Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Does Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

NO! You are only as relevant as the last thing you have put out there so...since my last post was in February  I have lost all of the momentum I had built up with this blog. In this electronic age it is so important to stay in it every day. You have to update your products on Etsy, you have to find new advertising avenues, blog, tweet, facebook, not to mention spend time with your family and actual live life. It isn't easy keeping up with all of this but I do need to make more of an effort to keep up on the blog because I really enjoy it and it is important to strike a balance between the things you have to do and the things you like to do!

So no dwelling on the past I just want to make a plan for the future starting with finding an artist to feature next Friday (7/16) on the blog. Any suggestions?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Feature Friday ~ Sweet Dixie Design

While writing critiques in the Etsy forum ( ) I have met some incredible artists and I wanted to be able to share them with everyone I could. So I decided to start Feature Fridays where I could highlight a new artist each week that I have met in the critique forum. For the first Feature Friday I am brining you Sweet Dixie Designs ( ) who stole my heart (literally I hearted her on Etsy) with beautifully hand painted frames. I think one of the best gifts you can give is a great picture and the only way to make it better is to put it in a great frame and that is what Sweet Dixie Designs provides. She has tons of fabulous color combinations and her patterns are oh so chic. I had Jane answer a few questions for us and all of the feature items to your right are from her shop.

Q - What got you started making these frames?
A - I started painting many years ago after graduating from college with a degree in textile design. I painted furniture and home accessories and sold my work at local craft shows and also through artists reps who sold my work to stores in my area. After my third child was born it became too hard to find the time to paint so I took a break for several years. Now that my children are older I have been trying to find my way back to painting, and I started back with my frames. I started painting them this fall I and have been listing them on Etsy since November.

Q - How long does each piece take since you are hand painting?
A - I usually work on several frames at one time and handle it almost like a production line, allowing for the paint to dry between coats. Sometimes I work by style and other times by color. It just depends on my mood and if I have come up with a new combination or pattern that I am excited about. I would say each frame takes a few days from start to finish.

Q - Where do you get the inspiration for your very chic color combinations?
A - I obviously love color. I have a lot of color in my white walls here. I am inspired by what I see in magazines, catalogs and peoples homes. There always seems to be some new "in" colors. My combination's often come to me as I am standing in the craft store paint aisle buying paint.

Q - What is your favorite color combination?
A - I don't think I really have a favorite combination. One day it is hot pink and lime green, another day it is black and cream or turquoise and chocolate brown. I like it all.

Q - What was the last thing you hearted on Etsy?
A - The last thing I hearted is a pendant made from laser cut paper hanging on a gold chain. It is very delicate and beautiful, and so unique.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunshine Day Come My Way (please, please, please)

I am surrounded by about 3 feet of snow so I needed a little sunshine. See the beautiful sunny items featured to the right? To see even more sunshine go to to see my latest Etsy treasury!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pricing Your Etsy Items

So it is the moment of truth, you are entering a new item for your Etsy shop and you have to enter a price. What to do, what to do? Well I can’t tell you how to price your items but I did want to pass along a few tips I picked up in my pre-mommy career. So first and foremost don’t under value your work. Make sure you know your costs and your time. Then compare your work and pricing idea to similar items out there. If you are way over you may need to rethink some things and it isn’t good to be way under prices either it may give the impressions that your work is somehow less valuable. So now that you have a general price point in mind you need to consider the following.

There is a theory that goes back to long before our current ATM/Credit card world that is based on actual bills. The general idea is that every new bill increment ($1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100) that a buyer has to break comes with a mental barrier that makes them think more about the purchase they are making. Hence we live in a world of $9.99 and $19.99 pricing because breaking that $20 makes the buyer think just a little more about what they are buying.

Now depending on what you sell and your costs you may not have a ton of room to move the numbers but don’t think you always have to make things cheaper. For instance going from $29 to $32 probably won’t turn any customers away but that is $3 more a sale for you. It is really more about thinking about the actually numbers being used! Happy pricing!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Etsy Treasury ~ Soft Purple Warm Lavender Cozy

Love the Pretty Purple to your right? Check out the entire Etsy Treasury of lovely lavenders at

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tip 2.1 - Photography Help for Etsy Product Photos

Hi all. A friend told me about another great tool for those of us desperately trying to create the BEST product pictures possible and I had to pass it on. There is an ipod podcast and an iphone app called "Photography 101" it provides information on everything from camera settings, composition, lighting, and photoshop. If you have the camera but feel like you just can't get quite the right pics. These tools could really help you. I couldn't figure out how to post a link to iTunes but if you go to the iTunes store and put "Photography 101" in the search area both versions of the tutorial will come up.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tip 2 - Photography Help for Etsy Product Photos

Not good at taking pictures or don’t have a the best equipment for the job? Try your local high school or college. If they have a photography program you should be able to get a student to do pics for you for free or a very small fee. You can also offer to provide them copies of the photos for their portfolio. Contact the teacher or professor (my dad teaches photography at a high school and he gets these requests all the time) because they will be able to suggest the best students for the job.

Friday, January 29, 2010

What is Your Etsy Shop's First Impression?

I am a big believer that you only get one chance to make the best impression and when this comes to sales you have to really impress them to get the wallet open. That is why on Etsy it is all about using your 3 promotion spots to show your best of and the variety in your items. Often times when people first open your page (any Etsy page) they see the banner, then the shop announcement, and finally the 3 feature items. One thing I kept seeing when doing shop critiques was that the shop announcement is so long you can’t see the feature items when you first open the page. Which means the customer has to scroll down to find out what your product is and if they would like to purchase it. Now I know what you are thinking it doesn’t take any effort to scroll down. But we are artists we like to sit and explore the different shops. But if you are a shopper quickly looking…scrolling down is a huge mental block. Think about it like a real store. Would you go into a story in the mall that tells their company history in their store front windows or would you go into the store displaying their absolute best merchandise? So what should a customer see when they click on your shop? Here are my suggestions:

(keep thinking…real store)

1) The Banner – This is your shop sign (in the real store scenario) so it should definitely have your name in it. Brand yourself just like the GAP or any other retailer. I really like the banners I see that are a collage of product photos with the shop name layered on top but I have seen other great banners made up of graphic arts just make sure it has your name and your medium written in it if you aren’t using some sort of product representation.

2) The Shop Announcement – This is like a sign you can put in your shop window, you just don’t want to take up the entire window with it. So just because I think this shouldn’t be too long doesn’t mean I think there should be nothing in the shop announcement. Give a brief description of you and your product and then use the rest of the space to keep things current. You can keep things current by talking about certain items that would be good for upcoming holidays, talk about charities your shop is involved in at the time, or promote a sale. Just make sure your promotions are timely and up to date.

3) The Three Feature Items – This is your store front display and these are the items that are going to get them to walk in (scroll down) to see the rest of your merchandise. These items should be seasonal, a variety of your work, a variety of you price points, and most importantly the most visually appealing of the three previous.

Great Etsy Treasuries

Hi all. I got a treasury spot!!! Inspired by my longing for summer, please check out "Under the boardwalk"

My work was also just included in a beautiful treasury called "Shades of BLACK" you have to see it!

Tip 1 - Don't Be Affraid of Honest Critique of Your Etsy Shop

Tip 1 - Ask someone to look at your site even if you think you have a great site. A fresh set of eyes and a different perspective can really work wonders. I mentioned before that I gave advice in the forum but I also received a ton of good advice as well. Things I would have never have thought of or didn't think were important come back from fellow artists and it has made my shop so much better.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hi! I am Lori and Spell it Out ( my little artistic corner of the world. Obviously from the above I am an Etsy artisan and I am starting this blog because in my previous corporate life I gained a great deal of experience in helping to create websites that met customers wants/needs (and sometimes what we wanted the customer to need). So as I started spending the money I earned on other Etsy shops (come on we all do that) I started noticing a few little things that many artists were doing that could be easily fixed and maybe make a big difference. So I started a forum thread in the Etsy Critique forum where I would give honest and considerate feedback on the way people were marketing their crafts. People ate it up I literally could not keep up with the requests and I am still trying to go on once a day and do a couple but then I get 4-5 more requests. Don't get me wrong I enjoy doing it and I have met some really talented artists through that forum but I was noticing some repeating issues so I thought I would start writing about some tips for anyone who might care.

I'm not always going to talk about marketing an Etsy site and I don't want to be the one doing all the talking. I also want to highlight some of those really talented artists I have seen. So you never know what you might get but please check back often to see!!!