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Clearance Bin

Check out our clearance bin on our Facebook Page to get amazing discounts for our mosaic kits!

Handmade Items for Sale

Great for gifts or for your own personal collection!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

It's official!

Weehoo! It's official! Signed, sealed and delivered - bring it on Urbanscapes! Come visit our booth where we'll be having lots of fun items on display and for sale. Will be revealing a little bit more each day on what to expect so stay tuned!

Also, we'll be sharing the booth with a lovely and very talented lady named Jenny. Check out her Etsy stores here and here! I guarantee that you will be amazed! More reason to come visit us this 16th of July!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Of spaces in between

So lately I've been alternating between the study room, the dining table, the living room table, the kitchen table and the guest room, leaving a trail of chaos everywhere I go. And now, I have officially ran out of spaces to work! My vice is that I start on so many projects at the same time, much to the dismay of my husband. I truly believe that behind every crafter is a very patient husband.

While taking a short break, I thought I'd dream up my own airy workspace to add on to my ever-growing "when I grow up" list. Looks like I'm not the only one in the blogosphere looking to improve their work condition. Nest of posies wrote a post on how she transformed her workspace rather economically. I have to say though it looks like a lot of work, it did turn out beautiful! I especially love her Inspirational Board which she literally made from trash!

Nest of Posies' Inspirational Board

Another blogger and crafter, wrote a post on how she recreates her craft room when she moved into a new (and really beautiful) house. Her previous craft room was in the basement and then she moved into the attic in her new house! Oh, how I wish we have attics and basements in our houses, although for Asians that might be a nest for horror stories :P In that post she also introduced some books to help, I can't help it but ordered this on Amazon (and resulted in an 1-hour side-track of books under Craft & Hobbies, yikes!):

Ordered from Amazon!
Another blogger invited other crafty people to show their workspaces and another toured the blogosphere and chose her favourites. This was my favourite: 

In love with white wooden furniture and French windows.

Ok, now I'm inspired to work harder (and clean up a little...). Till then, may your creative spaces be always airy and clean.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The road to Urbanscapes

And so, as I have alluded to in an earlier post, Square Art is now slotted as one of the vendors for Klue Magazine's Urbanscapes event. This year it's going to be held in Padang Astaka, next to near good ol' A&W in PJ and they are expecting about 12,000 people that day! And boy, have we been busy since the announcement!

Here is what's on our drawing board (pieces of scrap paper/used envelopes, really):
  1. Budget - Very, very important. ROI is everything, baby.
  2. Booth design - Been checking out other people's booth designs and also reading tips from Etsy. How to make a great impact without making an impact on our pockets? Ideas still rolling around my head on this.
  3. How to sell - Our selling strength has always been on the displays that scream "Hey you, mosaic art is not hard at all! You can do it too!". We're going to try to showing more of these samples that day.
  4. Freebies/Giveaways? - Now, this IS still the drawing board, but it'll be great to have some nice things to giveaway to nice patrons to our booth. What do you think? Would it make you come visit our booth that way? :D
  5. And a whole gazillion of other things...
Now, have we gotten you excited enough to join this event come 16th July? :)

Part of the display making its debut during Urbanscapes.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A progress in work = work-in-progress

Today I sent a SOS tweet out for some motivation. It is certainly not easy to keep on at a goal and stay motivated throughout. You just have to wonder sometimes, how some people (usually the successful ones) manage to stay pumped up; the party-the-whole-night and the earliest-to-arrive-FRESH-in-the-office ones that we so like to hate. Methinks it just boils down to one word: Determination. And today, I am determined to finally finish a welcome page for Square Art! (timestamp noted)

On another note, I just got great news that Square Art has been selected to be one of Urbanscapes' vendor for next month's art festival - until I saw their vendor rate. Would definitely have to give this some deep, deep thought. Although Square Art has been making its appearances and doing well in craft fairs so far, there are many other avenues that I am also considering. Will definitely share some news about that soon - another WIP. Oh my, I better heed the wisdom of not starting so many things that I cannot finish!

Will you be going to Urbanscapes this 16th of July?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Learning from Jarrod & Rawlins

It wasn't my intention to write about business topics in this blog but as most of you are aware, Square Art is a relatively new business and I try to learn as much as I can. And some of the things I learn is just too valuable not to share. The latest podcast I heard (the last one was on growing your business from art) was by BFM89.9 - the business station - on their "Open for Business" segment. Guess who they interviewed? One of the directors from Jarrod & Rawlins - one of my favourite places to eat!

Denis Rawlins shares with the listeners his experiences and things he learnt when starting this business. Here are some of the points I thought were useful for budding entrepreneurs:

  • Suitability of location for your business depends also on your Brand (on how shopping malls weren't working well for J & R)
  • Differentiation - stand out from your competition (and there will be competition!) by offering something different from the rest. In J&R's case, the idea of a deli and a restaurant in one place worked.
  • Organization of the company i.e. who does what is important. 
  • Learn from your mistakes!
  • (This is a note to self) Find out the difference between licensing and franchising. (Licensing was mentioned briefly in the aforementioned podcast).
  • Protect your brand.
  • What he learnt: you can't be everywhere at the same time.

The last point is important, because Rawlins learnt this when he was just starting out at the business and I can relate somewhat to that now. When you first start out, you tend to start many things at a time. You will then realize you can't be there for all of them so you need to set up procedures for them and delegate it to someone you can trust. 

Listen to the podcast below:

Friday, 10 June 2011

Razzle dazzle 'em old things!

A lot of customers who drop by our booth during craft fairs ask what can they do with the tiles. Sometimes I draw a blank on how to answer, not because I don't know how, but because the answer is that it's limitless! So, I proceed to tell them about the easiest projects they can start out with. Photo frames. A lot of photo frames we are buying these days (think: IKEA) are either in black/white or in solid colours. Why not jazz them up with some sparkly tiles to match the interior of your house or the mood of the picture? 

Let me show you some example of some razzle-dazzlin' that I manage to do yesterday. If you will remember, I did a Home Improvement Challenge post about 2 weeks back asking readers to choose which one I should work on, a black vase, some coasters of a photo frame. In the end, it was decided that the photo frames needed some colours and later I did try out the coasters to see how it would like.

The frame before the dazzlin'
The frame after some dazzlin'
The reason why this is such a simple project is because of the straight lines functioning as borders around the frame. The tiles are currently sold in 5 x 5 mm squares and no cutting is required. All you have to do is get the colour combination that works for your frame and stick it. It didn't take me very long to finish this project :)

Now, for the coasters. I got some "pearl white" tiles to work with to achieve a "sea-shell" look on my coasters. I only did one so far - have a look at them:

Here's the plain-looking pear-shaped coaster.
Sticking the pieces together. The round corners were a bit tricky.
Voila! It's done!

I'm not sure if hubby would let me bedazzle the rest of them though!

So, there you have it folks! It's really easy, once you get pass the first 20 tiles or so. Why don't you start on some projects left aside this weekend? :)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Registering Your Business Online in Malaysia

Just did a short post on how to register your business online in Malaysia, which I have included as one of our main pages in this blog. A lot of online sellers don't yet know how easy it is to register online. This is especially useful now, what with all the news about the government taking action on "errant" online sellers who are not registered. 

Hope it helps you and all feedback/comments welcomed! :)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Growing a small business from art

We've just crossed a huge milestone recently which is to get our business registered. This was an idea being tossed around but finally came into fruition after seeing the reception we received from craft fairs, even from our friends and family.

Just like a flower, a business needs help to grow.

Being a new and small business, there are a lot of things we need to learn, such as how to sustain and grow this business. Therefore of late, I've been reading E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber and listening to their podcasts. My husband introduced this book to me when he saw my interest in starting my own business. So in this post, I'd like to veer away from our normal posts and share with all of you what I've learnt today about growing a business from art.

The podcast featured Tara Reed, an artist and author behind Tara Reed Designs sharing some of her ideas and tips for artists to grow their business. Here are some salient points I took away from the podcast.
  1. Keep your EARS and EYES open for business opportunities & trends.
  2. Think about LICENSING your art (not sure how it works in Malaysia though).
  3. STUDY the industry you are getting into.
  4. Create a SYSTEM that can make things more EFFICIENT.
  5. DOCUMENT every task so you can "train a monkey" to do it.
  6. Consider OUTSOURCING if you do not need to be doing what you are doing; think what gives more value to your business.
  7. You cannot shoot for the stars if you're doing everything yourself; don't be a CONTROL freak.
  8. Get out of your own way. Don't create EXCUSES or be AFRAID to try something new or ask for help.
  9. Be FLEXIBLE. Don't have preconceived notions about your art or what your customers want.
  10. Be OPEN to new ways to do things, don't stay comfortable in a routine. I.e. social media marketing.
  11. UNDERSTAND who your market is.
  12. Create emotional CONNECTION with customers to create LOYALTY.
If you are also an artist in Malaysia starting a small business, share with us what other tips or ideas you've gathered along the way. If you would like to listen to the podcast, click here.

Square Art is Malaysian small business being watered and fertilized to grow. If you would like to know more about us or our products, visit us on our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter.
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