Category Archives: Shop

Cat mom, piggies & pet sympathy 🐶🌈

I hope you enjoyed the new collection sneak preview last week!

(If you missed it, you can check it out here.)

I’ve been putting in many hours to make this collection really awesome and am super excited to share a few more designs with you 🤩

This.

We’re cat-less at the moment but I think this is what our cats would send me if they were still around… I’m a sucker for cute cuddly creatures. Even if they require you to scoop their poop every day 😀

(and why do they always have to 💩 right after you clean the litter box???)

(I believe this is the first time I used a☝️poop emoji in my newsletter 😹)

I already have dog dad and cat dad cards in my shop, so I’m excited to add a cat mom card this year!

(dog mom, please be patient… next year.)

Meet the Little Piggies! 🐷

This design was born out of a doodle I made in my iPad on the couch one night.

I was just doodling to relax and unwind – I had no intention of making a product. BUT I kept looking at it and couldn’t stop smiling 😀

You create awesome stuff when you’re relaxed and just playing, no?

Little Piggies will also be available as archival giclee print.

And a wrapping paper.

You can get it in my Spoonflower fabric shop a little later, too. Oink!

Oh man, and this beauty has a special place in my heart 💙

I’ve been meaning to create a pet sympathy card for a couple of years.

If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know it hurts so bad.

Animals you connect with – your relationship can be so healing and nurturing. They just look at you like you’re the coolest thing even if you’re feeling crappy about yourself.

I was going to incorporate a pet sympathy message in the design at first, but I came to love the design without it. This way, you can send the card as a pet sympathy or simply enjoy the art.

I named it All Things are Connected.

It’s a belief that keeps me humble and grateful to be part of the earth. I know my time here is just a tiny microscopic blip in the long history of the planet, and it puts me into perspective.

The apple trees in the art represent the orchard in eastern Washington where the ashes of our departed kitties lie. I smile and cry to imagine them snoozing under an apple tree and being friends with all the other pets that have left us.

It’ll be coming to the shop as a print, too.

My new collection will launch late January/early February 🌈 and I’ll be sharing more previews to get you excited in the coming weeks.

Talk soon,

xo

New in shop & spring collection sneak preview 👀

Hi friend!

I hope the start of 2019 has been treating you well.

{at The Domes, Horticultural Conservancy in Milwaukee, WI}

Dave and I got to go away for Christmas and spent a quiet holiday with his family in West Bend, Wisconsin.

It was unseasonably warm (stayed around balmy 20-45F°!) and there was no snow 😢 But it did snow on Christmas morning, about half and inch, so my White Christmas dream was satisfied after all.

I took off almost 3 weeks over the holidays. It was a much needed break, and I’m feeling rested and energized for the new year.

{and ate lots of mochi for the new year’s 😋}

I also doodled my intention for 2019 – these are the words that came up when I asked myself “how do I want to feel in my business?”

And a wonky kitty, of course 😂

My show schedule for February is filling up quickly, so I’m spending most of January planning and making new work.

Speaking of new work, my 2019 Spring & Summer Collection will debut in early February!

But, I’m TOO EXCITED for a couple of things I’ve got, so I’m releasing them early 😆

For example, this kitty Valentine’s card is already available in the shop 😉

And one of my fan favorite designs is available as a vinyl sticker now!

You can take your favorite reminder wherever you go on a water bottle, phone case, or laptop!

Now, here is a preview of what’s coming…

UGH. ADORABLE.

I had so many cute attacks making this Baby Shower card – “cute attack” is a condition Dave and I have when we see cute things – we scream “CUUUUTE!” and feel out-of-control infatuation for said cute things. All the logical parts of our brains shut down for a couple of minutes, and we no longer have an adult conversation.

More new works are happening in the studio, and I can’t wait to share them with you in the coming weeks.

Have a joyful day ❤️

xo

Not so humble brag 😎

You know when people “humble brag”?

Queue the eye roll, please.

Humble-bragging is an act where one makes a statement that’s self-deprecating or modest but actually trying to draw attention to something they’re proud of.

I can understand why people do this – you don’t wanna appear full of yourself or arrogant.

And what if people don’t think what you’ve done is that awesome?? With humble bragging, you can keep pretending it wasn’t that big of a deal while crying tears of disappointment inside.

But am I the only one who thinks humble bragging makes you sound even more of a jerk?? I just wanna yell “we know what you’re doing!”

That was a rhetorical question, BTW – I know it’s kind of silly to humble brag – that’s why there are so many memes about it!

So here I am – I’m proud of something and just gonna tell you about it 😀

(It’s very un-Japanese of me to brag about myself, but that’s probably why I’ve stayed in the US for the last 22 years.)

Anyway look, my 2019 Llama Dream Calendar was featured in the latest issue of Seattle Magazine 😍

The editor contacted me a couple of months back asking if they could see my calendar and potentially feature it in their holiday gift guide. Apparently, one of her co-workers has taken my block printing workshops and knew I made calendars. You never know who’s watching!

It was very exciting to see the calendar in a print publication – they always do such a good job creating beautiful and inspiring spreads.

When you work for yourself and don’t have a boss to tell you what a good job you’re doing, you rely heavily on your internal compass to know you’re going in the right direction. 

I know I shouldn’t need constant external validation, but it sure is nice to be recognized like this.

Definitely one of my highlights this year!

Thanks for celebrating with me and not judging me for bragging 😚

xo

ps. I still have limited number of the llama calendar posters here. Order by the end of today, Sunday, December 16th for shipping before Christmas (remember, no shipping between 12/18-27.) Or you can pick it up at Renegade Craft Fair (my last show of the season) today 11-5!

🎁 Place your holiday order by this date 🎁

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

I had a wonderful time at Port Townsend Holiday Craft Fair last weekend.

Definitely a show I wanna come back to!

Don’t I fit right in with these otters? 😉​

If you’re shopping for adorable holiday gifts online, I want you to know I’ll be out of town later this month and need you to place your orders soon!

Please place your online orders by Sunday, December 16th.

Last day for shipping before Christmas is Monday, December 17th.

My shop will be open while we’re gone, but any order that comes in after December 16th will ship on or after Friday, December 28th.

We’ll be in Wisconsin visiting Dave’s family for Christmas. I hope there will be snow!!! ❄️🥶☃️

Let me know if you have any questions! I’m here to help.

xo

ps. Are you a Seattle local? I’ll be at a few more holiday craft fairs if you wanna shop directly in person!

This is what makes me do a happy dance ⭐️

Do you know what your “Love Language” is?

We all experience love and connection differently. Gary Chapman has a book called The 5 Love Languages and talks about what they are and how it can help deepen your relationships with your loved ones.

There are 5 categories of Love Languages – Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.

Do you know what yours is?

(You can take a quiz here if you wanna know!)

Mine is Words of Affirmation. So any verbal or written appreciation or encouragement is all I need to keep going.

BTW – it’s really low on Dave’s Love Language totem pole (his is Quality Time), so in the beginning of our relationship, I had to constantly remind him that I needed him to say “thank you” when I did something nice. In return, I need to remember to spend more time with him rather than just saying I love him 😀

It’s no wonder I get a major love fix from your customer reviews!

Every time I get a notification that someone’s left a review, I do a happy dance!

Not only does it make me ridiculously happy, it also lets other shoppers know that my shop and products are legit.

So here I am asking you for a favor 😉

If you’ve purchased my goods (including from a retail shop) and LOVED it, would you mind taking a couple of minutes to leave a positive review?

You can do so by going to my online shop, find the item(s) you bought, scroll down, click on the “Write a review” button, and write something nice. It’s super easy!

What should you say? Well, I have some ideas 💡

You can say a little bit about why you bought the product, how you felt when you received the item, what’s your favorite thing about the product (e.g. colors, texture, a message etc.), how you’ve used the product, how the customer service was etc.

If you’ve gifted it to someone, you can say what the reaction of your recipient was or why you bought it for that particular person – seriously, anything is helpful!

And, If you’ve ever had a negative experience with my shop or products, please do contact me privately first. I care about your experience deeply and will do my best to fix it, ok?

Thanks for being awesome 😘

xo

ps. Last day to place your order before Christmas is Sunday, December 16th!

pps. Seattle local? Come shop with me at more craft fairs!

Here is how you can cross off that big “to-do” on your list 📝

Hey friend,

My winter holiday craft fair calendar is finalized!

I’m gonna be busy, busy, busy but happy, happy, happy to see you there 😍

Holiday craft fairs are pure magic. You’ll meet lots of talented local makers and learn the story behind the goods they make.

How cool would it be to tell your loved ones that the art you bought was inspired by the artist’s past work in the anti gender-based violence? Or learn how the Chinese zodiac animals came to be??

(Which you can learn if you come chat with me at the fairs 😉)

And you’ll get to cross off “buy awesome holiday gifts for family” from your list while getting some cardio 👟 and admiring beautiful handmade stuff all day long.

Win win, right?

Most of the fairs offer food, music, and fun holiday decorations, too, so invite your friends to join you ❄️ I know you’re overdue for a quality time with your bff!

Visit my events page to get more details 😘

Hope to see you there!

xo

p.s. Go to my events page if you wanna know more about each fair.

p.p.s. My online shop is open 24/7 if you don’t live in the area.

Thinking of You 💌

Did you participate in the Thinking of You Week challenge?

If you did, how did you like it?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about…

Thinking of You Week is an international movement to encourage people to send more snail mails 🐌

The challenge was, during the week of September 24th – 30th, you were to send a card a day for 7 days and let someone know you’re thinking of them.

When Thinking of You Week USA contacted me on Instagram and asked if I’d join the challenge, I got so excited and knew right away I wanted to do it.

For someone who makes greeting cards for a living, I don’t send enough cards…😬

I think of a lot of people every day, but I don’t take the time to let them know I’m thinking of them.

The challenge came at a great timing. I’d just received a post card from my high school Japanese literature teacher and was thinking of writing him back.

I immediately thought of a few more people to write to – and others I just picked a person that came to mind during the week.

I had so much fun hand selecting a card that let me express what I wanted to say to each person.

Here are the 7 cards I sent out!

They went to my high school teacher, Mr. Eto, my artist friends I haven’t met in-person, Kelly and Laura, a friend/knitter/podcaster, C.C., my bff, Amie, my parents in Japan, and my sweetie, Dave.

(I actually mailed a card to Dave from our home to our home 😀 It was priceless to see the expression on his face when he got the mail! 😆)

Every day, I was giddy thinking about my friend receiving a card and being delighted.

It felt kinda like planning a tiny surprise party for them 🎊.

And that week I was stressed out about my website launch and the whole political chaos.

So having to pause every day to write to someone I cared about was good for my mental health.

It took me less than 10 minutes to write a message to each person – but that 10 minutes gave me peace.

It was peaceful because I was focusing on what I appreciated about them and how they were making my life better.

It gave me a pause to just “be.” I’m ok at this very moment. Nobody is hurting me. I’m safe. I’m surrounded by relationships that are positive and caring even if the person(s) may not be here with me right now.

I’m most definitely making this an annual tradition! I marked the week in my calendar for next year (September 23rd – 29th, 2019) and set to repeat annually.

And I promise I’ll be sending more snail mails in between 😉

xo

p.s. Inspired by the challenge? You can start your own “Thinking of You” week anytime you want! Browse my greeting card collection to get your list going ✨

Learning something new, feeling vulnerable, and letting go

Have you explored my new website yet?✨

(If you did, THANK YOU!)

I continue to feel super proud of what I’ve created – it’s beautiful and functional – but there have been challenges and learning curves as well.

You’d think once you launch a website, you can sit back and relax, watch orders pour in effortlessly, and move on to other exciting projects you’d put on hold until the website was done.

It turns out it’s actually a time when you learn that a bunch of things aren’t working properly and you have to fix it in a hyper speed 😱

Like when my first wholesale customer placed an order, she got charged full retail price at check out even though the correct wholesale prices were showing while she was shopping.

Oh, and I stopped getting emails to honeyberrystudios.com address when I first redirected the domain name to my new shop.

(Not to mention it took the domain server customer service over a week to connect my old domain to the new site. A long story and a mystery when I was able to do it in 5 minutes when I decided to take matters into my own hands.)

And finding out that Shopify doesn’t offer a very intuitive, customizable shipping settings, and it’s caused some confusions to both retail and wholesale customers.

(note: if you’re thinking about having a shop with Shopify, know that they lack some basic functions and would want you to buy more apps to customize your shop… do your research before jumping in!)

There are more minor things that have gone wrong, but every time an order comes in or I get a message from a customer, I get a little knot in my stomach thinking, “is something wrong?”

Because I’ve been fixing what I could (with the help of various developers of the apps), 95% of the time, nothing is wrong.

And I tell myself it’s good that I’m finding out the mistakes and hiccups now. And I’m grateful my customers are taking the time to tell me if something is not working.

Things will get easier in the future.

While I get it intellectually, it’s caused me some anxiety and stress, too.

I hate feeling incompetent and vulnerable.

I SO want you to have a positive experience when you interact with me and my shop.

But when something goes wrong and I have to send messages to customers explaining what happened and drop everything to put out fires, I fear that people would think I’m incompetent.

I fear that people would be annoyed they have to go through extra steps or wait till the problem is fixed.

I fear that you will lose trust in me.

(And leave me FOREVER 😭 Dramatic. I know.)

What’s making me extra vulnerable through this experience is that most of the problems, I have no clue how to fix.

Sure, I can fix typo and update images on my website, but customize apps and scripts? That’s WAY out of my expertise!!

So I’m having to rely on pros to fix the problems, and I’m super grateful they exist to help a non-techy like me.

But I have no control over how/when the problems are fixed. OR if it’s fixable at all 😱

Like the price calculation issue I just had with my wholesale customer, it was caused by an external change that the developers wouldn’t have known about. And it took them 4 days to figure out what was wrong and fix it.

Four days. Sure, I’m no Amazon, but it sure felt like a long time not knowing if my customers were gonna get charged the right price or not.

In the midst of feeling uncomfortable and ungrounded, I’ve reminded myself of a few things to stay centered again.

I’ve told myself things like:

“I’ve done challenging things before and somehow, I managed them. It’s gonna be OK again.”

“I’ve done my best to fix the problem and passed it on to the professionals who can help me. There is no good that comes from worrying about it now.”

“Trust doesn’t come from being perfect. People trust you because you’re honest about your mistakes and handle them with integrity.”

And I thought of this:

Boom.

It’s times like this, when I’m feeling vulnerable and insecure, that I want to pat myself on the back for creating art that encourages and nurtures our souls ✨😀

Honestly, I make happy, uplifting art because I need them the most.

I’d be a wreck if I’m not surrounding myself with positive art (and people!) that lift me up when I’m feeling down.

​Naturally, my website learning curve is getting less steep every day I work on it.

I’m not checking my email every 5 minutes to see if anything went wrong or if the developers have any updates for me.

I’m able to focus on other things in life and business (like making new art for my next collection 😻) and enjoying a slower month before the holiday fair season kicks in high gear in November.

Well, friend, I hope my creations cheer you up when you need a little boost ❤️​

Because that’s what it’s all about!

xo

p.s.🍂🍁 Don’t forget –  you get 5% off on your first order and all the future orders when you create a customer account in my new shop 😉 (offer ends on Monday, 10/22).

I opened my first Etsy shop in 2010…

{I took my mini sabbatical off during the week of 9/17 but instead of my normal sabbatical week report, I have a more urgent news for you…}

Hey friend,

I opened up my first Etsy shop in December 2010.

I’d posted a picture of my crocheted fingerless gloves on Facebook (can’t believe FB has been out there for so long…) and a couple of friends said “you can sell that!”

I didn’t know what Etsy was and it was hard to imagine if anyone would want to pay for what I made.

But I said “why not?”

So I opened up a shop called “TeAmi Works” – te ami means “hand-knit” or “hand-crocheted” in Japanese – and posted a few pairs of fingerless gloves I made.

(OMG the quality of photos were so BAD 😂 a humble beginning…)

The very first day, a super sweet customer in Nashville, Tennessee, purchased a pair and turned around and placed another order right away because her daughter loved them too and wanted a pair.

It was so rewarding to be appreciated for what I made with my own two hands.

I caught the bug and kept making more gloves and other crocheted accessories to sell.

Over the last 8 years, I’d moved on from making/selling crocheted wares because I got sick of making the same things over and over, and how could you price them for the time it takes really? (anybody wants $150 pair of fingerless gloves?? 😀 maybe with the right kind of positioning and marketing, but I didn’t know that stuff back then.)

I was getting more into drawing then and was getting the same kind of appreciation for it.

And people started asking me if they could pay me to draw or design something for them.

The light bulb went on again 💡

Drawing and selling cards and prints were much more in line with how I wanted to do business, so I slowly transitioned from selling crocheted stuff and adding more art in the shop.

I changed the name of the shop to “Honeyberry Studios” in 2013.

And, mind you, I was never a hot seller on Etsy – between 2010 and until I quit my day job in July 2015, maybe I sold a thing or two per month.

It only started to pick up after I quit my job and started to devote more time making and promoting my work.

But still, Etsy has never brought me enough sales consistently.

I feel it’s hit and miss, and there is the sense of “pay to play” (in fact, they raised their seller fee a couple of months ago) and you need to be on top of your SEO game etc., which I just don’t have the time and energy for.

I was originally going to build a separate shop just for my wholesale business – because Etsy decided to close their wholesale shops at the end of July this year.

I have a bunch of friends who do really well on Etsy, and I’m happy for them!!

But I don’t like the feeling of not being in control of my shop, and it’s just not working for me.

It was time for me to move on and have my own shop that’s under Honeyberry Studios’ name.

I started working on building my new shop back in May when they first announced the closure of Etsy Wholesale.

I then decided to combine both retail and wholesale shops in one place per Shopify’s advice (that’s who’s hosting my new shop now.)

I thought – oh, I’ll take a couple of weeks to finish bulk of the website. It’ll be done by the beginning of summer.

I’m not building it from scratch (thank you Shopify!) so how hard could it be? It’s basically just copy and paste, no?

WRONG.

I always tell myself everything takes 3x longer than you think. In this case, it took me almost 5 times longer 😅

There have been learning curves and bumps on the road, BUT the important thing is…

IT’S DONE!!!! 🎉🎊🎈

Without further ado, meet new Honeyberry Studios shop!!

Isn’t it pretty?? 😍

Not only is it prettier than my old website, it’s got more functions that make your shopping easier (and save you $).

Allow me to point out some of my favorite functions here.

(I know you know how to shop online – I’m just too excited to not talk about it!!! 😆)

First of all, you don’t need to enter a coupon code to get a free US shipping any more.

When your total purchase reaches the minimum of $35 (before tax), bam, your shipping’s free.

(I’ve been manually refunding shoppers on Etsy who forgot to use the coupon code. So it saves me time, too 😀)

I love how easy it is to create/select categories, too. Etsy only allowed a limited number of categories (I think), so it’s a big bonus.

You can either start shopping by selecting a category from the “Shop” button up top, or…

Scroll to see the categories visually laid out for you!

I’m particularly happy about how you can filter all of my greeting cards by occasions, too!

On Etsy, you’d have to scroll through 80+ cards to find what you’re looking for 👎

One thing I’m a little annoyed about, thou, is that every time you put something in a cart, you’re directed to your cart and can’t just keep shopping.

If you want to keep browsing, I suggest you click on the top “Shop” button and get back in a collection you want to explore, rather than hitting the “CONTINUE SHOPPING” button at the bottom because this will throw you in “all products” page where you have to wade through 150 products all mixed together!

And may I suggest you create an account during your first visit??

Not only would you save time on your future shopping, I’m rewarding your loyalty by giving 5% off on every single order you place through your customer account!

(**NOTE:: I was hoping there was an easy way to automate this, but since I haven’t found one, I’ll be manually giving you a refund on your first order after you activate an account. Please allow 48 hours for you to see the refund. After that, it should automatically come off.)

And if you have any questions, I’ve got links to important stuff at the bottom of the website. Of course, you can always shoot me an email, too!

Last but not least, with the grand opening of my new shop, you finally get to shop my fall & winter collection!!! Weeee!

You can explore the llama stationery gifts pictured above, new holiday cards, 2019 calendar, and wrapping papers in my shop now.

FYI – if you’ve already bought some of my new products at markets and are sad you didn’t get the discount – wipe your tears, friend, because I don’t charge you sales tax at markets and fairs. Plus you don’t pay for shipping, so you’re still getting a pretty good deal 😉

My old website used to make me cringe – you know, I built it from scratch using very few coding skills I had, which I’m super proud of.

It worked for what I needed in the beginning, but it felt outdated and didn’t really represent who I was and where I wanted my business to go.

My creative business is labor of love. It’s so much work but gives me so much joy in return.

I’m so happy you’re here with me, witnessing and being part of my dream!!

Take a few minutes to explore my new site today! It’s still somewhat a work in progress, so if you notice something not working, email me and I’ll take care of you!

I’m so looking forward to continue helping you find the adorable and thoughtful gifts for yourself and your loved ones ❤️

Thank you, friend!!!

xo

p.s. If you’re wondering what happens to my Etsy shop now – I’m undecided. It will be there for now, but I will be investing all of my time and energy learning and improving my new site from now on.

Join me in the “Thinking of You Week” challenge! 💌

Last week, my mom sent me a picture of a postcard that was sent to me from my high school Japanese literature teacher.

Mr. Eto was a really cool teacher – he was my homeroom teacher for two years and was also in charge of the drama club I was a part of.

(And as you can tell, a very skilled block print maker.)

He was funny and always treated us like we were responsible, intelligent people. He was one of the most influential adults I had in my teenage years.

On the back of the card, he wrote to say he retired last year and that they’ve got 6 grandkids now.

I felt so touched that I was still on his “thinking of you” list after 22 years.

I used to send him New Year’s greeting cards when I first moved here but can’t remember when the last time I wrote him was…😢

So it was a perfect timing when I received this message from Thinking of You Week via Instagram:

“We’re working with The Greeting Card Association to promote Thinking of You Week, an international movement that encourages everyone to send a card every day for one week. We’d love it if you could help spread the message by asking your followers to send a card a day from September 24-30.”

I get requests to promote things to my followers occasionally and only follow through when the cause resonates with me and I believe it benefits you, too.

For someone who creates and sells greeting cards for a living, I don’t send out hand-written note enough!!!

When I got the postcard from Mr. Eto, I knew I wanted to send him a card and tell him what’s been going on in my life.

I wanted to tell him that I got married to a sweet loving man, I quit my job 3 years ago, and now I’m a full-time artist.

I know he’d be delighted to hear from me and would be so proud of my accomplishments 💕

The invitation to promote this challenge inspired me to join in the movement, too.

I’ll be sending a greeting card to my friends (including Mr. Eto) every day between September 24 and 30!

I already thought of a few more people I want to say hello to via a card and am getting super excited to figure out which cards to send them 😍

Do you want to tell someone that they’re on your “thinking of you” list??

I’d love it if you join me in this challenge!!

Thinking of You Week has been promoting giveaways on their Instagram, and I’ve created a special “Mystery 7 Cards for $7” pack in my Etsy shop to make it easier for you to participate 😘

Go check them out!

I’d love to hear from you if you decide to do the challenge. Leave a comment and let me know.

Happy writing, my friend!

xo

p.s. in case you missed the links, you can check out the giveaways on Thinking of You Instagram here and the special mystery pack in my shop here.