Sunday, October 26, 2014

Up your Etsy Game

Over the course of starting a crafty business, I have made some mistakes.

Selling my work online has been one.

I focused my efforts on local stores and I threw up (good analogy!) an Etsy page because I wanted to have an online shop, but then I left it to wilt and didn't do anything to even tell people it was there.

To be honest, I didn't want to take the time to take photos, write the descriptions and post them.  I just wanted to get my jewelry into people's hands and doing all of those extra steps, took time away from making the actual jewelry.

A few things have happened that have changed my mind and decide to put real effort into an online shop:

When I post my photos online, people ask where they can buy them.  Now, as a person building a thriving business, you never want your potential customers to wonder and have to ask where they can buy from you.  You want to make it blatantly obvious and as easy as possible for them to buy from you. 

Your local community is finite.  There are only a limited number of people who live where you live and shop in the stores that feature your work locally.  If you want to reach more people (and you may not, which is perfectly fine too) putting your work online can help you get in front of the most people.

When you sell online, you have direct interaction with your customers.  You get to hear their questions and feedback, which helps you improve your product and your descriptions.  You can also do more custom work based on their specific interests and requests.

When you sell direct to your customers, you cut out the expense of the middle man.  Yes, you will have Etsy and Paypal fees, but they will be significantly less than the percentage that a store may charge.  You can charge the retail price for your work, rather than the wholesale price that you will get from stores (of course you are paying for the stores to do the selling for you, so they justifiably should be paid for their efforts.)  If you do the work of selling, you get the profit.

I truly believe you get out what you put in.  There is no "build it and they will come."  You have to build it and keep on telling people about it.  Then, you need to keep building it better.  Posting better photos, writing better descriptions based on what your customers are telling you.

So, this week I freshened up  my Etsy page, by taking new photos and really spending some love there.  Of course, my camera batteries died and I had to venture forth to the drug store and leave the comfort of my pajamas...I so love working in my pajamas.  They're paint smeared and have reindeer on them and I threaten my daughter that I'm going to start walking the dog in them...but I digress.

Part of building a business is you get to decide where you are going to focus your limited time, energy and resources. 

Where will you spend your energy today to build your business?  

I would love if you stopped by to visit my updated online shop and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Irresistible Art

Art Journal Cover

Art making is irresistibly fun, especially when you approach it with childlike wonder.

When you let yourself play with paints and sprays and inks.  

You splash and fling paint without caring in the least where it's going to land.

You stamp and stencil.

You scrape and make marks with whatever you can find.

It's full of color and it's an active, messy process.

It pulls kids away from the TV and video games.  It makes them curious to see what you're up to.  

But beware, once you travel down this road, you may not be able to get them out of your art supplies...

The Art Journal Cover above began with layering sheets from my daughter's old band music.  I applied it with a gel medium (I like Golden's but you can also use Mod Podge or a glue stick).

You then cover up the plain old white paper with whatever color paint you like.  You can use spray inks (Dylusions and Heidi Klapp make fun sprays) and basic craft paints in colors you like.

I like mixing inks and paints to see what happens and then I keep building layers by stamping, stenciling, dripping, scratching, smearing paint and having a grand time. 

Each painting is a little experiment. I never plan out what it will look like-I just keep happily building the layers until I feel done.  Which is why it's perfect for kids.

The one "rule" to avoid making mud is to keep your cool colors like blues and greens (the colors of winter) away from your warm, summer colors of orange, yellows and reds.  I usually work in layers of cools and let it dry-then do a layer of warm colors.

We have painting parties when friends and kids come over to get their hands in some paint. There is no pressure and no instruction.  Just get some paint, something to paint on and begin!