Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I was looking at the Esperanza site and sometimes they sell artwork from students. I found this really cool mosaic of part of a Van Gogh painting. It was made from a bunch of students working in a class and it's selling for $1,000:
I'm working on some new items. I made a box with pink flower paper that I really like. I'm working on another box that is an autism theme that I'm excited about. I always wanted to make an autism box to go with my autism journal, but never got around to it. I figured now is the perfect time with the craft fair coming up because a lot of people there might be interested in supporting autism awareness. I also made a journal with marbled decorative paper I got from Italy and a journal with a map of Chicago on it. I can't wait to list new items! I think I'm going to take photos tonight.
I organized a bunch of my items and now my craft area is pretty clean. It's really nice to have a craft area in my room. I might take photos soon. My drawer with finished items is almost full. I use two of the drawers for finished items and the last drawer for supplies and business cards. I also have another drawer somewhere else in my room with fabric and paper. Hopefully, I'll sell some items (at the craft show) and make a little more space for new items. If you have a shop, how do you organize your items?
I found this really cool site called swaptree. I was trying to find ways to make fast money (I'm kind of broke right) and was listing stuff on ebay/half.com. I found this site though where instead of getting money, you can trade for stuff. So you might trade a book for another book, a book for a dvd, etc. It's a lot of fun and really addicting. I have a bunch of CDs from when I was in elementary school, junior high, etc. that I never touch anymore and don't really have a lot of sentimental value that I'm selling. I also always wanted to build my DVD collection up and this is a good way to do it cheaply. If you click the link above, you can see my page and what items I'm selling and what items are on my wishlist.
My laptop is still broken. I just have really bad luck with it I think. First, there was just a problem with a hard drive and I finally fixed it myself and installed a new hard drive. Right when I was almost done putting all my backup files on the new hard drive, it accidentally fell off my couch and now the screen is broken. I'm hopefully going to get it fixed tomorrow.
Friday, June 26, 2009
I'm thinking of making another youtube video to promote my shop soon. My first one is here, but I want to make another one with some newer items. I have a really good song to go with it too.
My one year anniversary for this blog is coming up soon. I remember my first entry was on Fourth of July last year. I'm really glad I got a blog and it's been nice to reflect on my etsy shop and learn about other people on etsy. I think I've also done a good job of doing a couple entries every week.
I changed some minor things in my layout. I just added a new poll and changed some of my links. I had a few links to other etsy blogs that I swapped links with, but I noticed my link wasn't on their blog anymore, so I took their links off. Also, if you want to see what etsy blogs I'm reading, you can just look at people I follow in my profile.
I also added a new poll on the right side. You only have 6 days to vote so please vote! I like seeing your answers. I asked what items you'd want to see more of in my shop.
I just realized it's Friday. I love when it's summer and you lose track of days. :) I should have more Italy photos up on my flickr soon. I'm still going through them all and trying to edit them.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Fourth of July American Flag Greeting Card
Fourth of July Tissue Paper Greeting Card
It feels like it's been a while since I've listed some new items. I made a bunch of new items, but I'm listing them gradually. I just read in one of Etsy's newsletters that it's actually good not to list too many items because customers will have a hard time making a choice and won't buy anything (before in forums, I always read it's good to have a lot). What do you think? I think I like having about 80-100 items in my shop. There's some items I could take off because they're sale items or not perfect, but I feel bad taking them off because I feel someone might like it.
My bird journal got featured in this EtsyVeg treasury. Yay. :) I love birds in artwork.
I think I might do some advertising for my shop on sites like craftster. I think I'll have to set a budget and see how much I can spend on advertising and renewing. I applied to two craft shows, and also contacted a store about selling my items. I haven't heard back from anyone yet, but hopefully soon. By the way, you should take my poll on the right side of this page. :)
Sunday, June 21, 2009
On my gondola ride in Venice:
I'm also making a scrapbook using a journal I made that I was originally going to sell, but it has some flowers. It uses this really pretty red flower paper that reminds me of Italy and this:
I have to edit some and I also just scanned a bunch today (I didn't get them all developed digitally because I wanted to save some money so some I'm scanning myself). It's been a lot of work to go through all my photos, but a lot of fun and makes me miss Italy. I still have two Italy papers for my class that are due tomorrow. It's basically travel writing pieces about experiences in Italy, which is fun, but it's a little harder than I thought and I'm having trouble getting them long enough. Like I mentioned before, I think when I get all my photos scanned, I'll write a little blog about the whole trip.
I was thinking it might be fun to sell some of my prints sometime in the future, but right now I'm just doing photography for myself. I started making a mini journal with some really pretty blue, marbled paper I got from Italy. I just have to stitch it together. I was going to use coptic stitch which I always have to practice a little because I always forget exactly how to do it. Once I get my board, I'll start working on new, bigger journals. :)
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I was looking at Google Analytics and noticed the times I got the most views were about 2:00 and 8:00PM. So I'm trying to renew items at that time to get more views because I heard that can help. I never liked renewing much in the past (it seems like a waste of money and it hasn't really brought me sales), but I thought I'd try it again. To shop owners - do you renew your items? If so, how often and do you think it has helped?
I might list some items on EBay soon - not craft stuff, but just old stuff to sell. I've done that before and made some money so I thought I'd do it again.
I made my dad a Father's Day card (for tomorrow) in the shape of a tie. I used music note decorative paper because he plays the piano. I really like how it turned out and might make more to sell in the future (except have them flip open next time).
I got my Italy photos developed and uploaded. I'm going to post them to my flickr and maybe write a description/overview here. I have to write 3 papers for the class in Italy (it was a school trip), but maybe after I finish those, I'll work on editing the photos. A bunch have this light leak through them and I'm hoping there's some way I can fix that on a photo editing program. I thought I could just darken the light part, but then it just ends up gray and dark where the light was instead of showing the photo underneath that was covered by light. If anybody knows how to fix that, let me know.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Etsy: Advanced came in a PDF and Word Document format. The PDF format was 36 pages (with a fairly big font) and it came with a cover (shown above). I liked the PDF format and I like how the ebook was decorated like a magazine with interesting formats on each page and a couple graphics.
First, the guide talked about tips for getting to the top of the Google search engine, which is always important. The guide talked about how to improve your ranking on Google, you have to have your link on lots of other sites which I already knew. One thing the guide mentioned that was helpful for me is listing your site on dmoz.org helps you move up in rankings. I looked it up and my etsy shop wasn't on there, so I suggested my URL under Shopping > Crafts. I suggest everyone do that if you have a shop.
The guide then moved away from Google and talked about tagging, which is always important. The guide provided a list of questions to think of when tagging such as "What color is it?" and "Who is it for?". I thought these were good questions to go over while tagging items. She suggested to come up with a big list of tags that could work and the narrow them down. I think I might do this next time I tag because it's a good suggestion. She also provided this link for looking up which words people look up the most on google which can help you pick good tags.
The ebook gave a lot of statistics about Etsy and other Etsians which was fun and helpful. Instead of just giving statistics, the guide let you knew how these statistics could be useful for your shop. I thought that was the perfect way to do it because it makes things simple. I think the ebook could be useful for people on any level and it's not hard to follow.
Some of the statistics were just interesting to read. Like did you know that most Etsians are from California, New York, and Texas? (makes sense since those are highly populated places) Or that the best days to buy showcases are at the beginning of the week? I like how the guide contained what seemed like random information like Etsians' favorite animals and colors. This could be helpful when designing items or logos. Though I don't think you should necessarily use something just because a majority of people on Etsy like it (you want your shop to be unique or your shop might target a specific audience), it is helpful to keep in mind.
One statistic I thought was interesting was only 28% of sellers say they offer gift wrapping services. This was a good tip to me so I added that I do gift wrapping services in my shop policies. I never thought of putting it as a service before. I actually have wrapped items I've sold before that people have asked to be wrapped, but it's good to let people know I do that in my shop.
One section talked about color psychology, which I'm interested in. Color is one of the most important things when customers choose products and it was interesting to see the statistics. My logo uses blue and white and both those colors are associated with trust.
Overall, I really liked reading this guide. It was easy to read and had a lot of tricks I hadn't thought of or read before. It had a lot of helpful information, but it wasn't overloaded with meaningless statistics. It also had a lot of good links on the guide for URLs that were helpful. I will probably refer back to it again when trying to promote my shop or when updating my shop. I wouldn't normally buy guides like these, but I'm glad I had the chance to read this. It looks like she's selling it on her site here for $10. You can also get it for free if you're like me and link her on your blog/site. I would check it out if you're looking for ways to promote or improve your shop.
In unrelated news, I got my photos developed from Italy. Somehow, a light leak got in to my camera and a lot of my photos have a big light streak through them. I think some of them can be fixed with photo editing if the light isn't too bright, but about half seem like they can't be fixed. Luckily, I took a ton of photos so I do have a lot of good photos from Italy. The only thing that bothers me is I spent a lot of money on film and getting them developed. I'm getting a digital copy soon and hopefully will post them in my flickr by next week. :)
Also remember, there's free shipping in my shop this weekend as part of the YART Sale!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I might try to get some new listings up within the new few weeks. I have some items I photographed a few weeks ago that I still need to list. There's some Fourth of July cards I made that I really like so I hope to get those up soon.
I think I might do some craft shows this summer. I already filled out applications for two. One is at a place called Esperanza, a school for people with disabilities, where my mom used to work. There's an event in July called Summerfest. They have people selling crafts, but you have to give a percentage of the money you make back to the school. I think it will be good exposure and I can hand out my business card. I also applied for a farmer's market in Chicago that's weekly. I've never done craft shows before so I don't want to do anything too big or expensive. I think farmer's markets and small shows are a good place to start out. If you know any craft shows in Chicago or have any advice for doing craft shows, let me know! I might also try to get my items in a few more shops.
I'm working on a new craft section in my room. I use my laptop while I'm at college, but I've had my old computer in my room forever. I don't really use it and I don't think it works well, but I keep it just because it has a backup of all my files. I decided while I was cleaning my room to finally move it and make that table/area in my room a place to work on my crafts. I usually work in the kitchen/tv area, but this will make it easier to have a spot to work or let stuff dry (you have to press down journals overnight to let them dry so I always have journals laying around anyway). I can't wait to start making new journals. I have so much pretty paper from Italy I can't wait to use.
Speaking of, I used a journal while in Italy (for our school trip, we were required to keep a journal). I thought I would post a few photos of it since I was originally planning on selling it. I was going to use a moleskine journal decorated with a map of Italy, but I lost it right before I left on my trip. I ended up finding it the other day in my scraps box, but I'm glad I used the other journal because I think it was the perfect size. I ended up putting writing, sketches and ticket stubs in it. I think I might scan some pages and post them one day. What's funny is I actually saw the same paper I used for this journal in a paper making store while I was in Italy.
I also have some new photos in my flickr here. I'm doing a project where I take a photo everyday for a monthly theme. The theme for this month is "summer" so I'm trying to remember to take a summer related photo everyday. It's kind of like the 365 project a lot of people do on flickr (where you take a photo every day for a year), but I like having the monthly theme because it forces you to be creative with it.
I am still waiting for my photos from Italy to develop. I think I might get them tomorrow. I'm so excited to see them and I hope I got a lot of good ones.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
"Selling my craft online has been a very rewarding experience. "
How I did it: I found a community online called Etsy (etsy.com) and it's been a great resource to sell my craft online. I make handmade journals and other paper items. I just opened up a shop one day and started listing items. It's a lot of fun.
Lessons & tips: Be patient, expect to work hard, get feedback from customers and other people, try to sell something that is creative or different from other businesses. Also, have fun and make sure it's something you enjoy doing!
books to learn about my craft
It took me 6 months.
It made me happy
I posted a few updates on my twitter while I was over there. Italy is known for making handmade marbled paper and I found some really nice paper in Venice and Florence. I can't wait to use it on some projects.
What's also exciting is June 4th was Move the Needle's one year anniversary. There's a sale in my shop this weekend (Friday-Sunday) to celebrate it. Just enter the code "BDAY" at checkout to get 10% off any item.
I can't believe it's been a year already. I actually don't know when it was I started listing items, but I know I signed up for an etsy account on June 4th.
The first item I listed (from what I can remember) was this Brown Butterfly Journal, which was also featured in an EtsyVeg treasury. I made a variation of it for myself when I was first learning how to make journals and I made a better version when I opened my shop.
The first item that showed was the duck I Am a Little Animal Recycled Journal. It sold on July 21.
I'm so glad I decided to open up my own shop. It's been a lot of fun and etsy is such a great community to sell crafts on. It's allowed me to polish my craft (I actually learned bookbinding so I could open a shop) and see what it's like to run my own business. I also love seeing other people's shops and meeting new people. I hope to continue expanding on my shop and sales in the future. I made a goal on the site 43things.com last year to start my own business and I decided since it's been a year since I've had my shop, I decided to say I completed my goal. The next blog update will be a cross-post from that site saying how I completed my goal.