Etsy 101 Class at Workshop SF 6/24

On Thursday, 6/24 I will be teaching an Introduction to Etsy workshop from 7-10pm at Workshop SF (corner of Baker and McAllister).  I’ll cover everything you need to know to be a success on Etsy, as well as lots of general business and branding tips.  This is a pretty hands-on and interactive class, where we’ll address issues specific to your business, not a big, boring lecture.  If you’re considering testing out the waters of entrepreneurship on Etsy, this is a great little class to start with.  April’s class was a huge success and sold out completely, so if you’d like to attend, I recommend signing up early.  As of this post, there were only five spots left!

CCE on Kickstarter!

Hey Folks!  Remember how I told you all about Kickstarter a few weeks ago?  Well, I drank my own Kool-Aid and put up a project to help fund the CCE!  It took a lot of work, including 12 hours just on the video portion, but it was well worth it.  Even if we don’t get funded all the way I’ll still be proud of this proposal.  It’s the first video I’ve ever shot and edited, and though the sound isn’t great (all the footage was shot in crowded and windy outdoor spaces), I thought I handled the background music pretty well. Please go watch it and tell me what you think!  Oh, and if you were to help support our little conference with a tiny donation, I will love you forever.

Do you have any tips or stories to share about a grant, loan application, or other funding proposal you put together?  Please share them in the comments!

Conference for Creative Entrepreneurs

I am excited to announce the launch of the 1st annual West Coast Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs!  CCE is the first of its kind, bringing together all kinds of independent creative entrepreneurs.  Artists, designers, crafters, and others will convene to share, learn, create and make history together!  It is also one of the big reasons I have been AWOL lately.  Look at the pretty web site I made for it!

The Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs is three days of seminars, interactive discussions and hands-on workshops. I will be moderating two panel discussions while I’m there: “Taking it to the Next Level” with Andrea Porter and Jenny Hart, and “Valuing Your Work and Getting Paid for it” with Becky Stern, Leanne Winslow and Lisa Congdon.  I will also be helping to run the “unconference” portion of the weekend with Laura Henry, in which people will have a chance to form their own sessions about absolutely any topic they want to!

More generally, the CCE is a special community event that will allow you to:

Learn It.
Gain the skills to start or expand a creative business. CCE will cover everything from making your business more sustainable, vending at your first trade show or participating in guerrilla marketing. Every successful career started out by learning through trial and error. You will have the unique opportunity to learn from veteran professionals in the creative industries. CCE will feature a line up of notable speakers including Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching, Faythe Lavine, director of Handmade Nation, and Marci Rae McDade, editor or FiberArts Magazine. Makers from all walks of life will share the essentials to grow your passion into a sustainable career.

Make It.
Creative Entrepreneurs live to MAKE. Whether it is the craft of digital design, or traditional woodworking, we love to make something on our own. At CCE you can build a toolkit to improve your blog or web store, turn wool in to felt fabric, digitally photograph your work like a pro and embroider your first pillowcase! Experts will share their craft with you through demonstrations, hands-on activities and workshops.

Live It.
At CCE, we will have fun and share with each other. We hope ALL our participants will continue to grow the CCE spirit in their own communities (both on and offline). We have a strong contingent of creative professionals on the West Coast, and we must continue to build resources, collaborations and institutions to ensure future generations value independent creative commerce. CCE is a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit and a place for you to grow your professional goals. Come live the creative life with us!

The 2010 conference will be held in beautiful Seattle, Washington from August 13th-15th.  Early bird tickets are already open through the site.  There are only 300 spots available for this conference and people are already beginning to snap them up so don’t wait to register is you’d like to attend.

Thing-A-Day: Oscar Night!

I’ve always wanted to have an Oscar Party.  The visuals are so dazzling on Oscar night — from the incredible gowns to the elaborate dance numbers — that it makes for the perfect party theme.  So this year I’m taking the leap and actually doing it.  I’m REALLY excited!

My time is very limited these days, so I’m focusing just on games and food.  To start with, I’ve created twelve bingo cards for red carpet time, because we all know that’s when the show really begins.  If you want to use these on Oscar night, click this link to download the pdf.  I’ve designed them to be reusable year after year, so if you have an annual Oscar bash, you could laminate these and use them with dry-erase markers.  You could even play several rounds this way.

Before the awards, guests can fill out an Oscar scorecard to guess who/what will win in each category.  I found a good one over at Rotten Tomatoes.  At the end of the night, the best guesser wins!  For the awards themselves, I’ve downloaded Jessica Jones’ Oscar Bingo cards from her blog How About Orange.  I’m using cheesy $1 DVDs as prizes.

To keep everyone’s bellies happy during five hours in front of the TV, I’ve put together a no-cook Oscar food and drink menu based on all ten nominated films:

  • Avatar: “Unobtanium” (Blue Tropicale cocktail)
  • The Blind Side: Superbowl veggie dip (decorated to look like a football)
  • District 9: Popcorn “Prawns”
  • An Education: Apples for the teacher (kinda lame, but it gets fruit in there)
  • The Hurt Locker: Stealth Bomber cocktail
  • Inglourious Basterds: Nazi pigs in a blanket
  • Precious: Harlem cocktails
  • A Serious Man: Bar Mitzvah bagel chips with cream cheese and lox
  • Up: Kevin’s bird food (assorted chocolates)
  • Up in the Air: Airline Snack Pack (cheese, crackers, raisins and nuts)

I tried to keep the menu as simple and varied as possible, so I can get everything ready in under an hour, and no one would feel sick if they wanted to sample everything.  If you’re low on ideas for your own Oscar party, feel free to use any of these.

Enjoy the Awards, everyone!

News Update Announcement Sharings

You may have also noticed a conspicuous lack of business-y articles on here lately — but NOT because I haven’t been writing them.  On the contrary, I have been working super hard on some of my best articles ever, as the newest Biz Lady contributor to design*sponge!  My first Biz Lady article, all about accepting credit cards, runs Tuesday (2/16).  Another big article all about pricing will run the week of the 22nd.  I’m honored to join the team.  The Biz Ladies put together some of the clearest and most thorough small business articles on the web. If you haven’t visited the Biz Ladies yet, make sure to check it out.

Also happening tomorrow is the New People Artist’s Village in San Francisco’s Japantown.  If you love Japanese pop culture (or have a Valentine who does), you’ll love this event.  I’ll be there peddling some of my latest designs along with ten other super talented artists and one VERY delicious cupcake baker.  This show is a collaboration between New People and Bazaar Bizarre SF, so you know it will be good.  New People is at 1746 Post St. The show runs from 12-8pm.

And finally, I’m excited to announce that Gryphon the Yoka is just about ready to begin his journey with the DKE touring exhibition!  His first stop will be at the Black Maria Gallery in Los Angeles.  To see the show containing literally hundreds of customized Yoka toys, visit the exhibition from February 18th-23rd.  The opening reception is Thursday, February 18, 7:00 - 10:30pm.  Black Maria is located at 3137 Glendale Blvd. (in Glendale, obvs.).  If you haven’t been there before, Black Maria is a really great gallery.  The space is perfect for these kinds of shows and they carry other designer toys (including Sweet Meats!) at the gallery shop next door.

I think Gryph is pretty neat.  His legs, “arms” and head all move in their sockets and his wings are totally bendable.  That means you can shape him into literally millions of different poses!

If you want to make Gryphon your own, he will be available for purchase at the show.  You will receive him when the exhibition finishes touring this spring.

Bazaar Bizarre Maker Faire Applications Now Open!

Time to apply for the Bazaar Bizarre Maker Faire 2010!  Now accepting applications through March 16th 2010.

Maker Faire is a two-day, family-friendly event that celebrates the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. It’s for creative, resourceful people of all ages and backgrounds who like to tinker and love to make things. From a vendor standpoint, this fair is AMAZING.  I make more sales at the Maker Faire than at any other fair ever.  Period.  Also, on load-in day there’s free dinner and a chance to visit everything and meet everyone without the huge crowds.  This is a huge bonus because the exhibits (and rides!) at the Maker Faire are hands-down the coolest you’ll ever see.  Of course, this also makes getting a booth at the Baz Biz Maker Faire extremely competitive, so bring your A-game to this application, folks!

Plush 101 Class!

Do you live in the Bay Area?  Would you like to learn how to design and make your own plush toys?  You’re in luck, because I’m teaching an Intro to Plush class on Monday night at Workshop SF!  Just in time for Valentine’s Day, learn how to make a unique gift for your sweetie.  Hey, it’s how the Uglydolls got started….

Update: this class just got moved to the week of the 2/15.  More details when I have them….

New Show Added to Bazaar Bizarre SF Line Up!

This one’s got a really quick turnaround, so be sure to act quickly if you want to participate.  I for one am thrilled to have the chance to beef up my mid-winter income, which is typically kind of a slow season for me.

Here’s the info:

Bazaar Bizarre San Francisco and Maker Faire

Artist Village Volume 2: Valentine’s Day

Saturday February 13, 2010 from 12pm-8pm

Vendor Applications Now Being Accepted

Continuing our new collaborative series, NEW PEOPLE and BAZAAR BIZARRE SAN FRANCISCO will create another all-day, all-floor vertical art village to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
Did you know in Japan, it is only the women who give presents to men on Valentine’s Day?  Traditionally chocolates are given to loved ones, friends and colleagues. Whether you’ll celebrate the Eastern or Western tradition…you should come Explore Japanese Pop Culture, cutting edge art, film and gifts at NEW PEOPLE!  Buy a fresh bouquet of flowers, Sample FREE locally made chocolates, groove along with our Local DJ, pop into the FREE photo sticker booth, pick out Handmade Gifts from Bazaar Bizarre artists and stop at the Complimentary gift wrap station to send it off in style!

NEW PEOPLE is a 20,000 square foot, striking, contemporary building located at 1746 Post Street in the heart of San Francisco’s Japantown (one of only three remaining in the country). The project represents a $15 million investment by Shogakukan, one of the largest publishers of Japan. NEW PEOPLE will become a destination in itself and a source of stimulation for both San Francisco locals and tourists, bringing a new cultural energy to an area filled with history. With three stories above and a basement below, NEW PEOPLE will share Japanese cinema, retail and art, all under one roof!  More Information About NEW PEOPLE Here

1746 Post St,
San Francisco, CA 94115

[email protected]

Mitch is Here!!!!!

After six months of hard work and nail-biting, Mitch has finally been released to the public! (Photos and press release below)

Albino Pink Mitch Plush by Neon Monster
It’s me! First you saw me in 2D on your screen, then you saw me in giant-sized high-density foam, and now here I am in 100% recycled fleece plush. Here’s some nice stuff people have been saying:

On January 25th, Neon Monster will unleash Mitch in 100% recycled fleece plush.Mitch is a depressive aesthete dreamed up by co-founders Isaac and Jacob Pritzker. “He’s a tough cyclops with a soft side,” said Isaac. “We made him out of plush so people can bask in his gruff hugability at a price point easy on the wallet and from materials easy on the planet.”

Grey Mitch and Pink Mitch by Neon Monster

Supporting the San Francisco art scene is a priority for Neon Monster, who tapped the talents of local artists, Reuben Rude and Lauren Venell to bring Mitch to life. In addition to exhibiting his own art, Reuben has worked as a product designer for STRANGEco and a colorist on over 100 issues of Savage Dragon and early Spawncomics. “Reuben has been a remarkable asset in the production of the visual aspects of the Neon Monster brand. His combined experience in the designer art and illustration community has made him a wonderful resource for our company,” said Jacob. Neon Monster also worked closely with Lauren to develop the three-dimensional pattern and plush prototype from Reuben’s design. Lauren is the founder of, whose humorous hambone plushes can be seen in shops around the world. She is recognized for combining a unique knowledge of product development with a highly skilled ability to sew and create complex patterns. Co-founder Kristy Klinck referred to working with Reuben and Lauren as “the perfect collaboration,” saying: “Bringing Mitch to life has been an incredibly rewarding experience. Everyone involved in the process has really worked hard to give Mitch a unique personality.

Grey Mitch Plush by Neon Monster

Mitch is a giant misfit, rather anachronistic in his taste, and with a tendency to slide into psychotic episodes. His full story, and those of his fellow characters, will be progressively revealed on Neon Monster’s dedicated microsite, The Bestiary. TheMitch toy measures 14 inches when standing and can sit due to his bean-bag bottom. He is available in two limited edition colorways: albino-pink and grey. The plush is made of 100% recycled fleece and meets environmental and kids’ safety standards. Each plush comes packed in a signature kaiju-style reusable plastic bag. For further details and ordering information, please see: Mitch is now available here, and Albino-pink mitch is available here.

Shop Local, Bay Area

Whenever money is tight, the same dilemma comes up: shop at a discounted big box to save money, or shop from small businesses to stimulate the local economy?  Most people would rather do the latter, but we simply don’t have the cash this year.  Luckily, there is a solution.  Ever the creative problem-solvers, many Bay Area businesses are participating in programs that give serious discounts (usually 15% and up) to local shoppers.

If you live in San Francisco, you can take advantage of Only In San Francisco’s ShopSF program.  Just show your driver’s license or other ZIP code-bearing ID and you’ll get great deals at their participating merchants.  Some of my favorite stores are on that list, like Urban Fauna Studio and Candystore Collective. Want to add your business?  Sign up here.

If you live in the East Bay, wear plaid this Friday to show your support for local businesses on Plaid Friday.  Their participating businesses include a lot of artists, including Ezme Designs, which makes beautiful ceramics, and TWO art subscription services — The Present Group and Art in a Box.  If you are an East Bay business, there is still time to participate.  Visit this page for details.