• Posts Tagged ‘art’

    Five Steps to Setting Up Your Online Business

    by  • September 10, 2013 • Tagged: , , ,  • Comments

    There are several online services that allow you to sell products, whether those products are hand-crafted wares, antiques, or even baked goods. Of course, getting your online business up and running can be a little daunting, depending on how complex or competitive your industry may be. These five steps can help you achieve a no-sweat startup for your new business.

    Shop Around

    The first step, naturally, is to get a sense of what’s already out there. You’ll really want to look for the exact products that you plan to sell. This is the best means of determining not only what your target prices should be, but also how to distinguish your business from the competition. It may also be a good starting point for ideas; for example, if you weren’t initially planning on highlighting your customer response, you may find an aesthetically pleasing way of having your customers share their reviews and photos of your product.

    Partition Shipping Costs

    Customers are obsessed with shipping costs. Even if an item is relatively cheap, a heft shipping charge will stop most consumers in their tracks. A good way around this is something called “price partitioning,” which calls for you to divide the shipping costs between the listed item and shipping costs. So, if you want to charge $20 for that poster sized print, and shipping would cost six dollars, you may want to list the item as a $26 print with free shipping. If figuring out shipping costs to begin with is your hang-up, consider directing your business’s finances through PayPal. They have a useful online service to help you figure out PayPal shipping rates.

    Take Good Photos

    Because your customers will be unable to physically examine your products, the pictures that you use to display them are of utmost importance. Take the highest quality images possible, and, when possible, photograph your items in natural light. It’s also encouraged that you take pictures of your products from multiple angles. Close-ups are also useful for giving your prospective customers a sense of your item’s finer details.

    Promote Yourself

    Though it’s easy to assume that customers will stumble across your store themselves, this is not likely to happen when you’re just starting up. Take advantage of social media to promote your store and encourage your friends to share it. This is a good way to get you some early customers, and, by extension, product reviews. If you’re using a community-based site for your business, consider contacting other shop-owners and offering to promote their products on yours. Chances are that they’ll offer to do the same in return, resulting in an arrangement that’s mutually beneficial.

    Provide Excellent Service

    You want your customers happy, and the best way of achieving that is to go above and beyond the call of duty. Be prompt about shipping and notify them when products have shipped. If they have questions, respond to those quickly, too, and try your hardest to fulfill any special requests they may have. If you follow this advice, you should have a large and dedicated customer base in no time.

    Barcode Branding

    by  • July 6, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    There’s something about slick branding that makes me wish I majored in advertising instead of science. I can’t get enough of the cool Apple or Target ads that have been showing as of late.

    Design Barcode is a design firm in Japan that combines, well, design and barcodes. I loved the samples of their work, along with a cool Quicktime video of their stuff.

    Sure makes shopping that much more fun.

    (via Digg)

    Create Your Own Wedding Monogram On A Budget

    by  • May 23, 2006 • Tagged: , , ,  • Comments

    It’s easy and inexpensive to brand your wedding with a classy wedding monogram. You can purchase a ready-made design for $50 at Bliss Wedding Market, or you can pocket the cash and design your own. If you’re uninspired, you can check out their selection to get ideas. To make your own is really easy though.

    Step 1 – Get Fonts
    For a designer touch, you’ll want better fonts than your computer came with. Google terms such as “script font” and “wedding font” to find free font download sites. When you find a font you like, download it. Usually you’ll have to extract the font. You’ll end up with a file name that has a .TTF extension. Now you have to install the font. Browse to My Computer/Local Disk/Windows/Fonts. Drag the file into the fonts folder. An installation screen will appear briefly, then your font is ready. You can install as many as you like.

    Step 2 – Get Inspired
    Browse through the monogram collection at Bliss, or look at other wedding sites for inspiration. Pick a few styles to experiment with, keeping in mind the limitations of your software and what shape your wedding initials are (wide? tall? long? short?). You might want to print out copies of your favorite monogram styles for reference.

    Step 3 – Create!
    A good, basic software program to use is Powerpoint. Set up a blank slide and add a text box with your initials in it. Experiment with fonts and sizes until you like how it looks. You can also add basic shapes (rectangles, circles, ovals, lines, etc) in Powerpoint. If you wedding has a theme, try adding a stylized graphic to the monogram (you can download tons of free graphics online too).

    Step 4 – Brand Your Wedding
    Once you have your monogram, incorporate it throughout your wedding to create an “expenisve” designer look. Some places to consider: Invitations and other stationary, save-the-date magnets, menus, place cards, paper napkins, balloons, painted on the aisle runner, added to your dessert plates with a sugar stencil, etc. If you are printing your own items at home, it’s easy to copy and paste your monogram into most other software packages. If you’re having your items professionally printed, you can submit the monogram on a CD.

    I sat down the other day and created a selection of eighteen monograms for our own wedding. It took about 3 hours. Now we just have to choose which one we like best. We might use three: One (with the Chicago skyline at the top) for our save-the-dates, a second one (more formal) for the day of the reception, and a third (with our combined initials) for after the wedding. Doing it all myself was fun and easy, and saved us $150.

    Art + Stuff = Rock!

    by  • March 1, 2006 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments

    We here at Make Love, Not Debt are huge advocates of the DIY arts/craft culture. In fact, I even have a photoblog (no link because, well, that would destroy our anonymity, and we wouldn’t want that, right?) that I semi-regularly post photos to. And she likes to crochet!

    We also like to buy stuff. Well, we used to like to buy lots of stuff, but now we just covet stuff.

    So you could tell we were super excited to see a blog that combines both. Consumerist highlighted the super-cool blog Obsessive Consumption today, and I almost fell out of my chair. Artist Kate Binagaman draws the things that she buys. She also draws her credit card statements. Totally rad. Her site design left me drooling.

    She’s also been mentioned over at BoingBoing, so I’d suggest getting to her site before the server goes boom.