Thursday, February 26, 2015

TCS Artist Feature - Anne Sherwood from Annesknits

Time to meet another amazing artist from The CraftStar..

Anne Sherwood from AnnesKnits.

Blue Knitted Pillow Cover

What is the story behind your shop name?
I was talking to a friend and looking for inspiration for my shop name and they suggested Annesknits .

Where, when, how did you learn your craft?
My mom’s Aunt taught me how to knit squares when I was 9 years old and my knitting progressed from there !

Tell us a little about your family life...married, kids, pets, etc.
I am married with 3 grown up children and a 2 year old Grandson. We have 1 dog and 2 cats all rescues and my house is like a zoo most days !

Colorful Cotton Purse

Tell us a little bit about where you, farm, suburb.
I live in Tucson, Arizona and enjoy the sunshine !

Share a story / memory of your childhood.
I remember my mom and Grandma always knitting sweaters for me and my sister when we were young, living in Scotland you needed them in the winter !

Share your social media links and where we can find you on the internet.

Pink Textured Scarf

Pick a favorite item from your shop, and why is it your favorite.
 I love the colors and texture of this yarn .

Floral watercolor card set
Pick a favorite item from another shop, and why is it your favorite.
There are so many wonderful items on TheCraftstar it is hard to choose just one . I love these cards.  I admire anyone who has the talent to draw and paint as my art consists of stick figures !

Do you have any special coupon codes for our readers?
Use coupon code knit15 for 15% off Annesknits and Annesknitsjr for month of March. 

Now it's your turn....visit Anne's shop and show her some TCS love. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making Your Brand - Step 2 - Your Logo

What do you think of when you think of branding your shop identity?
The definition of brand is "a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service".  Here's a quick quiz...looking at these logos, can you identify the product or company?

I bet you were able to recognize some, if not all, of these logos, despite there being no names of the company anywhere on the logo.  Now just because you're a small business, does not mean that you cannot profit by having a great, and soon to be, easily recognizable logo.  So let's talk about how to create your logo, your color, your catch phrase, in other words....your brand.

When deciding on your logo, be careful what you choose.  You can not use just any image you find on the internet....copyright laws and all that.  So, unless your able to sketch, draw, paint your own image (like I did), you need to find yourself a good graphic designer.

Amanda created our first logo back when we were Our Home To Yours, and our first logo as Yankee Burrow Creations.  Then she got a "real" job and retired from our little company.  When I decided to drop Creations from our brand, I spent many weeks sketching out my new encompassed all my talents and everything I offer in my business.
If you are not inclined to create your own logo, a professional graphic designer is well worth the cost.  A good one will take lots of time getting to know you, and your business, and should be able to offer you several designs to consider before you make your decision.
custom logo unlimited

We have a great graphic designer right at home on The CraftStar...

Umlaut Graphics.
She helped me by talking me through some steps of creating my logo.  She not only offers custom work, but she also has pre-designed logos you can choose from.
(I just love her logo, funny and straight to the point).

You can also reach out to any of us on The CraftStar team, and we will help you as best as we can.

As you move forward in creating your logo, keep in mind the main color you might choose, and whatever you chose, let it be easily adapted across your branding.  Such as your banner, blog header, and your social media sites.  As you can tell from the graphics on our test, Dreamworks used blue, CocaCola would not look right in green, it's red.  You get what I'm saying?  That color can tie in all your graphics, from your personal photo avatar (frame your photo in your color) to your catch phrase (printed in your color) to your banners.  Yes, it can be a lot of work, but it will be worth it all when your done, and famous.  :0)

That's enough to think of today.  Next time we'll look into our catch phrase.  SEO will be involoved.
So put on your thinking caps and lets do this, together....


We're Better Together!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

What's In Your Name? Step 1 In Making Your Brand

In my last post, I shared with you 3 shops who chose names that fit their items.
Today, let's talk about your name.  Your brand.  
What it is that will set you apart from your competition.  
The vast majority of soon-to-be parents will take months and months and months to decide on a name for their child.  Some are great names, names a child will grow into and names that will define their destiny.  And other names are just...well...stupid.  We need to look at our businesses as our babies, and give as much effort into choosing our name, and our brand, as a new parent.
Let me share my mistakes...for your benefit.

My mistake #1 - jumping at the first thing that pops into your head.
My daughter and I have always enjoyed creating things together, and when she moved in another state, I opened our first shop together, so we could work together even though we were apart.
So I opened "Our Home To Yours" and excitedly sent Amanda all the information.
Her response?  "Um, OK."  Not exactly the overwhelming response I was hoping
Well, it turns out, she was right.  (She should be after all the money that went towards her college education in graphic design and advertising).  When it came time to claim our domain, it turns out that there were quite a lot of sites with "our" name. lol
So LESSON #1...
Write a business plan, decide what your business is, what you want to be with your business, and where you want your business to be in the future.  A business plan is not only important for choosing a name, but for any  improvements or grants or changes you may make and/or need in the future.  Do your research on your chosen field.  If you sell strictly handcrafted jewelry, or knit items, baby items, vintage, whatever, check out your competition with an easy Google search.
Amanda sent me a questionnaire to fill out with her, and that's when we decided on Yankee Burrow (I added Creations because I thought we needed it).

My mistake #2 - we didn't need the word Creations.
Don't use your name to just describe your business, use it to distinguish it from other similar businesses.  Remember, your brand name is the first impression anyone has of your business.  And you only get one chance to make a good first impression.  If you have one, use your niche in creating your brand name.  Keep your name brief, and easy to remember, BUT if your name is too comfortable it may also be forgettable.  Our new name, YankeeBurrowCreations was a mouthful.  True, it was unique, but we offered more than handcrafted items, we also offered vintage items, so the word creations was not only unnecessary, but misleading.  (And it was a lot to explain and spell out to possible customers).  Lucky for me, while changing our name from Our Home To Yours to Yankee Burrow Creations was not possible on any of the other sites were we had a shop listed, it was a breeze to drop the Creations here at The CraftStar.  Since your account here is by your email account, you can easily change your name under your profile.

Do a search of the name you want for your business, make sure the domain is available, because even if you don't think you need it now, you will want to own your own domain in the future.  So now is the time to find your name, and claim it!  For only a few bucks, your name is truly YOUR name.

Here's a few more tips on your search for the perfect name...

  • be web friendly - avoid hyphens, numbers, and special characters
  • avoid initials
  • if possible, explain your business
  • remember you'll be using your name/brand in your tagging, keep it easy
  • keep your logo in mind

And that will bring us to our next discussion...
your brand color, logo, banners, and business cards.

Remember, we can all succeed,,,,


Monday, February 16, 2015

A Rose By Any Other Name...

"A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet".
So, what is in a name?
Your brand, your reputation, your image.
Here's a few artists that chose their names wisely.

SnowmanCollector has a shop full of...that's right...snowmen. :0)
melting snowman
And Steampunk Beadery? Totally awesome jewelry with a steampunk twist.
Romantic Button Necklace
The Feltery?  Yep, items made with felt.
So what's your name?  Does it match your brand?  Or is it just for fun?


Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Weekend Round Up

What is your favorite part of the weekend?
Getting caught up on your housecleaning?
Being a couch potato with overdosing on Netflix?
Reading a good book?
How about spending this weekend CREATING!

We like to talk about McGyver crafting, and that's simply taking a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, add some glue and glitter...and viola'  - something beautiful.

Let's see what supplies from The CraftStar are must haves for any crafter's go-to box...

Circus Colored Handspun Chunky Yarn
mix & match destash

I confess to having a yarn fetish, after all, one can never have too much yarn.
So check out the shops

vintage angels 1" round

small pink mixed media set
Do you like to scrapbook or work with paper?  Then you'll want to visit 

25 Assorted clay beads

large lentil lampwork bead

And no jewelers table is complete unless there are beads everywhere.  You'll love the shops

Now it's your turn...
go find something fun...
and create!

see ya!