Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The 2nd Annual Country Marketplace at the Ranch...

Save the Date

2nd Annual County Marketplace
at the Ranch

Friday May 17th and Saturday May 18th

Times to be determined

Attention  Potential Vendors

We are looking for a good  balance of each category:

Farm Finds/Old Tools/Etc
Vintage Rentals/Country Weddings
Hand Painted Furniture
Upcycled/Repurposed Art
Farm Fresh Eggs 
Local Honey
?? What do you do or have that we haven't listed??
One food Vendor (Hamburgers/Hotdogs, cold drinks...etc)

Things to consider before applying:

This is an outside show.
Handmade items must be made by you and original.Items can NOT be from a kit of any kind.
We do not supply tables, tents or electricity. 
Spaces are approximately 8 x 10. 
You may rent more than one space.
Vendors are expected to set up and be ready before the show starts and stay until the show closes.
If this is your first show with us it is free unless you want an extra booth. (Please let us know now if you'd like two booths upon acceptance)
Booth fee is $30. This pays for advertising. You keep all of your sales. 

If you can say yes to each and would like to apply, please email your contact info along with photo examples of your wares. If you have booth photos send those as well. Send to angie (at) thejunkranch (dot) com

Selections will be made the first week of April and we will contact you either way.  We'll send contracts with all the specifics at that time. 

Thank you to all that have already contacted us! We are looking forward to another fun and profitable weekend in May!


Monday, March 11, 2013

My Name is Angie, and I am a Hoarder

I won't even begin to show you the amount of junk art supplies I have accumulated in the barn, and in my studio, especially under my work table...if you've been in my studio before you will remember that my work table is 8' x 8'. It's a wonderful work space...when it's uncluttered.

I found a few photos from a workshop I taught here a couple years ago that will give you an idea of how much space I have...or should have...

Junk Camp 101

Jan. 2011 

So many good ideas were born here!
Right now, it's this full and it's just my mess! Beneath the table there is so much stuff that it's to the point that I have to dig just to see what I have...it's not good!! Yes, I am a hoarder! 

I really want to begin having workshops once again and have requests every week...I am just terribly ashamed to say that I don't have room so I say, "I am working on that!". 

I've tried for weeks to clean up but all I'm doing is rearranging the mess! So, last Thursday, I decided to challenge myself to use only what I have from all of my junk stashes and fill my shop here at home and my Etsy shop. I am not going to buy anything until I have nearly depleted my materials. 

So far so good...

I started with the abundance of plates sitting along the edge of the wall taking up precious floor space...I don't know if you can tell from the photos but they are all altered in some way with a 3-dimensional element here or there. 

When I can see my floor...including the floor underneath that 64 square feet beneath my worktable, I plan to begin offering workshops again. 

I don't know what I will be inspired to do this week. I made a few more altered plates and several garden totems and flowers. I am loving these pieces for the gardens so much I may have to keep some of those! What's easier to ship I have listed t in my Etsy shop...check it out if you are interested!

Please support your local artists, and in turn, you will receive the same blessing...it's a form of tithing that I believe in and practice...read here about Indie Tithing.

Have a great week and I'll see you back here next Monday! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Part 2...the Secret to Focusing on your Business

Our first guild meeting went well with a dozen women attending, and excited to share and listen to each other. I shared a little of my story and my rules for staying focused...and I 'm glad to know that I am not the only one that goes off on tangents wanting to try too many things. I had a moment there when I was afraid they would think I was off my rocker..turns out we are all cut from the same cloth when it comes to wanting to try new ideas. It was indeed good to meet with these women and as one lady put it..."I finally feel like I am with my people."

To recap yesterday's post, I'm working to master this ability to focus on growing my business this year and to develop it into something unique that represents me as an artist and shopkeeper. If you landed here first you can read part one here..Part 1

I committed to having regular hours this year. A BIG step for me
I have made a list of rules for myself to help me stay on task. I offer them here as suggestions...they are in no particular order really, and you can tweak them to suit your personality and business.

1. Have a  loose schedule...daily and weekly... things happen and change but get back on it as quickly as possible. Work in blocks of time (60-90 mins) and take a few minutes in between to regroup thoughts.

2. Know my limits...time, energy, budget and talents. Learn to say no sometimes, to myself...and others. It's okay.

3. Just because I can do something doesn't mean I should do it as part of my business...ie...antique booths, painted furniture, every new idea I see on Pinterest!!  Do it for myself and have fun. Everything is not about making money.

4. Again...Everything is not about making money! Enjoy whatever I am doing while I'm doing it...even grocery shopping, cleaning or pulling weeds out of the gardens. There is great satisfaction for me to have a well stocked pantry, a clean house and beautiful plants and flowers.

 5. Network with like minded peers. Professional contacts know what I am talking about whereas spouses or family and friends may just nod and never say anything when I want to bounce ideas. Too,  accountability will keep me on my path.

6. Never compare myself or my shop to my peers. It's not fair. Be myself. It's so much easier!

7.  Set goals..daily, weekly, monthly, yearly... and review them each morning, so that I do not get distracted! I can't meet my goals when I veer off my path too far.

8. Work for a period of time every day without tv, social media, phone, and email . Do NOT check my phone for FB updates or messages...It can wait!  Schedule in social media times and forget it the rest of the day. Get lost in just my work.

9. Use lunch time for just eating and relaxing for an hour. Eat healthy..Recharge for the afternoon.

10. Make time for myself! This is where it's okay to go down those rabbit trails. Have fun!

Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I hope you stay focused and have the best year ever!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Secret to Focusing on Your Business...Part 1

My husband, at about 20, focusing on his passion

Focus...my word of the year. I've talked about it several times this year in my blog here and on my Facebook page...always the joke of course....then someone took me seriously and thought I had actually mastered this enormous ability and asked me to speak to a group of like minded people. EEEK!

We are only three months into the new year, so I haven't exactly mastered it yet!...I am the poster child for adult ADD, but, I'm doing better. I have recognized a few places where I tend to get distracted over and over and I'm learning to make corrections.

My Story...
Let's go back to about 1999 or 2000...I discovered the Internet! As some of you know, I was a floorcloth designer and was at that time very focused and had made a name for myself on a national level. I was considered one of the modern pioneers responsible for bringing the craft back into popularity. My ten year old business was successful and I was busy, busy busy too with two young children and a work out of town husband. I look back now and wonder how the heck I did all that I did??

My work was included in this book

Included not only in the book but also as part of Lexington Furniture's Weekend Retreat Accessory Collection

Remember back then also, when the Internet was dial up and we had limited usage? That was probably a good thing and we just didn't realize how much!  When broadband and unlimited usage became available to us, I literally would sit for hours surfing the web...

The Internet opened up a whole new world for many of us. There was Ebay and online galleries and websites galore with information on any topic we needed to know about.  Blogs were the most wonderful things with their tutorials, beautiful photos, and peeks into the lives of other artists who appeared to both do and have it all! It was heaven...and that was before Facebook or Pinterest!!

One day I woke up and realized I had information overload. To make that even worse I had also bought  and read every book I found on marketing online and how to work social networks....more information...and more to do!

By 2009, I had gotten so distracted that I lost all of my direction in my personal life and career..Over the last ten years I had joined  multiple online galleries, had seller accounts on both Ebay and Etsy, created websites and started blogs all of which took hours and hours of my time each day. I was juried into a very prestigious western art show, The Western Design Conference, and traveled to Wyoming three times in as many years. Locally, I rented booth spaces, exhibited my work in local art shows, joined art guilds, opened and closed an art gallery, taught children's art classes and ran summer art camps. I painted not only floorcloths, but furniture, pet portraits, house portraits, murals, Dr. Scholls's sandals, cowboy hats and even one of those Pigs in the City for Uptown Lexington.

I began to grieve the life I wasted while I was busy veering off my own path and down too many rabbit trails! It was nothing like I had planned and dreamed about. I didn't like my life!...because it wasn't my life.

In 2008, a friend and I took a day off and went to the NC Arts Incubator in Siler City for more "inspiration". On our way home our last stop was at sweet little primitive shop that I'd always wanted to visit. I was very inspired. The shop was quaint. It was located on the potter's farm and most of all, I could see that she was focused on what she was doing. I didn't want to leave and I found myself going back often. It felt good there. 

After almost a year of thinking about it and talking my husband into "just one more thing"...we decided to open our own shop. I would open a handmade and vintage shop at our home in my studio...but this time I would have to focus on  just this one thing. I had to or I was going to be single at 50 years old. It took another year to get the building ready and get the inventory moved in. Our grand opening was in November 2010.

My studio before it was Ranch Dressing

Focusing does not come easy for creative people!

A year after opening my shop I got distracted again by "designer antique booths"...it was right down my alley and I justified it by saying that it was good advertising. It would lead customers to my shop. In reality though, if my booths looked good my shop would be lacking and vise versa. I couldn't do it. I was once again spreading myself too thin but because I knew other women who did both a shop and booths. I felt like I should be able to pull it off and this was just part of "the business".

I have had five booths in three antique malls since opening my shop in 2010...I closed my last one the end of January 2013. I have everything under one roof and can say I am truly happy about it.

One of my booths at the Depot at Gibson Mill
Beginning in 2012, instead of a new year resolution I began to have a word of the year. That year it was balance....and this year, focus. Thank goodness I chose balance first! In order to focus you have to have balance in your life. I think this is the secret...having balance makes it easier to focus.

It takes time to transition from being too busy to being balanced but, it's definitely doable. You will figure it out! Start where you are spending too much time...it won't always be where you are wasting time...just where you are over spending. You may not want to stop working in time to make dinner for your family. Our work is fun and we get carried away...but that's not balanced if we are neglecting our family. Like me you may be trying out every good idea you see, thinking you can do it just as well or even better by the time you put your spin on it...then you go off down that rabbit trail and leave what you were just getting good at to try something new.

There is nothing at all wrong with trying something new and wonderful that you've found on Pinterest or saw in a shop somewhere, but how about just doing it for yourself or for a gift for someone...or maybe better yet, how about supporting the artist you got the idea from...what a novel idea! We can be a little good at lots of things or really really good at what we are naturally gifted in...so, so hard for us artsy people!

Once you find your balance, your focus will come together easier. You will understand your limits and that having limits are not bad...just like limited Internet or phone plans...not all that bad!

Ranch Dressing Feb. 2013

Tonight I will give my talk to our new guild/support group serving the artisan and vintage/antique industry in our area... come back here tomorrow for part 2 for my 10 suggestions for staying on track in your business.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!