Tuesday, October 31, 2006

hearing back

I’ve heard from 2 of the 4 distributors that I wrote to Sunday night, not bad return at all. I’m pretty happy with the 2 I’ve heard from, the initial orders are a tad HIGH, but I was expecting that they would be in that range. I’ve also found 2 places to order the 2 pencils that I deemed absolutely necessary. I heard from a company that I was hoping to be my vendor of all things pen and pencil related but their minimum order is a massive $1500 and I just can’t justify that kind of cash just yet, especially since I’m using a minimum of start up money. Perhaps one day I’ll need $1500 in pens and pencils but not now.

So Thursday I start my massive binding frenzy to start the website anew I’m looking at January a tad late for gifting in my opinion but I also always found my business went year round, with December and January being my 2 slowest months.

I want to thank everyone for the kind words. It’s good to know that people are A.) Reading and B.) Supportive.

5 Essentials

I’ve been contemplating adding to my website’s roster of goods. I’ve been toying with it in my head for months now, since about the time we moved. So I would say I’ve mulled it over well and the thought has gone from something half baked to something that I think I can pull off well.

So here’s the idea: 5 Essentials by Comfortable Shoes Studio. What it is: I pick 5 items I think are essential to my artistic endeavors; they have to be things I like and use and love. If I don’t like it, it doesn’t go on the site, end of story. I’m open to new items that people suggest, but here again, I actually have to like them and take them on a test run. If after the test run I decide that I don’t like them, I won’t carry them. I’ve come up with 3 products (to expand to 5) and 5 items each in those product lines. So far I’ve got pens, pencils and notebooks/ journals. I won’t go into depth about the different items in each line but I think they are the best, and starting out that is what really matters. I will probably add to these lines coloring items and a 5th line.

I’ve set myself lofty goals for bookmaking this coming month so that can fund this endeavor. I’m also going to take an html class this spring and really make a decent website, rather than my simplistic site that I have currently. It will still be simple but I’d like to integrate something a little more into the site.

Not to worry this shouldn’t involve too much of my time. I fully expect that I’ll still be able to make all the books I’ve been making up until my move. I simply feel that it’s time that I expend the scope to the studio to more fully support my family and myself. The ultimate goal is that I am able to leave my DayJob and work on this full time. Though I know that in the beginning that I will be asking for help from my significant other in packing and shipping.

You may wonder where the thought came from, why a bookbinder would decide to jump into the online retail world? My DayJob is for a multinational retail corporation. I manage a tiny aspect of that brick and mortar business. I manage and maintain a department that brings in close to half a million dollars in sales every year. Peanuts to the company, but imagine if those were my own dollars, even working on a 30% profit margin that’s more money than the company pays me in a year. Hell, even if I chose to work on a 20% profit margin, that’s more money than the company pays me. The reality of this is that I’m really good at making money in a retail setting, I’m a great sales person and a terrific florist, but I’m making a profit of close to a QUARTER OF A MILLION a year for the company and getting paid very little for my hard work, and I do work hard. I’m not expecting my little section of the online world to pay me that much, but I’m looking to supplement my income not replace it at first. Do I hope that someday it replaces my DayJob, I’d be a liar if I said no, so heck yeah, I want nothing more than for this to work out and be great.

So over the next month look for the 5 Essentials by Comfortable Shoes Studio, here and on my website.

(and as always this idea is copyright Leslie C Herger 2006)

Friday, October 27, 2006

shop talk

I spent yesterday doing a lot of different things, but the major item that really made my day great was that I finally got to put the finish on my bench. I’m glad I went with the water-based poly as I was able to get 5 coats on it over the course of the day. And I must say that this morning it looks fantastic. Its dried hard and clear and shiny, oh so perfect. I can’t wait to get binding books just so I can use it. I also cleaned down there. I vacuumed out the inside of the bench and I’m planning on making shelves for it on Sunday. I can’t wait for that either.

My next goal for the studio is to move the old fridge from my studio space to the other side of the basement, so that it’s out of the way and so that the studio computer is closer to the center part of the room. The studio computer is mainly for music. I would like to have it central so that the music sounds better, that’s what it’s all about. I then want to rip out the old linoleum that’s on the floor and wash the floor, maybe add a little polish to the cement.

I set up a photography area too. I need to dig my lights out of boxes and it will be good to go. I may look into some new clip lights to make it work better. As of right now it works okay but it’s not as good as my old set up. I think that in the end I will be able to take some very nice pictures, especially with the new camera. Which is quite nice, by the way. I’ve taken some great shots right out of the box, and I’m learning all the ins and outs of it.

I listed a few of the coats on ebay I’m hoping we sell at least one or 2 of them so that I can buy a new shop vac. If they don’t sell I’m going to make a new etsy shop and list them there, under vintage. (I don't think that I mentioned that when we bought our new house that there had been left a dozen or so coats and the same in dresses and clothing. It's all vintage and some of it is very cool. I wish some of the coats fit me, because they are super fly! None of the items fit us so I'm listing them on eBay.)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Back on the Wagon

Because I have to push the envelope I had to snag a 500+ sheet box of heavy paper out of the recycling. It’s really nice. The company was pushing olive oil with it. Now I’ve got this fantastic paper printed lightly on one side and blank on the other side. It’s very nice. I’m going to make some simple recycled notebooks out of it. Stab style, probably some with staples and others with sewn spines. I think they will be very cool. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for the covers, I might try some stuff with leather and others with recycled bits and others with some cardboard; I’m just not sure.

I’ve been working on my bench in the basement. I don’t know why someone would put nails into the table top they have to work on, but the thing is full of god damn nails. I’ve pulled a good 30 or so out of it. I’ve also pulled screws and washers out of the surface. It’s insane, one spot looks like someone was trying to make a solid metal surface out of nail heads. It’s bizarre. I remember how pissed my dad used to get when we would accidentally drive a nail into his workbench, t drove him NUTS. I can’t imagine that any one would be okay with it. Anyway it’s a mess I have it sanded down and I’m pulling nails now, after than I’ll sand again and then I’ll patch up the holes. I’ll finish with another sanding and then I’ll hit her up with a nice finish of water-based poly. I’ll then have bookbinding bench to kill for.

I’m excited to get back into bookbinding. I have a ton of follow up emails about binding, so I’m going to art that tomorrow morning.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

bench this!!

Because I have to push the envelope I had to snag a 500+ sheet box of heavy paper out of the recycling. It’s really nice. The company was pushing olive oil with it. Now I’ve got this fantastic paper printed lightly on one side and blank on the other side. It’s very nice. I’m going to make some simple recycled notebooks out of it. Stab style, probably some with staples and others with sewn spines. I think they will be very cool. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for the covers, I might try some stuff with leather and others with recycled bits and others with some cardboard; I’m just not sure.

I’ve been working on my bench in the basement. I don’t know why someone would put nails into the table top they have to work on, but the thing is full of god damn nails. I’ve pulled a good 30 or so out of it. I’ve also pulled screws and washers out of the surface. It’s insane, one spot looks like someone was trying to make a solid metal surface out of nail heads. It’s bizarre. I remember how pissed my dad used to get when we would accidentally drive a nail into his workbench, t drove him NUTS. I can’t imagine that any one would be okay with it. Anyway it’s a mess I have it sanded down and I’m pulling nails now, after than I’ll sand again and then I’ll patch up the holes. I’ll finish with another sanding and then I’ll hit her up with a nice finish of water-based poly. I’ll then have bookbinding bench to kill for.

I’m excited to get back into bookbinding. I have a ton of follow up emails about binding, so I’m going to art that tomorrow morning.

intellectual protection

No pictures yet, I'll beworking on another post about my new digs shortly!

I had an interesting conversation about copyright, property and intellectual rights with a few of my coworkers.

It sparked from this: A former employee as a crafts person and she used old signs from the company and made bags. Think Freitag. Hers were simple shopping bags. She made a ton of them in her free time and sold them through the store to customers. The store made a profit and so did she.

Now I know that anything that I do or create on company time is property of the company, but how does that relate to my down time and what I make and do of my own. AS a creative person this is a sore spot for me because the nest step that the company took upset me.

Of course upon hearing that someone in the company had a great recycling idea they seized it. They have now set up a production facility, where all the old vinyl signs are shipped and they are made into the employee designed bag. These are then soto the store and they sell them to customers.

My frustration with this is not the recycling effort of the company but that the originator of the idea got a measly bonus but now she no longer profits from it. The bonus for an idea that the company uses used to be $100. I’m sure that hasn’t changed. But the company is now turning around and selling these recycled bags for $12.99 and all they are out is labor, and very few materials. So I’m sure that the profit is close to a pure $10 each bag.

When I voiced disgruntlement with this, I of course g shocked looks, when I explained my concern. I got the general “whatever you do on company time is company property.” Which was not my argument. This crafter was not making these on company time but on her own time. IF that is the case then the company owns all my book designs, website design and art? I think not. They don’t own my life nor do they own me. What they own are the designs and ideas that I come up with while I am on the clock. If they are not paying me then they cannot lay claim to my ideas. Nor should they be allowed to lay claim to ideas that I create while off the clock that have NOTHING to do with my regular job duties.

Another argument that was brought up is that the crafter was using company materials. Yes she was, she was using signs that were given to her by various members of the staff. Old vinyl signs destined for the trash heap. I know and understand that the company actually owns it’s trash, but when that trash is given to people r recycling that ownership is voided and passed to the new owner, much like a sale or barter. So when that signmaker passed off those old signs to the employee he/she passed ownership as well. Which toe means that she was free to do what she wanted with those signs, and since she wasn’t being paid during the time in which she created the design or made the bags the company had no right to lay claim to that design and turn around and make them.

Of course this is an entirely a moot point if she set this up and is in charge of the production facility. (In which case I applaud her and the company. But my pat experience with the company is that I seriously doubt that she was put in charge of the production.)

My coworker brought up the idea that if I’m making books o of old signs, I should be careful of this. Especially if the books have company logo on them. Which is 90% of the reason I cut company logo off the signs when I made the books. I also didn’t want the branding.

I will say that this conversation will make me much more careful about what I create and share with my coworkers. I certainly will not re-use the signs anymore. And I guess my bosses will not get my usual Christmas gifts of handmade books made with recycled materials.

Its all about protecting my ideasn

Well compost bucket spider kicked it and fell out of the hanging.planter.

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