excuse our dust

We are currently making some changes to this site, including updating our team name, homepage, and graphics. Our shops are open and all the links to them are working, so please forgive our dust here, and go browse through our shops instead!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Fling Give-away Drawing! April 1-14

The MDC Etsy Team decided that we needed to jump into spring with both feet so expect some really exciting things in April! To start it off right, we've got everyone's favorite...A Give-Away!!

We've put together all sorts of wonderful gifts for mothers and children. Check back again soon because there may even be a couple of late additions! See below for ways to enter to win ALL of the following (no purchase necessary, but it doesn't hurt!):

For the kiddos, you'll receive:
A wooden helicopter from Imagination Kids, a silk ring twirl toy and a rainbow wood bead necklace from Sun Anthem, a set of six small cars from Small Town Toys, a felt Totoro applique from Spunky Gal, pirate sandwich wrappers from Creations by Hippie Fairy Lover, a child's healing necklace from Stones of Healing, and a set of play-dough from MayaMade.

And for the hard-working mamas out there, we've got:
Bath bombs from Circle Natural Goods, beautiful bead bracelet from Little Queen Sheba, a stack of breastfeeding awareness bumper-stickers (to share!) and additional natural decals from Elemental Handcrafts, a Little Ones Sweet Dreams aromatherapy set with Need to Sleep Mist and customizable bed-time poem, and an herbal cloth trivet, both from MayaMade.

There are three easy ways to earn chances to win these collection of great items made by MDC mamas all over the country: Talk to us, talk about us, and shop with us! On April 15th, we'll put all of your chances to win (tickets) in a pool and randomly select one lucky person win it all!!!

How to earn tickets to go into the drawing:

1. Talk to us. Leave a comment here between April 1 and April 14. (Remember we need a way to reach you if you win, so make sure your email or blog is linked in the comment.) One comment entry per person. Comment = one ticket.

2. Talk about us. April 1 - April 14: Blog about our give-away! Leave us a comment linking to your blog. Blogging = two tickets!

3. Shop with us. April 1 - April 14: Turn your shopping habit into more chances to win! Purchase something from one of the participating stores listed and leave a note to seller that you want to be in the giveaway. $1 = one ticket. No limit!!

Participating stores to earn more chances to win are (you can also run a search for MDCSPRINGFLING to find these participating stores on etsy!):
Circle Natural Goods
Creations by Hippie Fairy Lover
Elemental Handcrafts
Imagination Kids
Little Red Appleton
Little Peanut Shop
Lyneya's Toys
Michael Grace Designs
Small Town Toys
Stones of Healing
Sugar Kane Creations
Sun Anthem
Whole Mother Creations
You're Inspired

Thank you! Have fun shopping, good luck and Think Spring!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Newbie’s Guide to Etsy

I’ve shopped on Etsy for years. I tried to start up a shop once a few years ago and just couldn’t keep it going after moving to another state on short notice and then going without Internet for a few months. I made a few sales before I closed up shop but I really was taking shots in the dark at what I should be doing. In starting a new Etsy store I decided to take a look around and see what kinds of resources were available to a new seller like me. Luckily, there are plenty of veteran crafters who are more than happy to share the tricks of the trade. I’ve compiled a list of things that I’ve learned myself and heard through the grape vine. Hopefully this can save you some of the trouble and start you on the way to Etsy success.

Purchase something first
If you are opening a new account to start your store you really should buy something first. This is probably the most fun part of opening your shop. Pick out a couple of items from other sellers and purchase them. You will get to see what Etsy is like from the perspective of the buyer, get some good feedback, and you’ll get the opportunity to start a friendship with another seller. Not to mention your awesome new handmade loot.

Ration your listings
I made this mistake my first time selling on Etsy and it took me close to two months to make my first sale. I just took my photos, posted all of my listings and called it a month. I missed out on the chance to have my art gracing every page of the listings and settled foolishly for the lump of my prints and paintings to be stuck at the bottom of the searches.

This time around I’ve posted something every day to every other day and boy, what a difference that has made!

Not just good, but great photos
Since you can’t pick up the things in an online store and look at them, try them on, feel the texture and weight, or smell the scent, you can only rely on what you see. Sure, a description and some measurements help, but the clarity and mood of the pictures will sell your items far better than the description ever could. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right? With the ability to post 5 pictures per listing you should be set.

Get a Unique Name for your Business
This will either be so easy it’s ridiculous or so difficult it hurts. Make sure it fits your personality and the mood of the store. Don’t stick with the same username if it’s something like Winky67. Start a new account with a more suitable name and lay down new roots.

Know that outsourcing isn’t all bad
I think about becoming a graphic designer from time to time. I am tempted by the career, the salary, the growing demand for their services… Time after time I arrive at the conclusion that I just hate hate hate graphic design. I decided to paint my own banner, logo, and avatar. If I had not, though, you can bet your boots I would have hired one of the many talented designers from Etsy to take care of that for me. Know where your talent lies, and if your DIY banner doesn’t look 100% professional, outsource.

Promote your URL, not your Shop
This is perhaps one of the most important favors that a seller can do themselves in the future. Say you start your new shop to sell your funky mittens and you call it Purple Zebra Mittens. If you promote your shop for a few years and later decide to stop making the mittens and start making elegant upscale scarves you will either have to start from scratch or sell your new scarves in your inappropriately named mitten shop.

By simply paying a few dollars a year you can have a unique domain name (such as purplezebramittens.com) that points to your store. It really is a win-win situation. The domain name will be easier to remember for your customers, you look much more professional, and if you decide to change directions in the future your hard work and clientele will not go down the drain.

Think outside the box when it comes to promotion
When it comes to promoting your store there is no need to pay for expensive advertising and books on marketing. The only costs that you need to expend are for business cards, a stamp, and mailing something every few months to the folks on your mailing list. Creativity and networking should take care of the rest. Checking out the Promotion category will reap many wonderful ideas for getting your store some much deserved attention.

Write Thoughtfully
Your Shop Announcement, Profile and Listings all need to be written with much care. They need to state the facts, of course, but your personality must be conveyed clearly. Your unique voice must come through here. Shoppers on Etsy are there to support crafters and they are buying it because it was made by a real person. Looking at the written aspects of other stores helped me to see what information I needed to include.

Ship Promptly
I know that when I order online I can’t wait for my new things to arrive. I know that my customers probably feel the same way.

Follow the Golden Rule
When I was little my Mom taught me that I should treat others the way I’d like to be treated. Even when you are frustrated with a customer that you feel is being difficult, remember, you are representing your business. If you start getting angry at the keyboard it may translate in your correspondence. Walk away and come back when you feel calm and collected. You never know, that difficult customer could go back and say negative things to their friends and family that could result in losing sales. That’s not to say that you should be a doormat and let folks walk all over you. Just know that it is important to maintain your good reputation, not to mention your good karma.

Send Thank You notes to anyone and everyone who is nice to you, does something for you, helps you, or buys something from you. The investment you make is worth so much more than a postage stamp. Just put out all the goodness that you can and watch it come back twofold.

Don’t be a thief
Be unique and original, don’t rip off ideas that came from other people without their permission (or knowledge). Doing this will come back to bite you in the ass later on. Looking for inspiration and outright stealing are two different things. Respect the time and thought that others have put into their work and don’t take something that doesn’t belong to you.

Give it your all
If you want your store to be a success you must believe in your product and work your fingers to the bone. If you want part time income you must work full time, and if you want full time income you must work 24/7. Eat, breathe, sleep, and have faith in your store.

Now, go out into the world and craft your handmade business.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Geminita's Mother Art

This is an expression of the feelings I was having in the time right before I learned I was pregnant with my first son. The original is a 12" x 16" Acrylic Painting on canvas. It was layered over another painting that I had sealed back in High School with hairspray. That's what made it crack.

Earth Mother - Acrylic, 2003

Pick up a print of this by heading on over to my Etsy shop, Geminita.

Happy Birthday SugarKaneCreations!

Buy Handmade

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wild Things at LilBees

I mentioned recently on my blog that leopard print inspires me....
So I switched the machine to black thread yesterday and look at what I've just listed!
Velour-lined diaper with a side-snapping design (great for toddlers who have figured out how to undo velcro/snaps on the front!)

Nursing pads (because you know you wanted nursing pads to match your leopard-print bra!)

Pantiliners...because every woman deserves to to walk on the wild side

All of them are part of my "It's a Jungle Out There" promotion for March: Buy any item from the themed section (including all those shown above), and get 25% off another item in the store. See LilBees shop announcement for details.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Team Treasury

Our team has a treasury!

Come visit by clicking here!