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Maker Resources

5 Things You Need to Know Before Selling Your Designs Online

May 4, 2016

As a creator of original designs or handmade products you’ve tackled the most important part of your business, what to sell. Now you find yourself taking on new questions that may be harder to answer. You’re starting to ask, “Where can I sell my handmade items?” and inevitably “How do I sell my designs online?” We’re happy to answer your first question and encourage you to check out our submission page, but before you click that link, take some time to think about whether your product is ready for retail.

 

Designing the Milkyway Scarf

Ali Bennaim and Ximena Chouza working on their Cat’s Paw Nebula Lightweight Wool Scarf

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: A Scarf Dye Kit That Will Make You Believe in Magic

April 14, 2016

Meet Anuli | UncommonGoods

Product:
Magic Jar Scarf Dye Kit

Research: 
I’m a big fan of tie-dye! I’ve even hosted tie-dye workshops to teach other people how to turn a plain t-shirt into something fun. However, tie-dye is a pretty messy activity to do, especially indoors during the dead of winter which is the context I’m working with at the moment. I’ve been eyeing the Magic Jar Scarf Dye Kit for some time now, so when our assistant  jewelry & accessories buyer, Jackie,  told me we got a new color in (turquoise!) I knew I had to try it.  The scarf comes in a glass jar with the dye powder mixed inside. The only thing to add to it is water. How simple is that?

Hypothesis:
Admittedly, I was skeptical because the directions seemed just too simple. There had to be a catch. All I was asked to do was fill the jar up with room temperature water, close the lid, let it sit for an hour, wash the scarf with detergent and let it dry. Sounded too good to be true. Continue Reading…

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Coloring Books as Art Therapy

January 27, 2016

Meet Anuli | UncommonGoods

Product: Personalized Coloring Book

Research: 

Coloring books are all the rage! A recent article from NYMag.com revealed that five of Amazon’s top 15 best-selling books right now are coloring books. I guess we adults didn’t appreciate our childhoods enough and what were likely our “best years.” How many of us avoided nap time in preschool only to beg our bosses as adults to purchase nap pods for the office? How many of you saw through my not-so-subtle attempt to get my co-workers reading this to inquire about getting nap pods here at UncommonGoods? Anways, back to coloring books. I didn’t spend a lot of time with coloring books as a kid because I much preferred to write my own stories and draw my own scenes, but I figure trying out this personalized coloring book and contemplating ways to get more sleep will help me right the wrongs of my past. Or, at the very least, it will give me something relaxing to do as I binge-watch,  Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on Netflix.

Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun

Hypothesis: 

Based on my previous experience with coloring books, I may color outside of the lines. Hey, such is life.

Experiment: 

The great thing about this kind of experiment is that the directions are straight-forward: you pick a page and then you color it. Before I opened the coloring book I just assumed that the “personalized” part meant that you can order the book personalized with your name on the cover, but turns out most of the pages feature drawings with your name hidden in them.

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The Uncommon Life

Creative Gift Wrapping Tips to Get You Excited to Give This Holiday Season

December 10, 2015

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Giving gifts can feel great, but wrapping them? Not so much. Finding the perfect box and wrapping paper to fit your present are often the beginning of a tiresome process that often intimidates even the most thoughtful of gift-givers. We get it, more often than not,  it is simpler to just throw the gift in a bag with some tissue paper and call it a day. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Wrapping gifts can feel just as great as giving gifts if you’re armed with the right supplies, tips, and attitude.

We’ve put together some creative and easy-to-follow tips for gift wrapping that will make even the least seasoned gift wrapper excited to pull out the paper and bows.

Basic Tools of the Trade

It’s ideal to have the following supplies on-hand while gift-wrapping:

  • Wrapping paper (depending on the size of the gift you can also use newspaper or another fun alternative)
  • Straight-edge ruler
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape (you can use decorative tape or Washi Tape if you don’t have any double-sided tape)

 Tips for Wrapping Gorgeous Gifts

Gift Wrapping Tips

  1. Use a straight-edge ruler to measure the dimensions of your gift box. It’s okay if your measurement are a little off. You’re still learning. It’s better to have a little too much paper than not enough because you can always cut off the excess if you need to.
  2. Make sure you cut your gift wrap so that you have double the width of wrapping as the width of your box.
  3. Cut along the edge of the ruler to keep your lines straight.
  4. Make sure you have just enough paper left on each end to go up the height of the box.
  5. Use double-sided tape to avoid unsightly tape lines. Place the tape right along the crease at the edge of the package. If you don’t have double-sided tape, you can use Washi tape, so the visible tape lines get a fun touch of design too.
  6. Smooth out the edges by pressing along the creases after closing the wrapping with your tape.

Now that your gift is wrapped, you can add some special touches to personalize your gift even more:

Origami Ornaments

We re-used pages from our 2015 holiday catalog to create these cute origami gift ornaments. For the origami heart in the video below get the folding instructions here, for other fun origami projects check out this site.

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Gift Tags

Print our free gift tags here: http://www.uncommongoods.com/fun/free-downloads/free-downloads

  • Bonus tip: Use a decorative hole-punch to add extra pizzazz to your present.

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Twine

Measure your twine so it is approximately six times the width of your gift box. Wrap the twine around the top of the package, cross it at the bottom of the package and then wrap it back around to the front to create the shape of a plus sign. Insert your gift tag or other origami ornament over the twine before tying it in a bow or a knot.

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We hope these tips help make your holiday preparation a little easier, and add a little extra twinkle to your giftees’ eyes before they rip open their perfect presents. Happy holidays–and happy wrapping!

Maker Resources

Jewelry Designer Jacqueline Stone Talks Design Inspiration and Tackling To-do Lists

December 9, 2015

We caught up with JCK Design Ambassador Jacqueline Stone to learn why she believes it is important to support other designers. Jacqueline is one of several members on the JCK Events team made up of industry insiders that have come together to ensure that each JCK event is flawlessly executed. She is also the lead designer and founder of Brooklyn-based fine jewelry company, Salt + Stone, so we tapped her to share her perspective as a designer with us. In part two of our interview, Jacqueline talks about where her design inspiration comes from and her secret to tackling a never-ending to-do list.

Missed the first part of our interview? Check it out here.

saltandstoneig_Fotor_Collage

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Design

Jewelry Designer Jacqueline Stone on Designing for the Millennial Audience and the Unique Challenges of Emerging Designers

December 9, 2015

Our decision to partner with JCK on the first-ever “UncommonGoods Design Challenge” for JCK Tucson was driven by our passion for supporting emerging jewelry designers. Also new to the larger JCK Events team is the appointment of Design Ambassador Jacqueline Stone. Jacqueline is one of several members on the JCK Events team made up of industry insiders that have come together to ensure that each JCK event is flawlessly executed. She is also the lead designer and founder of Brooklyn-based fine jewelry company, Salt + Stone.  As soon as we learned about Jacqueline’s new role on the JCK Events team and her diverse background in the jewelry industry we were eager to chat with her to get a designer’s perspective on the event.  In part one of this two-part interview series, Jacqueline talks about what it means to be the JCK Event team’s first Design Ambassador and why jewelers should operate with positive energy instead of fear.

Learn more about the “UncommonGoods Design Challenge” at JCK Tucson here.

saltandstone

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Design

How We’re Supporting Emerging Jewelry Designers at JCK Tucson

December 8, 2015

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We are only as successful as the artists and designers we work with. Their unique creations are what keep our lights on and the reason our customers visit our website and read our catalogs.  Our passion for identifying the very best designs to add to our assortment of uncommon goods is why we’ve decided to partner with jewelry industry authority JCK on the first-ever “UncommonGoods Design Challenge” for JCK Tucson. JCK Tucson is an event catered to jewelry industry professionals that displays one-of-a-kind collections of finished jewelry and loose gemstones. The event takes place February 2-7 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson, AZ.

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Maker Resources

How Our Makers Prepare for the Holidays

November 23, 2015

As purveyors of cool and unusual gifts for any occasion it is no surprise that the holiday season is UncommonGoods’ busiest time of the year. But, we’re not alone. Research firm eMarketer predicts holiday sales to grow 5.7% this year which will be the biggest jump in sales since 2011. This estimated jump in sales means that online retailers like us have to work even harder this year to make sure we are prepared for the influx of business the season will bring. A busy season for us also means a busy season for the artists and designers we work with. We talked to two of our makers to learn how they prepare their businesses for the holidays and deal with holiday stress.

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 Jill Henrietta Davis in her studio with units of her Birthstone Wishing Balls ready to send out this holiday season.

 

Jill Henrietta Davis, Owner & Designer, Henrietta Glass

In both business and life generally, I try to avoid stress by being prepared well in advance of deadlines. We were delighted to start making the Wishing Balls for our holiday purchase order (PO) in July, so that we’d be done early and have plenty time to fulfill additional orders. I deal with stress by making lists, counting things, and playing in whatever supplies might prove helpful in dealing with whatever’s causing the stress. The fourth quarter is a real love/hate time for us in the studio. The increased volume of sales is exciting and great for the ego, but when a new design turns out to be more successful than I could have even imagined and is selling faster than we can make them then the stress gets pretty intense.

We have tally-boards in the shop so everyone can see exactly where we are and what most needs to be done. You get to put a star down when a category is completed. It sounds silly, but that star feels just as good as an adult as it did as a little kid getting back a good paper at school.

I also makes lists…every day and sometimes more than one. My lists alleviate stress by reducing the worry that I’ll forget something, by making concrete the many things that need to be done and by providing tangible proof of progress.  I hardly ever “finish” a list because I typically transfer the last few things to a new list. Every time I cross something off I enjoy the illusion that it is possible to finish the list and that all these tasks are completely manageable.

One last funny thing: Being an uber-recycler, I make many of my lists on the backs of envelopes. Being a little superstitious, I choose envelopes that held checks, or good news, or came from people I like. Probably doesn’t matter, but hey, it can’t hurt!

 

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Mary Kearns last year with the first round of holiday season shipping boxes ready to send off to UncommonGoods.

Mary Kearns, President & Founder, Herban Lifestyle, LLC 

Like many makers, the holiday season is by far my busiest time of year, a concentrated few weeks filled with deadlines for making products, vending at craft shows and fulfilling orders. As you know, making this all work smoothly can be incredibly fun but also incredibly stressful!

There are some things I’ve found help me get through those intense few weeks:

  1. I make sure that I have extra help available.
  2. I delegate as much as I can at home and at work.
  3. I try to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep each night so that my head is clear and I have the energy to plow through each day.
  4. I meditate regularly – just 5 to 20 minutes five days a week, but it’s enough to keep things in perspective for me.
  5. I try to get in some form of relaxing exercise a couple of days a week, like yoga or hiking.
  6. I try to carve out some time for fun and relaxation each week with friends and family, to take my mind off of the endless to-do lists running through my mind; and finally,
  7. Every year from December 25 to January 2, I take time off to spend with my family. Knowing that I will have that uninterrupted time to relax, unwind, and have fun keeps me going through the most intense days leading up to that time!

 

We want to hear from you! What are some things you do to combat holiday stress?

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