Posts Tagged 'Etsy'

The Landlocked Sailor’s Celebration of Summer

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Yes, I know, Spring is just barely arriving in most of the US, but that means summer is right around the corner! (And besides, I grew up in Southern California, where it’s already 70+ degrees.)

With the sunshine comes renewed energy and enthusiasm, and I personally have been trying to eat better… that is, to actually cook and eat whole foods instead of prepackaged, overly processed, or “fast” foods. I’m also stocking my Etsy shop with Nautical Flag knits, starting out with Nautical Baby Bibs. So cute.

Summer always reminds me of sailing (I know, everything reminds me of sailing), but summer probably reminds you of the beach and ocean too. So, in celebration of all things nautical (and of cooking meals full of fresh ingredients), I’m introducing my second giveaway. It’s not from my Etsy store; it’s another book… a cookbook this time. The Williams-Sonoma Beach House Cooking. It’s full of wonderful things like Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Chives, Ancho Chile-Rubbed Flank Steaks, and classic spicy dishes like Jambalaya and Jerked Chicken Grilled Under a Brick. I think my favorite part is the introduction, which is all about setting up the environment and creating the Beach Vibe.

Here are the rules: Stop by my Etsy shop, have a look around, then come back and comment on this blog post about what your favorite item is and why. Leave your Twitter @name or email address in the comment so I can contact you. One winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, 11 April 2010. Winner will be announced via Twitter and . If prize is not claimed within 48 hours, another name will be drawn. Happy cooking!

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When Two Wrongs Do Make a Right

I hate throwing away yarn. In fact, I never do it. When I go through my stash and find an “Oh my goodness what was I thinking” yarn, I set it aside to donate. I might even get around to actually donating it.

But this week, I was going through my cotton yarns, and I found a whole lot of an odd brown color. My first thought was, “Yuck, What was I thinking?” Upon closer inspection, I realized that the “odd” brown really looked like seine twine, or fishing net. It could even be seaweed. Hmmm… sounds nautical. Maybe that’s what I was thinking when I bought it. On the next shelf was a big cone of variegated cream/light brown cotton with an almost pink shade to it. It just barely missed the mark of being pretty. Again, “What was I thinking?”

Then I had an idea: I wonder what these two weird yarns would look like if I worked them together? So I turned on my favorite old Clark Gable movie and went to work. Voila! I LOVE the effect! What do you think?

Two yarns worked together.

Link Love – Blog Love?

So if any of my fellow Etsy sellers have participated in link love on Facebook and Etsy, you know that it can be a powerful thing.

However, have you noticed how few people seem to follow your blog if you’ve posted one? At first, I was fanning everyone on Facebook, on Etsy (unless I really hated their stuff-doesn’t happen often), on Twitter if their timeline didn’t look like spam, AND on their blog.

It’s easy enough to follow a blog with Google Friend Connect, stick it on my iGoogle page or in Google Reader, and glance through everybody’s writing each day.

Then I realized, although I had followed quite a few blogs (which were not bad reading), no one had followed mine. Maybe I’m too boring. Maybe my RSS button is too hard to find. Maybe one of my recent Theme changes through everybody off.

So, link love people, what’s up with the lack of blog love?

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Four Essential Lessons From Etsy’s “Quit Your Day Job” Series

I recently dropped from full time to working only two hours per day at my day job, and have since been pursuing my Etsy shop full time. You wouldn’t think so to look at it, but I am. Most of my work so far has been “behind the scenes,” and during this starting-up phase, I’ve read a lot of Etsy’s “Quit You Day Job” series. Maybe even all of them. Reading interview after interview after interview, I noticed certain recurring themes.

1. The most common “If I had it to do over I would…” moment? Time and again, it’s “I wish I would’ve done this sooner.” Quit my day job sooner, pursued my creative side sooner, taken my Etsy business seriously sooner.

2. The next most common piece of advice is “View your business as a business.” Take it seriously. Be professional. Get up, get dressed, and go to work. Even if that work is at your kitchen table.

3. The most successful promotion tools (apart from excellent customer service and word of mouth): Twitter, Flickr, and blogging about what you do. Sometimes it seems as if you’re only Tweeting to fellow Etsy sellers, but the potential audience of Twitter is not to be underestimated. Tweet about your new listings. Tweet questions, like “What do you think of my new shop banner?” (include a link, of course). Tweet links to your latest blog post. See something you love on Etsy or elsewhere? Tweet about it. Retweet others, be interesting, and others will retweet you, too!

More on blogging & Flickr in a future article.

4. Last but not least: Everyone seems to get up at 8 a.m. Well ok not everyone, but it is very common in the description of an average workday. I don’ take this as a piece of advice, so much, but rather as an indicator that successful Etsy sellers follow their own natural rhythms. This fosters creativity and maximizes productivity.
Whadd’ya think?
What would you add to this list?
Please comment.

Why You Need to Diversify Your Online Presence

We are all familiar with the old adage: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Why not? Because if something happens to that basket, you are out of luck.

So you’ve spent all this time constructing your online store, working on building a brand, perhaps even Facebooking and Tweeting about it, and your customers are starting to trickle in. You’ve made a few sales. Maybe you’ve made more than a few. If so, congratulations!

But now you’re noticing all kinds of venues very similar to the one you already use, and you’re wondering: Should I switch? The answer, unless you are VERY unhappy with your current site, is: NO. You should DIVERSIFY. This means Yes, by all means sign up and put some of your eggs in that basket, too. No two websites have exactly the same audience. You will undoubtedly reach more potential customers by having more than one online store, and here’s the best part: It’s not complicated.

If you were to design and maintain three or four completely different websites all on your own from the ground up, you wouldn’t have time to produce any inventory. But the online venues that are so popular today take care of all of that for you. If you are, for example, a hand-crafter or artisan selling on Etsy, there are many elements of your shop (announcement, maybe shop banner, etc.) that you could quickly and easily migrate to another venue, such as ArtFire or Zibbet. And once you have all of these stores up and running, it’s not going to take you that much longer to check in and maintain three of them than it was taking to maintain just the one. But, you may have tripled your audience and potential sales!

A word of caution: Listing the same item in all three shops is NOT recommended, unless you actually have three of the item. It would be really, really terrible customer service to tell a potential buyer: “Sorry, but you’re too late– I just sold out of this item in my other online store.”

So, your next step? If you’re a Handmade seller, check out this great Zibbet deal: The basic seller’s account lets you list up to 25 items at a time, and there are ZERO listing fees and ZERO selling fees! The really awesome Premium account is going for $7 for a limited time, and it includes unlimited listings, links to your blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages, the ability to display your favorite feedback at the top of your shop page, and more. (There’s even a free trial of the Premium Account with Coupon Code FREETRIAL.) It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of in a storefront.

Are you ready to diversify?

Have you had success selling in more than one venue at a time? I’d love to hear about it- comment below!

“It is the East, and Juliet is…the Letter J.”

I’ve mentioned before that I really love the many meanings of nautical signal flags. Once you catch on, some combinations that were probably meant to be randomly decorative become really funny. For example, the combination Mike-Golf-Victor, or “MGV,” means “Patient has foreign body in the nose.” If your initials are MGV, it might be helpful to know that before using nautical flags as your monogram.

The idea for this R+J bag, though, simply came from the idea that Romeo+Juliet would make a cute combination. The red side is the “Romeo,” flag, which can be interpreted as simply the letter R, or if at sea, “Preparing to Replenish.” The blue and white “Juliet” flag, or letter J, means “I am on fire and have dangerous cargo; keep clear.” Looks like Juliet is running away from Romeo!

I thought I’d better look up the meanings of R & J together, and this is what I found: According to the International Code of Signals, R+J means “You should keep your engines ready,” whereas J+R means “I expect to refloat,” that is, after having run aground. So, nothing too embarrassing if you happen to carry this handbag in the presence of a medical officer who happens to be well-versed in the International Code.

As a practical matter, there are SO MANY combinations of signals that mean so many things, especially the very specific medical emergency code; it is unlikely that anyone has actually memorized the entire thing. Unlikely, but not impossible!

If you’d like to order your own custom bag, contact me through my Etsy shop: or the big red Etsy button at the bottom of this page.

Whadd’ya think?

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Romeo and Juliet

I really love the many meanings of nautical flags. One of my favorite combinations is Romeo + Juliet.

One version of the meaning of Romeo, or the “R” flag (the red one pictured here) is “The way is off my vessel. You may feel your way past me.” Juliet’s response? “Fire on board. Keep your distance.”

This combination of Romeo + Juliet is made from up-cycled sweaters, and will soon be a handbag.

Whadd’ya think?

My Etsy Shop