Thursday, May 21, 2009

Featured Seller: ZoZoBugBaby

When thinking about which stores have the trendiest must haves for your cute little tikes, this shop should be on the top of your list! The prints are abolutely adorable, and the prices are fantastic! And if your kids are showing you up in her cute clothes, well they got a little somthing for Mama too!

After looking at her shop, and her have to be thinking, "how does she find time to do that with two toddlers on the go, drop/pickup one from preschool and try not to forget the husband?" She's not perfect, and balance is something she is still looking for, but she gives you hope! I think reading her feature will make all us mommies out there feel a lot more normal and a lot more accepting. Enjoy!

How long have you been an etsy seller?
1 year as of April 2009!

How many children do you have?
2 girls ages 2 and 3.5

How do you get inspired?
I pretty much live in a state of inspiration. I am never NOT inspired. I actually have bad insomnia because I have so many ideas in my brain all the time.

How much time do you put into your shop on average weekly?
I say around 50-60 hours a week, including computer work, sewing, mailing, etc...

Can you run me through what a typical day for you would be managing a family and your business?
Complete chaos!! Basically..I sew before my husband has to leave for work in the morning. Between errands, preschool drop off/pick up, and being a mom, I somehow manage to mail my packages, answer convos, process orders, etc. Around 6pm, after dinner, I start sewing until somewhere between 10pm and midnight. I trade babysitting with a friend once or twice a week, so on MY mornings, I get so much more sewing done! I really try and focus on leaving work behind during the day as much as I can, so I can devote some good one-on-one time with my girls. It doesn't always happen, though!

How do you balance your family and your business and is it working?
What is this "balance" that you speak of? :) I have yet to find that balance. I feel like I'm always behind on work or the kids aren't getting enough attention. I'm getting better at it, though! Once both girls are in preschool in the fall a few mornings a week, I think that balance will happen a little more.

If it’s not working can you tell us why?
It's a constant struggle. The girls always want 100% attention, but I do have to do SOME work on the computer during the day, so I'm always being pulled in 2 directions. I have discovered that if I give them some good, focused time each day, it's a TAD easier for me to get some work done.

On those days when you are feeling completely frazzled and are seconds away from a major meltdown what do you do to keep yourself sane?
I email my friend Pascale, who is also a WAHM. She and I live eerily similar lives and we have become great sounding boards for each other. I always know she'll make me feel better!

In your opinion, what is the hardest part of running your business and being and WAHM (work at home mom)?
Not being able to devote 100% attention to either area. One seems to always suffer.

What are your top three etsy shops that you can’t go a day without stalking?
OMG. I have a few. My absolute favorite is 'courtneycourtney' - girls own as many of her dresses as they do mine! I'm obsessed. Courtney is actually how I became friends with life saver!
2nd - Sew Love Fabrics (I think it's obvious why!) -
3rd - My new discovery: Apezoppa - (truly unique!)

Is there anything you think we should know?
Although we moms beat ourselves up for not being perfect moms, better businesswomen, etc....One thing we are teaching our children, by example, is that we are strong women. We are not only "Mom", but we have interests of our own and we can wear many hats. We are artists and business women and we can do it all (even though we may not be all that graceful at it all the time! )

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

25 Marketing tips to get your products moving!

I posted this in the forums and it got a lot of hits. Keep in mind, that these are what worked for ME, they may not work for you. Tailor fit what works for you. This was made assuming one has something that a customer wants to buy, of course.

1.Start a blog…stop debating it…just start one

2.I’m not the biggest fan of Project wonderful…but that is your call. DennisAnderson did say you have to really reseatch it before you do it...and he has done very well with it. So i am going to do my research for a bit, then give it another go.

3.Team up and collaborate with someone else…who cares if they say “No!” when you ask…at least you asked. I have had plenty of “no’s” but I also had some pretty good people say “yes”

4.Revamp your shop. If you are selling and products are not moving…take this time to redue your pictures, get a new banner, get some policies

5.Post cards. Let me explain: I just had someone design a post card template for me that had 6 product pictures on it and it matched my banner. I paid 34.99 for 500 via overnight prints. This has really gotten both of my shops going. I don’t send these to people…b/c that would be spam. I send these boutiques and I send them to people who ask for them to include in a goody bag at a craft fair

6.Beware of giving to many products for free. I did this once for my pendant shop and gave away 100 free pendants…I didn’t get one single sale from that. Sometime these work…just don’t do them for everyone or you’ll be draining your products and money

7.Beware of people asking you to send them your products to be featured on a blog…I have done this as well…until I was approached by a very very very popular website that wanted to do a feature on my products…and guess what? All they wanted was picture for me to email them. I had 20 sales and 3 wholesale order from that...and I scored a consignment deal.

8.Try not to leave your business card in a bathroom. #1 it’s disgusting…and #2 you are not going to get business from having your card on the back end of a toilet

9. Do wear your wearable products. Seriously…you are your biggest marketing investment. I have worn things I have made and I always get little comments. Make t-shirt with your shop on it.

10.Sometime you have to invest to get a good return. I recently just spent a decent chunk of change to get some professional pictures of my pictures for my other shop. Once those come in my shop will look great…more appealing. Appeal is after all what brings people in to buy.

11.Saturday mornings are big days. At least they have always been for both of my shops. On Saturdays you can find me in the forums and renewing items…I usually have lots of sales on Saturdays

12.I heard some on etsy say they add a little paper in their packages they send out and tell customers that if they post a link of their shop on their blog they can get a free pendant! That’s great b/c it drives traffic to your store!

13.Twitter. I fought this one nail and tooth the whole way…then I broke down and did it. Let me tell you it was worked wonders! On the days I twitter I get sales. Lots of people use twitter to let ppl know about sales and new products. Check me out: try not to spam people with it, but really interact with them.

14.Do stay in the forums and get to know your community on the etsy forums. They will guide you and help you and give you ideas…use everything to your own judgment though

15.Try and get a consignment deal from yours locally. I have 5 consignments from my pendant shop. They are all out of state. They have turned out good, but I would rather them be local. Make sure you are prepared: set up an interview date, have your mock products and show them with and without packaging…post card (comes in handy!) and business card. Make a sales pitch and close the deal!

16. I do enjoy this….it can get expensive fast! They do however let you set your own price. I love this and feel it is 100 billion times more effective than project wonderful. You can also see how many people have seen your shop and who liked it and who didn’t

17.Maximize on holidays or by doing a “line” …like a spring line…it keeps your shop fresh b/c it allows you to come up with new products.

18.Facebook. You can use your personal if you don’t want to make one exclusive to your shop.

19.The most subtle way to market is at the end of your emails have your footer be your shop name, website and slogan. I always click on it when someone emails me with that on the bottom

20.Run a promo. This can be whatever you choose. Maybe you to a black Friday or black Monday online on in your shop the day after Turkey Day. Maybe you do a month of free shipping. Maybe you do a buy one get one free….maybe it’s a percentage coupon. But make sure you change it up. You don’t have to have one running every month.

21.Make sure you are marketing to your target market…if you don’t know your target market…you may want to slow your roll and figure that out asap….you cannot be all things to all people.

22.Put a window decal of your shop on your car

23.Elevator pitches are good. I had to practice those like mad in my marketing classes in college

24.Make sure you fuel positive word of mouth about your company

25.Plan an open house. Give yourself a few months to make this really work. Get some good a save the date if you need to. Wherever you are doing it be your home or some place else….make sure the area is “set up” in all respects to the d├ęcor down to the food and displays. Have ready available items to show. Make 2 catalogs via overnightprints to have out for people to look at. Have your business cards and maybe run a raffle or do a goody bag of samples…I know etsy sellers would contribute to the goodybag to help promote business. Make sure you advertise like there is no tomorrow about your open house…you will learn that that you can develop some serious word of mouth that way!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Featured Seller: Daisycake Soaps

I have what can only be describes as a soap obesseion. I love everything about it, the packaging, the smell, the feel...perfection! I was so excited when i discovered the etsy shop Daisycakes Soap. I was even more blown away when i seen that she had over 9,000 sales from etsy alone, all while managing to be her kids mom. How does this amazing women do it? Well, read on to find out.

Q.How long have you been an Etsy seller?

A. I started Daisycakes Soap in 1999, so this year is my tenth anniversary. I have been a seller on Etsy almost since the beginning, since Sept 2005.

Q. How many children do you have?

A. I have 3 children ages 7, 11 &13, and my husband easily works 50+ hours a week, but we are lucky because he is a professor so he can write at home much of the time.

Q. Why did you decide to open a shop and sell on etsy?

A. My first real successes with Daisycakes were in Baton Rouge and New Orleans at monthly arts markets. I loved doing those markets, and it didn’t take long for me to realize I wanted to make & sell soap full-time. We moved after my third child was born, so I lost access to my markets, and my schedule changed a lot. I began to research what online venues were available. I was just in the right place at the right time with Etsy, and feel lucky to have been a part of the site since its beta phase. It was a perfect fit

Q. How much time do you put into your shop each week?
A. I work probably 50 hours a week, but that includes work on all aspects of the business. Etsy is just one venue for selling. It’s a great one, but I also invest time in: wholesale and custom orders, two other online retail shops, local/regional craft shows and running my fundraising site: Daisycakes fundraiser

Q. What inspires you?

A. Freshness. Comfort. Nature. I love it when mine is the first handmade soap someone has ever tried and they are hooked from the get go. Soaps are just hunks of goodness and I am inspired to create little moments for people where they can lose themselves in the experience of using them, even if only momentarily.

Q. Can you run me through what a typical day for you would be managing a family and your business?

A. Ok, but it is atypical. I’ll start describing it at10 pm, because that’s when my work day starts, and my energy is at the highest/ I’ll typically work from 10 pm to 3 am, sleep for 4 hours, wake up my youngest at and get her ready for school, drive her and come back. My husband takes the boys to school, and I work again from about 8am to 12:30 or 1pm, when I go back to bed and sleep until my daughter comes home at 3pm. When she comes home we have some down time together, cook, and depending on everyone’s extracurriculars, eat dinner together.After dinner it’s showers for kids, playing wii or blokus or some other game with them, outside hockey, reading, snacks—in no particular order, until they all eventually settle down to sleep around 10, and then the whole thing starts again.

Q. How do you balance your family and your business and is it working and if it’s not working can you tell us why?

A It works great for our family—we created this schedule intentionally. It works with my night-owl nature and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are lucky, lucky, lucky that my husband can work at home so much, and we have the kind of relationship where we try not to keep score with each other.

Q. On those days when you are feeling completely frazzled and are seconds away from a major meltdown what do you do to keep yourself sane?

A. If I need to cry, I just do. Honestly, though, I want to grow, so getting tons of orders doesn’t frazzle me. I know how lucky I am to be doing what I do, and to have a new workshop and office to do it in. My kids can frazzle me, but the way we parent is by tag-teaming, if one of us has had enough, the other one steps in.

Q. In your opinion, what is the hardest part of running your business and being and WAHM (work at home mom)?

A. I don’t find it hard at all, but I can tell you the part I dislike the most: condescension. After this long one would think I’d be over it, but I still get a spine tingle when a new aquantance says “oh you have a business? how cute!!”

Q. What are your top three etsy shops that you can’t go a day without stalking?

A. There are so many great shops and shop owners I’ve met on Etsy. Three of my absolute favorites are: Black Star, Art Glass Fusion, and Kungfu Cowgirl

Q. Anything special you would like to add?

A. Celebrate the small milestones, but don’t be afraid to think big. Don’t get bogged down with the cost of that ad or that show or that material….decide what you want your business to become in the big picture and then make the choices you have to make now to get there. There will be income gaps, huge visa bills, downtimes with technology, and gigantic investments of time with little immediate results. Count on it, so you don’t lose sight of the big picture when they happen.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mommie Day

I wish a very special happy mother's day to all of those amazing mother's out there who are exceptional mom's, even if we sometimes don't always feel like it. Being a mom is a hard job.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Featured Seller: Spiced Sugar

While surfing through etsy one day i came across one of the cutest finds! The shop Spiced Sugar sells some of the most adorable baby clothes. Mercedes is the owner, operator and creator of Spiced Sugar. The toddler skirts have this cute bohemian style to them! I liked this store so much i knew i just had to have it featured on my blog! After interviewing Mercedes, i just knew so many moms would be able to relate to her, and i am so glad to be able to feature her store.

What is your shop name?
Spiced Sugar

How long have you been an etsy seller?
Since October, 2008

How many children do you have?
2 Girls, one almost 4 and one 14 months

Why did you decide to open a shop and sell on etsy?
I made a darling outfit for my two girls, which inspired two friends from church to request the same outfit in different fabrics for their girls. They kind of gave me the confidence to believe that there might be others out there interested and willing to pay for handmade gorgeousness!

How do you get inspired?
Honestly, the fabrics themselves! There are so many beautiful fabrics out there that coordinate and others that just 'go' together even when not designed in the same line or even from the same designer, sometimes! I love wandering the fabric shops putting fabrics together.

How much time do you put into your shop on average weekly?
It depends on the orders and my motivation level! Also, if the kids are having a good (read not-sick) week, and are better able to keep themselves occupied for little stretches, that affects my diligence. I would guess that at this point, it's probably about 15 hours

Can you run me through what a typical day for you would be managing a family and your business?
It seems pretty backwards, actually. The shower and getting ready for the day sometimes don't happen until midday. Often, though, mommying happens in the morning, with breakfast and getting the girls dressed. My little one is still taking a nap in the morning, and my oldest has preschool two days a week, so that allows me some time in the mornings. Then comes lunchtime and playing for a bit. Afternoon nap/quiet time is also a major work time for me--when I have a bit of motivation! Now that the weather is nicer, we've been going outside after that, and then comes dinner, baths, and getting ready for bed. I try not to work too late into the night, as then I dream about sewing. Not happy, inspirational dreams, but the recursive, looping dreams that come from an overactive brain. Sewing the same seam 400 times in a row, that kind of thing. Some days the balance is way off one way or the other.

How in the world do you balance your family and your business and how is it working?
Sometimes it doesn't work at all, and I'm consumed with guilt that I've hardly looked at my kids that day, aside from diapers and feeding them. I tend to procrastinate, or underestimate the time needed to complete a project, so I get stressed out, and have to spend every single second sewing. Then, sometimes nap time comes, and instead of working on an order, I'll watch a movie or read blogs!
Then there are other days, mainly when I haven't procrastinated, where I am able to just set the sewing aside and go push my girls on the swings. I feel much better those days.

On those days when you are feeling completely frazzled and are seconds away from a major meltdown what do you do to keep yourself sane?
Thankfully, in those situations, I am able to just say, "Okay. That was really stupid," and just keep going. My instinct in those situations is usually to just put away the sewing, but I make sure the problem is fixed before I give in.

In your opinion, what is the hardest part of running your business and being and WAHM (work at home mom)?
No question, for me, it's wanting to do the one when you have to do the other. Totally wanting to sew--the urge is striking, and you've got kid stuff to take care of. Or, you're frantically working, and your child is begging to go to the park. Sometimes the timing just doesn't work out.

What are your top three etsy shops that you can’t go a day without stalking?
Mainly the fabric shops: I love fabricsupplies, fabriccloset, and sewlovefabrics. They have enormous inventories

Monday, May 4, 2009

Work in Progress

I am working on a very cute, easy, and quick flower hair clippie/brooch tutorial! This should be up either late tonight or tomorrow morning. I need to finish drawing the flowers for the print out. Wait till you see how fun and cute these are! I love making these and using them in my daughter’s hair!