Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Getting to Know Y Knot Shop

Light Blue Polka Dot Tube Hot/Cold Therapy Pad by YKnotShop

When you meet and talk with Jenn from YKnotShop you can tell what's important to her. It's her family and that's what actually got her into making her therapy pads. Jenn's shop is filled with therapy pads for all needs and accessories made with satin cord. Here's more about Jenn and YKnotShop in her own words...

On how she got started - I actually started out on Etsy as MondrysYknotShop for the fleece hats and scarves that I was making. Then my husband at the time was in need of some therapy and I started making my heating pads for him and decided that it would great to help others in pain as well.

What she's working on - Right now I am working on hand warmers and eye masks. I am also working on starting up a line of hand bags. My creativity is all over the place in my mind.

What she enjoys most in life and in West Michigan - My children. My family. They are truly all that keeps me in this place.

Her best advice - Never give up, never stop creating and no matter what anyone says know you ARE the best you can be.

You can find Jenn on Etsy, Twitter, Facebook and at her blog

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kerstmarkt

Click to Enlarge for Dates and Times

Just before Thanksgiving Day each year, 16 wooden booths appear at the Holland Farmers' Market at 8th and Pine. For three weekends, vendors are open Friday nights and Saturday days selling their handmade Christmas goods. Items include greenery, wooden utensils and boxes, food gifts, chain saw carvings, quilts, rugs, glass ornaments, handmade soaps, pet treats, wool socks and mittens. The market is patterned after the European open-air markets held at Christmastime. 

Included in this year's Kerstmarkt are three EtsyWMI team members: 2CraftyChix, YKnotShop, and ShadySideFarm. For a unique holiday shopping experience, come on out to Holland to visit the Kerstmarkt.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lining Up for These


       1. Temari Pincusion Teacup from JulieandCo
       2. Wine Bottle Bling from OneHauteHostess
       3. Gabbi - Yellow Flower Headband from TheElegantElle
       4. Race Cars Boy Quilt from BarbarasQuilts

Click here to see the complete treasury from BarbarasQuilts

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Sales

MomNMiaQuilts
5% Off Most Items
From 11/26 to 12/10
Prices Already Adjusted
Bonus Discount for Facebook Fans
HempHelpers
40% Off Everything From 11/26 to 11/29
Plus Free Shipping Until 12/31
Prices Already Adjusted


Just Jaynes
15% Off on 11/26 and 10% Off on 11/29
Plus Free Shipping
Prices Already Adjusted
WhatKnotBags
10% Off All Purchases
Through 12/31
Use Coupon Code: Coupon10

CatherineMarissa
Select Itty Bitty Rings & Studs
Marked Down to $10
Evening of 11/25 to 11/29
New Deals Added Through the Weekend
CelebrateToday
Vintage Inspired Flowers and Crystal
Briolette Pieces $5 Off
Plus Free Shipping 11/22 to 12/31
Prices Already Adjusted


ShowerTreatSoap
10% Off Everything
From 11/26 to 11/20
Prices Already Adjusted
IslandGirlBags
20% Off Everything
From 11/25 to 11/29
Prices Already Adjusted


JulieandCo
$1 Domestic Shipping
Any Size Order in the US
11/21 to 11/29
                              


Getting to Know Designs By LaShelle



For anyone that has met LaShelle, in person and on Etsy, you know that she is a wonderful and memorable person. She's upbeat and can always make you smile! You can find LaShelle on Etsy and on her Facebook Fan Page. So here's a little more about her and her shop here on Etsy in her own words.

On her crafting mania - I love to add sparkle to anything I create so I use a lot of crystals in my jewelry. Wedding pomanders are so fun, pretty to look at, and so I added those as well. I've also recycled ceramic rocks from my shop and called them 'vibe rock pendants' and, well, you'll really find a mix of just about everything from vintage jewelry to bookmarks. My mania shows.

On her latest project - I've begun making beaded pictures and placing them in shadow boxes. I love my beaded pictures.

What's important to her - My daughters, grandsons, and my sweet husband.

A tip for teammates - Be yourself. Don't worry about what people think of you, because if you're fake they'll know it anyway.

And some thanks - I have appreciated my team so much, and all the help, friendship and support they've given me over the last 3 years.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting to Know MariaSoleil

Christmas Gift Tags in Pomegranate from MariaSoleil


MariaSoleil is an Etsy shop filled with paper goodies like cards and gift tags with a style self described as happy and whimsical, yet functional. Locally, you'll be able to visit her next weekend at Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church in Rockford, MI on November 20th. We asked Celene to answer a few questions - so let's hear from the artist herself!

On her craft and supplies - I love to frequent scrapbooking stores (but don't scrapbook!)  I am a paper and rubber stamp addict.  If I never bought another supply I could keep my shop alive for years.

Her current project - I am getting Christmas tags and cards ready to put into my shop.  I also have a nice stock of small altered clipboards that need to get photographed and added.

Outside of Etsy - I love going to the beach in the summer and hibernating in the winter. Some might say that I have an addiction to Disneyworld.  I love being a mom and trying to keep up with all that comes with that.

A few words of advice for teammates - Come chat in the team forum with us!  Just jump in there and make some noise so we can get to know you.  I have learned a lot of tips there, especially about shows and general etsy information.  I think to get something out of being on a team you need to participate.  Plus, it's fun!

And a random factoid - I was born left handed, on Sweetest Day to 2 crazy hippies back in the '70s.  I have evolved from macrame, latch hooked rugs, and batik to where I am now.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness


       3. Sterling Silver Awareness Ribbon Studs by CatherineMarissa

Monday, October 4, 2010

They Call Me Mellow Yellow


       1. Zippered Pouch - Mustard Spots by delainie
       2. Heavenly Hunk Golden Fossil Pendant by lhsblack
       4. Glowing Yellow Cab Necklace by WhiskeyGirlJewels

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tips from Your Teammates

In the past few weekly forum threads our members have had the opportunity to share their tips, questions, and general crafty advice. A couple weeks ago members were asked to share an Etsy tip about anything from listing to promoting. Here's what a few of our fabulous members had to say.

 MariaSoliel says, "When I tag, I list all of the colors in the item, and sometimes off names, too (like chocolate for brown). I also tag with my shop's name and of course, etsywmi team. Tagging is how people find your stuff in a search so be sure to use them all!"


YKnotShop says, "My tip, don't stop trying. I know it is hard, but the 
harder you work it the more prosperous you are sure to be."



OneHauteHostess says, "I would say look up and see if your items are called something else in another country. I found out that the candy buffets that are so popular at weddings here are called "lolly" buffets in other countries. I've added that to my tags and sold 3 to Australia!"


TheElegantElle says, "My best tip would be to truly renew 
or list something new every day. I did it in the months of 
July and August and saw a HUGE return.



JulieAndCo says, "Make sure if you have measurements for dimensions, weights, etc. to put it into metric as well for all our overseas shoppers."



AbacusBeadCreations says, "My Etsy tip is to make lots of treasuries. Making treasuries helps get you into treasuries. And that's the only 
way to get to the FP of Etsy these days."



DelightedHands3113 says, "Have great, clear, crisp, engaging, irresistible photos in every single photo slot."



Monday, September 27, 2010

ArtPrize with Silvine Photography



ArtPrize is such a large platform that I definitely knew I wanted my art to convey a message, and an important one. It started with a trip around the world. I lived in Europe, Asia and Africa for almost three years and when I came home I was a different person; I had a new perspective on life. A lot of what I saw was beautiful and some of it was harsh, but the overwhelming message was that we are all the same beneath the surface. We have different lifestyles, different cultures, different religions, but we are all human beings. We need to understand that we are all just a small part of a larger whole and we need to learn to live together peacefully. That’s why at the heart of my art piece there is the message of “Coexist”. It blends together different religious symbols and those of peace and love. The rest of the photographs show different religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism) and different lifestyles (nomadic, rural, urban). I included a photograph of Grand Rapids to show that we too need to be a part in spreading this important message of world peace and tolerance, we can’t simply let others do the work for us. So if you are able, please come to Grand Rapids and check out all the art in this year’s ArtPrize. Each piece is a work of love and labor by the artists and knowing that people are seeing their art and hearing their message is an absolutely amazing experience. You can see my piece, “Coexistence”, at the Ottawa Tavern along with a lot of other great artists.


Find more of Michelle's work on her website and in her Etsy shops.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

ArtPrize with Yellow Horse Art Studio

As a busy mom of 2 kids, ages 2 and 3, I have a long wish list of things to do for myself. This year ArtPrize has offered me one wish off that list. There is nothing that I love more than to work with my hands, whether it is in my shop with my tools, in my studio with my paints, or in my craft room with my sewing machine. My ArtPrize entry is a beautiful mesh of all my loves. It combines my love of woodworking with my love of paining and my afinity for finding God in the lonely places outside. "Febuary" is a 18" wide 48" tall woodcut overlaid with paint and textile that reflects on finding hope in seaons of trial and waiting. It's a deeply personal entry for me since I have often found myself waiting and waiting and waiting. I know the outcome will be good - when it finally gets here, but until then the waiting is lonley, cold and seems eternal. Everyone I know seems to have been in that place, that waiting place. We all know that there's an end, just like spring is just around the corner in Febuary, but here in Michigan that is still 2 to 3 months away. I hope that my piece reflects not only the trying feeling of that waiting time, but also the hope that shines just around the corner. You can view photos of the work in progress as well as the finished piece via my yellowhorseartstudio facebook page - under the ARTPRIZE photo gallery. Photos don't do it justice though - there are so many layers of transparent paint and metallic touches that you really should go down and see it in person at Lena Meijer Heart Center!



Find more of Anneke's work in her Etsy shop.

Monday, September 20, 2010

On a Search


Today's items were found using the "etsywmi team" tag in Etsy search.

       1. Coconute Heishe and Pearl Necklace with Teal Pendant by AbacusBeadCreations
       2. Long Aque Chalcedony Earrings by CatherineMarissa
       3. Sterling Silver and Blue Bead Charm Necklace by JustJaynes
       4. Midnight Star Hand Embroidered Thread Ball Japanese Temari by JulieandCo

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Team Meeting: August 14, 2010

We are having a team meeting/photo workshop on Saturday, August 14th at Schuler's Books (10 am) on Alpine Ave in G.R. Please come on out to meet team members, visit, and get your photography questions answer by our own Michelle of SilvinePhotography.etsy.com. She is hoping to explain that white-balance thingy we've all heard about yet don't understand.

For planning purposes, please check the poll over on the Yahoo group and let us know if you're a yes, no or a maybe to attend.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Why you really shouldn't link your Facebook Fan Page and your Twitter accounts


I know...it seems like a great idea. Link your Fan Page & your Twitter feed...you only need to post once and it gets to both pages. When you post something in your Facebook Fan Page and it shows up simultaneously in your Twitter feed there are several problems I can think of. I'm sure there are more. If you have another pet peeve about this, please let us know by leaving a comment.


What could be wrong with this idea? Well, let me tell you...


TWITTER IS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS
It's not just pushing out information to your followers. Relationships involve more than 1 person...that means what takes place on Twitter is a conversation between people. OK, not every single tweet is going to be part of a conversation...but if you never have had a conversation on Twitter, you are really missing out. I watch TV shows and tweet back and forth about what's happening with friends.


Problem # 1
If people are both fans on Facebook and Followers on Twitter, they will see the exact same thing 2 times. I know when I have to read duplicates often, I am going to either unlike you on Facebook or unfollow you on Twitter. I don't need to see the same thing twice. Please have some respect for my time.






Problem # 2
You may think that by having your Facebook posts feed into your Twitter account you are making it easier on yourself to be active on Twitter. Reality check - you aren't; you aren't being active on Twitter. Why? Because you aren't having a real conversation with anyone on Twitter.


One of the great benefits to Tweeting are the replies & the interaction you get from others. You can vent, joke, ask questions and you will often get a reply. If you get a reply, and fail to acknowledge it, you have failed. Not only have you failed in simple common courtesy, but also in your purpose for tweeting in the first place. Remember, you are using your Fan Page to promote your business. By failing to have your Twitter-persona acknowledge those people who have taken the time to reply to you, what impression are you leaving with them? Whether intended or not, I think the impression you are leaving is that you can't/won't/don't take the time to thank or respond. Hmmm...if you got this impression from someone you were thinking of buying from, would your intentions change?


Problems # 3
Think about all those folks who are able to see your Twitter feed at work. Think about all those Facebook links you post in Facebook...and therefore in Twitter because you are linking these accounts. Then think about how many companies ban or outright block Facebook at work. Yes, I work at one of these. I see lots of links that look interesting so I click on them (yes, during my lunch hour!) Oops, I've now been taking to a Facebook page! Thanks for taking me where I'm not allowed. If you do this too much, I will unfollow you on Twitter.






Problem # 4
If you link the other way (Twitter feeding into Facebook) it doesn't make sense for those who don't Tweet. What are these status updates that contain the #, @ or RT?


Problem # 5
Facebook & Twitter are 2 different animals. Why would you want to treat them the same? When you post something on Facebook, you do not have the 140 character limitations that are on Twitter. This means the first 140 characters you use on Facebook show up on Twitter...and will probably not make a whole lot of sense. Are you trying to confuse potential customers or friends?


Problem # 6
Links. When you post a link in Facebook, space is no issue and you have the whole website address...and you know how long these can be! When you post a link on Twitter, if it's long, you really really should be shortening it with a tiny url.


So, to sum up...remember this please. Facebook is for telling your friends what you're doing. Twitter is for telling the world what you're doing. What you tell your friends is not the same as what you tell strangers. So please refrain from the "set it and forget it" mentality of this convenient app.


Want to do some more reading and get more opinions?
Why You Shouldn’t Trust Feeds For Social Updates
Don’t Link your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter Statuses

Monday, August 2, 2010

Peridot


       1. Peridot Silver Net Necklace by pennylane495
       2. August Birthstone - Personalized Silver Necklace by CelebrateToday
       3. Key Lime Pie Natural Olive Oil Castile Soap by BlissCandles
       4. Itty Bitty Sterling Silver Branch Studs by CatherineMarissa

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More than Words

What are you?
Crafter. Artisan. Designer. Maker.



What are your items? 
Handmade. Homemade. Crafted. Created.


Last week in Scoutie Girl's "We Scout Wednesday" post she asked "how do you define handmade versus homemade?"

No matter which word you choose to define yourself and your items - it's all the same. Well, technically speaking. It gets tricky when you consider that all these words are subjective. Insert one person's perceptions, experiences, connotations and they transform into a whole other monster.

To a "serious" businesswoman calling her items "homemade" could be a slap in the face. They are, after all, fine silversmithed wares. To another equally professional crafter this may be a dear compliment. It means their items are embraced and valued on a personal level.

Last Christmas my half-sister's mother asked her not to spend any money on her for a gift because she would not be able to spend anything on her. During the phone conversation my sister eagerly replied, "Don't worry about it. I made your gift." The other line of the phone was silent for a moment and was quickly followed with "You made my gift?"

Skipping ahead to Christmas day. She opened her gift - a stunning lap quilt made using the many collected ties of her recently passed husband. Needless to say she cried in joy and memoriam and this is arguably her most prized possession.

So why get tied up in words? We're all passionate people creating items we love. We want our items to be valued, used and to impact the lives of those who use them in some small way. Homemade or handcrafted? Who cares. They're just words.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Google Analytics: Time of Visits

One of the easiest statistics to find on Google Analytics is the number of visits to your site. This is the default graph shown on your GA Dashboard and is the first statistic under Site Usage also on the Dashboard. When you go to the Visitor Overview via the sidebar you can see how many unique individuals make up those visits. But do you know where to go to see when those visits occurred?


You can find this and lots of other information in the sidebar by going to "Visitors" > "Visitor Trending." Under Visitor Trending you can go into subcategories to see your unique visitors, how much time visitors spend on your site, and pageviews. It's under the "Visits" tab that you'll be able to see when people have stopped at your shop. 




The default graph for this displays visits according to day. You'll have to click on the small clock icon to display by time.



I also think it's best to expand the date range to get a more accurate result. You can see in the first graph below that there is a slight spike during the 7:00 hour. This is because (thankfully) I was featured on the front page at this hour during the last month. On the right the graph shows the time of visits to my Etsy shop over the course of three months and what is more "typical" for my shop.

 

Now what can you do with this information? The primary way I use this information is to determine when to list items. The highest traffic in my shop is from 10am to 4pm and again from 9pm to 11pm. I've chosen to ignore the 7am and 8am hours because I know of traffic from the front page at that time that likely skewed results. I'll list during these peak hours and avoid listing during early morning and dinnertime. For some, this might also be an affirmation to keep blogging during those times or promoting on Facebook. If one of my goals was to increase my international views, however, I might choose to list during those early morning hours to increase traffic. Having the information is the first step. After that you can learn to use it to work with your strengths, weaknesses, and your goals.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finding your Niche

When sales are slow, sellers are quick to question their pricing, photography, relisting practices, or social networking skills. I think before dealing with any of those issues (all important, by the way) a seller would be wise to spend time finding her niche.

If you have read any articles about developing a craft business, you no doubt have heard about niche before. When I started out selling my jewelry, I read that word over and over and nodded my head. Of course I know my niche, I would think. I sell jewelry. It turns out I did not have a niche at all and my lack of sales could attest to that.

Merriam-Webster defines niche as a “specialized market”. Here are my three tips for creating your niche:

1. Narrow your view

If you are trying to offer something for everyone, stop.

Refine your product focus. If someone asks what you sell, your answer needs to be very specific. To say “I sell jewelry” is not enough. Is your jewelry contemporary and colorful? classic and delicate? modern and sculptural? vintage and ornate?

By narrowing your view to a specific product and style, you are able to attract the customers who really appreciate and want what you offer.


SELLER EXAMPLE

Julie of julieandco is a great example of a seller with a specific focus. A buyer that clicks on one of her temari as it scrolls across the front page arrives in a shop full of temari, essentially a shop full of items the buyer is interested in. Imagine if that same buyer clicked on the temari and found herself in a shop selling temari, mineral makeup, upcycled cork picture frames, and pearl earrings. The buyer might not be interested in most of the shop and will leave. By narrowing her product view, Julie created a shop that is professional and appealing.

2. Be consistent

Once you have narrowed your view, you will need to be consistent. Take the time to evaluate new ideas and determine if they truly fit with the product focus that you selected before you list them in your shop.

For example, if you create paintings that are abstract and brightly colored, resist the temptation to list that pastel still life bouquet you painted over the weekend. It does not fit with what your customers expect. If you feel the need to add a new product to the shop, perhaps you could have your abstract and colorful paintings made into prints, magnets, or calendars that are in line with your style.

With Etsy curating collections based on current trends, it is tempting to try to cover every suggested trend in your shop in hopes of being featured. If trends are consistent with your specialized market, by all means incorporate them. If they are not, resist the urge to add them as they will only clutter your shop.


SELLER EXAMPLE

Lisa of The Empty Nest creates goodies that are youthful, fun, and quirky. Even with a variety of products in her shop (mirrors, necklaces, cufflinks, key chains, etc), she has kept a consistent feel. If you are worried that having a narrow view will make your shop dull, Lisa will prove otherwise. You can add variety within your specialized market and still have a shop with a cohesive look.

3. Stay focused

After you have narrowed your view and filled your shop with a selection of work that is consistent with your specific style, you are ready for what I consider the most challenging step of this process - staying focused on the niche you created.

Attractive and successful galleries know what style they are selling and curate based on the look and feel they aim to achieve. Craft sellers will benefit from this strategy. The “next big idea” can be hard to resist...especially if you see someone else selling it successfully. If you have a new creation or see a new popular product, take the time to evaluate if it fits with your shop’s style.

Does staying focused mean you need to sell the exact same product forever? Absolutely not. Evolution will happen in a shop. It is desirable for a shop to improve and change as the artist develops new skills and interests. Keep in mind, though, that the customer base you built while selling primitive clay figurines probably won’t be interested in your modern, sculptural garden art. To evolve successfully, you should maintain focus on your specific shop style.



SELLER EXAMPLE

Kara of Elysium’s Beach Stone Supplies has a clear product focus maintained on every page of her shop. She sells stones and that is all you will find in her shop (which is a GOOD thing!). Imagine if she started destashing crystals, fabric, vintage books, and scrapbook supplies in this shop. She might have something for everyone, but that would be a turnoff for the buyers who came looking for her lovely drilled stones. Her shop is an excellent example of choosing a product in a specific style, being consistent, and staying focused.

Give it a try - - narrow your view, be consistent, and stay focused!

Thanks so much to Catherine from CatherineMarissa for writing this great article.

Monday, July 19, 2010

For the Men


       1. Antler handle compact key ring knife by AntlerPens
       2. Personalized Mustache Notecards by ylimepulp
       3. Black Zipper Bracelet by spiritzips
       4. Walnut Pot with a Saddle Stem by HendersonPipes

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Google Analytics: Intro and Install

Google Analytics is a great tool to track so many different statistics related to your Etsy shop, blog, or other site. Here is a screenshot of my Google Analytics homepage. You can see I use mine to watch my own personal (neglected) blog, my Etsy shop, the EtsyWMI blog, and my online porfolio. GA will show you how many visitors are coming to your site, what they're clicking on, how they find your site, where they're from, and so much more. It's easy to get overwhelmed with GA, however, so we'll try to keep it simple here.


To install and use Google Analytics, you'll need a Google account. During the New Account Signup you'll enter your website URL (whether it be your Etsy shop or Blogger blog, pick just one to start with), contact info, and agree to the typical user agreement. At the end there will be tracking info, but I'll show you another place to find that information.



To find your tracking information from the GA homepage, you'll start by clicking on the "Edit" button in line with the site name. From here, click on the "Check Status" button as seen below. At this point you won't have the check mark and "Receiving Data" but that's how you know GA is working correctly once you've installed your codes.


On this page you'll be able to see your Google Analytics Tracking ID which you'll need for Etsy and the html code which you'll need for tracking your Blogger blog. These codes will be different depending on which web site profile you're in. In my case, this is the code for my Etsy Shop so I would only use the top code. When I want the code for my blog, I will go under that profile, or set up a new profile, from the GA home page and use the html code.



Now hop over to Etsy in a new tab. Under "Your Etsy" click on "Web Analytics" in the left sidebar. This is where you'll enter your tracking ID that looks something like this, UA-#######-#. It's easiest to just copy and paste the code over. Don't forget to save.



You're done with the Etsy part! Remember, it'll take 24 hours for Google Analytics to collect and show some data. This is the same for any new site you start to track. Inserting the html code into Blogger is slightly more difficult. In Blogger, navigate to the "Design" tab of your blog and from there click on the "Edit HTML" tab. Use the search feature by pressing Ctrl + F to find "/head" in your template's html code. It is before this piece of coding that you'll paste the code from your Google Analytics page.


Again, remember to save. In another 24 hours you'll be able to check your Google Analytics for traffic to your Etsy shop and Blogger site. If you have any more questions about setting up Google Analytics, try this link to Etsy Help on the subject.

This is just the beginning in a series of posts related to Google Analytics. I'll be showing you how to find answers to specific questions like "What time of day do people most visit my shop?" and "Where does my shop traffic come from?" Do you have any questions you'd like answered with the help of Google Analytics?