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Four Arches Feeder

23 Dec

It’s been over a month since my last entry. I’m in London now, have moved into a new place, started working full time again and don’t have any of my jewellery making supplies here until my dad comes next week. So the shop has been a bit static for a while.

It will pick up in the new year, which is something I’m looking forward to because there are a lot of different places to find supplies in London that I wouldn’t have found so easily in Colombia or in my suburban town in Upstate New York.

I have been adding some new products from my dad to the shop. One of them is a new bird feeder design:

It’s called the Four Arches Feeder, made from PVC, a decorative piece that is virtually indestructible. It’s part of my dad’s retirement gig. In fact, he has opened his own shop as well so check it out if you get a chance. It’s full of pretty and unique bird feeders and houses and planters will be coming soon as well.

As you can see, there’s some snow back at my parents’ house in New York where this picture was taken. The weather in London has been pretty beautiful considering it’s nearly Christmas. I have a big open green space in the view from my window now, with lots of birds running around in the mornings. I should have one of these here…. it’s a perfect time for bird feeders as well.

I have had a bit of time to take a few photos which I’ve put up in my other Etsy shop. This should grow quite a bit now that I’m back in London because there is plenty of photography inspiration around here. No doubt about that!

Are you ready for the holiday weekend? Have you finished your shopping?

Have a lovely Christmas everyone! See you in the new year with some new products.

First Craft Show

23 Oct

 

 

 

I did my first craft show yesterday at a small church in North Tonawanda, New York. It wasn’t really a show that reached my target market, but it was very close to my house and I managed to make six sales. Not great, but covered the cost of the table and then some.

More importantly I got to do a bit of networking, met some great people in the area including some fellow Etsians who stopped by to show their support and say hi. I handed out a whole bunch of business cards, online discount codes to people who attended the show and got a lot of great feedback on the products.

People were very interested in the story of how Made in Mogotes came to be. I put together a display book of photos from the village, how fique and guadua turn into bags and jewelry. I heard a lot of life stories. I learned a lot – about what people actually purchase at churches in small towns, about things I need for the display, about bits and pieces that may have come in handy.

Overall, even though I didn’t exactly make a killing, I didn’t ever expect to in the first place and I think it was a successful experience.

The next one will be a shopping night in Lancaster on November 11, but more details on that closer to the date.

On a side note, I added a section called Vinyl Ventures to the shop. It’s for some garden products like bird feeders made by my dad. They’re perfect for winter, maintenance free and classy so check it out if you get a sec.

 

Newspaper Article on Made in Mogotes; First Craft Show

17 Oct

Hey guys! Sorry for my lack of writing lately. I’ve been busy making lots of new jewelry for the shop and got another shipment of bags made by Eliana in Colombia which I’m working on photographing and posting this week.

I’m also doing my first little craft show on Saturday (Oct. 22) at Payne Avenue Christian Church in North Tonawanda, New York. It’s from 10-4, Saturday only if you live nearby and want to stop in.

Also, I wanted to share this front page article on Made in Mogotes today from the Dunkirk Observer!

SUNY Fredonia grad forms business in Colombia

October 17, 2011
By MICHAEL RUKAVINA – OBSERVER Assistant News Editor , The OBSERVER

There are no seasons in Colombia.

Every night at 6 p.m., the year-round sun sinks below the mountains and the villagers of Mogotes chat on their doorsteps, swatting away mosquitoes. A small woman called Amilce switches on a low light, picks up her worn-out needle and a roll of fique and sets to work weaving a handbag, her children playing quietly in their bedroom. She has a custom order to fill from California.

It is the situation now taking place thanks to the ingenuity of Stephanie Sadler, a Fredonia State alum and North Tonawanda native. In August of 2011 Sadler launched an e-commerce business entitled Made in Mogotes, a platform for crafters in Colombia to help sell their work.

Her venture, however, actually began in London following her graduation from Fredonia State.

“It started after I left Fredonia. I moved to London and about a year and a half ago I met a Columbian guy and we kind of got pretty attached. When his Visa ran out he asked me to come to Columbia with him, so I said sure, why not. I quit my job and left everything behind and went to Colombia,” Sadler said. “While I was there I was on a tourist Visa and that meant I couldn’t work. We were in a tiny little village, middle of no where, so I wouldn’t have been able to find a job anyway. The first thing I did was take an artisan class on how to work with this material called guadua which is like bamboo, making jewelery.”

After discovering talent on the cobbled streets of Mogotes, Sadler said she realized their potential. Many artisans in Mogotes don’t have the English language skills or the Internet access they would need to sell their work beyond the borders of Colombia.

“I started meeting all of these women who were making these crafts and I thought they need somewhere to sell their stuff, to promote it, because it was just kind of sitting around in their houses and they weren’t doing anything with it,” she said.

“Someone suggested Etsy.com, so I started putting stuff on Etsy and people were interested. So I ended up making it an official business in Colombia.”

The products are colorful, handmade and customizable. There’s jewelry, handbags and wristlets, hair accessories and home decor. A very resourceful group, the artisans gather most of their materials from local plants fique, which is in the pineapple family and guadua, which is in the same family as bamboo.

Sadler, who majored in English and minored in journalism and business marketing at Fredonia, described the village of Mogotes as a town find through winding mountains with a dirt road entrance and large farms along side the road.

“You see the mules with sugar cane loads on their backs, and all the guys are carrying machetes in their pants,” she said. “You have the typical sombreros that they wear. Most Colombian little villages are surrounding a church, so there is a big central church in the square and then there are houses that come off of that.”

Sadler is currently living in North Tonawanda and communicates with her boyfriend back in Colombia via e-mail.

“I have a couple custom orders that they’re working on right now for people in California and Canada,” she said of the business some 2,500-plus miles away from her current location. “While I’m in New York I’m just trying to get the word out there and when I get orders I just give them by e-mail and then they send me the stuff.”

For more information on Sadler and Made in Mogotes visit one of the many websites available: www.etsy.com/shop/madeinmogotes; madeinmogotes.wordpress.com; andwww.littlecolombiaobservationist.com.

DIY: Earring Holder Cards

12 Sep

I needed to come up with a way to display my earrings for Made in Mogotes, something a bit different, something colorful. This is what I did:

1. Set up a table in Word with squares about 3.5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide.

2. Find a photo, import into Word, make 50% transparent then copy and paste into each square. (Mine is a photo of parents in Colombia, but it didn’t show up very well in the photos)

3. Write business name and website on the bottom of each square.

4. Print cards and cut with a paper cutter so the edges are perfect.

5. Use different colored scrapbook paper and hot glue the printed cards to a piece that matches the pair of earrings.

6. Trim the edges so you can see a slice of the scrapbook paper behind the cards.

7. Poke pin-sized holes at the top of each card.

8. Punch a hole in the middle with a hole punch for hanging.

9. Insert earrings.

10. Admire.

Here’s what I came up with. Apologies for the photo quality. I took them at night with bad lighting and a flash would have left more glare on the earrings themselves since they are varnished, but you get the idea!

What do you think? 

Features and a Photography Shop

9 Sep

I’m sitting on my parents’ front porch right now. I’m wearing long sleeves and yoga pants. That means Autumn is coming. One of the trees around the corner has already changed color. My favorite time of year.

This time always inspires me to start new things and last night I decided why not open a sec on Etsy shop for my photography?

So I did. It’s called Photo Larks and is by no means complete, but there’s a handful of shots up there – a couple people shots, but mostly street shots of colorful walls and graffiti in London. I’m going to be adding a lot so keep coming back to check it out if you like what’s there.

The new shop link: www.photolarks.etsy.com

I’ve also posted a bunch of earrings on the Made in Mogotes shop.

In other news…

Thanks to some fabulous fellow Etsians, Louise and Lil’Jazz, Made in Mogotes has been given a bit of attention this week.

The shop has been featured on both of their blogs. Any re-tweets or FB posts appreciated!

Louise Knits – September 8 and  a Lil’Jazz Collection – September 4

 

A New Tag

6 Sep

I’m working on a tag to be embroidered and sewn into the insides of the fique bags.

What do you think of this?

Reduced Shipping, Facebook Discount and an Elephant Box

2 Sep

I arrived in Buffalo last week with a suitcase stuffed full of goodies for the shop. Guess what that means? Greatly reduced shipping costs on a lot of products! For example, a necklace that would have cost me $13 to ship from Colombia, I can now ship within the states for $2.

I’ll be in New York until January working on marketing, promotion and new products as well as developing ideas for handbags, jewelry and home décor to send back to the artisans in Mogotes. They’re still creating bags and guadua goodies while I’m away which they will photograph for me to post in the shop. So with their work and my new line of jewelry coming soon, you can expect a full shop make-over.

If you stumble on any awesome bags or jewelry that may be able to stimulate the creative juices of the artisans and you’d like to see in the shop, post a link in the comments.

In honor of September (It’s one of my favorite months), I’m offering all new Facebook fans during this month only 10% off their next purchase. So become a fan and I’ll send you the official coupon code.  To find us, go to www.facebook.com/madeinmogotes

At the moment, I’m re-painting all of the travel texture series necklaces so the insides and backs will be a color rather than painted just white. Every day I’m photographing new pieces and adding them to the shop.

One of the latest is this pretty elephant box, which I love. It was a collaboration between two different artisans. Scoop it up if you like it before I decide to keep it!

One last thing – I updated the page on how fique is made (the material the bags in the shop are made from) with more photos if you’re interested.