Tuesday, September 18, 2018

To My Fellow Crafters

Were you involved in a craft show this past weekend?
Were there a lot of customers in attendance?
Were people successfully selling around you?
Were you happy with your sales?

From our observations this past weekend I'm sure there will be many more no answers than yes to that last question.

My husband and I recently participated in an apple and wine festival in a nearby town. He sold his gourmet seasoned pretzels, aka Santa Snacks. I was his "good little soldier" during the weekend selling alongside of him, helping wherever I could including setting up and restocking his display, and packing up at the end of each day.

Throughout Saturday's and Sunday's event we noticed several vendors throwing imaginary daggers at us because we were busy and they weren't.  I would like to offer some suggestions to these vendors, and others, based on our observations. I do not profess to have all of the answers when it comes to selling at a craft show. Lord knows I've had many a show where I sat throwing imaginary daggers at others too. I am very aware of how discouraging a weekend with few sales can be. But there are a few things that I've observed that could result in higher sales. These suggestions are in no particular order.

~ Is your product something people want, need, and are willing to buy? Sometimes a product has run its course or there is far too much competition for you to be successful. I stopped selling fashion accessories because fashion is fickle. People had seen it, purchased it, and were ready to move on. I'm sure, in time, the same thing will happen with the pine needle baskets. Switching up the shows you do may prolong the success of your product.

~ Is this the right show for your product? While pretzels sold well at this most recent event, I doubt pine needle baskets would have so I would never consider doing this event.

~ Create a welcoming display. Add lights, add levels, add color. Make it interesting without being too cluttered. Arrange your display so that people will want to come into your booth to see what you have.

~ Engage people as they are walking by. Make eye contact. A simple "good morning" or "how are you today?" may be all it takes to draw someone into your space. Once there it is up to you to sell your product to them. They may not always buy, but your chances for a sale are better if you have the customer's attention.

~ Your product will not sell itself. You have to sell it! As stated earlier, food always sells; however, Santa is constantly inviting people to sample his pretzels. If he doesn't, most people walk on by.

~ Be visible and close enough to customers to be able to engage in conversation and answer questions. I have noticed that the farther away I sit from my display the lower my sales. Standing near my display seems to result in higher sales volume. I'm more accessible when I stand.

~ If you look busy people will not bother you. Put down the phone. Stop texting, checking your email, social media, etc. especially if you are in alone your booth. Yes, sometimes we have to do those things, but I have observed people who have played on their phones the entire day, and not spoken to any customers. These same vendors then complain that they didn't have any sales. You need to engage the customer.

~ Don't barricade yourself behind your display. Be visible and accessible.

~ Use large, easy to read signs with very little information on them. People are not going to stand there and read signs full of facts. I use 3 different signs in 8 X 10 frames and change them up at each show. If my display and the unusual product haven't lured them in, the signs usually do. Once in my booth I engage them in a conversation on how the baskets are made. The signs I use are:
          ~ Check this out! Baskets made out of pine needles.
          ~ Yes, these baskets really are made out of pine needles.
          ~ Can you believe these baskets are made out of pine needles?

~ Draw people in with an unusual fact about your product. This is an easy one for my husband. He is Santa Claus so he's a natural draw for children as well as adults. He also has a larger than life banner with his photo that clearly states what he is selling. That being said, he also has to invite customers to sample his delicious pretzels. While food always sells, if he just sat there and didn't encourage people to sample his recipes, his sales would be substantially lower. I used to tell people that my women's fashion accessories were made on a loom. They were sure they were knit or crocheted so the loom intrigued them and started a conversation.

~ Demonstrate your product if possible. I am always working on a pine needle basket out of necessity and so that I can demonstrate the process. This lures customers in and shows them first hand the intricacies of what I do. They realize that they would not be able to make a basket and generally purchase a piece instead. I didn't work on my fashion accessories at a show because people would comment, "Oh, that's all that is?" and they would walk away thinking they could make one too. Obviously, many products do not lend themselves to being made at a show, but if you can...

~ Ask if the customer is thinking of something for themselves or for a gift? Once answered questions about favorite colors, styles, etc. can get you closer to closing the sale.

~ Be enthusiastic about your product. Show your love for doing what you do. I am not a sales person, but my enthusiasm for my product is evident with each person I speak to. I believe this and the uniqueness of my baskets help increase sales.

~ Tell customers a fact and why that fact is important to them.

~ Display products in several different price ranges. People may love your product but not the price tag. They may want to buy something but may not be able to afford it. The response to the fashion accessories I made was very good in the beginning, but the prices scared some people away. I started making some simple slip on bracelets which many purchased. They wanted a piece, but a $60.00 scarf wasn't always in the budget. Now I make ornaments which are a hit especially around the holidays. Offering lower priced items gets them into a piece without spending a lot of money. And, it increases your sales! Always a plus.

~ There are so many people who sell jewelry, soaps, candles, wood products, knitted and crocheted items, fabric items, etc. Yours need to stand out. What is it about your product that is different? What is it about your product that makes people want it? Focus on that and gauge your display and conversation around the positive differences without trashing your competition's merchandise.

As stated earlier, I do not profess to have all of the answers, but have noticed that those who complain about low sales are generally guilty of one or more of these things. We welcome additional suggestions in the comments section. Let's help each other garner more sales!

What's New?

With the popularity of my pine needle baskets I have set a goal of turning out a basket a day between now and our last show. This goal may sound very lofty, and it is, but somehow I have managed to accede it. Here are a few baskets that will be for sale at our upcoming shows.

For the wine lover!
7 inches X 1.25 inches
$48.00

We found this shell on a Florida beach and had it encased in acrylic.
10 inches X 8.5 inches
$70.00

It's 5 O'clock somewhere!
10 inches X 8.75 inches X 2 inches
$60.00
Remember, availability is limited as most baskets are one of a kinds.

Upcoming Events

We are looking forward to exhibiting at the Hunt Union Craft Fair on September 22. The Hunt Union is on the SUNY Oneonta campus in Oneonta, NY. We will be there from 9 am - 4 pm. Please stop by if you're in the area! We'd love to see you!

Until Next Time...

Diane

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Money Grab

My husband and I recently visited a local restaurant. We asked one of the owners about the new minimum wage for servers which is supposed to be legislated in our state in the near future. The owner went through the snowball effect that would happen if this becomes law.

Let's backtrack a bit. The last time the minimum hourly wage for servers increased from $5.00 to $7.50 this restaurant had to pay more than $50,000 in additional wages. Prices went up, many restaurants went out of business or moved to neighboring states, and servers paid more in taxes. Who benefitted? The state with the additional income tax collected. The servers did not see one more dime in their paychecks!

Our governor is now suggesting that servers' base pay be increased to $15.00 per hour. Imagine the number of restaurants that will go out of business when the hourly rate doubles! Owners, servers, and many others have spoken out against this increase, but their words appear to be falling on deaf ears.

Restaurants are not going to absorb the increase in pay. Prices will go up, the consumer will pay more or not eat out as often, and servers may find themselves out of a job.

I don't want to sound like a dooms-dayer, but believe this whole campaign by our governor is short sighted and in the interest of the state's bottom line, not the worker. Does he not understand economics or does he not care?

In his efforts to raise people up from poverty by legislating a living wage he is, in reality, holding them down. Rumor has it that the average server at said restaurant makes between $25.00 and $40.00 per hour when tips are calculated. Raising the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour and removing the need to tip just dropped these servers to minimum wage jobs instead of the living wage jobs they currently hold. The governor is creating more poor instead of less!

Yes, there are those who work in restaurants where the tips are meager. Should everyone suffer because of the few or should those who are not happy find jobs in more profitable establishments? When is it time for people to change due to personal responsibility and when is it time for the government to step in? In my opinion, if you are not happy with your current income then it is up to you to get the training necessary to be hired for a position that will improve your income and financial security. The governor cannot legislate that.

In short, it seems to me that this increase in minimum wage for servers is simply a money grab for the state and nothing more. What are your thoughts?

Happenings

We are in craft fair and farmers market mode and are creating as many baskets, ornaments, and wall decor as we can between shows. Here are a few you may not have seen before.









Visit cruisincreations.etsy.com and facebook.com/cruisincreations12 to place an order for one of our unique baskets.

Upcoming Events

We will be at the East Greenbush Farmers Market every Wednesday except July 4 from June 13 - Oct 3. This is a wonderful little farmers market where you can pick up fresh produce, honey, maple syrup, soaps, seasoned pretzels, pine needle baskets, freshly spun yarn, dog treats, wine, and so much more! You can even pick up dinner at Carol's Place. Stop by 10 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY each Wednesday between 4:00 and 7:00 to take advantage of these great buys. Santa is selling his gourmet seasoned pretzels and The Mrs is selling a selection of her pine needle decor.

The Speculator Craft Fair will be held Aug 9 at the Speculator Ball Fields, Routes 9 & 30, Speculator, NY. We will be in the pavilion this year. Stop by between 9 & 4 to pick up some unique gifts and Santa's delicious gourmet seasoned pretzels!

Check our events list attached to this blog to keep current on our upcoming events.

Until Next Time...

Diane

Monday, April 30, 2018

Rules to live by


Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio .

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don't worry, God never blinks.

16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19.. It's never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need

42. The best is yet to come...
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."
I checked this on Snopes and it is correctly attributed to Regina Brett. Nothing more needs to be said. It will be interpreted by each of us using our own lens.

What's New?

We are constantly adding to our basket inventory. The baskets are taking on so many different shapes and sizes and the basket centers are becoming more and more unusual too! Here are a few of the newest ones. We used wood, an earring and a drawer pull, each found at a flea market. These pine needle baskets are available for purchase on our Facebook page @Cruisincreations12.






Upcoming Events

We're looking forward to re-connecting with our loyal customers and fellow crafters!

Cruisin' Creations is returning to Niska-Day on May 19. This is a fun community event with parades, games, rides, and exhibitors. It will be held at Craig Elementary School, Balltown Rd, Schenectady, NY. The craft tent will be open from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. You can pick up some pine needle baskets and ornaments as well as Santa's gourmet seasoned pretzels.

We will also be at the East Greenbush Farmers Market on Wednesdays from June 13 - Oct 3. The farmers market is open from 4-7 pm and is located at 10 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY. 

Until Next Time...

Diane

#pineneedlebasket
#pineneedlebasketry
#butterflybasket
#NativeAmericanbasket
#NativeAmericanart



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Discrimmination


Recently I attended a family funeral. During the celebration after the services one of my relatives told a story about the mid 1900s and how the Italians in the area were discriminated against. One of the main characters in his story was his uncle. This uncle wanted to be accepted and wasn't sure of how to make that happen. He pondered his situation, observed others in the community who were universally accepted, and decided that he had to own property. So this uncle set out to purchase a number of local private and commercial properties. After owning several properties as well as several successful businesses in his town he gained the acceptance he craved for himself and his family.

Two things struck me as I listened to this simple story. One - that all groups experience discrimination at some point in time.

Two - a person's response to that discrimination can make a huge difference in the direction his/her life takes. 

Some may read this as a diminishing of the discrimination that some races, religions, nationalities have experienced. That is not the case. I simply thought that there was something to be learned from this simple story. 

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Happenings

Our Etsy shop is back up and running. The demand for pine needle coiled baskets, ornaments, and wall decor was so great in 2017 that we just couldn't keep up with it all. Had there been more than 24 hours in a day, then perhaps we could have. We've had the winter to build inventory and purchase many new basket bases. We are ready for another successful season!

What will you see this season?
~ New basket bases



~ Popular well known basket bases




~ New basket designs


~ And more...

Upcoming Events

Our next event will be Niska-Day on May 19 at Craig Elementary in Schenectady, NY. We are looking forward to reconnecting with our fellow crafters and faithful customers as well as meeting new people. We'll be in the craft tent. Stop by and say, "Hello!"

You can view all of our shows in the Upcoming Events section of this blog.

Until Next Time...

Diane


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Change Is Good

Some people fear change. While I can be among them there are times when I believe that change is good and necessary. We will be making some simple changes at Cruisin' Creations for 2018.

Over the past 5 years I have selected 6 favorite charities to which I would donate a portion of sales. The amount donated was determined by the number of accessories that were sold in each color. For example:
Blue - Arthritis Foundation
Orange - Regional Food Bank
Pink - American Cancer Society
Purple - Alzheimer's Association
Red - American Heart Association
Red, White, and Blue - Team RWB

Each year I would send a letter with the donation explaining that this donation was made possible by you, our customers, who purchase items of a particular color. 

Each year I was disappointed to receive a form letter of thanks. There was no acknowledgement of the way the donations came about. I wasn't looking for accolades for my generosity; simply an appreciation of the fact that our business was taking the time to support their cause. That got me thinking about the charities that I had been donating to. Perhaps they were too large to care about donations of the size I was sending. After all, Cruisin' Creations is not a large corporation with millions in profits. Perhaps they don’t really need your and my hard earned money. Perhaps the people accepting the donations are not really vested in the cause. 

After a few moments of contemplation, I decided to change the way I support charities. I have decided to donate to local, hometown charities who may be able to use our hard earned money more productively and will appreciate these small donations. Cruisin’ Creations will be adopting a new organization at the beginning of each year.

This year Cruisin’ Creations will be donating to Things of My Very Own. This is a local organization that helps children who have suffered from abuse and neglect. What better organization to donate to than one that helps children?

For information on Things of My Very Own visit http://thingsofmyveryown.org/

Change is good.

What's New

We have been very busy searching for new, unique pine needle basket bases. We've perused craft stores, flea markets, pottery shows, and vintage shops to find the most unique pieces for your viewing pleasure. We think we've hit on a few good ones. What do you think?




Due to the fact that these baskets are one of a kind they are only available at craft shows at this time. We are working on a line of items that can be reproduced and sold on Etsy.

Upcoming Events

We are excited to be returning to Art In The Park at Wildwood City Hall in Wildwood, Florida. Art In The Park will be held March 3 from 9 am - 4 pm. This is the second year for this event and the organizers promise an even better event than last year. Stop by to pick up some new baskets for yourself or to give as gifts. Also available are ornaments for that little section of wall that needs "a little something" or for your Christmas tree. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Until Next Time ...

Diane

Friday, October 13, 2017

Actions Have Consequences

While I have no intention of getting political or debating the latest behavior of athletes, the president, congress, or anyone else, I just want to point out one thing.

Actions Have Consequences!

Recently, I read the headline of an article (being sick of the topic I couldn't stomach reading the actual article) A local high school football player who took a knee during the National Anthem was shocked by the response of the community. I thought, "Really? You're surprised by this?" While I have no idea whether the response was positive or negative all I could think was, all actions have consequences.

When did people stop realizing that EVERYTHING we say, do, or don't do has a consequence?

In my humble opinion, I think we stopped realizing that there are consequences when we started using texting and social media to communicate instead of talking to and meeting people face to face. 

Whatever the reason, let's all remember that our actions do have consequences, both positive and negative and think twice before we say or do something we will regret at a later date.

Thank you.

What's New?

As mentioned in previous blog posts, we are getting out of the accessory business and diving head first into the basket business. Our pine needle coiled baskets, ornaments, and suncatchers have been so well received that we are having difficulty keeping up with demand. My fingers can sew just so fast! Because of the demand something had to "give" and that became the accessories.

This is great news for you! All of our remaining accessories are listed on our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/cruisincreations12 and all of these accessories have been reduced to unheard of prices! 

WOW! Think of the savings for your holiday gift giving! Choose from cowl scarves at $5.00, winter scarves at $10.00, and necklets at $4.00 and $5.00. 

To order, simply click the Shop button on the left side of our Facebook page, scroll through the items listed, and make your selections. Your items will be shipped within a day or two.

Upcoming Events

Santa Snacks and Cruisin' Creations will have displays at the Shaker Heritage Society Christmas Craft Fair again this year. It is there that you can pick up Santa's delicious gourmet seasoned pretzels and Cruisin' Creations pine needle coiled baskets, ornaments, and suncatchers. 

The Shaker Heritage Society is located at 25 Meeting House Rd, Albany, NY. The craft fair runs from October 28 through December 16. The fair is open Monday - Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. They are closed on Sundays. Come out and support local businesses while you shop the many aisles of unique gifts handcrafted by local artisans. 

Until Next Time...

Diane

Monday, August 21, 2017

Reinventing Ourselves

Every few years we have to reinvent ourselves. No, we don't change completely, we simply find a new craft that is exciting to make and gets our creative juices going again. That is where Cruisin' Creations is at the moment.

Our fashion accessories had run their course. Over the past two years I've noticed customers excitement over our designs dwindling so I thought it was time to offer something new. At the same time I took a class in pine needle basket coiling. After making a few baskets and finding that my friends and neighbors were interested in buying them I realized that I had found that new offering. These baskets have been so well received at craft shows as well as on Etsy that I find myself in constant basket making mode. What could be more fun!?

Pine needle coiling fits well into my love of creating with a needle and thread. After washing the pine needles and baking them in glycerin and water I choose a basket base and sew the pine needles to the base. The basket builds and shapes with each row that is sewn together.

As you can imagine, this has been a transitional year for Cruisin' Creations. Along with changing to a very different product we are working on a new show schedule, discounted inventory, destashing unnecessary supplies, and new displays. While it may sound like a lot of work, I find fun and energizing.

Watch our Etsy and Facebook pages for new baskets and other pine needle decor.

Great Deals!

This is the perfect time to pick up our fashion accessories at drastically reduced prices. Save up to 90% on necklets, lariats, and scarves. Visit our website www.cruisincreations.etsy.com and click on the shop section that interests you. What is left of our inventory will be listed. Don't delay as there are few items left.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CruisinCreations?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&section_id=21962084

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CruisinCreations?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&section_id=21962058


https://www.etsy.com/shop/CruisinCreations?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&section_id=15485945


Upcoming Events

Pick up your delicious gourmet seasoned pretzels from Santa as well as your fashion accessories and pine needle baskets at these locations!

East Greenbush Farmers Market every Wednesday from 4-7 pm. The farmers market is located at the East Greenbush Library parking lot, 10 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY. 

We've changed our space at the Shaker Heritage Society, 25 Meeting House Rd, Albany, NY. You can find us in the Meeting House on Sept 9 & 10 from 10 am - 4 pm. 

Until Next time...

Diane