Friday, March 4, 2011

Handmade Folk Art Pillows and Inventory Control

Pillows ready to ship, wrapped in muslin cases.
When I made the decision to reconfigure my Nestle and Soar Studio space, it was important to keep in mind that I create soft goods...pillows and wool wall hangings. These fluffy items do not stack neatly or have enough stability to stand on their own. My fiber folk art is very textural and while it is strong and stable, I want to keep it in pristine condition as it awaits its new calling in a new place.

The inventory methods I've devised with these elements in mind are working like a charm! My first studio photo shows finished designer pillows ready for shipment. I sew a muslin pillow case to house each wool pillow I create, and that keeps it fresh for my clients. It also protects the pillow during shipment inside of a heavy cardboard box. I have pinned an inventory number with a photo of each pillow to the outside of the muslin case, and when each item is purchased, I tie a pretty ribbon around it; I like to think it feels like my clients are unwrapping a gift! I place my pillows on their backs for storage, which keeps them from wrinkling, as many of my designs involve linen.

Design wall with pillow fronts ready for embellishment
Some of my clients, especially those living far away, choose to have their pillow shipped without a pillow insert. It saves on postage expenses, and it also gives the opportunity to put their new Nestle and Soar folk art pillow cover onto a pillow they already own. This dresses up their home without adding to their "stuff", no pun intended! One wall of my studio has been draped with flannel and it is there that I display pillow fronts that are in process. My second image shows this wall with pillow fronts awaiting a few more seed beads, some hand embroidered details, or a final pass at the needle-felting station. I will not sew these pillows together until they are purchased, as this way, my client can tell me "Insert" or "No Insert". It is easier to store pillow inventory that does not already include the pillow insert, as I could conceivable stack 100 pillow fronts in the space it would take to stack 3 finished pillows!

I really enjoy walking into my studio and seeing the inventory. I can easily pluck a pillow-front from my design wall and dive into the final embellishment. Or, I can stand in front of my wall of finished pillows, wrapped and ready, and feel a rush of accomplishment. I sometimes daydream about who will next hold and love these pillows, and sometimes, I wonder if I really want to see any of them go! Umm, yes, I do! Do you hear any of them calling your name?

Thanks for stopping by,

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