I've had a couple of questions last night that I thought there may be interest in so I figure i'd reply to them in a post... :)
1. Why do you need such a telescopic lens for your camera? Wondering what you would like to take photo's of with it?
I have been working on completing my camera bag for years... it's been a process of trial and error. I've bought a sold a couple lenses along the way, but I think now, my kit is complete. My grandfather was an avid and talented photographer, and I really enjoy it! I find photography fun and relaxing. I consider my lenses a "long-term" purchase as I hope to use them for many, many years.
I have wanted a super telephoto zoom lens for many years, but needed to slowly add to my bag, and I like to do a lot of research on the lenses before I buy. I also buy "consumer" level lenses. I cannot afford to spend $2-3K or more on a lens, nor do I think it's necessary to get great photos! I try to buy gently used if possible, but the lenses must be in *new* condition or it's not worth it to me. The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR is an awesome 4.3x zoom, and really allows me to get "up close & personal" without really being up close whatsoever! :) It's honestly not very heavy. My Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC is a little tank and heavier than this beast! lol! So looks can be deceiving!
Overall I bought this lens so i'm able take photos of the following:
- Astrophotography - Specifically the Moon
- Nature in general (macro as well)
In essence, no, I did not "need" this lens in any way, shape or form. But I love photography. I feel closer to my grandfather when i'm out shooting, and really it just makes me happy. I had the extra money, bought used for 1/2 price, so I bought the lens and I plan on enjoying it for many years to come!
2. You seem to get a lot of orders for your sewing. I am not in competition with you as I am a smocker, but wonder how it is you get your orders?
First, I wouldn't mind if you were asking me how to sell your sewn items! I don't consider myself to be in "competition" with anyone. I figure if people like my creations and like what I have to offer, they will order from me. If they like someone elses creations more, they will order from them. And that is ok! :) I have sent orders to others if they can do a better job than I can. I am not kidding myself that I am the *only* woman who can sew cute creations. I am grateful for each & every order I receive!
I have been very blessed and do receive a nice amount of custom sewing orders. When I first taught myself to sew, making money wasn't my goal. My goal was to simply learn how to sew and have fun with it. I showed my creations on my blog and shared the process with my readers. As time went on and I showed my creations, I was urged by several blog readers to offer my items for sale in an Etsy shop. I decided to go for it, but not in an Etsy shop.
Why not an Etsy shop? It simple takes too much time to fill it up with things that may not sell... it's not that listing takes more time, but filling up a shop with a variety of different styles & colours takes time, and a lot of it. So I decided to sew "on demand" by taking custom orders as I find a lot of my customers love what I show on my blog but they to want to personalize for that special someone and to their own personal preferences. By taking custom orders I can make the item ordered perfect to their wishes. I can adjust the size, the colours, add something, take away something, etc... I can provide "rush" orders, and have some place larger items and gracefully give me plenty of time to fill the order! I can sew when I have time around running a household with my husband and 4 kids.
For me it was simply showing my creations online, my online friends & readers liking what I created and having faith in me. I try to keep my prices fair for my materials (I always use designer high end fabrics, organic batting, the best quality thread, etc..) and for my time & creativity. I charge "actual" shipping (no inflated prices like some Etsy & Ebay sellers) and keep things fresh.
I find that giveaways are always fun too! Readers love them, it's gets your creations noticed, and truthfully I honestly think people really appreciate them! I know some of my readers ooh & aah over my stuff but can't afford them. So it gives some a chance to win something fun & different as well.
I have heard from a couple people in real life & online who get frustrated because people don't "buy their stuff". I won't fool you here, it takes a LOT of time, patience, and effort. People seem to think I have had this "handed to me" because I receive orders on a continuous basis it seems, but I have worked very hard for what i've acheived. I am continually trying to improve my sewing and God givien talent. I give my items away, I donate items to charity, I send someone a little gift "just because", I do this to make myself & others happy first and foremost. You can't simply sew a couple items, show them off, and expect to sell them left, right & center.
I guess overall my tips for selling would be:
- Know your audience. Smocking is a beautiful and older artform, but very specific, and mostly for baby and young girls, a very target audience, so that cuts down your customer base. A lot of people nowadays want "modern", and unfortunately may not appreciate all the time & effort that goes into your work. Find those that do... blog often and show off your creations!!
- Have a business card. I carry a stack of business cards with me and have had random strangers i've met through others ask me for my card.
- Be open & honest with your time & pricing. If you need more time to fill an order, tell them. If you say it will be sent out in a certain timei frame, do so. Price your work fairly for your time & effort. By undercharging, you're going to begrudge doing the work, by overcharging, you're not going to get many orders.
- Show off your work! Obviously I don't mean brag, but show off your items with good photography, different angles, good lighting, etc... even show the process if you can! I'm more than willing to show people how to "make their own"!
- Have patience: This is a tough one, but really, it's all about time. Give yourself time to build up an audience, as I said blog giveaways are always a great way to gain some 'free' publicity and new readers.
I hope some of this has helped you! You do absolutely beautiful work and if I had a baby girl to buy for, you'd be on the very top of my list!! :) If anyone wants to see some beautiful smocked items please head on over to The Farmgirl Files!
I have my list ready for today and hope to be uber productive today! I'll be back later on with a tutorial for a Key Fob & a giveaway!! Yay!! If anyone has any other questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section or email them to me as i'd like to make this a regular feature.
Have a wonderful day! :)