Friday, November 28, 2014

Handmade is the new Black

When you shop handmade, you are helping support a family who is living their dream. Here is a guide to some of the best Black Friday - Cyber Monday sales from some of my favorite hand-makers.

Adorable sewn goods for you, your home and your cute kiddos, use the code DBN20 for 20% off your entire purchase

Adorable sewn goods, 25% off your purchase with code WINTER2014, now through Monday

Modern & minimalist jewelry, everything is 20% off, no code needed

Tees, Art Prints & Greeting Cards, free shipping with the code YAYFREE, now through Monday

Totes, Tea Towels and Paper Goods, get free shipping and free gift wrapping now through Monday with the code XMAS14

Personalized Hangers, 20% off with the code GRATEFUL20, now through Monday

Funny mugs & stamped items, everything is 20% off, no code needed

Pet accessories and more, 10% off all orders today only, using the coupon code FRIDAY10

50% off Pencil Portraits, no code needed

Handmade hair accessories for the littles, 10% off with the code, BLACKFRIDAY10 all weekend!

Adorable knit items, use the code 14BLACKFRIDAY for 20% off a purchase of $50 or more

Handcrafted wedding, gifts, and decor, 15% off today using the code BLKFRIDAY

Use the coupon code 'thankful' for 20% off your total purchase, valid through 12/12

15% off your purchase

30% off all items, no code needed

15% off storewide, and free shipping on orders over $65, using the code BF2014

Find any great deals I missed? Don't forget when you make a purchase to let them know you heard about their sale on my blog!

Happy Shopping!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tee Shirts & Black Friday Coupon


THEY ARE LIVE, the long awaited Designs by Nicolina tee shirts made their debut at Indie Craft Experience, Atlanta this past weekend and now they are available for all of you!

Each design is hand-lettered/drawn by me, printed on super soft ti-blend tees, and printed locally using an eco-friendly screen printing process.


Thanks to the super sweet AnnMarie Swift for this photo, how cute is she?

And for this weekend {Black Friday - Cyber Monday} all US orders can get free shipping with the coupon code YAYFREE, only in our online shop, designsbynicolina.com

What are you waiting for? Get shopping!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tales of ICE and ovens and pies I didn't bake

Busy just seems like it doesn't begin to cover it the last week or so.

This weekend we participated in ICE, a local Indie Fair in Atlanta. Seeing our local friends as well as our lovely fellow vendor friends was quite the treat! Thanks so much for all of the love guys!

Here is a glimpse of our booth {day one}
as usual I mixed it up on Sunday, full recap and fancy photos will come later this week {hopefully} Cameron knocked it out of the park on the display for me, and our typewriter was the star of the show.

But let's back up a little to earlier in the week. Monday we dropped off a box of goods to Crafted Westside who has an adorable Pop Up shop behind Yeah! Burger on Howell Mill Rd. in Atlanta if you are local. You can get the full details on our local events page on the website.

The rest of the week was to be filled with putting the final touches on our product and displays, while also prepping for some friends we have coming into town at the end of this week.

We were productive and did everything right - have I mentioned yet that recently we have been trying to cut down on our TV time? In the past week we have watched maybe 5 hours, which is like record breaking for me - anyway despite all of that something always throws a wrench in our plans when we have a packed week. This time, it was the oven. I literally just joked about getting a new oven the other day. So basically it's my fault that it went out in the midst of me making a pie

I NEVER MAKE PIE

That's what I get. So throw in some unplanned trips to best buy, emergency envelope orders, and packaging that is just slightly too small and you have our week in a nutshell!

Then ICE, which was amazing of course, hopefully more on that later this week!

And we are back at Monday again, which is when I began typing this post - if that gives you any indication of the week we are already having - when it rains it pours right? But enough complaining, our friends are coming into town Friday and I can't wait to greet them with a pie that I may or may not have time to bake and take them to some of our favorite Atlanta spots.


Loving the way the Crafted Westside Pop Up shop is coming along, we dropped off another batch of goods there last night. So many amazing local artists. If you are local be sure to drop by that area for Small Business Saturday!

ALSO - be sure to check back here Thursday for a special Black Friday hand-makers sale guide! Loads of awesome shops and great deals! If you want to be included send me an email before tomorrow!

Enough with my crazy person ramble brain dump post... what are you looking forward to this week.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Favs on Thursdays - Crochet

If you follow me on Instagram {@nicolinaw}, and I think I also might have mentioned it here as well, I have taken up crocheting again.

My friend Brittany taught me a few basics back in February, but honestly the warmer it got the less I wanted to learn more. I am pretty sure this is a fall and winter craft for me. Also, Cameron and I have been working on not watching so much TV, and this is the perfect chill out activity for me.

Thanks to youtube videos and a few blog tutorials, I made a cowl which I LOVE and I am working on a large infinity scarf right now, but I wanted to learn something new so I watched a few more youtube videos and worked on some new stitches (exciting stuff right?) I took apart the scarf I made in February (it was never really the right length) for some practice yarn. 

Then I cam across these cute little crochet bows and I knew this is what I wanted to try next. Now I can't stop making them! Each one gets a little better, and I modified the tutorial I was following a little bit to better suit me. I plan on attaching them to everything!



So today for MY FAVS (a weekly link up with Meghan and Katy) I am sharing some of my resources that helped me get back into it. Also just random youtube searches when I don't know how to do a stitch help a lot!




Next I am working on being able to follow patterns from others and not just replicate what I am seeing someone do. Any great and easy patterns you know of to get me started?

Do you have a hobby you dropped? Get back into it! I am having so much fun learning something new and crafting is good for you!



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NEW WEBSITE

To say the least this post has been days weeks months years in the making. I mean how many times have I announced that the website is almost done? (at least ten)

After many late nights and giant cups of coffee we have a brand new website


and it is pretty great if I do say so myself!

You can still shop our Etsy shop if you prefer, it's pretty great too. (plus the invites will stay there for now) But there is something about having our very own website that feels all grown up.

Not only will designsbynicolina.com be where every single new product will launch first, like the hand-lettered Let it Snow art print.


But one of the best parts is, that no matter how much you order (as long as you live in the United States) your order ships for just $3 - that's way less than in our Etsy shop.

screen shot of our new home page
There is also a super nifty way to head on over to the blog directly from designsbynicolina.com

I also love our new Local Events page, if you are in the Atlanta area be sure to check out the two places you can find us or DBN items in the next few months.

What are you waiting for! Go check it out for yourself.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tip Tuesday #39 Deadlines

For most of us Hand-Makers and Etsy Sellers we are coming up on the three busiest months of the year (am I the only one who thinks it should chill out for January but it never does?) I am always looking for ways to make my life easier, especially this time of year so with that in mind let's talk about setting appropriate deadlines for you business.


The following are some things to keep in mind when setting deadlines which I have broken down into four topics

SELLING

Be clear, make sure you policies, turn-around times and shipping info are plainly written in multiple locations on you site, it might be a good idea to add them to all of your social media accounts and write a dedicated blog post about the topic.

With more shoppers visiting your site, the more questions you will have. Believe me when I tell you no matter how many times you write something on your page/info section/shop banner, people will still ask you about it. Be prepared to answer more convos and emails than usual. Take some time each day to do this, because it will generate more sales for you!

tip: Tired of typing the same emails over and over again? Type up some responses you find yourself answering a lot and save them to a word file on your desktop. Then when you get the email all you need to do is copy + paste!


MAKING

First I want to talk about supplies. You are getting more orders this time of year so chances are your suppliers are as well. They may take a few extra days to get your orders out, and you of all people should understand this! Plan ahead and try to keep extra on hand, if this isn't something you can do... build some extra time into your deadline in case you run out and can't get your hands on things as readily.

Now for the most important part of the whole process, how long does it take you to actually make your item? Now pretend you have to make 3-4 times the amount you normally do. Realistically how much can you produce in a day without going insane and still make sure you have time to make that third pot of coffee?

tip: Journal through a normal day... make notes of how much time you spend answering emails, blogging, listing items and making your product. This will help you realistically look at how long and how much you can do in a day.

SHIPPING

Of course you want to make sure you have plenty of shipping supplies on hand! Although if you run out Uline always has stock and they ship fast (we live close enough to one to go pick our orders up!)

This is the worst part. This is what the USPS has to day on the matter of shipping deadlines...

USPS 2014 Christmas Shipping Deadlines:

To ensure that holiday mail and packages are delivered in time for Christmas, the Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines: 
  • Dec. 2   – First-Class Mail International
  • Dec. 2   – Priority Mail International
  • Dec. 10 – Priority Mail Express International 
  • Dec. 15 – Standard Post 
  • Dec. 17 – Global Express Guaranteed
  • Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail 
  • Dec. 20 – Priority Mail 
  • Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express*
While this list is full of hopes and dreams, do not be fooled by it. The aren't guaranteeing your packages will get there by December 25th if you get them in the mail by this date. Due to the horrible things that happened to us last year, I would give packages 3-5 more days than what this chart says... at least!

tip: Upgrade your customers to Priority when you can, lower risk of getting lost I have found and it comes with Insurance in case of damage, add insurance when you can, more packages are damaged in the month of December than any other month of the year!

ROOM FOR ERROR 

You are human, and you are probably dealing with 3 times the amount of orders you normally are. You will mess up. Your packages will get lost. When this happens your customer will not understand (with a few very kind exceptions) and they will still want the item to their house by December 25th.

Things may be frustrating and out of your control, the best advice I can give is to plan ahead for these things, and be kind to the customer even when they are rude. Kindness usually goes along way in calming arguments.

I always add buffer days into my deadlines. This gives us time to re-ship and still get the orders out in time. What about you? Any tips I missed?


Monday, November 3, 2014

Monday Mess

Well, we have been back from the land of Happily Ever Afters for one week, and while the short story is that we had the most amazing time ever the full trip recap will hopefully come later this week. Look out for some Gluten Free at Disney reviews as well!

I decided it would be a good idea to give myself the week off last week from blogging to catch up on work, sleep (we decided it would be the best idea ever to leave Orlando and head home at 9:30 in the evening, getting home at 4 in the morning is no fun) and laundry. 

But I am excited to get back into the swing of things, and have some fun things planned for this week. In the meantime, let's catch up on some of the things that you might have missed with me not blogging last week. 

The winner of the Let's Go to Disney giveaway was chosen and emailed, you can check the widget on the original post for the name. 

I am participating in a giveaway celebrating Meghan's (Hayes Days) 1 year blog-iversarry head on over this post to enter and get all of the details. AND don't forget to tell her congrats!

We came back from Orlando to basically winter here, and so I decided to try my hand at crocheting again this year, I'm working on my first cowl scarf
I am also currently addicted to purchasing all of the yarns so any professionals out there want to fill me in on where to get the best deal I know that Cameron would greatly appreciate it! 

Oh! And new invite in the shop to go along with my other new addiction this winter all the buffalo check plaid things, the newest Little Antlers invite can be purchased here.


I think they are pretty perfect for winter babies, or wedding showers, we can always customize the text to fit whatever you need.

Hope your Monday was more organized than mine, I'll get back to my mess now!