Monday, September 26, 2016

10 Elements of a Well-Curated, Sales-Increasing Displays For Artists and Crafters

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Creating a new successful business without the same built-in demand of my previous one forced me to re-learn the essential art of marketing with displays. Your marketing is everything for making sales, it trumps even the quality of your products, it's disheartening but true. The essential elements of creating magnetic displays that sell are similar to ones for making a good composition in any art piece. You know a beautifully balanced design when you see it, but it's harder to actually synthesize it into being. After lots of window-shopping, research, setting up at art/craft markets and watching the responses of shoppers to various displays I've distilled sales-increasing retail displays to the following 10 elements. I've put them to the test and watched them work!


1. Abundance 

Customers are attracted to tables, baskets, shelves and racks that look very full and may ignore solitary items. You can create an illusion of abundance by filling small baskets, adding padding to the bottom of your baskets and by stacking items.

2. Colors

Consider your color palate wisely and use it well. See my post on color psychology post for more info. 84% of customers admit that color was the primary reason why they buy something! Use color to attract your ideal customer and tell your brand's story.


3. Levels

Multiple-levels is how you'll help your different individual items stand out. Do this with shelving, risers, crated, you can get creative here! Items on one level get lost visually.

4. Texture

Adding texture to your design makes it visually appealing and magnetic. It's easy to do with baskets and cloths. It adds tangibility to the composition.



5. Solidarity / Memorability

Think of ways to add elements that make you stand out from everyone else, something people remember. Paint everything lime green, have a giant polka-dot octopus atop your market tent (holy hell I want one of those now) be crazy and unique!

6. Informative Signage and Prices

Making signage as informative as possible is a HUGE help for sales. Probably the most important thing you can do! A lot of people won't buy something without a sign in place, they often don't want to task for more information or even for the price.


7. Handmade Touches

With online shopping being at an all-time high, "low-tech" displays with a human touch is how you stand out in today's marketplace. High-end window displays in New York or popular chains like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters employ artists to create handmade displays. It's easy to do this with hand-written chalkboard signs you can change and hand-written signage, but you can really think outside the box and have fun here.



8. Lighting 

With lighting you can highlight key items and just add general interest to your display and make it stand-out from the shops beside you (tents if you're at a market). You can use string lights, unique lamps and clip desk lamps.


9. Variety

Variety can be in your items or in the display itself. Either way, it's a great way to attract customers to the display.

10. Change it Up

Changing your display frequently and adding new items as often as possible (at least once a week) is a essential for keeping interest, and keeping customers coming back! If something's not working you can even change it that day and see responses. It's essential to work at it.

Adding these elements to your retail displays, whether at a brick and mortar store or at outdoor markets, will increase sales and interest for your work. Consistently creating great displays and items is a lot of hard work, you have to gauge the reactions of your audience and evolve, but it's also creatively fulfilling, fun, and rewarding (in more ways than monetarily). A good display makes the onlookers happy whether or not they buy something, and it's gratifying to provide that service for the community. You should also see it be gratifying for your sales!

Did I leave out anything important? Feel free to discuss your thoughts in the comments.

*Thank you Bead Here Now & Midnight Sun for letting me photograph your beautiful displays! If you love your local store's windows that make the landscape jaunty, be sure buy things from them to support and keep them around!
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Raw Vegan All-Purpose Cobbler: My Favorite Fast and Easy Raw Vegan Dessert

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There's a special pain that comes with self-imposed food deprivation. Sweets-deprivation is a huge hole in the hearts of many, because raw vegan desserts recipes, classes and commissions is one of my most frequent requests on and offline! It makes me think of a sad, true body image story. The author and her brother always enjoyed a slice of chocolate cake after their once-a-week family restaurant meal. Once the writer was nearly pubescent she was about to order her normal delicious slice but her mom stopped her, she was "too old" and had to worry about her "girlish figure" now. She never stopped craving that slice ever since. I hear that same deprived urgency in the voices of those who request raw vegan almond joys, macaroons, fruit and chocolate pies and other treats. "Give me the sweet satisfaction adulthood has denied me, it's instinct, I need it!"

Don't let body image get you down. Have some cobbler! You can even gobble without shame.

But you can have your cake and eat it too with raw vegan desserts. There are many recipes for healthy sweet treats and heal your body from the inside-out, you might even lose weight eating them. They are delicious, good for the body and the soul, because soul, it screams for sweets! Enough preamble about sweets though I just...sniff...get emotional about beautiful, delicious food and the complex humanity surrounding them. I'll share more of these recipes soon, but I'm starting with the easiest recipe I use the most, the all-purpose cobbler recipe.

Ingredients:

1/3 cups Raw Nuts (I like pecans but you can use any, walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc. preferably raw and soaked overnight)

1/8 to 1/4 cup Dates to taste

1 Cup Fresh, Ripe Peaches or Mango, diced (can work in strawberries and apples too but peaches and mango have the best texture for the base, the fruit must be very ripe and sweet, the mango unstringy )

Pinch of Sea Salt

Directions:

In blender or food processor, pulse the nuts, dates, and salt. In my vitamix it only takes a few seconds. I pour this over the fruit and you're done! If you don't have a blender or food processor you can finely chop the nuts and dates.


This cobbler definitely hits that sweet spot and it's fast and easy to make. It's the perfect breakfast, dessert or snack. The nuts give it a good crunch, the dates natural sweetness that's high in fiber so it won't spike blood sugar levels, and the soft mango or peach gives a soft mouthfeel. Make it for friends, take it to holiday parties! You basically can't mess up the proportions either, no matter what the measures, it will be delicious! I never measure anymore, I always make this with two peaches, two handfuls of pecans and 4 dates and that's enough for a cobbler for AJ and I to share!

When you get creative with seasonal, whole, unprocessed ingredients you can make healing versions of basically anything you crave. I enjoy the challenge of creating favorite recipes with health-giving food. I hope you give this cobbler a try when you need a healthy sweet, the voice inside screaming for dessert will be satisfied. I promise.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Cleansing, Healing, Creativity Regenerating Powers of Nature (With No Technology)

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I often say The Hostel in the Forest is my favorite place in the world. On our recent trip, with my camera hidden nearly the whole trip, I finally deciphered exactly why it's such a magical, blissful space.


It starts on the walk to the Hostel. You follow the soft, dusty path through the forest to arrive at the cluster of dome and treehouses and while you do it, something amazing happens. All your problems are where you left them, back in the "real world" outside of the trees. The pace of the world suddenly slows. You're not frantic, you're not thinking of your next blog or social media update. Electronic use is forbidden in public spaces at the hostel so you explore, read, write on paper (le gasp) and just take in all the beautiful natural scenery around you. And this does amazing things for your creativity, the rest, the lack of distractions, sets it afire with ideas.

(Our cabin situated in a tree on our recent trip to the Hostel in the Forrest. Surrounded on all sides by nature, so peaceful you never want to leave. I only let myself take a few photos and then left my SLR camera in the cabin. It was hard but essential. )

It's hard for me because one I get sucked into work I never want to stop (I love what I do!) but I need to make more time for creativity-boosting no technology natures walks every week! After my recent adventures in nature I feel ready to just move to the woods and only occasionally come back to civilization! That delicious slow pace is paradise.

You don't have to be a magical hostel to do this. But a walk through a nature trail or some extended time in nature (leave your phone, and maybe even your SLR camera behind, especially if that's your "work") could be just what you need if you're overworked.

Note: I have more photos of the whole gorgeous hostel here and here.
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