Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My First Interview

Getting advice from people who have "been there, done that" is always a great idea.

I don't know about you but I really appreciate when people tell me what mistakes not to make. Like i dunno how about - red means stop, the oven will burn your hand, and though sugar and salt look similar they are in fact VERY different.

You know. Small things.

So this interview is from trinketsnh. She was featured as one of my favorite items and I liked it so much I had to know all her secrets.

I've highlighted the one that stuck out to me the most. I hope you enjoy her words of wisdom as much as I did!

Interview: 5/29/2011
Trinkets NH
www.trinketsnh.etsy.com
Laurie Cass-Griggs


1. How long have you had your shop?

I opened my shop in 2008 but didn't really get serious about it until 2009. I think up until then it was just a little hobby and then a year later it started to turn more into a real thing for me. Now it feels like a job! 

2. What inspired you to make trinketsnh?

I have always been artsy-craftsy. My Mother and sister are also artists so we were doing things at a very young age. Later in life after I had kids it became harder for me to do oil painting or other things I was used to. I took up beading/jewelry making and then later scrapbooking/paper crafts because I could squeeze these in to my day. I realized that I wasn't happy if I wasn't surrounded by color, design or some type of project. My friends and I used to hold a annual craft fair around the holidays and also attend craft fairs. But I wanted to try to sell my things online too, so I opened my Etsy store. I loved shopping on Etsy and thought maybe others might like my things - I also needed an outlet to clean out some of my many projects!

3. What has been your biggest accomplishment as a shop owner / artist?
One of the things that makes me happiest about my shop is that I have a lot of return customers. Most of them are very nice people who I consider my friends and who keep coming back. This is good for me socially (ha!) and also lets me know they must like my product. I have also been approached by a few magazines, etc. which is flattering as well as great advertising.

4. What has been the hardest part about starting a business?
When I first started my shop, of course, no one knew I was there and my fears of not knowing how some things operated (shipping costs, packing, paypal, etc.) held me back from being a more adventurous seller. I feel that now I am taking more artistic risks and making what I really want to make. 
Another thing was devaluing my work. I still want to make sure my things are affordable to most everyone, but I also feel it's important to consider how much time something really took you to make and then price your item accordingly. If you don't you'll have a problem when you sell it and go to list another one.

5. What would be your biggest tip to a brand new shop owner / artist on etsy?

I think my biggest tip would be to find what makes you happy and then jump in feet first! Don't not list something because you think it's crazy and no one will buy it! If you love it, chances are someone else will too.
Keep your shop fresh with new items and go through your shop on a regular basis to keep things up to date. 
Most of all - cater to your customer. Treat them kindly and reply quickly to their queries. They are the reason you are in business! 








- Natalie

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day to Remember

Being a history teach I have always been fascinated by the military and all things Americana. Always interested in how actually listening and understanding the past can truly affect the future.

On top of this I grew up in a family that not only SERVED in the military but also had a sense of upmost respect for those who sacrificed their lives for ours.

Both grandfathers served in WW2 as did my English grandmother. My father served in the Navy during Vietnam along with my uncle.

My grandfather wrote a book of all the things he remembered from when he served and the things he saw, the people he lost....I don't know how you do that! Oh course, it's so simple to him.

You just did. Why? Because that's what you were called to do.

If you have never been to Arlington national cemetery - it's the place for you to truly grasp the sacrifice. Sure we HEAR numbers, we hear stats. Until you SEE those numbers and you see those stats....it doesn't click.

So in honor of this day I am attaching my favorite picture I took at the cambridge american cemetery in England during my study abroad trip in college.





So take that one day - enjoy your BBQ and lake time, but also remember what today is REALLY about.

- Natalie

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Savings Sunday

This has been an interesting Sunday.

A cinnamon roll almost broke my 2 front teeth this morning. Yep sugar is evil.

My husband being so sweet made me breakfast this morning BUT left part of the cinnamon roll packaging on. And yes, I picked the lucky one! I chomped down nice and hard only to find the metal still attached. This may be payback for something. Maybe all the money I spend on crafting.

Fair is Fair I guess.

So this funny / painful situation made me come up with a new IDEA - Savings Sunday! 
Each Sunday I will find 5 items on Etsy that are a great deal and super cute!

Another big commitment. Whew, it's like I'm getting married all over again. I do. I do to savings.

# 1 - HUGE CLEARANCE SALE 13 Hats Ready To Ship by LuxeYarnDesigns
* 2.25 per hat - great early gifts for winter!


# 2 - BIG SALE Beauty Trend Satin Lace Flower Brooch by albenaben
* So Pretty and dresses up any outfit - from $20 to $13!


# 3 - Floral square filligree in antique silver Earrings SUPER SALE by crazydaisyme
* $ 5 TOTAL with shipping - simple and cute!


# 4 - ON SALE - Violet Linen and Lace Pouch/Wallet by TrackandFieldDesigns
* Big fan of Linen and this color! - Only $ 8



# 5 - SALE ITEM, Handmade Throw Pillow Cover, Paula Prass Zinnia Path Spring Fabric, Removable Cover 16x16 by homegrownpillows


* This is such a cute design and 11.95 a sham!




Let me know if you have a SALE you would like included on Savings Sunday next week =)

- Natalie

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cheap Starbursts

Normally my blog is up and posted at an unruly time in the morning. I don't know how this happens as I am not a morning person.

I must type in my sleep.

But I feel like i have some pretty good excuses / reasons:

#1 - Apparently I was tired and slept through 3 alarms. That accuracy to hit my snooze button 90 % still asleep is a skill I can now say I have mastered.

# 2 - I was shopping for 4 hours. I did some damage. But it was on sale so that's ok right?

I bought so many cute things it was ridiculous. Most of my outfits when put together make me look like a giant starburst but you know what. I love it.

And I also love that that giant starburst was on sale.
Cheap starbursts are the best.

So Tip of the Day: Advice I got from a seller is offer coupons. No it doesn't have to be anything fancy or like 75% clearance. I'm no Gap.

But make coupons for returning customers, holiday sales, liking your facebook, liking your twitter. Anything to attract attention!

You know us women can smell coupons from miles around.

So my peeps if YOU have any coupons for YOUR shop or SHOPS you love please feel free to SHARE!

To my followers I'll be e-mailing you a coupon this week for 15% off! =)

1. Shop of the Day! - ThePresentDay - the cutest hairbrushes I've ever seen!

* Made to order - can be done in bulk! Cute party favor!





2. Item of the Day!Lunchbox notes-Pink Posies-set of 12 by the Bargain Babe


*I know school is almost out but what a great idea!! Buy one get one free!

- Natalie









Friday, May 27, 2011

No one likes a salty cake

My momma always taught me to be polite.

Don't get me wrong - I would say between the years of 8 - 17 years old I would have scored an F on a daily basis. Sundays maybe a C. I acted better when dressed up. It was the Heels.


But I have always noticed how a polite "Hi how are you?" or a "Thank you very much" can really make the cake a lot sweeter.

No one likes a salty cake.

Many times in a business you get so busy that you type what you need and move on. I don't know about you but that makes me feel like a number in a stream of things that "person" or creepy computer needs to do.

People want humans. Call it Science. Is that apart of science? I dunno but it sounds sciency...

That is why when I call customer service I press 0 over and over until it directs me to a human. I don't care what you say "Kara" the automated lady, I'm sure you're nice and all but I would prefer the human. I have high standards.

So Tip of the Day - When you are speaking to a customer / heck anyone at all - remember the details. Ask them about them. And most of all say please and thank you. It's ok to misspell or not space when you need to. People like Humans. Remember our science lesson.

Class Dismissed. =)

1. Shop of the Day - NostalgicSummer - repurposed jewelry - yeah eco friendly!!



* Looks like heaven on my skin!





- Natalie



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blue Skies but no Double Rainbow

For those of you who do not live in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area maybe you were unaware that the world almost ended 2 days ago. Literally.

Oh those 'nados (as I refer to them - feel free to use when needed) were not scared of this concrete jungle. It's flat. Very flat. A.K.A a runway for the 'nados to show their stuff.

Work It.

I guess the ski was swirling and these 'nados were at the intersection right by my house. Listen people I'm not from Kansas. I don't stand on the porch and point and say "how cool".

One Word - Bathtub.

With the Puppies. Oh and my husband too.

Priorities straight people.

Isn't that the truth about having a business? You have some days where you would literally like to hide in the bathtub. And others where you would like to step out and point to say how cool?

So Tip of the Day - Listen to the Double Rainbow Song. It will make you laugh and then when your done share some love / point out whats cool with your teammates/fellow artists. You may just make their day.

Maybe even a Double Rainbow kind of day.


1. Favorite Shop of the Day - Percivalroad - Great paper goods that have that retro/vintage feel!





2. Favorite Item of the Day - Yellow Polka Dot Earrings by Creacioneshoemibaena


Who doesn't like polka dots? You must not be fun. Enjoy!

- Natalie

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wrapping v. Decorating

There is a war going on in my household.

Wrapping v. Decorating.

If you have never made a yarn wreath before, you know that there are many steps to making your wreath. First you have to wrap it.

And let me stop you there.

Don't be fooled by such as innocent word. Wrapping. Sounds like Christmas huh? Don't you fall into this one because Santa is not bringing you any toys!

I understand there is a foundation to everything and the hard work always makes you feel better. But I can't help but feel like those words should just be sown on a pillow.

That's what people do when they like inspirational quotes. Sow it on a pillow. Then make you sleep on it. Awkward.

So look let's get honest, every crafter has that one part of making their product that makes them want to pull their hair out. It's now your turn on the couch. It's Ok to confess. I'm just drawing pictures of a beach anyway.

So my fellow crafters, what is yours? What is the part of making your product, a homemade craft, and or a new food item that just drives you crazy?


Now on to the stuff that doesn't drive me crazy - My Favorites!!

1. Favorite SHOP of the DAY - ZASRA - eco-friendy and boho - SUPER fun!



2. Favorite ITEM of the DAY - Bird Pillow in Red by CAKEhandmade



Off to Wrap!

- Natalie

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Community of Baseball

Ok Texas Rangers, you have some genius going right now.

Riddle me this my fellow bloggers - WHY is it at baseball games that you MUST eat a hot dog, have way too much Dr. Pepper and eat more sugar than a 5 year old child does on Halloween?

This is a mystery.

Anyways actually back to my point which is building a community. What I love the most about sports games is the overwhelming feeling of being apart of something bigger.

It allows you to act ridiculous, wear face paint, scream like your being injured, and pump you arms in a manner than even Mike from the Jersey Shore would be proud of. Why? Because your friends have to love you and the guy in seat 18, row 221, section A will never see you again. Thank you Jesus.

So advice for the day my new Etsy peeps - Join Teams! they give great advice, provide ways to get connected, give you points so you don't make the same mistakes, and maybe if your lucky paint your face.

Let me know if you find this group.

Here is a list of some of the teams I am apart of to give you a head start: (Click Community than teams and search)
- Etsy Success
- Blogging Buddies
- Click and Comment
- Click One Treasury Team
- Etsy Blog Team
- Etsy Tweets
- Handmadeology
- Home Decor Team
- Pay it Backward
- Promote your blog in a small world
- Circles for Everyone
- Etsy Coupons
- Fun and Friends Promotion Team


Whew. Don't worry about the list. I'm an A+ kind of kid. You can pick 3 and settle for a C. I won't tell your mother.


Alright now onto the FAVS:

1. Favorite SHOP of the Day: TRINKETSNH 

* Their stuff seriously just makes me smile!


2. Favorite ITEM of the Day : Honest Abe Bookend Bust by Gallivanting Girls

http://www.etsy.com/shop/gypsyskies?ref=ss_profile



I need this statue... cause let's face it, he totally has the mom stare going on. Set it on the table and just walk away. He's got this one.

- Natalie

Monday, May 23, 2011

Twitter

Twitter. I'll be honest... up until yesterday I found that little tiny blue bird to be HIGHLY annoying.

Why? Why do I need to tell people every 5 seconds what I'm doing? But then, it happened....

I caved, that stupid little bird, it's probably evil.

I'd be lying if I said I understood the whole concept because I don't but whatever the concept is I'm addicted. I think this is worse. I think I should know what I'm addicted to or I'll be that lady in rehab going "Hi, my name is Natalie and I'm a ......."

Embarrassing.

Why did I join you ask then? It's apart of my discovery into promoting my business. I bought this Etsy guide for success and it said I said join. Yes I am an advertisers DREAM!


What I have learned so far!
1. Easy name that matches your company / interests
2. Apparently you should put a photo of a REAL human - I guess there are spammers...I dunno, i haven't quite bought into that one yet
3. Post Often and use words that don't make sense so it will fit
4. Find friends that aren't Martha Stewert.....cause guess what....she didn't even know if you joined
5. Lastly - follow who follows you.... it's only polite ya'll (in my best southern accent)

Also my goal EVERYDAY (looks at this commitment - its almost a marriage!) to post 2 things and here they are!

1. Shop of the DAY - Jacki with Gypsyskies - rustic and fantastic
http://www.etsy.com/shop/gypsyskies?ref=pr_shop


2. Favorite Item of the DAY -

Upcycled Felted Wool Chubby Little Bird in Pink 

by for my darling

http://www.etsy.com/shop/formydarling?ref=pr_shop
Happy Monday! 
- Natalie



Sunday, May 22, 2011

35 Years and Counting

Yes 3 posts in one day - it will never ever happen again but THIS is a good reason....so....take it in.

Today is my parent's 35th wedding anniversary. This is why the rapture did not come in case you were wondering. My mother would have been unhappy.

There are no words other than Holy. Moly. I'm going on 5 months. Only 34 years and....yeah the math stops there.

They are obnoxiously cute and have been the BEST influences in my life and I wish nothing more than love and happiness and free babysitting for the future grandkids. It's not much to ask I feel like.

Cutie Patooties below:




 - Natalie

Heartsy

New amazing find. It will change your life.

As if I do not have enough artsy / craftsy addictions to begin with I have found a new site that I LOVE. 

Take a Breath..... It is called Heartsy.

I'm no math expert but if I were to make an equation it would be this:
Groupon + Crafts = Heartsy

Look and no algebra was hurt in that equation.

Here is the website link - plus I linked the amazing shop that i got a great deal on.
I was coveting the item so the Etsy peeps MUST have known.

Sorry for your forthcoming addiction I am about to create. You have to sign up, but it's worth it.

http://heartsy.me/deals/

The deal I bought - $28 for $58 at Slippin Southern



- Natalie

Day 1 and I'm still here

Well i figured in honor of there being no rapture I should start anew and make a blog. I figure since i'm still here i should make the best of it =)

My goal of this blog is to chronicle the adventures of starting a new store / business on etsy. I hope to provide advice so other's can learn from my mistakes, interview those who have been around the block, and every once in awhile provide of a craft demonstration of my hot glue fanfare!

What I have learned so far - in 4 days

1. Don't mispell your shop name - yep did that the first time and apparently most of the world CAN spell therefore will not find your shop! I blame spell check.

2. Get Connected and make friends - get into circles and teams they provide love and support when you feel like throwing something....don't lie...you've been there

3. Go Internet! Make a twitter, facebook, and whatever other things there are out there - it's fun and you find new ideas!

That's all I got so far plus I haven't eaten lunch and my stomach is growling. My body is high maintenance.

- Natalie