Saturday, April 28, 2012

Featured Shop of the Week

This week featured seller is Janine and her shop:  LesleysGirlsVintage

 Janine  runs Lesley's Girls with the help of her older sister, Susannah. Although it is a joint venture - at the moment Susannah is taking a back seat until her daughter is a bit older.  Janine has 2 kids- Isobel (three) and Jonny (one), She's a stay at home mummy from Colchester, England. Susannah is a stay at home mummy too and she also has two kids- Matthew (two) and Emma (6 mths)
Janine always loved vintage and she did history at university; she had been stumbling around for a while trying to figure out a way she didn't have to go back to Human Resources when she eventually have to return to work and after a night sorting through her clothes (and drinking wine!) Janine thought about selling vintage clothes (something her husband had previously suggested to her and at the time she did not feel confident enough) and it grew from there. Susannah is a seamstress (originally her mother taught her but mainly Susannah has taught herself), they have always been close and Susannah's sewing ability linked so well with the shop they decided to open it up together. They named it Lesley’s Girls after our mother who passed away when they were young so it felt like an appropriate name and a nice way to acknowledge how important she was to both of them.

 What does handmade mean to Janine:
"Susannah is the guru on handmade things with us as she is more practically creative. To me handmade means anything which someone has the ability, time, enthusiasm and determination to create and idea into an item. Whenever I think of the concept of handmade I am filled with respect for those who do this as it’s an amazing talent to have. Susannah thinks handmade can be described as somehting that is “100% me”!"

 Janine's philosophy towards work:

" Not sure I really have a specific attitude really. I think you should enjoy life and your work too. If work isn’t enjoyable then there is something wrong and you need to address it. Susannah says her philosophy is that at the bottom of it your work is down to you and that you need to work hard to get results."

Janine's Advice to other Etsy sellers:

 "Being quite new on the Etsy scene I’m probably not best qualified to give advice! However, my advice links most closely to my philosophy towards work in general- you should enjoy what you’re doing, and if you’re not enjoying it perhaps its because you’re not focusing on the area which excites you most."

 Visit our featured shop - you can click on each image to bring you to the listing or click on the link -

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Item of the Week

Chaya's favorite this week comes from Etsy shop myjewelrystory.

This shop features many hand stamped designs, but the ones that caught my eye this week were the personalized baby spoons!

Personalized Baby Spoon SET OF FOUR (4)  baby shower gift, new mom, baby feeding pastel

Heidi's Tips & Tricks for 4/25/2012

The topic for this week is... TAGGING

Your tags are what are used to find your items in Etsy searches. They are also valuable in being found by search engines such as google. Essentially, these are the words that describe your item to someone who is looking to see what is available in a certain category.

Sometime shoppers only have a vague idea of what they are looking for... but MOST of the time, they really want something specific. Even if they start out looking really broad... chances are they will narrow the search when the results are overwhelming. This is where effective tagging comes in to help ensure that your items are found.

There are several guidelines for using tags effectively that I hope will help clear up some misconceptions and help you figure out the best way to approach this somewhat tedious but vital part of listing your items.

Use all your tags. No excuses... every tag has the potential to bring in a customer and if you don't use them you miss out. If you can't think of what to use, examine your item and consider putting "handmade" or "vintage" (they aren't automatically included and people do search for them!), include colors of the item to assist in being found for treasuries (which can also mean sales and hearts). What size is it? Who is it marketed for (kids, moms, boys, etc.)? are there common alternative spellings of other tag words? What about different terms for the same item (hat, tuque, beanie, etc.)? Texture? Material? Theme (rustic, chic, bohemian, etc.)? Search for similar items and see what other tags your competitors are using... doesn't mean they will be effective, but it might help you think of ones that didn't occur to you! Oh yeah... and include your shop name in a few! Sometimes people will search for your shop but forget to change to "shop search" in the dropdown menu. Tagging your shop name means those people will at least get a result.

Perhaps you have the opposite problem and 13 tags is not enough! (This is me, I'm always wishing for more!). Etsy will now allow short applicable phrases in their tags! This is very useful AND effective because (and this is the best part!)... all words are ALSO search-able separately even if you put them in a phrase! YAY! So, for example, you can add a tag "security blanket" and another of "baby blankie" and you will also get results for "security blankie" or "baby blanket". This means you can use two tag spots rather than the four you would need to put each word separately. If you do this though... it is vital that you ensure your phrases are VALID... not just "stuffing". You can also use this method to get specifics... such as a tag of "kelly green" would catch those looking for that narrow a color AND also catch those just searching for "green".

Make sure your tags ARE what the item IS. Some categories are huge and it is easy to feel like your items are getting lost. You may be tempted to add a tag that isn't quite descriptive of your item to hope to end up in a narrower category. However, this doesn't work. People searching for silver earrings are not going to look at a bracelet... and chances are they are going to be annoyed that you tried to "pull a fast one" on them and may put a negative taste in their mouth about your whole shop. Doing this also clutters up the categories and, effectively makes your properly tagged items HARDER to find. Plus, it's against Etsy rules and you can very easily be reported. Bottom line... respect your own items and the community and use tags the way they are meant to be used.

Many teams have team tags. You can include these to help your items be found by loyal team shoppers AND for use in treasuries! You don't have to tag all your items... but a representation of them is a good idea. If you have the space though, the more team tags you use the easier it is for people on your teams to find and favorite your items... and this can be a very effective networking tool!

With the new algorithms Etsy had in place with the change to relevancy search... there have also been some effect on tags. Tags and titles now work together! This is great because it essentially means that you have the ability to "add power" to your tags by mirroring them in your titles. SO, (I'll use an example from my own experience) what this means is that when I have the exact phrase "Crochet Doll" in BOTH my title and my tags, it is given a higher weight in search for those terms than if I separate the phrase into "crochet" and "doll" tags. This has taken some trial and error, but in a category that has a lots of results it can help improve your ability to be found by your target customers.

There is also another approach you may wish to explore. Some categories are so huge that it is just impossible to be found if you don't have a lot of inventory. You may choose to not focus so much on the MOST common searched terms and instead try to capture those customers that use alternatives. For example, "pacifier clip" gets 8860 results... but "soother clip" only gets 841. While it is true that more customers are searching for pacifier, I can't compete with those stores when I only list a few clips in my shop because my preference is for customs... so by using my tags (and titles) to target the fewer customers that are looking under "soother", I get sales where I didn't before. While this may be an unconventional approach... it is working for me. (Shhh... don't tell anyone!)  :)

Tagging is tricky. It's important to remember to reevaluate your tags occasionally, and to make some changes to them on similar items (don't just copy) to try to find which ones are the most effective. You can use tools like Craftopolis or your Shop Stats to see which terms are being used to find your items... but don't be afraid to branch out and try something new! One of the best things about tags is that they are editable... so if something isn't working, switch it for something else and see what happens!

So... I hope this has been helpful and perhaps you've learned something you hadn't thought of before!


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Featured Shop of the Week

This week featured seller is Heidi and her shop:   Little Tadpole Designs

 Heidi is mommy to two little ones, a 3 year old boy and an 17 month old girl. She  lives in  Canada and is a stay-at-home mom. Heidi started making items when her son was about 6 months old. He needed soother clips and a special blankie and she couldn't find any that I liked. Heidi purchased a few and thought that she could make better ones herself... so she started exploring doing that. Things just sort of took off from there! She started selling on Etsy this last January and it has been a great outlet for her to use her talents and creativity and share them with others!

 What does handmade mean to Heidi:

 "The more I get into the handmade community and get to know and network with other sellers, the more I love and respect "handmade". I think of handmade items now in terms of the time and love that goes into them and feel that the items have a heart behind them that you just don't get with mass-produced products. I also think first when I want something for myself "I'll check on Etsy and see if anyone makes it" before I run to the local Walmart or department store"

 Heidi's philosophy towards work:

"Honestly, I'm still working on this. I struggle with "balance" and sometimes use my shop as an escape from the real world when the kids are being particularly demanding. I'd like very much to have the reality of a philosophy that puts the work on my creations and Etsy shop firmly in the realm of something that is a tangent to my life and not a focus... but I'm not there yet."

 Heidi's Advice to other Etsy sellers:

 "Get involved! The community on Etsy is fantastic and the more you can network the more successful you will be! By talking to people in teams and conversations, you will learn how to make your shop the best it can be. Don't be afraid to ask for and, more importantly, implement the advice you are given!"

 Visit our featured shop - you can click on each image to bring you to the listing or click on the link -

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Heidi's Favorite Item of the Week!

Ellen of oKIDDo just listed this item this week and I LOVE it!  Made of soft green wool with a rich deep purple lining, this just looks so warm and would be SO cute on any little girl.  I need one in my daughter's size!  :)  Made in an A-line style for a roomy, attractive fit and set off beautifully with two big buttons and a feminine bow.

Check out Ellen's shop "oKIDDo" HERE !

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heidi's Tips & Tricks for 4/18/2012

This week we're talking about... PROFILES

It may seem like your shop's profile is a secondary consideration when you are setting up shop.  There are so many more "business-y" things to cover, and it may seem that your profile is sort of "hidden" behind your name so it's easy to forget to put thought into writing your profile.  BUT, there are some good reasons to take some time this week to invest some time into this area of your shop!

When you look at your shop analytics through Google or Shop Stats, you may be surprised to note that your profile IS one of the pages that gets viewed on occasion!  This is a great thing.  It means that people are interested not only in what I can make, but also in who I am as a person.  It's wonderful that Etsy provides this area for us all to share a little about ourselves with customers, wholesalers, bloggers, and more.  And, of course, it works the other way too and we can take the opportunity to learn about other shops and team members as well!

So how to you make your profile engaging and informative?

Let's face it, I think most of us struggle with writing about ourselves.  However, with some simple ideas of how to approach this task, it can become less daunting.

First of all, I think it is important to use the first person when writing your profile.  Doing this personalizes what you are writing and makes it less "rehearsed" to read.  The only exception to this might possibly be if you operate your shop with someone else.  If that is the case though, still use "us" and "we" and it might be a good idea to devote at least one paragraph to each shop owner individually to introduce themselves.

Another important piece of advice... don't focus on your shop!  This is of course an important element, but your profile is supposed to be about YOU so step outside your shop for a moment and explore some ways to share who you are as a person and a crafter.  While your profile can include things like your facebook, blog, and other shops or web locations... this should be a footnote, and not a focus.

Okay, on to the fun stuff!  What sorts of things might you consider including in your profile to make it more engaging?

- We're all moms here on the team, but your customers might not know that about you!  Being moms is a HUGE part of who we are, so it would absolutely be appropriate to talk about that in your profile!  If you are concerned about privacy, you don't need to share your children's names or ages unless you wish too.  You might talk about them by nickname or gender for example.  You can talk about whether you are stay-at-home or not, or if perhaps you are a homeschooler or a blended family.

- Perhaps you'd prefer to talk about yourself from a more "historical" perspective.  You might talk about what started you in your particular craft and how you came up with the designs that you use.  You can talk about your education if that helped inspire what you do (perhaps an art course that started your journey into illustration or a craft class that got you hooked on knitting).  Perhaps it was a family member that got you sewing at the age of five, or a friend that you used to make macaroni necklaces with and your talent grew from there!

- Besides the items in your shop... what are your other hobbies or activities you enjoy?  If you are an avid outdoorswoman, that can be a fun thing to share with customers!  Perhaps you enjoy making wine, baking, reading classic novels, running marathons, etc.  There is always more to us than just being moms and crafters... and those unique interests should also be celebrated!

- How did your first or your most popular item come to be?  Is it something that came from meeting a need of your own child(ren)?  Maybe a friend really encouraged you to develop your design and start your shop.  Maybe there is a funny story or a touching tale behind one of your items?

- Do you offer special services like gift wrapping or custom orders?  This is something that can be included in your profile if you wish.

- Why is this your passion?  Why do you enjoy what you do?  Is it the colors, the textures, the variety of materials, the satisfaction of offering something unique and stunning or practical and functional, the community of crafters that you are a part of, etc.?

- What are your goals?  Would you like to simply see your item on a stranger someday?  Would you like someday open a store?  Will the growth of your shop allow you to stay home with your kids?  Would you like to sell at local or regional craft shows? 

Now for some more "technical" stuff again...

- Your first paragraph is what is going to "grip" people.  Remember this from high school essay writing?  It's  good idea to bring our your warmth, humor, personality right from the start to draw customers into reading more.

- Don't be afraid to use headings or bullets to make your profile more organized.  Large blocks of text encourage scanning rather than reading... so try not to ramble and make your profile visually appealing.

- An example of how you might lay out your profile, consider this:
           - Introduction - grab your audience and draw them in to your shop
           - About You, About your shop, About your product
           - How to contact you, other web locations, and/or where to find policies, sizing, etc.
           - Conclusion - wrap up with a thank you or "how to order"
And using titles to define these sections might also be something to consider.

Think of your profile as a chance to toot your own horn a little (we DESERVE it!), welcome and thank customers for coming to your shop (this takes the place of the greeter if you were a brick-&-mortar store), and sell yourself in order to gain that customer!

Remember, the items you make take your time and passion... and every aspect of your shop should reflect the quality and effort that goes into the items themselves. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jaclyn's Item of the Week

Want a great way to add a piece of art to your everyday life. This pocket mirror is perfect for you! Beautiful

Updated Sales and Coupons for April

Free domestic shipping for the entire month of April!! Hooray! 

I'm hosting a Mother's Day Sale at Fiddle Dee Dee Crochet for the month of April! Get 15% with the coupon FORMOM

I'm currently curating a raffle. 1 raffle ticket for every item purchased at a minimum of 5.00 before shipping and after coupon. Buy an item priced at 25.00 and receive 5 entries into the raffle. There's no limit.
Winner will receive a custom made, one of a kind piece of jewelry of your choice, designed by you and made to fit you valued at 30.00. I sell body chains and "Slave Bracelet Rings" for that price...maybe you would like 2 sets of Sterling Silver Ear wire earrings...
*You don't have to buy in. Refer a friend and if that friend buys from me, then not only does your friend get entered into the raffle; but you will receive 1 free raffle entry PLUS a 20% discount coupon to use on any amount.
This is only going on for 1 week. Raffle entries will be accepted only until Wednesday April 18th, 2012 at noon Eastern Time. At which point I will be doing the raffle and a winner will be chosen. You will be notified of the winner even if you haven't won.
I need to make at least 10 sales between my etsy site and my Yardsellr site. So far I've made 6 sales. I need to make only 4 more sales between now and next Wednesday. My Yardsellr link is...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio

I wanted to share my experience with making my own Photo Box. This will give you a chance to see if it may be worth it for you to give it a try. I got this link from an Etsy post and will use it to build my own box. I will update you to let you know how it turned out and you can see for yourself if it would be worth making one.  To be continued .... :)

Before photo
  - Jaclyn from Jaclyn's Designs

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Featured Shop of the week

This week featured seller is Niki and her shop  J&E Doodles

 Niki has two kids - Jake, who is 5, and Evie, who is 2. She work full-time outside of the home doing marketing and communications work. After the kids are off to bed is her time to do her own fun things, like create items for Etsy.
Niki's kids and family inspired her shop. Afterher son was born, she discovered just how much she enjoyed making things for him to wear and use. After her daughter's birth, that desire blossomed even more. Niki found herself making all sorts of things for them, but also for other people's birthdays, for shower gifts, for Christmas, and on and on and on. Once I had just about exhausted making gifts for the people she knows, Niki decided to start an Etsy shop to spread those gifts out to some other people.

 To Niki, handmade is anything you can create from something else using the skills you have or can learn. She loves taking a simple piece of yarn or fabric and transforming it into something that didn't exist before


 Niki's philosophy towards work:
" Whether it's my full-time day job, or creating things for Etsy, I want to create and do things that serve a purpose. I love knowing that the marketing piece I've made, or the hat I've created, is going to someone that is going to use it and get the most out of it. I tell my kids all the time that everyone is special and has some unique talent - the most you can do is share that with someone else."

 Niki's Advice to other Etsy sellers:

 "Get involved in the Etsy community - I'm still fairly new to this, but I've met a lot of neat people and continue to meet others. The teams are an excellent way to connect with others that have similar interests to you, but also very diverse interests. Etsy is such a creative community, there is always something you can learn from someone else. The teams are great, the blog features are great, all of it is great! Just take some time out of your day to catch up on all of the resources there are."


 Visit our featured shop - you can click on each image to bring you to the listing or click on the link -

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ewa's Favourite Item of the week

This Personalized Stainless Steel Hand Stamped Necklace  Family Leaves  is hand stamped, by Jess Ewer, one letter at a time with a punch and hammer. Sometimes resulting in "imperfections" such as: mis-spaced, slightly crooked, or some letters being deeper than others. This should not be seen as a flaw, but as character, unique to each hand made piece.

 Visit:  Country Mom Designs  to see more beautiful designs. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Heidi's Tips & Tricks for 4/11/2012

The topic this week is... PHOTOS!

First, a question... how do you "shop" Etsy? I'm guessing you likely search for a certain type of item and then glance quickly at the photos and see what grabs your eye. Well... that's what most people do! As a show owner therefore, it makes sense to do everything you can do to make sure your photos are the ones that are eye catching.

There is a lot that can be said about taking good photos. The main things are that your items need to be true representatives of the item you created. You want it to be true to color, in focus, and attractive. Etsy has some good basic photo-taking tutorials already... so I'm going to use this thread to share some of the more unique tips I've found.


Natural light is your friend. It is the best way to get brightness without the harsh effect of a flash and it ensures that your colors are accurate. You don't want the shadows of being in the sharp sunlight... but you can play around with angles to avoid shadows, or you can diffuse the natural light with a few tricks like the time of day, slightly overcast days, or making a frame with a sheet of tissuepaper or translucent plastic to use as a "block" that still allows some sunlight through. Play around a bit with taking pictures in natural light... because when you find the "right" spot for your items... they will really look amazing!

Another way to play with light is to use a "bounce board"... and this can be done inside or outside! Get a sheet of bright white bristol board or two and set it up to reflect the sunlight back onto your items. This can soften shadows and brighten up the backside. In some cases, a piece of cardboard lined with a FLAT (no crinkles) piece of tinfoil can also work as a bounce board.

There are also two types of "lightboxes" that you might want to consider investing in. A quick search for them online will give you some very inexpensive DIY ways of making a lightbox... or you can get a box & light setup already assembled from an online supplier.  A lightbox is basically either a box lined in white paper that you shine a couple bright lights into, or a translucent box that you shine light into from the outside.  These boxes give your items consistent, bright lighting. If you make very small items like jewelry... you can also get a box that is constructed of lights itself which can really make for some amazing photos and can also be found on Ebay. You need to make sure that the box you use is sufficiently larger than your items... so this isn't always reasonable for everyone.

Some other things to consider when thinking about photos is that you want your shop to look cohesive. One of the easiest ways of doing this is to use the same background for all your photos. For some items, this means a white or same-color background... for some, their items look amazing taken outside or on a prop of some kind. The main point though is to make the items in your shop LOOK like they belong in your shop! When you go to a store... it is more aesthetically pleasing when the shop has a consistent look/feel. You want to have that with your Etsy shop too.

You also want you items to be what SHOWS in the photos... they shouldn't just BE in the photos. In most cases, this means you want a plain, subtle backdrop and one of the best is plain white. If you do decide to use props (which can add interest for things like jewelry, soaps, teas, etc.)... make sure they don't overpower the photo. You want it to be obvious what you are selling. Clear glass, white ceramics, a tiny bit of greenery, rustic frame... those are some examples of props that can work really well in some cases.

Don't be afraid to think angles and crops. Your first photo is to "grab" the customer... it doesn't have to show the whole item. Tilting the camera or taking the photo from a unique vantage point can make your item really stand out.

Whenever possible, use ALL your photos! Need ideas for how to use them up but not have five that look the same? Try two or three different angles. Take a close-up of some unique detail or a section of especially fun colors. Take a photo of the item when all or partially packaged (if you do anything special like wrap in tissue or ribbon). Take a close crop just for something "different". Or how about this? Take a full item shot... then, use the exact same photo but close crop it and use THAT one for the first photo and the full one for the second photo.

The best advice? Do a search for your same or similar item and see which items grab YOUR attention! And, have a look on Etsy's main page and see what grabs THEIR attention. That can give you an idea of what you might aspire for.
(And, a small side note, also notice the types of photos that get chosen for top ranking treasuries... in most cases they will not have watermarks, frames, vignetting, or dark backgrounds... so those might be some more things to avoid).

I hope this is a helpful starting place if you are thinking your photos might need some work. I know I myself have spent hours taking and retaking my photos and many of them I still want/need to do more work on! Once you do find something you are happy with though... it's a very satisfying place to be!