Friday, March 30, 2012

Feature Friday #1 - DragonNerd

I am so excited about today! I have been looking forward to it all week. Today I am going to introduce a new concept to my little blog - Feature Friday! Basically the plan is that every Friday I will choose a shop to Feature here. We'll talk about their products, what makes them special and unique, and even have a little Q&A with the geniuses behind it to get better acquainted with the history of their shop - as well as get sneak peeks and advice from them! So, here goes Feature Friday #1!

This week I was lucky enough to work with Mike & Shaunna Fuellbrandt from DragonNerd. This is one of my favorite shops to browse on Etsy! Mike creates beautiful pieces of jewellery using wire bent in geometrical patterns called fractals. Here is one example of DragonNerd's work:


This is the classic Dragon Curve design by DragonNerd. Beautiful, right? They have this particular design in all sorts of colors, and some even have matching earrings! Check this one out!


But this isn't the only design they have. There are plenty of beautiful patterns to pick from! And they even offer to do any design in your own custom color choice, and they will even bead it with your choice of colors as well!


In fact, there are so many beautiful pieces that I wish I could just post ALL of them right here!! Here's just one more....


I had a few questions about this FANTASTIC shop. So I contacted DragonNerd and got to ask Mike a few questions. Here are some of the answers I got.....

Q: When did you start crafting?

A: I started in the summer of 2009. I was reading and getting interested in the "making" phenomenon; seeing these "makers" build these ornate sculptures with recycled materials intrigued me. Then I stumbled upon a project by the Evil Mad Scientist and it amazed me. It was an intricate 3D art piece designed by a mathematician/artist: George W Hart. The article showed me that *I* could make something like this, something beautiful and amazing. Before that, I had very little creative confidence. I was grounded in logic and never really thought of myself in any artistic capacity. I had a ton of cardboard in my garage (from a recent move) and I set out to create one of these for myself. That was the first time I threw myself whole-heartedly into crafting.

The article that started it:
The artist's work, on etsy:

Q: What inspired you to start your own shop?

A: I had discovered a certain class of fractals called Lindenmayer Fractals. In particular, there was one called the Dragon Curve: AKA the paper folding fractal. I had a moment of inspiration that I could recreate this fractal in wire (and not paper). So I did, and gave it to my wife. Then I made some smaller ones, and arranged them in a cube. I was burning with a feverish desire to see this finished, so I was using every spare moment to make these 24 copies. I was making them everywhere I had a spare moment, even on the bus ride home! Eventually I lost count of the pieces, and made too many. My wife saw these extra pieces, and thought that it would look good as a pendant. We put the extra Dragon Curve on a cord, and she wore it out with her friends. They all went wild over this and wanted ones of their own. I made those, and then Shaunna introduced me to this little site called Etsy...

Q: What hopes do you have for your shop in the future?

A: I want to get back to creating. I really love that I am creating something that people would generally use a computer to express. I'm constantly seeking out new fractals to try out. I'm even trying to design my own! I am also playing with them and seeing how they look in different arrangements.

Q: Is it hard for you to keep your personal life balanced while maintaining your shop?

A: Not really, I make most of my fractals either on the bus or after everybody has gone to bed. My wife is really supportive and does most of the product write ups and chains during the day when our youngest naps. Sometimes we try things out in the evening after the kids are in bed. Taking pictures can be tricky, but with summer on the way, I should get more hours of useable sunlight.

Q: Any advice you would give to people that are interested in or just starting out on Etsy?

A: I think we were somewhat lucky to have an almost completely unique idea. The catch with that is that it's a bit harder to get the word out! Who's going to look for dragon curves - most people on Etsy haven't even heard of them. So I guess our advice would be to tell everyone, EVERYONE, that you are selling. And if you are selling something niche, to go and join forums and tell people that you are selling stuff they might be interested. Worse case scenario? They ignore you. (But don't get spammy - you don't want to get blocked either.)

Also take good pictures. Practice and take a 100 if you aren't sure. The sun is your friend - indirect is best. We still take tons and tons of pictures - different angles, different backgrounds, any idea that comes to us and might work.

Q: Can you give us a sneak peek of what is coming soon?

A: I've been experimenting with some shapes - I decided to do a 5 pointed star. It was a little drab, so I did a second layer, and bent it up. I call them Star Flowers, and my family loves them.

He was nice enough to give me a picture of this exciting sneak peek! Here it is, people!


Well, I hope you have all come to love and enjoy this shop as much as I do. I also hope to be able to consider myself a lucky owner of one of these beautiful pieces some day!! If you haven't already discovered that any of the above pictures will take you directly to their shop's homepage, here's yet another opportunity!!

So go check them out, buy their stuff, make a statement. Then tell your friends!! Together we can help DragonNerd become an even bigger success!!

A special thank you to Mike and Shaunna Fuellbrandt for allowing me to feature their shop in my VERY 1ST Feature Friday!!! Looking forward to doing this again next week. As for me, I have an Etsy Success Sympsium to attend ALL DAY (as I'm sure most of my fellow Etsy shop owners will be doing today), so stay tuned for my report on that tomorrow. Thanks everyone! See you next time!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What YOU Made Wednesday #2 w/ LINKY!

Hi everyone!! I am so excited about today!! I finally got Linky! (I know, I'm so behind the times.) So now What I Made Wednesday can officially be turned into What YOU Made Wednesday! So, this is what I worked on this week~

I call this my BRIDAL BOW! I'm pretty much in love with it. It's made from this beautiful white and metallic silver floral fabric that just looks DAZZLING. Plus the center finish is just SO classic. It's also one of the largest bows I've ever made, measuring about 5 inches wide. Definitely for adults rather than children. Which means I will need to find a grown-up model for this one.... Hmmm..... I'll have to think on that one.

So that's my sneak peek - It will be heading into the shop later today!! In the meantime - Show me what you have been working on!! My Linky is limited to one per person, but it will be up until 4/3 at 11:59PM, so if you want to add something later on in the week then feel free! Just make sure to follow my page ---> so that you can find your way back here. Remember to click on and like some of your favorites! We are all here to support each other =)

As always, thanks for reading! <3


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kameo Crafts banners!

Hi again! Hope you guys all enjoyed my 1st made of Money Monday yesterday! Tomorrow will be our 2nd What I Made Wednesday, but today I'm here to talk to you about something different. =) My shop just got a new look. Let me tell you, it's beautiful. Tom from Kameo Crafts was nice enough to design a new shop banner for me!! Check it out!!

Yeah, I'm pretty much in love with it!! It even features one of my hand-sculpted clay roses on the right! That was a nice touch. His idea, of course. Now..... Despite how embarrassed I may get, I feel obligated to show you this banner in comparison to my old one...... Don't laugh!!!

I know, I know!! Tom's is sooooo much better!! It's nice to finally have a professional-looking shop and it's all thanks to this guy!! 

By the way.... HE SELLS THESE!! Yeah, I'm serious. And for a reasonable price as well. Click the pic above to be taken directly to the listing. And go check out his other stuff while you're at it! He's got some really cool graphic pins and magnets that are really cute for a low price (I'm serious about how cute they are. I never joke about cuteness.)

Show him some Etsy love!!! Thanks, Tom!!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Made of Money Monday #1

Here's my newest weekly post - Made of Money Monday. It's not a feature - it's just things that I have come across on Etsy that I LOVE and would definitely buy for myself if I was made of money. =) So, here goes!!

This week I found - ORIGAMI LAMPSHADES!! They are so beautiful. I wish I could replace every lampshade in my house with one of these. I can't believe I have never heard of them before! Check this one out. This lampshade is made by tyART:

So gorgeous!! As always, click the photo to be brought directly to tyART's listing. Show them some love!! This one is for the amazing low price of $25.00 and it comes in nearly every color you can think of! Amazing!! Here is another great one:


This one comes in different colors as well, but is approximately $120. Still very beautiful though!! This one is made by Studio Snowpuppe (click photo for listing), and they even have an adorable little story in the description of this item that you MUST read. So cute. Go check it out and show them some Etsy love!!

Guess that's all for today. As always, thanks for reading!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nothing Like the Smell of Sales in the Morning!

Last night was not so good. My baby girl let me sleep for maybe 4 hours if I combine it all, and I woke up this morning feeling poor and exhausted. I asked my husband to watch the kids for an hour so I could go back to bed for a little while. He said he would (my hubby is the best!) and so I went down to our bedroom, turned out the lights, kicked off my slippers, got under the covers..... and then decided to open my laptop just to take a peek at my shop and see how things were going. I had one new notification. I figured, probably a favorite of my treasury or something. Wrong. I sold another item!! This one:


Yay! I sent it off right away! I also renewed it and changed it to "made-to-order" instead of ready-to-ship. So excited! Hope Erin in West Virginia LOVES it!!! I am pumped up and ready to do some more promoting and work today!!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I Made Wednesday #1 - Plus Blogs, Linky, & Networking

I know, I know!! I just wrote yesterday. But you know what? I find myself wanting to write almost DAILY. So why not indulge? I mean, I make new discoveries with my business every day. So, why not write about them every day too?

As the title suggests, I have run into a LOT of interesting blogs today. Followed a bunch of them, taken notes, and decided to take some of their suggestions and ideas to heart. Among these things is What I Made Wednesday, which basically lets me take whatever I make every Wednesday and talk about it. Hopefully in the future it will also include LINKY! So that way it can turn into What YOU Made Wednesday. Which brings us to our next subject.

Linky!! It's amazing. I want it. I got my first sale on my Etsy shop thanks to someone else having Linky on their blog. And I want to spread the love. So I looked into it. Turns out, it is now a subscription thing. But this guy is only asking $24 to use Linky for the entire YEAR. That really isn't a whole lot to ask, and in the long run - the only question it poses is, "Am I dedicated to my blog and my business?" And the answer, without even thinking about it, is a very loud a resounding "YES." I love my shop, I love doing what I do, and if Linky is going to help me love it more  by gaining a bigger following, then so be it. $24 is a small price to pay. BUT - I need a blog post that people can actually link up to first! Ha!! So, I will be doing this 'What I Made Wednesday' for a few weeks on my own and then maybe I will subscribe and do link-up parties. I also have a few other ideas for the blog in mind, but for now I will keep them a secret. ;)

So as I said, I have seen a lot of really great blogs today. Some of them I am even thinking about linking to my own blog because they are so great! I will see what can be done about that, but for right now I am still trying to get used to the whole blogger deal haha. So here it is folks!! My very FIRST What I Made Wednesday!! Let's get it underway!!


This is my ORANGE ROSE BOW! (Click on the picture to see all the details in my shop). I am pretty much in love with it. It brought me back to basics. When I first opened, this was one of the only kinds of flower bows I even made. I forgot how much I enjoy making them, and love the end result. A lot of people have been favoriting these types of bows in my shop, too. So I figured I should make some more to give people more variety. This particular bow was inspired by a treasury that I recently made. Check it out!


 You can click the treasury to see the full version as well. It's amazing what treasuries can do for my inspiration. I'm excited to make more and see where my creativity leads me. =) I guess that's all for What i Made Wednesday!! Stay tuned for some more new stuff, and thanks for reading!!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More Inventory, Supplies, & Hope

Hi again everyone! I have been very busy. I've added lots of stuff to my inventory. I am now at 21 items!! Almost a quarter of the way to my goal. Man, there is still so much to do!! But I got more done every day, so it's a work in progress. You can see some of my newer items in my brand new SLIDESHOW!!! ------------------------------->
Isn't it pretty? =)

So, the other day I had a little mini scare. I made about 3 pairs of mini classic bows. Only had enough small alligator clips for one set of them. So, I set off to the store. Wal-Mart first because I had to pick up a couple things for the fam anyway, and because they usually have some there. Nope, out-of-stock. So I head over to the ONLY other place in town that sells them, Jo-Ann. (Did I mention that this town is teeny?) And wouldn't you know it. They are completely out of them. And the best part was that they had NO idea when they were getting more. =D Whoo-hoo. So I looked online to see if I could get some without an outrageous price tag. I had heard of before, but had never visited. But in my google travels, I stumbled upon it and decided to check it out. They had just what I needed. AND IN BULK. ON SALE. It was amazing. At Wal-Mart I would be paying roughly $2 for a package of 10. At I got 144 for $10. I KNOW!! Never again, Wal-Mart. NEVER AGAIN!

So, I love what I do. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE IT. 110%. But I haven't had any sales since my first one. I get compliments on my photos and items and shop and treasuries and such ALL THE TIME! But for some reason I have had no more takers, and even my views and favorites are going down. Sometimes it's hard to keep going. But in the long run, I know I wouldn't stop making bows.... And they would just pile up in my living room anyway even without a shop, and at least this way I have an excuse for my obsession! Just gotta keep up the hope and the faith that someone else will love my bows as much as I do someday!!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Promoting, Inventory, & New Section!

Hello again, blogosphere...... I don't know why I keep calling it that. Oh well!! Lately I have been exhausting myself everyday trying to promote my shop. Treasuries. Forum posts. Favoriting. Linking. Etc, etc, etc. But all my hard work seems to be coming up with little to nothing. So, I decided that maybe the problem is still that my inventory is too dang small! So I'm working on that. Got a couple more new items up today. But even still, I only have 16 items up. Ahhh!! That's not enough! Everyone says that 100 is the magic number. So I will shoot for that. But it's gonna be slow-going. I think maybe 1-2 a day. Until then, I don't expect to see a whole lot of traffic. But I am still going to try my hardest!!

As I said above, I added a couple more items to my shop today.... One of them being..... Drumroll please....... A pair of earrings!! Whaaaat?? You thought I was a BOW SHOP?!?! Oh, wait. I am a bow shop. Oh yeah, my earrings ARE BOWS. Whaaaaat?? Genius, no?? I thought so. You can see them here.....
I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. I made a whole new section dedicated to flower & bow jewelry! Maybe someday I will have matching earrings/necklace for each flower bow and I can sell them as a set. How fun would that be?? Next up.... TATTERED ROSE EARRINGS!! So look out for that, people.

Oh yeah, remember how in the last blog post I said that I'm looking forward to the day when I am fatured in a treasury? Well, right after I posted that I went to check on my Etsy account, and VOILA. I was featured ina treasury. Wow, it was like magic!! Now I should say "I'm looking forward to when I make my second sale!" and see if that happens like magic too. =) Yeah, tough cookies haha. Speaking of which, I still haven't heard from my first customer. I'm getting worried and anxious. At the very latest her package should have arrived today. I want to know what's going on!! Oh, well. Hopefully everything got there in one piece and she loved them. Ideally, in mind, that's what happened. =D Alright, that's enough rambling for now. Until next time!


Monday, March 12, 2012

First Sale, Treasuries, & Revamping!

Hello, hello, hello!! I have some fantastic news!! I got my very first sale on Saturday night! Whoo!! It was the cheapest item I had in stock haha. But it was also my newest item, and was only on the virtual shelf for a few days before it got snatched up! I took this as a sign and got busy making more of them. I shipped it out today! I am so excited. Somewhere in Michigan my bows are going to adorn some cute little girl's hair. Such an awesome thought. I also sent one of my newly received business card with it =) Hopefully she will pass it along to someone who compliments her daughter's bow? We shall see.

In other news, I have discovered (or rather had shoved in my face by other Etsy members..... in the politest of ways of course) that the zebra print I had been using as a background for my products was waaaaay too busy and was drowning out the product. After looking around on Etsy, I stumbled upon someone else that was using a busy background like me. It was black with white polkadots. And suddenly, I agreed. I could not see their product for the life of me. SO! I have spent the last few days REVAMPING all of my photos. And, can I just say. They look fantastic. I am super proud of my work. I feel like some kind of fantastic photographer. And all I had to do was buy some white fabric, lay it out in front of a window during high noon, change my camera setting to "natural light" with the macro setting active, and take some super close ups. Then on my computer I hightened the brightness & contrast a little bit, and voila. Masterpieces began pouring into my shop!! It really gave me a new found appreciation for treasuries and how beautiful they are. (I have to admit, I didn't really understand the whole concept before.) Which brings me to my next subject.... Treasuries!!

I created my very first treasury today. It can be found here. Because let's face it.
The world would be a better place if everything was pink.

Beautiful, no? I love it!! There will definitely be more treasuries in my future. I enjoy it a lot. And I hope to give some nice exposure to my fellow Etsians this way. I am looking forward to the day when I am featured in someone's treasury.

Oh, one more thing before I wrap up. I got my very first sale from something I discovered called a link up party!! You link your new listings onto someone's blog so all their readers can see it. SUCH a good idea. I tell you, the Etsy community is brilliant!! So, in honor of getting my very first sale from that, I think I will link my blog to THAT blog, and also host my own link up party!! ......Some day. Not yet, lol. But I am looking forward to it, hope you are too!!

'Til next time my fellow entrepreneurs!!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Research, How-To's, & Inspiration!

Hello again, blogosphere! Or whatever you wanna call it. It's been a pretty amazing couple of days. I have been RESEARCHING like crazy. Youtube, other etsy shops, etc. I've been learning a lot. I have started experimenting with my first RIBBON BOWS thanks to my awesome teacher mommycraftsalot on Youtube. Woo! Also I am EXPLODING with ideas for centers on my bows. Thanks to The Fairy Factory shop on Etsy I have been really intrigued and inspired by rhinestone buckles as centers. SO CUTE! Also I have discovered POLYMER CLAY!! Wow. There are so many uses for it!! If I were made of money I would be heading to Jo-Ann right now to pick up 100-lb bricks of this stuff. Seriously. Endless possibilities. And you don't even have to be an artist to use it. (Which I am NOT, so this is good.) You should seriously see some of this polymer clay jewelry on Etsy. Like the stuff made by beadscraftz? Crazy. Also I have been hearing a lot about Michael's Arts & Crafts. I have never been to one. And apparently this is unheard of in the arts & crafts community. But understand this, people. I live in a small town currently. The only Arts & crafts store we have is Jo-Ann. But I just did a search for a Michael's store in the town that we will be moving to in a few months, and they have one. =) Can't wait to have my first Michael's experience.

In the meantime (since I am not made of money, as previously pointed out), I created an Amazon wish list titled "RaineBow Supplies" and have just been adding all the supplies I could ever possibly want/need for my business there. And let me tell you, it is already quite a list. And there is always more to discover.

In other news: I got another favorite on an item in my shop yesterday. That makes 3 items favorited so far!!.... Only 2 if you don't count my Dad though, lol. I know, small number. But any small victory is a big one to me right now since I am just starting out. Also, I've had 2 total strangers like my facebook page. WOO! Like I said, people. Take pleasure in the small victories. They're worth something. So, I have not really created any more bows recently. My next one that will be available in my shop is probably going to be my FIRST RIBBON BOW! Which I am excited about. But I have been running short on time lately. My darling, sweet, precious, beautiful baby girl has decided that she is now going to be an attention-starved diva. =) So that has pretty much taken up all of my time.

As far as promoting goes, I have mainly been posting and exploring on Etsy for now, but I have ordered some business cards that I will be distributing on car windshields probably this weekend so we will see how that goes. Also, I officially am listed on the first page of the Google search results if you just type in "rainebow" in the search bar. Which is an awesome victory. Because sometimes people suck at spelling, and when that brain fart moment comes, my page will pop up for them to wonder around on. Mwahaha!

Guess that's it for now, hopefully will have some new creations up in my shop very soon.


P.S. If you would liek to visit any of the shops/videos I mentioned above, here are the links.
mommycraftsalot -
The Fairy Factory -
beadscraftz -

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Beginning

Hi, I'm Gela Smith. I am first and foremost a mommy of 2 wonderful children and a wife to my amazing hubby. But also I am an entrepreneur. I am the Founder of Gela's RaineBows. Using this name, I handcraft custom made-to-order Flower Bows for my customers. The website for my shop is

But now that all that plugging is over, I wanna talk about something else in particular. My JOURNEY. Let's face it folks. It's a terrible economy still. We all see small businesses rise up and then ultimately fail within a short period of time. We see this DAILY. Not exactly the most opportune time to be starting up a business. What makes me different? Well, NOTHING of course!! Except that since I am a mommy and the wife of a soon-to-be college student, there's not a lot of money to spend in order to fuel my business. So this going to be essentially "The Do's and Don'ts of Running a Business on a Budget". And I do mean a tiny tiny tiny budget. So come on my journey with me. See how epically I fail, or how epically I triumph! And in the meantime, maybe get some useful tips and advice for your own business along the way. No matter what service or product you offer.

FIRST! Some history. As I said, my name is Gela, and this is the name that I prefer to go by. However, I was born with the name Angela (see? [an]Gela. Get it?) on November 1, 1989 in Buena Park, California. I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers, and I am the youngest girl in my family (I have one younger brother). We moved to Cedar City, Utah (where I currently reside) when I was 2 months old. So I pretty much grew up here. I grew up in a musical and creative family, and that pretty much sums up what I am as a person. I dreamed for a long time of being a singer until I realized how terrible the public treats celebrities (especially the ones who succeed, which has always seemed backwards to me), and I decided my new dream was to be a mommy. Well, when I met my future husband Max when I was only 13 years old, the dream was realized probably a little too early. We started dating when I was 15, go engaged shortly after I turned 16, and got pregnant when I was 17. My parents practically shoved us down the aisle after that (but what did we care? we were already engaged anyway!), and about 5 months later we had a beautiful baby boy. Vincent. That little boy is now 4 years old and getting ready to go to preschool. WHEW! How's that for a flash forward? Life has been crazy, what can I say? But in any case, I also just recently gave birth to our 2nd (AND LAST) child, our daughter Evangeline. In fact, her name is Evangeline Raine - which is where I got the name RaineBows from. There's a big fat behind-the-scenes fact for ya! And now for some more present news - my hubby got accepted into Dixie State College of Utah just days before my daughter was born. And now our whole future has been altered. We are going to be moving away from our hometown for the first time within the next few months - and with 2 kids on top of it. It's going to be an adventure!

And now for the history of Gela's RaineBows. It doesn't go back very far. My parents have never been very well-off due to the fact that neither of them has a degree of any kind, and so when Christmas rolled around last year my Mom didn't have a lot of money to go around (especially since there are 7 of us kids, plus a lot of grandchildren). So, my Mom had an ideas. She works at Jo-Ann, and so she gets everything there for a really good price especially when they have deals going on. So she decided that she would give all of us girls a free class from Jo-Ann as a Christmas present. One that we could all take together. I have to admit that I wasn't thrilled about this idea at first because I have always wanted to learn how to decorate cakes, but my mom and my other sisters already know how to do that so I knew we wouldn't be taking that class. But BEHOLD!! We found a class that we were all interested in. A Flowers & Bows class! So in February 2012 (a month ago almost exactly) I took my first class with my mom and sisters. It was so much fun. I had a blast and by the end of the night I had a beautiful flower bow for my baby girl's hair to show for it. After the series of classes was over, I started going to town making a million different flower bows. I made some for me, I made some for my daughter, I made some for friends and family..... And still had an excess. I was averaging one bow a day.... And that was taking it easy. Some of my friends and family members saw the pictures I took of them when I posted them on Facebook, and they all started saying that I should sell them. I was reluctant at first. I mean, I have always been one of those people that generally succeeds at everything they try. But I always assumed that it was because I pick and choose WHICH things to try. I'm not the most adventurous person ever. I was afraid that I might crash-and-burn. But you know what? After some long, hard thought, I decided that maybe a good crash-and-burn experience would be good for me. I've never had one before. And I need to start experiencing some more stuff. Especially now that I'm flying away from the nest and exploring the world for myself. (Or, at least the next town over to start with!) And the alternative is that I make a few more bucks to help my hubby get through college. Woot!

So, there you have it folks. I hope I am able to look back on this post some day and have fond memories of the beginning of my THRIVING business!! And I hope that you all will help me get there. Until next time!!!