Saturday, November 13, 2010

My plan this year for a Handmade Christmas


Sup dudes! It's not too often a do a lot of "writing" on this blog, I usually favor the picture only eye candy posts. I wanted to talk about this big plan I have though... about how this year I am committed to a Handmade Christmas and buying from/promoting as many small indie businesses as I can.

Each year I say I am going to make all my gifts.. but being an artist already of course I have work to do, and crafts are quite time consuming. I never end up making as much as I would like. So this year, my plan is different! There are two main areas of focus;

1. Winning free stuff!

I have a bunch of cool blogs in google reader and each day I would scroll past maybe 20-30 giveaways. I have always been lucky when it comes to blog giveaways and won a few times even when I didn't know I was entering one. There is *SO* much out there to be won in the blog world, and tons of it from artisans. Giving items away is a great way for a small biz to promote items so people are always offering up items to blogs! I decided to devote 30 minutes to an hour every day in between work/kids entering for a few weeks to see what I would win. So far in two weeks, I have won three times - a laptop bag, a necklace, and a hand sewn unicorn pouch. Pretty good, right? Just for devoting a little time instead of money! (I am also starting to review items, and I will be passing many review items along to friends as well)

Now, I don't really *need* all this free stuff, so I will be passing it on to friends and family as gifts. Some of the prizes are quite valuable and more than I could ever afford to buy as gifts. This benefits me in the sense that I am spending less, but it also benefits these artists I won the items from because another person gets to experience their product, and tell their friends! People see them around with the items and ask about them, etc. Word of mouth spreads, and word of mouth is so important to an indie biz!

My circle of friends is young, and conscious of the environment but also really into fashion and fun so it's the perfect audience for this kind of thing. It's important to me in everything I do to try and enrich the lives of those around me as well as my own, and this includes both my friends in real life and my friends / the craft community online and all over the world. What was that saying.... "be the change you want to see in the world?".. well, I want to turn the world crafty.

2. Trading!

I think in general we should do more bartering in life. Cut out that pesky middle man of dollar bills and just make a bargain with each other for what we need or want with what we have or can do. We are all talented and we all have a lot of stuff, especially us artsy craftsy folks, and chances are what we like best comes from other people just like us! And chances are even better that other artists are also looking for ways to save money this Christmas.

If you do any craft shows this year, approach other vendors for a trade, who knows what they will say?! Etsy is a great place to meet people to trade with, as well as blog friends and twitter. You can even trade for things like online services.

So - that's my plan, along with making things myself. So far it seems to be working out really well. I encourage you to try it this year yourself. Make sure you ask for lots of business cards from those you win from or trade with so you can pass them on to the people you gift.


Christina said...

Great plan! I have done similar. Well I haven't entered as many giveaways lately but I won a couple in the past few months. I have traded on Etsy the last two holidays too. :) This year, not sure yet but I am open to trading if it's something I need or can be used as a gift. You know how it is with making jewelry, many shops that trade are also jewelry shops so it can be hard. But I have scored awesome trades in the past with artists and photographers on Etsy. :)

Maria-Thérèse ~ said...

Good advice!
No one has ever said Sup dude to me before so I'm also really happy about that :D
*mumbles to self*: you do know papercakes isn't just talking to you, right?

Annie said...

I've never done any trades before, but that's a really great idea!

Free Pretty Things For You said...

that so awesome my dear!
Trading had been on my mind for a while now...i even asked a few etsy shop owners but they have said no lol
But like you said.. just have to keep on asking and others with the same mind set will come along and some of them will even say YES!
Speaking of giveaways i am hosting a really cute giveaway monday! just up your ally!

Snugglebug Blessings said...

I think that is a great idea. Trading helps us keep the middle man down and it can just be alot of fun. I love to do swaps every once in a while too just to see what an aritst will come up with. I have never been disappointed with that either, no matter what the skill level is. So great ideas. God bless. Cathy

BumbleBri said...

I never thought of doing something like this. What a great idea! I am all about keeping it local and handmade so this is a great stress free way to keep it real with my crafty folk and to save some time and money. Thanks for the idea :D

Mechelle said...

Thanks for sharing these cost saving ideas!