Illustration for BUST Magazine

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I’ve been trying to do more editorial illustration this year and have been sending out some good ol’ promo emails to art directors for the first time since college (yikes). I stifled a joyful squeal when I heard back from BUST Magazine, one of my all-time favorites. It was a really encouraging reminder that if you want something, you need to put yourself out there! I always kind of thought those promo emails go straight in the trash, but go figure. Ask and ye shall receive? Haha, that’ s bit too blindly optimistic for my taste, but I’ll take it. ;)

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The assignment is a fun little piece about making your own video games. It gets specific about finding the right resources and collaborating with others to fill in any blank spaces in your personal knowledge/skill set, which I thought was great.

I sent three sketches. The first is from the point of view inside the game. The space looks half-finished and a girl reaches through the screen to give tools to her protagonist. The second and third both focus on the idea of collaboration between women, laying out their ideas as maps, blueprints, and pop-up windows.

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My art director, Lauren, chose the first sketch. This kind of excited and frightened me because this was the one that pushed me furthest from my comfort zone. I should be challenging myself more often, so that was a good thing. I struggled to figure out the right colors and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. My favorite detail is the rogue pixels. :)

This assignment had a quick turnaround, basically over the weekend of Anime STL (!!!). I brought my Surface Pro and worked at my table and rushed home on Sunday night to finish up. Juggling a successful show and finishing an illustration for a client I love felt super empowering. Just another reminder that I should keep working hard and push to finish more things!

How to Start Selling at Craft Shows

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I’ve been selling my artwork and handmade accessories at craft shows around the midwest for 3 years now. Crazy, right? I remember my google frenzy in the months before my first show, trying to take in as much information as possible about what to expect and how to succeed.

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1. Find your tribe.

The best thing about selling at craft shows, for me, has been participating in my local crafting community. Finding where local artists, crafters, and handmade makers are hanging out online and figuring out how to keep up with who’s who has been crucial for me to learn about which shows are the best fit for me and how to apply to them. Nowadays there are so many Facebook groups, Etsy teams, blogs, etc for craft communities, supply swaps, etc– you just need to find yours!

It’s really important to visit some shows yourself before trying to sell at one. Start a conversation with people whose booths you feel drawn to. Starting a friendly relationship with a few makers is a great entry point into the community! Remember that buying something from a vendor is a great way to show your appreciation and not come off like a mooch when you’re ultimate goal is information from them.

Some shows are invite/recommendation only or have short time windows for taking applications, so knowing who organizes which shows and hearing all the gossip about which are the best/worst is invaluable, especially if you’re thinking about visiting an out-of-town show and investing a lot of money in travel.

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2. Match yourself with the right shows for you.

There are so many opportunities for selling your work in person! Art fairs, music festivals, craft shows, boutique trunk shows, conventions, vintage fairs, farmers’ markets… the list goes on. What you make and what your aesthetic is affects who your target audience is, which in turn affects the shows you’ll be most successful at. Who seems to love your work the most? Are you making things with a specific audience in mind? Where are those people most likely to go?

I have a friend who makes very on-trend apparel and accessories and although they’re handmade, she’s found much greater success at music festivals than craft shows. Her audience is a young crowd who loves to see live music, but might not think of attending a craft show, plus they can easily buy her accessories and wear them immediately at the show. I’ve strayed away from these kinds of shows because I doubt someone wants to carry around a delicate art print while they’re partying it up outside.

The kind of show you sell at also affects your costs and set-up. My aforementioned example of music festivals can cost $1000+ for a single vendor spot! That’s way out of my price league. Flea Markets on the other hand can cost as little as $15 per spot. The average cost for craft shows in my area seems to be $50-100 per day. I know in bigger cities such as Chicago, that average is closer to $150-250 per day. Those vendor costs reflect the price of the venue and the work the organizers put into the show. It’s easy to scoff at high vendor prices, but that often means that there’s a good marketing budget–websites, advertisements, and printed promotional materials cost money! Good marketing equals a bigger crowd of shoppers. You get what you pay for!

Selling at an outdoor show introduces more costs and preparation than an indoor show. You’re usually required to supply your own tent and weights (expect to spend about $300 total for those, even if you DIY weights) in addition to your other display pieces. I’ve spent some windy days chasing after prints and jewelry that flew off my display racks! I used to have to borrow my parents SUV to have the room to transport a tent, too.

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3. Do your research.

Research as much as you can! We’re so lucky to be living in the time of the internet–you can find out so much valuable information if you just look for it. You’ll never be truly blind-slighted.

Research other vendors’ displays to figure out what works best for the items you make. Research costs for vendor fees and display materials. Research which shows are the most popular in your area. Research your audience. Research trends. Research everything!

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4. Set a deadline.

I had been toying with the idea of selling at craft shows for almost a year when I signed up for my first one. Applying, getting accepted, and having an official deadline was the ass kick I needed to get prints made, sew some accessories, and experiment making new products. Don’t be afraid to sign up for a show before you’re really “ready” if you think the deadline will help your productivity.

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5. Practice makes perfect!

Yes, research is important, but you know what’s more important? Just doing it. You can only be so prepared and it takes time to figure out some of these things, like who your audience is and what shows work best for you. Get yourself and your work out there as soon as you can! Waiting until everything is just right is a great way to never actually make it happen. Chances are you’ll never feel like everything is just right. I certainly never do! You’ll find yourself making stronger connections with your community when you start putting your money where your mouth is.

I’m looking forward to sharing more information and advice about selling the things you make. Talking shop with other artists and crafters is one of my favorite things. Hopefully this will help motivate any readers who have been thinking about doing this themselves!

OOTD: Boring is Best

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052515_07Shirt: Stay Home Club | Tuxedo Pants: Old Navy | Watch ℅ JORD | Earrings ℅ Paperdolls Boutique
Crossbody Bag: Michael KorsSandals: Target

I enjoy trends. I think they’re a fun, shared experience and I always think it’s silly when people fret too much about buying trendy things. The slip-on/Birkenstock/sport sandal trend frustrated me at first because I’ve never been fond of the style and I felt like it was the ultimate symbol of “normcore” which, as a concept, bums me out. Andrew has an old pair of Adidas slip-on sandals that I’ve given him shit for for years.

But trends are a funny thing. Slowly but surely, the look started to grow on me and honestly, I’d just gotten jealous that when Andrew needs to take the trash out or run some other quick outside errand, he just slips on his sandals. I always have to hunt for a pair of flats and feel silly. I started the hunt for a pair of slip-ons that didn’t make me die a little inside about a month ago. These shiny babes from Target seem to do the trick! I only feel a little shame. ;)

Disclaimer: This post uses affiliate links to some specifically pictured items that I own and love. Clicking on or purchasing via an affiliate link may result in commissions for this site.

FF43: Lazy Oaf

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Lazy Oaf is a graphic, print-focused label and storefront from London that just makes me yell “YES!” every time they add a new design to their online shop. Every piece is playful, silly, and edgy. I love the over-sized, cropped shapes in their styles.

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Lazy Oaf frequently collaborates with illustrators and designers, making the quirkiest prints that just melt my heart. I’m instantly won over by any use of goofy animals and swear words. :)

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I own one Lazy Oaf dress and it’s one of my closet favorites. It’s casual, happy, and SUPER comfortable. I’d own that oversized baby-doll dress in every print possible if I could! I just snagged another on ebay this week (Lazy Oaf is the only brand whose ebay alert hasn’t been canceled to stop me from over-shopping lol) and I’ve been rushing to my doorstep every day in vain, anxiously awaiting its arrival. Happy birthday to me, from me! ;)

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Don’t forget that I’ll be at Macy’s at West County Center tomorrow at 2pm for a fun spring fashion event! Join me and host Courtney Kerr for a runway show celebrating spring fashion and vacation style, mini makeovers, music, and personalized Macy’s garment bags if you spend $75 or more (while supplies last).

Drawn: T. Swift

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I drew this one a couple months ago but forgot to share on the blog! I was into Taylor Swift’s 1989 album in a big way this winter. It was a little ray of sunshine through the cold and dreary days. :)

My Weekend at Anime St. Louis

Anime-St-Louis-1Thanks to Living the Nerd Life for the photo!

I’ve been selling my work at craft shows for over 3 years now(!!!), but last weekend I sold at my first anime convention!

It was the artist alley at Anime Central in 2012 that really got me motivated and thinking about selling my work at shows in the first place. I even chose the name “Creature Type” because I thought it was a cute, quirky name that carried a subtle nerd reference and could easily cross over to selling nerd/fan goods. I love well-designed things that reference a tv show or video game. It’s like an inside-joke between you and other fans, plus it just looks better. :)

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I was a huge anime nerd basically from ages 12-17. My interest in the shows themselves has kind of waned over the years–and my social skills have definitely improved haha–but I still love the wild aesthetics and strong feminine imagery. My friends and I go to Acen every year and let loose like it’s Mardi Gras, but one of my favorite parts is visiting the artist alley. I love buying accessories from artists and handmade vendors that are totally unique! I love that girls there just totally indulge their obsession with all things cute.

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I knew my accessories probably do well because of the cute girly vibes, but I wasn’t sure how people would respond to the fact that my art style isn’t overtly anime or that I don’t sell much fan art. I didn’t want to churn out tons of fan art prints just for one con and then be stuck with them, unable to sell them at future craft shows. Plus cons are way harder to get into than craft shows! You need to watch out for applications sometimes 6 months in advance and know the right person to email. Spots fill up super fast and sometimes they’re first-come-first-serve.

I finally got into Anime STL, which was perfect. A local show was so easy! I had a fantastic time. The crowd was busy all weekend, but never overwhelming so. I met so many adorable people! Nothing warms my heart more than a teen girl’s excited face when they see my table. Everyone was seriously so so nice. I honestly expected more cringe-worthy experiences. Creepy dudes lingering around, tragic nerds telling me about their fan fiction for an hour… hey, I’m a nerd myself and grew up around them–I know my people. But I only met really sweet folks. I had crushes on all the nerd girls and we all cooed over how cute everyone was. :)

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My friends came by on Saturday night, so we got a hotel room and enjoyed the con after hours. It was so fun to have a little Acen pre-party and play games, karaoke, and visit the rave. Seriously, you guys. The Lion King dub step remix gave me life. Anime raves are hilarious and basically my favorite thing.

I ended up having an amazing weekend in terms of sales! Second only to last year’s Strange Folk Festival! It was super encouraging and I’m really looking forward to expanding my biz and doing more cons. I wasn’t even super well prepared or overly-stocked. All of my favorite, quirky things that don’t go over well at craft shows sold out at Anime STL! That was so fun to see. Anime kids get me and my taste. I feel a lot of potential and it’s exciting!

I’m a bit late to get on board for other cons this year–most take place over the summer–but I’m definitely going to try and do more around the midwest in 2016! Do any of you guys go to cons? What are your favorites? xo

You’re Invited: Macy’s Spring Fashion Event

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Hi guys! I’m excited to invite you all to a FREE spring fashion event on Saturday, May 2 at Macy’s  West County! Join us at 2pm for a runway show celebrating spring fashion and vacation style. There will be mini makeovers, music, and personalized Macy’s garment bags if you spend $75 or more (while supplies last).

Not a St. Louis local? Macy’s is hosting these fun spring events all over the U.S.! Here’s a few upcoming ones in other cities:

  • Macy’s Ross Park (Pittsburgh, PA) – April 25, 2pm
  • Macy’s Southdale (Edina, MN) – May 2, 2pm
  • Macy’s Twelve Oaks (Novi, MI) – May 2, 2pm

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At each event, Macy’s will be hosting a style expert. Courtney Kerr is the host for the St. Louis event! You might recognize Courtney from her blog, What Courtney Wore–or if you’re like me and obsessed with every reality show on Bravo–you’ll know her from Most Eligible Dallas and Courtney Loves Dallas.

An excuse to shop for new spring clothes and meet a Bravo-lebrity (um, did you know I recently “met” Lisa Vanderpump?! Hilarious!) sounds like an awesome event to me! See you there!

What: Macy’s Destination Spring Fashion Show
When: Saturday, May 2 at 2pm
Where: Macy’s at West County Center

Food Photography [pt. 2]

pimms-cup-little-country-gentlemenLittle Country Gentleman (now closed, but you can get this cocktail
from the same bartender, Jeffrey Moll at The Good Pie)

In February I shared some photos I’ve taken for my day job at a local culinary magazine. Here’s a second round-up of some of my favorites. This list serves as a great resource of awesome places to eat and drink if you’re visiting St. Louis! Or if you’re a local! :)

three-flags-tavern-1Three Flags Tavern

seoul-q-taco-2Seoul Q

jillys-ice-cream-cupcakes-2Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar

planters-house-1Planter’s House

cucina-pazzo-1Cucina Pazzo

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the-libertine-2The Libertine

a-pizza-story-chimayA Pizza Story

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OOTD: Flowers & Fringe

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Dress ℅ ASOS | Raw Crystal Necklace: Fable & Lore | Bag: Michael Kors | Flats: New Look

ASOS is my go-to for online shopping, so when I got an email offering me a dress of my choice I was ready with the reply “YES. THIS ONE PLEASE.” I love the fun fringy arms and the buttons all down the front. Plus, yes obviously I have a LWD problem.

This weekend marked a turning point for me–the good ol’ car that I’ve been driving since college has finally been replaced. Andrew is really into cars (not to mention he sells them for a living) and insists that my poor old Focus was a deathtrap. I knew it was a clunker at this point, but he was certain it was about to break down at any moment. My parents got a new car so I’m buying their 2012 Escape. I feel very fancy driving a car with volume nobs that actually, y’know, adjust the volume. Living the dream over here, you guys!

My craft show life will be so much easier now. My new car is a small SUV and all my shit will fit so easily in the back! I’m totally prepared for our new IKEA to open with a car that can actually transport all my furniture purchases and I won’t have to borrow anyone’s car for Craigslist finds! Haha, this car will really enable me to make some questionable hoarder-like decisions.

Disclaimer: This post uses affiliate links to some specifically pictured items that I own and love. Clicking on or purchasing via an affiliate link may result in commissions for this site.

FF42: Samantha Pleet & UO

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The Park Romper

I’m always excited to see what Samantha Pleet is up to each season. I’ve been an admirer of her dreamy, minimal, feminine designs for years. She makes dresses and separates that feel just cute and quirky enough to give me heart eyes, but always channel this too-cool woodland boho fairy vibe that makes me question if I’m cool enough to pull them off.

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samantha-pleet-urban-outfitters-dress-mermaidensThe Scout Dress modeled by Rebecca of The Clothes Horse and Kailey of Mermaidens

Pieces from Samantha’s latest collaboration with Urban Outfitters have been popping up on some of my favorite style blogs and I’m loving how quintessentially Samantha Pleet they feel! The signature twists around the waists, scallops, and matching sets are adorable and immediately recognizable. I’ll definitely be camping out near the racks at my local store to try and snag a piece!

samantha-pleet-urban-outfitters-dressThe Tabernacle Dress

samantha-pleet-urban-outfitters-denim-cropDenim Shell Tank and Peach Shorts

samantha-pleet-urban-outfitters-swimsuitTabernacle One-Piece Swimsuit

samantha-pleet-urban-outfitters-scallopsPetal Tank Top and Shorts

Disclaimer: This post uses affiliate links to some specifically pictured items that I love. Clicking on or purchasing via an affiliate link may result in commissions for this site.