Monday, October 31, 2011

Artisan Spotlight -- Miss Millificent's Mesdamoiselles

7 Questions is our spotlight on our favorite artisans. Please welcome...

Athena, creator of Miss Millificent's Mesdamoiselles!
1. What do you sell in your shop? 
At Miss Millificent's Mesdamoiselles, I sell my one-of-a-kind handmade weird, odd and gothic art dolls. They have unusual and sometimes disturbing stories. These dolls are inspired by and a continuation of my artwork.
2. What is your favorite thing about etsy? 
The community, and the chance it gives me, an artist who doesn't make much money, to sell my dolls without breaking my bank.

3. What is your least favorite thing about etsy? 
The obvious favoritism for certain styles and products, and the way suppliers flood the search listings (maybe "relevancy" will change that...?).

4. What does your studio/workspace look like? 
I work in our converted garage, and it's a pretty big space. Although the walls are a greyish-blue color, I've cheered the room up with colorful bookcases, desks, and lights. When I'm not working on my dolls, I sit at my desk next to my big picture window, where I can watch the rain and occasional snow (and the cats can come claw the window to be let in).
5. What do you do to relax? 
Watch t.v. with my husband (although "The Walking Dead" isn't much for relaxing!), and take naps. We've also begun traveling more this year, as well as hiking, and those are both relaxing for me.

6. What accomplishments are you the most proud of? 
Being able to sculpt without any formal training. For years I thought I couldn't and didn't even try because I failed so miserably at it in twelfth grade art class. To discover that I could do something I thought so elusive, and pretty late in my "career" is a huge accomplishment. Personally, that I've raised our two daughters to become healthy, happy, independent adults is great, too.

7. What are some of your goals for the next year? 
For my dolls, just better, and I would like to start adding accessories to them. I am also planning to start my own business, so a lot of my time will be devoted to writing a business plan, developing it, etc.

 Miss Millificent (Athena): OOAK miniatures; handmade odd art dolls
Shop: (dolls):
Facebook: (business)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Artisan Spotlight -- Greenbead

7 Questions is our spotlight on our favorite artisans. Please welcome...

Amy, creator of Greenbead!

1. What do you sell in your shop?

HI! I'm Amy! I blog at and sell handmade jewelry at I especially love making jewelry with art beads.

2. What is your favorite thing about etsy?

The bead shopping, and seeing all the cool handmade things people create.

3. What is your least favorite thing about etsy?

Trying to figure out how to make sales

4. What does your studio/workspace look like?

A beady mess! In an ideal world, it looks like this:

5. What do you do to relax?

Bead, bead shop, blog, read, watch trashy reality show TV

6. What accomplishments are you the most proud of?

Keeping that studio in that condition, LOL

7. What are some of your goals for the next year?

 Have one of my designs published in a jewelry magazine and become more involved in the blogging community.

Greenbead (Amy): Jewelry

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Artisan Spotlight -- Random Creative

7 Questions is our spotlight on our favorite artisans. Please welcome...

Rose, creator of Random Creative!
 1.      What do you sell in your shop? 
I sell handmade beadwoven and button bracelets, earrings, pendants, and necklaces.  I also sell PDF patterns of some of my original bracelet designs.

2.      What is your favorite thing about Etsy? 
My favorite thing about Etsy is the community.  I have met a lot of wonderful artists through a couple teams.  My friendships with these ladies have made it worth staying on Etsy even when sales have been slow.

3.      What is your least favorite thing about Etsy? 
One of my biggest frustrations right now with Etsy is that no matter how much I tweak my listing titles and keywords, I consistently get Google hits that have nothing to do with my shop.  I use a very similar system for titles and keywords on freelance writing sites with a lot more success.  I'm not sure why Etsy doesn't work the same way.  Thankfully their own search functions are more effective.

4.      What does your studio/workspace look like? 
Our new house has three bedrooms.  Right now I use one of them for all of my craft storage and my light box set up.  I do almost all of my jewelry creating on the couch while watching TV or listening to music.

5.      What do you do to relax? 
Although I don't find the photography and listing process for Etsy very relaxing, I do find jewelry making and other crafty activities relaxing.  I also enjoy restaurants, museums, and other attractions in Milwaukee; entertaining friends and family in our new house; cooking and baking; spending time with our cat; and listening to music.

6.      What accomplishments are you the most proud of? 
While my husband completed med school from 2007-2011, I taught special education for 4 years, got my master's degree in special education, and started my Etsy shop.  Although the 4 years that we spent in Iowa were not easy, I'm proud of everything that we accomplished there.
As far my jewelry making goes, I am especially proud of all of the pieces that I've made for the Etsy Beadweaver challenges.  I have truly embraced the notion of challenge for almost every piece I've made, which has gotten me to try beadweaving stitches, color combinations, and other new techniques that I never would have attempted otherwise.  I attribute a large part of my growth as an artist to these challenges and to the group in general.

7.      What are some of your goals for the next year? 
This fall I plan to release my 8th PDF pattern, which will be a non-metal jewelry clasp tutorial.  I am releasing a brand new line of herringbone stitch bracelets in 2012.  In 2011, I completed 10 out of 11 Etsy Beadweaver challenges (I have my entry complete for the November challenge, which will run November 9-15).  Now that we have started the new Blogging Business Artisans team which also has a challenge component, I'm not sure that I'll complete that many beading challenges this next year.  However, I plan to complete at least 6 challenges for each team in 2012.

Since we moved to Milwaukee, my other personal goals have included exercising 2-3 times per week and trying more new recipes.  While were in Iowa, I saved many new recipes that I never tried.  So far I've done well meeting both of those goals and plan to continue them this next year.

Random Creative (Rose): Beaded and button bracelets, earrings, pendants, and necklaces as well as PDF Patterns 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Preparing for a Craft Show

As we get deeper into fall, the craft shows will be coming out in full force! Fall is a great time to attend shows as both a shopper and a vendor with Christmas just around the corner. I've been doing shows now for several years and I've learned a few things along the way that I thought I'd share with you today. I broke this into a two part post and today I'll talk about Preparing for a Craft Show.

How much product should I take?
*One question that gets asked a lot is "How much product should I take with me?"
My answer...have enough product to fill your table and have extras as things sell. I know this is a pretty generic answer, but it will really depend on how big your space is. I've done shows with a 7'x7' booth and the last show I did was a 5'x16' booth. Every show will be different.

Make a variety of items. Take my scrapbooks for example...I make my word albums in Family, Friends, Baby and a few other premade options. I make about 3-4 different color combinations of each word so buyers have a choice.

Booth Mock Up
*Another good tip is to set up your booth in your home before you go to the show. Mark a spot on your floor the size your booth will be and set up a mock booth. This way you will know for sure if you'll fit in your space and if you need more product or a different display idea. It helps to do this ahead of time so you're not scrambling the morning of the show trying to figure out how your want your booth to look.

Read the Fine Print
*Know what will and won't be provided for you. Some shows provide tables and chairs while others don't. Read your application and know what all you need to bring with you. Some shows even require a certain color of table covering (most don't, but read your application to know for sure.) Other shows require you to put down a drop cloth to protect the floor if you have a standing display.

Do Your Research
*Do your homework/research. Before attending a show as a vendor, it is a good idea to find out as much information about a show as you can. Talk to others who have attended and find information online if you can. How many years has this show been taking place? How well is it advertised? How many people have been in attendance in past years?
By doing your homework, hopefully you will save yourself from a bad show.

Be Knowledgeable
*Know your products. People will be asking questions all day and they expect you to be the expert on your items. Know what they are made of. Know what size they are. Know if they are waterproof, stain proof, etc. Know your product inside and out and be prepared for how you will answer questions about your work.

Show Me the Money
*Know how you will accept payments. I accept cash, personal checks and credit/debit cards. Most people come to shows with cash, but they may make a bigger purchase if they can use a card or write a check. Read my post on Accepting Credit Cards at Shows to read my review on the Square for your smart phone.
Also, know what information you will need from people if you do accept checks or cards. I also ask people to write their phone number on their checks. And each company is different for what info you will need for processing credit cards. Getting a phone number on these transactions is always a good idea.

I hope this helps you prepare for your next (or first) craft show. Let me know if you have any other questions you'd like answered and I can reply to those in the comments :)

Look for Part 2 of my Craft Show Tips next week!


Edi is the creative mind behind Memories for Life Scrapbooks (and Laser Engraving). She has been paper crafting for over 15 years and recently purchased a laser engraver that is keeping her creativity at an all time high!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Artisan Spotlight -- Memories for Life

7 Questions is our spotlight on our favorite artisans. Please welcome...

1. What do you sell in your shop?
Custom, one-of-a-kind scrapbooks and laser engraved products.

2. What is your favorite thing about etsy?
The wonderful people I have met! I have some of the best teammates an Etsian could ask for! And the wonderful customers I get to work with :)
3. What is your least favorite thing about etsy?
Photography and listing items! My photography is definitely a work in progress! And listing items can take a good amount of time...I'd rather be creating :)

4. What does your studio/workspace look like?
Like a tornado came through town! I've had three shows so far this fall and organizing my craft room isn't on the list until after Christmas! But I'm very lucky to have a room all my own for creating...complete with a door to shut when company comes!
(Here are a couple pictures from when it was clean.)

5. What do you do to relax?
A hot bath and a cold glass of wine :)

6. What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
I am proud of the fact that I got my 4 year degree while working full-time and starting my business. I was one tired girl for a few years there!

7. What are some of your goals for the next year?
I have so many ideas that I want to try with my laser engraver! Adding lots of new items to my shop this year will be a big goal. I definitely want to hit the 100 listings mark!

I will also be working on getting our personal financials in order to get on the track of running Memories for Life full time! 

Memories for Life Scrapbooks (and Laser Engraving): One-of-a-kind custom scrapbooks and laser engraved creations.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Artisan Spotlight -- N. Fallon Design Studio

7 Questions is our spotlight on our favorite artisans. Please welcome...

Nancy, creator of N. Fallon Design Studio!

1. What do you sell in your shop?

My shop, N. Fallon Design Studio, houses mainly my knit goods including a line of bags and purses and scarves.  I also sell original art; cute, tiny gift tag cards; and my singular jewelry design.  

2. What is your favorite thing about etsy?

I enjoy the majesty of it all.  When I log in, I become transfixed; there are so many talented artists with wares that blow you away.  I think it's also quite fantasy fulfilling for me- the idea of a site dedicated to creating a community for handmade artisans to connect and sell their art is amazing.

3. What is your least favorite thing about etsy?

In general, I'm perturbed by how crowded etsy is vs. how few artisans actually get exposure
through the site.  We all know that the same artists are featured on the front page time and time again.  I truly believe that etsy is missing out on finding gorgeous new shops, and that if they were truly dedicated to the cause this would not even be an issue.

4. What does your studio/workspace look like?

My studio space is sandwiched in a nook of our front room.  It's more functional than beautiful- I spend more time working in it than decorating it I guess!  I've got my drafting table for painting and paper projects, a nice 6' table to spread out on and use as my computer desk, and large storage units about the room for supplies and goods.  And...usually a cat in my lap too.

5. What do you do to relax?

Work tends to be solitary, so I love to get away from the computer and out of the house when I need some down time.  I love to hike and camp, go for walks around town, exercise, really any reason to get outside is all I need to have a good time.

6. What accomplishments are you the most proud of?

Unrelated to etsy, but still a creative medium, I'm proud of my improved cooking skills.  My fiance and I love watching Food Network, and have become quite ambitious in the kitchen over the last few years.  My goal was to be able to establish enough food knowledge to just whip up something great out of whatever we happen to have in the kitchen sans recipe and I'm pretty much there.  We plan to take a cooking class together in the near future too.
7. What are some of your goals for the next year?

I'd love to see the shop grow in sales and listings.  I still have yet to get into a 'real' craft show, which I'd be thrilled to do.  I want to be more patient with myself and with others, and I'd love to make it a point to see friends every weekend.  I will challenge myself to do something that scares me each month and follow through.  I want to be braver in all aspects of my life.  I hope, in both little ways and big, to achieve progress in these areas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Artisan Spotlight -- LindaB

 7 Questions is our spotlight on our favorite artisans. Please welcome...

Linda, creator of LindaB142!
1.      What do you sell in your shop?
I design handbeaded and wirewrapped artisan jewelry, Jewish jewelry and Jewish women's kippot (headcoverings) 
2.      What is your favorite thing about etsy? 
The people: My teammates - the laughs, encouragement and support My clients who place custom orders with me.
3.      What is your least favorite thing about etsy? 
Jewelry competition is fierce, but that gives me incentive to promote in different ways. 
4.      What does your studio/workspace look like? 
I recently had 3 bead containers fall off the table and beads rolled everywhere.

This is part of my bead stash, it's behind the chair where I sit to create (at the dining room table).

These are my helpers in my photo area

5.      What do you do to relax?
Bead or wire wrap jewelry, read, watch Modern Family and other silly sitcoms on TV
6.      What accomplishments are you the most proud of? 
a. My kippah designs (and custom orders)

a. Using social media for promotions, Twitter, FaceBook, StumbleUpon, G+

7.      What are some of your goals for the next year? 
a. Increase sales, of course
b. Place a print ad in my target market area 
c. Take better photos
d. Use time more effectively. 

LindaB142: Handbeaded jewelry and Judaica jewelry and accessories

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blogging for Business

print by Jennifer Ramos

Some of us dream of making money from our blogs and hoping that we will be among the few that garner enough income to warrant quitting our day job. There are millions of blogs and websites we compete with and it may seem daunting or impossible to capture a bit of market share. And if you are like me, there are many questions you may have on what to consider in trying to make money from your online site.

Here are two helpful posts:
  • Yes, I Make Money From My Blog by Beneath My Heart. She shares the different ways she makes money; perhaps one of these will work for you?
  • Josh dishes on Homemaker on a Dime about worked and didn't for him. And he is honest that you need traffic first!

There are many more sites on this topic but this ought to give you a taste. What other articles should we check out?

QUESTION: Where are you traffic wise? Can you generate income from your blog?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Artisan Spotlight -- A Bird in the Hand Art

 7 Questions is our spotlight on our favorite artisans. Please welcome...

Jenny, the creator of A Bird in the Hand Art!

Jenny & Clutch
1. What do you sell in your shop?
I make jewelry and home decor items. It's an eclectic mix, but everything is hand-painted or covered in fabric. I use a lot of birds in my work; I studied bird behavior in school and got hooked!

2. What is your favorite thing about etsy?
Looking at all the amazing pieces out there. There are so many amazing artists out there; I love looking at what people come up with.

3. What is your least favorite thing about etsy?
How many people are on it! I guess it's a double-edged sword. I love seeing all the different artists, but it's also easy to get lost in the crowd.

4. What does your studio/workspace look like?
I fixed up our second bedroom to be a work space for my craft business. I have a large table that is usually covered with paint and fabric scraps. Next to that table is a desk with my laptop. I can alternate between crafting and blogging.

5. What do you do to relax? 
My favorite fun activity is to get a cup of coffee and walk around a thrift store. There is one near my house that I go to about once a week. Other than that, I like watching movies with my husband and snuggling with my cat.

6. What accomplishments are you the most proud of?
I'm proud of taking the step to start a craft business. I studied biology and was always a huge school nerd. While in grad school, I realized it was really not the thing for me. I was terrified of leaving the world of science without a clear plan but I took the plunge. I had always loved art and dreamed of selling my work. I decided to go for it and it's been amazing. I'm still learning, but I'm loving every minute of it.

7. What are some of your goals for the next year?
I would like to keep refining my product. I have made lots of different pieces and I'm still experimenting with which pieces I will focus on. My ultimate goal is to sell enough to pay for my supplies. That way I can keep making more pieces!

Jenny Chang Artist, A Bird In The Hand Art