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Learn, Make, Shop

Meet the Maker // Aide Bodycare

I met Michelle of Aide Bodycare at the One of a Kind Show several years ago.

I was in search of a beautifully packaged, all-natural body care line for the shop and was drawn into her booth by her beautiful set up, and then immediately captivated by Michelle’s sparkling personality (and bold lip colour) 🙂

When I first decided to become a shop owner a big part of the reason was because of my true love of customer service.

That might sound funny, but I really love giving people a great experience when they’re shopping.

Nothing inspires outrage in me like a rude staff person or bad customer service experience, and so I find myself drawn to people who go above and beyond to be friendly and express their passion for what they’re doing with their lives.

Michelle epitomizes friendly customer service and passion.

Michelle Treen of Aide Bodycare. Photo by Jason Chow.

But the reason I wanted to feature Michelle today has very little to do with her lovely disposition and beautiful line of body care products.

I wanted to talk about Aide Bodycare because I deal with a lot of makers at different stages of their entrepreneurial and wholesale journeys, and this girl?

Well she’s doing a lot of things right.

Communication is where Aide Bodycare nails the wholesale experience.

Each and every time I place an order with Michelle, she responds within 24 hours with an update as to when I can expect my order to be fulfilled and an invoice via Square (many of you probably already use square at craft markets…did you know you can also send digital invoices for your customers to pay easily online?) that I can pay quickly with a card online without having to figure out where to send an e-transfer.

If she is out of a particular item, she lets me know right away and suggests a replacement or lets me know when the product will come available again.

When the order is ready to ship, she sends me a quick note (nothing too wordy!) with the tracking number and a thank you.

I am never left wondering if she got my order, or when it will arrive.

It’s a simple thing all makers can do, and yet so few do.

She also gives her stockists access to all of her beautiful product images and detailed descriptions.

I can use this information to educate my staff as well as when I’m writing up the copy for these items on my own website.

This girl set us BOTH up for success.

These things not only help us sell her items more easily, but by doing so we will inevitably sell MORE and reorder sooner. She’s doing handmade wholesale right and we LOVE her for it.

 

I should mention too that her order form is nothing fancy.

Just an Excel spreadsheet that she sends approximately quarterly with updates to products and a little encouragement to place an order.

That’s all a retailer needs. A friendly reminder that you’re still out there and a clear way to reorder.

Also, Michelle ALWAYS sends me a sample (sometimes TWO) of new products she’s launching, or something I haven’t yet tried in the shop that she thinks I should. And since free gifts are the way to my heart, this is a really effective way of getting ME to use the products and become an inadvertent ambassador for her brand.

(As a result I pretty much only use her serums on my face now and recommend it to anyone who will listen).

 

Now I know this might still feel like a lot.

You’re thinking you don’t have an invoicing system, you’re worried about shipping logistics and you don’t even know where to start as far as having more professional images.

You just want to make stuff…not sit at your computer trying to figure out how to create a line sheet or catalogue. Maybe the idea of writing an about page or well thought out product descriptions makes you want to crawl back under the covers and just forget about this whole selling idea.

It IS a lot.

It takes a ton of work to put selling tools and systems together, but once the initial heavy lifting is done, you’ve got them!

You simply update them from time to time, and send them back out into the world and they keep working for you.

You can totally do this.

And shop owners like me are out here just wishing more makers would take the time to put things like this together.

THESE are the kind of things that will make you stand out among your competitors in the wholesale market and will lead you toward success.

Later this spring I’m going to be launching a VERY comprehensive course for all you makers wanting to next level your selling game. It’s going to include ALL the tips and tools you need to be as kick ass as Aide Bodycare when it comes to wholesaling your work to retailers…and keeping those orders coming.

From the initial pitch to making your first sales to becoming one of their favourite, top selling vendors.

We’re going to get you out there and making MORE money doing what you love to do.

I know waiting is hard, but if you’d like to stay in the loop for when we launch and get yourself a few small biz freebies along the way, join us by clicking below!

xo Em

 

 

Learn, Make, Show

How to Price your Handmade Goods // FREEBIE

Ever wondered how to price your handmade goods?

One of the BEST parts of having a shop that features handmade artists is the connections I get to make with real live makers. I get emails almost daily from creatives interested in selling their work in the shop…but not many are entirely sure how that works.

Or where to start.

It can be frustrating to be presented with a perfectly awesome product and not actually be able to purchase it from a seller. I am forever offering one on one guidance to help people get into the retail market, but it would almost be a full time job to keep going this way.

In an effort to help MORE hand-makers be MORE successful at getting their goods out into the world, I’ve put together a really simple, and comprehensive workbook on HOW TO PRICE YOUR HANDMADE GOODS.

It’s a great first step to figuring out if your products are appropriate for wholesale, or if they’re simply better suited to selling direct at craft markets.
I think it may well be our BEST FREEBIE YET!

Want it?

Click the FREEBIE image to access the instant download and join the Cheerfully Made University Mailing list!

I know this email won’t appeal to all of you, but if YOU know a maker who is interested in growing their side business into the big scary world of retail, I’d love you to share!

Stay tuned for the latest in shop news!
There’s lots more to come!

xo Em

Learn, Life

How to Create a Gallery Wall

I love a good gallery wall.

It’s a great way to hang allllll your favourite pieces all together. Because deciding is hard.

I can’t pick favourites when it comes to art.

I can’t and I won’t.

Creating a gallery wall is an easy, freewheeling way to bring style and personality to your space

All you need is a collection of your favourite artworks, a big ole wall and some courage.

Here are some of my best tips for creating a gallery wall in your own home.

 

Think outside the frame

Artwork doesn’t just mean pictures in frames.

Some of the most inspiring walls are those that include a variety of different medias from family photos, to textile wall hangings, to mirrors to kids art.

Be not afraid!

Hang the unexpected and make it interesting.

 

Lay it Out

I like to pile all my stuff on the couch in advance of hanging, and then do a mock layout on my floor. Starting with the larger pieces, I work my way out from there and fill in the blanks with smaller prints, frames, pottery, whatever.

I also really like to use 3M hanging products when hanging in clusters so that I can make a mistake without creating a permanent hole in the wall.

 

Create Vignettes

Just as every piece on your wall doesn’t have to be an image, every part of your gallery doesn’t have to be on your wall.

Whaaat?

Think of the space as a whole vignette. Perhaps your gallery wall is just above a piece of furniture, or incorporates a shelf.

Use the surfaces along the wall as part of your display to add interest and dimension.

https://theletteredcottage.net

 

Get Low/High

Hang pieces EVERYWHERE. Not all artwork needs to be at eye-level.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend hanging pieces in places they’re going to be getting frequently knocked, but some of the funkiest gallery walls go from floor to ceiling. Break some rules for a more relaxed vibe.

 

At the end of the day, don’t over think it.

Don’t like the way something looks? Take it down and replace it with something else. An interesting gallery wall is about playing around. So just go for it!

To shop great items for YOUR gallery wall, visit www.cheerfullymade.com.

xo Em

 

Learn, Make

6 Steps to Starting a Handmade Business // FREEBIE

So you want you to be a maker.

Woohooo! And WELCOME!

There is a huuuuge community of super creative and wonderful hand makers out there.

I know hundreds of small handmade business owners who have truly been successful in crafting themselves a life they love making and creating products to sell on Etsy, on their own websites, at craft shows and even to retailers.

But where did they start?

I have created this “6 Steps to Starting your Handmade Business” freebie to help you figure all that out.

It’s not EVERYTHING you need to know, but it’s just enough to get your started.

I know how hard it can be to just start.

The best part though? Most people never do. You’re way ahead of the game already!

ACCESS THE FREEBIE HERE!

xo Em

Learn, Make, Shop

Meet the Maker // HOLLOW clayworks

If you’re going to buy me anything, make it art.

Specifically pottery.

I can’t get enough of the stuff.

After almost 10 whole years hosting craft markets (aka getting first dibs on the good stuff) you would think I’d have enough pottery by now but, as it turns out, there’s just no such thing.

One of my very favourite local potters is Julie Poliquin of HOLLOW clayworks.

Photo credit: Sarah Evans of Shoebox Pics

Julie and her partner in pottery Cynthia have been part of Cheerfully Made Markets since the early days.

They both pot (is that how you say it?) out of the Almonte Potters Guild and are a big part of the craft community here.

Left to right: Leanne (from Gold + Ginger), Julie and Cynthia (HOLLOW clayworks) at Etsy Made in Canada: Ottawa 2018.

I carry Julie’s pottery here in the shop and it’s been a real joy watching her work evolve over the past several years.

What started as a post-work pottery class, quickly morphed into something so much greater. (Julie participates in a ton of shows each year, and sells her work to a variety of shops.)

Julie still works full time, but many of her evenings and weekends are spent growing her little side hustle and getting better and better.

I wish I had some images of her early work to share with you.

I loved it too of course…I mean, it was still pottery…but since those early days she has refined her craft to the point where I can hardly keep her product on the shelves.

Photo credit: Sarah Evans of Shoebox Pics

Pottery isn’t the easiest thing to wholesale to stores.

In fact, it may well be the most difficult thing I can think of, what with how labour intensive, time consuming and unpredictable the medium is.

But Julie manages it by creating smaller, more accessible, easier to produce (easy for me to say) items like ceramic ornaments, tiny ring bowls and mini plant hangers to compliment her larger items and allow stockists to carry (and sell) more of her work.

Photo credit: Sarah Evans of Shoebox Pics

Photo credit: Sarah Evans of Shoebox Pics

She’s also just a really nice person (which is like THE most important thing) and is super open to new ideas and suggestions…a characteristic not always typical of creatives.

When we renovated our kitchen this past fall, I had an idea (that I admittedly stole from my dear friend Kristen) to include one of Julie’s bowls as our bar sink.

My contractor rolled his eyes at the idea, but Julie? She was game. And in the end, our contractor said it was one of his favourite elements from the whole project.

Mine to.

You can find Julie’s pottery here on our shelves (and often at our shows) alongside hundreds of other wonderful Canadian makers.

I hope you’ll come visit them here someday soon.

xo Em