Tag Archives: Hang Ups in KC

10 Things We’ve Learned From Our Creative Business

Keeping a sense of humor through the highs and lows didn't make the list but is very important. We think we excel in this area as you can see by this photo.

Keeping a sense of humor through the highs and lows didn’t make the list but is very important. We think we excel in this area as you can see by this photo.

  1. We’ve learned that our time is valuable.  Remember when you started our and thought that you could only sell items if your pricing was dirt cheap?  Over the years we’ve learned that our pricing must include a fair hourly wage for us.  Otherwise we are giving our products away for free which makes what we do a hobby not a business.
  2. We’ve learned that our business cannot afford to give discounts.  We price our merchandise carefully using a very accurate formula.  Our profit margin is not overblown on any item so therefore we cannot give discounts and still make a profit and donate to our non profit partners.  When we hear rude people comment about our pricing or try to buy our merchandise for a discount we politely refuse and remind them that a generous chunk of our proceeds to go our local non-profit partners.
  3. It is very important to find your tribe. These are people in the same boat as you who get your daily questions, struggles and celebrate successes with you.  Creative businesses can often be lonely to run.  Our tribe of link minded creatives is called Handmade in Kansas City.
  4. It’s extremely important to have all of your government paperwork in place if you truly want to have a successful business vs. a hobby.  Register your business, incorporate (or if you are like us form a legal LLP), charge taxes and pay taxes.  It seems daunting but a CPA can help you with all of this.
  5. Attending a maker conference will change everything.  There’s nothing like it to really light your fire.  We’ve tried a few but our absolute favorite hands-down is Craftcation Conference in Ventura California.  We’ve attended 3 times and every time we’ve come back and implemented what we learned and our business grew in leaps and bounds.  This is also a great way to find your tribe.
  6. It’s incredibly important to be open to change.  We make a point of stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone frequently.  When someone offers you advice about your business don’t blow it off, listen and REALLY consider it even if it sounds outlandish.  Some of our best changes and growth ideas have come from Mike Meyer of Meyer Music.  His ideas usually scare us a little at first but the fact that he has such a strong belief in us and what we do makes a huge difference to us.
  7. Taking a class to upgrade skills is creativity rejuvenating.  This will not only help widen your offerings and expand your business but it’ll keep your creative juices flowing.  It’ll also make you happy.  Happy shows through in your work.  You can often find classes at your local craft store.  If you’d rather take a class online we highly recommend Creative Live.
  8. It’s important to be the face of your business.  This is what Mike Meyer told us last spring.  We aren’t shy about sharing our products but never felt like we were interesting enough to share our faces and story.  Apparently we were wrong.  People want to see your face and know your story.  We will be launching a new website very soon and you will see much more of our faces and story on it.
  9. Customer service will make or break your business.  It doesn’t matter how beautiful your product is, if you don’t provide excellent customer service and back the quality of your product, your business will not flourish.  When you are working a show be welcoming and friendly to people who walk into your booth.  We’ve watched many makers over the years who read or play on their phones instead of standing up and greeting the customer like they are grateful they are there.  Worst customer service we’ve ever seen?  A maker ranting about politics while people came and went from the tent.  Oh and how about the lady who wouldn’t let people stand in her tent during a rainstorm unless they were going to buy something?  Greeting customers by speaking to them and looking them in the eye also reduces theft.  It’s win-win.  Online service is just as important.  Send your product out right away when it is ordered.  If the order is large or wholesale, follow up with the customer afterwards.  If the customer has feedback you do not like do not be defensive.  Believe it or not your packaging and customer service are as important as the product itself.  We send each product our in a branded muslin bag with a business card (not a stack), a handwritten thank you note and a receipt.
  10. It’s important to regularly acknowledge and celebrate how far you’ve come.  Don’t get so caught up in working on the future that you forget to celebrate your past.  We celebrate regularly.  If you know us well then you know that it’s usually with food.  That’s just how we roll.

We hope that what we’ve learned can help you out a little.  If you have any questions please feel free to comment on this blog and we’ll get back to you right away.  We love sharing information and contacts so go ahead and ask away!

160227-BA

Looking for Unique Gifts For Graduates?

Look no further!  We have a great selection of graduate gifts from hand-stamped pieces to jewelry made from musical instruments.

This is a small selection from our Literacy Kansas City Collection.  A portion of the proceeds from this collection will be donated directly to Literacy Kansas City.   Literacy KC’s mission is to advance literacy among Kansas City area adults through direct services, advocacy and collaboration.  Their vision is literacy for all.   Who doesn’t love a gift that gives back by helping others?

Dream Vintage Spoon and Belt Cuff Bracelet from Hang Ups in KC Dare To Dream Handstamped Bracelet from Hang Ups in KC Antique Typewriter Key Necklace from Hang Ups in KC Live Courageously Handstamped Spoon Bracelet by Hang Ups in KC Enjoy the Ride Leather Stamped Bracelet by Hang Ups in KC On to the Next Chapter Hand Stamped Bracelet By Hang Ups in KC Dream Big Hand Stamped Feather Necklace With Brave Wings She Flies Handstamped Long Necklace Oh The Places You'll Go Hand Stamped Leather Bracelet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewelry from our Band of Angels Collection also makes great gifts for students and teachers.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every item in this collection goes directly back to Band of Angels KC.  Band of Angels is a non-profit organization who collect, repair and distribute instruments to kids in need.  They also send many kids to music camp every summer.  We have a lot of fun making jewelry from the instruments that cannot be repaired.  Here’s a small sampling of what is available on our website.

Violin String Earrings

Cello Tuning Peg Necklace Saxophone Key Cuff Links Clarinet Key Necklace Drum Cymbal Cuff BraceletHammered Flute Body Earrings Piano Wire & Leather Bracelet Viola Wood Earrings French Horn Valve Key Necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To order you can visit us online at www.hangupsinkc.com or simply click on the photos of an item that you like from above.  Orders arrive in a pretty muslin bag with a thank you note from the Director of the non-profit that benefits from the gift.

We wish you all a very safe and happy graduate season and Memorial Day Weekend.  Happy Victoria Day to our Canadian Friends!

images

How Hang Ups Celebrates Earth Day

images

About four years ago we signed up for an eco-art fair called Zeleny, organized by repurposing Queen, Alexis from X37 Adventures.  Zeleny  (the Czech word for Green) focused on celebrating the repurposing movement and giving back to the community.  That is when we were bit by the repurposing bug.  We love the personality that antique, vintage and “found” items have.  Currently almost 100% of our creations feature repurposed items that may have ended up in a landfill, such as silverware, rusted out typewriters, leather belts & purses, keys, key holes and broken down instruments.  That answers the question of how we celebrate Earth Day – every day is Earth Day at Hang Ups!

This is a small sampling of our jewelry made from repurposed materials.  You can find any of these pieces of jewelry on our website by clicking on the photo of the piece that you like.   Giving back to the community that we live in is very important to us – most of the items on site give back to Literacy Kansas City or Band of Angels KC.

Do you love stuff made from repurposed materials?  If so, we’d love to see your favorite item. Please share in the comments section!  Happy Earth Day!

.141010-VV2 150104-VVredoA (600x586) 140343-VV9 150925-VVA (563x412) 150935-BOA2 160271-BOA3 151214-BA2 160211-BOA2 160136-BOA2 160407-BOA4 160223-BA 160227-BA

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Our Creative Families

Our last two blog posts have featured an inside look at how we make jewelry and where we create.  We thought we’d finish off this “getting to know us” series by introducing you to our creative families.  Creativity comes in many different forms and as parents we encourage any form that makes our kids happy.  We try to lead by example, taking on new creative projects that stretch and inspire us.

hu_matt

Kristi’s husband Matt is very musically talented. He plays everything from stand-up bass, violin, mandolin, keyboards, guitar, and more. In school he was part of a Barbershop Quartet and played in the Jazz band. His current favorite instrument is the violin but since he loves bluegrass music so much we’ll call it a fiddle.

hu_amyviolin

Kristi’s eldest daughter, Amy, is a talented pianist and violinist. She plays violin in her school’s Chamber Orchestra and takes private violin and piano lessons. She will be heading to All-State Solo and Ensemble Festival at the end of April, where she will perform on both violin and piano.

hu_maryaliceC

Kristi’s youngest daughter, Mary Alice, has participated in Musical Theater for years. She is taking a break to focus on volleyball this year but she is looking forward to being on the debate team when she enters high school next year.

May 2009 111

Carolyn’s husband, Dwayne, is camera shy but check out the mural that he hand-painted for their sons bedroom. The volcano is textured and that Brachiosaurus is running so hard from the erupting volcano that he’s bursting through the wall.

Creative kid 3

Carolyn’s eldest son, Charlie, plays viola with the 7th grade and 8th grade orchestras at his middle school. Charlie has also been taking private guitar lessons for 4 years. He’s working really hard at mastering Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now for his upcoming recital. Charlie loves to write fiction as well as producing movies with his brother Ben.

Creative Kid 5

Carolyn’s youngest son, Ben, is an author. At the age of 10 he is already submitting his short stories to magazines for publication. Ben loves writing and producing short movies with his brother. Ben is also working on his musical side by taking piano lessons from Amy.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know us a little better over the past month and a half.  We’ve had fun sharing our process, workspace and finally our families with you.  We hope that, like us, you are doing something that makes your heart sing.

A Behind the Scenes Peek at Kristi’s Creative Space

Two weeks ago we gave you a behind the scenes peek of our process of making.  We showed you the kinds of tools we use when we cut and shape a retired drum cymbal into a pair of earrings.  If you missed it you can find it here.

This week we want to share a behind the scenes peek at Kristi’s workspace.  We have separate workshops/ studios in our respective homes.  Both of our workshops have cool tools and generally a big mess of metal & wood shavings but Kristi’s workspace is definitely the prettiest of the two.

Welcome to Kristi's studio!

Welcome to Kristi’s studio!

There are a LOT of supplies involved in making jewelry from beads to metal findings and last but not least the focal pieces which for us are musical instruments or antiques.  If you look at the bottom left hand corner of this photo you will see Kristi’s custom stamping bench that she uses when adding quotes or words to antique silverware.  On the middle left side, several boxes of beads.  Center, hanging beads. Want to know a secret about Kristi?  She’s a button and bead hoarder.  Those beads you see in this photo?  They are just the tip of the iceberg.

hu_beads

Kristi likes sparkly beads and has a talent for mixing colors.

 

hu_workshopB

Can you see the sign that says “Of course I talk to myself! Sometimes I need expert advice.”?

Another secret about Kristi?  She talks to herself.  A lot.  One of side effects of working alone most of the time.  We all do it.  Right?  If you look in the top right hand corner of the photo above you’ll see a framed book page featuring an image from one of Kristi’s hand-carved stamps.  You can see more evidence of Kristi’s talent at hand-carving rubber stamps on the note cards displayed down the right hand side of the photo.  Kristi’s work space is full of fun and beautiful items, collected over the years, that inspire her.  We both love to fill our work areas with handmade items that we love.  Hey look, there are more beads on the top right-hand corner of her work bench!

hu_tools

Can you guess what each of these tools is used for?

One of my favorite things about Kristi’s workspace is that it’s filled with customized organization solutions like the magnetic strip she uses to keep her pliers, screw drivers and other tools organized.

If you’d like to see our creations please visit us at hangupsinkc.com.

Thanks for joining us for this behind the scenes peek at Kristi’s studio.  We would love to see your work area, pretty or not.  Post a picture in the comments section and we can share tips on functionality and organization.

Have a great week!

 

 

A Behind the Scenes Peek at the Making of Drum Cymbal Earrings

Kristi & I rarely make jewelry for ourselves.  I guess it’s a hazard of any “maker” occupation.  We are so busy creating for others that we forget to make ourselves new jewelry.   I made Kristi drum cymbal earrings a few weeks ago and admire how pretty they look every time she wears them.  Today I decided that I need a pair of earrings for myself.

Welcome to my workshop.  It’s not fancy but it’s bright and functional.  It’s my favorite place to spend my days.

HangUpsWorkshop2

After some experimentation I’ve found that my Dremel is the best tool to use when cutting the cymbal.

HangUpsWorkshop3

Sanding pieces of metal this small is tricky. I can’t wear gloves because the piece of cymbal is too small to grip. It gets VERY hot so patience is required.

HangUpsWorkshop4

I love my drill press so much. For projects like this it is so fast & easy!

HangUpsWorkshop5

I decided against beads so I just needed to add the ear wires.

Ta-da!

What do you think?

What do you think?

Stay tuned – next week we’ll give you a behind the scenes look at Kristi’s workspace.

Have a great week friends!

 

 

Please Vote For Us in KC Source Links Battle of the Brands!

We are competing in KC Source Links Battle of the Brands.  The competition is fierce so we would really appreciate your vote in the Microenterprise Brand Category.  It only takes a second and doesn’t require account set-up. Votes must be entered by Thursday February 25th at 4pm. You can vote for us by clicking here.  Thank you to those of you who take the time to vote.  We appreciate your support!

li-battleofthebrands-(2)-01

This competition is the icing on the cake of a fabulous February for us here at Hang Ups in KC.  We have so much to celebrate and wanted to share all the good stuff that’s been coming our way with you.

  • At the beginning of the month we were featured on Better Kansas City, a morning show on KCTV3.   They focused on how Hang Ups in KC came to be as well as our non-profit partnerships.  If you’d like to watch the segment click here.

Better Kansas City

Hang Ups at Nelson Atkins

  • A pair of our saxophone cuff links made it to the 2016 Grammy Awards thanks to saxophonist George Shelby who performed during the Lionel Richie tribute.  George was kind enough to take photos and share them with us.

George Shelby Hang Ups Cuff Links 2 George Shelby Hang Ups Cufflinks

Thank you for taking the time to vote for us in Battle of the Brands.  We are so grateful for each and every one of you.  Have a wonderful final week of February!

 

What Pulls at our Heartstrings here at Hang Ups in KC

Instead of showing you our love-themed jewelry for Valentines Day we decided to tell you about a cause that we love instead.

If you follow us on social media you hear us talk a lot about Band of Angels a lot.  Who are Band of Angels?  Band of Angels is an amazing Kansas City based non-profit organization who collects used music instruments from those who no longer want them and helps make them available to kids in need who couldn’t otherwise afford them. Donated instruments are refurbished and restored to playing condition before given to a student. Cash donations are accepted also, which are used to purchase instruments. With these instruments, students can join their school’s band and orchestra programs. Also, funds raised help send students to summer music camp with full scholarships.  To learn more or donate please visit them at www.bandofangelskc.org.   Hang Ups in KC partnered with Band of Angels about two years ago.  We take instruments that cannot be repaired and make jewelry from them.  A generous portion of the sale of every piece of our musical instrument jewelry goes directly back to Band of Angels.  If you would like to check out our Band of Angels Collection on our website click here.  Here’s a small sampling of what we can do with retired instruments:

151017-BA4 160202-BOA5 

Clarinet Key Necklace                                             Drum Cymbal Earrings

160131-BOA 151214-BA

Saxophone Key Cuff Links                                     Trumpet Valve Cap Necklace

Band of Angels has two major fundraisers a year:  Heartstrings in February and Art that Blows in June.  Last Saturday was the most successful Heartstrings Gala yet.  There were approximately 400 attendees who showed up to support this amazing cause.  George Shelby was the special guest performer.  During his 35 year career he has played saxophone with Beyoncé, Michael McDonald, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Toto, Bruce Springsteen, Hilary Duff, Bono, Sting, Elton John, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan, Johnny Mathis, and many others.  Joining him on stage were Band of Angels beneficiaries and wonderful spokespeople Morgan & Connor Cravens.

12646736_1086154928110998_2754800724880960021_o[1]

Carolyn & Kristi hanging out with George Shelby

Just click on this link for a peek at Band of Angels Gala 2016 featuring George Shelby and Morgan and Connor Cravens performing.

Here’s a few more photos of this fun event.  If you live in the Kansas City area please join us next year.  Keep an eye on the Band of Angels website for details.  Tickets sell out fast!

12715964_1086071488119342_9114371353106603901_o[1] 12710748_1086067334786424_5069310862741253996_o[1] 12646797_1086069868119504_5147038494270701928_o[1]  We are very passionate about our partnership with Band of Angels and are grateful that our path crossed with Mike Meyer from Meyer Music two years ago.  We would like to say thank you to the entire Meyer family for involving us with this amazing organization!

Happy Valentines Day!

12697306_1086150118111479_8850941060721429218_o[1]

Kristi & Carolyn with Valentines Matt & Dwayne

 

 

What’s Happening with Hang Ups in KC in the New Year

Happy New Year!  We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with great food, family and fun.

On January 11th, we started the New Year out on the right foot by participating in Books, Brains & Boulevard – a very fun trivia night fundraiser for our friends at Literacy Kansas City.  This event takes place annually at beautiful Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City.   Fun was had and money was raised for a very worthy local non-profit who have such a positive impact on our city. Books, Brains & Blvd

Kristi striking a pose at Books, Brains & Boulevard

As the busy Christmas season slides into January we have a lot of fun discussing where we want to take our business in the new year.  It’s a time for fresh ideas and dreaming big.  Every spring we attend a conference for makers who are small business owners.  For the past three years, in March, we’ve had a blast at Craftcation in Ventura, California.  Next month we are doing something a little different and attending Midwest CraftCon in Columbus, Ohio.  We look forward to seeing two of our very favorite speakers:  author and creative business guru Abby Glassenberg and artist extraoridinaire Lisa Congdon from Lisa Congdon Art + Illustration.

Thanks for following us on this crazy fun ride.  We are so grateful for each and every one of you and for your support.  Stay tuned for exciting developments for 2016!

Happy Thanksgiving from Hang Ups in KC

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.

We both feel so blessed with the support of our families, friends and our customers on this crazy fun journey we’re on.
If you’d like to come out and see us in person in December we’ll have a pop-up shop open at Meyer Music in Overland Park (corner of 133rd and Quivera) on Saturday December 5th and at Meyer Music North (at the Boardwalk Square Shopping Center) on Saturday December 12th.
We wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!