Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vintage Glitz and Glam!

Some new pieces recently listed in MissVictoriasVintage:

Four more vintage or antique cufflinks listed last night:

Also, two antique faux pearl and rhinestone lapel pins:

Monday, May 25, 2009

My How-To Etsy Tips

I volunteered to help a friend navigate opening a store on Etsy. Here's what I put together, as I know others have similar questions. I hope you all will find this helpful.

Shop Profile & Policies:

The profile link is one of the six in larger font size on the left. I made this more PR stuff and put the fine print in the policies section, which is in the same grouping as the Appearance page. To develop your own, I'd suggest cruising around and reading some other sellers' policies, especially ones who make similar items to what you'd be selling. It's very important to have this in place before you start selling, so it's in black and white how many days you wait to cancel a sale for nonpayment, whether you ship internationally, what the wait is for custom orders, and the like.

This is also where you upload your profile picture. Some people put a picture of themselves here, so folks can see the face behind the art. Others use product pictures, as a teaser of what folks will see when they go to your shop. Whichever you use is up to you.

For Banners & Shop Appearance:

If you're registered as a seller (which means you've given them credit card info), up on the top of the page you'll see a Your Etsy clickable tab. Once you click on that, along the left side of the screen will be a bunch of options.

The Items section is for listing, etc.

The third section down, Shop Setup, is where you'll look at setting up how your shop looks. In the Appearance section is where you'd put your banner, so it shows up along the top of the screen in your shop page.

The Shop Title section should be something sweet and simple that describes your products. This can help folks find you in google searches. It gives you the dimensions for the banner on the page, and you just upload it directly to their site.

For the Shop Announcement I've got another brief publicity statement. You'll see two very different views on this part. Some folks put everything including the kitchen sink here, thinking that people won't bother to click on your shipping policies or shop profile, whereas others say the shorter the better, so there isn't a lot of text in the way when folks go to your shop and instead they see your products instantly. I went for the latter. I just thought it made my store look neater. Again, as with your user picture, it's completely up to you which way to go.

Featured Items:

On page one, you have the option to feature three items from your shop. For me, this is a great way to get folks to look at something past the first few pages. I've currently got 15 pages of items (almost 300 listings). So my featured items are usually from pages 12-14 in my shop. You can select more than three items to be featured. Only the first three will show up as featured on the website, but you can make up what's called an Etsy Mini, which can showcase up to 25 of your listings, and will give you the code to be able to post this to your blog or journal. Also, if one of your featured listings sell, and you only have three items featured, then you'll have a blank slot. If you select more items than three to be featured, then the next item will fill in the slot.

For Payment:

So, first off, you pick what types of payments you take. It is automatically set up so you can ticky box checks, money orders, & paypal, and they also have an other box, which you can use for propay or any other payment system.

For PayPal, they're set up with a Pay Now PayPal button directly in the invoice the customer gets, although new buyers get confused and need to get prompted because especially when they buy multiple things at once from different buyers they don't realize that everyone doesn't automatically get paid, just whatever piece they've most recently added to their cart. Here's an article that I've sent to new Etsy buyers, that helps walk them through the process.

Just like any other venue, they have to snail mail you the paper money stuff. I have the option for people to call me, or me them, to get their credit card info, as I have a retail terminal.


There are shops that advertise FREE SHIPPING! I hope they've figured the costs into their prices, as this is a good way to completely eat up your profit margin. My costs may seem high in comparison to some, but for me making sure my goods arrive safely and in good condition was important to me.

I settled on my flat $5 fee for mine, which includes the cost of the padded mailer envelope, the box in which I put each jewelry piece (so there's no chance of it getting crunched in shipment, hopefully), postage + insurance and delivery confirmation. I go to the post office to mail my packages, as they have one of the automated postal machines at the branch right next to my house, but you can get a postal scale to figure out your weight and actually print postage through PayPal. You save money on delivery confirmation this way.

The best way to figure out what you should charge for postage for your items would be to make up dummy packages to figure out what your postage would be. I'm getting used to international shipping. It used to scare the stuffing out of me, because most of the time insuring it is more than the goods are worth, and you hear horror stories of packages stuck in customs or arriving empty, but I've been lucky so far, and a lot of the sales from my vintage shop have been overseas. You have to take these to the counter, though, as PayPal will only do certified/insured and the automated machines won't do them at all.

The Etsy Forums can be a great resource, and you can keyword search by topic.

I think it's best to completely have your shop and policies set up before starting to list, and then work on adding items a few at a time over a couple of weeks, is a good idea. I'm at a point right now where I have so many items listed it's rather ridiculous to add more until I've sold some, so I renew a few items every 3-4 days, just to freshen up my first page.

They've made some changes to the format and how you title your items is a lot more important now than it used to be, as within the Etsy system titles, tags, and descriptions are searchable, but Google only searches Etsy items by title. That's why I've been editing all my shop listings from "Black Pearl Y Necklace" to "Black Freshwater Pearl Y Necklace with Pewter Celtic Knot Bead on Sterling Silver Chain." Although my sales are still rather flat, my item views are higher than they used to be.

Here's a couple more helpful links:

This lets you see how many views your items are getting, & how many people are "Hearting" (the Etsy favorites system) your shop or items

This lets you know if any of your items have been featured in a Treasury.

Treasury/Treasury West:
These are kind of like virtual displays at an art gallery. Buyers and sellers make these from items the find on Etsy, and the Etsy admin picks items to feature on the main Etsy home page from these treasury lists.

Google Analytics:
This lets you know what kind of traffic your store is getting, and where it's coming from. It's a good way to know what promotional things you are doing are actually working.

Google Base:
You can upload your Etsy listings straight into the google database. It's possible to set this up so it happens automatically on your schedule.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

At Abney Park's concert at Club Heaven last night

I peddled the shinies at the Abney Park concert at Club Heaven last night. A good time was had by all. Here's a few pictures, including a rare one of me with my booth:

Some close-ups of my display setup:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chicken Soup

Spring is here, and so are spring colds. Nothing to make you feel better than homemade chicken soup! Here's my take on this old classic. It takes awhile, but it's worth it.

For stock:

1 whole chicken, bones, skin, giblets
2 carrots
2 sticks celery
one medium onion
3-4 cloves garlic, whole

Wash and coarse chop all veggies
Rinse off chicken, inside and out. Remove giblets from plastic bag in cavity, if necessary
Put veggies and chicken in stockpot, add water to cover chicken by 2-3"

Bring to a full boil, then reduce to a simmer until the chicken is falling apart.

Here's the messy part. Remove the solids from the broth, and sort out the chicken meat from the bones, skin, and veggies. Cut up or shred the larger pieces of meat, then set aside. Discard the rest(including the giblets). Strain the broth, let fat settle to top and skim off, and then return broth to stockpot.

For soup:

Fine chop another two carrots, two sticks of celery, and a small onion
Add vegetables to broth
Add 2 tablespoons of tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer until onions and celery are translucent, then add the chicken meat.

I like to serve with oyster crackers, or if I'm feeling adventurous, I slice flour tortillas into strips and pan fry or bake them till crispy, and sprinkle them over the top.

You can also turn this into a cheater pot pie, although it relieves the dish of the homemade healthful benefits. Put about 3 cups of soup into a cast iron skillet, thicken it slightly with corn starch, and then cover with bake and serve biscuits (the kind you buy at the grocery store in the cardboard tubes). You'll have to cook it about 10-15 minutes longer than the biscuit directions indicate.

Happy Eating!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My "photography studio"

I've had many people ask me for photography tips, so here's all of them in one place for easy reference.

A common misconception about taking good pictures is that you need specialized equipment. This is completely untrue. What you do need is a camera with a good macro function. I have an older Nikon 990. I've had it for about 7-8 years, and I bought it used from a photographer friend of mine who was upgrading to a camera that would allow him to use digital and film.

That's the expensive part. The rest you can do with simple common materials you have around the house. My current "studio" consists of the box in which my last order of padded mailers was shipped, covered by a fabric remnant, in front of the french doors in the dining room, which face due East. I put the box right next to the doors. On sunny mornings, I leave the white blinds drawn. On overcast days, or in the afternoon, I can raise them, or open the door and enjoy the weather while I work. I've also covered up one of the kitchen chairs with satin and pulled it over to the French doors as well.

And here's some pictures taken with each setup:

I've experimented with a lightbox that I purchased, and have found that I actually get better pictures with my homemade setup. The disadvantage is I am limited to daylight hours to do my picture taking.

Some people use props to give their pictures a little more life or depth. Make sure if you choose to do this that the items don't overwhelm your product. Here's a couple of examples from the stores of my fellow Jewelry on Etsy teammates:

Evening Blue, by mcrdesigns:

The Rolling Stone Ring, by capitalcitycrafts:

And using a mannequin or a person to show your potential customer how the necklace lies when worn can also be important. See this lovely piece by TheBrassHussy:

Another essential - a photo editing program. I use photoshop, but there are many other possibilities. Each of these images has had the lighting level adjusted slightly, and all are cropped to best frame the image. You can also change the angles to provide more interest in your shots. A full page of items photographed in exactly the same manner won't draw people in as much as a selection of varied images.

There are several free photoediting programs available. I've used Picasa in the past, and if you do a google search, you'll find multiple other programs and can decide which works the best for you.

Friday, May 1, 2009

♥ Happy Mother's Day Hunting with the JETs! Come and Join The Fun!!!

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The JET Team (Jewelry On Etsy) are at it again! We are hosting a Mother's Day Hunt, starting Thursday April 30th - Sunday May 3rd. 9am - 12pm each day.

Each shop listed below has a Mother's Day image of flowers hidden in one of the their listings, find them all and win a FREE PRIZE by one of the JETs. Winners will be announced thru out the day, (you may enter only once during promotion).

In addition to the great prizes to be won, each shop has it's own sale going on so be sure to browse around alittle you might find something you like and check out all the awesome jewelry from the JETs!!!

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Start searching in shops below for the listing with the Mother's Day Flowers.

Respond back to with all the listings with the Mother’s Day Flower image to win great prizes from the JETs. Good Luck and Have Fun Hunting!!!

Happy Hunting!!!

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