Saturday, January 30, 2010

Friday Favorites Valentine's Day

Gah! Once again the Link Within is before my post. I have no idea why. I tried to find out last time it happened. Sorry, but you're going to have to scroll down :(

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Second YouTube video now live

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Personalized Custom Passport Covers






Sorry for the crappy pic, I took it with my iPhone.  I needed to get these packed up so I could get to the PO before picking up my kid from school.

Anywho, these were for a wedding party.  She wanted all their initials with a shadow in a solid color.  They are drying and the front isn't inside the cover so they look a little funny.  Just the back is inside the sleeve.

Just an example of what I can do with passport covers.  I can also do this with a checkbook cover or card holder. 
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Tips Wire Rack Paper Organizer Hack



Have I mentioned before my craft cave is low budget?  Well, it is.  It's very functional but it ain't pretty.  That's why it's in the basement.  Yes I dream of having $1000s to install cube organizers, shelves, and all pretty things.  Until then, I'm content hacking and making do with what I have.

Enter the wire rack paper organizer.  This is not my original idea.  I saw it on a blog years ago and sadly have no idea where.  If this is your idea, please comment so I can link!

I started with a wire organizer from Target.  Target is the only place I've ever seen them.  I've searched online I can't find it, but it's the squares to make 6 cubes with the white connectors to hold them in place.  They are with the wood and metal shelves and other organizers.  They are normally under $15 but will go as low as $12-13 on sale.  We had 3 sets for each kids' room but when we redid toys we put one up. 

Enter hubby and all his many hand tools.  He used zip ties and a special thingy that gets them tight and snips off the tail.  You don't need the tool, it's just a little easier to get him motivated if there are tools involved.


Just make a 5 sided cube and put a shelf every inch or so where the bars are and zip tie.  that's it!  I did ask that he put the flush side on the inside of the sides and the bottom of the shelves.  One set gave me a cube with 9 slots  and another cube with 3 large slots.  Not bad for $12!  Especially $12 that I spent years ago :)

Because this was difficult to photograph, I stuck part of the newspaper in it to show the shelves.  It's going to take me a while to get my cardstock organized in this baby.


Can you see on the wall where my wonderful daughter colored?  This is what happens when Mommy is busy mopping the floor in the kitchen.  Further proof that I should have a housekeeper so I can devote my attention fully to the children.

Bonus points for anyone who can get crayon off flat paint with only 1 coat on the walls without the paint melting.  Extra bonus points for anyone that comes over to help me paint.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Determine Your Target Market

If you're going to get serious about your Etsy or Artfire or other small business, you need to determine your target market.  This helps you with new product development and advertising.  You can save a lot of time and money when you know your target market.  If your target market is young, hip, urban women you don't want to design a product for middle aged men.  Your regular buyers won't be interested and you'll spend too much in advertising to try to reach one group for one product. 

A target market is generally defined by gender, age, and socioeconomical status.  Socioeconomical status is especially important if you are selling nonessentials.  If your target market is collect students, you will have a hard time selling $50 widgets.  On the other hand, college students may be very willing to buy a few $5 widgets.  How much disposable income a group has also helps with determining price points and product lines. 

You also need to understand why your target market is buying your product.  Is it an essential?  Is it a small splurge?  Does it make them feel good?  Tell them why they need your product and talk in their terms.  You need to reach out and talk right to your target audience in their terms and ways that will capture their attention.  Use colors and slogans that your target audience will identify with and/or find familiar. 

On the internet, find out where your shopping hang out.  Do they read decorating blogs?  Do they Twitter a lot?  Facebook addicts?  Find out where they are and you can concentrate advertising there.  You may spend more per ad, but it should be more efficient.

I'm sure there are more tips, I'm not a marketing expert by any means.  I'm learning as I go and blogging to maybe help a few others along the way.  Please add any additional comments or tips.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Valentine's Day Altered Mail Boxes


Two Valentine's Day altered metal mail boxes just listed in my Etsy shop.  I only picked up these two to make, but if you hurry and email me I can make a new one by request. 
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Valentine's Day Altered Lunch Box Tins

These were for a consignment and I'm not sure I'll have time to make more to list but I will do a custom order.  I really like how these turned out.  They can be filled with wrapped candy, cookies, or anything really.  Use to keep love notes or other momentos from special times together like tickets.  These retail for $12 and can be requested my emailing me or convoing me through Etsy


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Friday, January 15, 2010

Vinyl Passport Covers Now In

I just added some vinyl passport covers to my line.  I can make them in just about any paper and custom orders are always welcome.  Just $5 to protect your passport and make it easier to find in your purse or suitcase.  Click on the photos to go right to the list on Etsy.com.





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Valentine's Day Altered Paint Can Keepsake Boxes




Three altered quart sized paint cans I did for a wholesale order.  I love the way they turned out!  I can't pick a favorite.  Each one has a 10 page tag album with journal spots stamped on them.  You can also add pics or stickers to the tag album.

I'm not sure if I'll get any listed this year, but I will do special requests until February 1st.  They retail for $15.  Contact me if interested in a special order. 
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Handmade Review WithOurHands on Artfire

I love my Swiffer for my upstairs bathrooms and for a quick clean up in the kitchen.  With three kids, my kitchen floor is always getting dirty!  I hate spending money on Swiffer refills.  I feel like I'm throwing my money away and I feel guilty putting the used cloths in a landfill. 

I picked up 3 hand crochet swiffer covers from WithOurHands on Artfire.  They have pockets on the end to slip right over your Swiffer.  You can use them as dry dusters for your floors or even walls.  What I do is fill a spray bottle with vinegar water and spray the floor to use them for a quick wet cleaning when there's just a few spots.  When you're done, wash with your towels and they are ready to use again.  These are nice and thick and really pick up the dirt.  There are some really cute color combinations available too.

At just under $7 a piece, they pay for themselves in a short time.  Not only that, but you won't run out and have to go to the store to buy more. 
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I was featured



I was featured on ModPodgeRocks yesterday!  If you haven't seen this blog, it's awesome.  Full of great ideas for using...what else...mod podge! 

Go check it out! http://modpodgerocks.blogspot.com/2010/01/meet-etsy-seller-kotibeth-and-her-cool.html
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Tips Upselling

Upselling is offering your customer an incentive or opportunity to puchase more than they intended.  The hardest part of selling online can be getting the customer to your site but once you get them you need to show them why they need to buy more than they originally wanted.

  1. Offer reduced shipping rates for multiples.  For example, I offer flat rate shipping or free combined shipping on die cuts.  They are light so most of the time it doesn't affect the shipping price.  Yes I do lose a little bit when someone orders 10 sets of die cuts, but I sold more than I originally would have (I think so anyway) so I'm willing to lose a few cents on shipping.  If you can't do free combined shipping, try reducing your shipping charges on every widget after the first. 
  2. Free shipping over $X.  Online buyers hate paying shipping.  Even with no sales tax paying shipping costs can still cut into your budget.  By offering free shipping for orders over $25 (or whatever) your buyer might spend a few more dollars than they would have. 
  3. BOGO sales.  Again, buyers are a sucker for BOGO even BOGO50% off.  If I only want one I'm not going to let a sale pass by me and I'll buy 2.  For the seller, BOGO50% off is really only 25% off of each one and a lot easier to swallow than thinking of selling 1 widget for 50% off.
  4. Spend $10, get 10% off, spend $20, get 20% off.  These will also help you upsell.  Customer has $15 in their cart.  Why not spend another $5 to get the 20% off?  But they end up putting an extra $8 in their cart so you've made more money.
  5. Tell your customers what else they might like.  This can be hard on Etsy or Artfire, but in the listings you can say this necklace matches these earrings or something similar.  For my die cuts I mention they coordinate with a certain paper pack to try to upsell.
  6. People who bought this also bought...  This doesn't work on Etsy or Artfire, but if you have your own website and your shopping cart has this feature use it!  
  7. Discounts for repeat customers.  You got the customer once, now getting them back will be easier.  Give them a coupon code for their next order and they will be more likely to remember your store.  I give a coupon in every order and I get a lot of repeat customers.  Only one time has the coupon been redeemed.  Maybe it gives them a warm fuzzy and they remember me?  Maybe they make a positive connection with my shop name?  I don't know. 
Please leave comments with more tips for upselling, especially for Etsy and Artfire since we don't have control of our shopping carts.
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Great post about Google Merchant and Etsy

Goto has a great post about how to find out how many of your items are listed on Google Shopping and a good list of FAQs. 

I'm sure I get Google Shopping sales on Etsy and I know I get Google Shopping sales on Artfire.

**Hyperlinks are hard to read here it is http://www.gotogreatpanes.com/blog/2009/12/06/faqs-about-the-etsy-gm-feed/
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Favorites

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

100 Followers! Thanks to all my fan

I always planned on having a giveaway when I hit 100 followers, but unfortunately life got in the way.

Last Friday, January 1st, my husband was taken to the ER by ambulance.  He was admitted into the ICU with pneumonia.  A very severe case of pneumonia.  It was very, very bad and didn't look good.

He is slowly improving and was stepped down to a regular room.  Then he went into congestive heart failure. 

He is on medications for that that seem to be working but it's only been today.

I have kept my shop open only because my husband is self employed.  We have no sick days.  No vacation pay.  Only our savings.  He will be on oxygen for 1-2 months after he comes home.  I have to stay open.  I'm only 2-3 days behind in shipping. 

I thank everyone for their prayers, positive thoughts, kind words and everything.  I have no idea what day it is or if I'm coming or going.  I miss my three kids who are stuck with sitters nearly all day every day.  They miss their dad and don't understand. 

We'll celebrate 100 followers and soon, hopefully, 1000 sales. 
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