Customer Appreciation Pic: Santa Baby

I received this picture last year and was so smitten. Isn’t this little one a cutie. I love how they set her up in my reindeer ruffle diaper covers, pseudo grass and with a darling hat so fun right? It’s been a while since I’ve shared a customer pic but they really are some of my favorite parts of the job!

And as always if you have any pictures of your kiddos in my gear or if you’ve ever made anything from one of my tutorials I’d love to see it and share it here!

Rae Gun After Thanksgiving Sale 2011

Just a quick note to give you all the details of this weekend’s upcoming sale. I only do one sale a year so if you’ve been eying my baby and toddler clothes, want to get ahead on Halloween orders for next year or have a gaggle of pregnant friends or family that you’ll need baby shower gifts for now’s your chance. Sale starts Thursday November 24, 2011 and runs through Monday November 28, 2011. Check out my Shop.

Please read all the info so you know how the sales, codes and discounts will wok.

  • FREE SHIPPING all weekend starting on Thursday through Monday. Enter the code GOBBLEFS into the coupon code section during the Etsy check out and it will automatically adjust your price.

  • 10% OFF on your entire order on Saturday and Sunday only.  Since on Etsy you can only use one coupon code at a time if you want to get both the free shipping and the 10% off  enter the code above for free shipping in the coupon code section and in the notes to sellers section (where you’ll also write the size info) please write THANKSGIVING10OFF and I will refund you 10% after you pay.

  • BOGO on Friday and Monday buy one item get one READY TO SHIP item of equal or lesser value half off. So the half off item must be something from my “ready to ship” section and it must be of equal or lesser price to what you purchase at the regular price. If you want something more expensive feel free to buy a few regular price items (for example you can buy a set and a bottom and if that adds up to the same or more than a jumper you can get the ready to ship jumper half off). Since on Etsy you can only use one coupon code at a time if you want to get both the free shipping and the BOGO  enter the code above for free shipping in the coupon code section and in the notes to sellers section (where you’ll also write the size info) please write THANKSGIVINGBOGO and I will refund you after you pay.

  • EARLY BIRD CUSTOMER CHOICE  so to make life easier for all of us who will be trying to take advantage of all the great deals around town I’ll be doing an early bird special order sale. Here’s how it works. You’ll get free shipping plus the discount of your choice: either 10% off the entire order OR BOGO buy any regular priced item get one ready to ship item of equal or lesser value half off. To do this message me on Etsy (to raegun) your list of what you want to order and what discount you want by Wednesday 10:00 pm PST . I’ll set up the listing with the prices adjusted already and you’ll need to check out and pay by 11:59 pm PST on Thursday (11/24/11). 

    Please note. I’ll do all the refunds at once. So on Tuesday. Depending on how many orders I get it may take a couple days but they will all be done next week. I’ll be adding more ready to ship stuff but there is a limited amount so if you’re interested in the BOGO please know that is is first come first serve.

    Also I will be out and about shopping on Friday and Saturday. I’ll try to find my way back to a computer to relist things but if something you really want that is showing up as sold when you get there  feel free to send me an message on etsy and as long as it’s a made to order item that I can make another of I’ll set you up a reserved listing as soon as I get back.

    Okay I hope that all made sense please ask me any questions if something is confusing. Oh and as you can see above I’m doing aprons. I’ll be adding more to the shop all week. Check out my Shop.

    Long Sleeve Onesies and Christmas Sets

    It is funny how excited I was to bring in the boxes of long sleeve onesies yesterday, but I was excited. I’ve been wanting to offer sets in my shop with long sleeves for a while but it’s always just been so crazy busy it didn’t get done but with my annual post Halloween lull I’ve taken advantage of my down time and ordered some up.

    So now you can order any of my sets with long sleeves. There is now a “long sleeve add-on” option. Basically any one interested would add the set they want PLUS the add on option to their cart and I’ll make their set with a long sleeve onesie. Now all you need is a pair of tights or baby legs and you’re good to go. Cool huh?

    Also with my extra breathing room I’ve had loads of fun adding new Christmas and Ready to Ship stuff to the shop (and more is on it’s way) so be sure to check all it out.

    My Top 7 Tips For Shopping Online

    For a long time I’ve thought I should write up a list of tips/common mistakes that I see online shoppers make. Since it seems like all the commercials and news reports are Christmas shopping happy already  (sheesh it’s barely November) I thought this would be a good time for that. From my years operating a pretty busy Etsy shop I’ve seen same issues over and over. I know I wouldn’t have thought about some of these things when I was just a shopper so I hope that these are helpful to some of you.

    1. READ THE WHOLE LISTING I know that some descriptions are long. You can skim them, but make your eyes look at all the words. A good listing will give you an idea about sizing, shipping times and more. When shopping online reading the words and looking at all the pictures is the same as picking up the product and looking at the details or trying something on. One time I bought a notebook and didn’t read the whole listing so I didn’t realize until it arrived that it was much smaller than I was envisioning but when I go back to the listing sure enough it had measurements. As a seller I get customers emailing me all the time wondering about shipping time frames when my listings all have that information in them.
    2. VERIFY THE TIME FRAME, SIZING AND OTHER DETAILS BEFORE ORDERING hopefully all these details will be included in the listing. If not check the policies or announcements section of the store (etsy has both of these, most other online retailers have something similar). If you don’t see these details message the seller BEFORE you place your order. I’ve got my shipping info in each listing and in my policies but a few times a week I’ve get messages asking if an item has shipped (often 1-2 weeks earlier than the scheduled ship date). I also get panicked messages about upcoming events customers need the item for, I try my best to accommodate them when I can, which a lot of times means me rearranging my schedule. But if I had been asked before the order was place I could probably have done it faster and with less stress for both of us. But what usually happens is a week or more passes and the person needs it in the next few days so if they’re lucky I have to drop everything and they usually have to pay express shipping or if I’m too swamped I have to say sorry. Even if you’re not shopping for an event or your event is quite a bit out, if the time frame isn’t clear ask. Try to think of questions you have BEFORE you order and if you don’t find the answer ask.
    3. USE REAL CONTACT INFORMATION I know a lot of people use a junk email address that they never check for online transactions but as a seller I want to beg you not to do this. For most of my orders people have to tell me what size they want. They forget all the time. I have to email multiple people each week to ask what size they want. Some never respond I’m assuming because they don’t check their messages. On etsy there is a conversation/message system. If you use etsy you should have your convos forwarded to an email address you use or make a point to check your convos. When there’s info missing I send a convo, if I don’t here back I send an email. And a week later if I don’t hear I do it again, if I remember. This Halloween I had three customers who ordered costumes that didn’t include sizes and never responded to my messages so they didn’t get costumes and I had to cancel their orders. One emailed me 2 days before Halloween asking where the costume was. I had already canceled the order since I couldn’t even start making it because I didn’t know what size to make it. One time I ordered a kitchen gadget that I wanted really bad and fast. They ended up emailing me to tell me it was out of stock and they were canceling my order (totally lame right?) but if I used a junk email I’d have been stuck waiting and wondering for a long time.
    4. INCLUDE NECESSARY INFORMATION related to the tip above, if you get to pick certain details (like size, color, etc.) make sure you include it. On etsy there’s the spot to do that is in the notes section when you check out. And for goodness sake please make sure your address is correct and if on etsy that your etsy and paypal addresses are the same. If you forget some info or notice that an incorrect address is there message the seller right away with the correct information and if they don’t respond follow up in case they have missed the message or in case the message go put in their spam folder.
    5.  CHOOSE FROM THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE so this may sound like a weird one but I get a lot of orders for sizes I don’t carry. Either too big or ambiguous. In bottoms I sell 6-12 months and 12-24 months so when people write 12 months I’m not sure which they want and I have to email and hope they’ll reply. I imagine with other option based orders similar problems can arise. Look at the options and wordings included in the listing and pick one of them. If you actually want an option not obviously describe (for example a different color or different size) ask before ordering.
    6. INCLUDE ANY RELEVANT DATE  I recommend including the date you need the item by (if there is a date) even if it’s after the time line stated. Emergencies pop up and especially with the smaller shops like on etsy, the shop owners usually do everything so if something comes up they don’t have someone to cover ‘her shift’. If you’ve included that you need it by a certain time you’ll probably be given priority. I know plenty of people who feel comfortable using online shopping last minute but I personally don’t advise it, things happen, people are human, and the post office makes mistakes. Unless you’re willing to pay a whopping 18$ for express shipping plan ahead.
    7. ASK QUESTIONS Finally feel free to send a message if you have a question. But before you do that please please please read all the info. Read the listing description fully, the policies, the shop announcements, if you have a confirmation email read that and anything else you can find. Most sellers are happy to help but if they’ve done a good job with the listings and other literature your question may already be answered there. I spend hours (yes hours) every day responding to messages. It’ll save both of you time. But there are plenty of times when you just need to ask so whether you just a little anxious and need a personal confirmation, you have questions about possible customizations, are hoping to make a certain deadline or anything else ask away.

    Well I hope that helps and if you have any of your own helpful tips I’d love you to share them in the comments section. Happy shopping.

    Major Shop Update This Week

    I kind of let things get away from me during costume season. My etsy business quadruples, no really quadruples. And I pretty much sew and pack and do post office trips with mini food breaks for a month and a half. My dishes get done if someone else does them and my work room is a chaotic mess.

    But Halloween is over so I actually vacuumed and picked up yesterday and I sat down to clean up my etsy shop as well. What did I find? Over 50 listings that have sold or expired that I’ve forgotten to renew. Some of my best sellers (not sure how I missed that) and many items that are new and I’ve been meaning to add to the shop but haven’t had a chance. So starting today for about a week I’ll be updating and restocking my shop. New stuff will be appearing, oldies but goodies will be reappearing and maybe even some surprises. Check out all the stuff here.

    Also this is my low period so if you’ve been wanting a custom order or if you have any suggestions for new things I would love to hear them. I’ve been thinking of making some holiday onesie sets and I just ordered a bunch of long sleeve onesies (woohoo, I’ll list a long sleeve option as soon as the shipping gets here) so if you have ideas for images to go on the tops that would be great.

    lilsugar top handmade costumes & 3 days left

    Just popping in for a last reminder that October 5th (this coming Wednesday, yeah can you believe it’s October already) is the last day to buy my costumes at the regular price. After that I will continue to take a few orders but they’ll have a rush fee added.

    And I’m excited to say my Gryffindor Costume was featured on lilsugar as on of their “10 Beautifully Handmade Halloween Costumes For Kids”. So cool right?

    Costume Cut Off Set: October 5th

    Just a quick note to let you guys that have been thinking of ordering Halloween costumes know that October 5th will be the last day to order costumes without paying a rush fee for Halloween deliver. If I think I can manage a few more orders at that time I will continue taking orders but there will be a rush fee. Orders placed on October 5th will ship on the 24th so if you have parties to go to the weekend before Halloween weekend you need to get your orders in this week.

    Babbles 20 Best Halloween Costumes from Etsy

    I feel so honored to have two (maybe three) costumes featured in Babbles Top 20 Kid Halloween Costumes. How cool is that? It’s a really lovely article about how the author wants to keep the tradition of Handmade Kid Costumes strong in her family and even for those how don’t have the abilities or time to do the hand making themselves (or have family members to call on for the task) Etsy provides some great options. She picked some amazing costumes. Check out the full article here.

    They picked my Pebbles and Bam Bam Costumes pointing out that people can buy them together or separately.

    And my new for this year Harry Potter inspired Gryffindor Student Costume which I do with or without ruffles for both girls and boys.

    And a big shout out to Marci of Lilikins who gave me the heads up about the article. If you guys ever see me featured anywhere please let me know since usually I have no idea. Most bloggers don’t have time to notify everyone they feature and even though I have a little google alert but many times that doesn’t work so I really really appreciate it when some tells me.

    Help: Oh my Sales, Freaking Out About Etsy’s New Search

    I know this is long, but I’m really freaking out and could use some help. (scroll to the bottom to skip my thrashing and see how you can help if you’re in a hurry)

    For years I sold many items a day.

    But this past month I noticed things were not right until I realized the searched had changed. Almost over night I stopped selling my very popular ruffle bottoms, outfits and baby sets and was only selling costumes (thank goodness Halloween is upon us or I’d be totally screwed, but Halloween doesn’t last).

    It used to be that in the searches as long as you listing had the words people were searching for the order things would appear would be by most recently listed at the top. Now there is some relevancy equation. It has to do with title and tags. Before many of the good things and top sellers would appear at the top of the list because as they sold things they’d relist them so naturally you had them higher. I wish I knew how they broke things down for the ranking. What I do know is that the ways I have things titled and tagged now aren’t working. They need to be way more literal so they are as close of a match to what people may type into that search bar.

    And the kicker?I finally took the plunge to quit grad school (that was my original plan until I found the wonderful world of etsy) oh yeah for you friends that didn’t know, I officially did that this week a few days before I noticed the search changes.

    My problem is that through years of proof in sales, views, hearts and even features I know and really etsy should know that people want my stuff. But how many times do you think a normal person says “I want a vintage inspired jumper for my baby” or “I want a cute applique outfit with ruffles that wrap all the way around to give to my friend” They don’t because my stuff is kind of original and not super typical. They used to bump into it because I’d sell, then relist and it would go back to the top. I wasn’t even renewing to bump things to the top this last year. I was relisting when things sold so I know it was at least relevant enough for people to get people to pull out their wallets.

    I know I need to totally redo my titles and tags (which will make my shop and nonuniform mess) but I am not sure the best way to do that. I would love any tips on words to use and all of that. Do you have any suggestions on how to redo my titles?

    But more than that, is there any hope for those of us who people don’t think to purposely search for? I know people want to buy my stuff, I know that people like it, but I don’t think they know it exists so that they can search for it. And now on Etsy it seems much harder to discover things unless you know exactly what you’re looking for.

    There used to be kind of a quality control since the people who were making more/new things and selling would renew, it seemed like better quality good would show up in the top and now I really don’t see a change in “relevance”.

    I understand that I need to revamp all my titles tags, but it’s not like my they are irrelevant. Plus I think my goodies aren’t what you go to the store to by they are what you see there once you’ve arrived and fall in love with. When you go to buy something for your own baby girl or a baby shower what words would you use to search for something? I can think of words to describe my items but I’m really nervous that people don’t know to search for them in the first place so I need to work things from a step up.

    It’s just so frustrating because I worked my butt off to figure out the system. It’s not like it was just given to me. I worked 15 hour days on etsy most of the time. And it had paid off. Now it’s all down the drain because even though I know people want my stuff they can’t find it the way the search is set up. It used to be on etsy that every time you relisted/renewed something it would pop to the top of the search list. Many people would relist so that they would get more eyes on them. I did that early on but I wasn’t even working the system like that this last  year I was renewing because people bought my stuff and I needed to put another on the shelf. So I know that people wanted it.

    Even with revamping titles and tags I don’t think people know to search for the words that would be appropriate for my things but when they see them they realize that’s what they were looking for all along they just didn’t know what to call it. Of course I want to make my titles and tags work as well as they can but I’m honestly freaking out. I’m worried that a search that no longer pulls up items that used to sell so frequently had major problems. I’m worried for my livelihood but also for when I feel like buying something cute, but don’t have a specific idea in mind.

    I need your help, if you could just answer one question that would be so so helpful!
    If any of you have time to answer any or all of my questions or look at my shop to see any ideas I would totally appreciate it.

    You can see my shop here. My costumes seem to be doing fine, it’s everything else that I used to sell tons of that seem to be non-existent. Thanks in advance.

    1. If you’ve ever bought my goodies or things similar, when you when shopping what search words did you use, or in your head what did you think you were looking for?
    2. When you buy things for a baby girl what are the first 5 words you think to type into a search box?
    3. Looking at one of my non-costume listings can you think of a more “relevant” way to structure the title or tags (or even order of tags)?
    4. It looks like people are having success with combo word tags like “toddler dress” can you think of any of these that would work for me that people might actually type? I can think of appropriate phrases but I specifically want  help on words people will think of without already having say my retro rufflers or my ruffle bottom onesies sets on their radar.
    5. I know no-one will look up the word retro ruffler or ruffle diaper covers, what are more common terms I can rename these things so that they will correlate with terms people use to search?

    edit: it seems like after a bunch of research this is going to be a huge negative hit for my business. I’m trying to be optimistic, but I’m really nervous about what things are going to look like after Halloween.

    I really appreciate your kind words and suggestions. If you want to help out it seems like the most helpful thing people can do would be to “like” my items with the facebook links, post links of my goodies on facebook, pinterest, stumbleupon, your blogs etc. and just share things. I’ve done a lot of tweaking of my listings and sadly I’m not still seeing my stuff coming up in searches.

      Pregnancy and Newborn Feature

      Hey all check out this really nice Rae Gun feature from Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine. Cool eh?