Wednesday, June 29, 2016

BUSINESS: Using Better Quality #10 Business Envelopes

Sturdy, attractive #10 envelopes for shipping paper-crafted handmades.

Business envelopes have increased in price, like everything, from the $5-7 I used to pay for a box of 500. That was in the 90's, or maybe even in the 80's. Over 30 years ago! Sometimes I forget how much time has passed, and wonder why are some things so high!

I recently bought a box of these #10 envelopes for $17.99 at Walmart, though I could have ordered another type for $13+. Seems everyone is selling them, but they are $25+ at Shoplet, $30+ at Newegg, and a whopping $55+ at Grainger Industrial Supply! That's not even for a case! Just the 500 envelopes pkg that I bought. You better shop around!

Business envelopes with ridges easy to print and art-stamp.

They are from Quality Park Products #11130. I chose them because of the heavier weight and the narrow rather than pointed flap. Another great feature is their woven Park Ridge design. At one angle, you can see the vertical ridges, and you can even feel them when you run your hand lightly across the surface. At another angle, the envelopes look totally white. In addition to the 24 lb. stock, this makes for a sturdy, classy envelope. They have a super white brightness and are easy to print upon and embellish with art stamps.

Many of my paper-crafted products can be shipped in them, and I am very pleased with the image that they project. It was worth it to pay a little more, because my economy envelopes were just too thin and flimsy to make a professional impression.

The Creative Seller

Monday, June 27, 2016

MARKETING: Retain Customers With Incentive Gifts

Artsy Craftery Studio creates scalloped, round, summertime yellow and red polka-dot tags as incentive gifts.
As a handmades seller, do you enclose an incentive gift with your customers' orders? I have been doing this for so long that it is automatic. Which is why I swiftly whipped up these summery red and yellow thank you tags today. Haven't had a chance to make up my stock of incentive tags, but this morning I found an order in my inbox. I may not have my incentive supply done, but what I do have is a stock of miscellaneous die cuts in various degrees of embellishment.

I quickly pawed through the scalloped circles, and eyeballed the circle sizes I would need to embellish the red inked orbs with decorative paper. Searching through my decorative papers supply, I decided on the picnicky red polka-dot, or dotted-swiss depending on how you see it, pattern, and got to cuttin' with my Fiskars Circle Cutter. Wait, is dotted-swiss always on a white background? Anyway, my thank-you stamp from the Orient, and some yellow Colorbox Cat Eyes chalk ink finished them off. Punched holes and black yarn ties made them ready for shipment.

Scalloped circles were cut with a Marvy Uchida 2 1/2" punch, black stamp ink is Memento fade-resistant dye ink in Tuxedo Black, red polka-dot paper is from Snap! Color Vibe 6x6 pad, black yarn is DMC25 embroidery floss.

If you don't send your customers an incentive/thank you gift, you are missing an opportunity to impress your brand upon their minds. Anything to help them remember you!
The Creative Seller      

Thursday, June 23, 2016

PUBLISHING: Can The Book Back Cover Design Repel Customers?

Martin Rothery, at Linkedin, asked this question because of an experience he had with a potential book buyer, about a certain book. The shopper said, among other things, that the book's back cover needed a smaller blurb text block, and that the top of the bar code needed to be uncovered. The blurb overlaps it slightly at the top. The customer felt that bookstores would be more inclined to sell the book with these corrections. Martin wonders just how important anymore is the back cover design?

I responded to his questions by stating, Unfortunately, I've read, somewhere long ago, that the size of and position of the bar code can attract or repel a potential buyer.  As for the book above, I do think that if the blurb text block was more narrow, which would give it it's own border, and if it was raised above the bar code, so that you could see the complete border of the bar code, then the back would be more aesthetically pleasing. It's all psychological, and it's important. It may effect only a few, or it could effect a huge segment of a seller's potential customer base, depending on what is being sold, and to whom. 

What experience do you have with designing a back book cover? If you don't have experience, what do you think?

To see Martin's book in question, follow this link: Judge A Book By It's Cover-Never!
The Creative Seller

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

WRITING: Linkedin Micro Story Challenge Completed

Have you written a micro story before? Philip Catshill at the Linkedin group Aspiring Writers Short Story Challenge recently held a challenge titled The Missing Shoe. Generally, there are no prizes or awards, and Philip does not consider it a competition. Participants write a story the length of 1 LI comment, about 1000 characters, punctuation and spaces. Tight, indeed, for a complete story.

I so badly wanted to submit, but just couldn't think of a story line. I had almost a month before the deadline, June 20. Half way through I gave up. When I try to think of a story line of any length, my mind gets tangled and confused. It's not that I don't have ideas. I just can't get them solidified into a story.

Well, on the last day of the challenge, the story finished developing itself, out of nowhere. Over the past month, my longing to participate had flitted in and out of my mind. My sorrow and angst that I could not write a simple, mini story had plagued me every other day. So when the full-blown story popped to mind, I got to work, chopping my story at least 5 times to get it under 1,000 characters. I posted it and boy, am I proud! Amazing what we can do under pressure of obligations and tight schedules! I did not even remember that it was the last day of the challenge. The story reminded me, because it wanted to be published.

If you're interested in reading some of the funny, poignant and dramatic micro stories, visit here: The June 2016 Short Story Challenge. And here is mine.

The Missing Shoe
Sandi Holland

He was determined to find it. He had searched through each home, in many places, and under various circumstances, but no luck. That shoe was the key to his joy, his happiness, his satisfaction. He was asked, "Have you found it?" to which he’d reply, "No, but I know I will!"

To hear Derrick talk, you knew that his successful search was just in reach, and would solve mostly all of his problems. I asked, “Derrick, why do you search like this? Shouldn’t you just let it go?” With fervor he replied, “No! I know that I can find it! Just need to change where I’m looking and how!” He had turned away in disappointment, as if to say “You don’t believe in me either.”

No, I didn’t believe him. I don’t think Derrick will ever find his missing shoe. No matter how many times he relocates, changes jobs, finds new romances, and copies the lives of others, he’ll never find it. In reality, it is always “if the missing shoe was on the other foot. If someone else’s shoe was on my foot, then I’d be happy."

The Creative Seller

Thursday, June 2, 2016

NEWS: Target Hindering Large Volume Reseller Purchases

What do you think about Target's program to deter resellers from purchasing their products?  This article on EcommerceBytes: Target Cracks Down on Resellers shares that the corporation frowns upon customers purchasing products, especially sale and clearance merchandise, and selling it at higher prices.  Target considers this to be a loss for the chain. They are training associates to spot these customers and take steps to prevent their purchases. I say more than anything, it cheats Target's intended customers, even those who are not aware of the sale, or who could not get to the store.

Don't we all, as crafters and artists, buy merchandise, use some of it, or end up not using it at all, and resell the supplies as destash? This does not seems to be the type of customer that Target is targeting, however. They may be referring to those who make it a practice to buy large volumes of low-priced merchandise to hike the prices for reselling at a large profit margin.

The Creative Seller

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