Before going to Critiques...

Lately, I’ve been hanging around the Critiques forum on Etsy and I’ve noticed a lot of sellers are going straight to Critiques without really making sure that they could have done everything they should have before asking for a critique.

Why is it important to make your done your part?

When someone is taking just a glance at your shop, all they’re going to see is the big stuff, if you’re missing a banner and your location; they’re going to come back and say you’re missing a banner and your location and move on.

If you’ve got your basics covered, it forces them to look deeper. Do you have a good description, what are your photos really like, are you using all the right tags, could your announcement be shorter/longer/better, etc.

So I put together a list of some of the major things you should make sure you have in place first;

1.) Do you have a banner? Is it well done?
- Your banner is the first thing a potential buyer sees, it should draw them in.

2.) Do you have your location noted?
- You should include your city and state or country – they are a number of cities with the same name in different states and different countries.

3.) Is your avatar relevant?
- You should consider using a photo of your work or a picture of you – to capture people’s attention especially in the forums.

4.) Are your descriptions complete?
- This thread is an invaluable resource concerning all of the things that could/should be included in your description:

5.) Do you photos capture your wares as good as they possibly could?
- Check out the hundreds of tutorials on taking photographs, building light boxes, which light bulbs to use, understand the settings on your camera, understand basic photo editing, etc.
- Ask yourself, if you would buy the item just based on the photo?

6.) Are you using all 5 slots for your photographs?
- Capturing the item from every angle, showing it in use, displaying on someone, etc.

7.) Are you using the feature slots for your 3 favorite pieces?

8.) Are you using all of your tags? Are they all relevant? Are you spamming with any of your tags?

9.) Are you adding new items on a regular basis?

10.) Are you promoting yourself on/off of Etsy?
- The forums, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, My Space, A blog, etc.
- Check out any of the threads on self promotion.

11.) Go in with an open mind!
- Every person has their own point of view, with a critique you'll be able to see through someone's eyes.

12.) Don't use Critiques as just another promotion venue!
- i.e. Look at this ware, what do you think?

This is just a short list of some of the things that need to be analyzed but it’s still a starting point. I wish everyone the best of luck in their Etsy endeavours!

Where Do I Find The Top Sellers Of Etsy?

Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned Etsian there is always room for improvement BUT where do you start? The wonderful people at Etsy Wiki put together a list of the top sellers on Etsy. Ok, great, now what?

1.) Find your category:
Top Sellers - Art
Top Sellers - Bags And Purses
Top Sellers - Clothing
Top Sellers - Dolls and Toys
Top Sellers - Glass
Top Sellers - Jewelry
Top Sellers - Pets
Top Sellers - Supplies
Top Sellers - Vintage

2.) Analyze them.

- Take a look at what they do and how they do it.
- Try to figure what they do right, what they do wrong.
- Pay attention to how they photograph, write their policies, descriptions, and shop announcements.
- You can convo them for tips (but don’t be surprised if they don’t respond)
- Type they’re user id’s in your favourite search engine, see where they’ve been featured, advertised, sales they’ve had, events they’ve attended, etc.
- See if they write a blog, find out what they’re doing with theirs.
- You can sign up for Google Alerts using various top sellers names.

3.) Don’t just copy them!

- Learn from them, use them as inspiration, they are the success stories of Etsy.
- Etsy isn’t about going with the flow, it’s about standing out.

4.) Implement Plan

- Don’t try to do it all at once, choose something new to try BUT try to do 1 thing at a time. Otherwise, yeah your views shot up but WHY? Is it a combo of all 5 new things you’ve tried or is just 1 of them and they rest are a waste of time!

All in all, I don’t really think there are any magical secrets of guaranteed success. Some doors open for the right people at the right time.

The best advice I can give is, when you say you’re going to do something, do it!

In the long run, your momentum will build and people will come back to your shop because they already know and trust you. The longer you are on Etsy, the bigger your shop becomes, the more often you list, the more often you are featured in treasuries, the more you land on the FP, etc - it all follows itself!

Need Craft Show Display Ideas?

Ok, so I've been mulling over the idea of getting involved in local craft shows BUT honestly the idea of creating a great display scares me! I'm terrified that all I'm going to be to come up with is a flat white table with my jewelry strewn everywhere :(

So, I was searching on google for ideas when I came across the absolute best source for ideas with pictures (pictures being essential)! You know what it was - FLICKR! - if you type in

- craft show
- craft display
- craft fair
- art show
- art fair
- jewelry display
- etc

It brings up hundreds of pictures of craft shows and specific display ideas! It's fabulous!

Anyway, just thought I would share!

Flickr = A Promotional Tool?

As I posted earlier, one of the big keys to success on Etsy is to promote yourself outside of Etsy. That means outside advertising, it doesn’t need to be expensive but you should have at least a basic plan and it should be well thought out.

A lot of people mention Flickr as a promo tool, and yes, it can be an effective one at that! HOWEVER, right in Flickr rules and regulations, it states that Flickr is not meant for commercial use! Meaning, if you’re a business and you want to use them, you have to follow their rules! What are their rules, you ask? Here they are right here and if you don’t play by their rules, your account will be deleted:

The rule of thumb is that you can have one link on your profile page to a commercial webpage.

You cannot have tags, descriptions, titles, or comments that indicate that an item is for sale or where to buy it.Having a watermark across the image that is a commercial URL will also cause accounts to get in trouble.In addition, if your account is predominantly commercially-oriented images, and gives the impression of being an online catalog, you may find the account deleted.Something else to keep in mind:

Joining Flickr groups is another great promotional tool BUT be careful and make sure to read group descriptions fully and only post in appropriate groups with relevant photos.
- Posting against the group rules can get your account in hot water.

Flickr is about passive marketing, meaning you can put up pictures of you, your work, your studio, any craft shows you attend, how you create, your personal photos, etc. It’s all about sharing yourself through your photos. It’s not about, ‘look at this, it’s for sale’!

All in all, follow the rules and you’ll have a fun, free way to promote your shop!

For the all the official rules and regulations, click here:

What You Need to Write A Great Product Description

Too many people these days are listing their products with very little or no description. If your selling your products online, your customers won't be able to touch the item, all they have is hopefully a great picture and great description.

Unfortunately, too many sellers are just listing the basics, i.e. color, size, scent (bath & body), etc. Their basically just reiterating what is obviously in the picture.

What happens next? Well the customer maybe takes a quick peek and keeps going, in the world of online selling, your competing with hundreds of thousands of different sellers, you only have a few moments to capture a potential customer's attention and keep it.

The key is to keep their attention with captivating photos with detailed close-ups (you want the customer to be able visualize the product as if it was sitting right in front of them). Second, you want a detailed description that explains who, what, where, when, and why (especially why).

You want a description that draws people in! You need to make sure that they know how fabulous your item is and why they NEED to buy it!

I was in the Etsy forums the other day and I came across this post by Sparklerama ( and she compiled one of the most detailed lists I've ever come across. The list isn't an absolute 'need to have every point' in your description but its definitely a great starting point.

20 Questions Your Buyers Are Asking:

1. What IS it? (It may be totally obvious to you what the item is, but it might not be so obvious to your customer).

2. What color is it? (The color on your computer monitor may not be the same as mine).

3. How big is it? (As a buyer I don't want to guess if that painting will fit over my fireplace or if those earrings are going to hang past my shoulders).

4. What is it made from? (What materials and techniques are used?)

5. How do I care for it? (Can I wash and dry that wool sweater?)

6. Who should buy it? or Who should NOT buy it? (Is it appropriate for pregnant women? Children? Pets?)

7. What is it used for? (Is it decorative? Does it have a function? Both?)

8. What does it feel like? (Is that scarf soft to the touch? What's the texture like? Is that necklace very heavy?)

9. How does it work? (Does it slip over my head? Is there a clasp? Do I tie it around my waist?)

10. Why is this one better than the one in the next shop? (What special skills, materials, or ideas do you use that make your item the best?)

11. Do I get everything in the picture? (I see 12 items in your picture, do I get them all? Only one? Does that lovely bauble in the background come with it or is it just for display?)

12. Will it fit me? (When I shop in a brick and mortar shop I might try on 12 things and find only 1 that fits well. I am taking a BIG chance on buying clothes online. Please make it easier for me by offering extensive measurement and sizing information. Don't assume that your customer will know what you mean by "small" or "Large")

13. What if it doesn't fit? (Am I stuck with it? Will you exchange it? Who pays to ship it back?)

14. Is it ready to use? (Is that painting ready to hang? Do I need to frame it first?)

15. How does it arrive? (Is it gift wrapped? Is it ready to ship or is it made to order?)

16. Will I get the EXACT item in the photo? (Is it a stock photo or do I get the exact item?)

17. Is it gonna stink? (Does that vintage item have a funky, musty odor? Does the seller smoke while he creates that item?)

18. How do I know it's "vintage"? (What kind of research did you do to determine how old that item is? Is it marked? Is there a date on it? Are you experienced with vintage and antique items?)

19. What do those fancy terms mean? (Don't take for granted that your customer knows what a cabochon is or what giclee or gocco means.)

20. Can I live without this item? (Chances are your customer can easily live without your items. It's your job to SELL it to them. Let them know why owning this item is so wonderful. Are they gonna feel like a princess with that lovely bracelet? Is that platter not only functional, but makes a wonderful work of art? Is that item the perfect gift for hard to buy for people? Does the item evoke certain emotions? Tell us what's so great about it!)

Good luck with your descriptions!

Shipping to Italy = A Black Hole?

You may or may not have heard of people screaming, “DON’T SHIP TO ITALY YOUR PACKAGE WILL NEVER MAKE IT!” and it got me to wondering, why? I spoke to a friend who worked with United Nations for several years and was stationed in Italy for 2 years. He basically said 2 things, a) a lot of their customs officers are corrupt and a lot of the packages are “confiscated” and b) Italy’s restrictions for packages that allowed are a mile long!

So I went off in search of Italy’s List of Restrictions and found a huge list. Here are just some of the major ones I found:

Albums of any kind (of photographs, postcards, postage stamps, etc.).

Articles of platinum or gold; jewelry; and other valuable articles unless sent as insured packages.

Artificial flowers and fruits and accessories for them.

Bells and other musical instruments and parts thereof.

Cartridge caps; cartridges.

Clocks and supplies for clocks.

Compound medicaments and medicines.

Coral mounted in any way.

Ether and chloroform.

Exposed photographic and cinematographic films.

Footwear of any kind.

Haberdashery and sewn articles of any kind, including trimmings and lace; handkerchiefs; scarves; shawls, needlework including stockings and gloves; bonnets, caps, and hats of any kind.

Hair and articles made of hair.

Leather goods.

Lighters and their parts, including lighter flints.

Live bees, leeches, and silkworms.

Nutmeg, vanilla; sea salt, rock salt; saffron.

Perfumery goods of all kinds (except soap).

Playing cards of any kind.

Postage stamps in sealed or unsealed letters.

Radioactive materials.

Ribbons for typewriters.

Live bees, leeches, and silkworms.

Parasites and predators of harmful insects.

Roasted or ground coffee and its substitutes; roasted chicory.

Saccharine and all products containing saccharine.

Salted, smoked or otherwise prepared meats; fats; and lard.


Toys not made wholly of wood.

Treated skins and furs.

Weapons of any kind and spare parts for them.

Live plants and animals.

Arms and weapons.

Human remains.

So the next time, your thinking about shipping internationally, take some time and figure out what the restrictions are for exporting to the country. It will definitely save you time, money, and headaches in the long run!

Etsy Sellers: Want to know if you were on the front page?

I know lots of Etsians have wandered away from their shop and upon returning noticing a HUGE spike in their views but have no idea why? Well, there are few things you can check out right away to see if you've been featured somewhere.

1.) Craft Cult (formerly known an majaba) offers a free service where you type your username in and it will tell you if one of your items has been featured on the Etsy Front Page, Storque, or in a gift guide!

2.) Craftopolis also offers a free service that allows you to search your username to ascertain whether you've been featured in any treasuries or gift guides!

3.) On Flickr, there is a Flickr group called Etsy Front Pagers and lists screen shots of all of the treasuries and the sellers featured on the Etsy home page.
- If you search your username in the search bar, it will bring up the front page that you were featured on.

4.) If you sign up for Google Alerts and add your shop name and username as alert terms, each time those terms are posted on a web page, you will receive an alert to your email letting you know, where it was posted.

5.) And the simplest way of all, search your shop name or username in any of the major search engines and see what pops up!


Another great website, where you simply enter your shop name and VOILA, it will bring up all of the sites that your shop was mentioned on!

Just thought I would pass on some useful information!

A little something extra...

Well, I've been reading a lot lately on the Etsy forums from other sellers who are debating what to include in their packages (that are shipped to their customers). A little something extra, if you please...I've heard tons of ideas in the hopes of a proper thank you to the customer and of course, the hope of drumming up some new/repeat business. Here are some of the best ideas I came across and some of the ones I'm hoping to employ when I start selling again:

1.) Glass Marble Magnets
- They're really cheap and easy to make. I'm thinking about making ones to match some of my pendants.
- Tutorial:

2.) Bookmarks
- I was originally thinking about creating bookmarks but I'm still debating what it will cost.

3.) Samples
- When I'm creating new lines of pendants, I'm thinking about possibly including an extra pendant.
- If your wares come in a variety of scents, colors, etc, you could include a little sample pack in with their purchase, it will give them something to smell/feel rather than buying just based on a description.

4.) Promo items with my logo
- I was wondering and doing some basic research on sending promo materials like business cards, match books, note cards, buttons, etc in the package with my logo BUT when I receive similiar stuff, I tend to toss it out, so I'm still thinking on this one.

5.) Coupons
- Come on, everyone loves coupons! Free shipping, Buy 2 Get 1 Free, $5 off $25 purchase. Whatever tempts you will probably tempt someone else. If you can do it and it makes sense profit wise go ahead!

Things to Remember When Including Freebies:

- Pay attention to weight, you don't want to be adding to the overal weight which translates to upping the postage cost.

- Try to keep your freebies "cheap", that doesn't mean they have to look cheap but you need to make sure they're not eating into your profit margin too much.

- DON'T include anything edible because of allergies, medical conditions, the heat can melt the food and ruin the rest of package, and you tell your kids not to eat candy from strangers, so why would you?

- Be careful, when shipping to other countries, each country has their own regulations, you don't want your shipment confisicated because of a problem with a freebie!

- Try to keep your freebie relevant to what your selling, it will be easier for the customer to recall who/what/why/when/where they got it from.

Something else to keep in mind, no matter how great the freebie is, the best way to keep a customer happy and encourage that customer to come back is through:

a.) A great product at a good price!
b.) Awesome customer service, before & after the sale!
c.) Professional packing!

Etsy Confession: Advice of the Day

So I have 2 years of Etsy selling experience and I was thinking of some of the mistakes I made in the beginning. I figured I should pass along some of the my "mistakes" in the hopes of helping others to avoid those mistakes.

1.) DON'T list your products on Etsy all at one time!


When your item is added to your Etsy shop, it ends up at the top of the search for a few minutes and then disappears into the search pages. Those first few minutes that your item is up there, it will be in the first few items the buyer sees. If you list a few times each day, different buyers will see your items at different times. Increasing your exposure and possiblity of selling.

2.) Always fill out your policies page!


If you have a problem with a buyer who disagrees with you about how something is supposed to be paid for, or how/when something is supposed to ship, you will need something to reference to show how and when that something is supposed to be done. Otherwise, you'll both be arguing over who is right without a good, standard solution. Especially when it comes to return policies.

3.) You can't just list your wares and sit back and wait for the sales to pour in, you need to do outside of Etsy promotion, here's a few suggestions:

a) Spend at least 1-2 hours in the forums about 6 days a week, reading and posting.

b) Started a blog and post almost every day.

c) Go to forums on other websites, google, yahoo, anywhere you can think of and post there making sure your store link is in your post (but don't just post to spam).

d) Get business cards and put them in all the packages you send to customers.

e) Start a flickr account.

f) Include in your packages to current customers, coupons offering discounts on future orders.

g) Make sure your store link is in every email you send.

h) Sign up for outside advertising (Project Wonderful, Google Ads, Facebook, etc)

i) Read other people's blogs and post messages on them, they will reply and notice your blog and sometimes post a link to yours.

j) Join an Etsy blog ring, so other people also find your blog

These are just a couple of things that I've thought about lately. I'll be adding more, as I think about it! I hope someone can use some of this to help themselves become more successful!

Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle!

So everyone who has kids and some who don’t have broken bits of crayons lying around and I know what you’re thinking, ‘I need to toss those out, they’re garbage’, right, NO! Using this tutorial and about 20 minutes of your time, you will be able take those little bits and make brand new crayons! It’s a great way to save few bucks and it’s good for the environment too!


Old microwave safe glass cup
- I purchased the mold I used from Michaels for $3.95 (don’t forget your 40% off coupon - $1.75)


- You can stir glitter into the melted wax to add a little sparkle to your new crayons.

1.) Sort the crayons into piles (to match the colors you want to create). You can mix different colored crayons to create new colors.

2.) Peel the wrappers off of the crayons.

- Soak the crayons in water for a few minutes and the wrappers will slide right off.

3.) Place each pile of crayons into a separate microwave safe cup.

4.) Layout newspaper or paper towel. Place your molds on top of the paper, to catch any spills (terrible stuff to clean up).

5.) Place the cup into the microwave. Turn on high for 4 minutes.

6.) When you take the cup out of the microwave, swirl the cup or use a stir stick, a few times to mix the color together.

7.) Slowly pour the melted concoction into the prepared molds.
- Have paper towel handy, to clean up any spills.

8.) Leave and let harden for about 30 minutes. You can also stick the mold in the freezer for a few
minutes to speed up the process.

9.) After the wax has completely hardened, turn over molds and your new crayons should pop right out.

10.) Find paper and enjoy!

- Looking for cheap crayons? I bought a 1lb package of Crayola crayons for $1.99.
- Wondering what makes good molds?
- Soap molds, Candy molds, ice cube trays, muffin tins, etc

Come One, Come All...

If your in Saskatchewan, specifically Mortlach, Saskatchewan, or planning to be in the area, you should make a stop at the Mortlach Saskatoonberry Festival, which is coming together on July 4th! With an expected atttendence of around 2500 people, there should be plenty to see and do! Including entertainment, events, a parade, and of course plenty of food!

Admission is only $5 or $15 for the whole family.

The festivitates start at 8am and continue on until 10pm.

If your interested in attending the festival as a vendor, please check out their website at:

And their vendor application page:

You should definitely check out this fine fair, it would be a shame to miss!

Public Domain & Photography

What does Public Domain mean?

“Intellectual property rights which are not owned or controlled by anyone. The term indicates that these materials are therefore "public property", and available for anyone to use for any purpose”
- Wikipedia

Where can I find Public Domain Photography Websites?

Public Domain

The pictures are free for you to use, however, if your planning for commercial use, please be aware that no model release was obtained and pictures featuring products or property should be used with care.

All photos on this web site are public domain. You may use these images for any purpose, including commercial.


The images in the BurningWell repository are in the public domain. Basically, this means that you are allowed to use the images freely for any purpose, commercial or private. You do not have to pay to use them, or even acknowledge or give credit to the BurningWell repository or original photographer.

Flickr – Creative Commons

The photos listed under the Attribution section allows you to copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work - and derivative works based upon it - but only if they give you credit
The photos listed under the Share Alike section allows others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

Photographs may be freely used by everyone. Unless something is clearly marked as being something other than public domain, you can assume it is free to use.

These websites and blubs I’ve added under each one are taken directly from their website. As I find more, I’ll be added more.

Note: The information is accurate at time of posting, please check with the website, to ensure that the requirements of usage have not changed.

Note: The public domain photograph shown is called, "Sunset In Serengeti", shot by Richard Spencer

Etsy Contest: A Handmade Moment

“Attention all artists, videographers, film students, DIY addicts, advertising students, home video makers, professionals, camera nerds and other creative members of the Etsy community: here's your chance to show the world how talented you are, and help us spread the Etsy gospel while you are at it!”




15 second or 30 second video of your own creation that advertises that is themed after “A Handmade Moment”


From June 1, 2009 until August 31, 2009



First Prize: $3,250Three Runners Up: $1,250Six Finalists: $500

For the specifics, i.e. the formal rules and guidelines, please see the official Etsy Storque page here:

Good luck to everyone!

Food for Thought: Etsy + Success

Success and Etsy

"Success depends on standing out, not fitting in"

-Don Draper

First and foremost, I have to say, truer words are seldom spoken, especially when you consider everything that is Etsy. From the community, the creations, the forums, getting on the front page, etc, it is nearly impossible to become a huge success trying to capitalize on someone else’s ideas.

You need to stand out! Etsy is all about being an individual, unique and original. The next time you’re thinking about what you want to create to sell next, take a step back and think about whether these thoughts cross your mind:

"What’s going to be the next big thing?"
"What a great idea - I could make one of those."
"That person sells a lot, I’m sure I could do that."
"I always see that color on the front page, I might use it too."
"I'm sure that pattern would be easy to modify."
"That seems to be the standard price - I'll charge the same."

And then try to keep these in mind:

“Is it wrong? Would I feel bad? Would I want someone doing that to me?”
“Can I get in trouble for it?”
“Do I really want to be a band wagon jumper?”
“How long will be copying someone else’s idea, keep me interested?”
“Do you feel like an artist?”
“How will it affect my own creativity?”

I’m not trying to judge anyone, everyone will make their own decisions based on their views on right & wrong, I was just thinking about a conversation I recently had and thought I would put it into words.

And I know the true originals are becoming harder and harder to create, however, when we stop trying to strive for “original”, will there still be a point in creating?

So...yes, it's completely barren right now, BUT...

Welcome, thanks for coming, please pull up a chair, sit down, feel free to grab a drink or a snack, and stay for a while...

Where oh where do I begin, well, my name is Teri! I created this blog to hopefully (keyword being hopefully) put into words, my artistically inspired ramblings. I'm thinking about "focusing" on the wondrous world of arts & crafts, in the hopes of dealing with my absolute, unyielding obsession of creating both beautiful yet functional pieces that anyone would love or at least appreciate (even if its from a distance - you know the whole, 'well its not something I would personally like but I could see how someone else might like it' or the less tactful, 'what the hell were you thinking'!

I'm also a HUGE fan of Etsy and the Handmade Movement! If you have a chance, you NEED to check Etsy out whenever you have a chance! I can't even begin to explain the amazing pieces you can find.

I've tried selling my pieces on Etsy but unfortunately, I don't think I have the discipline to create the same pieces over and over again (short attention span!). So I decided because of my obsession with learning to create new things (I'm the type that sees something I like and then brain starting churning, I could make that), and I thought I would start sharing some of things I've created and show others how I did it!

If anyone has any requests, comments, thoughts, feel free to let me know!


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