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Archive for December, 2011

2011 has been an absolutely AMAZING year for Storied Threads.  I’ve been at this business for about five and a half years now, and every year has been better than the year before, which is good.  But this has been the first year that I look at where I am at the end of the year and see myself leaps and bounds ahead of where I was at the beginning of the year.

This year, I began making seriously geeky patches in earnest, and that enterprise has been a big part of this growth. I love making clothing, and I love selling things like pirate coats and mini top hats at shows — but let’s face it, those are investment pieces. It takes some serious thought to decide to drop $250 on a coat, and I get that.  Patches, though, average around $10 each — that’s a MUCH easier impulse buy!

Etsy has also been a big part of my growth this year.  The shows are fabulous when I have them, but this is the first year that I’ve made regular sales via the internet — and 98% of those sales have been via Etsy. It’s a great site, and a fantastic place to find unique things, and to reach out to a whole new market of people. I know I’ve done a good deal of shopping there myself, for more unique stocking stuffers or for costume pieces that just can’t be found anywhere else. And it seems that other people are using it in the same way.

I’ll be taking a week off from blogging next week, as I’ll be travelling to see family for Christmas and then (finally) catching up on all of those Etsy orders. (Right now, I’m filling orders that were placed about 7 days ago, which is MUCH longer than I like to make people wait!) So I wanted to take the opportunity now to thank you all for being the most awesome fans and customers a geeky entrepreneur could ask for.

Have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Solstice, Yule, New Year’s, and any other holiday you may celebrate this time of year! I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

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Let me just start by saying that the Dickens Festival this weekend was a BLAST! I know I saw lots of familiar faces there, and hope that those of you who couldn’t make it this year will be able to next year — from what I hear, preliminary planning has already begun, and it will be even bigger and better than this year was.

At every show we do, we joke about how we’re going to go home with nothing but empty bins to load into the car, having sold completely out of stock. As lovely as that dream is, though, it never really happens. And for Dickens (as for many shows) Kate and I built up a ton of stock to have ready to go for it. Now that the event is over — it’s all getting listed on Etsy, for those of you who couldn’t make it! I wish I could show off every awesome piece for you here, but that would be an unmanageable post, and you all would never read through to the end. So instead, I will simply give you a few highlights — you’ll have to go to the Etsy shop for yourself to see the rest.

Messenger bags!

Time Lord Seal Messenger Bag

I made up a bunch of a new* style of messenger bag for this show, to see how they’d do.  They’re still a small size, but a more traditional wide style. They’re also simpler than my other bags, with only one interior pocket, which makes them a little bit more affordable.

*Okay, “new” is not quite an accurate description. In fact, I’ve made four of these bags before — I first made them as Christmas gifts for CTRF’s Pope and Cardinal, and later they were commissioned by a couple members of Commedia Mania, who had seen them and liked them as character bags, and easy period ways to carry things with them on site for the show. But they are “new” in the sense that I’ve never made them for off-the-rack sale before, and haven’t even had a chance yet to do a proper photo shoot for them and get them up on the website.

We went home with four of these bags still in stock, and they all got listed over at Etsy this morning.  Since they (like everything else I listed today) are already made, they can be ordered as late as this weekend, and still be received in time to give as Christmas (or Solstice or Yule or New Years or Holiday of Your Choice) gifts.

Hats!

Teal Newsboy Cap

So many hats! I sent Kate home a few weeks ago with piles of fabric, and instructions to make as many hats as she could — and man, did she deliver.  She made up a bunch of newsboy caps, as we figured a Victorian period event was a more appropriate setting for this style than our usual medieval and Renaissance faires. And she also made half a dozen fur-lined Barbarossa hats, which always seem to do well when it’s cold outside. And baby, it was  cold outside this weekend — we’ve had  a lovely, long, extended autumn in New England this year, but this weekend Old Man Winter finally showed up to assert himself.

Winter Scarves!

Mmm.....flannel.....

And speaking of perfect accessories for the cold — we made up a bunch of warm, embroidered scarves! Most of these are made of flannel, although there are a few exceptions. That’s what happens when you decide to make them on a whim, and send your assistant rummaging through the fabric stacks with the instructions “Just find anything long enough and warm enough to be a scarf!” The flannels were my favorite, though, and if I keep making them, I suspect that’s the material I’ll generally use. (Barring special requests. And awesome finds of clearance fabrics.)

Like the messenger bags, these are so new to Storied Threads that they don’t yet have a home on our website, so Etsy is (for the moment) the only place you’ll find them.

Steampunk Belt Pouches!

Steampunky goodness

And finally (for this post at least) — Steampunk Belt Pouches! I made the first of these quite a long while ago, as a project in sewing therapy. (I needed a night of pure no-obligations creativity. It was therapeutic.) And while I’ve gotten lots of compliments on mine, I never got around to making any for stock. Partly just a matter of finding the time, and partly due to not having the right kinds of clasps on hand. So, I decided to remedy that fact for this show, and got two of these fantastic belt pouches made. I’m thrilled with how they came out, and think they’re really very sexy…but couldn’t find a good way to display them, alas, so they didn’t get quite as much love as I’d hoped for. However, that works out well for you, because now you don’t need to be anywhere near Massachusetts to buy them — I’ll ship it to you wherever you are!

I mentioned this at the beginning of the post, but it’s worth saying again — all of these bags and hats and scarves (and anything, really, that isn’t a patch) are already made and ready to ship. That means that I can DEFINITELY get them to you in time for Christmas gift-giving!  They’ll all ship Priority Mail, so if you order by this weekend, they’ll ship on Monday, and arrive just in time for you to wrap them and place them under your tree.

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This weekend, we will be vending at the Watch City Dickens Festival and Market, in Waltham, MA. I have been excited for this event since May, when one of the organizers mentioned to me that she was thinking about pitching it to the Charles River Museum of Industry, and am so glad that it’s finally almost here! I’ll be sharing a booth space with my friend Jess, of Geeky and Cheeky, who makes awesome puppets and felt dolls that you all will love. And Pastimes Entertainment will be putting on a day-long production of A Christmas Carol, with plenty of audience interaction.

From the moment I first heard about it, I knew I’d have to put together a different kind of booth, which some different kinds of stock, than what I had been stocking at the Ren Faires.  The show will be catering to Christmas shoppers more than people who want to buy garb, and I need to be prepared for that.  That said, I still expect a pretty geeky crowd for this event. So, how to appeal to geeky holiday shoppers?

Stocking of Holding

For starters, I knew I wanted to make Christmas stockings.  I’ve done some that are simply rich fabrics that stand on their own, and some featuring decidedly holiday-themed embroidery.  My favorite of the stockings, though, has to be this one — the Stocking of Holding!  It’s roughly 36 inches from top to toe, in a rich red chenille fabric. And embroidered in the 2nd edition AD&D font are the words “Stocking of Holding”.  This stocking even has two loops — one at the heel and one at the toe end — so you can distribute the weight of it, once it’s full. Because, alas, unlike a true container of holding, it will become heavier the more you load into it.

Messenger Bags & Belt Pouches

We’ll also have, for the first time, messenger bags! We’ve been selling the vertical style for a while, but these are a more traditional wide dimension bag, and in a simpler style. They have just the one compartment, and the simpler construction means they cost a little bit less to buy. The ones we’ll have this weekend will range from simple owls to terribly geeky Torchwood bags..

And as if that weren’t awesome enough, we’ll also have two Steampunk Belt Pouches! Again, we’ve never had these available at a show before, so I’m very excited to have two to offer to people this weekend.

(In the photo here, the two bags on the bottom are belt pouches, and the rest are messenger bags.)

Warm Flannel Scarves

Warm flannel scarves will also be for sale at the Dickens Festival. They’re nice and long and wide, because that’s how I like my scarves when it’s cold out — I need to be covered from my nose to my collarbone sometimes! These scarves will definitely do that, while sporting awesome embroidery at the same time.  Again, they range from cute penguins to Alice in Wonderland, to Doctor Who geekiness, so there’s something for everybody.

We’ll also be selling lace Christmas ornaments, lace bookmarks, and — of course — patches! As many patches as I can get made between now and Saturday, in between filling orders, that is.  I’m aiming to have as many Doctor Who and Song of Ice and Fire patches on hand as I can. The nice thing about all of these is that they make great stocking stuffers, too — small and easy to fit in a stocking, and at prices that won’t hurt your wallet.

So, come on out everybody — this is going to be a great event!

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