Canberra Creatives

Oh hi *waves* I am blogging! I told myself to go to my tumblr and blog about something that I’ve already taken photos of, and what do you know, I have a tonne of pics from my new creative business that I’m pretty sure I haven’t talked about here yet! (pretty sure)
Mikaela Canberra Craft Creatives
So here we go, strap yourselves in ladies and gents, it’s exciting stuff (it really is!).
Mikaela Canberra Craft Creatives
In March I started teaching classes at the Handmade Shop in civic, and it didn’t take me long to realise, I really enjoyed doing it. It all makes sense, I’m a trained teacher, and I’m a crafty person, so of course I would love to teach people crafty projects! I had already hosted a couple of Crafternoons at home with friends, and once my brain had recovered a bit more after having quite a bit of time off work already, it went into overdrive. And Canberra Creatives was born!
Mikaela Canberra Craft Creatives
I teach resin workshops at the Shop, but also offer Crafternoons in people’s homes, where I bring all the materials, supplies and safety gear to you, and you bring your friends, and we whip up some awesome stuff! The resin workshop is by far the most popular at the moment, but the Glass Etching and Fabric Printing workshops are really fun too. I’m currently developing some kids parties and a “Martha Stewart Mega Party”, which will be amazing. Down the track I’m looking at doing a conference style something something, but that’s not quite formed properly in my brain yet, so we’ll just leave it at that.
Mikaela Canberra Craft Creatives
One exciting thing that is on the horizon for Canberra Creatives is expanding the “products” section of the website, I’m just waiting to confirm some details with suppliers and soon I’ll have an awesome range for Canberra crafters to buy locally and support small business! Double win ;)

If you have taken any of my classes, make sure you take a photo of what you made and post it on my facebook page! =)

Handmade Fashion Market Wrap-up

I attended the inaugural Fashion Only Handmade Market event last weekend, as a stallholder with my jewellery and accessories, it was really great! This time I was inside the main hall (as it is a slightly smaller market than the regular big Handmade Market) on a corner stall, and I had a lot of fun setting up my tables. I’m starting to get used to the mad rushed panic of setting up, and I have a system of packing away a previous market that allows me to unpack and setup fairly quickly. Now if only I could get out the door half an hour earlier like I always plan to and I’d have heaps of time!
Mikaela Handmade Fashion Market
I spent a lot of time working working working glueing glueing glueing in the week leading up to the market so I would have lots on offer for everyone.
Mikaela Handmade Fashion Market
As always, I had lots of help all day, and lots of visitors. So a big thank you to my awesome husband and baby for being amazing (Raf had a little sleep on the floor before going home with daddy), and JA’s mom for staying with me at the stall all day, allowing for tea and loo breaks! And thank you to everyone who came by and said hello! =)
Mikaela Handmade Fashion Market
Starting from the next market (June Canberra long weekend) I’m going to have a market girl, yay! JA’s sister Katie has a really strong retail and customer service background, so she is going to be manning the stall for a few hours for me during the day, I hope you can all make her feel as loved as you make me feel each market day!
Mikaela Handmade Fashion Market
So the count-down is now on for the June market, it’s going to be my biggest market ever, I am going to have SO. MUCH. STOCK. for you all, as well as lots of specials, a giveaway and some new surprises! So I hope to see you there =)
Mikaela Handmade Fashion Market

Getting life sorted out

The title is a bit misleading… What I’m actually doing is getting my digital life sorted, which is no mean feat. I spend approximately, hm, lets say 5 hours a day on the computer. About 8 on a “design work” day. Which for some people is probably not much, but that’s outside of my day job, so it’s actually quite a lot. I’ve had my iMac for just over a year, and for the past couple weeks it’s been yelling at me to clean it up (eg, “scratch disks are full!” in Photoshop), because out of a possible 297gb hard drive space, I only had 20mb free. eep.

So the massive cleanout has begun!

I haven’t been using Time Machine properly (where the entire HD is backed up regularly onto an external drive) because I’ve been manually backing up to my external HD and also have lots of old files still on there that have needed to be sorted for about a million years. I’ve also got all my client folders in one directory, meaning I have to scroll through over 100 folders to find the current one I’m working on… I’ve just finished sorting them into ‘current’ and ‘archived’, and am now burning off the archived folders.

Oh gosh. The whole process is taking several hours so far… I’m trawling through the external HD, sorting, trashing and moving files around, and then transferring the ones I need to keep to the Mac HD. Once I’ve finished doing that I can format the external and set it up to be my backup in Time Machine. And my digital brain will be free from clutter and much easier to navigate =)

Mac HD is up to 57 gigs free!

Downloads

I’m back online

My blog was down for about 3 or 4 days just now, did you notice? I host about 40 domains on my account with 1and1.com, and have just recently installed wordpress on two others besides this one. I guess the server didn’t like that, so it came up with an Internal Server Error 500 for awhile. I did try to contact 1and1 about it (I *just* received a reply from them, more than 2 days later. In internet land that’s like a month right?), but as they were taking their sweet ass time getting back to me, I went and ordered hosting from bluehost.com instead and have migrated this site to them. So far so good, and I think eventually I will probably move all 40 domains to them. Sigh.

I did have a few hiccups migrating, as I couldn’t log in to my wordpress admin at all, I couldn’t export all my posts etc that way, so once I’d moved everything and re-installed WP I found all my posts were gone. I thought for about a minute that they were lost forever (almost had a minor tantrum) but then I thought there had to be another way of exporting the data, and luckily the interwebs helped me work out how to do it. SO… phew. We are back online and still intact.

Branding your handmade products correctly

If you read my little blurb over to the right, you’ll see I have too many ideas in my head. Sometimes this means to get one out quickly to make room for the others, I don’t always resolve every aspect fully, and when I come back to it later I’m not entirely happy with it.

This post is about branding and taking the time to get it right, something I slipped up on with one of my recent projects.

I’m talking about the re-branding of my jewellery range. 5 years ago I was making and selling jewellery to friends and family, and online. I was selling under the name “Glam” which suited the product at the time. It was aimed at late teens to early 20’s, with a distinct pop feel to the branding (hot pink, black, grey, pop-rock style). The jewellery I was making had no cohesive style, I was basically making whatever design popped into my head, so I ended up with lots of different items that didn’t really fit together.

In the re-launch however, I wanted to really streamline the designs, so I am selling 8 specific styles that were popular, that I can re-make again and again. I’m only using quality materials (Sterling Silver instead of plated, glass, shell and lava beads instead of acrylic), and the designs really do compliment each other now. The target market is older, so the branding needed to be less pop-y and more funky.

This is where I’ve failed.

I got too caught up in finding a domain that fit the name, that I ended up going with a domain I already owned, the purpose of which was initially a wedding related website. MadlyDeeply.net. I figured “well that will do”, but it really doesn’t have the feel I’m going for. I want the jewellery to be thought of as unique, funky and unusual, not delicate and pretty, or mushy, as the name sounds to me now. The domain name then led me to the design of the logo and earring tags, which are quite feminine (with the cursive text and curvilinear lines). If you pick apart the design, you can see I’ve used deep purple and greys, trying to counter-act the overly feminine style. I knew in my head that I wanted it to be edgy, not girly, but it just wasn’t getting resolved because the name was keeping me from getting to the point I wanted it to be.

So what is the answer? Took me awhile to get there but now it’s pretty obvious: change the name. My internal struggle with this is #1. I’ve already starting branding the jewellery as MadlyDeeply, and #2. All the good domain names are already taken.

#1 I settled by rationalising that now is the time to change it, before I get many more sales and before I do any market stalls. The brand is only in it’s baby stages at the moment, so it’s better to get it right now, rather than wait til I have 50 or 100 sales and then just confuse past buyers. I also rue the fact I have already purchased earring tags in the MadlyDeeply branding style, but I’ll chalk that up as a lesson learned.
New earrings on tags

#2 I have solved by deciding to consolidate what will be my main handmade website, with the jewellery website. I own www.mikaela.com.au which will showcase all my handmade goodies (a whole range of things such as buttons, magnets, kids canvas’, clothes, fabrics and lots of other fun stuff that I plan to sell at the markets). I can then simply create a subdomain for the jewellery, whose name is yet to be decided upon. I need to get it right this time. All the branding can still point to mikaela.com.au, and I will have a prominent link to the jewellery section.

Here are my branding designs, previous and current (For the purpose of this post I have redesigned the logo with the word ‘mika’ so you can get a feel for what I’m going for):

Old LogoNew Logo

I feel this is much more inline with where I was my jewellery to be positioned style-wise, and a 4 letter name will make me much happier =)

So, moral to the story: Take your time. Make sure you are getting it right. Don’t settle on a name, logo, or design, just because you want to get it out there quickly. Because when you realise it’s all wrong and want to start again, it’s going to take time and effort that could have been spent making or marketing your already well branded product!

Do you struggle with the branding of your handmade product? Please share your story by commenting below =)

UPDATE: My good friend Miri and her sister helped me come up with Juno, who was the Queen of the Gods (& Goddess’) back in the day. This fits really well, because now all the styles have been named after Goddess’, and the message I am trying to get across is for women to be strong in mind, body and spirit, and sometimes kick some butt, as the Goddess’ used to do. You can see the updated Juno website here.

Sneak Peek : Photoshoot for ZilpahTartBags.com

Sunday evening I went out with Yumi of ZilpahTartBags.com to shoot for her new catalogue. The sky threatened to rain and it was disappointing to not get a little more sun for the shots, but near the end it peeked out from behind the clouds and we got some nice photos. We went to the reserve in Latham.

Zilpah Tart Bags

Zilpah Tart Bags

Her bags are super cute and I definitely recommend heading over to her website to check them out. She also has a regular stall at the Canberra Bus Depot Markets in Kingston for my Canberra readers.