Monday, July 28, 2008

The Pricing Bug-a-boo

One of Little Brown Sparrow's exquisite cuffs.

We were recently given a blog award by Little Brown Sparrow. (More on this later.) If you haven't yet visited this blogger you must do so right now! She features her work and often showcases the work of others. All of it a breathless venture into a world of texture, color and beauty. Little Brown Sparrow recently blogged about the conundrum of pricing handmade products. This is a subject that crops up regularly here at Secret Leaves World Headquarters. Sharon and I go round and round trying to figure out the pricing on our handmade wares. LBS discusses this issue eloquently and brings up very smart points about the value of one's work.

We are constantly worried that we are pricing our journals, cards and cigar box kits beyond what the market can bear. But it also isn't sound business to under charge and have the profit margin not reflect the amount of work and original design you have put into the piece. I think her point of not under-valuing your work is well taken. We must charge what we have to. It will all come out in the wash whether the market can bear it or not. I personally think there is an audience for all of us who are trying to make the world a little more beautiful.

The one point she made that I take away with me is not cutting corners. Sometimes we think we should streamline production and have fewer designs. But in the end, we always come back to the books as individual pieces and fuss over each and every one. Her comment about taking the soul out of it when you start doing work assembly-line style really hit home with me.

Secret Leaves Cigar Box Kit black box pile detail

What makes our journals and journal kits special is all the time we take searching for the bits and pieces, all the time we spend on what color the endpapers should be, the exact placement of an image or how we present the item to the public. This all has value and the price should reflect that. And when people buy our products... Ah ha! Validation!

Secret Leaves Cigar Box Kit black box endpaper

Again, please go read the Little Brown Sparrow blog, it will make you feel better.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Shout out to Kariann

"There is not a particle of life that does not carry poetry within it."

- Gustave Flaubert

Bonjour Mon CoussinBonjour Mon Coussin on Daily Poetics

Steve Wiman Steve Wiman on Daily Poetics

A thank you to Kariann of Daily Poetics for posting about our Stamp Notes and Femme Fatale mini-notebooks on her lovely blog. I introduced you to Daily Poetics' Flickr photostream here. Now I would like to encourage you to visit her blog. She features intriguing, beautifully designed things you are not likely to stumble across elsewhere, and each post is accompanied by a snippet of poetry or a beguiling quote. Visit often...there is always something delightful to discover.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Recycling Comes Home

We talk about it often--the importance of recycling and how it impacts Secret Leaves. We use much of the old paper that comes our way, but what we don't use ends up in our handy make-shift recycling box, shown here. Very fancy, I know.

About 12 weeks ago this dumpster showed up in the alley right behind my house. How convenient for me! I quickly found out that the city was testing this idea and placing these around town in various neighborhoods. I happily filled out the survey I received in the mail and gave the trial program an A+. At first I was afraid this dumpster would be wildly misused and be filled with garbage in no time flat. But it was smartly designed to discourage that and so far everyone seems to be using it properly. I think (and hope) it is here to stay.

Just about everything is accepted and it sure beats separating all of my recyclables and hauling them to the fire station. I hope this catches on and the city keeps this program in motion. I thought it would be a long time coming, but it seems the tide is changing. If we can have a program like this happening in my neighborhood, I believe it is do-able just about anywhere.


Monday, July 7, 2008






Hope you had a great Fourth!