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, 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:


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:


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!