Christmas In July Team Members Who Blog

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

January is the time to relax and enjoy quiet time in front of my wood burning fireplace. One of my favorite pastimes when I’m sitting in front of the fireplace is reading blogs.

There are many Christmas In July team members who are bloggers. Please take a few moment with me as you sit in front of your fireplace tonight to read their blogs.

Sit back, relax and enjoy!

Savannah Griffith from RareRusticCrafts says:

I host my blog on my website: www.rarerusticcrafts.com/rare-rustic-crafts-blog

My favorite article was from a few months ago. I sell two different kinds of clay masks and one of my most frequent questions is how to use them. I wrote an article with instructions on how to use them. The blog relates back to a post card and an instagram post. Between the three items, I’ve been able to hand out instructions at markets and refer people back to my blog and the video clip on my instagram. It’s been a great tool for not only helping to answer my most frequent question as thoroughly as I can, but for getting my customers on my website and my instagram.

You can read the blog post here: www.rarerusticcrafts.com/rare-rustic-crafts-blog/how-to-acne-treatm…

Rare Rustic Crafts Blog

Rare Rustic Crafts Blog

Gari Anne from beadloverskorner says:

My blog can be found here www.beadloverskorner.com/blog
and I have lots of favorite posts, but one I think I have already posted here a while back. So my next favorite would be the one I did to try to help other Etsy sellers by telling the process I use for tagging my items and how it increased my sales. www.beadloverskorner.com/blog/how-to-use-tags-to-improve-sales-on-e…

Bead Lovers Korner Blog

Bead Lovers Korner Blog

Janine from AllsortsofSoaps says:

I have a blog on my website www.allsortsofsoap.com.au.

I have so many favourite posts and they are all so different from each other…some are recipes, others are about daily life experiences, some are about soap, and others range from anzac day to my experience teaching in Mongolia. It is not a blog that deals specifically with Etsy…however I do have one post that deals with #makeforgood. The blog I have chosen is the second part of a two-part blog. I think it is a piece that most parents could relate to…the deadline for an impending school assignment and nothing done! Here is the link-
www.allsortsofsoap.com/allsorts-of-conversations/science-101-for-mu…

All Sorts Of Soap Blog

All Sorts Of Soap Blog

rina from RinartsAtelier says:

I have a few favorite blog posts on my blog (www.rinarts.nl/blog), but a recent blog post was about a part of crafting you do not think enough about when you start selling on the internet. At least I did not!

It is a blog about wrapping your order. In this post I describe the way I walked to where I am now.

Here is the link:
www.rinarts.nl/blog/put-a-ribbon-on-it

Rinarts Blog

Rinarts Blog

 

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Show Us Your Workspace – Rare Rustic Crafts

Contributor post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns

Today we are visiting Savannah from Rare Rustic Crafts in her studio. Savannah makes artisan homemade soap, bath & body products which are handcrafted in small batches in Buffalo, NY for women and men. Her all natural products are made with the finest ingredients, the utmost care and attention, and all are beautifully labeled with artwork she designs herself.

Here’s what Savannah has to say about her workspace

I have a dedicated studio where I can make and package products as well as handle all of the graphic & web design, marketing and bookkeeping. Whenever I need to use heat, I use our kitchen, but I have dedicated tools and cookware, and we never cook food and make soap at the same time. We “turn over” the kitchen for dinner or soap-making.

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Check out Savannah’s Etsy shop and share the love

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For a chance to be featured on both the team Instagram account and this blog become a member of the  Etsy Christmas in July team and check out the Show us your Workspace thread.

 

 

Business Women’s Day

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The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) was founded on September 22, 1949 “to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership; education, networking support and national recognition.”

Here at Etsy Christmas in July we want to know what advice,resources and knowledge you would give to women starting out in the business world?

Savannah Griffith from RareRusticCrafts says:

First and foremost, my advice would be to manage your time well. I see too many fellow lady entrepreneurs get totally overwhelmed by the amount of work and fizzle out before they get to the good stuff. There are a lot of great self-help books and blogs to help you manage your time well. I’m particularly fond of Laura Vanderkam. She provides some great insight and it’s very easy to take the information and mold it so that it fits your own life.

The second would be to buy The Small Business Bible by Steven Strauss. It’s structured perfectly so that you can go through the book and write down everything that you need to get done to get your business up and running. He covers everything from licensing to taxes. This book really helped me get my jumble of thoughts organized so that I could move forward productively. I read the entire book before I made any moves, and it made the whole process of getting started so much easier.

Lastly, make time for yourself and your family always. It is so easy to get caught up in your business and forget about the important things. There was a time in my life where all I focused on was my business, and weeks would go by without any quality time spent with my loved ones. We go into business so that we can have freedom to live the lives we want. Never forget the bigger picture, and that there is always time to check one more thing off your to-do list tomorrow, but your loved ones can disappear from your life without a seconds notice.

 

Roses Workshop from RosesWorkshop states:

Before you start, ask yourself if this is what you REALLY want to do. If the honest, heartfelt answer is “Yes!” then go ahead.

Later on, when you get the bad times, the obstacles, the negative people, none of that will matter because deep inside you is the memory of that “Yes!” to keep you going.

Kristy Jo from KrystalKlarityBeads discusses:

I so agree with both postings!! I have fallen into the trap of forgetting the bigger picture too many times. I never want to forget what is the most important in life – and though I love my store, that is not where it is at – family is always more important. TAKE THE TIME – while you’ve got the time.

I wish I had started with more of a plan, but I did not – and that is why reading the advice of others who either had a great plan that worked helps, and also those that have failed – sometimes more than once – but picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and started again! It is all in the outlook and attitude! You cannot expect others to support your dream – you have to support your own dream and just be happy if someone else also does.

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International Chocolate Day

Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings

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While most of us don’t need a special day to indulge in the rich creamy glory that is chocolate, International Chocolate Day,September 13th, gives us just one more reason to consume this delectable confection in copious quantities.

Here at Christmas in July we wanted to know what items do you have that relate to this day and a little story about them.

Judith Messenger from FabriArts says:

Yum! I’ll have to remember that September 13th is International Chocolate Day! Chocolate is sometimes an essential ingredient to finishing my projects!

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Savannah Griffith from RareRusticCrafts states:

My favorite sugar scrub is actually my Chocolate Lavender scrub. It smells rich and sweet all at once; like a fresh slice of cake. Some chocolate fragrances can smell a little fake, but this one is the truest to chocolate that I’ve found. Just a hint of lavender really brings out the sweetness. My sugar scrubs can be used as body scrubs, foot scrubs or as a shaving cream for your legs. They will leave your skin freshly exfoliated and silky smooth!

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Nancy from FredsDiscoveries tells me:

Nothing taste better than something made from Hershey’s Chocolate. Here are some recipes from the 1930s.

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Well, excuse my rudeness, I hope this listing doesn’t offend anyone! But this little boy is one of the most widely known statues in Belgium!
We captured this colorful photograph while wandering the streets of central Brussels. The store front window of Chocolatier Filip Martin’s delectable chocolate shop. Belgians take their chocolate very seriously, but here is a humorous glimpse of two of Belgiums most iconic cultural elements: chocolate and the Manneken Pis, of the little peeing boy. We had to giggle and marvel at the same time, as we passed by these life-sized chocolate rainbow sculptures.
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#EtsyCIJBusinessExpo – RareRusticCrafts

Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings

#EtsyCIJBusinessExpo – RareRusticCrafts

 

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1. What item in your shop drives your Etsy business and what makes it special?

Coconut Sea Salt Hair Spritz

Our best seller on Etsy is our Coconut Sea Salt Hair Spritz. There are lots of different sea salt sprays on the market, and certainly plenty variations in grocery stores and drug stores. We really wanted ours to be stellar, and not just because we make it ourselves. I had worked with a hairstylist and makeup artist in the Buffalo area (Elizabeth Dugan) on other projects, and I decided to get in touch with her and see if she could test out the products and offer her feedback. She’s well-known in our area and has a great reputation with customers in our market (this is so helpful when I’m selling locally). I designed the formula and sent it to her, and she was able to use it on some of her clients and give me a lot of great feedback so that I could really perfect the formula. It’s important to me that our products are perfect, and I really think we achieved that with the Sea Salt Spray, and it shows in the sales for it.

2. How would you like to see your business evolve?

I really want to work on boosting our online sales in 2016. I’ve been in business for 3 years; the first year our sales came from in home parties, the second year came from Etsy sales, and this year our sales are coming from big local markets. As we move into 2016, I want to manage my schedule better so that I can boost sales in all three avenues at the same time. I think part of my uptick in online sales last year was due to my participation in Etsy teams, so I’ve worked Team participation back into my schedule. I’m trying to get a head start on my goals for next year.

3.How have your peers influenced your work?

I work as a freelance Graphic Designer, so between that career and my soap business, I’ve met a lot of other women locally who are also entrepreneurs. I have two friends that are photographers and graphic designers at Onion Studio in Buffalo. We’ve been friends for a long time, and they started their business in 2007. They were really the driving force that gave me the confidence to go out on my own and start my business. I’m inspired by the other Buffalo women who work to make their businesses thrive while managing second jobs or families (or both!). We have a great network in Buffalo and it really helps me stay motivated, even when I’m feeling worn down.

4. What business class(es) have you taken that have impacted your business?

I’m mostly self-taught. My degree is in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. We learned a lot about the freelance world which helped me get a baseline for myself. I worked in Customer Service for a while and got myself into a small manufacturer where I picked up the other skills I needed like Purchasing and Accounting. Those jobs really helped me to structure my business model and become a better contact for my customers. I follow a lot of newsletters and blogs like Handmade Magazine, Entrepreneur, Inc, Freelancers Union, Fast Company and Marie Forleo to help me fine tune skills like time management, balancing home and work life, setting up a home office, and more hands on skills like taxes. I also spend a lot of time doing research on subjects I struggle in. I spend a lot of time on the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance website, as well as at the library researching skin care and the ingredients I want to use in my products. I use Lynda.com to fill in the gaps on any software training I might need.

5. Have you achieved Brand Awareness?

In my community in Buffalo, I am finally starting to generate some repeat business and a solid brand identity. I’d like to broaden this reach online and get a niche following. For now, we have that kind of relationship with our customers in Buffalo.

6. What is one unique idea you came up with to market your business?

I can honestly say that I don’t feel like any of my marketing techniques are totally unique to me. We do most of our local marketing at the markets and through our community on Facebook. Our website does a lot of legwork for us too.

7. What are your social media sites?

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RareRusticCrafts

Instagram: instagram.com/rarerusticcrafts/

Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/RareRusticCrafts?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/RareRusticCraft/

or on our website at www.RareRusticCrafts.com. Our blog is managed directly on our website.

DIY Kits and Tutorials

Contributor blog post by Jennifer  from CaffeinatedPapercuts

Good morning everyone – Jennifer here from CaffeinatedPapercuts to talk all about DIY Kits and tutorials. I know I love browsing Etsy shops for new crafts to try or for a quick and easy way to create what I need. DIY kits are wonderful for beginners or for someone who just wants a quality product without having to buy all the supplies themselves. I even enjoy giving them as gifts!

I reached out to our CIJ team for their thoughts on kits and tutorials, both why they use/offer them and why they don’t. Definitely food for thought when you’re shopping or considering offering them in your shop!

I had to chuckle; both Christine from cwagenblass9 and I offer DIY card kits, and her gingerbread house card is adorable!

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I created a gingerbread card that kids could decorate – the kit comes complete with icing, gingerbread man and wife, and wreath and candy. I had several requests from people for gingerbread templates and thought this might be a fun project.

Me, I love scrapbooking, but don’t always have the time or supplies I want. Enter scrapbook page kits; paper and embellishments to make two 12″x12″ layouts, but you can easily redesign it any way you wish.

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Savannah from RareRusticCrafts formulated her own clay masks for DIY facials to follow the trend of pampering yourself at home. After all, just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself!

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I do sell 2 clay masks that are used for DIY facials. Both masks are a great way to give yourself the spa facial treatment in the comfort of your own home. The masks range from $12 – $14; the last facial I got was upwards of $80. It was also about 2 hours of my evening; I can use my clay mask at home while I’m doing the laundry. My target market thinks along the same lines, and the clay mask has been a great option to carry in my store.

Who doesn’t love quick, easy, and quality results while you wander around the house chasing stray socks? LOL Savannah also had some insights on DIY kits:

The last DIY kit I bought was a latch hook rug about 10-12 years ago. I like to buy supplies for DIY projects, but I guess I don’t really like to buy kits. If I take a second to think about that, I guess it’s because I like to really personalize my projects. It’s fun to get instructions on how to do something, but then do it with your own flare. The last bunch of supplies I bought for a DIY project was a ton of polymer clays, a clay roller, tools for shaping it, and paper for mokume gane polymer projects. So, it was a DIY project that I had watched a ton of videos on, but I didn’t spring for the DIY starter kits; I went for the specific colors and tools that I wanted.

I’d hate to say that the DIY kits I reject are “bad”. But I suppose when you’re putting together a DIY kit, you should consider that you may have those people who need a simple starter kit to learn the craft, but that you may also have seasoned crafters who need a kit with options or more than one use.

Variety is definitely the spice of life when it comes to DIY kits; having something for beginners and something to keep seasoned crafters interested is key. In this day and age of video tutorials, don’t be afraid to browse for good how-to videos, and shop owners, don’t be afraid to jump in and create them!

Kosmosa from GiftyTreasures enjoys tutorials and, like many artists, sometimes uses them to get over a creative block:

I love DIY tutorials, although I do not buy DIY kits. I know my art supplies and what to expect from them, but DIY kits usually don’t seem to offer enough information on what’s included. So tutorials are a great alternative and you can improvise if you don’t have all the materials, it makes you more creative.

This is also a good way to overcome creative block perhaps. Too much artistic freedom can make you indecisive, you want to paint too many things at once and just end up not doing anything. Tutorials provide some direction, it’s kind of like homework, but in a good way. I like the ones where you don’t have to copy everything exactly, so you still end up with something original.

Some days though, when looking for inspiration, I end up watching YouTube videos all day on how other artists paint. Well it may be just my thing, I like watching the paint dry. ;P

We’ve featured some great tutorials here on the Etsy CIJ blog – just check out our Tutorials category and find something new to try!

How about you; do you love to DIY? What are some great places for tutorials?

Welcome August New Team Members

Contributor post by Dawn from DeeDeeDeesigns

It has been a busy time since our Christmas in July event, and we have some new team members to introduce to you…. please check out their shops, favourite some items and share the love!

LUNA from LunaShawls says
My nickname is Luna and my shop’s name is Luna Shawls. I’m selling scarves, pashminas and flower brooches.
I’m 50 years old. I used to teach at a private university as a lecturer of Stage Arts, until I had to retire early due to health problems. Thankfully I’ve recovered well and now I’m here! Great gift… misty rose pashmina and my handmade removable flower brooch pin in a beautiful package.

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Savannah Griffith from RareRusticCrafts says

I joined this team a while ago, but I haven’t put the time into it that I would like to. I’ve got it on my schedule now so I’m looking at this as a fresh start! My name is Savannah, and I own a small handmade bath and body business in Grand Island, NY. My big sellers are my clay soap (completely unique in our corner of New York state) all natural bug repellent and Coconut Sea Salt Hair Spritz. I do a lot of markets in Buffalo where I see a lot of success, but I’d like to spend more time going into 2016 on growing our online business. My goals for being in this group are to stay in the know on Etsy-wide sales and learn more about Etsy and being a seller.My top seller is the Coconut Seal Salt Hair Spray. It’s made with argon oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and aloe vera oil. The salts add texture to hair while the oils work together to give it body and volume, as well as protecting your hair from drying out!

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I am Carol from The Perfect Fudge, we make gourmet fudge the old-fashioned way without preservatives, resulting in smooth creamy fudge. We have been making fudge for 12 years and fudge is our only product and we’re master fudge makers. My business is still an exciting business. I joined this team because Christmas is such a fun time of the year. I think this team would be fun too.

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Looking forward to introducing new members next month – spread the word!