Summer is sizzling, and your to do list is a mile long, so let’s make shopping easy for you. Whether you’re looking for amazingness for your BFF's birthday, a thank you for that special coworker you share glares with during meetings, or some long overdue self care, we have the perfect summer gifts from local handmade artists in the DFW area. Shop local, support your community, and feel all warm and fuzzy knowing you mean the world to a small business. Enjoy our gift guide of modern Americana-inspired favorites and not-so-traditional red, white, and blue goodies.
Whether you’re shopping for your mom, a friend, that coworker two cubicles down who is always covered in cat hair or your bestie who’s expecting, we have the perfect Mother’s Day gifts from makers right here in the DFW area. Shop local, shop small and support your community. It’s a win all around, if you ask us. Here are a few of our favorite finds for all the moms in your life.
Hello, everyone! My name is Alex Hughes, and I sell my globally inspired prints and illustrations through my business, Wandering Paper Co. I went to college at TCU, where I majored in graphic design, and I now live in the DFW area with my husband Philip and our cat Athena.
I don't know about you, but I'm so excited fall is here. The breeze is blowing, football season is upon us, and the infamous PSL is back. Yes, I know it’s still 90 degrees outside, but 90 is better than 100, and in Texas, we’ll take what we can get.
It's funny, every year when school starts I have the urge to take up a class or two myself. Maybe it’s the shiny new school supplies (it’s hard to say no to a new leather-bound notebook from Ox and Pine, or a witty to-do list from Kat French Design) or maybe it’s just the feeling of working toward a goal, but I miss the feeling of satisfaction that comes with learning something new. It’s fitting, then, that September is National Self-Improvement month. It's the perfect excuse to take a class, read a book or take on a new challenge. So I've put together a few ways to make the most of self-improvement month. Feel free to give them a try.
Start a Journal
I’m a recent fan of journaling after reading The Artist’s Way and doing the corresponding journal exercises. According to the Huffington Post, journaling can help boost self-confidence, create mindfulness, and even help you achieve your goals. For the full list of benefits, check out the full article on the benefits of keeping a journal. Plus, starting a journal is a great excuse to buy a cool new notebook.
Visit a Museum
The Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Perot Museum are three of my favorites. The best part is, they are all within walking distance of each other. Take yourself on a museum date, then stop by the food trucks at Klyde Warren Park for lunch or a mid-afternoon snack.
Take a Class
I love Oil & Cotton and the wide array of adult classes and workshops they offer. I’ve taken portrait watercolor and marble paper workshops there and loved both. They have lots of new offerings this fall, including felting, interior painting, photography, and intro ceramics. Check out their full fall lineup here.
Join a Gym
Yes, I know, everyone’s favorite subject. Luckily, there are tons of fun alternatives to a boring 30-minute treadmill jog. Go climbing at Summit Climbing Gym, try kickboxing at Title Boxing Club or join a recreational kickball league at Big D Sports. You may have so much fun you forget you're exercising.
De-Clutter and Decorate
Okay, maybe this is less ‘self-improvement’ and more ‘life-improvement,’ but de-cluttering always makes me happier and less stressed. First, choose a small area of the house, like a bathroom or a closet — somewhere that can be organized in one day. Next, take a page from Marie Kondo and keep only the things that spark joy. Once you have de-cluttered and organized, a new piece of art is a great way to give a space new life. I've always been a fan of these origami koalas from Tokodots, and I've had my eye on this hand-drawn map of White Rock Lake from Joy Street Maps for my living room.
In any case, once you have given away all the clutter, every time you pass that space you will feel lighter and more carefree.
Learn a Language
I love to learn new languages, which is why I’m a big fan of the app Duolingo. It's free, and the exercises are only 5 minutes long, so it’s easy to practice every day. Plus, you can find your friends and keep track of points.
Take a Bath
You deserve a reward after all this self-improvement. Taking care of yourself will give you the energy you need to stick with you new habit. Winding down with a bath, a book or a good movie is a great way to de-stress and get ready to tackle the day tomorrow.
What are your plans for self-improvement month? Do you have any self-improvement tips you would like to share? Let us know in the comments.
We have a roundup of Etsy Dallas member shops with sales celebrating Etsy's 13th birthday. Set a reminder, the sales event is June 18-22. You don't want to miss these deals!
Expressions Bracelets is offering 20 percent off the entire shop (excluding the sale section). You'll also get free shipping (U.S. domestic orders only) on orders of $50 or more.
MayaXKiwi is offering 15 percent off all prints and cards.
The Pig and the Peacock is offering 15 percent off the entire shop (excluding favors and custom orders).
Sasha's Hand-Poured is offering 15 percent off the whole shop plus free shipping on orders over $40.
Wandering Paper Co. is offering 20 percent off everything in the shop.
Whipped Up Wonderful is offering 15 percent off plus free shipping on orders of $35 or more. Cannot be combined with other coupons. Free shipping on U.S. domestic orders only.
Whispers in the Glen is offering 20 percent off the entire shop.
Tokodots is offering 15% off everything in the shop.
Ahaha Home is offering 15 percent off everything in the shop.
Earrings by Eryn is offering 10 percent off most items in the shop.
Here's wishing you a happy 13th, Etsy! And happy summer to all of you. Enjoy the deals and the sunshine.
Teacher Appreciation Day is May 8 and we have a roundup of handmade gifts teachers are sure to love from some of our favorite Dallas artists. We love these pieces and we know you will too.
1. Pineapple scarf from Milquetoast Designs 2. Pressed flower jewelry from Gnome Stones 3. Natural Deodorant from Sasha's Hand Poured 4. Block printed thank you cards from Wandering Paper Co. 5. Printable St. Paddy's Bingo from Favors and Stuff 6. Punny herb planters from DCD Design Co. 7. Bluebonnet wall art from Martolana and 8. Melon + mint soy candle from Mythology Candles
Don't miss out on these Labor Day deals from some of our favorite Etsy Dallas shops. Here's wishing you all a fun and safe long weekend.
P.S. Our newsletter subscribers got the scoop about these deals first. *hint hint*
My favorite thing about being a member of Etsy Dallas is growing and learning with other like minded creatives. We are all in different places on our entrepreneurial journeys, and we learn what works and what doesn't, and support each other throughout. Alexandra of Wandering Paper Co. is back with a follow-up to her last post with her goals for 2017. I am so excited to see where her bright and minimal brand goes this year!
A little while back, I wrote a recap of my 2016 small business goals, so this week it’s time to focus on 2017. I can’t wait to share my goals with you, but before I do, I’d like to ask for your help! In order to accomplish these goals, I need some honest feedback from the general public. I’ve created a short branding survey to help guide my decision making for Wandering this year. If you are willing to fill it out, I would be most grateful! Thank you in advance for giving a little bit of time to help make Wandering Paper Co. better. I couldn’t do this without you!
Okay, on to the goals. It’s taken me a while to write this post is because I’ve had such a hard time narrowing down my list of goals. There are so many things I want to do, but some of them are just going to have to wait until next year. After giving it a lot of thought, here’s my final list of goals for 2017:
That's my new branding mood board up there! Now that WPC has a year under its belt, I’d like to thoroughly think through my storytelling and messaging, and build out a recognizable brand that my customers connect with. I put together this mood board to help guide the visual portion of branding, which includes color schemes, materials and textures, typography, and graphic elements.
I also want to think through the way I choose to tell the Wandering Paper Co. story. This will mean thinking through a few key questions—namely, what sets Wandering Paper Co. apart, why has it been successful so far, and how does it connect with its audience on an emotional level? I’m excited to get started on this goal—stay tuned!
BUILD OUT WPC PINTEREST ACCOUNT
My goal with the WPC Pinterest is to showcase my work, but I also want to create a resource for other aspiring printmakers or creative business owners. The Pinterest page will provide solutions to common business questions and problems with links to helpful articles. It will also have lots of printmaking ‘how-to’ articles and inspiration. Plus, it will have boards dedicated to beautiful global décor examples and light-filled creative spaces to help us stay inspired and dream about the future. I really wish I'd had a resource like this when I was first starting out, so I can't wait to share it!
THOROUGH SEO STUDY
This one's pretty simple. First, I will conduct a study of relevant search terms and keywords though Google Adwords and the results of my branding survey. Then I will optimize the WPC site for these terms with the goal of growing site traffic from Google searches. It's actually a really big undertaking, but it will be interesting to see how it affects site traffic!
EXPAND EXISTING PRINT SERIES
Create more prints in the City Streets series, City Skylines series, and Pattern print series to round out each collection. A few prints currently in the works are New Orleans, Austin, and a new Fort Worth print to match the Dallas one. I've also been experimenting with some floral patterns, which brings me to my next goal...
EXPERIMENT WITH NEW PRODUCTS
A few items I’m considering: tea towels, napkins, notebooks, and calendars, as well as a line of wedding invitations (hence the florals.) What kinds of items would you like to see? Tell me in the survey!
So, there you have it—my 2017 goals. I’d love to hear your thoughts about these, so if you’d like to help me out, my branding survey is here. Thank you all so, so much for participating and being part of the Wandering Paper Co. story. I can’t wait to get started on these goals and see what 2017 has in store—it is humbling and scary and exciting all at once. Here’s to 2017!
The new year is a great time to reflect on the successes and failures of the previous one. And we read recently that March is an excellent time to make resolutions. Alex Hughes of Wandering Paper Co. shares what she learned from her small-business goals from last year, and offers a sneak peek at what's next for her globally inspired paper goods business.
Well, it’s a new year, and that means new goals! Yes, I realize it’s a little late to write a “New Year’s” post, buuut one of my goals this year is to “get more rest” so you could say I’ve gotten a jump on that one. :)
Anyway, before I write about my goals for 2017, I want to go back and revisit my 2016 goals. Here is a quick summary of last year’s goals, and ways I’ve addressed them:
1. Implement Systems to Maximize Efficiency and Minimize Costs
One of the big ways I’ve done this is by buying materials in bulk. This has forced me to address my fear of commitment, because now that I’m sitting on one thousand each of envelopes, packaging, and shipping materials, I’m forced to come to terms with the fact that I’m in this thing for the long haul.
Another way I’ve done this is by keeping track of my inventory and sales throughout the year. Now that I have a year’s’ worth of numbers under my belt, I can make educated long-term decisions about how many supplies to order, how many prints and styles to make, etc.
2. Create a Thorough Accounting System & Maintain Organized Financial Records
Ugh. Let me be the first to say that numbers and financials are not my strong suit. The mere talk of numbers makes me tired. That said, I think I did an okay job with this one, and learned more than I ever thought I’d know about Excel (let’s just say they don’t teach you about spreadsheets in art school.) Huge thanks to my friend Will for getting me started, or as I like to call it, pro bono work for the mathematically challenged. Anyway, here are a couple things I did that were helpful:
- Opened a separate bank account for my business
- Made a spreadsheet of all business materials and expenses and used this to calculate wholesale and retail pricing.
- Made a spreadsheet to track sales and inventory
- Used accounting software (I used Wave Accounting, which is free) to track expenses and profits
Having these systems in place helped me identify expenses that were hurting my bottom line, as well as to figure out where I could afford to invest. The graphic designer in me really wants nicer business cards and packaging, but the numbers hold me accountable and force me to grow slowly. It helps me ensure that I have a healthy profit at the end of each month, which is pretty awesome.
Okay, enough talk about money. On to more fun things!
3. Explore Additional Sales Avenues: Craft Shows, Farmers' Markets, Wholesale
Check, check and check! This year I tried out lots of different craft shows, and sold at our neighborhood farmers’ market as well. I was excited to learn that the prints sold really well at both the craft fairs and farmers’ markets, but my favorite thing about doing these events was meeting other creative people. Some of the friends I met even turned into wholesale relationships!
4. Make Prints That Give Me Joy
I’m really glad I had kept this as a goal last year, because when you’re selling your work, the temptation is always there to make products that you think people will buy. This goal has helped me carve out time to make prints for their own sake and to experiment more. I’ve found that the unstructured “fun” projects are where I generate my best ideas or discover new and exciting things. These projects keep me excited about Wandering, because I am challenging myself and growing creatively.
Big thank you hearts to Alex for letting us see behind the scenes! Head over to the Wandering Paper Co. blog for more small business tips and to shop the collection of colorful multicultural paper goods!
It's almost here, it's almost here! Jingle Bash is on November 19th! Check out some of the cheerful holiday cards from our artists that are making their debut! Click for more info!
Happy Friday, readers! What are you up to this weekend? It is too glorious outside for binge watching Netflix. If you are looking for something fun in the area, several of our members are setting up for the J.J. Pearce Pacesetters Holiday Bazaar! This event looks like a party! There is a "famous" bake sale, sweepstakes with tons of prizes, and of course, awesome handmade shopping. Check out their event website for more info, and be sure to say "Hi" to Sabrina and Jenny of The Pig & the Peacock, Alex of Wandering Paper Co., and Emily of MushTushy!