Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting to Know WhatCirca


For 5 years WhatCirca has been on Etsy selling an eclectic mix of vintage clothing and accessories as well as wedding accessories like personalized hangers for wedding gowns, hair accessories, and belts and sashes. She started her shop on Etsy because of her passion for vintage items and it remains as the bulk of her shop.

About her style - Eclectic. I like anything that I have not seen before and I am sucker for anything with lace.

Her other gig - I am the main contributor for another local blog for September's Bride, a Bridal Boutique in Downtown Holland. I write the blog for our vintage couture collection. We restyle heirloom gowns for brides and also have an inventory of our own that are available in the boutique for purchase.

Favorite thing about West Michigan - The change of the four seasons. Just when I am getting a little tiresome of one, it changes! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Can you feel it?

By FromTheHeartPillows

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ode to the Manke

By Lashelle of mybutterflyheaven

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Etsy West Michigan June Treasury Challenge

This animal treasury is brought to you by Sally Manke.

To view the entire collection, click on the picture!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Etsy West Michigan June Treasury Challenge

This month's treasury is all about Texture! Sally Manke won the last treasury challenge, so one of her items is in each treasury.

Something smooth
Something shiny
Something fuzzy
Something bumpy
Something rough
Something silky
Something wet
Something sharp
Something fluffy
Something velvety
Something creamy
4 extras!

Want to see the whole treasury? Click on the photo!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Simple SEO: Shop Title

Classic To/From Gift Tags by CoraAnneDesigns

When you enter a shop on Etsy what is it that you first see? Most likely, it's the visuals. The banner. Product photos. After the first impression - you start some reading. The shop title, shop announcement, and shop sections are three tidbits that you can control on your shop home page to help get customers to your site and let them know what your shop is about. We're just going to start with the Shop Title as short and sweet bits of SEO are best.

Your shop title is the short intro that shows up at the top left of your shop home page. It is also included in the page title and in search engines. You only have about 66 characters (according to Etsy) that will show up in Google results so here you want to be concise yet convey your shop and its offerings. You will obviously want to mention your product. You can choose to be very specific like "sock monkeys" or general like "jewelry" depending on what items you create. For the rest of your shop title include style terms, your shop name, or a phrase that communicates something personal about your shop.

Kat's Krafts: Unique Cootie Catcher Wedding Favors

Your shop title may be one small part of bringing traffic to your shop via SEO, but it's an important one that should be used to introduce your business. What's your shop title?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day Card from Articulations

Mother's Day is coming up quickly (just over 1 week away!) If you've procrastinated it's time to shop local. Shopping local on Etsy often means you can get your items in 2-3 days and, of course, helps local individuals. Here are a variety of gifts to choose for Mom so you can find just the right one. 

Peach Copper and Sage Green Necklace by AbacusBeadCreations - $76

She deserves it, right? So indulge Mom with this intricate necklace strung by hand in sweet shades of peach, copper and sage green beads. This versatile necklace can be worn with or without the matching porcelain pendant. Soft, earthy colors that blend with so many clothing styles this season. And sure to look classic for years to come.

Large Stirring Mixing Spoon by BurlChaser - $65

If you like this large Bocote spoon you should buy it before my mom sees it! Her spoon jar is overflowing with beautiful handmade spoons. It just seems like there is always room for one more!

Mother's Day Gift Basket by CindysSuds - $29.95

This Mother's Day, why not treat Mom to a wonderful gift basket of homemade soap, lip balm and body butter. Give Mom a little pampering, you know she won't treat herself! She'll love how soft her skin will feel after showering with handmade soap and indulging her skin in Body Butter and Lip Balm. She'll feel special and loved knowing you thought of her!
Fused Candle Shelter by giapet - $16

Brighten up your Mom's day with this Glass Candle Shelter. Just place this unique shelter in front of a small pillar or votive candle and watch the light dance through the glass. Great mood lighting for a romantic evening too! Made from high quality art glass, shipped directly from the artist with love.

Beaded Embroidered Thread Ball by JulieandCo - $40

This hand embroidered Japanese thread ball, known as temari, is an incredibly unique and special gift for Mom this year! Embellished with glittering woodland colored beads and embroidered over glittering gold metallic thread, this decorative ball is perfect for any decor and can be displayed alone on a candle holder, or in a basket with other decorative balls, or simply set over a mantle. This is an ancient folk art presented in modern style.

Jade Beach Glass Pendant and Companion Stone by lhsblack - $15

What a perfect gift for the beautiful Mom in your life. This gorgeous jade beach glass and speckled beach stone would look stunning as a simple yet elegant necklace. Just add a couple jump rings and slide it onto a leather cord and voila! Happy Mother's Day!
Recycled Butterfly Room Decor by MyButterflyHeaven - $25

Butterflies come in all shapes, sizes and colors - just like our mothers. Give her a gift that speaks without saying a word with this butterfly room decor.
Mother's Day Flower Brooch by ObrienObjects -$16

As a kid, I remember my dad giving my mom a Mother's Day corsage every year and after a few days the pretty flowers wilting and turning brown. So now instead of a corsage that will only last a few days and only be in vogue on Mother's Day, my porcelain flower brooches are year round stylish and artifact lasting. Plus they are perfect for mothers who like more contemporary styled adornments that require no watering or refrigeration. 
Coiled Rope Upcycled Basket/Planter by SallyManke - $32

Delight mom with this bright green Coiled Rope Planter on Mother's Day. You can both celebrate a "green" holiday with this "green" colored basket constructed from all cotton "green" batik scraps from my quilting studio that are wrapped around recycled "green" cotton clothesline, Next plant it with mom favorite herbs for healthy meals and fewer trips to the market. This is the only clothesline she needs to bring enjoyment on this special day. 

Upcycled Decoupage Box by Squatting Gypsy - $15

This recycled little piece of art is a great Mother's Day gift, because not only can you give her gift in it, she can also keep it on her vanity or desk to keep all her little keepsakes in, such as: jewelry, bobby pins, paperclips, mechanical pencil lead, erasers, post-it-notes or whatever.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Check out some of our members' items on EightWest yesterday and this Saturday in person at the Handmade in the Grand Trunk Show!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Strike a Pose

Sterling Silver Photographers Camera by JustJaynes

We all know that photography is the most important aspect of selling online. Your photos have to catch the customer's eye and answer any questions they may have. To be appealing yet informative your photos should be clear, convincing, and cohesive. Your background can support all of these goals. It can make your product stand out, add visual interest, and tie your shop together as a whole.

How can a background take your photography to the next level?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Incorporating Trends: Merchandising Notes

Custom Vintage Typewriter Key Ring Initial by luv4sams

Every month Etsy releases its merchandising notes outlining just what styles, trends, and topics they'll be promoting for the following month. When the article comes out it's a great idea to go through and see which keywords apply to your items. You can add those keywords to relevant listings as tags. This is what Etsy thinks people will be searching for and what they'll be looking to get on the front page. 

A few keywords from this month's notes that would fit luv4sams' ring are personalization, vintage fashion, typewriters, and letters. This week take a few minutes to check out the article for May and add relevant trending tags to your shop.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Social Media: Choosing a Platform

Friends Rock Greeting Card from SomeOddGirl

As Etsians we are constantly hearing that we should be participating in social media. Not only should we be on Facebook and Twitter, but Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Flickr, Kaboodle, Pinterest, Ning, and YouTube. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but you don't have to do it all. You don't have to do any of it if you don't want. Social media is only one aspect of marketing and it's up to you to decide if it fits into the overall scheme for you and your shop. If you decide to move forward, start small. Find one platform to use and once you're comfortable there, maybe add another.

When you're just starting up it's easiest to go with one of the larger, more well-known sites like Facebook or Twitter. Essentially these sites work the same sharing information like pictures, listings, upcoming shows, and random tid bits. How you interact in these communities is very different, however, so do your research before making a decision.

If you're looking to grow your social media presence, it's time to branch out into sites which will allow you to reach a more specific market. If you take great photos, sharing them on Flickr is a great idea. Here you can add your images to specific groups for interested users to see. Ravelry is a site dedicated to knitters and crocheters. DeviantArt is for artists to share their work in various media like photography, digital art, and traditional art forms. Kaboodle is a social shopping site. There are hundreds more, so with a little searching you can find one for you.

For your homework, first, decide if social media is right for you. Decide if you have the time and want to make the effort to participate in these communities. Secondly, if you decide to dive in or take on more, do some research to pick out the platform that best fits you. Let us know what you choose! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Simple SEO: In-bound Links

Sterling Silver Keep Calm Carry On Charm Necklace by JustJaynes

Oh no! It's that ever confusing, overwhelming acronym - SEO! Don't worry. Keep calm. We're going to work through this together. While SEO is a complex topic there are some simple ways to help improve your Etsy shop's search-ability.

Let's back up one second. What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization. In the broadest sense it is a tactic for how we can fine tune our shops to help customers find us via search engines like Google and Bing. 

One aspect of SEO is in-bound links. These are links found all over the web that lead to your shop. You want to have these - lots of these. When a search engine sees that there are links going into your shop, it builds your shop's credibility. It shows that people find your shop interesting and relevant and can bump your shop up in search results.

Here's what we do here on the blog to help your in-bound links. Every member shop with 5+ items has an EtsyMini under our Members List tab. 1 link. Every time we feature a team treasury you've made there is a link to your shop. 1 more link. Each time you have an item in one of those mini treasuries there are 2 links - one to the item and one to your shop.

Now, here is what you can do this week. Insert links to your shop within your shop. Yes - these count! There are a lot of ways to do this, but one of the easiest is to end each of your item listings with a simple statement like "continue shopping here" with a link to your shop home page. If you want to go above and beyond try incorporating links into your profile, shop policies, and even shop announcement. Remember, these links can connect to anywhere in your shop and still benefit SEO. That includes to your profile, policies, listings, and shop sections.

Off to do your homework and be sure to report back! Look for a new task every Monday.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What to do when sales are slow

A question was posed in our weekly chat thread. “What do you do when sale are slow?” So I started the next thread with that topic and many teammates contributed! Here are the responses.

LaShelle of MyButterflyHeaven says to work on new ideas, retake less than quality pictures, organize your work space, etc.

Maria of MomNMiaQuilts
The most important thing you can do is keep at it. If you have a lag, take advantage of the time to build up your inventory, improve your pictures, advertise outside of Etsy. If you don't have new items to list, then renew a few things each day. I know a lot of people don't like to do that, but I can tell you that it definitely works for me.

Carla of CarlasInspirations says
Find new avenues to promote outside of Etsy to bring people in.

Cathy of JustJaynes list includes:
Brainstorm blog ideas

Brainstorm newsletter ideas
Build my newsletter list
Converse and promote on Twitter
Check tags and description
Redesign or markdown items that haven't sold

Laura of ShowerTreatSoap
My tip would be to sell on more than one venue if you can. Craft shows, online, in a store, fundraisers, maybe even wholesale.

Julie of CelebrateToday says
My biggest tip lately is to look for new ideas that get you excited again.

Nicole of LEFTright:
I'm new at all this, so when I have slow times I'm reading advise from other sucessful shops as well as working on new products. SEO, product descriptions, photography... so much to learn! I think if you have a blog it is a good time to post tutorials or contests to drive traffic to your shop.

when sales are slow - - I get off the computer. :) I pull out some of my old materials and try to think of new ways to use them. I might take some new photos or consider items I could remove from the shop to streamline it.

Peg of Abacusbeadcreations:
For me it's retaking pictures. That's a never ending struggle. And also, I'd say it's a good time to catch up on all the boring bookkeeping and inventory work that always gets put at the bottom of the list. It's always horrible to tackle months of that stuff at a time, so I try to work on it a couple times a month.

RECTurnings expanded into creating supplies for other sellers.

Janice of 2CraftyChix says:
I have no true downtime. I am making inventory for the up coming shows. I have taken the time to take pics and add listings. I did not do that as much last year and I do have better sales this year from it.

Debbie of NewBagsByAnOldBag says
In my downtime I usually work on stocking up products for the craft shows coming up.

Melissa of Rainwaterstudios says
I blog, twitter, facebook and offer giveaways when my sales are slow. Don't make the giveaways so complicated that no one wants to participate though, 3 steps is good, like ~ become a fan or like me on facebook, twitter, leave a comment on my blog, add yourself to my circle on etsy, things like that help.

Kristie of Beadenchanting says
I haven't had a sale since the beginning of January, but i have been keeping busy with other aspects of my "hobby" (jewelry making, that is): making more jewelry, learning as much as possible about facebooking, etsy, reading about marketing, promoting,....

SallyManke gave us this great tip!
I also carry one of my bags then capture anyone who makes a comment, do a 30 commercial and pop a business card in their hands. Hubby keeps my business cards in his wallet as well.

We hope some of these suggestions inspire you to try a new form of promoting your shop and selling more of your awesome handmade goods!