Are you going to see Potted Potter at the PAC next week? Make sure you are doing your house proud! We have handmade house scarves – all houses! – in stock and ready to go. You know you want one. All the cool kids have them…!

  

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I know…I know…It’s only September. But that holiday season is screaming towards us like a freight train and we want to make sure you’re ready for the annual Handmade Holiday Gift Swap! Woo hoo!!

If you haven’t joined us for one before, the rules are simple….Bring a wrapped handcrafted gift (it can be made by you or someone else, but it must be handmade) worth approximately $50. Now, we know it’s hard to gauge the value of a handmade item…so use your best guestimating skills. We want this to be as fair as possible so please keep in mind that many people will spend hours and hours on their gifts – a dozen cookies won’t add up and we don’t want anyone to feel like they lost out. (If baking is your thing, make it a basket! Cookies, jams, breads…).

The date is to be determined, so this is just a heads up. But get started or get thinking…It’s always a ton of fun with snacks and bubbly.

** Not in town? No worries!!! You can always mail your gift and we will mail your swap item back to you!! **

No kiddos please.

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We are so excited about the upcoming Lillith Moon trunk show!!! Cori is definitely bringing her A game and we couldn’t be more thrilled with all of the amazing one of a kind goodies she will be showing!

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It may seem early to be talking about holiday gifts, but definitely not when you’re talking about the annual Bella Boutique Handcrafted Holiday Swap! It has been so much fun in years past, that we just can’t wait to do it again.

How it works: Bring a wrapped item worth no more than $50 retail (use your best guesstimating skills) that has been handmade/crafted. It doesn’t necessarily need to be made by you, but definitely handmade in some way. Jams and jellies from the farmers market with a loaf of homemade bread? Hand spun yarn? A scarf you knit yourself? The sky is the limit! Your wrapped gift will be placed on a table and numbers will be drawn for folks to one at a time pick the package they like. After everyone has chosen a gift, they are unwrapped, the maker unmasked, and you are more than welcome to swap or steal as you please. It’s a lot of fun with munchies and bubbly. So start working on your swap item now! The swap is right around the corner:

When: Sunday December 7th, 2012  6 – 8ish

Where: Bella Boutique, 2601 Spenard Rd (between N. Lights and Fireweed), Anchorage

Who: 18 and over please. Sorry, no kiddos.

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Many people arrive at Bella and assume we are a co-op or a consignment store. While some of our artists operate on a consignment basis, many of our pieces are purchased directly from the designer, which makes us like the majority of other retail stores. And while it is totally true that we are always on the look-out for new and fabulous things to add to our space, there is no application process or wait list for “space.” We choose what ‘speaks’ to us and pride ourselves on having a unique selection of handmade items most likely not found anywhere else in Anchorage.

If you think you have a product Bella ready, or would like to pitch your line, emailing images to shop.bella(at)hotmail.com is your best bet. Or, if you’re the adventurous type, bring some samples of your work down to the shop during business hours and we’ll take a look! We get lots of requests via Facebook, which unfortunately cannot all be answered due to the onslaught of never ending LinkdIn requests we get. In short: don’t ask via Facebook!

Over the years we have worked with a lot of people just starting out. We know what it’s like to take a product out to the market (this shop was founded by makers) and have some tips for increasing your success rate in pitching your product to not only Bella, but any gallery/store you may choose:

  • Know your pricepoint! This is pretty key. If you don’t know what you are charging for the item, we can’t even begin a discussion.
  • Know the shop you are approaching! For instance: Bella does  not carry children’s items, artworks or most ‘home’ accessories.
  • Know your turnaround time! If your line is chosen, and it takes off (which is the hope for everyone, right?) we don’t want our customers waiting for ages to get another fix. If you are unable to keep up with demand or orders, or have extenuating circumstances, be up front.
  • Know what you want your line/tags/name to look like! Will it be tagged by you? The shop? Changing the name/font/appearance of your business once you’re off and running is counterproductive. Come up with something you like and stick to it…at least for a little while.
  • Don’t argue! I know, right? This seems so straight forward…..The shop you are approaching knows their clientele and the direction they want to go; if they say no thank you, that’s it. Arguing or trying to convince a store what you do is a fit will actually hurt any further chances of being called should the shop change direction. Be gracious and thank them for their time as it is indeed precious.

Hopefully this helps some of you out there. We love handmade and we want to see fellow artists and crafters succeed and want every interaction to be as productive and professional as possible.

 

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Viva handmade!

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We are declaring it to be officially Spring Break-up out there. And what days Spring better than a new, shiny purse? Ok, well, it doesn’t have to be shiny, but we heart new purses! So with that in mind, all of our handbags are 20% off through Saturday the 19th including those already marked down. Unheard of! But awesome.

In January, Mr Bella and I hopped on a plane, skipped across the Pacific, and landed in Okinawa, Japan to visit with Stephanie Tonino of Tama Press and her amazing family. They graciously allowed us to crash on their living room floor, teach their toddler fab words (dung beetle!) and played the best tour guides one could have asked for. In addition to all of the fabulous food and culture, being so close to the Tama Press studio in person was pretty amazing. It was so cool to see books in the works and the famous paper stash!

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It’s so neat to see the process and all of the cool paper specific tools! I bet if you asked nicely the next time you’re in Okinawa, she’ll give you the grand tour as well!

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