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Make, Shop

Our Spooktacular Window // Meet the Bash Sisters

A few weeks ago I was spilling my guts over on my Instagram stories about how I never have time to keep my shop windows up to date.

With Hallowe’en around the corner, our (and I’m embarassed to say this) CANADA DAY windows were looking a lot dated, and I was not-so-subtly whining about how nice it would be if someone would give me “suggestions” re: what I should do with them.

I received LOADS of ideas (thank you to all of you who took the time to send me pins!) and ONE amazing offer to DO THEM FOR ME from the sweet little sister duo The Bash Sisters.

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Naturally I wept with relief.
Ok. I didn’t.

But I was SUUUUPER happy to have someone take the reigns and help keep us looking fabulous here at Cheerfully Made.

Let me back up for a minute.

I met Meaghan + Michelle (The Bash Sisters) for the first time the morning of our all-but-rained-out Canada Day Etsy Event here in Almonte. They were vendors participating in the show with their party supplies and I had also commissioned them to help decorate the entrance of the event so, naturally, they were the first to arrive on the (soaking wet) scene.

They were all smiles and encouragement as they watched on from what was essentially the front row seats of my personal break down.

And they kept on smiling as they helped me trouble shoot what was potentially a show stopping situation into something resembling lemonade. (Who’s got two thumbs and loves This is Us ? This girl. #thosewhogetitgetit)

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They put together this beautiful archway and hand painted sign…and moved it, in the rain about a million times while I flipped flopped about what our rained out Plan B was going to be.

Naturally they became my new best friends and personal heros for making it look like I meant for it to rain 500 centimetres so that we’d have to relocate 63 vendors in less than 2 hours and have this gorgeous archway to escape the rain under.

So that’s the back story.

After graciously offering to help with my windows, The Bash Sisters promptly sent me two mood boards with ideas for the displays.


 

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My instinct was to go with Option Two because it would be hella easy to transform into a winter scene right after Hallowe’en, but I could tell the girls would have more fun with the Modern Hallowe’en option, so in the spirit of making life more complicated fun that’s what we picked.

We agreed on a materials budget of $125 (of which they only spent $103!) and picked a date to get started.

In all my years working with creative people, one of the most important things I’ve learned is that when you hire capable people, you get the best out of them if you just let them do their thing.

So I met the girls on our agreed upon date, gave them the keys to the shop (and my heart) snapped a few progress shots, effed the eff off.

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Creating under the constraints of my nightmare shop office space.

The result? Hallowe’en magic.

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Clementine trying to convince a friend it’s HER shop.

I think what made me the MOST happy was how responsibly they spent my money.

That’s so important to me as a self employed person.

With things as simple as wrapping paper and googley eyes, they made an adorable and  huge impact.

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With food colouring, water and a white marker, they made potions and elixirs.

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With an umbrella and a pair of dollar store stockings, they made a witch appear to descend from the ceiling.

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Our witchy window.

The Bash Sisters also expertly incorporated some items for sale in the shop into the displays. We lovingly carry Low Poly Craft DIY kits here at Cheerfully Made, and owners Britta and Adrian generously stocked us up with some Hallowe’en inspired kits like jack-o-lanterns and ravens as well as a few special props like this scary guy.

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Low Poly Craft tarantula!

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More Low Poly Craft lovelies.

Bottom line, there is nothing like a “current” window display to make me feel like I’ve got my shit together as a shop owner.

Seriously.

The Bash Sisters were so fun to work with, easy going and super capable. I basically did nothing. Which is ideeeeeal.

I truly can’t say enough good stuff about them.

If you find yourself in need of some help doing your own windows (even if you’re not close to Ottawa, I’m sure they’d be happy to consult!) or are looking for decor ideas for your next party, you should hire them.

I’m in talks now with the girls to make this a seasonal thing.

But for now, it’s going to be very hard to say goodbye to these beauties in a few short weeks.

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Sarah Evans (ShoeBox Pics) was quick enough to snap this picture of a passing customer who MATCHED the windows perfectly. Can you say “serendipity”!?

Happy Hallowe’en!

xo Em

NOTE: Every beautiful photo (and none of the not beautiful ones) were taken by the wonderful Sarah Evans of ShoeBox Pics. You should hire her too.

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Shop

Calling all Cheerleaders // We’re Hiring

I’ve been avoiding this inevitability.

After a solid 2 years of stability in the staff department, Cheerfully Made is losing TWO of our best cheerleaders to higher education.

I literally could NOT be more jealous of the adventures they’re both about to have.

I might even be persueded to give up both my first AND second born to be able to go back to the days of having my own shitty little apartment with sarongs and twinkle lights hanging from the ceiling… and meeting new lifelong friends… and learning new things…and thinking life was soooooo stressful when, oh lawwwwd what I wouldn’t give to have that exact amount of stress right now.

But I digress.

We’re hiring. And, no bones about it, here’s what we’re looking for:

YOU ARE:

– Naturally cheerful. (Because, seriously.)

– Creative and also totally ok with constructive criticism. Like, I want you to make suggestions for new window displays, but I also want to be able to tell you if they stink without making you cry.

– Sharp and quick witted. You would be SHOCKED at what customers will ask sometimes. Shocked.

– Someone who takes both direction and initiative. I want to be able to drop off a box of new products and be confident that, if I don’t have time to do it, you will figure out a solution for how to display it instead of just leaving it for me on Monday. Because done is usually better than perfect and I can edit it later if I’m feeling micromanagerial.

– Able to lift heavy things like boxes full of candle wax, or Unicorn Fart lip balms. We order that crap by the bushel full.

– Able to troubleshoot basic computer issues. For example, the WiFi is a necessary evil and a constant disappointment.

– Happy to work evenings, weekends and holidays. Ecstatic even.

– Passionate about Almonte. A big part of our job here at Cheerfully Made involves tourism. It’s important that our employees know and care about Downtown (and uptown!) Almonte and are able to share that knowledge with our customers. What you don’t know, we’ll teach you!

– A flexible team player. It is not uncommon that I ask my staff to help me out at extracurricular activities like craft markets, workshops, late night shop events and more. I am looking for someone who is happy to take on additional tasks and shifts (for pay, obvs) and is keen to help out in a pinch. This works both ways and I am always happy to accommodate when life gets in the way as well.

– Comfortable talking on the phone (God forbid).

– Someone who actually wants to work. I have heard the phrase “no one will ever care about your business more than you do” more times than I can count and, although it’s entirely fair if that’s true, I would sure love to hire people who could meet me half way. I have a lot of experience and ideas to share and I would just be so so sooooo excited to work with someone who is interested in learning a thing or seven about small business ownership and customer service.

I’ll stop now. 😉

THE TITLE: Sales Associate

Roles and responsibilities include:

Opening and closing the shop / Offering extraordinary and enthusiastic customer service / Managing and balancing the till / Receiving and inputting new product into our system / Merchandising /

We are looking for two part time staff members to share the load of the following shifts:

Weekdays 3pm to 6pm / Saturdays 10am to 5pm / Sundays 11am to 4pm / and occasional holidays.

This job is perfect for students or the young at heart looking for retail work with the potential for growth. I am SUUUUUPER fun to work for. Ask anyone. Almost anyone.

INTERVIEWS

We will be setting up brief, 10 minute interviews Monday August 21st and Tuesday August 22nd between 11:30am and 1pm.

If you wish to be considered, please send an email along with your resume and interview availability to hello@cheerfullymade.com and we will book you an interview time.

If you have already sent us a resume, still email us. We can dig it up from our files and books an interview!

xo Em

 

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Shop

Taking Better Pictures // I Get By with a Little Help from my Friends

I’m trying to take better pictures.

I’ve got this great little shop full of awesome stuff. I spend tireless hours merchandising and making everything look beautiful, and then I take crappy, dark images of everything and post them to social media.

It would be impossible to capture the actual feel of the shop in 1 dimension, but I can’t help but think I could be doing a slightly better job.

Because I know that you can’t be good at everything (Oh, I try…oh lawwwwwd how i try), I believe that asking for help is always a super great idea.

So today, in a fit of frustration at simply NOT being able to achieve what I want to with my photos, I contacted my friend Justine McNeely and asked if she could come see me in the shop, have a closer look at my Instagram feed, and give me a diagnosis/recommendation for improvement.

Best thing I did all day. All week even. (And I did some good stuff this week).

The first thing we agreed upon is a lack of cohesiveness in my social media feeds.

Personally, I think my followers like that I’m not striving for any sort of perfection. And that it’s pretty obvious that I’m capturing moments as they occur without worrying too much about composition and lighting…but there are some editing features I could certainly be taking advantage of.

Justine’s diagnosis? Pick a lane and set a few rules for myself.

EMILY’S new RULES FOR PHOTOS

When possible shoot products on one of 3 backgrounds in the shop so that viewers are taken TO the shop when they see the pics. Rather than having items on a boring old white background.

I believe Justine’s words were “Walmart shoots on a white background.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with a white background (obviously) but it doesn’t really speak to what makes Cheerfully Made special. If that makes sense.FullSizeRender

Group products together by layering on top of one another and don’t be afraid to have them cropped within the picture.

Shoot in the square so things don’t get too disrupted when uploading to social media.

IMG_6789Brighten everything up a bit to make everything a little more “cheery”. Adjust shadows and saturation, but not too much. Keep it real. Just not ugly real. Leave that for the kid pics :)

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Already things look better.

Not perfect, but better. I’m not trying to pretend I’m a photographer, but it’s always fun to tweak a skill and get the perspective of someone who knows her stuff.

Those three pics were taken just on my iPhone, but I did have Justine take a few product and shop shots because I think it’s the balance I’m missing. Toss more professional shots in the mix and I’ll give off a more polished look online.

Maybe.

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Stay tuned for a post about that wicked sign. Made by this guy.

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Don’t follow me online yet?

Check me out on Instagram and Facebook to see how things are going to evolve around here.

I mean theoretically. Good to have goals.

xo Em

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Shop, Show

Reinventing the Brand

When I opened Hello Yellow in the summer of 2013, I couldn’t have anticipated any of what was to come over the course of the following two years. All I had really wanted to do was be part of the evolving downtown Almonte scene again, and create a new vehicle for the hand-makers I’d met over my years organizing the Handmade Harvest Craft Show.

What began as a small little shop filled with handmade items from across North America (mostly local) rapidly grew into something much more. I quickly learned that by purchasing products from actual people instead of faceless importers, I was connecting with individuals who became immediately invested in my success. And bonus! They all had Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Some of them knew how to work with retailers (ie wholesale, package and brand their product), and some of them needed guidance, but despite the obstacles I came across originally, working with them was so rewarding, and improved my brand’s reach tenfold.

But what was my brand? I had Hello Yellow, Handmade Harvest Craft Show and I had recently begun working with Etsy Canada as a brand ambassador here in Ottawa. I had multiple websites and email addresses, and keeping up with all of that communication was becoming an increasingly daunting and confusing chore.

I longed for cohesiveness, and simplicity while still having the flexibility to grow.

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Make, Shop

Spring Windows // Win a $25 gift card!

One of the best best best things about having a brick and mortar retail shop is the merchandising.

Specifically the windows. I love perusing Pinterest for inspiration (I have a whole board dedicated JUST to windows), trolling second hand shops for props, and turning nothing into something.

Sadly, because I’m so run-off-my-feet busy these days, windows are taking a back seat on the ole priority list.

Thankfully I have two GORGEOUS staff members who are pretty darned keen to pick up my slack.

This month, I tasked my girls to each tackle a window display.

I gave them a $60 budget and free reign to interpret spring as best they could. I dangled the reward of a gift card to the shop, but the truth is, I can’t pick so everybody wins this round.

I think they did a pretty amazing job, but you tell me.

I’d love to know which is your favourite.

MAKE YOUR PICK BY COMMENTING BELOW AND YOUR NAME WILL BE ENTERED TO WIN A $25 GIFT CARD TO THE SHOP!

Since it’s always sunny in Almonte (I shit you not), my windows are nearly impossible to photograph, but here goes nuthin’.

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