Sublimation Basics

what is sublimation

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Let’s talk about SUBLIMATION!!!

Sublimation has been around forever but it’s starting to gain popularity again.

WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

Sublimation printers use a special ink that, when heated, turns into a gas. Similarly, when heated, polyester fibers open up and allow the gas to enter into the fibers and dye those fibers permanently.

Sublimation works on polyester fabrics or other specially coated substrates. You can use a polyester BLEND of fabric, but any fiber that is not polyester, will not accept the ink the same way. Meaning if you have a poly/cotton blend shirt, any fibers that are cotton will not dye. You can do this, but the lower the polyester content, the more vintage the look. Which is sometimes a cool look! Just depends on what you want!

Can it ever work on cotton? Yep! There are a couple ways to accomplish this!

-You can sublimate your design on white glitter HTV. (You can use the print and cut technique with your cutter to get the edges exact or you can hand cut around the design)
-You can purchase a product called Dyepress that will coat the cotton fibers of the shirt to work better with poly/cotton blends
-You can use Chromoblast inks and paper rather than sublimation inks. (But it tends to leave a residue sometimes. You will want to be ready to practice the technique a bit to have the best results)

Sublimation does NOT work on dark garments because it is a transparent ink. Whatever color is behind it will come through your image. So if you have a pink shirt, the pink will tint the image a bit. You can do the sublimation on white glitter HTV technique above if you want to put it on dark garments.

PRINTERS:

You need a sublimation printer such as the Sawgrass 400 ($600 ish) or Sawgrass 800 ($1600 ish). The difference between these two, other than price, is that the 400 will print a max size of 8.5×11 and the 800 will print up to 11×17 or 13×19 with the bypass tray ($200ish)

You CAN also use a regular designated printer with a sublimation ink conversion kit. This is a much cheaper alternative because you can get a printer like the the Epson 7210 that prints up to 13×19 for $150 on Amazon (Afil Link: https://amzn.to/2LT8JnD)

Then you can get the conversion kit from Cobraink.com for $269. HOWEVER, if you are using a printer that is not MADE to use sublimation inks, and you don’t use it constantly, your tubes can clog and you will either 1. ruin your entire printer or 2. waste a LOT of ink flushing out the clog. So that’s just something to keep in mind.

Cobraink.com has a list of printers that they have conversion kits for as well if you want to browse!

INKS:

Sublijet Inks run about $77-$131 each color (CMYK – so 4 colors) depending on if you get the “enhanced” one or not. In my experience so far, I can get about 200 ish 11×17 images on the $77 ink. But it all just depends on how ink dense and saturated your design is.

There are other brands (and generics) that are cheaper inks. But Sublijet is the “standard” for quality.

REMEMBER THAT SUBLIMATION PRINTERS ARE NOT WHITE TONER PRINTERS. So if there is any white in the design, there will be NO ink! When white color is present in a design, the color of the SHIRT (or item) will be the color that shows in these places.

PAPER:

I use TexPrint-R paper. Which again, is the quality standard. It runs about $17 for a pack of 100 8.5×11 or $35ish for a pack of 100 11×17.

There are other papers on Amazon that many people use and have no trouble with. But since I am selling transfers, I personally will not use anything less than the TexPrint-R.

HEAT PRESS:

You also HAVE to have a heat press. And I hate to say it, but your press may make or break you. A GOOD press will really make a difference in how your design looks on your image. You don’t have to invest in a beast mode one up fromt, but keep that in mind if you’re subbing and you don’t feel like your colors or lines look just right…the issue may be in your press. I have the Hotronix Fusion and love it if you’re looking for recommendations on a beast mode one!

BLANKS:

Sublimation blank providers are few and far between. But a couple of good ones are: Conde.com (which is where I bought my Sawgrass) and kidsblanks.com

Check out some of the fun new printables from HoopMama!

3 Reasons To Be On Etsy And 3 Reasons Not To Rely On It

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The HoopMama Facebook group has had a lot of talk about Etsy and their fun little trademark bullies lately. So I just wanted to explain what I think Etsy’s roll should be in your business. Some people avoid Etsy like the plague, which I completely understand. It is frustrating when you’re running your business the right way and then someone comes along crying and yelling that you’re infringing on their trademark that they just APPLIED for yesterday. Trust me, I’ve been there, too. With rolling eyes and gritted teeth, I’ve been there.

Etsy is a platform that is owned by someone much larger than us. Therefore, they get to call the shots. Period. Their house, their rules. One of their rules is that they do not mediate trademark allegations. That means any Betsy on Etsy can cry trademark wolf, and get your listing taken down. Etsy does this because they are not lawyers and if they said they would mediate, then they would legally be responsible for their actions. So they take a hands-off approach and sadly, trademark bullies end up running the show sometimes. But again, their house, their rules.There isn’t much we can do to change that.

However, their house…. is a big one….. and it gets LOTS of visitors. Visitors that you wouldn’t ever get on your own. For that reason, I think Etsy can have a good place in your business if you are not relying on it completely as your entire income.

But before we dive in, I want to say this before I say anything else…. YOU NEED A WEBSITE! Not just a Facebook page. If you want to grow a brand and appear as a professional… you need a website. Whether it’s an entirely free one from Weebly, a $30 plan from Shopify or BigCommerce, or a self-hosted site through WordPress, you NEED a website! (I said it three times, which means I mean it!)

I recently left BigCommerce and now currently have HoopMama and CraftMockUps a wordpress site. I used to use Bluehost for hosting but the demands of my site were more than their servers could handle. But keep in mind, I have THOUSANDS of DIGITAL products. So that definitely comes into play.

But there is A LOT to learn on a wordpress site. And there’s ZERO support like you have on the other platforms. I mean, if you’re a YouTube ninja you can definitely work your way around your site. But if it breaks… good luck, Chuck! You have to figure it out or hire someone. Over time you do learn what breaks your site and you do get comfortable with it, but there isn’t a “help” button to push. So if you want to do it this way, just know that it is very hands on! But with hands-on…. it means you learn SO much in the process!!

You can get a FREE 2 week trial for Shopify or BigCommerce if you use my links! If you’re thinking of going the WordPress route, if you use my link for BlueHost, you can get your hosting at $3.95 a month instead of the normal $7.99!

But back to Etsy and Trademark trolls.

Here are 3 reasons you SHOULD be on Etsy.

  1. Shoppers! As mentioned before. Etsy has a large audience that you will most likely never reach on your own. Etsy has over 25 million active shoppers! People know Etsy. They are comfortable buying from Etsy. They go to Etsy probably before pulling out their list of small websites. Since Etsy is a marketplace, shoppers know they can look at LOTS of items on one site and not have to go to a million websites.
  2. Competitors. Wait… what? Yep! I’m saying you SHOULD be around your competitors! If your competitors are on Etsy, then they will get 100% of the sales from Etsy-only shoppers. YES, you want to draw your customers to be loyal ones, but that is why once you get your customer through Etsy, you entice them to sign up on your newsletter through inserts in their packaging, and then draw them to your website! OR entice them before they ever make a purchase! For example, my SVG shop on Etsy’s banner looks like this:Then in the shop announcements, I have the link to my Mailchimp newsletter. Mailchimp is completely FREE for up to 2,000 subscribers! I have a blog post about why you need a newsletter that I will be adding onto shortly about how to build your list. But if you have an Etsy shop, having an offer like this in your banner is one great way to help!
  3. Get Experience.. and Some Tough Skin. Etsy shoppers are ruthless sometimes. They are brutally honest and live in a Amazon Prime “get it to me in 2-days” world. Don’t get me wrong I LOVVVVE my Amazon Prime, I did the 30 day trial a few years ago and I now use it for everything. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, click here and you can get a 30 day FREE trial, too! But as handmade shops, we just simply AREN’T able to pump out items AND have them delivered in 2 days. I mean, I don’t know about you but my magical delivery fairy is out partying with my cleaning fairy and it just isn’t going to happen. But since these customers are so honest, they will provide a LOT of valuable feedback that you can consider and then make adjustments to your business. Some things may be a little hard to hear, but I read a the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz many years ago and I the one agreement that has always stuck with me was “don’t take anything personally.” Learning to do that, has really helped me so much in my business. Etsy shoppers will challenge you, but will make you stronger.

Here are 3 reason why Etsy should NOT be your focus.

  1. Fees. Etsy has a lot of fees. They have 20 cents per listing, plus 3.5% of the total sale. Not to mention the other fees like PayPal fees and direct checkout fees. HOWEVER, you will have PayPal and credit card fees regardless of where you go. So it’s really just the additional .20 per listing and 3.5% of total sale that is the big difference. That is actually a small price to pay for the reach that Etsy provides. On a $20 item, your Etsy fees will be $.90 cents. Not too bad when you consider that the sale may have come from an Etsy-only shopper that you may not have been able to reach on your own. But when you start building your e-mail lists, and start growing your brand, those fees really add up fast! So you don’t want your customers to STAY shopping on Etsy! You want to get them… and then move them over to your website for future purchases!
  2. Not Yours. This one is the scariest one to me. It’s not mine. If Etsy goes under, or if they decide to close me down… I have no say in the matter. It’s completely theirs. Which is one reason why if you do have an Etsy account, you should be backing up your data every so often. You can do this by going to: Your Shop – Shop Settings – Options – Download Data. Then downloading your current items for sale as well as your orders. This way, if your shop does get closed or suspended, you can still have access to all your item descriptions and details. You items SHOULD already be on your website *ahem* but in case you don’t have that fully operational yet, it’s helpful to have all of this information just in case you need to reference it in the future.
  3. Trademark Tolls. Sigh. I know many of you just rolled your eyes. I have nothing bad to say about people who go through the steps to trademark something the right way. It’s the people who put in an application on Monday and come out guns-a-blazing on Tuesday! It takes 3 months to be reviewed by an attorney, and that’s just to be reviewed! No promise of if it actually is going to go through or not. Many of these bullies are known for trying to enforce things that they don’t really have full rights to at all, which can be very frustrating and confusing to those of us who are trying to play our cards right. It is very important to understand your legal rights. As a mompreneur, sometimes it is hard finding the correct information and resources but thank goodness there are people like Joey Vitale in the world! He is an attorney for creatives and he is focused on businesses like us! His firm, Indie Creative Law, has a WEALTH of information listed on the website. His blog is full of trademark and copyright guidance that will leave you feeling empowered. He is truly an answer to the “small-business” world!

In Summary:

I personally believe that Etsy does have it’s place. But I also believe that you will and SHOULD grow out of Etsy. You should one day get to a point where you say “I don’t need it.” Which is where I got to last year with HoopMama. It’s such an awesome feeling to own your own website and not fear a huge company shutting you down for a reason that you’re not even clear of.

I know it said it three times at the beginning of this post, but YOU NEED A WEBSITE! Etsy cannot, and should not be your only revenue source. But if you look at with knowing that it could be gone at any moment, then that is when I believe that it is okay to have a shop because it can be a great extra income source as well as a way to grow your customer base if done properly.

If you don’t have an Etsy shop, but want to try it out. You can get 40 FREE LISTINGS by using my link. However, if you’re doing just fine on Facebook and still have zero interest in Etsy, I HIGHLY recommend trying out the free trials of Shopify or BigCommerce and getting your website up and going.

If you go the website route, and find that you need a little more freedom than what the Shopify or BigCommerce templates provide, then going to WordPress with BlueHost hosting will be a great move! No matter what you do though, I do recommend to purchase your domain name from somewhere like GoDaddy because if you do the “free domain” that the other’s offer, sometimes they hold on to your domain and you have to wait until a year is up to point it to another host. Meaning, if you start with Shopify, then later want to go to WordPress. Shopify will hold on to that domain until your year is up, regardless of if you cancelled your website plan with them.

The more people you have coming to your website, the more chances you have of them not going anywhere else! If you give your Etsy shop, they may be distracted by a competitors item and even though they went to visit your item… you lost them to your competitor. I always say to let Etsy customers find you on Etsy. You should promote your website only.

Building your business is hard and expensive, I get it. But the ultimate goal is to be able to hold your own. If you rely on Etsy for your businesses success… you will only be as successful as Etsy algorithms allow you to be.

So one more time, just for fun, GET A WEBSITE!

Never Be Bullied

Today I want to express to you guys how important it is to know the legal rights your business has. I know we hear the words, “law, legal, trademark, copyright” and some of us just freeze in fear. Thinking it’s too complicated for us average Joe’s to understand. However, understanding your rights as a business owner is going to be the difference between you being successful or your being bullied into thinking you’re doing something wrong.

I know many of you create your own designs sometimes and don’t always use HoopMama. (Shocking to some of you, I know, hehe… kidding.) But I wanted to share with you what I’ve been dealing with on my end and hopefully provide some encouragement if you guys face anything like this in your future.

Designs ARE copyrighted the moment they are created. No registration is *required* unless you’re ready to move forward with filing suit. But for someone to infringe on a copyright, the person’s design must mimic the original enough to cause confusion to someone looking at both. However, there are designs that can’t fall into copyright protection because there must also be an element of creativity in the design that makes it not easily copied.

In other words, if you take Arial font, and type out “I love my socks” and put it on a shirt, there is nothing to protect in this “design” because anyone can use Arial font and type out some words. But, if you hand draw a sock image, use 4 different commercial fonts or handwriting, have a custom layout that provides creativity…. you are more likely to have some protection around it if someone were to copy.

BUT, if someone ALSO creates a custom design around those words, that does not replicate yours, it is not infringement. That’s just time to know your idea was a good one, pour a glass of wine (or drink of choice) and market your item the best you can.

Here’s the part that might sting a bit. It always does to me. You may be the first person to put “My crafting brings all the sales to the yard” on a shirt, but the phrase does not, in any way *belong* to you. You may hate seeing people use it, but unless you go the route of trademarking and making that phrase your branding, anyone can use those words. ANNNNYONE. Even Competition Catherine. Sorry. I know that bites. But… that’s why you just keep moving and growing onto the next thing. Stay a step ahead and they’ll always be behind you.

Attorney Joey Vitale, of Indie Law, has a lot of information on the difference in copyright and trademarking if you would like to explore the details of this further.

In general, though, you do want to avoid copying artwork and designs directly. This happens to me a lot. Someone sees my design on a shirt, they don’t know they can purchase the design (or decide they don’t want to) and therefore, they copy it or even trace it. That is infringing and is illegal. I’m not the only one this happens to. It happens to probably most designers. If you’ve done this yourself without knowing it’s illegal, now you know.

You also need to keep in mind that brands of ANY SORT are protected, and you want to run run run… runnnnnnn run from using them. Disney, NFL, MLB, YouTube, Oreos, and phrases like “Onesie,” “Koozie,” “Dilly Dilly,” etc… If it’s a brand… DON’T TOUCH THEM.

Non-trademarked phrases are fair game. Do NOT be bullied by someone saying that they licked it so it’s theirs. Obviously, that doesn’t mean go follow your favorite designer and just copy all their phrases and do your own versions. That’ll just create some muddy water between you and that designer and that’s not worth it. But using the same phrase as someone else is not illegal. Copying the design is illegal. Using the phrase in an original design, is not.

Most IP (intellectual property) attorneys who will do a free call with you to explore these topics further for a specific situation. That’s as simple as a Google search to find one in your area, picking up the phone, and not being scared of saying “ummm” and “soooo like….wait” in your efforts to understand.

Or, as I mentioned earlier, Joey Vitale is another fabulous resource and his focus is geared towards creative entrepreneurs like us. His website is www.indielaw.com and I STRONGLY suggest you dive in and learn your legal rights as a business owner.

Do NOT be bullied. Do NOT cower. Educate yourself so you can be prepared for if and when someone tries to tear you down.

VIDEO TUTORIAL: Embroidering On Toilet Paper

Embroidering on Toilet Paper and my FIRST *real* tutorial. I hope this
helps some of you who may have questions on how to do it! And please
ignore the dirty embroidery machine. She needs a bath. I know.

THIS POST MAY INCLUDE AFFILIATE LINKS. BUT I 100% RECOMMEND EVERY PRODUCT I MENTION.

Materials: 

Cutaway Stabilizer 5×7 Hoops

Cutaway Stabilizer 4×4 Hoops

Washaway Stabilizer

505 Spray

Applique Scissors (not needed but these are the one’s I used in this video):

Packaging: 

Bread Bags

Treat Bags From Dollar Tree: 

Shipping Boxes for 1 Roll

Shipping Boxxes for 2-3 Rolls (lay sideways):

Other:

Mighty Hoop is the 7.5×7.5

Machine is the Melco Bravo

Toilet Paper is Cottonelle but Dollar Tree brand works great!

Meet The Girls: Emma The Encourager

ust a thought for today real quick before we move into the weekend.

It hit me this week that our society is obsessed with shaming others and making them feel like they aren’t valuable or worthy of praise. Moms are shamed if they work, if they stay home, if they breastfeed in public, if they bottle feed, if they breastfeed too long, if their kids have a new outfit every day, if their kids are wearing old shoes… it goes on and on.

Women in general are shamed for speaking out, not speaking up, being overweight, being on a diet, being muscularly toned, wearing a swim suit when “oh my gaaaawsh how is she wearing that” is whispered all around her. Women are shamed for wearing make up and heels, wearing a mom bun and sweat pants, being too “christian,” and then of course… being too “salty”…. again…the list goes on.

Then…if you want to better yourself, you’re shamed for being an overachiever, if you are happy where you are… you’re shamed for settling or being lazy.

There seems to be no “middle” ground. People will shame others… why? I’m convinced that while some of it may be “not meant that way” I think many people do it just to make themselves feel better about the choices they’ve made in their life.

Now… what really hit me hard this week is… crafter shaming.

Mean. Ole. Craft shaming bullies.

I’ve watched posts where someone is brand new to crafting and posts their creation and in the comments you’ll see everything from, “it’s off centered, but it’s still cute” to “Eh *I* would have done it this way” to “you spelled that wrong” to “are you really trying to sell this?” and then thankfully I’ll see “great job! You’ll get the hang of it! Just have fun!”

That last comment is made by Emma The Encourager. We like Emma.

GUYS! WE HAVE TO STOP SHAMING AND START ENCOURAGING EACH OTHER!!!!

We don’t know the life on the other side of the screen. We don’t know their pains. We don’t know their challenges. We don’t know if they just lost a loved one, or are fighting a disability, or suffer from depression. We just don’t know!

YOU have the power in your words to completely destroy someone… or radically uplift them and change their mood, outlook… or even their life! YES, even through a computer screen, you have that power LITERALLY at your fingertips.

I challenge you to think twice before pushing “send.”

Words are powerful, powerful, powerful things. Please choose them wisely.

Letting Go Of Perfect

In a world of Pinterest perfect craft rooms and Instagram rustic chic collections, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by perfection. Every time “that girl” shows up in your newsfeed, it makes you question ever even purchasing your machine.

I get it.

Doubt follows you around like a shadow. Always right there, ready to chime in whenever an opportunity arises. (And it seems to find lots of opportunities sometimes.) But while doubt will always be ready and willing to participate in your journey… if you want to grow your business… this is one thing you must let go of.

As I’m typing this out, I considered what the word “doubt” is. Is it an emotion? Just a state of mind? Or is it something more? Doubt arises when you aren’t sure about the end result. I decided that doubt is a thought process. It looks at the road ahead and decides to take every bad turn as the only option available. While doubt is not in itself an emotion… it does typically bring friends like anxiety and sadness along for the ride. Now, we know there’s no way to be successful if we let anxiety run things. So the good news is that since doubt is a THOUGHT process. We just need to CHANGE our thinking!

I know this can be hard. But before you throw in the towel, first recall the quote, “don’t think of how many things that could go wrong, think of how many things that can go right!” This quote is a perfect example of a change of thought process… while talking about changing a thought process! It’s a conscious decision to STOP the negative thoughts and redirect them. As soon as we see our minds turn doubtful, stop, and redirect focus where there is positivity and promise!

Now fear is another annoyance that likes to show its ugly face. Fear doesn’t lurk like doubt. Fear jumps out in front of you and says “the sky is falling!!!! The world is over!!!!” with even some pretty small scenarios. But typically fear is wrapped around things that are the most important to us. In a business setting, fear usually wraps itself around money. It says that there’s no way you will be successful and it will just be money lost and then, of course, the world will end.

Here’s what I have to say about the truth that doubt and fear have. It’s true that your products may not be perfect. It’s true that your pictures may look like your 6 year old took them on selfie mode. And it’s true that you may find out this wasn’t meant for you. All of those doubts and fears… are reasonable. But. I’m about to debunk them and hopefully it helps you start the journey of changing your thinking.

Doubt: “no one will buy from me because my items aren’t good enough”

DEBUNKED: We all have to start somewhere right? I’m pretty sure when your child brought you their first piece of “artwork” you didn’t tell them that they need to color inside the lines only and snub your nose. You said “it’s beautiful!!! Thank you so much!!” Right? Now, I’m not saying you can make your customers a noodle necklace and expect a $500 check. But what I am saying is that you are starting out. You are learning. Your customer base is small right now. You’re not mass producing to a million people. You’re making Granny Grace a hand towel. Granny Grace has a heart of gold and is going to love that hand towel and keep it on display throughout the year. This is the support you have when you’re starting your business. Granny Grace customers will evolve into Neighbor Rose customers who will talk about you to their friend Grapevine Gloria, and so on and so forth. So in that process… you get PRACTICE and your skill will evolve and refine. There is a reason that they say “grow” your own business. And not “jump in and fight for life with your own business.” Our skill, our customers, our own knowledge, and ultimately our business will all grow together! That’s the beauty of this thing, it grows!

Fear: What if I can’t figure this out, or I hate it, or I decide it’s not for me and I just lose money I invested in these machines and supplies?

DEBUNKED: Sell them. Get your money (or most of it) back. If you buy a machine and supplies for say $1000, then decide it’s not for you, and sell them for $800… sure you lost $200 but that $200 gave you an answer to something you would always have wondered about if you didn’t give it a try. Taking a risk for something your passionate about, is never a bad choice. If you don’t take that risk… you will always wonder about the what ifs.

Doubt: I’ll never be as successful as “that girl”

DEBUNKED: Why not? Because your only customer so far is Grandma Grace? Get out of here with that. I bet you “that girl” has worked her booty off to be where she is. I bet you she encountered more trial and error runs than you can imagine. I bet you she is STILL fighting doubt on the regular. But you know what… I also bet her first customer was Grandma Grace, too. If you’re willing to invest emotionally, psychically, and monetarily, into your business… there are no limits for you. Limits come because we allow doubt to create them. This can be everything you dream of and more!

Fear: Oh my gosh I’m going to mess everything up and waste so much money! I have no idea where to start!!

DEBUNKED: If you have ever gone to college or taken a training course… what did you have to do? Pay tuition, right? Well since we don’t have college for crafting, the “mess up cost” is our tuition and training! With anything made by hand… there is no way to learn, without doing. Say that a few times more. There is no way to learn, without doing. JUMP IN! Take the mess ups as your first class in “mirroring HTV 101” and learn and grow. Look, there’s that “grow” word again!

We get caught up thinking that we have to be PERFECT from the start and that there’s no room for mistakes, because our world will end if we make too many.

But let me tell you a secret. Behind “that girl’s” perfect, clean, crisp and clear pictures and seemingly waterfalls of money… are toddlers running around covered in peanut butter and with no pants, laundry piles, bills to pay, and a moldy cucumber in the veggie drawer of the fridge. Oh yeah… and hard work, mind numbing tasks, sleepless nights, and more tears than anyone would be willing to admit. She worked for it. “That girl” made it happen because she was persistent and did not let fear dictate her next move.

We get wrapped up in the “perfect” things we see and then we allow fear and doubt take that as a signal to attack us at every turn. But the idea of “perfect” is NOT a reality. “Perfect” may look pretty from the outside looking in. But there’s a whole different story behind that Instagram feed that we won’t ever see. As long as we change our thought process, calm our fears with reason, and acknowledge that we aren’t seeing the full mess behind every “perfect” picture… there will be no stopping our growth!

As the year comes to an end, what are you going to let go of before we enter 2017? Fear? Doubt? I don’t know what it is for you… but for me… I’m letting go of perfect.

HoopMama Mission Statement

I want to take a moment and try to explain who I am and what my vision is for HoopMama Designs, LLC.

Before my son was born and I had a small boutique, I was always behind on everything. I had a corporate job and I taught yoga as well. Even before having a child I was busy all the time. I don’t know how to stop, basically. Anyway, I was always rushing to do things last minute, I also missed promoting for holidays because I just never had time. Before I knew it it was August and I hadn’t done anything for back to school, and therefore, lost out on a lot of orders.

I started this business in 2014 when my son was born and left the corporate world completely. I didn’t get serious with digitizing until January 2015. In 2015, I had several people tell me how they were always behind, always doing things last minute, forgetting about holidays, etc. I UNDERSTOOD! So many of you are doing this with kids, or with a “real” job or two as well. I get it!

I created the HoopMama Crafter’s calendar with YOU in mind. A way to stay on top of the upcoming holidays. Scheduling tips and promotion schedules to help you out in your already busy world. It is not meant to take your already working formula and tear it all down and change it, but rather to assist in the things you may not be thinking of. It also provides marketing tips and strategies.

Promoting is 70% of your business. Totally made up statistic but it could be true. If you don’t promote and get the word out there, you are missing out on opportunities for growth.

It is a digital calendar. Every day has a tip or trick or word of encouragement. It has coupons, worksheets to identify your target market a to do list template, and so much more! Click Here For More Details

My college degree is in interdisciplinary studies where I learned about marketing, advertising, communications, and psychology. I have a background in negotiations and sales, which has taught me a lot about how to identify and speak to your target market. I also taught ballet and yoga for many years, which taught me how to plan and create. I am now a mom, who is completely in love with her little almost 2 year old, which has taught me more about life than I ever dreamed. I’m not perfect, and I am still learning and growing every day. But I honestly believe that God has used the pieces of my life and woven them together perfectly to be doing what I’m doing right now.

My mission with HoopMama Designs is to empower the women and moms who want to be home with their kids, or even just contribute to the family income somehow. I have met many, many 6 figure crafters in the past year. If something like that is your goal, know that it CAN be done. I WANT to help you get there. I know the desire to not ever want to clock in again and to do something I actually care about. I’ve found it in my mom business. I want to help you find that in yours.

 

Meet The Girls: Betty Budgeter

It’s time for another HoopMama Talk.

We just finished a week where people spent a lot of money for Black
Friday shopping and will continue to spend as Christmas gets closer.
Here’s what is about to happen and you may be seeing some of it happen
already. People are budgeting, they’re watching their money and trying
to stretch their pennies.

Here’s some do’s and don’ts for some common situations you’ll see a lot, especially in the next few weeks.

Let me introduce you to Betty Budgeter. Betty wants something for her
kids for Christmas and asks you for a quote. You tell her $35. She in
return says “can you do $20?” You want the sale, but realize you’re not
in the lowball business. But you’re stuck with how to reply.

DON’T: DO NOT APOLOGIZE for your pricing! I see so many posts “I’m so
sorry, I can’t go to $20 but I can do $25?” NOOOOOOOOO!!!! STOP!!!! I
ask Target all the time to lower my total before check out and I don’t
get anything! (Kidding, I don’t ask…I just wish it wasn’t as high) In
fact, it’s on me to use coupons, shop smart, and to use my Target Red
Card for my 5% off.

DO: Without taking it personally reply calmly
with, “At this time, I do not have any current promotions. However, if
you allow me to sign you up for my e-mail list, I do send out a 5% (or
whatever you choose) coupon code for first time customers! Would you
like me to sign you up?” (End your sentence with a question that moves
you FORWARD to an end result. Otherwise, you’ll be going in circles with
her) If she asks you again if you could do $25, do not budge. Reply
with, “as I mentioned, I do not have any promotions at this time. Would
you like me to sign you up for the newsletter?” Usually 2 times will
give them enough of a feel for if you will budge or not.

If Betty says “but it’s just a a wal-mart t-shirt, I can make this myself”

DO NOT: Break down your pricing about what you pay for what! I see so
many posts where the ladies go “I know but I have to buy the shirt,
that’s $5, then I have to buy the vinyl/thread, that’s another $6, plus
the design, that’s $4, plus I have to drive out to Armadillo, TX to get
it which is $27 in gas, so I’m actually losing money doing this *sad
face sad face.*” STAHHHHP!!!! When I read these I cringe! If you’re
doing this as a business, OWN your pricing. You decided on it for a
reason. If you don’t stand firm in it, you will always get “runned-over”

DO: Reply again calmly with “I understand that the pricing is not
something that works for your budget right now. I do stand behind the
quality and craftsmanship of my items and I’m positive you will be happy
with the final product. If it does not work for you right now, please
remember me in the future”

If Betty uses the “so-and-so is selling this same thing for $12” ridiculousness…

DON’T: Talk bad about the so-and-so. Don’t go on and on about how they
use poor products and people complain all the time about them. Just
don’t. Speaking bad about someone else reflects poorly on your
character. It’s best to avoid this at all costs.

DO: Reply with
your benefits rather than their downfalls. “I understand my pricing may
not fit in everyone’s budget. I do use the highest quality materials on
the market to ensure a product that will last for more than one use. My
return customers say that they love my products because of the quality
of craftsmanship and detail. I understand that there are other
businesses who sell similar items to me, but I will stand behind my
products 100% and I would love create this for you. If you would like to
move forward with me, I am positive you will love the final product.”

Betty is pretty gutsy and she may even say “fine, my daughter has a
“cricket” I’ll just have her make it. Where did you get the shirt?”

DO NOT: Cuss her out. 🙂

DO: While blocking or just ignoring is what you want to do, remember…
her “daughter with a cricket” doesn’t have a Cricut, she’s just pinned a
lot of things on Pinterest. Once again reply professionally with a
simple response that clearly shows you are not a teacher/tutor or
advisor. A simple “Thank you for your interest in my shop, if you need
to purchase from me in the future, please let me know
:)”

If you are doing this as a business, remember who the boss is and who
makes the rules. You set the tone for the customers you attract. If you
make your prices “work for everyone” then you aren’t really targeting
your business. Betty may not be your ideal client. Betty may be someone
who needs to save for your product. This whole situation is a reflection
of BETTY, not you! Tiffany’s doesn’t apologize that I can’t afford
their 27 karat necklace. If it’s something I wanted enough, I would work
hard and save to make it happen.

Keep that in mind and make sure you are marketing to your ideal client.

NOW, I know a lot of you DO like to help out people and make things
work for their budget. This is where you can use the “if you sign up for
my newsletter, I can offer you x% off”

This gets their
information in your customers list to market to for future products,
sales, and promotions. You NEEEEEEEED an e-mail list! Betty may be out
of money in December, but in April she will remember that you are firm
in your pricing, and she will use her tax return money to splurge in
your shop.

In summary: Don’t apologize, or explain yourself. Be
you. Grow YOUR business and don’t worry about the “other guy.” YOU DO
YOU!!!!

This concludes today’s HoopMama Talk.

Where do
you start with a newsletter?: Mail Chimp is who I use for mine and
they’re FREE for up to 2000 subscribers!- (AFIL link)
http://eepurl.com/cmc14X