Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Front Page News #4 - TheExtentofSilence

Our fourth Team regular on the Front Page is here this time with answers to our standard questions! Let's hear from TheExtentofSilence:
Q. What does having your items on the Front Page mean to your shop?
A.  Being on the front page gets me a lot of views and hearts. And not just for the item that made it to the front page, but for my entire shop. I've also gotten several sales from it, but I wouldn't say that it is a guarantee that you will get sales. After being on the front page I also get included in more treasuries than normal for the next several days.

Q.  Why do you think your items are selected for the FP so often?
A.  I think that it is because I have crisp, clear images and I'm putting my best work out there.

Q.  Any advice for sellers who'd like to increase their chances of being on the Front Page?
A.  Make sure that you have great pictures, participate in chat rooms (you can meet sellers who make treasuries that way), renew items every day, and always do your best to make a high quality product.

Other Front Page interviews: PonderandStitchsomavenus, clearcutcrafts2007.
Coming up soon: mooshoopork.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Front Page News #3 - clearcutcrafts2007

With nearly 2000 sales since opening shop in December 2007, clearcutcrafts2007 has plenty of experience on the Front Page, and with making customers happy. 

Q. What does having your items on the Front Page mean to your shop?
A.  It is a real buzz to find your products on the Front Page. When you handmake you put a bit of yourself into it and you need recognition - be it through sales or publicity - to keep you inspired to keep going and designing. The FP definately gets more hearts and views but extra sales via it I cannot be definate about as I receive regular sales anyway. (Plus I have missed my Front Page appearance a few times ssshhh). The views go up a lot and people then wander through your store and definately other Etsyians because if you go into chat they are the first to say congrats so it means. 1. They are looking and 2. Taking notes on the sellers as they know your name straight away.

Q.  Why do you think your items are selected for the FP so often?
A.  Well I believe it is because my products are multi functional, full of colour with simple white backgrounds putting focus on product, and butterflies are such a lovable item. My butterflies are fairly original and are not as saturated as some other products. Most treasuries seem to be colour co-ordinated and I have over 16 colours and over 200 listings so it makes it easier to match my products into someone's inspiration. PLUS my photos are clear and sharp (in my opinion) and represent my products well.

Q.  Any advice for sellers who'd like to increase their chances of being on the Front Page?
A.  My advice to people is take care with photos, do not make them so busy. I also believe in finding a niche and building it. People like a unique and unusual product to add to their Treasury to set it apart and grab people's eyes. I think there are two categories of people on Etsy, the hobbyist and the business crafter, and my advice is different for each. For business: list often and build an array of products that people will keep coming back to see more. Stand by your craft and price it accordingly. For the hobbyist: make it fun and enjoy it to keep shoppers coming back for unique and interesting things.

Previous Front Page interviews: PonderandStitch and somavenus.
Coming up soon: mooshoopork and TheExtentofSilence.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Front Page News #2 - somavenus

We're back for the second in our series of chats with Front Page regulars. This time, somavenus is answering the FP questions!

Q. What does having your item on the Front Page mean to you?
A.  Having my items on the front page does wonders for shop hearts and views which I think translates into sales (even if not the same day they are hearting you). I've occasionally gotten a sale while an item is on the front page as well. I usually get a huge hit in views (sometimes in the 1,000s! vs. the usual under 100 a day). It gives me a nice boost of inspiration to keep making new things and improving my photography to try and get more items on the front page!

Q.  Why do you think your items are selected for the FP so often?
A.  The top secret to being on the front page is the have stellar photographs of your work.  Having good photos will land you in treasuries, which will hopefully land you on the front page. It also helps to stay active in the community - forums and chat. One thing I've recently started doing to try to get into more treasuries is to check the treasury clock over at Craftopolis, and when I see a treasury about to end I may renew a few items to keep my shop fresh in treasury curators' eyes :)

Q.  Any advice for sellers who'd like to increase their chances of being on the Front Page?
A.  The advice I can give to being on the front page is to keep fine tuning your photographs.  Look at other treasuries that make it to the front page to get an idea on how to set up your work to photograph. Look for trends. Take amazing photographs and say hello once and a while in the forums and chat. I've also heard good luck with being a regular commenter on other treasuries. Just believe in yourself and stay positive, and you'll make it!

Our first Front Page interview: PonderandStitch
Coming up in future interviews:  clearcutcrafts2007, mooshoopork and TheExtentofSilence.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Five Questions for ... BabyBundleBoutique

This time our previous interviewee, JohnToftBasketry, has made up the questions to ask fellow Team member BabyBundleBoutique!
Q.  Of all the items in your Boutique, which is the most fun to make? Which is the most challenging? And which is the most creative?
A.  I think the sock monkeys are the most fun to make. Little details such as the hand stitching, the sock patterns, etc,  give each monkey a personality. Sometimes a smile on one monkey will look just plain happy, while on another it looks a bit sly. I was making a girly sock monkey, and the eyes turned out in a way that resembles long eyelashes; good thing it wasn't a boy monkey!

I think the monkeys (and sock cows) are also the most challenging, mainly because they're the most time consuming. I have a toddler and an infant, so it's hard to find any significant amount of time to work on any one project.

I'm having a hard time deciding which items are the most creative. My first thought are the fabric covered buttons I've just started making, since there is so much to choose from when looking for fabric to use. When I was first waiting to receive the supplies to make the buttons, several people in Etsy Chat told me that making buttons was addictive...they were right!

Q.  When you are not making products for your Boutique, what are you doing?
A.  When I'm not making products, I'm usually either taking care of my kids (my daughter is 11 months old and my son is 2), or doing online work for my shop; either promotion, shop upkeep, research, etc. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I'm sure we'll be spending a lot more time outdoors. I try to get housework done, but that tends to be low priority for me and gets done more in the evenings than during the day.

Q.  I know that you are moving to a new home very soon. What do you look forward to in the first few months after you move? What do you have misgivings about for those initial months after the move?
A.  Yes! We're in the process of buying our first house and will be moving in 2 weeks! I sooooo look forward to being in the house. Right now we're in a walk-up apartment with no laundry facility, no yard, and at the edge of town. Deciding to go for a walk involves lugging the double stroller downstairs with the kids crying because I have to leave them alone in the apartment while I bring it down, then carrying to kids down stairs, and walking along the edge of a busy street with no sidewalk for 20 mins to get to town.
We'll have laundry and a yard in the house, so just that makes it huge for me! I hope to have a better area for my crafting in the new place, but I'll have to figure that out when we're actually in. I think the biggest misgivings about moving are unpacking and organizing while trying to get day-to-day chores done. This is my 7th move in 4 years, and I'm glad it'll be the last for a long time!

Q.  What is your favourite part of having a shop on Etsy? Why?
A.  My favourite part of having a shop on Etsy is feeling productive; that I am contributing financially to our family. I didn't work that much right after my husband and I got married just over 3 years ago because I just had a casual position, then I got pregnant right away, was on bed rest for a while, then before my 1 year maternity leave was up, I was pregnant again so didn't go back to work. So it's nice to feel like I had a part in helping clear debt, provide for our family, and buying the house. I also love the community! The chatters are so helpful, and the forums and virtual labs are so fun.

Q.  What has been your most effective method in promoting your Boutique on Etsy? How did that promotion help?
A.  My most effective promotional method has been making myself seen on Etsy in the community section. When I first was starting out, a large portion of my sales came from other chatters. The advice I've received from other Etsy sellers has made a huge difference in my shop. I have a hard time listing new items frequently, so when I don't have anything new, I renew a couple of times a week. I'm just starting to get a better hang of Twitter so I'm hoping that increases sales in this slow season so many of us are are experiencing right now. Most of my sales are from random searches so I try to focus first on keeping my shop visible, then work on Facebook, Blogger, and Twitter. I've also made a SoopSee page, which is the link I'll be putting on my new business cards after we move, so that customers can see my products, my blog, and my online links all in one place.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Introducing Treasury East!

The long-rumored Treasury East launched today (more info here) and team member tennyoceres wasted no time in putting together a Chat Team Treasury.

Since everyone can have as many Treasury East lists as they like, and they don't expire, we likely won't be featuring them all on this blog, but they are eligible for Front Page selections, and of course visits, clicks and comments are always welcome. Also, they're great to include in individual blogs, as tennyoceres has done on hers, here.

What do you think of Treasury East? Have you made a list? Please post the URL in a Comment so we can all see!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Front Page News #1 - PonderandStitch

It seems that everyone wants to make an appearance on the Etsy Front Page, and it made me wonder how much impact being in that coveted spot really makes in terms of views, hearts, warm fuzzy feelings, and of course sales!
Some of our Chat regulars and Team members find their way to the Front Page with such regularity that they are a great resource to ask about the power of the FP. Five of those FP regulars shared their answers to a trio of questions designed to inspire and inform every Etsy seller. We'll look at all their answers in subsequent posts; we're starting with PonderandStitch:

Q. What does having one of your items on the Front Page mean to your shop?
A.  Being on the FP is always super-exciting...it truly never gets old! Views skyrocket, as do item hearts and shop hearts. Although my FP items don't always sell, they have sparked interest in the shop and I have gotten many custom orders after being on the FP. My favorite thing, though, is any time I've been on the front page, I have an inbox full of convos from really great Etsy friends congratulating me. It really feels great. :) It's nice to see a little orange 15 next to "conversations" when I log in- what a rush. :)

Q.  Why do you think your items are selected for the FP so often?
A.  I'd like to think my items have been selected for the front page because of clear, crisp photos and good tags - use them all and think of words you would use when searching for something. I'd also think a little of it is just plain luck. ;)

Q.  Any advice for sellers who'd like to increase their chances of being on the Front Page?
A.  Hmmm, if I had to give some advice, it would be to make sure your photos are completely crisp and fairly close-up. Taking a photo from an interesting angle is great, too. Think of the FP items that make you click - model your photos after those ones!

Thank you, PonderandStitch!
Coming up in future posts, answers from mooshoopork, TheExtentofSilence, clearcutcrafts2007 and somavenus

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Let's Talk Color" Chatters Treasury

Etsy Chatters are known for being bright and colourful, and this new Treasury from Team member NaturesSpirit captures that character perfectly.

You'll find it right here through Saturday morning - drop by with your clicks and comments to show Chatters some Etsy affection!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shop Self Critiques. A Close Look.

Having a shop critiqued - in the Virtual Labs, or Chat, or the Forums - is a great way to get another opinion about what is working, and what might need some attention.
However, a little shop self-analysis can help too. A recent Storque article, Etsy Success: Critique Your Shop, walks through the many elements of a successful shop, with a checklist and detailed links that explain more about everything from Alchemy settings to Web Analytics. 

Image from Craftiness, thanks!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Five Questions for ... JohnToftBasketry

This time our last interviewee, NaturesSpirit, is asking the questions, and Team member JohnToftBasketry is providing the answers! 
Q.  Of all the types of baskets you make, which is the most fun, creative, and challenging?
A.  Rib baskets are fun and creative to make since never do they come out the same shape. 
For these I often use "hoops" of grapevine or willow, both home-grown. The lack of uniformity in willow circum-ference from tip to butt makes for interesting, not really circular shapes as I twist them into hoop shapes. And grapevine has a mind of its own as to what shape it will devise for me to work with. Then after I have joined the two hoops with Gods Eyes, I add ribs, usually of willow again. There I can make a melon shaped basket by adding the ribs in a hemispherical shape, or make the cheeks of what observers call my "bum" baskets fuller or tighter. Adding colour brings even more creative touches.
For the market baskets, the creativity comes in the use of colour, the choice of handles, the textures and patterns I can weave, and the size variety that is possible. There is no end to the variety of this type of basket. It's always fun to see what the end result will be.

For sewing baskets, a basic pattern also results in so much variety in texture, and even shape. Will I weave a vertical sided basket, a barrel shaped one, one that slopes out, or something else? And what kind of border is suitable, and what type of lid matches this particular shape? Add in the use of colour, design elements, and elements such as bark and newness is always there as I make another sewing basket. Then my wife, Anne, adds liners of appropriate colour and texture to complete the baskets!

Lately I found challenges in making wicker models of hot air balloons. How can I make a rounded balloon shape was one challenge. How do I attach the balloon's basket to the balloon itself? Do I match the scale of the balloon to the scale of the basket or use artistic license in making the two not to scale? The three I have made so far are each similar in shape, but very different in their ending size, character, and shape.

Q.  When you are not creating beautiful baskets, what are you doing?
A.  I am a member of two choirs at my church, the senior choir and the men's chorus (Gabriel's chorus). That keeps me occupied with Thursday night practices as well as singing at the Sunday services. I do a lot of gardening. Our home has almost no lawn left. The land is either in perennials or vegetables, or willow and grapevine for use in my baskets. My wife and I like to bicycle on local bike trails (mostly following the path of abandoned rail lines). Our two grandchildren, aged 5 and 7, keep us occupied, as does our adult autistic son, in his forties. He lives in a group home, but we see him twice a week.

Vacations form a significant part of our lives as we trade time-shares for holidays throughout the States, and even to our homeland, England. Jogging and Wii Fit are also part of the daily routine.

Q.  I see you also have vintage items in your shop. Where is your favorite place to find vintage items?
A.  Anywhere in the house that I can find them. All the vintage items, sold and unsold, have been items we bought for our own use, that we are now selling off as we downsize. There would be more, but Anne has said "Enough is enough!"

Q.  What is your favorite part of having a shop on Etsy? And why?
A.  The intermittent reinforcement of sales is one favourite. The feedback from satisfied customers is another. It does my ego a great deal of good. And those so many favourable comments from fellow chatters makes me feel good too. Being featured in Treasuries is also a bonus that I enjoy.

Q.  I noticed in your shop profile that you have a twin brother. Twins have always intrigued me! Is your brother as creative as you?
A.  We both left school early, at age 15, before our 16th birthday in August. For both of us, continuing our education was of prime importance. He did this by enrolling as an apprentice with an electricity producer and distributor. Through this he earned the equivalent of an electrical engineering degree. I went through the night school route, qualified for university, earned my degree and became a teacher.

His creativity comes through his work with his garden and his allotment. Both are a work of art. And his love of the outdoors is seen in the many country walks he organises for hikers that start and end at a country pub. His holidays take place in France, where his colloquial French comes out. (During a freezing rain storm that destroyed much of France's electrical lines a few years ago, my brother lead a crew of British electrical workers that restored power to many French villages. His French skills stood him in good stead then.)