Thursday, May 31, 2012

A treasury inspired by Kawartha Beads!

I'm so honoured to have inspired this lovely treasury by Paula of OMGILoveYourJewelry! How are you going to celebrate Canada Day this year?

Monday, May 28, 2012

FREE postings of sales, promo's and coupon codes

 If you are a handmade business or Etsy shop owner I am also happy to post your sale, promo or coupon code on my crafty blog Kawartha Beads! You will also receive a bonus listing, also for FREE, on my deals/money saving blog Kawartha Bargains.

All you have to do is send details of your sale or promotion (don't forget to include start and end dates) and a picture if you have one to kawarthabeads(at)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wee Piggies & Paws Business Opportunity

Know of a Mom from the
Lindsay area
 who wants to work from home
 creating unique
 Baby impressions?

 Wee Piggies & Paws is looking for a Franchisee to purchase and maintain the Lindsay location.

Wee Piggies & Paws™ is a nationally recognized brand of personalized,
one-of-a-kind custom-framed Shadowboxes of children's hands or feet castings or impressions.
It is the market leader in baby memorabilia in Canada and
one of the fastest-growing home-based Franchises in Canada.
For inquiries of becoming your own boss,
contact Sherri-Lyn for more details.
Tel:  705-786-7968

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Etsy Treasury: Pinch a Penny

The past couple of weeks have had me sharing the quest to "Save $1000 This Year" blog series on my deals blog Kawartha Bargains. Today I wanted to combine my love of handmade with my love for money saving and created this fun and funky treasury. Enjoy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop: DAY TEN: Advertising

Welcome to the final day of my "Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop" series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up here. I hope that over the course of the series you have had a chance to think about what direction you would like to take your shop in, I know I sure have, and it has given me lots of things to work on to achieve that goal. The final topic that I wanted to touch on was advertising and promoting your Etsy shop.

Project Wonderful: Project Wonderful is a great way to start to advertise your business with many FREE options available. You create your chosen size of ad (I find that square is most popular amongst handmade blogs) and then search for blogs to place your ad on. You can refine your search terms to include an amount between $0-$0 and all of the free spots will appear. It is a good way to start to get your name and/or brand out there for people to start to recognize. Often people will need to see an ad 10x or more before it even registers so frequency is key. If you want you can add some money to your project wonderful account and create an ad campaign for your budget. As a side note whatever image you are currently using for your Etsy avatar is usually a good size for a square ad.

Blog Features: Having your story and your products featured on a blog can be a great way to connect with potential customers. Often this is a much more personal experience with bloggers posting an interview and pictures of your product and most handmade bloggers will do this for FREE. Some blogs require you to do a giveaway to their readers but this is a personal choice that you will have to make.

Purchasing Ad Space: There are a ton paid options to suit every budget from buying ad space directly from blogs to Craftcult to google ads and Facebook ads. It is not NECESSARY for you to purchase ad space but is something to think about when you are looking to take your business to the next level. Currently I only have experience with purchasing ad space directly from bloggers and through Craftcult. With regards to blog advertising I suggest looking not just for handmade bloggers but perhaps a specialty blog that is in line with your products. For example if you make facecloths and scrubbies perhaps try looking for a site that focus's on spa and/or beauty tips. If you make pillows look for a home decor site. I have found that sidebar ads work best on Craftcult and it brings in a lot of traffic. While the site is geared towards Etsy shop owners don't forget that these are potential customers as well. It is a bit more of a financial commitment though.

Ready to give advertising a try? As a special thanks to all of those who have followed along in the series I am giving away a ONE month sidebar ad on both Kawartha Beads and Kawartha Bargains, along with a blog interview about your business. You do NOT need to have an Etsy shop to enter the giveaway, just a family friendly small business. Good luck! 
Giveaway ends May 28/12.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop: DAY NINE: Make Something New

I hope that everyone is having a productive week getting in touch with your Etsy Shop! If you have missed any of the post's in this series you can catch up here.

After working hard all week on the nitty gritty of our shops its time to get back to being creative! Today's topic is Make Something New! As I have discussed in several other posts I found that once I cleared the 140ish listing mark I saw a drastic rise in the frequency of my sales. My attempts to reach and maintain 175 listings (my own personal "magic number") seem to be a constant battle but introducing new and fresh items keeps return buyers interested and helps to bring new buyers in. I've been planning on adding more charm bracelets for months so I sat down and got to work. Here is my newest creation, perfect for summer! So tear yourself away from the computer and go and MAKE SOMETHING NEW TODAY!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop: DAY EIGHT: Tagging Your Items

Welcome to Day Eight in the Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop series. If you have missed any of the previous posts you can catch up here.

I thought that tagging deserved its own post. While it seems easy....Etsy gives you 13 tags to use to describe your item...I find it a bit more complicated than that. I can never seem to find enough tags and I'm certainly always afraid that I am breaking the tagging rules. However, it is the way for people to FIND your items so it is certainly something I want to focus more on.

If you go to your Etsy shop stats and scroll down you will find a list of keywords that people have used in search and found your shop. I have begun to review these frequently and to find out if I have these keywords in all of my listings. Here's my example for you: When I create a listing for a charm necklace in Etsy there is an option to choose Jewelry>Necklace>Charm for a category. Since I had already chosen this option when I created the listing I didn't think I needed to use it again in my tags. However, unless a potential customer uses the categories and clicks on Jewelery then Necklace then Charm my item my not show up. I think that alot of people use the search function and actually type in what they are looking for so I've begun to add "charm necklace" as a tag and if my shop stat keywords are any indication...its a good thing I did! You can also start to type in the search bar and it will provide you with a drop down menu of suggested searches. If you are stuck these can sometimes be a good idea booster, plus they are recent searches by actual customers so it gives you an insight into HOW THE BUYER searches for items.

Here are some other questions to ask that can give you some tag ideas:
  • what is it?
  • what colour is it? Not just "blue" is it denim blue? navy blue? royal blue?
  • is there a special technique that you used in it?
  • types of materials
  • who will be using it-not just man or woman...teacher, artist, crafter, sewer, painter, bride, bridesmaid
  • does it fit with a particular time era?
  • themes/motifs
  • patterns
  • is there a size?
  • where will the item be used? garden, kitchen, bathroom, etc
  • is there a synonym? babies-infants, handbag-purse
  • consider adding your shop name to a couple of listings
  • consider adding your country or location to a couple of listings
***Todays assignment:  Take some time to review 5 shop listings. Are there any tags that you can be adding? Need some help? Feel free to post a comment below or on my Facebook Page and lets see if we can help each other out!***

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop: DAY SEVEN: Shop Review Part 2

We have almost completed our 10 day journey to Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop. If you have missed any posts you can catch up here.

Yesterday we examined the overall appearance of your shop so today I wanted to focus on the actual listing. A potential customer is browsing around your to get them to focus in!

Photos: As I mentioned in my Treasury post I'm not entirely happy with the current state of my photos but they are more in line with what I want then when my shop began. The type of background can be an important factor both in highlighting your item that is for sale AND for helping to create a mood within your shop. I've experimented with different colours and patterns of paper as well as props. The camera angle and type of lighting are also factors to consider and of course crispness and clarity. As for photo editing programs since Picnik has been absorbed by Google I have been using

Item Description: There are some sellers who have a knack for storytelling and have the most interesting stories that they incorporate into their item descriptions. I have a more straightforward approach myself although I think that is more in correlation with the amount of time I have. Be sure to include colours and measurements in your description as well as any other relevant info. I have begun to add a link back to my shop in case someone has discovered me through search or google. I personally feel it encourages customers to further browse my items. There is a great Etsy blog article for those who want to further develop their Item Descriptions which you can check out here.

***Today's assignment: Are your pictures/descriptions all that they could be (I know that mine sure aren't)? Rewrite even one description or retake one picture to see what kind of an impact it can have on your shop.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Getting in Touch With Your Etsy Shop: DAY SIX: Shop Review Part 1

I hope that everyone had an amazing weekend. The weather was beautiful so I'm not going to workspace organization did not even begin (except in my head!) but I guess having a plan is the first step. If you missed last week's post's you can catch up here.

Today begins the first of two parts where I wanted to examine our Etsy shops. When a customer visits your Etsy shop for the first time you never know what is going to grab their attention. There are, however, a couple of things that we, as shop owners, can do to make sure they stay and visit for awhile.

Shop banner: My shop banner has gone through a makeover a couple of times and I also have seasonal ones to help shoppers get in the spirit! I'm not saying that this is necessary for your shop but I do think that having a banner is important and it can be a great tool in setting the overall tone for your shop. Since I feel that my products are "collectables" for those who have a particular passion or profession I wanted my banner to somehow reflect this. I hope that the shabby/chic sort of perisian design help to translate this. What tone/message are you trying to reflect?

Shop announcement: I think that it is important to put something here although there is great debate as to how much. Some believe in a simple message, some great detail, for me its somewhere in between.

Profile: Having a completed and up to date profile allows customers to relate to you on a personal level. Part of the experience of buying handmade is knowing a bit about the story/artisan behind the work to give the buyer an extra connection to the piece they are purchasing. There was something that circulated on Facebook recently that I thought was a perfect reflection of this point:

Policies: It is important for buyers to know how things work and that they have options and information when purchasing. They want to know how things are shipped, how long it will take and what will happen if they aren't satisfied or run into a problem.  Make sure you can answer these questions for them.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop: DAY FIVE: Your Workspace

Welcome to Day Five in my blog series "Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop". If you missed anything we have covered so far you can catch up here.

Today I wanted to talk about workspace. When we first moved into our new home I was so excited to have a dedicated space for my creative work. But of course life gets busy and my once organized space now looks like this!
 Regardless of whether you have a whole room, a corner of a room or just a box of supplies, it is important to try and stay organized. If you spend extra time looking for product and shipping supplies, searching through inventory and asking "where did I put that darn camera?" it can be both creatively stiffling and lead to mistakes.

I was also surprised when I set up for my mini open house yesterday that I didn't have as much physical product as I had thought. I keep everything stored away in plastic containers until a show or an order so while I maintain an inventory on paper VISUALLY seeing it all laid out made a big difference for me. As I begin to make multiples of popular items I need to figure out a way to organize and visually display my inventory within my workspace (SUGGESTIONS WELCOMED!) Being able to find a way to organize your inventory and your workspace will save you time (and perhaps money by not buying new items that you just couldn't find) and allow you to devote more energy to both your creative projects and your Etsy shop.

***Todays assignment: Spend 10 minutes organizing your space (I am going to spend 10mins/day for the remainder of the series...lets see how it looks by next Friday!)***

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop: DAY FOUR: Make a Trade

Welcome to Day Four in the Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop series! In case you missed the first few days you can catch up here

Still waiting on your first sale? Been awhile since your last sale? Looking to grow your sales numbers? Considering doing a trade might be your solution. Instead of purchasing an item with cash you are trading your goods (or items from your shop) with theirs. Here are some of the benefits that I found through my trade experiences:

*Someone who may not have otherwise stumbled on my shop is exposed to my products. A trade can turn into repeat business as well and your new customer may share their new goodie from your shop with their friends, thus in turn sending more people your way.
*It helps to increase your number of sales. If you are still waiting on your first sale this is a good way to get the ball rolling. It may surprise you to know that my first 12 sales on Etsy were actually trades but this helped to grow my sales number and create a good feedback score. New customers coming to my shop saw that I had sales and felt more comfortable purchasing from me.
*If you have yet to make your first sale it familiarizes you with the checkout process
*It gives you something to relist

*It is a way to see what items people are drawn to in your shop (by what they choose to trade your for)
 *It is a chance to treat youself to something 
*It is a chance to practice/ work with your packaging
*You are able to give and receive feedback

For new sellers especially I think that trades are an excellent way to practice and refine your online selling experience. It is important to know how the process works so you can assist a customer if they need it and when those orders start rolling in you will have an idea of what to do. And of course you get to choose something wonderful to enjoy as well! There are plenty of trade friendly shops on Etsy which you can find through searching "trade" and "tradeaholics". Do remember that it is also ok to say NO to a trade but always be sure to answer an inquiry.

Have you had any experiences with trades on Etsy? What are some of your favourite things to trade for?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop: DAY THREE: Treasuries

Welcome to Day Three in my blog series "Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop". If you missed my previous posts you can catch up here. Today I thought it might be fun to get those creative juices flowing again by taking a peek at Etsy Treasuries!

While being featured in a treasury that makes it to the front page is a dream of mine (and I'm sure many other Etsy shop owners) Etsy treasuries can serve several other purposes.

First, they are a great way to expose your shop to other shops. I know that I always take time to explore the shops of those who feature me in their treasuries and I've found many new fav's this way. Secondly, both admiring and creating Etsy treasuries is a great way to keep in touch with Etsy trends such as those mentioned in the Etsy Merchandising Desk. Click here to check out the May 2012 edition. Keeping abreast of new and frequent trends can give you an indication of what's selling on Etsy, what customers are looking for and perhaps give you new creative inspiration. I like to keep in mind the trends for the month when creating a treasury as it is more likely to be featured if it fits a theme that Etsy is looking for. Last but not least, creating treasuries gave me an unexpected insight into my own shop. In my quest to create a treasury that was front page worthy I realized something....that my own product photos were NOT front page worthy! Creating treasuries has allowed me to realize what types of shots, angels and backgrounds catch my immediate attention. I do not want to copy anyone's photos but it has given me pause to think about my own. I have been spending some time revamping my product photography and must admit I'm still not happy with it but at least I am AWARE (but alas photography could be a whole series on its own!!!) Of course I couldn't talk about treasuries without sharing one with you! Thanks so much to Amanda of Beautypops for the colour suggestion!

***Today's assignment*** If you have time today grab a cup of coffee and enjoy creating an Etsy treasury. I hope you will post a link to your treasury below so we can all take a peek!***

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Getting In Touch with Your Etsy Shop: DAY TWO: Social Networking

Welcome to Day Two of Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop. If you missed Day One: The Plan you can catch up here!

In today's technological world social networking can be a useful tool in growing any kind of business. Whether you choose Pintrest, Twitter, Facebook or blogging you are connecting with people worldwide and sharing not only your products but things you love, your creative process and inspirations.

Regardless of which avenue you choose it is important to A) Enjoy that form-if you don't enjoy posting your readers will know it and B) post frequently. If you have a blog or a Facebook page but only post on occasion your followers will stop checking in. Become an active participant in whatever social networking site you feel suits you best.

Today I wanted to specifically address Facebook. I will admit that for a LONG time I fought the creation of my Facebook Fan Page. That being said, creating a fanpage and actively participating with my followers has been fantastic. I feel as though I have gained insight into my followers and that makes me a better designer, being more in tune with what my customers are looking for and I continue to find it inspiring and rewarding to be directly interacting with those who are my fans (so THANK YOU!)

One of my recent experiences on Facebook has been to participate in a couple of networking ladders. Basically, here's how a ladder works- the hosting page begins the ladder. You LIKE the hosting page then add your own Facebook page in a comment under the ladder. The next person to join the ladder LIKES all of the pages above their own and so on. So how does this help YOU? Gaining new LIKES helps you to connect with potential customers, network with fellow business people and artists AND generate interest in your business/page. I know when I stumble upon a business page with a lot of LIKES my own interest is perked and I too want to hop on the band wagon and know more about that page/business (do we hear a psychology lesson approaching!) So I figured lets see if a networking ladder would work for us...head on over to my Facebook Page and join in today's networking ladder! Great for ALL businesses not just Etsy shops.

***Today's Assignment***Post something on your Facebook wall (or twitter, blog, etc) EVERY DAY for the remainder of this series. It could be a new product, something you like, something you are thinking about, something you are in the process of making, anything!Feel free to add a link to your Facebook Page, blog, or twitter in a comment below. What do you find works best for you?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop: DAY ONE: The Plan

For some of us our Etsy shops started as a hobby or a way to destash some of our extra goodies. For others we dove in intending to make a fortune and retire to the Bahamas. The rest of us fall somewhere in between. But how many of us actually went in with A PLAN? (if you did good for you!)

Business plans come in many different shapes and sizes. There are plenty of great resources for creating an in depth business plan, or if you are more like me, than answering a few questions can give you some great direction. Also setting monthly goals/plans can be an important tool for keeping organized and monitoring growth, seeing what may or may not have worked and developing a strategy for long term. Since I began writing my month round ups I have found that I am much more focused on what I am trying to achieve every month. Here's a peek at my April Round Up post if you aren't familiar with them.

Now back to the long term plans. When I began my Etsy journey I was in partnership with my mom at Bijoux Designs For You. Initially I just enjoyed the time that it gave us together and the common ground to bond over. Making a couple of extra dollars was just a bonus. As our creative sides took different directions I branched out on my own in 2010 and began Kawartha Beads. It was at this point that I hoped that by the time I had my second child that I would be able to make enough of an income to cover my own personal bills and the groceries. And that was the plan....period.

Now here are the questions that I have since asked myself (and my answers) to help grow and further my business. For the record my second child just turned one and I feel comfortable enough with my business growth now that I officially call it my job!
  • What do you hope to accomplish with your Etsy shop creatively (your focus)? Kawartha Beads will offer affordable handmade necklaces, earrings, bookmarks and keyrings with a charm theme to the overall shop.
  • What do you hope to accomplish with your Etsy shop financially? This is not just a hobby for me. I am looking to make more than just money to buy more supplies or things I want from Etsy. By the time my second child goes to kindergarten I want to be earning an amount at least equal to a full time minimum wage job (NET).
  • How am I going to accomplish this? While growing my business in the online community I am also trying to be heavily involved in the local handmade/craft scene. I have joined a wonderful group of artisans to help grow our business/spread the word, I am active in several local Facebook groups and have done several local events (and will continue to do so) to share my business with the community. In order to achieve my financial goals I am also eventually looking into displaying in some stores/boutiques and perhaps wholesaling.
  • How many listing would you like to have in your shop? How many can you comfortably maintain? This is a tough one. For me personally I notice a big difference in sales now that I have reached 140+ listings. My current goal is to reach 175 listings and maintain that number. With two little kids at home I am finding that this is all I can comfortably manage at this point. In the fall when my oldest goes to school and with the holidays approaching I am hoping to be able to carry 250 items. I will need to review this point post-holidays.
  • How are you going to spread the word? (aka marketing and promotion) Maintain a large amount of listings on Etsy, create Etsy treasuries, blog, facebook, twitter, have a local presence by joining a craft group, doing some local events (mom to mom sale, Early Years Centre, craft shows), approach some blogs about featuring Kawartha Beads, word of mouth.
This is just a very basic set of questions, but once you really sit down and start to think about them (and others) it helps to focus yourself and decide where your direction is going. As I mentioned earlier I also find sitting down at the beginning of the month to break things down into smaller goals has helped me immensely. 

***Today's Assignment*** Try and take some time to sit down and answer some of the above questions. I hope you will come and share with us here where you are headed with your business.

Join me tomorrow for Day Two: Social Networking

Friday, May 4, 2012

10 Days to Getting in Touch with Your Etsy Shop

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has scoured blogs and online guides, creeped the competitions shop and down right prayed to the Etsy gods for a front page appearance...or heck even a sale! I wish I had a magic formula to Etsy success but the potion seems to be a tricky one to mix!

I have, however, learned a lot along the way and I wanted to share/challenge you to join me over the course of the next 10 days to "Get in Touch with Your Etsy Shop". Perhaps you have lost focus (or maybe never had it). Maybe you are in need of some inspiration or a bit of motivation or maybe you just want to know where to go next. Over the next 10 days I will examine my own Etsy shop along with you and share what I've learned (and some of the mistakes I've made along the way). Hopefully when all is said and done both you AND I will feel back in tune with our creative endeavors and redirected towards success! Even if you don't have an Etsy shop many of the topics can translate to any small business.

Topics to be covered will include business planning, treasuries, shop critiques, social networking, trades, getting a blog feature, a creative boost, advertising/marketing/networking, and workspace organization. Are there any other topics that you would like to see covered?

Join me for Day One: The Plan on Monday!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

6 FREE Products from Vistaprint (shipping extra)

Here's a great offer from Vistaprint for any small business! Currently Vistaprint has 6 free products available that you can utilize to grow and market your business. They include:
  • 250 free business cards
  • Free rubber stamp
  • Free tote bags
  • 4” x 6” photo flip books
  • Free t-shirt
  • Free sticky notes
Shipping is an additional charge.  Click here to shop online at Vistaprint!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Round Up

I can't believe that it is May already! Where did the month go?! In case you missed it here was what I was hoping to accomplish for the month of April.

I had a wonderful time at the Mom to Mom sale and was thrilled to meet many new fans. Shannon of Baby Bum Cakes did an outstanding job organizing the show and the Easter Egg Hunt.  Later that month I had the pleasure of exhibiting for a wonderful group of ladies at the bookclub jewellery party. In attendance was even the owner/designer behind Moxy&Toots fresh from the One of a Kind Show in Toronto so it was wonderful to hear about her adventure. The hostess with the mostess Little Jenny Wren was also a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. I did not, however, get my travelling jewellery bucket back out in time for Mother's Day. I decided that I needed to sort out my stock and do a good inventory before tackling the month ahead.

What's up for May?
  • I am currently working on some custom orders for Mother's Day! Thanks to everyone who has thought of Kawartha Beads for their Mother's Day gift giving. Stay tuned to my Facebook Page to see these creations.
  • I have been working on a blog series (still nameless) focusing on a 10 Day Etsy Shop/Business Boot Camp. Hope you will join me next week!
  • I have oodles of wonderful new charms to work to find the time! I did not hit my 175 items for the month of April so I'm hoping to for the month of May. 
  • Work with the Kawartha Lakes Artisan Collective to start planning our first craft show in the fall!

Total number of sales for April 2012: 22 on Etsy plus lots of offline orders (thankyou!)
Total number of sales for April 2011: 5
What's on your agenda for the month of May?