Despite the weather, I had a nice time at the Winter Market last weekend held at the B&O Station in Youngstown. I’ve been purposely building up my home base and it seems to be working! Along those lines, I will be setting up this weekend at the Good Life Fest at the Calvin Center, just down the street. In addition to what you see below, I’m going to bring more of the “yarn show” inventory, such as spindles, Eucalan, etc.
Remember that lovely, natural, spindle-spun Shetland I blogged about a few weeks ago? I finally got around to knitting it! I started it last Sunday while I was at the Winter Market. All afternoon I would knit a bit, count, and realize I had messed up. It’s actually a very easy pattern, but I was distracted by shoppers and the constant picking up and putting down of it. Once I had the opportunity to focus a bit, I made a lot of progress and now it’s almost done!
I am super excited about the new GE logo tote bags that arrived last week! I’ve wanted to have a nice thank-you gift for my big spenders, plus I have to admit a bit of envy when I see shoppers carrying around logo bags for other businesses. After shopping around a bit, I ended up having these done by VistaPrint since I could get all the colors instead of just one. They are $10 each, but if you spend $75 or more, you will get one for free! They are not available for purchase in my Etsy shop because I’m not sure if I am “allowed” to sell them there or not. Do they even have rules anymore? However, if you really want one and will not be at any of my shows, please send me an email and I will get one out to you!
Speaking of Etsy, if you feel the desire to make a purchase in my shop this month, use the coupon code YarnSchool to get free shipping. I decided it was time for some continuing education (and inspiration), so I signed up to attend Yarn School in Harveyville, KS at the end of April. I was worried that it might be just beginner stuff, but then I was reading on the Ravelry group about how many people go back again and again. It can’t be too dull/easy/basic then, right? I’m excited to get out of my corner of Ohio and see a new state! I’ll be flying out there alone, which is an adventure all on its own. And I’ll have to be friendly all weekend. I think that is scarier than flying! I tend to get weird and distant in situations like that (roommates, group lunches, chatty classes, socializing with strangers). Let’s just hope I can keep my mouth shut and learn something new!
Just got some new signs in the mail yesterday. There were at least five packages on the porch and everyone got one. It was like Christmas at our house.
These vinyl banners are 2 feet square and I ordered them from halfpricebanners.com. I looked around a few other places, but I wanted something relatively small and this was the smallest I could find. They were very affordable and very quick. I can hang it on the front of my table, on a wall behind me, or on my easy-up tent. And I got two just in case something happened to one or I felt like putting up two signs! The colors look great. Of course I didn’t order them until right before the Pittsburgh show, but they are ready for next time.
Greetings 2012, greetings friends! I started the new year off with some dyeing. I figured it was a good time to dive into the 11 lbs of Falkland top that I recently purchased. So far I’ve dyed a little over 5 lbs. I purposely tried to focus on more blues and greens, but the pinks and reds popped in anyway.
I also started the process of relabeling all of the yarn and fiber with new tags. The wrap labels I used before had the name/logo and then blank space. I just filled in all the information for each item. There are now specific labels for yarn, roving and top. Also, I added lines to write on and definitions below. All the labels say “fiber content”, “weight”, and “place of origin”, plus additional specifications on the yarn label. I was hoping to give my customers more information while minimizing what I have to write. We’ll see how it goes.
So, Erin (check out her portfolio!) had such a good time helping me with my logo that she volunteered to assist me with my business cards and postcards. I suppose she must have sensed how desperate I was. And when I suggested we do a swap – my fiber for her graphic assistance – it was a done deal.
I knew I wanted new business cards to showcase my new logo, but every time I tried to put something together, it was such a snooze! She whipped up this snappy thing in no time at all. Again, she was great to work with, listening to my suggestions and making them work in the best way. Vista Print, send me 1000!
As for the postcards, I wanted something that would be a bit more informative than just a small, brief business card. Those are great to hand out en masse, but sometimes you need to give someone something with more ooomph. On one side I wanted a mosaic that showed a sampling of my work and on the back I have text that tells you more about my business. When I pitched the idea to Erin (check out her blog), she thought it was great, and luckily, she was willing to help me out. I sent her a few photos and the text and she put it all together. They couldn’t be better. Let’s do some marketing!
As you may (or may not) have noticed, I’ve officially begun to utilize my new logo in various places. After a great deal of discussion with Erin (eef-ink), my family, friends, and readers, I finally decided on a color scheme. It was inspired by a color combination that I have enjoyed for as long as I’ve been dyeing, but didn’t realize it until now. It primarily consists of turquoise and orange, but the magic is where those two colors mingle. Sometimes they create a really lovely green and in other spots a burnt orange. Every incarnation is a bit different, but always interesting. I sent a few of my photos to Erin and she took it from there. We both agreed that the new color scheme is simultaneously colorful and subdued. Plus I really like those little orange caps on the needles!
While I was making a few changes elsewhere, I cleaned up some things in the sidebar. I’ve noticed on other blogs that people are using coordinated icons as links to other accounts on the web. I think this contributes to a tidy appearance and gives me a chance to use some of my photos. So I switched the links to my Etsy shop, Flickr account, Ravelry account, and Facebook page in the left column to the photo icons. Feel free to connect with me at any of those places and stay tuned for more logo updates as I reinvent myself in 2012.
Being a dyer, you would probably think that I knew what my favorite colors and color combinations would be by now. But I’m not entirely sure that is true. Trying to settle on colors for my new logo has proven to be quite difficult. I know my favorite color is green with yellow right behind. But when Erin put together a few different options in those colors, I just did not feel like I could decide on any one of them. Those colors give me such a strong feeling of spring, which is great. However, I think the logo needs to give a more neutral (though positive) feeling so it is pleasant for all seasons and times. I’ve been thinking about adding a shade of blue or purple to bring in a cool color and lessen the brightness of green and yellow. We’ll see how that looks. Who knew it would be such a challenge!
Question: What is your favorite color? Color combination? Do you get certain feelings when you see specific colors together? Are there colors you use frequently and others you avoid?
This fall I’ve been doing a lot of reading, thinking, and planning in regards to the business aspect of my fiber. Recently I established a newsletter (which you can sign up for by clicking on the “contact” tab above) to better reach my customers. I’m also working on ways to increase production and advertising; making decisions about next year’s festival schedule; arranging for sufficient fleece processing; and getting my accounting/legal items under control. There is a lot to consider when you are trying to run a business mostly single-handedly. But it’s foolish to think you can do everything on your own.
For some time, I’ve wanted to get a new logo – something more unique than what I’ve been using on my labels and tags. But I don’t have the ability to create original art, so I just use photos and text. That’s when I contacted Erin Flynn of Eef-ink, a graphic designer/illustrator out of Indiana. She also crochets, so she understands. I’d been enjoying reading her humorous blog posts and cartoons, and when she posted that she was looking for new clients, I decided to approach her. We’ve been working together for the past month to create something special for Gwen Erin Natural Fibers, and I’m so excited with the result. The whole thing has been a great experience and I’m thrilled to be supporting an independent artist who knows what it’s like to be doing this all on your own. I highly recommend contacting her if you have any graphic design work that you need done. She’s given me a fresh start!
Question: What do you think of the new logo? Do you prefer more colors or less? Do you feel that it is important for a small business to have consistent branding and a recognizable logo?