Sunday, October 22, 2017

Giving Your Small Business The Value It Deserves!

By Arianne Plehandzic

Let me tell you about the excitement of growing as an artist!
When you first start feel unsure and nervous about where you fit in as an artist. I have tried doing other things like nursing, hair dressing, computer graphics designer, jewelry making in my life. It was not until I picked up that paint brush that it just FELT RIGHT!! It came easily to me... it relaxed me... it made me very happy! It started as a relaxing hobby and has become a passion. It was tough for me personally to put my work out there. I don't have the greatest self esteem. Once I had the courage to put my work out there, I was so delighted by the response. Everyone loved my art and they said 'You have talent!"...!! So you mean everyone likes something that I love doing?! How wonderful!!!

My very first watercolor painting!

The next natural step for me was to sell my art. My husband works hard as a pipe fitter/construction plumber. He never complains and is always willing to work overtime. We both enjoy the idea of having me home to take care the kids and our home. Call us 'old fashioned'...we don't mind. The idea of making extra income sounded good to me anyway. However, my problem was that I didn't put any real value to my hard work and it showed. Listing products much lower than what they were worth. Selling products at the price that it cost me to make them. I was just thinking about making a quick buck and trying too hard to be 'nice' to my customers. 

My 'Wild Flowers' painting!

It has taken me almost a year to learn and accept the true value of my work. Seeing that hard work should be paid just like any other job. Understanding that what I was doing was unique and one-of-a-kind. Only I can paint the way I paint...and no one else! Which is true of any craft or job. Be happy about what you have to offer. When others see this joy, they appreciate your work even more. Your confidence helps a customer feel a sense of trust with you as a business person. 

A day spent painting a bird is a day well spent!

Another problem I was having before was trying to please the customer by not taking in account all the extra things I was doing for them. I was trying so hard to please, that I was taking money out of my own pocket to pay for that extra shipping cost, or giving away free products that were worth the same price as the product they paid for. Sometimes being 'too nice' is a good way to go out of business. Remember that the product they paid for is good enough for that price. Adding a couple dollars for shipping so that you aren't losing your profit IS OKAY! 

My art studio giving off a rainbow effect! :)

You have to remind yourself that what you do is handmade with love! Yes in this industry we use that term a lot, but IT IS SO TRUE!! We are not a factory popping products out by the minute. We are passionate people who work very hard on a single product. And the silly thing is many of our customers already know this. That concept took me so long understand. I have an Etsy shop and almost everyone shopping on Etsy are looking for handmade items. Keep this in mind when you are pricing and putting together your product. Don't try to compete with Wal-mart or Target. That will just cause you frustration and profit loss. An art print in Target can be bought at $12. An art print in my shop starts at $15 and up. The difference is my art prints are unique and one-of-a-kind. Plus I have put in hours and hours of sketching, painting, scanning, editing, printing and packaging. All those things need to come into account when I list my print.

My shop display at a local farm.

Every small business has to go through a learning process and it involves a lot of hard work. The true joy comes from finding the value and pleasure in your small shop. Knowing that what you have to offer is special and you enjoy sharing it with the rest of the world. So please take a tip from me...don't take your value away to make your customer happy. You will have a more success and be a more profitable business giving yourself the credit you deserve!

Here's to you and your success!
xoxo, Arianne

Monday, August 7, 2017

Garden Dreams Artisan Gift Boxes


If you were to take my vision of my shop and put it in a box...this would be the result!!
I am so happy to introduce my gift box collection: GARDEN DREAMS!
These boho chic gift boxes feature my watercolor artwork, my handmade artisan goods and some special curated gifts too. Each box was careful planned out and put together. The theme for them was obviously the garden. Using the key gift in the box to help me determine what was included and what the name was going to be. 

There are special moments in a garden that I wanted to incorporate into the theme of my collection. To help you see a vision of those moments when receiving a gift box. Let me go through the collection with you and share my vision for each one.

(This post contains links to my Etsy shop. All artwork and designs belongs to Arianne's Joy. Please read my disclosure page for more details. Thank you!)


New Hampshire artisan made gift boxes featuring watercolor artwork and handmade goods!


My handmade Rose Scented Bath Salts in pretty teal mason jar, my handmade Lavender Soap Bar made with real lavender flowers and wrapped in pretty floral fabric, my Custom Designed Let Love Grow Butterfly Flowers Seed Packet, 'Seed Annual' Watercolor print 4x6 card, my 4x6 Framed Watercolor Print From Original Artwork 'Blueberry Robin' Framed in a thin black frame and can stand or be hung on the wall, and 'Blessed' mug with rose-gold tea spoon.

VISION: For this gift box, I focused on the 'BLESSED' mug for inspiration. I loved the teal on the mug, so I knew my bath salts and soap would match perfectly.I added the magnetic framed watercolor print, because the frame would go on the refrigerator in the kitchen...where the mug would be. I pictured someone sitting in their garden in the morning listening to the birds sing!


My handmade Rose Scented Bath Salts in pretty teal mason jar, my handmade Lavender Soap Bar made with real lavender flowers and wrapped in pretty floral fabric, my Custom Designed Let Love Grow Butterfly Flowers Seed Packet, 'Purple Flower Names' Watercolor print 4x6 card, all natural shortbread cookies and plush pink eye mask!

VISION: For this gift box I focused on the pink plush eye mask and shortbread cookies. I pictured someone with a big beautiful garden view from their bay window. Sitting on their window seat enjoying the view of the garden and moonlight. Treating themselves to a little relaxation. That's why my bath salts and lavender soaps were a must!


My handmade Rose Scented Potpourri, my custom design Let Love Grow seed packet, 4x6 framed 'Blueberry Finch' watercolor print comes in thin black frame that can stand or be hung on the wall, spring bouquet scent fragrance sachets, and gardenia scented soy candle.

VISION: For this gift box I focused on the fragrance sachets. They reminded me of a peaceful french cottage with a garden all around. Sticking with the home feel, I added a gardenia soy candle and rose potpourri. I always think of purple lavender flowers when I think of french things. So I wanted to add a seed packet with purple flowers on it and my 'Blueberry Finch' watercolor print has a hint of purple in it as well.


My watercolor print 'Blue Jay' card, almond scented soap, tobacco scented candle with matches, silver flask, and gourmet gummies.

VISION: For this gift box I focused on the darkness of the tobacco candle. It made me think of the evening sunset...sitting on the patio enjoying an evening cigar. Keeping with the mens theme, I thought my 'Blue Jay' watercolor card would be a perfect fit!


My handmade rose scented bath salts in pretty teal mason jar, my handmade lavender soap with floral fabric to preserve, my 'Butterfly Flowers' watercolor print 4x6 card, my 'Rainbow Hydrangeas' watercolor print in 4x6 thin black frame can stand or hang on the wall, my custom design Let Love Grow seed packet and pretty packaged citrus facial wipes.

VISION: For this one, I focused on the citrus facial wipes in the pretty floral packaging. The wetness of the wipes reminded me of the morning dew. I loved the packaging and matched it with my watercolor print and seed packet.


My handmade rose scented bath salts, my handmade lavender scented soap, my 'garden birds' watercolor print card, my custom design Let Love Grow seed packet, 4x6 framed my watercolor print 'Plant Joy & Happiness Will Bloom' comes in thin black frame can stand or hang on the wall, and set of two beautiful floral kitchen towels.

VISION: For this gift box, I was inspired by my watercolor 'GARDEN BIRDS' card for the name. I pictured the blue birds chatting on the garden gate. The two beautiful floral towels had garden lover written all over it. So I added a seed packet and framed watercolor 'PLANT JOY' print.


My handmade Rose Scented Bath Salts in pretty teal mason jar, my handmade Rose Scented Potpourri in clear bag with ribbon, my handmade Lavender Soap Bar made with real lavender flowers and wrapped in pretty floral fabric, my handmade Pressed Flower Bookmark with ribbon, my Custom Designed Let Love Grow Butterfly Flowers Seed Packet, my 4x6 Framed Watercolor Print From Original Artwork 'Butterfly Flowers, Framed in a thin black frame and can stand or be hung on the wall!

VISION: I wanted one of the gift boxes to embody the overall look and feel of my shop. I love painting rainbow colors and flowers! The heart of my shop is rainbow colors and my handmade goods. The box needed to include one of each of my beautiful handmade items. A shop favorite to finish off the box: my BUTTERFLY FLOWERS watercolor print in magnetic frame!

I wanted the gift boxes to look 'BOHO CHIC'. I like the clean look of the plain white box. To make it 'boho chic', I took pretty floral fabric and ripped it into strips and tied them around the box. I love the way they turned out!!


I would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment down below!

Wishing you sweet garden dreams!
XOXO, Arianne

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Handmade Artisan Goods From Arianne's Joy Etsy Shop!


I believe that handmade things are better. Why? Because they are made from the heart!!
I have always loved handmade things ever since I was little. My mother was a renowned seamstress and talented, creations extraordinaire! I really loved looking at all the pretty fabrics she was working with. The tiny little flowers in pretty colors on the soft fabrics. Watching her focus while she cut, ironed, stitched and finish her pieces. It really has a magical effect on a girl. She made all my clothes including beautiful smocked dresses. She would make me dolls with a whole wardrobe of clothes. Needless to say, I now have a love for making things too!

(This post contains links to my Etsy shop. All products and designs belong to Arianne's Joy. Please see my disclosure page for more details.)



I usually start my process by going flower picking with my two beautiful girls! 
(In the winter, I just head to the store for flower bouquets.)
It's a beautiful experience. Not only do I love looking at all the pretty flowers, but I get to see my girls admiring the flowers too. They put flowers in each other's hair and make flower crowns. Boho girls like their mama. We bring a little basket and try to put as many as we can inside.

When we get home, I separate them to see how many of each kind I have.


Then I carefully add the flowers to my wooden flower press. 
I love my flower press! My husband made it for me. He cut the wood down, made some holes for the screw and knots. Then I decorated it with mod podge and pressed flowers. So pretty!


After a couple of weeks, I can then make some pressed flower bookmarks.

I carefully place the flowers in a design on the laminate sheet and laminate it.

I can then cut them out and decorate with ribbon.

End result.... pretty, huh?!


So, lucky for me my husband buys me fresh flower bouquet every week for my table.
So I take the bouquet from the week before and hang it upside down to dry.
After a few weeks the bouquet is ready to be cut and turned into potpourri.

I only use the prettiest pieces for the potpourri.

I add a few drops of rose oil and gently toss to cover. Then I add more if needed.

Then it goes in a clear bag with pretty ribbon to finish!


I mix all my ingredients in a bowl and pour it out onto my tin tray to air dry.

Once it's dry I scoop it into these beautiful teal mason jars.

I love to add a little bit of Himalayan pink salt to add color and texture.


I like to use goat's milk for my soap. I also add real lavender flowers in my soap. Not only are they pretty, but they also add some exfoliation to the soap!

I absolutely love my soap molds...they are so beautiful!!

Then I add pretty fabric pieces and string to finish. The fabric keeps the soap from sweating or dissolving on it's way to the client.


Although this is the easiest of my items to make, it seems to be the most popular.
I designed the tags on my computer...printed them out...cut them and stapled them to the seed packets.
They look so gorgeous along side my other handmade goods!


Although this idea is still in the works... I'm hoping by the time you read this, it will be available in my shop. I would love to create a gift box that includes one of each of my handmade items and possibly one of my watercolor prints. Below is my very own display in a local salon. I put a little bit of everything from my shop to show off. A VERY HAPPY MOMENT!!

I hope you enjoyed learning more about my process!

Visit my shop...I made some pretty things for you!

Be filled with joy!
xoxo, Arianne