Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wish List



'Flow' card by Mindful Productivity on Etsy

As some of you know, I am involved in politics, and with the General Election in the UK on 7 May, fairly busy. Yesterday, the Labour Party released a document on improving access for young people to the creative education they need and succeed. It also talked about the creative industries, and how important they are for the country.

“If you believe in social justice, if you believe in a more equal society, then access to the arts and culture is not an optional extra, it is essential - not simply because of the worlds it opens up, but because of the wider impact it has." *

It made me think about how I did not enjoy any arts and craft education in school, because the teachers mainly focused on the ones who they saw as very talented and gifted, and the rest fell by the wayside, left to muddle around unappreciated. The pure enjoyment of art, creativity and craft –if you weren’t on genius level – was not seen as important. It was always about this grand outcome, this exceptional piece – and exceptional is often in the eye of the beholder, here the teacher – never about 'worlds opening up' or the moment of ‘flow’ ie when you forget everything and are just involved in creating something, and sort of...well, float on a cloud of bliss!

I find that when running a creative business, it’s a bit like that, too. You try to produce, and anything handcrafted takes time, so you focus on getting things done, and the lovely feeling of flow falls by the wayside. I knit on the hoof, during meetings, watching TV, and while my computer is uploading something, but only when I am not at home, for instance, when travelling by train and in no rush to do anything else but knit and look out of the window and drink coffee, do I get my flow back.

So it is hard to just live in your happy craft flow when you are running a business and trying to make a living. You may feel like you are battling against the world or closed doors, rather than worlds opening up.

Coming back to the political, I wonder what you – the reader – would love to see done by a government – any government – to improve our playing field as a creative (often one person-) business? What would be the one - or more – thing/s, that you want a government done for small independent creative businesses? The thing that open doors?

Then maybe, we would get our flow back more often...

Tell us your wish list in the comments!

Purls

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Adding variations to your listing to get more sales.



 Red guitar pick necklace by Absolutemarket on Etsy


Adding variations in to your listing is a great way to get more sales of your Etsy products if you are making your products in other sizes, colours, materials or even finishes.

I found this out very fast when I added variations to size to a few of my listings.

The main size I was selling before turned out not to be the most popular size, but once I added variations, some buyers started buying larger or smaller sizes.
These are sales I would not have got before adding variations to those listings.
Buyers would have said to themselves “it’s nice but not the size for me” and moved on to the next seller.

Now 90% of my listings have variations in them.

If your item comes in different sizes, materials, colours, finishes, or other variations, then variations in your listings are a must.
You can add these in the variations section of any listing.
You can choose up to two variations per item.

How do variations work?

Once you add variations, a buyer will be required to select an option before purchase. You’ll be able to view the options they’ve selected on your Sold Orders, Receipts, and transaction emails.
Properties and options are not incorporated into Search.

When buyers purchase your item, they’ll need to choose from the options you set in the “add variations” section of a listing.
Click the “select a property” drop-down list and choose the correct property you want to use.

You have:
Colour
Device
Diameter
Fabric
Finish
Flavour
Height
Material
Pattern
Scent
Size
Style
Weight
Width
Couldn’t find a property?
Add a new property

In my case I picked size, and because I picked size, the Etsy system asked “what scale are your sizes in?"

I could have picked from:
Alpha
Inches
Centimetres
Fluid ounces
Millilitres
Litres
Other

I picked inches this time.

You will be asked for options, and because I am doing size this time I added 11” in the box.
Now click the add button. 

That was my first variation set up (that was easy) but I wanted more sizes. Luckily, that's easy too as all you have to do is repeat the same, and I added 5 options.

If you don’t see the property you want you can add a custom one.
Click the Select a Property drop-down list,
Choose “add a new property”, type the name of the property, then type the options you offer in the box and click the add button. Repeat as necessary.

Don’t forget to preview the listing before going live.

Have a happy time adding variations to your listing and I hope it brings you more Etsy sales.


William Doherty

Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/absolutemarket



Thursday, 29 January 2015

Spring Craft Market in Dublin


 Knitted Tea and Mug Cosies by the Crafty Shamrock


Etsy Ireland seller the Crafty Shamrock is organising a Market/Craft Fair on Sunday 15 March 2015 at The Green Door Market, Dublin 8. It is the St Patrick's weekend, and Dublin will be buzzing with tourists!

There will only be places for 24 crafts on the day, not duplicating either, first come first served. We will also have two food trade stalls, for coffee and snacks. On the day, the market will open at 10am for set up. Trading will take place from 11am-5pm.
 
If you want to take part, applications for places is by email please to thecraftyshamrock@gmail.com You will need your own table & public liability insurance. Cost for a stall/place is €38 via paypal/PO.

There is plenty of free parking.

Closing date for stalls is the 14 February 2015.

This is a great opportunty for Etsy Ireland team members to showcase and sell their products, also to network and talk to prospective clients! Don't miss it!


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A conversation with Sue Graham



This article was first published on Work your Art:



Hello there! What’s your name and where do you live?

My name is Sue Graham.
I am originally from London, but currently live in the middle of the beautiful countryside in County Cork, Ireland.



Is being an artist your day job? If not, “what do you do?”

I have three day jobs actually. The first is the running of my animal sanctuary for farm animals and birds. We currently have a horse, three donkeys, a goat, 13 sheep, a goose, six hens, six ducks and six lovebirds.
The second is the running of my online shop www.amazingbeads.net and its Etsy counterpart www.etsy.com/shop/amazingbeads. This involves searching the Internet worldwide for different beads and beading supplies. I try and buy different because there are so many bead shops on the Internet and I see no point in selling the same as everyone else.  Of course you have to have a certain amount of basic stock that is the same or similar, but I try very hard to find interesting beads in the vintage, gemstone and handmade ranges too, so that my shop will stand out from the crowd.
The third day job I have is designing and making jewellery, and sourcing vintage jewellery. I always have lots of ideas floating around in my head, but the first thing I do is to draw a rough sketch of the idea, and notes about the beads I might like to use.   After that I lay the beads out onto a beading design board and play around with the design a bit more.  I must say that the design on the board once it is ready to make is often very different to how it started out in my head.
I love vintage jewellery and started selling that on my website too. It’s been very popular. I try and source jewellery that is in the middle to high end range, and that is in excellent vintage condition.  I check everything thoroughly before I photograph and list it, so that hopefully no customer will ever receive a piece where the string is worn and may break etc.
I sell my jewellery, my own handmade and the vintage, on www.amazingbeads.net, and on a second Etsy shop which I have named Swanky Jewels. www.etsy.com/shop/swankyjewels
So those are my three main day jobs. I also write a blog, and articles for magazines when I have time.



How would you describe your work?

I would describe my jewellery as fairly eclectic. On the one hand I love to make classic styles, but there is another side of me that likes to make things that are a bit more trendy and casual. I love gemstones and I love colour. For myself I like chunky jewellery, but I actually to design and make more delicate pieces too.


Do you feel you have a specific demographic or audience you create for? What are the characteristics of your ‘ideal customer’?

Customers who buy beads and beading supplies are in quite a broad age and type of person. They would be between 18 years and 65 years, some younger, some older. Of course these customers would have many different styles of jewellery and crafts that they make.
With regards to the jewellery, I would say that most of my customers would be between 28 years and 65 years. A lot of the vintage jewellery is sold as bridal/wedding wear, and my own designs tend to be sold for everyday and office wear, and special occasions.
I think many of my customers like to buy a piece of jewellery for a special event, but that  they can wear on many occasions afterwards too.


When do you feel most inspired to create?

Mornings from about 11am after all the animal stuff is done. Then again in the evenings after the animals have been fed, watered and put to bed. The evenings is when I do all of the internet work.
I tend to work every day, and I’m in my studio until late at night too. I love what I do, and because I work from home I can be in and out, and doing other things if I want to.

 
Are you presently promoting on social media? Which platform gave you results and which didn’t?

The social media platforms I use are Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I’d say that they all give me equal results, but like any social media, you get back what you put in. If I slow down on posts to any then I stop getting views and comments.  Having a social media presence is almost a full time job on its own, but if you are a small business as I, and many others like me are, then it’s something you have to find time for because there is little or no money for advertising.
Personally, I think it’s better than advertising too, because if you speak and act as yourself then customers can get to know you, and gain a trust in you.



What kind of marketing are you currently doing for your creative business? Is it working out?

I use the social media platforms as above, and I also comment when I can on forums, and the like. I’m a huge believer in word of mouth marketing and believe that it is the best advertising you can get.
I know that when my customers are happy they will tell their friends about me, and that is what I aim for.


Do you invest in any kind of advertising?

Until recently I have never paid for advertising, but I decided to try a couple of Facebook adverts this year for the first time ever.  I’m finding that it really works in so much as I’ve had many new likes on my two Facebook pages. Whether they translate into sales remains to be seen, as it’s very early days yet.


What is the number one tip you have for creatives in your niche that are just starting out?

That they don’t expect lots of sales straight away.  I see lots of sellers in the Etsy forums complaining that they haven’t made any sales yet, and when you look at how long their shop has been open, it’s only been a few months or even weeks.
It takes a lot of time and personal effort such as marketing in the social media to get your name out there. Things don’t happen overnight, but if you don’t give up the sales will come.


What are the things you feel yourself struggling with?

Oh the same as many of us who have a small business I guess –  SEO and Tags.  Just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, something changes, but you don’t know what that something is, and you have to start learning what to do all over again.


Do you set regular goals for yourself and your business? What are you currently aiming for?

I’m very bad at setting goals I’m afraid. I very rarely do. I know we are always told that we should, but I prefer to let things happen, but work hard toward making them happen better. I suppose that’s my goal then. To make things happen better.


What is something you’d still like to learn (a skill, a topic) with regards to creative entrepreneurship?

I actually love learning new skills and topics. I would love to have better writing skills. Well not so much the writing, as the vocabulary and grammar that would enable me to write articles and my blog better.
I also want to learn more about the history of beads and different types of jewellery through the ages, as well as about individual jewellers whose jewellery I may sell in vintage.



When reading back this interview one year from now, what do you think would have changed?

I’d like to think that I had learned more about the subjects I’ve just mentioned above, so that I am able to write more articles about different subjects within my niche, whether about beads, jewellery or animals/birds. I hope that I’m still going strong with my shops and jewellery, and that I have made improvements in everything I do.


Shops:
www.amazingbeads.net
www.etsy.com/shop/amazingbeads
www.etsy.com/shop/swankyjewels

Social Media:
www.pinterest.com/amazingbeads
www.facebook.com/SwankyJewels
www.facebook.com/sueatkilmeedy
www.twitter.com/sueatkilmeedy

Monday, 23 June 2014

Designer Profiles - Paper Craft

Good afternoon folks.
I know its been a while since I have been here - life has a habit of stopping you in your tracks sometime.  I am happy to be back today with a selection of amazing Etsy Ireland paper crafters.  So lets go.....

Let me introduce you all to

Mo:
Welcome on board ladies, apologies for the delay but I happy to finally get you all together.  Can you all introduce yourselves and tell us what you do.

Aoife:
Hi Mo, My name is Aoife (eefaa). I am a 25 year old Graphic Designer / Baker. I live in Waterford but I am originally from Kilkenny City. 
Fionnuala:
My name is Fionnuala and I make handmade greeting cards and wedding stationery at home in Dublin, Ireland. I am passionate about everything Irish and handmade and blog about arts and crafts in Ireland.
Holly:
My name is Holly, and I design and make stationery sets, among many other things! I did some training as a Graphic Designer, and have a whole host of other interests that add to my creative process – History, Nature, Books, Video Games, Drawing, Knitting, Sewing, Skating… the list goes on! I think a natural curiosity is what drives me to learn, and the creative process is a great way of processing and expressing my discoveries.
Letizia:
By day I work in an office - all very ordinary, and when I want to breathe, I open my wardrobe of tricks (yes, wardrobe!) and see what I can lose myself in for a while. With the weather so nice recently I got a few plants for the butterflies and made some stakes from my craft wire to keep them organised until they were planted out. When I’m not doing that I’m always trying to organise something new or fun to do or dragging my niece and nephews to cartoon films, fairs, fota (anywhere you need a child ;)
Mo:
How did you get involved with your craft?

Aoife:
I can't remember not being involved with crafting. Paint and Paper have always been my favourite mediums to create with, so after I finished college and got my degree in Graphic Design, I opened my Etsy shop! 
Fionnuala:
I started making cards for myself in 2012 as a hobby. In order to fund my addiction to buttons and ribbons, I started selling to friends and family. I then opened my Etsy shop and started receiving orders from all over the world. I now sell through my website, through Etsy shop and through various craft fairs around Ireland during the year.
Holly:
I have always liked making things, and the stationery sets? well, that’s an aspiration on my part.  I was always a terrible pen pal, but I really loved making something pretty to send through the mail! So making stationery sets for people who are far more organised and interesting correspondents than I am is quietly satisfying to me.
Letizia:
I come from a very creative family so imagination was always there for me but how I got involved with paper craft stemmed from my love of shopping.... I was watching QVC many years ago and saw this rotary cutter at a bargain. Really they were practically giving it away ;) so when I got my cool paper cutting gadget home, that was it, I started making cards and my love of paper craft was born.
Hollytron

Mo:
Describe a typical day?

Aoife:
I have a little cat called Milo who loves to watch me make things. She tends to get in the middle of things so she doesn't get to stay in my studio for too long. I start my day by checking emails and Etsy orders and then I get down to business. I try to make a stockpile of cupcake picks and bunting to stay on top of things!
Fionnuala:
I work in a school in the mornings, I run a craft café (The Hazel House https://www.facebook.com/thehazelhouseie) in the evenings and I run Fuzzy Irish Crafts when I should be sleeping! Oh did I mention that I paint as well!
Holly:
A Typical day is wrapped up in taking care of my Family.  Up in time to walk the kids to school and often on my walk I’ll be turning over ideas in my head, design ideas, new products.  When I get home I usually do some housework before sitting down to do my “Job of the Day” be it Designing, Blog posting, Stationery set construction or something else entirely! As I have a bad habit of getting into my work and losing track of time, I have an alarm set so I don’t work through pick up time for the kids! Then its back to do Mummy things......
Letizia:
A typical craft day, I start with a leisurely cuppa while checking e-mails, then the wardrobe gets unpacked, I look through my orders and to-do list and dig in. I do tend to flit from project to project depending on what I find in my hand at any one time so I might make a start on plenty of cards and only finish off a few from the day before. I like to live with an idea in my head for about a week; those projects always seem to turn out the best.
  ooakie

Mo:
Any future goals and ambitions?

Aoife:
I would love to work at my shop full time - that would be my ultimate goal. I want to continue to expand my Wedding Range, I love making special items for Brides and Grooms to be. Eventually I want to open a shop, where I can work and interact with my customers face-to-face every day.
Fionnuala:
My short term goal is to develop my range of wedding stationery in my Etsy shop. My long term goal is to own my own little craft shop stocking handmade Irish crafts and become a ‘brand’ for Irish crafts.
Holly:
Oh, this is always changing, but at some point, I’d like to get my Stationery sets into a lovely Brick and Mortar store with lots of other lovely things – at the moment everything is made to order, which is nice because I can customise things really easily, but it’s not so good for expansion! I also want to make more stationery things – Notebooks, Wrapping paper, bookmarks, etc. and I’m slowly plugging away at that
Letizia:
I’ve never been overly ambitious, I’m happy to get orders when and if they come in although I do have it in my head recently that I’d like to submit to a magazine, so when I’ve got some product shots that I’m happy with, watch this space!



Aoifes wee cat Milo

Fionnuala and her pal
 
Mo:
Are there any Designers, blogs, crafters, arty people you follow and why?

Aoife:
There are so many crafty people I admire. I love Paper Panda, Shen Wong Jewellery and A Drim Design. I love their use of social media to showcase their items.
Fionnuala:
I am constantly amazed at the wealth of talent that Ireland has to offer in term of crafting. There are so many Irish crafters that I have featured on my blog that I just love like Rosario at Ventry toys, Kay at Ruby Robin Boutique and Maria at Lollipops and Daydreams to name but a few.
Holly:
I love How About Orange for all the resources she posts, and other amazing people she links to. Also love the work of Olly Moss.  He makes my inner Geek (Both design and regular) sing
Letizia:
Dawn Bibby an English card maker – I learned all the basics of card making online from Dawn, and of course I follow loads of our fabulous Etsy Ireland Team members, It really makes me happy to see when you do so well and turn up on magazines, newspapers, at craft fairs etc.
 
Letizia at play

Holly at work


Mo:
Any advice for new crafters?

Aoife:
My advice for new crafters would be to start out slow and enjoy crafting. It will take time for you to find your 'niche'. Try new things all the time! Don't get bogged down if sales aren't coming your way. It will take time, and that's OK! Just remember to enjoy it all!
Fionnuala:
My advice would be to do keep doing what you love to do and what gives you energy and then you will never have to work a day in your life.
Holly:
Go for it!  Listen to Advice and Ideas from other people, but always listen to your gut. 9 times out of 10 its right.  Don’t let fear make your decisions for you.
Letizia:
Try not to give yourself unreasonable deadlines, if you’re new to crafting you need lots of playtime to work everything out. Also don’t let one obstacle or negative incident make you quit, I read only yesterday something along the line of – Giving up after one setback is like getting a flat tire so you cut the other three.
Mo:
Where can we find you .......

Aoife:
Fionnuala:
Holly:
Letizia:

Mo:
Wow girls, you are all such busy people.  I love your enthusiasm for what you do.  Thanks for being part of this Designer group.  I wish you loads of success for the future.   Now folks please pay these paper crafters a visit and share some love.......

Thats it for now from this occasional series of Designer blog articles.  As there has been no crafters in the spinning and weaving section who have come forward to be interviewed, the next category is Woodwork and Rushwork.  So calling all wood and rush workers on Etsy Ireland.....  If you would like to be included please get in touch.

Cheers for now

Mo