Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What About Packaging?

My apologies to our members who sell and ship larger items as this week, it's about small packaging.

I recently took part in a discussion that asked if packaging was important. I can't remember if it was directed at sellers or buyers, but everyone chimed in.

Throughout the conversation, two things stood out above all else.

1) most buyers did not care for fancy packaging as they felt it was wasteful and they were likely paying extra for it. All they wanted was to receive their purchases safe and sound.

2) jewelry makers felt that jewelry should be presented nicely in pretty packaging. And as a jewelry maker myself, I have to agree with this sentiment.

But it's also important to me, as with others, to be thoughtful in selecting packaging materials. What is the happy medium? I think I found a good solution. It works for me anyway.

About 5 years ago, I watched an Etsy tutorial on how to make Origami folded paper gift boxes. It was so simple it's ridiculous. I immediately knew this was the answer for me.

I make decoupage cuffs. So I purchase lots of paper. Sometimes pads of scrapbooking paper. But not all sheets are conducive to making a bracelet. The sheets I don't use, get folded into gift boxes. And often, they coordinate with the cuffs made from matching paper. Perfect!

For filler, I use shredded paper my hubby brings me from his office that he has by the garbage bagfuls. Then I tie it up with a raffia ribbon.

Because I already have the paper, get my filler for free and raffia ribbon is not expensive, I don't charge for the giftboxes. They are leftover paper and completely reusable, so no waste. And they look beautiful! No added cost for my customer, they actually have a little something extra they can regift and they get a pretty package that makes us both happy. It's a win/win for sure.

This packaging can be applied to lots of smaller type items. A 12x12 sheet makes a 4.5 inch x 2.25 inch square box. The 8x8 sheets make a smaller one, of course, for those tiny purchases. I also salvage and reuse absolutely everything my orders come in, right down to peeling the labels off the bubble mailers so I can reuse the mailer. This helps keep my costs down which is passed on to my customers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Teamie

Today's Tuesday Teamie features our yummy Edibles Shops.


Gena Divine, Santa Ana, California USA is the shop owner of Bake All the Things. She offers brownies, cookies, truffles, mini muffin cupcakes, loaf pound cakes, and much more! She also carries gluten free brownies and cookies. Gena opened shop January 2012 and has 100% positive feedback. Her customers declare her baked goods "rich and decadent," "..fresh and delicious," and "so yummy!"

Andrea Galvez is from Hollywood, Florida USA and her shop is Crafted House. Andrea offers a selection of jams, jellies and butters including strawberry jalapeno jam, mango lime butter, citrus marmelade, and pear and ginger jam. Crafted House opened December 2011 and has 100% positive feedback. Andrea's customers say, "Yum!"

Louise of Princeton, New Jersey USA is the owner of Fires Creations. Louise offers lemon-lime curd, banana bread, short bread, and a selection of organic scone mixes. Louise opened her shop June 2011 and has 100% positive feedback. Of her baked goods, customers say "super special treat!"

Jaime Ford, Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA is the shop owner of Noir Kitteh where Jaime bakes gluten free chocolate cookies, gluten free peanut butter cookies, and cinammon raisin challah. She opened shop February, 2011.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Monday Challenge

Hope all of us were "touched" by last week's Team Challenge! This week we are working on photography with our:

 Click, Click Challenge

Nothing is more important to shop owners than the "Click." 

Every time someone clicks the "add to favorites" button in your shop, your shop listings become more visible, your shop door opens a little wider, and your shop is visited by more people. The more people who visit, the higher the chances of the all-important "Add to Cart" click.

"Click" equals visibility and "Click" equals sales, and the number one way to increase the clickability of a shop is through good photographs.


The number one way to increase the clickability of a shop is through good photographs.

Having the most unique, beautifully crafted products on Etsy will get you nowhere unless buyers can see what you have to offer through clear, crisp photographs. You can write top-notch SEO, you can tag, tag, tag - but without good photos - it is all for nothing. 

This week, our team challenge is to work on shop listing photos.  Here are some resources to get started, and as always, call on other members for help, suggestions, or photo critiques.

Keep in mind that the "click" of your camera leads to the "click" in your shop!


"The Ultimate Photography Guide," written by Kouture Crochet is posted in this threadShe covers how to improve product photos for less than $25.00.  If you haven't done so,  I recommend everyone read this very helpful guide.


Sylvie of Albina Rose started a team discussion on photography and presented good tips for item staging and backgrounds in this thread.  


Joy of The Craft Frog explains Fotofuze in this thread. If you are not familiar with Fotofuze, this is the place to start.


Other photography threads:

Seeking a better background
Making improvements

From the Etsy Blog:

Etsy's Guide to Photography
Mastering Depth of Field: Techniques for Dynamic Photos
Shop Makeover: Before and After With Photoshop
How to Take Photos Using Models

Go Team! Ready, Set, Click!

 Cap'n Kathi 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reach Out and Touch Someone...touch their heart ~❤~

sylvie's perspective

I had planned to write about something more business related this week.  But when I saw Kathi's Monday Challenge, I knew I had to put it on the shelf to post this instead.

Back in February, I wrote on my own blog about this very subject and thought it was quite pertinent to Kathi's message.  I wanted to share this in keeping with her theme.  I've altered it a little to remove the parts that aren't pertinent, but here is the bulk of my post back in February:

Imagine my surprise when I received this message in my inbox yesterday morning.
Subject:  Inspiring
Dear Sylvie! I have not been inspired by anything in such a long time! Your work is truly magical! Your life sounds like a fairy tale although raising three boys has many challenges. I know because I have three boys of my own, 11, 9, and 4. They are wonderful but have usurped so much of my time that I have put aside my true desires to create for too long. I have a degree in fine arts, my true love, and jewelry making was always one of my favorites. I have ideas for pieces all the time but never act on them! After getting lost in your work, I think that will change! Thank you for sharing your creativity with us. It is truly appreciated and inspiring!
I have never met this person either in real life or online. She signed up the same day she wrote her message, on a venue I sell from. I cannot tell you how much this touched my heart.   And made me think. 
How often have I sent an unsolicited message to someone simply to tell them I love their work, their writings inspired me or their photography was moving.  A few times, but maybe not nearly enough.  Her message particularly means a lot to me as I have been experiencing a difficult time, and this was the perfect pick me up right now.  A totally random act of kindness.  Or was it?  I think often the 'angels' in our lives or 'good karma' come at just the right times when we need them most.
And that brings me back to this message.  How this negative experience makes me appreciate her message so much more.  Why wait for someone to 'need' your support to give it? Why not let someone know when you find their work beautiful? I am here to tell you what a difference you can make.
You have no way of knowing when a stranger is going through a difficult time in their life and how big an impact a few kind words can have.  How reaching out to them, can pick them up when they're feeling low.  When I read or hear words like this message, I know I am headed in the right direction with my work and to know I touched someone in a positive way is absolutely the best part of that and one of the big reasons why I keep going.
So don't hesitate!   When you see something you like, tell the artist.  When you read someone's words that inspire you, write to the writer.  If a photograph moves you, let the photographer know. 
 Reach out and touch their heart.   You may be giving them encouragement when they need it most.  Or maybe just reaffirming for them they are doing good work.   
In any case, it will make you feel even better than them. I promise!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday Teamie

There is no Tuesday Teamie today (try saying that six times really fast!).....

We are working on getting member shops categorized for future Tuesday Teamie features and for the team directory.

Tuesday Teamie will be back next week!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Monday Challenge

Hi Teamies! Hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day weekend! And hope your shop had lots of views and sales too!
The Monday Makeover Challenge has been changed to the Monday Challenge to accommodate a wider range of team challenges. So, to introduce you to our "new and improved" blog feature, here is this week's Challenge:

We are going to call this the "Reach Out and Touch" Challenge. And yes, for you old timers like me, it is based on the Diana Ross song.....

...which I will now sing for you: (music, maestro)

From Petals of Grace

Reach out and touch

Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can
Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

(Just try)
Take a little time out of your busy day
To give encouragement
To someone who's lost the way
(Just try)
Or would I be talking to a stone
If I asked you
To share a problem that's not your own
We can change things if we start giving
Why don't you

Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can
Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

(Just try)
If you see an old friend on the street
And he's down
Remember his shoes could fit your feet
(Just try)
Try a little kindness you'll see
It's something that comes very naturally
We can change things if we start giving

Why don't you
Reach out and touch
Why don't you (Why don't you)
Reach out and touch somebody's hand

Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can
Reach out and touch
Somebody's hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

We have so many wonderful people on our team and this song, for me, embodies a large part of what our team is about. And we want all of our members to embrace this! So, our challenge this week is to contact at least two team members you are not familiar with and just say hi. Or, invite them to participate in the forums, see if there is anything they might need help with, or encourage them to take part in our team activities.

As always, this is not mandatory, but I know many of you will participate! And.... never know...

                 ...this just might be the day...

                                 put a song in someone's heart...

                                                                           ...or a smile on their face!

                                                                 from Catino Creations

 Cap'n Kathi ....<here....not here^