Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Thoughts on Loving Fundraising from a Small Business Owner Perspective

I really appreciate hearing different perspectives. I'm convinced every job I have ever had has shifting how I see some things.
Being a small business owner with a storefront in a "smaller" town for 2 + years gave me the biggest shift in thinking I have ever experienced. I had to work through a lot of things, but the thing I would like to share about today is Fundraising.

About 7 years ago I was going on a missions trip and we were needing to raise money. So we went around to lots of businesses and asked for donations. I'll admit it still isn't my favorite thing to do, but my husband likes to remind me we are letting people in on an amazing work they will be reaping eternal rewards for as well.
Anyhow, we got to the Red Bowl in Charlotte of off Providence Rd. and the manager said he be delighted to help and handed me a paper. We said, "thank you" and left and proceeded to read.

Basically the company would set up a code for our group and we would tell people to go eat at the Red Bowl and they would give them the code. Red Bowl would then total the amount and give a check for a percentage of the sales. I found it very interesting but too much work for me...

4 years later I end up having a store on Main Street in downtown Fort Mill. I had countless numbers of people coming in asking for donations, monetarily or pieces for auction. I am very thankful for all the times I was able to help, but I admit I had to work through a lot of hurt...
May I paint you a candid picture?
You are a small business "shopowner"aka accountant, bookkeeper, producer, instructor, marketer, webmaster, customer service giver, clerk, coffee maker, janitor, consultant and secretary. You have not been able to pay yourself anything personally through your business. You are struggling to pay your monthly overhead: rent, utilities, insurance, internet, phone, pos system lease, cc fees, taxes, alarm. You are here to serve the community, to provide a place where they can sell their amazing handmade products made in the U.S.A. Offering couches and coffee so people can hang out and use the wifi and have someone to talk to. Giving food, company and shelter from the cold to the homeless staying nearby. You love people and want to bring a little bit of joy to their lives and connect with local artisans and learn a new creative skill. You are at this shop 7am to 7pm Monday through Saturday ready to love and serve.
You with me so far?
So this particular week, foot traffic has been slow... really slow. I'm talking maybe 1 person a day coming in and we are now at Thursday and it seems to be the season of fundraising. Last week about 7 people came in asking for donations and your weekly sales total was about $400. Another lovely smiling person walks in and is asking for another donation for their school or missions trip or church or non-profit. I smile on the outside, but feel sadness on the inside, because a person has finally come in the shop today, but they have no interest in investing in this business or the 72 artists that had their items there. I feel a bit panicked because I LOVE to give, but I am literally behind on monthly goals just to cover the overhead. There seems to be a sense that because someone has a business that they must have lots of money. I'm here to tell you not just from my experience, but from several close storefront owning friends, having a business doesn't mean you have lots of money, or any personal money for that matter.
Great sob story, right? No, I am so thankful for the people I met and chatted with and I even thankful for the many people who came in to use my bathroom at the Tree Lighting or Parade and walked right out not buying anything. But I will tell you it took me a little while to get to the thankful place in my heart for that because I felt... well used, unloved, unimportant by the community. It seemed many people verbally said, "I hope you do well." "I'm really glad you are here." But never got a coffee or cocoa or brought a friend in later. I recently had a long trip and had to use the bathroom, so I went and ordered one of the cheapest things I could find before I went. For me, especially being in Mexico where I paid for toilet paper in public places, I am very mindful and thankful that someone paid the bills so I could use the facilities. I had serious Divine help to be in a place now of complete love in my heart for every person that I interacted with.
For most of us that have fund-raised, we want to help make the world a better place. To bring love, true love with skin on to people. For me I want to represent Jesus who is Love.

So what am I saying here?
I am NOT saying you shouldn't ever ask small businesses for donations. I don't think everyone that goes in a shop should buy something. But if you are asking for money or donations offer to put flyers out at the library in exchange. Or if you are taking something from the business, consider loving them with something... a blog post, a shout out, a check-in, bringing in a friend.
What I am saying is considering loving them too. See how you can partner with them, be the marketing campaign. In exchange for a wreath from them, can you let your friends know they are there. Better yet, can you bring your friends there? One of the most darling people I know owns Z Bakery and she was quoted in an article in the Herald Online saying, “If you want a local business to stay, you have to support it.”   She has seen an amazing and compassionate side of this local community.    

How can you not only love the animals or people that you are raising funds for, but the people you encounter along the way? Seem like more work? Yes, love takes work, love is a choice.

There are many lessons I could expound on, but for now I just want those of you who have a desire to make a difference to love not only the cause but to support small businesses who bring love and light to their communities.

P.S. I am still super thankful to all you helped me on my shop journey and you are still in my heart and on my store "wall".

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/community/fort-mill-times/article45998530.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DYI Doll/ Lego House /Playroom Scene

I had the privilege of teaching some Art Camps this Summer, and I asked one of my students what they would like to make and she said a Doll House. Well, we weren't going to have time for that in the camp, so I suggested a Doll House Scene. I wanted it to be able to be folded and put away, so here is what we came up with.

  •  4 Hinges 1-2 inches tall (they come in packs of 2) you don't want the screws longer than .5"
  • Paint, brushes, water, palate, etc.
  • Paper and pencil to sketch designs
  • Modge Podge Matte
  • Drill
  • Wooden Board, I used the pretty kind of wood about $13- $14, lol      2' x 4' piece
- Ask the very pleasant Lowes or Home Depot People to cut your board like this:

Step 1: Lay out your boards with the 2' wide sandwiched between 1' wide boards (all are 1.5' tall)

 Step 2: Screw 2 hinges to one of the 1.5' x 1' boards (I did use a drill), about 2" from the top and bottom
 Step 3: Place something straight under the board you have just "hinged" and the 2" middle board to make sure they will be level and then screw in the other side of the hinges.
Step 4: Add hinges to the other 1' board and other side of the 2' board with same method, make sure bottom is even across.
Step 5: Stand up and admire your wooden fold-able masterpiece and get inspired. Have your kids sketch out designs to paint on the insides and outsides of your scene.
Step 6: Paint. Let dry fully. Have fun!
Step 7: Seal with Modge Podge Matte (Unless you want the glossy look)

 Lola had the idea to paint a TV in the Playroom scene so she could paint different pictures and tape it on her Scene. Then change them out as she wanted to, very clever young lady=)

Don't forget to do a scene on the back and outsides too!

Hope ya'll have fun with this, I know we did. If you decide to venture out and make it happen, please send me a link to your picture!!! Hope you have an awesome summer! Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Make your own Lightbox DIY

Are you needing to take better photos to sell your fabulous wares online?

Well, if those products are about 10" or shorter, my Beloved husband had a brilliant idea after looking at a Sky Mall Magazine.  Let's make a Lightbox!!!

You need:
  • white mesh and wire laundry hamper from the Dollar Tree
  • a work light from Lowes or Home Depot
  • a white sheet or fabric
  • 1 white posterboard 
 About $15 Total.

Open up the hamper.
Cut the poster board to fit inside, you want a LONG piece from the top back to the bottom front.
Set the light up towards the opening.
Place the sheet over to give the soft light look.
Test out the products, change the white balance in your camera to make sure you are getting the right color.
If you need to, I love picasa for a free editor!!!=)
Enjoy! If you decide to take up this venture, I would love to see your photos! Add a link to the comments section!

So what was my handsome and amazing man helping me take photos of??? New earrings!! So into coral pink and Navy right now=)


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mixed Media Owl Journals

Inspired by all the owls we decided to do some Mixed Media Art Journals!

I recently inherited a lightbox my Grandy had made for my Nana's Watercolor Hobby and decided to put it to some good use! It makes this project easier but not essential.

Items Needed:
  • Composition Books
  • Modge Podge (or elmers school glue with a little water)
  • Scrapbook paper (variety)
  • scissors
  • pencils
  • template (we did owls, but try horses or dolphins or bears!!)
  • lightbox (optional- you can also use a glass table with a light underneath)
  • acrylic paint (with a small brush) or sharpies for accents
Owl Template
Owl Template
Make a template with basic shapes. You don't want to get too complicated here=)
Here is an owl I did in Paint... 

Decide a color scheme with your paper. Encourage students to layer complimentary colors so each part is visible.

Place Template on light box and one at a time place scrapbook paper upside and on top and trace the part applying to that paper. For example: I want pink polka dots for the wings so I place my pink polka dot paper upside down and trace out 2 wings from the template.

Cut out your traced pieces. Organize next to your journal.

Mixed Media Owl Journal
Glue- start with the background first and then to the big pieces to the smallest.

Add a layer of glue on top to seal. (Be careful not to glue the journal pages together, opening the books would help)

Add any final touches you like! Voila! Be free to do this on wood or canvas too!

I did this with ages 5-13. (More help to the 5 year old of course, but they did great!)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Make your own Charles Dickens Victorian Caroling Skirt!!!!!!

Caroling Costume
To make the Skirt, this is what you will need:
Fabric #1 (yardage will be determined below) (color for your skirt - I used green Christmas  plaid)
Fabric #2 for Waist (I used green broadcloth)
Elastic (1" thick)
hoop skirt or hula hoop
sewing machine (and all the parts)
matching thread
ribbon at least 1.5" wide
measuring tape

Step 1: Measuring
Measure around where your hips are and times that by 3. We will call this MA (Measurement A)
For example: Hips 44"       X 3= 132"
Now, make sure your hula hoop's circumference is less than MA by at least 4".
It is? Great!
Now, put your hula hoop on the floor. Stand in the middle, make sure the hula hoop size is a good size for the bell of your skirt. For example, if this is for a little girl you wouldn't want an extra large hula hoop... and if it is for an adult you probably don't want a small...
Measure from your waist line to the hula hoop. pick the straightest path. (Measurement B = MB)
For example: Waist to floor with hula hoop: 39"
Measure your waist, then add half. (Measurement C= MC)
For example: Waist 35" + 1/2(35)=52"

Step 2: Cutting
Cut out panels that will equal your MB +3" X MA + (1"X #of panels needed to account for seam)

So, for the example:
I got 44"/45" fabric, laid it with the selvage edges both down, the other side folded. I cut 3 panels MB +3" (for seam). So I had 3 pieces 44"/45" X 42".

Step 3: Sew them together until you have a giant cylinder=) Make sure you piece together the right sides together so the seams will end up on the inside.

Step 4: Flip so that the right side is out. Fold over the bottom by 2" and sew on the inside which will show on the bottom of the skirt.

Step 5: Fold the top part over and sew around leaving 2" unsewn. Take the elastic and pull it through  the top encasing. Sew the elastic together and tuck into the casing. Finish sewing around. Voila! It is finished.

*Suppose you don't have a hoop skirt - take ribbon and make loops to an elastic band encasing a hula hoop to put under your skirt.

You have options to add ribbon and things, but this is the basics! Have fun and happy caroling!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Great News! You are Creative!

You hear things having a shop... Especially an art shop. There are lots of amazing people that walk through the doors over there. I am so delighted to meet them.
A topic that frequently comes up...

According to Webster:
1. the quality of being creative  2. the ability to create

According to Webster:
: having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas
: using the ability to make or think of new things : involving the process by which new ideas, stories, etc., are created
: done in an unusual and often dishonest way?? <----didn know="" p="" t="" this="">

You dear reader, have been given a gift of creativity. You were designed for a purpose, and part of it is to create. 

Pitfall thinking----> your art is supposed to like mine or Picasso, or Monet...

Truth-----> your "art" or projects do not need to look like something you have already seen or experienced
Pitfall thinking----> if you can't draw then you are not artistic

Truth----> many "artists" (including myself) have used light-boxes to trace, projectors, tracing paper or templates

Pitfall Thinking-----> If it isn't perfect it isn't beautiful or good.

Truth-----> If you shoot for excellence and NOT perfection you will have much more fun and enjoy what you have created without stress. 

What makes my heart sad is people telling me they aren't creative. You have the ability to create, whether it be as a programmer creating code or a sculptor creating a funny squirrel with clay. Maybe drawing isn't your thing... there are plenty of outlets to be creative. If you have tried it once and failed... give it another shot if you really want to do it. You are creative, dear reader... maybe it is with your words and poetry, maybe it is making music, metal art, baskets.
Try something new this week, pinterest has fantastic ideas=) It will bring joy to your heart to create something beautiful or funny=)

This year so far has included fantastic discoveries for me including watercolors, polymer clay, crayon melting art, and button trees. So much fun! Now go make something awesome and have fun doing it! You are creative! Yes you! Tell me what you have tried in the post below if you remember=) That's what I would love to hear.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Deco Mesh Turkey Wreath for Thanksgiving or Fall DIY

Deco Mesh Turkey Wreath
I was praying for a creative Thanksgiving/Fall wreath and thought of making this cute deco mesh turkey  wreath!! Thank You Lord=) I had so much fun making it and thought you might want to join in the fun!
So here is the tutorial! =)

  • Deco mesh 21" Rolls - brown, yellow, and orange
  • Deco Tubing - Red, White and Orange
  • Pipe Cleaners - Gold (or any color)
  • Scissors
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Strong wire - I used a wire coat hanger and re-purposed wire
Substitution Ideas:
  • Instead of the white deco tubing for the eye and pipe cleaner use a button and tie it in...
  • Instead of Red tubing for the gobble use mesh or felt and tie it in...
Enjoy it! May we all find things to be thankful for=) I am thankful to create, what are you thankful for?