Saturday, December 30, 2017

Etsy Empire, Almost Free Money, Vol 6

Hellloooo! Yes, I know, I've been delinquent with writing these blog posts every 2 weeks, let alone every month. Sorry about that. 

But, right now, at 8:05pm on a saturday night, (yes I roll like that, crazy right?) instead of thinking, "oh yes, I should write a post tomorrow", I'm doing it right now. So while my daughter is climbing on my back while talking to Siri on my phone, I am writing to you, my beloved reader. Boy, sometimes a little body weight on your back, feels soooo good.

For Christmas I got the "Etsy Empire" book, by Eric Michael. I skipped to page 20 or so, because I've had my store open for a year now, and figured I don't need to read the absolute basics right now. 

So one thing I looked up, was a link to a site where it calculates your Etsy fees, and gives you an estimated profit based on calculations you enter. Check this out:

A lot of sellers underprice themselves, especially for handmade items. Which makes it hard to compete against. And then there are sellers who sell items that aren't made very well, and yet people are buying their stuff. So maybe they don't spend much time on their goods, and feel they can charge less. Not sure you can accurately price according to the competition because of this, but you can average it out. I hope my items for sale are in the ballpark. I think so.

Will write more on my findings with the book in the coming weeks. 

Happy NEw YEar!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Pinterest and hashtags?!

Ok, guess what...I'm still reading that Pinterest book, I blogged about over the summer. I know, it's terrible, right? There is just so much information overload out there. I sit here typing away, staring at 21 tabs on my laptop! These are tabs holding little nuggets of information, I just can't get through this second. So it's saved for another day, which seems to go on forever. Little by little I get to close a tab, which means I have visually digested the info on the page. 

So...Pinterest...are you using hashtags now? I heard today, that if you post on Pinterest, your post will be found in about 3 months, but if you now add hashtags to your description, you can be found instantly. Stop the bus, I wanna get off! Phew. So much is changing. I need about 10 hours a day, to fully get to my to do list on marketing my baby biz. Alas, I only have about 2-3 hours, possibly.

How are you handling Pinterest and Hashtags?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Admiring Smoky Quartz Stones

There was a time when if you asked me about brown stones, I would have stuck my tongue out in disgust. BUT...have you seen smoky quartz stones?! I recently got commissioned to create a necklace using a brown stone. The customer didn't really know what kind of stone. Just brown colored because she mostly wears that color palette. So I created a search and emailed my findings for her to choose the direction I should go in. 

I'm just now opening my eyes to the sexiness of what a brown stone can be. Growing in popularity, it's an affordable option for those looking to jazz up their jewelry collection. It's apparently one of November's birthstone. Plus it goes so very well with autumn colored wardrobes.

Smoky quartz is particularly effective for ailments of the abdomen, kidneys, pancreas, hips and legs. It relieves all sorts of other pain too, including headaches, and benefits the reproductive system, muscles and nerve tissues, as well as the heart. The stone dissolves cramps and strengthens the back. It also aids in the assimilation of minerals and regulates liquids within the body.

Quartz is beneficial to one who finds the need to move forward within himself. It can be extremely helpful to one who is contemplating his relationship with life, exploring his value system, and seeking inner meaning. When meaning is discovered, the magic of smoky quartz is said to be excellent in working to bring one’s dreams into manifestation. Smoky quartz connects us with our higher self. It encourages us to take up contact with this higher self and to pray. It tells us to trust our intuition. As such, it is an excellent choice for those who are unaccustomed to the contact with our inner self.

In the United States, Colorado produces some of the best smoky quartz. Quartz can easily be scratched or chipped so it is important to be careful not to wear it when you might be engaging in an activity that could harm the stone. The best way to clean your quartz is with a plain water and soap, using a soft brush and then a soft polishing cloth. Do not soak your quartz, and do not leave it in direct sunlight as its color may fade. Also be careful not to expose it to intense heat as this too might cause the color to fade.

So take a look at some smoky quartz stones, you'll be happily surprised. I should be listing some new designs in my shop within the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Creating Jewelry Card Holders

After 8 months in "business" I've finally come around to putting some more thought into how my jewelry is shipped out to customers. Once again, seeing examples online and taking note in the boutique stores, I saw that I could make a few holders made out of heavy stock paper. And so, with a few watercolors, my frame stamper, and some gold acrylic paint, I started creating. The end result, is an artistic visual, using my favorite colors for a cohesive look. It also helps to offer up each design, as something that could be found in your local boutique store.

So how much does the packaging affect a customer's view of what they've just spent money on? Research shows that if you are able to invest in slightly better looking packaging than the cheapest option, your customers will believe they are getting their money's worth. I too, feel better about sending off that necklace that seems  slightly elevated with a piece of artwork and my logo on it.

Progress...slowly but surely. I'm still finding ways to get my business off the ground.

What have been the best steps you've taken to seeing more sales? Share in the comments below, am always glad to learn. :)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I'm Being Featured, As Artist of the Month!!

A huge thank you to Jessie, of, who has featured me as her website's Artist of the Month. It's an honor, and inspiring to see your images and text up online all together. Hopefully this will propel me to seek out other avenues of exposure.

Here's a direct link:

Sunday, August 6, 2017

"Pinterest Power" Thoughts So Far

Where does the time go? A month has gone by since my last blog post. In that time, I've purchased and started reading, "Pinterest Power" by Jason Miles and Karen Lacey. The biggest take away so far, is that when you post something to Pinterest, it's always out there in cyber space. People can stumble upon it years from now, and still be directed back to your site. Post something to Instagram? It's old news after a day or 2. Plus, depending on the tags you include, the amount of eyeballs seeing that post, depends on your existing followers and the tags used.

Before IG, I lived and breathed the joys of inspiring Pinterest posts. It amazes me, all the cool crafting, culinary, gardening, interior design, and travel ideas that are out there. But I thought the way to go was Instagram for marketing my new Etsy store. It is for some people, but boy, does it suck a lot of time every day. Which is why, I thought reading this book can help me to elevate my marketing efforts with less time devoted to it everyday.

I didn't realize that naming your board, was just as important as what you pin. It's how people will find your board when they type in a search for particular pins. Also, the title of your pins help in searches too. So each listing I have on Etsy, is now pinned to my store name's board.

Have I given up on IG? No Sirree...I'm just slowly trying to work on the two platforms. There's still so much to read, but this is what I'm learning right now.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fixing Up Your Tags & Joining FB Groups

Holy Moly, I thought  my older products from a few months ago, were finnnne. No sirree, the tags were not well thought out and didn't jive with the titles. I think I've gone through all of them now, and reworked them. But it's not like I'm now getting hundreds of views, based on this small change, but I know it helps.

It's now been about a month and a half since I entered a Loop Giveaway on IG. My follower numbers are hovering around what I ended up with after that contest. So what does that tell me? I need to do more. What a chore! I've been posting almost everyday, except weekends, and sometimes 2xs a day. This is attracting new viewers, and followers, but I wouldn't say it's growing my "Tribe". I need to look into that still.

Are you growing your IG "Tribe"? Send me a comment and let me know how it's going.

I've also joined a few FB groups for Makers, but honestly, I can't find the time to contribute much. Even though I would love to. People write that through groups, they've found their customer base. Will just put that on to my list. Groups I belong to: Creative Movers and Shakers, Handmade Seller, Etsy Shop Help, & Handmade Journey. What groups do you belong to?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Time to Get Serious About SEO

Ok, I'm now into month 4 and a half of trying to sell on Etsy. There is soooo much information out there, it's really overwhelming. But that's a good thing! It's just that I don't have enough time in a day to fully digest the copious amount of videos and articles covering how to market your shop.

This morning I spent a few hours re-listing some of my older items, and double checking the titles, tags, and information on each listing. Or at least, until I started going stir crazy because I knew I had to get out to the market before it got too busy. To my surprise, the older listings didn't have the latest "Important Info"! Oh boy. So, I had some work to do.

Let's see if changing the titles and tags will affect views and hopefully sales. I know it should, I just don't know if I'm doing it correctly. As I type this, I'm listening and watching a video on "How to get buyers to your shop". Yes, I'm multi-tasking! There's only 30min left till my afternoon will be filled up with chauffeuring, cleaning up the kitchen, and doling out snacks.

Items on my To-Do List for this month:
• Contacting local and not local shops that sell Artisan wares.
• Posting and interacting on IG at least 5 days a week. I don't tend to post as much on the weekends, because not much creative work gets done in the house when it's full.
• Read articles on SEO and building up a "Tribe" of followers on Instagram.
• Think about creating separate Instagram and Etsy stores for artwork and jewelry bowls/jewelry.

So that's about it. Onwards and Upwards. I hope.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Renew or Not to Renew on Etsy?

Recently, I finally came up to my 4 month expiration date for my first few Etsy items, posted in my store. Should I renew them in the hopes that my store will soon get the traffic I crave? Or should I hold them back so that when I finally approach those stores I have my eye on, I'll be able to show them some products that are not currently listed in the store? Hmmm. I'm betting that holding off on the 12 items will work out, at least until I speak to someone at a bricks and mortar store. There are also new products I haven't even listed because I might want to sell them on consignment.


What's the 411, if you know? Would love to read any suggestions from others out there who have gone through this.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

My Experience with a Loop Giveaway on Instagram

To be honest, my first experience entering a loop giveaway, was not pleasant. I mean, really? I have to follow stores I'm really not interested in, and then wait a few days to a week to find out if I won? The directions were even a little screwy. Do you tag other stores on all the IG feeds you're supposed to be following? I didn't have a clue. Then I decided to join a loop giveaway to see what the fuss was about.

The Hive Handmade was the organizer. There were 8 other stores involved. At first I was a little overwhelmed with the details and preparations needed to be done for the contest. I've never really dealt with reposting yet, and have never tagged an image with an IG handle. So I learned as I went along. The organizer was very helpful, and the stores involved, were welcoming. It really felt like a camp almost, where we were all in this together.

When the contest launched, it was fun to experience so many follows and likes. At the end of the day, I'd say it was a positive experiment. I started off with 225 followers and ended up with 305 followers or so when the contest ended. Since then, I've lost a few, and gained some others reacting to my newer posts. Seems like I've been getting quite a few bots probably, following me. IGers, who don't exactly look like shops that would be following me. No doubt, looking for a reciprocal follow. Sometimes I follow, and sometimes I don't. I'm still trying to follow only those that interest me.

So, I think I'll do another one, for sure, but I'm not sure I gained followers that will necessarily be buyers from my shop.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

My Experience with Publish Craft & Etsy Hunter on Instagram

Just yesterday, Publish Craft, posted an image of my "Gold Collection" jewelry bowls, on their Instagram feed. They have 134k followers, and the average likes per image they post, is about 1k, give or take. After a couple of hours, my gold bowls image garnered 1k in likes. Not a huge change in followers. Seems the majority liked the image and that's about it. But it was still a great feeling to see the positive likes. I think it went live around 7pm EST, on a saturday night. So, overall, i'm very pleased with the back and forth with Chris, at Publish Craft, and the willingness to work with me in choosing an image to feature. I'd most likely work with them again.

Etsy Hunter, on the other hand, only gathered around 448 likes. Could it be the time of day, the image, the txt used describing my wares, or the usage of the same exact tags I used for the same image? I don't know. But there you have it. For $23, I probably won't be running back to use this form of marketing dollars. Publish Craft was having a special price break, so I got the spot for $13. Now that's a bargain.

Baby steps. And boy does it ever feel like BABY STEPS!!!

What's your experience with using these marketing companies on Instagram?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I'm Featured on Etsy Hunter!

Ok so, it doesn't sound as thrilling when you hear I paid $23 for the honor. But they say they "choose" who gets to be featured on their IG feed. So that means we're all really good, right? Sales galore, I'm ready for ya! Post time was at 4:24pm, to be exact. Normally, each post is getting roughly 1k likes. As far as followers, who knows. It really depends on the product, the image chosen, and the tags used. Now, get this, I noticed the tags I wrote up myself, for the image Etsy Hunter ended up choosing, were used again by Etsy Hunter! Now that was weird I thought. Shouldn't they have used their own magic mojo combination of tags that grab the most eyes? Hmmm, I'll have to enquire about that.

So, last time I checked, the post has garnered about 293 likes at 8:25pm. A few followers, but who knows who are following because of them. Maybe it's from my own feed.

Tomorrow will be like xmas morning to see how many eyeballs have liked my bowls.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Feature coming on Instagram 5/3/2017

As I continue to market myself, I decided to do one of those paid feature options I'm seeing so often on Instagram. Etsy Hunter will be feature my store for 5 days. Starting at exactly 4:24pm this Wednesday, they will pick one of my images from my IG account. Let's see how much of an impact it makes. Anyone out there go this route? What was your experience?

Still adding followers on IG, without following people just because they follow me. Of course the meanies that are just looking for me to follow are still dropping me like a hot potato once they see I'm not going to follow them. Nothing personal people!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Instagram - to Follow or Not to Follow

Since I started using Instagram for marketing purposes, I've become obsessed with follower numbers. Only because I know it "means" something in the biz world. It's not that I care how many eyeballs are watching my every post. Believe me.

Being somewhat of a newbie, I thought when someone decides they want to follow you, they do, without much thought. But no. I've seen my followers grow, and then deflate within 24 hours, seemingly because I didn't follow each and everyone back. Sigh* Really? I don't have the time or the inclination to follow the numbers so closely. And yet I do. I'd say about 50% of the people doing the following, have no interest in following based out of sheer interest in what you're posting.

Recent advice I've received, is to follow every single person who follows me, if I want to move from having a hobby to having a business. Ex-squeeze Me?! But what if I don't want that sexily posed female follower, who only has 8 posts, revealing more skin than a stripper on the beach. Although she has 150k followers. I just couldn't do it. I don't want to file through my feed multiple times daily, only to have to go past the junk, i'm not into seeing. So I plugged along, frustrated in the slow process of gaining followers.

Until 2 days ago...I gave in. I started following each and every person, no matter what they offered visually. Well, that didn't last. I just didn't feel good about it. So I proceeded to unfollow about 20 IGers, who did not connect with what I'm in to. The result is that I started following more people I find exciting in their vision, their voice, or their talent. My numbers are growing, and it feels good. Clean.

So if you're ok with following everyone under the sun, go for it. But if you want to be able to scroll down your feed and feel inspired with each genuine post, then be selective, and don't play in to the follow game.

Enjoy the day! I'm ready to start a new painting i'm donating for an auction, shop for new jewelry chains, and try to work on some new designs. Oh, and if time, exercise.

~ Vanessa

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Not Enough Time in a Day

Do you ever feel like you just don't have enough time in the day, to accomplish all of your creative pursuits? On top of all the "must do things" a household with kids requires. Don't get me started. But, when simply sneezing, eating, or having to go to the bathroom, make you feel frustrated with how it's taking precious time out of your day, when you could be making something, then you are a person with many ideas! Or chores. Either way, I'm feeling like that lately. I have so many crafty artistic pursuits I want to get to, as well as trying to market my Etsy store, that sometimes I have to take a breath, and just let it go. I can't do all 10 things on my list for the day. Once I resign to getting one thing done, or 2, I'm much more relaxed about the day. Not that I like it, but what else can you do? Clone yourself? Oh, that would be so great!!

So when you feel your head is about to explode, take a step back, and breath. Set out to get to 1 or 2 things on your list, and go from there. Take care of yourself. All week I meant to exercise, but that time seemed too valuable, so I skipped it, and now feel nice and sore, from lack of exercise. So do as I say and not as do.

Take care, my creative people! You're worth it.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Pattern by Etsy, Let's See What You can Do!

Well, following an email I just opened this morning from Etsy about the improvements they've made to Pattern, a website that connects to Etsy stores, I decided to take the plunge with their 30 day free trial offer. It's too easy to pass up the chance. Shopify is another option, but with only a 14 day, so called "free trial" which doesn't let you check out of the cart until you sign up for a payment plan, what?! This seems like a no-brainer. I still have only entered in 3 products for the shopify site.

Here's the link to the Pattern site:
Vanpinni Designs on Pattern by Etsy

And here is the Shopify link:

What do you think? Articles say that you don't have enough freedom with making the store your own with Pattern, but from what I see, it's all I need. Right now, it's enough for me just to focus on new products and getting the word out on my products, which is a full-time job right there.

Now to buy a domain name...

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Jewelry Added to Vanpinni Designs

I recently stopped just looking at my small box of jewelry supplies, accumulated from the past 10 years or so. Nope, now I was going to open that baby up and see what I can put together. Etsy and Instagram are exposing me to such creative makers out there, that it's definitely rubbing off. There just isn't enough free hours in the day to create as much as I would like to. If you have a second, please take a look and let me know what you think. Have a great day!

* update as of March 30, 2017: This blue iris beaded 2 tier necklace sold on Etsy, for $25. It's my first jewelry piece to sell. I'm very excited to try some more designs, and to continue learning the ins and outs of this whole selling online thing.

Vanpinni Designs on Etsy

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How did it get to be 2017 already?

After a few years of not contributing to this blog, (I even forgot I had it!) I'm reconnected to it now via my Zazzle website, which has been ignored for far too long.  Hopefully this can be the start to shaping something along with my starting an store again.

What's My Niche?

As I continue to write freely here, by no means with any sort of schedule, I'm finding I should follow some of the steps I've been r...