Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trading or Bartering On-Line

I have to admit, I'm not an expert on this subject.  I did my very first trade this week.  While we all are thrilled when we sell one of our listings and make some money, another way to do business and benefit is to trade. If you are limited with money, you can trade your artwork or creations for something of equal value.  There are teams or social groups on Etsy specifically for trade friendly shops. Here is one that has over 1000 members called Etsy Trade Team and here's another with over 2000 members called Etsy Trade-a-holics   Just search the teams on Etsy  with "trade"" to find other trade friendly teams on Etsy.  If you find something you'd like to have -- send the shop owner a message asking if she is interested in trading.  Don't feel bad if she says no.  It just might be that what you have is very nice but not what she is looking for or not her taste. 
So my trade came about when I received a convo or message from  DELdreamart on Etsy asking whether I was willing to trade.  I took a look at her shop and it just so happened that I was looking for someone to do just the kind of art work that she did.  Here is an artwork from her shop. 

Fairy Dancing by DELdreamart on Etsy

I have a friend who had written a children's book which had some mystical characters and I was looking for someone to do a artwork that illustrated some of the scenes in the book.  I asked her if she would do a special art work for me to give to my friend for her birthday.  We agreed on a value and in exchange for the artwork she picked two items from my shop.   Here are the two items from my shop that she chose:

So I sent her the descriptions from the book which included a young girl with long brown hair and blue gray eyes.  She lived in a cottage on a small farm.  There was a field with bluebells and heather and fairies and a  queen fairy.  So this is what she did for me.
She matted it nicely and I gave it to my friend and she loved it.  Overall this trade was quite the positive experience.  I might just join one of the trade friendly teams myself.  One good thing about doing a trade is that it shows as a sale on Etsy, and it is also a great way to build up positive feedback. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You want to sell your creations on-line.........

Here is another post for those wishing to sell their creations on-line.  I have had my Etsy store for about two years now and I probably know 10% of what I need to know to run a successful ecommerce business.  If you'd like to take a look, visit my Angelsneverlastings Etsy shop.   There are a lot of skills you will need.  You will need to be creative, have patience, be disciplined, have time, and be organized.  Last week I listed a few of the sites available for selling on-line.  Here are the steps once you have chosen a site. 

1.  Create your handmade items.  Create something that is unique and different from what is already being done.  Spend some time checking out what others are doing so you can set yourself apart. 

2. Photograph your items.  Your customers can't touch your product so your photos need to touch them.         Take the clearest, sharpest photo possible. If you are like me, your first photos won't be great but with some practice, they will improve.  You don't need a fancy camera but you do need to know how to get the best photos with the camera you have.  Familiarize yourself with how your camera settings work and how to get the best results.  If your photos aren't great, you can edit them after with good results.  There are some free photo editing programs available. Gimp for Windows, Picasapicnik, are a few popular free photo editing programs.  There is also a wealth of photography how to information on the web.  Here are just a few that I found.

3. Post your listing including uploading the photos, choosing the title,  writing a description, and deciding on the price.  Choose a title very carefully so your items will be seen.  You want to choose words by how you think someone will search for your item.  The first few words in the title and description are the most important.  You might be tempted to come up with a cute name for something but if it's not something that someone will search for it's not a good idea.  For instance, if you sell hair bows, if your title is frilly silly pretty ribbon bows, no one will be searching for frilly or silly - you might want to use bows as the first word in the title, then maybe children's, babies, after that you can use descriptive words like frilly or silly if you want.  Here's one of my Etsy listings as an example: 

4. Do social networking to get your product seen.  You need to work hard to be seen.  Join some of the many social networking sites.  Facebook, Stumbleupon, Twitter, are a few of the more popular social sites.  Joining these sites is only the beginning - then you need to learn how to use them effectively.  There is so much helpful information on the web.  Here are a few sites to help:  Depending on which marketing site you choose, familiarize yourself with the social options available.  For instance, Etsy has "teams" you can join.  I believe Artfire has "Guilds". 

5.  Be patient!  If your items sell immediately that's great but most times it will take quite a while to be noticed.  Don't get discouraged.  The more items you list in your shop, the more opportunity there is to be seen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Could you use some extra money?

Who couldn't? Are you creative?  Do you have some unique talent or skill?  Can you make something unusual - something that can't be purchased at the local Target or Walmart. Something that someone will see a picture of and say "I have to have it".   Would you like to use that talent to generate some additional income for yourself or your family?  Maybe you have some bills to pay off or would like to save for that something special. If so, you might want to utilize the internet to sell your handcrafted creations.  Do you have enough time to devote to creating, listing and promoting?  You can of course, set up your own web page and sell directly or you can set up shop in one of the on-line eCommerce marketplaces. Here are a few good eCommerce marketplace choices: - Their motto is  "Buy and sell handmade or vintage items, art and supplies on Etsy, the world's most vibrant handmade marketplace."   Etsy charges .20 per listing and when the item sells Etsy takes 3.5% of sale price.  You can visit and search through the sellers in your category to get an idea of  what others are selling and for what price.  There are hundreds of thousands of sellers on Etsy and it can be very challenging for your shop to get noticed.  Here is a link to more  info about Etsy. - Their motto is "A premier handmade marketplace to buy and sell handmade crafts, supplies, vintage and art".  There are over 80,000 sellers on Artfire.  The cost for Artfire is $11.95 per month for unlimited listings and unlike Etsy there is no fee when your item is sold.  Like Etsy you can visit the Artfire site and look around at other shops and what they have for sale.  Here is a bit of history about Artfire. -  The Handmade Artists Shop is a relatively new handmade marketplace having started in December of 2009.  It is a much smaller marketplace than Etsy or Artfire. Unlike Etsy or Artfire, you cannot sell vintage (anything over 20 years old) on   No resellers, unaltered vintage, or non-handmade supplies are allowed.  They plan on closing open registration at 10,000 members and at that point, create a wait list and hand pick the remaining vendors, capping out at 20,000 members.  Take a few minutes and check out the shops and what they are selling.  You can sign up for either $5.00 per month or $50.00 per year.  There are no additional listing fees or fees when your item sells.  Here is a link to Handmade Artists' Shop info. 

Of course these are just three of many eCommerce marketplaces available on the internet.  I presently have a Etsy shop called Angels n Everlastings and at one point also had a Artfire shop but decided to close my Artfire shop to concentrate on my Etsy shop.  You'll find that setting up your shop is easy but that listing your items is just the beginning.  With over 100,000 shops on Etsy and 80,000 shops on Artfire it can be a challenge to not get lost in the crowd.  There is a wealth of knowledge available on the internet, Etsy or Artfire that will help you on this eCommerce journey.   In my next post I will  list some sources of information that will help you develop a successful eCommerce business.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Great Finds by Made for Me by Oaklie

Autumn Fall Front Door Wreath
My autumn/fall door wreath was selected as one of the featured fall items at. 
Take a few moments to look at the beautiful items featured. I'm honored to be included with these talented artists and handmade crafters.  This is a voter contest so if you have a moment and want to vote for my wreath, I would really appreciate it.  You can click the link about or click the button to the right to view or vote. Here are a few of the other featured listings.
Carnelain Rainbow Bracelet by enlalumiere
Golden Seashell Beaded Scissor Fob by TJBdesigns