Friday, April 30, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: Tips for Online Selling

It's Friday so it's time for another edition of the Friday Hotlist.  This week we'll be talking about more tips that will help you grow your online business no matter where you sell:

Create-A-Pendant has a list of 50 sites that you might find useful in promoting your business.  Sites include familiar ones like Facebook and Twitter and less familiar ones like 100 Craft Links, YouCraft, and 43things.  They're not guaranteed to all bring traffic to your site, but it's a great list to check out if your current promotions aren't working for you and you're looking into trying something new.

If you've spent any time in the Virtual Labs or reading emails from Etsy you probably recognize Danielle.  At the beginning of the month her Etsy success email had a few great tips on how to promote your shop:

1. Use your connections - get help from family and friends.
2. Team up! - take advantage of the benefits of being in an Etsy team.
3. Make a statement - create something original and bold.
4. Be a guest blogger - share your expertise.

All of these can be great ways to get your name and your shop out there.

This lengthy Etsy forum thread was started back in July of 2009, but it's still an ever changing catalog of sites and tips for advertising your shop.  Some good tips:

1. Take your business cards with you to hand out to people when they compliment your product (which you should wear at all possible times if you make wearable art).
2. Network with other crafters through forums and chat rooms.  This has led me to most of the blog features I've gotten.

Well, as I'm preparing for a craft show this weekend that's it for this weeks EB Friday Hotlist.  Feel free to share any tips you've come across this week in the comments!

Until next time,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Featured Seller

I regularly frequent a chat room on Etsy known as the FS (Featured Seller) Room.  Essentially, someone is chosen to be the featured seller and they get to promote their shop for 5 minutes.  People post pictures of their items to the room and give them shop and item hearts.  Whoever is the first person to buy from the featured seller becomes the next featured seller and on and on it goes.  It's a fun way to both get a few sales every now and then and support other handmade artisans, sometimes with their very first sale.

I created a Treasury East to feature some of the people who also regularly frequent the chat room:

Another seller had the same idea and featured me in this FS treasury:

Check out the chat sometime if you're an Etsy seller and don't forget to post your links to your own Treasury East in the comments!

Until next time,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekly Treasures: I love Treasury East!

Treasury East has its flaws but I'm a huge fan of the new, wider look.  I must have done well with improving my photographs as I'm being included in more treasuries now.  Take a look at these great curated galleries:

Have you made or been included in a Treasury East?  Post the link in the comments!

Until next time,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Tar Heel Purple

This treasury is made with items from my fantastically talented NC Triangle Street Team members/friends.  Check out these lovely purples:

Until next time,

EB Friday Hotlist: Own the Hour

This Saturday edition of the Hotlist is happening because my internet crashed yesterday and I didn't have a chance to write the post earlier in the week.  Sorry for the delay!

Own the Hour is an interesting advertising concept that's designed to help Etsy sellers promote their shops.  Each seller is able to display one item per hour on the site.  Each hour costs 50 cents and sellers can purchase as many hours as they want for the following day.  It seems like a great place to advertise.  The problem is that it's so new and not a lot of people have found it yet.  Every time I've been to the site, all of the slots have been empty.

I decided to purchase a 50 cent spot anyway to see how it worked.  I selected an hour for the following day and checked back.  My ad (and sadly only my ad) was posted on the site in gallery fashion:

The way the items are displayed is very reminiscent of Etsy's treasury.  I love the simple clean look of the site front page.  I didn't notice any hits from the site in my Google Analytics though and I don't see anyway to get statistics directly from Own the Hour on how many people click on purchased ads.

So my verdict?  Bookmark Own The Hour and check back with them in a few months' time.  Hopefully more people will have found them and decided to use the inexpensive advertising and it will make sense then to post your items there.  If traffic and advertiser numbers don't grow exponentially though, this really cool idea may be dead in the water.

Do you know of any great advertising opportunities for artisans?  Let us know in the comments!

Until next time,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bons Vivants: Shop Etsy Feature

"Shop Etsy is a Wednesday weekly feature profiling an artist with a shop on This week's inaugural edition spotlights Elle Carmon of Elle's Beads."

Check out this fun interview I did with the editor of the Bons Vivants blog and find out what my inspiration comes from, how I got started as an artist (it's more than you already know), and see the first piece of jewelry I designed!  You can read the full interview here.

Let me know what you think!

Until next time,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Sunny Days

So if you're on Etsy, you're probably aware of Treasury East by now.  It's the new Treasury feature that allows curators to make them whenever they want and they supposedly never expire (though the items eventually will).  Someone felt kind enough to include me in this fun Treasury East!  Please check it out and leave a comment on the Treasury page:

Have you made any Treasuries in the new Treasury East?  Post your link in the comments!

Until next time,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Queer Etsy Street Team and the Trevor Project

If you've paid attention to my Etsy shop or blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I'm a huge LGBT supporter.  I'm a member of the Queer Etsy Street Team which is a collective group of dozens of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and other queer Etsy artisans.  You've probably even seen our shop mini in the left hand column of the blog.  What you may not know is that our shop is dedicated to supporting charity and we could use your support.

The team has chosen the Trevor Project by my suggestion as the current charity we'd like to support.  All purchases from the shop will 100% go to support this organization.  The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.  The helpline they provide is nationwide and available 24 hours a day.  This group is the only one in the country providing this type of service to our kids.  Check out the history as taken from their website:

History of Trevor Project

The Trevor Project was founded by writer James Lecesne, director/producer Peggy Rajski and producer Randy Stone, creators of the 1994 Academy Award®-winning short film, Trevor, a comedy/drama about a gay 13-year-old boy who, when rejected by friends because of his sexuality, makes an attempt to take his life.

When Trevor was scheduled to air on HBO® in 1998, the filmmakers realized that some of the program’s teen viewers might be facing the same kind of crisis as Trevor, and began to search for an appropriate support line to broadcast during the airing. They discovered that no such helpline existed, and decided to dedicate themselves to forming what was, in their view, a much-needed resource: an organization to promote acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, and to aid in crisis and suicide prevention among that group. Thus, The Trevor Project was born, and with seed funding provided by The Colin Higgins Foundation, The Trevor Helpline was established and became the first and only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

Today, in addition to operating the crisis and suicide prevention helpline, The Trevor Project provides online support to young people through the organization’s Web site, and also provides lifesaving guidance and vital resources to educators and parents.

Help us support this organization by making a purchase from the team shop.  Your item will be mailed to you directly by the artisan and all of your money (minus the fees Etsy and PayPal automatically deduct) will go directly to the organization to support their goals.  Whether or not you're in a financial position to help at this time, you can still be a vital part of our efforts by tweeting and Digging this blog post using the icons at the top of this post.  Please share it with as many people as you can as we'd like to help as many teens as possible with our efforts.  Thanks in advance for all you can do.

Until next time,

Friday, April 16, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: Cr8tivity

Before I get down to the site review, I should let you all know that I'm leaving ArtFire.  My account is going to be downgraded towards the end of the month and I plan to remove my items from there.  The majority of them have already been moved to Etsy.  I did not make this decision lightly, and my long time readers know I was in the ArtFire corner for a long time.  I'm actually really sad about this.  However, I can no longer justify having three separate shops open and ArtFire simply has not brought me the same traffic that Etsy has.  I also have more of a sense of community on Etsy now and I've got friends and teammates that are helping me in every way possible.  Since it costs me $12/month regardless of whether or not I do anything with my shop, I've decided to give it up for now and focus on Etsy and Zibbet.  I hope that the increased focus, especially on my Etsy shop, will allow my jewelry and accessories to have more exposure.  My sincerest thanks to my customers and ArtFire friends for everything and I hope you'll continue to connect with me on the blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Now for this week's review!  I found Cr8tivity on the forums recently and it is a must know site for Etsians.  Here are the main features I love from them:

* Shop Hearts and Statistics:  Pretty much every site out there designed to help Etsians has some form of statistical monitoring, but Cr8tivity does it in a unique way.  Cr8tivity allows you to see the profile and shop of the people who've hearted you right from the hearts page on the site.  It also indicates whether the person is a buyer only or a seller and where they're from (if they've listed their location on Etsy).

Remember, it's SPAM to convo someone just for hearting you!

This information can be useful though because you can see what type of buyer your site attracts and figure out what your target market should be.  In addition to shop hearts, you can see your individual item hearts as well.  This information is useful because you can see what items and photos people are attracted to the most and adjust the rest of your inventory and/or your photos accordingly.

The statistics page has graphs and charts that show the distribution of items in your shop and the amount of positive vs. negative feedback you have.   It also uses a graph to show you when your shop was hearted:

* PDF Flyer Generator: This is by far the coolest feature available on the site.  If you don't have Photoshop/desktop publishing skills, pay attention because I haven't seen this done anywhere else yet.  You can create product flyers right from the site by entering in the Etsy information.  You don't have to upload any photos - they pull the ones from your Etsy shop.  Just select the product from the drop-down menu that lists everything you have available and download in PDF or MS Word format.  If you don't want to pay for flyers or wait for a professional printer, this is a really cool, simple way to get some promotional materials prepared for stapling to posts, tacking on bulletin boards, and sticking on door mats.  Outside advertising is crucial for the Etsy seller that doesn't already have a huge customer base and this tool helps you do that a little bit easier.

* Inventory Exporter: Since Cr8tivity already pulls all the information from your Etsy shop to make the other features work, they've decided to offer a way for you to download that information easily for your own use.  Inventory Helper creates an MS Excel spreadsheet with the names of your items, date listed, whether or not the product is active, the listing ID, the price, date listed, and so much more.  Think about how convenient this would be to have around craft show time!  You can download the spreadsheet and print it out, quickly price your items for your table, and mark off products as you sell them so you know which ones to delete (if one of a kind items like mine) when you get back and reactivate your shop from vacation mode.  Inventory Helper makes this so much easier than before.

I highly recommend checking out Cr8tivity and exploring its growing set of features, including the ability to tweet and Facebook items right from the site.  Let me know what you think of it in the comments!

Until next time,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekly Treasures: Taste the Rainbow

I made a colorful Treasury West today called Taste the Rainbow!  Please click on all of the images and leave a comment on the Treasury page!

11. Petite Girl Boutique Rainbow Swarovski Crystal Sterling Silver Bracelet by Kashuen


Did you recently get a Treasury?  Make sure to post your link in the comments!

Until next time,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cafe Handmade In the Studio Feature

Have you seen the Cafe Handmade In the Studio feature on Elle Carmon, aka yours truly?  It gives insight to my creative process as well as other things.  As I wrote it myself, I'll post a bit of it here and you can read the rest on the Cafe Handmade website:

Post image for In The Studio With Elle Carmon, Elle’s Beads

I started making jewelry in June 2009. I was struggling with loneliness and depression and decided I needed a hobby. I’ve always enjoyed crafts so I went to Michaels and walked through the store until I found something that looked like fun. I never took any classes or received any formal training because, quite frankly, I can’t afford it. Instead I watch tutorials online and read blogs and practice as much as possible. In September 2009 I decided to elevate my jewelry making hobby to a business and opened a shop on Etsy. Now I sell vintage-inspired jewelry and accessories on Etsy, modern jewelry on ArtFire, and funky magnets on Zibbet. I also participate in craft shows and festivals as my schedule allows.

ellesbeads8This business literally helps keep me sane. It’s been a very healthy way for me to deal with my mental illness and to meet a lot of fascinating, encouraging and creative people. Now I’m a huge supporter of the handmade movement and try to buy handmade whenever I can afford it. I firmly believe that people should buy handmade because it’s more personal. Someone took the time to fashion something with their hands and put some of herself in a particular piece as opposed to a machine stamping out the same design over and over. When you buy handmade, you’re supporting people instead of huge corporations and you’re helping to keep certain art forms from being lost in the era of mass production. Handmade goods are also often eco-friendly, vegan, and include fewer (if any) harsh chemicals. Buying handmade also helps keep our community vibrant, which is something I personally treasure.

The rest of the article can be found here:  Please take a look and let me know what you think.  I hope this will give some insight into who I am and why I'm a part of the handmade movement.

Until next time,

Friday, April 9, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: How to Stay Sane, Promote, and Still Have Time for Crafting - Part 3

Here's the last part of the series on staying sane while promoting and crafting.  As promised, I'm going to reveal what I think is the most important thing I've used since I started crafting as a business to keep my head on straight:

The #1 tool you need to utilize is...(drumroll please)...

A schedule!  Seems simple right?  Scheduling your time allows you more freedom than you may realize.

Take a look at my original schedule:

Whew, I feel like I'm revealing trade secrets.  Seriously though, you need to go ahead and write it out.  I've since changed my schedule to fit my lifestyle and to make it easier for me to create more often, but this schedule was essential for me to get started.  You have to make a schedule first in order to see what works and what doesn't.

I'm very flexible with my time but this is essentially what mine looks like now:


Sunday - Evaluation of advertising strategies and budget, beginning craft show preparations if one the following weekend

Monday - Guild/Team participation, anything else I feel like doing

Tuesday - Post a Weekly Treasures post if possible, anything else I feel like doing

Wednesday - Forums, Etsy chat, occasionally a special blog post

Thursday - Etsy labs, write EB Hotlist post

Friday - finish EB Hotlist, post it, promote it

Saturday - update Facebook, use MyTweeple, anything else I feel like doing

Once a week try to: post a Weekly Treasures post, post a Hotlist post, update Facebook, post once in each forum, tweet, participate in Guild/Teams, and view one Etsy Lab

I live alone and eat dinner alone, so a lot of times I'll use that time to get my promotion in.  Then I have the rest of the night to create something new.


Monday - Friday: Make something new.
Saturday - Sunday: Work on larger projects that may take more than one night to complete.

During Etsy labs, chats, and tweeting, I usually have something in my hands that I'm sewing, beading, gluing, or glazing.  I also craft during my favorite TV shows.

Your schedule may be more or less intense than mine depending on how many hours you have each day to devote to your work.  I have a day job so I spend about 4 hours each evening and then whatever I decide on the weekends.  I never beat myself up for not following my schedule exactly as it's there as a framework and not a burden.  There's enough built-in flexibility for me to skip a day if I need to or switch days around if it's more convenient to do so.

One thing I want you to keep in mind is that the reason you're doing this whole dance is because you love your craft and you want to share it with others.  Never forget to make time for what you enjoy doing, because you don't want the business side of things to swallow up your passion.  Besides, all the promoting in the world won't do you any good if you only have, say, 12 items to sell.  12 items means up to 12 potential customers, 144 items means up to 12 x 12 potential customers - so you need to continue to craft.  That's just an example, but you get the picture.  Don't allow yourself to be overwhelmed and you'll be surprised how much time you have to do what you care about.

Have any tips to share?  Leave them in the comments!

Until next time,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weekly Treasures: I'm Featured in Treasury West!

I'm very excited!  My Cherry Red Czech Fire Polished Glass Chain Necklace was included in this beautiful Treasury West list this morning:

Please check out the Treasury here before its expiration and be sure to click on all of the pictures to give it the best chance possible of reaching the front page.  (I could use the publicity!)

Are you in any treasuries right now?  Made any this week?  Post a link in the comments!

Until next time,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Two Fun Beaded Ring Tutorials with Fish Beads from SB Supply

I recently received some really fabulous beads with which to experiment and come up with a tutorial for a beaded ring.  You can purchase the striped fish beads I'm using for yourself from SB Supply at

I ended up making two tutorials since the shop owner was generous enough to ship me six beads.  The first one is for a floating ring.

Here's what you'll need:

1. A fish bead from SB Supply
2. Small blue glass beads (around 2 mm)
3. Looped ring
4. Thin beading wire (around 34 gauge)
5. Jewelry pliers
6. Wire cutters

Okay, now for the tutorial.  The first step is to attach the wire to the ring.  Tie a knot around one of the loops and then repeatedly loop the wire around that metal loop and the one next to it.  

Slide the fish bead onto the wire.  Then take the open end of the wire and attach it to the metal loops on the opposite side of the ring.  You'll probably need the pliers to pull the wire through tightly.

As you secure the wire, try to center the bead over the loops.

Take another piece of wire, about 8 inches long, and string your blue glass beads on it.  Make sure one of the ends is knotted (use the pliers) so that the beads don't slide off the end.

Take the string of beads and wrap it around the outside of the loops on the ring.  Use the extra wire on the end and keep wrapping around tightly to secure the strand.

You'll end up with a ring that looks like a fish floating through water.  Cute right?

That ring is a little bit difficult to make without snapping the wire, so experiment with a thicker gauge if you need to.  Alternatively, try this wire-free tutorial below.  This one uses both beads and buttons.

Here's what you'll need:

1. A fish bead from SB Supply
2. A "two hole" button (button that's flat on the back)
3. A flat round ring (I'm using one with a 12 mm pad)
4. E6000 or your favorite adhesive

Now for the instructions.  First, attach the button to the ring with adhesive.  Allow it to dry completely.  I'd leave it for 24 hours.

Then put a SMALL amount of adhesive on the top of the button.  I emphasize small because you're going to take the fish bead and press it into the adhesive, attaching it to the top of the button.  If you put too much adhesive on, it's going to squish out the sides of the bead making your ring a little less polished in appearance.

Once you've attached the bead let it dry - again, I recommend waiting 24 hours to make sure it's completely dry.  Then you've got a really cool beaded button ring!

Mix and match colors, add another button layer before putting on the bead, add extra beads around the edges, do some decorative wire wrapping from the inside of the bead down the sides of the ring - just get creative!  This is a really versatile project that you can adjust to flow with your own creative juices.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!  If you'd like to purchase a fish beaded ring instead of making your own, be sure to visit my shop at  I'm keeping the yellow ring for myself, but I'm putting the other rings up for sale soon!

Until next time,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What's "In" in 2010?

Check out my latest YouTube video (best viewed in full screen) about popular fashion trends this season and how you can follow them through my shop!

Do you have a recent YouTube video?  Publish your link in the comments!

Until next time,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Weekly Treasures: I'm Featured!

I got featured in two lovely treasuries this week.  Check them out:

Are you in any treasuries this week?  Create any?  Publish a link to it in the comments!

Friday, April 2, 2010

EB Friday Hotlist: How to Stay Sane, Promote, and Still Have Time for Crafting - Part 2

This week's post is the second in a three part series on balancing promoting and crafting without going bonkers.  I'm going to be talking about how I promote as someone with a full-time job and how I maximize my time.  I've listed some common methods of promotion and I'll briefly discuss what I do with each one:

Blog - My blog is my priority as far as social networking goes. I try to post once a week on a Sunday or Tuesday a feature about other artisans' products and why my readers should check them out. On Fridays I do a feature I call my Hotlist where I talk about different websites that may be of use to artisans or different tips that I've come across during the week that I think should be publicized. Then I usually have one or two blog posts in reserve for when I want to post something a little extra. These are tips about things like blogging or Twittering that are good regardless of the date they're posted and I can just hit the publish button anytime I need to beef up my blog for the week. I have it set up through TwitterFeed so that when I post a blog entry, it automatically posts to Twitter. I also have TweetMeme and Digg set up on each entry so that I can (or readers can) easily tweet and Digg my posts for more exposure. Writing is fun for me so this only takes up maybe a few hours per week.

Twitter - My second priority is Twitter as this is where the majority of my social networking views of my items come from. Etsy and ArtFire have RSS feeds, so I have TwitterFeed set up so that anytime I post a new listing, my followers get a Tweet about it. I also use HootSuite which is a Twitter application so that I can schedule important tweets in advance. For example, I’m in an ArtFire Guild which promotes shops with less than 10 sales. On Monday when the new shop is revealed, I set up tweets for the rest of the week about that shop. This way I can tweet without being next to the computer 24/7. I schedule tweets about my Follow Friday picks, my blog entries, and my craft shows. Then I have Twitter set up on my phone so that direct messages come to me as text messages and I can tweet easily or send direct messages right from the text message window. I space my tweets out evenly between random stuff I’m thinking about/doing, insightful or interesting tweets from others, other artisans' work, and my own self-promotion. Then I use MyTweeple once or twice a week to find out who is following me so I can follow them back. I also unfollow people who are not famous or major companies like Etsy who haven’t followed me back. So far I have over 700 followers. Twitter takes up a couple of hours per week, and it’s a ton of fun for me. Having things scheduled and automated takes the stress of promoting away so I can just enjoy talking to people.

Facebook - Facebook is something I don’t really enjoy but I use it somewhat anyway. I have my Etsy and ArtFire shops on my personal page and my Facebook Fan Page. I got enough people to join my fan page that I have a short URL now (after 25 fans, get this by going to If you’re stuck at 24 just fan yourself.) I have TwitterFeed set up so that when I list a new item on Etsy or ArtFire, it shows up on my Fan Page wall. I also take one day a week to check and see if my latest blog entries should be posted there for people to read.   If I have extra cash, I may consider doing a Facebook ad which drives significant traffic to my shop when I'm spending about $10/day.  Facebook takes me less than 1 hour per week since almost everything is automated.

Forums - I regularly post in the Etsy, ArtFire, and Zibbet forums for exposure.  When I have extra time, I also make a few posts at the Selling Lounge.  Promoting threads are good, where you can post your links or your recently added products.  Other good threads to look for are critique threads where people are asking for your constructive criticism.  I like to stick to threads that are positive for the most part, and make sure that when you're posting you're doing so in a way that won't come off whiny or juvenile.  Your posts are being read by fellow sellers, shoppers, and Google searchers - meaning that you can turn off potential customers if you're not careful with what you say.  If you don't want to be seen in a negative light, sticking to positive threads and giving constructive feedback to others can keep your credibility and likability at a maximum.

Nings - CafeHandmade, MixxMade, IndiePublic, etc. are all Ning networks.  Ning groups pretty much all have the same format so once you've learned one you will be able to navigate the others with minimal difficulty.  I do not make posting in these groups a priority, but they are a nice way to network with other people and get the word out about your latest blog posts, photos, events, and more.  If you find you like a Ning network and get traffic from it, focus on that as one of your priorities.  For more information on how to use Nings as promotional tools, check out my Hotlist post on IndiePublic.

Flickr - This is another low priority promotional tool for me.  I like to upload photos here so that I can list on the go whether or not I'm at my own computer.  I've also joined several groups and I post photos to each one whenever I think about it.  For more information about how you can use Flickr as a promotional tool, check out my Hotlist post from March.

Guilds/Teams - ArtFire calls them guilds, Etsy calls them teams, 1000Markets calls them markets.  Whatever they're called, they are all networking groups organized through venues.  These groups allow for members to network and promote one another individually and collectively.  I'm in the Shops with Less Than 10 Sales guild on ArtFire as well as the Queer Team and NC Triangle Street Team on Etsy.  I promote through the 10 Sales guild weekly as participation is a requirement.  The other guilds I have less structured participation in, but I do participate in making team treasuries, contributing to the Queer Team collective store for charity, and more.  I probably spend about an hour per week on all teams combined.

The key to this is finding what works for you and focusing on that.  You don't need to master Twitter and Flickr and Facebook and Teams and Nings etc. etc.  The best thing to do is to find a couple of these that you're really good at and put your energy into them.  My primary promotion is through this blog and Twitter, because I'm wonderfully opinionated (the nicest way I could think of to put it) and I enjoy writing.  Find out what you like to do and go from there.

Next week I'm going to reveal the so simple it's crazy tip on how to stay sane while promoting.  Be sure to follow the blog so you won't miss it!

Until next time,