Friday, October 31, 2008

Making Money from Online Marketing

In my case, one thing led to another. I wanted to sell my crafts online, and set up shop at Etsy. I needed the traffic to my shops, I started blogging. I want people to read my blogs, which will lead them to my shop, I started joining networking sites. Flickr, Facebook, Entrecard, Plumdrop, ScratchBack, and most recently Twitter.


By joining all these, I was exposed to other people's blog, crafts, shops and many more. What I didn't escape my notice was, the numerous blogs where people wrote about how they quit their day job to focus on online marketing.

I thought they must be computer experts, some marketing gurus to be able to sustain their lifestyle simply through blogging. But, by now...I'm starting to get more and more convinced, that it's truly possible indeed.

In my case, flickr, entrecard, (and possibly) plumdrop is definitely gaining me a lot of traffic. Just started "twittering" yesterday. I gotta say, Twitter is definitely one site you shouldn't miss if you want/need the traffic to your site.

I used to shy away from it in the past, being "too lazy" to explore yet another site. But I'm definitely a convert now! lol... cus, in 1 day, I already have close to 200 "followers", who visit this blog. And those very same "followers" actually helped me to secure another form of advertising "pay-out" in the form of "Magpie

I dont even have to consciously advertise about other people's products & services, and still get paid each time I "tweet".  In a span of 1 hour, I've "tweetered" 10 times (imagine me posting a chat line, or reply to other people) and I've already earned 3.83 Euros. ;)

Check it out if you: 1. Need traffic, 2. Wants exposure to your site/shop, 3. Wants to earn "advertising" revenue along the way.

*tweet*tweet*



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Mini Accordian Purses

"Group" Photo-taking session ;)

Opens up to several pockets/compartments, with a zippered coin section. This purse can fit in as many cards as you wish to carry without worrying about your purse getting too bulky!

After successfully completing the very first Mini Accordian Purse (Daisy Bouquet in Grey fabric) me and my Mom were quite excited and decided to make a few more in various fabrics to keep ready stock, and also for picture taking purposes.

She has completed 7 in total, too bad the last one wasnt ready in time for the "group photo-taking session". That last piece is in Martini in Linen.

I've listed 4 out of the 7 pieces, and views are quite good, though the response to this item is yet to be seen.

In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if the financial crisis is starting to pose an impact to online shops, Etsy, or more directly speaking, to my shops, The Laughing House & Winniel.

I certainly hope not ;)




Friday, October 24, 2008

PlumDrop.Com

I was at Etsy forum few minutes ago, when I read someone mentioned about a site thats pretty new, & showing a lot of promise!


Plumdrop is where sellers of all venues meet, chat, socialize, promote, and share helpful tips on growing their online businesses.
View My Plumdrop Profile!

If you are an online seller, or thinking of selling online, this will be one great avenue for you to start promoting your stuff, & networking. I've just signed up, and already have 2 "friends" who "added" me to their list! 

Check it out, I think it's pretty cool indeed!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'm Featured Again!!!

3in1 Organizer Purse in Amy Butler's fabric (Fresh Poppies in Fuchsia)

It's ideal for travelling, to put your passport, tickets, different currencies etc in the 3 main compartments. Zippered middle section is great to keep your small change, keys etc.

The side view.

I love surprises, especially when it comes in the form of a stranger leaving a note to me through The Laughing House, that one of my item is featured! :D

Indie Parade is a photo blog featuring the coolest indie and handmade finds from all over the web. And I'm honored to have one of my 3in1 Organizer Purse (Fresh Poppies in Fuchsia) deemed cool enough to be featured there.

Check it out for a spread of more handmade eye candy galore! ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Natalie's Many Faces (Part 2)

Hans & Natalie during one of those "I'm a BIG brother" kind of mood. (Hans is 5, Natalie is "almost 2", going on 10)

Throwing tantrums & frowning at people aside, here's a girl who likes to:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-sing & dance (my mom says she looks like she's doing a "monkey dance" (tari monyet), a common street performance for kids in Indonesia)
- admonish her brother in a condescending tone, with her small index finger pointing upwards.
- stand with him at a corner when he was being "punished".
- say "hush...I love you, dont cry" (in her own language, but basically meaning the same) when her big brother was crying over something he's upset about.
- imitates Hans over many things, even going to the potty, and pull down her shorts to "pee" (with her diaper still on)
- eat rice, plain white rice...everyday. (Will protest violently if she found out we're trying to hide some meat/egg/whatever inside)
- quickly move into action to snatch whatever toy/book Hans is holding whenever his guard is down, and runs away squealing in glee.
- runs away after a shower and refusing to wear her clothes/diapers/ and have her hair combed.
- disliked her hair being touched/combed/ put on a hair clip to keep it tidy.
- loves dogs, cats, birds, and leaves
- will say "Bye bye" endlessly to her Barney, Doodle Bear & Doggie whenever we're going out for a walk in the park.
- put her Barneys, Doodle Bear & Doggie to sleep on her pillow, covering them with blanket, and lying down beside them, and "tapping" them to sleep.
- say "Bye bye" to people who said "Bye" to her, when they are out of sight.
- tells me what to do (next) when I'm doing some basic housework, by "going ahead" of me, and pointing areas that needed to be cleaned, dustbin lined etc.
- pray for my mom's hands when it's tired & sore after too much sewing. Her little hands over my mom's (imagine action of: sprinkling of some ingredients over your roasted chicken) while murmuring some "chant" like prayers.
- open her eyes wide in all seriousness when I tried to sneak out of the room when I thought she was fast asleep. Unblinking, not crying, not smiling either, and (silently) conveyed : "What are you trying to do?"

I've heard about "Terrible Twos", the age when 2 year old toddlers gets transformed from a cherubic baby into a fury ball (literally). But I dont think Hans ever went through that at all (but something else), so I was quite caught off guard when Natalie has this, & seemingly prolonged. Well, she's not yet 2 now :) 

This is one area that I lift up to God about her, that it'll "pass by" quickly, and to give me wisdom on how to handle this phase well. Otherwise, she's really such a delight & extremely charming, though it's exclusively for "home viewing" only.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Natalie's Many Faces

hmm...

What now...?

Don't make me laugh!

I'm not laughing :P

Took these pictures this morning, and found them to be pretty amusing (well, perhaps only to me...lol). This sprightly 22 mths old girl has many "faces" which I've "captured" only 2, thru these photos.

Natalie is obviously different from her brother ever since she was a tiny baby, in character & temperament. What I found most challenging at this stage, is definitely the disciplining part, as she has quite a strong will (but then, which child doesnt?).

I remembered going through a similar phase when my son Hans was 2 years old, and another phase at 3 years, and 4 years... and now at 5 years...Yeah, each stage brings a new challenge.

To strangers, and even friends we know quite well, Natalie will always wear a frown, or a "worried" look. It gets embarassing sometimes, but I know it's a phase that'll probably pass away soon. I just wished it to be sooner than later (for my own sake).

I knew of many babies/toddlers who are so people friendly & charming to strangers, sometimes I wished Natalie would be too (so that I can easily ask a friend to baby-sit her when the need arises, lol), but I've accepted the fact that there's no room for comparison at all, as each child is an individual who are uniquely different. Society are used to "pooling" them together and creating a stereotype. It'll be unfair if I expect my child to behave or act the way a friend's child would. 

The road is still long, and as long as I'm consistently teaching her good values, and disciplining her when she crosses certain "non-negotiable" boundaries, I won't worry that she'll not grow up to be a good & sensible adult one day. And that's what matters.

Philippians 1:6 
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mini Accordian Purse

As promised, our NEW purse design is "launched" at The Laughing House today. :) 


It's compact, small & handy, not to mention "good-looking" too!
Accordian style Organizer Purse and Card Holder.

One of my previous wallet is always big, bulky and heavy (not because I'm loaded! lol...) because I'm always carrying lots of cards with me (biz cards, identity cards, transport cards, atm cards, credit cards, library cards, store privilege cards, coupons, receipts...you get the idea). So, I'm always on the lookout for really functional purse that can carry all those, yet keeping the size small, and the weight "reasonable".

Now, with our new Mini Accordian Purse, all those can be achieved! With 6 main card pockets, and 5 mini ones, I can store as many cards as I want, and the zippered section is perfect for my coins too :) It's an "open and see all" fashion, with a fuss free magnet button to secure the purse.

Because of its material (mainly fabric), it's weight is really negligible. Made with pretty designer fabrics, and a handy "handle" on top of it, this purse may steal the show from it's bigger counterparts, hehe...

I really LOVE my new purse, and I'm very confident you will too! Check it out at The Laughing House soon ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Finally, a Mini Day Tote!

This is the "introductory" piece of the Mini Day Tote, meaning the very first piece that we do. Now that we have an idea of how to make this, we'll start making them in designer fabrics in brighter & bolder colors soon.

The interior compartment, which has enough room to fit in a small foldable umbrella and water bottle too. It closes with magnetic button, and has a zippered pocket section to keep your valuables such as keys, cash etc safe.

It was structured well, such that it can "stand", and keep its form too. I love my new Mini Day Tote!

I have been a purse/pouch "fanatic" for as long as I can remember, and would buy them whenever I see one that I like. Now bags, and totes are the close relatives of pouch and purse :) Naturally, my affection for them rates the same level.

Seeing the purse and pouch so well received at The Laughing House, made me dream of one day creating and selling bags as well. I would pore over magazines for ideas, and be on the lookout for lovely bags the ladies on the street are carrying.

Now, this new "product" is quite belated, as I had planned to start selling totes around July this year. However, my mom who was the sole "crafter" simply couldn't catch up with the demands of the order back then. Her being in Singapore with me now, means a temporary "closure" of our custom order, and recently, a "partial" opening of new custom orders.

This extra "luxury" gave her the ability to come up with the patterns of the new items I want her to make, and experimenting with other new designs. I'm excited to say that, 2 new designs that are unique, functional & cute are finally here :)

Mini Day Tote is the first to be launched, and another one: Mini Organizer Purse will be up for sale in a few days time. I'm sure you'll love it as much as I, who are using them a lot now!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Price Adustment @ The Laughing House

When I started The Laughing House, I had wanted to sell everything at below $10. Mainly cute, functional stuff, stationaries, pouch, purse etc. My mom's really good at sewing, and can sew anything, any idea that I threw her way.


This went on happily during the first few months, until I learnt more about the "Art of Pricing" from all over the internet. Then it dawned on me how badly I've underpriced all my mom's handmade treasures, and the possible negative effect on the business if I intend to continue doing this in the long run. The (initial) pricing that I had in mind would probably worked if I sourced for my products from places like China where items are mass produced. But it definitely spells danger for a small home based industry like ours focusing on details, creativity and one-of-a-kind handcrafted item.

I weighed my options, and decided to go for a slight price increment. I realized how hard it was to do the adjustment as I already had a steady stream of "followers", customers, and potential buyers. So, I did that conservatively. Response remained good, as people do value quality and unique handmade products after all.

This past one month, I've been trying to learn sewing from my mom and be an apprentice, helping her in small little details here & there. She lives in Indonesia, while I, in Singapore...so I can only "effectively" make an attempt to learn sewing while she's here. 

Seeing her work, and my effort at trying to pick up the skill made me realize what it takes to make the purse, pouch and bags. And the amount of TIME, details that goes into it. 

She, being an experienced craftswoman, with more than 40 years of sewing experience took approximately 3-4 hours, to complete an Organizer Clutch Wristlet (one of the shop's best selling item) from scratch to finish. While I, a novice, may take 4-5 hours (so far it took me a few days to complete one, hehe...as I can only sneak in half hour here and there during the day.)

In regard to pricing, I have to take into consideration: material cost, labour cost, overhead cost, and profit. If I were to pay the labour cost (either to me, or my mom, on an hourly basis of $20/hr, or even $10/hr) accordingly, most people would baulk at the final selling price of the item. 

To play it "wise", I had to take into consideration what the market is willing to bear, and the market price out there. With the downturn of the economy and the increasing price of other basic commodities, raw materials, transportation etc, it may seem the worst of time for me to do the price adjustment up-wards.

After mulling over this matter for the past few weeks, I've finally decided to "execute" the price adjustment with immediate effect. It was quite a hard decision with lots of other thoughts and "what-ifs" running through my mind. But I feel, at the end of the day, I need to be "running the business" in a way that will yield a profit to me and the people working hard under me.

Feel free to contact me directly at The Laughing House, or even leave me a comment on this post, if you have any queries, opinions, thoughts ... whatever :) I promise to take all constructive criticism in stride, and would definitely appreciate any input at all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bridal Jewelry

Love how this picture turned out. Just like a bridal advertisement! lol...
An attempt to capture the entire piece.
I dont quite like how this picture turned out on the necklace display frame, as I feel the colour and the size estimation do not reflect the item accurately. But I still feel the need to put this up as people may want to have an idea of how it looks when being worn.

Another piece of jewelry for the posting here (I do realize that I've been posting jewelries here for the past 2 entries) hehe... well, I have to do this whenever I list a new piece at Winniel's. As I realized the traffic here will move on there, so it's good extra exposure. Definitely needed and most welcome anytime! :D

I saw a multi strand pearl necklace on a magazine long time ago, and had made up my mind to make one. Tis' just that the delay is a tad longer than intended, *grin*...well, I had to wait for my cones (bead caps) to reach me, as I want to try using them to complete the strands, for a more beautiful finish. 

I think it was worth the wait, I love how it looks, with the cones to cover up the finishing touches. Looks more elegant! (in my opinion)

This is a piece that has the charming characteristics of a classic pearl necklace, that will appeal to the young, because of the tiny pearls used. The clusters, create a "pretty/sweet" look! If I can turn back the time, this will be the necklace that I'd want to wear with my tube dress wedding gown. 

If you're a bride to be, check this out at Winniel's! Thanks for looking ;)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Star Flower

Bought these Champagne Quartz few months back, not quite having any inkling what to make of them. Their drill hole is especially tiny, so I figured, I can only use stringing wire and make it into a necklace.

Then I realized that my finer gauge wire fits into their tiny drill holes. So I just tried it on, and start wire wrapping it around into this design. I think it turned out really pretty as a pendant.

For more details, please check it out at Winniel's Signature Jewelry. Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lady Red

Made with Swarovski Crystals and sterling silver findings. The tear drop crystals were wire-wrapped simply, and linked with the tiny black crystals. The ear hook is also sterling silver with white gold coating.

This picture was taken to give viewers an idea of how it'll look like when worn. However, please note that it's not up to scale ;)

I made this piece (without the oval ring) sometime last week, but was unable to photograph it yet as my brother borrowed my camera during a diving trip to Bali. So, it was hanging from my drawer "looking" at me while I was still contemplating whether to list it as it was.

Until a time when I was making another piece of jewelry, and I looked through this piece again, deciding it was too simple. I played an oval ring over it to see how it'll look, and I must say, the transformation was refreshing indeed! Happy with how it turned out the way it did, I named it Lady Red.

A fun piece to have, especially for ladies who loves a "dangly" earring, yet wanting to keep it at a modest length, and not with a too elaborate design. The colour combination of tiny black beads against the generous amount of red will also spice up your sombre office wear, yet cool for parties and hanging out!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ready for Custom Orders Again!

Amy Butler's new line of Daisy Chain fabrics. To view them up close, please check out my FLICKR account.

All custom orders were put on hold for the past one month, and now we're READY to take up new orders again with the arrivals of this new batch of fabrics. 

The new Amy Butler's Daisy Chain range of fabrics are so lovely that I couldn't resist myself and ordered up to 15 yards of new fabrics (a mixture of Amy Butler and other designer's fabric). The first batch arrived today, and here in the picture above, are 7 of them. I suppose, the remaining 8 will reach me in a day or two :)    *excited*

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank all my loyal customers for the support, and enthusiasm in awaiting our "readiness" for new custom orders. 

If you've never ordered from us before, please contact me at The Laughing House to place a custom order with any of these fabric choices.

Cheers!
Winniel

Monday, October 6, 2008

Jogging Log: Day 11

Come to think of it, it's been a month since I started my first jog, and thanks to this Jogging Log, I'm able to track my progress.


I feel as though I've jogged a lot, and many many times. But the truth is, I've only went jogging for a total of 11 times, or an average of thrice a week.

I ran 3km for each of my jogs on day 9, 10 and 11, with an additional of 500m warm up, and 500m cool down walk before and after the run, covering a total distance of 4.0km. I decided that I'll stick to this distance for the month of October, as it's pretty much close to my limit, especially when I try to pick up my pace from the beginning of my jog.

When I gained my momentum, I enjoyed it. However when I began to feel physically challenged and tempted to stop (this usually occurs around the 1.5 and 2.0km mark) I'll start to look ahead and will myself to complete the next round, until I finished what I've set my mind to complete (a total of 6 rounds, or 3.0km). 

In doing this, I have a better idea of what the apostle Paul meant when he said "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil 3:13-14)


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Opal Blossom

Introducing Opal Blossom, my newest piece of necklace.

Taken against the sunlight around 6pm, I like the effect it has on the result.

Another piece that's quite challenging to photograph due to the gentle colours of the beads. On top of that, its a double strand featuring 2 chains of differing lengths. So I need to capture both centre pieces together, as ONE main centre piece. Not easy for me :)

Have been wanting to make a double chain 2 tiered necklace like this one for quite sometime now. And, I'm very happy with how this piece turned out, though it's not exactly what I set out to do in the first place, hehe...

Love the colours of the Peruvian Blue Opal that's a sweet aqua/blue colour, matched with the Violet Opals (Swarovski Crystals). The clustered design above the main focal bead, and smaller cluster on the shorter chain gives the impression of blossoming flowers, thus the name given to this piece. The sweet and gentle colour combination makes this piece a wonderful accessory for a beach wedding! 

Thanks for looking, I hope you'll love it as much as I do :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blind Love

I read with interest the US government's plan to bail out the financial giants of its present crisis with a USD 700B plan.  What I gathered from all this "drama" unfolding is like this typical parent/child relationship:


The parents failed to enforce strict discipline to the child from young, and this child grew up to be a lawless citizen. One day, this child got into big trouble and landed himself behind bars. As was the case throughout his growing up years, the parents rushed to bail him out, instead of letting him learn the painful lesson behind bars, to reflect on his actions, and learn from his mistakes.

The parents have lots of money, and probably can afford to do that each time. This speaks of a typical parent's "love" for their kids, willing to let go, and sacrifice everything, just to give the child a second chance, a brand new start. 

The irony of this situation is, the parents have other children who are poorer and in dire need of some financial help themselves.

Ultimately, when a person gets into big trouble because of some foolish mistakes, unwise decisions etc, they won't be the only one suffering. But, the parents as well. Often times, the responsibility may well rest on the parents, for failing to teach and instill the right values to the child from young.

Now that I'm a parent myself, I understand the pain of discipline, not just on the child, but on the parent. Knowing that my disciplining the child will cause pain, and suffering (though momentary) I'll be tempted to "let them off", since the crime is small (when they are at this age). By doing that, I may end up shortchanging the child of valuable lesson to be learnt, eventually causing him harm in the future, which will "boomerang" its way back to me one day.

I realized, to be consistent, I needed to be more "merciless", which will lead to more "pain" for the child, more often. But the magic is, the time taken to learn the lesson, becomes shorter, and the child will have "overcome" that particular "hurdle" faster. It's more effective indeed.

It's tougher on the parents (I feel) as the buck lies on us, instead of them (kids). We do well (in this area), it'll serve them well as giving them a stronger/higher platform to stand on in the future. If we are lazy, soft hearted, inconsistent in this, we'll lead them on the road of confusion, and an unstable platform to stand on, which may one day crumble under the weight of consequences as a result of their poor decisions.

All parents need God's grace on this area, and I learnt that if we submit our kids into God's hands, we need not worry too much for their future, despite their present "performance". As God is at work in our kids' lives, and is more than able/faithful to complete what he has started in them. "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 1:6)

Our responsibility now is to be faithful in being a steward of what God has already given us. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6)

 
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