Saturday, 10 August 2013

Woodland Owl Trinkets: How I started, my motto and some tips!

It's been over a year since I started Woodland Owl Trinkets and I've learned a number of things about running a craft business. Here are some tips for those in the handmade market! Whether it be  crocheting, sewing or anything else!

{1} Make what you love. 

I started Woodland Owl Trinkets after I made nest necklaces for my mother in law and mother for mother's day last year. I kept making them because I just loved making them!  Soon, I needed an excuse to make more and Woodland Owl Trinkets was born!

{2} Never sell or promote anything that you aren't proud of!

I can't emphasize this enough. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and there have been many, many times where I've started from scratch again and again because I wasn't 100% satisfied with the result. Yes, starting from the drawing board all over again can be frustrating, and can also eat up a lot of supplies! But it is so rewarding to hold a piece in your hand that you are completely proud of selling and promoting. And, the customer will always appreciate this! Give them something that they will cherish and take pride in your work! Make "handmade" not simply "homemade," but "heartmade!"

I can say with confidence that every piece that I make is not just glued or thrown together. Each and every piece is carefully woven, moulded and sculpted with extreme attention to detail. If I'm not happy with it- I start from the very beginning, and I don't finish a piece until I am completely satisfied with it!

{3} Don't undervalue your time and effort- price your items accordingly! 

As I started Woodland Owl Trinkets, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into- until I realized how much time and effort I was putting into orders, particularly custom orders. It's a lot more involved than just making the item- I take the time to make sure that the customer knows all the available options, make suggestions based on what months they want to match, add ons, etc. Sometimes I even take pictures of potential egg color combos before I make them a listing so that they have several combinations to choose from if they are having difficulty picking colors.  I spend on average about an hour on each necklace, moulding, sculpting and weaving! I also make sure all the little details are perfect- clasps secure, initials stamped properly, the nest is nice and shiny, etc. Sometimes I don't get to sit down for an hour at a time- it might be broken up into chunks of the day. I might only get to spend 15-20 minutes on orders, and then I have to fullfill my motherly duties, and then I might get another 15-20 minutes during lunch, and then another 15-20 minutes after bedtime. I realized I was spending a lot of time not only completing orders, but also emailing and conversing back and forth for custom orders. That's when I decided to raise my prices. (When I first started, I was pricing necklaces at $15!). Handmade items are not the like items you would buy at Walmart or other chain stores- they take time, effort, thought, process and a lot of love, especially custom orders. When I asked other experienced crafters for pricing advice- some of them even told me that if you price your items too low and undervalue your work, it hurts other artists who have to compete with your prices, but are also working hard. As a stay at home mom, my small handmade business is not just a passion of mine- it's also a source of income, and I need to ensure that the time that I am spending away from my family working on nests will also contribute to my family.

Also, (I learnt this the hard way), never begin custom work without some form of payment! Thankfully, this has only happened to me once or twice before I started taking payment for custom orders. It's not a good feeling to have spent time, energy, money and supplies on an item only to have someone change their mind on something that was completely customized for them!

{4} Make it unique and stand out from the crowd 

Be different! Create an identity for your business...which leads me to my next point....

{5} Brand your shop and pay attention to detail.

This is one of my favorite parts of running a craft business- I get to make my own logo, design my own business cards, shop, and other branding materials such as labels for my little boxes, or the little cards that the necklaces sit on in the boxes. Of course, it helps if you know how to operate a graphic design program ;) Otherwise, there are graphic designers that you can pay to have your logo/branding done for you. Although this may not be everyone's favorite, I think branding is extremely important in creating an identity and look for your craft business! When I rebranded and redesigned Woodland Owl Trinkets, I completely redesigned everything so that my business cards, website, blog, information cards, boxes, etc would match one another and look professional, yet "handmade." As someone who loves to buy handmade, I am always drawn to buy from crafters who pay attention to the little details and package their items nicely. One of my favorite parts about buying handmade is opening up my package! I love little jewelry boxes, organza bags, tissue papers, ribbons and washi tape! Attention to detail is very important for branding :)

{6} Network and ask for feedback

Although this is obvious, networking and feedback from others is extremely valuable to your business. Networking increases word of mouth traffic. Feedback tells customers that you value their opinions and that their satisfaction with your items is extremely important to you, which shows them that you DO put a lot of care and attention into your orders! 

{7} Don't rely on only one social media outlet for advertisement and promotion. 

Okay, this is one that I've been struggling with. But I am aware of it :) Facebook is my main social media outlet. However, I am on instagram  and I do have this blog (that I am working on!). Most successful craft businesses have more than one social media outlet. Many have blogs that they run, and post regularly on. Their content is engaging, and they have a steady group of blog followers. This is something that I have yet to achieve, but my long term goal for this blog is for me to share a bit of myself behind Woodland Owl Trinkets, as well as post a couple of fun craft tutorials! (I love, love, love crafts!) I only have one tutorial up on this blog about cover buttons here. And also two crochet patterns here and here. I am certainly not a pro blogger at this point- and it will take me some time to get my courage going to continue blogging! Facebook is great for advertising, but keep in mind that posts on Facebook will not reach all of your fans! Another great way to advertise is through other blogs and pages through giveaways and reviews! (Again, networking!)

I'm still learning, but these are some of the key things that I have learnt this past year and a half about running a small craft business! I hope that it's been helpful for you if you run a small craft business :) Do you have any tips to add? Thanks for reading! :)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Announcement: Shop Rebranding and New Logo!

Firstly, this blog hasn't really been used by me much- it's been a side hobby but I plan to post more here! I guess you're waiting to here what I have been keeping under the wraps for so long.....

I have redesigned the shop and the logo! This is a huge thing for me, as I've always admired small businesses that have consistent packaging and branding! This is something that I have been working on myself.

So, when I started Woodland Owl Trinkets, I downloaded a graphic design program! I started out with a simple font and bought the license for it so I could use it for my business and went from there! I wanted Woodland Owl Trinkets to be elegant, yet rustic with a light feel to it! Kind of like burlap and lace, which I love! From about September 2013 till now, my "logo" has simply been a font. I couldn't figure out how to use the program I had downloaded! So, I made do with what I knew at the time and simply used the font as a logo. I decorated my gift boxes with a doily, lacy like rubber stamp image and used kraft boxes to add that rustic, woodlandsy feel to the packaging. I also had a rubber stamp made in the font I was using as my "logo." I used kraft colored paper as a base for everything, used white pigment ink for my rubber stamps and put all the necklaces in a simple ivory organza pouch.

Recently, I've added some washi tape to the packaging: 

But I've always wanted something a bit more to go with the name "Woodland Owl Trinkets."

And so it began: my second attempt at branding! I wanted something I could use for my Facebook page, online shop, packaging, custom order cards, thank you cards, information pamphlets and business cards. I stumbled upon some graphics and found someone that had a few owls and feathers for sale as a digital file! I knew I had to use them. I had actually mulled and thought over it for a long time before I actually went ahead and made my purchase.

I wanted the new design to be elegant, rustic, slightly whimsical and have a woodlandsy feel to it. (I hope the owls and the feathers achieve that!). Some of you may have noticed that the shop has been updated.

So, without further ado, here is some of the packaging that I have redone!
From left to right: Information cards (some info about the meaning behind the nests), necklace cards that hold the necklace inside the box, and lastly, the design that goes on the front of the box

All put together: 

In the next while, I'll be updating and tweaking everything else. I'm so excited about the new design! What do you think??? :) Leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you! And now...for the surprise...

***Who will be the first to order with the new packaging in place? The first 3 people to order and complete a transaction on via PayPal will get a special little surprise with their order. It'll be a surprise. This surprise gift could be a pendant, hairpin, earrings, brooch, necklace or another small nest surprise!! ***

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Customization at Woodland Owl

Here are some of the customization options available for the nest necklaces at Woodland Owl Trinkets!

Don't forget: Gift Certificates are available in the shop! 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Last year, my resolution was to cut down my sugar intake. I think I did okay, considering the sweet tooth I have for chocolate! I have to admit, there may have been a few times that I consumed a large bar of chocolate all by myself within hours. (Large as in 12x4 inches!!!). My other goal was to establish a small craft business, which I did! I am so thankful that I get to create things I love while making some extra money. The main reason I started my business was because I needed an excuse to make more nests! Go here to check it out! or

This year my resolutions are as follows: 

1. Blog! There are a few reason that I'd like to blog. The first one is so that I can document my crafty adventures. I'd also like to post tutorials of my own or links to tutorials that I stumble upon! My friends often ask me how I make my crafts- hat better way to show them than to blog about it? If my blog becomes popular, I'd love to help other small craft business gain some audience and exposure. :) Another added bonus to having a blog would be additional traffic to my little craft business :)

2. Go to church regularly.

3. Eat more veggies!

4. Focus on the things that are really important, such as relationships and people, no matter how much trivial things may bother me. (A leaky pipe isn't going to harm me, and all I can do is get it fixed).

5. Eat less frozen meals and cook from scratch more often. I know, this one is going to be a tough one- our family loves frozen lasagna! It is so easy to pop in the oven!

6. Make our house feel like a home. And blog about it! We moved into our townhouse last year, and I never got around to decorating or hanging pictures up. I think part of the reason is because I didn't know how to work with the couches we had. But we are getting new couches this January! I picked them out myself, so I know that it'll complement my decor preferences. Those who know me have probably already guessed that they are going to be purple couches. Yes! We are getting purple couches!   I'm going to be getting tons of inspiration from Pinterest! I'll be sure to document projects here!

What were your resolutions last year? Did you accomplish them? What are your New Year's Resolutions this year? I'd love to hear about them! 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Upcoming Craft Shows

I'm going to be a busy little bee in the next few weeks! Here are my upcoming craft shows:

November 15 (Thursday)- 3-9pm - Hillcrest Elementary at 18599 65 Avenue Surrey, BC

November 17 (Saturday)- 11am-4pm -Semiahmoo Secondary  at 1785 148 Street Surrey, BC

November 24 & 25 10am-4pm - Simonds Elementary at 20190 48th Avenue Langley, BC

November 30th (Friday)-  5-9pm - Christmas in Cloverdale at Cloverdale Fairgrounds 6050A- 176 Street Surrey BC in the Shannon Hall

December 1st (Saturday)- 10am-4pm - Christmas in Cloverdale at Cloverdale Fairgrounds 6050A- 176 Street Surrey BC in the Shannon Hall

I am so excited for these Christmas Craft fairs. I'm excited for the Christmas season- I'll be decorating my house soon and I've even got some ideas to make the house smell like Christmas ;)

Here is a glimpse of the orders I was working on last week

Hope to see you there! Any tips on how to make the house smell like Christmas? Are you planning to go to any craft shows as a vendor or a shopper this year?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

It's all in the details

I am super excited to be in a farmer's market this weekend. I have been working on branding my shop, and I have come up with a theme /feel that I am aiming for- a rustic-vintage-cottage-woodlandsy-feminine th em , soft colors, burlap, earthy undertones, and old sheet music. I don't know how to put all that into one word!

Here is a picture of some of my packaging. I am making a bunting out of lacey scrapbook paper. Oh! And the necklace display used to be a plain old white velvety material. I cut up some old music sheets and mod podged it onto the display. Gotta love that mod podge! :)

Please excuse the dark and blurry pictures... I was using my phone for vzythis :p

Hope everyone is having a great weekend :)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Crocheted Gadget Cozy Tutorial

First: A reminder- I am still doing a giveaway of one of my bird's nest necklace! Please go to for more details, and to enter through the GIVEAWAY tab! 

This one's pretty simple and straightforward- a crocheted phone cozy. I needed something to protect my phone, and I love crocheting so this happened!

Recommended yarn weight: Worsted
Recommended crochet hook size: 4.5-5mm

Row 1: Crochet a chain that is as long as your cellphone or gadget. (For me, this was about 9 chains).
Row 2: single crochet across chain, making 3 sc in the last chain. Do NOT turn.
Row 3: continue sc across the opposite side of the chain, making 3 sc in the last chain. Do not turn.

Continue sc into each sc, and keep going until the cozy is as long as your cellphone!  You will basically single crochet into a spiral as it builds the length of the cozy.

When you have reached the desired length, stop in the middle and chain about 6-7 to form a loop that will be part of the button enclosure. Continue along with your single crochets as normal.

This is a quick, easy little project that you can do in front of the TV, yet fun enough to keep your hands busy.