Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Etsy Wednesday - Promote Your Shop Linky Party #20

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY! 

Bead Crochet Bangle Bracelet - Stars & Stripes
The pick of last week's party is lanmom originals.  Her bead crochet bracelet with the stars and stripes theme is a perfect lead-in to Independence Day.  Lanmom is Nona Lansbarkis and she loves to crochet.  What's different about Nona is that she loves to crochet using some unique materials.  Check out her shop to see her unique work.  I think I need to get together with Nona and have her teach me this bead crochet stuff....so pretty!


Make sure you link up to the party.  You could be the featured shop next week.

Other linky parties say "NO Etsy shops" but we say YES!!  Here's your chance to market or promote your online store for FREE.  Once you link up your shop, don't forget to spread the word to other sellers as well as your friends who are in the mood for shopping.  Don't worry, you can still link up even if you're on Artfire, Zibbet, 1000 Markets, Folksy, etc.  Wondering what a Linky Party is or how it works?  Read this explanation for help.

Etsy Wednesday Linky Party Guidelines
  • Remember to visit other shops on the list.
  • Because this is promoting Etsy shops, I'm not going to require that you add my blog button to your shop (it's not possible anyway).  However, I'm hoping you will see it in your heart to add my button to your blog; stay connected to me on Facebook, Twitter, or my RSS feed; and/or promote this link party in your own way.  
  • Share this blog post however you can.  We want as many people as possible to look at your shops. 
  • Leave a comment telling the favorite shop you found on the list (other than your own, of course). 

Etsy Wednesdays





TIME TO JOIN THE ETSY MADNESS....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Feature Friday - Leslie Witmer

Before Etsy became the place to sell online, people were setting up on eBay to market their handmade goods. I was excited to meet Leslie Witmer, someone who has experienced both selling platforms. 

You'll understand a lot about Leslie when you learn where her creativity started: 


I do not follow any design rules when I create, I have no training to enable or remind me to do so. In the 7th grade my art teacher came upon my project, (a drawing of Iron Maiden's Eddie) she took the pencil out of my hand, erased a portion and re-drew what "she" thought was better. Since that day I have gone against the grain, rebelled against authority and firmly believed in the saying, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I mix my materials like a mad woman who crawled out of a box of broken crayons and leftovers. I am eclectic to the core.
I love to make jewelry!!! I started out in the 4th grade making paper clip earrings and necklaces. I sold them to classmates. I then began to add charms to suit individual girls personalities. Mind you I grew up in the 80's and 90's so the tastes ranged from kittens to skulls lol. (I still create using skulls...not to many requests for kittens though.) Even as early as 2nd grade I had a creative entrepreneur spirit, (my mother was an artist of many mediums) I would draw trees with individual leaves and sell them to my classmates to use on their projects. I have sculpted, sewn dolls and their outfits, painted, drawn and created my entire life. For a time I was fortunate enough to teach faux painting classes, one of the best experiences of my life.
One of the great things about Etsy is that it provides opportunities for people who are facing some limitations with time, abilities, etc. Leslie has certainly experienced this: 
Alas...I have had 4 hand surgeries thus far in the last 2 years from damaged bones, joints, and tendons, (18 years of heavy manual labor work related). They have literally removed bones from my hands. Mortifying as could be, because of pain I am unable to do nearly all of the things I use to, such as paint, sculpt, sew and build. Not to mention every day things like carry groceries or do dishes. Assembling my ideas into jewelry, seems to be the only thing that does not cause nearly as much pain in my hands as trivial daily activities do. It is the only artistic release that requires no lifting, pushing or pulling. My greatest fear is that someday I will be unable to create at all. Like any artist at heart...that day will be the ruination of my soul. I now create each piece to make someone smile, to make them feel glamorous or beautiful, to make the moment they dress and put on their adornments one of happiness. It is all I have left to give, but I enjoy every moment of it.
So how does selling on eBay compare to selling on Etsy?
I started out on eBay in 2008. Since then I have sold around 350 pieces, give or take. I enjoy it so much when I see feedback that says someone "loves" their new jewelry. That is my goal, to make someone smile and earn a little cash for the extras in life. Unfortunately, eBay has become very nonhuman in my eyes. The ever changing fee systems, allowing buyers the power to destroy ones ratings because they do not understand how shipping works over seas etc. I have seen to many sellers in 'Japan' for example...where buyers leave negative feedback because it took weeks to get their purchase. This is far from the sellers fault, yet eBay allows it and then penalizes the sellers with higher fees, less productive search results for their wares, (basically omitting their items in buyer search results) and they send chastising emails to add salt to the wounds. I do not approve!
I prefer the seller 'community' on Etsy. Ebay puts us all against each other so that eBay profits from us in the long run for the combined nonsense. Etsy promotes kindred behaviors, which is what many creative souls desire in the first place. Etsy allows me the time to create with the long listing times, rather than focusing on listing and editing every 5-7 days to keep my items higher in the search ranks, and paying more fees to do so. Etsy absolutely has an advantageous search and tag system. It is simply a matter of mastering it. I am hopeful that I will eventually find my niche here on Etsy, as one does "require" sales success in order to continue investing. I hope to be successful enough to stay for good. I would be quite disheartened if I had to crawl back to eBay in order to maintain my sales, and the happy fuzzy feelings from receiving positive feedback. I want to stay right here!!!
I completely understand where she's coming from with her comparison. Several bad experiences on eBay traumatized me because buyers filed claims for not receiving items and eBay and Paypal forced a refund. As a seller, there was nothing I could do.  The money and the product were both gone. I haven't had problems like that on Etsy (crossing my fingers).

Take a look around Leslie's shop.  She is offering a 40% discount on everything in her shop until June 26 (she's moving and doesn't want to haul the entire inventory).  By the way, You're welcome to buy me any of the pieces in her shop...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday Thoughts - Handling Rejection

Turquoise nugget bracelet
Being rejected is no big deal, right?  WRONG!  You may remember my post last year about a local arts event called Craft Lake City.  It was pretty intimidating to apply to be part of it.  Because it's a juried event, you really make yourself vulnerable by putting your best foot forward and letting them judge whether or not you're worthy to be included.  Nearly 300 artists applied and the lineup was announced on Tuesday. As scared as we were about being judged, we knew this would be a wonderful and unique opportunity if we were accepted.

Craft Lake City decided to make their announcement on Twitter and soon there were 182 groups of artists who were very happy and another hundred or so like me whose hearts sunk. It's hard not to take the rejection personally, especially when we had our hearts set on being at Craft Lake City this year. I'm sharing the following excerpt from the official rejection letter to give my fellow artisans an idea of how to turn things around:
If you are curious why you may have been declined, some of those reasons include: poor pictures, not enough information, too many other crafters in the same category doing similar work and the work represented in your application not fitting with the Craft Lake City vision of innovative and often edgy handmade work and wares of craftspeople, artists, and designers.

If you want to learn more about Craft Lake City and what the judges were looking for please visit our website at www.craftlakecity.com/artists and scroll through the artist section.
 Because I'm confidant that our items aren't similar to others in the same category, I tried to focus on other things.  We've tried to do a modern twist on Native American arts and crafts as well as tatting.  The items in our shop bear no resemblance to what you would find in a museum. Are we not edgy and innovative enough?

The other things I have to consider are that my description of our work was lacking and/or that our pictures weren't good enough. I admit that I need to spend more time working on a really good description of our work.  It's hard to make it sound "sexy" enough.  Photos...photos...I keep trying.  My photos have definitely improved, but I guess they don't compare well to the artists who were selected.  My husband gave me a nice little camera for Mother's Day, but it has some serious issues with focusing.  Time to grab a different camera!

So....how to handle rejection?  I'm definitely not your role model.  I cried and let it ruin my day (which was already going badly).  The feelings may take some time to fade, but it will definitely motivate me to improve.  On the positive side, we did get accepted for the Wasatch Front Farmers Market and will be setting up there this Sunday.  We were supposed to be there last week, but we got rained out.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Etsy Wednesday - Promote Your Shop Linky Party

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY! 

Photo by Cupcake Dream
The pick of last week's party is Cupcake Dream.  I have to confess that I'm one of those moms who can't seem to throw a successful birthday party. That's a tough admission since I do a lot of events for my day job.  There's something about putting a kids party together that just doesn't work for me.  Fortunately, Cupcake Dream provides all those fun touches that will make your child's party memorable - cute invitations, tags for favor bags, and even little themed decorations for the drinking straws. My kids are adults now, but it may not be too late for you to save yourself with some well matched party decorations.
Make sure you link up to the party.  You could be the featured shop next week.

Other linky parties say "NO Etsy shops" but we say YES!!  Here's your chance to market or promote your online store for FREE.  Once you link up your shop, don't forget to spread the word to other sellers as well as your friends who are in the mood for shopping.  Don't worry, you can still link up even if you're on Artfire, Zibbet, 1000 Markets, Folksy, etc.  Wondering what a Linky Party is or how it works?  Read this explanation for help.

Etsy Wednesday Linky Party Guidelines
  • Remember to visit other shops on the list.
  • Because this is promoting Etsy shops, I'm not going to require that you add my blog button to your shop (it's not possible anyway).  However, I'm hoping you will see it in your heart to add my button to your blog; stay connected to me on Facebook, Twitter, or my RSS feed; and/or promote this link party in your own way.  
  • Share this blog post however you can.  We want as many people as possible to look at your shops. 
  • Leave a comment telling the favorite shop you found on the list (other than your own, of course). 

Etsy Wednesdays





TIME TO JOIN THE ETSY MADNESS....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why Canadian Customers Have No Mail

If you have customers in Canada, you'll want to be aware of what is going on with their postal system.  Labor negotiations have resulted in a lockout.  Unless you plan on using UPS or FedEx, you'll need to be aware of this situation.
  • No new mail will be accepted by Canada Post
  • Other than some items of mail already in the system, no mail will be delivered by carriers to individual addresses
  • Public mailboxes for sending mail have been sealed to prevent any new mail from being deposited
You can read the details on Canada Post's Customer Information Hub. I'm sure that sellers residing in Canada are furious at this point because they are losing money.  A closed shop loses not only today's sales, but allows people to forget about you.  It will be very hard for them to get going again once the mail is moving and delays are most likely guaranteed as a backlog of mail tries to make its way through.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tatting Tuesday on Thursday - I'm So Blue!

Another one of a kind tatting creation....
It's not that I'm trying to be exclusive. I just keep playing around with tatting and make it up as I go. This latest creation was done in your basic blue cotton thread, size 10. I added blue glass beads for some sparkle.




When I created the focal piece in the middle, I definitely got carried away with the beads, but I like it. I made sure to incorporate the necklace closure into my necklace design so there is no metal involved. Just glass beads and beautiful cotton thread,baby!

Even though I tried to make it small enough to be a snug fit (so it would be easier to let go of), in the end, I discovered it fits me really well. Although I like coming up with these original designs, it's a little depressing knowing that I probably won't make the same thing again. I could probably figure it out from the pictures later, but I'm realistic enough to know that I won't do it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Etsy Wednesday - Promote Your Shop Linky Party

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY!  Other linky parties say "NO Etsy shops" but we say YES!!  Here's your chance to market or promote your online store for FREE.  Once you link up your shop, don't forget to spread the word to other sellers as well as your friends who are in the mood for shopping.  Don't worry, you can still link up even if you're on Artfire, Zibbet, 1000 Markets, Folksy, etc.  Wondering what a Linky Party is or how it works?  Read this explanation for help.

I've been crazy busy this week, so I didn't have a chance to check out all the shops from last week.  Please forgive me as I spotlight my husband, one of the major creative influences in our shop.  Emerson is the Native in Native & Pilgrim. He is Navajo and grew up in the four corners area on the Navajo reservation.  Like me, he loves to try new things or adding a different twist to things you may have seen before.  Emerson creates the beaded and leather work in our shop and is the mastermind behind those amazing Native American designs on stone jewelry as well as on cards. His latest work is this leather bracelet topped with turquoise stone beads.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Madness - Is Anyone Actually Buying Stuff on Etsy?

I've asked myself that question many times - especially when my shop isn't getting any sales and I hear other sellers saying the same thing.  Obviously, sales are happening on Etsy or they would go out of business.  What are people actually buying then if they're not buying my fabulous creations?

One useful (and strangely difficult to find) tool on Etsy is Pounce. There are two options when you click on Pounce.  One is to look at undiscovered shops (recently updated shops that have not yet had a sale).  I was actually happy when my shop was no longer in this particular category.  The other option is to see items that just sold. 

Why would you want to look at those items that just sold? Besides giving you hope by knowing that people really are buying on Etsy, it's helpful to see what's selling.  No matter how wonderful a shop's items look, how many people look at the items, or how many people even "favorite" the shop or the item, it's the sales that actually mean something.  Scrolling through those "just sold" items can help you see trends - types of items purchased, popular colors, common sizes, and even the way the products were photographed or described.

I must warn you, however, that Pounce is very addictive.  You can spend hours just looking at wonderful creations - page after page after glorious page.  I find myself clicking over to check out their shops and wanting to buy from them, too.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Feature Friday - Funky Felt Flowers

photo by Funky Felt Flowers
One of the great things about selling somewhere like Etsy is that you're not alone.  Other people are having the same kinds of experiences you are and sharing them just seems to make the  frustration a little easier to tolerate.  Michele opened Funky Felt Flowers in January, ready to share her creativity with the world.  Here is how she describes her Etsy madness...
The Etsy Enigma
I have to say that when I first opened shop on Etsy, I thought my creations would sell themselves. I had no idea the amount of work that lay ahead of me. There's a tremendous amount of marketing/networking/promoting to be accomplished. Unfortunately, I'd have to admit that it's about 95% business and 5% creativity. 
 
I am one of thousands of shops, and in order to stand out, I have to "shout" out. I've completed all the requisite assists, like starting a blog, a Facebook Fan page and a Twitter account. Everyday, I try to impart a bit of info to keep my name in circulation. 
 
Well, it doesn't seem to be working that well. I've had six sales since I opened in January. Nobody else on Etsy creates the things I do. I'm flummoxed...I don't know what else to do. 
 
The one fantastic thing about Etsy, though, is its community. It's like one big family. There are thousands of shops, but everyone is very supportive of one another and respectful as well. Etsy provides various tools to help shops with exposure as well as communication among artisans. There are teams, applications, treasuries - all tools that aid in sales and camaraderie. I feel very at home and have made many friends on Etsy. 
 
Now if I could only get some traffic!! All I know is that I like what I do and I'm going to keep moving forward because I'm bound to be noticed someday! (I'm crossing my fingers)
 
Hang in there, Michele.  You have wonderful product photos, a great name, and a creative product.  I love the sense of humor in your descriptions, too.  People will start noticing you. 
 
A few suggestions...
  • Include metric measurements for our friends outside of the United States.  
  • Use clever color descriptions to show up in more searches.  I like Name that Color for figuring out color names. Saying "shocking pink" or "Hollywood cerise" to describe a hot pink flower sounds better.  I recently listed a tatted necklace with green stones and described the color as green tea. That quickly landed it in a treasury of green tea themed items.
  • Your shipping cost probably seems high to potential buyers, especially since the felt is lightweight.  Include information about the packaging and shipping that will help the buyer understand what they're paying for.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday Thoughts - Etsy Aims for Marketplace Integrity

Why should you care about Etsy maintaining marketplace integrity?  It's to everyone's advantage that Etsy have a serious and legitimate marketplace.  You want people to shop there without worrying whether or not they can trust you. Etsy recently talked about some of their plans in a blog post.

photo from LagunaStudio
I've had some lousy experiences with both buyers and sellers on eBay that make me extra cautious about purchasing there. When buyers claim they haven't received the item you mailed them and then file a claim that hurts your reputation as well as your wallet, it's infuriating.  This is why I'm glad that Etsy wants people to feel more confident about buying and selling on its site.

Confused about what marketplace integrity means? Etsy wants to make sure that people are following the rules and policies they have established. Even though there have always been those links to click on to report an item to Etsy, there were a lot of complaints about a lack of results.  Etsy is increasing the number of employees handling those reports so they are handled quickly and efficiently.

photo from summergirl80
Should I be worried?  People sometimes cross the line without knowing or understanding it.  You know that you shouldn't copy the work of others (at least you better know!).  What you may not realize is that incorporating someone else's copyrighted work into yours may be wrong. 

When you bought that fabric with NFL logos on it to make blankets, pillows, aprons, or teddy bears for your Etsy shop, did you notice the fine print on the bolt of fabric that prohibits anything but personal use of the fabric? What about those shops that incorporate photos/images from the latest hot movie or TV show? It's copyright/trademark infringement. Disney has quite a reputation for going after day care centers who show Disney movies to the children. They win because they claim the day care center is essentially making money using Disney's products to enhance their business. 

Derivative work by Kreatworks
Derivative works are an exception, but the original item has to be substantially changed by new creativity. No matter what you do with the NFL team fabric, the part that's copyrighted hasn't changed and you will still be in trouble. Printing a graphic of Jack Sparrow of your favorite Twilight character and then putting it in a necklace (under glass or covered by resin) is still a violation.

I'm just one little shop - why does some humungous corporation want to go after me?  They have to.  If they don't enforce their copyrights and trademarks, they won't be able to hold onto them.  Letting you get away with it makes it harder for them to go after others.  Etsy will be responding to more of the reports on copyright infringement as well as going after those who resell the work of others.  Reselling isn't illegal, but it's not welcome on Etsy.

One of our original creations
I welcome Etsy's renewed commitment.  Buyers and sellers need to be able to trust each other to have a successful marketplace.  Artisans also need to feel that their work is valued and protected.  I know I would be upset to see someone copying my work.  How do you feel about it?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Etsy Wednesday - Promote Your Shop Linky Party

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY!  Other linky parties say "NO Etsy shops" but we say YES!!  Here's your chance to market or promote your online store for FREE.  Once you link up your shop, don't forget to spread the word to other sellers as well as your friends who are in the mood for shopping.  Don't worry, you can still link up even if you're on Artfire, Zibbet, 1000 Markets, Folksy, etc.  Wondering what a Linky Party is or how it works?  Read this explanation for help.

Last week's Etsy Wednesday pick is from LYNDEEH.  Lyndeeh is the author of A Recovering Craft Hoarder blog.  She recently took the Etsy plunge, opening her own shop. Since my hubby is a huge fan of Lucky Charms, I immediately fell in love with her upcycled/recycled journals.  They'd be great Father's Day presents for sure!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tatting Tuesday - Looking for a feather pattern

My household is dominated by Native American decor. Many of my most treasured possessions are my powwow regalia and the regalia I made for my sons.  What does this have to do with tatting?  Nothing - that's the problem.

I love tatting and love that it links me to my pioneer heritage.  As much as I love flowers, butterflies, and doilies, I have looked for years to try to find a tatting pattern for a feather.  I'd like to be able to tat some bald eagle feathers that I could put on my dance shawl. 

When Etsy still had its Alchemy feature, I listed this request and had someone willing to try designing a pattern, but it never ended up working out. I'm looking for another brave soul to help me with this quest...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Diet Coke Crazy

The classic bottle design with some beads
Do you have a favorite soda?  I'm an absolute Diet Coke addict!  With all the empty cans piling up, it was only a matter of time before it became part of our craft stash...

Lovin' the leather fringe!












With bubble texture and layered
 We've been playing with turning our favorite cans into wearable art.  Some of the creations are now in our shop and others are in my personal collection.  My friends will be seeing more of these lovelies hanging from my earlobes.

A Quick Request for Support

The Vivint Gives Back program is having a bit of a competition for community charities to gain support and possibly receive a significant donation. The first phase has charities asking for endorsements (votes) from Facebook users. The top 20 charities in each region move on to the next round for more voting. In the end, the charity in each region that receives the most votes will get a donation from Vivint. 

Vivint is giving away $1.25 Million to charities. Help us win!

Heritage Schools, Inc. (my day job) is a nonprofit residential treatment center for teens with mental health issues. We do great work there and have changed the lives of thousands of youth.  Please take a moment and give Heritage your endorsement/vote. You can vote again each day and you'll be helping some kids who are trying to turn their lives around.

Monday Madness - The Etsy BNR as a Marketing Tool

Get Dad this handsome bracelet...
About a year ago, I first encountered the concept of a BNR on Etsy.  I was excited at first, but felt like they were often run by a little group of sellers who continually bought from each other.  Sellers new to the BNR would jump in and buy something so their shop would be featured (BNR = Buy and Replace).  Unfortunately, it was pretty common for those newcomers to get no sales for themselves as they watched the "in group" people buying from each other over and over.  If they did get a sale, it was usually for a minimal amount and they would lose their spot in the BNR treasury.

Recently, I noticed a new abbreviation - BNS.  What is a BNS?
  • It's almost identical to a BNR, but BNS stands for Buy and Stay instead of Buy and Replace.  
  • The curator sets up the BNS with 20 featured shops.  
  • Those shops stay featured during the entire time the BNS is open.  
  • When you make a purchase from one of the featured shops (following the minimum purchase guidelines of the BNS), you post the transaction link in the BNS treasury and then the Curator adds your shop to the list for the next BNS.  
  • Some curators keep the BNS open for a certain period of time (24 hours), while others keep it open until all 20 slots have been filled for the next BNS.
  • This means that individual shops may have multiple sales without getting replaced in the treasury.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Feature Friday - Purple Cloud Studio

Photo courtesy www.purplecloudstudio.com
Michelle Palenik of Purple Cloud Studio shares my fascination with Etsy's Alchemy feature.   Those of you newer to Etsy missed out on this unique service connecting artisans to buyers looking for unique or custom work. Some of my earlier negative experiences may have given you the impression that I hated it, but there were good things about it, too.

In January, Etsy removed the Alchemy feature to do some renovating. Michele was disappointed in this change since she does a lot of custom work. "My experience with Alchemy has been really positive," she says. "I have gotten to make some real oddball/cool stuff."

Even if you weren't interested in participating in Alchemy, it was usually entertaining to look through the listings. Michele admitted that, like most of us, she put in a lot more bids for jobs than she won, but she had a lot of fun.

Some of Michele's favorite Alchemy projects include
  • Monkey head paperclips
  • Crazy doll eyes
  • Mad Hatter/Cheshire Cat wedding cake topper
That wedding cake topper was Michele's overall favorite because it was made for such a special occasion. She even made it so it could hold a candle and be used for future occasions as well.  This is a testament to Michele's focus on function and good design.

One look at the Purple Cloud Studio Etsy shop will show you just how unique Michele's work can be.

With Alchemy gone, Michele has revamped her website for Purple Cloud Studio to welcome more custom request orders.  She offers custom made jewelry as well as cremation keepsakes. Always up for new challenges, Michele ends her blog posts by asking, "...now, what may I create for YOU?"

If and when Etsy decides to reinvent Alchemy and launch it again, you'll definitely hear from me (and Michele) so you can check it out.  Custom work is still alive and well on Etsy, but buyers have to work harder to connect with those who can do the work they seek to have done.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Etsy Wednesday - Promote Your Shop Linky Party

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY!  Other linky parties say "NO Etsy shops" but we say YES!!  Here's your chance to market or promote your online store for FREE.  Once you link up your shop, don't forget to spread the word to other sellers as well as your friends who are in the mood for shopping.  Don't worry, you can still link up even if you're on Artfire, Zibbet, 1000 Markets, Folksy, etc.  Wondering what a Linky Party is or how it works?  Read this explanation for help.

Copper Brass Silver Necklace
Last week's Etsy Wednesday pick is True Self Studio.  Dotti is the artisan behind the beautiful jewelry and I love that she lets the jewelry components speak to her when making these creations.  I tend to be more of a pattern person, so I admire those who can just create and come up with such random combinations that are so amazing. This necklace with a mix of metals and shapes is my favorite!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...