Monday, August 18, 2014

Crafts for Crayons and Girls Inc.

We are really excited and proud to be working towards what we hope will become an annual event to benefit Girls Incorporated of Metropolitan Dallas which will help girls and young women to be strong, smart and bold. I wanted to share on a more personal level why this is so important to me and my sister.

Two months ago Verizon came out with an ad called Inspire Her Mind that featured the life of a young girl whose parents slowly socialize her to not be interested in science-it stated a startling fact (at least for me): 66% of 4th grade girls like math and science, but only 18% of college engineering students are female. It ends with the question "Isn't it time we told her she's pretty brilliant too"? 

This struck a nerve with me (and my sister, the other half of Pig and Peacock). Our father, the engineer, ingrained it into our beings to be interested in math and science, to have a strong curiosity for how the world works and to learn about it. We even had to learn how to work on our own cars! I know that math and science isn't everyone's cup 'o tea, but the disparity between those two percentages bothered me, so I started looking into STEM mentoring which led me to Girls Inc. which offers mentoring to girls in math, science and tech.

Then, a month later, Always, came out with a campaign and video called #LikeAGirl asking grown men and women to run and fight "like a girl". Then they asked little girls to do the same, and asked the question "When did doing something 'like a girl' become an insult"?

The response from the little girl at 1:15 is what did me in. When she realizes that like a girl is not a good thing, but an insult. Tears. Seriously. It was at that moment that I knew I had to do more that think about doing something and take action. The more I read about Girls Inc. and their mission to empower young girls to be strong, self-confident, and successful the more I felt the need to do something for this organization.

While my sister and I joke that our family was dysfunctional (whose wasn't?) I really appreciate all that our parents did for us. Our father taught us that we should be the smartest kids in the class, that a 99 meant we were capable of making a 100. I appreciate that our mom taught us that to hit like a girl meant we should win the fight (she's real fiesty!) and that if we applied ourselves that there was nothing that could stop us. I realize now more than ever that we are truly lucky to have been raised by them, even if there was a lot of tough love. To thank my parents, I will share that encouragement with others who need it most.

The Crafts for Crayons event with Etsy Dallas seemed like the perfect place to start. While we do have some very talented guys on our team, most of the team members are women who run their own micro/small businesses. We are also all about helping lift each other up and elevating our community. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for us, as a team, to get involved and help by collecting school, craft and art supplies.

We hope that you will join us on Aug 30th at NorthPark Mall from 1-5pm to help support a great cause and share in the opportunity to make a difference!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The 1st Annual Crafts for Crayons School Supply Drive

We are so excited to announce the 1st annual Crafts for Crayons school supply drive at NorthPark Center on August 30 from 1:00 to 5:00!

Did you know:

  • 1 in 3 children in Dallas cannot afford basic school supplies
  • Across the country teachers spend $500 each year out of their own pockets to buy school supplies for their students
  • Back-to-school time is very stressful for many families who cannot afford school supplies
  • You can help
Donate school and art supplies (or cash) and do some cool crafts with us and others from the Etsy Dallas team. All donations go to Girls Incorporated of Metropolitan Dallas. You can make the difference in a child's school year.

We'll be between Nordstrom and Macy's in the NorthCourt. See you there!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

How-To Prepare for a Craft Show (like a pro) Part 2.1

Now that we've covered product, layout, displays, and signage, it's time to get down to business. Literally. After you have made items to sell and put price tags on them you need to start preparing yourself to sell your handmade goods. It is really important to be well prepared for transacting business-if you are not well organized, customers might get frustrated, you may end up with a few people waiting to pay, and you will undoubtedly become frazzled, which is no fun.

From the guest post we wrote on the Etsy Dallas blog:
Prep for Doing Business
One or two weeks before the show, gather everything you need to do business and ring up transactions. Pens, calculators, invoice/receipt books, and shopping bags are must haves. Make a bank run to get change - think about your price points and plan your change based on that. If you take credit card payments via square or any other device or app, make sure they are in working order and that you remember passwords for apps. Another thing we do is create a cheat sheet of all of out items pricing with tax. At the bottom we have every price point from $1-$100 with tax added for a quick reference guide.

In addition to the bare minimum of receipt books, etc. you want to make sure that anything you plan to use to package or wrap items you have on hand as well (tissue paper, twine, gift boxes). Thinking back to your booth layout, make sure that all of these items along with shopping bags are laid out in a way that will make it fast and efficient to wrap or package items. Make knitted scarves and plan to drop them in shopping bags? Easy peasy. Make ceramic dishes and need to wrap them individually and them box them up? Plan to make some space for that and keep all materials handy. Plastic Rubbermaid drawers under a table can make for a quick wrapping station. If you make jewelry, you will want to be sure to have small boxes or pouches to protect purchases. It is also a really good idea to have boxes handy during the holiday season if people ask for them. I know it is an extra expense, but it is also part of the handmade shopping experience to have items nicely packaged. Uline is a great resource for packaging supplies.

Most craft show vendors have adopted the Square and other credit card payment methods, but it is always good to be prepared to take payments the old fashioned way (card imprint and paper receipt). Just because you have a square and the phone app doesn't mean you are guaranteed good cell signals or wifi. We have totally been to places that were the dead zone for cell phones, and with 50+ vendors trying to tap into the free wifi, forget it...nothing was working. This is when that receipt book will be extra handy, make an imprint either rubbing the card with a pen under the carbon copies (anyone who has ever worked in retail knows the drill) or write it down. Be SURE to destroy the card numbers asap after you are able to run the payment, and black out the # on the guests receipt for safety too. This is also where cash will come in handy, if your are not sure you have enough, bring more-you can always redeposit it into the bank after the show. Even if all of your items are under $10, be prepared to make change for someone who pays with a $100 bill. You know that person (can you tell we used to work retail!?) the one who comes first thing in the morning straight from the bank with a crisp hundred and you have to make $92 in change and they wipe out all your $20's...? Be prepared for that person :)