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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Plug Boards! The list!

I am linked to Works for me Wednesday on Rocks in my Dryer.

First of all a plug board is a place that you can put a little picture and link for free to whatever site you want. Most have rules like family friendly only, so if you are not family friendly or G rated then might want to read the plug boards rules... and these are not always on the site it is on but the host site so look there too!

Flashy is best, in my opinion because it helps get you noticed, but too flashy can get you deleted or banned so might want look at the site a little. Standard size is 88 pixels by 31 pixels (though I have seen 50 by 50, 80 by 15 and 468 by 60 sizes as well, though more rarely).

Alphabetical order of sites:

(88 by 31)

(468 by 60)

(80 by 15)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Are we potty trained?

For the last 4 days we have been staying at home and little 2.5 year old has been in panties (and had only 3 accidents but one of those was when she tried to stand up and pee in the potty like a little boy at church). So today we went out and went grocery shopping in her nice new panties and she TOLD me she needed to go potty. I am so proud.


Buy Handmade

*Why Etsy? Was Etsy your first online store? Do you sell elsewhere?

I had an online shop connected to my personal website for awhile, but it was incredibly time consuming without the desired results. At a show, another fabulous vendor pointed me in the direction of Etsy and I figured it was worth a shot since the listing is so reasonable and the template is easy to follow.

In addition to Etsy, I sell at a few craft shows and home parties each year and have my work in a gallery.

*How long have you been on Etsy as a seller?

I started an account in the late fall of 2006. I began listing jewelry in my shop in January of 2007. I had intended on opening sooner, but my second son showed up a couple months premature and knocked me off course.

I opened a destash shop "Jewelry Supplies" in January of 2007 and began listing pretty much immediately. "Avery Winslow" opened in September 2007.

*Why do you sell what you sell? What is your inspiration?

I sell jewelry because I enjoy designing and have gotten a good response to my work. I also sell my own line because I like having a creative outlet and, while it certainly isn't paying the mortgage each month, the income that I do have helps with medical bills and the occasional guilt free family trip.

I'm mostly inspired by people, as general as that sounds. I've always been the type of person who is content to sit and watch others go about their days. I'm inspired by the stories that I create for these strangers. I also find inspiration in fashion magazines, vintage clothing books, the supplies themselves, and that incredibly fascinating time each day where I drift between wakefulness and sleep.

*How long did it take to get your first sale?

It certainly felt like a lifetime! Even though I knew that wasn't the case, I really wanted to post and have that first item sell...as if to tell me "this is the place for you." In reality, I think it was around 3 weeks and I had around 30 items in my shop.

*What is the hardest thing about selling online for you and what have you done to help you do this?

No question, my biggest challenge online is photography and descriptions. When I sell in person, size is obvious (rather than struggling with a ruler when purchasing online) and the shoppers can see the sparkle and clarity of a piece with no question as to its quality. It's difficult for me to translate the beauty of each piece online. I'm working on it though. :) I've tried different styles of photography, different backgrounds, and experimented with ways to show scale. I'm still working on the best way to do descriptions that blends factual information with the fun details.

Additionally, I think selling in general is difficult for me since I'm so busy with other responsibilities and short on time. I feel like I have a million ideas for pieces, advertising, and marketing...I just need 48 hours in a day (or a full time nanny!).

* What do you think is the BEST most effective way to get your name out?

This is a question that I still struggle with. I think it's most important to first figure out who your market is and plan your advertising with that market in mind. Although I've heard a lot about MySpace working for other sellers, I know that my typical clients do not use MySpace so that isn't the best way to get my name out. I also know that many of the online features do not appeal to my customers. As more and more shopping takes place on line, I'm hoping that an online form of advertising will stand out as effective. At this point, I've received the most traffic following magazine publications or features. In my budget for 2008, I am planning to spend more advertising dollars on print ads.

Anyone selling should have business cards with them always and give those out to family and friends who are comfortable sharing information about the business. That's the easiest way to get your name out.

Please Visit her blog and website!

Friday, April 25, 2008

No computer time!

Well, I know it is Friday and I really want to post a feature but I didn't get that done. Hubby has been using the computer ever moment that I have been free (he is in school and his grades keep food on the table so it isn't really an issue other than I REALLY want to get this done!) I will do my best for Sat. but hubby is home tomorrow and I don't know what the schedule will be like. At worst my feature will but up on Monday. how bad is that... really?

Feature friday and a computer meltdown

Well, computer is going CRAZY (along with my body but hey what is pregnancy for... right?) and I hope to get the Friday's feature up, but It will have to wait until morning. So sorry!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

No baby yet...

Well, I am (im)patently waiting this little ones arrival. I saw the midwife on Tuesday this week and haven't progressed at all. The baby has dropped but that is about it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Ok, so I might be taking a force hiatus very soon. The reason? Baby has dropped (meaning it has decided to get into position to get born) and I am having the beginning stages of labor.

Now the nitty gritty of it all:

Contractions are about 10 minutes apart and 1 to 2 minutes long. You don't need to call your doc/midwife and head to the birthing center/hospital until they are 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long (though I have been calling my midwife and she said call her if I start progressing anymore but just to relax until I do). Now the reason I say the beginning stages is because I could very well keep at this level for 2 weeks or I could just stay like this for 2 hours and then get on to full labor... who knows, though if I had my say It would be 2 hours. Anyway, we will see what happens.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Artisan Impact

Buy Handmade

Ilan, Oded and Ev are completely passionate about jewelry. They have been making and selling gold and silver jewelry for 16 years in galleries. Their designs are inspired by Spanish and other cultures.

They decided to start selling online on Ebay in the summer of 2007 but do not think it is as good a fit as Etsy is. They heard about Etsy in July of 2007 and started to sell there as well. Their first sale was a week after starting on Etsy with their second sale another week later. It took them two to three months to get regular sales on Etsy.

They have come up with a unique solution to advertising, printing a catalog called “Artisans of the World”. They print their designs and sell space to other etsyians trying to get their name out.

It is mandatory that you set aside money and time to promote your shop outside of Etsy. Posting on the boards will get people to look at your shop but isn't easily done on a daily basis.

Visit their other Etsy shop and their website.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An appointment...

I had an appointment today with my midwife and it turns out that I am 60% effaced and at 2 centimeters. Great news if you ask me, considering that I was safe to give birth as of April 8th or something like that. (Meaning that the lungs and everything else was fully developed and baby may be a little underweight but fine.) My midwife says that I am good to go whenever labor starts. I really want to give birth soon...

How to take GREAT photos!

These are some helpful hints on taking photos I have found and am sharing at Works for me Wednesday hosted by Rocks in my Dryer:

1. Take LOTS of photos! If it is grandkids, something you are trying to sell, or anything in between take a bunch of photos. I take about 100 photos for each of my yarns I have for sale and up towards 300 when doing a photo session for my little un. So glad I have a digital camera otherwise I am not sure what would happen to me!

2. Check out the background. It doesn't have to be Plain Jane but you don't want it to be too busy either. With children and pets this can not always be determined until after the photo is taken but in still life you can play a whole bunch.

3. Remember that you can crop! ok, so you don't like the weird person that is standing in the background of a photo. No problem, cut them out. Don't have a photo editing software? Look into getting The Gimp for free. And check out this tutorial page.

4. Look objectively at the photo. Look at the photo and ask yourself "how are my eyes traveling around the photo?" Are they centering in on what you want it to center in on? Do your eyes move around the photo? If so where? Are these places you want other peoples eyes to linger? Does the photo direct your eyes off the photo? If it does is that ok? And remember that a man's eyes move differently than a woman's eyes.

5. Color accuracy is important! Ok, not so much with people photos, but with something you are trying to sell online, you HAVE TO HAVE accurate colors, at least as accurate as possible.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

24 hour shifts...

Hubby is working in Trauma Surgery this month so he can make is own schedule. He needs to work something like ten 24 hour shifts this month. Seeing as I am due in early May I am encouraging him to work as many as he can before the 18th of this month so if I go early I can keep him at home and not feel bad about it. Of course the munchkin daughter is NOT liking having her bedtime messed up (daddy puts her to bed every night), but she will survive.

Now on to unfamily like stuff.

I am starting something called Friday's Feature and right now am just featuring Etsy shops. That will be changing in June (the theme will be Baby Showers, so only shops that specialize in babies) when I will be willing to take ANY online shop, though I will most likely have about half be Etsy. Also vote in my poll for July's Features theme.

Jelly: I am surprised at how many people don't know considering the information is sitting in my profile. Of course I don't really talk about it either.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Little Bug Boutique

Little Bugs Boutiques is actually this mother's second shop, her first being opened in 2004. She didn't open shop on Etsy until December 2007. It took her a week to get her first sale on Etsy.

Charlene has always been creating and artistic. She got her degree in Interior Design and started working in an Architectural firm. She loved her job but then some things in her life changed.

In 2001, after the birth of her first child, she was searching for something that would allow her to spend more time at home, but still allow her to get out some creative energy. She tried and disliked scrap booking. One day she woke up and it dawned on her that she should make and sell jewelry and has had a passion for it ever since. In 2005, she started to focus on the jewelry business full time. She still does some Architectural work now and then, but children & jewelry are her primary passions and keep her quite busy.

The hardest thing for Charlene about selling online is that you can't actually see and hold the item. She states, "You have to sell the picture." This means practicing and experimentation. Try every angle, light, and prop you have.

She also things the BEST way to get ones name out is by word of mouth. "Good quality and service are essential," emphasizes Charlene. Have your items shipped promptly and packaged well.

Visit her blog, website or her supply shop on Etsy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

MAJOR toy give away!

Two Weeks of Toys - Giveaway Event

Ok, so I am linking this because I just need to. It is such a sweet deal that I have to!

Contest ends May 7th and winners are chosen May 9th!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

FREE things on the net that I like!

Ok. so I thought I would share some really great free (and almost free) deals on the internet that I visit almost daily.

Free silver jewelry: Ok, so you have to pay shipping ($5.99 USD) but really, who can resist! This is GREAT for a gift for mothers day or some other holiday! Warning: VERY ADDICTIVE!

Free samples from Wal*mart: I get these all the time. Toothpaste, shampoo, diapers, foods. They have it all and free, but it is all limited in supply so it changes often (like in daily!)

My points: Ok, so you sign up to basically be spammed in your email box but for every spam they send that you click through you get points (5 points usually but sometimes 25 or 50). Then you can "turn in" your points for gift cards (I got a 25 dollar gift card for Red Lobster so far so I know it works). you can also get more points faster if you buy stuff (right now it is 10 points per dollar with Target so if you need to buy from Target anyway... why not?) via their site or use their search bar. You also get points for referring people so if anyone wants to be nice and give me points for posting about it, please comment and let me have your email...

That is all for now, but If i can think of more I will post again.

shopinchic: Thanks for the freebie! I am now addicted!

Heart of Wisdom: Thank for the link to your site.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring Break is over!

This last week has been spring break for hubby (the last one he will ever get too) so I have been busy. We went out some, we reorganized the house, and we set up the crib for the new baby.

Our little 2 year old is doing some really cute things too. She had outgrown the "Pat The Bunny" book and now only want to be read "The Silver Slippers" book. We have a ballet work out video that is our roommates and she "exercises" to it almost all day. Very fun to watch. We also have a under dress that kinda looks like a tutu that she insists on wearing EVERYWHERE.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A little sad about etsy...

Well, have been posting on etsy for over a month. I followed different peoples advice and only posted every so often instead of all at once so as to keep my shop on the front page when I could (I would have posted more at first but I made myself promise that I wouldn't post unless I had the money to pay the etsy bill). I have posted on the forums, gotten treasuries, and even advertised to try and get my name out and sell something. Still have no sales. So I am asking for advice. What do YOU suggest so I can get a sale? or just do better? I am not begging for a sale, just advice.

Aunt Kathy: Thanks, I guess I kinda expected to have a sale by the end of the first month with all the advertising and such I was doing.

Anon.: I know what you mean.

Ashpags: Ok, I kinda agree that scrolling down is frustrating, so I moved the etsy link tot he top of the page (also note that I advertise the other blog in banners all over while I do not do so for this blog). I was going to do a donation with my first sale... If it doesn't happen in another few months (the first 6 of my shop) then i will donate. The dishcloths are more because I won't be teaching anymore once the baby comes in May and though I could use them, I would rather sell them. Knitter or no.

Dotty: Thanks for commenting! I do love PW so much. And thanks for the convos!

All patterns, free or otherwise are licensed. This means you can not SELL the patterns nor copy and paste them for free on your blog or even give them out for free, but you can direct people to this site to get them for themselves. You ARE allowed to sell/gift/burn what you make with my patterns so long as you don't call yourself the designer, just the maker of said object. If you do sell said object, please link back to my blog.

All photos are licensed and can only be used if they link back to this site. All other content is licensed and MUST have my permission or the license holders permission to use them on another site. Stealing content is not acceptable and in violation of the law.