Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shop Set Up

I'm proceeding to the next part of the Etsy's beginner's guide called Shop Set Up.  This part tells you about registering account, creating a profile bio and the necessities to get started.  Here is my bio...

if just for today
cow are purple, pigs do fly
come imagine with me

One day I will find a way to make all the images in my mind find its way into my creations. My mind moves faster than hands and my days move quickly into more
On to...Banners
My banner should be professional and give my customers a sense of my shop.   Here is my banner:

This is my newest banner (taking away the "+" that I felt was unnecessary and discussed earlier).  It does represent my shop by showing a product that I made it gives buyers a feel of what I sell. My banner is not professionally made and maybe one day I will be able to afford a professional.  How can I improve my banner?  Do you have any suggestions?

Avatars - should be well lit, well cropped, show something interesting.

This is my Avatar.  Avatars are used for community spaces and is an advertisement for your shop while you're on the go.  Once again I'm am using my bunny earrings with my bright yellow background.  It represents my shop well but should I get rid of the wording and use just the image?

Shipping and shipping profiles - set 'em up in your shop.

There are many times when I really, really want to buy a product online and then I see "does not ship to Hawaii".  What a major bummer! Other times, my shopping decision is based on the price of shipping...too high, no buy!  In my shop, I ship only to the US, Canada and UK.  Furthermore, the cost of shipping may make up more than 50% of my product price. If I was shopping from my own site, these things would scare me away unless these costs could be offset in some other way.  Therefore, I sometimes combine my pieces into sets to make the "value of product to shipping price" more reasonable.  I also offer free shipping when customers buy 5 or more items from my shop.

To determine postage price, I went to the USPS online postage calculator and weighed my items.  I categorized them into shipping profiles. 

I did what I was told to do but maybe I can get into the next Etsy virtual lab discussion and have an evaluation made on my banner, avatar and shipping issue. 

My Etsy Journey Posts:
* Beginning of Success...I hope!
* It's All in the Name

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's All in the Name

According to Etsy's beginners guide, the most important thing to think about when opening your Etsy shop is Your Name.

My shop's name is Handmade + Cute.

Is it great and memorable so others can find you again?'s easy to remember but not necessarily great so I guess the answer is "no".

Is it (a) easy to pronounce, (b) easy to spell, (c) interesting and (d) tells others about your shop's sense of style?
(a) yes (b) except for the "+" for "and" it is easy to spell (c) the "+" makes is different (d) definitely speaks about my sense of style.

Shorter tends to be better than longer. shop's name is on the longer side.

Avoid common words, number strings and consonant strings.
Common! I don't have number strings or consonant strings but I see my  "+" symbol as a problem.

Is my shop name "Google-able"?
Now this question is tricky. I opened my Etsy shop, my blog and my Twitter accounts around the same time this year- March 2010. My Flickr has been opened quite a bit longer under another name but I use Flickr to host many of my crafty photos.  When I Googled 'handmade cute', my blog, my Twitter and my Flickr accounts appeared on the first page of the 4,100,000 search results.  My Etsy shop is buried away somewhere in that haystack of those million straws. I gave up scrolling for my Etsy link after page 4 of the search results.  Hmmm...why is my Etsy shop nowhere to be found in my Google search? 

Now, let's say someone got my name wrong and Googled 'cute handmade', I'm out of luck because none of my links showed up on the result pages and I scrolled to page 5.  I'm not very familiar with tags, keywords and all that search optimization stuff but now I'm wondering if I should start describing my products as cute and handmade...?

Am I in the danger zone?
I could well be in the "danger zone".  After all, I have a shop name that is quite generic, has a funny symbol, is on the longer side and is not unique.  An option would be for me to open a new Etsy shop that meet the criteria but do I want to do that?

No, I do not want to open a brand new Etsy shop.  I am very pleased with myself for my 7 sales, proud of the 100% positive feedback, thrilled to have 44 users who "favorite" my shop, overjoyed to have been listed in 3 user Treasuries and don't want to pay the twenty-cents listing fees again.  I know others are further along and have had greater success than I have but each of these warm fuzzies mean a lot to me.   Furthermore, although my Etsy shop is nowhere on the front pages of a Google search, my blog is listed number 3 out of 4,100,000 search results and that must be a wonderful thing.  Someone may not be searching for my shop in particular but there is a possibility that the generic "handmade" "cute" words may bring them to my blog, Twitter or Flickr profiles and in turn, to my Etsy shop. 

In short, I will keep my shop's name but make a small change to it by calling it Handmade Cute and getting rid of the "+" symbol which does nothing for the name and probably is not search engine friendly. is my url address so the change will not affect my user name.

For those who have considered changing your shop's name, here is a helpful Etsy article.

And...I'd like send out a huge "T H A N K S" to those who read and follow my blog!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beginning of Success...I hope!

There are 3 activities in my life that I obsess over...
  1. Beading
  2. Reading
  3. My computer
All these activities, I do for pleasure but I can't do all three at the same time lest my family disown me so I carefully fit these shining hours into my day. 

My beading hobby, I'm ready to take to the next level and I'm going to start here >> Etsy Success for Beginning Sellers.  It's something I've avoided because, heck, it's not fun when your hobby becomes work but I hope I can find a nice work/fun balance.  I'd love for you to join me on my journey as I "get serious" about doing what makes me sing (shyly).


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friendship Friday

This week went by fast.  I'm a day late in posting this linky but it will be up through the weekend so add your link here and have a wonderful day!  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sumo Onigiri

My kids want me to make them those cute bento lunches that are so popular nowadays...musubi with faces, pickled vegetables in tiny portions served in cupcake liners, etc. I was inspired by the idea but since I'm better at beading than cooking, I made these non-edible version of Sumo Onigiris.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friendship Friday

It's Friday and time for friends.  Come add your link here.  Feel free to add a comment and tell us about your website/product.  This link share will be up through the weekend.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Evil Cat Bat

Do you remember my vampire kitty sketch from my earlier post?  Well, I completely re-did my pattern and my vampire kitty is now a cat bat.  Here it is...

Vampire kitty gave me so much trouble...tangled thread, not enough thread, not the right colors, bent needle, cute but not vampire-ish (kids said it looked like a cat in a super-hero mask).  The last straw was when my entire tray of beads went spilling on the floor.  I say that vampire kitty was cursed! 

Vampire kitty has been transformed into Cat Bat but this is as far I have gotten and it's my third attempt.  I am still using my bent needle.  Hope Cat Bat will cooperate with me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pumpkin Kitty - Done!

It took me a few tries to complete my Pumpkin Kitty because of tangled thread, uneven beads, experimenting with bead colors and disatisfaction with the final result after following my original drawing (previous post).  I made a few changes and this is my final result using my new pattern.

I'm going to work on my vampire cat next.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Halloween Kitty Sketches

I usually start out my projects by sketching an image. Here are my Halloween sketches of kitty cats - a black kitty, a pumpkin kitty and a vampire kitty.

The sketches makes the image in my mind more real and helps me keep count of the beads when I do work on my project.  It also reminds me when to add details and change bead colors.  The end result may not necessarily match the picture in my mind and if it doesn't, I usually start over.  I'm excited to get started with this project.

I use the brick stitch graph from No Easy Beads

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sneak Peek

I'm working on a new fishy-fishy design. You may notice that the orange fish is made with frosted beads. The frosted beads have a "creamy-dreamy" look. I like mixing and matching beads but sometimes, the bead sizes are not consistent or the differing lusters do not produce the look that I desire. In this project, the orange fish will return to the sea.


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