Boo, Monday. I had such a nice weekend with my husband, family, and friends so I was a bit sad to see it end. So to ward off the Monday blues & bring in the warm & fuzzies, here are a few cute finds for Valentine’s Day gift ideas!

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have a wonderful day!
xoxo

Sarah

…well, I don’t know that there is one.

Over the past few weeks, I have been both surprised and flattered at the number of “Etsy convo’s” (so cool with the lingo, right?) I’ve received from new shop owners asking what the secret is to getting traffic, sales, favorites, etc. I really can’t reiterate how crazy that seems to me because I still feel very much like I’m just guessing half the time.

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That said, though, I have been on Etsy for over four years now and I’ve spent some time learning the game. While there most definitely is not a secret (that anyone’s told me yet, anyway), there are some best practices I can share.

Absolutely the hardest thing is getting started. It’s true what they say about momentum. Those first 10 sales will feel like badges of honor because they will (normally) come slowly and with almost disproportionate effort.

Once you get over that hurdle though, you’ll find a groove and a rhythm and your shop will no longer appear “untested.” Getting positive feedback so you get those five happy stars by your name will help a lot too.

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  • This is definitely no secret, but nonetheless it’s probably the single most important and challenging thing. PHOTOS. Just PHOTOS. Personally I have been all over the map with photos. Completely cut out of the background, patterned backgrounds, still life sort of set-ups, bad attempts at soft white backgrounds – you name it (take a tour down photo memory lane in this post). It’s been four years and I still consider my photo efforts very average – except, of course, those that have been taken by some of my professional photog friends. In a nutshell though, you don’t get on blogs, the front page, treasuries, etc. if your photos aren’t at least decent. It’s the best thing you can do to help yourself with your shop.
  • Be active on Etsy itself. If you just get on Etsy and try to sell stuff to people but you’re not active in supporting the community, you won’t do as well. Join a few teams, discuss topics in the forums, build treasuries, comment when people put you in treasuries. You can check out my treasury posts part one and two from – holy cow – 2010. I guess I have been doing this awhile.
  • I spoke in my 1,500 sales post about going back to building more treasuries myself. When I built treasuries and was on an active treasury team, I got on the front page. I haven’t been on it since. I can speak from experience that being on the front page tends to bring a pretty big influx of sales in that roughly half hour period of time. Again though, you’ll only get there if your photos are good! You can use tools like Craft Cult to see if you have ever been on the front page, but odds are you would known from the sales :-)
  • Use social media. Be active on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Those are my favorites, in that order, but that’s just me. I think the visual media are the way we’re heading, and Facebook makes me angry now when I have 800 fans and it tells me 23 people saw my post and I can pay to let all 800 see it. Whatever.
  • Only bother with a blog if you like to write, because if you don’t, you’ll never do it and then it’s just going to sit out there and look dated. You have to remember that Etsy is made up of very very small businesses and people with hobbies, all with widely varying levels of commitment, so you need to make an effort to appear current, active, friendly and professional to lend credibility to your shop. In that spirit, always keep your policies, about page, and the like updated. You will find you have to update and change them as you go along and various circumstances arise.
  • Work on having at least a full page of listings. Back when I first started, there used to be talk of the 120 listing as a magic number you needed to reach to come up in search results. I can say that when we have more listings we seem to do better, but that’s not feasible for every craft. It’s pretty easy with cards. So I think going for at least a full page just from a “first impression” standpoint is a good goal.

While I know I didn’t provide the secret to selling on Etsy, I hope those tips will help you as you get on your way with your journey. It’s a fun process and very rewarding, but certainly not easy. Don’t lose hope – it just takes a little time!

Side note – I’m going to pick up where I left off awhile back and start doing small business Tuesday posts again. If you have any questions you’d like me to post on, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Hello friends & hope you had a great weekend! So, who thought I was pregnant from Lisa’s post? That served to give me some good laughs :-)

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I am way overdue on our 1,500 sales celebration + what I learned post. It’s always good to re-cap and review a bit as milestones are reached, which I did with our 500 sales post and 1,000 sales post. Those posts ultimately lead to being quoted in a real live book which was kind of cool – The Everything Guide to Selling Arts and Crafts Online. Crazy right?

As I started to write this post, I ended up going down the rabbit hole a bit in terms of how Etsy sales and orders are actually calculated. The gist of it is that the “# of sales” figure shown on any shopfront is rather unhelpful and tells you relatively little. Here’s why:

– If you buy one Mini Human card and one Biggest Fan Card, that’s two sales, even though you (one person) bought them at the same time, in one order.

– If you buy 1,000 Mini Human cards, that’s one sale. Multiple purchases of the same item count as one sale. Since we sell cards mostly, we actually have quite a lot of multiple purchases of the same item, so the sales number is artificially low.

– Both of the above would be counted as one order.

– In the backend of an Etsy store, the part where the shop owner can see stats, you can’t track your # of sales, only revenue and # of orders per month.

Does that actually make any sense at all? Maybe it’s just me, but once I started diving into it, I realized the tracking is a bit inconsistent and hard to get a real feel for what’s actually happening, especially with the sales number.

Either way, it’s still a milestone I’m happy to reach, but for evaluation purposes, I’m going to go by revenue. 2011 was the best year for the Etsy store with 2013 being a close second and, after considering that for awhile, it makes a lot of sense.

In 2011, I had just quit my part-time job and was finding my place in the world, so one of the easier things for me to tinker with at home while I was trying to “find business” was the Etsy store. I made treasuries and was really active renewing listings, etc. I also haven’t been on the front page or in Etsy Finds since 2011, and I’m going to guess the treasury thing probably has a lot to do with that.

Since then, the business has evolved and grown in different ways. I do a lot more wedding work unrelated to Etsy than I did back then, as well as stationery for people who find out about us in other ways (Instagram, blog, etc.).

Over the holidays, I spent a lot more time doing the packaging and fulfilling of Etsy orders while Kellie was away on a long overdue vacation, and I realized how much I like doing that. It’s fun to send mail, and it’s where this whole thing started.

So why don’t I focus on it more? It’s the common small business owner’s problem: we wake up each day and look at today’s to-do list and freak out and try to get everything done, put out fires, make customers happy, etc., and we don’t stop and look up and say – what do I want to be doing next week? Six months from now? Next year?

I’m excited to step back into the Etsy shop with some renewed vigor this year. I plan on listing more items and improving photography as well as trying to make it simpler to order some of our customized options. Fingers crossed, I’m going to get back to treasury making too. I’ve made a few so far already this year and I hope to keep treasuries, blog posts, and SEO/marketing time for our business as a non-negotiable part of the weekly to-do list. We’ll see how that goes – I would love to make at least one front page appearance this year, although I think that gets harder to do everyday with how many people at on Etsy now. Wish me luck!

I have always loved Kristen’s work, and original art is one of the nicest presents you can give I think. She has this wonderful whimsical style and vivid colors you have to love.

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She also teaches at Spacecraft from time to time, where I took her linocut class once and had a ball. It’s a challenging medium but also a lot of fun.

Not all of her work is Charleston centered – she has great images of animals and music and other fun things too. Check out her Etsy shop to explore – you’ll be glad you did!

It’s been awhile since I’ve made an Etsy treasury. I think Pinterest kind of came along and stole some of the appeal from them, but it’s still fun and different from the Pinterest overload to curate a simple set of 16 based on whatever theme you like.

With the weather in Charleston bouncing up and down like crazy (high 78 yesterday, 61 today), I’m just determined to get into a holiday and Fall state of mind. So here we are…my once a year Etsy treasury, “Harvest Gold.”

Do you ever make Etsy treasuries, or have you totally abandoned ship for Pinterest? Are you ready for the holidays?

Despite the heat and humidity of July, for the stationer, it’s time to crank up the A/C, turn on the “Jingle Bells,” hide out and pretend it’s Christmas.

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Luckily for me, I adore Christmas so an extra dose or two doesn’t bother me at all.

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I’ve been working on some new designs and re-photographing some old ones as well. This year I’m excited about some of the packaging and also treating the envelope to a fun little stamp detail. Phase two of the new designs will be debuting in the next few days — stay tuned!

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We’ll also be offering gift wrapping in the Etsy shop (photo coming soon!) and shipment directly to the gift recipient.

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I have been diligently working on our company packaging & identity lately too as part of some big projects we’re undertaking. I really like the little emblem on the belly bands and finishing them off with a cheery red sticker on the back.

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That’s it for round one! Can you believe we’re just about to August? Where does the time go? Happy Wednesday!

We might not be attending the National Stationery Show in New York, but we do happen to be nominated for a Louie (eep!). So I felt to celebrate our nomination and the show (which we are so sorry to miss), we should at the very least put out some new cards.

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I am jokingly calling this summer 2013 collection “the missing pieces.” Because of the way I’ve always approached our cards, which is really just to create them when the inspiration strikes, I’ve realized over the years that I was definitely missing a few occasions. So, I’ve been simmering on many of these ideas for those missing cards awhile now, and this week I finally took the time to design, print, photograph, etc. I hope you like them!

Check them out…Father’s Day, wedding anniversary, wedding congratulations, and graduation cards.

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I experimented with some hand lettering with it…a few of them are actually my handwriting :-) Kind of fun and different from my usual.

Happy Friday & have a wonderful weekend!

It’s funny how color trends work, isn’t it? Mint is all the rage right now and I can’t help but love it too.

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I’m noticing a lot of triangles in products and designs lately too. I really want these adorable coasters. Details bug me – as much as I love my Georgia Bulldogs, the red “G” coasters just stand out as so out of place in the living room I’m carefully curating. Yes, I know, that’s kind of silly, but aren’t these lovely?

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OK so maybe those didn’t all end up being mint but I think they looked nice together, and I’d happily take any of them ;-) I have always wanted a globe for some reason. Not sure why. And the old style alarm clocks are just so much prettier than a digital piece.

How do you feel about mint? Do you fall in with color trends or stick to your favorites? For me, I might love the trends, but I almost always gravitate back to the blue, green, and gray.

Check out the lovely finds above in these shops:

mint green scarf | vintage blue alarm clock | vintage globe | wood bunting | polygon necklace | vintage camera | mint triangle coasters

No surprise — I love an excuse to send cards and handwritten notes, and is there really a better one than Christmas?  It’s the perfect time of year to remember your loved ones with a little thoughtful note.

I managed to be pretty on the ball this year when it came to planning what I wanted to send.  I’m not ready to show you the whole shebang yet, but I did want to share a great Etsy find: Verde Studio.

This year I decided I wanted our holiday cards to have a bit more of a traditional vibe with the true Christmas red and green. To compliment that, I started thinking how neat vintage stamps would look. As they are a little bit more expensive, I couldn’t do them all with the vintage stamps, but that worked out great because I had planned anyway to have some with red envelopes, some green, etc. It’s a good thing I own a stationery studio ;-)

Verde Studio has an awesome collection, shipped my order nearly instantaneously, and packaged them up beautifully. If you want to add a little extra touch to your cards this season, vintage stamps are a really fun way to go — especially since my darn post office has yet to have holiday stamps somehow. Really? It’s December 4th. How do you not have them? >.rant over.<

Are you planning on sending out Christmas or holiday cards this year? Do you normally?

I have a confession to make. I have 100% broken my no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving rule this year. I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t count if it’s just the Peanuts holiday soundtrack, which has no words, and is more like classical music, right? :-)

I got crafty last week and added a few additional Christmas items to the shop, including holiday gift tags and pretty flat cards.

I’m so excited for this holiday week to unwind a bit, hang out with family, and look towards my favorite holiday of all (and our trip!). What does your Thanksgiving typically look like? Are you a Black Friday shopper?

I haven’t been in a few years, but we used to make a fun day (er, middle of the night) out of it. We never really went in an effort to get a laptop for $4, but more for people watching and something novel to do, and also a little shopping for ourselves while we were at it ;-)

I’ll be taking Thursday and Friday off for family time, and I don’t know if Black Friday will play into that this year or not. What about you? I know one thing though, I am definitely not a fan of stores opening on Thanksgiving. I don’t think anything disastrous is going to happen if you have to wait a few hours.

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving! Check your inbox for a new post over the weekend…we have something special coming up :-)