Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hello Neighbor...

Shopping locally has become more and more popular, as consumers want to support local businesses. Etsy buyers can do this by utilizing the “Shop Local” feature on the home page. “Shop Local” shows the 100 most recently updated shops for a location. You can search for artists in your country, your state or even your own town. Who knows, you may find that a great talent lives right down the street from you!
Shopping local also has great benefits:
  • the environmental impact is reduced
  • you reinvest money in your own community 
  • you will support a local small business owner
  • chances are you will get great customer service
  • lower shipping cost (I love to save money!)
Please check your Etsy shop right now and make sure your “Location” is not blank. Buyers like knowing where you’re from. Your location helps personalize your shop a bit, and you will show up in any “Shop Local” searches that buyers might do for your geographic area.
If you are not familiar with this Etsy search – take a peek at ‘Shop Local’
Some of my favorites using "Shop Local" - Atlanta, GA:
Upper Left: New Washcloth Sock Cupcakes
Upper Right:  Half Apron in IKEA Fabric
Lower Left:  Bright Green, Pink, and Turquoise Daisy Twirl Skirt
Lower Right:  PEACOCK Beaded Charm Bracelet Handmade Altered Art

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Search and you will find...anything!

So, I thought I’d put my “you can find anything on Etsy ” theory to the test by focusing on my favorite natural sweet snack (at the same time trying to stay on track with my diet). While it took a little more time to find just the right pieces, Etsy once again proves that no matter what you’re looking for, with a little searching, they can always offer some inspiring finds.

Top Right:   Decadent Fig Jam

Middle Right:   Fig and Brown Sugar Goat's Milk Soap

Bottom Right:   A Felt Mission Fig Leaf

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gem of the Gods....

Turquoise has long been one of my favorite semi-precious gems.  I wore a simple turquoise necklace for many years while in High School and College.  In every class picture I have my favorite necklace on.  To celebrate my 30 year (unbelievable) class reunion I crafted a small Turquoise collection and listed the items on Etsy.  Within hours of listing, one of the items sold and two others have had a lot of views.  It seems to be my lucky charm!
Turquoise Facts and Fancy:
Fact: Turquoise is a hydrous copper aluminum sulfate found in every color of blue, greenish blue or deep green. The rich blues are due to the abundance of copper while green turquoise has more aluminum. It has been mined from at least 6000 BC by early Egyptians. Its history also includes beautiful ornamental creations by Native Americans and Persians.

Fancy: In the Orient, a turquoise ring was worn as a protector against all things evil. The Indians of Mexico and the Southwestern United States used turquoise to guard burial sites. To the prehistoric Indian, turquoise, worn on the body or used in ceremonies, always signified the god of the sky alive in the earth.
Fact: It is found in Arizona and New Mexico, USA; Australia; Iran; Afghanistan and other places in the Middle East.

Fancy: Turquoise is believed to relax the mind and relieve mental tensions, calming the emotions and easing stress.

Caring For Your Turquoise Jewelry:
• Natural turquoise should be kept away from exposure to chemicals, cosmetics, oils, perfume, high heat and natural sunlight as these can all cause changes in its color.
• Store your turquoise jewelry separate from other pieces as it may scratch.
• Should your turquoise piece need cleaning use warm water and a soft cloth. Be sure to thoroughly dry your turquoise before storing it.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Logging my favorites...

This is the second installment of a ongoing log of my favorite things. Once a month I will post a favorite. It might be a person, or a place, or even a event. Hopefully it will help you get to know me a little better. I'd love your comments and I hope to make some connections through our mutual enjoyment of these treasures.

Cumberland Island, GA

My greatest and most lasting memory of the Island is its ability to change me in just a few hours. It is my place of transformation. Whether sitting on the beach gazing out to sea, probing around the edges of the marsh as fiddler crabs scurry for cover, or simply walking down one of the many tree lined roads of the Island, I am changed. It is this intangible quality that seems to be the most important benefit which Cumberland Island holds for me. This spiritual quality is what, year after year, I seek and find comfort in. The most consistent message delivered by those who know Cumberland best is one of being "touched" by the Island and being somehow affected by all the natural, cultural, and historical values of this extraordinary place. It is my safe haven, my place of rest, and my favorite camping destination.

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Stand Out in a Crowd...

How many business cards have you received in the last year and how many do you still remember? I’m learning that business cards should look professional but still have flair to them. That means not having too much going on as far as graphics while still being attractive. My business card is an extension of my work and I want to be able to market myself the right way. Here are some tips I’ve learned while researching business cards:

• Only choose the best paper for your business cards. Thicker heavier paper is better as it looks more expensive and professional.

• Use colorful printing; prices have dropped, it does not cost much more than standard two color cards.

• Use a tagline that will quickly let the person know what your product/skill is.

• Put a picture on your business card. Studies have shown that people are more likely to hold on to a Business card with a photo on it. It could be your picture, a picture of your product, or a combination of both. Picture cards get attention!

• Do not use a premade business card design called templates. The more people who use these templates, the more your card starts to look like everybody else’s. You want to have a business card that stands out, not one that gets lost in the crowd.
I’ve learned that if I want to use good business etiquette and good marketing then I need to start handing out more of my business cards. This will help me to conduct my business in a much more professional and efficient manner. There is nothing easier or more profitable than using business cards in my marketing strategy.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hot or Not?

I’m learning that just because I think my product is great doesn’t mean others will. Some of my favorite jewelry designs which I assumed would sell ‘instantly’ didn’t sell at all. I found it very helpful to look up Etsy shops selling similar products and see how they are selling. It was a good exercise in price and product comparison. Taking a look at what we have in common and what is different or unique to each shop. I have sold quite a few items, but it is taking some time for people to “find me”. I’m starting a new marketing approach by: 
  •  Handing out business cards
  • Making fliers and posting them wherever I can
  • Networking on Facebook and Twitter
  • Listing or relisting at least one product each day
  • Giving my jewelry as gifts and donations, with my business card
  • Posting more often about my store/designs on this blog
Etsy is a great place for selling your handmade products and it is a wonderful way to make money from home doing something you enjoy.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Whew…it’s HOT outside….

Glen Falls near Highlands, NC

The weather is stifling here in middle Georgia. I'm staying inside today to try and stay cool today. 
Here’s a list of small measures you can take in lieu of cranking up the air conditioning:
-Take a quick, cool water shower (if you have long hair like me, this is the best possible means I’ve found of cooling off in a hurry).
-Keep yourself hydrated, dehydration increases your heart rate which will warm you up and contribute to your overall discomfort.
-Keep the kitchen cool by grilling outdoors, blending up cold soups like gazpacho, and eating cold pasta or egg salads.  Eating lighter on hot days will limit the amount of energy (heat) you generate digesting a big meal.
-Make use of public swimming areas, whether that’s the ocean, a lake, a creek, or a mountain stream. Georgia and North Carolina are overflowing with wonderful clear clean streams, Glen Falls pictured above,  is just one of my favorite 'cool' spots.
-Pull your hair up into a floppy hat when outdoors. It provides shade and sun protection.
-Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Light colors will help deflect the sun rays away from you.
-Make every attempt to avoid outdoor activities during the hottest hours of the day.  I work on my blog, design a new piece of jewelry for my Etsy shop, or research new lampwork techniques in the cool house when the heat is overwhelming (like today).

-Got any tips for cooling off? I’d love to hear about them.  Stay cool!
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Who are you?

When listing your Etsy item, descriptions don’t need to be long, but they are more attention-grabbing if you include a bit of uniqueness or a human touch. One reason buyers enjoy handmade items is because of the connection with the artist. A description that reads like a scientific list of components doesn’t create a connection. A short line or two sharing your inspiration for the piece, or perhaps what you like about it, or perhaps just a conversational tone can do a lot to add a personal feel.

Two examples of bad descriptions (in my opinion) found on Etsy:
1. Would this listing encourage you to buy a pendant from the seller? A bit too impersonal and clinical in description.
“Approx. size: 1 3/8" (35 mm) in length
the price is for the pendant pictured.

- Individually hand-crafted
- Dried and then smoothed with a sponge
- Bisque fired to about 1850 degrees F (1000 C)
- Glazed with about 3 coats of glaze
- Fired again to about to 2200 degrees F (1240 C)”

2. Would this listing encourage you to buy a bookmark from the seller? Where did the birch bark come from? Did the seller craft these? What is the size?
“Set of 3 Birch Bark bookmarks. Tied with recycled ribbon on top. One of the bookmarks has several pinecones woodburned onto it. The second one is just a plain bookmark. The third has a pack basket woodburned”

Two examples of good descriptions (in my opinion) found on Etsy:

1. This description gives a little history and a nice description of the necklace.

“In ancient times jasper was thought to drive away evil spirits. This necklace is a stunning collection of picture jasper chips, round and rectangular jasper beads, accented with matte onyx. They are circled around a gorgeous 2” picture jasper pendant. The necklace measures 21" long and closes with a Nouveau Swirl toggle of natural brass. This is a gorgeous piece that connects and grounds us to the beautiful world around us. Pair this piece with my appaloosa earrings.”

2. This description gives the item a human touch and an overall conversational tone to the listing.

“This pendant is just so cute! I hand crafted this little bird from fine silver and then gave him a beautiful little textured wing. Bigger than my other tiny birds, he measures 3.5cm (1 1/2 inches) from beak to tail and 2cm across his tummy. His wing is textured with a really delicate leaf pattern. The pattern has been oxidized to create a dark patina, which I've protected with jeweler’s lacquer. He is made from recycled silver, making him a fantastic environmentally friendly choice. He is hung from a 45cm (16 inch) sterling silver ball chain, and attached to the chain with a very plain petite sterling silver bail.”

A quick word about copying: Copying someone else’s description does not mean you will achieve the same Etsy success. Personal means a reflection of you, not other sellers. Find your own way to present your listings and a way to stand out by doing something different. Good luck and happy selling!
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