Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Motivator: Keep Calm and Carry On


There are a lot of Etsy items bearing the "Keep calm and carry on" motto, and I think I know why.  

It's some darn good advice.  Especially for those of us trying to sell our handmade goods.  There are a lot of trials we have to weather--slow seasons, nonpaying customers, unpleasant transactions, criticism and our own self-doubt...

I'm currently in the process of changing my prices back after having lowered them for a sale last week.  A sale during which I got no sales.  Perhaps I didn't promote as much as I should have.  Maybe I should have offered free shipping.  Or maybe it wasn't anything that I did or didn't do.  Maybe it just wasn't the right time.

Whatever the case, it's done with and there's nothing I can do about it now.  Except keep calm and carry on.  Sure, I could sit here and try to analyze what went wrong.  I could be bummed.  I could get down and out and feel sorry for myself and my poor unloved, under-appreciated little shop.  But I'm not going to.  It's not productive.  

Rather, I'm going to keep calm and carry on.  I'm keep tweaking things and experimenting.  I'm going to design knew things and list new items.  I'm going to plan for my next sale and hope for the best.  

So, my fine readers, tell me, when troubles get you down, how do you deal?  Do you keep calm and carry on?  Or do you have another strategy?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Featured Blogger: BeadedTail

Howdy, Folks! I'd like to introduce you to this month's featured EtsyBlogger, BeadedTail, who makes beaded jewelry for animal lovers. There are designs that feature animals, such as these cute lampwork glass cat earrings...

and these adorable onyx Scottie earrings:

Or if you're a cat person and a dog person, such as myself, and you just can't choose, there are less animalistic designs as well, such as this gorgeous brass moon necklace:

And while you're shopping for yourself, why not pick up something for your furry friend too? BeadedTail sells cute collar covers, so your critter companion can dress up too. My personal favorite is the one with the cupcakes, of course...

So what's the best part of shopping with BeadedTail? A portion of the proceeds from each and every item is donated to animal awareness causes. Check out her profile for a list of the organizations she supports. And be sure to swing by her blog as well!

Now what are you waiting for? Get shoppin'!

And don't forget, everything in my shop is 10% off! Sale ends tomorrow! Don't miss it!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Solstice Sale

Happy second day of summer, folks!  Our wireless was misbehaving yesterday, so I'm a day late, but summer is officially here and to celebrate, I'm having a sale!

Now through Friday, everything in the shops is 10% off!  So now's the time to snag that branding package or one of those cool crocheted headbands you've had your eye on. 

And if you haven't already, head over to Facebook and "like" me for a chance to win free graphics.  Only 4 more "likers" till giveaway time! 

Hope all my readers are having a terrific Tuesday!  Catch ya later!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blog Carnival: Goals

It's time for another EtsyBloggers blog carnival!  This carnival, hosted by RainyDayArt, asks the question,
What are your goals?
Good question!  I have oodles of short-term goals, but they're all pretty simple.

  • Get new product lines started - I listed the first item of a new series yesterday - the Nevermore necklace, which shall be part of my "Literary Gems" collection.  I have another new jewelry line and a Tolkien-inspired calligraphy series (there's more where those bookmarks came from!) that I hope to get up and running by the end of the month. 
  • Reorganize shop - This sort of goes along with the previous goal.  I need to reorganize and rename my categories to fit with my revised vision.  I have a much clearer idea of what I want my shop to be now, so I'm working to refine things that were previously a bit fuzzy in my mind.
  •  Get business cards - Ironically, this was one of the first things I looked into when I started planning for my shop.  And I still haven't gotten around to doing it.  Mostly because it never seems to occur to me when I have the cash to spare...
  • Design website - This was one of the other things I started planning for early on and haven't actually done yet.  I'm much better at get designs done for other people than I am for myself.  I have a pretty good idea of what I want, I just need to sit down and do it.  One of these days.
Those are my major short-term goals (though, really, they're more to-do's, I suppose...).  As for my long-term goals, those are even simpler.

  • Make at least one sale a week - Currently, my sales are pretty sporadic.  And I know they always will be to some extent.  No matter how much promoting I do or how great my marketing strategy is, I can't make people buy things.  But I think aiming for a sale a week is reasonable.  
  • Sell at a craft fair - I'm not likely to be doing this any time soon, but I definitely want to at some point in the future.  There's just something about the idea of selling my creations in person...  I need to make a lot more stuff before I can even think about trying it, though.
So, those are my goals.  What are some of yours?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Motivator: New with a Dash of Geek

I believe I've mentioned before that there's nothing that motivates me quite like new stuff- whether it's new items or new supplies or just new ideas.  And these week, I've got all three of those!

If you're a "like"-er (can I just call you fans?) on Facebook, then you've probably already seen my latest creations.  If you aren't, well, what are you waiting for?  Go!  Like!  Now then.  If you haven't seen them, here they are:

Excited yet?  If you're a Tolkien fan, I bet you are.  Because soon you too shall be able to own your very own personalized, hand-lettered and illuminated bookmark, featuring your name translated into Elvish.  Gotta get some protective sleeves to ship them in, and then I'll get them listed.  So keep your eyes peeled!

And expect to see more calligraphic goodies making their way into the shop too.  I just got a new set of calligraphy markers in the mail today (from Your Fabulous Finds - which is a great shop with great prices and quick shipping), and I intend to put them to good use!  I'll be doing personalized bookmarks in English, as well, along with some larger decorative pieces, greeting cards, and much, much more.  If you've got an idea, just drop me a line.  I love doing custom work!

Also, the Nevermore Necklace will be available very soon as well! 

In the meantime, I've got work to do.  So I'm off, for now.  Hope all of my lovely readers are having a wonderful day!  Ciao!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Motivator: Giving Back

I've been doing my best to avoid news about the oil spill.  I didn't want to read the statistics or see the pictures, because I knew it would only make me sad and angry.  And there was nothing I could do about it.

Of course, spending as much time online as I do, there was no way I could avoid it entirely.  The first article I read was one I came across on the Weather Channel's website while I was innocently checking the forecast.  It gave several startling illustrations of just how much oil is spilling into the gulf on a daily basis--enough to fill 52 Olympic swimming pools, 3,813 tanker trucks, or enough to cover an area from the middle of Long Island well into Pennsylvania.  And this wasn't the total amount, this was daily.  It was mind-blowing. 

And reading about the 29 dolphins and 227 sea turtles that had been found dead at the time (this was June 2; I cringe to think of what the numbers must be now) truly broke my heart.  Not to mention all of the other creatures who have survived and are suffering, covered in oil.  Not to mention the long-term damage that's been done.  Not to mention the human lives that have been lost, as well.

So here I sat, deeply saddened and still convinced that there was nothing I could do.  Silly me.  Thankfully, my friend, fellow nature-lover, and generally gung-ho activist-type, Ed, called me up to suggest that I start a new jewelry line for my Etsy shop and donate a portion of the proceeds to clean-up efforts.  Of course!  Why didn't I think of that? 

I dunno, but now I'm in the process of trying to decide on a specific charity to donate to.  I'm currently leaning toward the Gulf Restoration Network, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I want to make sure the money goes to a group who will actually use at least the vast majority of it for it's intended purpose rather than advertising and such. 

Once I've decided, I'll be back with further details.  And if anyone else is doing something similar, leave me a comment with a link to your shop, and I'll compile a list.  Let's help get this mess cleaned up!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday Threads: Dressed for Summer

Well, folks, summer is upon us.  So it's time to trade in those jackets and sweaters for lighter fabrics, shorter sleeves, and--my personal favorite for the season--summer dresses.  I'm not a fan of shorts, and some days it's just too darn hot for pants.  So I wear a lot of skirts and dresses during the summer.  In anticipation of the upcoming season, I've perused Etsy's eclectic selection of dresses and chosen a few favorites to share with you, my dear readers.  And here they are...

Katharina Dress by Lirola

This dress has it all.  It's the perfect length, custom fitted, comes in a variety of colors (though, I must say, I love the one pictured), and it has those cute little flirty sleeves and ruffles.  Now, I must confess, I am not generally a fan of the ruffles-on-everything trend.  But these are cute ruffles.  These are controlled, sensible ruffles.  This is not a senseless, violent, ruffle-splosion.  So.  Thumbs up.  And getting back on track...  This is one of those versatile dresses that I love.  It looks cool and comfortable, casual enough for your midday ice cream break, but dressy enough for that dinner party your friends are throwing.  All in all, a great dress.

Summer Breeze Dress by oneaviandaemon

This dress is the epitome of summer romance.  That layered skirt, that ruched waistband, those lovely little cap sleeves...  And to top it all off, as you can see in the closeups, the fabric has a subtle polka-dotted texture.  It's so cute!  So innocent!  So... summery!  This one also is made to measure.  Awesome.  Obviously, I need one of these to wear while I sit on the porch in the rose garden and drink tea and read Jane Austen. 

Sunflower Dress by ShugaRose

Let's see...  We've had a bright blue, a crisp, cool white...  What summer collection would be complete without a sunny yellow?  This dress certainly fits the bill.  And it's just adorable.  I love the 50's inspired full skirt, the sash, the scoop neck...  But the darling is in the details.  That lovely spray of hand-stitched flowers at the neckline is like a built-in corsage.  And the hem is embroidered--gorgeously, I might add--for that extra hint of elegance.  The item description says it would be fun to wear to a tea party, and I must agree.  I think it would be great for any summer party.  Or any summer grocery shopping excursion.  Or any excuse you could find, really.

So there are my picks.  Now let's see your favorite summer dresses!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Look, New Item

Hi again, folks! Once again, life's been a bit of a rollercoaster, and the crafty biz had to take a bit of a back seat last week. But now I'm back, and I've got some cool new stuff to share!

For starters, if you haven't visited my shop lately, be sure to stop by. The Ash Grove has a new look for summer, and that's just the beginning. More to come on that later. *wink*

In other news, I've just completed a new necklace design! I'm really excited about this one, as I've been working on it for a while and this is the first time I've used polymer clay in my jewelry. And it was inspired by my favorite poem!

Alas, the text is upside down from this angle.  I may try a version with vertical text in the future.  But for now, I'm sharing this shot because it was the best composition-wise and it showed my little feather very well.  I'm exceedingly proud of that little feather.  Both it and the pendant were made with polymer clay, and I love the way they turned out.  Technically, this piece isn't quite finished, as I need to give the clay pieces a coat of sealer and a little bit of shine.  But I need to get to the store and get my sealer before I can do that. 

Thus, I'm not listing this one just yet, but it will be available soon.  And if you're just dying to have it, I'm willing to take preorders.  Just convo me!

In the meantime, it's back to the grindstone.  I've got more work to do and more goodies to make!

Oh, and don't forget about my Facebook giveaway!  If you haven't already, hop over to my fanpage and "like" me.  Once I reach 50 "like"-ers, I'll hold a random drawing.  Winner gets free graphics!