How To Photograph Your Product For Dummies, by A Dummy

I will preface this post with the admission that I really am a dummy when it comes to photography. I don’t know many technical terms, I’ve never taken a class… I’ve learned it all through trial and error.

There are a few key components that you’ll need, but aside from the camera, they’re not too expensive (and in some cases, free), so don’t fret, my pet.


What you need:

a camera – Your phone doesn’t count.

light – Natural daylight is the best!

a tripod – I guess if your phone can go on a tripod and takes decent pictures, I’ll let you slide…


Natural light + tripod = kickass photos


Optional items:

a backdrop – I use a cheapo bed sheet. It’s not the prettiest or most professional, but it works.

a remote for your camera – If you’re the model and photographer, this will make your life a million times easier. I got mine from Amazon.

additional lighting – The more “daylight-like”, the better. See the bottom of this post for a link to a great tutorial for lighting on the cheap.


Read more…

Woven clothing labels + a cheap trick

When I got my bachelor’s degree (unrelated to sewing, ha), my mom bought me my first batch of woven labels for SmarmyClothes. They were quite spiffy, especially compared to the super simple iron-on labels I had made myself.

labels all packed up

I ordered a second batch of the same labels from the same company a few years ago. Last month I noticed I was down to my last 17 labels! I’d been half-looking at replacement labels for a while, having decided that the woven labels were perhaps a little too expensive for something someone might just cut out of the garment once they got it. It got kind of dire when I realized I had less than twenty left.
Read more…

So You Wanna Be An Indie Fashion Designer – Part 2

In the Beginning
So you think you’ve got the skill down, and you’re ready to start selling? Fantastic. But not so fast, my friend. There are a few things to consider first.

Buy Handmade v-neck shirt by phippsart

Find a Niche
Before you can start making cash, you need to know what you’re going to sell and who you plan on selling it to. In my opinion, the best and easiest way to be a successful indie designer is to find a small, specific group of people to sell to, at least in the beginning.

Too often people try to cater to everyone, when they’d be better off focusing on a smaller group. You are not Wal-Mart. You can not compete with Wal-mart (at least not directly). You need to be the Anti-Wal-mart! High quality, hand made, unique goods are how you indirectly compete with big business. Offering a product or a unique design that people can only get from you is going to be what separates you from the competition and motivates customers to come back for more.Read more…

How to: Pricing Your Handmade Goods & Products

One of the most frequent questions I hear from crafty sellers new AND old is “How much should I be charging for this?”

A lot of beginners make some common mistakes and misjudgments, so here are some things to consider when pricing your goods, as well as a formula to figure it all out.

Here’s a big beginning mistake I see all too often: Pricing your item way below “competitors” (which I prefer to think of less as competition and more as similar shops, but that’s for another time). The reality is that pricing too low can actually discourage sales because people assume it’s of poor quality.

Another mistake is thinking of yourself as the target customer. If you base your pricing on what YOU can afford, you’re probably under pricing. Guess what? I can’t afford my own stuff. I’m what you call a “starving artist”. I can’t afford to buy designer clothing. Other people can, they just aren’t me.

Silver coin ring by silvercoinrings

Handmade goods mean attention to detail, quality craftsmanship, and a significant amount of TIME and SKILL, all of which mean HIGHER PRICE. When you’re pricing your items, I want you to repeat to yourself that YOU ARE NOT WAL-MART.Read more…

So You Wanna Be an Indie Fashion Designer: Part 1

 Starting from Scratch

So you want to be a fashion designer, but you don’t even know how to sew… That’s fine. No one comes out of the womb knowing how to use and draft patterns or operate a sewing machine, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Setting Goals

Your first step is to set goals. Yes, you want to be a fashion designer, but does that mean you want to go the DiY route and sell from home? Or do you want to be on Project Runway? Or maybe you’d like to work under a big, famous designer or better yet, BE one.

When you’re setting your goals, think about what it is that you want. Sure, there’s a chance you’ll eventually make it big by running a small DiY fashion biz out of your kitchen, but if you want your own store on Madison Avenue, you might want to think about taking some classes, or even getting a degree in a fashion related field. I’m not saying that starting out with a DiY set-up can’t get your name in lights, but this guide is meant for people that simply want to make a living or supplement their current income by selling their craft. I have no experience with making it big, so this is geared towards those of us that are okay with being the little guy. Either way, you’re going to need a hell of a lot of patience and practice.

Read more…