Monday, November 11, 2013

It's Fall!


It's Fall, the temperature has finally dropped, & the leaves are changing colors. I grew up in South Texas where the weather doesn't really allow for 4 seasons. When I moved to North Texas I was amazed by all the beautiful colors of the leaves during Fall. 
Last year my family made a Tree of Thanks. This year I couldn't find the paper leaves we used last year so I bought a pack of fabric leaves at the dollar store. The problem is, they were too small for the boys to write on, and when you do the markers bleed. The leaves were too pretty to toss out so I decided to turn them into a garland. 
I spent the morning running leaves one by one through the sewing machine. I was able to make enough garland to hang on the fireplace, in the entry way and the small hall doorway. It was so easy to do, I'm already thinking about what kind of garland I want to make for Christmas.

Here's what you need to make your own:
Fabric leaves
Sewing machine

Step 1:
Run leaves one by one through the sewing machine.

Step 2:
Hang garland and enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mystery Bags and Clearance Bins

As a crafter I tend to go through craft phases. A few years ago I found beautiful stone skull beads, in bright cherry colors. I couldn't help myself but buy them and make a ton of jewelry. Though the jewelry came out cute, I learned that jewelry making just wasn't for me. I had no real passion for it. I managed to sell the majority of it, but as my plush toy business grew so did the direction of my craft show booth. So the jewelry made its way to the back of my studio closet, and no longer to my craft show table.
Earlier this week I shared my craft show booth set up on the Etsy Fort Worth team blog. In that post I wrote about my booth set up and how I engage my customers with a fun Spin-a-Prize wheel. The prize wheel idea came to me at a show, when I was walking towards my booth and I thought to myself "wow, my booth looks like a carnival booth." I started to think of ways to play up the carnival booth idea but not loose my brand focus. Since my brand motto is "Creating Adventure" I thought how can I create adventure here in my booth for my customers. That's where the Spin-a-Prize wheel came to mind. Everyone loves to take a chance, and win a prize, especially if you are guaranteed a prize.
Then came the question, "What can I give as a prize?" I started to think about products I already make, obviously I couldn't put in full size plush dolls in every bag. I could however put in full size plushies that had been in my inventory for a LONG time and hadn't sold. But what else? I started to clean out my studio closet and I found products that I no longer make. Perfect!
By putting these discontinued products in the mystery bags I no longer have to put out a clearance basket. Clearance baskets are great, but sometimes they just get passed up. By ditching the clearance basket and using Mystery Bags I've engaged my customers sense of adventure and curiosity. They can't wait to spin the wheel and see what bag they will win. Once they have their bag in hand, they can't help but rip it open to see what's inside.
I have to admit, I forget what is in each bag. I tend to draw all the bags, and blindly fill them. Every now and then when the prizes are a little on the girly side I'll make sure that the bags look girly, so that a little boy wont be disappointed when he wins something pink and glittery instead of something green and scarey.
A Spin-a-Prize wheel may not work for everyone, but offering a mystery bag might. Fill it with your old clearance items, discontinued products, slightly imperfect pieces, or even something brand new that you aren't sure you want to add to your product line. Mystery bags are a great addition to your craft show booth, and will help you clear out your closet.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Etsy Fort Worth: Beautiful Booths- Studio Longoria

Re-posted from:
Etsy Fort Worth: Beautiful Booths- Studio Longoria

When it comes to craft shows having a visually inviting booth is just part of the job. Today Stephanie of Studio Longoria shares how she has put together not only a visually inviting booth, but how she engages customers with some hands on fun, all while staying true to her brand motto 
"Creating Adventures." 

 I've been vending at arts and crafts shows for the past 6 years, and through those years my booth set up has evolved greatly. Every show I do, the set up changes a little, but one thing I try to keep the same is the over all feel of my brand. I want my brand to translate from the web to real life. I want my internet customers to recognize my booth right away, and my in person customers to remember my booth experience when they look me up online.

I like to engage with my customers online by asking opinions on products, sharing works in progress and offering fun giveaways every now and again. Engaging with customers in person is a little different, but I've worked out a few ways to do this that go beyond just welcoming the customer with a "Hello." 
One way is by creating a fun, inviting booth. Just walking by, my customers are drawn in with a large marque arrow which screams, "Come in! Have Fun!" Customers see the arrow from down the isle and are curious to know what's going on in that booth. Once they get to my booth they are hit with an explosion of color, the same way they are when they open up my website. 

My banner is always hanging prominently, centered above my largest table. It matches my website, blog and shop banners. So when customers look me up online they remember my hanging banner and know that they are in the right place.


I've learned the importance of utilizing height in my booth. Though I may not have solid walls, like a brick and mortar store, I've built my display upwards with risers. My risers include boxes, wooden stands and baskets. My products are not laying flat on the tables, limiting table space, but standing up for a better view. This idea came from retail shopping where very little is displayed flat on tables.

I've also created a fun, funky chandelier for night time shows. Not only does it provide great lighting, it is also a conversation piece which draws customers in. 

Something I just recently added to my booth is a Spin-a-Prize wheel, which embodies my brand motto "Creating Adventures." With my spin wheel customers are encouraged to be adventurous by spinning the wheel to win a mystery prize. The mystery prizes vary from mini plushies, to pin back button sets, hand embroidered mini hoops, decoden accessories, and even a full size plushie every now and then. People love to join in on the adventure with hopes of winning that treasured full size plushie.

My advice to other vendors is to find a way to engage your customers in your shop be it in your booth or online. Also make sure that your booth speaks to your brand, and that it is cohesive with your website.

Studio Longoria is owned and operated by Stephanie Longoria of Arlington, Texas. You can find Studio Longoria on Facebook, , on Etsy, , and on Twitter and Instagram @StudioLongoria .

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monster Girl Challenge Week 2

It's been around a week since my first round of monster girl post. Here's what I've been up to this week.
#8 Allie the Alien loves laser tag.
#9 Petunia the Centaur likes to pick apples.

#10 Slimy the slime girl. She likes to be pampered at the spa. 
Mud baths are her favorite!

#11 DJ Roba the Robot . She loves techno music.

#12 Naga the half snake girl. Snake charmers beware, 
she'll charm you with her belly dancing.

#13 Chacha the canine girl. She loves long runs in the park.

#14 Cynda the Cyclops. She loves 3D movies.

#15 Octavia the octomaid. She enjoys bring in the 
Grand Supreme Queen title at every pageant she enters.

#16 Grayce the gargoyle. She can hold a pose 
better than any other model on the runway.

#17 Yeti, she loves to snowboard.

#18 Nessie. She likes go tubing on the 
river when she goes on vacation.

#19 Dullahan the headless horsewoman. 
Her ponies always get pampered.

 #20 Selkie the seal who sheds its skin to become human. 
Selkie loves to surf, and why wouldn't she with her natural wetsuit.

#21 Eshne the dragon girl. She loved to LARP
 and always plays a knight.

#22 Minnie the Minotaur . She loves mazes.

#23 Frannie aka the bride of Frankenstein. 
She's celebrating her upcoming wedding.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monster Girl Challege

Summer started a few weeks ago, but not for me. I've been teaching all summer it seems like. Summer art camps finished over a week ago, but the kids and I headed down to South Texas to help my parents out for the week. My grandma had a pretty bad fall that left her in the hospital. She is doing a lot better and has been moved from the hospital to a rehab center. 
While we were down I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time in the waiting room so I bought a small sketchbook to keep me busy. For the past few months I've been following The Boogervampire: the Art of Mary J. Hoffman , and her take on the 30 day Monster Girl Challenge. I've been wanting to give the challenge a try, but I hadn't had a chance to sit down and think through the list. I figured I'd give it a try since I would finally have some down time. I must say I think I'm addicted. I actually woke up at 2am to draw out one of my ideas. I decided that they should have a theme, and came up with Monster Girls Just Want to Have Fun. I'm not sure what I want to do with them once I'm done, but I can see going beyond the 30 days. 
If you'd like to join in on the challenge you can click on the link below, or google Monster Girl Challenge to see all the awesome work that is being done based off this list.

Here are my first few Monster Girls:
Harpy- Mythological half bird half woman. 
Harpy loves to read, and is especially fond of Greek Mythology.

Zombie- She was once a pampered princess, then came the plague. 
She may have a hunger for brains now, but she still loves her manicures. 

Daisy- This plant girl loves to soak up the sun while lounging in her pool.

Spida- The spider girl. More legs means more shoes. 
Honestly what girl can pass up a good shoe sale.

Sirena- The mermaid. She spends her days in search of doohickeys and thingamajigs 
from the human world. She turns her human finds into wonderful jewelry treasures.

Llorona- She's a little ghost girl that just wants to play with her dolls. 
Too bad she keeps forgetting them down by the river behind her house.

Wolfie- When the full moon rises this little werewolf is ready to rock.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vinyl Toy Crazy

Last year I was introduced to the art of customizing vinyl toys. I've fallen in love not only with making these toys but with collecting designer toys. Recently I worked on a few toy samples for a kids camp I'll be teaching next week. During this time I learned that one of the coolest toy shops in Dallas, Atama , now has a 3D printer.  My husband is a 3D modeling expert, he makes 3d models of furniture at work. With his help and the help of the guys at Atama I will be making my own custom Cucuy toy! I'm so excited. I worked up the plans for it yesterday, and now I'm just waiting for my hubby to create the 3D file so I can run over to Atama and have them print it for me.
What am I going to do with 1 resin Cucuy toy? I'm going to cast it and pour my own resin toys! I can't wait. Fingers crossed all goes well.

Here's a few pictures of some of the toys I've just finished.

#vinyltoys #designertoys #artisttoys

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

School's Out... Time to get to Work

For the past few months I've been working at a local elementary school as a tutor. It's been interesting to say the least. Unfortunately it was also exhausting and pulled me out of the studio for way too long. School's finally out and I'm back in the studio. Today I spent the entire day working on mystery bags for my next show. The bags are ready to be filled, so tomorrow I'll be back to sewing. I have a list of projects I can't wait to get started on. Here's a sneak peak of a possible new set of characters/ plus

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Grand Reveal

Drum Roll please.........

All my displays are finished and were ready to go last night at the first ever First Friday Pop Up Market in Downtown Arlington.  Despite some wind issues which cause a lot of moving my setup around, I'm happy with the way my "shop" turned out. When I stepped back to look at it all I could think was that it looked like a really fun carnival booth. People seemed to enjoy it, at least I hope they did. I still have some work to do, and another table to buy, I'm pleased with the direction everything is going. Here are a few close ups of the set up both in daylight and at night.

(click to enlarge pictures)

 My friend Cassie of Clover Hollow

Fellow Etsy Fort Worth member Buffy of Laughing Crafter Studio

The guy that made my awesome displays, my hubby, Aaron of Angelita Home Decor

We have a great time last night, I can't wait to be back next month.