Thursday, March 31

Instagram update

my instagram

A while back I wrote about how instagram has helped my small business gain new customers. The formula was pretty straightforward too:
  1. take a great photo
  2. include relevant hashtags
  3. post regularly
These posts had a fair chance of being viewed by hundreds of users and potential customers. Alas, just when everything was running smoothly, big bad Facebook had to come and swallow Instagram. In other words, Facebook owns Instagram, and as of March 29th the feed is no longer chronological. Instagram posted a short announcement to this effect on March 15th. Whether these changes are an improvement as they say remains to be seen. 
I felt that I had to write a follow up post on this issue and offer some advice to other small businesses  who depend on instagram to grow their customer base. This doesn't affect big commercial accounts much, since their budget covers ads, whether on FB or IG. Anyhow, on the day preceding the change there was a bit of a panic as users scrambled to inform their followers to turn notifications on. Yep, I'm guilty of this too. In hindsight this probably isn't feasible as most accounts, including mine, follow hundreds if not thousands of others. Just imagine getting a notification each time...oops.

To get around this some suggested turning the automatic update for instagram off - which probably works indefinitely. Here's what I do instead - I check my feed on iconosquare. This way lets me see all the posts in chronological order. Of course, you'll need to open an account over there, but it really is quite simple and if you choose the basic version it's even free.

Due to the change in algorithm I've noticed I'm getting "likes" from a whole different set of users, mostly artists and photographers. While it's always nice to get to know new people I'm not sure they are my target audience. So I've had to revise my strategy a bit. While I still believe a great photo with relevant hashtags is still important, it's probably a good idea to increase posts to perhaps twice or three times a day (I'm still working on this). I wouldn't post more than that, otherwise it might be confused as spam.  

There are few generic hashtags that I include in almost every post. I know some users frown at adding a lot of hashtags and it does look a bit overloaded, but how else will you be found? I once did an experiment by uploading a photo without any hashtags. I only got likes from followers who happened to see it in their feed at the time. So hashtags it is. Here are a few you might like to try:

#pinkfriday (be sure to post something pink)

Then add a couple of relevant tags that describe your photo. As always, make sure it's a good quality photo. I'm sticking with this strategy for the time being. I might do another follow up post in a month at which point I can gauge whether and how these changes have affected my sales! Do you use instagram to promote your small business?
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Tuesday, March 29

H & H Cologne [ Trend Report ]

source: Initiative Handarbeit

The international trade fair for handicraft is one of the best-known and most important in the industry I work in, represented by approximately 380 companies from forty countries. This year some 15k trade visitors attended this three-day event. Busy is an understatement. According to the stats the total market for handicraft supplies in Germany in 2015 is estimated at 1.28 billion Euros. Handicraft, be it sewing, knitting, crocheting, beading or crossstich thankfully is an ongoing trend, with the popularity of sewing in particular resulting in fabric sales increasing another 6% to 475 million Euro. Which, naturally, is good news for my small business.
Die internationale Fachmesse für Handarbeit und Hobby ist eine der bedeutendsten in der Branche mit rund 380 Unternehmen aus vierzig Ländern. Auch dieses Jahr war das Interesse an dieser dreitägigen Veranstaltung groß. Erwartet wurden 15.000 Fachbesucher aus aller Welt! Selbermachen, ob nun Nähen, Stricken, Häkeln oder Kreuzstich, liegt weiterhin ganz im Trend und die Zahlen sprechen für sich: der Gesamtmarkt für Handarbeitsbedarf in Deutschland wird im vergangenen Jahr auf 1,28 Milliarden Euro beziffert. Insbesondere das Nähen steht ganz oben auf der Populartätsskala was sich im Bereich Stoffe mit einem Zuwachs von 6% auf 475 Millionen Euro widerspiegelt.

Although my appointment book was full I did manage a quick visit with the lovely people Izabela (sitting) and Claudia over at one of my sponsor companies Union Knopf. Why so shy people? ;-) Althouth I didn't have a lot of time to go over the new products, I did a little research beforehand and look forward to another successful year of collaboration and fun DIY projects which I will share right here on Duni's Studio!
Zwischen zwei festen Terminen bin ich schnell zum Union Knopf Stand gehuscht, um den lieben Kollegen Izabela (sitzend) und Claudia "Hallo" zu sagen. Es gab auch ein nettes DIY Projekt ähnlich wie dieses. Leider hatte ich wenig Zeit mich ausgiebig mit den neuen Produkten zu beschäftigen, aber ich hatte zum Glück schon im Vorfeld recherchiert und freue mich auf neue Nähprojekte und ein weiteres Jahr erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit mit Union Knopf!

I spent a lot of time at the Art Gallery booth. That's my rep - again, so shy! This is where I checked out the new AGF denims by The Denim Studio. As mentioned I've ordered a few bolts of these 150 cm (59 inch) wide fabrics and I expect them to arrive within the next two weeks. These are apparel type fabrics, suitable for dresses, blouses, pants, tunics, patchwork blankets, totes and more. I'm truly excited for these. I will go into detail in a separate post coming soon :)
Am Stand von Art Gallery konnte ich endlich die neuen, coolen Jeansstoffe von The Denim Studio betrachten. Diese Bekleidungsstoffe sind 150 cm breit, haben einen wunderbar weichen Griff und eignen sich daher perfekt für's Nähen von Kleidern, Blusen, Sommerhosen, Tuniken, Patchworkdecken, Beutel u.v.m. Einige davon wandern sehr bald in mein Stofflädchen. Dazu mehr in einem späteren Post :) 

Same as last year various handicraft projects, like this enormous crochet blanket helping to fund charitable causes were dotted around the fair. This particular project aims to break the world record for largest crochet blanket the size of a tennis court. The initiators are the Häkelhelden (translation: crochet heroes), two guys from my favorite big city who, if they're not crocheting granny squares or beanies work as helicopter pilots for the police force. The deadline to finish the blanket is at the end of this month. Afterwards the blanket will be separated into smaller pieces and auctioned off. 100% of proceeds will go towards charity.
So wie auch schon im Jahr zuvor gab es wieder Selbermach-Projekte für gemeinnützige Zwecke, wie zum Beispiel diese riesige Häkeldecke. Mit dieser in reiner Handarbeit von vielen Helfern gehäkelten Patchworkdecke wollen die Initiatoren Tim und Carsten von den Häkelhelden den aktuellen Weltrekord für eine Häkeldecke in der Größe eines Tennisfeldes brechen. Auf Facebook könnt Ihr den Verlauf weiter verfolgen. Abgabeschluß ist bereits am 31.03. Danach wird die Decke in normal große Stücke aufgeteilt und für den guten Zweck versteigert. Der gesamte Erlös geht an den Weissen Ring.

The fashion show at the trade fair has come a long way since I first attended one several years ago. Everything has become a lot more professional starting with the larger venue, perfectly staged light show, styling and the choreography. I know a thing or two about fashion shows having organized  such shows back when I was working in the industry. Along with the professionalism the interest from visitors has increased to the point where I honestly thought I would be trampled to death by the stampede rushing to grab the limited seats. I did find a seat in the second row, but unfortunately it was right beneath one of the loudspeakers (more on that later) and at a weird angle to the runway. Most of my photos turned out rubbish as I did not have a tripod on me and it wouldn't have fit between the rows anyway. One thing why this year was such a photographic challenge even with a fast lens, was that the sound track was extremely fast. The models practically raced along the runway which made it near impossible to get an unblurred photo. So please excuse the photos. You might like to check out the professional ones if you're interested.

Die Trend-Modenschau, die von der Initiative Handarbeit organisiert wird, hat sich über die Jahre deutlich gesteigert. Der Veranstaltungsort in Halle 3 bietet mehr Räumlichkeit für eine große Bühne mit "richtigem" Laufsteg. Zudem sind das Styling, die Choreographie, Licht- und Soundtechnik viel professioneller geworden. Ich weiß wovon ich rede, da ich vor Jahren solche Events auf internationalem Niveau mitorganisiert habe. Mit dem Anstieg der Professionalität ist auch das Interesse der Besucher entsprechend gewachsen. Beinahe wurde ich von dem Massenansturm niedergetrampelt so begehrt waren die Sitzplätze! Dennoch habe ich einen Platz in der zweiten Reihe ergattern können - allerdings bemerkte ich beim Fotografieren sehr schnell in welchem ungünstigen Winkel zum Laufsteg dieser war. So sind meine Fotos leider zu Schnappschüssen degradiert, denn für ein Stativ wäre zwischen den Sitzreihen ohnehin kein Platz gewesen. Eine weitere Sache, warum es diesmal solch ​​eine fotografische Herausforderung war: das extrem schnell Tempo der Begleitmusik! Im Laufschritt rasten die Models den Steg hoch und runter. "Aus der Hand" geschossen war es unmöglich scharfe Fotos zu bekommen.  Also bitte entschludigt die unscharfen Bilder. Offizielle und viel schönere Fotos könnt Ihr hier bewundern.


Gütermann presented a fresh, flirty, decidedly feminine collection in spring pastels. Note the open-heeled, pointy-toed ballerina flats.  
Gütermann präsentierte eine frische, mädchenhafte Kollektion in pastelligen Farben. Zeitgemäß dazu: spitze Ballerinas mit offener Ferse.

Here are a few highlights for the next Fall /Winter season.
  Hier ein paar Highlights der kommenden Herbst/Winter Saison

Silhouettes in general were longer with lots of knee to calf-length coats and jackets. Happy to see a more neutral palette with pops of peach and coral. What caught my eye were the pant shapes - everything from extra wide palazzo to cropped just below the knee. 
Knie- bzw. wadenlange Mäntel und Jacken zeigten sich in klassisch neutralen Farben, wobei die Trendfarben Pfirsich und Koralle nicht zu übersehen waren. Interessant fand ich die Hosenformen, von extraweiten Palazzos bis zu Culottes.

I was super happy to discover that both Lana Grossa and Rico Design dispensed with the offensive real fur pompoms, which I vehemently critisized last year...
Newcomer to the show, Swafing, presented just a handful of pieces, that carried the trademark of designer Anke Müller who seemed to have channelled the Brothers Grimm. The fur pompoms on the bags, whether real or not seemed like an afterthought and were completely irrelevant to the overall look. I hope to see some positive development at future shows with more emphasis on sustainability. Thank you very much.
Now a word about the volume of the music. Tech guys - I know you're young and hip and probably spend Saturday nights next to the boom box in a disco, but please, for the sake of the (mature) audience turn down the volume next time...
Was mir nicht entgangen und absolut lobenswert ist: Sowohl Lana Grossa und Rico Design verzichteten dieses Jahr auf die anstößigen Echtpelz Pompoms die ich im Vorjahr vehement kritisiert hatte...

Inakzeptabel fand ich die Lautstärke der Musik. Selbst Kollegen mit weniger empfindlichen Ohren beklagten sie diesmal. Nach fast einer Stunde Dauerbeschallung bei der Lautstärke wurde mir regelrecht schlecht und ich konnte mich kaum auf das Wesentliche, nämlich die Trendschau, konzentrieren. Liebes Technik Team, ich bitte euch eindringlich die Lautstärke beim nächsten Mal zu reduzieren, denn im Vordergrund sollte nicht die Musik stehen.

 Knitted hats with woolly pompoms are by far the better choice and look cuter too!
Strickmützen mit Wollpompoms sind definitiv die bessere Wahl und sehen zudem viel hübscher aus!

Raise your hand if you spotted the only male model :) This was a pretty long show lasting almost an hour. As far as favorite looks go I'd pick the asymmetric poncho-sweater in black/grey with big collar (5th pic from the bottom of this segment) paired with the loose cropped pants and booties. Comfortable yet stylish! While this show didn't have any exciting surprises I appreciated the casual yet classy looks and the decidedly boho vibe of some of the pieces. Usually the show ends with one of the models wearing an intricate evening gown, but this was strangely omitted this year. Instead all of the models came out together, each wearing an outfit representing the respective companies. It left me feeling like the show wasn't quite finished. I guess I'll never know?!
Anyway, I know this post is very long and picture heavy, so congrats if you made it this far! Who else is excited about the winter creams and pastels?
Die Trendschau schien mir mit fast einer Stunde länger als im Jahr zuvor. Im Großen und Ganzen war es eine runde Show mit vornehmlich legeren Kombinationen, dabei sorgten die vom beliebten Boho-Stil inspirierten Strickteile für etwas Abwechslung. Vermisst habe ich dieses Jahr das Grand Finale, meist in Form einer aufwendigen Abendrobe. Stattdessen zeigten sich zum Schluß die Models jeweils in einem repräsentativen Outfit der entsprechenden Mitglieder-Unternehmen. Mein persönliches Lieblingsoutfit der gesamten Trendschau seht Ihr im fünften Bild von unten: Asymmetrischer Poncho-Pullover in Schwarz/Grau mit großem Rollkragen kombiniert mit knielangen Bermudas und halbhohen Sneaker. Bequem aber dennoch stilvoll.

Zum Schluß noch ein Aufruf zum Mitmachen einer wichtigen Aktion! Zum Tag der Handarbeit am 11. Juni 2016 sind alle DIY-Fans gefragt für Kinder aus wirtschaftlich benachteiligten Familien kreative Geschenke zu nähen, zu stricken, zu häkeln oder zu sticken. Mehr Information dazu könnt Ihr hier nachlesen sowie kostenlose Anleitungen runterladen.

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Monday, March 28

Monday Moodboard

Hello there, lovely readers! It's Easter Monday - and I plan to enjoy a leisurely day - before it's back to  work tomorrow. I obviously had color on my mind while curating this moodboard. I hope you enjoy it :)
Hallo, ihr Lieben! Es ist Ostermontag...und da es morgen wieder an die Arbeit geht werde ich es mir heute gemütlich machen und alles langsam angehen. Heute gibt es eine bunt-fröhliche Collage. Ich hoffe sie gefällt :)

1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4

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Thursday, March 24

Happy Easter & Carrot Muffins

Hello lovelies!         Hallo, ihr Lieben!

The long Easter weekend is almost here. I'm not religious, but I do appreciate a couple of days off! I plan to wind down after some really busy weeks. Perhaps I'll get to reading that book that's been laying on my nightstand untouched. How about you? Anything nice planned? 
Das lange Osterwochenende steht vor der Tür. Ich bin zwar nicht religiös, aber ein paar freie Tage kann ich gut gebrauchen! Nach den doch sehr arbeitsreichen letzten Wochen werde ich entschleunigen und endlich das Buch anfangen, welches seit Wochen unberührt auf meinem Nachttisch liegt. Wie sieht es bei Euch aus? Habt Ihr schon Pläne?

small flower fabric in turquoise
Emma's Garden Stoffe

Back in the days when my family all lived in one place we would have a leisurely brunch on Easter Sunday, with my Mom baking / cooking and me helping. Usually the job of setting and decorating the table fell to me which, by the way, I enjoy doing to this day :) Afterwards my brother and I went on an egg hunt. Our Mom would tell us the number of chocolate eggs she had hidden and off we went. We had this rule that once all eggs were found we'd divide them up equally. The rest of the day was spent chatting / reading / playing and eating chocolate eggs. Those were fun times!

Damals, als meine Familie noch an einem Ort gewohnt hat gab es am Ostersonntag immer ein gemütliches Brunch mit Rührei, viel frischem Obst und leckeren, von meiner Mutter selbstgebackenen Kuchen. Ich durfte den Tisch mit dem hübschen Service meiner Mutter decken inklusive frische Blumen und Deko. Und bis heute mache ich das gerne :) Nach dem Brunch durften mein Bruder und ich auf Eiersuche gehen. Bevor es los ging teile unsere Mutter uns noch die Anzahl der versteckten Schokoladeneier mit. Zum Schluß wurden alle Eier in einem Körbchen gesammelt und gleichmäßig zwischen uns aufgeteilt. Den restlichen Tag verbrachten wir mit Reden, Lesen, Spielen und natürlich Schokoeier naschen. Das war eine schöne Zeit!

Today I'd like to share an easy, no-fail carrot muffin recipe! These come out golden, not too sweet and nicely moist on the inside. 


120 gr whole wheat flour
140 gr plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, dash of nutmeg
2 - 3 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 egg
120 gr brown sugar
125 gr margarine
250 ml buttermilk

Und hier kommt das sehr einfache Rezept für die Möhrenmuffins! Sie sind goldbraun, nicht zu süß und innen schön saftig.


120 gr Vollkornmehl
140 gr Mehl
2 TL Backpulver
1/2 TL Natron
Prise Salz
1 TL Zimt, Prise Muskatnuss
2 - 3 mittelgroße Möhren, geschält + geraspelt
1 Ei
120 gr brauner Zucker
125 gr Margarine
250 ml Buttermilch

This little bunny was gifted to me by my Mom several years ago.
Diesen niedlichen Hasen habe ich vor ein paar Jahren von meiner Mami geschenkt bekommen.

Carrot Muffins. How to

Preheat oven to 356°F.  Line 12 pc muffin baking tray with non-stick muffin liners. In a bowl mix the dry ingredients. In another bowl beat the egg with sugar und margarine until creamy, add buttermilk and stir well. Pour into dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Add grated carrots and stir well. Lastly, spoon the batter into the muffin tray. Each should be about 2/3 full. Bake on middle shelf approximately 30 - 35 minutes until tops are golden brown. Remove tray from oven but leave muffins in tray for another 5 minutes. Finally, remove muffins and cool on wire rack. Enjoy!

This adorable handmade bunny coaster was gifted to me by the lovely Britta. And the sweet polkadot pegs are from the lovely Ani!
Dieses süße bestickte Deckchen habe ich von der lieben Britta bekommen. Und die hübschen  Klammern mit Pünktchen von der lieben Ani!

Möhrenmuffins. So werden sie gemacht

Ofen auf 180°C vorheizen. Papierförmchen in 12er Muffin Blech einsetzen. In einer Schüssel beide Mehlsorten, Backpulver, Natron, Salz, Zimt und Muskatnuß vermengen. In einer zweiten Schüssel das Ei mit dem Zucker und der Margarine cremig rühren, dabei langsam die Milch zufügen. Die cremige Masse zum Mehl geben und gut verrühren. Zuletzt geraspelte Möhren unterheben. Der Teig sollte schwerreißend sein. Mit Hilfe eines Löffels den Teig bis zu 2/3 Höhe in die Muffinförmchen einfüllen. Circa 30 - 35 Minuten backen bis die Muffins goldbraun sind. Blech aus dem Ofen nehmen und die Muffins noch weitere 5 Minuten ruhen lassen. Dann auf einem Gitter auskühlen lassen. Genießen!

Have a wonderful Easter holiday!
Ich wünsche Euch allen ein schönes Osterwochenende!

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Tuesday, March 22

Etsy Shop Home [ redesign ]

I'm sure every Etsy shop owner will have heard of the shop home redesign that Etsy is rolling out this month. The purpose of this is to give shop owners more creative control including branding. In addition everything will be on one page. Currently we have until April 5th to edit our shops before the new look will go live for all buyers to see. While I'm all for change if it helps me get more exposure, the timing is a bit unfortunate as the first quarter is typically my busiest of the year. Nevertheless, I made some preliminary changes. Here's an overview.

This is how my shop home page looks right now. Clicking the edit button at the top will lead you to the new shop from where you can fine-tune the new look.

There are now three banner options available.
  1. small banner 760 px x 100 px 
  2. cover photo minimum 1200 px x 300 px
  3. none
I tried all three, but finally went with a large cover photo that shows some of my bestselling work. I made it a little taller to accomodate my larger pieces. The small banner is what I had originally, but it won't be visible on mobile devices and choosing none leaves too much white space for my taste.

Also, since I've received a lot of compliments on the new look of my blog, I'm considering having a custom logo to replace the current shop icon (the two hearts). In my opinion the shop owner picture could be a little larger. It looks kind of lost...

Featured listings are right below the header. They are a bit larger, and same as before you may choose up to four images. I didn't previously have any items featured, because the overall look was much more compact, but in the new shop I wanted to fill that gap between the header and the listings.  Also, the about and policies sections that were previously on the left sidebar are now above the featured listings. These are a bit difficult to spot at first. The shop announcement has moved to underneath the featured listings.

And finally...the actual listings. While editing my new shop I realized that buyers will need to do a lot of scrolling up and down. Not sure how they will feel about it. I know that some don't like scrolling prefering to click through the pages instead. But in the new shop there are no pages! Instead there is a button to click at the bottom of the home page to show more items, much like Google images. Reviews are now visible right beneath the listings. Now more than ever it's crucial that the latest review that most buyers will read when scrolling down that page has a high rating.

Have you finished editing your new shop look yet? Which banner type do you prefer and do you feel these changes will have a positive impact on your sales? Do share in the comments!

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