Monday, February 28, 2011

Learn to Pounce on Etsy

O.k. so Friday I was a little confused as to what day it was and I said we would pick up where we left off tomorrow. I'm trying to blog on weekdays only so that post has become Monday's (today).

Anyhow, let's get down to another cool way to find random things you never knew existed on Etsy. This search option is called "Pounce". No, it's not Etsy's way of teaching you how to become cat-like and find all of the little critters cats like to catch (mice, birds, and my ultimate horror, BATS!) One of my cats brought home a live bat one day and dropped it right at my feet on the kitchen floor. I don't think I need to explain how I reacted. Suffice it to say I have only been hysterical once in my life and that was the day.

No. No bats will be flying in your belfry if you use "Pounce". Check out this link to see "Pounce":

"Pounce" is a way to view items that have just sold on Etsy and to get an idea of what other shoppers are buying at that particular moment. You can "Pounce" undiscovered shops that haven't had many sales or you can "Pounce" on shops that just had a sale. Either way, the things it comes up with are unique and interesting.

Happy hunting my fellow "Pouncers".

Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting lost in a sea of search options

Well, I decided to take another day off from blogging. I had to work and so I had to get to bed early. I clean houses by day and blog/craft by night. (I try and fit sleeping in there somewhere).

I thought today we would talk a little bit about searching the vast marketplace we call Etsy. This link: gives you all the different ways to find what you are looking for and ways to discover things you had no idea ever existed.

Of course, I talked about shopping through "Treasury" in a previous post so let's move on to another.

I really like searching through "Categories". It is a very logical way to search for items. For example, the type of crafts I make fits in the "Housewares" category. From there you will find sub categories and sub sub categories. Click on the "Home Decor" sub category and then you will see the option of "Floral Arrangement". From here you can sort the results by price or what has been posted most recently.

There is a lot more to cover when it comes to search options, so come back tomorrow and we'll slowly make our way through each way to search and shop on Etsy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A creation made from Hobby Lobby

Don't ya just love a good Hobby Lobby run? I had a few hours on my hands so I popped into the Quarry Bend Hobby Lobby. I haven't been in there since they opened this particular store. I spent a few hours there just soaking in the ideas.

Last year while I was house sitting for my sister up in Layton, I raided the Layton Hobby Lobby. The pictures above are of a little something I whipped up for her turquoise bathroom. All the supplies came from the "Hob Lob".

During today's run I found some wonderful glass bottles, apothecary jars, and some intriguing ideas to fill them with. I know, I have a thing for glass, and for things to fill glass containers. I found glass marbles, corks, artificial lemons, artificial limes, and some wonderful beads all ready to be poured into their new glass homes. The best part was, the glass containers were all half off. Hobby Lobby always seems to be having the BEST sales.

So pop into a Hobby Lobby or other craft store of your choosing and get lost for a few hours. It'll get your creative juices flowing.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

PayPal is the best way to get paid

I have been getting a lot of helpful advice, about setting up my Etsy shop, since I have started this blog. One of the most important things I have learned is the necessity of PayPal. It's like having a middle man to hold your customer's money. It is the safest way to pay with a credit card without having your credit card number given out to online sellers.

Here is a fun little video that introduces the very basics of PayPal.

Etsy also gives some recommendations for which type of PayPal account to set up.

PayPal will become your new best friend. :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is your Etsy shop a business?

Wow, it feels like it has been forever since my last blog post. As I mentioned last Friday, I've been looking into what needs to be done on the business end to become a legitimate Etsy shop. I get a lot of emails from Etsy and this is an article I found from one of those.

Veronica Wasek is a CPA who also happens to be a creative person like you and me. She has a passion for helping small business owners be more informed about business matters. Here is a link to an article she wrote. I know it's a little long but, in my opinion, every page is worth reading.,%20Bookkeeping,%20and%20Business%20Licenses_MyCreativeCPA.pdf

I plan to talk more about this subject in future posts but the article above should keep you busy for a minute.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A little teaser for Monday

Hello everyone. I decided I needed a day off from blogging yesterday to get a start on a new creative project I'm going to be trying out. This project could be a potential line that could end up in my Etsy shop. I have to see how it all works out.

I've been doing some research this week on all the red tape of starting a creative business or Etsy shop. On Monday I will get into whether or not your Etsy shop is a business and how to set it up so you won't get into hot water with your state or the I.R.S.

This side of Etsy, for me, is the yucky side. I just want to create and sell and not have to jump through all the hoops government entities put in my way as stumbling blocks. But they are there for a reason so we have to deal with them.

I'll be back Monday with some helpful advice. See you then!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Musings from the drawing board

O.k. so I had mentioned in a previous post that I was re-thinking what kinds of products to sell in my Etsy shop. I was asked to create 100 wedding shower announcements a few months ago. I have done this kind of project many times before for baby showers and other wedding showers. Here are a few samples of the project I just worked on. I'm thinking these would not cost very much to ship and that would be good for sales. I have talked to a few Etsy sellers who tell me that customers really don't like a high shipping charge on top of the item's original price.

These invitations are only one idea I've come up with. Stay tuned for some more musings from Michelle.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Always on the lookout for a vase to fill

My sister knows I'm always looking for containers so she gave me the square glass one pictured above. She found it at the D.I. and it used to have a candle in it. She took the candle part that she wanted and gave me the rest. I love taking old things, putting a little work into them, and seeing the true potential come out. The ribbon is also upcycled. It came on a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law. The rest (flowers, potpourri, and decorative marbles) I bought new. So look around your house, find some old things and think of some fun transformations. I call it giving them a good old Oprah-style makeover. If you listen very carefully you'll hear loud gasps and applause as your item makes its debut to the world.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The cutest baby booties and advice on setting a price for your handmade items from CuriousWorkmanship

Wow, last week was quite a week as I got this blog started. It takes a lot of time, but I'm still here so let's see if I can last another one. :) I also wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day today! My husband Clark says he has a surprise for me but I'll have to wait and see what he has up his sleeve.

Today I have asked Etsy seller "CuriousWorkmanship" to give us a little advice on choosing a price level for your handmade items. I know Sarah, the shop owner, "IRL" (in real life). I am amazed at how fast she produces her booties and how successful she has been at selling them. Here is one of my favorite items from her shop: PINK COWGIRL BOOTIES. It just can't get any cuter than this, but it does! She does crocheted ice skates, sneakers, football cleats, mary janes, sandals, and ballet slippers all for babies bare feet.

Sarah wrote a very informative article here:

I loved this article and the advice she gives as I'm deciding how much to sell my products for and how to balance that with the time it will take to produce them. She teaches that there IS a way to sell fewer things at a somewhat higher price and not work yourself to death to crank out tons of products to sell cheaply. Whew, what a relief!

Check out her, oh so cute, Etsy shop here:

Friday, February 11, 2011

What are Etsy Treasuries?

The short answer is, Etsy's ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery. I literally live on this page: The picks that other Etsy members choose as their favorites are so beautiful and spectacular. It used to be they had a limited number of Etsy Treasuries but now you can create as many treasuries as you want and create them as often as you would like. They usually have a theme which makes them so eye-catching. Here are a few I've created:

I think I would prefer just to pick items all day rather than create my own items to sell. I've always wanted to be a buyer for department stores, choosing what would be sold in certain stores. With this tool, Etsy lets me do just that. Now I just need to see about getting paid for my fun. :) Get creative and give Etsy treasuries a try. If it's good enough, Etsy chooses some to feature on its front page and many Etsy shoppers will get to see it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How much will Etsy charge when my product sells?

When I first started looking for venues to sell my crafts in, fees were a big consideration. I looked into selling at the Quilted Bear but their fees were quite high ($75 for their smallest booth plus an 11% commission on everything sold). They also require a jury process (a committee decides if your work is good enough to be sold in their store).

Then I looked into Etsy's fee structure and it won me over right away. Etsy only charges 20 cents for each item that you list. Then when the item sells they only charge you a 3.5% commission. Etsy is more than just a marketplace though. It really is a community of artists who want to come together to tell the story of the products they lovingly create. I love that aspect of Etsy.

The picture above is another one of my creations that has a story to tell. My mom had had this watering can sitting in her window for years with some potpourri in it. I thought to myself, hmmm that little watering can could use some sprucing up, so I decided to create an upcycled Mother's Day gift out of it for her. It was a labor of love since I knew it was for my mom and she was excited to see her old watering can transformed into something new with her favorite colors. Every handmade item on Etsy has a similar story to tell. So sharpen your writing skills and get ready to tell all those stories as you create your handmade items.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Yo-Yo Flower Pin Tutorial from FancyFlair

These adorable appliqued His and Hers aprons were made by Etsy shop owner "fancyflair". I know Evelyn, the shop owner, personally and she has quite the eye for style and she wears it with flair. She specializes in one talent that I wish I had and that is the art of sewing. My mom tried to teach me but I just didn't have the patience for it.

Evelyn has graciously offered to take us through a little sewing tutorial. It is a simple sewing project that I think even I might be able to handle. But the end result looks more complicated than it really is. Take it away Miss Evelyn (I mean Mrs. Evelyn) :)

Quite a few years ago I started selling vintage clothes on Ebay. I disliked how impersonal and well, just annoying, everything got there and stopped. Then I got a nice new sewing machine and began a new hobby, sewing lots of different things. I started to hear about Etsy and decided this would be a great place to sell both handmade things and vintage finds - serendipity! I love making all kinds of things from aprons to pin cushions, but mostly I make kid and baby things - they're just so darn cute! I've been happily selling fancy things with flair here and there at Etsy ever since.

Here is the tutorial on how to make a Yo-Yo Flower Pin:

Step 1 - Cut out a circle of fabric twice the size you want your yo-yo (little scrunchy circle) to be. I usually use the lid to my buttons because it's handy.

Step 2 - Hand stitch or use a wide machine stitch all around the edge of the circle. Pull the threads together like you're cinching up purse strings, being careful not to pull the threads out. Tie these threads together and flatten out your yo-yo.

Step 3 - Now the fun part - here's where you can be as creative as you like. Pull out buttons, felt, fabric bits, even beads and try things on your yo-yo. When you've found the right look, sew everything on one at a time. If you've had enough sewing, just hot glue it all together.

Step 4 - Add the pin back by sewing or gluing it on - then hot glue a bit of felt on top of the pin back to secure it in place.

Step 5 - Voila! Add your yo-yo pin to a sweater, headband, dress, apron - the possibilities are endless!

Here is a link to fancyflair's shop on Etsy. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Creating eye catching banners and avatars for an Etsy shop

Pictured above is the banner for my Etsy shop. I took the lazy way out and begged my brother to make one for me, but here is a tutorial for those who don't have a wonderful computer programmer brother like I do. (Although, he is looking for a job and I'm sure he would love to design more banners for anyone interested.) Anyway, moving on from my shameless plug, I especially like the video tutorial at this link. I am a visual learner and showing how instead of telling how makes things so much easier.

The picture I used in my banner was one of my own so I didn't have to worry about getting permission to use it. Yay!

This picture is the one I chose as my Etsy avatar. For those of you unfamiliar with that term I'll try and define it a little. An avatar is the small picture (75px by 75 px) that is displayed in your Etsy profile. Your avatar is kind of like your signature and people will remember you by this picture. If it is interesting enough people will be more likely to click on it to have a look around your shop.

There are different things you can use as your avatar like:
  • A picture of yourself - It's nice to see the face behind the art. If you choose a picture of yourself, make sure it is clear, looks good and doesn't change too often.

  • Picture of a signature product - Even if the product is not for sale anymore, having a great looking product that sums up your shop in just a couple of pixels is great advertisement.

Some of the above ideas came from this website:

Basically you can use anything as your avatar but make sure it is clear once all of the cropping is done.

Well there you have the very basics for beginning to brand your shop. Have fun and get creative with these two things. We are artists after all. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's all in the Name

Your Etsy shop is kind of like a new baby. It needs a name. You can get as creative as you would like with the name. However, Etsy gives out a few pointers when deciding what to name your shop. This link was very helpful when I was choosing a name for my shop:

I would love to hear all of your baby (errr, I mean Etsy shop) name suggestions. Happy Naming!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A clingy phenomenon I've never experienced before

A curious thing started happening to me when I finished the wreath pictured above. I had made it with the intention of selling it in my Etsy shop "ElegantlyUnderstated". I had lovingly picked out the twig wreath as the base for this creation, then decided on what kind of flowers to use and created the bow. But then I got to thinking. Hmmmm, I'm going to have to ship you away when someone wants to buy you little wreath. I have put a lot of time into you. How can you leave me like this?

I am not a parent but I think this might be what some parents feel when they send their children off to Kindergarten, college, or when their child gets married and moves away. So I'm warning you now to get ready to let your babies go. They will go to a nice home somewhere. That somewhere could be anywhere in the world though. There are Etsy buyers and sellers from across the globe.

I have to admit I decided I couldn't part with this baby and it now hangs in my living room year round. But I'm willing to create brothers and sisters to give to good homes. Even if those homes are in places like Italy or Israel. I just hope they remember to think of me once in a while and write home occasionally. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Deciding What Kind of Product to Sell

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to start selling things on Etsy. I have always loved crafts and being creative so I decided on floral arranging. I went to the requisite stores like the Quilted Bear, Hobby Lobby, Rod Works, and Michael's to pick up supplies. I bought a few how to books and started in. This is one of my favorite creations and it was so simple to make.

But here is my first lesson about choosing what to sell on Etsy. I looked into shipping fragile pieces like this and the shipping was going to be something like $15. That is a lot of money to add on top of the price of your item. I haven't totally abandoned the idea of selling flower arrangements on Etsy but it would be so much easier to think of ideas that are easily shipped. For example, anything made out of paper, jewelry, clothing, hair bows, etc. Stay away from fragile or bulky creations.

I have gone back to the drawing board and have some new ideas that I will be trying out and talking about here in future posts. Stay tuned....

Friday, February 4, 2011

My First "Real" Blog Post

Hello, Testing 1,2,3.... Is this blog on? Just kidding I know this is for real now. I have been a "wanna be" blogger for two years now. That's when I created my personal Facebook page and started practicing posting daily. It is hard to come up with some sort of entertainment for the "masses" (currently 105 Facebook friends) on a daily basis.

I still don't know what this blog will really be about. I'm thinking it will be a place to feature my crafts, my now famous daily Etsy finds, and anything else that catches my eye. I will probably mention my family occasionally too but it will most likely be interspersed among all the decorating and design ideas.

I would love suggestions from the "masses" of readers out there on what kinds of things you would be interested in learning / hearing about. I'm thinking I might talk a little about starting an Etsy shop and discussing all of the little details I've picked up over the last year in creating a shop that will attract those ever coveted and elusive buyers. A lot of crafty women and some crafty men (I have tremendous respect for guy Etsy sellers) would like to be able to stay at home and work and I believe this could be a legitimate way for them to do that. Get ready for a bumpy ride as I get going here. :)