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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Jennifer Berube


The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is Jennifer Berube of Elegantly Eclectic!

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ELEGANTLY ECLECTIC










We caught up with Jennifer and asked her a few questions about her cool line of wire-wrapped scoops and accessories, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:
  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  I create a line of hand-beaded kitchen accessories that include stainless steel scoops, wedding cake sets, and antique silver serving pieces. I call them jewelry for your kitchen or kitchen bling! I use a jewelry grade copper wire (tarnish resistant) and absolutley NO glue on any of my wire-wrapped items. I know this sets me apart from other artists I see on Etsy who use some sort of glue to keep their wire and beads in place. I love working with a color, but then using different shades and textures of that color on each piece. I feel it gives each item a lot of depth and texture. I also make sure that the beads are placed in a way that feels good in your hands. I try to make sure that my shop and booth at shows has a variety of colors and styles. And, custom orders are always available, that way the customer is getting the piece they want in the colors to match their lives.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  That is tough, I love them all! But one that really stands out for me, is the Water Lillies Scoop! I found these amazing glass beads with swirls of blue, green, yellow and tiny flecks of purple. This one bead in the group really reminded me of the Water Lillies painting by Claude Monet. I was very lucky a few years ago to see the largest collection of his work at one show in Boston, Massachusetts. And, the work from that show has stayed with me. The other beads are mostly genstones on this scoop. It is hard to tell in the photos, but a lot of the gemstone beads have tiny flecks of crystals and so much sparkle. Each bead on this scoop has so much depth and color, it was a lot of fun to create.
  • When you're not creating these awesome wire-wrapped goodies, what are your hobbies?  When you're not designing products for your shoppe, what are your hobbies? I guess my favorite thing to do is to travel. I have been very lucky to see some beautiful places already and each of those destinations brings new inspiration, creativity and excitement for life! When you travel everything is new and exciting, a can of Mt. Dew is way cooler in India than in America. The colors on the can are the same, the same logo is there, but seeing the words "Mt. Dew" in Hindi is what flips it. And, when I see the world through a new slightly different lens, that fosters my creativeness.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  When you own your own business you usually work alone. But by being part of The Artisan Group you feel less lonely. Whether you need to rant about a disgruntled customer, share amazing news or even help a fellow artist out, the group is there to offer their love and support. Everyone works to foster a sense of community. That is my favorite part, knowing that I can get on the computer and have hundreds of people offering their support. You never see that with a regular 9-5 job. More than anything, this group has given me the self confidence to take my business higher. To be brave and call a reporter up and tell them how awesome my business is, to apply for that crazy big show, and to NEVER let an opportunity pass me by.
Jennifer participated as a display participant in the recent luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Janice Mahoney



The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight Feature is Janice Mahoney of Mama Mahoney Creations!

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MAMA MAHONEY CREATIONS







We caught up with Janice and asked her a few questions about her impressive line of sewn totes and wristlets, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:
  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  My Artfire shop is made up of a collection of the varying sizes of quilted totes, lunch bags, Kindle cases and wristlets that I offer. I pick fabrics that I like or that I think my clients will like and put them in the store. Most of what I do, however, is make CUSTOM bags. The client picks the fabric, type of closure (button or zipper) and any embroidery (usually initials or short phrase) and I make the bag just for them. I tell my clients that if they love the fabric, they will love the bag. This is true because the bags went through countless tests with friends until I got the design "just right". I use only high quality designer cotton and have found quality materials to work with, so that the bags are washable and dryable and come out perfect!
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  My personal favorite size bag is the Medium Tote. I have three kids and am constantly holding things for them. I also carry emergency snacks and "distractions" for my youngest. I prefer the button closure because I never have time to close a bag and usually need to get something pretty quick. The button closure bags also have a water bottle pocket on the side that I could not live without. We live in Denver, Colorado and due to the altitude and dry air, need to be drinking water constantly.
  • When you're not sewing these lovely totes and Kindle cases, what are your hobbies?  Since being in the GBK Oscar Gift Lounge, I have been so busy any hobby that I have has been put on hold. When I am not sewing or running my biz now though, I am looking at beach vacation destinations for my family this summer. We want to go to Mexico. My dream is to sit in a lounge chair with my Kindle and have a pool dude bring me drinks all day and do absolutely NOTHING for about a week :D
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  Being a member of The Artisan Group has taught me so much about promoting myself. Just by watching what the most successful members do, I was able to come up with a promotion strategy around the Oscars. What I enjoy most is the encouragement and friends that I have made. Being a work-at-home mom is isolating and having the ability to jump online and communicate with like-minded people is a life saver (sorry I have been MIA, but I promise to be back in May!!). If I have a question, I know that I can ask and someone always has a suggestion or an answer. I hope now to be able to pay it forward and help out the newer members.
Janice recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Erica Low


The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our talented graphic designer members, Erica Low!

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iCANDY DESIGNS









We caught up with Erica and asked her a few questions about her trendy iPhone case designs and modern stationery collections and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:
  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  My store is an eclectic collection of designs and products, including iPhone and iPad cases, keychains, note cards and the like. Having designed over the years for other people, according to their tastes and needs, iCandyDesigns is solely based on my own personal design sensibilities, which makes designing that much more fun! I love being able to experiment with color, texture and images to create beautiful and edgy designs. Among the designs you'll find in my store are modern, grunge, floral, eastern-influenced and tech. I find inspiration in so many things; a handbag, fabric, paintings and other artwork, and my husband, LOL.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  Hmmm, I'm not sure I really have any one favorite. It seems that every new design is my favorite! Right now, my favorite is my "Grunge Music Notes" iPhone case in blue, which is the case I also had on display at GBK's 2012 Oscars Gift Lounge.
 
  • When you're not designing cool cases and chic paper goods, what are your hobbies?  I have a 5-year old and 15-month old twins, so I don't really have a lot of time for hobbies, LOL. I do love photography and editing pictures when I have the opportunity. I'm also usually in the middle of several books at once, I love to sew and am trying to teach myself to crochet. Another favorite is hanging out at Starbucks, although I don't get to do it nearly as much as I used to.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  The Artisan Group is SUCH a supportive, wonderful and talented group of people! I can't recall ever having been part of such a genuine, supportive and collaborative group. The marketing opportunies Valerie has been able to provide us are unparalleled and have been so impactful. Being able to participate in the Oscars and individual celebrity gifting opportunities has been a dream! I am just so thankful to be a part of this group!
Erica participated as a display participant in the recent luxury celebrity gift lounge on February 24-25, 2012 at The W Hotel in Hollywood, California, in honor of the The 2012 Academy Awards Nominees and Presenters.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Tara Rex



The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight Feature is Tara Rex of TaraDara!

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TARADARA
{etsy shoppe} www.taradara.etsy.com








We caught up with Tara and asked her a few questions about her super cute line of sewn goodies, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:
  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  I own an artsy fartsy sewing company, taradara, that opened in 2010. Accessory covers are my main component, but I also make wallets, coffee cozies, business card holders and more. As a new gadget comes out, I try to figure out how I can cover it and design a new product. So, my shoppe is ever evolving while staying true to my brand and to myself. All my pieces are one of a kind and colorful with a bit of sass and whimsy.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  Hmmm... my favorite product... I would say that I love my wallets. I use my own daily {of course} and I just love that I can carry it with me as it shows the colorful creative side to me. It's also wonderful advertising because there's rarely a day that goes by that I don't asked where I got my wallet {then I hand them my card, of course}. They are a bit cumbersome to make, but I think it's probably my fav at this time.
  • When you're not handcrafting your trendy line of sewn wallets, iPhone and iPad covers, and other goodies, what are your hobbies?  My main hobby is sewing {go figure!}, but to answer you question, I love to refinish furniture. I love to paint wood, yes, I said it. I love giving an old wooden piece of furniture a new look by simply painting it. {my mom is cringing right about now}. I love to update our home {by painting} with new colors or window treatments, which is more sewing. I love blogging. I love playing with my boys and doing sporting activities with them. I LOVE photography {that's a hobby that's way up there}. I think my life is a hobby actually... rarely am I not doing something creative or something I enjoy.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  There are so many facets that I LOVE about The Artisan Group. I love the comradery of the group, how we are constructive with our thoughts. We are respectful of eachother's art. I love seeing all the different products that we have within our group. I love seeing things that I finally don't think, "I can make that". LOL! Really, it just goes to show that the bar is set high and that there is a strong base of artisans within. I love LEARNING from everyone, we all have different strengths and we are so willing to share and to lend a hand when someone is stuck. Okay, I could go on and on, but I will stop now... You get my point.
Tara recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Rosalba Berardi


The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our very talented bath and body product members, Rosalba Berardi!

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PICCOLO PARADISO








We caught up with Rosalba and asked her a few questions about her gorgeous line of artisan soaps, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:
  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  Piccolo Paradiso, Italian for “Little Paradise” is my line of handcrafted earthy chic soaps and body products. Inspired by my travels through out Italy, culinary arts and my love for nature, my products are sold in our online boutique and many unique shops throughout Chicago.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  If I had to choose one, which is very difficult it would have to be our Principessa Soap, designed for the modern day princess. It has a combination of rose & exotic fruits, with a hint of cocoa and organic petite roses. This is one of my top sellers and is beautifully fragrant. Simply divine!!
  • When you're not handcrafting these beautiful soaps and other bath goodies, what are your hobbies?  When I am not in my soap studio you can find me exploring with my camera taking on family photo sessions. I also love gardens, vintage shops and nature. I spend a lot time outdoors and practicing yoga. But most importantly I treasure all of my time that I get to spend with my family.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  What I love about The Artisan Group is the comaraderie and the genuine support between artisans. It’s the most supportive group I have ever been associated with, and I have gained some wonderful friendships. We support one another. The unique opportunities have been tremendous as well including the GBK Golden Globes Gift Lounge, and the Earth Day Celebrity Gifting opportunity. Sting will be one among the many celebrities who will soon receive a collection of my products. I will also be contributing to an exclusive gift bag for Tom Cruise as well. Getting my products in the hands of celebrities would otherwise be difficult. The Artisan Group makes these opportunities happen. Thank You!!
Rosalba recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Deborah Carducci




The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our talented candle and spa product artisansDeborah Carducci!

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VILLA LUSSO


We caught up with Deborah and asked her a few questions about her Italian candle and lotion line, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:



  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.   I sell my products online at www.villalusso.com. The website tells the story of Villa Lusso including "our store" where you can do all your shopping. I also sell my products in gift shoppes throughout Mass, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?   It’s hard to select a favorite product because all of my scents have been created from experiences in Italy. I would have to say that I love the Amalfi collection of candles and body products. This scent was created from my last trip to Italy and the Amalfi coast. I spent a very special birthday there and fell in love with the area. As I was walking, I noticed the gorgeous peaches everywhere which helped to inspire the scent!
  • When you're not handcrafting your amazing smelling candles and lotions, what are your hobbies?   I am passionate about interior design. I love colors, textures and creating beautiful palettes. My secret love is ice skating. I have studied figure skating and ice dancing as an adult and love to spend time on the ice. And of course, walking my little Yorkie, Piccolino, is a favorite past time.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  The Artisan Group has given me such a wonderful spirit about working with other creative entrepreneurs. It feels great to have the resources of all of these talented people if you need help with something or just an opinion. The gifting to celebrities has been an amazing opportunity to be a part of and has truly enhanced my presence as a brand.
Deborah recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.

GUEST BLOGGER: Diana Ferguson of Diana Ferguson Jewelry

What Change Has Taught Me
By Diana Ferguson of Diana Ferguson Jewelry
Shoppe | Etsy | Facebook

Who among us is a stranger to change? In what I’ve come to call “that storied period” from 2008 – 2010, rapid and unexpected change left me un-tethered from what had been a lucrative business designing and selling precious metal chainmaille based jewelry in ranked art shows from Arizona to Texas. The economic downturn in late 2008 turned into the recession that just kept on giving. A noticeably restrained buying public delivered ever decreasing revenues. Show fees and gas prices kept rising. Due to speculation in the precious metal market, material costs for my ounce heavy jewelry turned into a budget breaker. Avenues for credit closed. Finally, my husband (who is also a full time artist) was diagnosed with an illness that put our show calendar on hold for a year while he received treatment. [He is fine now – thankfully]. It would have been easy to throw in the towel – but I’m a glass half full kind of girl, plus I knew that in the current economic environment, going back to the corporate world was a non-starter. I had no choice but to put my nose to the grindstone, muddle through and get back in the game. No one is more surprised than me at how well things have turned out. Here are a few lessons I learned.

Don’t Let Pre-Conceived Ideas About Materials Dictate Your Creative Process.
I went from utilizing literally ounces of precious metal wire per piece to creating designs in less expensive anodized aluminum and niobium to – most recently – creating collages and digital art that I transfer to paper, polymer infuse and use almost like sheet metal. I’ve learned to love color and have gained a new and adventurous clientele. I’ve even won a couple of awards in the last year! I still love precious metal and create custom order pieces with it, but I did realize that jewelry design doesn’t have to revolve around silver, gold or other expensive materials. Being forced to use what you have on hand or can afford may trip your creativity wires in ways you never imagined!



Play Small Ball When You Have To. 
If at some point, like I did, you find the fees and travel associated with nationally ranked shows doesn’t fit with your personal economy, don’t overlook smaller local shows. Sure, you’re ego may not be as stroked, but I’ve found that patrons at these shows can be just as appreciative and committed to buying art – if not more so, than at larger shows. And even if you returns are smaller, you may find that you are left with a larger profit after expenses.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket. 
A number of small income streams can provide just as much revenue as the one big river (that is apt to flood). By which I mean, make sure your marketing wheel has lots of spokes – art shows, galleries, online shops, wholesale/trade shows, consignment, charitable donations, celebrity giving. Each of these has a role to play. I’ve found that more often than not, if one avenue is not delivering, another one will. 

Develop Some “Go To” Coaching Resources. 
It’s easy to feel down when things don’t go quite as planned. For that reason, I like to surround myself with positive, proactive websites and blogs. Reading them always make me feel better. I particularly enjoy LaunchHer.com, Tonya Davidson’s Musings and Mullings and the Art Biz Blog by Alyson B Stanfield. LaunchHer.com is perfect for the aspiring or established woman entrepreneur, Tonya delivers an inspirational message, while Alyson is an art marketing guru extraordinaire, offering tons of practical advice.  

You May Not Get What You Want, But You Can Almost Always Get What You Need. 
Ubiquitous Rolling Stones tune aside, a good friend shared this wisdom with me several years ago and I have found it to be unequivocally true. The trick seems to be in faith and focus; in whatever way you bring those to bear in your life, a laser beam approach is recommended.

Believe in and Share Your Dreams. 
Put yourself out there. You’ll find you have more supporters than you ever realized!

Wishing you a world of entrepreneurial success!
Diana Ferguson of Diana Ferguson Jewelry





ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Maryann Dolzani


The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our talented jewelry artisans, Maryann Dolzani!

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I AM MARYANN


We caught up with Maryann and asked her a few questions about her inspirational jewelry line, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:



  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  I AM MARYANN is about inspiring people. Each piece is designed to be your personal mantra to wear each day and be reminded... I AM STRONG, BLESSED, LOVED, etc... The pieces are simple in design as the message is strong. The intent for the line is to inspire and raise our awareness around our thoughts. If someone accomplishes that with out purchasing the product and by interacting with the brand via social media or my website, than I AM HAPPY.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  I don’t have a favorite product or mantra. I understand and respect that each mantra that I create is so very personal to the person purchasing. I know that there is a story behind each word and feel honored to be a small part in that. Creating these personal pieces and hearing the stories is my favorite part.
  • When you're not handcrafting these wonderful mantas pieces, what are your hobbies?  I love taking pictures. My camera is never too far away from me.
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?  The authenticity of the members and those that run it. It’s wonderful to gain ideas and support from other artisan’s within this community.
Maryann recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Deanna Crowe



The Artisan Group is proud to announce this week's Artist Spotlight feature is one of our talented bath & body product members, Deanna Crowe!

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BAREFOOT BATH & BODY


We caught up with Deanna and asked her a few questions about her hand-poured candles and soaps, and her experiences so far working with TAG. Here's what she said:


  • Tell us a little bit about your shoppe.  Barefoot Bath & Body originally started out on Etsy as Dee's Home Goods in 2007.  After discovering there was a discount store named Home Goods, I obviously did not want any confusion, plus I needed to sell under a name that represented who I am and the fact that the products themselves are bare bones no nonsense products.  My shop today features handmade cold and hot process soap, travel and teacup candles, and assorted body, lip and perfume balms.
  • What is your favorite product in your shoppe and why?  My favorite product are the soaps.  Just being able to create a natural product and tweak it to meet my own skin needs, and the shear chemistry of it all continues to fascinate and inspire me.  Making soap is serious business, but unmolding a loaf of soap is just like Christmas morning every single time!  
  • When you're not handcrafting wonderful bath goodies and sweet-smelling candles, what are your hobbies?  I have all kinds of hobbies.  I dabble in jewelry, hand embroidery, knitting, crocheting, painting, writing, sewing, photography (I'm a little ADD) and I love to scrapbook.  I have a whole craft room full of unfinished projects... someday they WILL get finished! 
  • What do you like best about The Artisan Group?   You have to understand that before I was accepted into The Artisan Group, I never really believed in helping out others, networking and such.  But, I also knew that I needed some help.  When I joined The Artisan Group the first thing I noticed was the comradere and the unselfish and untiring help others are willing to give.  I was even more impressed that whatever I had to say or contribute was not looked down upon.  I am truly blessed to be with a group that was handpicked... it makes me feel like my products are special.  Also, I enjoy the fact that the group is international.  To meet so many people, some in the soaping field, others in much different fields is amazing... and it all just works beautifully.   
Deanna recently participated as a display participant in a luxury celebrity gift lounge on January 13-14, 2012 at the L'Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in honor of the The 2012 Golden Globes Nominees and Presenters.
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The Artisan Group is an elite collective of artists who gift their handcrafted products to celebrities at Hollywood's top gift lounges.

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