A Crafter's Crazy Life

This blog is dedicated to all things crafty. I recently started an Etsy shop and I am definitely getting an education on selling online, promoting and just how creative minds and hands can be. So this blog is a little about the thrills and frustrations as I take this journey and some extremely cool things that I find along the way. Wish me luck!



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sales, Sales, Sales

Sales were booming pre-Black Friday. I was beyond excited over the amount of Etsy sales that I had the 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. My boyfriend probably thought I was a psycho because I couldn't contain my excitement. Hey, I'm not a Etsy Super Seller (yet) so any sale is something to get excitable about. I'm almost at 50 sales. There were some bumps with the sales I made. One customer didn't get her item for nearly a week - which I did send her another pair of earrings and of course, 2 days later she got the original box. I have some awesome customers though, she offered to return any duplicates. I appreciated her offer but let her keep both because she was so nice about communicating with me. Another customer got charged an additional $0.83 by the post office so I refunded her the amount which she was very cool about. I even got 2 repeat customers.

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

Where Can I Get a Great Business Card?

Although I make and print my own business cards, not everybody knows how to use photoshop or illustrator. I was cruising around the Etsy forums and came across a post about business cards and the importance of having one (and as evidenced in my previous post about the need to have business cards with you wherever and whenever). I have taken my own advice and been carrying the cards around with me. I also read about another good idea. If you are somewhere that has an open bulletin board, you can post your card on the board. Doesn't hurt or cost anything.

On to the real topic of this post. The best places (I've found) to get a great and inexpensive business card.

www.vistaprint.com
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.

www.fedex.com
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).

www.moo.com
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

Wire Wrapped Ring Tutorial





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

Pinterest is Addicting

I joined Pinterest a couple weeks ago but hadn't really looked into it until I got an email that I had a follower. How the heck can I have a follower when I hadn't pinned anything? lol. So I checked it out and the follower was actually someone I knew from elementary school (she's actually my little sister's classmate). While I was there, I looked at some things "pinned" by other people.

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.

www.pinterest.com

Beware, very addicting.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Free Promo Videos Website - Animoto


video


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

To Craft Fair or Not To Craft Fair

I've been seriously thinking about doing some craft fairs this Holiday season. Craigslist is actually a great place to find small craft fairs that don't require you to be juried. I located a couple and contacted one in McMinnville which is about 20-30 minutes away from my house. Not that far. It appeared to be in an enclosed area and they provided you with a table and chair. Those were my top concerns because I don't have a craft fair appropriate table. The bonus was that they had an email address so that I could obtain an application and get additional information about the fair.

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

New Idea for Earrings

I've been rocking on with my paper earrings and pumping out designs, but I've been thinking about using transparency plastic in making some of my earrings. So I'm not sure if you can see it in this picture, but I used a gradient for the paper part of the earring and printed a swirly design on the transparency portion and overlayed it on the paper gradient portion. I really like the result. I think the overlay makes the swirls stand out more than if I had just printed them onto the gradient.

We'll see how they do, but I love them, going to be rockin' a pair to the market today.

Crafting Bender

Last night or should I say this morning, I went on a bender...a crafting bender. Made earrings from midnight to about 7 am. Sometimes, when that creative feeling hits you, you just have to ride it out. It was awesome, when I did finally fall asleep at about 7:30 this morning, got up at about 11:30 but felt refreshed and awesome. Love it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tree of Life Pendant Tutorial

I am always attracted to tree of life pendants and earrings. I have purchased many tree of life charms for my earrings. The tutorial featured today is how to make your own tree of life pendant with beads. Sometimes making things from scratch is way better because you can use the colors you want and as many or as little beads as you want to make the design you've envisioned in your mind.

The tutorial for the first picture can be found here:

http://www.beadstudio.com/info.php?a=613

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

Hello...Macy's...you called?



Work, work and more work. It's what I do nowadays. I think to myself that in a year to two years. All the time and effort that I've been dedicating will pay off. Macy's is going to call me up and say - Hello, we want to sell your inexpensive, fabu earrings in every Macy's store in America!



Whoah, daydreaming! Lol. I don't really think that Macy's will come a-knocking and I'm ok with that. I'd like to keep creative control of my crafting universe all to myself, thank you. Sorry Macy's, I can't be bought...well...I mean I can't be bought for one mill...but maybe for 3. Joking. But, if any Macy's purchasing rep is reading this...hit me up. lol.

Ebay Selling Update

As I already mentioned, I went back to selling on Ebay because of the 50 free promo. And you know what, I think Ebay has managed to turn my opinion around. I actually don't make it to the 50 free a month mark, but manage to usually use up between 35-40. So far, Ebay has managed to be pretty good for me in the selling department. It has actually been the most successful for me between Etsy, Artfire and Ebay in actually generating sales. I'm loving it because I am getting my items out there for potential future buyers because they also get one of my promo items as well.

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

Not the Typical Halloween Mask

With Halloween fast approaching, costumes are on the mind of most people. Most festive people that is. Am I festive? Sometimes. This year, I'm just...not quite yet in the Halloween mode. It is only the first week of October so as the time draws nearer, I'm sure I'll get with it.

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:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/77650305/black-venetian-luxury-metal-mask?ref=v1_other_2

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

Overusing the Word Awesome

I realize, as of late, I have been grossly overusing the word awesome. I don't know why. I didn't even realize it until my little nephew (who is 3 going on 25) said, "Aunty, why do you always say awesome?" I told him I don't always say it and he said "Yes you do. You said Optimus Prime was awesome yesterday. And today, you said angry birds was totally not awesome."

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

Sucker for Food

I am a total sucker for things that are not food but look like food. Take these super cool earrings for example. I mean, don't you want to just bite into these earrings! That bacon looks yummy delicious...mmmm bacon. Bacon makes everything better.

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:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/75411320/eggs-and-bacons-earrings-set

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

Always Carry Business Cards

I learned a very valuable lesson this weekend. I was in a creative slump as I mentioned earlier and so decided, I'm just going to do something fun this weekend. No thinking about Etsy, Artfire, crafting, promoting for one night. As my bf and I discussed what we should do, I thought, hey, let's blow some money we don't have and decided to go to Spirit Mountain casino. Spirit Mountain is the largest casino in Oregon and pretty nice. It's not The Wynn Hotel by any means, but all in all, a pretty nice casino.

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

Peruvian Woven Earring/Pendant Tutorial



I've always seen earrings like this and have wanted to make them but by just looking at them, it seems so complicated. I came across this tutorial one day while kind of browsing earring making tutorials hoping to find something new and interesting and happily I found this step by step tutorial on how to make these fabulous woven earrings/pendants.


I haven't tried this yet, but I do have an order for the frames. The tutorial tells you how to make them but my wire wrapping skills are pretty hilarious (horrible) so FMG sells the frames for these...and the teardrop shaped ones are on sale right now! Score! It's like $1.00 for 10 frames. I already have the embroidery thread because at one time I thought I would try my hand at doing some hand sewing of felt which never really went anywere beyond a weird square thing that looked like...a weird pink square with yellow thread badly sewn.


This pretty informative step by step tutorial can be found here:




The frame can be found here:




I'll be sure to post some pictures if my attempts don't come out to horribly.

Monday, October 3, 2011

When Inspiration Hits You!



I always wonder where people get inspiration for creating their items. I never really thought about it before because things would kind of just come to me or I would just put things together that I like or would wear. I was kind of in a creative slump so to say. I felt all creative juices had dried up. I emailed one of my friends and said HELP!!! I need some inspiration. Tell me what you like or kind of jewelry that appeals to you, yadda yadda. She responded with an answer that sounds like it could have been me answering. On a side note, no wonder she's my friend, we like the same things. lol.

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

Earring Model Needed

I was thinking as I was looking at other crafters pictures that I need an earring model. I am surely not going to be the model - ummm...really, no. lol. I thought about making my boyfriend do it, but I don't think he would #1 and #2, how appealing is an earring with a guy wearing it? Not really. My sister had initially volunteered to do it when she was visiting, but I wasn't seller ready for her and now she's back in Hawaii and I'm here in Oregon. That is an awesome camera if I could get her picture from here and I dont' trust her to take pictures that I would like. (Sometimes I think I'm a control freak). I've been debating other options and Javier mentioned that his niece might do it. She's only 14 but she might be a great option for some of the earrings I have. I asked her and she agreed. I told her that we'd take her out to dinner as payment and she chose....Jack in the Box. Lol. Hired. I told her that she should have a sign that says "Will work for food."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ebay - Free Today 150 Auction Listings

Today Ebay is offering 150 free Auction-Style listings on top of the regular 50 free auction-style listings a month. Need to buckle down and get to it.

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

Another Artfire Collection

I made it into another Artfire Collection. Yay for me. Lol.

http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=collections&op=details&cid=27135

Come and check it out. It is a collection of new members to Artfire.

Tutorial - Ribbon Necklace




Tutorial Time - and no, still not my own but one that I am surely gonna try in the next 2 weeks. I think it's super cute! The tutorial is inspired by a super expensive Ann Taylor necklace. And you know us crafters, if we can make something compatible at a fraction of the price and still look FAB then we're all over it.




The tutorial can be found here:








I'll post pictures of how my attempt works. Hopefully it'll be as pretty as these!




Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Artfire Treasury Feature



I was featured in an Artfire Treasury today. Please come check it out!

http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=collections&op=details&cid=27114



It's a rainy day collection featuring the earrings above.

Dipperly and StoreEnvy

One of my first emails on Artfire was from a lady who said she liked my stuff and that I should sign up on Dipperly.com which is similar to Etsy. Of course I google searched Dipperly and discovered that they are really really brand new. I think they launched on 9/1/11 and were offering specials to the first 1000 people to sign up with them. I took a look at the website and they really are brand new. There were only 10 entries in the jewelry section (which is the most saturated area of the handcrafted market). I registered, because you never know what being one of the first will get you, but I wasn't able to list anything even if I had wanted to. For some reason it didn't allow me to. The way they are supposed to work is like Artfire where you pay a monthly fee. I think the fee is only $6.00 or so. There was nothing mentioned when I signed up and I couldn't find any information about it on the website. I'll be a little patient as they are brand spankin' new, but hopefully they get all that stuff resolved. Here is a little article I found about the new startup.
http://www.free-press-release.com/news-pre-registration-on-dipperly-com-hails-the-launch-of-the-single-most-versatile-arts-and-crafts-platform-1305356213.html

The website can be accessed at:
http://www.dipperly.com/

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:
http://www.storeenvy.com/

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

First Impressions of Artfire




Wow, my first impressions of Artfire are pretty great! They provide you with a 45 day guide on how to be successful on Artfire, so of couse, like the nerd I am, I am trying to keep up with the instructional guide. One of the instructions on Day 8 says to post in the forums. In Etsy, I've always been hesitant to post in the forums because those people are intimidating! Really, I read through them sometime and some of the things that people say are, well, mean. lol. I know, I'm such a wimp because I don't want someone to be a meanie to me, but well, I don't. If I'm not being an as* to them, why should they be one to me. I mean, the golden rule of life is still in effect last time I checked.




Anywho, I had gone through some of the forum postings at Artfire and they have a specific section for newbies like me. I read some intros that people made about themselves and felt confident enough to post a new thread about myself. And you know what? Those people were soooo nice! I mean, they were helpful, even in their critiques which I greatly appreciated. There is a way to tell someone that something they are doing is wrong or sucks. You don't say, hey newbie, your stuff sucks. You compliment on what you like and give advice on how to improve something you thing needs changing, which again, I totally appreciate. There were alot of well-wishers and positive vibes and I really enjoyed that. I even got a compliment on the banner I use in my shop (which is the picture in this blog). Made me feel really good about myself. Yes, I'm pretty low maintenance that banner comments make me feel good. lol.




So far, Artfire totally rocks!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Crafting Runs in the Family











I come from an extremely talented and craft-oriented family. My grandmother weaves lauhala hats (hats made from the pandanus tree - both the hats above are my grandmother's work). She's been a weaver for as long as I can remember and her mother (my great-grandmother) was also a weaver. She's passed her love for weaving to an uncle of mines. Now HE is a crafting freak. He weaves, makes earrings, is a pro at making flower arrangements (he gets alot of work for making memorial wreaths/christmas wreaths) and is a scrapbooking/cardmaking addict. I have another uncle who makes these amazing feather leis (the top picture). All of this stuff is VERY popular in Hawaii.

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

Hello Artfire.com



I've been doing a ton of research on improving my online promoting as well as trying to take the appropriate steps to be successful. While on my search, I came across a website called Artfire which is similar to Etsy in it is an online marketplace where crafters and craft suppliers (and I think Vintage sellers) can sell their items. I had never previously heard of Artfire and although I have only started selling on Etsy, I think I made my first Etsy purchase 4 or 5 years ago. Gosh, I can't even remember.

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

Facebook Fan Pages - Thumbs Up

I was initially very hesitant to start a Facebook Fan Page. Partially because I was being lazy and felt I spent enough time FB'ing on my own personal page and the other part because I didn't know who I would get to be my fan. lol. I didn't want to harass the hell out of my family & friends. But, I sucked it up and opened the page. If you're reading this, stop by and "like" my page if you have a chance. My facebook page is...guess...yup..."mssylsstuff". Genius right?

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

Ebay Selling - Take 2

In all my online hunting for keys to selling success, Ebay pops up over...and over...and over. I think I mentioned in a previous blog post that I had tried Ebay once and it was a big bust. Although, I did receive an email a while ago from Ebay indicating that they had changed some of their listing/fees rules. I went back and realized that Ebay will allow you to list up to 50 auction style listings for free (unless you sell something than the standard fees apply).

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

Working Everyday?

So everyday, I do a couple of things relating to selling/promoting my craft. First, I check my email to see if there is anything I need to act on right away such as questions from any potential customers, bills/fees to pay or :cross my fingers: a sale and an item I need to mail. After I check my email, I will usually log on to Etsy and check my activity and list a new item. After Etsy, I check my facebook and occasionally post new photos there and also send an invitation to someone to "like" my page. I also will do a google search to Etsy success or online selling pointers. I have had a few sales on Etsy and other sites (of which I will write more later) but I came to realize that besides my regular job which I work 40 hours at, most of my other time is spent crafting, promoting that craft or sourcing for material for my craft. EVERYDAY.

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

My Thoughts on Etsy Teams

If you weren't sure, Etsy Teams are groups of people that have basically banded together based on a commonality. Currently I am a member of the following teams with the following qualifications:

- 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

Promo Idea #2














I recently joined a team on Etsy called Promo Swappers. The idea is that members of the team trade promotional items (business cards or other small things) to drive traffic to your shop. Whenever a member makes a sale, they will include another member's promo item with their mailing. I thought it was a great idea. The group trades quarterly and we send our items to the team captain and the captain then distributes the promo items to the rest of the group. You can also make individual swaps with other members which I wanted to do since the next swap is in October. So I have arrangements to make a swap with the team captain.


I made some bookmarks...ummm...not my best work but I wanted to get them done as soon as possible. I have posted the design I used. Sorry no pictures of the actual finished bookmark (with ribbons) because they're packaged up and off to California. For the group swap, need to come up with something good, so I bought some stuff for keychains and lanyards. I don't want to make them too heavy so that it could affect a persons postage. If anyone has ideas, I'm open. Time to put my thinking cap on, once I come up with the best thing, I'll take pictures and post.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Earring Obsession?



I feel kind of bad for my boyfriend lately. He says I'm "obsessed" with the earring making, etsy selling and now blogging. He told me the other day that he thinks that I should kiss my computer because it gets more "action" than he does. Lol. He laughed after that but maybe he has a point. Maybe I haven't been giving him the attention that he's used to (I made him eat tuna sandwiches this weekend because I was too busy to cook dinner.)

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

Coffee Filter Paper Rose Tutorial



I don't want to make this blog all about me, because I am not that much of a narcissist. I do want to shine the light on other people out there that I think are doing amazing things (you know, things that I wish I thought of or could do as easily as they make it look). I suffer from craft envy.

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:

www.marthastewart.com/266346/paper-roses

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

Promo Idea #1

I saw this posted in a thread and thought, what an awesome idea. I'm thinking that in order to gain more followers through Etsy and be more visible, I can either have a contest to win free stuff or offer free promotion space. The "gadgets" here on blogspot allow you to add pictures with a link behind them and so if you click on the picture, it will take you to the specified website (like on my own Etsy shop picture).

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

Woohoo Made a Sale!!



I'm so excited, I made a sale of 5 earrings the other day! Maybe the promoting is paying off...go used car salesman go!



Thank you very much to the purchaser (I don't want to post her info because she might want it to be private). For some reason, the commercial with the 3 dorky guys with their smartphones popped into my head, "Let's pop the bubbly!" Ok, not everyone may be as dorky as me to remember that commercial, but it is kinda funny.



In hopes of gaining her as a repeat customer, I sent her a free extra pair of earrings and sent her a coupon for 50% on her next purchase - just for her. I really did appreciate her purchase because she bought a bunch of earrings. Let's hope she enjoys the item she bought and comes back for more.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Etsy Promoting

I am NOT the world's best salesperson, not even the 2nd best, not even the millionth best. If the only job in the world left for me to do was as a used car salesman, I might have to go homeless and hungry. I don't know what it is...okay maybe I do know what it is. I always think of myself as the person doing the purchasing. I HATE HATE HATE it when I go somewhere and I get the cheesy salesperson act. When I shop, it's retail therapy for me. I want to browse, touch, try on, look...in peace. I don't want to be hounded, I don't want someone to attempt to sell me something that I don't want. I don't want to walk out of the store thinking, I really didn't want that thing and have to go back later and return it because of an overeager salesperson. Ok, so it's not always easy for me to say NO, but that's a personal issue that I probably need to address...and I digress.


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!

Journey to Etsy Success?

























Wow, my first crafting blog. Let's see, where do I start. First, let me do a little promo since that is what prompted me to start this journey and all the "Etsy Success" blogs and forums I've read say that promoting is one of the keys to success. The link to my Etsy shop is on the right under my favorite links but in case you're sometimes technoligically challenged like me:

www.etsy.com/shop/mssylsstuff

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!