Thursday, February 28, 2008

Leap-ing Away...

What better way to take advantage of an extra day in the year than to leap away with your family and friends on a 4-day weekend mini-vacation? We are leaving early tomorrow morning for the Wisconsin Dells. It's about a 4-hr. drive from here, but with 4 small children needing to go potty every hour or so, it'll probably turn into a 6 hr. drive... but, who cares! We're on vacation! (yes, only 2 of those children are ours... the other 2 belong to our friends who are coming along with us).


Jon and I need this vacation very BADLY! How badly do we need it? Well, you be the judge: this past Tuesday, February 26th, was our 8th Wedding Anniversary and... we both forgot! :( Eeeeek! Yep, I was sitting here on the computer blog surfing or something when my cell phone rings and it's my parents, so I answer and they both sing in unison "Happy Anniversary!!!" At first I was like, "What?" and within a split second I was like, "OH MY GOSH! Uhmmm.... Thanks!" So I made some small talk and got off the phone in a hurry and ran over to the family room, where Jon was playing Wii with Sophie. I sat there and just stared at him for a few seconds until he turned around and gave me one annoyed "What?!?!", so I just said in a sweet voice "Oh, nothing... just wanted to wish you a H A P P Y A N N I V E R S A R Y, honey!" He literally dropped the Wii remote and stood up with a look on his face like he had just seen a ghost. He quickly glanced at his watch and asked redundantly "What day is it?" and I quickly responded, "February 26".... then his face started to turn red, so I had to confess that I too had forgotten...

See, we have both been so busy lately... Jon working at his job and helping me re-design my website, and me doing everything under the sun which includes, but is not limited to, designing clothing, designing fabric, designing a new website, opening an etsy store and keeping it stocked, designing pages for Sophie's school yearbook, preparing & packing for this trip, etc. etc. etc. that we haven't even had time to talk, let alone remember what day it is.

But we will make up for it tomorrow night. We'll be leaving the kids with our friends while we run off and have a romantic dinner at this steakhouse in the Dells that supposedly was redesigned in the 50's by a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright. I love Prairie style architecture ... and a good steak, so this should be fun! :)

So... anyway, we're off! But when I return, I have a huge list of to-do's which includes getting my website finished so I can move my etsy inventory over there. Also, I do have a couple of launches coming up on eBay. Yes, you heard (read) right! eBay. I had a few prior commitments (prior to my departure) that I just cannot dismiss. I am doing a guest launch with the fabulous ladies of the boutique group Anthology, Inc. That will be on March 6th. Then on March 25th, I have a launch honoring Sandi's Ginger Blossom fabric. I also have a couple of LimeVine surprises, but that will be announced in due time.

Have a great Leap Year day/weekend, everyone! I will be splashing in the water for 3 whole days!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gettin' Artsy

I made this sweet little appliqued apron for Sydney's "toddler art class" yesterday and she was the center of attention, to say the least. Everyone asked me where in the world I found such an adorable "art smock" that was also personalized. Hmmmmm.... I don't quite recall... LOL!

So, I've decided to offer this personalized artsy smock, perfect for "art class", "cooking class", playdates, birthday parties, or just for everyday sprucing up of her wardrobe... in my store on ETSY. :)

apron1

Click HERE to view this listing.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Customer Cuties

I've said it many times before but I'll say it again, this is my favorite part of doing what I do. I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing pictures of my customer cuties in their MODKIDs... it just brings meaning to the long hours and sleepless nights.

Here are a few I've recently received:



If you'd like your "cutie" to be featured here on my blog and also on my website, please send pictures to info@modkidboutique.com

Thanks to all who have sent in photos... you made my day! :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Blush

It's the name of my newest design -- a 3-piece set made with my friend, Sandi's, yummy Ginger Blossom fabric :) ... check it out:



I listed this on Etsy already, but since it is hard for me to break out of the eBay mentality of taking/showing tons of pictures, I made myself a little page to show the entire shoot! LOL!
So, you can click HERE to go to the Etsy listing, or click HERE to check out the rest of the photo shoot.

Due to my busy schedule right now (and the fact that I am going on vacation next week) I can only offer this as a ready-made set in size 3T/4T, but if you are interested in a custom of this design, please check back with me on March 25th, when I will be joining 75 other children boutique designers on an eBay/Etsy launch honoring Ginger Blossom! ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ooops, she did it again!

Yep, she's done this before but not to this magnitude, and luckily this time we didn't have a photo shoot planned. PHEW! What's the allure, anyway? She seems pretty proud of herself.

Please tell me this is normal. I just hope she doesn't end up like this guy when she grows up.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Etsy ROCKS!

Have you guys been over there today and searched BLACKOUT? Oh my gosh! I had no idea the amount of listings that we would have on the first day, but at the time of this blog posting we had 633 listings... WOOOHOOO! We currently have 182 eBay boutique designers signed up to boycott eBay during this week and list over on Etsy.

I am joining in the fun and have 4 items listed in my new shop over there. I am working on some new things that will be listed later on this week, but for now I have listed some favorites using the scrumptious Oilily fabric. :)

I listed this decoupage tee in your choice of colors & sizes:


I also listed this 3-piece set ready-made in size 3T:
And if you are the DIY type, I have listed this decoupage kit, perfect for beginners-to-advanced crafters. :)


Hop on over to Etsy today and support your favorite boutique designers. And if you are a boutique designer and are unsure about how to make your move stress-free and successful, check out this awesome 5-step list by Pampering Beki... thanks for the great tips, Beki!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fashion Forward Challenge... What's in Your Bag?

First and foremost I want to wish you all a HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! And what is more girlie, in this girliest of all girlie holidays, than sharing the contents of your purse? My dear friend Daria of Boutique Cafe has dared me to dump out my bag and blog about it so here it goes...

purse1

In my red bag I have... (clockwise from top left)
• a large red wallet that contains lots and lots of credit cards, receipts, business cards, but rarely any cash
• a clear SEPHORA cosmetics bag that contains anything a girl would need to make herself purdy
• an ALTOIDS tin (because sometimes you need curiously strong help)
• my DKNY shades
• my cell phone
• my iPod
• my keys
• a CLINIQUE pink comb

purse2

Inside the clear SEPHORA cosmetics bag, I have:
• DUWOP Lip Venom (to make my lips big & luscious in a pinch!)
• FRESH Orange Chocolate Shae Butter (for soft hands)
• LORAC Lipstick
• CLINIQUE Lipstick
• Chapstick (I use this the most!)
• LAURA MERCIER Mascara
• LANCOME Liquid Eyeliner
• Pill box (since I'm old I need to carry headache, pain and allergy medications wherever I go in case of emergencies)
• Dental floss (I wouldn't want to have spinach in my teeth in case I run into Jude Law)
• CLINIQUE lip gloss
(did I ever mention I was a product junkie?!)

So, that's it. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my personal life. Let's see yours!!! :)
(sorry this was short & sweet... gotta run out to Sophie's school V-Day party! fun, fun, fun!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Took the plunge! :)

First of all I want to thank everyone out there who took the time to read my last posting and leave such insightful comments. I really had no idea about some of the things you guys pointed out and it was just so great learning about your experiences and seeing some new faces/names pop out of lurking to show their support and share their opinions. I appreciate each and every one of you.

So.... I am happy to report that after much deliberation I have decided to ... ***deep breath*** leave eBay. ***exhale*** I know this may not seem like the kind of decision that should stress one out, but you have to understand that eBay has been a HUGE part of my life for the past 6 or so years... even before I started selling custom-made boutique items. For as long as I can remember I don't recall going more than a week at a time without checking my auctions or other designer's auctions or logging into my groups to see what's up or just browsing around on eBay. I am keeping my eBay account open and hope to return as a guest a couple of times a year and make a special set to celebrate someone's anniversary or any other special event... or even for a new line of fabric coming out... hee hee ;)

I am not bitter or sour or mad about this, because eBay helped build my MODKID business from the ground up. I have built a customer-base that I hope to keep for a long time and about 95% of those customers found me through eBay. So I am actually thankful for the opportunity eBay has given me to start and grow my business.

However, eBay has made some changes to their current practices that will not allow me to continue selling there without jeopardizing my business so I have decided to pursue other selling avenues.

Jon and I are building a kick-ass (excuse my French) e-commerce website and soon you will be able to purchase ready-made AND custom-made separates and sets directly from our site. I will keep the site always stocked with a few ready-to-ship items that will be sold a-la-carte so you can mix & match collections to create the look that you want. But also, I will still offer the option to custom-make a set to the size and specifications you desire. The site will be easy to navigate and visually appealing because I know how important those things are in today's e-commerce society. So stay tuned for that!

But since greatness doesn't happen overnight, in the meantime while our site is being re-built, I will be selling a few items on Etsy. Oh, and of course I will be participating in the EBAY BLACKOUT WEEK Feb 18 - 25th.

My friend Kristen and I have started a Yahoo Group promoting the blackout week for the custom-boutique community and to help those who are new to Etsy (present company included) find their way around. If you are an eBay designer and would like to join, just click on the logo below to be taken to our group home page:


OK... again, thank you all so much for your support and encouragement! I hope to see a lot of familiar faces on Etsy next week and I hope to keep in touch with all of you via the blog, my new website or email. :)

UPDATE! I just opened my Etsy store and got my first listing up on there. Please check it out! :) More to come next week...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Taking the plunge?

This is not the usual light fare you are accustomed to here on my blog, so brace yourselves. In light of recent events, including the changes that eBay is making to their fee structure and feedback system and a recent video on youtube promoting an eBay boycott during the week of Feb. 18-25, I have forced myself to sit back and reevaluate my business goals.

I have been selling on eBay for over 7 years, but only in the past 2 years have I solely concentrated on selling my children's boutique clothing there. I have had the best, absolute best time doing so and have forged friendships that I intend to keep for a long, long time... not to mention the most wonderful customers anyone could ever ask for.

However, in light of the above-mentioned events, I have been wondering if there is a better way to achieve my goals. If I left eBay and decided to sell my MODKID brand items elsewhere (on my website, on etsy, on another auction site), would my customers follow me or would I be making a huge mistake? I know some of you out there have done it already and I would love to hear your success stories or even of any challenges you have encountered along the way.

Also, I know I briefly mentioned this before, but I will be attending Quilt Market in Portland on May 15th to present a line of fabric designs I have been working on tirelessly for the past few months. At this time last week I was feeling an immense amount of trepidation, but right now I am feeling the opposite... I am filled with excitement and anticipation because I know this is the direction I want to take my business. And I feel extremely lucky to have the support of old and new friends I've met along the way. Some of you may be wondering what's going to become of MODKID if I get a fabric contract at Market. Well, I am hoping to be able to grow my business and offer MODKID designs made exclusively with my own fabrics. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but I know that I want nothing more than to make a living out of creating beautiful clothes for little girls and 'fabric design' was just a natural progression for me... something I feel I can be really great at because of my graphics background.

So, I end this post now with a little "call-to-action" (hee hee... using my old marketing terminology here). I would love to hear honest opinions from buyers and sellers alike regarding the eBay issue and the points I have made above.

Buyers: If your favorite boutique designer(s) left eBay and went to sell their designs elsewhere, would you stay loyal to the designer or would you stay on eBay and find new favorites?

And, sellers: Do you plan on selling on eBay for as long as possible or do you have plans to move your business elsewhere? What are your thoughts regarding the recent changes to fee structure & feedback? Will you be participating in the eBay boycott to take place on Feb. 18 - 25th?

Just because I know these are sensitive issues, I will allow anonymous comments, but please let's keep this discussion civil and friendly. I would love to hear what all you readers out there have to say about this... please help me make a decision regarding the future landing place of MODKID. :)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Of course you can bring a bunny to the party!

Today, my dear friends at Ivylane (eBay boutique group) are celebrating their 2nd Anniversary in grand style! Each member was asked to invite two friends to help celebrate this joyous occasion, and the lovely Susan, of little*moonkey chose me (WOOHOO!) and Wendy of *bella*marie*boutique. I am just so thrilled to be able to work with Susan again and so honored to have been chosen to participate in this awesome launch! Thanks, Susan!

We were also asked to "bring something to the party" and we chose to bring... bunny rabbits! Of course, Sydney was thrilled! Anytime she gets to model with her favorite stuffed animal and a bunch of Easter eggs, she's game. And you can tell by the silly poses in this listing just how excited she was...

Anyway, in honor of this joyous event, I have created this fun, funky and versatile 3-piece semi-custom set, perfect for Easter and beyond (sorry, bunny rabbit not included, but I will include a little surprise)!

Click HERE to see this auction.

And the other sweet and talented Ivylane girls (and friends) have created some amazing designs... check them out!

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Cool Finds #2
Storage Solutions in the Studio

For this installment of "Cool Finds," I will focus on cool & affordable storage solutions for the creative types. I have been working on adding functionality, organization and visual appeal to my studio for several weeks, on an indie designer's budget. I still have a long way to go, but I wanted to share some great deals I have found locally that have made my life as a designer soooo much easier.

First off, take a peek at one corner of my studio where I store my fabric, trims and books. That tall modern looking bookcase was purchased at IKEA for just around $80 and it is the perfect size for my smaller cuts of fabric... anything from 1yd. - 3yds. Any cut smaller than 1 yd. goes into a Rubbermaid container (or two or three) inside the closet. Anything larger than 3 yards goes on a bolt and stacks horizontally on the shorter shelving unit on the right. I have no idea where I purchased this second shelving unit, but I have had it since I was in college (so, a looong time!) and I'm pretty sure I bought it at some discount store and paid nearly nothing for it... after all, I was a starving art student. ;)

fabric

Oh, and I still have to spend some time re-folding and re-stacking my fabrics. If the fabulous Monica stumbles upon this posting she will be horrified. Don't look, Monica! I was so thrilled to have found her fabric folding tutorial and it is on my to-do list. You guys have to check it out... it is fantastic!

Anyway, let's take a closer look, shall we? I found these cool red boxes at Joann Fabrics and thought they would be perfect to store my patterns and trims. I normally don't use a lot of sewing patterns, but the few I do have are stored in the bottom, larger of the two boxes. Some lace trims and ric-rac and such is tucked away neatly in the smaller box. The cool thing is that these boxes are collapsible and they stack inside each other perfectly... these were originally a set of 3 boxes but I gave the smaller one away, and they cost around $14.95 for all 3 of them.

red-boxes

On the other side of that shelf I just have some visual candy to help me get through the day. :) My Pullip dolls, some Amy Butler books and my collection of Nightmare Before Christmas stuffies. YUM!

dollsandbooks

On the other side of the room, and at arm's reach from my sewing table, I have the more utilitarian items... woven tags, size tags, care labels, buttons, ribbons, etc. The buttons are in those little clear jars from IKEA up on the top of the shelf...

ribbonandmagnets

I found these awesome magnetized jars at World Market (I just adore that store!). They were $1.99 each and have a round magnet on the back of them and a clear lid so you can easily see the contents. I think they are meant to be spice jars, but they are perfect to hold my MODKID woven tags, seam inserts, size tags and care labels. These come in plain stainless steel and red... of course I had to have the red! ;) Oh, and the magnetic board was purchased at IKEA for around $15.00

magnets

My most frequently used ribbons, including the one printed with MODKID that I use to wrap my packages with, are neatly displayed on this shelf that my father-in-law helped me build last year. Want to learn how you can make one yourself? Check out my tutorial here. All materials were purchased at a local hardware store and were very affordable. :)

ribbon

And last, but certainly not least, my latest purchase. I bought this Gütermann thread cabinet at Joann Fabrics a couple of weeks ago during one of their 50% off sales. It came out to be exactly $75. What an amazing deal! It comes with 100 different thread colors... and when you think about it, if you were to buy each one separately, you would be spending around $170, plus add to that the cost of this nifty storage cabinet, and I think I got a steal.

thread1

The best part... no more frantic runs to the fabric store 5 minutes before they close clutching a piece of fabric in one hand and my debit card in the other. Come on, I'm sure I'm not the only one! ;)

thread2

Don't they look like candy? Almost too pretty to use...