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Upcoming Workshops

Establishing Your Brand
Parisoma
Wednesday, May 16
6 - 7:30 pm

200 Yards

@ Moxi Salon
Opening Reception
May 5, 6-9pm

@ Rare Device
Submission Deadline
April 30th

 

"My meetings revolutionized my business because I allowed myself the time, under the guidance of Lightbox SF, to ask myself some really hard questions."

“They helped me so much when it came to pushing my ideas to a new level. They always came with examples to look at and people to talk to and really pushed me out of my comfort zone so I could do more and more. I highly recommend them!!!”

"I would recommend Genevieve for overall plan development and artist marketing to anyone that has a creative idea, the mind of an artist and loves the web.”

"They are always there for me with words of wisdom when I'm feeling a little lost or need help with the next step in my jewelry making company. They have been a huge help in my business!!"


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Friday
Apr062012

Open Doors - The Fabulous, The Lovely Jen Laursen of Tilt Adornments!

photo by genevieve brazeltonJen Laursen is one stylish and fun lady! A glittery star on a gloomy night. A bird with the brightest feathers. Have I embarrassed you yet, Jen? Beyond being just amazing on her own she creates gorgeous, stunning one of a kind special occasion head pieces and collars that can transform the dullest outfit into Oh La La. Thank you darling for sharing your beautiful talent with the world and making it a more glamorous place

We had the great pleasure of spending some time with her at her home studio and had a blast. Jen is crazy fun to be around!  Here is a little look into the world of Tilt Adornments - Special Occasion Finery.

 

Shelly - Ok, lady I have to ask, do you always look this fabulous when you work in the studio?

Jen - Ha! No, no. I have to say that I wake up and first make myself a latte, grab the computer and get to work at the table in the kitchen. I stay in my pajamas and get the busy work done - emails, social networking. Then finally I'll look in the mirror and say yeah, I probably should put on some makeup and get dressed so I'll feel like a human being.

photo by genevieve brazeltonShelly - I love that! You have a morning routine that works for you. So now is this everyday?

Jen - Pretty much - latte, computer, email, social networking. I like to get up around 8:30 even when I get home from the evening job around 12/1230 am. I get right to work around 9:00 am and usually start in the kitchen area so I can look out into the garden. I spend so much time in the actual studio space so it is nice to start out on the other end of the house. After a little of this work, I then get creative. I work until about 3pm.

Shelly - Do you have certain days that you work on business things, certain days that you do your creative work?

Jen - No not really. It is all intertwined. If there is a deadline for something whether it be a costume or a blog post then of course it will be a priority. But I don't have a certain day of the week like Monday for computer work and then say Wednesday for studio work. The evenings that I am not at the restaurant are my work horse days.

I am not naturally organized in that kind of way. I like flexibility and let the deadlines guide me. I of course have a planner but I am not super regimented. It is not innately in me.

photo by genevieve brazeltonShelly - Well it seems to be working for you! Tell me a little about this studio space where all these awesome ideas come together. This room is full of so many gorgeous things.

Jen - Kristen (her sister and roommate) and I decided to turn the extra room into our studio space. (Kristen and Jen are involved in the burlesque scene under the name the Scenic Sisters. Kristen performs regulary as Sid Scenic and is amazing!!!!) We do a lot of collaborations together. She'll come up with a performance and I'll design the costumes and head pieces. We share the space really well and definitely are inspirations to each other. It's great to have all of these costumes around me. Kristen also uses the space to practice her dance sequences. It works really well. We have our own closets, different schedules and the same taste.

Shelly - It sounds really lovely Jen! You both have a really cool living situation. Your other sister Lisa lives upstairs. You live with Kristen down here. Lisa's dog Chance has his own doggie door so he has access to both apartments, well when the cats let him in. Your family is in Gilroy. You have tons of friends that are always here. You live in a fun a vibrant neighborhood. Life is pretty good isn't it?

Jen - Yes I am very happy and comfortable. I love having people around and to be honest I never feel secluded or lonely by working from home. I don't think I would get as much done if I had an outside studio. Our home has a revolving door, people are always in and out.

Shelly - Ha! I just gave you your key back from three months ago! (Jen and her sister were so kind to house me for a little while after my apartment fire. Yep, they are those kind of people!!!!)

Jen - There are so many keys out there. We love it. My family and friends are a big inspiration to me.

Shelly- Your family is amazing. Could you tell us a little about how they have influenced your creativity and style?

Jen - Yes. I am so grateful to them. My great aunts, my grandmothers, my parents are huge influences. I learned to sew from my aunts and grandmothers. I have had no formal training. They were always crafting and sewing. I have been very fortunate to inherit their patterns and baubles and things. I am a collector of all things crafty. I have tons of antique jewelry and beads and materials that I will sometimes use in my very special pieces. Only when it is right though.

Shelly - So they all lived in Gilroy too when you were growing up? How else did they inspire you?

Jen- Yep. We spent a lot of time together and still do. Like I said, they taught me to sew but also we grew up without cable so they also taught us to entertain ourselves. We grew up watching old movies and the Ziegfeld Follies and loved all the dance numbers, costumes and set designs. My sisters and I spent a lot of time getting dressed up in our aunts clothes, pant-suits and furs and would entertain the family.

Shelly - Oh girl, I can totally imagine this. So decades and old movies really influenced you. I can totally see all of this in your work.

Scenic Sisters Jen - Totally! Old books, magazines and I looooove a musical! YouTube has been great for me too because I can find old film segments, hard to find dance sequences and not to forget, sewing techniques. I am also very influenced by street fashion. Living in the mission there is always eye candy in the windows and the way people dress is all so influential. I don't really look at current fashion magazines. I am aware of the trends but I feel it is really important to keep pulling from inside yourself and what you see in your current environment. Also the burlesque scene is a big influence. Although I call myself "semi-permanently retired" from dancing, I do guest appearances and am very involved with helping Kristen with her costumes. I love being around the scene and around the people. It is incredible to me - the process of coming up with the performances, the inception of the idea, the music, the choreography, the whole thing is amazing to me. We just got a snippet of the creators mind and well, it's a little crazy. Absolutely love it!

Shelly - Learning about other people's processes is so fascinating to me. Did they start with the music, did your headpiece inspire a whole character or a entire scene? When did that moment of inspiration occur? So cool.

Jen - Yes and it's not just burlesque. It's musicals, it's everything.

Shelly - Well I can definitely tell with this new line you are leaning more towards special occasion pieces and away from ready to wear. Can you speak to this?

photo by molly decoudreauxJen - With this line I am definitely taking it up a notch. I am much more comfortable not trying to design something for everyone and constantly thinking what will people will wear. This new line was really fun because I just went for it and waited to see where it would take me.

photo by molly decoudreauxShelly - I love the freedom. It took you to a good place lady - I love these new pieces.

Jen -Thanks! With this new line I did some in ivory for bridal and some in color that could be more for stage and special occasion. My spring/summer line is a wink and a nod to the fifties - warm weather takes me there. Themes and seasons always influence my work - the sparkly, glitter of the 20s, Cuba in the 50s. I also experimented with some hand dying, staining netting, feathers and fabrics. It becomes more my own design. With the help of the internet, I taught myself some more advanced millenary work so with time my designs are becoming more complex.

Shelly - All self taught Jen. That's pretty amazing.

Jen - With the help of the aunties and my grandmothers of course! But to be honest, that is how I learn, from trial and error and a little backwards I say. I decide to make something and then I teach myself how to make them. I take old pieces and figure out how they are made. Sometimes if an old piece is falling apart, I'll help it along so I can explore the handiwork. Things aren't made this way anymore. Sometimes when I am handling fabric, I'll look down at my hands and think that is exactly how grandma did it. I wouldn't give that up for anything.

Shelly - No way. And you shouldn't. That is your own unique story! So Jen what's next for Tilt Adornments?

Jen - My goal is to be doing this full-time. I love my home studio and the ability to be surrounded by by friends, family and the pets while I work and being able to take a break in the back garden when it is needed. My hope is to continuing having my costume pieces on the stage, in more shops, participate in collaborations, and co-host home parties and trunk shows. I also plan on taking private classes to advance my skills.

Shelly - So your future goals are really doing what you are already doing just more of it?

Jen - Pretty much. I want to continue learning and growing. But also in the next five years I would love to teach art to kids. Creativity at an early age was so important to me and brought me to where I am now. I want to share this with others and give back to our community. I want to help kids find what speaks to them.

photo by molly decoudreauxShelly - Jen you are awesome! Thanks for making our world a prettier, more glamorous place!

You can find Jen's great designs here:

Etsy

Retrofit 

910 Valencia St
(between 20th St & Liberty St)
San Francisco, CA 94110

Wonderland

2929 24th St
(between Florida St & Alabama St)
San Francisco, CA 94110

Also check out her fun blog!


 

Wednesday
Apr042012

Creating Space - More Studio Ideas

I finally got around to starting a Creating Space Pinterest page so I can share some of the great studio ideas I have been finding. It is a work in progress so go easy on me but I would love you all to start following Creating Space and I will commit to adding things weekly. I also post other inspirations and I would love for you to invite me to see your boards as well. Yay! This is going to be fun!

Here are a few cool things that I came across today. Enjoy!

martha stewart of courseLook at things you already own and find ways to reinvent them. I love this idea for my small studio because it could also be used for seating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

better homes and gardenI have been to many homes and apartments that use their extra closet for junk and things that could be thrown away. How about turning that extra closet into an extension of your office?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

love loans and linenAnd then of course, I highly promote dreaming too. If money and space weren't issues what would my ideal workspace look like? White walls, lots of light and one big farm table - I wouldn't complain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Apr032012

April Business Goals

via designspiration.netSo last month I did't do so well with my goals. I got a little off track and I'm not really sure why. I think I took on too many little things that bogged me down and kept me from really focusing on the bigger projects.

March Goals

1) Begin a serious pr push to build up for our re-launch of the Ink Yourself e-course

We decided to launch Ink Yourself a little later than originally planned so I let the PR push slide until this month.

2) Try out Facebook advertising (I know I'm a little afraid, but I've heard some great stories)

I just didn't make this happen. I think I really have a fear of it being too spammy. However, I've been paying attention to the ads I've been getting shown and while I'm not clicking on them they are pretty spot on and not annoying. I'm going to make it happen in May.

3) Finish the Marketing Assessment download

I gave this assignment to our intern Miyuki and she's been working away on it. However a design challenge and mid-terms kept her from finishing this month. We're very close though.

4) Work on mobile app idea

I decided to put this off for a bit under the auspices of embracing the advice "One Project at a Time". I have read this advice a few times, but recently I heard it again and it really hit home. One income project at a time makes sense. There's enough other stuff going on in the day to day of running the business that anything more stretches you too thin.

5) Grow network by 100 more people

I didn't quite make it to 100 in trackable numbers, but I can claim 65 more. However, I do believe my efforts to expand our network really does have us reaching much further than we imagine. We suddenly have newsletter subscribers in different countries and both Shelly and I are guest posting on 2 different blogs a month.

So for April I'm going to stick with my lesson learned and set more resonable goals. A few small ones with one big project to focus on.

April Goals

1) The a big wave of PR for the e-course. This will be the big project and I already have a strategy mapped out I just need to implement.

2) Finish the marketing assessment giveaway and get that live

3) Tied in with the PR I will also begin promoting the e-course. We really want to sell it out.

Monday
Apr022012

Friday Favs - Melanie Favreau

Photo from Melanie FavreauUnfortunately when you're in school, sometimes you come across this nasty little thing called midterms. Unlucky for me, my midterms happen to fall on this week, and next week. This is why last week's Friday Favs is being posted on Monday.

I'm not a huge jewelry person myself, but I'm absolutely in love with Melanie Favreau's work. I think it's quirky, and I love the geometricness of her stuff. Her work is simple, and clean, but still keeps it fun. How can you not love an airplane with a banner that says eat more cheese? If that's not your style she can personalize it too!

 

 

Wednesday
Mar282012

Moving Day!

Happy to say that we moved into our permanent home today and besides a few evil looks from the cat, hours spent looking for parking and being utterly exhausted, I made it relatively in one piece. The last three months post fire have been very hard but I am optimistic that good things are to come. I am open to pretty much open to any gifts the universe wishes to bring me. Crossing my fingers in comes in the way of a handsome, handy and strong gentleman to help me build those shelves.

I hope that your week has been lovely and full of gifts too!

Tuesday
Mar272012

Strategy of Desire

found on pinterest via melinmouseA few months ago I purchased a copy of The Spark Kit from Danielle LaPorte. It was one of the last times she was offering the kit since her book, The Fire Starter Sessions due out Mid-April, is an even deeper exploration of the topics covered.

It took me until this week to finally dive in, but I’m enjoying the process of turning my attention to my own strengths and desires in terms of business. Generally I’m so focused on the story behind other’s work that I give little time to my own. I’m still working my way through her lesson entitled “Strategy of Desire”, but I already love the new outlook it’s given me.

As small business owners we generally focus on the tasks that need to get done to reach our goals. We’re focused on the literal payoff or outcome as a result of what we do each day. Instead Danielle asks that we think about the feeling we want to have and choose our actions based on creating that feeling in our life. Do you desire a feeling of security, authority, popularity or respect?

So instead of saying I want more clients therefore I’m going to place an ad for my services and send out an email blast offering a discount, you would say I want to feel abundant therefore I’m going to reach out to all the clients I already have with a word of thanks and be consciously grateful for all that I’ve achieved.

What I love most about this lesson is that the act of doing things that create a feeling that you desire allows that lizard brain of ours, the fight or flight side of us, to be quieted enough to really make room for what we need to do. It’s hard to focus on making your business all that it can be if your mind is cluttered with thoughts of lack, overwhelm and stress. It puts you in a harried state of reaction instead a calming state of action. 

This exercise couldn’t have come at a better point in time. With all my time spent of clarifying our message and creating a vision of where I want Lightbox SF to go, I’ve got all sorts of ideas for new directions, projects and collaborations. However, all that also has me feeling bogged down with the thoughts of how to make it all happen and feeling torn trying to decide what project to focus on first.

Just thinking about how to create the feelings of security and ease that I desire has put me at, well... ease.

So go ahead, try it. Next time you sit down to create a to do list, think of the feeling you most desire to have in your business. Put at least one thing on your list that will give you that feeling. This might mean you need to do something for yourself like get a pedicure or take time for lunch with a friend. It also might just mean taking time to acknowledge the amazingness that already surrounds you.

What feelings do you most desire in your business?

Friday
Mar232012

Friday Favs - Tumbleweeds

Photo from TumbleweedsHey guys! This week I'm sharing entirely based on what I find absolutely awesome. I've been wearing glasses since I was about 9 years old, and they definitely define a part of who I am. A while ago, I was thinking how awesome it would be to have wooden glasses to wear all the time, but couldn't find anything within my price range. If I had only known about Tumbleweeds.

Tumbleweeds is focused on making wooden veneer sunglasses, and is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It's run by a couple, Beca and Doug, who look absolutely delightful, from what I gather in Beca's blog. They make each pair of sunglasses in their home studio, and $1 of every purchase goes to the Save the Manatee Club, Florida. Definitely loving it.

You can read about their process of making glasses here:

A Procees - Tales of a Tumbleweed

You can find their blog and etsy here:

Tales of a Tumbleweed Blog

Tumbleweeds Etsy

Wednesday
Mar212012

Creating Space - Rethinking Change

Last week I asked you to reflect on your workspace, your studio and I am very curious about the new ideas and emotions that your reflections brought forth. I am moving, finally into a new place so I completely understand both the excitement and stress that can come forward with change. But let us both take a deep breath and remember that change can be fun and is usually always needed for some reason or other. The stress is also something we can overcome together and I would love to offer you some solutions!

First, when I asked you to think about your space I asked you to write down what was working. Hold on to those things. Not everything needs to change completely. Is that old sturdy filling cabinet a source of comfort for you but so ugly that it makes your partner cringe? Most smaller cabinets can fit under a standard size work desk so place it under. Or if that is not the solution - decorate that thing! Decoupage! Paint it! Do something if it a point of stress. I am definitely not one to throw away things for the sake of just getting rid of the old. Reinvent it, whatever it may be.

Another solution to dealing with things in your studio that are no longer a source of inspiration is to give them to a friend or another artisan in need. My friends do clothing swaps all the time - what about office, craft and studio supply swaps? Sounds super dorky I know but it is often hard for me to get rid of things because I hate waste. But what a great solution! One of my readers over at Kanelstrand blog was just commenting how much easier it is to let items go when she knows that someone else who needs it will give it new life. I couldn't agree more.

I am moving into another small apartment studio this week and when I started to think about where I am going to eventually put everything I immediately noticed that every part of my body became tight. Is holding on to my work table that probably won't fit into my new space worth a week of neck pain? I say  not! I am sure that someone I know would love to exchange their smaller table to upgrade to my larger one. There are so many great sites out there giving advice on how to work with small spaces and I am sure I can come up with some crafty solution. It is good to remember with change often comes compromise. With compromise comes growth.

Just like I asked you to do, I have been pinning and sketching my ideal workspace too. I wanted to share a couple of links to some pretty cool ideas and articles that I found. I would love for you to share yours as well.

Great article from Decor 8  - 8 Ideas to Spruce up Your Space - man I love a mood board!

Office greats from Design Sponge - Sneak Peek Best of Offices - oh the jealousy.

Make it new from Real Simple - 5 Simple Ways to Freshen Your Workspace - clean!

Tuesday
Mar202012

Manifesto... Of Sorts

I've been spending a lot time lately trying to translate what we do into compelling marketing copy that will speak to our ideal clients and get them to sign up for our services. It's still a work in progress, but I think it's getting better.

This means I've been spending a lot of time pondering what we're good at, how we work, and the value we give customers. All good things to be solid on, I'm still working on that too. To this end I've been doing a lot of exercises (some of which may start showing in coaching sessions) trying to get at the root of it all. And there was one in particular that resulted in something I'd like to share.

I can't for the life of me remember who made the recording, but I do remember listening to a woman giving writing prompts over and over in order for us to to begin work on our our manifesto. We were to write whatever came to mind without censoring ourselves. What follows is what I wrote. I thought you all might find it interesting.

While I believe Shelly would agree with much of these, what's below is totally my opinion.

I believe that all people can use their creativity and artistic talent to build a business that supports them.

I believe we should all have creativity as a part of lives and our work.

I believe we are all capable of more than we think.

I believe the world needs more independent business.

I believe the world needs more women business owners.

I believe the world needs more artisan products.

I believe the world needs less business as usual.

I believe the world needs less suits, cubicles, and 9 to 5.

I believe the world needs less corporations.

I believe my customers are stronger and more creative than they think.

I believe my customers are capable of creating a new vision and life for themselves.

I believe my customers are the most amazing people and will inspire me.

I believe in art everyday, trusting your gut, and happiness.

I believe in purpose and feeling a buzz.

I don’t believe there’s a recipe for everyone.

I don’t believe we’ve seen the full strength of independent business.

I know there is room for my vision.

I know others feel the same.

I know others need my encouragement.

I know I have something to give.

Friday
Mar162012

Friday Favs - Nothing New Treasures

I am so pleased to introduce Miyuki as our new Friday Favs author. She's been interning for us since late last year supporting us with our crazy ideas and marketing efforts. So we thought it was time to give her something a bit more fun to do. From this point until we drive her away (which I hope takes years), Miyuki will be sharing a small, crafty business that inspires her either through sheer talent or because of their amazing business sense.

If you want to be nosy and find out a bit more about this mysterious Miyuki, you can visit her at CraftyOrange.

Without further ado...

______________________________________

Photo from Nothing New Treasures

I'm super excited to be sharing this today. I met Brittany when I was in high school, working at a local fabric shop in my home town of Santa Cruz. It's awesome to see that she started her own business! Nothing New Treasures focuses on… well….. getting nothing new. Brittany makes all her products from repurposed items, right down to her hang tags which are made of cereal boxes! I love that she's tapping into the newer developing market of being eco friendly and green, while also not sacrificing style. Her lace dresses are super cute, and come in so many different colors, it's hard to pick a favorite.

 

Photo from Nothing New Treasures

You can find her at:

Nothing New Treasures Blog

Nothing New Treasures Etsy