Monday, January 21, 2013

Etsy Teams and Another First

It's been about 3 months since I first opened a shop on Etsy.  I took a picture of a necklace I made using my phone, uploaded the pic to my store and added a price.   Absolutely nothing happened because the picture was terrible and the description was worse.

Then I discovered teams.  Teams are little forums with groups of people with common interests.  There are teams for asking questions or posting new items or for just about anything you can think of.  I found a lot of good information and even got a full shop review from the "Helpful Relevancy Team."

The best team a person could ever find is the "Promotional Frenzy Team."   You need to have 500 people following your shop in order to join which I had to work really hard to get to.  But once you are welcomed into this amazing group of people that are becoming friends the rewards are limitless.  I have gotten a ton of advice on how to improve my pics, descriptions and other aspects of selling on Etsy.  My views have skyrocketed because everyone on the team must participate in activities which involve promoting each others items on Etsy and with social media.

I can also thank these incredible people at  "PromoFrenzy" for helping me get my first sale. It happened less than a week after I was allowed to join.

I spend a lot of time on this forum both chatting with team members and promoting their items. It's fun and extremely helpful.  If I'm feeling discouraged I get encouragement, if I'm having difficulties with my photos I get advice, if something positive happens I get applause.

I've actually withdrew myself from most of the teams I joined initially because they were basically just post and run teams.  Meaning you post a link to your item and it just sits there and no one does anything with it.  Basically a huge waste of time.

One other fairly helpful team has been the "Wisconsin Craft Fair Explorers."  They don't seem to be terribly active but I found out about a craft fair that will be in Madison on February 9th.  So I applied for the "Art from the Heart Craft Fair" which is juried and got excepted. I was really excited for about 2 seconds and then I realized that I had no idea what craft fairs involve and I have nothing to use for a display.

So I started Googling and got some ideas.  I decided to see if I could find anything unusual to use for displays at thrift stores.  I hit the jackpot on my first try.

The store had a ton of these new but not put together well table top easels.

I bought 6 for $6 each!!  I tightened the screws and good as new.  I also bought 2 tall candle holders with leaves that will be great for hanging necklaces off of.

I used ornament hooks to hang necklaces off of the raised part of the easel and ta da.....

I'm still a little nervous about the fair.  I'm not much of a salesperson, I'd much prefer to give things away.  Plus I'm terrified that no one will like my jewelry.

I took the 2 days before the fair off work so I can prepare and also shield my co-workers for my neurotic self.  I'm sure I will be a nervous wreck and I will wonder around asking everyone I meet if I'm nuts for thinking I can do this and complaining I'm going to fail miserably.

Of course I'm fairly certain I will be just fine and I really do think I design jewelry that is unlike anything else available for people to buy but also beautiful and looks good.  Sometimes there is a reason why no one makes something - it's not good but I don't think my design is one of those things.

So if you are anywhere near Madison WI on February 9th, stop by Union South on University Ave. for Art from the Heart.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Maybe the sales aren't exactly "rollin" in but I'm getting a couple.  I got my very first sale on Etsy today.  I screamed so loud I nearly gave my husband a heart attack.  A woman actually purchased 2 already made pieces and requested a custom made necklace in order to have 3 necklaces with heart pendants to give to her 3 grandchildren.  I also sold 2 necklaces at Edge Comics and Games/Art Market in Edgerton WI.  Combine that with the few items I've sold to friends and I may be breaking even :-p

Another bit of excitement was coming in first place in an Etsy contest this week.  It was kind of funny because the first contest I was in I places at nearly 200 out of probably 200, who knows.  Each time a piece was featured I went up a little by little and I was happy to rank under 100 in the last one.  The most recent pick was actually a necklace my 12 year old daughter made (the Alyx in AlyxAndrea Design).

It's been a really tough week at work so it was good to have some good news.  I client of mine died of an overdose after 2 years of sobriety.  She had suffered a lot of loss over the last year and I guess it got to be too much.  What is really tragic is that she was was using her experience with addiction to help others.  She was returning to school for Human Services, volunteering and sharing her story at speaking engagements whenever possible.  My husband had interviewed her awhile back for a documentary he is doing on homelessness in the city I work in.  I'm thinking it will be very painful to watch when it is finished.  If possible I hope that her legacy will live on as evidence of the devastating affects of addiction.  You can work so hard, go to treatment, by motivated to your core and it can sneak back up on you just like that.

So like I said, it was good to get some good news.  After typing this I feel a little guilty about being so excited about something so trivial in comparison but part of working in social services it separation.  Separating yourself, your life and you feeling from you job.  Sometimes I feel like my heart is turning to stone because I can hear the most unimaginably tragic stories of trauma in the lives of people without safe homes and it barely fazes me sometimes.  As a whole it takes a great toll on my mind, body and spirit but I have to put up a little bit of a wall to protect myself.  Everyone in this field experiences a little bit of secondary trauma meaning that we are actually traumatized by hearing and empathizing with the traumatic stories of others.

One of the things I really enjoy about making jewelry is that it helps me take my mind off work and having other people like what I make is an very exciting added bonus.