Saturday, December 29, 2012

Keeping the Competiton Close

Did you know that is considered Spam to convo someone who simply put one of your items in to their favorites? This happens to me a lot-- I favorite an item and that shop owner convo's me to thank me and offers me 10%-20% of any item in their shop or off my total sale. I think it is nice and I generally ignore it. 

However-- there is another group out there in Etsyland that will report that
shop to the powers that be as Spam. It is written in the Etsy Rules that doing this
(contacting someone to thank them and/or offering them a sale) is a Big No-No. 

·           You must not use Conversations to send unsolicited advertising or promotions, requests for donations or "spam."
·           If someone hearts your shop/item to mark it as a Favorite, that is not an invitation to send a Conversation to that person.

I get that shop keepers want more sales- I do too. And most who do this, I am thinking consider this fair game in trying to reel in a potential customer. I do get it. 

Favorites, to me, are not so much about me loving your item. I do, for the most part, actually like the item that I have favorited. But sometimes, that is not the case. For me Favorites are a marketing tool. If I favorite your item-- then others will see that I did that and might come looking at my shop. I also am quick to see who likes your items- that might be similar to mine- and go like their shops. That helps me... because I do think that my similar items are nicer than yours and I want those people who liked your things to see mine too.  

All is fair when one is trying to get business. Circles work much the same. The saying about 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer' rings true here.. except I would say to keep your competition closer!
So, I would caution those of you who do feel the need to thank others for looking at your shop with or without an future discount to be careful.  As I said before- there is a group of Etsians who do police the place and feel it is their duty to report anyone who is not following the "code". It might be unfortunate if you accidentally contacted one of them with your discount thanks. (or even a thanks for the favorite). Etsy does not take Spam lightly.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

How to Package Your Sales

Everyone does it differently... this is what I do.

One of my fellow team members asked me to show her how I package up a quilt for shipping. This is what I do for not only Quilts, but for all my sales...with some variations.

Supplies needed... Zip Lock Bags, Tape, Tissue Paper, Thank You cards, Thank you stickers, Scissors.

I will show you with pictures and explanations as I go.

My Quilt--- Is "Quilted Lap Quilt in Hot Pink Batik and Black Floating Stars" (It measures 40"x47"). I call this a small Lap Quilt.

Next I fold it into a fairly small fold. I put it into a Zip Lock bag.. I keep a variety of sizes on hand.
(Now, don't go crazy about how much they cost.. I get mine at the Dollar Store. A bag of them-- like you find at the grocery store). I push out all the air that I can.
I like the zip lock bags or whatever brand you want.. to protect it from the weather. You could wrap it 1st and then put it into the bag. I just do it this way. I would rather not have my tissue paper bleed into the quilt-- IF my bag should get a hole and everything gets wet. For bigger items-- I have used new garbage bags to set the items in, and tape the bag shut. My goal is weather protection. Not pretty at this point. Pretty comes with the tissue.
After it is in the bag.. I wrap it in Tissue paper. (again-- the cost is minimal.. I buy it after the season at a discount... I buy it at the Dollar Store. I keep it in a plastic tote next to my PC. Think ahead and get pretty Seasonal paper to use). Last year, I found a clearance sale for Pink tissue at 10 cents a package... I bought Lots of it! So, my shop color this year and the next few will be Pink!! I use the pink for every day sales... not around a Holiday.
Sometimes instead of tape... I use pretty stickers. (again I buy them on clearance).
This is what my customer sees when they open the box... a Nice gift for them. Depending on the item.. I either enclose a Thank You card.. (again.. I either make them from scrapbook supplies, or get them on sale)...Or I attach a Thank You sticker to the package. A sticker that I print off my own printer and designed on my PC (I have Print Shop).

I think it is important for me to thank my customer for the sale. I am truly grateful for the sale.
I always include a card or thank you sticker! As I said above.. I have Lots of Scrapbook paper and stickers. (once I thought I would do more scrapbooking- which is not the these sheets make pretty Thank You notes).
And Sometimes I include a Thank You gift.
Thank you gifts are items that I don't sell in my shop for the most part... they are items that I sell at craft shows for like $2.50. I am okay with that. It depends on the sale. Not everyone gets a thank you gift. Repeat customers, customers who come to me with a custom order and customers that buy more than one item generally get a Thank you Gift. This is also declared as a business expense on my taxes. It is minimal to me.

Then I put the package into a box. I use a Lot of USPS boxes.. they are free. But I also use regular boxes that I have here. Just depends on what fits where.

For regular Boxes.. I have friends who have gift shops and I just ask them for their boxes.. I have a huge supply here of plain cardboard boxes here. They also give me their bubblewrap and peanuts. It is garbage to them and I can use it! Just ask-- you never know. I have stopped into just odd stores and asked.. they readily hand it over.

I think this is a no-brainer and simple and it works for me. I have lots of customers that Thank me for putting their item into a zip-lock bag to protect it from the weather. Like I said, you could wrap the item in the tissue and then put it into the bag. It just seems like a squished look for me to do it that way with fabric items. I think to wrap in tissue first would be good for wood or ceramics, jewelry etc. Do whatever works for you.

As far as costs for the Tape, Tissue, Stickers, etc. I don't add the extra onto each sale. I certainly count the costs of the items as a business expense and just add up all the costs into one lump sum. I save my receipts. My accountant is fine with how I do this. You have to do what your accountant is okay with... and what is right for you.

Hope this helps to explain....Please take my ideas and run with them.. and make them work for you!

Happy Holidays!!
Linda/The Homespun Loft

PS: This posting is a direct copy from one I did on my own personal blog.. I thought it might be useful here too.  (

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Doggie Stylz Interview

Marietta Aquila is the owner of  Doggie Stylz and she has agreed to answer some questions for us.

1) How did you come up with the name to your shop?
     I posted on my Facebook that I needed a name and one of my friends came up with it :)

2) What was the first thing that you created & sold that made you think- Wow- I CAN do this?
     A dog collar

3) Who or What started you on this path?
    My puppy and my daughter. We rescued a puppy and couldn't find a cute collar for her. My oldest was a competitive figure skater and I made all her competition dresses among other things like Christmas dresses and Halloween costumes and little outfits when my girls were little. My daughter said to me, Mom, why don't you just make one? So I did and got a ton of compliments and started selling them.

4)What is the Favorite tool of your trade and why?
   My sewing machine...I just love to sew

5) What is your best advice or tip to give another vendor?
   Listen to your customers

6) Are you doing any craft shows this year? Where can others find you?
      Maybe for sure on November 3 at Depew High School

7) What is your favorite item in your shop and why?
     That's hard to say, but I really like this one

                                           Custom Dog Collar in Peace Signs Fabric

Here is what I found in her shop...

  This caught my eye-- a hair bow... super cute. ( I know when I try to make something like this-- I am all thumbs.. good to know Maria is there to make them!)

                                          Custom Dog Collar in Wild Tiger Stripe Fabric

Something about this Tiger Stripe called to me. I really like the colors. Wouldn't it look great against the fur of almost any color of dog?

8) Please tell us your links (ie facebook/twitter/web site etc)

As Always-- Please go check out Maria's links and her etsy shop and like or favorite or whatever all her links.. we can all use the interaction with each other!

See ya, L

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Come and Meet Perfume House!

This Interview is with Michelle from Perfume House.

1) How did you come up with the name to your shop?
  I have changed my shop's name from TheLakeMaiden to PerfumeHouse so I may be able to focus and express my love for crafting bespoke and niche perfumes inspired by old-world and ancient recipes.

2) What was the first thing that you created & sold that made you think- Wow- I CAN do this?
- My Angel Face Cream with Sea Buckthorn Berry oil. At the time when I first sold the cream it was plainly called my "Anti-Aging, Anti-Acne" cream. I thought it fitting to give it a name since it seemed to have helped the skin of my customers as well as family and friends.

3) Who or What started you on this path?
- When my daughter was suffering with early childhood acne. This led me to further my research on ingredients, which when combined with my own personal love for all-natural skin care, started the mission to create skin care that would help my daughter, who is now 15 and the clearest she has ever been.

4) What is the Favorite tool of your trade and why?
- Time. When I have time, I use it to research, create, try the items, ask the opinions of my products on family and friends. Yes, it would definitely be time.

5) What is your best advice or tip to give another vendor?
- I created my shop due to the love of my daughter as well as the love for all-natural ingredients. When opening a shop, think of why you are opening a shop. If you are there to make money, then market research and a realistic business plan is key. When you are opening a shop at a hobby-pace, still have a business plan but be prepared if your business takes off and how you would expand.

6) Are you doing any craft shows this year? Where can others find you?
- Right now I am just on Etsy. I would love to branch out to craft shows and more, but the cost (at least for now) of acquiring a vendor's table at some of these events are little pricey at my business pace.

7) What is your favorite item in your shop and why?

- Well I have two. The Angel Face cream that I use as well as my daughter

 and my Maiden's Beauty Mix Grains that I blend with honey for scrubbing and then as a mask.


A Couple of my Favorite items are:

       Lavender Bud Soap - Lavender Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Dried Lavender Buds - 2.5 oz

( I like the combo of the scents)

And this:
Whipped Body Butter - Lemon Olive and Honey with Seabuckthorn Berry Oil

(And this just looks wonderful to me!)

8) Please tell us your links (ie facebook/twitter/web site etc).

Hope this helps and thank you again!
 (and Thank You Michelle... your shop looks great & I love the New Name!)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Sign Post Interview

Heather at The Sign Post has agreed to an Interview...

1) How did you come up with the name to your shop?

  My partner came up with the name to my shop, she is such a creative for sure.

2) What was the first thing that you created & sold that made you think- Wow- I CAN do this?
  The first sign I sold was "Well behaved woman rarely make history". Although, it took a little while to sell my first sign it made my heart just fill with joy and I thought, maybe I can do this? I am still in the midst of working on different sayings so stay tuned, more will be following within the next few months.
3) Who or What started you on this path?
  My partner started me on this path. I previously was selling Adirondack coat racks, calender holders, picture frames made out of cedar wood, but unless I traveled to the Old Forge, Inlet area, sales were not good elsewhere. Guess everyone doesn't like the Adirondack taste as we do :) My partner saw a really neat sign that she liked and set me on my way. Quite a few other vendors rub the edges whereas I actually sand down the edges.

4)What is the Favorite tool of your trade and why?

  My stencil brush is my favorite tool of the trade. Although it is a very time consuming project as there are several layers of very thin paint on each letter, this is my passion for sure. Once you see the sign complete it's just an awesome feeling for sure.

5) What is your best advice or tip to give another vendor?

  The best advice I could give to another vendor is never give up, keep on trying and doing what you love. Keep on tweeking your pictures, policies, etc. Patience is definitely a virtue for sure. I'm sure that my shop could use an overhaul as well but I'm happy with how it looks and this is all that matters :)
6) Are you doing any craft shows this year? Where can others find you?

 I do quite a few craft shows throughout the summer/fall months, this is where most of my sales come from. I do shows in Old Forge, Inlet and Syracuse primarily.

7) What is your favorite item in your shop and why?
The favorite sign from my shop would be "Be Who You Are" by Dr. Seuss.


This sign in particular has so much meaning to me. I am so happy when I sell this sign to a younger person, maybe they will look at this and remember just what it says "Be who you are". There are so many people in this world today that judge others as how they feel someone should be, how someone should live, etc. which I feel is absolutely shameful to say the least. If only everyone in this world was kind and respectful to other another what a wonderful world we would live in.

***Here are a couple things that I like in her shop:
Basically because I have both and it is too true!!

Because I really believe it.

8) Please tell us your links (ie facebook/twitter/web site etc)

 I have a Facebook account and my username is Heather Freeland.

Thank You Heather... Good luck! (Please follow her!)

later, L

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cards by The Blue Rose Interview

Next in line with Interviews is Laura Pilieros and her shop  CardsbyTheBlueRose

1) How did you come up with the name to your shop?
 The Blue Rose symbolizes my husband and I. When we were dating he told me the story. He said it came from an old movie called, "The Thief of Baghdad." The hero, in order to save his beloved princess, must find the mythical Blue Rose. He goes through all types of trials and tribulations, finds the rose, but then it gets smashed. He gives the princess a white rose instead, and it turns blue because of his deep love for her. He gave me a blue rose when we were married 20 years ago.  Romantic, no?!

 2) What was the first thing that you created & sold that made you think- Wow- I CAN do this?

 I can't remember exactly the first thing I sold, but people kept commenting on how beautiful my cards were. My kids are teenagers now and I was looking for something to do , that would also earn me a little money, (I've always been crafty) so I thought, "why not?"

3) Who or What started you on this path?

 I started making cards because of a friend who is a Stampin' Up demonstrator. I had so much fun at one of her classes that I joined her monthly stamp club.
4)What is the Favorite tool of your trade and why?

 My favorite tool would probably be my Cuttlebug...I have used that machine probably a gazillion times, lol! I think my right arm is more muscular because of all the cranking I do.
5) What is your best advice or tip to give another vendor?

 My best advice to give to another vendor would be...don't give up! I haven't yet made sale on Etsy (I joined in June), but I remain positive that I will make sales eventually. I believe in what I do.
6) Are you doing any craft shows this year? Where can others find you?

I have done a few craft shows locally this year. My favorite small show was the Oxford Veterans Home Craft Show; my favorite larger show is Colorscape Chenango! To me, it's always about the people I meet at these events and the interesting types of crafts I encounter.
7) What is your favorite item in your shop and why?

 My favorite item in my shop is my "Woman of the World Card" (LP-219). I love the vibrant colors and contrasts, and that Art Deco woman that adorns the cover.

** Here are a couple things that I like from her shop:
I like how pretty and simple these are. Everyone can use a gift pack of cards to have on hand!
These are so pretty.
8) Please tell us your links (ie facebook/twitter/web site etc).
 My links: Someday, I will have a website!

Thank You..Laura...Good Luck with your sales!

(make sure you follow her too!)

Later, L

Sunday, September 30, 2012

West Hill Nook is having a sale!

Up next for Interview is West Hill Nook (Melissa Hansen). Please read all about her and her shop.. and check her announcement page-- she is having a Sale!

1) How did you come up with the name to your shop?
Actually, my husband came up with the name...We live in Munnsville which is nestled between two hills (the east and the west) We live on the west hill, hence the name.

2) What was the first thing that you created & sold that made you think- Wow- I CAN do this?

A large off-white afghan at the local Farmer's Market in Hamilton for $110.00.

3) Who or What started you on this path?
My husband, Bruce (who is ALWAYS supportive of what I do and takes genuine interest) and my friend Jessica (a local potter) who suggested I sell my products at the Farmer's Market.

4)What is the Favorite tool of your trade and why?
YARN - I am obsessed with it...I love the variety of colors and textures and love mixing colors to create beautiful one of a kind products. There are endless possibilities...

5) What is your best advice or tip to give another vendor?
Have faith in yourself and your products. Surrounding yourself with supportive and creative people can be very inspiring.

6) Are you doing any craft shows this year? Where can others find you?
I am currently at the Hamilton Farmer's Market on Saturdays 8-1

My products will be available at the Earlville Opera House Holiday Sale starting in November.

I am planning to do the indoor Farmer's Market at Madison Hall in Morrisville this fall.

7) What is your favorite item in your shop and why?

My afghans have been and will always be my favorite items. They take many hours to create and when finished are so thick and warm. I love giving them to people as gifts. When I sell one, I know I am giving someone a quality product that is comfortable and will help them relax.

And I love this:
Look how pretty this is! It looks so delicate. What a wonderful gift!

8) Please tell us your links (ie facebook/twitter/blog/web site etc).

my website:
West Hill Nook on Facebook

Thanks Melissa!
** Remember Melissa is having a sale "I am currently having a sale...20% off all items in my shop (coupon code FALL20). I am also promoting my shawls by giving one away for free. Please see details on shop announcement page."


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Interviews are Beginning

The Interviews are beginning...

Up first is Jaie Johnson and her shop - dirtygirldesigns Here are her answers...

1) How did you come up with the name to your shop?
Well, I'm a "dirty girl", so it seemed fitting. Some of my items can be pretty naughty, and I'm very counter culture. I do have lots of items for people who aren't into that sort of thing, but really I love being risque, and that is slowly expanding. I do keep the more "naughty" stuff in its own category so that if people don't want to see it, they don't have to.

2) What was the first thing that you created & sold that made you think- Wow- I CAN do this?

Well, my background is actually in historical sewing and I used to do commissions, but I decided that on Etsy, it was just too tough. One day, I started fooling with shrink plastic and decided it was a medium I really enjoyed. A few people I know are allergic to metal, but love rings, so I began making the plastic rings, my very first one was snatched up at a show and I've been evolving with them ever since.

3) Who or What started you on this path?
My grandfather was THE biggest auctioneer in the CNY area and he was in fact known all over the US and Canada. My step father was the only person who came second to him, so all I've ever known was auctions, antiques, but mostly how to hustle. It's a bit of a hard word, but to me it fits perfectly what I now do on Etsy. Granddad did antiques, I do stuff I make.

4)What is the Favorite tool of your trade and why?

My brain. Seriously. Sometimes the stuff I come up with just sitting here amuses me.

5) What is your best advice or tip to give another vendor?
Patience. None of this happens overnight. Not building stock, not getting orders. I had to revamp and restyle my Etsy store entirely this past May, and I'm still working on it.

6) Are you doing any craft shows this year? Where can others find you?

I don't do physical craft shows. I don't drive for one, and my old crafting partner retired last year. Plus, where I live, we just don't have a ton of craft shows. If I can find a new partner in crime, I'll start doing shows again.

7) What is your favorite item in your shop and why?
Right now, its my shrink plastic buttons. You wouldn't think shrink plastic lends itself to fancy buttons, but it does. I've seen adorable cut out buttons in the shapes of flowers and animals, and don't get me wrong, they're adorable, and I plan on doing them.
But I discovered a method for making some seriously color intense, super high gloss buttons that make a very high end custom button.
So far, I've made what I call "portrait buttons" featuring Marie Antoinette and Elizabeth Tudor and people love them. But for me, it is all about my Russian Inspired buttons. The colors are so intense, and I love nearly anything Russian.

** I also checked out her shop and here are some of my faves there:


 8) Please tell us your links (ie facebook/twitter/web site etc).

Thanks Jaie for a great interview... Now everyone-- please go check out her shop and add it to your favorites and like her fb page-- etc.. We can all use followers!

later, Linda (TheHomespunLoft).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tags and Keywords

Tags and Keywords and their importance...By using them effectively--- this is how others find your shop and the items in them. This is how you get much needed exposure. This is how others find your items for treasuries. Team Tags are super important!

As I was wandering around our member pages.. there are quite a few of you that do not use Team tags in your descriptions. How do you expect other team members to find you? I for one, do not have the time in my day to go through each of  the members page and check the shops for items that I want in my treasury. With a team tag- I just have to do a search for that tag and find the shops/items that way-- so much easier. 

Another problem I have seen is that there are some of the shops that use the same tag over  again. Like "PLUS Size", "Plus SIZE" &  "plus size" (notice the caps or not)... what? They have just wasted a tag(s). When in doubt-- add in a team tag! 

Also-- you are allowed 13 Tags-- USE them all. It can only help you.  Sometimes, I run out of descriptive adjectives for my items... and then you will see some items that pretty much have all my team tags in them!

Check your stats to see what others are looking for.. take your cue from them. If customers are searching for "Teal" shirts and you sell "Turquoise" Shirts... Change your tags to include "Teal"!  

What you might think is obvious-- might not be to someone searching. Try to think in those terms. Also a tag that just says "Big".. is a waste.. Something more like "Big Bath Towel" would be better. You are allowed 20 letters in your tags. Use them. By doing this.. (Big Bath Towel) you have just put 3 tags into 1 and effectively described what you are selling. Use your caps to seperate the words.
Also the Etsy help page is very good if you get stuck for a description. Here are some sites to help:

(this is just an interesting page.. might help you decide which words to used based on the prices that Etsy sets them at).




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Let the Interviews Begin!

Starting shortly we will be Interviewing Team members.

Christina and I have come up with some questions, that might be off the beaten path to ask. We have no special order for the Vendor shops. We hope to get to everyone and are planning on getting an interview done twice a month. (if you have a special sale or reason to get your interview done at a certain time-- convo and we will try to accommodate you).

To start off we will be Interviewing shop owners with at least 10 items currently for sale in their Etsy shops and vendors that have CNY ETSY tagged in at least some of their items. (Doesn't have to be all- I for one belong to over 30 teams and you just can't use up all your tags on team I get it.. but some of your items should be team tagged).

Every once in a bit we will interview a non shop keeper just to get their prospective too.

And Please-- feel free to convo us with any questions or thoughts on the blog.

Thanks so much.
  Linda ( The Homespun Loft )
 Christina (luckyenoughdesigns)