Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why You Need the Etsy Madness

Ever since I started this blog, I've struggled with the idea of what I'm trying to do with it.  Surviving the Etsy Madness isn't the only blog about Etsy.  I'm a fan of Handmadeology. They report on Etsy news and post a lot of articles about the business of selling on Etsy.  I don't see them as competition because I don't have the kind of resources they do.

This blog is more than just reporting the news about Etsy.  It's a look into my personal journey with selling online. and I enjoy being able to share my own personal experiences with fellow sellers. You're not the only one trying to understand the terminology, hoping to find customers, and coping with frustration. When you sell handmade items, it's a very personal process. The customer who shrugs off a purchase feels like they're rejecting you personally. I catch myself wanting to ask them, "Why don't you want that? Is it the wrong size or wrong color? Is it too expensive? Are you trying to figure out how it make it yourself?"  I may not handle it the right way every time, but you'll get the benefit of my experiences.

Wondering where you fit in this Etsy Madness?  The biggest thing is you give me a reason to keep writing. You can join me in all this madness by sharing your experiences, tips, and tricks or by asking questions that are bugging you.  I'm open to questions and suggestions for what direction to go from here. We're in this journey together!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Affordable Boutique in Utah County Seeks Vendors


My employer, Heritage School, holds an boutique every November. Employees and community members enjoy the shopping and a percentage of sales at the boutique go to our Sub-for-Santa program. It's one of my favorites to be a vendor at. You don't have to man your booth (unless you want to) and the items are purchased at a centralized checkout. The booth charge is only $5 (or $10 if you need them to provide a table).

This boutique is what got me started since I was only out the $5 if nothing sold.  Heritage employees also invite friends, neighbors, and family members to shop.  If you're interested in participating, here is the information:


Our Christmas Boutique this year will be November 3-4, 2011 from
10:00 – 8:00 each day in the Activity Center.  We would like to invite you to participate in our Boutique this year. 

Please read the information below and return the top part of this form with your non-refundable booth space deposit indicating what type of space you need by October 24, 2011 to Heritage Schools – Bonnie Schrader,
5600 N Heritage Drive Provo, Utah 84604    

* Booth charge will be $5.00 for a 6' space.  You bring your own set up to            display your items for sale.
* Booth charge will be $10.00 for a 6' space including a table to display your        items for sale.
*Set up time is 4:00-7:00 pm. Wed., Nov.02, 2011 in the Activity Center Gym
*Take down time is 8:00-9:00 pm. Friday Nov.04, 2011.  Please do not leave        items over the weekend.
* Make a master list of items for sale to compare with our list of items sold (we    have a central cashier). Although we take every precaution to make sure that    items are not taken without payment we cannot be responsible for items that   are missing.   You are welcome to provide your own personnel to monitor your   inventory if you have concerns. 
* Make sure each item is clearly marked with the price and vendor name.
* Sales will be tabulated and a check will be mailed to the vendor within 7          working days.
*10% of all sales will be donated to Sub-for-Santa
*Please pass this information onto anyone you know that might be interested in  participating as a vendor.  
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Bonnie Schrader at    
801-226-4602 or bonnie.schrader (at) heritagertc.org.

Etsy Wednesday Promote Your Shop Linky Party #34

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY! 

Animal Magnetism picture stand
This week's featured shop comes from Canada. Askela Designs has been on Etsy for two years as of November. Theresa designs and creates jewelry because she loves to. Having a passion for her work must be what keeps her going. I was pleased to find some really cute non-jewelry items in her shop. She has little animals that can be used as magnets or to hold up photos. So clever!
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, October 18, 2011

Etsy Shop Name Change Different Than I Expected

Today is the glorious day that Etsy finally allowed us to change our shop names. For those of us who were stuck with names that we had outgrown, this is a blessed day indeed.  But, for every silver lining, there certainly is a cloud.

Quickly logging into Etsy, I assumed I should go to my account and edit my profile. Strike one! You can change how your name is listed (first name, first and last names, or nothing), but no place for changing the shop name. Moving on, I checked "account settings."  Strike two! It listed my username as NativeSky and it said "cannot be changed" next to it.  I was about ready to explode.  One more try....

Under "Shop Settings," I clicked on "Info & Appearance." The very first item listed was "Shop Name" (not to be confused with "Shop Title," which is the next item).  When I clicked on "change," I was surprised that it said you could only change the name of your shop once.  Even though I was very confident about my decision to change the name, it made me pause a little...scary!

Fortunately, it does look like you can try to request an additional name change if you typed it in wrong or have a legal reason for changing it.  Another thing to note is that changing your shop name doesn't change your username.  You will still login the same way you did before. Those of you who used your own name for this will probably be glad you did.

I had to see how it would look on the Etsy site, so I played with an old treasury that only had a few items still in it. You'll see how I used to be listed when you look at the Curator spot. Your logo/photo/avatar and shop name at the time you posted it never change. Fortunately, Etsy does update the shop name of each of the items listed in the treasury.  NativeAndPilgrim is too long to show the full name with the little picture listing in the treasury.  When I make comments, it says "Karen from NativeAndPilgrim" and I really like how that looks.

Changing your shop name will change your URL (website address) on Etsy, but all your old links will be forwarded automatically. Nobody will be able to use your old shop name either.

Is anyone else changing their Etsy shop name?  I want to hear from you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Coming Back From Disaster

Bad things will happen. You can't avoid it. If it's enough of a disaster, you may have to decide what direction to go next.  One of our local restaurants closed once for a leaky roof only to have a fire do significant damage a few months later. I was happy to see an article in the newspaper about the owner's decision to use this as an opportunity to revamp his business and start over.

The original restaurant he opened was a buffet style place with Americanized Chinese food. Because the building was kind of run-down when they first opened, it always seemed kind of depressing.  After the fire, the owner renovated the inside and the outside. It now has a sleek, modern look that gets your attention. The menu has also changed. Authentic Chinese food and all-you-can-eat sushi will certainly draw a new crowd of diners.


I am sharing this story to illustrate how to turn a negative into a positive.  That restaurant wouldn't have changed (not anytime soon, anyway) if it hadn't experienced disaster. They were in desperate need of change, but they couldn't see it. They were comfortable keeping on the same path.  Most likely, business would have dropped off gradually and the restaurant would have gone out of business.

You don't have to wait for a big disaster to make some changes.  I remember looking at our business logo at one point and realizing that it didn't have the look or feel I wanted. Sales probably weren't lost to an outdated looking logo, but coming up with a better logo re-energized me and helped with promoting our shop.

  • No money to buy new supplies?  Look at what you have and be creative about making things out of the supplies on hand.  Sometimes you can get supplies from people who are destashing (getting rid of their supply stash) or trade supplies with others. 
  • Sales stagnant?  Here's your opportunity to scrutinize your shop and see what you could update. Rewrite item descriptions, take new photos, change the names you've given to products, etc. I'm guilty of renewing expired items without looking them over carefully. Try looking at it like a brand new product you're listing.
What disaster will you prevent this week?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Etsy Wednesday Promote Your Shop Linky Party #33

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY! 

Halloween vintage print notepad
I chose this week's featured shop in a weird way.  While feeding my dogs yesterday, I was stung by a yellowjacket and it messed up my whole day. No allergic reaction, but it hurt a lot and I worried all day about a possible reaction.  To give the whole stinger thing a more positive spin, I chose to feature Two Bees Creations out of Buffalo, New York. The sellers at Two Bees make some cool handbags and other items from upcycled materials. It's nice to enjoy the beauty of their shop without getting stung. :-)
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, October 11, 2011

Great Change at Etsy

Etsy has finally made one of the changes that shop owners have been begging for. You will soon be able to change the name of your shop.  This may not be a big deal to those of you who chose your username/shop name well.  For people like me, who later got serious and had to choose a business name that was more unique, getting stuck with an Etsy name that doesn't match the name of your business is a nightmare. 

I switched from Native Sky to Native & Pilgrim over a year ago.  I don't regret changing the name of our business. It was a wonderful decision! Etsy's refusal to let people change their usernames (which are also the shop names) became more and more annoying as I would communicate on Etsy via email, forums, etc. and I was stuck with the old name. 

This change will come about around October 18th. You will also be able to customize how your name is displayed when posting on Etsy.  It will be nice to show up as Karen from Native & Pilgrim so people will see me as a shop owner. It always seemed awkward to post comments as your shop's name.


No news yet on one of the other changes we've been waiting for. I still hold out hope that we will eventually be able to have multiple shops under one Etsy account. It would be nice to separate very different items into different shops but still be able to benefit from all the feedback associated with your business. I sure hope that one is next!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Etsy Wednesday Promote Your Shop Linky Party #32

It's time for ETSY WEDNESDAY! 

Halloween fabric flower barrettes
Kassandra Woo of Mrs. Crafty Pants Designs is this week's featured seller. What an awesome shop name! She lists her handmade hair accessories as one size fits all. That's a clever way to put it! The items in her shop are made with festive fabrics and she has something for all your holiday accessorizing. Well done! 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....

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Madness - Surviving as a Starving Artist

The term starving artist doesn't just apply to those putting paint on canvas. The life of any artisan can get complicated as they hope to make a decent income from the sales of their work. Etsy's blog includes regular articles called "Quit Your Day Job" that tell how artisans were able to make a living from their own work and stop working outside the home.

Like many of you, I'm wondering if this is even a possibility in my life. The recession in the U.S. economy caused sales to drop and I haven't seen any signs that sales will improve soon. Are you thinking of closing up shop? How are you going to keep purchasing supplies and keep the offerings in your shop fresh without some significant sales?

I've found some solutions that have helped me and I'm so grateful to all the others blogging out there. Blogs have become one of the top ways for companies to connect to the general public.  Functioning as a combination of news and word of mouth promotion, blogs are an increasingly popular venue for products to be introduced. Often, a blog post telling about a product will be accompanied by a contest or giveaway and one or more lucky readers will get a free product. My wins include some art, a purse, craft supplies, health and beauty products, and jewelry. I have entered contests for baby stuff even though my kids are now grown up. Several friends and relatives have had babies recently and I've been able to give my winnings as gifts.

Another helpful resource is blogs and sites that let you know about freebies. While some of the freebies are sample sizes, I've also received coupons for full size products. Everything from shampoos to food to fast food to dog food are promoted this way. I've even been able to get small cans of paint for free! These same blogs also link to great coupon deals.

Do you rely on high priced medications that don't have a generic equivalent yet? Several manufacturers offer cards that you can use for big discounts on your copay. This has been a lifesaver for me!

I don't know when...or if...that day will come where I can cut back on having a day job.  I'm not even sure that's what I ultimately want.  In the meantime, finding ways to save some money helps me feel better as I wait for my handmade products to start bringing in more money.

Some helpful blogs to check out:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...