Friday, June 22, 2012

Featured Team Member - Catherine Rogan!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have been sewing for as long as I can remember.  When I was 17 I started to volunteer at an Oxfam charity shop making clothes from donated fabric and reworking (the word “upcycling” hadn’t been invented) donated clothes.  I was working with two fashion students who recommended me a pattern drafting book.  I designed and made my own clothes for a while, but when I went to university it was to study Law, not fashion.
In 2010 my best friend got married and she had asked me to make her wedding dress.  People naturally assumed that if I was making a wedding dress I must sew professionally so I thought “Why not?”.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
As well as sewing I knit and crochet.  I draw and paint a little, and play the ukulele (which I think is a bit of an Etsy user cliché – but my son got me into it!). 

What would be the title of your memoir?

“Go Get Some Tigers”.  My son (when he was about 4) misheard my partner telling me to “Go get ‘em, tiger” and said “Yes, mummy, go get some tigers”!  It’s what I think to myself when I want to reach for something but also want to make myself smile!

Where does your inspiration come from?

I am very interested in traditional techniques like smocking and embroidery.  I love historical fashion and corset making, but on the other hand I also love post-punk and industrial design!  I guess all these influences mix up in my head and something comes out that’s not a literal interpretation of any of the above.  Although now I think about it “post-punk regency” should definitely be a thing!

What does handmade mean to you?
It means not mass-produced.  While I design and make everything myself, I don’t have a problem with designer-maker teams, I do have a problem with cheap factory made dresses being sold as handmade!  Handmade means a limited run, every item will be to some extent unique and most of all the maker has time to put care into the item in a way that someone who has to sew the same seam 500 times a day just doesn’t.
I love my sewing machine and my serger, there’s no way I could make an affordable garment completely by hand, but hand sewing finishing touches really gives a quality look and feel

When did you know you were an artist/maker?
Always.  I remember being very young and making little outfits for my sister’s Sylvanian Families figures.  They were the best dressed mole family ever!

How would you describe your creative process?
The design process can begin pretty much anywhere.  I carry a notebook and a pencil with me at all times so if an idea comes to me I can sketch right away.  Then pattern drafting and sewing all happens on my dining table, I’m afraid I don’t have a dedicated sewing room!

I have a dress form that lives in the corner of our living/dining room.   A lot of the design process is staring at that figuring how to make the dress work exactly how I want it.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a granny square blanket that my Grandma made for when I was born.  My son came home from the hospital in it.  She died last year, she left me her crochet hooks, knitting needles and tatting shuttles.  She loved needlecraft and art.  Looking at old pictures of her from the War she was very stylish despite rationing.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I have to do something else for a while.  Nothing pushes you into more of a rut like sitting there trying to force inspiration

Where would you like to be in ten years?
I would love design and sewing to be my main source of income.  I would love a little bricks and mortar store, with a room at the back for craft classes.  The challenge is to grow the business while keeping what I love about it, the individualism and the attention to detail.


Etsy Store

 If you would like to be featured as well... send me an email at! 

We would love to feature all of our team members!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Power of Triberr!

I am constantly trying to find special little things that will help us cross promote and increase our customer base! 

When I started my own blog I wanted to only blog about sewing, but I found myself talking more and more about all the random things that happened to me and things that I thought needed to be said. Therefore as time has gone on I have blogged about a variety of things, and developed online friends that are also bloggers. 

I began to follow these bloggers on Twitter and make more and more contact. I began to notice that every day I would see tweets that gave the name of some blog post, the link to the post and then said "via @twittername". I thought these guys have some sort of financial agreement to do this for each other as a way to cross promote and increase viewership to their individual blogs. 

I finally asked one of them what was the deal, and discovered they are not paying each other it is a website called Triberr that once you join the site you join "tribes". The tribes consist of people with like minded things, or not in some cases. 

When you join you upload the RSS feed URL for your blog, your Twitter information, and your Facebook information. Then you join the tribes you want to join! 

Each morning I log into Tribber and click the "Approve" button for all of my tribe mates blog posts that have uploaded since the day before. I look to see if there are some posts I have already promoted that I would like to promote again and click to send those again. 

Then through out the day on a time schedule I give it, Triberr automatically tweets the promotional tweets of my tribemates. So I am active on twitter a lot that it isn't actually me, and all my tribe mates are promoting my blog as well! 

It's like multi-level marketing for bloggers and tweeters! Don't worry we won't kick you out if you don't promote the "family". 

I have set up a Tribe on Triberr for Sweety Darlin's Dressmakers Tribe, and we have two members besides myself at this time. I would love to add more members so that we can start to cross promote daily! 

It did take me about an hour of fiddling to get things set up the way I liked it, but that was also because I had to research how to find the RSS code for my blog. Now it is a minute each morning and done! 

I have seen increased traffic, not necessarily increased sales, but that is because I haven't been talking about my sewing much lately! Some of the things I have been working on my clients have asked me to keep under wraps until the item makes it's debut. I can live with that. 

Look it up and check it out! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Facebook Promoted Posts

Some of you may have noticed my facebook status updates and tweets about how there was rumors that facebook would start charging for business to have fan pages etc.

I did some research and have been able to figure out the following information. Keep in mind folks that the internet is a big array of information and if you look long enough you will find information that fits what you want it to say. I have tried to weed through all of it in order to attempt to find the truth.

If you go to your company page and post a status update you may find this new little blue word... "Promote" This is kind of like a facebook ad that gets forced into the feed of the people who "like" your page.

Here is the specifics, when you like the page of a business all of there status updates show in your feed. You can choose to hide those, or unlike the page, or just ignore your information. We all know that we ignore junk that shows up in our feeds. Plus with the new timeline and different ways to view your feed you may not see the status updates of the pages you have "Liked".

So if you choose to promote your status update you will have to pay a fee, and facebook will make sure that your promoted posts are not ignored. It will even make sure that if one of your watchers likes your post that the post may also show up in their friends feeds so that they can like your page too!

The fee is based on a variety of things frequency, etc, etc, etc, but you will pay a fee.

However you can always just keep doing what you are doing, without a fee, and hope that enough of the people that like your page keep watching for your updates.