Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How do I Etsy?

So tomorrow I am talking to some great gals about "how to Etsy" - from shopping and finding what you are looking for, to how to set up your shop.  I am looking forward to it and thought I'd also post it to my blog, just in case anyone was curious!

My Etsy Shop - What is it?

I started my Etsy shop in the fall of 2010, but have had an Etsy account since 2008.  I love the idea of having a community of creative folks being able to sell their wares with no store overhead! Great concept with wonderful results!  I started out thinking I would create cards and list those for sale, after a few "mistakes" (had too many cut too many shapes on my Cricut/Slice than intended), I decided to list those as well - afterall, it was only 20 cents!

Currently, my Etsy shop has a few cards, some envelopes and mini cards and lots of journaling spots that have been used for everything from journaling in scrapbooks, wedding table numbers, and invitations (in a much larger size).  A lot of my work is coming from outside the US, with Australia and New Zealand leading the pack!  I get a ton of custom orders and love those as well!  Here are a few pictures of the custom orders, nothing too difficult as you can see, but the client ended up with something uniquely theirs!

These were for a couple's first Christmas as a married couple - I love working on these!

Recipe cards that were a bit difficult to create, but loved how they turned out

These were created for a baby shower to use as confetti

The Oh so Popular kraft paper tags....I do more of these than I can keep track of!

Tips I Have Learned

1.  Don't shortchange yourself - you have worked hard to create the item (no matter how simple it appears) and make sure you are accounting for all your supplies and time.  If you have a question about how to price something, check out other similar listings and see how they are pricing the item.

2.  On the flip side, don't overprice your items!  If you are doing a project that takes very little in the way of materials, not a lot of time or creativity, and won't require too much effort - set your price accordingly!  Etsy is not a get rich quick scheme, you need to be doing something you enjoy and have that reflected in your pricing!

3.  Shipping - if you have an item that is relatively inexpensive to ship (my rule is under $1), then consider making the shipping absolutely free.  That's right, I said it, FREE!  No one wants to pay $2.00 for an item and $3.00 for shipping - they will most likely look for another similar item with more reasonable shipping.  Adjust your price a little to account for shipping charges, and be sure to add an international shipping rate - you only have to forget this once (or three times) to learn!  I know I sure did!

4. Social Media - if you don't have a Twitter account, consider setting one up and linking it to your store.    You will attract followers from all over the country and the world! Use it to promote your items, your coupons and your blog! I have found that Facebook isn't as effective for me, but I think that has more to do with me not having the time to do a second Facebook account for my Etsy shop...all my friends know what I do and where to find me :)

5.  Etsy Showcases - Have you wondered if the $7.00 fee for a showcase is worth it?  I can solidly say that each one I have participated in, I have made that $7.00 back and more!  One showcase landed me a $120 custom order!  I will definitely do it again!  Make sure you have your shop current with new items, have all your prices where you want them, and get ready to watch as more people view your shop that may have never found it otherwise.

6.  Tagging Items - This is the only way you have to direct people to your items - you need to make it count!  Make sure you are listing the items in the proper category and utilize the Etsy drop down suggestions - they are there for a reason (they work!).  After you have used the 3 drop downs, think about how you would look for that item if YOU were the one shopping for it - use the most natural language you can.  You can use more than one word as a tag, so be descriptive.

7. Have fun - If you enjoy what you are doing, it will show!  I have had several repeat customers, one gal that I have actually gotten to be friends with over the course of lots of emails!  It's meant to be a collective community and make sure you join some of the teams, add to your favorites and check the Etsy blog - it's full of information and great tips!

Happy Etsying - it's worth it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How do You Promote Your Shop on Etsy?

I was at my local craft store this evening and started talking to a this gal.  She was in the scrapbook paper area with her arms full and I mentioned that another local store was closing - she should check out the deals there!  I mentioned my Etsy shop and told her the name, she mentioned that she hated the shipping prices some Etsy shop owners charged and would I be willing to meet up with her, since she was local.  Of course I would!

So this got me to do you promote your Etsy shop?  Do you blog?  Have cards? Use social media?  I would love to know how you go about telling others about what you are doing.

Please share your ideas with me, and I will pass them on to others I know that are struggling with how to gain traffic.  I have been working with a couple gals getting them up and running and would love to share some more ideas with them!

Have a great week! Here are today's projects, more to come tomorrow....really, I promise!

Simple cards with envelopes - going to give these out as a small gift for a a group of Moms!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Schizoid Projects

I have been a bit MIA lately and have so much going on (Etsy projects, moving to Seattle in a few months, teething toddler...).  But now I am back on track and will be posting pictures each day about what the project of the day has been - I know I have you on the edge of your seat.  Maybe not, but I think you'll like what I'm working on.

Usually I work with paper and various techniques related to paper - intaglio, letterpress, stamping, oragami, leaving small bits of paper scattered everywhere.  Last week I decided to try something different.  My friend encouraged me try working with some digital media - create a museum quality canvas that has my personal touch - anything goes!  After some skeptical half hearted attempts, I sat down with my Macbook and decided to "man up".  I found out that I loved working like this - it's so much easier than I thought.

I knew that Mother's Day was coming up and I wanted to do something for my mom that was a bit outside of the flowers/card box.  I attempted to create a memory book with some of my favorite photos of us - that was too overwhelming, I had too many things to pick from.  So I switched gears and decided to work on something that she could hang in her new office.  Here's is what I finally created!  Thanks to my friend and her company, it will be a great Mother's Day gift!  The final size of this canvas is 8x20 inches.

More to come on projects for the week.  Have a wonderful week creating anything your mind can imagine!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Paper Diva vs. Potato Part 1

Ever have one of those days, or in this case months?  There seems to be an unending parade of really situations that weren't all that amusing at the time, but looking back are downright laughable!  I was at Paradise Cafe last night, enjoying my frozen mocha with the largest straw I have ever seen NOT attached to a hookah pipe, when I was telling my friends about several things that had happened lately...and we realized that our family attracts situations with Potatoes of all things!  Let me explain...

I am married to a wonderfully eccentric man, close your eyes and imagine Latka from "Taxi" with the IQ of "Frasier" and the food choices of "Elf".  Now that you are utterly confused (and amused that it's me and not YOU that's married to him), let me share with you a day in the life of me, the paper diva, married to a Mensa member software guru from Eastern Europe.

Actual picture from our wedding...despite having purchased "nice" socks, he chose to wear the more sensible WHITE gym socks!  I love him....quirks and all

About a month ago, my beloved came home beaming.  You would have thought he had just been awarded the medal of honor.  I looked at the bags and realized he had been to his (not mine) favorite store.  That big box store that pushes out all the mom and pop joints in small towns across America.  From his bags, he proudly pulled out a Fry Daddy.  "Look what I got for us, now we won't need to go buy french fries anymore" was how he introduced this awful, never meant for home use, device.

Our first foray into the world of fried foods went against everything I believe to hold true - food should not be saturated in fat and make your house smell like a diner.  I hesitantly agree to help with this french fry fiasco.  To my chagrin, it went without a hitch, other than the Rosie's Diner smell, which dissipated after opening all the windows in our home.  Not too bad, "Sure", I agree, "We could do this again".

Well "again" happened to be the following Sunday.  Fry Daddy sitting on the counter with a 5 gallon "bottle" (if you can call it that) of peanut oil waiting next to it.  We were now one of the elite white trash couples who go to the store to purchase baby formula, Cheetos and BIG containers of oil...all we need to do to complete the look is the wife beaters and for me to be braless...but I digress.  Back to our fiasco at hand.

I was not really loving the idea of smelling up our house again so soon, but since I was outnumbered, I decided to help.  I placed the first basket of fries in and finished getting the salad and hamburgers ready.  No big deal.  But then Jack (19 months) started crying, he was starving and I wasn't about to give him a freshly fried potato.  That's when my husband decided he'd help.  We got Jack settled with some string cheese and all was right in the world....until I was being shoved out of the kitchen with an "Oh Baby, get out, get out".  That was about the same time I felt grease splatted on the back of my legs.

My husband had thrust the next basket of fries into the oil too quickly....the oil had boiled over (thank goodness Jack was no where near) and gone ALL over the kitchen.  I was furious...this was exactly why I hated that thing.  I knew no good could come from frying foods, the FDA should have THAT warning!  It took my wonderfully quirky husband three hours to clean the kitchen - he had to pull the stove from the wall and clean the side of the cupboards, the floors, the fronts of the cupboards.  It was awful.

We laugh about it now, because I don't think I had been that angry in a long time - at least angry at a stupid appliance.

Did we learn from that experience?  Oh no....just wait for Part 2.  Potatoes, blood and some very burned fries!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Solid Color Cardstock Choices

I wanted to give you an easier way to pick out papers for your custom orders.  Here are some of your choices, just let me know what you like and I will get started on your project!

Textured Solid Color Cardstock

All paper shown is 80lb heavy quality cardstock

Key Lime


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Give Away Time!

So...I thought I'd start a new Tuesday give away for anyone and everyone who wants to share their creative ideas.

Here's how it works:
Send me a picture of what you are working on - this can be a card, scrapbook page, or just anything you are doing with paper that you enjoy.

I will post these pictures and each Tuesday will do a drawing for a bunch of cool papers from My Minds Eye and Basic Grey.  You will love it!

So....what are you waiting for?  Let's get to it and show me what you are working on!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sorry for not updating lately...

I feel bad for not being able to update my blog lately, my goal was to do this each morning with my cup of coffee in hand....but lately migraines have me sidelined.

I have been having so many custom Etsy orders that I could barely keep up!  Lately I have had orders from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Germany.  Lots of weddings going on and baby showers coming up - thank goodness for brides and friends helping others with their showers!

One of the most popular styles of tags that is being used for everything from invitations (sized 4x7 inches) to name cards (1.5x3 inches) is this simple, yet elegant vintage feeling tag.

This tag has been done in every color under the sun!  White, orange, Kraft paper, name it, I have been cutting them in that color!  It's been fun to see the ideas that gals have when they are working on their wedding and preparing for their big day.  I love being part of this process!

The other big item lately are these simple tags.  I recently sent 150 of these to a gal in Ireland and she just did another big order for these - she is using them as her pricing tags for her clothing boutique.  It's another example of a unique way to use these simple tags.  Scrapbooking isn't the only thing you can do with paper!

I am off to work on another order, so in the meantime...can you tell me how you would use these tags?  Give me your ideas so I can share with others!