01 09 10

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back and Planning ahead

Just spent the morning looking for a new 2010 desk planner at the bookstore. How quickly the dates are already filling up. We thought we would do a quick post about this past year and what we hope to accomplished in the coming new year.

~ Lots of changes happened to us personally this year. We had a second baby in April and we moved into a new house in the fall (after searching all summer long) right before our busy holiday season. Who planned that?

~ We have found over the years Halloween is becoming a very popular holiday in terms of decor. This makes our Christmas collection planning trickier with scheduling and production of the 2 holidays so close together!

~ Craft shows: knowing we were having a second baby we really had to figure out how many craft shows we could handle. As much as we really enjoy them, they are very tiresome to do. So we thought this year we would try less shows and do more print advertising. The shows we did do were very successful for us but the print ads, not so much. We are still wondering if the cost of them were they really worth it (If you ask Lianne, she was against the print ads from the get go). I was more willing to try because we had such great success with the ads we did in Mary Engelbriet Home Companion Magazine. We still are getting emails from people who are going through their old issues. Which leads us to another fun little project we are doing for the ME Studio Workshop happening in the spring of 2010. We are contributing an ornament to their workshop goody bag. To learn more about the ME Studio workshop go here.

~ This year we also jumped into the crazy world of social networking. Swirly Designs is on Twitter (are you following us?) and you we have a fan book page of us on facebook.

~Change: Not only personally but we deal with constant change when it comes to our favorite tools and materials. It's no fun realizing once you have something you like they go ahead and change it or get rid of it. The paper we use for our ornament tags is no longer available, the ribbon we love for our ornaments has changed and we have been searching for months for a replacement. Certain paint colors and scalloped scissors are gone. It keeps us on our toes that's for sure. Makes us think twice now every time we come across a tool or material we think we could use... we end up buying way more then we need because of fear we will never find it again.

In 2010 we are hoping to get our stuff together. Our focus is on organizing the studio and really focusing on getting some PR for the company. We are scheduled to do a new Valentine, Spring, Halloween & Christmas collection again for 2010 and hopefully start earlier (of course we are already behind on Valentines...Yikes!). We are working on a new line for kids and will continue adding more mini ornaments for the other holidays, along with some fun how-to projects.

Only time will tell what is in store for us as we are approach our 10th anniversary of Swirly Designs.

Thanks to you all and a wishing you all a Swirly 2010!
~ Lianne & Paul

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

As another holiday season comes to a close, we'd like to take this time to say thank you all for your wonderful support of Swirly Designs over the years.

Over the last few years our ornaments have really started taking off. They've been selling out within hours after a collection is launched online and we thank you all for that...even though we do get quite a few disappointed emails about being sold out so quickly. All we can say to that is that we are working hard and hopefully next year we will have plenty for everyone! Without all you we really wouldn't be able to do what we truly love doing. We are honored to be part of your holiday tradition.

As we approach the new year we hope lots of new Swirly good things.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
~ Lianne & Paul

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our last Craft show of the Season

On Dec 12th and 13th we did our last craft show of the season. We took a few shots that day and we wanted to take more but our camera battery died... figures.
Anyway, the SOWA Holiday Market is always a fun show for us. The promoters do an excellent job with advertising and picks a great mix of quality artisans. We highly recommend checking it out next year. The same promoter has other shows called SOWA Open Market that happen over the summer which we have heard good things about.

The crowds were filling up the entry way to stay warm on this very chilly Sat morning.

Setting up is always fun...NOT! No matter how many times we do a show we are always second guessing the best way and most effective way to layout our booth space. Placement of the tables, believe it or not, is very important on making a pleasant shopping experience.

Arranging our ornaments on the table, as well as hanging them on our trees helps our customers see the pieces at their best.

Our very popular Baby's First Christmas is always selling out. This year we did this ornament in tones of pinks for the show.

We enjoy doing craft show because you really get to see the reactions to certain designs and themes. One of the new designs we had this year was our new Mini Snowman Wind Catchers. People really enjoyed these guys. They could be making an appearance online next year - stay tuned!!

After two days and many shoppers later it was time to clean up and reflect on the show and start thinking of new ideas for next year.
Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ornament Lovers...

Have you seen Celebrate 365 magazine? It's a quarterly magazine that celebrates the world of ornament collectors. It provides readers with up-to-the-minute ornament news as well as carefully researched articles of interest to ornament collectors. It is definitely worth checking out and we are thrilled to have two of our snowmen ornaments on the back cover of the winter 2009 issue!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A visit to the Enchanted Village

The holiday season is here and we are always super busy this time of year. We really try to make a point to enjoy some of the wonderful festivities that go on locally. Of course having two kids now we really want to make their childhood holiday memories enjoyable ones.

Over the weekend we took the kids to The Enchanted Village. It’s a village with animatronic displays that you walk through. It was a staple here in New England in the 1960's -70's at the Jordan Marsh Department store in downtown Boston. Jordan's Furniture recently acquired the village through an auction and refurbished it and put it up for display in their Avon furniture store.

We thought it would be fun to bring the kids. The line was extremely long. I think we waited approx 2 hours... not so much fun. The gentleman in black with the glasses is Eliot of Jordan's Furniture. He was greeting the people waiting in line.

Here is a brief history of the exhibits

Here is the sweet shop. It is definitely a throw back to when we were kids. It brought back lots of memories. Growing up in the North End, I remember visiting Jordan Marsh frequently and seeing the Enchanted Village.

Walking through the displays, every few minutes fake snow would be pumped out which the little loved (we believe the snow was made of some kind of shaving cream soap because our oldest kept trying to catch them on his tongue)

As you exited out of the exhibit old St. Nick himself was there to greet the kids. We waited for a few minutes so the kids could chat it up with Santa. Knock on wood, the littlest one didn't cry she just gave Santa a strange look.
~Happy Holidays!
Lianne & Paul

Thursday, December 3, 2009

ThatsIT!Mommy blog GIVEAWAY

Want to win a Swirly ornament?
Check out a wonderful new blog called thatsIt!Mommy

Its a blog by Cecy and Tee who are working parents and first time mommies who blog about their girls’ wacky adventures and will bring you news about events happening in the Greater L.A. area.

Stop by and enter to win!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Collection is Here!

Finally the wait is over! After months of work, our 2009 Holiday ornament collection is up online. Take a peek and let us know what you think.
Happy Holidays!
Lianne & Paul

Monday, November 30, 2009

What goes into doing a craft show

With the arrival of our second child earlier this year we decided that we would have to cut back on doing craft shows.

With all the planning that goes into doing these shows and having to find someone to watch the kids for the whole weekend, is getting harder and harder to do.

We really love meeting all our collectors who come out year after year to see us and see our new designs. Hearing the feedback is priceless. We thought only a couple of shows this season could work.

This past weekend was the first of two shows we are doing (our next show is on Dec 12th & 13th the SOWA Holiday Market).

We thought it would be fun to share with everyone what goes into doing a holiday craft show.

First choosing which show to participate in is probably the most challenging part for us. The booking for a show starts early in the year so you really have to have your game plan ready right after you finish the current season of shows. This always is difficult for us! We need to decide which shows to do again and then look into trying to submit to new ones. But with so many shows around we like to try to visit a show first to see if it's a good fit for our designs, sometimes that's not always possible.

Displays and space planningOnce you get that acceptance letter the planning begins!
There is a lot we take into consideration when doing a show. We want our booth to be an “experience” for the shoppers. Things you may not notice, but we do...like table heights. How high is best for viewing. Also, how they are the tables positioned to invite the customer “into” our space.

We like to use a variety of trees to showcase our ornaments. We have to think about how many to bring. As designers we take pride in clear and readable signage. We also like to have a backdrop so the shopper doesn't get distracted by the surrounding booths. Lighting is something else we need to think about. It usually is an extra expense but if we feel that the location is going to be dark we have to splurge. We also have to think think about flooring, packing materials, postcards, extra ornament tags, credit card machine and so much more. You also have to calculate how much product to take to a show. And lastly make sure everything will fit in your car and that it is easy to assemble in a timely manner.

For this particular show it was a one day show. The hours were 9-4. Set-up began at 6:30 am. We were up late the night before till 3 am trying to get everything together and we were still rushing up to the last moment tagging and pricing the ornaments. It seems we always bring more than we need. You never can tell which designs people are going to prefer. We do find it interesting that ornaments from other seasons, like Halloween and Easter, do well at the shows.

We created this framed process display a few years back after repeating and repeating to everyone who entered our booth how we go about creating our work. Now this visual shows what goes into making a swirly design without hearing our annoying voices repeat it over and over for 8 hours.

The best part of standing on your feet for 8 hours straight... is meeting all the customers and collectors who come back each year looking for our new designs. We had one customer drive 2 hours just to see us! It so important for us to meet our audience and get that feedback.

The show was a success for us we think doing these smaller shows will work. They are not as crazy as a three day show and we think it still important for us to shows to keep Swirly Designs name out there especially around the holidays.

Which craft shows do you like to attend and why?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

SOWA Holiday Market is coming!

We can't believe it's time for the SOWA Holiday Market again! This is our fifth year doing it and just love it. It has a great variety of crafters showcasing their unique creations. We love seeing old friends at the show and meeting new ones.

This year it happens on Dec 12-13 at the Cathedral High School in the South End.

Check out their website and mark your calendars and come visit us at the show, we'd love to see you!

What have we been up to?

Where has the month gone? It's Thanksgiving weekend and we haven't posted anything for this month..eek! We found a sliver of free time so we are going to cram a few posts in before it is officially December.

Here is a sneak peak of what we have been doing all month long at the studio.... we are getting ready to launch our Christmas collection on Dec 1st. We have been busy sculpting and painting and glittering lots and lots of ornaments (we are still trying to clean up all the glitter!)

Hope you'll be able to stop by our website on the 1st to check them out.

These shots were taken when the ornaments had a coat of varnish on them. We balance each ornament on a paint bottle so the sides can dry with out sticking—I know, real hi-tech, huh?

Here you can see some of the dangler pieces getting ready to be attached to the ornaments.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a wonderful turkey day.
Happy Thanksgiving
~Lianne & Paul

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

Wishing you all a happy and safe Halloween.
~Lianne & Paul

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Blog Winners are....

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and visited our Halloween Blog Party event this past Saturday.
Like we promised, one lucky party visitor who left a comment was going home with one of our Handmade Creepy Spider Halloween ornament.
We are feeling very generous this week so we decided we would choose two winners for this prize and they are......

Our First winner is....Laura Zarrin

and our Second winner is.... Cathy from Tadpoles and Teacups

Congrats to both our winners and thanks again for stopping by and commenting on our blog :) We will be in touch soon to get your shipping info so we can send your ornament out before Halloween.
~ Lianne & Paul

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween Magazines... What a treat

How thrilled we are this season to see such a nice collection of new and special issues for All Hallows eve. When last year, with the magazine industry hurting so bad and with a lot of our favorite magazines closing their doors we were concerned that these wonderful issues would be something in the past. Well hitting the newstands this fall was a great collection of magazine that you all should go out and support. Even though we haven't read each magazine cover to cover YET just browsing them quickly they are all a must have for halloween inspiration.

This Phyllis Hoffman publication is new to the bunch. This magazine has beautiful photos, but does focus more on the food and party entertaining part of the holiday.

Mathew Mead is the equvilant to Martha Stewart. This second edition of his magazine has the perfect mix of crafts, food and fun with creative how to projects.

Here is the Queen of everything... Martha Stewart: Halloween always a must have for anyone who enjoys Halloween.

This special Halloween issue of Family Fun magazine with it's beautiful mate cover it definalty the most kids friend and easy how to of the bunch.

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