I need to start off today by thanking all of you for the wonderful comments and responses on my witch boot project that I posted yesterday. I was really overwhelmed by the many, many kind comments and inquiries as to when the patterns and kits will be available. I plan on spending the weekend working on writing up the patterns and figuring out the cost of the kits so that I can charge a fair price that will make everyone happy.
Of course, the biggest cost will be the shipping. My boots were made from 3/4” MDF and while they are not really what I consider large, they will definitely weigh over 200gr and much of the cost will be for shipping. But I am pleased that people don’t seem to hold it against me when I have to charge shipping costs accordingly, as I wouldn’t be in business long if I lost money on them. I am glad people understand.
I didn’t used to be like that. I used to compromise and figure that if I were ‘close’ it would be OK. I thought that earning the customer was more important than making a profit, but it was back at that time when I had that mentality that I almost had to close up my business for good. I have always said that I don’t think in my business head first. But since I have been partnered up with Keith – who is very smart in that respect – he has shown me that even losing a small amount on a product or service could mean disaster for a small company such as mine. And he is right. I try to think of things as if I were making/selling 1000 of them. While losing $.50 on an item may not seem a lot, if it were multiplied by 1000 you would see the huge impact it would make on the business. I always used to be worried that charging my worth would scare my customers away. But as I learn to not only charge what I am worth, but also be fair and provide excellent products, I am seeing that people don’t mind paying for good quality, and I find the business is growing by leaps and bounds – and my customers are very happy with what they receive. It is good all around.
I mention this because so many of my customers and friends are also involved in the creative industry. Those who don’t design frequently create the items that I design to sell. While I typically don’t sell finished items, my advice to them is that they really need to have faith in their work and charge accordingly. As I mentioned above, it isn’t worth selling even 10 of one item if you are losing money on it. No one would be able to stay in business that way. You all need to really evaluate your time and materials (and yes – your TIME is worth something!) and have faith in yourselves and confidence in your work so that you charge enough to feel GOOD about what you are doing. I can’t stress that point enough.
With that said, there is a lot of thought that will go into the pricing of my kits. Keith is investigating the options we have on our site which will better calculate how shipping charges are applied. Up until recently, the bulk of our business has been PDF or paper patterns. Those of you who purchase from us realize that most of our patterns are very detailed. It isn’t out of the normal realm to provide patterns that are 15 pages or more. It isn’t that our projects are that difficult, but both Keith and I use the philosophy that we want scrollers and painters of just about any level to be able to accomplish our designs. Therefore we provide step-by-step photos and instructions and break the process down as much as we feel necessary. I know our customers appreciate this, as we hear back from them frequently that they do. And we will continue to do so.
But paper has weight, and while we have from time to time considered printing on both sides of the paper, with all the photos we have, we would probably have to buy much heavier paper anyway to make it work (we use heavier paper for our printed catalogs). We think that this makes it harder to deal with for our customers and we prefer to leave it as is – at least for now. So we will continue to try our best to keep things as fairly priced as possible. We are glad most of you understand.
I truly enjoy creating and providing the kits for my customers. It is fun for me and I love being able to get back to the saw every couple of days to cut. It also allows me to have no limits on my new projects, as I can use my imagination to create just about anything that I can dream up and that helps to make my projects really unique. The boots that I showed yesterday are a great example of that. Not only did they come out nice with my pattern on them, but they could be a springboard for just about anything my customers can think of. I can’t wait to see all the fun ideas yet to be created! I already have some thoughts on Christmas boots, but that will come in a while. For now I am still thinking “autumn” and have some new things in mind for that.
I worked on my next project yesterday, and I am almost finished with it. Again, it uses Margot Clarks’ MUD texture paste. I love this stuff so much! (You can see a video of Margot demonstrating it on the home page of her website.)
This project is a nice beginner’s project, as it is very forgiving. I drew some nice autumn leaves and cut them form 1/8” plywood. I then used the MUD paste to create ‘veins’ on the leaves. This was a very easy process and it really helped me practice using the MUD paste. Since the veins don’t have to be really fussy, it was a great way to familiarize myself with working with it. I then painted the leaves solid and did some extra shading and dry brushing and finished off with a light coat of DecoArt Metallic Lustre acrylic wax. I think they look awesome!
I love the way they look! I am going to be offering them as both a pattern as well as in kits. My own are going to be used on my “all season” tree, but they would look great as a garland, on a wreath, or even as refrigerator magnets to dress things up a bit. I think they have many, many applications.
I will spend the weekend writing the pattern for this project, as well as the boots. It is a beautiful cool and breezy morning here, with the sun peeking in and out of some soft and billowy clouds. It definitely feels like fall.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead. I plan on getting some baking done as well as the things I mentioned above. It will be wonderful to be able to turn on the oven again and fill the house up with the wonderful aromas of the season.
Happy Friday to you all!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"