Etsy Open Call 2016

Samantha Hartman Infinite Abyss Etsy Open Call 2016

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, number crunching, and brainstorming lately for my business and where I want to go from here. One of the things I am most thankful for and one of the best opportunities I have had to date was attending Etsy Open Call in NYC last year. Not only was it an amazing and inspiring experience, but my sales have quadrupled in the months since I got back. I walked away from it with new connections, new friends, so much knowledge, and great new stockists that are excited to carry my products. What is Etsy Open Call, you may ask? Let me tell you.

Available only to Etsy Wholesale sellers, Etsy Open Call is an annual event that choses a select number of makers to go to the Etsy Headquarters in NYC to pitch their lines to retailers. Last August was the second year for the event and the five main retailers included Macy’s, Paper Source, Whole Foods, Giggle, and the Smithsonian Museum. They also had a new segment after the main event that brought in hundreds of small shops from across the country to shop and choose new products for their stores. Personally, I liked that part of the event better, as it was more relaxed and I love to support the brick and mortar shops.

I kept getting emails from Etsy about the event last summer and really did not think twice about it. Never in a million years did I think someone like me would get chosen for something like that. I did not have a huge social media following, I did not have thousands of sales on Etsy, and I had just joined Etsy Wholesale at the beginning of last year and had literally two orders on there (which, nonetheless, I was still ecstatic about. Some people waited months before getting their first wholesale order). After reading through the criteria, I decided to give it a shot – I met all the qualifications, it was free to apply, and I did not have to fill out pages of information, which seemed alright to me! Days later, I received an email from Etsy with the subject, ‘URGENT Open Call Information.’ I was in the car with my sister, who was visiting from Pittsburgh, and almost had a heart attack when I opened it. I could NOT believe I had gotten chosen! There were thousands of applicants from all over the world and I was chosen among thirty-five others. Once I was over my initial excitement and disbelief, I realized the amount of work I had in front of me and the short time frame I had to do it. The event was at the end of August, and at this point it was the beginning of July. I already had a trip planned to go back home for two weddings, and I had maybe a month to book all the travel info to NYC, take time off work, finish up the open orders I had, prepare my pitch, figure out how to ship products AND a display across the country, and a million other little things to go along with it. Somehow I managed to get it all done, and I am not going to lie to you, it was a very stressful month. My boyfriend went on the trip with me and although I am sure he wanted to kill me by the time we got there, it all paid off in the end.

We took a few extra days and drove up to Rhode Island and back down through New York. It is SO beautiful up there; I wish I could live in a little farmhouse on the water.

Samantha Hartman - Newport, Rhode Island    Samantha Hartman - Newport, Rhode Island
 The weather in NYC was gloomy when we arrived but through Etsy we were able to go to NY Now, which was amazing. It was so inspirational to walk around and see all of the beautiful housewares and products. I would love to do that trade show… maybe someday. I also got to tour the Etsy Headquarters, which is just a great space overall. They have a living plant wall and a perfect city view from the rooftop. I would love to work at a place like that.

Samantha Hartman - NY Now 2016    Samantha Hartman - New York City, NY
Samantha Hartman - New York City, NY    Samantha Hartman Infinite Abyss Etsy Open Call 2016
The day of the event was both fun and stressful. On the first day in the Etsy HQ we were given a few lessons on how to pitch our lines and how to talk to the retailers. It was important to know which stores our products would be a good fit for and target those. After hearing that, I was even more stressed out. What was I supposed to say to the woman from Giggle, who had a store full of baby products? I tried to convince her that my products would be good for a nursery or a stylish mom, but after twenty seconds of rambling we both just blankly looked at each other. At the time I was a bit embarrassed and definitely frustrated, but she did give me some good pointers that I took away from speaking with her.

Samantha Hartman Infinite Abyss Etsy Open Call 2016

Samantha Hartman Infinite Abyss Etsy Open Call 2016

Samantha Hartman Infinite Abyss Etsy Open Call 2016

One of the things I struggled with most was getting my products and display to NYC. I wanted it to look clean and highlight the products, but I did not want it to be too simple. I decided on sheets of wood with dowel rods to hold them up, that was they could be disassembled and everything could fit perfectly in a carry on. At first I was unsure about it, but once I saw it all set up at the event, I think it turned out really well.

Samantha Hartman Infinite Abyss Etsy Open Call 2016

Samantha Hartman Infinite Abyss Etsy Open Call 2016

Although the event was most of the day, I met up with Karl after to sightsee. I had been to NYC once before but we went to Coney Island and walked around the city to see some new sights. We went to dinner with some friends I met at the event and spent some time relaxing in the hotel before we had to head back to Wyoming.

Samantha Hartman - Coney Island, NY   Samantha Hartman - Coney Island, NY
I did not end up getting the coveted Golden Purchase Order from any of the five major retailers, but to some extent I am kind of relieved. At that point in time I do not think I would have been able to mass produce hundreds of items to meet the holiday deadlines, but I did get a few orders at the show from smaller shops. Once I was back home, I got quite a few more and my sales since then have really increased. Overall, it was an experience that I would not trade for anything. It was refreshing and inspirational to be around so many other talented individuals and hear their stories. I feel more comfortable reaching out to stores and retailers to pitch my lines, and working with my existing stockists on wholesale orders. I am excited to see what new changes Etsy will bring for the event this year, and I encourage anyone to apply.

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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Infinite Abyss Reclaimed Wood Serving Trays

I have never really been a fan of Valentine’s Day. It was one of the most unorganized days to work when I was a waitress and I just never understood waiting for two hours to eat in an overly crowded restaurant. My birthday is three days after that dreadful holiday and I always looked forward to that instead. However, I love the idea of pampering someone you care about, whether it be on that day, the weekend after, or everyday of the year.

I put together a small roundup of gifts I really like, based around my handmade serving trays. They are perfect for serving up breakfast in bed and then can be used to hold trinkets and treasures for a cozy display. The items in the gift guide are simple and beautiful, and are sure to be appreciated by girlfriends, sisters, friends, or mothers this Valentine’s Day.

 

2017 Valentine's Day Gift Guide by Samantha Hartman of Infinite Abyss

1. White and Black Aztec Serving Tray by Infinite Abyss
2. Striated Crystal Ring Holder by Modern Mud
3. Desert Poppy Pillow Cover by San Junipero
4. Postcard: Love by Sideshow Press
5. Sweet Wilderness Candle by Falling Into Place

 

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Free Motivational Quote Printable

FREE Motivational Quote Printable on Entrepreneurship and Starting Your Own Business

For years I have had the same routine: go to work to pay the bills and then head home to work on orders for Infinite Abyss. I was fine with that. I was okay with creating products in my spare time because that is what I enjoy and it is a hobby. However, in the past few months my mind has completely changed. My orders increased, my wholesale stockist list completely transformed, amazing opportunities arose, and I am starting to think more of this ‘hobby’ I started years ago.

Feeling lost in what to do and afraid of change, I got an email last week that included this:

“Entrepreneurship is an “itch” you can’t shake. It can make you twitch, lose sleep, and crave something greater. It’s one of those things that just grows undeniably stronger with each passing day. To honor the entrepreneurial spirit in us all, here are four inspiring quotes from business thought leaders that will make you want to stop thinking, stop talking, and start doing…”

Although I am sure it was just an automated email from Shopify that followed after the launch of my new shop, how did they know it hit the nail right on the head? I have a feeling that this year will bring new changes and big risks, but if I do not try, I will never know.

Since I know there are others out there who feel the same way, I have created a series of free printables from those quotes. Click on each to enlarge it and then print on the paper of your choice. They are 5″x7″ cards:

Motivational Quote Printable Motivational Quote Printable Motivational Quote Printable Motivational Quote Printable

Which one can you relate to most? My personal favorite is, “There has never been a better time, in the history of time, than right now to start a business.” It is so true! With technology and social media how it is today, there are so many resources and tools to chase those dreams. I’d love to see how you use your quotes where they will inspire you most. Hang them up and tag me on Instagram – @infiniteabysshandmade.

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6 Flavored Salt Recipes

DIY Flavored Salts and Handmade Barnwood Box Set

Back in August I flew home to Pittsburgh to attend weddings for two of my dearest friends. I wanted to create a special wedding gift for each of them that was unique and something they would actually use. One just moved into a new home, and one married a guy that loves cooking, so I made them each a set of flavored salts in a handmade barnwood box.

Flavored salts

After searching all over, I ordered this set of DecoBros 12 Spice Bottles and was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked out. Each glass jar holds about three ounces and they have the plastic tops to sprinkle salt out. I made two sets so the twelve jars was perfect – six for each.

The ideas for the salts came from She Knows and Mommypotamus, but I tweaked them a little to see what worked best for the different flavors. You are free to use any type of salt you like, but I found that Himalayan Sea salt or course sea salt worked best. The Himalayan Sea salt also added a nice pink hue to some of the jars. Each recipe makes a ½ cup of salt, although with some ingredients there was a little left over, but I just saved them for my own use.

While I was planning out ideas for the box, my boyfriend Karl set to work on the salts. He loves to cook and is really good at it so this was perfect for him. Preheat your oven to 350F but once it gets up to temperature, turn it off. Start each recipe by putting all of the ingredients in the Magic Bullet. Pulse it a few times to mix everything but do not overdue it or it will turn into a really fine powder. If there are wet ingredients in the recipe, put the salt in a fine layer on a wax paper lined baking sheet and place it in the oven for 3-4 hours or until it is dried out. Some of the salt may be stuck together after that, but that is fine. Simply place the pieces back in the Magic Bullet to break them up.

Flavored salts

 

Here are the recipes for the six salts:

Sriracha Salt

  • ¼ cup course sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha

Rosemary & Lemon Salt

  • ½ cup Himalayan Sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1½ teaspoons dried rosemary

Buffalo Ranch Salt

  • ½ cup course sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons buffalo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix powder

Bacon Parmesan Salt

  • ½ cup course sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan

Mushroom Salt

  • ½ cup course sea salt
  • 4 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms

Saffron Fennel Salt

  • ½ cup Himalayan Sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

 

The set of jars I ordered came with round, white labels which worked out perfectly. Once the salts are dried out and well mixed, pour them into each jar and put a label on each. I wrote mine out by hand but you can also make them on the computer or out of special paper if you wish.

I built a box from old reclaimed barnwood that was around 4″ by 12″ so the jars fit nice and snug. I wanted to be able to see the beautiful textures and colors of the salt, yet I did not want them to fall out, so I had the box come up just over halfway on the jars.

I really love how it all turned out. My friends each love the set and it was great to see how just appreciated a thoughtful gift really is.

 
Flavored salts

Flavored salts

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New in the Infinite Abyss Shop – Hexagon Shelves

Infinite Abyss Hexagon Shelf

New in the shop today are pallet wood hexagon shelves. I’ve been building a lot of projects out of pallets lately for a few upcoming events and have come to find that I really like them. They are readily available, can be sanded smooth and painted any color, and have such beautiful natural tones that they can be left unfinished and still look great. My hexagon shelves are only $24 each, come unfinished and sanded smooth, and are 12″ at the widest part and around 4″ deep.

Infinite Abyss Hexagon Shelf Infinite Abyss Hexagon Shelf

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Printable Calendar Flash Sale

Hartman Design Co Jane.com Printable Calendar

A few months ago I was contacted by Jane.com, a flash sale website, about putting some of my serving trays on there. I was a little nervous at first but the first sale went so well that I had another one a few weeks later. I’ve decided to try it again with some printable calendars that I created for my Hartman Design Co Etsy shop. Normally $8, they’re on sale for $3.99 each and you can print them right at home. The deal goes live Saturday and will last throughout the weekend.

View the deal

Hartman Design Co Jane.com Printable Calendar Hartman Design Co Jane.com Printable Calendar Hartman Design Co Jane.com Printable Calendar Hartman Design Co Jane.com Printable Calendar Hartman Design Co Jane.com Printable Calendar Hartman Design Co Jane.com Printable Calendar

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2016 Travels and the Oregon Coast

Samantha Hartman

One of my favorite hobbies is traveling and when I think back, I did quite a lot of it in 2016. Usually my only resolution is to travel more and the same goes for this year. I went to the Dominican Republic; Seattle and the Washington coast; Michigan; Florida and down to the Keys; roadtripped through Colorado; Sawtooth National Forest, Boise, and an amazing hot spring in Idaho; Las Vegas; NYC and a wedding in upstate New York; coastal Rhode Island; back home to Pennsylvania; Moab, Canyonlands, and Arches National Park in Utah, and most recently, Portland and the Oregon Coast.

A few weeks ago I surprised my boyfriend with a trip up there and although the weather was freezing rain and hail on the beach, it was still beautiful. Portland was just what I imagined, with tons of great restaurants, small shops, and character. We spent most of our time braving the cold and walking around to see what some of the neighborhoods had to offer. One of my favorite parts was our stay at Ashore Hotel in Seaside, Oregon. It was probably one of the cutest places I have stayed and just so cozy feeling. All of the rooms were renovated with reclaimed wood and had a real modern, yet industrial feel to them. The location was perfect with the beach a block away and the main downtown area a block in the other direction. We road complimentary bicycles around, went in the saline pool, and hung out in the lobby where there was a small fresh made menu, drinks, and board games. It was a nice relaxing trip and I returned with so many ideas and inspiration from everything we visited. Although I did not find any sand dollars, the scenery was perfect – there is just something about those west coast beaches. The water looks so far away from the sand and it seems so much more powerful than the east coast. If you have not been, GO.

Here are a few photos, a mix from my phone and my camera:

Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Portland, OR

Oregon Coast

Tillamook, OR

Tillamook National Forest, OR

Tillamook, OR

Ashore Hotel, Seaside, OR

Ashore Hotel, Seaside, OR

Ashore Hotel, Seaside, OR

Seaside, OR

Seaside, OR

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

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New Year, New Projects

Samantha Hartman Design

Hello all!

Some of you may know me from my shop Infinite Abyss, but for those of you that don’t, I’m so glad to have you here! For years I have tried to start a blog, only to find that after a few weeks I quickly lose interest. However, I think 2017 could be the year that I stick with this thing. The past few months have been a whirlwind of creating and traveling and the upcoming ones only have more amazing things to come. I am excited to show off some DIY projects, a home renovation, the journey of Infinite Abyss, and a super secret project in the works that I just can’t wait to reveal.

Here’s to 2017: new ideas, new projects, and embracing the creative community that I am excited to be a part of.

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