Roadshow: pro

It occurred to me this week that I need a better way to keep a selection of stoppers with me. While travelling I spoke with someone who would have sold them in his shop, but since I didn’t have any I may have missed the opportunity.

This fits the bill really nicely. Its a “pistol case” that I picked up for under $30 from a local sports store. Two layers of convoluted foam and one of “pick and pluck”. The pick and pluck means you can pull out chunks of the foam based on a grid to make room for things.

So now I can carry a ton of single and double displays, two of the longer point-of-sale displays, a box of Moo cards, and a dozen or so stoppers. It shows very well (much better than unwrapping a dozen stoppers from bubble-wrap), and better yet it makes great protection. Even after a drop of a few feet down onto the floor, the stoppers didn’t move at all. I think now I’ll just plan to keep this filled with a full dozen and keep it with me any time I travel from now on.

The last thing it needs is a price sheet (or just price tags?) of some kind that’s generic enough for a shop owner to be able to choose the stoppers they want and me to keep track of that. (I think if I want to step up production, I’m going to need to stopping naming each stopper. Or I’ll go nuts.) (More so than normal. 😉

Boxes!

McMaster-Carr to the rescue again. I finally found some boxes that I like – heavy double-walled on three sides, white paperboard. One smallish size, one slightly larger. Cost about .62 each for the smaller and about .97 each for the larger. Now if I can track down a nice-looking sticker or stamp to use as decoration, I’ll be all set!

Be sure to Bid for the Barn!

Hey everyone –

the Bid for the Barn is going amazingly well. They’ve received a huge outpouring of support from Vermonters, both as donations and as bidders. Its gratifying to live in a place where this is true!

The donated stopper got into a bit of a bidding war earlier in the week, and went to almost 20% over its value. Nice validation, and a great donation! I’m hoping there’s another push once we get closer to the auction’s close on the 30th, but honestly I don’t really expect this to go higher. (When anyone can just come here and buy one at normal price.)

In hindsight, in the future I may try donating a custom-designed item to create some extra value to the buyer.

In the meantime, stoppers are rolling on again after a bit of a hiatus. I have a few new ones out for bisque, and some great ideas. (I’ll be pursuing the lamp finial idea, for one thing. I need to stop by Conant Brass and see what they can machine for me.)

Stopper donated to BidForTheBarn!

Bid for the Barn - support Pete's Greens and local foods in Vermont!

Bid for the Barn - support Pete's Greens and local foods in Vermont!

Pete’s Greens, a major local food provider for Vermont, much beloved by localvores and foodies alike, suffered a huge setback when their barn burned down. (Along with equipment, food, and more.) This is an online auction to help them rebuild! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge foodie and love eating as locally as possible, so when I discovered I could donate to the online auction I jumped. (And as an artist, exposure is always a good thing, so this works out well for everyone.)

The lucky bidder will get to choose the stopper of their choice, and will help out the local food economy while doing it. How can you go wrong?!

Seriously though – check out the auction when it goes live on the 23rd – loads of good stuff in all kinds of price ranges, and all for a good cause.

Brought to you by your local stopper mob:

Stopper mob, comin' ta getcha!

Stopper mob, comin' ta getcha!

The Artist’s Bullhorn is now taking beta users!

Ok, here’s something new – The Artist’s Bullhorn is now taking beta users.

Your use of the service will be free – your only form of payment will be some occasional stress due to bugs in the code (please let me know if/when you find any!) and a quick weekly survey to let me know how things are going.

Surf on over to The Artists Bullhorn and sign up! (Its under the “Brag” tab.)

Stoppers in the wild, The Artist’s Bullhorn progress

Display Stand with stoppers and Moo cards

Display Stand with stoppers and Moo cards

Some great progress lately! My wine stoppers are finally in the wild. There are three gracing a favorite restaurant in downtown Burlington, VT (“Blue Cat Cafe“), a gaggle soon to be for sale in a local wine shop (“Dedalus Wines“), and plans for more! Along the way, I received a full batch of stands that look great, including a new design for point-of-sale displays. And a new batch of Moo cards.

I also pulled in all of my Curly Creatures to my Finished Work page. How? Just one click, actually. (Cool.) See below for more.

I’ve also made some huge strides with the website (“The Artist’s Bullhorn“) that’s helping me (and soon to be others too) tell the world about all of these creations. You’re seeing it embedded in my WordPress site when you click on the “Finished Work” tab – all of the product browsing is done real-time using Bullhorn. Behind the scenes though – that’s where most of the magic is happening.

I now have full support for both Etsy and Smugmug – once an item is in Bullhorn, I can post it to its own Smugmug album with just a few clicks. I can then create an Etsy listing (which will of course contain a link to that new album) with another few clicks.

I’ve got some great utilities for managing my Etsy items as well – I can mass renew, change listing states, and see tons of info on all of my items. I can also import items from Etsy straight into Bullhorn, including all of their photos, tags, materials, etc. (That’s how I imported nine items with one click. I still say that’s pretty damn cool…)

What’s next? More debugging, as well as support for Twitter (almost there) and Facebook.

Website progress

Some major work lately on website stuff. Over time, I’ve been realizing that it takes an enormous amount of time and effort to list new products. I wanted to send them to Etsy, make a smugmug album, post them to facebook, and tweet… and despite being a pretty tech-savvy guy, it just wasn’t happening. Certainly, I wasn’t updating them all in anything like a timely way. And definitely not making the effort to make them point at each other…

Knowing that other artists must be having the same problem, I sat down and started coding. The result is almost ready to release, but you can see part of it already here when you click the “Finished Work” tab. Live browsing of everything I’ve got in the tool so far.

What you can’t see is the extra tools I have available to me as the artist. I can log in, edit any of these items, and then post them to etsy, smugmug, and soon facebook, twitter, and whatever else I can think of. Updates – just click a button. And any time I upload somewhere new, the link to new stuff gets added to what I’ve already done. So, the etsy listing gets a link to the smugmug album. And vice-versa. Ditto for facebook. (Twitter, I think, I’ll just be sending here, but that’ll be an option too.)

Its super-cool, if I do say so myself.

Heads, halloween, and Left Bank

On vacation this week in beautiful South Wellfleet, MA.  The weather’s been a bit grey, so I took the time to create a bit.  New ideas, faces (long curly tongues & big lips), a flower, and in honor of halloween, a wizard’s cap and a pumpkin:

Faces, Flower, Wizard's Cap and Jack-o-Lantern wine stoppers

Faces, Flower, Wizard's Cap and Jack-o-Lantern wine stoppers


I also stopped by my favorite Cape Cod gallery, Left Bank and while I didn’t have any stoppers with me, I gave them a few Moo cards. I’d be very honored to be there – fingers are crossed!

Moo cards arrive, more Etsy postings, pricing thoughts

Fun fun fun!  The Moo mini cards I ordered arrived in fantastic time – less than a week turnaround.  (Man, if only they could teach Ponoko that trick…)

Moo Mini cards arrive!

I have to say too – the quality of these things is just fantastic.  Nice and thick cardstock with a protective laminate on each card.  I love that I could put multiple front photos in the pack – as soon as anyone looks at them they instantly want to browse and pick their favorites.  Plus the print quality is high, the carrying/shipping box they used is very solid, and the whole process was done with style.  I’ll definitely be ordering from them again soon!

Two more stoppers went up on Etsy today too: Prong and Bogart.

I’ve been working a fair amount on figuring out the best prices, and I think I’ve got things set about where they should be. I dropped prices on the Curly Creatures, and have the stopper prices spread from $35 to $55. I still have to do a full accounting of costs so far, but getting everything started has cost enough that I’ll need to move a fair number of pieces before I’m covered. I really do feel like there’s a good market for these buggers though (stoppers especially), and especially once people can touch and feel them… gonzo!

Check out the etsy shop and let me know what you think! I’d really enjoy the input. :)

Once the Ponoko stands finally show up, hopefully they’ll fit well enough to bring a set by a few different shops in town and see what people think. (I’ll want to order more too, but only after getting impressions of restaurant and store owners…)

Newsflash: Handmade Ceramic Wine Bottle Stoppers storm Etsy!

Booyah. After quite some time creating them, figuring out what stopper to use, what epoxy works best, taking photos, organizing the photos, picking just the best for each one, writing up descriptions… the first stoppers have made their way to the Etsy marketplace!

Check out the wine stopper category in my store: CurtinsCreations.etsy.com (or just click on one over in the right-hand Etsy sidebar of this page.)

I really had fun writing up the descriptions of each. Hopefully they’ll find some good homes! (But if not… they’re more than welcome to stay in mine!)

Picasso wine bottle stopper in hand

Picasso wine bottle stopper in hand