It’s no great secret that the Canadian Dollar has taken a severe beating in recent months. This means that Crafting Canucks everywhere are finding it harder and harder to get their crafting supply fix without completely breaking the bank. Well, Crafty Bastards to the rescue! We’ve been scouring the internet for supply shops that are still selling in Canadian Dollars, to the best of our knowledge, which means not only are they good places for Canadians to shop, they’re great places for other countries to shop as well!
If you know of any great shops to add to the list, comment below!
Felting Supplies/Doll Making:
The Paper Finch Company
Bear Dance Crafts
The Fibre Garden
Cross Stitch Patterns:
Little Mela Design
Forever Rose Designs
Arty Beads Store
Cuts & Scrapes
Art of Yarn
A Twist of Yarn
Have Fun Creating!!
We’re looking for fun, motivated handmade artists to join our Crafty Bastard team! We have a private group on Facebook where we can share inspiration and ideas with like minded people and every once in a while host a sale for the public. If you’re interested in being a member, please fill out the following application and email it to us ASAP.
Crafty Bastards Application
It’s the curse of the crafter. You’ve found something you love to make. First you make it for yourself. Next thing you know you make some for friends. Then before you know it your home is overflowing with macramé plant holders, but you still have the urge to create them. And more of them!! Your friends all say, “hey Susan! You should TOTALLY sell these!”, and you think “nah, nobody would buy macramé plant holders… I’m just doing it for fun”. So you casually peruse Etsy (while still making macramé plant holders, of course) and realize that tons of people are selling macramé plant holders and yours are actually better!!
So you want to open your own shop (and we hope that you do!). The Bastards have come up with a little bit of advice, based solely on what’s worked for us over the years (and what hasn’t). Here it is, take it or leave it! Either way, have fun…
- Think of a great name. You don’t need a professional logo or anything right away but try to come up with some way of representing your product as professionally as you can.
- Develop something new, or at least your own take on an existing product. You’ll find that copying the work of others is a quick way to lose fans.
- Make sure you test your product before you start selling it. Make it many times and give it to your friends or sell it to them at cost. I don’t know how many people I have heard say that they wish they hadn’t rushed into selling things at the early stages. You only get one true first impression.
- Photographs. My goodness photographs. Even if you’re taking pictures with your iphone, try and keep them as polished as possible. Do not use a flash. Take them near a window or outside where there is natural light. Make sure that you don’t have any dirty dishes or old socks in the background and if you’re photographing your hand as part of it… please let your nails be trimmed and clean.
- It’s okay to use recycled shipping materials, but make sure they are clean – don’t pad the item with used bread bags that still have crumbs in them (true story).
- Practice mailing your items to friends and family, so they can tell you how the item arrived. I’ve had purchases from crafters that weren’t well wrapped or well packaged and when they arrived, the item was flattened or quite disheveled.
- Learn how to promote yourself. Research social media and how to do Google searches. You will spend nearly as much time having to promote yourself as you will making your product. Building a fan base and trust takes time. And work. Lots of both.
- Be “aware” on social media. When you do get established on social media, be very aware how you post when you are representing your business. Keep “hot topics” and personal opinions off of your business status and updates. Never ever complain on your page, as frustrating as things like copycats and unpaying customers may be, keep it off your page.
- Be yourself, be accessible (to a point), be real, and ENGAGE with your audience. Be someone who people want to support and follow. The beauty of the handmade world is that your customers feel like they are supporting a person, not just a business.
- Make sure people connect you to your business. It connects people to the art and encourages people to want your work. Respond to comments, emails & convos.
- Don’t harass potential customers. If someone asks for a quote or has some questions for you, don’t assume it means they are committing to buy.
- Build a network of other crafters to support you and for you to support. Don’t see others as competition, see them as mutually beneficial. It will help when you need advice or support or when you’re just not feeling it.
- Be patient. That first sale is probably going to be the hardest to get. Without good reviews on your side, your customers are taking a huge leap ordering from you. You need something that they just can’t resist. And when it does happen, celebrate because it’s just the beginning. 🙂And last, but not least… #14… Make your Handmade with Love!!
Our third giveaway is from Cathy over at Brambles & Blossoms. If you haven’t gone to check out her Facebook page, you are seriously missing out. Cathy is a dollmaker, and an amazing one at that. She was a bit of a tomboy growing up, but was always drawn to playing with dolls even then. Her mom was a talented seamstress so she has definitely inherited the gift. Of course her mom sewed like many of ours did, the old fashioned way, with pins and measuring tape and patterns. Can you imagine? Me neither. Luckily for Cathy she’s not only amazing at the craft of sewing, she also has a great eye and has been able to create her own patterns as well as provide them to other aspiring dollmakers (which incidentally, you can purchase in her Etsy shop) .
When Cathy had her second child (ummm… she has SEVEN) her husband bought her a sewing machine for Christmas. She started making cloth diapers for her boys and then ran her own cloth diaper company, Ewies Diapers, for five years. Eventually she must have grown tired of making diapers (by the way, I’ve made two, and I was pretty tired of it so I have NO idea how she lasted that long) she decided to move into what we lovingly call Doll World and opened up Brambles & Blossoms.
Speaking of Brambles & Blossoms, and back to her seven kids, Cathy has five Brambles (boys) and two little Blossoms (you guessed it, girls). She stays at home with her kids and homeschools them all. Somehow she manages to create dolls while wrangling the troops, teaching math, listening to radio dramas and playing lego. Since she has no real block of time in any given day to devote to sewing, she does things bit by bit as she finds pockets of mama time.
Cathy draws inspiration for the craft from her mother who unfortunately is battling multiple sclerosis and is now limited in what she can sew. Most of her creative inspiration comes from her children. In her words: “In each doll I try to capture a moment of their babyhood or childhood. This is really how my ideas and creations come to me. I often will see a character trait or a facial expression or something in one of their eyes that inspires me to create. Sometimes I will see a photo of a child, like an old fashioned newsboy, and instantly my mind tries to create him. Sometimes it works, sometimes I just can’t convey what I wanted. But its all a journey.”
Cathy claims she’s no saint but I think she’s just being modest. Look through her photos and you can see the amount of love and talent that goes into everything she does. She has the Midas touch when it comes to creating dolls and has yet to miss her mark.
Cathy has been very generous in donating one of her amazing baby dolls to our giveaway chain. Be sure to pop by our page tomorrow (Thursday) for a chance to win!