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I love Monica Belluci, she's one of my favorite women. And she's the perfect inspiration when you're needing a little lift in the self-confidence department...
Many women dress to kill when they need a really good night out - the right dress and heels make you feel ten times better. And it's more than skin deep. A pair of heels change your posture, you walk differently. In fact, heels force you to swing those hips a little and strut your stuff. That alone makes you feel sexier.
There are a few little things I've picked up from other amazing women over the years, Monica Belluci in particular. Want to know how to emulate her style and get your own kind of je ne sais quoi?
Form fitting dresses in a flattering fabric, colour and cut: try on everything, you'll be surprised.
Beautiful lingere: particularly a thin bra strap with strapless tops/dresses.
Classic, sexy heels: I do love a trend shoe, but I find a classic peep toe or pump with a decent heel will go the distance and work wonders. This is one area I do spend money on - cheap shoes not only don't last, they inevitably look cheap pretty quickly. Your feet deserve the best.
Smoky eyes & nude lips: As much as I love red lipstick on most women, I always end up going back to lightly smoky eyes and nude lipstick. I find for me, it brings out my eyes better and tones down my biggish lips and has a certain unforced look to it. A small amount of rose blush on the cheek bones gives you a natural flushed look.
RedBubble has teamed up with Demo Stores (UK) once again to host this awesome competition. This time the theme is "Music Machines", in whatever interpretation you have of that term. Finalists are selected by the public and the winners chosen by the Demo crew, to showcase the winning tees in their London storefront (as well as buy up a bunch of stock to sell!)...
Competition is always fierce and there are some amazing designs put forward. I've created a tee in my usual style. I wanted to create a heart (of the anatomical variety) using various musical instruments - and some vintage victorian floral vignettes for good measure. Music notes (vintage sheet music) flows out of the 'valves', and my good old flying records are buzzing around. I loved this vintage holy icon and just had to include it.
I try to always design something that I would actually wear myself - rather than conform to popular styles. This design is very unusual to the styles put forward for these competitions and is more appealing to women than men I should suspect.
If you think it looks pretty darn good then head over to RedBubble and give me a vote, you'll have to sign up if you're not a member already, but it doesn't take long. Besides, you can upload you own artworks and t-shirt designs to sell as well!
Now, for those of you with a design background, you may have heard of a bloke by the name of Stefan Sagmeister. He's teamed up with RB in their next amazing competition Happy.
Don't miss this one if you know what's good for you...
So you want to sell your craft items, art or fashion? There's a big, wide world market out there that you're itching to sell your wares to. But how do you do it?
Progressing on from my last post, I thought I'd share some info I've dug up for those of you in the same position. This advice is based on my own experience and research and will be especially helpful for those small scale sellers... This post will focus on selecting the right online interface, but I'll also take you through all the other aspects involved. Keep in mind that I'm still learning too and I am by no means an expert - but I do spend a ridiculous amount of time on the net researching - which I know many people don't have the chance to do. So here are the pro's and con's of Ebay, Bigcartel, Etsy and Google Checkout:
The internet veteran is still a popular site for many people to sell their wares. No longer just restricted to auction bidding, sellers can create an online storefront and set "Buy It Now" prices to bypass the auction process.
Popularity: Leader Set Up Cost/Fees: Ebay sellers subscribe monthly as well as pay various fees - check out the full details here or here (US). Benefits: Because Ebay is so well known, your store stands a better chance of getting noticed. Lots of options are available to customise your store and the way you sell. Fallbacks: Ebay is open to selling anything, so it's huge. Good tagging, keywords and descriptors will help people find your products, but you have a lot of competition. Plus the costs involved can be a bit tricky. www.ebay.com
Best known as the simple shopping cart for indie stores (music, artists, bands etc). The site is geared towards small time artists with a focus on ease of use and friendly help. Bigcartel allows you to add a storefront to your website rather than redirecting you to a community site.
Popularity: Well Established Dark Horse Set Up Cost: Free to set up (basic 5 product store), pricing plans starting from $9.95 a month. Fees: No listing fee or sale commission. Benefits: Having a store front on your own website allows you to have complete control over what you sell. Priced plans give you more control, stats and up 100 products to sell. It's month-by-month so no contracts to lock you in - upgrade or downgrade to suit your needs. If you sell a lot, the monthly fee can be very cost effective as opposed to listing fees & sales commissions. Fallbacks: You'll have to spend a lot of time/effort generating traffic to your website since you aren't part of a wider community site. Listing fees/Sales commissions work out cheaper if you're not selling much. www.bigcartel.com
Etsy has grown exponentially lately and is a force to be reckoned with. The site is dedicated to handmade items (and genuine vintage pieces). Thanks to a resurgence in custom, handmade goods there are many success stories here. Great community feel and the passion is evident.
Popularity: The popular new kid. Set Up Cost: Free to set up. Fees: 20c listing fee and 3.5% sale commission. More info here. Benefits: Etsy has a beautifully designed interface that many people are familiar with. The site also allows you to customise the banner, icon etc to help build your brand. There is a strong community on here and loads of advice, articles, interviews. Fallbacks: You won't be able to list anything that isn't handmade or genuinely vintage.
Google Checkout is another shopping cart, but doesn't provide an interface you place on your website. There are many providers utilizing Google Checkout to make it easy to use (i.e. FatFreeCart), but if you know a bit of HTML/PHP Google provides resources for you to integrate the checkout into your website.
Popularity: Building momentum. Set Up Cost: Free to set up. Fees: 30c per transaction plus 1.9-2.9% sale commission (tiered structure). Benefits: You can be safe and secure knowing your shopping cart is backed by Google. Plenty of tips, tricks and resources to help you along. Fallbacks: Unless you know how to build your own pages to integrate Google Checkout this option can be difficult. Like BigCartel you'll also need to drive a lot of traffic to your site on your own. If you have time and patience, Google offers links to 3rd party developers, software and other management systems.
Weighing up all my options I'm looking to start a basic BigCartel store as my primary store on my website. I also want to join with Etsy to create a secondary store. Because I have next to no start-up capital, opening stores here (under the free set up option) is cost effective until business picks up.
I'd like to list postcards and designer prints on both sites, and then be able to take pre-orders for fine art/giclee prints and limited edition t-shirts on the main storefront. At the moment that seems like the best direction to go in - let's hope it works and I can start to make a living!
Do you use any of these sites (or something I didn't find)? Tell me what you like/dislike. Need more advice or info? Check out Design*Sponge's Small Biz series
I've been weathering the change of seasons in my life lately. It seems that many people are riding out various storms and there is a sense of change and transition in the air. If I knew anything about astrology I'm sure I'd know there is some planetary alignment that's throwing everyone out of whack... After several days of feeling blue and off colour, watching entire t.v series, sleeping far too much and generally loosing momentum in life, I've finally turned a corner. Now I don't feel as though I'll be piddling time away at the studio, not knowing what to do.
My usual plan of action takes the form of rearranging. I usually shift the furniture around every three months and find it gives me a lift - it's the only holiday I can afford. I'm going to be moving into a bigger room soon, and I'm looking forward to pulling my old queen bed frame out of storage. Albeit I have no money for a mattress, so I'll be scraping together some coins to put towards a cheap foam variety until my prospects improve. I miss the space of a big bed so much! It's the perfect way to reorganise and throw out junk that accumulates.
I'm also pushing forward with my new business venture, which I will be sharing here. I thought it was hard enough deciding what I wanted to do in life, but it's actually the easy part. The tough cookie is having the courage to go ahead and take the risk and look fear right in the face.
As some of you may have gathered, I'm an artist. I'm still having difficulty categorising myself since I use so many different techniques and mediums. I've been wanting to set up my own online store for quite some time now, but the practicalities and finances have been tricky. In the end it's a matter of deciding on one product to start with and building from there. I try to do everything at once sometimes. At this stage I am looking to open a store on Etsy selling prints of my artworks. I'll start with postcards and small prints on recycled paper and move into limited edition giclee prints and maybe some silk screened t-shirts.
It's exciting and scary. On the one hand I feel like I've got a style and product that is commercial viable, but the reality is there are so many incredibly talented people out there that never make it. My dream is to be able to make a comfortable living off my art. I may be pig-headed and delusional jumping in the deep end, and in that sense I'm a regular Gen-Y-want-to-be-at-the-top-now stereotype. I'm terrified I will fail and have to get a 9-5 job or wait tables for the rest of my life. I've realised I am far too much of an artist to ever participate in normal working life.
In the meantime, I'm reading all these inspiring interviews with successful sellers over on Etsy. There is a wealth of information there to motivate and guide you and it's been an absolute god-send for me. I'm off to write up a new budget for myself and a schedule to get things moving. Stay tuned for sneak peeks at the whole process...
Some of the things I'm lusting after are: New shoes - black ballet flats (mine are well past their expiry), and I'm loving both these heels! This maxi dress from Forever21 has caught my eye, I'm not usually one for an empire line, but this one looks flattering. And I love the colours - chic. New sunnies are in order before summer really hits, and some knee-hi socks would come in handy during the change of seasons. Cute little hot pants to wear under mini skirts and short dresses - better looking than undies if you get caught. My black rose ring died not long after purchase - need something more solid! And a statement necklace would be ace too. A jersey dress would be oh-so-comfy this spring/summer. An iPod Nano, so I can listen to more than my short shuffle playlist. I've become strangely addicted to True Blood, god knows why, I've downloaded the first season off iTunes, and pre-ordering Season 2 is looking mighty tempting. One day I hope to find a beautifully worn in vintage leather jacket...
And how much are you loving that first pic?! I discovered Lamixx over on Etsy today and I'm madly in love. I want to buy everything. She has some of the most beautiful, simple shapes and cuts. I'm totally loving the leggings and oversized tee look these days. The way a tee slips off one shoulder is tres sexy in a nonchalant, lounging kinda way.
I read this over on Natalie's blog and thought it was such a brilliant, heart-warming idea... It's so easy to list all the things you don't like about yourself. It's almost encouraged. It actually took me a while to come up with this list. Which is a bit sad! So here are 10 things I like about myself. In a fun, photographic way. Because hey, we all love pictures...
~ 1 ~ I have a pretty wicked sense of humour
~ 2 ~ I'm creative.
~ 3 ~ I'm passionate and expressive.
~ 4 ~ I follow my heart. (Even though it's hard sometimes)
~ 5 ~ I'm thrifty. (Limited funds tend to have that effect)
~ 6 ~ My ever-changing hair. (Giving the hairdresser free reign always ends up amazing)