Meeting Interesting People at the Fair

One of the ways to get the word out about the wearable art of the label JustZen, is to go out and meet people who do like unusual things. What better venue than art and craft show!

One of the perks of the visits to these shows is that you can meet many other interesting people that like to create things that are out of the ordinary – the vendors and artist.

If you are familiar with JustZen, you know that Gigi is off to shows all over the South-West, and even up into Idaho. After many shows you will more and more recognize familiar faces and even build friendships. The world of the traveling artists is a little universe of its own.

Obviously, trading wares and art is a common occurrence. Who would be better suited to appreciate unusual art than another artist who produces extraordinary art.

Paul is one of those contacts Gigi built. He is a potter who likes tie dye – and Gigi is a tie-dyer who likes pottery – a match made in heaven!

Today Gigi cooked spaghetti and we used our new bowls from Paul. We just had to take a photo and send it to Paul, telling him that the dish was twice as tasty because of the nice new bowls.


If you like unusual pottery, visit Paul’s Mystic Bottle Pottery Studio.

Andrea Gianchiglia

I sometimes wonder about the many wonderful people that pass through our little virtual world at How many of you would I love to communicate with – but it happens only on occasion that I can enjoy the transformation from an order to a real person.

One of these rare occasions was Andrea. She sent an email a while back that she wanted to see more of – I believe – skirts. Unfortunately we were low on those in our inventory and I could not comply. But I told Andrea that, as she is on our mailing list, she will hear right away when new items are added to the web site.

I like to stay in contact with all our customers – at least one-sided – and so I sent my little thoughts, announcements and other blurbs out to our mailing list. Andrea, as a member of that list, must have gotten all those emails since the day she requested that we add more of the drape skirts to our offering. When, in response to my last email to the list, I received Andrea’s email, wondering when we get more drape skirts, I felt bad – there I was chatting about life, the universe and everything, but then I don’t do what I am supposed to – getting pieces out that our customers are waiting for!

Luckily Andreas was apparently not too annoyed with me as she wanted to stay on the list (thank you 😉 ). But here is the good that came out of the whole situation: I noticed a web site in Andrea’s signature and went to check it out…

… and I found a great artist – Andrea Gianchiglia, Animal Portraits.

Here is a bit of what she says about herself:

While growing up I was surrounded by dogs, cats and other small companions who inspired my love for animals. They never judged me and always gave me their unconditional love. I remember especially our dog Kane, a rottweiler, whose love for our family was the inspiration that lead me to specialize in animal portraiture. It is my way of paying him back for all the joy he brought to my life.

I’m going to appropriate one of her illustrations to show you here but make sure you click either on the image or the link above to check out all her great work!

Using Tie-dye Scraps Most Creatively

Ain’t it great when even scraps of your products are considered to be valuable enough to be used – and then so creatively?

We got this email from Jan, the mind and spirit behind the Hungry Holler:

Hey Merlin:

Got back to the Holler today and found my fabulous scarf in the mailbox. I LOVE it! It’s so l o n g. Just what I like.I’ve been meaning to send you the photos attached. I have a huge sombrero. A girl can’t have enough shade…I never liked the cheesy hatband on the hat. Never could figure out why they would use such a silly thing on what is otherwise a VERY GOOD hat. It finally came apart and I made my own hatband. It may look familiar to you: I have one of your wrap-around skirts. It’s lovely but TOO long, story of my life. I like my scarves long, but need my skirts less so. I cut off the skirt and had a good bunch of fabric left. I used some of that fabric to make my hatband.

I plan to order more scarves for Christmas gifts.

Peace and best wishes,
Jan Mohr Meng

And here is that sombrero…

And speaking of Hungry Holler – what I so much like about Jan’s creations is the ingenuity of her creations: concrete art, using gourds as the last resting place for your pet, and bottle cap art – amongst many other interesting ideas on how to use every day objects in a new way.

Have you ever even gotten the idea of using paper to do your floor?

Scarcity of Customers

If it’s about customers business owners often have the three-year-old mentality of mine-mine-mine. There is no way to share and part of the market. I think that this is a very destructive state of mind because that, what we put our attention on, is what will materialize. The mind does not understand negatives, so if I repeat to myself, I don’t want to be poor, I don’t want to be poor, etc., what we actually concentrating on is ‘poor’ – and this is what we get.

Same with the scarcity of customers – when we protect our turf because we think customers are scarce, then they are. On the other hand, if we concentrate on an abundance of customers, we will get right that. And if there are plenty of customers and they don’t quite find what they are looking for in my store, I send them to a similar one and create a happy customer – and a happy customer is a good customer, and everybody wins.

To practice that I want to tell, from time to time, about another tie-dyer with products I like. Visitors might have stumbled upon this site and it might not offer what they are looking for, but then there is a possibility to find it at one of those featured tie-dyers.

Without further adoo, here is one such tie-dyer from the other side of the continent (we are in California, by the way)…

My name is Margie.

I’ve been making tie dyes since 1992.   At first I began making tie dyes for myself because it was fun and I enjoyed wearing them.  I purchased a Procion dye kit and some instruction books.  After some experimenting and a lot of trial and error I managed to produce tie dyes that I thought looked pretty good.  Over time whenever I wore my tie dyes I noticed people would compliment me on my work and would ask where I got them.  So I began selling by word-of-mouth and in 1997 I began attending Festivals where my brightly colored booth attracted still more tie-dye fans.

People often ask to see examples of my work. Or they see me at a festival and ask if I have a web site so that they can buy tie dyes later.  My tie dyes have been in the internet since 2002 at Wickedly Wise – Bright Spirited Tie-Dye, where you’ll find a variety of t-shirts, tank tops, children’s, toddler and infant clothing to choose from.

If you’ve seen something at a Festival and it’s not out here yet or if you have any other questions or comments, please contact me.


Isn’t that a great website name – Wickedly Wise?