Friday, October 24, 2008

Etsy Love

I think promoting etsy in general is good for all of us. Often when I'm out and about, I get asked about a piece of jewelry I'm wearing and I'm always happy to explain that I got it on Etsy. Just yesterday we were at the library and I complimented someones necklace. She replied with, "Now if I could only find a pair of earrings to match!" I, of course, immediately suggested Etsy! I told her I've seen a ton of jewelry on there that would look great with her necklace and that Etsy was a collective of small handmade shops. She jotted the address down and I'm sure she checked it out!
Another way to spread the Etsy love is by shopping there! Just in the past few days I purchased a needle felting kit for my mom, a drop spindle and roving for myself, some lotion, a set of runes and some birthday presents! In my mind, what comes around, goes around! Plus, I know many of us have taken the handmade pledge!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Etsy Shop Promotion Tips

There are so many great ways out there that you can promote your etsy shop. I'm going to list a few and then have the comments open for everyone to share their favorite methods.

1. Blog every day. I don't necessarily promote my shop in every post but by blogging consistently, you can build up a readership that gets to know you and is more apt to shop from someone they have a personal connection with. It also helps to have my etsy mini placed near the top of my blog so people can see my favorite items.

2. Use an email signature. Most emails will allow you to have a signature. This is a line or two of text that shows up on every email you send out. It is easy to delete if you are sending an email where it wouldn't be appropriate, but I make sure my etsy shop link is at the bottom of most emails that I send.

3. Make friends on etsy or other online locations. By participating in the forums, message boards, twitter, etc... you can promote your items. Be careful to not to just promote. Remember, this is more about contacts. Etsy shop owners are also etsy buyers. Get to know the shops.

4. Trade. This is a great way to get your product into the hands of others. Word of mouth is then a great tool for promotion. See if there are some etsy shop owners that would be willing to trade with you. Many shop owners are open to trades. Just, don't take it personally if they don't want to trade. It doesn't mean that your product isn't just means that it might not be what they are looking for at the moment. Try someone else!

5. Craft in public (if possible). Crafting in public gives so many opportunities to hand out cards and share your items with people that may have never even heard of etsy (they still exist).

6. Get featured on blogs. By responsibly contacting blog owners, you may be able to have your products featured. This might include sending them a product to try or being allowed to be interviewed. Many blog sites are constantly looking for new content and if you have something to offer, go for it! I'll plug my own blog here and let everyone know that on Mondays I host a blog carnival called, I Made it Myself. Each week you have the opportunity to share your handmade items with my readers from all over the world. Here is the link to the one from today.

7. Post pictures of your products online. Flickr is a great resource for this. If you tag your item properly and make sure you mention that your etsy shop link is in your profile (you can't include it with your picture), you will be able to get hits and possible customers. Join flickr groups and post your pictures there as well (as applies).

8. Join an etsy team. There are great opportunities to be had on etsy teams. Our local team, Lincoln Handmade, is a great resource! There are also teams relating to specific crafts and causes. Check them out!

I think that is about it from me. We can continue the rest of the conversation in the comments. What is your best promotion tip?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Basics To Crochet

Learning how to crochet can be a wonderful experience that rewards you with a lifelong skill and outlet for relaxation. Being focused on crochet means that there's little room to be focused on much of anything else; in turn, all the clutter and noise from a chaotic and busy day is suddenly relegated to the back burner. It can be an amazing journey of mastering a new skill. Part of mastering crochet is the mastering of crochet instructions that will lead you through a particular project. While they may seem confusing at first, crochet instructions are like anything having to do with crochet – or anything else for that matter; the more you practice, the better you'll be.

Crochet instructions for any particular project can be found in a variety of craft stores local to you, as well as online. Just be sure that when first attempting to use crochet instructions to complete a project that you choose a beginner's pattern that uses basic stitches, simple shaping, and unadorned lines. First and foremost, upon the choosing of your project and the purchase of your crochet instructions, read the crochet instructions through several times to ensure that you thoroughly understand the steps. Most often, an abbreviation key is included with all crochet instructions that will help you decipher the directions. If for some reason there is not an abbreviation key then feel free to use any one of the crochet how-to manuals that you have on hand to help you understand the abbreviations. Having these books on hand will also walk you through the stitches if you are still in the learning stages.

Also take a look at the crochet instructions to determine the materials needed for your project. Be sure that you have enough supplies to finish the job; the last thing you want to have to do when you are in the middle of a project is run out for more yarn. Also, if you are working with specific colors, you can not guarantee that you will be able to color match exactly the yarn you have been using. Better safe than sorry; buy enough yarn to complete you project and if you're unsure it's better to have too much than not enough.

Most crochet instructions include something called a gauge guide which is something of a practice area that allows you to crochet some stitches. That will ensure that your stitch matches the stitch measurements that are called for in the crochet instructions, thus saving you any frustration down the line. You are then ready to begin your project with the step-by-step directions included in your crochet instructions. Take your time and concentrate on your technique. Remember that perfection is not necessary. As you complete more and more crochet projects you will find that it becomes easier to follow crochet instructions and achieve your desired results. Most of all, have fun and relax. The beauty of crochet is in the journey!

Katie MacKay's Bathworks on Etsy

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