Category Archives: Shop

Self-care, Coeur d’Alene, and price adjustments

Hey there,

How’s it March already?? 😬

In Japan we have a saying: January goes, February runs away, and March leaves. I guess people have felt this way about the first three months of the year for a long time.

It’s nice to know it’s not just me. Hehe 😀 Do you feel the same way?

As this post goes out, we’re in Spokane for Custer’s Spring Arts & Crafts Show. Come visit if you’re in the area!

In the meantime, I have a few announcements today, so let’s jump right in.

First off, I have a couple of new items available in the shop!

“Self-Care is not Selfish” design is now available as magnets!

It’s been one of my customer-favorites, and the vinyl stickers with the same design has been very popular as well. I’m excited to add this to my magnet family.

What a helpful reminder for every day 💗

I’ve also added Coeur d’Alane greeting card to my line just in time for the show in Spokane this weekend.

It’s also available as 8×10″ and 11×14″ archival giclee art print.

I love how colorful it’s turned out 🌈 I’ve been told many times how beautiful Coeur d’Alene is. I need to visit there!

You can find all these items in my shop or at shows.

OK, on to another news – I’m adjusting a couple of product prices effective June 1, 2019.

For your reference, 8×10″ art prints are currently $22, and gift wraps are $12 for a roll of 3 sheets.

This is both due to manufacturer cost increase and to balance out my prices in general.

Everything else stays the same ✌️

If you wanna grab them at the current price, shop before May 31st 🏃🏻‍♀️

Have an awesome day!

xo

Do you love one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry? 💎

I did it!

I survived the NW Flower & Garden Show!!

THANK YOU for coming to support me. Meeting new and old friends is always the highlight of my shows.

It was my first time exhibiting at the NWFGS, and I was lucky enough to share a booth with my maker friend, Sarah from Magpie Mouse Studios.

In fact, it was Sarah who asked me if I wanted to share a booth with her in the first place.

The cost of doing this show was quite high (for me), so without her inviting me to split the cost, I probably wouldn’t have done it.

Sarah and I have been at several shows together before – I’ve always admired her colorful enamel jewelry and her upbeat personality.

Until I shared a booth with her, I didn’t know just how complementary our products were.

During the 5 days we were together, we played with pairing my greeting cards with her one-of-a-kind earrings.

Look how cute they are!! 👀

I’m so in love 😍

You can click on each photo to shop the card you love 😽

Earrings are all handmade and one of a kind – many of the ones in the photos have sold out – but you can check out Sarah’s Etsy shop to find something similar.

Have a wonderful, colorful day!

xo

ps. Always free US shipping when you order $35 or more.

Am I putting too many eggs in one basket? 🐣

Hi friend,

​I was on my mini sabbatical week last week.

I’ve been taking off every 7th week to rest and recharge since October 2015. 

(This brilliant idea is inspired by seanwes and is THE best self-care strategy I’ve incorporated into my life so far ✨)

I typically stick to my routines during sabbaticals. Getting up at the same time, going to the gym etc. I find that if I don’t follow my routine, I feel more sluggish and low-energy.

For work, I do minimum maintenance, like shipping orders and responding to emails, but no big deadlines. And sometimes I do big picture planning stuff during my sabbaticals.

To me, mini sabbaticals are not exactly a vacation, but it’s time to focus on things I don’t usually prioritize.

(And I’m writing this email the week before, so don’t worry! 😉)

Sometimes, it allows me space to just ponder. 

For example, I created my 2018 revenue chart inspired by one of my heroes, Jen Hewett.

Ta da! This is where my income came from last year.

My overall chart didn’t surprise me. It looks very similar to what I had in 2017. Teaching and video-making took a bigger portion of the pie in 2017, but I’ve been cutting back on them to focus more energy on my product sales, so it makes sense.

Breakdown of my retail sales, though, was a little bit concerning.

Almost 90% of my direct customer sales came from doing shows and markets. No surprise because I upped the game on in-person events significantly last year.

But I wonder how sustainable it is.

Just these couple of weeks, Seattle was hit by heavy snowfall. And if you know anything about Seattle, you know that even an inch of snow on the ground can shut everything down.

Earlier last week, snow hurt the traffic for Seattle Gift Show. The last two days of the show was so painfully SLOW 🐌 Then another show got moved to a different weekend because of snow. And as I write this, I’m wondering if the show for this weekend is gonna get cancelled or if I’m able to get to the venue, and even if the show happens, chances are the traffic is gonna suffer because of more snow in the forecast.

So much of the show’s success is out of my control.

It depends on so many things, like whether or not I get into a show that attracts the right people for my work, what else is happening in the world (like Super Bowl), who your booth neighbors are, where your booth is located, and of course, weather.

I’m not saying I won’t do shows any more, because I genuinely love doing them, it’s totally my jam 😎 and apparently, my #1 money maker.

It makes me realize, I want to make my online shop and wholesale business just as successful so I’m not relying so heavily on revenues from in-person shows.

I’m not looking for a business advice or suggestions today – I have a process of figuring out ideas and strategies that work for my unique needs. I’ll ask for help when/if I need it 😉

When things slow down, whether it was intentional or forced, it creates a space to ask questions.

How are things going? What’s working and not working? Where do I want to go? What could change to make things better? These are some of the questions that are floating in my head right now.

Speaking of growing my online shop, you know my new collection has just launched last week.

(Now THAT is a segue if you ever saw one 😆)

It’s a delightful collection with colorful and happy art – and my shop is always open even during the Snowmageddon ☃️

Grab a hot cocoa, and enjoy exploring the world of cuteness 🐰 from your cozy couch.

Stay warm,

xo

 

Spring & Summer Collection is HERE 🎉

It’s finally happened.

My 2019 Spring & Summer collection is here!! 🌸🎊🐰🥕

I’ve got 11 new card designs, 3 archival giclee prints, one sticker, and a wrapping paper for you!

If you’re into colorful and adorable art (which I assume you are if you’re receiving this email 😉) now is your chance to infuse your life with even more cuteness.

And you always get FREE US SHIPPING for orders of $35 or more, so if your new year’s resolution includes sending more cards to your loved ones, stock up on them today!

Thanks for supporting my work, my friend 😘

I’m so grateful.

xo

ps. If you prefer to shop in-person, come see me at shows and markets! (Caution 🚨 we’re expecting a heavy snowfall again for the next week, and it may affect the show schedule – If the weather is iffy in the future, do check my calendar before you head out. Be safe out there!)

pps. In case you missed the link, you can shop my entire new collection here.

Good news 👍 bad news 👎

Let me start with the good news.

I found what I was looking for on my birthday last week.

SNOW!

It was peaceful and quiet up in the mountains. (We went to Hyak – only 45 minutes from Seattle – a wonderful place to play, snowshoe, or country-ski.)

Thanks for your kind birthday wishes 💗 I felt loved.

So the bad news is – I was aiming to launch my new collection last Friday, but no, it didn’t happen😿

Prep for Seattle Gift Show (which is a trade show for shop buyers) has taken more time and energy than I anticipated (duh)  and I haven’t had a chance to update my web shop yet.

I still need to photograph my new goodies, edit them, and write descriptions, which takes time…🤪 especially because I have more products than I thought I’d have. More on that later.

I hate not meeting my goals. 

I’m also trying to take better care of myself physically and mentally this year, so I’m letting go of my expectations and telling myself it’s OK to push back the launch date.

​I can totally see you go “It’s not a big deal, Yuko. Don’t worry about it.” because I know, things like internal deadlines aren’t really that big of a deal to anyone else but me. At least I hope you’re cool with this 😀

My new collection will be up in the shop as soon as it’s ready next week – keep your eyes peeled for the announcement 👀

In the meantime, enjoy the last preview of my new collection!

At shows and markets, I often get asked “do you have a wedding card?”

And I say “well, I don’t have a card that says ‘wedding’ but I have lots of love cards!” and some people make a funny noise and walk away.

I understand. Sometimes, you just want a card that says exactly what the occasion is.

So I created this “happy wedding” card featuring soft watercolor-style succulent bouquet.

Who doesn’t love a succulent bouquet?? They’re gorgeous!

This design made me want to go back to my love for simple line drawing and watercolor. So I created a few more in a similar style.

Ah, llama graduate.

I actually created this design for a drawing tutorial video for Sakura of America last year. I loved it so much that I brought it back as a product 🍎

CUTE.

And this.

Loon Father’s Day card.

I’ve been taking long walks around Seward Park lately and noticed lots of these loons on the lake. Though I’ve never seen this adorable situation with a baby on the back of a daddy loon in person, internet tells me it’s a thing.

It’d be perfect for a nature-loving dad, don’t you think? 🦆

Confession time: that was gonna be it for my new collection – but inspiration hit earlier this week and I had to make a couple more designs.

(and that’s partly why I’m not ready to launch the collection just yet…)

Loving the simplicity of this new Mother’s Day card! I’m obsessed with this color palette this season 🎨

And a little word play for the gardeners 😆

I’m gonna be at NW Flower & Garden Festival this year and thought this would be a big hit 🥕🐰

OK, so I’ve created whopping 11 new designs for the collection – WOW and every one of them gives me the warm and fuzzy feelings.

Thanks for your patience as I figure out how I can manage my time and energy better this year.

I promise it’ll be worth the wait!!

xo

 

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!