Easy Easy Easy- is it killing the Arts & Crafts Industry?

It seems lately every where I look something is easy. Easy dinner recipes, easy knitting patterns, easy life hacks, easy garden projects, and on and on and on.

Are they so easy? They are if you start the project with a particular skill set already. Dinner is easy if you know how to shop vegetables quickly. Have bad knife skills and that 10 minute prep listed quickly becomes 30 minutes of potato peeling and cutting hell. Easy knitting patterns are only easy of you can already knit and purl proficiently. You get the idea.

But lately book after book, after website, after magazine is full of "easy" things to do yourself. I consistently overhear conversations at shows about how "easy" something is to do and how dare the artisan charge so much for their work. It used to be doing a demo at your booth made people understand what goes into your trade. Now, if you are good (which you should be to demonstrate) it looks so "easy". Like they can go home, plug in a lathe and fill their house with bowls in a few hours.

Don't get me wrong. I love the DIY movement. If it is actually going to get done. Pinning a pattern doesn't make it materialize in your wardrobe. Now when I hear "I can do that" I answer with "yes but will you find time to?" Artisans charge for our knowledge, our practice, our skill, our proficiency.  We make it look easy because we do it over and over and over. The people writing the books have too. It is easy- for them and people like them. Is it easy for you? By the time you buy all the ingredients / supplies will you wish you just bought it from an artisan for just a few dollars more?

There is a great quote I was told once and I keep by my desk. (wish I remember where it came from):

"Amateurs practice till they get it right, professionals practice till they can't get it wrong"


Happy Earth Day! How are we green?

We say in my family that "green" is a way of life, it's not hype and labels and marketing. Actually most of the "greenest" people and companies I know do it so intrinsically they forget to even mention it. So I decided today is a great way to explain some of the ways we try and stay "green" around here.

  • We use USPS because they provide friendly boxes. Their packaging already meets several ecological standards. 
  • Since they are already at the workshop 6 days a week. I just leave your order out for them to pick up as they go by, no extra fuel is wasted.
  • We buy shipping labels that are made with recycled paper too.
  • The packaging is all reused. Every bag of air, bubble wrap, and packing peanut used has been saved by us or a customer to be reused in your package. We never buy packing materials!
In the Workshop
  • We work while it is cool out. This means in the summer we are in by 6 am and out by Noon. No fans, no Air Conditioning needed!
  • We use fluorescent lighting, using 1/4 the energy than if we lighted the shop with incandescence lights.
  • We order supplies in bulk. Often I order what I need for a year or more. That way it ships only once. I also buy from the closest supplier possible to keep that carbon footprint down

Overall Business:
  • We recycle! Can you believe the whole business throws away less than one 30 gallon bag of garbage a week? Everything else is reused or recycled!
  • All the scraps and ugly soaps are made into sachets, not thrown away! 
  • We pay bills digitally whenever possible.
  • Deliveries are made in batches or with other errands. I have been known to stop at the grocery store between deliveries just because it saves me a trip later.
  • I only travel 60 miles for shows. This means I use less fuel, can pack my own food for the day, and sleep in my own bed at night. 
  • My overall philosophy is not to "green wash" you. I am human. I am doing the best that I can right now. Maybe I can't afford to do something better, maybe I don't know how to do something better, maybe I just can't do it consistently. I'm on a journey to be a better business each year, in increments. Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to what I do and how I do it and I am always happy to answer questions and take suggestions. 


Get Rejected Every Day

So I have been catching up on the Podcasts I listen too and have finally gotten to Invisibilia. It's another great one put out by the folks at NPR and it focuses on things that are invisible in our lives. This one was about fear.

The part that specifically spoke to me was about the gentleman who decided to get over his fear of rejection by getting rejected once a day. He even came up with a name for it: Rejection Therapy and a web site and some cards to help you do this yourself. Now he was getting over rejection by random people, and from friends by asking them for sometimes strange things.

But do you know what he learned? That you are not rejected as often as you think you will be. He also learned to just let it flow off of him when he is rejected, by answering with a simple "thank you" and being happy about the rejection. Why happy? Because being rejected in the first place was his goal. He made rejection a game, and the way to win was for someone to say "no" to you. If they didn't then you DIDN'T ASK FOR ENOUGH.

So I am in the car and I am thinking about my own fear of rejection when it comes to my business. I am afraid of stores telling me they are not interested when I approach them about selling wholesale. I am afraid of new shows rejecting me when I apply because I am not what they are looking for. I am afraid to voice my desires to show organizers regarding my booth placement at an event because I am worried they will get angry with me and this will hurt my chances of getting accepted again in the future. I am afraid of making telephone calls, even returning people's calls, because of my fear that they have changed their mind and will reject me when I come calling.

So here is my plan. 30 days of rejections. I am going to take the month of April and think of 30 scenarios that I am scared of dealing with. In May I am going to conquer one a day. My goal isn't to be rejected, but to at least ask. If I am rejected, fine, it will help me get used to it. If I am not, bonus, something good came out of the request.

So what are you afraid of?

P.S. Time + Thoughts = Fear. Take time or thoughts out of the equation and you won't be afraid. Whole new meaning to Just Do It.