Monday, March 30, 2009

Check Out This Weeks Featured Seller

I am a proud dog owner. I have two Boston Terriers and a Dalmation who are just as much a part of my family as my daughter is. When I visited this weeks featured sellers shop, not only was I in awe of her obvious talent, but I thought her work was such a great way to display the love you have for that furry family member. It is my pleasure to introduce you to....

1. Why don’t you start by telling us your name and when and how you got starting crafting?

My name is Seann Vicente. I have always loved to draw, but just started painting a few years ago. I was a Biology/Chemistry major in college, and never really took any painting classes, but I loved to paint to help me relax during my busy schedule.

2. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I love color, so I like to pick the pictures with the most personality and just accentuate that with bright colors!

3. Do you ever get in a creative slump? And, if so, what do you do to pull yourself out of it?

Not really, I do mostly commissioned work, so the clients keep me busy :)

4. How many hours a day do you devote to your craft?

It depends on how many orders I have, or if I have a gallery opening coming up that I need to supply new paintings for. I paint very quickly but the paperwork (invoices, organizing prints, sending emails) takes much longer. Maybe 3-5 hours a day?

5. Do you have a job outside the home or is your online business your full-time job?

Yup I am working right now, and plan on going back to Vet school in the next year.

6. Do you sell anywhere else in addition to Etsy?

I have my own personal website where I do most of my custom work. Etsy is more for prints. I also have a few galleries up in Colorado.

7. What would you say is the most difficult thing about having an online shop and what have you done to overcome it?

When you are online, you get a lot of traffic, and not everyone is serious about purchasing. So it was kind of hard at first when people would string me a long for a few days and then nothing would come of it. But I have gotten used to that now and just go with the flow :)

8. What are your long term goals for your shop/craft?

I'm not sure. I never really considered myself an artist and were kind of surprised when people wanted to buy my stuff! So I am still figuring that out! I guess when I am a vet I would still like to paint and maybe display my stuff in my office :)

9. Do you do custom orders?


10. Where would you say has been the most helpful place in finding information to help run your shop on Etsy? The forums, the help guides, other sellers’ blogs?

Forums, there are a lot of nice people out there willing to help!

11. If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about opening a shop on Etsy, what would it be?

Just be patient. It can be a little frustrating when you open shop and don't make any sales for a few weeks, or even longer. Just stick with it and promote promote promote!

Not only was Seann kind enough to answer my questions, she also took the time to give us a little behind the scenes look at what her life is like on an everyday basis :)

I get up, take my doggies out for walks and then go to work. I get home at 4 play with the pups (2 chihuahuas) and then go to the gym for a swim. Then my husband normally cooks dinner and we all just snuggle up for the evening after I finish up a few hours working on my website or painting. here are my babies!

You can also find Seann on Flickr: and her personal website:

I want to thank Seann again for letting us get to know her and her beautiful shop. Go visit her shop and take a look at all of her beautiful artwork.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This Weeks Feature Artist

This weeks feature couldn't have come at a better time. With Easter just around the corner, this artist has the perfect addition for any Easter basket or Easter celebration. It is my pleasure to introduce you to..............

1. Why don’t you start by telling us your name and when and how you got starting crafting?

My name is Debra Amon. I started crafting about 10 years a go. I sold personalized letters from Santa to people at work. I earned about $200. It really came in handy. I had been widowed a couple of years before, had two kids (12 and 6), and was temping at a job making only $6.50 an hour. Then I got into making cards, and now I dabble in a lot of different crafts. I still sell the letters to Santa every year!

2. How did you learn about Cascarones?

I live in San Antonio, Texas, and cascarones are everywhere! They sell them in the grocery stores; they sell them at events; families sell them in their yards. Next to the pinata, cascarones are the most popular celebration "accessory" at a party. In the spring, San Antonio celebrates Fiesta. No one's head is spared a confetti shower of a cascaron at Fiesta! My granddaughter's daycare is very small--only about 6 kids. Last year at their spring party, they had 30 dozen cascarones to crack. And they cracked every last one of them.

3. How many hours a day do you devote to your craft?

I usually start working on projects and marketing as soon a I get home at about 6. Before I know it it i midnight, then I keep going a little bit longer. Since my kids are grown, I do not have the same family obligations that many of my fellow crafters and artists do. I don't know how they do it!

4. Do you have a job outside the home or is your online business your full-time job?

I work at an educational publishing company during the day. I love my work and the people I work with, and I need the health insurance.

5. Do you sell anywhere else in addition to Etsy?

I sell a lot of products at work and I also sell at craft shows (about one a month).

6. What would you say is the most difficult thing about having an online shop and what have you done to overcome it?

Getting the word out that I exist! I have been participating in forums and I just launched a super-cute blog. I am going to start marketing as much as I can at events in San Antonio. The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo starts this week and goes for two weeks. I am going on opening day and will pass out free cascarones and business cards to rodeo-goers. San Antonio's number one industry is tourism, and I plan to take advantage of that by reaching out to that demographic. I think that tourist will appreciate being able to order online a product that they discovered in San Antonio. San Antonio is a huge city (believe it or not it is the 7th largest city in the nation!) and there are lots of people to target out there!

7. What are your long term goals for your shop/craft?

I don't think I can ever make a living at my crafts, but I do earn extra cash to help pay off some of my debt. When my husband died, everything he left to me would have fit in a shoebox (and unfortunately, it wasn't money!), I had been laid off my job the day he went to the hospital, and things were pretty desperate. I lived off my credit cards and racked up quite a bit of debt. I am sure I am *still* paying for underwear and socks I bought my kids! But, slowly and surely, I am inching my way out of debt. Selling crafts has helped to achieve that. And since I don't expect to make a living crafting, I think I will always have fun doing it!

8. Do you take custom orders?

Yes! That is one thing that makes my cascarones different than the ones found around here in the grocery stores and events. I can make them to fit the occasion. If you child is having a Dora party, I can make them in the color palette of Dora. I can make them for a wedding in a color palette to match the wedding. I can decorate them however you want them to be! It is surprising what you can with an egg as your canvas.

9. Where would you say has been the most helpful place in finding information to help run your shop on Etsy? The forums, the help guides, other sellers’ blogs?

I have found a lot of help in the forums. Everyone is helpful in either answering your pleas for help or guiding you to where you can find the answers. I have also found the resources page very helpful (especially when I created my first banner). I have just started to get into blogging, but it looks like there is a wealth of information out there as well!

10. If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about opening a shop on Etsy, what would it be?

Be patient. It really takes time to be seen. Just because a shop is online and accessible to millions of people, that doesn't mean it will happen overnight. You have to market, market, market! All of that takes a lot of time, but I see it as an opportunity to learn and network with people. And that can be as much fun as making my crafts.

I want to thank Debra for taking the time to let us get to know her and her awesome shop on Etsy. If you want something different and fun for Easter this year or if you just want to add a uniqueness to that next birthday party, definitely go visit Debra at

And remember she does custom orders, so you can design you Easter eggs however you like.

Thanks Debra!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Haven't Disappeared

I apologize for not posting anything new in quite a few days, but I received some surprising news that I needed some time to wrap my head around. I found out last week that I am pregnant. While I am extremely happy, I am totally shocked. I am 38 and this has come as a BIG surprise.

So with that big news, getting back to business, I am working on a really great piece on Squidoo and how you can use it to further your business, so be sure to look for that in the next for days.

Monday, March 9, 2009

March Blog Carnival

So, this month's topic for the Etsy Blogger Street Team Blog Carnival is: What have you accomplished with Etsy this year, have you followed your New Year's resolution and what are your plans for the rest of 2009.

This one was a little challenging for me but, here it goes.

I started on Etsy in November of this past year and in those 5 months I have been fortunate to have had some sales and have been blessed to make some good friends. What I love about Etsy is that no one understands an artist like another artist, and on Etsy you are surrounded by them. Being on Etsy can be just as challenging as it can be rewarding. There is so much to learn. There are always ways to improve your shop and there are always new ideas for promoting, so it's good to know that there are fellow artists out there who are not only encountering the same challenges but that some of them have overcome them. What's great is that most are willing to share their advice and the tips they used in order to help fellow artists also find success.

As far as my New Year's resolution, well honestly, I'm not doing so hot sticking to it. I told myself that I wasn't going to take on too much this year. I had read that the way to fail is to set too many goals for yourself. By setting too many goals you are bound to lose focus and not accomplish any of them. So one of the keys to be successful is to keep your goal list short, stay focused and take one step at a time. But as usual, my list of things 'to do' is ever growing, so maybe it's time to sit back, pick the most important on the list and focus on just those.

So, with the promise to myself to keep the goal list short, my goals for 2009 are to really focus on my Etsy shop and try and make it as successful as I possible can, learn some new jewelry making techniques, improve my jewelry making skills and my most important goal for this year is to stop and enjoy each day as it is happening, stop worrying about tomorrow and stop thinking about what I could change about yesterday.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March's Featured Etsy Blogger is ..

Nora of DesignsByNora

What I like about Nora's blog us that it's light and fresh. From questions of the day, sharing her latest creations and sharing her life with us, Nora's blog is a fun read.

So, the next time you are looking for a new blog to check out, drop in on Nora's blog and then be sure to visit her at her Etsy shop, DesignsByNora, she has the most adorable stud earrings - which right now are on sale.

**For those of you who signed up for Entrecard or who were already a member, Nora is too, so when your drop by her blog be sure to drop her a card**

Congratulations to Nora for being selected this months featured blogger for the Etsy Blogger Street Team :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New Way to Find Out If You Are In A Treasury

StudioMarlene just posted a link in the forums for a new place you can go to see if you are in a treasury instead of having to scroll through them looking for the little star next to the treasury name. The name of the site is Craftopolis and all you have to do is type in your Etsy username. It is so neat I thought it was definitely worth a post.

Go check it out :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Featured Artist of the Week

I want to introduce you to a jewelry designer with a flair for creating jewelry that is not only beautiful but also unique. It is my pleasure to introduce you to..........

1. Why don’t you start by telling us your name and when and how you got starting crafting?

My name is Amy Ratcliffe. I've been crafting in one form or another since 5th grade or so. I remember visiting my grandparent's house and getting clay from the creek. I was convinced I could make a vase. It didn't turn out as planned, but I was hooked. The joy of making things has hung around ever since!

2. What made you choose your niche?

Jewelry making has always been the hobby that I have turned to. It's the one that sticks if that makes any sense. I love that there are so many options with jewelry.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Photos of textures, aging metals, the desert, vintage fabrics...

4. Do you ever get in a creative slump? And, if so, what do you do to pull yourself out of it?

I definitely run into creative blocks. Sometimes I run into this after spending too much time making stuff in one period. When this happens, I have to make myself stop. I can't tell because I'm just looking at beads and pieces, putting them together, arranging them, and then changing my mind. If it is a longer creative slump, I remedy it by looking through my how-to books, color swatches, and jewelry catalogs. I usually come across something that will get me going again.

5. How many hours a day do you devote to your craft?

Usually at least an hour and on weekends, anywhere from 1-4 hours.

6. Do you have a job outside the home or is your online business your full-time job?

I work a full time job outside of my jewelry making. I work anywhere from 40-60 hours a week, so finding time for the business side of jewelry-making. (the time spent taking photos, posting listings, and marketing) can be challenging.

7. Do you sell anywhere else in addition to Etsy?

Not at this time.

8. What would you say is the most difficult thing about having an online shop and what have you done to overcome it?

I think the hardest thing for me is marketing my online shop and getting traffic there. Despite your best efforts, it doesn't always feel like it's actually working. Your item views aren't going up, you're not selling things. It's frustrating. I make an effort to spend fifteen minutes a day at least promoting my Etsy shop somehow – even if I don't feel like it's making a difference.

9. What are your long term goals for your shop/craft?

I hope to grow my online sales at Etsy and also sell my jewelry at local markets and bazaars. I would also like to teach jewelry making classes at craft stores and bead shops.

10. Do you do custom orders?

Absolutely. I love the challenge!

11. Where would you say has been the most helpful place in finding information to help run your shop on Etsy? The forums, the help guides, other sellers’ blogs?

I find the forums helpful, but I mostly use the help guides. The tools available through the help area (like seller's worksheets, etc) are invaluable!

12. If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about opening a shop on Etsy, what would it be?

Be persistent. Don't just give up if you don't have a sale in a week or two weeks. Keep promoting, keep telling everyone, and hang in. Don't be afraid to ask for critiques in the forums!

I want to thank Amy for taking the time to let us get to know her. Be sure to visit her shop and take a look around at all of her beautiful jewelry.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Drive Traffic to Your Blog Using Entrecard

Entrecard is a free blogging network with 13,000+ blogs. Not only does Entrecard bring visitors to your blog but by becoming a member of Entrecard you can advertise your blog on any site within the network for free.

It is so easy to get started, and if you are anything like me, (a little technologically challenged), the site is extremely user friendly. After signing up, you create your Entrecard using any image you want. Your Entrecard is essentially a 125x125 business card you use to promote your site within the network and it is also the ad seen on the sites you advertise on. You want your Entrecard to draw visitors to your site, so choose an image with 'clickability'. If you don't have an image you want to use, Entrecard provides links to a few sites where you can get custom images. Click here to go to the page that will give you those links.

After you have created your 'business card', you then place the Entrecard widget on your blog. The widget is what visitors to your site will use to drop their card for you. It is also where they will advertise their site on your blog. When members advertise on your site, it will earn you credits.

Okay, now lets talk about credits. Earlier I said that advertising was free, well that's not exactly true. Entrecard uses a currency they call Entrecard Credits or EC's. You earn 1 credit every time you drop your card on any members blog. You can earn up to 300 credits a day. You also earn 1 credit when someone drops their card on your blog (there is no limit as to how many you earn per day). You earn 25 credits for each new blog post you add to your site, with a maximum of 1 payment every 3 days and then there are also contests you can enter to win credits and you can even buy credits if you want.

Advertising with Entrecard is a breeze. The advertising price is shown below each members card, and if your have enough EC's to cover it, you just click on the 'advertise' link. That's it - no joke.

Entrecard has just recently opened a market, which I think is totally cool. You use your credits to purchase anything from physical goods to advertising. Since I'm on the subject of the marketplace, I want to take this opportunity to tell you about some awesome lip balms I purchased using some of my EC's.

I received 3 different flavors and each one was better than the last. I'm usually not a big fan of lipstick or putting anything on my lips because everything I have ever tried either feels too heavy or too goopy. But these balms are awesome. They are so smooth and light. I am totally a new fan. Go see Jenelle at her blog Living Botanical and you definitely have to visit her Etsy shop Organic Couture

Okay, so I highly recommend Entrecard not only because it is a fast and easy way to drive traffic to your blog but it is also an awesome way to find new and exciting blogs you otherwise might not have found.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Feature Artist of the Week

From handmade housewares to jewelry. From yarn to upcycled materials, this seller can use it all and create the most beautiful items from them. It is my pleasure to bring you......

1. Why don’t you start by telling us your name and when and how you got starting crafting?

My name is Michelle May and I’ve been crafting since I was a pre-teen. I got hooked in Grade Seven Home Ec, during our sewing unit, and in Industrial Arts, when we got to use power tools! My mom was a great seamstress and I remember watching her sew all kinds of things.

2. What made you choose your niche?

I got away from crafting for a few years when my children were small and I was in university, but once I got back to it, sewing was my first draw. I tried to pick up knitting again, found the newsgroup rec.crafts.textiles.yarn, read about all the crocheters, and got hooked on the hook J That’s about five years ago, I’ve loved crochet ever since. More recently I’ve taken up needle felting, too.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

All over. Sometimes the idea tells me what materials, sometimes the materials tell me what they can be. Or sometimes I’m just bored and poke around to see what I can find to do! I’ll see something in a color that strikes my eye, or a texture, or even something someone might be wearing, and I’ll turn it over in my head until there’s a solid idea there.

4. Do you ever get in a creative slump? And, if so, what do you do to pull yourself out of it?

Oh, gosh, all the time! Sometimes I just ride it out, other times I’ll read about other crafts I don’t do, or just randomly google ‘crochet’ or ‘wool’ to see what pops up. I’m currently into fabric, yarn and roving, so it isn’t hard for me to find something different to do, either.

5. How many hours a day do you devote to your craft?

It varies; sometimes it’s only a few minutes, sometimes it’ll be six or eight hours.

6. Do you have a job outside the home or is your online business your full-time job?

I don’t currently have a job outside the home, but that’s partly because I got laid off and haven’t found anything else yet. Although, a lot of people have been encouraging me to make crafting my full-time gig; expand my ‘product line’ and venues, perhaps teach classes, do more craft fairs, etc. I think I’d really like to see that happen.

7. Do you sell anywhere else in addition to Etsy?

I have stores on ShopHandmade and ArtFire. I used to sell on consignment at a local store, but haven’t had any of my products there for six or eight months. I have just started carrying things at a local vintage shop called Model Citizens (in St. John's). I do some smaller local craft fairs, and I’m a regular at our local farmers’ market ( ). That’s my favorite venue!

8. What would you say is the most difficult thing about having an online shop and what have you done to overcome it?

Getting enough exposure, for sure! I’ve used flickr and Facebook to try and get my shop out there! I’ve also started blogging.

9. What are your long term goals for your shop/craft?

I really do wish that I could craft full-time (and sell, so I have an income from it!)

10. Do you do custom orders?

I LOVE custom orders…nothing is more fun that working with someone to figure out what they want and how to meet their needs.

11. Where would you say has been the most helpful place in finding information to help run your shop on Etsy? The forums, the help guides, other sellers’ blogs?

I find the forums the best spot for information. It’s not always correct, so you have to research to back it up!

12. If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about opening a shop on Etsy, what would it be?

Get a good banner and avatar, have good-looking photos, and have fun with it!

Sometimes I think we forget that there are real people, with real lives behind all the beautiful crafts and handmade goodies we see on Etsy. Here is a look at Michelle's everyday real life.

My everyday life centers around my family; three kids, husband and father in my household. Getting everyone off for the day, housework and laundry, then it’s my time…surf the net, check Etsy and my other shops, read some blogs, work on current projects, shop for materials. My kids come home at 2:40 and 3:40, so it’s all about them for a few hours. When I’m working, the ‘my time’ comes after supper is done and homework is underway. Evenings around 9:00 is when things quiet down in my house and I usually get some serious craft time in then.

You can also find Michelle here:

Blog -
Facebook page - Mayberry Creations
Shop Handmade - Mayberry Creations
ArtFire - Mayberry Creations
Flickr - Mayberry Creations

Before we say goodbye to Michelle, I just wanted to take a moment and send out a huge Happy Birthday Wish!!! Toby turned 8 years old today and has been and will continue to be a huge influence in his Mom's life. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOBY!!!!!!

Thank you Michelle for taking the time to let us get to know you and your shop, you have beautiful items and I wish you much success!!!

Be sure to visit Mayberry Creations as well as the other places you can find Michelle!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Etsy Bloggers Street Team - Blog Carnival

I recently joined the Etsy Bloggers Street Team and every month they have a blog carnival. There are 2 themes per carnival, you pick one, write about it and then post a link to it for other members to read. This is my first carnival and the topic I chose is, Why I opened a shop on Etsy, what I like about being a seller and what I dislike. I am so excited to be a part of this team and look forward to participating in the many events they have going on.

So, on with the answer to the question why I opened a shop on Etsy, what I like about selling there and what I dislike...

I had been selling on Ebay for about 2 years but started to get very frustrated by the constant fee increases. It was getting harder and harder for me to keep my prices reasonable and still make a profit. I was also starting to believe that Ebay was not the best place to sell handmade items.

I did a search on google for online venues and after doing some investigation on each of them, I found that Etsy had the most to offer. I was immediately pleased with my decision. Setting up my shop was so easy, and the little personal touches, like the store banner and choice of avatar gave my shop that 'just right' feeling.

I think what I like best about being a seller on Etsy is the large number of people who are willing to help you when you need it. I spent a lot of time in the forums when I fist opened my shop and the information I found there and received from many members has proved invaluable.

It's funny; when I thought about what I didn't like about Etsy, it turned out to be the same thing I love about it. The forums. While there are a ton of wonderful people willing to put themselves to the service of others, there are also many who can be very intolerant of 'newbies'. I have seen some pretty awful behavior on some threads and sometimes I have even been shocked by how mean people can be to others. I just wish that Etsy admin. would step in more frequently when threads get abusive because it really is quite disrespectful.

So I guess you could say I literally have a love/hate relationship with the Etsy forums. I don't visit them as much as I used to but when I do drop in, I still find it full of very valuable and useful information and just choose to stay away from the threads that are not appropriate.

Etsy is a wonderful place, especially if you sell handmade items and I intend to be there as long as I continue to sell my jewelry.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CPSIA and You

By now I'm sure most of you have heard about the CPSIA (Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act) and how it is going to affect thousands of sellers of childrens' handmade items. And although the act is at a 1 year stay, it still has the potential to put a lot of artists out of business.

For those that may not be familiar with this new act, in short it was created to protect children from excessive levels of lead in toys and other products. This is, in and of itself a good thing, but the act is poorly written and doesn't address the real problem. The act is forcing testing to be done on products manufactured in the US when it wasn't even our products that were causing the problems. Testing should be forced on products that are imported to the US.

Testing of items for children can range any where from $100 - $4000. In addition to making it just about impossible for small business owners to stay in business, I recently found out about other ways this law will have a huge impact. We will no longer be able to buy or sell items for children under 12 at yard sales, consignment shops or flea markets unless they have been tested. I don't know about you, but over the course of my daughters 4 years, I have found some really great things that were second hand, not to mention some extra money I have made by selling things she no longer used. The act will also affect daycares and schools, which possibly means price increases, and in an already struggling economy who will be able to afford it?

Can you image that giving a family member or friend your used baby and childrens items will now mean that you are breaking the law if you do not have the items tested first? The act definitely needs to be revisited and changed so that it is more realistic.

The other day in the Etsy forum DollCloset posted a link to a really cool poem called, "Dr. Seuss Meets The CPSIA". It's a little long but definitely worth the read and it really makes you think.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Free Craft Fair

I came across a great website this morning that is full of valuable resources for crafters. The name of the site is The site has sections for Craft Business Planning, Craft Business Resources and there are also several tutorial for many different craft projects.
You can also submit your site and link back to their craft directory for free. It is definitely worth a look! Click here to go see it now.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Have You Been Spotted?

Have you guys heard of IndieSpotting? It is a gallery that showcases photos of indie and handmade goods. What's great is that the photo you submit will link to any site you want, ex. your etsy shop, your website. IndieSpotting just displays the item for you, giving you more exposure, and what's even better, it's free. The other thing I really like about this site is that they only allow you to submit 1 item per week, which allows everyone a chance for some exposure.

Your image will need to be 200 pixels high and 200 pixels wide. They look for quality photos, so make sure your lighting is good, the image is clear and it is really good quality. The site really tries to get all eligible photos up on the site within 24-48 hours of submission. You will receive an email when the item is up.

They also have a badge that you can post on your blog to promote the site - more traffic to the site and mean more traffic to your shop!

Here is the link the FAQ page, and from this page you can click 'submit an Indie find and submit your item.

So what are you waiting for, go, go go...get some free exposure!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Little Different and A Lot of Fun

Handmade colorful glass bead bracelet

I had some random beads that have been laying around for quite a while so I thought I would put them together and make this fun bracelet. I think it would be perfect for summer being that it is so colorful and bright. It's very different but I think it's pretty cool :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feeling the Yellow

Here is my latest treasury. I'm usually not a big fan of the color yellow but these items have changed my mind. If you want to check it out, just click here

I received an award from Baroness Bijoutery.....

The Lemonade Award

A huge thank you to CJ from Baroness Bijoutery for feeling I was worthy of this awesome award!!!

1. Put the logo on your blog or post

2.Nominate at least 5 - 10 blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude.

3.Be sure to list and link your nominees within your post.

4.Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.

5.Nominate your favorites and link to your post.

What a cool way to be recognized for the time and effort I put into this blog. I now pass this award onto those whose blogs I visit daily and admire greatly!

I nominate:

Originals by Terri

Dashery Jewelry

Always Amy

Bliss Soybean Candles and Gifts

Sassy Glass Designs

Etsy Shop Feature of the Week

How awesome is it that in today's age, we are not only able to enjoy beautiful things, but we now have the ability to capture that beauty. We can ultimately freeze an image in time, allowing us to continue to enjoy it after that moment is gone. We can also share that beauty with others, so they too can enjoy it.

My next feature artist has an amazing eye and combined with her skill with a camera she is an extremely talented photographer. Her Mom calls her Apple and combined with her obsession with the color orange, it is my pleasure to share with you Apple Loves Orange and her piece of Etsy.

1. Why don’t you start by telling us your name and when and how you got starting crafting?

My name is April. I've been a photography lover for as long as I can remember. I only just recently began to really get into doing it myself.

2. What made you choose your niche?

I'm always amazed at what you can discover through the lens of a camera! I started playing around and learning about my camera and my husband actually suggested I should sell them.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Anything the has interesting color and shape. I think Mother Nature provides some pretty great material too!

4. Do you ever get in a creative slump? And, if so, what do you do to pull yourself out of it?

Not so far, since I haven't really been doing it long. For me, right now it's more a matter of being able to go out and shoot!

5. How many hours a day do you devote to your craft?

I think it's more hours in a week for me. I have a 3 year old home with me all day, so I can't always just grab the camera and go.

6. Do you have a job outside the home or is your online business your full-time job?

My first job is being a mom, so that has to come before anything else I do. I try to sneak in some "work" time here and there during the day and at night after the kids go to bed.

7. Do you sell anywhere else in addition to Etsy?

I do have a second Etsy shop and an Art Fire studio

8. What would you say is the most difficult thing about having an online shop and what have you done to overcome it?

Competition! It's hard to stand out in a sea of photography! I just try and promote as much as I can to get my stuff out there.

9. What are your long term goals for your shop/craft?

I would love to be able to make steady sales! Not sure if the ecomony is up for that right now!

10. Do you do custom orders?

That's kinda hard with photography, but I would be willing to shoot something specific for somebody!

11. Where would you say has been the most helpful place in finding information to help run your shop on Etsy? The forums, the help guides, other sellers’ blogs?

The Etsy teams I belong to, first and foremost. The forums are always great for figuring things out too.

12. If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about opening a shop on Etsy, what would it be?

If you love you craft, DO IT! Be bold, be original. PROMOTE

Other places you can find April are:

blog -
twitter -

I just want to give a special thanks to April for taking the time to let us get to know her and her beautiful shop. Be sure to visit April at applelovesorange and take at look at her amazing work.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A New Etsy Shop That Will Leave You In Stitches

I am completely addicted to totes, my closet is full of them and when I saw this shop, I knew I just had to share with you the beautiful items this seller creates. I was so happy when she agreed to let me get to know her and answer a few questions so I could share this great shop with you.

It's my pleasure to introduce you to a new shop on Etsy called The 6'oclock Stitch.

1. Why don't you start by telling us your name and when and how you got starting crafting?

My name is Gina. I've always enjoyed making things but took up sewing to make toys and things for my toddler.

2. What made you choose your niche?

I enjoy creating things for my daughter and I love playing with new fabrics so I guess I just naturally fell into it.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I love bright bold colors and whimsical prints. Anyone can peek in The Studio Window each week to see what I'm working on. Since each design is unique (I rarely duplicate), they can request notification by email as soon as any particular item is in the shop and available for purchase. Studio Window is at

4. Do you ever get in a creative slump? And, if so, what do you do to pull yourself out of it?

Yes! Walk away! I usually find inspiration when I'm not looking for it.

5. How many hours a day do you devote to your craft?

I named my studio "The 6 O'Clock Stitch" because I have to get an early start every morning before the other demands of the day press in. Typically I put in several hours a day. It's just broken up into small increments as time permits.

6. Do you have a job outside the home or is your online business your full-time job?

I do not work outside the home.

7. Do you sell anywhere else in addition to Etsy?


8. What would you say is the most difficult thing about having an online shop and what have you done to overcome it?

Getting the word out has to be the most difficult. I'm chasing every marketing venue that arises. You never know where your next customer might be!

9. What are your long term goals for your shop/craft?

Right now I have so many design ideas floating around in my head! I want to dabble in a little of everything and have a unique and varied collection of goods.

10. Do you do custom orders?

Not at this time.

11. Where would you say has been the most helpful place in finding information to help run your shop on Etsy? The forums, the help guides, other sellers' blogs?

All of the above. There's a wealth of info out there. You just have to dig a little to find what you're looking for.

12. I saw in your announcement that you do eParties. Why don't you tell us what exactly that is, how it works and how we can have one?

1. Sign up for a party date (instructions below). Parties run for 5 days.

2. You'll receive your eParty invitations with a promo code, good for 10% off all purchases (excluding shipping) to email to each of your guests.

3. INVITE as many people as you'd like! The more the merrier!

4. When your guests shop during the scheduled 5 day period, and enter their eParty promo code in the "Message to Seller" section at checkout they'll receive 10% off their purchases. Merchandise is shipped directly to each purchaser.

5. At the conclusion of the event, you will receive a hostess code, for a discount on your next purchase, based on the total sales (excluding shipping) generated during your eParty. Hostess discounts will be issued as follows:

Total Sales of $50 to $99 = 20% Hostess Discount

Total Sales of $100 + = 30% Hostess Discount

For more information OR to schedule a date for your eParty, email the6oclockstitch [!at] [Subject: eParty]. Please specify your eParty date preferences. All dates are subject to approval by The 6 O'Clock Stitch!

13. If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about opening a shop on Etsy, what would it be?

Set aside some time each day to focus on marketing your shop. It will pay off in the long run.

Also, I would like to provide you and your readers with a COUPON CODE good for 10% OFF (excluding shipping) through March 1st. Enter code bj173609 in the Message to Seller section at checkout. 10% of the purchase price will be refunded after the transaction is processed.

Here are a few places in addition to Etsy that you can find Gina:

I blog at
I tweet too!

Not only is Gina extremely creative, but also a wonderful person for doing this interview for us. And if that wasn't enough, to offer us a discount for just learning about her - awesome!
So go visit her shop and don't forget to use that discount code in the Message to Seller section to get your 10% off.

Thank you so much Gina, it was fun getting to know you and your shop The 6 o'clock Stitch and I wish you much success on Etsy!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Someone Featured Me

There was a thread in the Etsy forums not too long ago from a fellow artisan who was looking for people to feature on her blog. So many people had already posted their interest; but I thought what the heck, I volunteered and posted a link to my shop for her to look around. I was so honored when she convo'd me with a list of questions and said she was going to feature my shop. The questions really made me think and some were a little challenging, but it wasn't until I got down to the last few that I knew I was either going to really embarrass myself or sound like a complete idiot. So go check it out and find out a few things about me that I never would have thought I would divulge online.

Just another day in Paradise

I want to thank Julianne at Julianne A. Designs for taking the time to get to know me and thinking my shop good enough to feature on her blog - Thanks Julianne!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Another New Adventure

As if I am not busy enough, I just took on another project. I just couldn't pass up this new opportunity though. I am a big supporter of promoting other artists and this outlet will give me the chance to do just that.

I am now going to be the guest editor for the 'Everything Else' category on the Etsy Profiles blog. In case you have never heard of it, the Etsy Profiles blog is open to all Etsy sellers who would like to get their profiles featured. Free advertising, now you just can't beat that. The blog is not only a great way to get your shop seen by people who stop by, but it is also a wonderful way to discover shops on Etsy that you may not otherwise ever find.

In addition to all the great shops featured on the blog, you will also find a list of Etsy resources and directories, important Storque articles and important Etsy links. There is a ton of valuable information that is definitely worth checking out.

So stop by for a visit and if you would like to have your shop featured just contact the editor for your particular niche and supply them with all the required information (there is a list of what you will need to send the editor in the Index, in the lefthand column or just click here).

Hope to see you soon!

Monday, February 2, 2009

What the Heck is Etsy Anyway

I realized that a lot of people visiting my blog may not be familiar with Etsy; and since the majority of my blog is focused around it, I thought I would take a minute to let them know exactly what it is. First, if you are wondering how you pronouce Etsy, it rhymes with the girls' name Betsy

Etsy is an online marketplace where you can buy and/or sell anything handmade. Etsy also has vintage items and crafting supplies. Etsy has over 1.8 million members and there are over 200,000 sellers. Etsy is different from Ebay, in that, there is no bidding; you just find what you like and buy it.

If you have never visited Etsy, you really must check it out. On Etsy, you can find anything from jewelry to pottery and everything in between and with the ever growing number of extremely talented artists found on Etsy you are bound to find something you just can't do without.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Valentine’s Day Challenge

I belong to the North Georgia Etsy Team and this month we are having a contest for Valentine's Day. Go to our website, choose which item is your favorite and leave a comment telling us which item you choose and you are entered.

The prize pack consists of A Tinkerbell reversible bib from CooAndCole, an Amber Romance scented Soy Candle from WorthySoyCandles, an India Hand Figure from EyeDesign, a Tissue Cozy from DingoGirl, a Heart Pendant from MarciaPalmer, & a Glass Pendant from AliciasColors.

The winner will be announced February 8th

Monday, January 26, 2009

What are backlinks and why are they so important

A backlink, also known as an inbound link, is a link that directs back to your site from another site. They are one of the key ways to get your site noticed by the major search engines, especially Google. When someone thinks the content of your site is important enough to put on their site, the search engine spiders will index that content and place you on the search engine so you don't have to do it manually.

The higher the number of backlinks you have the higher the rank the search engine will give your site. But, keep in mind, it's not just the number of backlinks, it is also the quality of the backlink that is important. A search engine will consider a backlink good in quality it its content is related to the content of your site. So it's good to get backlinks from sites with a similar content base.

Here are some ways that you can build backlinks:

  1. Run contests and giveaways
  2. List your site in directories like DMOZ
  3. Post in forums. In some forums, when you post, it is acceptable to add a link to your site in your signature line.
  4. Post comments on blogs that are similar in content to yours. Post comments that are relevant and sincere, don't just comment for the sake of creating a backlink.
  5. Comment on Ezine articles
  6. Google has a great feature called Alerts. You can enter search terms related to your niche and google will alert you by email or feed when your search terms are found in the latest articles, latest blog posts, latest web pages, latest videos and the latest 'group' posts. For backlinking purposes you can choose to be alerted only when your search terms show up in new blog posts so you can visit that blog and leave a comment.
  7. Build Hubpages
  8. Build Squidoo Lenses
  9. Submit your RSS feed to twitter so every time you create a new post to your blog it will be automatically tweeted for you.
  10. Write about things people want to know. People are always looking for good information, tutorials and how-to's
**To find out if your blog or site has backlinks, enter the url of your site into the search bar of google with the 'link:' key in front of it and hit search. ex. link:

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Woman, A Niche and A Successful Business

While most women would shriek if there was a mouse in their house, there is one woman I know on Etsy who has set out to change all that. At The House of Mouse you could be greeted by Vincent Van Gogh Mouse, Lulu the Belly Dancer Mouse or even Elvis Mouse, and these are just a few of the incredibly adorable felted mice that are just waiting for you to take them home.

Anna, the creator and owner of The House of Mouse got her start on Etsy in January 2008. Since then, her mice have been featured on the Front Page over 30 times and she has received over 5000 hearts. This comes as absolutely no surprise to me as the first time I visited The House of Mouse, I found myself smiling at how cute they all were and when I saw Frankenstein Mouse I actually laughed out loud.
I was so impressed with the creativeness and imagination that went into each mouse, I just had to contact Anna and see if she would let me have a closer look into The House of Mouse. I was so delighted when she replied back having answered all the questions I sent her. What really touched me was that she took the time to let me get to know her even though she was extremely busy with several custom orders - that's good people!

So now I want to share with you Anna's story and her piece of Etsy known as The House of Mouse.

Q. Tell us a little about your Etsy shop and what made you choose your particular niche?

A. My name is Anna and I make little felt mouse ornaments. My mice are inspired by jobs and hobbies, movies, special occasions, famous people, monsters and just about anything that grabs my imagination. Each little mouse has their own personality and character. I didn’t really choose my niche, it chose me!

Q. Where does the inspiration for the mice come from?

A. I originally made my mice as Christmas gifts for my family back in Dec 2007; a Photographer Mouse for my father who loves taking pictures, an Artist Mouse for my painter friend, Reading mice for my bookworm friends etc… They went down so well that I decided to sell them. I can hardly believe how well they have been received!

After Christmas I was inundated with other suggestions from the people that received them! I regularly think of other mice to make while doing my everyday things, I’ll be watching a movie and think “Oh, a Supermouse would be cool!” sometimes it is from finding an object and trying to see it from a mouse-size point of view. For example the Gladiator Mouse's shield is actually a particularly ugly earring I picked up at a car boot sale. Suffice it to say the ideas hit me all the time. I also regularly get suggestions from people visiting my shop or any of the social networks where I advertise. And there is continued stream of suggestions from my friends. I have a little book I always carry with me to keep all the ideas in.

Q. How long does it take to make each mouse?

A. A mouse can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 4 hours, depending on its complexity. I make the popular ones in batches to try to speed up the process a bit. I am a lot faster at it than when I first started.
Q. Do you have any marketing or business background? I ask because your expansion of your business into pins, gift cards and bookmarks shows really good business sense.

A. No I don’t have any experience with marketing or business. Before I made mice I was a professional oil painter for 3 years after I left Art Collage. (If you want to see my oil paintings you can go to They don’t teach you anything about running a business at art school, something I think is really lacking in the education of artists. But those three years did teach me about balancing my finances and keeping an eye on the books.

To be honest a lot of the business and marketing decisions I make are based on common sense and observation. I read a lot of advice on running a store on Etsy and off. I also buy a lot of hand made things, not only because they are beautiful but also so I can see what it is like from a buyer’s point of view. I make note of things that annoy or frustrate me and make sure that I avoid doing the same thing in my own store.

Q. I know that selling your mice is the objective, but do you ever get a little sad to see them go?

A. Yes I do. They are like my little babies and it is sometimes very hard to let them go. I have a few I keep at home, never to be sold. I love it when I visit family who have some of my mice, so that I can see the mice too and give them a little kiss on the nose.

Q. Have you ever had a request for a particular mouse that was a little odd?

A. Oh yes, several. But then you might argue that some of the mice I make for my store are a little odd. I am sure some people think I am crazy to make an Executioner Mouse with a little severed mouse head, or a Zombie mouse with blood down his front. I love the macabre and cute together, it tickles my funny bone.

Q. What would you say were the keys to your success here at Etsy.

A. Before putting my first listing up I read EVERYTHING I could find about selling on Etsy. I read all the FAQs and Terms and conditions, I read the DOs and DON’Ts of Etsy and I read all the links to tutorials setting up your store. I found the etsy blog and read all about photographing items, what to write in my policies, profile and shop announcement etc. You might say I was too well prepared! But it got me off on the right foot and I made my first sale on the day I listed my first item. For my first year on Etsy I was obsessed with my store, I was constantly looking for ways to improve and expand it. I ate, slept and breathed it. I also spent as much time promoting my store as I did making mice.

Now that I am into my 2nd year on Etsy I am able to relax a bit because my store is pretty well known already. I can focus on completing my never ending list of custom orders as well as finding some balance between my home life and business. But I am still looking for ways to improve; it is so easy to become dated.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out here at Etsy, what would it be?

A. Read up on everything you can find on making your store great and then implement it. Most of what you need is right there on Etsy already. I even put the most useful links all in the same place:

Here are more places that you can find Anna and her family of mice
My Blog:
My Twitter:
My Flickr:
My Myspace:

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Anna and The House of Mouse as much as I did. Drop by her store and have a look around, I'm sure she has a mouse that would be perfect for you or someone you love.