Friday, April 19, 2013

loveelaine's photostream

Ombre Heart Pocket PillowCloud 9 Canvas Beach Bags25 Personalized Mens ApronsPatchwork and lace apronPink and Green Bunting Baby QuiltCrib Skirt, Bumpers & Bunting for Baby Nursery
Lily Pulizer Custom Order Christmas Tree SkirtYellow & Grey Monogrammed Half ApronRuffled Fabric FlowerLove Elaine Apron Display at HallmarkLove Elaine Aprons in HallmarkHallmark Apron Display
Custom Order Messenger BagCustom Order Messenger BagCustom Order Messenger BagRuffled Tea Towel Sets for HallmarkHallmark Apron OrderPot Holder Sets for Hallmark
Stack of Ruffled Tea Towel SetsColorful Pot HoldersBaby BagHoliday Decorations 2011Monogrammed WristletMonogrammed Zip Pouch

Uploaded a few new images to my flikr account - it had been way too long, and I realized I have a lot more finishes to share! Take a peek - Enjoy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Handmade Journey {Love By Hand}

So, I've done it! I started my new creative journey for the year. I hope you'll join me over at Love By Hand, a new creative blog celebrating my love for handmade. I'll be featuring sewing tutorials, a few no-sew fabric projects and unique ideas for handmade gifts to show the special people in your life that you care.

I'm so exited about my new endeavor and I hope you'll join me!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Year In Review

Wow! I know it's cliche to say, but I cannot believe that New Year's Eve is tomorrow! I spent a bit of time on twitter today, and I saw a few year in review posts and I thought I would jump on that band wagon too.

While many exciting and wonderful things happened for Love Elaine, it was also one of my most difficult years yet personally and professionally. I have to admit, I'm going to be VERY happy to see 2012 in my rear view mirror.

The biggest coup for me this year was getting Love Elaine items into Hallmark stores. It was by far my largest wholesale order to date, and it really helped elevate the business to another level.

I also launched my new full line of aprons on Etsy in the spring. This was a first, as in the past I would only sell Christmas items on Etsy September-December. I far surpassed any expectations I had for the aprons, as they were a hit for Mother's Day! Around the same time, I also made a business decision to hire a photographer for all of my product shots - and boy has it made a HUGE difference! Not only did I find a great photographer in Callie, but I've also made a great friend! Be sure to check out her website if you haven't yet - she's talented and an amazing person too!

I also had my first tutorial published as a contributor for Sew, Mama, Sew! And, I formed relationships with Dear Stella fabrics and Cloud 9 fabrics - sewing samples for quilt market and writing my first downloadable pattern for my Elf Christmas Stockings!

As the momentum built for Love Elaine, my professional career came to a grinding halt in July when I was laid off. But, always one to make lemonade out of lemons, I dove head first into trying to make Love Elaine viable as a full time business. I spent all of August and September sewing samples, having a photo shoot, order fabrics in hopes of ramping up to my best holiday season yet. I launched new products, revamped stockings with new fabrics. Despite my best efforts, I learned one of the hardest lessons yet - in its current form, doing things the way I am now and have for the past 3 years, Love Elaine will never be a profitable business.

It was a really tough pill to swallow, especially since so many people have loved the products as much as I have loved making them. Actually, scratch that. I don't love making them, I love designing them and choosing fabrics and coming up with new ideas. What I do love is making gifts for those I love. What I don't like is production sewing - its too much time for so little reward.

So, as I look forward to 2013 I couldn't be more excited, as I got (another) new job! I start mid-January, the same week as my 30th birthday - I think its a good sign.

As I mentioned before, I'm going to take my time to figure out a new path for Love Elaine. I have a few ideas, one of which includes starting a new blog. I'll share more when I'm ready to launch, and I think this new direction is going to be a lot of fun. Thanks so much to all of my customers and friends for being by my side on this journey so far - I hope you'll all stick around for what's next!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Love Elaine Holiday - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Happy Holidays everyone! I can't believe that Christmas is less than a week away, and that we'll be heading to New Jersey to visit my family on Saturday - just 2 days away! I'm so excited!

The Good - All Christmas Orders are DONE!

As of last night, I finally finished all of my orders for Christmas - it was the best feeling ever, as this Christmas season was by far the worst yet. Why the worst? Well, I'll be honest - it just isn't fun or rewarding for me anymore. And, that was made brutally clear over the past 8 weeks. I singled handedly sewed 25 aprons, 35 stockings, 13 tree skirts, 20 placemats, and 10 bags - I can't believe I did all of that.

If you know a bit of the story of Love Elaine, you know that I started a business almost by accident - as friends and family started asking to pay me to make them something for a gift. It started with bags, then moved to Stockings and Christmas Tree Skirts, and then aprons. And, if you've been following along, you know that over the past 3 years, Love Elaine has been the "little business that could" as it was continuing to move forward with a minimal "effort" on my part to help it grow. To be honest, my marketing strategy has just been to make products and items that I love, list them on etsy, and then the sales come. Which, has been the amazing part to me - that people do love the products and like what I make. That part feels good.

The Bad

However, the reality is that I have put a TON of effort into Love Elaine - for the past three years I have been working 24/7 with very little time to for me to try something new, make something for myself, or just sit and read a book. What most people don't know who buy on Etsy is that I have a full time job in Marketing and Advertising - which is a job that takes a lot of creative brain power and is often more than just 40 hours a week. Over the summer, I was laid off for 3 months and gave the business a shot to be my "full time" gig - and I learned a valuable lesson that at my current pricing, it will never be able to support me because expenses are just too high and labor is too expensive.

The Ugly

So, at the end of October, I had the opportunity for a full time position again, and I jumped. After I had already committed to taking orders and ramping up for Christmas orders on Etsy - the perfect storm if you will of lots of orders and greatly reduced time all at once. I've been spending the last 8 weeks making up for that - staying up until 3 AM most nights sewing, spending my entire weekend ironing, sewing, etc. with no help - just me. And, people were very unhappy. Which, I understand, but the messages of gratitude I used to receive with how much my customers loved their items were quickly replaced with borderline harassment and threats over their orders. I've been called a liar, unprofessional, a scam artist, a thief - you get the idea. I tried my best to communicate regularly - but it really came down to spending valuable time in front of the sewing machine vs. time on the computer.

I'll be honest - I've learned so many lessons this year, and these last 8 weeks in particular. I've learned that I'm great at designing and making items, and I'm great at communicating with customers - I am just TERRIBLE at doing them both at the same time under a deadline. So, while I like to pretend I'm super woman, I'm only human.

So, with that, I wanted to let you know that Love Elaine will be on a bit of a hiatus for a while. If I'm going to move forward with this business, there are many changs that need to be made, and I with another new job starting in a few weeks- I just don't have the time or energy to make those changes now. My etsy shop and my fabric shop will remain open, as all items are in stock and ready to ship - but I won't be adding anything new for quite a while.

In the meantime, I'm going to take some time to sew for me, make a few gifts, try a few new ideas that I've had in my head for a while - and read a good book, take a vacation (hopefully!) and celebrate a new decade with my 30th birthday coming up. I'll be blogging and facebooking - so please do keep in touch.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Handmade Hot List: Halloween Decor

Fall finally made its presence known here in Richmond, as yesterday and today the weather is down to a super chilly 50 degrees compared to Saturday's 80 degrees and sunshine. I must admit, I am NOT ready for the cooler weather, and if the acorns falling all over my driveway are any indication, all signs are pointing to a cold and possibly snow-filled winter. I am just. not. ready.

But, before the weather got wet, I did grab pumpkins and mums and got myself in the mood for decorating for Halloween. What?! Did I really just type that?! I know, for those of you who remember my post from last year on Halloween decorating, you'll remember my personal loathing for the holiday. However, this year, due to some strategic fabric purchasing, I have warmed up to the idea and am actually GASP! looking forward to it. So, just in time to give you a bit of inspiration, here's a the Handmade Hotlist for Halloween Decor. And, I made it a bit more fun and kept it Black & White themed, as a way to mix it up. Enjoy!

Crepe Paper Wreath by designerkym on Etsy
I am such a sucker for cute wreaths made out of unexpected materials, and I just LOVE this wreath! It is made out of hand-dyed crepe paper. And, isn't the bow just amazing?!

Black Crow Tiered Stand by The Orchard Playground on Etsy

Having a Halloween party or gathering? Use this fun two-tiered stand to hold cupcakes or other spooky treats. I love tired stands for table decorating, and this one caught my eye as it is so unique - perfect for an adult, kid or family friendly party.

Happy Hauntings Banner by Green Jazz Face on Etsy
 This adorable banner is the perfect thing to update your Halloween mantle decor. And, I just love the styling of the photo - gives lots of great ideas!

Witch Silhouette Printable from D & P Celebrations on Etsy

Silhouette's continue to be popular, and I just LOVE this cute witch printable. It has just the right touch of glam to make it fun. And, I love the instant gratification, as you can print it after purchase for a fun DIY touch.

Wicked White Pumpkins by Southern Sky Art on Etsy
These small white pumpkins add the perfect touch of class to our black and white Halloween decor theme. I love white pumpkins as they are cute and classy, and these with a stamped letter and cute ribbon finishes them up so nicely.

So, there you have it! Which item is your favorite? Keep your answer in mind, as there will be a SUPER FUN Halloween Decor Giveaway here tomorrow that just might feature one (or a couple) of these items!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Handmade Hot List: Neon {A New Weekly Feature}

I’m so excited to launch a new weekly feature today – the Handmade Hot List! Each week, I’ll pick a theme and bring you the hottest handmade items, for yourself or gifting. Ever since joining the handmade community, I’ve been amazed at the talent and creativity of other handmade artisans, that I have almost solely used other Etsy shops for all of my gift giving for all occasions - birthdays, baby showers, wedding showers and Christmas.

So, without further ado, here is the first Handmade Hotlist – Neon! When I first started seeing this trend come back, I immediately thought of the 80’s and my neon wigwam socks. I was SO not ready for that trend to return, but, with these 5 items you’ll see that the trend can be sophisticated and super fun!

Neon Bubble Necklace by DolorisPetunia on Etsy
First up, a gorgeous hand-dyed necklace by Deloris Petunia. This necklace is amazing, and can you believe the colors are hand-dyed? I love it because it is right on trend with all of the bubble necklaces popping up.

Screen printed Neon Pillow Cover by ElRanchoRelaxo on Etsy
I just LOVE this screen printed neon pillow cover. I love the balance of the neon geometric print with the pale linen, and I love the back detail that features wooden buttons. Simple, yet packs a great pop of color.

Neon Pave Tear Drop Earrings by RocksPaperMetal on Etsy

How cute are these simple tear drop earrings? I just love the idea of wearing these earrings as a way to "class up" a neutral outfit this fall. These would make a great gift for a girl who loves her accessories!

Modern Wooden Salad Bowls by Wind and Willow Home on Etsy
There is nothing I love more than kitchen accessories and these wooden salad bowls are amazing! I think I love them more because the pink matches the Love Elaine logo.  And, what is even better about these bowls is that the pink neon isn't paint - the bowls are hand-dipped in a soft rubbery plastic, which makes the bowls non-slip!

Neon Arrows print by Amanda Helmer on Etsy

Arrows are super popular right now, and I love this print in bright neon colors as a way to add color to a room without going overboard. It would also look great in a baby nursery or kids room. Check out her shop for other cute prints.

Hope you enjoyed the first Handmade Hot List! What was your favorite? Have you embraced neon? I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas for upcoming hot list posts!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Love Elaine Giveaway on Table for Two Blog

Happy Friday Morning! I'll be back later today with all sorts of Love Elaine updates, but for now, I wanted to let you know about an exciting giveaway over at the Table for Two blog!

I think you have all mentioned how much I LOVE having a handmade business, as it allows me to get to know my customers. And, through emails and getting to know them, I make many new friends! And, that is how I met Julie from Table for Two! A few months ago she ordered my purple floral ruffled apron, and I was so excited to see that she was wearing it in her Facebook profile photo!

A couple of weeks later, she was back to order another apron in purple, but different fabrics. I have quickly become a huge fan of her blog, as she has lots of great recipies - which are even printer friendly, which is a feature I just LOVE!

So, because everyone loves a giveaway, and aprons and cooking go together perfectly, Julie and I planned a giveaway on her blog! Head on over now, and enter to win the ever-popular half ruffled yellow and grey apron and a matching ruffled tea towel set! Hurry, because today is the last day to enter!

And may the odds be ever in your favor! (You gotta love a Hunger Games reference at 8 am!)