Thursday, November 5, 2009

Feature Friday - Notebooks Etc.

I am starting a new section here in my blog and I'm calling it "Feature Fridays." This new section, which will feature some of my favorite handmade shops, hopes to inspire you with stories, dreams and even creative spaces of some of the most promising and talented artists on the block.

Today, I have the privilege to introduce to you Notebooks Etc.. Don't be fooled by its name - this is definitely NOT your ordinary notebook and office supplies store. This is a shop where you find high quality paper products with uber cute illustrations by its wonderfully skilled artist, Reg Silva, and at wonderfully affordable prices too!

I just LOVE this little Daydreamers' To Do List memo pad! It's simple, cute, useful, and clever! Now, why didn't I think of that?? :-P

Without further ado, here's my interview with the lovely seller, Reg:

1) Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a freelance illustrator / graphic designer and I've been doing the freelance thing for over a year now. Prior to that, I was a motion graphics artist for a TV network in the Philippines for but after three years, I got burned out and resigned to explore and pursue illustration.

2) You are very creative. How did you discover your talent as an artist?

Thank you! It has always been in me, I guess. I've been drawing since I was a kid, even on my bedroom walls (which made my mom mad). I slacked off in school because instead of listening to the teacher, I'd be drawing on the margins of my books. I also joined a few art contests when I was young, some of which I won. But I really found my passion for art when I discovered and taught myself Adobe Photoshop and HTML/web design in high school. Tinkering with Photoshop to make graphics for my webpages paved the way for a Multimedia Arts degree in DLS-College of St. Benilde for college where I further enhanced my skills and learned animation, video editing, CD authoring, etc. My first love has always been drawing and design, though.

3) Who or what is your inspiration to start this business?

I was working a fulltime job at the TV network and I knew I wanted out. I didn't have a fallback plan or another job to transfer to but I just really needed to get out of that dead end job. I came across Etsy by accident a month before I resigned and I immediately thought Etsy was something I can do on the side for both fun and profit. I saw the things that were being sold on the site and I said, "I can do that."

4) Are you running this business full-time?

No... or not yet? My main thing is freelance design / illustration. Clients find my work on my website or Flickr account and they hire me for their design needs. My Etsy shop is just a sideline; it's great for when freelance projects are down to a trickle which is the case sometimes. When a client job comes in though, I practically set aside my shop and focus on the project. I do hope to allot more time to my shop in 2010, though! I think I'd like to have it be my main thing and maybe I'll just do freelance client work when I feel like it.

5) How do you find inspiration for your designs?

This is always a hard question to answer. Sometimes I just sit at the computer and an idea will form out of nowhere or I'll doodle without thinking on my sketchpad and out comes a potential illustration. Other times, I will need to scrounge around the Internet for inspiration via various design/illustration sites I frequent. Sometimes I think of a funny phrase or a quote and I'll work an illustration around that.

6) Was there any major obstacle/ difficulty in starting and running this business? How did you overcome it?

My initial problem was knowing what to focus on. When I first came across Etsy, I had 632,582 ideas running through my head on what I could make and sell. I sort of hoarded supplies and tried my hand at various things-- claying, cut paper art, soapmaking, selling supplies, rubber stamp carving, etc. My place was a mess and I kept jumping from one thing to another as soon as the novelty wore off. I had crafting ADD. I wasn't really getting anything done. It took me a year before I thought of and finally decided on the one thing I truly loved the most: notebooks and other paper goods. Once I decided on that, I closed down my first Etsy shop (which had no direction/identity), bought the supplies and materials I needed, and opened my current shop. Having a shop direction helps in deciding which products will work and which won't on my shop.

7) How do you go about promoting your stuff?

I don't do paid advertisements at the moment. I just post some of my items on my Flickr and Twitter and I've had some sales from those sites. It also helps that I have my own blog/website as I get visitors to my Etsy shop coming from my domain. But I haven't paid for any advertising-- yet. I told myself not to avail of paid advertising this year as I want to see how far I can go without it. Right now, with no paid advertising whatsoever, I've had 99 sales in a span of 9 months which I think is pretty good considering I don't devote as much time as I should to my shop. I plan to advertise on Craftcult next year though; I've heard good things about that.

8) Name 3 of your most favorite things in your own shop

#1 My Under the Sea print, which I just listed. I have this displayed in my studio and it's so cheery and happy.
#2 The Daydreamer's To Do List because I like daydreaming and making lists.
#3 My Cupcake Bears stickers. They're so freaking cute, in both my biased and unbiased opinion.

9) Most favorite things in other handmade shops

#1 Dear Miss Puss print by MarmeeCraft
#2 Hello I Love You print by Juliapott
#3 And because I have a major sweet tooth, Chocolate Covered Caramels by FatDaddySweets . Too bad I'm overseas so they can't ship to me.

10) What advice would you give to fellow artists and home-based craft businesses?

I encounter a lot of people wanting to do something similar and set up shop on Etsy or give up their day jobs to pursue what they really want to do... Yet they don't do it because they're too busy asking too many questions and entertaining uncertainty. They think it's too hard or it's such a chore to set things up. Well let me tell you-- the hardest part of getting started is ACTUALLY GETTING STARTED. Once you plunge right in, the hard work is done for the most part.

11) How do you envision yourself to be in 10 or 20 years?

I'd hopefully be married with kids then and still doing what I'm doing. I'd love that.


Last but not the least, here's a sneak peak at Reg's creative studio:

So neat and tidy... don't we all wish we have workspaces like that?! :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Little Pirate Princess

Missy Posh wanted to be a princess (as usual) this Halloween, but I wanted to dress her up in a darker, scarier costume. Besides, it's Halloween... not her birthday. Know what I mean? So we searched the stores looking for a compromise... and ended up with a black and pink pirate girl dress.

Here's how it turned out... hmm... I guess she wasn't even a tiny bit scary at all...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Bought Some Beauty Products Today

Oops... after telling the world how I don't buy expensive beauty products, I found myself buying some from the Body Shop today. Actually, they are not that expensive... but they aren't exactly cheap either. Just needed to treat myself because I just turned 30 (arrgh, that number!) and I get to enjoy a good discount with my membership card. I got a nice freebie too... :)

Hope they keep their promises! LOL :P

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Okay I Admit, I'm a Craft Junkie

I'm a self-confessed craft junkie. And the Internet is part to blame. It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to focus and master a particular craft simply because there's a lot of information available on the Internet. There is a vast array of crafts that I want to try for both personal and business purpose. Free tutorials as well as those for sale have occupied my computer and my browser bookmarks... I have even accumulated so much supplies that I now need a dedicated room for my crafts!

Speaking of craft supplies, here's another batch of super cute stuff that I had just claimed at the post office. I ordered them from Etsy. Not sure yet what to do with them, heehee... I just love seeing and touching them. If only my creative juices had started kicking in a lot sooner and my lazy bones didn't give in to temptation... I probably wouldn't be here blogging about how obsessed I am with crafts.

How do you know which craft is for you? Please do let me know if you encountered some kind of a test. I'm getting kinda overwhelmed... :S

Lots of love,

P.S. Hope I'm not alone with this "sickness"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good to Try Recipe - Alaskan Temptation

Just want to share this yummy recipe by Nestle, which I tried last night. I used two cans of Century tuna chunks. My little girl had fun helping me prepare it and my husband adored it! :)

Alaskan Temptation Recipe

Shared via AddThis

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How I Organized Our Study Area

It’s time for the monthly round-ups again over at Organizing Junkie. This time, the challenge is to clean up a shelf or surface. I knew I wanted to join because I’ve been obsessing about the messy shelves and floor in our home office, a.k.a. study room. I also wanted to create a clean place where my 3 year old daughter could study or learn to read without much distraction.

The problem is, most of the stuff that have been lying around in this room belongs to my dear husband (DH). You see, DH used to operate an ink/toner refill business right in our home (It was a home based business before it transferred to a “more professional” space in Gilmore Avenue, Quezon City). He is also engaged in customized computer assembly for clients. That's why several ink/toner cartridges and computer parts have accumulated and formed part of our little study room. I couldn’t just throw them out (believe that would cost a loooooooooong argument afterwards). Several appliances for repair were also left in this corner.

Given that my husband is a very busy man and couldn’t find time to sort things out in one go, I knew I had to be very, very patient and determined if I want to achieve my goals for this project.

First thing I did was to empty and clean the shelves with soapy water and sponge. I couldn’t believe how much grime have settled on the shelves considering we have a household help who cleans up everyday.

Next, I sorted which ones will go and which ones to keep. This took around 2 weeks, since I had to ask permission from DH if something was ok to throw away. I had to do this by BATCH. Those that we were keeping, I placed inside the cabinets, behind closed doors (since they were all so ugly looking!! hehe). Turns out the cabinets were half empty… we have not been fully utilizing our cabinets! Leaving things on the shelves/ tables/ floor was just too convenient!

I decided I wanted my kids’ books on the right side of the shelf. I arranged the books by height to make it visually attractive. My books then went to the left side of the shelf. I put mine in big containers (which were ON SALE when I bought them), because I wanted to organize them by subject, for easier retrieval.

I sent the appliances for repair (took a week to complete) and was able to free up some major floor space. I then transferred my girl’s table and chair from another room. I found some really, really cheap plastic stackable containers and placed some of her pens, coloring books and frequently used study materials in them. As you can see, the containers actually fit under the table (a bonus!!).

Just my thoughts… I'm really happy how this project turned out. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to decorate and organize our own home. This is one of my passions. Sometimes it gets crazy and overwhelming… but anything can be achieved with focus, resourcefulness and perseverance. We do have a tight budget, but I strongly believe there is a way in everything. It really doesn’t cost that much to make our homes lovelier and more enjoyable to live in. After all, our home doesn’t have to look magazine worthy... we do have the right to set our own standards.

Thanks for reading!

Lots of love,