. This will be the first time in like seven years.
Am I going shopping?
Now that the game of Black Friday is changing among retailers, if you’re really the type of person who hunts for the best deal in town, you need a goddamned spreadsheet just to track what day and time each retailer is slashing their prices on certain items.
Black Friday is broken.
So why bother?
Why not shop local instead?
While yes, big-box retailers DO employ peeps in our respective cities, the money the local associates are paid does stay within our local economy.
But the margin those retailers make that doesn’t go toward payroll?
It goes back to the mothership. Whether that be Minneapolis, or Bentonville, the higher-ups are laughing all the way to the bank.
So shop local or handmade this year. When I mean local, I mean LOCAL. Like the, “owner of the establishment could be your neighbor” local.
I am making the commitment to buying as many gifts locally or handmade this year. The only exception I am making are children’s toys, as I’m super vigilant about making sure items are CPSC compliant, and many makers are not aware they could be potentially selling hazardous items to negligent parents.
Scope out holiday bazaars and craft fairs. Check out etsy.com. The majority of the people involved in these types of events (and shops on etsy) are people like me who love what they do and are trying to make a living out of it.
Yes, their prices are going to be higher.
Suck it up and pay for it. The wages paid to factory workers in overseas manufacturers is appallingly tiny. These small biz owners are trying to keep up with the cost of living in this country, as well as keep their business open.
Okay. Rant over.
With all that being said, here’s some opportunities to support local small businesses, and I’m part of these awesome events this year!
Saturday, December 1, 10am-4pm: Lewis Holiday Bazaar & Tree Sale
It’s your Southeast one-stop gift and tree shop at Meriweather Lewis Elementary! The event supports the Lewis PTA, and they combined the bazaar and their tree sale this year to make it one awesome, festive event!
Sunday, December 2, 9am-4pm: Laurelhurst Winter Bazaar
I applied for this show really hoping to get in, as I LOVE their marketing design, and they also do a really good job with promoting the show. I was super stoked to hear I made it in. The coordinators of the bazaar work really hard to gather fantastic raffle prizes (including a “Dinner out for a year” package, containing a basket of restaurant gift cards, enough to go out once a month for a year!), in addition to a wreath auction.
There’s a few other shows I have applied for, but I am still waiting on confirmation, so there you have it! If you’re in the Portland metro area, you have no excuse not to shop local!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and weekend!
I attended School House Craft, a three-day conference to educate crafty people to succeed in their creative business. It was in Seattle last weekend, and it was chock-full of educational creative goodness.
My brain is full.
But a good kind of full.
Where do I even start? While I am (obviously) not going to cover everything I learned, the conference did two things for me and my business:
1:: made me realize I have a pretty good thing going on with my shop, and
2:: I have a LOT to do to make it even better.
I met a CRAPLOAD of amazing creative people. I wanted to kidnap them all and take them home. Being among people who are also striving for a creative life helped refuel my energy in a way that online could never accomplish.
One of the creative folks who really stood out was Steph Cortes, of nerdJERK. If she could bottle her personality and sell it, she would make a gazillion dollars. Seriously. She was the funny, crass, bubbly person I’d like to think I am, and she taught the Etsy Shop Tune Up class, and I. Got. Served. While yes, I did sign up to get my little shop critiqued, she went above and beyond with helpful tips without sugarcoating it.
And her shop? Flippin’ awesome. The geek in me can see the dollar signs floating from my own bank account and into Paypal, buying all the things in her shop.
I also made some cool shit, including this uber hodgepodge nametag:
Googly eye FTW! I also learned to work with felted wool. The Joy Guild had a table chock-full of nifty crafty supplies to create your own DIY nametag for the conference, and to learn a thing or two. Lots of fellow conference-goers were seen painting, sewing, or learning something new, like I did. I made this guy:
Wonky, but cute. RAWR! So in addition to keeping your eyes peeled for even more new items in my shop, keep your eyes open for some changes- ‘cuz they’re a comin’!
For my 30th birthday, Rob bought me mama + baby swim lessons at the local community center through the Portland Parks Department.
It was perfect, because (TMI Time) I had recently stopped nursing The Boy and had become SUPER depressed. My hormonal, irrational alter ego (we nicknamed her Debi) reared her ugly, tear-stained face once more. No bueno. So Rob, being the knight in shining armor that he is, battled the Bitch with another way for The Boy and me to bond.
The swim classes were 30 minutes long each weekday after work for two weeks. And if we liked it, we could keep going on the classes!
I was so excited that I went SWIMSUIT shopping.
ON MY BIRTHDAY.
My 30th birthday.
You read that right.
While I do have a fabulous Betsey Johnson swimsuit I’ve rocked for years (even whilst preggers at Preggers Aquatic Class), post-baby was NOT the time to wear a bikini. At least for me. Sorry man, I was not confident to show anyone any odd flabby parts or stretch marks.
So a one-piece it was, in navy blue. And it totally doesn’t look like an old lady swimsuit!
I was excited. I bought swim diapers and swim shorts for The Boy. I marked out all the class times in all my calendars, and had my bag ready Monday morning so I could just pack up The Boy and head to class after work.
Monday morning, the community center called.
They cancelled the class due to low enrollment…as in, I was the only one signed up.
Devastated and still reeling from residual Debi-ness, I had them sign me up for the next class two weeks later.
Which also got cancelled for the same reason.
Thankfully Debi has left the building for good, so instead of crying about it, I got pissed. Which caused me to not sign up for the next class. Take that, community center!
Until I got the Fall schedule in the mail today. I decided to take a peek to see if they were offering that same class again.
Oh, they definitely are.
At 10am, 1pm, and 3pm.
While I’m at work.
Which made me come to a realization: organizations don’t think about the working mamas. They cater to the stay-at-home moms.
And it blows for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I have HUGE respect for stay-at-home moms (SAHMs). Despite what many people think, It. Is. A. JOB. A hard job. I don’t think I could do it–well, I could, but I don’t think I would do it very well. I received validation for my instincts when I asked my mom while on my maternity leave: “How did you handle staying at home with three kids?” and she replied, “I didn’t.”
Yeah, yeah, gasp all you want. Actually wanting to work outside the home doesn’t make me love my son any less than any other mother. I cherish every day, every hour, every minute, every SECOND I get with my little guy. And if I stayed at home, I might not feel that way; I would probably take it for granted.
Yes, I definitely do get wistful when I see SAHMs at the store while I’m comp shopping, or seeing moms on the playground with their little ones as I’m driving home from work, or when the mommy groups I follow on facebook have impromptu get-togethers when I’m on the clock, but that’s the life I choose to live (well, and having me stay at home isn’t financially feasible, and I’m fine with that).
But to not even be given an opportunity to participate in an activity that would let me do something fun with my son and get to know other moms is insulting.
Especially when it involves compelling me to go swimsuit shopping.
So for now, The Boy and I are going to don our swimming gear, grab our respective beverages (sippy cup of water for him, beer for me), and lounge Whiskey-Tango style in his kiddie pool.
After what feels like AGES of product development and testing, I am over the moon to announce the official launch of my brand spankin’ new Diaper Clutches!
Crappy Photoshopping FTW!
Seriously, these took so, SO much work to get them just right.
I was inspired by one that was given to me at my baby shower, but it needed some improvements.
• I wanted my clutch to work with as many brands of travel wipes as possible. Many of the clutches on the market only worked with one brand, and I wanted mine to be versatile. This included engineering the wipes pocket and the wipes portal (you know, where you pull the wipes out of) to work with many travel wipes brands.
My new diaper/wipe clutch works for Pampers wipes (or a horizontal wipes opening)……or a Huggies wipes opening (a vertical opening)!
The clutch has two sections: one for the diapers, and one for the wipes. No shimmying. No combined space for one to fight with the other. I made it easy for caregivers to slide in the diapers in the back section (and you can cram a lot of diapers in there–I’ve managed to shove in four size 4 diapers plus wipes and didn’t have to fight to get the damned thing closed). The wipes section is easy, too: you just slide the wipes container in. No finagaling, no frustration. And when it comes time to change the baby, BAM! Pull the wipes right from the clutch. All that needs to be taken out is the new diaper to be used.
I opted for a sewn-in velcro closure because as a parent, I’m SUPER paranoid about The Boy getting hold of something he’s not supposed to have, and swallowing/choking on it or parts from it. While I have seen diaper caryalls and clutches using adorable velcro and elastic, snaps, or magnets, as a parent, I didn’t want to make anything that could potentially endanger a child. So velcro it was. Double-stitched. 🙂
I debuted these little beauties at the Exclusively by Mommy craft fair at Cotton Babies, and they were a HIT! Everyone was as excited about them as I was. I’m now feverishly attempting to replenish my inventory as we speak.
Check out what I’ve got in my etsy shop so far (and many more to come once I make them!).
Now off to finish a custom diaper clutch for a customer!
I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster ride for the past three weeks.
And now that the ride is over, I want to go again.
My first craft fair event was a success! Granted, I worked my ass off to get there, but it was worth every minute of my prep time.
Including the not-so-perfect tablecloth.
I was worried a card table wouldn’t fit into the GTI, in addition to all the things I needed to bring, but it all worked out. I didn’t even have to remove The Boy’s carseat. Bonus!
Packing up the GTI.
Once I got to Cotton Babies, I had a few minutes to kill, so I went into Freddy’s for some duct tape (you never know), a Clif Bar, and some sunscreen. I wasn’t sure where my table was going to be, and I wanted to be prepared (and not a lobster by the end of Hour 4).
When 9am rolled around, I checked in with the event coordinator and chose my table spot. I guess it’s not typical of craft fairs to let you choose your spot, but I was thankful to be able to at this event. I strategized and chose my spot on the east side of the building; that way I only got the morning sun and wouldn’t be baking in the afternoon sun.
I’m glad I had an hour to set up shop. While I did a test run at home and took good photos for reference, setting up still took me longer than I expected! Thank goodness I bought the duct tape- that was helping my banner stay up!
I confessed to the vendor next to me that it was my first craft show, and she said, “You could have fooled me!” While I did a lot of work on merchandising my booth, you can be the judge:
marshmueller booth! She’s a beauty!And then 10am rolled around: this is it.
marshmueller is open for business.
The first 45 minutes was painfully slow. I feared no one would come my way and look at my wares. The realization that I might have NO sales was very, very real.
10:45am: My first sale! YAAAAAY!
Achievement Unlocked: recouping the cost of the booth fee.
Throughout the event, it was so, SO reassuring to have real, live customers interacting with my products (including a product I debuted at the event…I’m posting about those later this week), and being genuinely excited about them, and BUYING them. Best. Feeling. Ever.
I even got a few custom orders to make.
All in all, at the end of the day, I felt great about my sales and actually had one last minute sale as I was packing up!
Notes for next time:
-If I’m going to use a grey bed sheet as a tablecloth, just bite the financial bullet and buy a wrinkle-resistant one. I had a hell of a time keeping the wrinkles out of my crappy one. You really do get what you pay for.
-Make sure the Square card reader app for my iPad is actually functioning. My first sale was a little nervewracking because the transaction wasn’t going through. Thankfully, the app on my iPhone worked beautifully for the rest of the afternoon.
Now that I’m set up for selling at craft fairs, I’m impatiently waiting to jump on the next one!