Search Results for: label/etsy life

Etsy Life: Setting Up Shop


I was surprised to see how many of you really resonated with my “Etsy Journey” post. I had lots of comments from people either with very young shops or who have been strongly considering opening an etsy shop. In my opinion, if you’ve really been wanting to try Etsy out, go for it. At 20 cents a listing it’s very inexpensive to try if you sell something etsy and paypal each take a small percentage but if not all you’re out is the initial 20. Here are a few tips I have for those of you who might be just getting things started or re-started.

  • Put all your information up. Fill out the shop policies section, the profile section, and every other section there is to fill out on Etsy. This will help you think through many possible scenarios you may encounter as a shop owner and it will answer important questions for your potential costumers. Also don’t forget to add a banner, featured items, profile pic etc.
  • If you haven’t already, buy something on etsy and leave feedback. This serves afew purposes. It teaches you how things work and puts you into the mindset of a customer so you can better anticipate what questions your potential customers may have and gives you the opportunity to get feedback. Hopefully your experience will be good and you’ll leave good feedback. If the shop owner doesn’t leave you feedback send him or her a message explaining that you are trying to build up your feedback and asking if they would mind leaving your feedback for the purchase you just made. That way when customers get to your shop they will see a positive percentage (sometimes having no feedback makes people nervous).
  • If you haven’t written up a listing write one up. Then look at it from the view point of a customer. Are there multiple pictures that show different angles, sides and details? Is the sizing, color, etc. clear (write it in words in the listing AND if possible show it in a picture)? Do you explain what the turnaround time is? Use all your tags.
  • Fill up your shop. The short of it is that most successful shops have many pages of listings. Each page has 24 items. I’m tempted to suggest trying to shoot for a full page of items to start. But unless you just have stuff sitting around you probably don’t want to make up a bunch of things that you’re not sure will sell yet. So I think 10 would be a solid start. On the other hand I have purchased something from a shop that only had 4 items. Part of filling a shop is to let potential costumers know that you’re serious. Unless you have a ton of good feedback a shop with just a few items might make customers doubt how serious to take the shop. While all the shops I’ve seen that are really successful on etsy have pages of items I fully believe that it’s possible for a shop to just sell only a few and do well. One shop I saw that sold seasonally just had a few items she’d relist over and over and remake them and that worked well. Another option would be to make multiple listings of the same item (assuming you either have multiples made or are prepared to make multiples).
  • Etsy will let you write up a bunch of listings and save them as drafts so you can post them later when you’re ready. I like to stagger listings so that they are at least an hour apart. While it’s tempting to put all your listings in at once if you stagger them you have more of a chance to hit different groups of shoppers that are on the site at different times. 

Also please understand that all of these”tips” are based on my personal experiences so please take them with a grain of salt. These are just things that I’ve noticed have worked for me but one of the great things about etsy is how different each shop and approach can be. 

To see more of these etsy related post check out my etsy life tag (I will be adding more regularly so check back in, next week I’ll share a little bit about shipping).

    Best of 2012: Reflections on the Year

    I cannot thank all of you enough for being apart of my life, whether you lurk or comment or I know you in the real world, I am happy to have you. Last week I shared my most popular posts from 2012 and today I want to share some of my personal favorite blogging highlights from the year.

    By far the best part of my blog life this year was getting to know many of you and other bloggers better and being able to meet them in person. I have had an absolute blast connecting with many awesome Utah craft and book bloggers as well as many wonderful out of town folk that have come through my area. I have also enjoyed guest posting, hosting guest bloggers and participating in fun blog series here (Hunger Games and Halloween) and on other blogs. It has been amazing. I am absolutely looking forward to more of that next year

    I have long wanted to share My Etsy Journey with you guys. It has been a lot of of work but I love that I’m my own boss and I make my living being creative. I know many of you have considered opening shops or have just been curious about how things work in my world. My Etsy Life series has been a lot of fun. I hope to do more this coming year so if you have an questions let me know since everything is so normal to me I forget what kinds of topics might be helpful and interesting.

    To continue my getting to know you guys better I finally have gotten my tush in gear and started connecting more on various social media outlets. It has been great getting to know so many of you on a new level. You know sometimes you want to share something but it doesn’t really justify a whole blog post. I have loved peeking into your lives, meeting your children, and connecting over the little moments of our lives. I am excited to continue to visit with you all, be able to support you in the frustrations and celebrate with you in the wins on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

    And just for fun, here are some of my favorite posts that weren’t featured in my Top 10 post on Friday.

    Guest Posting: Brassy Apple Bling It


    Have you guys been loving all the creative jewelery tutorials during Brassy Apple’s Bling It Series? Well today it’s my turn. I’m sharing my tutorial on how to make fun charms with wood pieces, fabric, book pages, or pretty much any other details  you may like. Hop on over to check it out.

    If you’re visiting from Brassy Apple, welcome. I hope that you’ll have a little look around. If you need a place to stop here are some of my recent favorites.

    • I’ve been doing a series on tips for opening and running and Etsy shop that people have seemed to enjoy. I’ve shared my personal story, tips for juggling kids and work and more.
    • If you’ve never had a skor cake before and like me have an inkling for chocolate you might want to check out this recipe. I’m hoping I’ll get around to making another one myself this weekend.
    • And if you’re a Hunger Games fan make sure to check out my Mockingjay shirt tutorial and meet me and some blogger friends here for a Hunger Games blog party starting on March 5th until the Movie premiere. So excited!
    • Finally I’d love to see what you’ve been up to. Please add any of your creations, fashions, diy, recipes, or tips at my current What We Wore and Made Party here.

    UPDATE: TUTORIAL POSTED BELOW

    Today I want to share a tutorial on how to make awesome necklaces. I found these cute wood pieces at Michael’s and knew I needed them. That combined with my love of fabric and books these necklaces were destined to be. You can pretty much use any fabric or paper to make totally personalized necklaces, tags to go on other things and more. Plus they are so easy, inexpensive, and fun. I’ll admit it, I may be slightly addicted.

    What You Need

    • wood crafting rectangles (any shape would work though)
    • fabric, book page, or other design paper
    • ring findings
    • something to make holes (I love my Crop-A-Dile)
    • Mod Podge
    • paint
    • brush

    What to Do

    1. Identify and size your fabric, book page or paper. For the fabric I just traced around my wood and cut. For my book page I scanned in a page I liked, resized it and then printed it.
    2. Paint wood and let dry.
    3. Put your fabric or paper on the wood using a layer of Mod Podge. I liked the fabric texture on top so while I did a top coat of Mod Podge over the paper ones I just did the under layer on the fabric one. Let dry.
    4. Punch holes. (I recommend practicing on a different piece of wood first).
    5. Add ring findings and attach to a chain.
    6. Look at your awesome creation and wear it with pride.

    I hope you like this. I’d love to see your creations if you try it out. Also if you’re a Hunger Games Geek like me I’ll be sharing my District 12 wire wrapped coal pendant tute next week. I hope you’ll stop by and say hello and share some of your own creativity at my What We Wore and Made link party.

    And join my Hunger Games Blog party and link party starting on March 5th until the Monday after opening weekend (March 26th). I have tons of amazing guest bloggers and giveaways linked up.

      Etsy Tips: Working At Home with Kids AKA Juggling Kids and Etsy

      So I know that I said that I have no idea how my Etsy will work when I have kids of my own but that’s not really true. I actually have a pretty good idea how I’ll do it. While I don’t know how every minute of my days will be chopped up since I haven’t had kids full time, I do know a few things about how to get things done with kids around. 

      There were a few months that I took care of my baby niece while my sister worked. Now my nieces also come over all the time and hang out while I’m working (often while Mom or Grandma are running errands). I’ve also had a number of friends and helpers who have kids around while we work. All that is to say that I’ve learned some things about managing kids while getting my work done.

      Let me first say, I am exceptionally good at multitasking. I know that’s not the case for everyone. If you are someone that really needs to focus on one thing at a time you might do better with working while the kids sleep or look into having someone come to the house to watch the kids for a couple hours a week. I know many fellow shop owners who swear by this approach. But if you want to try to juggle here’s a few tips from me and some of my fellow EtsyKids team members.

      Set up your work space to work for you

      The set up that works for me has me behind an open area where the kids can play. This way I can work while seeing everything that they are doing. I have the stuff they can’t get into out of reach or closed up in boxes and the stuff they can play with easy for them to access. I’ve got tubs of toys in my work room, an exersaucer and many kid movies. Little babies do great in car seats close, new crawlers get a barricade around an approved space (with tubs, boxes, etc.) and older kids have a variety of toys, craft stuff, etc to freely use. And of course there’s TV and movies. The Wiggles and Princess and the Frog are favorites here.

      Have a plan, do the thinking while they’re asleep

      Do your planning and prep stuff while they are asleep. Even though I’m really good at multitasking its hard to think and juggle. Do you’re thinking when it’s quite that way you’ll have your list to consult when there are many competing voices. Bethany of Bethany’s 5, mom of 5 (ages 5 to 12) says her schedule is very important. She works weekdays from 7am to 2pm.  Starting her day with emails for her and cartoons for the littles. She makes herself a to do list with timeframes of when to complete things (I do this too).  She leaves a lot of wiggle room to take care of the kids needs while working and if she doesn’t meet a goal for the day she understands that the work will still be there for her tomorrow or after the kids are in bed for the night.

      Take it outside when you can
      You’ll probably be trapped inside a lot but if you do something portable take advantage. After a morning of cartoons and computer work, Bethany takes to the porch with her little ones where they can play and she can crochet. I’ve done pinning and hand sewing while the girls played in the yard.

      Let Them Play with Your Crap

      Make sure the stuff they can and cannot play with is clear and in place. It takes too much energy keeping them out of your good stuff and constantly taking things away. If there’s stuff that you use that it’s okay for them to play with let them. They will love it (and that’s less junk to clean up since it’s already out). The nieces particularly like fabric scraps, that cardboard that bolts of fabric are wrapped on, and my ruffles. When they get older give them little jobs to  help (my nieces are just barely able to help sort and cut ruffles and they love it – you know for about 5 minutes). Tiffany of Cupcake Dream gets her little one involved whenever she can. She even lets her hold glue, pull out shapes and draw next to her.

      Don’t try to just ignore them and or expect them to do their own thing
      While some kids (if you’re lucky) might entertain themselves, my nieces rarely do that. And while they are getting better at that the older they get, if they are around I’m probably interacting with them. While I’m sewing I am always talking to them, telling them their drawings are pretty, giving them suggestions of fun things to do, getting kisses, giving kisses etc.  Making faces at a cranky kids, singing silly songs, and talking to little ones while you’re doing other things with your hands really goes a long way. I’m working but I’m also there for them.

      Let your work do double duty when it can
      Christine of Belly Bear Baby Gear often uses her kids as models. This lets her spend time with them while getting great pictures that do double duty: personal photo albums and etsy shop pics. When the girls were little I made many things for them that ended up in the shop. Now many of my creations, parties, etc. for them double as blog posts.

      Be close and give yourself to them

      Sometimes kids are just needy. If they need to be held a lot (or most waking hours like my niece did) slings come in mighty handy. Other times you might have to revert to just working with them on your lap. Yes this will probably slow things down but that’s just life and most kiddos probably won’t be this needy all the time. I have worked for many many hours with my niece in a sling or sitting on my lap. Other times you might just need to take a work break to be mommy (or aunty or grandma or whatever) but you are your own boss and you work from home so you can. This is where giving yourself generous turnaround times comes in really handy, a sentiment that Erin of Sweet Child of Mine Kids echos.

      I hope this has been helpful I would love you to share your own tips with each other so please by all means comment with tips that you have found helpful. Different things work for different families so it’s all about seeing what works for you.

      For more of these etsy related posts see my “etsy life” category. And I’d love to hear if you guys have any questions or topics you’d like me to hit on.

      Q&A: My Etsy Journey

      Steps to starting and growing a successful handmade craft business - Rae Gun Ramblings
      (me working at a band practice because I literally needed to make use of every spare minute available)

      I hope it goes without saying but just in case you need the invitation I want you all to know that I love getting emails and questions from you guys (fun, serious, whatever).

      I get tons of questions about selling on Etsy and for the longest time I’ve wanted to write something that would be helpful. For those of you who don’t know, I make and sell baby clothes on Etsy. I do well, not like crazy, but for a small self created home business it’s good. While I DO have tips to share with those of you interested, I first want to share how I got here. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think I’m all fancy smancy but it’s a welcome supplemental income for our family doing something I really enjoy and since I regularly get asked how I’ve done it I thought I’d share. Warning this is going to be a LONG post.

      2006 
      I was in grad school pursuing a phD in philosophy. I was newly married and living in a tiny condo. My sister told me she was pregnant with a baby girl –my first niece. I started making the baby clothes.

      2007
      Joined a community ed sewing class to refine my sewing skills. I had spend the last few years totally in acedamia it was nice to be back in touch with my crafty side. The baby came and I kept making her clothes. People told me they were good and I should sell them (in that non-serious way that people say that about nice things people make).

      I found a craft community called craftster which introduced me to Etsy. It was so cheap to open a shop so I listed my first item. I filled out the paper work with the State and Feds to make tax stuff legit (just in case and because it was so easy, really just a phone call and a form. I’m not sure if things have changed).

      I spent a lot of time in the Etsy forums, showing my face, making comments, asking questions, etc. I think this really helped me to get noticed. I personally kind of hate the forums since they are a time sucking hole of drama a lot of the time. But you can get a lot of good info and it’s a way of networking. My tip is to stay away from the promotion section. Ask questions, if you know answers give them. And use a nice clean product image for your profile picture.

      I made the dresses in sizes of babies I knew took pictures of the dresses and listed them for sale as made to order. I also had pictures of the dress style and fabric swatch pictures that I could make the dress out of and sold those as made to order as well. I was not interested in making a bunch of items that would just sit around my small house and never sell.

      That year I sold 100 items. I was over the moon. Most of what I sold were little dresses, coordinating bottoms and baby carriers. I set a goal to double my sales in the next year. I was blogging too.

      2008
      I blogged more and added my blog to the blog roll lists on the etsy forums every week. I still interacted in the forums a lot.

      I added more dress options both styles and fabric options. I added bloomers and lace topped diaper covers.

      Late this year I made my first ruffle diaper covers a gift for that baby that started everything. I took pictures before mailing it off and listed it. This is also the year that I made my first retro ruffler, my vintage inspired sun suit.

      I took a custom order for a Fancy Nancy dress and sold a few during Halloween that year. I also took a custom order for a Pebbles costume made an extra for my eldest niece and made a french fry costume for my new baby niece and took pictures of them and added them to the shop.

      I became involved with a few teams. Team treasuries have been very helpful for me. I recommend joining teams.

      This  year I sold a little over 200 items.

      2009
      This is the first year I sold my Pebbles and Bam Bam outfits (besides the initial custom order). They were a hit and every Halloween since I’ve been swamped.

      This is also the year I realized my shop goes through seasons. The on season is from mid-January to the end of October. November and December are very slow and things to start picking up in January again.

      I gave up cleaning my home. I paid a gal to come on a monthly basis and clean.

      I tried a few craft fairs. They were flops I was stuck with a lot of product.

      This year I sold a little over 300 items.

      2010
      This is the year things started to feel real and with it the stress came. We moved into a bigger home and instead of having all my sewing crap in our living room I got a joint work room that I share with my hubby’s music stuff and his day job work stuff.

      I was no longer teaching and I was so busy with the business I did almost nothing for school. I was supposed to be writing a dissertation. The stress of not making progress on school stuff was overwhelming. I was so busy and I didn’t want to feel like a failure for quitting. But I thought about quitting all the time. I had finished EVERYTHING (classes, tests, proposal, etc.) except the actually writing of the dissertation. Everyone kept on saying “but you’re so close”. My mind was constantly torn between wanting to quit school and wanting to finish. On one hand school was hard and discouraging and on the other hand I was seeing my business grow and feeling encouraged by customers. I gave my time to what made me feel more competent.

      Sales were steady and regular every day. Halloween was pure insanity. I couldn’t have gotten through it without the help of my family and friends.

      I joined facebook. Did some giveaways on my own sites , the sites of others and did some guest posting. I started submitting things to sites like stumbleupon, craftgawker, and all the link parties on other crafty blogs.

      This year I sold over 550 items.

      2011
      Sales were steady. I was working 14-16 hour days 7 hours a week. I took work with me everywhere. To family parties, to the bar when friends were performing music, everywhere. It was obnoxious and not healthy. I set a resolution to deal with my stress and the anxiety that ‘juggling’ school and my business had caused and another resolution to make my business more manageable.

      I worked my butt off to get ahead and we went on vacation. I added to all my listings that things would take an extra week while I was gone. I was right on schedule right when I got home. And then I got really sick. Just a terrible cold that lasted 2 weeks and I got really behind. It was horrible. Once I was well enough to look at the computer I was so behind. I sent out tons of apology emails. With help from my mom I finally got caught up and I sent partial refunds and special coupons and was so grateful for many understanding customers and just had to shrug off the handful of cruel ones. But I was freaked out. I should be able to get sick without everything falling apart and I shouldn’t have to work 16 hrs a day every day of the week just to stay a float.

      My mom started helping me regularly instead of just at Halloween or when I needed to be bailed out.

      I made the hard decision to quit school with just a Masters. The relief of having the stress lifted was amazing. I don’t regret it. I wish I had had the guts to do it sooner.

      Halloween was crazy again but this time I had regular help. I also had spent a lot of time thinking how to streamline things. I cut a lot of steps out that took up time like hand writing notes to customers,ironing at multiple steps, and more. That made a huge difference.

      I also stopped making things that I didn’t like making as much and put more energy into trying to sell the items I could sew faster. After many customers requested onesies to go with my bottoms I added sets which were great because people liked them and they fell into the ‘faster to make’ category.

      I pushed really hard to improve my blog and facebook presence.

      I was selling regularly so I was renewing my items regularly which brought in more sales.

      This year I sold over 700 items.

      2012
      I feel like I’m in a good place. I see sales picking up again after my normal seasonal lull. I am still a little nervous about the changes that Etsy made to their search but I think things will be good. I’m not sure if sales will be as good as last year but I’m hopeful that things will still be good and more importantly I’ll be able to handle them in a healthier way. On the other hand if things do get overwhelming I know how much I can handle and I’m prepared to say no or take less orders because I know how hard it was to be too busy.

      I’m going to be honest. I know many of you already have little ones. I have no idea how things will have to change when it’s my turn. I know they will have to change and I know a lot will depend on the temperament of my future kids. I hope that I have done the hardest part of getting the business started so if I get the privilege of having my own kiddos that is one thing I have going for me. I’m at the point that I can take a normal weekend if I wanted and even though I still do work most nights I could probably cut that out (or down) too.

      Okay that’s a lot and I know it’s not tips but I always find it interesting to see the path others have taken and I think you can kind of see some of the steps that helped me. I plan on doing more Etsy related posts. Very soon I’ll be sharing what a typical day for me looks like as well as my top selling on Etsy tips in more of a list form for Etsy sellers. I hope this has been helpful. If you’ve got questions you want me to touch on feel free to leave it in the comments or email me.

      Also if you feel like writing anything mean please don’t. I’ve seen many times on other blogs when people share good things or their successes it really brings out some cruel people. I’ve worked really hard and I know I’ve been blessed. I am not writing this to brag. I’m writing this to try to be helpful and because people have been asking. I hope you can be happy for me the way that I am happy for you when things go well. Plus you never know the whole story, there have been plenty of hard times along the way.

      UPDATE: another installment of a peek into my etsy life is up I’ll be tagging them all with my Etsy Life tag if you want to check them out.

      Steps, tips, tricks and mistakes to avoid when starting and growing a handmade business - Rae Gun Ramblings

      Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.

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      :)