Thursday, May 31, 2012

Paula's Puns

From the Desk of Paula Gsell

Detective: How did you get into counterfeiting?
Criminal: I answered an ad that said, "Make money at home. "

Did you hear about the guy that lost his left arm and leg in a car crash?
He's all right now.

MOTHER: Why on earth did you swallow the money I gave you?
JUNIOR: You said it was my lunch money.

TEACHER: If I had seven oranges in one hand and eight oranges in the other what would I have?

TEACHER: In this box, I have a 10-foot snake.
SAMMY : You can't fool me, Teacher... snakes don't have feet.

True friends are like Diamonds... they are real and rare. False friends are like leaves... they are scattered everywhere.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shop Of The Month Critique - Patties Pieces

For our second shop critique of the month,  I’ve picked Patties Pieces, owned by Pat Groeller.  Pat has a lovely shop where she sells very unique hand created pieces of jewelry, besides some beautiful quilted items. Pat opened her shop Sept.15th 2010. 

As far as how her shop looks there is little to improve on.  Her photographs are great.  They are clear and focused.  My recommendations would be to do at least one close-up of each item, to reveal detail. It is not necessary for each picture to show the entire item, you can zoom in close on a portion of a necklace, for instance the pendant, so that it can be seen in greater detail.

Another photo suggestion is to use a stark white background on at least one photo.  This will help to reveal truer colors. Be careful using color backgrounds they can distort the true colors, also don’t make your background too busy.  I’ve looked at some pictures where I had to wonder which item in the picture was for sale. I call those artsy pics.  They are very pretty and maybe they could win a photo contest but you are trying to sell your wares. You want to present your items in the best light and make sure your customers see what they are getting. 

Titles and Tags

When I first started with Etsy I gave what I thought were great names to my jewelry creations. For quite awhile I stuck with that.  Then I learned about Google searches, and how tags work.  I came to understand that the title we give our items is our first line for the Google search.  What does that mean?  If you have not searched for anything on Google before it is time you try.  Go to the Google search box on your browser page.  For Pat’s shop she might start with Jewelry, then Necklace, then Handmade, and so it goes. I would suggest to Pat to do a search such as I’ve suggested, then add a few more words that might describe her personal jewelry.  Sit back and see what happens.  You need to think like a customer out there just looking for jewelry who has never heard of your shop.  What words does it take to get Google to bring up your shop?

I spent a few minutes doing a Google search for Patties Pieces, I started off with Handmade Jewelry, that page did not bring up Pat’s shop although it did bring up Etsy’s ad. I clicked on the Etsy ad it took me to Etsy and showed me what jewelry they had, pages and pages of jewelry.

I decided to narrow my search; Handmade Jewelry Necklace, same result, Patties Pieces, a no show.  So I added some of her other tags, alligator and then repurposed, even with these tags and looking through ten pages of Google search Patties Pieces did not come up.

So what happened?  What was wrong? Her necklace was a repurposed or recycled alligator pendant that Pat made into a new necklace. She listed good tags in her tag area. It would seem her necklace would come up in such a narrowed search.
Let’s consider the name of Pat’s necklace, “Alligator Necklace-Mr. Proud Gator”.  Remember that Google is pulling from the title first.  Alligator Necklace is good, unfortunately the title should have continued with more descriptive words to narrow it down. How about "Alligator Necklace Repurposed “.  If there is a person looking for an alligator necklace that title will get you into the search pages for alligator necklaces. 

As for the tags be sure to use all that are allowed. Tags are the additional words that Google can use to find your shop item.  Make sure they are descriptive.  Think like a customer, if you were looking for a specific type  of jewelry what words would you use in the Google search box to find what you want.  I reiterate, think like the customer.
One thing you might want to consider would be to add international shipping.  This can double your prospective sales.  If you are not sure how to figure the prices the post office offers lists and charts that will help you compute the cost. We also have a team here at Etsy called “International Shipping” anyone can join.  They can help you and answer about any question you might have.
Another idea for you is perhaps controversial yet something to be seriously considered. I would suggest raising prices. This is Psychology 101. Your prices are very low. Now some might say, “Well, that’s a good thing.” Isn’t it? It is if it is a “Sale” price. People do not buy low quality. When we put prices on our things that are too low we ourselves are devaluing our own product. In essence we are saying that our product is only worth a few bucks.
I have never sold an item when I have had it on sale, and I have had on sale at one time or another everything in my shop. However, I have sold from every price range in my shop my highest prices to my lowest. If you are not sure of raising prices remember you can always put them on sale for the amount you feel that you really want to get. Please don’t cheapen your product by charging too little, your customers will think low prices equal low quality.
Views, Circles, and Favorites
Another area to look at is how many people are viewing your shop. These numbers need to be high. You cannot make sales if people are not visiting your shop. But how do we get people to come to our shops?
It’s not like our shop is on a mall with people walking by who can just wander in to look at our wares. We have to promote our shops and draw people in.
One of the easiest and best ways is by your activity. It’s the first button at the top of your shops home page.  You will need to start first by visiting other’s shops and favoriting their items and their shops. Then click on your activities button and there will be a place for you to click where you can go and start adding people to your circle. When you add others to your circle people will reciprocate by adding your shop to their circle. This will put your shop items in their activity stream so that all of their circle shops will see your shop and items. Then those people might, probably, will also add you to their circle. Whenever someone adds you to their circle then you should add them to your circle.  Continue doing this until Etsy says you have reached your limit. You should be in well over 1000 shop circles by that time. What that means is that thousands of people are able to see your items and visit your shop and all you had to do was to make favorites of some of the shops and items. I like to take a few minutes several times a week and devote this time to going through my activity stream favoriting items and adding new shops to my circle and visiting shops so that I can favorite more items from the shops that I can use for treasury making later on.
Making treasuries is another great way to get known and spread good tidings. Above I mentioned to favorite many items for treasury making. You can pull up your favorites at any time for treasury making. When you make a treasury it is true you don’t use one of your own items. However, you do some advertising for 16 other shops. When you do that you spread good will among your fellow Etsians and they will reciprocate by using your items in their treasuries. Treasuries are very good ways to get your items showcased, get views and often sales.
Another form of promoting is done by putting ads on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Flckr, to mention a few. Using these avenues has been a subject of a number of blog articles you can still look up and read right here. You will want to build up your Followers and Friends on these different social Medias so as many people as possible will see your ads.
Last but not least is promoting right amongst ourselves. I like to use my 4 Feature’s Positions at the top of our home page. I try to change these four items every day. Then I put them on sale for 25% off. I create an ad with all four items as a document in my Word program and then I copy it. I then take that same ad and I go to all 17 teams that I am on and I post it to the appropriate thread on those teams, on our team that would be the Promotions thread. When I have posted to the teams, tweeted and facebooked, posted to Pinterest and StumbleUpon I feel that I have done about all that I can.  I may change the featureds again the same day if I have time and do it all again, it doesn’t take that much time.  This is the way we get views. I’m afraid it does take work. but we have to let people know that we are out there.
I hope that these suggestions will be of help not just to Pat but to all that read this article. Thanks for reading.

Written by Marilyn Rush

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Meredith's Welcome Wagon

 We've continued to add to our number this month, adding four new members!

Debi Lester from Debidoodah is one of our new Golden Rose Crafters! Debi and her husband have settled in Naples, FL. where Debi is a full-time, self-taught artist. Debi enjoys many styles of painting, but folk art has become her favorite. She also favors angels for her subject matter. Strolling through her shop is like visiting a mini art gallery. We're so glad to have you on the team, Debi!

Bird House

Toddlers Pattern
Dress Pattern
 Janet Davis from Rosyjanet also  recently joined our growing team. Janet describes herself as an "ex-hippie wanna be". She lives in Nampa, Idaho with her husband. They have two adult children, a new son-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter. Janet loves to sew and her shop offers wonderful patterns that reflect her love of the craft. She takes great care to detail all the information a sewer would need to know before purchasing a pattern. Welcome to the team, Janet!

Animal Patterns

Door Wreath
Holiday Spirits Decor

Holiday Spirits Decor
 Carol Fisher from HolidaySpiritsDecor is another of our new members. Carol lives in Chicago and recently rediscovered her love of crafting. Her wonderful shop specializes in handmade presents and decorations to celebrate the different holidays of the year. Take a tour of some of her magical creations located in her growing shop. So glad you're now a Golden Rose Crafter, Carol!

Jewelry Box
 Hazel Gibbs from Hazelgibbs is our newest Golden Rose Crafter. Hazel and her husband moved to the south west region of France about five years ago. Along with their two rough collies, Skye and Dina, they have settled in to the french countryside. Hazel has been sewing most of her life and loves the creative process. She uses top quality cotton fabrics as well as pure silk to created her beautiful jewelry and sewing boxes. She has recently also ventured in knitted necklaces as well as beaded tassels. Window shopping through her shop is a treat. Welcome, Hazel!

Tote Bag
Sentimental Journey Knitters Tote
These are a sample of the great items you'll find when you visit Meredith's shop, Patchworkcrafters.
Jeepers Creepers Tote

Blueberry Patch Crafters Tote

Patty's Picks

This month’s new item I have chosen is “Folk Art Angel” created by Debi Lester from Debidoodah. This is such a beautiful piece of artwork. I love the fact that Debi used a piece of reclaimed wood for her “canvas”. There is an ethereal feeling to this lovely piece. I can almost feel the wind blowing her flowing hair. A wonderful addition to any home!

The chosen renewal item for this month is the “Wire Crochet Necklace – Falling Leaves” created by Pat from Patties Pieces.

This lovely piece is crocheted with wire and accented with beads and lovely glass leaves.

I can imagine this necklace would be very lightweight and comfortable to wear. 

The promotion item of the month is this lovely teal bracelet from Marilyn Rush’s shop Maryilyn 1545.  I love teal and this is a beautiful bracelet.  This bracelet has lampwork beads with Swarovski clear and teal crystals.

I love the way this bracelet was displayed on a cream crocheted doily.

And here are some great picks from Patty's shop,  Twisted Sticks:
Quilted Placemat  SnackMat
AWall Hanging

Quilted Wall Hanging

Winner of Theme Treasury Competition

Paula’s  Gifts Of  Love Shop

On May 18th of 2010 Etsy welcomed a new member. That was the day Paula Gsell opened her shop,  bringing her truly unique art to the fore, ready to share it with the rest of us. If you haven’t visited Paula’s shop yet you must do so.  Once there you will discover amazing designs of handcrafted fabric appliquéd t-shirts, blouses, totes, even handbags and scarves, not to mention the pillows and my favorite the hats.

It was only February of the same year that Paula started turning out her beautiful creations.   Her designs are created by individual cuts of fabrics that are fused together with heat then outlined and detailed with fabric paints, to create the beautiful totes and clothing articles you’ll find while exploring her shop.  You’ll be amazed at how easy these items are to care for, and yet rugged enough to go through the wash.   I’m blessed with several of her items a tote bag and two shirts and I just love them.  I get so many compliments and people always ask where I got them from.

About the Woman

Paula is a 57 year old woman who is divorced and caring for her elderly,  disabled mother.   Three years ago she was working as a Chef, however when her father died , she had to quit that job and it was then that she moved to care for her mother.

Paula has always loved good food and feeding others and says food has always played a big part in how she shares her life and expresses her love. She feels it is inherent in her Italian heritage.   She received her culinary training at French culinary in Houston, Texas, where she lived for 13 years.

Arts and Crafts

Paula’s always been interested in arts and crafts.  When her daughter was young she did decoupage starting out with plates. Later she went into designing furniture . She also designed tile murals and backsplashes for builders. 

Paula is hoping that her appliqué designs she does now will catch on. So far this technique has not shown up by anyone else in another shop.  She truly has a unique product and hopes that through Etsy her designs will gain popularity  and reach more people.

Making Treasuries

This article about Paula has been written and is appearing in this blog due to the fact that she won the Theme Treasury Competition for April 2012.  On being asked how she got started with making treasuries she tells us that she got started about a year ago.  She received help from the Captain of the Golden Rose Crafters, she grew to love the process and she was off and running. She tells us her favorite part of the process is working with the color schemes and the great collections from the many talented artisans of Etsy.
The advice she offers to others learning to make treasuries is to have fun and take your time to find the right creation and color flow to match the title theme.  Paula often takes many hours to create a treasury,  exploring all the many creations that our own team offers as well as all of Etsy to find the perfect fit.  And she emphasizes don’t rush,  take your time.
Golden Rose Crafters
When asked  how she felt about the team Paula had many nice comments, my modesty holds me back from printing all the wonderful compliments, suffice it to say, Paula is very happy being on this team and says the Captain and team leaders have gone far and above to help her with the things she needed to learn. She says there are a lot of very nice people on this team and everyone is very supportive of one another.
Paula is very realistic about her thoughts for the future,  realizing the world economy has a great effect on whether or not we are able to be successful in our business ventures.  She hopes to continue selling and exploring new designs and adding new creations to her shop.
As far as advice to Etsy Newbie’s, Paula reminds us be patient and have fun with whatever it is that you are creating. She says “Join a good team and learn as much as you can about promoting your art work and most of all, do it because you really love what it is you are doing.  Things made from the heart are clearly seen and show in your pieces.”
Congratulations Paula for winning Aprils’ Theme Treasury Competition.

Written by; Marilyn Rush