(Giveaway) at A Few of My Favorite Things

Eek! I've been so busy this week with the new site design and the storque article buzz that I forgot to mention something well worth mentioning! A giveaway!

The lovely Molly asked me if I might participate in a giveaway through her blog A Few of My Favorite Things. And so...being that I'd never tried a giveaway before, and it's a time of year where I have a little extra time, I thought I'd give it a whirl.

So...if you are interested in adding your name to a virtual raffle for a purple weave notebook and a set of studio clips (you pick the patterns)...head on over to the post and leave a comment. She will be picking winners tomorrow so get there quick! Late notice...I know...but well worth it :)

Also, while you're there, make sure and sk*rt her blog...this is a new social bookmarking site I found through A Few of My Favorite Things that is pretty cool and helps women generate buzz for websites they enjoy...I tried it, and actually have had a little communication with the folks at sk*rt who are very nice, indeed.


{Article} How to Style Your Photos.

Good morning everyone!
Well, after a very long and challenging weekend spent updating and changing over my website to feature the new design and format, things are starting to pick up again.

Also, I'm really happy to mention that my first self-authored article has been uploaded to the Etsy Storque today.

So...if you have ever wanted to soup up your imagery (or, wonder how some sellers and designers style their photos) take a look! There are helpful tips on how to brainstorm your shot, how to set it up, and how to take it forward, and work further with your ideas. Enjoy! xx Susy

***See The Outcome*** Etsy seller Caroline Grace just posted a link to the photos where she uses tips from the article to style shots for her Falling Snowflake Earrings. So, take a peek! Simply lovely. Thanks for sharing, Caroline!


Discount Codes, Sample Sales, and the Future.

*ok, here's an update...I messed up the new site this morning, but It's back up, now. oops!*

Hello all...

Well, as you can probably see (at least, I hope you can see)...things have been in upheaval here in SusyJack* webland. Anyway, the blog header is the *least* of the changes...there are others, as well...Good ones! Promise!

Anyway, here's the background...as some of you might know, I had designed, coded and updated the SJ* website all on my own and it was quite a task...taking me away from designing, promoting, and otherwise nurturing the growth of my company...primarily, it was really hard to add new items to my own site.

What ended up happening was that I would add new items to my Etsy store, but my own web presence (independent of Etsy) was languishing...and it was becoming *really* hard to keep up with updating.

I love Etsy...and Etsy is the place where I have met so many friends and contacts, and I so value it for the community aspect. However, as a growing business, it just wasn't meeting certain needs. For example, the ability to arrange my items, the ability to offer discount codes, or the ability to customize the page.

Enter BigCartel. I was on trunkt and complaining in the forums about the fact that I couldn't order my Etsy store, and therefore, people arriving from trunkt were having a heck of a time actually *finding* the items they were looking for among my products. Trunkt recommended I try Supermarket(an awesome curated site where I'm already selling)..or BigCartel (which I'd never heard of). Well, thankfully, I'm a curious sort, so I went to BigCartel. I'm so glad I did.

This is the bridge I've been looking for...an easy format that I can link to my own site, and easily update with product, saving me time that would have been spent coding all the item detail pages and pricing info on the previous version of the SusyJack* site.

So...onward and upwards. It's a little bit of a different experience to enter the shopping area of my site, now...but it is BETTER. Soon, I will fully integrate my new boutique with my site...so, you won't see the /bigcartel.com in the address.

Now, I can offer discount codes, have categories, product search, sizing or color options, organize my products, track sales, and get stats for page views and referrers...not to mention have a groovy sample sale! And, the price is more than manageable.

Ok, that's it, my buttercups. As you can tell, I am really excited and happy, and although I am still adding product so there are not many in there at the moment, but, I hope you will all stop in and take a peek, and let me know what you think. xx Susy


In Bloom

As I begin the great schlep forward into designing the new collection, I am also making sure to add a few new products into the line that can be updated with new patterns as they emerge. Here is one of them, just added on Etsy...and there will be more to come, because the idea is to mix and match!

The deluxe calendar and the mini-calendar were really successful for me (which I am glad of, because they were pretty demanding to make...as some of you readers may remember!) And one of the things I found about the calendar was that customers were really enthusiastic about being able to hang up the pieces. I had many questions from various customers about prints, and their availablity, so I decided to move forward with the wall panels I'd been exploring.

These wall panels are really fun to make, and I love their simplicity. Personally, I think they are a great way to introduce art into a space without making an intense declaration...for me, these walk the line between decoration and art in a really nice way. I wanted them to be something one could buy for themselves, or give as a gift, and I think that's been achieved.

As a longtime abstract artist, one of the things I try to do with my designs is make the shapes I make really accessible...so that each viewer can find their own meaning within them. The goal for me is to introduce a feeling...hopefully a positive one...in the most simple, uncomplicated way that I can. I sort of think of the designs I create as meditations. I think that really shows through, and I'm pretty proud of that!

Anyway, I'm sorry to make this post a shameless self-critique, but I guess I'm feeling introspective today!


Circa Earrings

circa earrings, originally uploaded by susyjack.

More soon on this...but, thought I would share.
Inspired by the city. Spent the day in the West Village on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed myself...went on a tour of Murray's Cheese Shop caves...incredible. We bought a blue and a bottle of Spanish Rioja and had homemade Moroccan food for dinner...all in all, an inspiring day.


Make it Bigger.

big clip in grain, originally uploaded by susyjack.

New clips will be added to the store today. There are also some other new, upcoming products, and updates to current product designs, that are viewable on my flickr page.

Anyhow...I'm loving these, they are really fun to make, and great to use, too. These jumbo clips not only satisfy my love of pattern, but they also feed my unstoppable lust for office supplies. Yes, that's what I said. Unstoppable Lust.

Anyone who knows me knows that I will walk into Staples or similar stores and spend at least an hour wandering the aisles like a crazycake. Slowly, slowly...mentally cataloging the entire inventory. Classic, functional items like these always pop out...in a few weeks, I wake up at 3 AM knowing what I want to use them for.

Sometimes, I trace my love of office supplies back to my childhood...my dad was an engineer, and you should have seen some of the incredible office thingys he would bring home...I could not believe that such cool items were so readily available.

Lucky for me, they still are.


Workin' Hard

...in the works, originally uploaded by susyjack.

Or hardly workin?

Today, I sat down to work on some new ideas...it was a very welcome rest...I have been doing production for almost 6 weeks solid...and, although it takes a while to re-acclimate to the artistic side of things, I feel like I at least hit upon a couple of designs that interest me further.

Tonight we go out for German Food. I have no idea what's involved in this...but I *hope* it's beer and some sort of sausage covered in pastry or dough. Seems likely. Yum! Tomorrow, I will probably have trouble reaching my toes.

And this weekend, we're going on a tour of Murray's Cheese Shop in the West Village, and I can't wait! I don't know if there will be much inspiration for patterns there...but perhaps...


Almost...But Not Quite...

notebook, originally uploaded by susyjack.

I'm not a perfectionist...really far from it.

One day, when I was freelancing, I inteviewed at the Blue Q...I didn't get work from them...but, anyway...I noticed they had something really interesting on their business cards: "A good idea today is better than a perfect idea tomorrow."

And I thought to myself...if these people-- who are responsible for so many fun ideas-- think this, then I'm going to try thinking it too. And to this day, it's been helpful.

Anyway, it doesn't mean that I'm going to be listing *this* notebook up here anytime soon. It's just not there. I could do better. But, it does show a new binding that I'm working with...I want to keep the notebooks really flat and uninterrupted. I like the way each notebook reads as a canvas...but, cutting notebooks is really hard on my hands...so, it's kind of a must that I change the design in order to save my mittens. This is just a dummy, somthing I'm trying out.

Anyway, that's news. A huge thanks to all who took the time to comfort me this weekend (see my insecure little post below). You guys are the best. Absolutely!

I feel better today...I think I was just really stressed. Writing about a doubt is not something I'd ever done in my blogging life...but, I'm glad I did.

Oh, I almost forgot. To your right ----> is a little poll I put into my blog. If you have a sec, let me know how you found me. I wish Etsy would put some sort of field so that sellers could better harvest this info. It's really invaluable...especially when you don't have many advertising outlets, and it helps one to know how to best use their PR energy!

I hope everyone had a great weekend.


Be careful what you wish for...

Well, this about says it all...
I don't usually post about my doubts on my blog...but, at this point, I think I have the January Lulls. This is actually the first time I've ever posted a doubt on either of my blogs.

Here's the issue: help me if you can. Since November, I've enjoyed a period of growth with SusyJack*. Things have been great. But...also, since November, I've been running a promotion with Free Shipping, which ended on the 10th.

Am I paranoid, or does the fact that no etsy sales were made since the evening of the 9th have anything to do with this? Should I try to reinstate some sort of lower-cost shipping now? Sigh. I'm kind of worried. I'm worried that people only buy the items because the shipping is free. Yes, I realize I sound paranoid. But, I guess when you're new in business, this happens. Basically, I'm sitting here typing and hoping that seeing my fears typed out will help me to see that they are not really founded in much.

But...time will tell. The postal service is pricey. My credit card statement for Nov thru Jan 10th testify to that. Also, I want to be able to keep providing my customers with a tracking number/email confirmation for their purchases. Unfortunately, that amount is too much for me to swing...If I was selling things that over 40 dollars...well, I'd always have free shipping. But, for the type of items I offer, it's just not feasible as a constant thing.

Ok. Chime in here, if you have any thoughts for me! I won't ask again....well...maybe sometime again, when I'm freaking out...which might be....next week? no, tomorrow!

: )


Perfect For...

Valentine Clip Set, originally uploaded by susyjack.

Valentine's day...or any other day for that matter! These will be added to the store shortly.

What I like about them is that they can turn anything into a valentine-- even a piece of white paper with a heart drawn on it becomes something really special when it's clipped with one of these.

In other news...my hands hurt. I've been filling lots of orders, and have been really busy this week! I'm beginning to think maybe I need to change my methods so I don't give myself arthritis by next week.

So...that is really important...and I'll be thinking about it. It may mean changing the way the journals are bound, something I've been thinking about, anyway...but, we'll see!


Hey Val

I had to design a Valentine's Card! I just had to. And it got me thinking that, y'know...we're all really lucky that 'love' is a short word. It is just a beautiful word, in print, and in definition.

So...details: this card comes in a set of 4...and yes, those corners are round!

In other news, I'm going to be filling a wholesale order at openhouse. If you haven't been there, go right now! Katie and Megan stock some really wonderful contemporary items...and I am proud to say, I'll be their first in the paper category!...So, I'm really thrilled about that.

Also, I received my contract for the NY Stationery show on Friday and held it in my hot little (shaky) hands today. Yes, I'll be attending. First, I went on etsy to see if anyone had advice, and the forums came through for me...now, although I am still pretty anxious about it, I don't feel like doing the show is a ridiculous move. I'm pretty excited, actually!

That's all for now...more soon! xx


Etiquitte Cartlettes

Etiquitte Cartlettes
Originally uploaded by susyjack

These are freshly designed. One of the things I'm going to do in January is stock up theEtsy store with little treats like the ones you see above. They're really fun to make, and I like the idea of offering some items that can be used in multiple ways, like scrapbooking, gift-wrapping etc. The Scrapper's Batch has been really popular, and personally, I love to think of items I make being used by other creatives! So...that's to come!

These cards have a needlepoint-inspired design that accents the border...like little cross-stitches, which I'm getting really into lately.

In other news...I love my little postal scale!! It fills me with an odd, nerdly joy when I see my officially labeled and bar-coded packages ready to go. And, I like being able to know they've been delivered.

ok. that's it. off to try and go to the gym. wish me luck. xx


So Stylin'

cup o sweetness
Originally uploaded by susyjack
I've shot a bunch of images for an article I'm writing on how to style your photography...sort of a beginner's lesson. It can be hard work, but a lot of fun once you start working on it.

I'll keep updating on that!

In other news...this shot also shows a new card design...it's part of a pretty little set...included are...you're sweet. my treat. call me. many thanks. soon to be posted on etsy. great for scrapbooking, or just to leave as a little token.



I do hope everyone had great Holidays and New Years.

Personally, I know that the new year is one of my favorite times. I love that everything calms down and people seem to get back to business. Trust me, being that I run my own business, and it's been my main focus most days since it began, I really get thrown off when there are a few days when most people are not around...and there's not a peep...and I'm forced to take time off. This year one of my resolutions is to be better at picking up my cell phone. It's basically a glorified answering machine. But, I will try to pick it up. Promise.

Well, my time off was wonderful, though. I got to finally see the tree at Rock Ctr. (from a distance, there were lots of tourists) and went back to Boston for a little bit to visit my family and pick up some clothing I'd left there. I feel like I have a whole new wardrobe. Yes, it all smells like mothballs, but I'm working on that.

I have a new blogger header...which I think looks a little too bright for my liking, but I'm gonna leave it up and see if tomorrow, with fresh eyes, it looks any better....in other new developments, I've bought a huge new cutting board and a brand new shiny Postal Scale!! Sooo...now packages can be tracked and delivery confirmed much more easily. Also...I can keep neater records.