Posts Tagged 'the tragic whale'

By special request…

Historically, The Tragic Whale has been my creative outlet. And while I’ve entertained suggestions and occasionally taken on special orders, I’m mostly in this for me. I make what I want, when I want. I develop new items that I think are a good idea and at my own pace. And it’s worked out overall. But if I’m going to continue to grow as a business as well as a person, I need to be open to more of a push than just what I can give myself.

I started with a baby step earlier this year when I introduced PUL-lined bags to the shop. People have been asking for them for AGES, and in true-Kerry fashion, I waited until I was fully ready to explore this new and wild material. Why did I wait so long? I have no idea. It hadn’t previously worked into my “bigger picture plans” and didn’t seem like a good way to spend my time. That was 100% WRONG! The snack-size bags I’m making are selling excellent at events, and multiple people have asked to special order a print they loved in person but with the easy-to-clean PUL as a lining instead of cotton.

Another baby step is to buy fabric with the customer in mind. Why? Because they are the people buying things from me! This is a “Duh, Kerry!” moment, I know. A lot of people are asking about bee fabric, so I started scooping up every one I come across. They don’t last long in the shop and sell even faster in person, so instead of buying more bees after I sell out of all my bee bags, I’m actively seeking it out and consciously picking designs that I haven’t see elsewhere. The idea is that 1) I won’t run out and 2) I’ll have especially fun bees to offer.

My last baby step is to make more in prints I already have / self designed. My shark print is pretty popular and people ask for more size options. And I’m over here like, “Well I *had* that in a small and I sold it. So I don’t anymore.” But it’s MY fabric and the whole idea is to buy more when I need it. Why am I waiting to sell out before thinking about the next bag? I made some shark bags last week, and some sheep bags (which is another frequent request)! And I’m currently working on a restocking list for the designs I’m running low on.

What’s next? Well, these baby steps all come together to form a shift in focus for me. I’m planning to add a Made to Order section to the shop within the next year (probably sooner) where people will be able to select bag size, outside fabric, zipper color, and lining. I’ll only offer them in my own prints, because I can restock on fabric when I run low. I still have to work out some details, such as turnaround time and pricing, but it feels like a natural next step and I’m excited about it!

Have any suggestions? Noticed a change in focus in your life recently? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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We’re back on the fair circuit!

I’m super excited to share that I’m back at vending! I kicked it off last Friday at the Space’s Newbury Street First Friday Event, and it was so much fun. I’m definitely going to sign up for future First Fridays with them.

I’ve signed up for the Leominster Marketplace for the season and plan to be there every 2nd Saturday of the month. I also signed up for the Westminster Cracker Festival, which is at the end of October. I’m hoping to add a few more to the list, so if you’re interested you should definitely check out the “Events” page!

New in the Shop: Sugar City!

I’m super excited to announce the launch of Sugar City– a collection made from my very own fabric designs! I’ve been working on this for about a year; playing with my process and deciding my favorite designs so far. My husband got me the Spoonflower Handbook for Christmas last year, and my sister-in-law & her husband got me the Spoonflower Starter Kit for Christmas this year, which also includes a color guide and fabric samples. These resources have been immensely helpful in my journey and I highly recommend them to anyone who has an idea but doesn’t know quite how to start. Thank you, Norm, Jess, and Doug!

I work primarily with paper, scan the images into the computer, and change the background color to match the color guide. I leave the main image untouched (usually) and in some cases you can see the imperfections in the paper. I think it’s really neat!

To celebrate, all Sugar City bags are 20% off this week! Discount applied automatically.

 

(“Gear Art.” I made this with a Spirograph)

(“Dancing Planet” was originally called “Hula Hoopin’ Saturn” but I felt like it didn’t have enough rings.)

(“Judy Meets the Angler” is taken right from my second Tragic Whale Story: Louis’s New Friend)

(“Panda and his Bone” first appeared on the blog in 2011!)

(“Platypus on Purple.” Platypuses are under-represented in pop culture. But so cute!)

(“Buttered Toast” because I like breakfast.)

(“In The Trees.” This was my first attempt at a seamless, repeating pattern.)

Let me know what you think!

New in the Shop: Earrings!

I’ve been making earrings out of fishing lures for years. My favorites are the Acme Phoebe fish because they have a great shape and come in two different sizes. Whenever I spot them on sale, I grab them to make earrings. I put them away in a little tackle organizer and say, “Someday, I’ll add these to the shop.” I haven’t yet because I’ve always wanted my focus to be bags. But since adding coasters two years ago and sweater pins last yes, I thought maybe it was time to give earrings a go.

I specifically ordered stainless steel earring hooks because I want them to be more appealing to more people. My ears are happy with them so I know other people with sensitive ears will be happy with them, too.

I also made stud earrings with wooden cat buttons, at the request of my friend. I have no idea what the posts are made out of, so I only made a few. I have my own pair that I’ve been wearing around to test and they don’t bother my ears. But if I think I’m going to add more to the shop, I will definitely take the time to ensure that the posts I’m using are hypoallergenic.

They can currently be found in the Accessories Section with the sweater pins!

The (Secret) May Promotion

I wanted to do some sort of shop promotion without having to come up with a coupon code and then spam social media for the duration of it. Instead, I sent a mini pouch blind bag along with every order placed in May. You might be thinking, “What kind of a promotion is this?” It’s a Secret Promotion! One in which I didn’t have to feel bad about if I forgot to do it. But I didn’t forget! Everyone got a mini pouch blind bag!

Some Flaws:
– It was a secret! I know it didn’t drive [new] sales and I don’t know if it encouraged shoppers to leave feedback.
– What if repeat buyers from May 2017 now expect a mini pouch with every order?

Some Pros:
– I have no idea! No one mentioned them.

In the past, I’ve had sort-of-annual sales (like the Summer Sale!). It’s definitely fun to have an annual sale because it can give people something to look forward to! But I haven’t done too much shop-related sewing since before Christmas and my inventory is feeling a little stale. It seemed like a great opportunity to try something new. I’m not sure if I’ll continue this promotion but I’m glad I gave it a go.

2015 in Review

“AH HA HA HA HA HA!”- Me, after realizing I haven’t blogged since June. Whoops! My bad.

2015 was a crazy year! I started out working for myself and running my own small business full time. It was incredible! I worked on structuring my days, balancing blog posts with sewing projects, hunting down craft fairs to apply for, and developing and introducing new products. It was a whirlwind of learning and adventure.

Then, over the summer, several very important things happened:

1) I joined the Windsor Farmers’ Market!

2) I got a part time job! Because after 6 months of business-ing it on my own, I realized that if I still wanted to eat I would need an alternate source of income. At first I was like, “Yep. This is what failure tastes like.” But then I was like, “Ooh, caught myself in time. No shame in restructuring my life to continue doing what I love!” (Which, in case you forgot, is sewing and watching Documentaries all day.)

3) I parted ways with a boy who wasn’t right for me.

All these things paved the way for some other things that happened in the Fall:

1) I signed on for the Windsor Winter Market, and participated in Windsor’s Autumn Moon Festival and the Legion’s (/Lisa’s) annual craft fair!

2) I was offered a supervisor position at work!

3) I started dating my person. And my Mom’s, “When you know, you know,” phrase now makes sense.

I sometimes forget that things don’t just magically “work” because I try for them. And that it’s ok for me to reassess people and situations in my life and scale back from them, or let go entirely. I couldn’t float myself on my business last year, but I still more than doubled profits compared to 2014. I’m in a nurturing relationship with a guy who’s equally my partner in crime and my best friend. And while I missed a couple Farmers’ Markets due to scheduling conflicts at work, I’m finding my new balance between my “outside” work responsibilities and my “inside”/working from home responsibilities.

AND my Mom ENCOURAGED me to play with my potatoes on Christmas! “Don’t you want to make some little snowmen or something?” she said.

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(photo credit: Jordan)

Happy and healthy New Year, everyone!

The Spring Sale!

Coupon code: SPRING20

The Tragic Whale is having a spring sale to (hopefully) celebrate the end of this rough and tough winter. I spent way too much money on propane. Boston got a record amount of snow.  Kids and teachers up and down the East Coast are being asked to forfeit part of their April Vacations to make up all the days they missed. WHAT?! Terrible. Just terrible.

So why not

TreatYoSelf

to a new makeup bag? There are almost 3 full pages to choose from!

Prep for those extra school days with a stylish new pencil case? Find the perfect size for your supplies!

Get a mini pouch because they are SUPER CUTE and practical. Perfect for earbuds, loose change, hair things, googly eyes, a small sewing kit, pills, a paperclip collection, tiny sea shells collected at the beach, chap stick and lighters, to hold your keys when you’re jogging. Basically anything!

The sale runs today through Sunday, March 22nd at midnight! Tell your friends!

Coupon code: SPRING20


Hello, I’m Kerry! Maker. Sewist. Fan of all things bright.

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It's Fluff! Curious, master napper, likes to try new veggies.

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