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Frantic Friday!

Normally on Fridays I post something light and fun, but today is a hectic day in the Storied Threads studio, and that’s because we’re moving the Storied Threads studio — along with our entire apartment!

We recently rented a new unit in our condo complex and we’re spending the weekend moving our stuff, which means two things for our customers. One, it means we’re unlikely to get much work done, but our plan is to bust our humps over the next three days so we can hit the ground running on Monday and get your holiday orders filled.

Two, it means we might be a bit slow to respond to e-mails and messages. We’re going to take time throughout the moving days to rest and check in, but if we don’t get back to you right away, please be patients and know we’ll be responding as soon as we can.

Thank you!

otherwhere-promoOur next and final show is coming up!

The OtherWhere Holiday Affaire is next Saturday, December 10 at Mill No. 5 in Lowell, MA starting at noon. This is a great show featuring local artists and crafters specializing in offbeat wares, and it’s hosted by one of the coolest venues we’ve ever worked in Mill No. 5, which has been designed to look like a street in Victorian London.

And this is a special show for us because it’s our last one. We’re going online only for the foreseeable future, and we may return to doing conventions, renaissance faires, and shows like OtherWhere sometime down the road, but until then you can always find us online.

 

I know the title of this post sounds like we’re about to spotlight a bunch of our merchandise, but I want to actually use this space to not just encourage you to shop with small artisans this holiday season, but to offer some advice on how to do it wisely.

As a small artist, the holidays are my busiest time of year (along with Halloween). People order everything from big gifts to stocking stuffers from me, which is great, but people shopping in Etsy sometimes make things more difficult than they need to, for themselves and whoever they’re buying from, so I wanted to offer a few tips to everyone considering shopping small this Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/etc. I’ll start with my number one tip:

Shop early!

Like many Etsy artists and crafters, I make everything to order — which is to say, I generally do not carry an inventory of finished items that are ready to go the day the order is placed. It takes time to make things, especially if I have a lengthy production queue (which I do), and it takes time to ship things (more on that below). Waiting until the last minute with an Etsy shop almost guarantees you’re not getting your purchase in time to give as a gift, so make your purchases ASAP.

Read the listings.

Before you buy anything, take the time to read the listing thoroughly, because that will tell you how long it’ll take to fill an order and other useful bits of information, such as how the item will ship (First Class, Priority, etc.), whether you can upgrade to a faster shipping method, and whether it comes with tracking information — which I strongly recommend people pay for at this time of year, especially if it’s a significant order. Packages get lost more frequently during the holidays, so tracking info is a worthwhile added expense to guarantee that you get your goods.

Be mindful of shipping times.

There are two aspects of shipping time estimates: how long it takes the artist to get the item in the mail, and how long it takes the item to arrive once it’s been mailed. This link will take you to the US Postal Service’s schedule of shipping deadlines, but the TL;DR version is, if you’re a US customer and your order isn’t in the mail by December 15, it might not get to you by Christmas.

International customers have the added wrinkle of customs, which can delay a delivery by several days to a few weeks — and that’s under normal (non-holiday) conditions. If your order is shipping First Class and it isn’t in the mail by tomorrow, December 1, you might not get it by Christmas — and yes, Canada and Mexico, that applies to you too.

Don’t hesitate to contact the seller — emphasis on “hesitate.”

If you’ve procrastinated and you’re not sure whether your order will arrive for gift-giving, it’s perfectly okay to contact the seller and ask if an order placed that day would get to you by Christmas.

There are several caveats to this, the first of which is: ask first. Don’t make the purchase and then ask about shipping times, because that might end with you canceling your purchase and the seller having to issue a refund. Save yourself and the seller the hassle and ask before buying.

Next, as the buyer, you need to be responsive. Many times we’ve had buyers ask us if they could get something shipped to them by a certain date and we’ve said, “Yes, but you have to place the order today,” only to have the buyer dawdle for another day or two before making the purchase.

It’s okay to ask if you can have your order prioritized to ensure its timely arrival, but that doesn’t mean the seller will accommodate the request, at least not without charging some kind of rush fee.

Be understanding.

As they say, life happens. Equipment breaks down. Materials run out and can’t be restocked right away. The Post Office loses packages. You can do everything right and yet you still not receive your order in time, and while it’s understandable to be upset, a good Etsy seller will do what they can to make things right if the fault is on them, so if something goes wrong, reach out to the seller and calmly and politely work with them to resolve the issue.

knope-wyatt-2020We can’t wait for the 2020 election season — I mean we really cannot wait for it — and since it’s fashionable on political circles to start campaigns as early as possible, we thought we’d kick things off on behalf of the most qualified candidates there are: Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt!

We’ve updated our Knope/Wyatt 2016 campaign pin-inspired patch for 2020 and it’s available now at our website and Etsy shop for $9. Order now the ensure you get it in time for the holidays!

jellyfish-laptopWhen my husband and I vacationed in Quebec last year, one of the places we visited was Aquarium du Quebec, which featured an entire room dedicated to jellyfish. I took a lot of cool pictures in that room alone, and I decided to take one of my favorites and add it to my RedBubble line featuring my photography.

The image, Jellyfish in the Deep Blue, is available on a wide variety of items, from T-shirts and tote bags to stickers and laptop skins.

And today is a great day to grab one of those items, or anything else from my RedBubble shop, because you can get 20 percent off your order if you use the coupon code FORTHEM20, but that code is good only until midnight tonight!

Considering the current state of our federal government, I think this bit from the classic Marx Brothers movie Horse Feathers is very appropriate.

On Tuesday we debuted our safety pin patch to benefit the ACLU, and today I wanted to remind people of two other patches we sell that support charitable causes.

Cosplay is not ConsentOur first fundraising patch is our Cosplay Does Not Equal Consent patch, which we created in response to stories of women getting harassed and assaulted at conventions. The message here is simple: a sexy, revealing costume does not mean anyone can touch the wearer without her permission. Proceeds from this patch are donated to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN).

bgsdOur other patch is #bgsd, which stands for “bitches get shit done.” This patch is officially sanctioned by the hashtag’s originator, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet, Captain Marvel), and the proceeds to go her preferred charity, the Girls Leadership Institute.

Please confider giving to these organizations, even if you don’t buy a patch. They’re all very worthy causes and could use all the help they can get.