Saturday, October 8, 2011

Studio Saturday with Erin Prais-Hintz

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

This week's winner is Kell, who likes to make pretty things in between teaching classes, grading papers and conducting research for her PhD in Chemistry. Wow! You won a lampwork focal from Lori Anderson!  Just email Miss Lori by clicking here and she'll get that right out to you!  

**********************************
 "It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark." ~ Howard Ruff

Being prepared is a great thing to be. Being a procrastinator rather than a planner, I am sometimes caught unawares when opportunities come flooding my way.

And I can tell you that it is raining chances right about now.

One of my opportunities is an art show. I only do one show a year, small potatoes to what some of my colleagues do, but it is enough to drive me to drinking. Orange juice with some vitamin C is in order to get me through the next week and a half with my sanity intact (*splash of vodka optional, who's with me? ;-).

I am always thinking of this one show throughout the entire year... updating my booth configuration (L shaped or U?)... buying banners in January that I have yet to use (and then buying yet another one just a month ago)... seeing potential display items all around (like the paper towel holder that I picked up at Hobby Lobby and my vintage dress form named Pearl)... considering what I should bring to sell (more earrings this year? bracelets? custom order forms? and at what price point?). The only thing that I don't have to worry about is money. This show is a fundraiser for the Women's Fund of Portage County called A.R.T.S. Night (A Reason To Shop) and they tally all the orders and take all the payments which means that all I need to do is kick back with a glass of wine and chat up the customers. (My kind of show when you get to drink wine ;-)

{A shot of my booth BEFORE I put any jewelry on the displays. And then I never got around to taking a picture WITH the jewelry on the displays. Sheesh! Notice that my neighbor had rather large and slightly garish paintings. Which is what prompted me to buy the banners to put some space between us!}

I like this show because it is small (only about 50 vendors, all art), short (only about 4 hours) and has the clientele in my hometown that I know should be buying my things (and it isn't every woman, just women with discretionary income who appreciate fine handcrafted things! ;-). The ticket price is high at $25 which means that people have told me they are less likely to buy because they already made their 'donation' at the door. That has always bothered me. But this year I have a glimmer of a plan.

{Practice booth set up in my dining room back in January to see how the banners will work. Splendid! They show some of my best work, and hide the garish paintings in the booth next door. I didn't have all my displays, hence the flea market look on the tables, I am hoping all my newish displays will look better than this.}

Last year I was using this show as my market research for what has evolved into the 'simple truths' line of pendants and components. At that time I only had a spark of an idea and decided that I needed to experiment with different materials for the message. I tried bezels with resin with beautiful Japanese chiyogami papers. Then there were the stamped dog tag style in copper. And finally etched metal. All of them were great, but the stamped dog tags won out from this 'research.' I am not the best at the whole pounding on metal thing, probably since I have so many other fun tools and beads to play with that I haven't experimented enough. Around here they were seen as edgy and cool and everyone snapped them up. But I knew that to succeed I needed a much larger audience, like Etsy, and in the whole wide world I am not nearly the best with metal.

As luck would have it I got detoured in my plan and wound up with a block of polymer clay in my hand. I haven't looked back since and I think that was the right decision.

{My newest banner from VistaPrint for my 'simple truths' (great quality banners, excellent price, but be sure to spring the extra money for the aluminum display - very sharp!)}
This year my focus will be on bringing to this show what I know will be affordable, stylish, unique and charming. My 'simple truths' will be the main displays, in necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings (of course, I have yet to make one piece of jewelry with them, I am just focused on making more charms and keeping up with order!). I will also have other more substantial jewelry options for sale, but I have a feeling that what will go over best are these simpler pieces, perfect for everyday or gifting.

So since this is what I am thinking about while drinking my orange juice*, I thought I would share one new thing with you one I am working on: packaging.


I usually have my copper boxes and ribbons and will likely bring some of those for gift wrapping (for a small fee), or copper organza bags, but I wanted something that announced to the world that this was handmade with love and who doesn't like tiny little packages tied up with string?

I found this great stamp that has the definition of 'handmade' on it and I had the 'discover' skeleton key from a friend (thanks Heather!) so I have been stamping this on all the paper packages that go out in the mail. I had been researching packaging lately and paying attention to things that I ordered and received in the mail. I appreciate recycling materials and using what you have, and those little touches mean a lot to me. For instance, you can't see it on this box above, but I now use a little copper key tag attached to the ribbon. Just one more little touch to say that my client is extra special to me.

While researching, I saw a lot of cleverly wrapped packages, and it makes me wish think that I should put together all the scrapbook supplies I have amassed. I really wanted to buy the Tim Holtz kraft glassine envelopes, but I didn't want to spend a fortune just because I wanted it to have a handmade touch. I realized that I had paper envelopes for party favors left over that would be the perfect size to hold a pair of earrings or a small charm necklace. So I have pre-stamped the envelopes with the message and key and when sold I will fold them over, seal with a piece of skeleton key washi tape (I know! Are you squeeing along with me? This one is a limited edition MT tape that is from Japan and I have likely the last two rolls in existence! Or so they tell me ;-). There are tons of cute washi tapes out there, if you just search for them. They add a bit of charm to whatever they touch.

{New packaging for the show. Simple, but very me.}
I have a bundle of assorted colors of baker's twine coming that I will use to tie the packages up after I slip in a business card and a thank you. I got the assortment because I couldn't decide on one color, although I am trending toward orange and white, as I think that might work well with my copper and craft paper packaging. I don't have it yet, so this is a mock up with simple natural jute twine (also cute!).

So. There you have it. Those are some of the things that keep me up late at night planning for this one dinky little show (and keeping me from completing the jewelry to sell at said show!). The theory is that if I can get this all down I might be able to tackle a bigger show and that was really a goal this year that never materialized. But just doing this one show is killing me (how do you people do this all the time? and even bigger than this?) and I think I might be running out of special orange juice*. Now it is back to work on getting ready because as of this post I will only have 9 days left!

My giveaway this week is one of my 'simple truths' (that little tan-ish, yellow-ish one in the corner - truly more tan-ish than yellow-ish).



This is the October 2011 'simple truths sampler' charm. My sampler club is a small but mighty group of designers who signed up to get a limited edition charm or pendant each month. (Limited edition meaning that I won't sell this exact same design and will only make as many as there are in the club.And there are still some spaces available!) But this month, I accidentally made one extra, so if you would like a random little sleepy owlet for your very own, please answer the following question (winner will be announced on October 15th):
 What is the best jewelry packaging idea that you have done, seen or imagined?

56 comments:

Cindi said...

My fav is your copper box and ribbon. Very classy!

KJ said...

Great post with wonderful tips. I have admired your stamped ribbons since I first eyed them last year and they are the perfect finishing touch for your boxes.

stacilouise said...

I will drink organge juice (;-) with you!!! I have a small show coming up (I usually do bigger ones) that is more church sale. So I too and trying to think of "smaller" more affordable things to sell. I htink I am going to do a "make your own earring station". Destash some beads in packets for sale, and sell some components. I also plan to take my ever growning marked down "bargain bin" items I've had for too long. Good luck at the show. I adore your packaging and it is SOOO you! (and I soooo love the monthly pendants you have been making, very nice!!!!!!)

missficklemedia.com said...

I know I am not eligible for the give-away (drats!) but I just had to say, Erin, you are one classy dame.


As you know, I too, use the bakers twine and it has been a faithful supply for years, but the sophistication you bring to your packaging and presentation is beautiful.
Shan

kiwiken said...

Oh, that ribbon really look classy! And I love the tape with the skeleton key on it!
I wish you all the best for the show, I'm sure it will be a success - your simple truths line is adorable!

I don't do shows myself and rarely sell anything, so I don't have a recognizable "brand" when packaging and I can't afford to buy supplies just for the packages. But I prefer recycling anyway, so that's fine with me. My favourite to use are handmade boxes, just like the ones Lorelei uses (she posted them on her blog a while back): http://lorelei1141.blogspot.com/2008/04/its-all-about-packaging.html

I learned to make these as a child, and back then we used wallpaper samples, which I still do - they are available in all styles from elegant and classical to modern and playful, and they don't look like wallpaper at all once you've turned them into cute little boxes. They are completely free, and available everywhere - just ask for last season's collection, stores are usually glad to be rid of them.

I've had very positive feedback from customers as well :)

Cece said...

Great post. Everything looks really good. Especially the banners. My best packaging display find was using pages from old books to make earring display cards. It has served me well the past few years and recycles. I'd rather do a little cutting than using up more resources. Good luck with the show.

Starry Road Studio said...

I love your packaging ideas - this is so important - I would even go so far as to say it is just as important as what's inside - its all part of the art experience. I like to think of it as the doorway to your gallery or shop. It starts right there.

Alice said...

I've always loved your stamped box with the chocolate ribbon, and the sweet little pouches your Simple Truths arrive in are just darling.

I've seen some of those handmade fabric jewelry pouches that are just lovely, but, alas, I can't sew a stitch. I have yet to figure out packaging, mostly because I have only done shows, so it seems like a big expense to wrap up a pretty box with a ribbon and hand it across the table.

I struggle with pricing already and hesitate to add more cost to my pieces in the way of packaging (yes, I know that's the wrong way to look at it).

I love your display...something I struggle with every month when I set up at the gallery. It never sets up the same, the lighting is poor, and my area is small. What are you hanging your banners on? I love the banners and will have to check that out at Vista. I definately need something tall and eye-catching.

Thanks for all the tips!

gailwhitehead55 said...

I think you should leave perfect as it is.Mess around and you will possibly ruin the wonderful design that you have perfected.

Erin S said...

LOVE your packaging! Mine is terrible. and completely random. sort of whatever I have lying around. I got a really fun package not too long ago --earrings wrapped in a small square scrap of recycled denim, tied with a piece of sari silk yarn. I loved it!

Judy said...

I'll have what you're drinking! Wow, I love the banners and your packaging is just perfect! You are so detail oriented and that is what makes everything you do so very special!

Cillaw said...

I love your packaging.
I love the ink and stamp look with nice ribbon, You bagged it!
For a quick bit of wow..I add left over beads to the ends of the jute twine.
Cilla
www.tellyourgirlfriends.com

Malin de Koning said...

Erin, great post! About your question ... I'd love to win a cute owl ... but ... hm, I am maybe not the best one to answer this question. It is a problem for me to find a good way to package my own pieces. I have started making my own boxes in nicely patterned paper. They go rather quick to make and I can make them in any size, which is good.

(Check the tutorial on my blog on how to make them http://beadingbymalindekoning.blogspot.com/2011/05/box-tutorial.html)

I have thought about custom designing the paper and have it printed to be more special and express my profile sort of. With a good color printer that can print A3 size paper that isn't a problem

I am always torn between two ideals of packaging. One is to make it look and feel special, classy and exclusive, the other is that it sort of upsets me to put money, efforts and material on packaging. I'd like to use eco-friendly and resource-saving ways of packaging. I haven't put too much thought into what that would be, but now perhaps your post gave me a necessary little kick in the butt to go ahead with developing my own good resource-saving packaging that would still express my profile.

Thanks Erin!

Otherwise I really like HumbleBeads folded paper-packages that she sends her beads in. And I remember Tari Sasser wrote here before the Bead Cruise and showed some nice packaging for pendants she'd made. And I like your envelope and baker's twine concept.

Rebecca said...

Oh! These are so pretty! Excited.....I must say, much as I like your copper boxes and ribbon, I *love* the new style even more. Loads of people have very pretty packaging. I like Kylie parry's slips of paper folded over the lid of a brown paper box. Thrifty and recycling. I approve :-)

lisajackie said...

I like to go to my Local bead store & look at their wedding favors tiny gift boxes. I liked the one with a round metal tin & clear cover. A lavendar organza ribbon was wrapped around the box tied with a beaded flower.

moonlitfantaseas said...

I hav always loved the way you package your beautiful creations! And I remember getting a package from you in the elegantly beautiful box and ribbon ! It made me feel special just opening it up!
I recieved my sleepy little owl a couple of days ago, and he is adorable! unfortunately I can't keep im, because any time I get an owl themed jewelery component, it automatically goes into my "some thing for my sweet moom inlaw" stash.......she has a great love of owls I just wanted to say I love the way you always kind of personalize the simple truths monthly package with a note ...it feels like a package from a dear friend!

Brandi said...

I'm obsessed with packaging! Thanks for the insights into yours, Miss Erin!

My own jewelry has gone through a few packaging changes over the years, starting with pretty ribbons tied around boxes (simple and plain). Then I started using scrapbook paper I had lying around to create a "paper wrap" or a band around the box in lieu of a ribbon. I got all fancy and punched eyelets into them, and slipped a printed tag with my business name on top. That got a lot of really positive responses, and they were fun to do, but then the eyelet makers stopped making the eyelets (for what reason, I don't know - they were the perfect size).

I still use that same technique, only now the paper band is paper I had printed up to match my overall branding. I feel like a little of the charm has been lost, but I'm happier now that everything matches!

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

Adorable owls, Erin.

I once purchased some cute, whimsical lampworked beads (I can't for the life of me remember her name, I've kept the packaging somewhere but I can't put my fingers right on it.). When the package arrived, it was delightful and perfectly matched her aesthetic - bright colors throughout. Cute pillow box filled with colorful shred, beads wrapped in colored tissue paper within that & all tied with colored ribbon with her (you got it, colorful) business card attached.

It was cute, cute, cute and very much like opening a present. I think creative packaging makes the purchase special!

Kristen said...

I have received simple brown boxes with ribbon, hand painted boxes with intricate designs and bubble wrapped ones but the best for me is opening the mailbox and knowing there is a treasure within. I am such a sap! LOL

Pearl and Pebble said...

Well first of all I love how your mind works in the beverage department. I love love love the tape and the twine. I think your packaging is quite wonderful. I have received some really clever packaging, the one that comes to mind is of a rectangle of upholstery fabric that she sewed halfway up the sides, folded the flap over and wrapped a little twine around the whole thing. I also like the the little pillow box envelopes-do you know what I'm talking about? And I've always thought that Maire Dodd's way of wrapping with denim and shredded paper is cool. Sorry, I just babbled here....... Your packaging is fabulous-don't change it!

Nancy Markosky said...

Great post today- loaded with information and I like following your thought process. I like receiving packages that have that special little detail but its hard when you are at a show- usually quick is better. I have been using organza bags but they aren't very special.

CraftCrave said...

Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [08 Oct 09:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

rockcreekcreations said...

I love your packaging. That is something that I've been lacking at my shows. Just brown paper lunch bags. Not very classy.

Shirley said...

Well, I have to say, I really love the box with the chocolate ribbon. Maybe it's just cause its chocolate colored, but that evokes a very happy feeling in me, like opening a Christmas present. Best of luck at the show!

Pearl and Pebble said...

I just left a long rambling response here and for some reason it did not take:) Shorter version Erin-you have the BEST drink recipes, and your packaging is fabulous! Love the tape!!

Michelle Mach said...

I love packaging! Sometimes I think that's the only reason I like to sell my work--I so enjoy wrapping it up! I haven't yet created a "look" for mine. Instead, I'm using ribbons (and sometimes other adornments) that match the purchase. I have some totally cute black spiderweb satin ribbon that I'm using for Halloween jewelry purchases.

Best of luck at your show! I don't know how people do shows every weekend.

Skye said...

Well, now that I've seen your little envelopes tied with twine... I rather love that idea! lol None of the jewelry I've bought from crafters have ever been so thoughtfully packaged! The most they did was slip the jewelry into a little organza bag with a business card.

Bead Lola Bead said...

I have some friends who live in Japan who often bring gifts when they visit and I am ALWAYS in awe of how the items are packaged by the stores there. Whether it’s for you or for someone else, it’s always a gift, and it’s always wrapped. I really like that concept and am currently using some light animal print bags that I fold into a package and seal with clear, printed logo stickers. After seeing your packaging, though, I do believe I see some ribbon in my future . . . =D Thank you for sharing with us!

Karen Williams said...

Erin, I love your booth banners - they are so classy! And I had no idea Vistaprint sold display frames for them. Great to know.

As far as packaging goes, I'm still figuring that out myself. Did my first show in August and I carved a stamp with my chop logo to stamp my bags. I used dyed paper to wrap purchases in before putting them in the bags, but I'm still trying to figure out my 'look'.

The neatest packaging I ever received was this cool octagonal origami box. But both your 'standard' box and ribbon and your new envelope packaging are more than lovely!

Kristi said...

I would love to win an owl!

I am still researching packaging, but I like your style a lot!

maryharding said...

Wonderful post Erin. Great info. I like both of your packages. At a show it is nice to be able to do a package quickly and I think your recent design will work well. Also it is very charming. Love the idea of using Vista Print banners with collage type pics of your work.
My favorite packaging idea is using kraft colored boxes with ribbon.
I wanted to add apropos owls--that I love your simple truth of To be Awake is to be Alive. Suits my life style!!

Barbara Lewis said...

You are definitely the "Queen of the Package!" I always love your ideas on this subject. I'm still trying to come up with a solution, but one that I use is a pillow box in recycled kraft cardboard. I have a large (4"x5") rubber stamp with my logo that I use to stamp the front. It fits perfectly on the front. I bought the stamp for handled kraft bags that I use at shows. But like most things in my life, combining the stamp with the pillow box was accidental ... it was an "aha" moment and not planned! Some things accidentally work in your favor! Before I go, I want to say how much I love your "Simpler Truths!" and congratulations on making it to the craft show circuit. People love your work!

Starstruckbooks said...

It looks like you are having loads of fun with your packaging and it shows! That's the kind of packaging that sits out on a shelf in my studio so that I can glance at it and get inspired all over again. Love it :)

I have seen some really cool packaging for jewellery where you open the hinged box and there is a funky portrait picture lining the lid and base (these were prints, sketches or magazine cut-outs). The pieces were displayed as if they were being 'worn' by the paper person, ie. necklace around the neck. Very cool and I loved all the different styles of portrait they used.

I'm working on my packaging for my books, your thoughts have sparked off lots of great ideas. Thank you!
(Wee awake owl is super cute btw, I would give him a great home :)

Steph L. said...

Those banners are awesome. I don't have a packaging style and it is definitely something I want to work on. I do usually hang all my earrings on scrapbooking tags. They come in so many different styles and aren't that expensive.

Linda Landig said...

I love your packaging. I love receiving beads or pendants in handmade boxes!

Betty S. said...

I don't think anyone's packaging I've seen tops yours! Such cute ideas and very clever! Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Elizabeth said...

The best packaging I ever received wrapped a give a way I had won from Cindy Gimbrone. The packaging was gorgeous. Everything was also wrapped within the wrapper/mailer which was elegantly black. It left with the impression that she was as happy to give as to receive. That lingers with me.

Elaine said...

You have impressive looking packaging!

I don't mail out much in the way of jewellery - supplies almost exclusively - so my beads go mailed in several layers of aqua tissue. Lately I've begun adding a little twine to this but am avoiding tons of extra packaging.

At shows, I am just getting my act together - two sizes of paper bags with my company stamp... stuff with aqua tissue paper of course!

Melissa said...

I have to say I love both your packaging styles. I think the bag works great for a show, when you don't necessarily want to take a lot of time when you're busy. I'm not yet at the point of selling my creations (still honing my skills ;) ) but I love it when I receive little boxes wrapped with twine or ribbon, makes me feel like the artist is making an effort to extend the experience to the packaging. I've also received pendants in little "envelopes" made from recycled sweaters which I thought was a nice touch.

Line Labrecque said...

To anwswer your question, I have imagined having a square box that is adorned with my logo and the box is in a velvet black bag with a tag with my logo on it for a closure. I love your ideas as well especially the vintage style definitions.

KayzKreationz said...

My fav so far is probably your little copper box and ribbon. Although I got a cute little box with some white ribbon with the seller's name on it, but I like your 'handmade' look a little better I think. And I love that little owl pendant. Would love to win him.

Riki Schumacher said...

Erin, great job. Any customer would be thrilled to receive such beautiful packaging! How sweet, love it all. Never heard of that tape, its great! Love the clear labels, string/cord, continuity, all of it. Riki xox

The Bead Stylist said...

You have some amazing tips and resources so glad to find your blog this morning...I don't do shows, yet, but I love that you shared to set up a practice booth/table at home and your images, well, they really would set your table apart...looking forward to reading more of your blog posts and updates.

Cynthia said...

Great post Erin. Your packaging is beautiful. I think your packaging perfectly reflects your style.
I always appreciate a hand written thank you. It makes me feel personally connected to the artist. Your notes are always beautiful, but I have received notes on scraps of kraft paper from other artists, and I get the same connection. I don't think it should cost a lot of money, just a simple hand written "Thank You!" will do.

Kelly J. R. said...

A favorite package that comes to mind is one from Kylie Parry. It's a square kraft box and the stuffing inside is made from shredded maps. She tied the box with twine and had a circle logo tag in the middle. The package was simple, eco friendly and cute.

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Thank you for the great post Erin! The banners look fantastic! I also like to add special touches to my packaging. It is worth it because my customers love it! My packaging is made from recycled materials, which is very important to me. It costs a bit more but every little bit helps our planet! I order from Nashville Wraps in Tennessee. They have a lot of products that are made from recycled materials and 75% of their products are made in the USA. My favorite packaging style is anything that is re-usable or recyclable!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

p.s. I LOVE the "simple truths" owl!

For My Sweet Daughter said...

Thanks for this post as I am working on branding right now and packaging is all part of it.
My favorite packaging is from Kylie Parry her things are so well done from the grass, to the twine to the hand stamped tags I just love her boxes. I am working on something similar but with my own twist I hope to have my supplies here in time for the holidays.
I love the owl, I hope I win because I want one of your pieces but am on a hubby imposed bead diet.
Shannon C

quiltingjewel39 said...

Your blog was so timely for me. I am getting ready for my first show in Nov.and have been thinking & thinking about packaging. Not sure what I will decide on yet. Yours is beautiful - I just love the chocolate ribbon with the box with the key - very classy. Thank you for the post - it has been a huge help. Good luck at your show.

swopemelmel said...

Make mine a double Erin !!! I recently ordered some Humblebeads and they were folded in to an Origami envelope made from a sheet of scrapebook paper. Very clever.
swopemelmel@aol.com

P.s. I love that missficklemedia called you a "Classy Dame", I do find you to be quite GRAND !!!!!

Kylie Parry Studios said...

Love your packaging- that handmade stamp is great!

The Crazier Sister said...

I don't sell, yet, so my packaging has been to give gifts to family and friends (working on the selling part... thanks for the tips on packaging!) In the past, I found some great, narrow little boxes at Michael's that enveloped closed on each end. The worked perfectly for my necklaces. They also had some "squattier" ones that held earrings just great. (now, I have to actually disengage my "work" brain so the "creative" brain can kick in and start imagining all the packaging potential out there!)

Marie Cramp said...

You have given me so many wonderful ideas! I can't say I have seen too many crazy, wild, "OMGosh I'm totally in love with that" ideas for packaging. Honestly though, yours has always been my fave so far! I am trying out new ideas, but now that my branding is getting close to being ready, who knows what ideas may spark!

Nicole Valentine-Rimmer said...

First off I love your banner idea, I'd have never thought to hang them that way. I'm going to try it!

I used to package my finished jewelry pieces in canning jars, with a little raffia and a cool ribbon. But it just took up too much space to pack them all to shows so now I use pillow boxes and pretty ribbon.

Silver Jewelry Jaipur said...

really nice these things are just awesome really nice

gailwhitehead55 said...

I bought something from you,great,tan box w/brown ribbons.I still hasve the box.Just had surcery-undowwwfunmust go.