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Friday, June 27, 2014

Secrets Revealed

Let’s get this out of the way first….

Many (many) moons ago, I promised a new website was coming.  I keep telling myself “as soon as business slows down” I will get to it. 

However…. things haven’t slowed down.  I’m crazy busy – which is kind of an awesome problem to have.

Frankly I just don’t like sitting in front of the computer when I could be cleaning making something.  I tell myself that I will do it after the kids are in bed, but then I start working on proofs, emailing clients, and sometimes (though not as often as I'd like) I get to work on New Stuff.

Now about that New Stuff….


When I turned my hobby into a business last year, I was pretty much the only one around offering personalized home d├ęcor.  But as with all great ideas, I wasn’t alone for long.  Now it seems that a new would-be competitor pops up almost weekly and each offers a lower price than the last guy.  This is great news for buyers because it not only gives them more choices, it keeps prices reasonable across the industry. But just remember this when shopping around for the best price on custom work:


Anyway - back to the New Stuff...

When I'm busy filling orders, it's easy to get away from the reason I started this:  I love creating.

In all honestly, if you've got about $300, an internet connection and some free time, you can teach yourself to do (much of) what I do.  That's why there are so many of these types of businesses on etsy, facebook and now locally as well.  And here's the other thing:  You don't even have to be creative.   Yep, that's right.  It takes zero creativity to download a pre-designed file from the internet, cut it out, and put it on a piece of wood or glass.   Though like with everything, there is a bit of a learning curve.  You will curse, threaten to throw your machine out the window, want to quit, and cry real tears over the amount of time and materials you waste while trying to learn how to do this.  


But I digress....

Creating.

That's why I started this.  So I could create.  

Pinterest and etsy is the lifeblood of many businesses like mine.  I get countless requests weekly to imitate something a client has seen online.  And while that provides a very steady level of business for me, it doesn't leave me much time to come up with my own creations.




Saturday, May 31, 2014

Flattered

The best ideas are often imitated by the lazy and un-creative.  But great quality and excellent service cannot be duplicated.

Know before you buy.

It's been awhile...

I wish I had a good reason for not updating this blog or kicking off the website that I promised I was working on.  But simply put - I just haven't had time.

When I started this business last fall as a vendor at the (now closed) Distressed Nest, I was terrified of failing.  I have been crafting my whole life but I never attempted to make any money at it.  But with the encouragement of friends and family, I took a risk at an unknown shop in a so-so location with little foot traffic.  And despite all those things working against me, in 4 short months I was running a successful business and doing what I loved.

Unfortunately, that happiness was short-lived.

I knew when I had so much success in such a short time span that imitators would soon follow.  I was expecting that.  But I wasn't expecting it from people that I knew well and trusted whole-heartedly.

I can't pretend it doesn't bother me when clients contact me to tell me they see items and ideas that I have been making for months being sold by other local businesses.  Every time it happens I run through the same gamut of emotions:  hurt, anger, sadness.








Friday, December 6, 2013

Coming soon!

Two at a Time is about to get a whole new look!

My computer genius husband is in the process of building a whole new site for me and I really can't wait to get it up and running!


Hubby's not just smart...he's cute too.

In the meantime, come visit me over on Facebook.com/TwoAtATimeDesign where I post almost daily or send me an email at brittenlinn@gmail.com.

If you're in the Tampa Bay area, you can check me out at the Distressed Nest Boutique where I am a vendor, or at one of the shows I will be at this month.  *

This Saturday, 12/7 I will be at Brandon Winterfest from 10-5 with the Distressed Nest and Bentley Redesign and next Saturday 12/14 is my last show of the year and it's at The White Rabbit in Brandon.

Thanks for stopping by and Merry Merry Christmas!
Britten

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I'm a Turkey

No really.

I kinda am a turkey.

I've been super busy lately.  Really busy.  

I've been making some wonderful things for some wonderful people and I am loving every minute of it. And I try to get as much done as I can while the girls are in school so that when I pick them up, crafting business is over for the day - (or at least until they go to bed).

So today when Red came to me asking for a turkey t-shirt to wear to their big Thanksgiving feast at school tomorrow, my first reaction was to say no...because hey, this was supposed to be my non-crafty time!   But before I did, I took a second to think about the last time I made something for them.

And I couldn't remember the last time I made something for them.  

Ugh.

So upstairs to my craft room we went and I turned on my long-neglected heat press and fired up the laptop again.  After some googling for turkey silhouettes and a lengthy discussion as to what the shirt should say, my Design Team headed back downstairs for a snack while I worked on the finished product.



I was rewarded not just with these awesome smiles, but also with a leftover piece of Halloween candy attached to a "Good Job!" sticker.

Thanks girls for reminding me - again - what's really important.

Love you, Mom






Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Keep Calm and Craft On. And on. And on.

It's been a busy summer.  Was.  Was a busy summer.  We are already in our third week of school....

First Day of First Grade

So now what??  Clean?  Laundry?  Re-organize closets?  Learn to cook?

Boomer feels the same way I do about housework
Or......I could just....
Make stuff.

Smile if you like to craft
Yeah let's do that.  Let's make stuff.

And maybe I could actually make stuff and keep sell it.  Like for real, actual money.  Instead of just for the fame and adoration I get for making stuff like this:

It's a haunted house.  Out of paper.

Little vinyl project















Not-so-little vinyl project

Custom t-shirts for twins that aren't mine

Glitter vinyl - this one is mine

More custom t-shirts.  Supernatural theme.

So the first thing I did was something that I said I would never, ever do again.
I signed up for a craft fair.  And then another.  And then another.  That's 3 in 3 months, with the first one at the end of September.  Which is coming up.  Like soon.  But I'm not alone in this.  My best crafty friend is doing these with me.   The same friend that was supposed to talk you out of doing any more craft fairs, Britten? Yeah her.  That one.

But now another opportunity has come along and it's a pretty awesome one.

There is a new boutique in town and the owner is looking for vendors to rent their own space within the shop to display and sell their handmade items.  I had a meeting with the owner last week and took in some of the things that I have been working on for the craft fairs.  She thought they would fit in with her boutique so I will be setting up my own booth in the shop very soon.  (Like - maybe next week.)  They are moving this weekend into a new, bigger location just a few doors down from the original shop.  Which means I could be moving my stuff in as soon as next week.  It's awesome, exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.

My site here as well as my also neglected Two at a Time Facebook page will be going through some changes in the coming weeks.  I am working on getting a shop set up right here on this site, as well as possibly adding a store to my Facebook page as well.  But I suck at the computer stuff so it's going to take me some time.  And also because I'm...
There's water in here
I plan on keeping this blog updated (yeah I know, you've heard that before) with all the craft fair info and updates on the boutique.  

I.  Can't.  Wait.













Sunday, July 14, 2013

Square One Masterpiece - A Love Affair

I didn’t set out to stray from regular vinyl.  It just kind of happened.

I’ve had the printable Square 1 Masterpiece in my stash for quite awhile, hoarding it along with all of my other paper. 

Then a neighbor dropped off a bottle of homemade mulberry wine.    As a thank you, I thought it would be fun to make him some custom wine labels, but didn’t want anything that would stick permanently to the bottle.  I found a wine label template online, typed in the info, printed it out on Square 1, then cut it out.  As my 6-year olds say:  “Easy peasy lemon squeezy!” – and pretty sophisticated looking too:


 Okay so now I’m excited about the possibilities…

What can I do with this stuff next???

I spotted the shelf in my kitchen.  I like decorating it for holidays, but after Memorial Day and the 4th of July, I was at a loss as to what to put on it until Fall.  I found a cute, cupcake-themed canvas for $5 so I used that as my shelf inspiration.

I picked up some wood letters on sale at Joann and spray painted them black.  I put them on the shelf and they looked….fine.  Meh.  A pattern would’ve been more exciting but covering them in scrapbook paper and mod podge just seemed too permanent – and like too much work.  I found some free digital paper online, printed it on Square 1, traced the letters, cut them out and stuck them to the front of my letters.  Not only can they be easily removed and changed (if my love of chevron and quatrefoil ever fades) but I can RE-USE those letters cut out of Square 1 again and again!   LOVE THAT PART!  And since I had some extra patterned Square 1 left over from the letters, I cut out these cute cupcakes to go with my theme:





I also had some of solid Square 1 in green so I cut out this saying for under the shelf:



I love that I can save the cut-outs I made with Square 1 and re-use them.  I also love, love, LOVE that Square 1 is PVC-free!

Here’s how my shelf looks now:



So there’s my story about how I fell in love with Square 1 Masterpiece.  I am really excited about using this on all kinds of future projects!