Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Feature - Batwa

Okay, so I've given up on the idea of a "Feature Friday." I just couldn't stick to the schedule. I'll still feature an etsy artist weekly, but it won't always be on the same day. On that note, here's an interview with this week's featured shop, Batwa.

How did you get started making wallets and handbags?

I've always had a thing for handbags (and shoes!) and wallets. I own many and in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. I made my first little handbag as a birthday gift for my aunt; I was pretty much hooked after that first time. I figured I could change my handbag and/or wallet whenever I wanted to if I could make them myself.

How did you hear about etsy and what prompted you to open your shop?

I first heard about Etsy in a craft forum a little over a year ago. I knew immediately that Etsy was for me.

You are a relatively new seller. How are you working to market yourself? Have you learned any lessons re: what works and what doesn't?

Marketing is still very challenging for me. I am not one of those people who can just hand out my business card to anyone and everyone that I meet. So, for me, I mostly do my marketing through Flickr, Etsy forums, Facebook, Family, Craftgawker, and a few other forums. I'm currently trying Twitter, but I don't think it's REALLY my cup of tea. I can't micro blog about my life to cyberspace for all to know. It hasn't generated any sales, but I must admit it is great for views. I'm still trying to figure out what works and what doesn't. I'm also thinking about advertising in a couple of blogs.

What is the most exciting thing that has happened since you opened your shop?

Exciting things happen to me everyday. I get excited when I get views, hearts, treasuries, etc. The most exciting though has to be being approached to do a wholesale order for a couple of boutiques!

Do you have anything special in mind for the holidays? Will you change your marketing?

I don't think my product lends itself well to "the holidays". It wouldn't be practical to produce a wallet with a winter or Christmas theme because it wouldn't be able to be used all year long. I might do more cool colored items with blues and whites though. I'll be having a FANTASTIC sale in October, perfect for pre-Christmas shopping: BUY 3 wallets and get the 4th. FREE

Generally speaking, are there any lessons you have learned since opening your shop that you can share with us?

I'm still on my learning curve when it comes to photos. I have good days and I have bad days. I shoot all my items outside in bright light, but indirect sunlight and edit them in Picasa, which is a free photo editing software (picasa.com). Customer service has to be top notch! I respond to all buyers with a "Thank you" convo letting them know that I appreciate their purchase, when their item(s) will be mailed, and when to expect them. I try to pack the items in my "colors" green and black and never forget to include your business card! I've also learned that the Etsy forums are a great place to hang out. They're the perfect place to go to get advice, help, words of encouragement, critiques, and lots of laughs.

Here are a few of her current favorites:

Wallet in Amy Butler Wildflowers and Oxford Stripe

Large Cosmetic Case in a Batik Bull's Eye Pattern

Medium Frame Pouch in Amy Butler and Silk

And my favorite:

Wallet in Tina Givens Annabella and Moda

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Ride to Conquer Cancer - Part II

Okay, so there's this radio station here in Louisville called "Gen X Radio." It plays music that was popular during the 1990s. I love it! Some of it is really, really bad, but it still brings up some great memories. So, anyway, I was listening to Gen X radio on my way to cheer Tim in to a pit stop in Finchville, KY. This pit stop was located in the entrance to a subdivision and, as I pulled in, I rolled down the window to ask the crew chief if I could park behind the tents. She said, "yes," so I proceeded to drive very slowly through the pit stop with the window down waiting for the crowd to part so that I could pass. I noticed that I was getting some funny looks from riders and, as I tried to figure out why, I realized that "Baby Got Back" was blaring out of my radio. Classic Amanda . . . so embarrassing.

Tim beat us to the pit stop, so we didn't get to cheer him in, but we did get to spend a little Tim with him while he refueled. Then we headed on to the finish line in Tom Sawyer State Park, leaving him with strict instructions not to ride too fast so that we could beat him there. Norton had a nice finish line with a chute for the riders and an announcer mentioned all of the names as they crossed. Tim was almost sprinting when he crossed. The announcer was impressed and described him as entering the chute "like a bullet." He continued to comment on Tim as he rode around the back end of the chute cooling off. What a cyclist!

The Olive Garden provided free food for the riders and their guests, and they actually had food that was vegan. Tim, LB and I had a little picnic on the wet ground and, surprisingly, Tim was able to get up and down with no trouble. In fact, he hasn't really even acted as if he is tired or sore. I'm so proud (can you tell?)!

Thanks to everyone who supported Tim through this journey. We really appreciate it. You've all been wonderful and have helped made a difference in raising both awareness and money for cnacer research.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Ride to Conquer Cancer

My husband Tim is participating in the Norton Institute's Ride to Conquer Cancer this weekend. I am so proud of him! He road 80 miles yesterday and is doing 75 today. Basically, they ride from Louisville to Lexington and then back again. They had some rain yesterday, but he weathered it like a trooper. Today the skies are clear and the temps are in the 70s. LB, his parents and I visited him at camp last night and he was feeling good. One of his knees was a bit sore, but, other than that, he felt great.

The Norton Institute supported the ride really well. They had plenty of pit stops with snacks, water and sports drinks, "coaches" following to pick up those who needed help and plenty of bike mechanics. At camp they had two person tents set up, medical assistance, hot showers and free massages. They also provided dinner and a Beatles cover band. These pics are from day one. I'll post day two pics later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pumpkin Treasury on etsy

Hi everyone! I thought it time for a pumpkin treasury on etsy. I curated one this morning. Click on the link to view it in its full-sized incarnation. And don't forget to click and comment!

'Tis the Season for Pumpkins

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Feature Sunday? Glass Cube

I'm (obviously) a little behind this week with my feature. However, I have a lovely etsy artist to share with you this week. She just joined etsy in August and is from Columbus, Ohio. She's already had 47 sales, so maybe we can learn a thing or two from her!

How did you first hear about etsy? How long have you been a seller?

I actually heard about etsy a few years ago. I was starting up a purse business and one of my friends turned me on to the website. Unfortunately at the time I thought I'd be better off getting my own website! Little did I know that etsy would have been much better. So, this time around I went straight to etsy. I just set up my shop on August 9. Etsy has been just absolutely fabulous!

What are some valuable lessons you have learned as a seller?

Patience and pride! I learned (and am still learning) to be patient....the sales will come and my shop will get its name out there! Its hard work being on etsy. You have to spend the time to get to know other etsy members, advertise yourself, network, etc. The second thing I learned is to be proud of my work! I really like what I make, but its a great feeling when others like it too! Being on etsy just forces you to be proud of what you do! :)

Do you buy on etsy as well? What draws you to a shop, if so?

I do buy on etsy! I think its a great way, especially in hard times right now, to make sure that my money goes to good use! I'd much rather buy a handmade, unique item and have a family receive my money than go to a corporation and buy something that everyone already has and feed their profit margin any more!

How do you market your shop? How did you discover what works and what doesn't?

As of right now I am relying solely on blogs, twitter, facebook and word of mouth! I have gotten a lot of my sales from other etsy members that I have gotten to know in the forums!

What inspires you?

Oddly enough, some of my mistakes have inspired me the most. I love the "uh oh that wasn't what I wanted to happen" feeling, and then realizing that I created something even better! I love bright colors, and I love it when my boyfriend designs things with me! He likes to brag about the fact that all of his designs have sold! He really is good when he puts his mind to it!!

Here are some of her favorites:

Orange Split

Necklace of the Month Club

Faded Blue Jeans and Flowers

Special Offer: Glass cube is offering a FREE necklace of the month club if anyone is interested! Just go to
www.twitter.com/glasscube and copy, paste and tweet her message! 502nd Retweet wins!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Treasury - Hall O Greetings

I just got a treasury on etsy and took the opportunity to feature some of the amazing Halloween paper goods from the Etsy Greetings Team. Check out the treasury and be sure to comment!

Hall O Greetings

Monday, September 7, 2009

Blog Feature

Little b Bunny has been featured on the Northern Dawn blog. Click on "Northern Dawn" to check it out. Laura lives "in the Northern Scottish Highlands, surrounded by gorgeous scenery with a view of the sea. [She] makes knotted and beaded Jewellery and other handmade craft items, perfect to treat yourself to or give as a gift."

Fun in the Sun

Squeezing the final moments from summer...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Feature Friday - Emintaos

It's Friday and time to show some love to a fellow etsian, Emily of Emintaos!

What prompted you to open your etsy shop?

I was a floral and event production designer in California for 17 years. When I moved out to Taos, New Mexico a few years ago, holding onto that profession was impossible. I had begun designing jewelry 9 years ago with my best friend, as a hobby and a way to make a few extra bucks. I realized quickly out here that I was going to need to be creative literally and figuratively to help support my family. Etsy was something I had heard about as gaining in popularity. I checked it out, mulled it over, got brave, and went for it. I opened in October of 2008 and, after be really discouraged for the first 8 months, decided to give it a concerted effort once again. This last August, with A LOT of effort and changes to my shop, things are turning around. I WAS JUST FEATURED ON THE FRONT PAGE!

What have you learned during your time as a seller?

Well, believe it or not, I didn't learn about the 'renew' button until recently. That has changed things dramatically. As a seller I have also learned how valuable it is to have other Etsy artisans to lean on for advice, tricks, tips, and moral support. I feel too that I really am learning a lot about the psychology of merchandising. There is a lot to selling, especially if you want to sell jewelry!

What inspires you?

The seasons, the weather, colors, and texture inspire me. I am occasionally inspired by what I see in high fashion. I like to take ideas, combine them, and then pair them down. The older I get the more I see that simple is best.

What are your favorite materials and colors?

Saffron orange, peacock blue, seafoam green, and tanzanite purple, vibrant versions of the secondaries on the color wheel, are among my favorites. I LOVE silk, refined or raw, rough-cut faceted semi-precious stones, real raw rocks, satin vermeil, butter soft deerskin lace.

Do you target specific seasons or events? If so, in what ways?

I really just learned about merchandising for the upcoming seasons, events, and holidays. I took to heart everything I learned from the Storque on Etsy, and I really attribute that to why one of my pieces made it to the front page!

How do you promote your shop? What has worked the best/worst for you?

I visit the forums at least once a day and try to post in the Promo, critiques, or business sections. I post almost every item to facebook, and try to renew at least 5 items a day. This is really still new for me, so I hope to know the answer to this question after the holiday season. Fingers crossed!

Do you sell your wares in other online forums or offline? If so, where? If so, please compare the venues.

I sell in various clothing/gift shops as well as two spa/resorts in my county. I do fairly well. Most of my stuff is on consignment, but I am gaining accounts that buy, which is always the way to go. Etsy is really hard work, and, although I'm not there yet, I hope it will one day rival the success I've had offline.

What are your favorite pieces right now?

I really love the silk wraps I've been doing lately. They are so colorful, versatile, and easy to wear....wrist, neck, ponytail, tie on a gift. I also am quite fond and proud of the higher-end pleated hand-dyed silk necklaces with the preserved leaves I've introduced. One of those was the one that made it to the front page.

Harvest Queen

Silk Ribbon Wrap

Autumn Silk Ribbon Wrap

Here are a couple of my faves! If you get the chance, check out Emintaos' shop and comment here on your favorites. I'm sure she would appreciate the feedback.

Autumn Calling

Antique Sunshine Earrings

Let's Go for a Ride

I curated another treasury on etsy today! In honor of my cyclist husband, I focused on all things bike. So, if you get a chance, check it out and click away!

Click here.

A Custom Wedding

I recently had an Australian customer contact me about a wedding card she purchased a couple of months ago. It seems that she moved and lost the card. It was intended for her sister's wedding in two weeks and she wanted to replace it. I couldn't find the original paper that I used for the card, so I made some samples for her. I thought I would share them with you. The pictures aren't the best. I took them quickly with my point and shoot. I think you can get an idea of what they look like though. If you are interested in one, let me know and I can make more. These were all purchased by the aforementioned customer. I really enjoyed doing some custom work, and would love the opportunity to do more.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Autumn on etsy

I've started putting some autumn and Halloween-themed products in the Little b Bunny shop on etsy. I know, I know, it's only September 2. However, many etsy sellers are starting to promote Halloween items, and I need to keep pace with them. You know how it is. I think Target put out their Halloween decorations in May. Anyway, in case you haven't been to the shop in a little while, here are some of the newer items. I have several more cards ready to go up. You'll see those in the next few days. Be sure to let me know if you want any custom work created. Happy September!


Autumn's Leaves

Halloween Trees

Halloween for Kids

Quilled Leaves