Having an online shop isn't just setting up shop, posting your items and walk away. If you sell online, you have to have a presence ONLINE! This can be through a blog, a Facebook page, Pinterest, Tumblr, or my favorite - Twitter.
If you have an Etsy shop but you're still not quite into the whole Twitter thing, it's ok, let's hold hands. Allow me to walk you through how Twitter can be your friend and bring views to your Etsy items and shop.
You may already notice that every listing on Etsy has a Twitter button....
This button is actually for anyone to use, it allows a person to tweet your item. When you click that button, a pop-up window appears
You can even tweet your own items from your shop to appear in your Twitter followers feed. This is what I do when I renew a listing. When I add a brand new item to my shop, it is the first thing I do after I hit that "publish" button.
If you're ready to get started in the world of Twitter, just jump right in! Start following people - because I'm sure you know people with Twitter accounts. The more you follow, the more you'll get follows back. You can even follow the Hudson Valley Etsy Team at @HVNYTeam!
Share your Twitter link with your friends and family. Don't feel like you have to tweet something constantly, you can keep it strictly shop-related, like a flash-newsletter in 140 characters or get chatty like I do. Etsy encourages their sellers to tell their story and help customers get to know the person behind the shop - Twitter is a great tool to do just that and still control just how much you wish to share about yourself. See you in the Twitterverse!
Another 5:47 wake up call, this time I don't have to go so far, this weekend's location is just about an hour away. My booth will be located in a big tent, so I don’t need to bring mine, and was able to fit everything into my little convertible. I’m doing the set up alone today. I walk into the tent at 8:15 and all the booths are all set up already. All the displays are super elaborate with walls and lighting and major display furniture. I feel a little amateurish. My backdrop isn’t long enough; it’s hot and sticky. I set up the best I can, it looks fine but not great compared to all the other vendors. I also notice my work not quite fitting in.
And so starts a long and sweaty day with a new experience for me, I make no sales. Thankfully I hear a couple of other vendors are having the same problem. It often takes a little while for me to make my first sale but I’ve never not sold anything, not even on my first market where I basically just stood in the middle of the street with a tiny rack of clothes. It’s a bit depressing, especially since I’ve already signed up for the Labor Day fair too; I’m feeling a hole burning in my pocket. I take it in stride, I guess it had to happen at some point, just wish it were somewhere that was less of an investment. I make a list of what to bring tomorrow – lights, a fan and one of my tent walls for hiding the mess in the back of the booth better.
Sunday, May 27
It’s much less sticky today. The booth looks much better thanks to the two lights I was able to put behind the clothing racks. I moved my store sign around too and dressed the mannequin in one of my attention-grabbing raincoats. I sell a tank top after a couple of hours, not a big ticket item but better than nothing. Then a repeat customer of mine comes by and she orders one of my jackets for fall. The crowd seems a bit more receptive, but it’s still slow. I speak with another vendor who says she’s been doing the show for 28 years and this one has been the worst.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Today promises to be a scorcher, the forecast calls for 90 degrees. Makes me dread today. But the day starts on a positive note, two sales in the first hour. I’m getting closer to making the booth fee back at least. The fans are blowing in every booth, I’m glad I’m not outside in the sun but things are getting pretty sticky inside the big tent too. Hopefully any thunderstorms will hold off until the show is done and everything is packed up in the car. At the end of the day I'm still short of the booth fee but at least I'm close. And it didn't rain.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
How nice was it to have a Saturday to get some stuff done at home! But off we go again. It’s time for the Hudson Valley Etsy Team organized fair in Fishkill. I’m a little worried because of last weekend, The day starts with some car trouble, the darn door sensors are busted and the lights keep coming on and the check engine light is on too. Not a great thing to combine with nerves but I decide to just go, hopefully the car will hold.
I get to the show about an hour before it starts, everyone else is already almost all set up. I bravely pull the car in front of my spot and start unloading. My lovely booth neighbor Jess and her helper are wonderful and help me put up my tent. I decide to put some of my newly thought out booth ideas to work and put up a nice curtain in the back of the booth which ends up to be quite tricky, in the end the booth looks great, people are already browsing before I finish setting up. It takes a while to get my first sale but then I get super busy and the gorgeous day is putting people in a buying mood.
Then I start seeing people pointing at the sky and look, there’s a storm a-brewing. I’m not too worried, I got weights on my tent and while most everyone else is starting to pack up and bring their things to safety I start putting up my tent walls. But then comes a big ‘ole wind gust and things start going haywire…my tent is moving (darn, I didn’t tie the cinder blocks to the tent as I was taught to do a couple of weeks ago), the racks are falling…OK, it’s time to pack up! Wonderful Gwen helps me pile my clothes and accessories into my car and a couple of other vendors jump to dismantle my tent…in the end I get all my merchandise into the dry just in time but everything else starts getting wet, the dressing room curtains, the tent, all my stuff is a big pile in the parking lot while most everyone else is pulling away. I decide to wait through the storm. I have to totally repack the car as everything only fits if you play a perfect game of Tetris. The storm passes as quickly as it came, I’m ready to set up again but everyone else has left. I could’ve used some more making up for last week’s disaster!
Saturday, June 16, 2012
I had a weekend off! Well, not off, I started working on my Spring 2013 collection, but I was home all weekend, what a luxury. I had a bit of an itch to do a market though, after all this heavy lifting the last few weeks my arms are starting to look pretty good!
This show will probably be a small one, it’s at Olana, the gorgeous home of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church, and there are only supposed to be about 15 vendors. It’s on the grounds so people have to really come out to it. We can set up wherever we want. My husband’s helping me and we brought my tent but end up not needing it. They have a big tent set up outside or we can choose a space inside the education center. It’s a gorgeous day so we stay outside. We enjoy the sun, I try to make that nasty cold I got to go away (luckily I’m only at the sore throat stage, so no worries about sneezing at customers). We have a nice afternoon and meet some nice people but I barely sell anything. I’m exhausted at the end of the day even though the fair also only lasted 3.5 hours.
Most important lesson learned - do your homework, learn as much as you can about any markets you participate in. Hefty fees don't necessarily mean lots of sales. It's all about finding great organizers and the right audience. And make sure the weather gods like you!
Now on to bigger and better things! Next Sunday you’ll find me in Boston at an amazing looking fair – Union Made – can’t wait. Sell, sell, sell, buy, buy, buy! It all looks well, great organizers and amazing vendors, keep your fingers crossed for the weather and the traveling mermaid…
Last year I started doing craft fairs with my clothing. It turns out it’s quite a learning experience. After doing 5 events last year I challenged myself to double that or more. So here is my journey through first 5 shows this year. It really all started months ago. While there are many markets that you can apply for and sell within a week the larger shows often have application deadlines months before the actual event.
This May and June I’m doing a variety of different markets, from big city indie fairs to traditional crafts fairs to small markets.
Thursday, May 10
Time to pack up the mermaid mobile for the first time this season.
We’re heading down to PA for the Art Star Craft Bazaar - a large indie craft fair in Philadelphia. I did this market last year as well, did OK but not great, then started sharing a booth at their Holiday fair and I did great! Art Star also has a wonderful boutique in Philadelphia. I sell my clothing there, their store is gorgeous and I’m incredibly proud to sell there.
Will it all fit? Trying to be as eco-friendly as possibly both my husband and I drive small cars. I got a new tent this year and my goal is to fit a mannequin in as well. Miraculously we can squeeze it all in.
Friday, May 11
My husband picks me up at my day job at 5PM and we drive to Philadelphia. We’re quite used to the 4-hour drive as my in-laws all live in the area. We arrive at our friends’ house with a ferocious appetite. The weather forecast is great for the whole weekend, quite a relief after downpours along with a leaky tent last year.
Saturday, May 12
The market starts at 11, it should be about a 45-minute drive from our friends’ house down to Penn’s Landing, including traffic. I’m not a morning person (turns out that is not a good thing for doing craft fairs), but I’ve been up since about 5:30 when my husband woke up and thought it was 7 already (and then of course couldn’t go back to sleep, my nerves always get the best of me before a show). We time it so that we should get there around 9:30. Miraculously traffic is actually no problem and we arrive at 9:15, which makes me a little more relaxed.
We start setting up and soon after my booth mate, Jillian of Le Petit Hoot, who’s making her craft show debut today, arrives. She makes gorgeous bags and pouches and prepared a beautiful set up. As the fair starts I’m still tagging clothes, in the mad rush of sewing up a storm to create as much inventory as possible it’s just something I haven’t gotten too. I like to have all my items priced, other vendors would disagree. The start of the show is slow. The wifi is not working. I was so excited to use my little credit card reader on my iPod (sadly I don’t have a smartphone as we do not have cell-service at my house), I guess old school credit card machine it is. I’ll enter the sales tonight on my PayPal. I ask the customers to give me their phone number just to be sure. Last year I sold mostly tank tops, which are the lowest priced clothing that I sell. But today I start with a double sale of a silk blouse (on which I put a really good sale price) and a capelet, and then a dress; my lovely sister-in-law comes and buys a jacket and then a tank after all. That’s a good day, I did great! We lower the tent, leave the basic set up there but take all the clothing back with us as there will only be minimum security.
Exhausted and happy we drive back to our friends’ house. That spiked lemonade I had did not treat me well along with the hot sun all day. I feel nauseous but after some dinner and a double dose of Advil I feel better. We make it an early night anyway as tomorrow will be a long day of selling and then packing up and driving home.
Sunday, May 13
Today traffic is backed up and we arrive a little later than planned, but still in time. Set up is much quicker, mostly I just needed to wheel my garment rack with all my clothing in and do some fine-tuning. It’s my strangest sales day yet. I sell two of my silk dresses within an hour of each other and then almost nothing else for most of the rest of the day. At the end of the day I sell the last one which makes the dress sold out for the moment, yay! I made less money today than yesterday but am very happy with the sales this weekend. Let’s pack up the mermaid mobile and home we go!
Friday, May 18
Time to pack of the car again! Tomorrow I’ll be doing a fair organized by the New York Etsy team in Chelsea, NYC. My best friend is visiting from Switzerland and my husband (author Brian James – check out his great books!) is doing a reading in NYC, so I traded my little convertible with a friend of mine for her station wagon, Let’s see if we can fit the 3 of us and the tent and the mannequin. Tight squeeze again, but by taking only the smaller cinder blocks for tent weights we should be OK.
Saturday, May 19
The alarm goes off at 5:47, but I know we have to get ready as quickly as possible, quick cup of coffee and I force feed myself yoghurt and get ready. As usual I’m ready later than I planned, but we arrived just before all the cars have to get off the (closed-off for the market) street. We unload everything right in front of the booth and I go to try to find free parking. Just as I’m deciding to give up there’s a street whose street cleaning is just about up. Lots of parking, yay, and just a couple of blocks away.
When I get back to my booth my awesome helpers have almost finished setting, they’re the best!
Selling is sluggish again today, it again goes in packs and do I sell that one more silk dress that I was to produce this week. In the end we got all expenses covered and made a little extra money. Can’t complain plus a couple of my friends stopped by which is always a nice surprise.
My Swiss guest leaves Monday morning and I go back to my day job. In addition to my normal sewing day I take another day off, feverishly making silk dresses and replacing a few other items I’ve sold in the last two weekends. Next weekend I’ll be doing a 3-day show, my first big traditional fair, which came with a hefty booth fee.
Check in again on Thursday for the continued adventures of the traveling mermaid!
I'm so happy to share another Member Spotlight with everyone. Meet one of my newest members, Paula from Arwen Designs.
Tell us a little about yourself My name is Paula Arwen Friedlander. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and moved up to the Hudson Valley several years ago with my husband. We now have a cute little house surrounded by woods in Sullivan County. My Etsy shop is:http://www.etsy.com/shop/arwendesigns
What is your professional background?
I am an Illustrator and Graphic Designer, and I have designed for textiles, print and products. After being laid off from a full time job last year, I am working part time and trying to devote more time to my Etsy shop and freelance business.
What led you to your current craft?
I work mainly with cut paper and silhouette art. I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with different mediums, including painting, sculpture, and jewelry, but I remember the day I picked up an x-acto knife and a piece of paper, and I was instantly hooked. Something about the process of cutting the paper, and the simplicity and contrast of black and white shapes appeals to me. I still enjoy mixing media and I like to add collage elements and color using both different materials and my computer. The computer also enables me to take my cut out designs and apply them to different materials, like vinyl decals.
How do you feed your creativity?
Everything around me inspires me, from the urban world of Brooklyn to the natural beauty of the Catskills. I’m also inspired by books and movies, mythology, and sometimes my dreams.
How do you work deal with a creative block?
I work on something else. If I’m stuck with a drawing, I’ll work on writing projects, or the business side of things. Sometimes I will go for a walk, play with the pets, work in my garden, or clean. (Cleaning usually comes last!)
Describe your work area.
My work area is small but has a nice view of the forest. It’s full of bits of paper and sketches. Although in reality my work area spills over into wherever I am, the couch, the dining room table, or if I’m not at home it is on the bits of paper in my pockets with ideas scribbled on them.
Favorite time of day to work?
I’m definitely not a morning person. I prefer to work in the afternoon and evenings, but I end up working on my Etsy projects whenever I have the chance.
How did you end up on Etsy?
I was looking for a way to share and sell my art when I discovered Etsy. Although I have my own website for my illustration work, it's hard to get noticed and bring web traffic there. Etsy already has the traffic, and they make it easy to set up a shop and join their community. There are so many talented artists and creators on Etsy, I knew it was someplace I wanted to join!
Other than your supplies & materials, what do you want with you on a stranded island?
A survival kit and my husband. Together we can survive anything. Any guilty pleasures? B horror movies, teen horror novels, and sparkly things. And chocolate, but do we really have to feel guilty about that? Words of wisdom for aspiring artists. Don’t give up. It’s hard to make any money creating art, but we do it because we love it and can’t help ourselves. If you work hard and keep practicing your skills, eventually you’ll get some recognition.
Last Sunday was a beautiful day (mostly) for an outdoor craft fair and check out the talent from the team. Unfortunately everyone had to close shop two hours early because Mother Nature doesn't care for handmade goods too much. Before the storm, there was a great turnout in the CVS Parking Lot along with an enthusiasm for viewing such a unique collection of vendors. Thank you everyone for visiting, shopping, and thank you Fishkill Business Association for having us again! Check out more pictures on our Facebook page!
Well, a good deal of growing has happened since I planted the tiny, delicate seedlings in my vegetable garden. I no sooner got the plants in the ground that it began to rain and I didn't snap any pictures, thinking I would get them in the next day or so. If you live in the Northeast, well you know how that has gone lately.
Anyway, several weeks later and the plants are really coming along. The salad bowl (the bed on the right) is thriving and looking like a fresh salad may be on the menu for this weekend. (Yippee! We just got a new grill so I think maybe some grilled shrimp over some beautiful, fresh arugula.)
I'll plant some seeds in rows between the plants this weekend to replace what's already in the ground as it is harvested. My experience with the arugula is that it will come back for a second round toward the end of the summer, but to keep it available all season, I'll keep reseeding.
In the left bed are kale, rainbow chard, collards, zucchini, two kinds of cukes and two kinds of green beans. They are slow in coming but when August rolls around, I won't be able to keep up with the cucumbers and the fresh greens (my favorite veggies) will be thriving and available thru the fall. With any luck, the cuke crop will be abundant enough that I will be able to put up some pickles this year.
I noticed that bugs were snacking on the leaves of the greens so I sprayed them with some organic insecticide this weekend and will continue to do so regularly for the rest of the growing season. Other than that, the soil was prepared well enough that I won't do any further fertilizing. Just weed and water, which it looks like mother nature will take care of this year.
Summer is such good eating. If you have never had the divine pleasure of cutting vegetables for dinner and eating them within minutes of separating them from their roots, do yourself a grand favor and plant something, anything - lettuce in a pot on the deck, some tomatoes on the terrace and taste the sort of freshness that we just don't get the opportunity to savor with supermarket produce. It's like the difference between rhinestones and diamonds.