one delightful business: take good photos

I have thought for a little while that it might be fun for me to share some things I have learned from owning my own small business. There is certainly a lot I do not know, but I have been running one delightful button for over four years now (hard to believe!). And I feel like there are a lot of tips and tricks and lessons I have learned along the way.

One of my first lessons was to take take good photos of my products. I can say in no way that I have mastered this, but I have improved. On my first post I shared a picture of my first etsy sale. I thought I needed a white background so I used a clean bed sheet. I frequently took pictures at night. Early on, I went into an etsy forum and asked someone to review my site because I was starting to feel good about it. I remember she commented on a pictures mentioning that they needed to be taken during the day in natural light. I was somewhat offended, but this was really great advice. 

Here's a few things I have learned about taking good photos of your products....
  • If you are selling online all someone has to go off of is your description of your item and your pictures. Clearly, the pictures are really important because someone may not read your description in detail. 
  • Take pictures during the day, but in indirect sunlight. This is one of my night photos. Its hard to see the product well. 

This was taken during the day...indirect sunlight and on a book page, nice and simple. 
  • Use consistent background for your photos. Also, do not take a photo of your product on something unappealing or that overpowers attention to your product. The background can help to define what the vibe you want your products to give off. For example....the doily was a nice idea below, but I think that the earrings would have looked better with a simple background instead of the linen and doily.  

  • Take a picture of your packaging. This is huge for me. If I am buying handmade, I do not want someone to think that I made it. I want a nice tag on the earrings I purchased and potentially a cute box, too. 

  • If there are important features to your product, make sure they are can be seen in the photo. (i.e. I just upgrade my earring backs to nicer posts and try to make sure every listing has a picture of the new posts)

  • I really like this resource: fotofuze for editing the background out of photos. However....it is not always perfect. 
  • Lastly, if you are selling something unique for $3 and have to photograph and edit it every time, it may not be worth the trouble. I like that I can reuse my photos because I sell several of the same style of earrings. The photographing and editing and uploading and listing process is not always a quick one so reuse photos when you can. 
Hope this helps! Any thoughts or tips you would add? 


17 (almost 18 week) update

Here's my lovely mirror shot for the week that you may have seen on instagram...
how far along? 17 weeks - 18 on tuesday! time is slowing inching forward....

maternity clothes? just for pants mostly. my belly is definitely growing, but i just invested in a good pants of maternity jeans. i also was surprised by how hard it was to find skinny jeans in maternity. i had to settle for some gap straight leg jeans. 

symptoms? still queasy at times, still have the appetite of michael phelps, soooo tired (wishing this would stop, but i almost always want a nap or at least time to lay down for a bit in the afternoon

sleep? just wish i could get more of it. some nights i'm ready for bed at 8:30pm and still need a nap in the afternoon. my hips hurt at night to sleep on and i have to rotate sides. i pulled out my log from last pregnancy and i had that same problem, but totally forgot! 

movement? just the occasional flutter i think

cravings? love pickles, olives, anything salty (old wives would say that means boy...)

aversions? coffee sometimes, when my hair gets it my mouth...really depends on how the mood strikes me...i get a sugary taste in my mouth if i have anything sugary so i am somewhat turned off by sweets, but that doesn't mean i'll turn down a milkshake

gender? we should know soon...

belly button? basically did not go back in after jude was delivered, and occasionally aches - my midwife thought that was a little strange, but who knows

i'm not going to update you on my weight gain so far - its far too depressing to be a pregnant woman in new england in the winter. we left for church and it was 5, but felt like -11. i miss walks outside and we are considering joining the YMCA so that I can get some exercise. 

thanks perfectly pollock - i stole your pregnancy question list! 


one delightful business: lessons learned

I have thought for a little while that it might be fun for me to share some things I have learned from owning my own small business. There is certainly a lot I do not know, but I have been running one delightful button for over four years now (hard to believe!). And I feel like there are a lot of tips and tricks and lessons I have learned along the way.

So, my hope is weekly to share something with you.

For my first post though, I will just share some about how I began selling crafts. In 2009, I heard about etsy for the first time. I was working a full-time job with Young Life, but had no kids and some free time. I thought it would be fun to have some sort of craft to make and sell. I was some what crafty already - I liked making cards for friends and in school I loved projects that required some sort of poster or display so I could make it pretty. I also started this blog around that time (under a different name) and I shared about a chair I reupholstered here.

But I didn't really have a "thing". I barely knew how to sew. I had just some random supplies and an idea to start a craft business for fun. (Sounds a little odd to me, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's how a lot of people began on etsy).

In the fall of 2009, I found a jar of vintage, discarded buttons at my favorite antique store in Norfolk, Virginia called "Country Boy". If you live nearby, go. It's the most unrefined antique store and walking through it is like an adventure because there are things piled up everywhere.

I bought the jar and googled "things to make with buttons." This is pre-pinterest era, people. I started then making button earrings and some other accessories surrounding buttons. Soon, I expanded to the fabric button and took some sewing lessons.

I posted on etsy basically immediately after testing out my product to make sure it was wearable. My business name: k bowling designs. Sure, why not? I had my first sale shortly after opening. God bless that woman, I have no clue why she bought these earrings that I photographed under yellow lighting on a white piece of paper.

I continued with etsy, started doing craft shows, began approaching shops about wholesale and consignment, and really started to develop my niche as the button girl. I now sell on an e-commerce site called big cartel (more on that later) and have continued making and selling jewelry and accessories as we have moved from Virginia to Massachusetts. 

I hope some of the things that I have learned will help a reader or two out who is considering starting a craft business or is continuing with a shop they own already. 

Thanks for reading! 


shop updates coming soon!

quick update today! 

i am busy getting products ready for young life camps + adding new products online, but in the in-between you can enjoy 25% off for the next week at www.onedelightfulbutton.com 
use code january

sorry for the lack of hair ties, but i will have lots more fun things in the shop soon. 

thanks for supporting my little business + enjoy your weekend! 

p.s. new banner by danielle burkleo


boston + north shore: a weekend trip

So far we have had a number of friends and family make the trek all the way up to the Boston area to see us. It is about a 12 hour trip from Virginia so we always appreciate when family makes the trip. 

I am so excited that two of my best friends are coming to visit in two weeks for a long weekend and am starting to dream up plans. However, this is New England, all winter plans could be trumped by whatever the forecast is, but we are okay with that. Nikki and Stacy are my two best friends from high school and we have stayed in touch over the years. Also, they are twins...so that's fun. Oh and Philip and I met at Nikki and her husband's wedding. 

They'll both fly into the Logan Airport so we are planning on at least spending a little time in the city. They have only been once as far as I know for a short trip. However, January is no time to spend a ton of time outside so I don't think the freedom trail will be in our forecast. 

I am not sure how much historical stuff we'll do. I have done the freedom trail at least three times now (never with an official guide though), but we mostly want to catch up together and see a little bit of the city. The Marriott has this fun graphic of a few of the iconic things to do in and see in the city. 

I am certainly no expert only being here a year, but places we'll mostly make a visit to: 
  • Newbury Street (if they want to shop)
  • The Boston Commons (since its right by Newbury Street)
  • Possibly Lunch at the Original Regina's in the North End or Tasty Burger (I have never been to the Harvard location or really into Cambridge besides driving through so maybe this is the time?)
  • A pastry's from Mike's  
Outside of the city (the north shore has a lot of history too and fun sights to see): 
  • Breakfast at Sugar Mags (one of the best breakfasts in the North Shore plus fun atmosphere in Gloucester)
  • Drive through and possibly stop in Rockport (Bearskin Neck area)
Rockport from this summer...ahh, summer...
  • Drive through Essex & check out some antiques - possibly eat at Woodman's

That's as far as I have gotten so far - if you are local, is there anything you would add? This is my first time going into the city without Philip so I will probably not be too ambitious with plans... 


oh naptime

I think I may be resigning myself to thinking my child just may be one of those people that does not need to operate on a lot of sleep. To my dismay, I am not one of those people...I love sleep. I do not love naps, but I love to be able to sleep in and since I have been limiting myself to one small cup of coffee during pregnancy, that makes it extra hard to operate on less sleep.

Lately, this remake of Lorde's song has summed up my existence. If you don't feel like clicking, let me hit you with a few highlights... (sing to the tune of Royals)

I never set my alarm clock anymore
I wake up before the dawn, I get up early
And I’m not proud of my outfit
It’s three am
And the baby’s screaming
And every minute’s like diapers, Thomas, splashin’ in the bathtub
Juice stains, snack traps, screamin’ in the minivan
They don’t care, we can’t remember the last time we dreamed
But everybody’s like swaddles, white noise, sleeping with your baby
Warm milk, rocking, let them cry it out now
We don’t care, we haven’t slept in a couple years
At least it adds some humor to the situation. 
Here's our schedule though...perhaps someone can shed some light on what the heck we should try next. Jude is 27 months old and can easily and safely crawl out of his crib and has been for the past month. 

5:20am - (approx) - Jude comes in our room and says mommy, daddy, downstairs. I turn off all the lights he has already turned on (his bedroom light and the hallway light) and tell him it's too early, he can play in his crib or sleep with us. 
5:25am - Lays in bed with us, not sleeping, but occasionally crying, kicking, demanding to watch a "show"
5:40am - We give in a hand him the iPhone since no one is sleeping anyway
6:30am - Philip gets up with Jude, I sleep for another 30-60 minutes depending on Philip's schedule
9:00am - Jude is fussy and could almost fall asleep in the car in a matter of minutes (CLEARLY HE IS TIRED)
11:30am - Lunch and then nap
1:30-2:30pm - Wakes from his nap
7:30-8pm-ish - Bedtime

So my current theory is that his daytime nap is too long. I love nap time and I really do not want to give it up and I feel like he needs a nap because he will sleep in the car if we are out around nap time. My plan is to wake him after an hour to an hour and a half of daytime sleep. (cue me crying)

The other glitch is we don't want to give up our entire evening. Being pregnant, I am usually ready for bed around 9pm and it seems a little crazy to me to need to put a toddler to bed after 8 just to get a decent night sleep. Also nights, he has stayed up later, he generally still wakes up prior to 6am like clockwork. 

Anyone out there with any clue to what's going on? Anything you have switched in your toddler's schedule to get them to sleep a little later? 

Also, one of my favorite twitter feeds for funny toddler behavior is the honest toddler. I'll close with a few of his thoughts on the time change...

have a great weekend! here's to (fingers crossed) not getting up before the sun!


January Meal Plan

So I have been inspired by Edie from Life in Grace Blog and a local friend to meal plan for the whole month. It seems like a great idea and wasn't too much extra work, but of course, I am saying this prior to having been through a month of shopping ahead.

Today I bought the mother load of groceries at Market Basket...to my surprise it was only $155. MB is cheapppp. I just cannot stand to go there frequently especially with a toddler, but today I was alone and could actually think without throwing things in the cart haphazardly. I then went to Richardson's our local dairy farm and spend $20 on three gallons of milk, two containers of half and half (for homemade ice cream) and two cartons of eggs.

I think I will still have to make a Trader Joe's trip for some additional fresh produce and possibly bread, but one of the things that has surprised me about this process so far is that many things really do last awhile prior to being opened...I just usually only buy for a week.

Another resource Edie uses is a site called Ziplist. It has an app that syncs with your account. You can pin your recipes there like you would on pinterest, but when you want to make it that month it simply loads the ingredients to your list - aka genius!

I thought I'd share our meal plan with links...here goes nothing! There are a few gaps to account for leftovers and eating out and the occasional frozen pizza to be thrown in.

Jan 5 // Beef, Snow Peas and Rice
Jan 6 //
Jan 7 // BBQ shredded chicken on corn tortillas with salad
Jan 8 //
Jan 9 // French Onion Soup with salad
Jan 10 //
Jan 11 // Burgers over spinach with sweet potato fries
Jan 12 // Chicken Corn Chili 
Jan 13 //
Jan 14 // Loaded Potatoes (bacon, sour cream, cheese, chives) and salad
Jan 15 //
Jan 16 // White Chicken Chili
Jan 17 // TBD (my best awesome friends are visiting in this cold New England winter so I need to figure this out later!)
Jan 18 // TBD
Jan 19 // TBD
Jan 20 // Philip's Birthday!!...TBD
Jan 21 //
Jan 22 // Fried Rice, Edamae and Egg Rolls
Jan 23 //
Jan 24 // Refried Bean Flautas...what can I say? I love mexican...
Jan 25 // One Pot Lo Mein
Jan 26 //
Jan 27 // Repeat a soup depending on what I still have
Jan 28 //
Jan 29 // Sriracha Broccoli with fried rice
Jan 30 //
Jan 31 // Burgers over spinach with sweet potato fries

So there you have it...How do you meal plan? Do you meal plan? Here's to a simplified 2014!


2013 Reading List

In January 2013, I set a goal of reading at least one book a month. I am excited to report that this is one resolution that I did keep. I am always on the hunt for a good read, so I thought I would share with you what I read.

Sidebar...our living room bookshelf needs some serious help this year. I want to either paint a splash of color behind it or put wallpaper behind it. It desperately needs some love. 

Without further ado...My 2013 Reading List...

  • Love Does / Bob Goff / Good easy read. Love that he loves Young Life. 

  • Sparkly Green Earrings / Melanie Shankle / So good! Fun light read that a friend recommended. I was skeptical of all the bloggers turning book authors, but they are almost always my favorite books.

  • 1,000 Gifts / Ann Voskamp / I had read this once already, but wanted a refresher. I her blog as well. It makes me cry almost every time I read it.

  • Desperate / Sarah Mae / I was surprised and pleased to fine this at my library, but its also only $2.99 on the kindle right now. This is a great read for a mom that is tired and worn down, which is the way I feel a good bit of the time. 

  • Gone Girl / Gillian Flynn / Perhaps I should add more fiction to the docket because this was the perfect summer read. I could barely put it down. 

  • Bread and WineShauna Niequist / Also, only $2.99 on the kindle! Fun, easy read. The hard thing for me was dinner is not the easiest time for us now with a crazy toddler that would like the meal to last approximately 5 minutes or less, but still some good take aways. 

  • A Year of Biblical Womanhood / Rachel Held Evans / Fun summer read, too. This girl takes parts of the Bible and tries to follow all of the commands to a T and it is highly entertaining. $2.99 on the kindle...sheesh...lots of books on sale! I checked this out from the library though...

  • Letters to a Young Life Leader / Bob Mitchell / This is a great book for a young life leader...committee...friend of young life...I love Bob Mitchell - he is a legend. 

  • Carry On, Warrior / Glennon Melton / Really enjoyed the book by a great blogger. I am with E though. I agreed with most of the things she says, but not all...

  • Kisses From Katie / Katie J. Davis / This was a spontaneous add which I read over Christmas break. I love love loved it. I am so inspired by this girl and her guts. 
So there is my reading list round up! Any thoughts? Did you read any of these? Anything you would suggest for 2014? 

Alright, peace out. Time to enjoy the 9 degree New England winter and 2 feet of snow...