Craft Fair Countdown! Are You Really Ready?

 

The craft and bazaar season is approaching quick, and are you ready, I mean really ready to kick start the holiday season? I have a little less then a month before the ValleyFest here in Spokane, and I am starting to feel the pinch. Some of my displays need updating, and then I am starting to realize I do not have enough price tags. This time of year can be a little overwhelming for crafters, so to help alleviate some of the stress I have come up with my own craft fair “checklist”.

 

1. Do you have enough displays? Enough Jewelry Holders? Enough rocks to lay jewelry on?

2. Do you have enough price tags for all your work?

3. Do you know what you are required to bring and what they will provide for you? You don’t want to show up without a table and find out they don’t have one for you.

4. Do you have all your handouts? Business cards? Promotions? Are they in order and ready to give out?

5. Do you have enough storage room to transport all your crafts (and safely)?

6. If you are planning on doing custom pieces do you have all your equipment and best beads?

7. Are you really prepared to answer questions about your work? Do you know the pieces and the kind of beads you use? (You would be surprised how many people put together a piece because the beads are pretty, but they don’t know whats in them.)

 

Craft fairs can be so much fun, but stressful if you aren’t prepared. Put together a smile, organization, and some hard work and you will have fun and successful show!

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Thank You ETSY Shop Promotion!

Wrapped Bangle

Wrapped Bangle

The first few weeks of my blog have been a success with many new readers everyday! As a special thank you for your support, kind words, and motivation I am offering a special coupon for 15% off your purchase at my ETSY store.
This can be redeemed through a Paypal refund. Please use the word “BlogLove” in the message field when submitting your order for your discount!
Coupon valid until October 10th, 2008

Etsy Spotlight: TannerGlass

Vases By TannerGlass

Vases By TannerGlass

I am very excited that TannerGlass is the first of many talented ETSY sellers to be in the Spotlight on my blog. I am a huge fan of her work and for any artist who can master the art of blowing glass.  I had a wonderful opportunity to catch up with the artist behind the stunning shop TannerGlass, Suzanne, the other day for an interview on blowing glass and how she decided to become a seller on ETSY.
Q. What drew you into the art of blowing glass?
A. I have always been interested in art, drawing and painting mostly. When I had the opportunity to take a class on glassblowing at Hartwick College in New York I decided to sign up for it even though I was a little apprehensive. I thought to myself, when will I ever get an opportunity to try this again in my life? After a week into the class, I knew glassblowing was what I was meant to do.
Q. What made you want to become a small business seller?
A. I was fortunate enough to work with some of the top glassblowers in the Rhode Island and I soon learned there was a market for hand-blown glass, specifically small, functional objects. I slowly started developing a small line of work and started selling my work at small small street fairs in the area. People liked what I made, so I put more focus on marketing my work. TannerGlass was officially founded in 1998.
Q. Where has your work been featured?
A. I have been very fortunate to have been featured in the Providence Journal (holiday shopping guides) numerous times. Last summer I was thrilled to have my Coin Bud Vases featured in Yankee Magazine which is a national publication.
Q. What can you give becoming artists of glassblowing?
A. Patience, Patience, Patience! Glassblowing takes years to perfect, and the more patience you have with the learning process the more successful you will become at the craft. As with all crafts, creativity and design is important. Find your niche, and keep going with it!
Q. Are you currently running any promotions now or in the near future?
A. With the holiday season fast approaching, I am constantly adding new items to my ETSY shop. I do have a SALE section, always filled with some great deals. Right now I have ornaments on sale for a limited time!
~*~*~ Currently any of my readers who are interested in purchasing from TannerGlass she is running a promotion for 15% discount on all purchases. Just put the word “BLOG” in the message field when checking out. ~*~*~
Q. What is your favorite item that is in your shop?
A. Oh, this is a tough one for me. It’s a toss up between the Belted Vases and the Coin Bud Vases.  Both have become signature pieces for me.
If you want to know more about her, why I adore her shop, and own some of the pieces she has designed please see her etsy shop at:

Increasing Your Jewelry Sales with Catalogs

 

 

For those jewelry artists who want to increase the amount of sales they make, you may want to consider creating your own “travel catalog”. When I first started doing this I was in shock by how much more efficiently I was able to present what I offered to people who I handed business cards to on the spot. I am always wearing a piece of my jewelry so i can show off some of the items I make, but often times that piece of jewelry is the first impression, and sometimes not enough for someone to want to call your number on the card or click on your website, so I started making catalogs. They are simple to make, and fun to design. This may seem like a lot work, especially if you have a lot of inventory, but really you are just trying to show off some of your best works.

 

My catalog is made of 10 pages and I have a few copies bind-ed in nice binders with laminated pages. I have pages dedicated to bracelets, earrings, necklaces, jewelry sets, and pictures of some of my prettiest beads for custom orders. When I am out making referrals, and handing out business cards for those individuals who want to see more of my work I have one of my binders ready in my new “over sized” purse (and also a sales receipt book in case I get a splurger). People are so impressed with the pictures, the descriptions, and pricing and often times ask about what other items I carry. In these binders I always have Jewelry Party information on hand as well as a first time buyer coupon which has a code and instructions on how to  be redeemed on my ETSY site.  Most people get excited when they see the pictures of the beads and information on making their own custom jewelry piece. I get a lot of custom orders through the catalog.

 

The catalog doesn’t have to be fancy, just a few pieces of your best work laid out in a catalog form so it prints correctly. Simply make sure your printer prints at best, and use nice sturdy paper, and always put a protective sheet on the paper so your pictures don’t get worn or smudged. Make it your own. Have fun! Bring in more sales.

Please come visit my store at: http://naturalamber.etsy.com

Kids Say The Funniest Things: Olympics

My three year son Carl is not an Olympic fan, and tries to convince us all the time that Barney should be what is playing on the tube — what seems to be every moment of the day sometimes, but today was different. After we came inside from running around outside for hours we all stretched in the living room and turned on the television. As usual, here comes Carl with DVD in hand, and of course it was the purple dinosaur. Then all of a sudden we flipped the channel to the Olympics, at that moment it was the women diving. As usual we expected to hear him say, “No, I don’t want that,” but instead there was silence. We started putting the television on DVD mode and he got upset. We asked him why he was upset and all he could say was, “I want kids jumping water!” So now we know Carl’s favorite event is “Kids Jumping Water” and he loves to repeat the scores. “See Mommy she got lots of 9’s!”

My Top Five Etsy Picks for August 17th

Stones and Shell of Autumn

Stones and Shell of Autumn

 

It is getting close to that time of year, when it’s time to add some new items to our fall collections, and get ready to celebrate the coming of the autumn season. I know with my shop here at ETSY, NaturalAmber, I have been working hard in getting inventory ready for the upcoming fall season! I am so impressed with the sellers here are on ETSY, and have been very excited the last couple of weeks, seeing all the new Autumn lines. I was especially impressed with some of the individual items that some of the shops are creating, and wanted to share those awesome gift ideas to you! This week I am celebrating the “Fall Season” and wanted to give you an exclusive peek into my five favorite item listings on ETSY for the fall season.

 

Please come see my newest fall piece at from http://naturalamber.etsy.com at:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14218144

 

1.  Littlehandstudios She definitely knows how to use the color orange in her pieces, and she does it very well. This is a beautiful orange glass pendant, trendy, simple, and stylish. I fell in love with it instantly when I saw it. Orange is going to be big this season, more reason to check out this great piece:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14022017

 

2.  Awindowintowhimsy.Color is in this fall season, and this tote bag is a perfect way to celebrate all the new and unexpected color trends of autumn! She uses turquoise and brown together to make this wonderful piece, that is simply gorgeous and a must have. Please come see why I love this bag so much at:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=12682025

 

3. Ambermaida.  This woman is a very talented and artistic painter, and I fell instantly in love with her work. There were so many wonderful paintings to look at that I had a hard time saying which one was my favorite, I felt like every item she made in her shop was my favorite! She really uses yellow well in this painting, and I was absolutely stunned when I saw it. Please see why I instantly fell in love with her work:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=10752766

 

4. Lachapina. What  could be a better way to celebrate the coming of autumn with this beautiful crafted carpet. The first thing I thought of when I looked at the carpet was this would be a wonderful gift, or present for yourself, for a new apartment or dorm for the back to school season.  Make your place colorful with a carpet like this:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=12928918

 

5.  Bytheway. Vintage is in this season, and what a great way to celebrate the fall with a new skirt! Yellow is the new brown this season, and this skirt has style, is trendy, and a cute pick for your wardrobe! Want to see why I love it:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=13878109

ETSY Trial and Error: Best Time to List Your Items

Polymer and Quartz

Polymer and Quartz

 

The blessing of listing at the right time, to the right person, and at the right price is hard to master, especially in the world of ETSY (or any other large selling marketplace). So how do you know that are listing items that are being viewed and viewed alot?  This is really a talent created from error. You would be surprised if you saw my bill, especially from renewing items, but through my overspending I have found that their are simply better times to list. Yes, ETSY is a worldwide marketplace so anytime is virtually a good time, but I find that there are two different really good times during the week, and two really good days to list. Granted, this is a new trade that needs to be learned with every season, but for the next six weeks this oughta be useful.

1. Monday thru Thursday. I have found through much trial and error (and my habit of wanting to renew all day long) that the best times to list, for me, have been around 6am-8am PST, and 4pm-8pm PST. I have been getting alot of hits during these times. Also not just from item listings, but also when I am in the forums. I gain many more harts during those times, because there are alot of people looking to make new friends and new networking buddies! (now Friday is not included simply because it seems the morning hours is the only good time)

 

2. Wednesday and Sunday.  I have generated the most hearts, the most views, and the most successful threads on these days and this really does not surprise me. Many studies have been done on shoppers and the “retail experience” and these are the busiest shopping days for retailers, both conventional and online. I can say online traffic is definitely higher these days, I get the most blog hits to my blog on these two days, by quite a few more. If you have a budget I would stress listing and renewing most of your items these two days.

Just remember online selling, marketing, advertising, and even product itself is all about trial and error. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa but all we can do is learn from our errors, and keep on keeping on. Mistakes are the best thing to make sometimes, because often times it will put you on the road to success.

Please come see my ETSY shop at: http://naturalamber.etsy.com

ETSY 101: Study Your Views

Fall Earrings

Fall Earrings

This post is inspired by a thread I read on the ETSY Forums, and a useful tip I have taken and have started to apply to my own brand new ETSY shop. “The Logic Behind Views”, views are essentially interested buyers looking at individual items in your shop. The more views you have for an item, the more popular the item is with ETSY “browsers”. So how do you take that information and turn it into sales?  By creating similar items. If I got a lot of views on the item, and it is deemed popular in views, then how come no one is buying?
1. The potential buyer does not like the color.  This is a very common problem and I have actually gotten several conversations from potential ETSY buyers that they love my work, but don’t like the colors. Great, then what you need is create an assortment, different colors that will attract different people. Some people may not even click on the item to view, even though they do like the style simply because they know they won’t look good in that color.
2. It’s End of Season.  With it being the end of summer, and everyone is returning to school many customers are already forgetting about adding more summer items to their collection, they are now on the hunt for cute fall items to add to their wardrobe! Take that as a hint, if the item you have is summery, make the same item in fall colors, fall metals, and see if that changes your sales.
3. Customer Prefers A Certain Metal.  My mom and I are prime examples of that. I love silver jewelry, and every item in my shop is made with silver metal, silver wire……my mom prefers gold. I recently have started experimenting with the antique and gold metals. Have not added any to my shop yet, but I know in my heart I will be exposing myself to more customers by offering different pieces made with different metals.
Just remember if you are constantly renewing at getting low hits on certain items, perhaps people are not looking for that kind of item right now. You may want to keep it in your shop or put it on inactive. Regardless, pay attention to views, and learn what customers are looking at. You may suddenly see an increase in sales.

ETSY 101: The Importance of Blogs

Passion Earrings

Passion Earrings

I see this topic come up a  lot in the forums on ETSY, “Is it really that important to have a blog?”, or “Does it really bring traffic to my store?”. To blog, or not to blog, is really about personal preference and what you as a small business owner are trying to achieve by having one. I blog because I love to write, I l love to advise, and it makes me feel more connected to my customers, family and friends, and potential customers.
What can you blog about? Just about anything. I like to make about 85% of my blog revelant to my business, whether it be how-to’s, market news, promotions, or discussions. The other articles I write are more personal or revolve more on what is on my mind. One of my main focuses on my blog is advising people on a different array of topics from why sell jewelry all the way to fraud prevention and protecting your information.
Make your blog unique, make it personal. I like to think of my online shop and my blog as my “online home”. I want people to come and visit me, and I don’t want to scare them away with blinking pictures and a jumbled mess.
Please come visit my online shop at: http://naturalamber.etsy.com

$4.05 A Gallon: Rippling Effects on Small Business

Polymer and Nature

Polymer and Nature

Gas has dropped a few pennies,  but for small businesses all over the country those few pennies can not make up for some of the losses they already experienced. Those “future” small business owners dreams of opening shop, or expanding to other cities have been put on hold just because they can dip to far into their budget. I know I am one of those aspiring owners. Spokane is a nice market to sell my craft of beaded jewelry, but my hopes of returning to Seattle, my hometown of 22 years, has been put aside because I simply can not invest the $80.00 it would take to drive their and the $80.00 back, the $80.00 to setup my booth, and the expenses it would be to eat, and sleep. I would probably walk away from the two day fair at a loss.  I moved here to Spokane a little over a year ago, and I was fine with the $2.45 a gallon price, but now I just can not afford to drive at a $4.05 a gallon rate.

 

I know I am not the only small business owner who is feeling this pinch at the pump, and I know I am not the only small business owner who has tried to cut out costs in other areas of my business to make up for the loss that gas is eating at the profits of my company. Driving locally also has taken it’s toll. The funny thing is my head gasket of my 2001 Dodge Neon blew back in July and that’s when I first started noticing how much the gas was taking its toll. I was literally confused on where all this extra money was coming from, and I realized it was my gas budget that I wasn’t using at that time since I was out of commission on my car.  Who would of known? Does anyone pay attention to how much they really are using?

 

The recent trends in the Economy are  reflected at the pump, and it is no surprise that the price of the gallon may just keep climbing. So what does that mean for the small business owner? For those who are determined to be successful and manage their money wisely they will make it through.  For those who are investing in traveling, and losing money because of it, may struggle and may eventually fold. My hopes for the future are a new energy resource, American just needs to be weened off the addiction to oil. It is harming small business owners – and everyone else in this country. As a small business owner, no one will be able to afford to buy anything I offer if they can not afford to feed their family, and get to work unless there is change.

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