Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Theme Challenge - Activity Feed and Circles

Book Garden by Cookstah
I am loving the Circles and Activity Feed features on Etsy - I have found so many new favorites, new shops!  This week's theme challenge is going to make use of this new feature to help us familiarize ourselves with it and use it to find our team mates as well.   Kelly from Cookstah was suggesting we use the Activity Feed to watch for team treasuries - I think this is a great idea and could lead to more exposure, clicks and comments.

If you haven't added team mates to your circle, this would be a good first step.  Log in to Etsy, search for team member shops and click on their Profile.  Under their Profile picture you'll see a button that says Add to Circle.  This adds their activity to your Activity Feed - lets you see their favorites (as long as they aren't private),  shows you when they create a treasury, notifies you when someone adds one of your items to their favorites - just jump in, start adding team members to your circle and start watching your Activity Feed.  It kind of feels like stalking ;)  but I think of it more like networking.

This week's challenge will use the Activity Feed to populate a treasury - once you've added team mates to your circle, start watching your Activity Feed.  When you see a team mate pop into your Activity Feed, go to their shop and pick something to inspire your treasury.  Go back to your Activity Feed and watch for another team member for your next item.   Do this until you have at least 8 team members in your treasury, then feel free to finish your treasury using your favorites, other shops, etc. 

I'm hoping this challenge will get everyone on the team using Circles and Activity Feed.  I think Kelly makes a great point that this could be a wonderful tool to better network on our team and find team treasuries.  Please contact me if you need any help, have any questions about getting this set up - Activity Feed is going to be a great tool for the team and for YOU! 

The Rules:

  1. Include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - use your Activity Feed to watch for team members to populate/inspire your treasury.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury - your treasury will not be judged unless you have posted it below in the comments.
  4. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of the treasury - this helps others find the challenge and enter.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Tag the treasury "etsyteamtreasury" - if you tweet, tweet your treasury using the hashtag #etsyteamtreasury.
  7. Tag the treasury "activity feed"
  8. Tag the treasury "circles"
  9. DUE DATE: I'm going to give a full week for everyone to get this setup, since the holiday will fall next week - your due date is Wednesday, December 29.
  10. Have fun!
These challenges are meant to build your treasury making skills, promote the team and make Etsy connections. There is always a photo used to express the theme but this item does not have to be included in your treasury.
 
Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all! These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members. Remember to try to include team mates you haven't used before.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Curation Nation Open Membership Coming Soon

Green Door by metroline6

The holiday rush is almost over and Curation Nation is preparing to open membership!  Starting in January we are going to be a juried team - so if you love to make treasuries, are looking for some Etsy friendship, networking and a great way to promote, apply now to get your shop on our January voting ballot!

We're a very active team that shares our experiences, knowledge base, advice and skills.  We're looking for shops that want to be actively involved with a team, love to make treasuries and have great photos and products. 

Team Members - if you would like to nominate one of your favorite shops, send them a Nomination Convo - available on our google groups site.

Apply now on our Curation Nation Etsy Team page to get on the January ballot!   When applying please include a link to your current treasuries!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Item Challenge - jerseymaids

Heirloom Polaroid Love Ring by jerseymaids
So many great New Years Resolution treasuries to pick from!  This week's winner is jerseymaids with her gorgeously done Simplify Treasury.  Congratulations!  This week we'll be featuring her Heirloom Polaroid Love Ring.

Valentines Day is just around the corner - my worktable is full of reds and pinks and hearts.  Etsy's January Merchandising Desk mentions this upcoming holiday, "Valentine's Day: Think decor for parties, favors, DIY projects, fashion, lingerie, sweets, love notes and cards, flowers, jewelry, the naughty and nice side, gag gifts, and personalized keepsakes. Emphasis on gift ideas for him, her, family, kids, friends, and coworkers."  

Let's use this week to get inspired and prepare for the next big holiday season ;)

The Rules:


  1. You must include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - use the sidebar on the blog for a list of team shops, or click here to browse our team shops.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of your treasury. This helps other people find the challenge and enter.
  4. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Tag the treasury "treasury challenge" 
  7. Tag the treasury "etsyteamtreasury" 
  8. Tag the treasury "valentines day"
  9. If you tweet, tweet your treasury using the hashtag #EtsyTeamTreasury
  10. Include the featured item Heirloom Polaroid Love Ring in the first three rows of your treasury.
  11. DUE DATE: Wednesday, December 22.
  12. Have fun!
Wednesday Item Treasury Challenges feature one item from a shop - the item must be included in your treasury. The featured Wednesday item is picked from the wining shop of the Saturday challenge. If the winner doesn't have a shop on Etsy, they will get to pick an item of their choice! Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all. These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Theme Challenge - Resolutions

Pocket Journal from nightowlcrafts

So after the champagne, the party clean up, the football, we all get out our notebooks and start making our lists.  To exercise, to organize, to make new projects and set goals for the new year.  I love this fresh start we get each year. 


This Saturday our theme is Resolutions - Fresh starts, new beginnings, renewal, goal setting, organization, self-reflection, athletics, cooking, redecorating, taking on new DIY projects - taken from the Etsy Merchandising Desk for January.

Saturday theme challenges are based on a central theme or idea. No specific item is featured, but they are more loosely based on an idea. These challenges are judged - the winning shop will have one of their items featured in the Wednesday Item Challenge – however these challenges are open to everyone! If you don't have a shop on Etsy, an item of your choice will be featured in the Wednesday challenge.
 
The Rules:
  1. Include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - you can use the sidebar on this blog for a list of team shops or search Etsy with the "curationnation" tag. Or click here to use the etsy minis to browse our team shops.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury - your treasury will not be judged unless you have posted it below in the comments.
  4. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of the treasury - this helps others find the challenge and enter.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Tag the treasury "etsyteamtreasury" - if you tweet, tweet your treasury using the hashtag #etsyteamtreasury.
  7. Tag the treasury "resolutions"
  8. DUE DATE: Wednesday, December 15.
  9. Have fun!
These challenges are meant to build your treasury making skills, promote the team and make Etsy connections. There is always a photo used to express the theme but this item does not have to be included in your treasury.
 
Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all! These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members. Remember to try to include team mates you haven't used before.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Item Challenge - aBreathofFrenchAir

White Blossom Candle from aBreathofFrenchAir
You all planned such wonderful New Years celebrations with the Saturday theme!  Your treasuries were so fun and glamorous, much more interesting than what my real life celebration will probably entail: cherry coke, board games and an overtired 5 year old. ;)

This week's winner is aBreathofFrenchAir with her treasury Fresh Start. Congratulations!

This Wednesday we'll be featuring her White Blossom Soy Wax Candle.

Etsy's January Merchandising Desk Report is out - I'm hoping we can use her item to create some Cozy Home themed treasuries as suggested in their January themes, "Cozy Home: Feather your nest with storage solutions, multifunctional furniture and key accent pieces, cozy accessories, quilts, blankets, throws, candles, centerpieces, kitchen updates, DIY projects and wall decor."

Check out the rest of their report for treasury ideas and inspiration - lets stay on track, stay motivated and involved during this busy season to get ourselves lots of exposure during this peak shopping time!

The Rules:

  1. You must include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - use the sidebar on the blog for a list of team shops, or click here to browse our team shops.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of your treasury. This helps other people find the challenge and enter.
  4. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Tag the treasury "treasury challenge" 
  7. Tag the treasury "etsyteamtreasury"
  8. If you tweet, tweet your treasury using the hashtag #EtsyTeamTreasury
  9. Include the featured item White Blossom Candle in the first three rows of your treasury.
  10. DUE DATE: Wednesday, December 15.
  11. Have fun!
Wednesday Item Treasury Challenges feature one item from a shop - the item must be included in your treasury. The featured Wednesday item is picked from the wining shop of the Saturday challenge. If the winner doesn't have a shop on Etsy, they will get to pick an item of their choice! Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all. These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Make New Friends . . .

Organic Waldorf Doll by SewnNatural

But keep the old, some are silver and the other gold.

We have been invited to participate in Selection Perfection's Treasury Team Jingle Mingle!  This is a multi treasury team challenge and a great opportunity to make new friends and network.You can find all the info and participate in the challenge on their blog.

We encourage everyone to participate, spread Curation Nation team spirit and get to know some fellow treasury fanatics!  Participation is of course voluntary.  Have fun!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Theme Challenge - Ringing in the New Year

Put a Cork in It by FlashForward

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

New Year's Eve is a great time for reflection, renewal and inspiring fellowship.  Andrea from Sacredsuds had some wonderful ideas for the positive direction our team should take this year and it inspired me to start my yearly list of goals early.  

This Saturday's theme challenge is New Year's Eve - parties, celebrations, calendars, champagne!

Saturday theme challenges are based on a central theme or idea. No specific item is featured, but they are more loosely based on an idea. These challenges are judged - the winning shop will have one of their items featured in the Wednesday Item Challenge – however these challenges are open to everyone! If you don't have a shop on Etsy, an item of your choice will be featured in the Wednesday challenge.
 
These challenges are meant to build your treasury making skills, promote the team and make Etsy connections. There is always a photo used to express the theme but this item does not have to be included in your treasury.
 
Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all! These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members. Remember to try to include team mates you haven't used before.

The Rules:
  1. Include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - you can use the sidebar on this blog for a list of team shops or search Etsy with the "curationnation" tag. Or click here to use the etsy minis to browse our team shops.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury - your treasury will not be judged unless you have posted it below in the comments.
  4. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of the treasury - this helps others find the challenge and enter.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Tag the treasury "new years eve"
  7. DUE DATE: Wednesday, December 8.
  8. Have fun!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday Treasury Challenge: allisajacobs

Bib Gift Set by allisajacobs

Curation Nation was on a roll during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping frenzy!  Your treasuries were amazing and your hard work paid off and got us lots of front pages during such a peak time - Go Team!

The winner of the Cyber Monday Treasury challenge is Allisa Jacobs with her A Few of my Favorite Things Gift Guide - Congratulations!!

This week we're featuring her Bib Gift Set for our Wednesday Item Challenge  - think fresh and bright colors, kid gift guides - have fun with it! 

The Rules:
  1. You must include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - use the sidebar on the blog for a list of team shops, or click here to browse our team shops.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of your treasury. This helps other people find the challenge and enter.
  4. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Tag the treasury "treasury challenge"
  7. Include the featured item Bib Gift Set in the first three rows of your treasury.
  8. DUE DATE: Wednesday, December 8.
  9. Have fun!
Wednesday Item Treasury Challenges feature one item from a shop - the item must be included in your treasury. The featured Wednesday item is picked from the wining shop of the Saturday challenge. If the winner doesn't have a shop on Etsy, they will get to pick an item of their choice! Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all. These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members.

Top Photo Tips for Selling Handmade Online

Vintage Kodak 104 Camera by funretro

If you perused the Etsy forums at any given time since joining, you've more than likely seen the topic of photos pop up time and time again. Sellers need critiques, ideas and advice about everything from choosing cameras, appropriate lighting, staging...the list can go on. Many sellers put considerable time and effort in achieving the best photos possible. After all, since a buyer cannot hold your handmade awesomeness in their hand, having a photo that displays your hard work in all of its' glory is imperative to making that sale!

I hopped around Etsy asking different sellers for photo tips and advice they could offer other sellers. Keeping in mind that every creation presents its' own unique set of photography challenges, I sought such advice from a myriad of sellers. Read on for loads of advice they graciously offered:

{Miniature Cranberry Pie by Alliesminis

Allie from Alliesminis: My tip would be to use natural lighting whenever possible! Also, I always use a macro lens when photographing my minis!


(Yum! Look what a macro lens did for capturing all that detail in her teeny, tiny  pie.)








{Catalog Drawer by handandtable} 

 Hand & Table: My items are vintage, and I find the color gray easy to shoot because shadows don't show and I like the contrast of the natural wood with my aesthetic. Think about the best way to showcase your product to make it stand out and look amazing. 

Try several different settings on your camera and see which works the best. You might want to load onto your computer before you decide. They don't always look the same as the screen on the digital camera. Get creative... If you are taking a picture of a reflective object, such as framed art, you are bound to show up in the glass. Make the glass reflect a dark object so it won't show up. 

I don't use flash and find natural lighting to be the best. I shoot in my living room with my curtains open. Minor adjustments can always be made on the computer. It is important to have clean photos that are an accurate depiction of the object. It might also be fun to photograph an object with alternate uses the customer might not think of.

A really good idea before photographing you items at home is to look at the websites of really successful stores like shopbop or urbanoutfitters and see what they do. Do or don't do what they do depending on what suits your product.

{Sprouts Handspun Yarn by yarmee}

Lucia from Yarmee: Natural light, coming from one side.  
Make sure your subject is in the shadow, not direct light, I love photographing near a window, for example, because it provides a darker side and a fully illuminated side. The contrast really pops. Make sure your backgrounds are neutral, too.




(Contrast can work wonders. Note how beautiful the color of the yarn is even when there is a sharp contrast between light and dark.)

{Hugs & Kisses Notes by FoglioPress}

Sarah from Foglio Press: On lighting - It's been said many times before I know, but it bears repeating - Natural light is definitely best. More specifically, light coming in from a window, or on a covered porch/patio is ideal, because it is naturally diffused. Shooting in bright direct sunlight will result in harsh shadows and flat images.


Also, to capture more textural detail in the photographs, light the object from an angle rather than front-on. A 45 degree angle often works well. This is helpful if you want to enhance the texture of a beautiful fabric or paper, etc.

If you're using a digital SLR camera, try using a lens with a wide aperture if it's in your budget. A 2.8 or 1.4 lens is excellent for blurring out the background and really focusing in on the star of the shot - your creation! Or, if you have a digital point-and-shoot camera, most have a setting for detail shots - often it's represented by a flower symbol . This should also help a bit in blurring the background.

For close-up detail shots without the investment of an expensive macro lens
,
you can purchase simple close-up filters that attach to the front of SLR lenses. A few detail shots in your listings can really give buyers added confidence in their purchases. Be sure to carefully choose the details you're showcasing and where you focus the camera. A beautiful, unique charm or masterfully stitched embroidery detail are great to show off; a plain zipper or ordinary hem might not do much to add to the listing.  

Think about the whole scene when you're photographing your items, and make sure that the frame isn't cluttered with unneccessary extras or distracting backgrounds. A few well-chosen, relevant staging pieces can help to create a story behind the item, but overall keep it simple so as not to draw focus away from the item you're selling. 

When photographing reflective surfaces, photograph them from an angle, and use a polarizing filter if possible. Also, light them from an angle as well so the light will not reflect directly back into the lens. 

{Vintage Wood Letterpress Blocks by VintageGalaxy}
Sandy from Vintage Galaxy: I do not use any lighting etc. while taking pictures. I take my pictures during the time when the sun is not at the brightest and not in the open but in an open space which is covered like a varandah.  Therefore, my suggestion would be to take pictures in open (not in a room) but covered place, in moderate sunlight (between noon and sunset) and to focus at the center of the object. Also, for each picture you have to post you must take 4 to 5 pictures and select the best one out of that.


{Felted Acorn Pin by Angeldogdesigns}

Tamara from Angel Dog Designs: Like most sellers, I do feel that photos are an important selling point for your work. I prefer shooting my work in natural light, indirect sunlight, even an overcast day can be great. I also try to shoot similarly styled images for similar pieces of work; that way when people are looking quickly at my site, they can find like items by the photographs. I also bring my photos into a photo computer program like Photoshop and adjust the levels, color balance, cropping, etc., to make them look the best they can before I upload them on my site.






{Vintage Midcentury Pastiche Button Brooch Pin by HopeandJoyStudios}
Julia from Hope and Joy Studios
: 1. Natural light is your friend. I take my pix next to a big east facing window. 2. Picasa is MY friend. I take pix with cropping in mind. I leave extra room on the edges so I can crop and center the main item. Also I use their edit tools to sharpen and color correct some of my pix (I never could get that "white balance" issue taken care of). 3. For small items, macro is your friend. I am a camera idiot..I have no clue what all the buttons even DO on my camera, but I know what the macro button is and does. 4. The forums are your friend. There are tons of threads and links in business and site about photography problems and hint and tips to fix. Search the old posts. 5. Do your homework. If you see an interesting shot, figure out why it is interesting to you. 6. Props are your friend. I like to use white background but also old book text, and in my other shop hopeandjoyhome, I use vintage blue and white ticking a lot..it just fits with what I have. If you use actual props, make sure to mention they are not included and don't use so many there is any questions as to what the featured item is.

{BELIEVE Gold & Green Christmas Banner by BekahJennings}

Bekah from BekahJennings
: When I started selling banners 2 years ago, all the banner sellers were taking straight-on photos. It cut the item apart and there wasn't much of the actual item pictured. I spent a few hours just trying different angles/views until I found one I liked. So don't be afraid to find your own photography style, even if everyone else is doing something else. And don't try to look like other shops. You have your own unique style--find it!

{Vintage Silver Tinsel String by juliecollings}
Julie from juliecollings
: I sell small vintage supplies and handmade items in my shop so I need my photography to be up close with beautiful details. I shoot all my photographs with natural lighting. My studio has a southern exposure window with great afternoon light. Here are 3 tips for getting a great close-up still shot: 1. clean up your background so you don't get anything distracting in the photo. I have a large piece of foam core I tape background paper to if I need some color or a clean shot. 2. shoot a bunch of photos from several different angles. For a lead photo on my blog tutorials I may take 15-20 shots. sometimes I am surprised which one I like the best. 3. crop your photo to bring details right up front. Get rid of any excess space along the sides. I usually try a couple different cropping options and save them to my desktop so I can compare the photographs side by side to select my favorite.

{Compass Bobby Pins by outoftheblue}
Jerin from outoftheblue
: I'd say that the best advice I can give is to use indirect natural light. I get the best results taking photos by my window in the late afternoon.  
I also always use the macro setting on my camera and try to get down to the level of the jewelry and get lots of interesting angles.

(Natural light + macro setting + bright solid background = POP!)


   

 

{3D Wall Butterflies - Green Tea Butterfly Silhouettes by hipandclavicle}
Jacqueline from hipandclavicle
: I have a 3-part styling tip for completely awesome listings. First, instead of placing your items in front of a white wall or white paper, experiment with backgrounds that are a complimentary color, a contrasting luminosity, or even backgrounds with subtle patterns! You can find some great gently patterned papers at both craft stores and dedicated paper stores, and most fine art supply stores carry lots of beautifully textured fiber-based papers that make for luscious backgrounds. Second, to keep your photos interesting and relevant, make sure you take lots and lots of shots from every angle you can imagine, including close-up and far away shots, then include a range of those in your listing. Finally, include at least one photo of the item in use.
 Last, but not least, I'll share a few tricks of my own. My south-facing windows are the biggest source of natural light my home has. In the summer, the trees do a nice job of filtering the light, but I still need to do a little lightening in Photoshop. Rather than directly using a Curves, Levels, or Brightness/Contrast filter under the Image > Adjustments, I'll use their counterparts under the Layer > New Adjustment Layer menu. This gives me the exact same result without directly working on top of the photo itself. If I'm not satisfied with the result, I can always open the adjustment layer and, well, adjust it! 

Now back to my lighting scenario. Another challenge I have is that in the winter - when my trees lose their leaves - I have nothing to diffuse all that sunlight! To work around this, I'll simply tape a big sheet of cheap wax paper across the window. Problem solved.

 Oh, and one more thing. Doggie nose prints can cast shadows, so make sure you have clean windows before shooting. Trust me, I know. :-) 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Treasury Challenge - Cyber Monday and Tech Gifts

Quilted iPad Sleeve by ArborGateGreetings
Cyber Monday is almost here!  I'm hoping it will be even bigger than Black Friday for Etsy.  This Saturday's theme challenge has two options - Cyber Monday or Gift Guides for Techies/Geeks - cyber, techies, get it?  So get those Cyber Monday sales rounded up, or go high tech with it and have fun making geekie gift guides for those shopping on with their keyboards!

Saturday theme challenges are based on a central theme or idea. No specific item is featured, but they are more loosely based on an idea. These challenges are judged - the winning shop will have one of their items featured in the Wednesday Item Challenge – however these challenges are open to everyone! If you don't have a shop on Etsy, an item of your choice will be featured in the Wednesday challenge.
These challenges are meant to build your treasury making skills, promote the team and make Etsy connections. There is always a photo used to express the theme but this item does not have to be included in your treasury.
 
Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all! These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members. Remember to try to include team mates you haven't used before.

The Rules:

  1. Include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - you can use the sidebar on this blog for a list of team shops or search Etsy with the "curationnation" tag. Or click here to use the etsy minis to browse our team shops.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury - your treasury will not be judged unless you have posted it below in the comments.
  4. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of the treasury - this helps others find the challenge and enter.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Tag the treasury "cyber monday etsy" or "geek gift guide"
  7. DUE DATE: Wednesday, December 1.
  8. Have fun!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wednesday Treasury Challenge: Black Friday and Cyber Monday

2011 Fine Art Calendar by shawnacameron

Since Saturday was a Pounce challenge and so many people will be traveling, cooking, etc we aren't picking a winner to promote this week, since their item wouldn't receive the same amount of promotion as usual. (A big thank you to Ashli for reminding me of that!)  Plus, all your Pounce treasuries were awesome - very hard to pick a winner!

Instead we are joining in the huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday Etsy promotion and we're starting the challenge today to give ourselves a leg up!  Etsy will be heavily promoting items and treasuries using the "black friday etsy", "cyber monday etsy" and "etsy free shipping" tags this weekend.  This thread by marymary has all the details about this promotion and how to use the tags, and also requests treasury makers promote these items as well.

Etsy will be using these treasuries during the holiday weekend and they're queuing them up now.  We wanted to give you plenty of time to join in!  Your challenge will be to create team treasuries using all items tagged Black Friday Etsy, Cyber Monday Etsy, or Etsy Free Shipping, or all three- and make sure to tag your treasuries with those terms as well!  Because not all team members are using these tags, we are making an exception to the rule this week - you don't need to include 8 team members but try to include as many as you can using these promotional tags.  See you on the front page!

The Rules:
  1. Because not all team members are using these promotional tags, you do not have to include 8 team members in your treasury, just include as many as you can. Use the sidebar on this blog or click here for a link to our team Etsy minis.
  2. All the items in the treasury must have a "Black Friday Etsy", "Cyber Monday Etsy" or "Etsy Free Shipping" tag.
  3. Tag your treasury with the appropriate tag - if the items you selected are using Black Friday Etsy tags, tag your treasury "Black Friday Etsy".  If your items have a mix of all three promotional tags, tag your treasury with all three tags.  
  4. Tag your treasury "curationnation" if you were able to include at least 8 team members.
  5. Have fun! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Treasury Challenge - Pounce!

Kitty Earrings from itsastitch

It's the time of year of being thankful for all we have. Ashli reminded me the other day that we haven't done a Pounce challenge in awhile -  let's share that warm and fuzzy feeling and pounce on some new sellers. 

Pounce team treasuries should be comprised of 100% new shops with no sales.  These are an exception to our team treasury rules and help new shops get some exposure. 

These challenges are meant to build your treasury making skills, promote the team and make Etsy connections. There is always a photo used to express the theme but this item does not have to be included in your treasury.
 
Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all! These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members. Remember to try to include team mates you haven't used before.

The Rules:
  1. Use the Pounce feature on Etsy to find new shops without any sales to make your treasury.
  2. Tag your treasury "CNPounce" and "curationnation" to help give these treasuries some exposure.
  3. Post a link to this challenge in your treasury comments to help others find and enter our challenge.
  4. Post a link to your treasury in the comments below.
  5. Have fun discovering new shops!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Treasury Challenge: palimpsestic

North Pole Garland by palimpsestic

So many gorgeous Winter Solstice treasuries to pick from! This week's winner is palimpsestic with her treasury When Dusk Kisses Dawn and this week we'll be featuring her North Pole Garland.

Wednesday Item Treasury Challenges feature one item from a shop - the item must be included in your treasury. The featured Wednesday item is picked from the wining shop of the Saturday challenge. If the winner doesn't have a shop on Etsy, they will get to pick an item of their choice! Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all. These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members.

The Rules:
  1. You must include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - use the sidebar on the blog for a list of team shops, or click here to browse our team shops.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of your treasury. This helps other people find the challenge and enter.
  4. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Include the featured item North Pole Garland in the first three rows of your treasury.
  7. DUE DATE: Wednesday, November 24.
  8. Have fun!
Here's palimpsestic's winning treasury When Dusk Kisses Dawn:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Model on MS Excel to Factor in Fees into your Profit - Guest Post

Hi, This is Som from Som’s Studio!

When we run a business, the profit we make, is key to our success. If you have a store on Etsy and accept payment via PayPal, it is very important to factor in the fees you pay while calculating the profit you actually make.

To demonstrate my point, let me start with a simple model on Excel. If you can add, subtract, divide and multiple…trust me you will be able to make this model work for you.

In our case, let me be a seller on Etsy (which I am!) selling a pair of earrings. The Cost Price (material, labor, overheads etc) in this example is $8.00, and consequently I have priced the Selling Price (SP) at $16.00. So my total Sales (also called Profit) is Selling Price (SP) – Cost Price (CP) = $16.00 -$8.00 = $8.00.

I have opened an Excel document and typed in the data and have applied this simple formula under CellF4.

(Click on pics to enlarge)

Now the Profit percentage is calculated as (SP-CP)/CP *100 = ($16.00 -$8.00)/ $8.00 *100 = 100%.

I have applied this same formula on Excel, but to simplify have changed the format of Cell G4 to “Percentage”. To do this, right click on the Cell G4, Select “Format Cells”, and find “percentage” under the “Number” tab.

Now, to calculate the fees. Etsy charges a fee of 3.5% of SP and a fee of 0.20c per listing.

PayPal charges 2.9% of SP and a fee of 0.30c per transaction.

(Click on pics to enlarge)

So total fees amount to $1.52.

Total profits goes down from $8.00 to $6.48.

Profit percentage goes down from 100% to 81%.

In another example (below), both Earrings B and C have a CP of 0.50c. Earrings B priced at $1.00, show a profit of 100% before fees, but a loss of 13% after factoring in fees. Earrings C, in contrast shows a break-even point when SP is $1.07.

This simple model can easily be applied to sale of any product, and can be modified to include additional expenses to reflect true profits.

Have a happy Tuesday!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Treasury Challenge - Winter Solstice

Cold Ohio by metroline6
The days are getting shorter, darkness falls in early evening as we inch closer to Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.  Celebrated for thousands of years, winter solstice marks the return of the sun in the Northern hemisphere.  The darkest night is perfect for star gazing - for this week's challenge think glowing snow, sparkling stars, and the deep, long night.

Saturday theme challenges are based on a central theme or idea. No specific item is featured, but they are more loosely based on an idea. These challenges are judged - the winning shop will have one of their items featured in the Wednesday Item Challenge – however these challenges are open to everyone! If you don't have a shop on Etsy, an item of your choice will be featured in the Wednesday challenge.
 
These challenges are meant to build your treasury making skills, promote the team and make Etsy connections. There is always a photo used to express the theme but this item does not have to be included in your treasury.
 
Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all! These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members. Remember to try to include team mates you haven't used before.

The Rules:
  1. Include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - you can use the sidebar on this blog for a list of team shops or search Etsy with the "curationnation" tag. Or click here to use the etsy minis to browse our team shops.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury - your treasury will not be judged unless you have posted it below in the comments.
  4. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of the treasury - this helps others find the challenge and enter.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Tag the treasury "winter solstice"
  7. DUE DATE: Wednesday, November17
  8. Have fun!

AllisaJacobs in Better Homes and Gardens!

Hi team! I'm sure most of you have heard by now, but I wanted to share on our blog the great news about our fellow team member, Allisa from AllisaJacobs has had her shop featured in the holiday issue of Better Homes and Gardens!


If you're anything like me, you can't help but pick the brains of those businesses really getting noticed, so I thought I'd share a little interview here on the blog and give her a little feature so we can all give her a HUGE congrats!

Angie: How did Better Homes and Garden find you? Allisa: BHG contacted me in early January. Of course, timid me, I at first thought it was a hoax or a prank & spent much of that day googling names to verify validity! I was that shocked.

Angie: How did you decide which item for them to use in the magazine?
Allisa: They specifically requested the Woodland pillow for their Holiday issue. Since I had to send them in a sample pillow, I was so nervous making it, being extra super careful of each stitch & fabric!

Angie: Who taught you your craft?
Allisa: I learned to sew early. My mom made some of my clothes & blankets and she would let me help. My best friend & I made our first quilt in fourth grade...loosely applying the directions from her mom. From then on I began exploring embroidery, beadwork, and even watercolors....but sewing is my true passion.

Angie: How did you keep it a secret? (you said in a tweet that it was really hard to do!)
Allisa: It was really hard to keep a secret but the fear of foolishness made it easier. I kept telling myself, 'what if they change their mind? what if it really is a haox? what if I'm just a little thumbnail with no name mentioned?' that kept me from blabbing & regretting it later.

Angie: Have you been published before?
Allisa: No, never. Closest was being included in the Dooce holiday gift guide, but that's it.

Angie: Any suggestions for others to get published?
Allisa: I think having inviting & professional photos is essential. I'm still not sure exactly how BHG discovered me, but at some point it was necessary to 'catch their eye'- I'm glad my photo was good enough to do that!

Angie: How has this impacted your Etsy business (if at all)?
Allisa: I had a brief increase of sales when the magazine came out but really I've just enjoyed all the random messages people have sent congratulating me. That means the wolrd & really makes me even more grateful for this fantastic little enormous community.

If you'd like to read more about Allisa's pillows, see her blog post about her inspiration  here.

Congratulations again, Allisa! It's easy to see why your shop and items were picked.  Great work!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday Challenge

Wednesday DOUBLE CHALLENGE-
this week is a double challenge with TWO items- featuring the Saturday winner AND last Wednesday's winner. You have one week to make as many treasuries as you would like featuring these TWO items:



Wednesday Item Treasury Challenges feature one item from a shop - the item must be included in your treasury. The featured Wednesday item is picked from the wining shop of the Saturday challenge. If the winner doesn't have a shop on Etsy, they will get to pick an item of their choice! Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all. These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members.

The Rules:
  1. You must include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - you can use the sidebar on the blog for a list of team shops, or search "curationnation" on Etsy.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of your treasury. This helps other people find the challenge and enter.
  4. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Include the featured items in the first three rows of your treasury.
  7. DUE DATE: Wednesday, November 17.
  8. Have fun!



The winners-
Showsomemoxie won with her Light and Airy Treasury.

Hiyapapaya won the Wednesday challenge with her Invited to Holly's Party Treasury.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cooking with Kids - Guest Post

Hi there! Cara from bovinebubbles here! With some help from my daughter Baylee, we spent sometime in the kitchen and whipped up some Puffed Wheat Squares. These were regular fare in our house growing up. I have fond memories making these with my mom and grandma and love to have the chance to continue on making them with my daughter.

Chocolate Puffed Wheat Squares

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter or margerine plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
8 cups of puffed wheat (found in a bag in the cereal isle)

Grease a 9x13 pan with butter, set aside
Combine butter, corn syrup, sugars and cocoa powder in a heavy saucepan.
Bring to a boil.




Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over puffed wheat and mix well.
Mix well and press into pan. Let cool, cut into squares. Eat :) Store any uneaten portions in an airtight container.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday Treasury Challenge - HGTV Gift Guide

Upcycled Silk Kimono Holiday Garland by SewnNatural

We are so excited about the new partnership between Etsy and HGTV!   This Saturday's challenge will be gift guides featuring gifts for the Do-It-Yourself-er, the home decorator, designer, and the avid gardener.  Make sure to tag your treasuries with "HGTV gift guide" and "curationnation".

Saturday theme challenges are based on a central theme or idea. No specific item is featured, but they are more loosely based on an idea. These challenges are judged - the winning shop will have one of their items featured in the Wednesday Item Challenge – however these challenges are open to everyone! If you don't have a shop on Etsy, an item of your choice will be featured in the Wednesday challenge.

These challenges are meant to build your treasury making skills, promote the team and make Etsy connections. There is always a photo used to express the theme but this item does not have to be included in your treasury.

Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all! These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members. Remember to try to include team mates you haven't used before.

The Rules:
  1. Include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - you can use the sidebar on this blog for a list of team shops or search Etsy with the "curationnation" tag. Or click here to use the etsy minis to browse our team shops.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury - your treasury will not be judged unless you have posted it below in the comments.
  4. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of the treasury - this helps others find the challenge and enter.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Tag the treasury "HGTV gift guide"
  7. DUE DATE: Wednesday, November 10
  8. Have fun!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday Treasury Challenge: ChirpandBloom


 There were so many amazing Hostess Gift Guide treasuries to choose from! This week's winner is ChirpandBloom - Congratulations!!

This Wednesday we'll be featuring her Recycled Vintage Tablecloth Dress - which would make an adorable holiday dress!

Wednesday Item Treasury Challenges feature one item from a shop - the item must be included in your treasury. The featured Wednesday item is picked from the wining shop of the Saturday challenge. If the winner doesn't have a shop on Etsy, they will get to pick an item of their choice! Everyone is invited to play - these challenges are open to all. These challenges are also voluntary - never mandatory for team members.

The Rules:
  1. You must include at least 8 Curation Nation team members - you can use the sidebar on the blog for a list of team shops, or search "curationnation" on Etsy.
  2. Please follow our blog.
  3. Put a link to this blog post in the comments of your treasury. This helps other people find the challenge and enter.
  4. Post a comment here on the blog with a link to your treasury.
  5. Tag the treasury "curationnation"
  6. Include the featured item in the first three rows of your treasury.
  7. DUE DATE: Wednesday, November 10.
  8. Have fun!
ChirpandBloom's winning entry Don't Show Up Empty-handed

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Approaching Consignment Shops- Guest Post

Sally here from NightOwlCraftworks!  I hope you find this post helpful, inspiring, and motivating!

Etsy is a wonderful venue (amazing really), but what if you want to expand your horizons?

How do you approach a consignment shop & what should you expect…

The scariest part of consignment for the crafter is integrity.  You are putting your livelihood in the hands of another, trusting them to represent your brand and protect your investment.  It’s a good idea to start with places that are established, have a good reputation, and have a contract. 

Representing your brand is very important.  If you find a shop that you love to go into, that is clean & professional, and fits your items you’ve hit the jackpot!  A good sign of a great shop is that they keep things fresh and moving.  You don’t want your items to sit in a back corner hidden from view from the world.  You need a “spotlight”.  You may have to share the “spotlight” and rotate around the shop, but a good shopkeeper wants to keep all their creative’s happy!  Know more than one shop that fits the bill?  Even better!  The more people see your work, the more you’ll sell!  Try to keep at LEAST a 30 minute drive (an hour is even better) between shops.  It’s just polite.

Good reputation you say?  Yes I do!  What do you mean? I’m talking mostly about their reputation with the other creative’s they work with and their relationships.  Do they stay in contact?  Do they make sure they “ante up” come “payday”?  And how do you find out about their rep?  Ask them if you are that bold, if they have a good reputation they will understand where you are coming from and be proud of their status.  Or you can find other creative’s that sell at that shop and ask around.  Do your homework!

Once you’ve found the perfect shop, you want to present yourself professionally.  The first thing you need to do is CALL first!  Do not go into a shop and expect that you will get the attention of a shop owner just because you have the coolest items since knitting needles.  They have customers to tend to and bills to pay.  Make an appointment so you can present yourself and your wonderful wares without added stressors.  If you have it display ready and can be easily priced all the better!  Bring enough that day just so when they stop drooling over your things you can help them shelve it ;)  Some shops frown on websites on the label.  The shop owner would really like to make the sale if they’ve done the work to present you.  People sometimes see a website and think they’ll go home and find it cheaper from the maker.  This brings me to…

Your reputation counts too!  To be fair, keep the prices the same or close to the same as the prices in your shop.  This is sometimes hard for us “little guys” to understand.  Why does a shop want so much when we’re doing all the work?  They get to do the “easy” and “fun” work.  Not so my pretties.  There is a ton of overhead in running a shop.  They may not be creating, but they are supporting creative’s.  They still have to make rent, utilities, packaging, insurance, etc.  There is a lot of behind the scenes that isn’t present at the forefront.  They don’t have to be there, they want to be there.  You have to respect them for that!

Protect your investment.  Really this is probably the most important element.  There needs to be a contract that you are completely comfortable with.  They are the “boss” so if there are parts of the contract you’re uncomfortable with ask about it, most times they’ll change it.  Each contract can be different and unique.  The main points are that you agree upon a rate and how and when you’ll be getting compensated.  Most shops will take 25-50%... The Storque has a great post they put out recently for Reevaluating your Pricing.  If you haven’t considered building in your wholesale & retail cost and you want to branch out, now’s the time to tweak those items!  Another good thing to talk about at this point is when & how you would get your items if you or the shop owner decided it wasn’t working out.  These are all hard things to talk about, but things you need to be prepared to deal with.

Last but definitely not least, be committed to the consignment gig if you’re putting yourself out there.  Make sure you always have stock in case the shop you’re working with runs low!  Maybe you can spend a day every month checking with your shops to make sure they have everything they need (& it’s a great reason to check up on them).  A shop front isn’t too much different than an Etsy shop… the more there is the more you’ll sell! 

The Checklist:
      *            Find a shop that has a stellar reputation.
      *            Make sure it fits your brand & style.
      *            Call ahead, make that appointment (don’t be late!)
      *            Package it to sell, bring enough to stock!
      *            Discuss contract, rates & payment schedule.
      *            Check back to restock and awe over the beauty that is your talent!