Thursday, May 26, 2011
Thank you, each and every one of you, for reading this blog. I've learned so much and had so much fun interacting with you guys and I hope it continues. Change can be hard sometimes, but I think this change is the right move!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
For a while now, I’ve been debating what to do with my website. My goal has always been to have a website that incorporates an online shop with a blog, press info, wholesale info, and all that other good stuff all in one place.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to be the subject of the first business workshop over at Ace Department yesterday. First of all, if you’re a business owner, get over there and sign up – it’s in beta so it’s free right now, and those ladies know their stuff! The point of the workshop was to discuss where I want to go with my business in regards to my online presence. I can’t tell you how helpful everyone’s advice was, and now I really feel like I have a concrete plan.
As soon as I can get it together (hopefully in the next two weeks), I’ll be re-launching bobalookids.com with a little bit of an overhaul. I’m planning on making the website a landing spot for customers where they can read the blog, shop, or learn more about my brand all in one place. Want a sneak preview? Here ya go:
So what does this mean for this blog? I’ll still be writing a blog, but it’s going to be more geared toward my customers instead of other handmade business owners. I haven’t decided for sure what to do with my existing blog content. Either I’ll move it over to the new website, but post more customer-related content from now on, or I’ll move it to it’s own blog.
This is one decision I haven’t completely made, so I’d love your input. I’d be happy to maintain a second blog about the business side of things if there’s enough demand, but my posting schedule would probably be a little lighter (once or twice a week). What do you guys think? I learned how useful other people’s points of view can be when making big decisions, so advise away!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I’ve missed you all! I hope your Mother’s Day was as lovely as mine, and I hope you aren’t still hobbled by that half marathon you should have trained for like me! Let’s get back into the swing of things, shall we?
I’ve done my fair share of product photo shoots over the past eight months, so I thought I’d share the setup that’s working the best for me now. In the next two parts of this little series I’ll give you my editing process and tips for streamlining your photo shoots.
For a long time I took my pictures in my sewing room. Although it’s the most convenient, it certainly isn’t the best for light (the orange walls don’t help). I finally noticed that the big bay windows in our kitchen let in really nice light in the mornings, mostly due to the filtering effect of those sheer curtains.
I like to use an all-white background for my pictures because my fabrics are so colorful. I use a big white project board (the kind we all used for science fair projects) as my background, and I keep a big piece of white felt on hand to lay across the table. You can see the project board is kind of tucked into our light fixture – it just barely fits.
I don’t turn that overhead light on because it gives the pictures a yellowish tint; I just rely on good ol’ sunlight. On a cloudier day I set up my camera on a tripod and take pictures using my remote to ensure super-crisp pictures. If it’s a sunny day, I can usually use a fast enough shutter speed and just hold the camera while I squat down in front of the window.
For the pictures of products lying flat (like this bib and this changing pad – the picture of it opened up), I lay that big piece of felt on the floor and take my pictures from above. I used to put everything on the table, then stand on a chair and risk my neck by leaning in strange angles to get the best shot. We live and we learn, right?
Once I have all my pictures taken, I sit down after the kids go to bed and tackle editing them in Photoshop Elements. We’ll get to that next time!
In case you’re interested in the specifics, I shoot with a Nikon D40, which I looooove. If I need a flash I use my SB600 Speedlight or O-Flash. My tripod is just an inexpensive collapsible one and my remote was a ridiculously cheap one the hubs found on Ebay. And just an FYI – those are affiliate links.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
First this happened, which was bad:
I’m pretty sure that voids my warranty!
Then I had orders from two new stores, which is good! The hubs, bless him, got my sewing machine back up and running, but I’m a busy mama so you may hear crickets around here this week. I also have a half marathon to run Saturday that I am in no way, shape, or form ready for, so let’s hope my cousin doesn’t have to carry me across the finish line.
We’ll chat soon!
Friday, April 29, 2011
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I really want to have a line of organic bobaloo! products. A couple of weeks ago I decided I was ready to get started so I ordered a few organic fabrics from Cedar House Fabrics and fabric.com.
left to right: Grove in Sky & Clearing (Nature Walk from Cloud 9), Woodland Chain in Pool & Woodland Friends (Circa 50 by Monaluna for Birch Fabrics), Stripe & Floral in green (Suzi Q from Timeless Treasures)
Truthfully, I mostly bought based on the prints, but once everything arrived I realized I had ordered from three different manufacturers so I figured a little comparison was in order. I washed all the fabrics in cold water with no fabric softener and (as you can probably tell) didn’t iron them, but I did pull them out of the dryer when they were still warm to keep away most of the wrinkles.
I’m including the prices so you can get an idea of cost, but if I decide to go through with the organic line I’ll probably buy wholesale. This girl loves a deal and I can’t stomach spending $15 a yard on cotton if I don’t have to!
Let’s start with Circa 50 by Monaluna for Birch Fabrics. This fabric reminds me of high-end cotton sheets, the kind you’d find at a really expensive hotel. It’s super-smooth and just feels so nice. It does wrinkle up pretty easily when crumpled, but I’m guessing it irons like a dream. Birch’s prints are definitely my favorites because they are kid-appropriate but super-modern.
This one was $15.50/yd but it was on sale for 10% off with free shipping.
Next up is Suzi Q from Timeless Treasures. This one definitely has some texture and is lighter-weight than the others. If you’ve ever bought the Quilters Only Solids at JoAnn’s, that’s what this fabric feels like.
I bought this for about $11/yd, though I did use a coupon so it ended up being a little less. Fabric.com claims the regular price is $15.99/yd.
Last is Nature Walk from Cloud 9. The fabric from this line is the most similar in feel and appearance to the regular designer cotton prints I normally buy. It’s nice and soft and isn’t too wrinkly despite the lack of ironing.
Nature Walk is the first of Cloud 9’s Price Sensitive collections, so I paid 11.95/yd plus 10% off and free shipping.
Okay, so here’s my bottom line. The Circa 50 by Monaluna from Birch Fabrics is my favorite because of the prints and amazing fabric feel. The price is the highest of the three, but it also feels the most expensive. I want to rub my face on it. I just need to figure out if customers would be willing to pay what I’d have to charge if I use this fabric.
Coming in at a VERY close second is Nature Walk from Cloud 9. The price is great, the prints are awesome, and the fabric is every bit as nice as what I’m used to using. I’m sure I’ll be able to check out Cloud 9’s more pricey fabrics because I’m completely obsessed with Cut Out and Keep and must have some soon or I will quite possibly die.
I feel kind of eh about Suzi Q. The floral print in particular is cute and reminds me of the sheets I used to sleep on at my grandma’s house, but the quality isn’t quite as nice as the other two. I think part of my hesitation is I don’t like enough of the prints to justify buying wholesale from Timeless Treasures.
I’d love to hear what you think about organic cotton. Are you willing to pay more for products made from organic materials? If you sew, do you buy organic fabrics?