Birthday Party in the Tent at LIC Flea!

How do you celebrate your 24th birthday when you own a jewelry company?

With a sign and a tiara...

...and mini cupcakes for customers... 

...with vintage charms on gold plate chains...

in little handmade pouches! at the LIC Food and Flea! 

Happy Birthday Natasha!

wink and flip ;)

Risky Business

When people think of MBA-style “risk analysis” they are probably not thinking about the sale of unicorn horns,

Unicorn horn from BrooklynOwl, $15

Unicorn horn from BrooklynOwl, $15

or light switch covers. But why not? At Etsy New York our businesses may be small, but risks to them? Not small at all.

Vintage Barbie light switch, $12 from LuCraft

Vintage Barbie light switch, $12 from LuCraft

As owners of a fashion jewelry company, Wink and Flip undertook a major holiday market last season without performing a risk analysis on the business before the market started. This year we are working smarter. 

Risk analysis in business is a technique used to identify and assess factors that may jeopardize the success of a project, or achieving a goal.

The best way to go about organizing a risk analysis document for your business is to address one business area at a time, topics similar to those in a business plan. In large businesses, a computer system called a facilitated risk analysis process is often used. But small businesses can grab a basic entrepreneurship book and a pencil to create a list of the systems, applications and segments of their business, and then work on their own shoebox-style risk analysis. (See list of business systems below.)

After identifying and categorizing risks, a business owner must come up with controls that could lessen possible pain, or mitigate a risk, should it occur.

When friends of ours made thousands of ice cream sandwiches for a spectacular multi-day event in the summer, they were prepared for success. When the event was cancelled at the last minute, their risk analysis work saved them. With hundreds of ice cream sandwiches on their hands, they needed to find additional deep-freeze space to preserve their inventory. They’d already spoken to a restaurant with extra freezer space about renting that space if it should ever be necessary. When the event was cancelled, the owner made a phone call to the restaurant and his inventory was safely moved to the restaurant by the end of that day. Over the course of the season, the inventory was placed with wholesale accounts and supplied the business’s other events.

Risk analysis can help define preventive measures that might reduce the probability of risk factors from occurring.

Last September, when we went to purchase our favorite holiday bags – a white organza gift bag with silver stars on it – our usual supplier was sold out. This is the gift bag style we’ve used for ten years at the holidays, and now it was nowhere to be found. This year we will take a preventative measure to buy what we think we’ll need but do it in July, when organza bags are still available in all colors.

In order to avert possible negative effects on the company, risk analysis technique can also identify countermeasures to successfully deal with constraints when they develop. So what if we run out of our signature gift bags and it’s December 10th? By having the name of a reliable mail order vendor (much larger than the store where we purchase the bags), we can place an order for additional bags and have them mailed overnight to us.

We can also identify three to four other bag colors that work with our color scheme.

The decision as to what controls are needed to avert risk lies with the business owner. She identifies what risks exsist and what controls are needed along with a related action plan for how to put the safety controls into place. 

But owners often overlook the most important risk to the business: what if they themselves cannot run it due to accident or injury? Disability insurance for the business owner, or event insurance that covers the wages of the owner and the cost of inventory, should be investigated for any sizable craft business.

Can we ever eliminate all risk? Probably not, but some forethought can go a long way toward turning a crisis into …whew, a big save.

Susan  winkandflip

Here is a list of areas to be covered from a standard business plan outline created by LLC. It can be adapted to areas of concern for a risk analysis document.

  • Summary
  • Business concept
  • Current situation
  • Key success factors
  • Financial situation/needs
  • Vision
  • Vision statement
  • Milestones
  • Market analysis
  • The overall market
  • Changes in the market
  • Market segments
  • Target market and customers
  • Customer characteristics 
  • Customer needs
  • Customer buying decisions
  • Competitive analysis
  • Industry overview
  • Nature of competition
  • Changes in the industry
  • Primary competitors
  • Competitive products/services
  • Opportunities
  • Threats and risks
  • Strategy
  • Key competitive capabilities
  • Key competitive weaknesses
  • Strategy
  • Implementing strategy
  • Products/services
  • Product/service description
  • Positioning of products/services
  • Competitive evaluation of products/services
  • Future products/services
  • Marketing and sales
  • Marketing strategy
  • Sales tactics
  • Advertising
  • Promotions/incentives
  • Publicity
  • Trade shows
  • Operations
  • Key personnel
  • Organizational structure
  • Human resources plan
  • Product/service delivery
  • Customer service/support
  • Facilities
  • Creating the financials of the business plan
  • Assumptions and comments
  • Starting balance sheet
  • Profit-and-loss projection
  • Cash flow projection
  • Balance sheet projection
  • Ratios and analyses 

Cards, Flowers and Candy for Valentine's Day

Yesterday my daughter's boyfriend sent me a clandestine email asking about a necklace she'd mentioned she liked last spring when it was her birthday. He is planning to purchase it for Valentine's Day.

It may seem to be early for Valentine's Day gifts, but walk into any drug store today and you will be bombarded by wall-to-wall aisles of red cardboard hearts filled with inexpensive chocolates. Anyone planning on purchasing something on etsy should order early to make sure their gift arrives on time..just 29 days till


The Reimagined Past offers a selection of vintage cards. This one, Valentine's Day Card with Bouquet of Flowers, sells for $5.


An alternative to roses...this beautiful wreath of tulips, for $80, is from Elegant Holidays.

 and Candy...

Linda's Edible Art offers the candies we love from childhood in a cookie form.  The cookie is 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" and sells for $36 for a dozen.

Here's hoping your Valentine's Day is sweet!

Wink and Flip / WINK AND FLIP

12 Days of Etsy Christmas

I always thought the Twelve Days of Christmas were the twelve that lead up to Christmas Day; all those pipers pipping. Not. The Twelve Days are the festive days beginning on December 25th. They end 12 days later.

Also known as Christmastide, or Twelvetide (really, who calls it that, elves living in a hollow tree?) it ends on January 5th, the day before the Epiphany, which is always on January 6th. In some cases, gifts are given on Christmas Day, but in other traditions, one gift a day is given. Here is an Etsy Twelve Days of Christmas for each of the 12 nights, beginning December 25th!

MacBook Air 11" cover, $105 from Fritz and Fraulein Vintage Redesign.

Twinings English Breakfast Tea Tin Clock, $18 from New York Clocks.

Handmade Going Bananas Body Bar Soap (with real banana) $7, by Nordea Soaperie.

Unique Lucite Necklace with Oxidized Silver $29 from Wish by Felicity.

Owl on bright pink tissue cozy, $5 from Felt It.

Red Hooded Handprinted Sleeveless Dress, $140, from Better Than Jam.

Chevron ring, $50 from Virginie Millefiori.

Frida Kahlo light switch cover, $12 from Lu Crafts.

Liquor gift bags from K. Batty Design & Stationary Shop.

Unicorn horn hair clip, $22 from Brooklyn Owl.

Celtic Triangle Knotwork Bookmark at beinthemoment, $40.

Labour of Love necklace from AdornmentsNYC $32.

Happy Holidays from  Wink&Flip!

Photo Essay of A New Market

In our house we are getting ready to load in to the Union Square Holiday Market, just three weeks after closing up at the Meatpacking market. The holiday market opens one week from today on November 16th. But long before the booths are filled with goodies, there's the craziness of "if you build it, they will come." Visits to IKEA (this time in limited light thanks to Hurricane Sandy) and Home Depot (where some things were sold out thanks to Storm Athena). We're forever making long lists of what has to be transported: 2 heaters, 2 tables, 3 mirrors, 8 table legs, drill, nails, track lighting, garbage pail, shelves, phone charger... two pages long, but somehow it all fits into Natasha's godmother's car. Oh, and the jewelry!

Natasha (left) whose dream it has been to sell at Union Square since she attended high school a few blocks away. This was taken last summer. We were exhausted and it was only 10 a.m. Now we get to do it in the cold!

The elation of starting a new market, like a sheet of white paper before you open the 64-color crayon box.

The IKEA gods watch over Natasha as she turns boxes of parts into real furniture. Many vendors hire a contractor to build out the booth. Since she is handy with a drill, Natasha wanted to do much of it herself. 

"Does this thing work?"

At the end of a long load-in day, it's time to zip-tie and padlock the shop closed. Ready for the crowds... the shop is complete.

We can't wait to do it all again, this time at Union Square. Come by and visit!!

Wink and Flip / wink and flip

Tools of the Trade

Crafters are people who like to work with their hands. I wasn’t aware that I was one until digital photography came along and I gave up processing and printing my own photos. In a matter of weeks I went from the nice, relaxed me I had always been to a fidgety, irritable curmudgeon yelling at my friends to “pipe down”. I wish I was exaggerating.            

It became apparent that I needed to fill the void. I tried a variety of new crafts from knitting, to baking, to candlestick making. (Hahaha! Not really, I just wanted to rhyme.) Seriously though, I even tried welding. None of them were for me. Something was always wrong with the way it felt in my hands. I’d turned into freaking Goldilocks.

These knitting needles are to long. This rolling pin is to short. This acetylene torch keeps catching my pants on fire.

The swivel head that started me down the paper cutting path

So, that is why, two years ago, I was wandering aimlessly around a crafts store hoping to find something, anything that felt right when I came across the single coolest object I’d ever seen; the fingertip swivel head knife by Fiskars. I took it home and put it to work. I didn’t have a plan; I just wanted to make stuff with my new tool. Today it is how I make my living. I’m a paper cutter. I didn’t even know this was a thing when I started. I just liked the way the blade felt in my hand.

Natasha from Wink and Flip found her soul mate tool early, “As a teen, I didn't know if it was easy to find T-pins, so I treated mine like a rare diamond, always pinning it in a secret place so I could find it again. I would have been lost without it.”

The T-pin and a piece from the curated line sold at Wink and Flip

Not every tool we come across changes our lives, but all of them have a way of making us better at what we do. Aziza from Aziza Jewelry uses hers to perfect her craft. “My favorite tool at the moment is my hammer. I use it to stamp my name on my name tags (…) if I hit my stamp right on; the stamps come out perfect...or sometimes not so perfect. I get to keep learning what works and what doesn’t work.” and Martin from Adornments NYC uses his to explore new materials. “My favorite tool lately is FIRE!  I've been doing a lot of fire polishing of vintage (and new) metals and I love it!  Each piece of metal is a little adventure, as you never know exactly how it will turn out…”

Lola's Bodkin and thread snippers accompany one of her handmade bags

Even the simplest tools can be indispensable. Lola of Lola Falk Designs points out that her thread nippers and bodkins are, “two of the cheapest tools in my arsenal, but definitely the two I can't live without.”

I realize most people start with a craft and then acquire the tools, but no matter how you go about it there is no denying that the right one can make your life easier and your craft better. Thanks for all your responses! It made my first blog here a lot of fun! Until next time.  

Jessica Alpern

25 Questions: Meet Karen Seiger, "Markets of New York"

Karen Seiger, in one of her favorite months, October, at a market.

Karen Seiger is the author of the book and website, “Markets of New York.” She is a market enthusiast, author, blogger about markets and founder of Sirene MediaWorks, a marketing company that helps businesses with social media, loyalty programming, and sustainable/green marketing. 

Previously, Karen worked in international marketing, loyalty, partnership management, and business development at American Express. She managed international aid and development programs in Latin America and Africa before that. She travels to Paris any chance she gets, and you can find her most weekends at New York City’s outdoor markets. Her website, and books, is a wealth of information, especially for people who love things handmade. Many crafters know of Karen, but don't know her personally, Here she is, in 25 questions.

1. What are you listening to right now?  Having a Flight of the Conchords revival today. Can’t stop listening to “Frodo, Don’t Wear the Ring” and cracking up. I also can’t stop listening to Challa, a new song from my Bollywood crush, Shahrukh Khan. 

2.DC or New York? New York! I lived in DC for 11 years and loved it, but New York is home. 

3. What is your favorite weather? Cool, sunny fall or early spring. Any day that’s cool enough so I can wear my favorite sweaters or warm enough to jump in a lake.

4. Where was the best meal you ate?  Well, aside from pretty much every bite I’ve had in the markets, the very best meal I’ve ever had was for James’ birthday at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. They made us a butter tasting, and everything was literally fresh from the farm. Then we had dessert outside and watched a million fireflies put on a show for us on a hillside.

5. Favorite airline? How about “Least Favorite Airline”? United/Continental

6. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. 

7. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My mom.

8. What’s your favorite TV show?  Anything on Masterpiece Mystery, especially the new Sherlock Holmes. CBS Sunday Morning, too. I like really good stories.

9. What’s your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving! No religion, just eating, snoozing, and eating some more, with friends and family.

10. What is your favorite month? Well, my birthday is in March, and I celebrate it all month long. But I have a soft spot for October weather.

11. Best job, and why? Best job I ever had was as a writing tutor for students with learning and physical disabilities in college. A bunch of us worked in a huge open space and shouted out grammar questions to each other as needed. So much fun, so much collaboration -- and some real learning went on there.

12. Favorite market food? I truly, deeply love it all. Except I can’t do kimmchi, ever since a jar of it popped open in my totebag on the subway. (I’m sure I‘m not the only one who will never forget that experience, i.e. everyone else who was on that train car.)

13. What was the last movie you saw?  It was “Kites,” another awesome Bollywood movie (I just get sick of Hollywood, and they never break into singing and dancing.)

14. Butter, plain, salted, cheese or caramel pop corn? Butter on a savory day, caramel on a sweet day. Have you tried maple syrup popcorn? Delicious!!

15. Favorite NYC neighborhood? I love so many, but the West Village is my favorite to live in.

16. Favorite piece purchased at a market? I love everything I purchase in the markets. But my perfect, handmade, black suede loafers from John Lobb for Hermes that I got at Hell’s Kitchen Flea are way up there.

17. What 3 things are physically close to you? Right now? My cellphone, my lovely handmade onyx desk lamp that my parents got me in Mexico a million years ago, and an orchid we rescued from the trash room.

18. Have you ever crashed a car? Not personally, but I’ve been in some bang-ups, and I’ve had whiplash twice, although once was from an incident in gym class.

19. What time did you wake up this morning? Crack o’ 8:30

20. What does your last text message say? “Funny!”

21. Have you ever been to a different country? Yes – 29 I think.

22. What is your favorite sushi roll? The Karen Roll at Sakura Hana in the West Village. Followed closely by the James Roll. (Really!)

23. How old will you be turning on your next birthday? I haven’t decided yet.

24. Are you a day person or a night person?  DEFINITELY a night person, despite the universe conspiring to the contrary.

25. Can you taste the difference between Coke and Pepsi?  OMG Yes! Can’t you? I’m a Mexican Coke person – I love the real sugar.

Susan Spedalle/ Wink and Flip

A Family History of Embroidery

Nordea's blog piece on Artful Embroidery (September 19) reminded me of my teenage years when my mother, a crewel embroiderer, taught me some simple stitches. We lived in the middle of Long Island, where there was never enough for kids to do. 

My mom was a craft person extraordinaire. She made braided rugs, like this, for the rooms in our home by going to rummage sales on the last day when a shopper could fill a bag for $1.

She loaded up on wool jackets and pants, cut the material into strips, sewed the strips together at the ends and folded as she went. She braided the folded strips and then sewed the braids into an oval, like this.

The artistry came in blending the colors that would sit next to each other in the rug.

My mom also made pictures from wool thread, called crewel embroidery. She made mostly simple flower and fruit compositions that went with our New England antique furniture: ladder back chairs and butcher tables and pewter sconces and mugs.

Crewel is a style of free embroidery thousands of years old, done on linen or cotton and many stitches allow the sight of the linen through and around the design. These pieces, like the pillow below, she would frame and hang on the wall above the couch in the living room.

Both my parents were painters, as were relatives on my mother’s side. One of them lived in a lighthouse and painted it, as well as other shore scenes. Some painted the farmlands of Hicksville, Long Island in the early 1900s, which is where they lived, on potato farms. My father painted landscapes in oil and my mother used all media for her pieces. She painted well into her 80s, traveling to Italy to live and paint in Rome for a month.

All my embroidery was done on faded blue jeans. 

My masterpiece was a blue jean skirt that I made from a cut up pair of jeans. I put a few flowers on it, like this:

But I kept working on it over time. In the end, it had the feel of this piece:

According to my mother, I wore it every day from Memorial to Labor Day. It had fringe and hanging threads on the bottom. It was not something that could be purchased at the Smith Haven or Walt Whitman Malls, which is where everyone shopped. It was probably the most comfortable thing I ever wore, and I made it. 


30 Peaches in 30 Days

I’m the kind of person who comes up with an idea and executes it. Consequently, I have very few items on my bucket list. I’ve tried to work at adding things but they are either fairly expensive (a trip to India) or improbable (living in California).

I recently realized that every summer for as long I can remember, I regret that I did not eat more peaches, corn and tomatoes in the last days of summer. I decided I did not want to go to my final resting place not having eaten enough peaches.

Yes, you read that right. This year I added to my bucket list: Eat a peach every day for 30 days before summer ends.

Peaches are meant to be consumed out of hand, juice dribbling into a napkin. As far as I’m concerned, almost anything one can do to a peach ruins it.

Canned peaches taste to me like slippery tennis balls. Frozen peaches aren’t fragrant. Peach iced tea is tasty but it doesn’t approximate the taste of a fresh peach. The closest I’ve come to real peach taste in a peach product is a nectar drink that I first came across in Greece, called Premium Fresh peach nectar in a cardboard container from Philicon. At 130 calories for eight ounces, it contains water, peach puree, and sugar and is actually a product of Bulgaria.

In my quest, I found it was really worth it to buy the $2.50 (ouch) a pound giant peaches. They are like the steak of the fruit world. So full of juice and fiber, after you eat one, you’re full.

To eat a peach every day, you have to buy a peach every day, or every other day, so they are really ripe. Peaches are best stored at 32 degrees, as they continue to ripen after being picked from the tree. I prefer them room temperature.

An illustration from the 1800s.

Getting peaches home every day can turn into a project. I bought some at my local Korean grocery store. I bought some from the community supported agriculture stand at the Hester Street Fair, trucked in from farms on the East End of Long Island. I bought some from a stand in Chinatown. The peach is native to China, and the country is still the world’s largest producer of the fruit.

I told my daughter about my quest and since she lives in the same building, across the hall from me, I sometimes came home to find a peach sitting atop the doorknob of the front door of my apartment.

A surprise!
Peaches are divided into clingstones and freestones, depending on whether or not the flesh sticks to the stone. White flesh are very sweet with little acidity. Yellow-fleshed peaches are sweet but can have an acidic tang. Europeans use the white peaches to make the Italian Proseco-based drink called Bellini.

I mostly ate peaches plain. I wash them with Environne Fruit & Vegetable Wash, which removes pesticides, waxes and chemicals used in crop production. My friend Jill uses it in her kitchen. She runs a weblog tracking innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future. If it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me.

During my 30 days, I once made a salad of peach chunks, red lettuce and ginger sesame salad dressing. Chicken, and chow mien noodles, could also be added. I came across a recipe for a peach salsa, combining the fruit with kiwi, strawberries, lime juice, green onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper. Maybe. I mostly ate the peaches out of hand. I’m not a fan of any recipe that cooks a peach, since I think heating a peach ruins what makes it great; the fragrance and the subtle flavor. So no cobbler, no peach pie.

I’m about three-quarters of the way through my quest. Have I gotten tired of peaches? Surprisingly, I have not. But after 23 days, I’m almost good till next summer.



The Etsy Wedding Registry

This is Jenn and Evan. They “embrace[d] all things macabre in their Day of the Dead-themed nupitals in a refurbished dairy barn."

Every wedding movie has a scene in which the bride and groom wander around a department store, zapping crystal and towels with a handheld device that lets them “register” these gifts for their wedding.

The husband usually ducks out early to meet his buddies for a beer and the bride, overwhelmed, and dazed from zapping, finally hands over the taser to a sales clerk. Could there be a better way?

The wedding registry is meant to help a bride set up her first home, but it's also a paean to American consumerism. Etsy's handmade and vintage suggestions for weddings can make the celebration seem a little less materialistic.

“Register with Etsy” is a program that encourages brides and grooms to create a list of handmade and vintage gifts from which their guests can choose. And they can do it all from the comfort of their laptop. No pushy sales people, no spending hours on your feet wondering inane things like "should our new life start with an electronic scale and a digital read out, or the old fashioned kind of scale with the bouncing red needle?"

“Unique gifts for the next chapter of your life,” reads the Etsy tag line. It certainly beats travelling around to antique shops and flea markets looking for those unique touches that can make a celebration all one's own. The stories -- there are lots of stories -- and features seem to focus on non-traditional wedding options. 

For instance, this is Matt and Asia. They incorporated their love of video games into their special day. 

Brides-to-be first click on a blue box that says Create Wedding Registry. Up pops a calendar asking, “When is your wedding date?” I chose June 16, 2013 for my fantasy wedding. Better get browsing, I only have 10 months to pull it all together. 

Your automatically-created Wedding Registry is divided into Dining & Entertainment, Kitchen, Housewares & Décor, Furniture, Electronics and Lifestyle. The focus is on the out-of-the-ordinary. 

Suitably formal as a member of my imaginary wedding party in his collar accessory necktie for $10, here is my cat. (No, not really my cat)... this is my real cat and he would never don formal wear.

I will be honeymooning by bike along the Appalachian Trail and all the luggage I'll need will be this Swiss Army munitions bag (that's the real fantasy!), which will set back one of my guests $72.

Imagine how amused everyone will be when they are asked to whack this handmade wedding pinata.

This seems to kill two birds with one stone, and these pinatas are very popular. There are no less than 12 handmade wedding cake pinatas on Etsy, priced from $28 to $172. Will a family member who gets my sense of humor treat the happy couple to such a novel party accessory?  

The registry offers a box to click that suggests inspiring ideas for my imaginary wedding. This covers dresses, décor and paper goods, rings, bridal accessories, and the needs of the actual wedding party (the maids and men of honor.) These days Mad Men-style weddings seem to be very in vogue and there is an entire article on this style, a throwback to be sure. 

Wouldn't I look stunning in this dress? Ugh, the link says it's sold.

Here's another. Articles put the bride directly in touch with featured products, and that's the beauty of the thing. Emma Lester of northwest England, links her article on 50's style weddings to this $800 Audrey Hepburn-style dress. 

This item seems to combine the guest book and a puzzle. You can figure it out here.

The section that is part telenovela, part New York Times article, documents real wedding stories. There are all kinds of narratives, including many such as the au courant union of Liz and Christina. Some are sweet, and country-themed. Then there was this super-hero style celebration.
(Please don't over look the fact that the bride is wearing red patent leather boots, but the bridesmaids are all wearing red house slippers! This would be easy to do as the eye masks seem to pull all the attention.)

Creating a wedding registry, or just browsing through the Etsy wedding products and stories, is dreamy. That, and a Pinterest board, could make planning -- or just fantasizing -- hours of fun.

Wink and Flip