Design Your Own Frame with The Project Cottage

We have finally committed to blogging! The Project Cottage has been doing very well but time has been an issue when it comes to getting our social media going so we have hired an intern from University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Caitlin Ford, to handle our Social Media and even though she can direct us and help us out with pinning and tweeting our products, we feel that it’s important for us to put ourselves out there a bit more and let everyone know the people behind the company!

I started this company a few years ago with an Etsy Shop. Can I just tell you how much I love Etsy! I was very fortunate because my very best friend, Graphic Designer extraordinaire and next door neighbor, Allyson McFarlane, not only believed in me and my products but spent countless hours helping me define The Project Cottage and then basically became my IT and graphic designer free of charge!  The first year was truly one of the hardest years of my life and I often second guessed my decision to leave my “real paying job” and jump into this business. I couldn’t have done it without Allyson and started having new visions of my venture which included her. We both have eyes for design but our talents are very different. I work with wood and paint and her art is made on the computer. It only made sense to put her graphic designs in my frames. So, last year Allyson stepped down from her full time job, started part-time freelancing and joined forces with me!!!

So how do two mothers and wives juggle their own business, make new designs, manufacture and ship, attend countless school functions, chauffeur our children to dozens of extra curricular activities weekly, run our households, spend quality time with our families and still find time to go to the beach! Well, it’s not easy but the phrase “it takes a village” comes to mind. Our husbands and children are all very close too so we rely on each others families… a lot! Even our husbands have come to appreciate this unique situation and found that they too can work this system to their advantage!  We all have similar interests and core values when it comes to parenting and the kids know the deal too. Obviously this is a unique situation, but I promise you the benefits out weigh the hardships and it has made the success of The Project Cottage possible!

I could go on for hours explaining the dynamics of these relationships but instead I’m going to get back to business and tell you what’s going on now with our company. We have developed our website to give our customers the ability to make custom pieces, without the hassle. And Social Media has not been a priority to us but we have decided to bump our business up to the next level and thought we would share as we go and hopefully will have a tidbit or two of useful information for fellow art/crafter/designer entrepreneurs.

Design Your Own

We are very fortunate to have a successful Etsy store but we also have a web site.  We have decided to try and drive more business to our site because most of our Etsy customers want custom designs and the back and forth is extremely time consuming for everyone involved.  So let us introduce… Design Your Own. We’ve even created a handy How-To Graphic to see how it all works. Our web site has the capabilities to customize dozens of products right down to your colors, size and hardware. We have Design Your Own Coat Racks, Key Hooks, Bottle Poppers, Frames, Surfboard Racks and Shelves. We’ll continue to add products to this section monthly and hope you too will recognize its value. We have a number of interior designers that are using us and they keep coming back! They know exactly what they need and can get it to their exact specifications. We think there are plenty of everyday people that have vision too and we want to help you bring that vision to life.  What’s in it for us? Obviously this isn’t the easiest and most effective way to manufacture hand-made goods since there are so many variables but what we get is the ability to continue to make our own products, sell directly to the public without a middle man to keep the prices down and we don’t have to keep making the same exact thing over and over! It’s actually a designers dream! So check it out!

Design Your Own Frame with The Project Cottage

Design Your Own Frame with The Project Cottage

Social Media Focus

This month our Social Media focus is on Pinterest. We have set up boards and will continue to pin some of our products along with other coastal interiors that we love. We have bought a few books about Pinterest for business and will keep you posted on what’s working! Next week we will be running a Facebook Contest so check back for more information. Each month we will tackle a new Social Media platform and plan to share as we go.

Until next week!

Colleen Gardner,
Owner of The Project Cottage

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