Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
1. What is the name of your shop and where do you look for inspiration?
The name of my shop is BellaBoutique23. I look for inspiration from customers as I am always trying to listen to what they love and want, sometimes friends will ask me to create something special for them so I am always loving custom orders. I also get inspiration from other artists and crafters from crafting groups.
2. How has your shop evolved over time?
My shop has evolved over time by adding new and fresh ideas to my inventory. I think when I started out I just had scrapbooks and greeting cards but slowing have added more items and also I now do more in the area of weddings which I am loving. I still love making items for celebrating new babies though too!
3. What do you love most about your work?
What I love most about my work is bringing people joy with the items I create for them, being part of special celebrations like the weddings and birth of babies..creating beautiful scrapbooks that showcase their joyful moments or a unique greeting card that is given to a special person to tell them they are loved. I just love being a part of helping someone give someone a lovely handmade item that can be cherished.
4. What motivating music do you listen to? Share your playlist that gets and keeps you going!
I love uplifting music such as Selah, Hillsong, worship music gets me motivated and lifts my spirits. I also enjoy Josh Groban.
5. What book are you reading right now and where is your favorite place to read?
My husband is very supportive and ordered a book for me to read to help me in my business, called Business Boutique. I just started and only on chapter two so don’t have too much to report yet. Another gift was the book “A Dog’s Journey” which I just started as well.
6. What are your social media sites?
Contributor post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns
1. What made you start your small business?
I started for 2 reasons. My family and I move around a lot and I needed a job that I could take with me from country to country and state to state. With an Etsy business, I don’t have to start at the bottom of the employment ladder every time I move. My daughters and I also had a wonderful photographic collection of our wanderlust lifestyle and that is what I used to kickstart our business. Many of our photography art and cards are now in our second shop: stocklanephotography. But I do incorporate photography in the graphic designs of wall art and cards in our main shop: stocklanestudio.
OK, make that THREE reasons! I also had a driving need to express myself creatively and share my love of travel and nature with others. I love the interaction I get from the Etsy community!
2. What do you feel is your greatest obstacle facing your small business?
Conquering SEO, getting those tags and titles just right. And keeping up with Social Media posting!!
3. What is the greatest strength you personally bring to your small business?
Custom art makes up a good portion of my online orders. I really love to contribute to someone’s special moment in life. I gather lots of details from customers so I can design just what they have in mind. I feel my greatest strength is the personal care I put into every package I send off.
4. What is your small business strategy? How have you set up your business in terms of goals, marketing, business planning, etc?
a).Design appealing products that are in demand; b). share my story and market my product; c). use a variety of methods to describe my products
a). Have products that people really want to buy.
This has involved a lot of trial and error for me. I create from my heart and then see which designs catch on. And the market is always evolving so my designs have to keep up.
b). I have to go get my customers, they won’t all come to me on their own. I have to work to draw customers to my shop.
Shoppers will not just magically appear, I have to work work work to get the word out, let them know I have awesome cards, prints and printables and convince them that they need them!
•Once they are in my shop, try to keep them there as long as possible. The longer a shopper is browsing my shop, the more likely they are to become buyers. I do this by trying to maintain a visually appealing home page and first listing page, by adding links to other similar listings in my shop, adding a little humor or interesting background to the listing description, and using up all 5 photos. I only have my social media links in one spot on my Etsy website. Once shoppers on in my Etsy store, I don’t want them leaving, even to visit my SM sites.
c). I use a variety of methods to describe my products. I never know how a shopper is finding my show or how they are viewing my shop. But more and more shoppers are using smartphones to shop. Which is a completely different way of seeing the shop than on a desktop. So I make sure my store looks good from both perspectives. And as a former teacher, I know that different people learn and interact with the world in different ways. So I have may ways to experience my shop: Detailed information is in the listing description, the materials section, one of the photo spots, in my shop about section, policies and FAQ’s and then also in back and forth conversations if need be.
5. What social media sites do you interact on?
Contributor post by Opal from Apron Strings Owl Lady
They are used as a fun way to honor co-workers, to surprise other’s at holidays, birthdays and other events – even secretly sent in the mail – have you ever participated in a secret pal gift give-a-way?
Most are conducted by just leaving the gift on the person’s desk or workplace. Some of my friends call these Amigo Secreto (secret friend) or Amigo Invisible (invisible friend). What is this called in your country?
With Etsy, it’d be very simple to send secret gifts to special people in our lives. Thank you Alicia of AliciasFindings for thinking of this topic. Do you have items in your shop that would be perfect for this type of small gift giving? We’d love to see them and hear your story.
Here’s a fun Secret Santa Gift great for the office – a mousepad adorned with Love Locks that used to adorn bridges that spanned the Seine River in Paris. The topic of the love locks will certainly bring out conversations and it’s perfect for a traveling buddy or to send a subtle romantic message. . . .
This is a fun and decorative gift for a secret santa. It’s fun to draw names and then see what cute little thing or funny thing you can find to make someone else smile. It’s always a fun surprise!
A really cool Secret Santa present would be this handmade custom pet portrait for that colleague or friend who loves his/ her pet!
This would make a great Secret Santa gift for work or school or even for your child’s teacher.
This vase is great for a co workers desk or for their home. Change the flowers with the seasons or occasions or keep your favorites in this gorgeous mercury glass vase.
For a Secret Santa exchange I would definitely go with an ornament. In my shop I have dozen of designs that can be customized by color or hair style making an ornament perfect for your recipient.
Create a Custom Centerpiece for Home or Office Desk Décor.
Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
1. What is name of your shop and what is unique about your shop?
Stock Lane Studio gives shoppers a chance to travel the world through our photography, prints and cards. We are a mother-daughter team of three and we have traveled the world together. With different ages, tastes and talents, we can offer three different perspectives and styles. All three of us have a need to share our stories in one way or another. This includes our travel photography, but we also other artistic, quirky and poetic sides that show up in our funny, insightful and romantic cards and prints.
2. What is your favorite July activity where you live?
Our home is now in Upstate New York and I am really enjoying getting to know my new home state. July is a hot month in New York, so my favorite activity involves getting away from the heat, canoeing on a lake or sneaking away to a quiet cool spot in the woods or along the Atlantic.
3. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
If I could travel anywhere I would go to Oregon. I was raised in Oregon and the beautiful state has defined me. I miss the natural beauty and I miss my family. I would spend long weekends camping and hiking and canoeing with close friends and family. We would swim from shore to shore in pristine lakes that are so precious their names and whereabouts must be kept secret. We would stop off in the Columbia River Gorge and buy fresh salmon just caught minutes ago from local Native fishermen selling along the side of the road. We would look for our names etched in the bricks of Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square and then have a hard time choosing which food cart to pick for lunch. There are too many wonderful things do to in Oregon to name here – these are just a few.
4. Who do you most admire in life?
There is no one person I admire. I have several people I look up to, and most are not famous. I admire my husband for how he’s made his way through a tough life and ended up on the bright side. I admire my daughters being compassionate and for knowing things and having abilities that I don’t. I admire my recently deceased mother for the love and happiness she was able to give others despite the challenges she was facing in her own life. She is also my entrepreneurial role model – able to run two thriving small businesses while raising a large family as a single mother.
5. What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
My mother tried her darnedest to teach me to sew, and my father sewed his own sails for his sailboat. I do remember a nice (uneven) summer dress that I sewed in 7th grade, but I just didn’t have the patience to sew as a child. Now that I’m (much) older and more patient, I would like to welcome a sewing machine into my life again. I have so many ideas to express in fabric. Most importantly, I have bins of t-shirts and sentimental blankets and other fabric remnants that I’d like to sew into memory quilts for my children.
6. What are your social media sites?
We’re also on
We Heart It: weheartit.com/StockLaneStudio
Contributor post by Alexandra of EyeLoveKnots
Please join us in welcoming Jodi of 19Designs, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself.
I am a mom, wife, and a paralegal by trade. I have been married for 29 years to my best friend and together we have three beautiful, smart, and creative children. I retired when our youngest was three so that I could stay home and raise them. We also have three rescue doggies who are a huge source of joy in our lives.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I started my shop in June of 2010. I had no intention of opening a shop, but my eldest had just left for college and I found I needed something to help keep my mind occupied. I had been scrapbooking as a hobby for years creating albums for both family and friends. So, I decided to use that creative outlook and started selling cards, albums, and other handmade items on Etsy.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My cards, mini albums, and bookmarks are all handmade by me. I choose every piece of card stock, sentiment, ribbon, and embellishment that I use in or on each item to make it as personal a piece as possible for each buyer.
What inspires your work?
My work is inspired by the prints, textiles, and patterns that I see in the world around me, whether it is from the latest trends on-line to the flowers in my garden. There are so many color schemes everywhere and it makes me think about using color combinations in my work that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My future goals for my shop are to implement new techniques and mediums in my products to expand my creations even further. For instance, I was recently introduced to copic markers and the artists Sherri Baldy and Stamping Bella. I am addicted to this medium. I have now begun creating reading bookmarks using both of these artists images. They are so cute….they make me happy!
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I think my shop stands out because I pay a lot of attention to details that can be easily seen through my distinct trademarks such as my finishing ribbons, delicate embellishments, and unique pattern combinations.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I actually have two work spaces; my home and on our family boat. The contrasting environments help to change-up my creativity, especially when I feel a bit of artistic block.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Before opening my Etsy shop, I wish I knew how important the role of social media would be to help promote my work. I now know the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest which greatly affects my sales. I wish I had jumped on the social media train sooner!
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
PATIENCE! You must have patience if you are going to have an Etsy shop. It takes time and patience to build your shop and for people to find you. Etsy is a huge umbrella of shops and you need to do something that stands out. You need to know who your target audience is and promote directly to them. Promoting does not have to be expensive; it does not even have to cost a dime. Social media is a great way to get your name and products out there.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
When I am not working on my shop, I am usually down at our boat in the marina with the family. I love to read, scrapbook, cross-stitch, garden, and take photographs of my kids and doggies. I am a die-hard hockey fan of the Los Angeles Kings (Drew Doughty is my favorite player) and can be found in front of the t.v. watching every Kings game if I am not at the Staples Center watching it live.
What is your favorite quote?
I actually have two favorite quotes:
1. Everything happens for a reason; and,
2. What’s meant to be, will be.
Where can people find out more about your business?
You can find out more about my business by following me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I post both new and current listings regularly. I also had a blog on WordPress called “Paper and Pucks” (my nod to hockey), but due to the exorbitant amount of time I spend on my shop, I had to put that aside for the time being. I hope to one day go back to it.
You can find the links to my shop on these sites below:
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I think if you are truly passionate about your work, it will show and you will do well on Etsy. It does take a lot of time and hard work, but you can make it what you want it to be with drive and determination. Getting another sale and making new friends on Etsy never gets old. It’s what keeps me driven to do better and offer my customers cards and albums that they wouldn’t otherwise find in a regular store.
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.
Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings
Valentine’s Day is all about love, lovers, cards and so much more…
Here at Christmas in July we want to know what offerings you have to Cupid and a little about the item.
Roses Workshop from RosesWorkshop says I love roses, but they don’t bloom naturally in February in the UK. I have created one that will last all year long, and packaged it in a perfect little heart-shaped gift box.
Stock Lane Studio from StockLaneStudio said To me, chocolate is a big part of Valentine’s day. It’s a must-have all year long, every day!! (in my dreams). Dangle a good piece of chocolate in front of me and I have been known to change my mind.
Marjorie Scenna from mscenna states red hearts are symbolic of Valentine’s Day and a heart shaped gift is perfect. This red one of a kind glass beaded key chain is a great gift idea!
Lia Russo from Ghirlandiamo discusses how On Valentine’s Day people generally buy gifts or flowers: that’s very nice, but l think there are also other ways to celebrate this romantic day.
l prepared these tiny wreaths with hearts thinking of an intimate romantic dinner and a smart table set with little, particular accents, like napkin holders.
Carola Bartz from CarolaBartz says I love to remember my daughter when she still went to elementary school and each child brought little Valentines for the classroom Valentine party. I always made mini cards and then my daughter would sit at the table and write the names of her classmates on the cards. She was so concentrated on the job, the tip of her tongue wandered from one corner of her mouth to the other. She was happy when she was done and hadn’t messed up.
Tanya Hardman from TheWoollyTangle states I love this since it’s one of the first items I made that looked how I saw it in my head! Hangs on a lovely quirky angle and moves wonderfully with you.
Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns discussed how I have lots of Valentine gift ideas in my shop for him and her….necklaces, rings… and even tableware for that romantic dinner!!
I especially have lots of ‘heart’ jewellery
Annie from DesignedbyAnneliese says I had fun putting together these Valentines day themed mini cards.
Ina from InaSudjana states that Love should be celebrated every.single.day. So we should really have valentines day every day! Appreciating our loved ones daily, appreciating our friends and appreciating everything that we have really.
Here’s one wall hanging that can help us remember to celebrate love!
Melissa R from missy69 says I am still very new to wood burning, but I wanted to make a few things for Valentines Day. This is just a simple wooden picture block, with Calla Lilies, Roses, and hearts wood burned to the block. There is a spot for personalizing, too.
Wendy CN from CardNotions discusses that this is a humorous Valentine’s Day card inspired by a Fushia and Chartruse sea anemone photo I took years ago. Just a little Photoshopping created a lovely anemone heart for the front of the card! (Did you notice the little hermit crab in the front photo?)
Next, I thought about how other sea creatures might say “I Love You”. Surely, they would need to spell it out with their bodies. So, when the card is opened, a jelly fish in the shape of an “I”, an octopus holding a red heart, and an eel in the shape of an “U” pop forth in bright colors to say “I love you”.
Evelyn and Lucy from artsyEve states I think this quilt would be perfect for Valentine’s day–perhaps for a February baby or for an older friend to use as a lap quilt. It’s beautifully made with appliqued hearts–perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Mandi Leighs from leighswiccanboutique says Love is in the air and valentines day is just around the corner fast approaching. Why not go out of the normal and get her something that not only smells fantastic but is equally beautiful as well. This candle holder was created from found materials to create this unique piece adorn with crystal Quartz, Emerald, Black Onyx and Agate. Filled with a unique of Dragons Blood and Wine. The best part is once this candle is gone the holder is reusable with your favorite tealights or votive candles. A gift that can be used over and over again.
Woolly Momo from WoollyMomo states that I think giving your loved one the gift of warmth and comfort is once of the nicest things you can give them.
Valentine’s Day is always so cold here in London and so, in keeping with the red theme of Valentine’s Day, I knit this lovely red hat in a soft and cozy wool to keep a lover warm as the go out and about to celebrate with their much loved other half!
Sue and Misty from shabbyshopgirls state we love vintage Valentine’s Day cards and postcards! The sayings/greetings are so sweet and creative from years past. This is one of our favorites featuring a huge heart with a lid! Hope she finds some LOVE in there!