Thursday, March 24, 2011

Expansion Across the DubDubDub Universe

Time to expand and see how other sites might work for sales. I've opened the studio on AF, and now I've added a spot on BigCartel and on Storenvy. So far, in the week I've been on these three sites, I personally like Storenvy best! BigCartel is not quite right for my items, and ArtFire just doesn't feel easy to navigate and use.

I will continue to add listings on Storenvy and wait and see how things go. I am running a special on Storenvy! Yoga20 coupon code gets your 20% off your purchase, and if you give me some feedback about the Storenvy checkout experience, you'll receive a free apple cozy or soap saver in the color scheme of your choice!

Storenvy allows me to sell an item with all of its options in one listing, so this might be just what I was looking for when I was debating how to reassess my sales of apple cozies. I can set the color of apple and then give options (like sizing in many other online sales) of leaf colors. I am looking forward to seeing if that makes things easier or more difficult to navigate for the customer. I really like the sections layout in Storenvy, too. Haven't hit a limit, nor do I have to leave a listing in just one category. I can leave a custom yoga mat bag in both custom and yoga sections. Love that!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ArtFire Expansion

As of last night, I am now the proud owner of an ArtFire studio! I will continue to put my own-of-a-kind, ready-to-ship items in my Etsy shop for awhile. I am working on adding all of the custom listings that I have available on Etsy to the Artfire world.

Today, I also got to join my photographer in a photo session of the apple cozies and a couple other brand new items I'm adding to my shop! A MacBook cover, an infant headband, the kid's argyle beanie I was talking about in previous posts, and the dual EpiPen sling. I'll add some of these photos to my listings and post them here for your enjoyment.

The new Rapid Cart widget on the right side of my blog allows you to purchase via AF, directly from here. I believe you do need to be logged in to your account on Artfire to make it the true 28 second experience. I'd love to know how easy that process is, so if you see something you love, please don't hesitate to purchase, and let me know how your experience is with the process.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pregnant Shop Sections

Some of the basic elements of maintaining and growing a small business are keeping on top of sales, and looking into the future to be sure that sales continue. Fresh new items and ways that I can create items that people will continue to use are some things I am always on the look out for

One main section of this particular thought is that I've always avoided baby items. There are so many Etsians already catering solely to those looking for gifts for baby. Well, now that my brother and his wife as well as my best friend and her husband are pregnant, I've got baby items on my mind. I've been looking for some items that aren't just the basic hats and booties that you imagine your grandmother's grandmother making. Another element I was hoping to keep for this new baby section is that I can use the same acrylic and cotton yarns which I've been using, so that I can offer all the fun colors that I do for the rest of my shop. I found some fun booties that I intend to recreate with permission to sell by Ketzl. (Photo is Ketzl's sample.)There are a few different similar patterns; some with buttons, others with flowers, and I plan to make some in boy color schemes. I have lots of fun buttons to use for these. Those shown are in cotton, so I'll have the same color options as the soap savers.

Sometime in the future I will be adding a line of children's beanies as well. These will have a space near the brim for interchangable ribbon accents. They will each come with 2-3 ribbons to change out to match outfits and make for a fun item to be able to wear as often as needed. It might also be available in adult sizes (very likely, actually). I know I get to wearing the same warm items all winter and need to change it up a bit without loosing the warmth and comfort of my favorite hat! This brown hat in the center is the sample I've made up for a recent customer, and the first of this interchangeable ribbon style. Ribbon not shown, but I've been stocking up.

Another section, I intend to adjust/add to my shop soon is bath items. The best workout includes a fabulous shower afterwards, and I hope to offer some of these items. Soap savers are already working their way into my shop. They will be linked to Paula Jean's Garden, who is my photographer, and supplies some gorgeous lavender soap to make even the funkiest gym rat smell humanesque again. I will be adding face scrubbies in the future and am debating some other little items, on a custom order basis.

At some point in the future, I plan to make up a whole stock of wristbands to share the Many color options available in the Red Heart yarn that I use for most of my items.

I have also been thinking about reassessing how I sell my apple cozies. I will be making up the cozies and just adding the leaves as I get them stocked up this time. I am thinking about selling them in this manner. Showing all of the apple color options, and the leaf options, and letting the customer choose without all the extra listings. I want to balance between ease in shopping, and option for my customers, and since it'd be lots of work to adjust the listings, it's currently just stewing on the back burner. Please let me know what you think of my upcoming ideas. Would you prefer to build your own apple cozy? Or just pick out the one you see listed already? Maybe a combination or both. Keeping some in stock, ready to go, and giving the option to those who'd like to make up their own ideas?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Working Hard to Keep the Kitten Occupied

I just got a new kitten a week before the second anniversary of the opening of my shop. I'm now spending the first weeks of my third year in online crochet sales, creating a blog, and trying to keep a baby cat out of my yarn!

It's great to have all the fans I can get, but Evie isn't much help in keeping me organized as she throws herself around the room in high-speed project-throwing circles. Shortly before she'd worn herself out and these photos were taken, I couldn't keep the apples in a pile!

Once she calmed down and I had a chance to sit and actually get some work done, I took a break for some photographs, and THEN settled in to finish up the big batch of cozies.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

To-Do Lists

So today is an early one. I've got LOTS on my crochet to-do list this week.

I am putting together a pack of 42 samples of my apple cozies for one of my Etsy Teams, TradeAHolics. We are all donating samples to send to one another in a Promotional Swap. Thought, it's too late to be involved in this particular trade, there are always many of us on the team to trade with. Join us!

Then I've got a scarf, a couple of bags, a couple dozen more cozies, a dog sleeping mat, a gingham yoga mat blanket and a couple of new hat styles to create. I get to make a newsboy cap, and a childrens' argyle beanie in the next few weeks. I am looking forward to giving those two hats my own style look. I love how argyle turns out, and I hope I can work out the math for make the hat perfectly on the first try! Or at least without getting too far along to do it too many times before I'm happy. I might try a couple of different styles. One style I am thinking about is a row of diamonds around the band of the hat, and the other is with smaller diamonds that run through more of the hat's entirety.

Here are some photos of the previous argyle projects I've worked on. The first in green and browns was my first sample piece and the matching hat I attempted (and never finished out of frustration) before I moved on the bigger blue/green yoga mat blanket.

While I spend the rest of today crocheting apples like there is no tomorrow, I will be thinking about tomorrow, and all of the crocheting I will be doing then too! I'll sit down soon and do the math for this fun little hat, and I'll be sure to show off the results in the coming weeks!

Recently, I've taken to creating to-do lists for everything. I've got a crochet project to-do list, a what to list on my Etsy list, what paperwork I need to update, and I feel like I am always writing something down. They have been a big help in letting my focus on getting things done, and to have some inspiration for future ideas for crochet projects, and color schemes, as well as places to network and elements to add to my business in the future. Next post will include some of the ideas I've got for the future, as well as an overview of how things have been going in the past and into the present.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting Started in the Blog World


I am going to see about posting on here on occasion. I'll gradually transfer my time from FB posts to a blog style layout here. Hopefully in the next few months, I'll be able to journal often enough to make things interesting. Will be fun to get used to the layout and create some fun things.

Currently my FB fan page is where I post the fun links and new photos.

I plan to show some of the newest items I'm working on as I go. At the end of the day, when I lived at home, my Mom would get to see whichever new piece/s I'd made that day. Now my poor (male) room mate and sweetheart get that excitement. They don't always jump with joy like I do, so I'm going to use this as that outlet. So those of you that actually might get excited with the new stuff as it appears can enjoy it!