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.


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.


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.


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?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Members Monday: Kavali8

Welcome our new featured seller, Cassi from Kavali8!


Tell us a bit about yourself and your shop.
I am a mother of a 3-year-old and I work from home. I mostly love to create abstract and floral canvas paintings. I also love photography and creating greeting cards. 

What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on a new Poppies Painting.

What do you like to do in your free time outside of your business?
In my free time I usually spend it with family and friends.

Where would you like to see your shop and business in a year?
I would like to sell more of my paintings and maybe have them featured in local galleries or coffee shops. 

Where can we find you online and/or locally?
You can find me at Kavali8.etsy.com and sometimes I am at the Fulton Street Artisans Market.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Team Calendar

In case you haven't noticed, there are a few new things going on around the EtsyWMI blog page. First, a new template. It's been changed for a little while, but I think it's time to point out that it's stunning. We have a wider format great for bigger pictures and two side columns over on the right. Over there you can find a poll, all sorts of links, and a team calendar. The team calendar will highlight events that our members are participating in like weekly markets, craft shows, and the occasional team meet-up. Are there any markets or shows you would like to see added to the calendar? Leave a comment and we'll post it!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July Weekend

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!