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allora handmade blog: July 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010


can i share some fabulous news with you, dear readers? thanks for indulging me just a sec.
first... stop the presses... allorahandmade is now a!! so, please adjust your feeds and subscribe to instead of mmmmkay? thanks!

second, so excited to send these lovelies off today...

please click to bask in their glory:)
along with a few other beauties. are you dying of cuteness? i will be sponsoring the amazing Sara Sophia from  Tout-es-des-Roses on her trip to Blogher next weekend and she will be looking GORGEOUS in all her Allora Handmade goodies. these little earrings are going to be in the hands of several lucky ladies she meets when she goes to the MARTHA STEWART PARTY at Blogher. Yeah. insert freak out here.
!!!!!!!!!**%&*)(!!@#!*%(+=!^)!!!!!!!!!! (those are not swear words, just excitement. promise.)
ok. deep breaths. sigh.
martha, people!!!
ok, i'm ok.
of course clint helped with the design and i am in looove with the little details. (let's hope everyone else is too:)
ok, that's enough gushing for today. my boys are in wyoming today so i can finish up the million bajillion things i need to get done before i leave on tuesday. ahhh... a quiet house...
happy friday!
it is friday, right?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

mary, mary: handmade business tip #1

though i certainly don't claim to be an expert in this little gig i have going on, i feel as though there are things i have learned that could be valuable to any one just starting their own business or considering taking the leap.
so,without further ado, i bring you:

yeah, i know, my name's not mary. but jessica, jessica just doesn't have the same ring to it.
i would love to share a few things over the next few weeks and can't wait to hear your input as well. so let's get started!

handmade business tip #1:
be generous
i know, i know, it may seem counterintuitive, but my favorite and most successful method of growing my business is giving something away. of course, i have recently been the recipient of some generosity, so i know this isn't a foreign concept to a lot of you!
from the day i started allora handmade, i truly believed that if i was willing to be generous with my product, my time, and my talents, that things would work. it amazes me to see the result of generosity. being willing to give has infused my business with a frenetic excitement and happy energy that pushes me to do more and do better. AND it just so happens that the awesome by-product is more advertising and more sales. what's to lose? nothing! it's a win-win!
don't miss my sister's big giveaway week over at 30days

when business is slowing down or it just needs a good-old-fashioned kick in the pants, giveaways are my go-to. this month has been my best month ever (with the exception of the autism benefit back in january) and it is no coincidence that i have participated in 4 giveaways this month. when i decided i wanted to go to TCC (before i knew of my sister's awesome surprise) i knew i had to do something crazy to raise the funds. and so, a giveaway each week was my plan. if you are dying to hit a certain milestone in your business (# of sales, $ amount, quitting your day job, etc.) i would highly recommend it.
search out blogs you love whose readers would go crazy for your product. it doesn't hurt to ask if they would host a giveaway for you. don't be afraid to do giveaways for some smaller blogs too. chances are you are helping to bring them a few more readers as well and it turns into a "you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours" situation.
the gist of it is this:
giveaways are a great way to get people talking about you and your business. 
you won't regret it!
(part of this tip was originally written for marta's business and blogging workshop. consequently, marta was one of the first to host a giveaway for me a year ago tomorrow.)

what about you? have you seen good things come from giveaways?


Monday, July 26, 2010

matters of business

hello friends.
hope you had a fun weekend!
a few matters of business to make you aware of:
1. go check out yet another giveaway at etsy it up (have you checked out that blog? tons and tons and tons of cute stuff to be given away all.the.time!)
2. i am preparing for a great getaway to san diego and just yesterday realized i should probably let my customers know. so, if you are wanting anything allora in august, you have until TOMORROW! sorry for the late notice, but anything ordered after tomorrow will not be shipped until after i return on 8/20. don't worry - i'll still be blogging from the sunshine and sand :)
3. did you know i hit 500 sales last week. yippeeee!!! thank you so much for your continued support of my little shop!
4. happy monday to you!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

photo tips!

i'm lucky enough to be guest posting today over at one of my favorite blogs: Gussy Sews!
hop on over to get my best tips on how to photograph your products for your shop. 
and while you're at it, check out Gussy's AMAZING handiwork here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


have you ever been the recipient of so much generosity that you didn't even know what to do but cry? 
i have.
in fact, the past few years that clint has been back in school have forced me to humble myself and receive what has been offered to us, just knowing that somehow God always finds a way to pay back those with a generous heart.  hopefully someday i will be able to pay them back. but if not, i know He will.
today i was surprised in the grandest form.
my sister, my dear sweet sister. 
a few weeks back, mique had the great idea that we should be part of this conference.
creative women entrepreneurs?
 that pretty much describes us to a T. 
but, then there's the whole money issue.
some of you may not know that money doesn't flow freely around here. student life doesn't really allow for conferences and vacations and what not. my business has been life saving for our little family when money has been tight and income has been scarce. 
i'd been racking my brain trying to figure out how i could come up with enough to get me to an amazing weekend that could potentially be huge for my business. allora baby has brought in a new audience and new sales- which is awesome. i have a few shows i'm planning on soon, which is good. but i was about to take a leap of faith to put a bunch of money into something hoping for a great return on my investment, 
not knowing exactly how it would work out.
enter my awesome sister
seriously, awesome. 
today i got an email from her telling me that she had raised over $500 so that I could go. 
scuze me, whaaaaaat?
mind you, she doesn't have a shop. 
she doesn't have a job (besides her kids, which believe you me, is a full time job.) 
but she has a blog. and people love her. 
she rounded up amazing handmade artists who were willing to pay for a spot in this week of awesomeness knowing that mique would be using every penny to help her sister out.
i'm still in shock.
these are good people. 
not only are they super talented, but they are generous and kind.
i love supporting people like that.
don't you just want to buy something from all of them knowing they are GOOD human beings?
i do.

click on the links to visit their shops

thank you, my dear friends. i've never met most of you, but i am touched by your warm hearts.
and though it may seem small to you, it is big to me and my family.
and miq, thank you. i couldn't ask for a better sister.
xo, jess

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

brown paper packages tied up with string

but not just any string... baker's twine! beautiful, colorful, striped-y baker's twine! i have seen so many pretty uses for baker's twine in th blogging world, and i finally jumped on the bandwagon.
ever heard of the twinery? well if you haven't checked it out, what are you waiting for? go ahead, i'll wait...

see? pretty, right?
the twinery is a new shop and they sell the best, eco-friendly, 100% twine with super saturated color.
i hopped on their blog and after browsing a bit i found a discount code
and that was when  i knew it was fate... 
i couldn't resist!
(ps. they have tons of discount codes on twitter too!)
i ordered myself a sampler pack and a spool of yellow
(you know me and yellow... inseparable)
and i put it to use the second it came in the mail!

now my little lovelies will be tied up with string:

plus, the twinery's blog has super cute printables
(i've already printed out 3 copies!) 

now go get yourself some pretty and show the twinery some love:

need some ideas for what to do with baker's twine?

found here

found here

found here

Monday, July 19, 2010

wish they all could be california girls

can hardly contain the excitement that in just 2 weeks I'll be packing up the boys and heading home to san diego for 17 glorious days!! the beach, the fam, the mexican food, the friends!
and maybe even disneyland? (the boys have never been!!)
oh august 3rd, could you just hurry up and get here?

don't you think i need one of these to celebrate?

via aheirloom


Saturday, July 17, 2010

a few thoughts for the weekend

sometimes i take a look around and wonder whose life this is.
the other day a local customer came to my house to pick up some supplies i was selling. i answered the door dripping wet and half dressed (read: not really half dressed, just still in the process of trying to find something cute to wear. which means i was disheveled and not feeling cute at all). when i handed her the package she looked at me and said "so, are YOU the one behind Allora Handmade?" in disbelief.
i wanted to laugh out loud because, certainly, at that moment, and after a hectic morning, i  did not match my product image nor was i putting my best foot forward. "i know it's hard to believe, but i do clean up pretty nice." i wanted to say. instead i just spit out an embarrassed,"yeeeesss?"
what a thrill to see my lovelies on a real mannequin in a real store. (shade's local designer accessory market)

she proceeded to ask me questions about how i had sold so many items and what she should do to get the word out for her new shop as though i was some sort of an expert. again, i wanted to laugh but tried to keep it together and appear somewhat professional. i know that this past year i have been very blessed. there's no doubt about that. but, what started as a cross-your-fingers and hope we can pay rent next month last-ditch effort has now bloomed into a busy, thriving business. and it almost feels like an accident. don't get me wrong, i've put a lot of long hours into this budding beauty, but the hardest part is finding the hours in the day to meet the demand - not finding a way to get the word out. as i gave her a few tips, things that seemed so intuitive to me, i realized that they aren't actually intuitive to every one. 
so before i share my tips, any shop owners out there? what about you? what is your go-to for spreading the word and bringing in new customers? 

Friday, July 16, 2010

pattern obsession: chevron stripes

i know i'm a little late to the party, but is anyone else as obsessed with chevron stripes as i am lately? usually my eye is drawn to organic patterns, so i don't know what's gotten into me. somehow i've become a lover of geometric patterns. some zig-zag-ed eye candy for you:

found here

diy project found here

would these floors make you crazy? not sure i could deal, but i looove the look. didn't 9 by design have some wood similar to this on the exterior of one of their places?

some etsy love:

if you're really ambitious, here's a tutorial to make your own chevron stripes:
(in case you're wondering, i'm not that ambitious.)

found here

thanks for letting me confess my undying love. you may proceed.

*** don't forget to enter the giveaway here!***