Welcome Back

I’m making a written promise right here and now so I have to stick to it. I am going to start blogging twice a week. “BUT YOU HAVEN’T BLOGGED IN MONTHS!” you say.  Well, dear reader, you are right. And I don’t know where I get off thinking I can go from zero to sixty in blogonds (blog+seconds) but I’m going to try my darndest.

Each week I’m going to post two series. The first one I’m calling Monday Muse.  I’ve been in the craft game for a minute now and I have encountered some amazingly talented ladies and gents making the coolest things you can get your hands on.  I find their work and work ethic inspiring and am giving myself a platform to gush about them. The best part about craft people is that they are delightful and supportive and kind and generous so I’m hoping to put some of that positive energy back into the world by promoting them a tiny little bit on this here blog.

The second series is going to be The School of Loosely Learned Life Lessons. I love everything about alliterations, even the word alliteration itself. I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants (I just googled what that meant because writing it out made no sense and I hyper linked an explanation for the cliche if you also have no idea what it means) these past couple of years teaching myself a variety of things from how to cut wood to how to build walls to marketing to accounting.  I’ve also had some pretty good professors along the way although they may not be aware of their tenure spot at TSLLLL.  I might get t-shirts made with that acronym.  I’m going to use this series as my note taking storage. I’ll be sharing the lessons I’ve taught myself and learned from others both as they come and some of the highlights from the past couple of years. I just realized I could have called this series run it up the flag poll (another phrase that 1. I didn’t know was a business cliche and 2. I had no idea what it meant).

I hope you’ll join me as I attempt to blog for more than two weeks.

Go run it up the flag poll.  Should that be my version of Ryan Seacrest’s “Seacrest out”?

Now On Facebook

Halyard has joined Facebook. Please like and share the Halyard Page to keep up to date with Halyard! You’ll get notices about Tweets, Instagrams, and Blog posts on the Halyard Page so you won’t miss a thing. IT’LL BE LIKE WE ARE BEST VIRTUAL FRIENDS!

One of a Kind Ticket Discount!

I AM SO EXCITED AND NERVOUS FOR ONE OF A KIND (OOAK)! I’m make my Artisan Profile right now and I went to the OOAK website to see what my profile will look like to customers. Seeing Halyard on this list of AMAAAAAHZING artisans made me want to cry and puke simultaneously (cute, right?).

As an artisan, I get to offer my friends, family, followers, customers, etc. a one dollar discount off the OOAK ticket price! Buy your tickets through this link and you will get the two dollars off for buying online and the one dollar off for knowing me! You can also simply enter the promotion code ASDhndz. Can’t wait to see you at the show!

STUDIO TOUR! (no “pre”)

Good gravy this took a while.  This amazing space is actually quite big so removing all of the stuff that was stored there, fixing up the walls, painting the walls, floors, and ceiling, and cleaning everything took a long time.  But I have been in my BEAUTIFUL finished studio now for a couple of months and I am loving it.  Everything has a place and my love of being organized can so easily be fulfilled. I can go from cutting wood to painting to sanding to staining so quickly.

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Above is a panoramic picture of my studio. To the left is where I store all of my unprocessed wood and cut this wood down to size. I love how this section is organized and cutting the wood has gone from my least favourite part of making the flag to my second favourite part, right after painting the flags. You can see my stack of wood and table saw sitting there.

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Wood Cutting Station (recently swept, normally there’s saw dust EVERYWHERE)

To the right of the cutting section is my inspiration wall and finished flag wrapping station.  I’ll have to post a picture of all of my inspirational quotes one day.  They are helpful when I’m feeling overwhelmed and I don’t have any coworkers to talk to so I talk to the walls. Oh, I’m crazy. Good. Great.

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WORK HARD STAY HUMBLE STAY INSPIRED AND WRAP THOSE FLAGS

In the middle of my panorama picture is WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS. Or where I paint. In the panoramic picture I don’t have my beautiful drafting table but the picture below shows it.  The kitchen surrounding my painting station has everything stored away in a drawer or cupboard with labels on all of them. I’m sparing you a picture of my OCD cupboard labelling. You’re welcome.

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Drafting Table

Further to the right in the panorama picture is where I sand and stain the flags.  Lots of sanding dust collects there.

To the right of the sanding station is where all the finished flags are stored.  I’ve reconfigured how the flags are stored a few times and I’m now super happy with the organization of things there. I’m prepping for One of a Kind in March so hopefully my storage section will be nice and full before then and I’ll post a picture on Instagram. (Follow me on Instagram). 

A fire is to the right of the storage because #swag.

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swag

And as far right as you can go on the image is where I hang flags that are being picked up or I have to mail out.

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Staging some flags

I couldn’t be happier in my lovely little (read: massive) studio.

2014 Year in Review: Top 10 New Things Halyard is Doing in 2015

Happy New Years Eve all! To celebrate, Halyard is sharing the final year end list of 2014. This list outlines the new things Halyard will be doing in 2015 that I’m most excited about. I’m giving you this teaser list because I want you to be excited too!

10: Although this is number ten on my list of things I’m excited about, it is number one on my to-do list. I’ve been telling you all I would do this for MONTHS but I promise it will actually come in the new year: a virtual tour of my completed studio!

9: I’m going to start selling flags through my website. This is number nine on this list because I’m slightly dreading the process of figuring out exactly how to sell through my website but it is on this list because I think it’s going to be a bit of a game changer allowing people to order through the website instead of having to email me. I hope it isn’t too complicated of a process *monkey covering eyes emoji*
8: I’m going to start making black and white flags because a) monochrome is trendy, b) I want to, c) I want to be trendy. See how that cyclical thing works?
7:  ~*~SPARKLY FLAGS~*~ I’m not sure how the logistics for sparkly flags are going to work as of right now but I’m excited to figure it out.
6: More social media giveaways! I’m looking for Halyard to be Insta-famous. If anyone has any tips on how to make this happen besides amazing social media giveaways, I’m totally open to suggestions. The first one will be coming up really soon so keep your peepers peeped.
5: As you may have read in my first list, I had some delightful customers buy flags to use in lieu of table numbers at their wedding. I thought this was such a great idea that I’m going to keep a collection of flags on hand to use for bridal rental purposes. Tell your world travelling pals who are getting married to rent cool flags instead of making table numbers!
4: Little flag pins for the pal who’s about to go backpacking all over the world and you’re so jealous of them but you’re also supportive so you buy them a hand made in Canada Canadian flag pin to proudly sport on their Mountain Equipment Co-op bag. You’re a good friend.
3: Itty bitty Canadian flag magnets for a sweet little hand made Canadian souvenir!

2: Christmas ornaments! I’m upset I didn’t think about this one before this Christmas season because now I have to wait about 11 months to start selling them but BETTER LATE THAN NEVER I ALWAYS SAY. (I actually never say that because being late is not something I condone in anyway).

And finally, number 1: You’ve all been asking for it so I’m going to give it to you: CHEESE BOARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The trendiest home item is coming to Halyard.

I hope you have a lovely evening ringing in the new year. A big thanks to you, dear reader, for making my 2014 a great one.

2014 Year in Review: Top Customer Feedback

I find it truly astounding when customers take the time out of their day to let me know how much they enjoy my product. Below is a list outlining some standout delightful customer feedback from 2014.

Number 5: This order is cool for a variety of reasons, the first being that the customer lived all the way in Seattle! She ordered a Union Jack at the beginning of the year. She found me on Etsy and was such a delight through the whole ordering process.  When the flag made it all the way to the west coast, she hung it up and sent me a gorgeous picture of the flag hanging at the bottom of her staircase. I LOVE getting pictures from customers of their flags hanging up.

Number 4: The best feedback is a repeat customer. A man from Ontario bought two small Canadian flags off of Etsy and then proceeded purchase two small American flags! I also find it astonishing when strangers locate my flags on Etsy and purchase them. I consider this a small miracle every time it happens and I LOVE IT.

Number 3: A lovely customer from Mississippi bought four small USA flags for her family. I think it was her feedback before she even received the flags and her confidence in my product that made her so wonderful. She informed me that she is from a family of makers and artists and so they all try to get each other handmade Christmas gifts. There is a silent competition amongst her family to get the best hand made gifts and she informed me my flags would help her clinch a victory this year. I’m prrrreeeetttty competitive so I obviously was delighted to help someone win a silent competition.

Number 2: I particularly like this feedback because it came from a customer who got their flag as a present. My friend Taylor purchased a Half Canada Half USA flag for her Aunt who lives in the States. This lovely Aunt took time out of her day to write me an email. Not only was it a kind email with the nicest feedback but also inspiring and motivating. Further than that, Taylor told me that her Aunt did a little Facebook post about Halyard which lead to one of her friends purchasing a flag as well! So this feedback is a triple threat: positive, motivating, and bringing in more business.

Number 1: My favourite customers are forever and always my friends and family. I’m unable to summarize your positive feedback as your business and encouragement have kept me going. If it wasn’t for all of you spending your hard earned money on me and being so kind about what I do, I would be a big heap of useless mush. Instead of being useless mush, I will be mushy and say thank you for all of your love and support this past year!

2014’s final year end list: Plans for 2015 (AKA suggestions from customers, friends and family that I got in 2014 but will be putting into action in 2015).

2014 Year in Review: Best Craft Show Moments

The best part about any year coming to a close is all the amazing Year in Review lists. I love ’em, and I bet you do too. Or, at least, I hope you do because I’m about to make a few Year in Review lists myself! 2014 was an important year for Halyard as it went from part time hobby to full time job.  With that shift came a variety of other awesome changes that I will outline in top ten lists over the next couple of days.

Top Ten Craft Show Moments

At number 10: A person at a craft show asked me how much my flags were. I answered and they proceeded to SCOFF, say “Whew” and make a stank face. Normally in situations like these I am so taken aback by people’s rude-Judeness that I have nothing to say in return. However, this time I was able to muster “That’s a really curious thing to say about my work,” in a calm voice. I was SO proud of myself in that moment because I finally understood the immortal words of Taylor Swift: “The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off, I shake it off.”  This seemingly negative experience made the top ten list because it helped me realize that I can indeed deal with the haters without crying and breaking things and injuring people.

Number 9: This is another initially negative turned positive experience. It seems as though cheese boards are HOT HOT HOT right now.  At craft shows, people would frequently come up to me and ask “Are these cheese boards?” It was so frequent that I even started putting up signage indicating that the flags were decorative and not cheese boards. Cheese boards, cheese boards, cheese boards, the phrase was haunting my nightmares.  But this persistent question lead me to realize: I can make more than just decorative flags. You’ll have to stay tuned for the final list to hear how this saga has concluded.

Number 8: For those of you not in the crafting biz, most of the time you have to apply to craft shows and then you are informed whether or not you got into that craft show, much like applying for a credit card. However, like credit cards, you can be PRE APPROVED for a craft show by being invited to a show.  The first time I was invited to a craft show was the Stouffville Creek Retirement Christmas Craft Show and although the show didn’t equal a lot of sales, the invite certainly equaled a huge ego boost for me.

Number 7: I participated in a lovely craft show this Christmas season called West Rouge Holiday Artisan Sale. It was inexpensive to be in it and was in a community centre in the middle of a lovely residential neighbourhood. I didn’t have high hopes for an abundance of sales at this show but BOY WAS I WRONG. It was an amazing show where the whole neighbourhood came out and the customers were so delightful and kind and willing to purchase my flags. To this day, it was the most enjoyable craft show I have attended.

Number 6: After participating in 11 craft shows in 2014 I learned that their tends to be a constant trait amongst other vendors: all they want to do is help you succeed. They will share helpful tips from which craft shows are best to how to deal with finances as a business owner to building a thicker skin against those pesky haters. It’s a curious little community that I have found myself a part of and I’m proud to be in it.

Number 5: As made evident in moment number 10, I will often experience a negative reaction when customers hear the price of my flags. However, there is the rare scenario in which a customer insists that I am not charging enough for my flags. Every time that happens at a craft show, I am so grateful to that person. I’m especially grateful when someone says that I’m not charging enough after a long day of stank face responses to my prices. It is this kind of positive feedback that keeps me going.

Number 4: If you follow me on Instagram you will have already heard about this delightful moment.  A groom-to-be saw me and my flags at Made by Hand. He proceeded to email me to ask if I would be willing to make a different flag for each table at his impending wedding.  This couple has travelled far and wide so they decided to have countries denote each table rather than numbers. I’m making a small double sided flag that stands up on its own for each table for their June wedding. I can’t wait to share pictures of the little flags with all of you.

Number 3: At the final craft show I did, a gentleman decisively purchased one flag, got in his car and drove away. As he was driving away he thought to himself “Why don’t I just finish all of my Christmas shopping right now?” He turned around, came back to the show, and bought two more flags.  If you are looking to be the ideal customer, take notes on this guy.

Number 2: A rock ‘n’ roll musican said to me about my flags “They’re all evil in their own way.” I doubt anyone will ever say anything cooler about my flags.

And finally, my number 1 craft show moment: When I was invited in person at Made by Hand to apply to One of a Kind by their delightful vendor coordinator Lynn.  If I could bottle the feeling I had in that moment and sell it, I would be a millionaire.

Tomorrow: the ego stroking list called Top Customer Feedback.

Taking over BRIKA’s Instagram

Halyard will be taking over BRIKA’s Instagram today for the whole day! Tune in to see all the behind the scenes glamour that Halyard has to offer (AKA zero), studio pictures, process videos, and amazingly clever captions.  Follow along for more silliness at @shopBRIKA!