Posts Tagged ‘product design’

Lesson #3: Start With What You Have

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When launching any business it’s easy to get frustrated with inadequate resources. Don’t get me wrong, there are some occupations where expensive equipment is needed but when Cale and I started Green Couch Design we knew we had to build a business with the resources we had on hand. We started with what we had.

Nearly two and half years ago, on an October Monday, we met up from our corporate design jobs for a quick lunch date. We had been talking for years about running our own design firm, but it was time to draw a line in the sand and just go for it. We decided then and there that unless we felt a blatant “no” within our spirits we would quit our jobs come the first of the year. That was Monday. On Thursday Cale was laid off from his Architecture job. Obviously this was not the plan we had figured out in our heads, but we saw this as an opportunity and a definite sign that it was time to pursue our dream of establishing a business around our home life.

At that time I continued working full-time while Cale started up the business from home. Because of my employment at that time we could not offer any kind of graphic design services. We had to come up with another way to make a living; an original idea that would allow us to show off our design skills in a creative way. With no savings, not even a printer for our computers, and an income that barley covered our monthly living expenses we had to design products using the materials we had on hand.

For us, that was an extra bag of concrete found in our old Milk Barn.

Once we narrowed down the materials we had available we began asking the following questions:

  • What products have been made with this material before?
  • What products can’t be made with this material?
  • What are the type of products that people want to buy on a regular basis?
  • Are there everyday items that are typically seen in a gift/retail shop that you could put a unique spin on?

When starting your own business it’s easy to get intimidated by the lack resources that are available. Don’t get me wrong there are things that are needed to start a business, but you cannot let a lack of resources stop you from moving forward! In the beginning when we found ourselves in need of extra overhead to produce products we would look around the house and see what we could sell off? We sold all kinds of stuff from old windows we replaced in the old farm house to a quesadilla maker! Ultimately, we refused to let lack stop us from moving forward.

We didn’t know at the time that a bag of concrete would help launch and establish our little business, but out of it grew a series of concrete jewelry, candle holders, and pots! Obviously we don’t sell all these items today, but that bag of found concrete gave us a starting place to hone in on our craft, experiment, and find a niche that is truly original to what Green Couch Design is today.

Who knows, maybe it’s your lack of resources that will be the thing to force you out of your box and into an idea that is uniquely your own! :)

Are you having a hard time getting started with your home based business? What resources do you feel like you are lacking? What resources do you have access to that you may not have considered before reading this post? Have you or do you know of someone who has come up with a new idea or spin on a product due to their lack of resources?

From the Farm

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GCD: Okie Charm SWAG at SXSW Buffalo Lounge!

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It’s that time of year where our twitter feed becomes all a buzz with the latest happenings from one of the coolest festivals around the country. In case you have been living in a hole (or WAY out in the country :) ) South by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, TX.

The last few years it’s been really exciting to see Oklahoma art and music represented at SXSW and one of the ways this has been able to happen is through The Buffalo Lounge, presented by The Oklahoma Film & Music Office:

“The mission of The Buffalo Lounge is to promote Oklahoma’s film, music, and interactive industries to a statewide & nationwide audience. The vision is to be the premiere event and outlet for filmmakers, musicians, and interactive companies to connect with their supporters and attract a new audience, including the chance to gain national attention.”

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GCD: Valentines Day Limited Edition Concrete Heart Necklace

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At Green Couch Design we have a sweet spot for love and ALL the sappy and gooey moments that come along with it. We’ve been working the last two years with concrete and just so happen to come across this fun little design just in time for Valentines Day. Enjoy!

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Don’t stress, we’ve got FREE shipping & local gift guides! :)

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It’s getting to be that time of year where things are starting to pile up and you remember that one person you forgot to get something for?! We’ll, no worries, we’ve got you covered! We’ve got great gifts for those hard to buy for neighbors or office mates. Try one of our tea towels, can’t go wrong, or aprons. Their a guaranteed hit for even the scroogiest of types.

We’re offering FREE shipping this weekend only. If you order in the next three days we can guarantee Christmas delivery!

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GCD: 2011 Holiday Prints

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Halloween is over and that means the holiday season is officially here! We are so excited to show you our latest print designs and hope you’ll consider us for your handmade holiday purchases.

Each design is hand printed by us with lot’s of love (and photographed on our NEW table from Meg’s Great Grandma!) Special thanks to all of you who helped us out in our little facebook poll. We really took your votes into consideration and appreciate your input! Thanks for being a part of our design process. We plan on getting you more invovled in the future.

Find individual tea towels and stationery prints in our online shop, at Shop Good and The Onion Tree.

And of course… stay tuned for some fun giveaways we’ve got coming up VERY soon! :)

From the Farm

 

* See our fall schedule and if we’ll be at a handmade show near you this holiday season!

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GCD: Apron Giveaway

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We’ve only known Mindy and her blog Marigold Road for a few weeks now but since her and Meg are from the same town they seem to be practically buddies (seriously they found out they have several friends in common). Mindy actually found us when she was doing research for an up coming craft show. Apparently our Craft Show 101 post is catching google’s eye! We we’re obviously very excited to hear about this and thought it was such a sweet gesture of Mindy to shoot us an email and say hello!

Mindy’s got all sorts of good stuff going on so stop by her blog and enter to win one of our 100% cotton, Peace, Love & Cookie Dough Aprons. After all, how can you not like a hugger! ;)

From the Farm

* Special Congrats to Berendina, the winner of this giveaway!

** Turns out Mindy & Green Couch Design both sell products at The Onion Tree in Wichita, KS! We’d love for you to stop by if you are ever in the neighborhood and tell Bridgit we said hi.

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GCD: Custom Jewelry Design

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We are currently in process of creating close to 250 unique charms for our two craft shows coming up this fall! We are VERY stoked about this but also forgot to mention that we do custom orders! In fact, we LOVE custom orders because they give us a chance to work one-on-one with our customers and provide us an outlet that pushes our ideas and keeps them fresh.

We’ve put together a 4-step process to show you just how easy it can be to design a one-of-a-kind Green Couch Design jewelry piece. Here’s what you can expect from us when you are ready to move forward with your custom order.

PHASE I

STEP 1: Go to our online shop and purchase PHASE I of the “Custom Design” Jewelry listing. Leave us any initial design ideas/suggestions you would like us to start with in the comment section when you check out. If you have images in mind, send us a convo through Etsy with attached images or send them to cale@greencouchdesign.net.

STEP 2: We will send you initial design concepts in a hand-rendered illustration format. Once the first round of design(s) are sent you can make two rounds of edits. We will also include the additional cost to build each design with each illustration presented. This will ensure that there are no surprises or additional costs (outside of shipping) when you purchase PHASE II.

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GCD: 2011 Fall Schedule

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We LOVE the holidays and actually this year, more than ever, we are totally a head of the game. We’ve learned A LOT since our first show and we are determined to make this somewhat busy season something we truly enjoy.

We are getting VERY excited about our upcoming shows and look forward to meeting some of you in person. Our hope is that you can plan a head now for a fun day of shopping, support handmade and heck… just bring the whole family (we lOVE babies)!

From the Farm

 

* You can purchase Green Couch Design products year around at Shop Good in OKC, The Onion Tree in Wichita, KS and through our online shop.

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GCD Giveaway: Concrete Slider Necklace

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Cale and I first met Ashley last year when she was putting together the Hope for Kenya event with our friend Brie. Right away I was impressed with Ashley’s sweet personality but more importantly her go getter attitude. Ashley is organized, to the point, and understands what it is like to run an event on a budget. She’s creative and has surrounded herself with great resources to pull from for any occasion. Ashley truly enjoys the behind the scenes details needed to pull off any event and is someone we would totally recommend for your next party.

Visit Ashley’s blog and enter to win one of our Green Couch Design Concrete Slider Necklaces. The giveaway runs through this Friday, September 21st so make sure you stop by and see for yourself all the fun things Ashley is up to.

From the Farm

 

** Congratulations to Emily McClure, the winner of this giveaway!

 

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GCD: Mixer Covers Providing Jobs for OKC Refugees!

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It’s FINALLY HERE!! We’ve been working like busy little bees updating our kitchen line and providing you with the best handmade quality we can. We are so excited to announce our partnership with The Spero Project. Through our new found friendship Green Couch Design is supplying jobs for Refugee Women right here in our city.

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High class design in overalls. It's the simple life of a farm through the eyes of a couple of crazy designers. We call ourselves Green Couch Design and we are Bringing Design Home.

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