Sunday, November 29, 2009

venturing into the world of business crafting

i'm trying out something new here at cultivating domesticity:
mass production.
we've been busy little bees cooking up a plan to make my crafting endeavors profitable, and working long hours in what marty lovingly refers to as "the sweatshop."

my thing has always kinda been about trying out new ideas, patterns, recipes - i'm excited by experimentation. but i've been realizing i'm lacking the second half of that process, refining and perfecting.
i noticed this around thanksgiving meal planning this year. thanksgiving is one of those times when people love to indulge in the tried and true classics, and it's an opportunity to showcase your best recipes. as much as i love to cook, i don't have any best recipes. i found myself scouring the internet for tasty-looking ideas for new things to make for thanksgiving, and it made me realize that i haven't settled in on any recipes long enough to develop any standard go-to dishes.

so for the new year my intentions are to balance new experimentation with refining and perfecting some good ones.

same with crafting. i'm constantly making one-offs based on new ideas and methods i want to try out. as much fun as that is, it's not a way to make money. and i've been ruminating on how to make my crafting time profitable. a couple of ideas have come up: one is starting an etsy shop. the other is selling at craft fairs. it just so happens that there's a craft fair coming up here in oakland, and it's going to be held at our friends' brand new nightclub, the new parrish. it's the perfect spot for our foray into the business craft world. cultivating domesticity will be there.

and thinking about marketing my crafts has started all kinds of ideas around branding "cultivating domesticity:" developing a logo for business cards, tags, and website - notice we now own the domain (thanks early santa!). marty's helping me think through design and the intentions behind the brand, so stay tuned for more on that as it develops.

the one thing i make that i've been working on perfecting for a couple years now is the measuring tape wallet. i made myself a wallet out of measuring tapes a while ago, and the checkout counter interest in that wallet is through the roof. i have been kicking myself on a regular basis that i don't just make extras and carry them in my purse because i could probably sell at least one a week just responding to people's interest.

but i've been working on perfecting the design. my original design involved a snap grommeted right into the measuring tape itself, and the constant pressure of snapping/unsnapping everyday eventually wears out the measuring tape material. i've tried several prototypes over the past few months employing different methods of strengthening the snap area, but with marty's help we finally just solved the problem: velcro. now with confidence in the long-term durability of these wallets we're putting them into full effect.

so back to the sweatshop. 
this is the perfect craft fair to showcase cultivating domesticity, but the timing is a little tight. we just got back last week from hawai'i, and i'm in the process of ending one job and starting another, so it's been long hours in the studio with lots of help from friends and family. mom came down this weekend for thanksgiving, with the understanding that she'd need to put in some hours in the sweatshop if she wanted any turkey. thanks to her speedy and steady work we've got all the measuring tapes cut and prepped for wallets, plus a bunch of dragonfly fabric cut for pufferfish pouches.

marty has become the resident expert on fusing plastic bags. we'll devote a separate blog post to the process of recycling plastic bags into water-resistant pouches, it deserves it's own spotlight. suffice it to say right now that marty has developed several new innovations on the technique that ratchet the quality and aesthetic of the product up several notches.

i've been experimenting with several different shapes and sizes of pouch, some small enough for sunglasses and sewing accessories, others big enough for cosmetics and toiletries. i love the structure and puffiness that the fused plastic provides these bags; adding a fused plastic layer to the pufferfish pouch, along with twill tape tabs to help with the zippers has made a great bag way better.

so here's your sneak peek at what we'll be offering at this year's feria urbana craft fair this thursday, december 3rd from 6-10pm at the new parrish.
if you're in the area: come through to support and enjoy music, drinks, food, crafts, and good company.
if you're not in the area but are thinking about holiday gifts, hit me up at - i'm taking orders!