Two Crafty Ladies

Two friends on a mission to start their own Etsy shops share ideas, inspiration, and encouragement.

Never Satisfied July 17, 2008

Filed under: Business,etsy,Marketing,Projects — ollie & junebug @ 1:20 am
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So…yeah…I know I had decided on a banner.  But I hadn’t even really launched my shop yet and I wasn’t completely happy with it.  So, last night, I started from scratch.  I think I’m almost there.  One more night’s work and I’ll be satisfied with it, me thinks.  But, then again, I’ve thought that before.  I suppose we’re never fully satisfied with things we produce, are we?  There’s always something we want to look better…

Meanwhile, have you all seen this list of the 100 new classic books (1983-2008)?   It’s pretty interesting.  There are things on there that I knew would be (i.e. Kite Runner, The Road), and then there were ones I was rather shocked by (i.e. DaVinci Code, Bridget Jones’ Diary).  I was sad a few of my favorites didn’t make the list.  I think Time Traveler’s Wife and Water for Elephants are definitely some of my favorite books of recent times.  What would be on your list?  Here are the top 20 from the EW.com list to get the ideas flowing:

1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars’ Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)

I’m going to try to make my way thru the books on the list that I haven’t read yet.  I read Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (#30) last weekend.  It was good…not top of my list though.  Now I’m on On Beauty (#19), which will be followed by Blindness (#12) once Hubby is done with it.  I’m kind of scared to read that one, but the movie is coming out soon and it has Julianne Moore AND Mark Ruffalo….so I’m definitely going to want to see that…and you have to read the books first, right?

Alright, on that note, I leave you with a sneak peak of things to come in terms of my branding.  Night, night!

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Back to Business July 8, 2008

Filed under: Business,etsy — ollie & junebug @ 4:03 pm
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Okay- so after a long hiatus, I’m back.  The busiest part of the basketball season is over, the in-laws have come and gone, and summer Fridays are beginning soon.  Woo hoo!  Hope everyone had a lovely 4th of July.  I was down camping with the in-laws near Washington, D.C.  It was fun, but buggy.  The first night, my whole left arm was on fire…I think I had at least seven bites on it.  Blah!  Oh well, that’s what you get campin’, I guess!

Anyway, I was just catching up on my Storque reading and thought this article was really useful.  Check it out:

Service Tips for Sellers: Creating Policies That Work

Dear Sellers,

Recently, a shop policy section has been added to shop profiles, creating an easy to find, centralized place for individual shop policies.  Although creating shop policies is not mandatory, it may be a good option for you. Clear policies let your customers know what to expect; it’s is a good way to earn trust and confidence.  Specific information about shipping, returns, etc. will help customers feel at ease. 

The following are some tips, advice, and seller testimonials on how to craft a shop policy that works:

  • Create fair policies
    Offer a policy that you yourself would most appreciate as a customer.  Policies are meant to protect both you as a seller and your buyers as well.  Consider that a customer who is reading your policies is looking for assurances that it is safe to do business with you.

    • jenngee uses her shop policy page, “…but I’ve felt free to ‘break [my policies]’ when needed (accepting a return long after the return window closed, for example). The rules simply give me something to fall back on, but if I feel that good customer service requires that I bend the rules a bit. I’m not afraid to do that at all.”
  • Stay positive
    Steer clear of negative or concerning phrases like “buyer beware,” or “I don’t take any responsibility.”
  • Keep policies simple
    Policies that are overly wordy can sometimes be confusing and may turn a customer away.  Craft your policies in clear, concise sentences.  

Click here for more!

 

Ollie & Junebug: Moo Card Designs! April 16, 2008

Filed under: Business,etsy,Marketing — ollie & junebug @ 3:47 pm
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So I spent last night working on some Ollie & Junebug business cards.  I want to be able to use them for regular purposes but also as thank you’s and hello’s on my packages.  Here is what I have so far in terms of designs (click to see larger version):

        

Are they too simple?  I’ll add product shots or something in the future probably, but I was thinking it might be a good idea to focus on branding to start.  What do you think?

 

Ollie & Junebug: Finding Fabric Online April 14, 2008

Filed under: Business,etsy,Projects — ollie & junebug @ 1:21 am
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I started working yesterday on a pillow using the Amy Butler fabric I ordered from Fabricshoppe.  It’s always hard for me to make the first cuts into fabric though.  Especially beautiful Amy Butler fabric.  It’s an art piece on its own.  Oh, I wanted to ask…does anyone buy there fabrics online?  If so, where do you buy from?  Who has the best selection of fabrics to choose from?  I can find a lot of what I am looking for on Etsy, but there are still a few odds and ends that I would probably need to hit up a bigger supplier for.  Thoughts? 

Alright, well I’m a sleepy girl!  I spent my day with a very active 2 year old, and well, she wore me out!  Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

 

 

The Ollie & Junebug Shop Takes Over April 12, 2008

Filed under: Business,etsy,Marketing — ollie & junebug @ 6:34 pm
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Well, the husband is off to the Emerald Isle for a while so I’ve taken over the house with all things Ollie & Junbug.  My goal is to get 12 pillows done by the time he gets back.  A lot, I know, but I might as well go for it while I can!  I’m also trying a new art project to tie in with the pillows, so we’ll see how that goes.  Oh, I saw Amy Butler card sets at Michael’s today!  I was like…”I have that fabric and that one”…very cool!  I wonder if she has more than just that or if she’s going to soon.

Anyway, I grabbed some lovely orange and grey packaging items…along with a few random things for my pillows.  Hopefully this will be a very productive week for the shop!

 

Etsy Survey Results March 7, 2008

Filed under: Business,Marketing — ollie & junebug @ 7:23 pm
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So, in the Storque they have the results of the latest Etsy survey.  Here are some snippets, but you should definitely check out the full article here.

Keep blogging:  Lots of buyers find out about Etsy through blogs.  To be exact, 26% find out about Etsy on blogs and 17% find out about the handmade products they buy on blogs.  The good news is 51% of the sellers who responded to the survey participate in blogging.

Use Etsy Mini: Almost all people who use Etsy mini (40% of total sellers) find it a valuable tool for promoting their shops.  So if you haven’t already, add an Etsy mini to your blog. 

Consider using category showcases:  Buyers found Category Showcases an important feature and frequently use category pages, the second most likely way to search for items on Etsy.

Showcase the uniqueness of your items:  Buyers shop on Etsy primarily to find unique items, because they value handmade goods and they want to support independent artists.  Buyers, and 80% of all respondents, are also willing to pay more for high quality, well crafted items. 

 

Cost and Pricing March 1, 2008

Filed under: Business — ollie & junebug @ 6:26 pm
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Check out this article about costs/pricing from Beth over at Etsy:

Figuring out how to price your items can feel like the most challenging part of selling. Don’t worry, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed. Fancy business schools devote full semesters to this subject. And the one thing they teach? There is no magic pricing formula. Fortunately, pricing is more art than science, and Etsy is full of great artists.

If you are running your Etsy shop as a business and not just as a hobby, the first thing to do is to cover your costs. Direct costs include:

  • materials used to make the item
  • packaging
  • PayPal fees
  • Etsy fees

Even include that yarn that you dug out of the closet where it’d been stashed for years or those buttons your next door neighbor gave you; these are materials you could be using for something else, like design fees, the internet in your home office or rent utilities.

Indirect costs may include machinery: for instance, a large loom, or payment for access to a darkroom or a metal shop. These costs should be factored in as well.

Next, consider your time. Think about the time it takes to create the item and list it. On the creation side, don’t forget the time to design the item as well as the time to physically make it. Include time that might otherwise be considered “down time,” like working on the item while at your table at a craft fair, knitting on the bus on the way to work, or spinning during your favorite television show. In addition, remember it also takes time to take a great photo, to list your item, as well as to carefully pack and ship the item.
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