Wednesday, August 19, 2009

making tags

I've been making and selling my things for many years now - eight? nine? Mostly, I am still in shock that people will purchase the things that I love to make. I usually feel kind of guilty, having to charge people money for what I love so much to do. But I learned long ago not to undervalue myself, my work, or especially my time.

Some of the best advice I can give to anyone looking to make a living off of their craft is to never undervalue all of the time it takes them. It may seem like fun at first - making a little bit of extra income here are there for something you like to do. But one day you may become overwhelmed with orders. Suddenly, becoming incredibly pressured and stressed - and all the while making much less than minimum wage for all of your effort really kind of sucks.

Regardless, I love so much that people will purchase my work from me, and I am forever eternally grateful. I have found most of my customers over the years to be truly wonderful people. I really feel like I have met some kindred spirits out there. And that is the most satisfying feeling of it all.

I am not always able to, but I really like and try to send along a small little gift with all my orders. One of my favourite things to make are little recycled paper tags. I constantly have tons of little paper scraps around, so its the perfect way to make something sweet and nice from them. If you want to make some for yourself, they are really easy - you don't even need a tag punch really. They would be really nice to use for gifts or to label some of your favourite things.

To make them, I first purchased a couple of tag craft punches and a bunch of packages of 1/8" metal grommets from Michael's. Whenever I get a moment, I punch and set away. This is a really good project to take "on the road" with me, and often I will bring along these supplies when we go to visit my parents or such.

I designed the packaging top up in Adobe Illustrator, and get out 5 to an 8.5 x 11" page. Then I simply photocopy them onto ivory cardstock. (This is cheap of me but hey! It works out and the idea here is to not cost a lot but still be nice).

thankyou's by you.

23 comments:

Tiffany said...

This was a really good post, i just started my own etsy store and after a few weeks i realized i wasnt selling things for as much as I should be... Time really is money! I like to give little gifts or discounts with all my orders too. But when i recently received my GORGEOUS card file from you i just about died from all the cuteness that is your paper tags. I just wanted you to know that i very much appreciated them, I collect tags wherever i can because i like to use them on gifts instead of cards (no one ever reads cards anyway!) Thanks so much for including these with my order. You should sell them in your store, I would definitely buy them!

Kate said...

I'm learning that lesson myself right now! I recently had to to raise the prices on my jewelry and it was such a hard decision I had to consult many friends on, who all thought I should make them more expensive than I could handle. It just feels wrong until you realize your business will go nowhere making no money!

These tags are oh so nice. I can imagine how exciting it would be to get these with an order!

Jessie Fincham said...

they look like lovely tags! all your things are so pretty :) thanks for the advice, im still waiting to be 'overwhelmed' with orders yet! lol

indigorchid said...

I really like your sense of patterns, making and pairing and matching them, and the colors you use. It's so yummy to look at it all!

Ashley said...

I LOVED finding the surprise little extra something in my address file box. Thanks for taking the time to make something so lovely and useful with your scraps!

Meninheira said...

Precioso lo que cuentas y lo que nos muestras, gracias :)


Wonderful what you tell us and what you show us, thanks:)


(my english is terrible, hope you understand spanish and them you can understand my words better)

L said...

they're so cute.

Beth- the mama bee said...

Yes, I have the same struggle. I want my items to be affordable, but I need to make sure I make a little on my sales. I have even lost money on orders before! I need to work on this!

Alexis said...

Those tags are great! Whenever I order from a small shop, I'm always surprised by a small little thank you. Even if it's a handwritten "thanks" on my invoice, or a cute postcard for me "just because".

Sharilyn, I'm curious about the toolbox/box holder you used in the first shot. I think i recall it in another picture and it has red lining, right? Did you happen to purchase it from somewhere or did you/your dad make it? :)

Sharnel said...

what a sweet post. i adore your little tags.

mrs.adrienneK said...

omg those tags are adorable!!!!!!

Chandra said...

Great advice! I love the packaging for the tags...so very much YOU!

Moose said...

Advice every Artist needs to hear! I sometimes struggle with that, but I know my clients really like getting "special touches" for themselves when they are purchasing a gift for someone else. I love making these little "thank-you's" & I really feel they are appreciated...no matter what.
Tail Wags to All.
~Moose

cindy said...

you are one of the most generous people i've met and so dear. there is always so much care and attention to detail in all that you do.

wendy said...

i love your little tags! makes me want to go out and buy a tag punch now. and your packaging is so beautiful too -- what a great idea to photocopy them so that you don't use up too much ink in your printer. thanks for sharing how you make these things!

cristina moon said...

Thank you for the very good advice. And your lovely designs, your blog is sooo wonderful to follow!

Mandie said...

Thank you for your beautiful post! I think that it really is the little things in life that make it worth living. Even such a thing like special tags can make someone's day. Thank you for this information it made me smile. Have a wonderful day!

Donna said...

I bought some grommets recently to do just this but wasn't sure what kind of tool to use to set them, and Michaels' staff was of no help.

I am glad you have realised that your time is worth something and are pricing accordingly. Your stuff is beautiful!

- Donna

Alissa Nicolau said...

Great ideas as usual, thank you for sharing.

amber said...

sharilyn-
these are absolutely adorable!

i received my address file last week & it has not moved from our kitchen countertop since. i want it out in the open for everyone to see!

it's gorgeous & the little tags were a wonderful surprise. i cannot thank you enough for making these available again!

chicadecanela said...

I own a set of this from when i purchased my address file and they sit unopened in my cabinet of curiosities, because the packaging is so *lovely* i can´t bear to tear it apart! I know you´ll hate this since you mean your stuff to be used and loved, but...
BTW, i got my lovely card set in the mail and i´m so happy with it. I feel so lucky! ^^

Jhon said...

I really like your sense of patterns, making and pairing and matching them, and the colors you use.

--
Jhon
Are you scared to be alone at home need security

Summer Daniels said...
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