Finding The Time…

When you decide to take a hobby and make it a potential side income, you have to worry about finding the time to focus solely on that undertaking. Its not just the time to make the product(s) in question because in theory you were already doing that – it’s taking the time to set up and launch your shop, market, brand and network so that you’re new shop gains exposure. Without traffic, you are not ever going to get a sale, and you are not going to get traffic unless you either have a highly in demand item that people are already actively looking for regularly OR you get out there and pound the proverbial internet pavement.

When you take this, and couple it with already working a full time position, AND taking care of a family/home, it can seem rather overwhelming and daunting!

This is why I decided that I would try to punch out one doll a weekend. On average it takes me a few hours to do my repaint, then about a half hour to set their hair and then I can let them dry overnight. This has been a workable schedule for me and also conveniently schedules me time to just work my craft and appreciate the time I have for that for myself.

Now that I’m thinking of adding new things (making clothes for the dolls as well as miscellaneous items like cell phone dust pins and other asundrey items!) I have to look at what time I have available and work them in. The clothes alone are going to take a bit while I get accustomed to sewing by hand as my machine is broken.

Thankfully some of the item I’m considering are those that I can work on while I watch my favorite shows at the end of my day. When I can multitask like that I truly feel that I’m making the most of my waking hours.

Also thankfully, social media has made it relatively easy to pound said pavement in the ether-web. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Tumblr and especially Pinterest have been wonderful avenues for promoting your brand, as well as the items themselves to your targeted audience. Without them, I’m not sure I would have much success at this venture. Networking on them, in and of itself is something that I should forewarn you can and will be a part-time gig!

Mainly though, I think that the point is you should take something you love and share it with the world. If you are able to make money off of it in the process than that is a wonderful idea! Make a little time for yourself and see what it can do for you.

This Social Network Thing…

When you start to look up ways in which to promote your shop, you’ll find a TON of advice on linking everything to social media and networks such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, InstagramTumblr, etc. Pinterest in particular seems to have the foot hold in being the most useful in marketing your little space in the Etsy universe and is indeed a wonderful tool. I am relatively partial to Instagram for what I’m doing – mainly because since it deals primarily with Monster High Doll Repaints, the format for Instagram reaches more of the age level that would be interested.

That being said, you simply can not run any sort of business in this world without having a social media presence AND staying up with it. I have to wager that currently I spend a couple of hours a day going through various Facebook groups, promoting, cross promoting and doing what I can to get my Etsy views and favorites up so that when those collectors DO want to purchase, my listings are closer to the top of the SEO (search engine optimization) food chain for view. Even large corporations have to have some sort of social media outlet at the ready and steadily paid attention to in order to remain relevant and connected to their target audiences.

Now, I know I have a rather niche shop at the moment – repainted dolls are, after all, still a relatively new phenomena. besides that, they are art dolls, which have their own unique audience. Thankfully, the audiences that I would be trying to reach (either art doll collectors, Monster High collectors both adult and non, or those that appreciate custom ball-jointed dolls) generally are very active on all forms of social media. The doll themselves are wonderful, but I also have been considering ways to expand – like making clothes and/or jewelry for them as well. Those would also give me a range of price points and might help to steer traffic towards the dolls. 🙂

I have also been considering offering other arts that I dabble in, like decoupage bottles with and without floral arrangements. (thought that may become it’s own separate store).

Then there is always the battle with whether to build a separate website to help promote OR upgrade this here WordPress blog to premium.

The hard part, however, is increasing interaction once you have someone on your page(s). Pretty much every single page mention gives priority to those pages in which there is solid and regular interaction. You can have the best tags and SEO placement imaginable, but without traffic and continued involvement, the links will grow stale in this ever-evolving and super-lightning-paced marketing world that we live in. As someone growing a business, I have to not only put time and effort into what I create, and REGULARLY update those items by adding inventory and cycling them through my promotions, BUT I also have to be involved with my shop, my pages, and those of other shop owners. I’m a big proponent of cross promotion and have been loving the Etsy treasury feature to be allow me to do just that. Then with others social media pages I make the attempt at leaving comments, likes and keeping dialogue moving when and where I can. People tend to forget that it flows both ways and you get what you give!

Regardless what my final decision ends up being, I first want to thank each and every one of you who not only follow this blog, but have also liked any and all of my pages. My success is not only based on what I put into it, but also the support of those around me and with social media, even though I might be a niche market, I’m able to expand that beyond my wildest dreams!

Vulnerability…

When you craft something – make anything by hand, regardless the medium; prose, painting, sculpture, jewelry, dolls, stuffed animals, wearable art (like crochet or knitting), even nail art – you are putting a piece of yourself into that item. It came from your imagination and was formed using your hands and heart. People joke all the time that their craft is like their children and when you think about it it’s the same similarity in process – an idea is formed, it grows and develops until it’s materialized and ‘living’.

This is a huge amount of vulnerability to then take those items and put them for the world to see – whether it be in a gallery, getting published or even something as simple as promotion on social media, starting an Etsy store or online webpage. You’re then taking a piece of you and exposing it for the world to form an opinion on, even if that you’ve created is something they disagree with or detest. That takes a metric buttload (yes, it’s a measurement!) of courage.

My dolls are an example of this. I’m taking something that was created to be one way, stripping it down, and re-purposing it for a (hopefully) wider audience. The market for them is indeed niche and I knew that going in. I’m not anticipating a TON of sales but I know others enjoy the work and collect those sorts of pieces and I absolutely LOVE working on them. Even when I’m not 100% convinced I did a wonderful job on one, and I see where I can make improvements or adjust my technique – I get enjoyment out of the process and the relaxation that comes with turning this figure into something different and equally as beautiful. When I decoupage (something I’ll be adding to my shop eventually) its the same.

And believe it or not it’s a TON of work to do these dolls. First there is the process of locating dolls to paint. When you figure that the average doll STARTS at $12.99 retail – that’s a pretty hefty investment to make. I try really hard NOT to get mine retail, but second hand. Then I have to try to find ones that are preferably in tact with all their limbs and tails, etc. Clothing is optional – if I find one nude and in good condition great if it has clothes but not required. Then there’s the few hours it takes to repaint them. Then wash and condition their hair and style it. That’s IF I’m not rerooting them – if I’m rerooting you can add about 4 hours to the whole process to rip out their factory hair and reroot new strands. That is all just for one doll.

So when you see the meme’s and they talk about how when you purchase homemade you’re not funding a corporate CEO’s trip but a child’s dance lesson, or helping to buy a family food – you really are. You’re helping that seller to purchase supplies and/or assist them with their lives. BUT you are also supporting their heart. You are purchasing something of their being and telling them that what they are doing MEANS something to someone else as well. You are telling them that their vulnerability and their courage is worth it and that it is, indeed, valued.

Two New Dolls!

So this weekend I was able to finish up and photograph two new dolls that I was able to upload to my Etsy shop for purchase! This weeks offering happen to be a Ghoulia Yelps that includes a reroot of her hair as well as an Abbey Bomidable with her nails painted using O.P.I. nail lacquer.

As for both, I am quite proud of them! I love Abbeys large eyes and Ghoulia to me is just beautiful.

On both the factory paint was removed and their faces repainted using Prismacolor watercolor pencils and Faber-Castell pastels. Both were sealed using Mr. Super Clear UV Matte spray and glossed with Liquitex Gloss Varnish on their eyes and lips.

For Abbey, she was a pretty straight forward rework. Repainted, hair was washed, conditioned and restyled (though the glitter fibers in her hair did make for an interesting amount of lift!) and I also painted her talons with O.P.I nail laquer in OPI Ink and topped with Seche Vite top coat.

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Abbey Bomidable Repaint

 

For Ghoulia, as I pointed out before, her hair had been cut by a previous owner and she was devoid of her bangs so she was in need of a reroot. For my first go at it I’m quite pleased and wanted to style her hair in a manner that would be simple enough that should her owner wish, it could be restyled with ease. She was rerooted with Dollyhairs nylon doll hair in Blueberry Muffin, Dragonfly and Poison Ivy. I also gave Ghoulia a light body blushing.

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By clicking on the photos it will take you straight to their listings on my shop!

 

More will be coming soon as I plan on starting a new doll this weekend. Thank you again for looking and keeping up with me. As my shop grows, so too will my posts and my adventures in repainting! I also made sure to cross post everywhere and Chrysalis Creation can be found:

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Tumblr

On Pinterest

On DeviantArt

 

 

Posting Whirlwind

So yesterday I decided to get all my ducks in a proverbial row and attempt to get the 8 dolls I now have listed in my Etsy shop cross posted to Pinterest, Tumblr and DeviantArt as well as my Facebook page. Dear gods! Three hours later I had it all done and that was with a lightning quick internet connection! Best yet, I still have odds and ends to post on my Ebay account.

See, I generally sell my dolls nude primarily because I am a so-so seamstress and partly because in my head, my potential clients have an idea about how they want their doll to look and are purchasing my dolls to fulfill that image. Granted, there are some people that just want to buy the whole package and eventually I’ll get to that (time allowance willing!) but for now I think that having the dolls nude makes it easier for a client to really customize how they envision their doll looking. That of course leaves me with the factory provided items sitting around so those I try to resell on eBay for collectors looking to flush out their factory purchased dolls. Win-win if you ask me!

I got my Clawdeen, Cleo and Venus all uploaded to Etsy the other day, and they join the Frankie, Operetta, Abbey and two Lagoona’s I already had posted. Now, all the ladies are in all the areas I can possibly think of and I’m still scouting out more social media platforms in which to post them. If you have suggestions, feel free to bring me in on the loop!

In the meantime, I think I’m going to rest. Who am I kidding? I have a Draculaura whose hair I need to finish and then photoshoot and upload her, and a Ghoulia who is waiting on beautiful new Dollyhair. There is no rest for the wicked after all!

Abbey Bomidable Repaint from Chrysalis Creation. Click the pic to follow the link.