Tag Archives: localstart.org

31 Finds and Flavors of Kansas City

Kansas City is a great place to start a small business.  There are resources such as the Kauffman Foundation, creator of the 1 Million Cups program that specifically support entrepreneurship.  Presenting at 1 Million Cups was an amazing experience for us.  In fact, that is where we met Mike Meyer from Meyer Music and co-founder of Band of Angels.  Check out our Band of Angels Collection, jewelry made from retired instruments here.

There are also several programs/ groups such as Made in Kansas City, Handmade in Kansas City and KC Source Link that specifically work at growing the local economy by encouraging people to buy, eat and drink local.

For the month of May KC Source Link (together with Shop Local Alliance) is hosting a fun promotional program called 31 Finds and Flavors of Kansas City, Entrepreneurs in Action.  Several of our Handmade in Kansas City Team Members have been and will be featured.  We’ve all answered a fun questionnaire so you can get to know us a little better.  Hang Ups in KC will be featured on May 9th.  One of the questions that we answered was what we considered our “entrance music” or theme song.  Can you guess what it is?  Check out our feature on May 9th to find out.  Click here for the link to make it really easy.  You can also learn more by searching #shoplocalkc.

Here’s the schedule of businesses that will be featured.  If you know any of them please help spread the word on social media by using the hashtag #shoplocalkc.  We encourage you to check out the businesses that are new to you.  In our opinion the only thing better than shopping local is shopping local HANDMADE.  Enjoy!

Flavor Day Holiday
Remnants by RJ 1 Space Day
Wood + Salt 2 Brothers and Sisters Day
Creations by M and J 3 day after Baby Day
Springboard Creative 4 National Candied Orange Peel Day
Panaderia de las Americas 5 Cinco De Mayo
Aunt Christy’s Country Kitchen 6 No Diet Day
KC Cool 7 National Tourism Day
Worlds Window 8 No Socks Day
Hang Ups in KC 9 pre Mother’s Day
Indigo Wild 10 Clean Your Room, Mother’s Day
Dolce Bakery 11 Eat What You Want
Fusion Fitness 12 Fatigue Syndrome Day
Red Dirt Shop 13 Donate a Day’s Wages to Charity Day
Lu & Ed 14 Chicken Dance Day
Family Bicycles 15 Bike to Work Day
Nuggets of Goodness 16 National Sea Monkey
Life’s Gems 17 Pack Rat Day
Tulle Box 18 No Dirty Dishes Day
Ugly Glass & Co 19 May Ray Day
Snow & Co 20 Pick Strawberries Day
Tasty Thai 21 National Waiters and Waitresses Day
French & Music House 22 Musical Instrument Day
Ni-Cherns Designs 23 Lucky Penny Day
Handmade by Lolo Z 24 Tiara Day
Geek Chic Boutique 25 Towel Day
The Little Wing 26 Sally Ride Day
Swim Zip 27 Sun Screen Day
Stand Out Style 28 Golden Gate Bridge
One More Cup 29 Get Caught Reading
Coffee Girls 30 Neighbor Day
Ocean & Sea 31 Aquarium Month (June)

It’s Time to Celebrate with 15% Off Hang Ups in KC Jewelry and Cards

April has been a busy month with our annual trip to the fabulous Craftcation Conference in Ventura California and multiple events but we are ready for May and all the celebrations that the month brings.  Whether you choose a handmade piece of jewelry from our website or request a custom piece we are an easy one-stop shop for Mother’s Day, Graduations and Teachers gifts.  Don’t forget that 10% of all proceeds from our Literacy Kansas City Collection go directly to Literacy Kansas City.  Plus we are offering 15% off of all purchases for the month of May.  What’s not to love?  Visit us at www.hangupsinkc.com.

Taking Flight with Nicole from Ni-Chern Designs

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When planning this blog series on the entrepreneurial journey of small business owners we immediately knew that we wanted to feature Nicole from Ni-Chern Designs.  Nicole is smart, collaborative and giving…everything that a successful entrepreneur needs to be.  She understands the need for community in the handmade entrepreneurial world and when she couldn’t find a community that fit her she created her own!  How is that for initiative?  Check out this community of talented artists (including Hang Ups in KC) at:  http://handmadeinkc.wix.com/home.

If you are wondering what her company name means, Ni-Chern (Nee-Churn) is Nicole’s Chinese name, meaning little girl.  Nicole does some of the finest work we’ve seen and has an eye for fun, vibrant fabrics.  Her creations have been featured several magazines including This is KC, The Pitch, Vintage KC Magazine and the Better Homes and Gardens Do It Yourself Magazine.

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Check out Ni-Chern’s website at www.nicherndesigns.com.  Here is a peek at a few of her creations:

purple Blue-Green-Floral3

teal-quatrefoil

Ni-Chern Designs is a part of the Made In Kansas City Initiative (www.localstart.org) and donates 10% of her profits to the non-profit organization Kids TLC (www.kidstlc.org).  We could go on and on about this dynamo handmade entrepreneur but thought it would be more fun quiz her about how she got started, what drives her and what celebrity she would love to see using her products.

Q:  When did you start your sewing business and why?

A:  I started my business back in 2005. At first it was the lack of handmade items out there and I needed to pay off my student loans. As we all know when we starting out with handmade business, there is no income in any of this!  So I refocused and went with my desire to help out by donating 10% of my proceeds to preventcancer.org for the first few years.

Q:  What has been the single best thing you’ve done for your business?

A:  Connecting with fellow handmakers. I think a lot of times when we start out, all we can think about is how to make money, but the best thing that I’ve done for my business is to make friends and connect with other people. There is a difference between connecting professionally and just making friends. I always hope that the connections made will turn into a lasting friendships!

Q:  What is your favorite business book or blog that inspires you?

A:  The business blog that has caught my eye recently is Create and Thrive.

Q:  If you could have a celebrity use your products who would it be?

A:  Oh man, I really like Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, and Rachel McAdams. So, I guess any of those ladies would be great!

We would like to thank Nicole for participating in this blog series and for including us in her circle of handmade friend-preneurs!  Find Ni-Chern Designs on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nicherndesigns, follow her on Twitter @nicherndesigns and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/ni_chern.

We are always looking for tips, tricks and feedback.  If you have a fabulous entrepreneurial story please share it with us in the comments section!

Best wishes to all of you!

Kristi & Carolyn

Top 5 Ways to Take Your Handmade Business to the Next Level

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We thought that featuring a Q&A with ourselves as part of our Taking Flight series might be a little odd so we’ve assembled a list of our advice on the Top 5 Ways to Take Your Handmade Business to the Next Level.  None of these tips require significant financial commitment.  What they do require is courage and initiative – something all entrepreneurs have whether we know it or not.

1.  Read books written by the Guru’s of the Handmade World.  Our favorite author is Kari Chapin-Nixon.  Her books The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business are available at www.karichapin.com or www.storey.com.  They helped us immensely in our early days and still act as an excellent reference guide as we continue our journey.

2.  Create an online presence.  Ideally this would be in the form of a website but if you aren’t there yet open an Etsy Shop.  Opening an Etsy Shop is quick, simple and VERY cost effective.  You need a place to display your goods and refer people to when you aren’t out on the Arts & Craft Show circuit.  Think of your Etsy store or website as your portfolio.  Check out our Etsy Shop at www.hangupsinkc.etsy.com for ideas on store policies, shipping costs, etc.   With the help of Kristi’s very computer savvy husband Matt, we were able to build our own website (www.hangupsinkc.com) on the OpenCart platform.  We’ve been live for 6 months now and are thrilled with our increase in visibility and sales.

3.  Start a blog.  This was advice that we received last year at the Craftcation Conference (see point #4) and we grudgingly took the plunge.  We were nervous and had no idea where to start so we asked an expert – Kari Chapin-Nixon (see point #1).  She recommended the book Blogging For Creatives by Robin Houghten (find it on amazon.com).   The book changed our whole outlook on blogging and made the process much less intimidating.  Within a month or so of the conference we launched our brand new blog using the WordPress platform and have worked hard to publish blogs consistently since then.  Here’s the surprising thing – it’s kind of fun.  You should try it!   It has been proven that blogs build traffic to your business and increase the credibility of your expertise and your business.

4.  Network with other Creatives who are willing to share and learn with you.  We attended a conference called Craftcation (www.craftcationconference.com) in Ventura California last April that literally rocked our small business.  We spent 3 intense days attending seminars on how to grow our business.  We networked, took notes, exchanged ideas and then created our plan of action for 2013.  Since Craftcation we have created our blog, our website, newsletter, created Instagram & Twitter accounts, moved into more stores, joined the Made in Kansas City Initiative (www.localstart.org)  and created a wonderful partnership with Literacy Kansas City.   With all of this growth came an increase in credibility and visibility which led to our One Million Cups (www.1millioncups.com) presentation in January.  Craftcation 2014 is less than 6 weeks away – we can’t wait!  If you can’t attend a conference how about checking into local networking groups such as local Etsy teams?

5.  Get organized!  Create an inventory system.  There are systems that you can purchase but Kristi and I find that our system using a shared Excel spreadsheet works for us.  Each piece of jewelry that we make is logged on this spreadsheet and given an identifying number.  The number is written on the price tag and store inventory lists.  We have several hundred pieces of jewelry active at any given time so we need to be able to easily track the price, who made it and where it is located at any given time.  All small business owners should also be tracking expenses in order to effectively manage their business.  We use Quicken but QuickBooks is also a great system.  Finally, one of the greatest tools we used to increase sales this year was to sign up for Intuit’s GoPayment Program (www.intuit.com).  Accepting credit cards while at Arts & Craft Shows or other events dramatically increases sales.  Trust us on this one.  It costs only a small percentage per transaction and it is totally worth it!

Please share this list with anyone who you think will find it helpful.  Having a successful handmade business dependent on being open to new ideas and sharing information.  We wish all handmade businesses the best of luck in 2014!

Kristi & Carolyn (www.hangupsinkc.com)

 

Hang Ups in KC Joins Made In Kansas City Initiative

We have all heard of the Shop Small initiative.  There are frequent reminders on Facebook and other social media to shop at small businesses.  The creation of Small Business Saturday in November of every year was a brilliant move in the right direction to remind us to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.  A group in Kansas City is taking this idea a few steps further.

Hang Ups in KC is excited and proud to join the Made In Kansas City initiative.  The Made in Kansas City initiators are Local Start.org,  a not for profit organization focused on strengthening the local economy of the greater Kansas City and surrounding areas.   In the words of the folks at Local Start.org “This marks a deeper step on our part to strengthen the local economy by creating an environment where KC products are the first choice, where they are displayed with pride in our establishments and where you can find those products quickly and easily. We know that by providing people with the tools to choose local products, we empower them to build a smarter and stronger Kansas City.”

Keep an eye out online and in local establishments for this logo to know that you are buying products produced in Kansas City:

MadeinKansasCityLogo (1)

For more information or to get involved visit www.localstart.org, email questions@localstart.org or call them at 913-730-0164.  Please check out the list participants by clicking on meet the locals on the main page of www.localstart.org.  The next time you are shopping please consider purchasing from a business who features products made in Kansas City.

Kristi & I are grateful for this amazing journey we are on and for your continued support!  If you haven’t had a chance to check out our recent presentation at 1 Million Cups you can find it at: http://kansascity.sites.1millioncups.com/~/link.aspx?_id=A54B3D9609EA4DD28512233AD2A82A21&_z=z.  Have a wonderful day!