Monday, February 18, 2019

5 Cold Weather Indoor Craft Ideas to Keep your Kids Occupied

5 simple kid crafts for winter indoor rainy days
Hello everyone! We survived #SeattleSnowmageddon2019 and eventually were able to dig ourselves out of our garage and driveway. It was a doozy of a snow storm, but we had everything we needed to stay warm and keep our tummies way more full than usual for a week (stress eating during an emergency is a real thing).

What I keep hearing from my friends, is while many had enough food to eat, and were lucky enough to have power, they didn't have enough to keep their kids occupied. The stress on parents this past week multiplied as fast as the snowflakes fell and it got me thinking, it might be nice to create a post with activities for kids to do during the cold, and sometimes unexpectedly stormy, winter weather.

I pulled a few of my favorites from the archives that I thought you might like. While being housebound wasn't very fun and cabin fever set in rather quickly, I'm hoping these crafty ideas for cold weather will come in handy for you or your kiddos so no one goes too stark raving mad.

Indoor Craft Ideas for Kids during Cold, Winter Weather


(*affiliate links included in this post. See disclosure below)

Make an Ink Blot T-shirt

kids projects for rainy or wintery days - decorate tshirts with ink blot design
Ink blot t-shirts -an easy, cool, indoor kids activity © ShannonSews
All you need is a blank t-shirt, a piece of cardboard (old cereal box works perfectly), and some fabric paint. This link is to an ink blot t-shirt making party I had at school and the kids LOVED it! They wore their t-shirts for years after.

Keep some fabric paint on hand and, in a pinch, you can use an old shirt that has a stain on it that you can cover up with a paint design.





SUPPLY LIST:
FolkArt Brush on Fabric Paint Beginner Set
Gildan Kids' Ultra Cotton Youth T-Shirt, 2-Pack
Youth Cardboard Shirt Form (or just use the cardboard from a cereal box)



Faux water color painting

kids paint watercolors without paint use crayola washable markers
Faux water color projects for kids © ShannonSews
This craft is SO easy if you have some washable markers and small paint brushes on hand (I used Crayola Washable Markers). If you have access to the internet and a printer, you can print out free coloring pages, clip art or even draw something yourself in a pinch. And it's more fun than just using the regular old kid set of water colors.

This link will take you to my step-by-step instructions (+ a video!) on how to keep anyone occupied for hours (I know, you'll count yourself lucky if your kids focus on this for 20 minutes) but I swear they and you will love it. Even if they knock the water glass over.

SUPPLY LIST:
Crayola Washable Markers
Kids Paint Brushes
White Cardstock
Clip Art (google to find free-bees)
Computer & Printer (or just let them paint their own designs)




Sew easy bean bags or rice bags

Winter sewing projects for kids - sew rice bags or bean bags
Kid friendly sewing- beanbags / rice bags © ShannonSews
I know, the point is not to give your kids ammunition while you're stuck inside the house, but think of all the fun they could have throwing bean bags at targets, downstairs - away from you.

Create a target by cutting out a hole in a box or draw a target and tape it to a box. It can't get more easy than that on a cold, indoor, winter day.

However, for this project you really do need a sewing machine, although, you could use strips of stitch witchery and a hot iron to bind the fabric together, but a sewing machine is the best route. Follow the link to the full tutorial. They are just squares, so even a new little sewer may not have too much trouble with this. I made these as sewing weights, but you follow the same instructions for bean bags the kids can toss and toss and toss - just hopefully not at you or each other.

SUPPLY LIST:
Cotton fabric squares - cut them yourself or buy pre-cut 5" cotton squares
Sewing Machine and thread OR stitch witchery and a hot iron (optional, this method not shown on tutorial)
Dry beans or rice
Old Cardboard box for target practice
Scissors to cut out target hole



Make Paper Roses

Make paper roses - easy for kids - indoor cold weather activities
Easy paper roses - kid projects for rainy days © ShannonSews
This is a really fun activity for kids that know their way around a pair of scissors and can roll up a strip of paper. And if you don't want to get involved in the making, just let one of your older kids help, that you trust with a hot glue gun. I didn't mean that as a joke.

I made this red rose out of 2 pieces of scrapbook paper, and if I can make it, trust me, you can - or even your elementary school aged child can. This link takes you to another blog's tutorial, who showed it much better than I could. They even embellish their flowers with glitter, but this post is about lowering your stress, not heightening it.

SUPPLY LIST:
Colored Cardstock
Scissors
Hot glue gun


Make Your Own Soothing Lavender Water

DIY lavender water for easy indoor kids activity
Lavender water recipe even for kids © ShannonSews
Did you know they make something called Lavender pillow spray to calm and soothe before bed? Maybe if your kids make this lavender water it will make them really relaxed and they will want to go to bed. What a marvelous idea for a housebound snowy, cold or wintry day, don't you think?

You will need a few ingredients on hand like distilled water, though I'm guessing regular tap water would work in a pinch, Essential Lavender Oil, Witch Hazel (or a pinch of rubbing alcohol instead), a measuring cup & spoon, funnel and empty spray bottle.

Since many people have these items in their house already, it could be an easy go-to project...OR for us crafty types who keep a rainy day activities bin, you're set.



SUPPLY LIST:
Distilled water
Essential Lavender Oil
Witch Hazel (ethyl alcohol, isopropyl or vodka) *acts as an emulsifier & helps spray dry faster
Measuring cup & spoon
Funnel
Spray Bottles




I'd love to hear your cold weather stuck-indoors activity ideas for kids! Share in the comments below! And good luck through the rest of the winter. The groundhog may have been wrong?


*This post contains product links, added for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through Amazon.com. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Reconnecting with what you love

find your passion when you've lost it
Fall back in love with what you do
Photo by Chuck Hildebrant on Unsplash
Ever fall out of love with what you're doing every day?
I think a lot of people do.
Am I speaking for myself?
Yes, some days.

When I started this blog back in 2010 I was DIY fresh-faced and fancy-free. I loved trying new things. I painted, sewed, refashioned, wrote funny posts, designed my own t-shirts, dyed fabric, glued, glittered, decorated, and shared everything I was doing and couldn't wait for the next DIY project.

I created endless lists of things I wanted to try and some nights I couldn't sleep because the ideas where whirling around inside my head. I was blogging for myself and for the fun of sharing. It wasn't a job. I didn't try to make any money from it. I just loved creating and sharing.

And then I started my first etsy shop where I was selling some of the beautiful creations I was making. And I still blogged about what I was doing and how much fun I was having, but now I had to pay attention to SEO, word placement, alt tags, and images. And blogging wasn't quite as fun.

And my first etsy shop morphed into a 2nd etsy shop, and my focus shifted. As I went further and deeper into my new venture, the farther away I went from what I had once gained so much energy from. And it was harder to come up with blog posts and the energy just wasn't the same. So I stopped.

I no longer had time to create, design and imagine. Or at least I didn't give myself time to do it anymore. With so many other to-do's on my plate, the pulls I felt "off the clock" were to vegetate instead of create.


A new kind of wanderlust

The other day, as I pawed through the muted and mundane winter clothing I have in my closet, I had a spark of wanderlust return. Not for far off places, but for the crafty girl who had been hibernating for what seemed to have been a terribly long 5 year winter. I had a spark of wanting to decorate my own t-shirts again. It caught me off guard. Was it really ok for me to do that again? Oh, how I had loved making those ink blot t-shirts. It was the magic of the moment as I pulled the layers apart to see what un-planned design was suddenly created on purpose. And what if I actually blogged about it and shared it because I was excited to? I almost had to look around to see if anyone had also heard the voice in my head.

And all at once I was excited about pulling out my paints and finding a plain t-shirt to unleash my creativity on. I felt a fire and excitement that I hadn't felt in a long time. What if I really did things again for no other purpose than old-fashioned enjoyment?


5 Tips for reigniting your passion

Sometimes you don't even know what you love anymore. We get so stuck in our mind-body routines that we feel numb to the world outside of ourselves.

We often keep ourselves in a box of our own doing, telling ourselves we're, "not that kind of person", we "probably wouldn't like that", we "really wouldn't be good at it", we've "already done that, or we "just don't have time for that".

Well, if you haven't tried it, you actually may like it. And I'm not talking about your mom telling you to try peas because you'll like them. I mean, you actually might really like it. And you may surprise yourself and find that your water color painting is actually a lot better than the one your kindergartner brought home! Snaps for you!

Here are 5 tips for "finding your passion" if you've lost it or never knew what it was in the first place.

1. Give yourself permission to explore 

Learn about and try new things you've never dared and give yourself the time to do it. Think of the advice you'd give another person if they were in the same position - you'd never put a cap on the things they could try, learn or become. Give yourself that same grace.

There are SO many different things to try - do something with wood, furniture, paper, hot glue, pottery, fabric, dirt, glass, metal, paint, photography, dance, you get the picture. It might spark a passion you never even knew existed or one that has been dormant for far too long.

2. Break old routines

When we are used to doing the same old things every day we miss out on the ones we've never tried and the spark of energy that new activities can bring. Do 1 thing every day that is different than you normally would. It could be something as simple as taking a walk through your neighborhood, drinking something different for breakfast, going to the library, buying a food you've never tried before, exercising an hour later, or wearing something you haven't worn for a while. Try something new that breaks stale habits.

3. Find energy from outside yourself

Get out of your own head and into someone else's. We are limited by our own beliefs about ourselves so spend time with someone who knows you and ask them what they think you might be good at or something they think you would like. Even finding out what someone else's goals and aspirations are might spark one in you. It can be fun and eye-opening to get an outside perspective.

Other places to try for new ideas, perspectives & inspiration:

Podcasts

I used to focus my podcast listening to work and business-related sources but when I add podcasts about things other than work, I get a boost of energy and perspective that also helps my work.
3 Podcasts I listen to right now:



Instagram

It's not just about finding like-minded business people to follow or those who share your same situation, follow people who inspire and do good in the world.
3 Inspiring people I'm following right now:


Library 

No need to spend a bunch of money as you learn about new things, I love checking books out at the library about everything under the sun. You may also find postings for free workshops, book readings, or community events that sounds interesting.

Pinterest

Give yourself a certain time limit to explore and then GO AND DO. Unfortunately, watching other people cook meals for 3 hours won't actually make you dinner. Dang it!

TV Shows

People give tv watching a bad rap. Just like other things that can suck us into a time warp, give yourself a certain amount of time to get inspired by what you watch. And no, watching 10 hours of other people renovating houses doesn't count as doing it yourself (yes, that was for me). I literally think, "I could do that" and then Alison Victoria, from Windy City Rehab, reminds me that I can't. ha! But it's still fun watching and imagining and sparking ideas and creativity while being thankful I don't have over a million dollars on the line, if I even had a million dollars.

4. Spend time outside

Nothing gets me out of my head and into a better, more creative, thoughtful, positive frame of mind than getting outside. Into the woods or by the beach is better, but a quick neighborhood walk can spark thought and ideas. If you don't have time for a walk, sometimes even getting out to the mailbox can give you a boost with the fresh air and sunshine (or splash of rain if you live in Seattle).


5. Stop chasing your passion

I hear so often about people trying to "find their passion", like there is only one thing that can ever truly fulfill them. They are often left empty as they pursue the unattainable. I have found there are things I try, like, and check off my list forever; other things I love and revisit many times; and a few things that really fill me up. Trying different pursuits brings out different likes, talents and passions. By widening your view you may actually find your passion without really looking for it.



So while we may not love what we do every single day, we can definitely make more room for joy, reconnect with those things that once brought us happiness, and find new things to love.

What are some things that light you up that you want to try or reconnect with?




Shannon Sorensen, author of Shannon Sews, is also the founder and CEO of Fairface Washcloths, the best washcloths for sensitive skin.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Get the life you want in the New Year in 4 easy steps

how to figure out what you want in life in the new year
© Shannon Sorensen
I don't know about you, but this time of year gets me feeling weird inside. Just like birthdays. Like clockwork, as the approach of a new year begins, my mind subconsciously starts reflecting on what I have accomplished thus far, and where I want my life to go. And that can be a good thing. But there's also the "what I didn't do's" and "is this really what I want's", and why hasn't my life gone this way" thoughts that get stuck in a whirling vortex, where reflection-meets-mid-life-crisis.

I realized in a calm moment, post-whirl, that this year I'll call it Re-New Year, to embrace the renewals, reflections and changes that are inevitable as the year turns another page, and make it count.

4 Steps to Getting the Life You Want in the New Year


1. Re-evaluate

This is really the biggest starting point to discovering the path for your life in the new year, to re-evaluate what you are currently doing. Ask yourself, "Is what I'm doing making me happy?", "Are the things I'm doing bringing me where I want to go?", "What isn't working and how can I change or get rid of it?",  "What do I really want out of life?"

One of my favorite quotes about finding joy and success is from Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, who said, "You don't want to get to the top of the ladder and find out it's been leaning against the wrong wall."

Re-evaluate what you want and how you currently feel versus how you want to feel. If something isn't bringing you some sort of joy and fulfillment along the way, you may be setting your sights in the wrong direction. Look at the areas of your life that are important to you, like family, marriage, home and work. Take the time to think about what you really want out of each area of your life, whether you're getting the fulfillment and happiness you are seeking, and if your ladder is up against the right wall.

2. Re-organize

This is actually a fun one for me. I don't know whether my intense desire to re-decorate, de-clutter and re-organize is driven by the covers of every published magazine from A-Z, or my extreme lack of sunshine at this time of year (thank you Seattle) that makes me want to throw everything out and redecorate in beachy tones.

Re-organizing is the lead-in to re-newal in so many ways. A fresh start. A clean slate (literally and figuratively). An organized home allows for an organized mind. Change spaces to allow for more efficiency, move things around to give you a fresh view.

But re-organizing isn't just the tangibles. De-cluttering your mind and how you spend your time is a huge part of re-organizing your life. Clean up, clear out and open your inspirational portal.

3. Re-commit

This is #3 for a reason. It's hard to find that place inside your head, heart and soul, to re-commit to things you haven't re-evaluated and gotten straight and "organized" in your mind.  After you've been able to think through what you want for yourself and your family, you can decide what really counts and what you really want to commit to. And mean it.

This step is where many new year's resolutions fall flat. Are we really committing ourselves to something or are we just hoping we'll commit? When you take the time to really commit to the things you care about, you're only one step away from making them happen. (see #4)

4. Re-start

The beauty of a new year, a new age, an anniversary, or other landmark, is that it brings you to the place where change can begin. This is the most empowering step after re-committing to what you want, because it's the time to take action. You can think of change all you want, but actually moving forward on those desires and starting, is an active choice. It can be scary, exciting, risky, empowering or all of the above. It's your chance to re-new your life. To make it what you want it to be. To embrace new challenges or let go of old ones.

This chance to re-start your life, right where you are, is the magic of the New Year. Now go get it.




Shannon Sorensen is the founder and CEO of Fairface Washcloths, the best washcloths for sensitive skin, and writer of several blogs, including ShannonSews.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I can see why she wrote on the walls: they key to unlocking your creativity & productivity

get out of a creative slump, how to improve creativity and productivity
Photo by KROMKRATHOG- freedigitalphotos.net
Several years ago, I had a manic boss. Definition: showing wild and apparently deranged excitement and energy (reference: Google).

Once she even stood behind me as I was typing a memo she was reciting and went so far as to tell me where every comma should go and when to backspace when I made the occasional and unfortunate typ-o.

In a word, she was crazy. One donut short of a dozen. She got a lot done, but wildly. It's the kind of person that makes you tired after 5 seconds of being around them.

One morning as we were planning an upcoming large event, she began a group brainstorming session. Since we didn't have any white boards up in our new office building yet, we all had notepads at the ready to compile our lists.

As the ideas began to flow, I could see her wild eyes looking frantically for a place to write. IT HAD TO BE UP! IT HAD TO BE BIG! IT HAD TO BE VISIBLE! And with the lack of white boards, all at once she threw the chairs back and began writing on the walls. ON THE BRAND NEW OFFICE BUILDING WHITE PAINTED WALLS. With a pencil, but still. You could hear a quiet, but audible gasp in the room, and then all at once, we resumed working because it was, after all, our manic boss. We should expect nothing less.

Since that day, I can't deny, that I've had an unrelenting itch to write on the walls. I'll admit, as a creative type, I have my own kind of mania. Ideas that pop into my head at all hours. Notebooks filled with ideas of what I want to do, what I should do, and what I could do. To-do lists, priority lists, and one-day-I-will-do lists.

If I don't see these ideas, I forget them, and then they clutter my mind and I have to start a new list in a new notebook, so I can forget about those too.  If I don't see it, I forget it. If I don't read it every day, I sometimes forget what's motivating me. So I have this strange urge to write it BIG and BOLD and make it VISIBLE so I don't forget it.

I scaled down my crazy and bought a medium sized white board. And although I've written a few things on it, it still hasn't totally tamed the urge to write BIGGER so I can SEE IT ALL.

So what's the key to unlocking your creativity & productivity? 

Maybe C.S. (a.k.a. my manic boss) was on to something. Unclutter your mind by writing it all down and keep it in sight. Instead of blocking creativity and thought process, let it flow... All of it. The house to-do lists, the business to-do lists, the creative to-do lists, the children to-do lists, the husband honey-do lists, trips-you-want-to-take lists. Every last little thing until all your dirty laundry's out there like a bad reality show.

And while actually writing on the walls does qualify you for the definition of manic, you can at least write it all down on paper. Keep separate lists and tape them up around your house (in closets, behind cupboard doors, so people don't think you're too cray cray) so you can take a glance and remember what you're working toward. And for the love of Pete, cross off items as you do them! That's a whole other level of satisfaction.

Too much in your head stops productivity and keeps you in a vicious cycle of feeling unfocused and overwhelmed. As you write everything down that is bogging you down & leave it out where you can see it, the ideas will begin to flow and you won't have only saved your sanity, you won't have to repaint your walls.



shannon sorensen maker of fairface washcloths, best beauty cloths for faces
Shannon Sorensen is a blogger and creative type who occasionally fights the urge to write on the walls. Besides her creative outlets, she is also the Founder and CEO Shannon Sorensen Designs, maker of Fairface™ Washcloths, the best skin care washcloths for soothing and calming even the most sensitive skin.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top 5 Best Entrepreneur + Small Business TV Shows you can actually learn from

best, top television shows for entrepreneurs and small businesses

Living the small biz dream © Shannon Sorensen Designs
I think I always knew some day I'd be running my own business. It's in my genes.

I watched my dad work tirelessly operating his own thriving dental practice. He carried both the burden and blessing of being in charge. From a young age, he instilled in me the desire to make something of my own, like he did.

I wanted to be like him. Working for a PURPOSE instead of just a person. 

This is the decade of Entrepreneurship. The empowering age of Small Business. If you can dream it up, you can build it up.

I love to learn from strong people who have gone before me, or who are standing right beside me as we blaze our trails.

I thrive on learning all I can about running a small business and have found a few tv shows that focus on Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses. If you share my passion for running your own business, you've got to check these out!

Top 5 Picks for Small Business & Entrepreneur TV Shows in 2016

 

The Profit

This has to be one of my all time favorite tv shows for start-ups and small businesses. Marcus Lemonis is a savvy businesses guy who partners with struggling businesses to help give them direction and funding. He can be hard core, but speaks the truth. I actually learn something from this show, which is what I love most about it. I take notes. You're able to see how real businesses talk about profit margins, percentages, distribution, manufacturing, packaging, co-packing, etc. It's seriously awesome. You can watch the last season on demand or purchase previous seasons on Amazon. I can't wait for the new season in August!!! Word has it, Lemonis is also going to be in a new show called The Partner, which I'm dying to see when it's released.


Quit your Day Job

If you're crazy about entrepreneurship, you'll love this show. It's a little quirky, but I love what I can learn from it. It features a team of 3 investors (Randi Zuckerberg - yes, it's his sister, Sarah Prevette and Ido Leffler) who choose which of 3 entrepreneurs to invest in and help them grown their business. This show is about people like you and me who are trying to get your product out there. It feels very relate-able on many levels.


Follow the Leader

CNBC is rocking it with all their small business/entrepreneur tv shows! I really like this show because you get a day-in-the-life experience with some of the most influential and successful people out there who grew their businesses from small to boom. I take notes when I watch this too (nerd alert). A few of my favorite people they've followed are: Katia Beauchamp (co-founder of Birch Box), John Paul DeJoria (the name behind the Paul Mitchell brand), and Gary Vaynerchuck (social media guru).


Beyond the Tank 

Is it just me or do you want to get to the real meat of what goes on behind closed doors after a deal with Shark Tank?! I still like watching Shark Tank, but I really like what happens next. I want to know how these businesses grew, what they did to manage this new growth, and how they got or will get to that next level after they walk away with a deal. Sorry, Shark Tank, but this nudges you out of my top 5.


Billion Dollar Buyer

Enter Tilman Fertitta. He's a rich man who wants to help small businesses by giving them a chance at selling or offering their products in his many hotels and casinos. What's interesting to me about this, is watching how these small businesses are launched into a world of BIG quantities. If they're going to make a deal with Tilman, they'll have to figure out how to scale production while keeping a cost that works for them both. If a deal is made, it could be just the break these small businesses have been looking for...if after all that work he even makes the deal. P.S. The board room makes me uncomfortable.
 

Other Small Business and Entrepreneur TV Shows to check out

Although these shows didn't make it to my top 5, I still like them (unless noted, ha!) and they still have something to offer the entrepreneur / small business / start-up minded.

Shark Tank   

Although After the Tank pushed this out of my top 5, I still like watching every day people like you and me, pitch their good ideas to investors. I learn from them. I share their anxiety as I imagine myself up there in front of the sharks and hope never to hear Kevin's words, "You're dead to me."

Blue Collar Millionaires

This was very close to being in my top 5 because who doesn't love a good success story? It's inspiring to see how these hard working people created very successful businesses for themselves with their passion, blood, sweat and tears.


Make Me A Millionaire Inventor

Not as compelling as some, but I still love seeing what people have come up with, how they try to perfect their product, and what happens when they pitch to an investor.

West Texas Investors Club

I dare say, this should have been called the West Texas Hillbilly Club. This is another product-pitch-investor-show and if you can stand country bumpkin talk, you might like this. While I love me some hunky southern twang, I had to turn it off because they sound too much like hillbillies and it drove me nuts.

Undercover Boss

I have a love-hate for this show. Not only does it make me cringe, because I don't like people trying to trick other people into thinking they're someone they're not (that hurts my feelings), but the wigs and disguises are so ridiculous that it physically hurts a little. It usually ends with a feel-good story and money gifts at the end, which are heart felt, and it is interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes at some well-known companies like Yankee Candle, 7-Eleven, Cinnabon and my recent favorite Stella and Dot.

How It’s Made

Interesting show if you like to take a look behind the scenes at how every day products are manufactured.

All-American Makers

I haven't watched this show yet, but I plan to. I think it's based more on higher end and tech ideas than the every day maker, but it's still on my list.

What NOT to do in business...

American Greed

Sometimes a juicy story about how someone did it oh-so-wrong can be a good watch. I like this one.



Have I missed something? Let me know because I'm all about binge-watching good tv.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Selling your poducts on etsy and beyond: my story

how to make money selling on etsy and online sales
Tips for selling online through etsy and website shops
I am often asked what it's like to be an Etsy seller, how I decided what to sell and what happened after I opened my shop doors.

I'm pretty much an open book, so in an effort to address many of those questions, I thought I'd share my perspective on what it's like to sell on Etsy and what has happened since I launched my first shop.

***At the end of this post I also share a load of helpful tips and points to consider when selling your handmade goods on Etsy (or another online venue).



Finding the Right Product to Sell in your Etsy Shop

It's an interesting thing, that game of trying to find the "it" product. My husband and I often smack our heads and say, "why didn't I come up with THAT?!" We're still wishing we had been the ones to invent the post-it note.

But if you're looking to be, or already are an Etsy seller, you know that Etsy is about standing out. It's about being unique. It's about bringing your creativity, your uniqueness and your passion and hoping people like it and if they do, you've found "it".

 

Choosing what to Sell on Etsy can be a Process

how to be successful on etsy, how to choose what to make on etsy, what is a big seller online
It was January 2011 when I first opened my Etsy shop doors: Shannon Sorensen Designs. It was a bit of a whirlwind as I look back on it. A time full of excitement and motivation. It was at that time I began this blog to document all my sewing adventures.

Choosing what I wanted to sell came easily. I was bursting with creativity. I was sewing and selling pillow covers, baby bibs and burp cloth sets, blankets, nursery and home decor, all with love and passion. I even tried my hand at Ink Blot T-shirts and Ink Blot Onesies, which was crazy fun. (Watch some of my surprising ink blot designs come to life)

But at one point, I wanted to introduce another product to my shop, and since I was still fairly new to Etsy and hadn't settled on a definite direction, I figured, why not include home decor pillows and skin care washcloths in the same shop?  Such a branding faux-pas as I look back, but what did I know? If they sold, they sold. So I decided to try it.

My Etsy "It" Product

best washcloths for sensitive skin, best face cloths for sensitive skin, skin care best sensitive skin products
Creative business can be a tricky thing because you never really know what will sell. It's coming from your heart and head so no matter what trends you follow, in the end you have to go with your gut. 

When something really speaks to you, like this new product did to me, you bring it with all you've got and if there was one thing I really cared about, it was my skin care washcloth line because it meant a lot to me personally.

Sensitive skin issues had hit me hard and in an effort to calm my skin down, I had begun making my own soft washcloths to use for gentle cleansing. The difference in my skin, when switching from regular washcloths to these soft cloths, was almost immediate. Instead of turning red and irritated after I washed my face, it was finally calm for the first time in a long time.  I knew that I was onto something and if I could help bring relief to other people suffering from sensitive skin irritation, it was my job to get it to them.

This decision to introduce my soft, sensitive skin washcloth line was one of those moments when you know deep down it's something big.  My husband wasn't totally convinced this would be a big seller, but in the end, I knew I wanted to share this skin care godsend with the word, and all at once, the first Fairface™ Washcloths were introduced into the market place. (If you look at my sold items, you'll see how quickly they took off.)

Make and Sell What Inspires You And The Rest Will Follow 

I started in one place and ended up in another. That's what happens a lot in my life. And what I've learned, is that if you never start anything, you will never get where you are meant to go.

Over the course of these 5 years, my ambitions have shifted, and while pillow cases, baby bibs and nursery blankets are someone else's passion, mine has become evident to me: Fairface™ Washcloths

One year ago in September, I phased Fairface™ Washcloths out of my first etsy shop (which I recently closed) and opened a 2nd Etsy shop specifically for Fairface™ Washcloths. In addition, I launched my own website: FairfaceWashcloths.com. Specific branding goes a long way and the growth and opportunities that have come as a result of those decisions are amazing and I feel incredibly blessed. I also feel very fulfilled and happy to share these washcloths that mean so much to me, with others who can benefit from them.

The Passion behind Fairface™ Washcloths

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Fairface™ Washcloths: products that help people
Put simply, I care about skin care products that help people. 

I care about providing a product that can help eliminate someone's suffering and help their skin feel and look better.

Fairface™ Washcloths, to me, are about helping people feel comfortable, accepting and beautiful in their own skin. And every time I hear back from a happy customer about how Fairface™ Washcloths have helped their sensitive skin, it reaffirms that deep down feeling from all those years ago, that this was the right decision.

xo ~Shannon



Shannon, of Shannon Sorensen Designs is the Founder and CEO of Fairface™ Washcloths, a line of specialty skin care washcloths and face cloths, soft and soothing for sensitive skin.

 

Want to open your own Etsy shop? First ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you good at?
  • What is your unique spin on it, i.e. how can you give an ordinary pillow cover your unique touch? Make it look different? Use materials and designs different than other sellers?
  • Do you love making it?
  • Do you enjoy just the design process, the making process, or both?
  • Would you be happy making hundreds of them?
  • Not sure what to make? Don't panic! Try a few things and see what happens. It's a process. 
  • Don't be afraid to share yourself and your talents with the world. If you never try, you'll never know what could have been.

Tips for Selling on Etsy or other online shop:

  • Make sure you have the correct business licenses (check with your city and state)
  • Understand how and when to collect and pay state sales taxes, if applicable
  • Read and follow the Etsy or other online shop guidelines
  • Learn about the labeling requirements to sell your products (for textile products, see FTC textile label requirements)
  • Don't purchase too many things up front (labels, packaging, etc.). See what works, what doesn't, what you love and what you don't. After you decide what you like, you can begin purchasing larger quantities and get better pricing.
  • Have questions? Consult Etsy forums, other sellers, and even your local small business administration. It's not as complicated as it feels. Take it step by step. 
  • Learn about branding. It's key to a focused marketing strategy.
  • Market yourself!! I can't emphasize this enough. Don't wait for Etsy to bring buyers to you, or you'll be very disappointed. In order to be successful online, you must market your own products! Launch a blog and social media (facebook, instagram, twitter, etc.) highlighting your products and behind the scenes. Drive traffic to your shop!!

Final advice for selling on etsy or your website:

  • Do what you love.
  • Do what brings you joy.
  • Do what feels fulfilling.
  • Focus, focus, focus. Often, you can stretch yourself thin on time and money by chasing too many ideas at once. Focus on 1 thing at a time and do it really well. The outcome of your efforts will drive your next move.
  • Experience is Golden. Reach out to other etsy / online sellers and bloggers. In my experience, many people are very willing to help and offer advice! 
  • Try different venues. There's nothing wrong with having more than one place to sell your online goods. Being a seller on Etsy doesn't mean you can't sell elsewhere too.
  • Don't get bogged down by negativity. Some people just don't get it, but stick with your intuition!
  • Take it step-by-step. It might feel overwhelming because you don't know everything right now, but all of the greats got started somewhere just like you.
  • This is yours. If you don't like something, change it. Follow where your inspiration leads.

Wishing you much success and happiness!
xo - Shannon

More questions I didn't cover? Please feel free to leave a comment!

Do you have an etsy or other online shop? I'd love to hear your experiences and tips as well! 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Gifts for 80% off! Last chance sale! Ends May 4th

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Black & White Chevron zippered pillow covers 75% off! Only $7.98 each!
I don't know why I forgot to post about my HUGE CLEARANCE SALE, but here we go! Everything in my shop, Shannon Sorensen Designs, is priced to sell!

*GREAT BABY GIFTS UNDER $5!

*INK BLOT T-SHIRTS UNDER $7.00 EACH! 

*CHEVRON PILLOW COVERS UNDER $8.00 EACH!


I will not be re-listing any items - STORE CLOSES May 4th!

Huge savings of up to 80% off on the remaining merchandise. Grab it while you still can!


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One of a kind Ink Blot T-shirts 80% off! Only $6.98! (see additional t-shirt styles in shop)

 
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Ink Blot Baby Onesie 80% off! Only $4.98!


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Cherries baby bib and burp cloth 80% off! Only $4.98!



>>>SHOP THE CLEARANCE SALE HERE!<<< 


Why am I closing up shop?? To focus on my flourishing business Fairface Washcloths, the softest Washcloths and Facecloths for sensitive skin.

I'll be posting soon about the changes and exciting times ahead! xo

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