Saturday, 24 October 2009

Keeping it real...

Well last weeks mammoth post kinda knocked me out so if you are waiting for part 2 of Tips I'm afraid this isn't it! But worry ye not there will be another tips soon... when I have recovered. In the mean times I thought I'd share my real bird tweets with you.

The punks all wanted to be photographed together so puffin posed with blackbird and magpie so they didn't feel left out!

And my brand new kingfisher demanded a close up too!

We're heading down to a gallery today to see if the nice people there would like to stock them and just in cases I thought a family portrait might be in order. The tweets will be in the shop as usual and we'll see what the real world makes of my real bird tweets!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tips and Tricks for Playing The Etsy Game

As you may or may not know I recently hit 300 sales and had a big party to celebrate (I made a cuppa and had some cake!) While touting my celebration giveaway BenMcfuzzylugs of the NFEST needlefelters team suggested I do a blog post with a little advice on how to get 300 sales. I can't pretend I am an expert, I'm more a trial and error person than a make a plan and stick to it gal but I shall have a go anyway.
Please remember that I am NOT an expert and my advice and tips are opinion, not necessarily fact but I can tell you what worked for me and the best advice I have been given. So here goes:

Getting Started
It can be quite hard getting those first few sales, if you haven't done it already pay a visit to the Storque and check out the seller handbook this is always my first stop before posting in forums with queries it saves a lot of time and you'll probably just get linked back there anyway.

It's worth visting the storque on a weekly basis, subscribing to etsy mails and keeping tabs with what's happening in Etsy's world... and it's fun!

Don't... get involved ina B&R (buy and replace) unless you are doing it for fun. B&R's can be fun you buy something and your name is added to a list in place of the shop you bought from, it's not a garenteed sale tho. Although it is useful for newbies trying to get a bit of feedback on their profile.

Join a Forum, Join a TeamThe hardest thing I have found being a lonely craftsperson is the isolation, when you find yourself talking to the kettle it's time to join a team. Etsy's Teams Homepage is your first stop where you'll find lots of teams worth joining. I'm a member of NFEST with my felt shops, it's good to touch base, find out what your peers are up to and find items for themed treasuries. It's also important to realise you're not alone, we all have off days and need support.

I also spend a large amount of time in the UK forum for cake chat, UK treasuries, sillyness and generally lovely people who help keep me sane. I occassionally venture into the other forums, etc for sillyness and promos for promotional opportunities. I may not post an awful lot but I do lurk around Site Help for interesting topics.

The Best Advertising is Free Advertising
(but cheap advertising is good too!)

The best promotional opportunities are the free ones, and the cheap ones... and there are plenty about. A front page, gift guide or storque feature can send your veiws thru the roof and also accumulate a few of those pesky sales. getting featured is a tricky business, I was lucky enough to be in Voter (I came 2nd to House of Mouse in the Wedding cake topper vote) which really boosted my sales and my confidence. See the storque for info on votes, you can nominate people on storque whenever the call for nominations is up. Only nominate yourself if it's appropriate tho if not nominate one of your favorites, share the love!

Treasury and T'west are member curated and you get the opportunity to be on front page if the Etsy Admins deem the treasury to be of high enough quality. The best way to get featured is to make sure your photos are of good quality, invest in a decent photo editing suite (I use photoshop elements, it's easy to use and relatively cheap), crop your images square. This is where your team helps too, teams are lovely people and will feature you in treasuries if you are lucky!
Project wonderful is something I was introduced to by AliBali, it's well worth checking out and you can find good places to advertise for a small fee. Make you ad and bid on advertising boxes on othe people blogs. I'm just finding my feet with this one so I'll let you know how it goes.

Pimp yourself, if not you who else? And Big up your friends, mention them on your blog... not got a blog get a blog and mention them there, rave to complete strangers about how great etsy is. Rave about how great you are, cos you are!

Twitter, Facebook, Blogs

Are all free and if you play the game right a good source of advertising. My personal facebook is just for friends but I do have a fan page here. Twitter has been a surprising source of advertising and sales for me so here are a few tips which I have found helpful:

Be Nice - reply to your twitter friends if they retweet/mention/follow friday you
Twitter Lots and Often- and not just links to your shop! Twitter other people's work, things you like, blog posts, interesting and funny stuff. There's nothing more boring than opening twitter to find you twitter stream full of links to the same thing.

Tag your links - #myetsy, you might get a gift guide feature, but use it wisely. I'm sure if you do that with your entire inventory the etsy gods will not smile favorably on you!

Unfollow the spammers!- Just cos you have 10million followers doesn't mean you'll get sales, I don't need to get breast implants, lose weight on the wonder plan or see celebrities in the buff! 1 genuine follower is worth more that 1 million spammers. And you twitter stream looks prettier for it!
Do follow other etsians, crafters, comedians, people who interest you. I took some advice when I first started twitter and joined a follow back scheme. All I got was boring spam. Yawn! Your twittering should be targeted... a guy who sells unicycle insurance isn't gonna be interested in my birds why should I be interested in him?
Advertise your Twitter- I have links to my twitter on my blog, just one click away from here!

Again, remember this is just my opinion but I feel these are social networking sites, so be social. I enquired on a forum thread about Twitter if I should have a personal one to follow my favorite comedians, actors, tv shows etc... the reply was "Don't, I am far too busy to follow socially!"... too busy to read 140 letters from Stephen Fry... Never!

The Best Piece of Advice I was Ever given

Change the Product!!!

This piece of advice is brought to you by the film KinkyBoots and the book Craft and Art: The Business. I started out making bags and purses, I sold a few but after a while I stopped enjoying it, it wasn't fun and it showed in my work and my shop. I was playing with needlefelt but didn't think it was good enough but i loved it so I thought what the heck... I opened The Felt Menagerie in February 2008 and it has been very very good to me...

Of course it's not an easy decision to make but I sat down and analysed why I wasn't selling... I was active in forums, listing regularly but I was working in a market that was already flooded with similar items for cheaper prices. I wasn't willing to drop my prices so I set out to find a more unique product and developed Tweets, they have changed and evolved over the last 18 months but these little birdies have been a great success!

My Top Tips
List Often and Lots
Join a forum, join a team
UK sellers stay up and list after midnight to better catch the US crowd
Twitter It!

Facebook It
Analyse What You are doing (there will be a future blog post about this)
Make a business plan but keep it fluid, things change, plans change and a rigid plan is a hinderance rather than a boon
Have fun
Love What you do

I hope this post has at least given someone somewhere one idea or inspiration, as a final thought remember it's your passion that drives your business so use it, love what you do.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

It's here!!! Brand new shop!

So a whole day of photographing and scanning and tearing my hair out and it's finally done. Inkmeup has arrived, I'm off to curl up with a brandy now! But I'll leave you with a few samples of what's to come.

The shops a little empty but I shall be filling it slowly but surely over the next few weeks, keep an eye out for opening bargains and all items have free secondary postage which means if you buy 2 or more items you only pay postage on one.

I had my first sale already which elicited a rather uncalled for swear word from my surprised mouth! So that's made me happy today, hopefully things will continue in the same vein!

Also I got my first etsy treasury for a very long time which I have named Inked in honour of my new shiney shop.

A Little Scanning Madness!

Big thanks to Stargazy for her suggestion of Inkmeup as a shop name, I love it!

Well the preparations for Inkmeup are continuing, the shop is in place, the policies are all completed, banner, avatar and profile are done... now all I need is stock! Today is a frenzy of scanning, photographing and generally going a bit nuts figuring out postal cost and what to charge for prints!Here are a few teaser pics to wet your appetite... now where did I put that camera again?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Things to do while etsy sleeps...

Waiting for etsy to come back on today so I could answer my convos from last night I did quite a lot! I went to the post office, cleaned the kitchen, photographed some stuff, installed a printer...

...and made cheese scones!
These are from my trusty bero book which I have had for years and my granny swore by, here's the recipe, it works really well with a nice mature chedder!


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

And the winner is....

The response to the blog giveaway was overwelming, we had over 100 entries between the blog, twitter and sales. Thanks to everyone who entered, retweeted and attempted to bribe me with cakes! The Tweets once more said they wanted to help pick... I think they were really after more nesting material since I can't get them out of the hat now!

Drumroll please... and the winner is...

Sassa Lynn at Etsy... yay. Well done and thanks for entering... your little fella will be winging his way to you soon!

She also has a lovely website where you can see her art work and beautiful paper collages. You all know what a complete fibre junkie I am so I may be paying a visit to this shop for some lovely yarns and supplies myself soon. I love this selection... yum!