A Crafter's Crazy Life
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Also, I sent my sister some earrings to sell at a craft fair at her work...and she sold 107 pairs of earrings. Now I really need to send her a great Christmas gift. She deserves it for working the sales of those earrings.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
On to the real topic of this post. The best places (I've found) to get a great and inexpensive business card.
Most people already know about vistaprint. They do mucho advertising and they do have a free business card offer. You do have to use one of their 45 templates if you want the free card, but the templates are actually quite nice. If you opt to use one of their templates - you can get 250 cards free. The only downside is that the free cards take forever to get to you like 3 weeks or something. You can pay to upgrade your shipping to get it sooner. If you do not want to use the free business card templates, their fees for printing are not that expensive and they have literally thousands of templates to choose from.
You're thinking...FedEx? Really? Well, FedEx bought Kinko's a couple years back and they offer all the things that Kinko's used to. You can go to the FedEx website and go to the FedEx Office tab and create your card from there. They have a QuickCard option that will allow you to get your card within 24 hours and you can pick it up from the FedEx Office location nearest to you. The quickcard options are pretty minimal. You can use one of the fancier templates (which looks like the templates from VistaPrint) and it takes about 2 weeks to get your cards back. Black and white card pricing starts at 18.99 for 100 and $28.99 for 100 color cards. If you order more than 100 cards, the charge for each additional 100 is pretty nominal ($2.50 for black and white and $5.00 for color I think).
Currently, moo is my favorite business card website. They have much different template options than the 2 previously mentioned ones and their prices seem totally reasonable. I haven't ordered from them but have heard tons of people rave about them in the Etsy forums. I am really liking their mini cards options (it's about half the size of regular business cards) and the designs they have available are stunning. They also have a "Printfinity" option which allows you to have every single card in your stack with a different picture on it. Now that is very cool and innovative. Works well for people that want alot of variety in their business card options. I think it's a great idea. Even if you could have 10 different designs in a stack, that would be awesome.
If I see any other awesome options, I will keep you all posted. Remember, business cards are mucho importanto to help promo your business.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I've always wanted to learn wire wrapping, and I've read a gajillion tutorials about them but have yet to have a successful effort. I have been using wire that is softer than recommended because...uh my wire wrapping skills and tools are kind of sucky. lol.
I did come across this awesome wire wrapped ring tutorial that seemed very simple and had step by step photos. For some reason, I have an aversion to video tutorials although I have watched some.
This one seems to be the easiest for me to follow through. When I make one that's worthy of posting, I'll be sure to post a pic. I know, I always say that, but well, when Etsy or Artfire starts selling those "time" things that I talked about previously, then maybe I'll have more time to dedicate to actually doing tutorials instead of just reading them. Lol.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Then, I decided to pin some stuff myself. Oh my god, pinning is addicting. You can't pin just one I'm telling you.
Pinterest was recommended on a promo discussion thread that I was reading...and guess what, somebody pinned one of my earrings. Yay!!!!!
So far, pinterest is just another thing to take up my time, but at least I can do it while I'm doing other things that take up my time (online christmas shopping, fantasizing about my dream vacations, looking up easy recipes...yadda, yadda)
You all should check it out.
Beware, very addicting.
Monday, October 24, 2011
I was in the Etsy Forums discussions and someone mentioned a site where you can make free 30 second promo videos. So I decided to check it out and I have to say, I was very impressed with their setup. It was so easy to upload photos for your video and you can either upload your own music or use their wide selection of available music.
For a free subscription, you can make a limitless amount of 30 second vids (which is all you really need for a promo video). You can upgrade your account for what I thought was a nominal fee and have access to longer videos.
I've only made one video so far but the possibilities are endless as far as what you can create with a little time and planning.
Definitely visit: www.animoto.com and check it out.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I really want to participate because of the all the pros (booth fees were really inexpensive too - only $25) and they provide you with a table and its indoors. I've just been worried about how to display my earrings. I think I have the signage down and the price structure will be very simple to make it easier for the buyers.
I've been online and searched tons of places...I think I can DIY a great display for the craft fair. We'll see how it goes, the fair is in December...wish me luck!
Saturday, October 22, 2011
We'll see how they do, but I love them, going to be rockin' a pair to the market today.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
The tutorial for the first picture can be found here:
If you attempt this, shoot me an email or leave me a message and I'd love to post a picture of it.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
On average I make 3-4 sales a week there and I post about 5-8 items a week. That is not a bad turnaround. I also learn which of my products are the most appealing to customers and can turn my creative focus to products more along those lines and which products I may consider a reduction or abandonment of.
So as of this post...EBAY - thumbs up!
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Although I'm not yet in the Halloween mood, I did recently come across a treasury with these beautiful masks. This is not your typical plastic mask with the hole at the mouth and eyes, that is for sure. This one is a showstopper and you will definitely stand out. Now, I wish there was some kind of masquerade ball or something that I could justify getting it. Or maybe I should wish for the gown that would accompany a mask as intricate and beautiful as this.
This Etsy craftsperson has many masks as beautiful, if not more than this one. You should check their pieces of art out:
In my mind, this mask is called Naughty Secrets. It's what I think of when I see it. I christen thee.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Wow, busted by a pre-schooler. Definitely NOT awesome. I'll try to refrain from using the a-word again in his presence.
We'll try to use...fabulous. Yes fabu is now replacing the a-word. Until I overuse that and then it will be overuse of the f-word. ;P
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Found these cool earrings on Etsy by Coralines Accessories. You can find this and other awesome food stuff (she makes alot of super cute food items) at this link:
One of these days I'll figure how to backlink a picture in a post but haven't reached that level of blogging awesomeness yet. Check her stuff out, it's awesome yumminess that you can wear!
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I decide, I'm going to wear one of my creations, the peacock feather inspired earrings. While we're there spending our hard earned money, a lady sitting next to me is staring at me. You know how you can feel someone looking at you. I was starting to feel a little freaked out when she says "I was just admiring your earrings. They're beautiful. Where did you get them from?" When I told her I made them she looked very surprised. She said, "You should sell those." I should sell those. :sigh: If I had a business card, I could have just handed them to her and said, "I do" and then not have to get into this lengthy discussion about where and how. Instead of trying to get into the whole thing and explain to her where I sell...I just blanked out and said, "Thanks." Smooth, very smooth.
Did I mention I was the worst salesperson ever? Later my boyfriend says, "You should have given her a business card." Well, duh. Thanks honey.
Lessons learned - at any time and at any place can your next sale could be lurking around the corner and carry the dang business cards with you at all times.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Then I was watching animal planet...or the bf was watching animal planet on some special about the Amazon and BAM! It hit me. They were showing scenes of some beautiful colorful macaws in the branches of the Amazonian trees. I was thinking wow, that's beautiful! And all of a sudden I felt inspired. It was like a huge creative spurt that caused me to make like 25 earrings in 1 1/2 hours. I was in the zone. I had tunnel vision. And it must have been so because the bf asked me a question and I didn't even respond and he had to repeat himself and roll his eyes. Lol. He said I was obsessed...and so what? Maybe I was, but as the saying goes, "Strike while the iron is hot!"
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Ebay has actually been pretty successful for me as far as making actual sales. I usually list about 8 listings a month and of those 8, sell 1-3 earrings. That's not bad considering I have 150+ items on Etsy and sales are super sloooooow. It's ok, I'm being positive and working at getting my items listed, seen and sold.
Wish me luck, I'll be Ebaying for hours trying to list my items. :sigh: No rest for the wicked.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Come and check it out. It is a collection of new members to Artfire.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The website can be accessed at:
In the Artfire forums, I also came across some commenting on a website called StoreEnvy. Apparently, it is also somewhat similar to Artfire and Etsy in that each seller has their own storefront and can post items to sell. Not all items have to be handmade as they give you an area where you can enter a UPC symbol. Apparently, there is no charge to selling your items on StoreEnvy. One of the commentors in the Artfire forum mentioned that it appears the demographic on StoreEnvy is late teens - 20somethings. I think that is a perfect demographic for my stuff as it appeals to women of that age and is affordable. I did sign up there but did not have a chance yet to explore so I will most likely post more information as I find out about it.
The StoreEnvy website can be accessed at:
I don't want to spread myself too thin with 2 stores already with Etsy and Artfire, but I am also trying to find the best online market for myself so if StoreEnvy is free, there is no harm in trying it out. I just need to find some Etsy or Artfire store that sells time...or sleep. Lol.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
My skills doesn't even compare to theirs...BUT...they are all significantly older than me. Lol. I kid, hopefully one day I can live up to their craft expectations. Just have to keep on crafting!
Saturday, September 3, 2011
These are the things I learned in my research on Artfire:
- Artfire is fairly new, in that they seemed to have started around 2008
- Artfire's pricing works a little different - at least for listing. You pay a monthly fee (right now it's around $12.00/month) for unlimited listings.
- A buyer doesn't have to be a member to buy, they can just buy from your shop directly.
- Paypal isn't the only online payment option, you can also use Google Checkout, Amazon
- Items posted on Artfire become available in Google Shopping
All this I learned before actually going to the website. I decided to go over to the website to check it out. Right now (as of August 2011) you can have a promotional 1 month membership for free and if you do not notify them that you do not want to be a seller within a month, then the credit card you provide will be billed the monthly fee after 30 days. It appears that before (back in 2008 and 2009) they offered 2 different types of memberships. A "Basic" membership and a "Pro" membership. A basic membership used to be free and you had to pay for a Pro membership, which would entitle you to utilize many of the tools that Artfire provides which helps to get your shop more visible on the web. I don't think they offer the basic membership anymore (or I didn't see an area for types of membership). I decided to sign up, for at least 30 days and see what happens. You know, the "No Harm, No Foul" rule in effect.
I will keep you posted on how it goes as with the Etsy shop. My first impression though, on trying to establish my shop is that it is definitely not Etsy with a different name. It's definitely different - not bad or good yet - just different. It'll take some adjusting but hopefully it's a success. I have the 2 shops open for now, let's see if I can keep up!
Friday, September 2, 2011
So, I posted some pictures of earrings and just sent 1 or 2 invites a day. I don't have a ton of fans but some of my F&F (Friends & Family) responded and I got some likes, which made me feel good. I'll admit it. But then I connected with a family friend (who happened to be an old teacher of all my siblings) and she expressed an interest in many of my paper earrings. I told her to go and check out my Etsy page and lo' and behold, she made a purchase...of 7 earrings! Yay Facebook fan pages, you rock! She said that she'll probably be looking for some Christmas gift purchases later in the year so I have to say, all my initial hesitations were for naught.
So, I still send out 1 or 2 invites a day, because it doesn't cost me anything and minimal time. I'd have to say it takes less of a commitment than this blog. Although, I do love blogging, because it's like keeping a diary, and although no one else may read this, it is definitely a tension reliever and for some reasons, I always feel like I have something to say! Imagine if you ever met me in person...your poor ears.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
One of the major barriers for me to selling constantly on Ebay was the fact that you had to pay astronomical (seems like it anyway) listing fees and then final value fees and Paypal fees. If you don't have a store and are not a power seller, selling items of lower value did not make any sense. Most of the items I currently sell are $5.00 and under. With the new 50 free listings, you're not really taking any risk in attempting to sell. As the saying goes - "No Harm, No Foul". I figured, I already had the pictures and descriptions...so why not give it another chance? The first week, I listed 8 items and had 1 sale. The second week I listed 6 items and had 3 sales. That is 4 more sales than I would have had if I had not tried it. Granted, I didn't get the full price that I wanted, but I didn't lose any money on the deal so that's always a benefit. It gives me some exposure to potential future customers (I sent each one a promo item and coupon code for shopping in my Etsy shop). Who knows, getting paid a little bit to promote your items, sounds like a good deal to me.
I figure on posting 12-15 items a week to stay within my 50 item limit. Maybe step it up a notch around the holidays if sales seem to be going up during that time frame.
Give Ebay a chance, you never know what could happen! The downside of that deal, is I ended up buying a ton of beading stuff - more than what I sold. Lol.
Monday, August 29, 2011
I came to realize that I am working every single day...but I just didn't realize it. I guess it doesn't feel like work when you're doing it for yourself (finally I am my own boss!) Whether or not this venture is monetarily fruitful, doesn't matter because I really like doing this stuff. And to think, I once told one of my old bosses that I don't work for love. Ha! All this work I'm doing is sure not for money. Lol. I even have an employee that works for me...it's a good thing he works for kisses and homecooked meals. ;P
Friday, August 19, 2011
- We All Belong - team of any Etsians to support each other - no qualifications to join.
- Oregon Team - team of Oregonian crafters - just have to live in Oregon.
- West Coast Team - team of West Coasters (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California & Hawaii) - have to live in one of the mentioned states.
- Fire Mountain Gems Co-op - team of people that order from Fire Mountain Gems - we can combine orders together to get the best pricing for FMG
- Etsy Paper Team - team of crafters that have at least 50% of their shop dedicated to paper crafted items.
- Promoting Our Shops Team - team dedicated to help the members promote and drive traffic to their Etsy shops
- Promo Swap Team - I mentioned this team in an earlier blog, but a team that trades promotional items to include in sold items.
So far, I've gotten alot of good advice and hopefully some exposure from the teams that I've joined. Promo is allowed in all the discussions except for the FMG Co-op Team. I try to post my items in the New Listing threads and look at the items for the shops that posted before me. Sometimes the threads are 20 pages long so I at least visit the 5 shops that posted before me.
Teams are a good way to get some exposure if you actively participate. I did see another promo team that was interesting but there were specific qualifications to join that seemed like it required more time than I had, so that one is on the back burner for now. Has it helped to drive traffic to my Etsy shop - yes a little, I haven't yet seen any MAJOR traffic coming in after joining the teams but every little bit helps and the discussion forums do provide support if you have questions as well as helpful advice.
One thing that really annoys me about the teams are the OVER-PROMOTERS. I see their posts every other hour in the "New Items" listing. It's like, jeez, give other people a chance to post their items too or so that their items won't get buried. It causes me to not want to visit their shops because their posting is a little obnoxious.
It has not really been that long since I've joined the teams so as time goes on, we'll see how that goes. One thing I have learned about the team discussions is to promote but don't overdo it or people like me will avoid going to the shops of people like that. Just my spin on it.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Maybe I will make him an awesome meal this weekend because of his infinite patience and his contribution to the earring making. He will glue, varnish and punch the paper earrings without me even asking. And if I happen to take a nap in the middle of the day (because I stayed up late making earrings or Etsy-ing the night before) he will make quite a few pair of earrings.
Alright, maybe I can show him some appreciation if I make him something super awesome (although he did say he was craving Pizza Hut's Hawaiian Pizza). Hmmmm....slave away in the kitchen or order $10 Pizza Hut? Ok, ok, slave away in the kitchen. As I type this, I am also talking on the phone to my mom (multi-taking is key) and posed the question to her. I felt her glare over the phone. She said, "You be nice to Javier, make him good food and stop feeding him tuna sandwiches!" I couldn't help but tell her, "Ok, no tuna sandwiches. How about tuna helper?" That comment received a disgusted grunt. I love my mom. Lol.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Great crafters do not only exist on Etsy. Many of them host blogs like this one giving advice and providing tutorials - for which I am always grateful. I'll probably frequently post the links to awesome tutorials that I've found which I've either tried or have on my "to-do list".
It should only be fitting that I choose the Queen on High of all crafters - Martha Stewart. She has a tutorial on her website for some beautiful paper roses crafted from coffee filters. This one would be on my "to-do list" as I have not yet tried to...but I will get to it someday. Here is the link to the tutorial:
One day, I'd like to post my own tutorials but my hands don't look as cute as the ones I see in tutorials...plus I make a big mess when I make things unlike tutorialites (people who do tutorials). Their craft space always looks so nice and neat!
Friday, August 12, 2011
I could offer 1 month free promo to anyone that follows me on here. Sounds like a great idea and everybody wins. Or do a if you follow me, then I'll follow you type deal. I like it, better get on it! One barrier, for some reasons, I hate posting in the team discussions because I don't take criticism well. Not that any of those people will criticize, but we all have our neurotic fears and that may be one of mines. Lol.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
So you ask, what the heck are you doing selling your wares on Etsy? Everything I've read on being successful on Etsy says promo, promo, promo, Ms. I Hate Sales. Facebook Fan page, Blog, a gajillion other sites to advertise on to drive traffic to your etsy page, BNS/BNR's, teams, forums. Phew! What I've deducted is that promoting my Etsy shop will initially take more time than actually making items to put in my Etsy shop. Ok, I can handle that. Time, effort and creativity...I have the latter 2 in leaps and bounds...now if I could find more time. lol.
Some things that I have done so far (and I will let you know how it works):
- joined a few teams (some for promo, some for support and advice)
- posted in the team discussions
- participating in my first BNS (Buy & Stay)
- started checking out the Forums and will be posting when I have something valuable to contribute
- researched taking better photos and started using them in the new pictures I've been taking although I think I could use some help in the staging department
- started this blog - debating about a Facebook Fan Page
I have to start somewhere...ya never know, maybe I do have a little bit of cheesy used car salesman in me after all!
I hope that link works. The shop right now contains all earrings - both beaded and paper earrings. The paper earrings sort of arose out of my desire to create something different. It started off with beaded earrings. I saw some earrings somewhere and thought to myself, I can make something like that and for wayyyy cheaper! Thus the earring frenzy started. I enjoy beading alot and Fire Mountain Gems must adore me - since they are my main supplier of all things beady.
After doing all beaded earrings for a while, I wanted to create something different, I tried many things - that kind of failed miserably in my case. First it was crafting with felt - but I'm a horrible seamstress - whether it be with a machine or hand stitching so that didn't last long. Then I tried polymer clay but again, not my forte. As an aside, I really give the polymer clay crafters props because that stuff is NOT easy to work with. I could barely cut a circle much less craft something out of it. I decided to focus on something that I could access easily and kind of did an internal evaluation. I realized that I love working in photoshop and have been doodling with it for a couple years. I've made family invitations, collages and even a book of my nephew's vacation. It finally hit me, paper earrings. I can create the designs in photoshop and then create some unique beautiful earrings. I was hooked. I had to experiment with the process to make sure that they would be stiff enough for earring use as well as much research on water resistance to make sure they would last. It was worth it to me to be able to create something completely unique to me and I love it!
Initially, the earrings were going to be just for me and maybe to give away as gifts for birthdays and Christmas but I was OCD'ing in photoshop and at last count, had about 100 designs. I still only have 1 pair of ears. My boyfriend's niece saw that I had a ton of earrings and she needed to make a little money so she asked if she could sell them to her friends and mom's friends. So we struck up a consignment deal and she started selling the earrings and making a decent profit which I would immediately re-invest in more earring stuff. lol. I was making more earrings than she could sell so I decided to try Ebay first, but things didn't really work out there, not really the right market. Then I remembered a few years ago I had bought a ton of stuff on Etsy and now, here I am a bonafide Etsy seller.
So, come along with me and enjoy the experience. Success or failure, it'll be something fun, new and exciting. I know I'll find some cool stuff along the way - I mean, I've already favorited a ton of them!