Wednesday, December 31, 2014
I saw another blog where the author used the word "memorable" to describe 2014. I am going to use it, too. It seems like the mildest way to describe a year that was nearly too much for me. So much change (moving twice, Erik's new job) and a few legitimately tough life things (unexpected expenses, chronic health issues, my parents and cat moving 3 hours away). Of course, 2014 was also full of joy– I got engaged in March and married in August, as well as paid off the last of my student loans– but as a whole it seemed entirely too overwhelming.
[The tattoo in the photo above is my present to myself for surviving the year– a reminder and a mark, because things will never be the same. Side note: it seems that since college, every three years I have a traumatic year. 2008, 2011... 2014. :/ I have a tattoo from each of those years.]
But enough about the circumstances swirling around in my personal life. And I'm not just saying that because this is my business blog– it's because House of Moss has been a rock for me this year. It truly brings me so much light in life: it's something I can turn to for distraction, success, and a sense of control. My business is like a safe little corner of the world where things make sense, where the energy and care I put in grows into something worthwhile. In many ways, 2014 has been House of Moss's best year yet.
Here are some notable highlights of 2014 for House of Moss (in no particular order):
• I introduced heart garlands, seedlings in gold pots, chicken ornaments, and new colors of cottage ornaments and pebbles in the shop.
• I interviewed 8 local makers for my blog series, We Make Portland Awesome.
• I finally joined Instagram.
• My work showed up on the Etsy Front Page 5 times, including twice in one day!
• I made it to my gross sales goal for the year– my highest ever– as well as my goal of having 400 active listings in my Etsy shop, and 1000 sales in my Etsy shop!
• I opened other online storefronts at Storenvy and The Scoutmob Shoppe, and on the wholesale site Self to Shelf.
• My work was featured in a Scoutmob email blast, a promo video for The Happy Cabin in Australia, in Presents of Mind's Valentine gift guide, on The Frosted Petticoat Blog, on Faerie Magazine's website, on SpoccaDeals, as Scoutmob Shoppe's holiday section header, in Alpine Lily's holiday gift guide for hikers, and in Retailing Insight Magazine. My website was featured as part of a promotion for a SnapPages/SquareMarket integration campaign.
• I was interviewed as a featured brand on Storenvy, in a Storenvy email, on the OPB website, on Tender Loving Empire's artist page, and on the Anna Attard blog, and some of the business tips I submitted were included in an advice post on Create & Thrive and in an article for the Etsy Seller Handbook.
• I cultivated relationships with quite a few wonderful new stockists across the country.
• UncommonGoods picked up my acorn ornaments for the second year in a row.
• I participated in Crafty Wonderland's Spring Sale and Holiday Sale, as well as 6 other holiday shows around the Portland area.
• I celebrated my anniversaries of 1 year self-employed, and 4 years in business.
• I finally launched my official website, HouseOfMoss.com!
...So, as you can see, I channeled all my frustration and angst from 2014 into my business, ha.
But I also want to emphasize that, while I am a one-woman business, I am so grateful for the support and opportunities extended to me by my network of awesome family, friends, and fellow handmade business owners (alliteration!). And my wonderful customers and stockists! You guys are so positive and encouraging. There are many reasons why I love running my own creative business, and the support of this community is definitely one of the biggest. Thank you for following along with me and House of Moss.
Much love and smooth sailing to everyone in 2015! <3 <3 <3 <3
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
It's no secret that I have a deep devotion to Tender Loving Empire. Their retail shop, which promotes the work of hundreds of local makers, was my first stockist. Over the years, they have expanded so much– most recently with a second Portland retail shop and a newly-redesigned website.
Among their new features on the site is a page dedicated to some of the handmade artists whose work they sell in their shops. And I'm honored to have my own photo & write-up there! You can see it for yourself HERE.
Thanks, TLE! My business would not be where it is now without you. <3
Friday, November 28, 2014
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Today I reached a milestone I've been looking forward to for literally years: The day I would reach 1000 sales in my Etsy shop.
I know that a business is much more than the number of sales you have, but somehow the number feels significant. The even number is very pleasing to those of us who are driven by goals. :)
Friday, November 7, 2014
I'm honored to be featured in a write-up of Siren Nation by Krysta Maksim of OPB. Krysta contacted me before the Art & Craft Sale with a few interview questions over email, and I got to meet her in person at the show when she took photos of my booth to use in the article!
[I kind of forgot she was coming to take pictures at the show, which was good because I would have been WAY more nervous that morning if I had remembered!] :)
I really like Siren Nation, so it was really fun to get to write about them. And it's always fun to see my name in print!
You can read the article HERE.
Monday, November 3, 2014
An above-average number of sales came in through my Scoutmob Shoppe this weekend, and when I went to check it out this morning, I had a little surprise! My acorn ornament photo had been chosen as the "Holiday" item page header!
Scoutmob has a lot of wonderful handmade ornaments and holiday decor, so you can check it out for yourself HERE.
On another note, the Siren Nation Art & Craft Sale yesterday was pretty fun. It was held a little earlier this year, so there were a few less shoppers, but it was a fun day and it's always one of my favorites.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
The Siren Nation 2014 Art & Craft Sale is tomorrow! Visit us at McMenamins Kennedy School in Portland from 10am-4pm for an awesome day of shopping from local women-run businesses.
This show is extra special for me this year. Not only is it the first show of the holiday season, but its location has become dear to my heart as Erik and I were married at Kennedy School in August. Our reception was held in the very same room as the sale will be!
So stop by, say hello! I will be wearing an outfit significantly less formal than the last time I was there. :)
Thursday, October 23, 2014
I can't believe it's this time of year already! I mean, I've been making ornaments since May, but somehow in the past few months, I apparently applied to a whole bunch of shows and filled up my holiday schedule. I have nearly no memory of this... it's a complete blur. Huh.
But here we are, with a holiday show schedule for 2014. This year looks to be the best yet, with an awesome lineup of tried-and-true favorites, as well as a couple of new ones.
• NOVEMBER •
2 November (Sunday) 10am-4pm
Siren Nation Art + Craft Sale
McMenamins Kennedy School, Portland
14 November (Friday) 2pm-6pm & 15 November (Saturday) 10am-4pm
Llewellyn Holiday Market
Llewellyn Elementary School, Portland
29 November (Saturday) 9am-4pm
Vancouver Farmers Market Holiday Market
The Hilton Hotel, Vancouver WA
• DECEMBER •
6 December (Saturday) 10am-4pm
Lewis Holiday Bazaar & Tree Sale
Lewis Elementary School, Portland
7 December (Sunday) 9am-4pm
Laurelhurst Winter Bazaar
Laurelhurst Elementary School, Portland
13 & 14 December (Saturday & Sunday) 11am-6pm
Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale
Oregon Convention Center, Portland
20 December (Saturday) 11am-6pm
Handmade NW Formal Artisans Fair
Red Rose Ballroom, Portland
This totals up to 7 shows (9 selling days)... plenty of chances for you to stop by and say hi! You guys are wonderful and every year I look forward to meeting you in person at these shows.
Last year, I was thrilled and surprised to be contacted by the buyers from UncommonGoods.com to sell my acorn ornaments on their website– and when it happened again this year, I was just as happy! It's definitely fun to see them on such a prominent website. You can see them for yourself HERE.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I love all of House of Moss's stockists, and I thought I would share this one with you! Three Hearts Home is located in Flemington, New Jersey, and recently began stocking my felted pebbles, heart ornaments, and acorn ornaments.
Their website is amazing! And their styling of my products made me really happy too. You can check out their site HERE.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2014
Anytime I see that one of my items has an abnormally high rate of views and favorites, I have to do a little digging! This morning I noticed that my orange acorns had been very popular during the past 24 hours, and I found that they'd ended up on the Etsy Front Page in a beautiful treasury made by another Etsian. Thanks to Sinéad from IrishVikingDesigns!
Thursday, September 18, 2014
I love seeing what my little felted things go on to do after they leave my studio! Paula from Sweet Red Cottage (one of my favorite customers) has sent me some photos she uses in her own shop, which include my pumpkins, mushrooms, and acorns as props for her own creations! So very sweet. Thanks Paula!
As you may already know, selected House of Moss items are currently for sale on the Faerie Magazine website! And this showed up in my Facebook feed when Faerie Magazine posted this photo of them on Facebook: my little pumpkins, gathering over 6,500 likes... 86 comments... and 351 shares! Whaaaaat?!!
My new website, HouseOfMoss.com, was built through an awesome service called SnapPages. I'm not usually one to gush about professional services, but I'm a big fan of this one. Their team is very helpful to answer questions, and it enabled me to complete one of my long-time business goals, to have my own website. All this with no technical-trouble headaches for someone like me, who wants to pull their hair out from the extreme frustration of teaching herself web design and html. SnapPages makes it easy.
So anyway, my site has been featured by SnapPages as an example for how Square Market can seamlessly integrate with their website-building services. I'm a huge fan of Square too, so this makes me really happy. Win-win...win!
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Friday, September 5, 2014
Somewhere in the insanity of the past week, my Etsy shop reached 900 sales! And each and every one of those sales represents a significant amount of creative energy, individual communication with a customer, production time, packaging, and a smile on my face! I love what I do, and seeing the numbers going up is just icing on the cake. On to 1000!
Scoutmob is pretty awesome. My Scoutmob Shoppe hadn't even been launched for a full two weeks when they featured my heart ornaments in a promotional email blast! It's so fun to see them amongst the other cool stuff featured there.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
And so it begins! Labor Day Weekend usually kicks off my busy season, and this year was no exception! So many orders going out! ...As well as a huge pile of wedding gift thank-you notes, and my quarterly tax payments. Bring it on, busy season!
Monday, September 1, 2014
Saturday, August 30, 2014
These anniversaries completely snuck up on me this year. They both fell within a week of my wedding, which was August 18th, so I was a little frantic yesterday when they came to mind for the first time after blowing right past them in all the wedding madness. So, in what is apparently typical 2014 fashion (ahem, 2013-End-of-the-Year-Recap posted on January 6th), I post this late.
House of Moss was created 4 years ago, when I signed up for Etsy on August 19th, 2010. It was almost exactly 3 years later (August 16th, 2013) when I quit my day job to pursue it as my full-time career! When I started my Etsy shop, I had no idea it would ever be more than a self-sustaining hobby, but by taking each new step as it came, my business grew into what it is today.
I'm not a business genius, and although I've learned a lot over the past 4 years, I know there is still more to learn. But the one thing I know will guide me, in business and in life, is this: Follow the light. Wherever is brightest, most joyful, most fitting. Whatever is working. Even if it's in the distance, orient yourself toward the brightest spot. Keep your face toward it, and just like real light, you will benefit from its bright, sustaining warmth even before you get to the thing itself.
Thanks for following along with the progress of my business, friends! You are a big part of what makes this endeavor so enjoyable and fulfilling.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
I've admired Scoutmob for a long time for its role as a promoter of local handmade goods, so I'm very happy to announce that selected House of Moss items are now in the Scoutmob Shoppe!
You can check out my Scoutmob Shoppe HERE. You'll find hearts, acorns, and ornaments in color combinations & quantities different from my other online venues!
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I have some big news & I can't hold back any longer from telling you! House of Moss finally has its own real website!
HouseOfMoss.com is now the central hub for shopping, blog posts, and general info about House of Moss.
This has been a long time in coming, and I am so happy to finally have a legit online presence to unite my different online venues like this blog, my business Facebook page, and my online shops.
Click this link to be one of the first people ever to see my new website!
----> www.HouseOfMoss.com <----
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I'm back! Thank you all for your patience and understanding while I took a week off for my wedding & honeymoon. Erik and I are now married!
I'll probably post a few wedding pictures when we get back our professional photos, but for now I'll leave you with this one, taken by my very good friend Christi.
All orders are now going out on schedule again, and it feels good to get back to this hard work that I love so much! It is awesome to be able to focus on House of Moss and regular life again, without the insanity of wedding planning. :) I can feel my creative energy returning already!
Friday, August 8, 2014
The last couple of days have been completely overwhelming with the amount of unexpected mentions in different places online, and I want to remember them so I'm posting them all here! (If you think this is too many mentions of House of Moss being featured in the span of 2 days, so do I ! It's weird when it's quiet for so long– and then suddenly it's crazy around here!)
I clicked on an email from Storenvy, an email blast for shop owners about Kiva loans. And there was a picture of ME as the title banner! So weird to see myself there.
I subscribe to the Create & Thrive creative business emails by Jess Van Den. Jess is an Australian jewelry designer who puts together helpful material for other creative business owners. While I'm outgrowing the Etsy blog's similar help posts, Create & Thrive continues to offer consistently helpful content, and they've helped me sharpen my business skills.
Anyway, a while back I commented on a post that asked readers to share the tips they wish someone would have told them when they were first starting out. A few weeks later, I see my name in this super helpful compilation of tips for new sellers! It's fun to see my name in print, and I hope the tips encourage other creative business owners! (Seriously, if you're a business owner, read through THE POST. So much good stuff there from all the people who contributed tips!)
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Exciting news today! House of Moss acorn ornaments are featured in the online magazine Retailing Insight! Retailing Insight is basically a magazine for shop owners, focusing on holistic and thoughtful items. A few months ago, they contacted me about this, and after submitting the photos & info, I kind of forgot about it (wedding stuff, helping Erik move, life is busy, blah blah blah).
So yesterday I got an email from them, letting me know that it is published! So thrilled to see my work on the pages of a publication next to so many other cool things!
Saturday, August 2, 2014
It's always so interesting to learn about the lives my felt creations go on to lead after they leave my studio. This mushroom bottlecap garden is now a photo prop for another Etsy shop, Speckled Owl Studio, in NW Washington!
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
This morning I finally got to 400 active listings on Etsy! That means that I have 400 distinct items available for purchase at one time! I'm always looking to expand my selection, so I'm excited to announce that there are more choices in my Etsy shop than ever before.
Among the new items are a wide selection of heart ornaments, a couple of new rainbow heart garlands too, some new amanita mushroom ornaments, and lots of new rich colors of pebbles!
Oh, and I also changed my shop avatar to my stamp logo instead of the photo of the tiny mushroom in a lid. Let me know what you think of the change!
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Remember when House of Moss was mentioned by Brianne of Fleur and Dot in her interview on the Anna Attard blog? Well, now House of Moss has a "Handmade Chat" interview up there too!
In my interview, I share about learning needle-felting and starting a handmade business, and name-drop some of my own favorite artists! You can read it HERE.
Here's a rare opportunity to get some House of Moss items at a bigger-than-usual discount! SpoccaDeals has selected a handful of my products to feature on their website for a 25%-off sale!
Snap them up at this price while you can... :)
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
I haven't mentioned my upcoming wedding since my announcement post about our engagement. I could tell you that I'm trying to keep wedding planning and House of Moss somewhat separate, as they both threaten to take over my life and together they would be unstoppable!!
Just kidding. I've simply been too busy to write blog posts about everything, that's all. :)
If you know me at all, you might be thinking I would be planning a woodland/rustic wedding. That's what I spend all day designing and making, anyway! Well... you would be wrong. I love so many styles that it has actually been an exercise in restraint to not mix different aesthetics into House of Moss over the years. I have to try very hard to keep it focused on my shop motto of "Handmade Woodland Decor for the Natural Home."
So, for my wedding, I finally get a chance to completely immerse myself in two of my other aesthetic loves: Art Deco and Japanese styling! SO excited about this. Art Deco has been one of my favorite design eras for about a decade now, and Erik's half-Japanese heritage provides us with a lot of material as well. They dovetail nicely, as they share some of the same motifs and lines, the scallop pattern, shown above on our box, being one of them.
We're DIYing as much as we can for our wedding. Pinterest is awesome for this. After spending literally hours on Pinterest trying to find the perfect ring bearer pillow/box idea, I found... nothing I liked.
[You would not believe how much rustic/woodland wedding stuff there is out there right now! From my Pinterest search, I am convinced that 80% of weddings are currently that theme.]
And leave it to me to not want to do what is currently popular. ;) So we designed our own ring box. We chose a box instead of a pillow because our ring bearer will be a little boy of not-quite-two in August, and we wanted our rings to be somewhat more protected.
Erik and I sat down one Saturday and collaborated on the design of our ring box. I chose the colors and the box, and E suggested the stamp and the embossing powder. It turned out looking so sharp!
Then we had the problem of the "pillow" part inside. After considering foam, fabric, ribbons, and some other ideas, I finally realized that I actually make my living, full-time, creating felt things... like the perfect solution to this problem. HA! How did I not think of that at the beginning?! So we ended up with a light teal felt cushion inside, which matches nicely to the emerald stone of my engagement ring. And the gold shell clasp is reminiscent of the actual shell ring box that Erik made for the proposal!
So there it is! Our Art Deco/Japanese custom ring bearer box with a handmade felt cushion. It's fun to share these little projects. Thanks for reading!