Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday: Sanctuary One-Year Anniversary Party


Austin has such wonderful locally-owned gift shops that sell local handmade goods. Sanctuary is one of those boutiques, and they just won "Best Decor Boutique" and "Best Gifts" at the Austin Fashion Awards. I've been looking forward to their one-year anniversary party, and it is tonight! Local design team Studio 3 will be doing live screen printing. You will also find some Etsy Austin goods at Sanctuary!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Austin Handmade Market Video

Amy Hadley, previously of News 8 Austin, came by the Austin Handmade Market a couple weeks ago and put together an awesome video promoting the market and buying handmade.

Watching this video reminded me why I love to live in Austin!

She interviewed and featured a number of Etsy Austinites..'s the link:

Please visit us on the second and last saturday of every month for cool and funky handmade items. On any given market day, you can meet several of our team members and purchase directly from the artist. Also, don't forget to check out the store itself, which is pretty amazing, too!

For more information and directions, visit their website:

Seriously, why shop at the mall?

Lori Hooks
Adorn Modern Designs

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Diamonds and Guns at Urban Betty

Austin Fashion Week continues. . . I just returned from tonight's party at Urban Betty Salon featuring Diamonds and Guns by our very own Action Jackson. The drinks were sponsored by Tito's Handmade Vodka, and they were a divine blend of vodka, champagne, fruity pink lemonade, juice, and well - they were not only free, but mighty tasty as well. In keeping with the night's theme, even the bar glasses had bling!

There were several Etsy Austin members in attendance, enjoying the free drinks, cupcakes, and party tunes. It was a packed house, and a great way to enjoy a Saturday night.

Action Jackson was busy all night greeting guests and attending to her super cute cupcake themed table full of funky and sparkly jewelry.
Congratulations to everyone who helped make AFW such a great success!
- Lori Hooks, Co-VPof EtsyAustin, Adorn Modern Designs

Friday, July 17, 2009

Austin Fashion Week Continues!

Thursday proved to be the big day for AFW events as it had more events scheduled than any other day of the week, but I'm proud to say I was a good little AFW-er and made sure I was in the middle of all the excitement! Continuing the edge-of-your-seat excitement of Austin Fashion Week, I stopped by several Etsy Austinites' shops and salons yesterday to see if I could fulfill the need to have my AFW cake and eat it too. Did I succeed? You decide.

First stop was Malissa Long Wearables at Baldwin Beauty School on Lamar. Truth be told, I felt like a schmuck for only being able to make it at the very tail end. I had lost my directions that I printed up for everyone's locations and my Garmin wasn't cooperating in helping me find the Baldwin Beauty School. So, after driving around for more time than I'm proud to say, I arrived at BBS and took time to talk with Malissa about some of the pieces she'd made for AFW. Her entire line was super whimsical and definitely chocked with clothing that surpassed anything my imagination could muster up. She even had a vest made entirely of bottlecaps! Sounds like something that belongs in the Blanton if you ask me. The rest of her line was comprised of hand-dyed featherweight cotton dresses, Nicole Miller-inspired handkerchief gowns (absolutely beautiful and probably some of my faves!), vivid spacey polyester-silk dresses, and various coats and tops made with vintage fabric- mmm, that word is always music to my fashion-hungry ears. There was even a dress made entirely of men's ties! In addition to serving up this stellar line, Malissa mentioned she was in the works of making her dress for the red carpet awards show on Sunday. Personally, I'm super excited to see how it turns out after seeing all her duds at BBS. Don't worry, I'll be sure to get a few snaps in so that we can all revel in Malissa's mad sewing skills!

The next stop after Malissa Long Wearables was Urban Groove Salon where I was sure to find some fabulous *anne marie* purses. A few wrong turns and horn honks later, I arrived at my second stop- what can I say, I have a knack for getting myself lost. I was greeted instantly by the lovely and cool as a cucumber Anne Marie who made me feel right at home in the oh so chic and upscale UGS. Upon seeing all the bags she'd put on display, I felt like I didn't work nearly hard enough for Austin Fashion Week. The amount of stock she had up was nothing short of amazing. There must have been at least 50-60 bags and wallets there, all shapes and sizes. My personal favorites were the recycled vintage bags that were covered in flawless fabric. It's a mystery to me how you can find something that old that's in that great of shape. Another one of my faves is the one in the pic. If I had a job right now, I think I would have had to buy that bag right off Anne Marie's arm. In addition to getting some great purse eye candy time in, I was able to meet a few other fellow artists who were participating in Austin Fashion Week, whether it be by avid spectating or competing as a designer. One of the gals I met was Diane of Tasty Jewelry (she's at Sirens Salon for the week) and one of the others was Aimee Degroff ( I believe she makes clothing but can't seem to find her site!). They were super nice and had a few great tips for how to play good hostess in the AFW frenzy. I'll have to review my notes before Saturday so that I don't have a "well, here goes nothing" moment.

Of course, the quest for fabulous fashion didn't stop there. The pursuit of fashion is like the pursuit of knowledge- it's endless. I'm sure I could twist some Greek philosopher's arm to agree with me on this. Next stop you might ask? Only one of my favorite shops in Austin- Bettysport! Upon arriving, I definitely felt very calm and at ease- maybe it was just Kim rubbing off on me? Her display, which had been a big source of stress only days before for the lovely lady of Broken Ear Productions, looked flawless and fit in perfectly with the clean yet cute yet simple feel of the store. As for the display stress mess, you'll have to ask Kim for the story on that one! I think what impressed me the most (even more than the display woes) was all the jewelry Kim had basically made custom for Bettysport. The necklace on the mannequin immediately to Kim's right features five circular pendants on which Kim sawed the name, "Betty" (one letter on each circle. There were countless other pieces that were dedicated to the sporty-cute feel of Bettysport such as the triathalon necklaces, which had one necklace for each leg (of the triathalon, not to wear on your legs- I know, I'm silly). After chattin it up with a few of my favorite Etsy Austin gals, it was time for me to round out my night with one last stop at the grand re-opening party of Austin Handmade, which also showcased the lovely designs of Robie Dodson of Parsimony and the launch of soon-to-be (believe me, it's only a matter of time) craft craze, The Wonder Craft... TO BE CONTINUED

Action Jackson out!

Consignment-- 50/50 my ass

I'd like to talk about wholesale vs. consignment. I think it can be hard to articulate and figure out what's best for you as a designer on these issues, especially when you are standing across the counter from a store owner. There is an economic theory behind the two options, and how it's handled can be the difference between having a profit margin that works and one that doesn't.

Companies who sell wholesale make money by selling in bulk.They are usually much bigger than anyone who is reading this, that is why they can afford to buy their materials in bulk as well, have it made in China, and still make a profit selling it wholesale. Bulk.
Typically the retailer will buy merchandise from you and double the price they paid for it. Sometimes even triple it. In this scenario, you don't care what they sell it for- they own it. The reason why you set minimums for wholesale orders is that, even though your cost is cut by half( frustrating for people who sell on etsy) you have a big check that you can use to invest in more supplies, marketing, etc. If you allow a store to buy two or three items wholesale, you are just giving away your product at half the price.
I am not saying we should all have fantastically high minimums, but if you set it by piece( say 10 pieces or by total( say 250-500.) then every time the store gets low on your stuff, they have to buy a certain amount, which benefits you.
While they may try to convince you otherwise( knowing you are new at this, or a small company, or local) trust me--retailers are used to minimums. When they go to Market to buy for their store, they often have to meet a 1,000 dollars, or 6 pieces per group( there are often 6 groups to a season, depending on the company) Store owners are business people like everyone else, and unfortunately business seems to be about everyone getting the most for the least.
That's why I like consignment. In the eight years I've been making a living at this I've made more money off consignment accounts than wholesale. For one thing, it's easier to convince the buyer to try it, even when it's slow, like now in the middle of the summer or a recession.
Consignment also gives you the flexibility to pull your stock if you need it for a show or a festival. Be considerate about this, but remember that it's your right to pull it--you still own it. Give them notice, don't do it weekly, but do it if you need to.
Here is the deal about consignment. I want everyone to keep these thoughts in their mind the next time you are negotiating with a buyer over percentages.
You are spending money and time making your product. While it sits in their store, you can't sell it anywhere else( like full retail on etsy). It is getting tried on, handled and shopworn while you wait for it to sell. And you are getting less than retail without the boost of a big check, while it sells one at a time.Always ask what their policy has been if something gets stolen ( guess what? They should pay. Your property is on their watch, if they aren't paying attention that should not mean that you should suffer.)Write inventory lists and keep a copy. People forget, they lose things, etc.

The most important part of this equation is that, unlike what they buy at market, the store is assuming no risk while having the opportunity to make money off your stuff.
Here is what annoys me. About half of the stores I approach for consignment tell me that their policy is 50/50, meaning your cut of a 100 dollar item is 50, theirs is also 50.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Unless the store is on Melrose Avenue and your product is about to be sold to Catherine Zeta Jones, who will wear it in People magazine and make you an instant star, do not agree to this policy. The only fair way to run consignment is a 60/40 split. Period.
10% isn't a lot, but it can add up over the years. To me, it's something I enforce on principle, a nod to the disadvantages of forgoing a big wholesale check, a nod to the fact that the retailer gets to sell my product without any risk, without ever having to put it on clearance and lose money.
Also, the only leverage you have to entice them to become a wholesale account is that 10 percent. If they are moving 2 grand of your product each month, then they know it will sell if they buy it, and suddenly that 10% seems like something they should try to retain.
If you remain firm, most of them will agree to it, because they know it is standard.If they don;t, use the points I made above and educate them on the economics of your world as a designer. They may change their policy, they may not. If it's the best store in town, you may decide to eat the 10%. But do it consciously, and for a reason.
I once did consignment with the most fabulous upscale boutique in Houston. Their consignment policy went like this-My price-100 dollars, they sold it for 250-275. I didn't know any better at that time. The price was too high, so it sat on the shelf, and when it did sell they made more money on my product than I did, while I was taking all of the financial risk.
There are so many stories like this. Relationships with store owners and buyers can be wonderful, that's how I met my best friend Emily. But sometimes you have to be firm and clear, put away the artist hat for a minute and act like a corporate businessy superstar in order to protect yourself and get what you deserve.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Austin Fashion Week With Sweet Potato Island

Action Jackson reporting here from the middle of Austin Fashion Week. It doesn't get much more exciting than this, folks! I was lucky enough to make it out for Cindy's (of Sweet Potato Island) Primping, Purses, and Pictures Party at the Thomas Saverio Salon and Spa. The moment I entered the door, I was hit with the warm cocktail hour ambiance of the salon and thought to myself, "If this is a preview for how this week's going to be, I'll be in heaven for the next few days". At the entrance, I was greeted by the super-talented Cindy who was beaming of excitement and busy playing hostess. And upon hearing that News 8 Austin had been by to cover the hot lil soiree, I can imagine why.

I started off my night by snagging one of the house cocktails, courtesy of Dripping Springs Vodka and Paula's Texas Orange. Absolutely delish. I then worked my way into the next room where the only thing that looked more delectable than the yummy h'or dourves were the Sweet Potato Island bags. I'm always impressed when I see the craftsmanship of these bags; you can tell at a glance that hours of hard work go into creating these beautiful yet sturdy clutches and handbags. And, of course, I have to mention that the display was absolutely chic and adorable and made you feel like you were in a Zen garden just looking at it.

After chatting with Cindy for a while, she'd asked if I had gotten my free manicure. At which my heart skipped a beat and I couldn't help but play back, "Free manicure?!" The rest of the night, the lovely ladies of the Thomas Saverio Salon as well as our fantastic Cindy helped to assure I had a great evening. Following my free mani, I had a free makeup session and hair consultation. And who doesn't that sound good to? There were a few raffles that were also going on in the midst of all this excitement. Sadly, I wasn't one of the lucky winners, but it didn't matter because I was having a blast anyway. If you haven't made your way out for one of the fabulous AFW events, especially those of our very own Etsy Austin members, I encourage you to do so and promise it will be time well spent. In the words of someone summing up the week, "think of it as a week-long free happy hour". Enjoy!

Action Jackson out.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Etsy Austin AFW Party Hop

Sponsored by Dripping Springs Vodka and Paula’s Texas Orange
Benefiting Family Eldercare 

Enjoy signature drinks from Dripping Springs Vodka and Paula’s Texas Orange and check out seven fabulous Austin Fashion Week designers from the Etsy Austin Team.

 Collect a signifier from at least three of the events or locations and bring them to an Etsy Austin Party Hop event to be entered to win a phenomenal prize, including items from the designers and a gift certificate for a spa day at Urban Groove Salon.

The Etsy Austin Designers will be contributing 5% of their proceeds from Austin Fashion Week to Family Eldercare, a charity that provides fans and window unit ACs to elderly and disabled in Central Texas.

 Ride-sharing and green practices are encouraged.  Carpool drivers with two or more passengers and bikers will receive a free pair of pearl earrings from Broken Ear Productions at the Bettysport parties! (while supplies last)

Etsy Austin AFW Designers and Party Hop Events:


Sweet Potato Island
Primping, Purses and Pictures @ Thomas Saverio Salon & Spa (5416 Parkcrest, Ste. 800, Austin, TX 78731)



Coral Reef Dreams
Trunk Show @ Roxann’s Specialty Boutique (2900 West Anderson Ln. Ste. H Austin, TX 78759)


MLW Malissa Long Wearables
Artistry in Fiber @ Baldwin Beauty School  (3005 S Lamar Blvd # 109D, Austin TX 78704)

*annemarie* Style for the Individual
MakeUp, Manis and Mimosas! Design your own Hand-bag!
  MMM... Style for the Individual  @ Urban Groove (4301 W. William Cannon Dr., Suite 260, Austin, TX 78749)


Broken Ear Productions
12th Street Block Party @ Betty Sport (916 A West 12th Street Austin, TX 78703)

Jinxedaposed Clothing/Jinxy DV-8
Margarita Madness @ Trends and Tradition Boutique  (1917 A. Dutton Drive San Marcos, Texas 78666)


*annemarie* Style for the Individual
Custom Handbag Design Party @ Urban Groove (4301W. William Cannon Dr., Suite 260, Austin, TX 78749)
10am - 2pm

Broken Ear Productions
Late Morning Cool Down @ Betty Sport (916 A West 12th Street Austin, TX 78703)

Diamonds & Guns by Action Jackson
Sparkles and Sweets Soiree @ Urban Betty Salon (1206 West 38
th St, Suite 1201, Austin, Texas 78705)