Friday, April 30, 2010

Dear Diary, In Praise of Online Friends.....

One of the things business gurus encourage you to do online is to network. One way of networking is to join a group. There are lots of groups you can join both within and outside of Etsy. Some are better than others, some have different vibes, but I think they all have their place. A while back I joined a group that I found via twitter. It's called Unique Women in Business. They provide a great support structure for fledgling entrepreneurs. It is a forum that you can ask for opinions and advice. The wide base of members are almost always able to provide you with some kind of first hand answers.They also provide a platform to promote one another's work. You do have to make one purchase a month from another member but with the wide range of businesses and products you can almost always find something you would need to buy anyway.  

So explore your options, talk with other entreprenuers in your niche, see what groups they belong too. Explore your options, the forums are a great place to learn about groups and the etsy teams. 

On a sidebar, I'd like to thank these lovely ladies for all the kind words they have passed my way since January. Some people don't really get the concept of online friends, but I can tell anyone who asks that the relationships are real. Thanks UWIB! 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dear Diary.....

Trying something new.....The listings I've done the last several weeks have been heavily fashion oriented. I have some paper ephemeral that has just been sitting about waiting to be listed so I changed tracks today and listed some of those pieces...

These are photogravure prints from an 1894 volume by Selmar Hess, Great Men and Women. I love the detail on the horses.....Wonderful pieces.. Also I've been so busy lately I seem to have lost some steam, I need to regroup, refocus, Think! My etsy shop has several different prints, I've also listed some vintage map pages for crafting or other uses, We'll see what happens!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear Diary....

Okay so today my usual bright and sunny disposition is not so bright. I am a believer in facing whatever comes your way with positive thoughts feelings and actions. I look for the best in each day and try to build on it. Sometimes all of us though just get in a funk, and today I'm in one. Wrecked car, lots of personal stuff to do and despite a plus of 800 views from Friday of last week until Monday I've had no sales. I even skipped posting yesterday, I was so busy with hubby computer probs, Avis rental car claims, etc.

I can't even think of anything fun or helpful to write about so that is why I'm writing about my funk!

One thing that my business group posted about yesterday was the Graphics Fairy. I'd never seen this site but it's pretty cool. So I guess I do have something to write about....Free Images, and some really great vintage ones....

Anyway you always hear if the same old thing isn't working to try something new, I'm off to think of something new. I usually don't go more than a day or two with no sales so this is discouraging. Until Tomorrow, Jamie.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dear Diary, What Kind of Weekend Was This?

Well guys, my weekend was good and bad, on a personal note, Friday night we were on our way to Dallas in the rain when a speeding car sideswiped us. As we were going down the freeway on two wheels all I could say was "HOLD ON!" Once again we were super lucky, minimal damage to our car (the other was totalled) kids were fine, dog fine, us fine. Other driver? no insurance, something fishy going on with the car, Avis shows it was never rented.... Drivers info address, phone number etc looks to be bogus...

Sales, only the 2 I got Friday. Up 500 views in my shop from Friday with multiple new Hearts. So I'm wondering how your weekend was?

On a very interesting note I got a tweet from Oktak that there is a new etsy hack app that you can use to remove your expired listings... for someone who has a couple of years worth of those that is exciting! I'm installing it later today but Oktak assures me it works, I'll let you know my results, here is the link.

So until tomorrow gotta go, (have car issues to work out!) Leave me a comment on how your weekend was sales or otherwise, I'd love to hear! Jamie

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dear Diary, Does My Shop Have the LOOK?

For those of you who sell vintage Etsy just put on their blog this week part 1 of their Guide to Selling Vintage. I browsed some of the shops mentioned and read the entry but one thing common to all the guides is PHOTOS. One of the most asked questions in any forum I've ever stumbled on has been never ending how do I take a good photo. It also calls to my mind some of the shops that have such wonderful images it becomes part of their shops branding or style. This is one of my favorite etsy shops, DearGolden.

Their photos are simple, always against the same background, always on the same dress form and highlight the merchandise. This has become their visual identity. Another seller, (whose name I will not reveal) relies on two pieces of copy paper and the great outdoors for her light. Even others rely on light boxes. Obviously using copy paper and light boxes your items have to be small but the same theory applies, the same look every time.

I went in search of my look when I started listing more clothing. I had to have a dress form so I was no longer photographing lumps of clothing flat on the tile floor. I got one off of ebay. Not the best of quality but the price was right. Ebay is an excellent source for light boxes, dress and jewelry forms. I then set out around the house to find a good background. I still don't know if I've found one but I settled on my stucco wall on the balcony for now. Here is my latest photographic endeavor.  Doesn't really compare to my "golden" standard but maybe I'll get there someday. It is a lot better than flat on the tile floor though! Complete weekend stats on Monday, but started off right with two sales late last night. Good Sales to everyone and until Monday, Jamie.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dear Diary....Day 4 Odds and Ends plus Google Analytics

Sales 2 for a whopping $8.74   Net $8.43 (total sales less etsy fee for sale)
New Listings, 0
Views +323 (how'd I do that?) see below...
New Shop Hearts 3

Yesterday I talked about Project Wonderful. Ironically I got what I'm sure was a form e-mail (but it was addressed to me personally so it made it seem better) from PW Customer Service asking for my feedback. Not sure how I'll respond yet but I will at some point, anyone with anything to say to them let me know!

Okay now to the meat of today's entry... I wanted to know how I got the bump in views with no new items so I went to google analytics to see where those views came from. Google Analytics is a kind of Back of the House for people with websites. You can see a post in the Storque about GA for those of you who don't know what it is.

Yesterday I had 96 visits from 90 different people. They looked on average at 3.83 pages per visit. Here's the surprise, only 25 of those visits came from people already on etsy's website. The rest of them, 71 others, came directly to my shop from google, a PW ad, twitter or other sources. Based on that I'd say outside marketing is extremely important to the views and eventually sales in your shop. Tags and the title of your items become very important too with google being the 2nd biggest source of views for me.

Do you know any useful little tidbits about google analytics? Do you use it? Let me know, as always, until tomorrow, Jamie.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 3, Project Wonderful

Okay daily stats really quick, No Sales Yesterday. 1 new listing, 198 new views, 1 new shop heart, multiple item hearts.

Yesterday I talked about passive and active marketing. I focused on active marketing like twitter and facebook. From the comments I got it looks like everyone really likes this social media and it really adds pleasure to their day as well as lets everyone know what they do. Tracy with PolishedTwo uses it as her only real marketing tool with great success.

Passive marketing is placing ads. There are two ways to do this, directly with the host site and through a broker. Project Wonderful is just that, an advertising space broker. You can submit your site earn money by getting ads placed on it and you can also bid on ad space to place your own ads. The ads come in different sizes, although I get the feeling the square is the most popular. You can see an ad just to the upper left of this blog. What do I like about having ads on my blog?
  • it can add variety to your blogpage
  • it can bring more people to your blog (they have to look at the blog to decide to advertise there)
  • it earns you a few cents
Now that I've earned a few cents I usually feel like I need to spread those pennies around by placing ads of my own. My ad is pretty simple and they are really easy to set up. You search for available ad space by using key words. I search by using the term vintage and by using the term etsy. You can then visit the blogs, see stats on them like views and make decisions on bids. Most space is available for .40 cents or less, but blogs with huge traffic can be several dollars. Here's the question, do they bring any more views to your shop?

I placed 21 bids over the last week, ranging from a penny to 40 cents. I have won with all of them at different times. It resulted in 13, I said 13 total expenditure over the last week was about $3.50. So while I love the concept of Project Wonderful and I will continue to use it, (gotta do something with the pennies I earn on this blog) I don't expect much in terms of sales results. Maybe I'm using it wrong. If you have different ideas about Project Wonderful let me know in the comments, or what is your favorite way or place to put an ad.....
Until tomorrow, Jamie.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 2, Dear Diary......

What happened yesterday? Listed 5 items, Sold 1, Gained 1 Shop Heart. 
Financially? Made 9.99, Spent 1.34 (listing fees, plus .34 for the sale) for a net profit of $8.65; Less cost of goods, and well it is a little less than $8.65 hmmmmmm.

On the bright side I did sell an item and gain a heart so here's to repeating a sale today and more sales in the future. 

Yesterday, I mentioned promotional efforts. I divide promotions/marketing into two types. Passive and Active. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about active. I think those are things like Twitter, Facebook, Plurk and whatever other social media you use. It is active because it requires your time to interface with the platform and users. You just have to be careful how much time you spend. It can get addicting, but it does work. Last week I sold an item to @MerCuriosJewels. She saw it on twitter from her phone and bought it from her phone. Hey, marketing in action. Her Etsy shop is pretty great too, check it out

Tracy with an awesome etsy shop who recently hit 5000 sales (GASP) uses facebook a lot for her marketing. So I guess it is kind of what you are comfortable with.

What's your favorite form of active marketing and why? Submit what works for you by commenting. I'd love to hear and I'm sure others would too!
Until tomorrow, Jamie.

Monday, April 19, 2010

STATS - A Starting Point......

Okay, Where to start my Diary? Well since my aim is to grow my shop how about my current stats.

My shop started selling vintage in February of 2009, before that I sold handmade so here it is since vintage...

Sales since 2/2009       346
Sales Per Month            23
Shop Hearts                447
Items for sale             178
Shop Views            23,305
Avg Views/Item           131

These are fairly simple stats, I didn't dig down into item hearts, or any of the google analytics data, but the numbers I chose are what we would have called topline stats a few years ago and I think they should be a good measure of my overall success in getting more sales. 

These simple topline stats are easily available in your shop and by using . If you are new to the etsy game you will be sure to want to check it out. 

On the agenda for today? 
  •  Shipping - I have two weekend sales to ship
  • Listing - I have several items to photograph and list  (affecting views and sales hopefully)
  • I always, answer e-mails, tweet, check on other promotional efforts (more to come there!)
So Until Tomorrow! J.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Under Construction.....

Now that my garage is finished I'm shifting focus. I have been really concentrating a lot on my vintage shop retrochique. Not spending a lot of time working but thinking what can I do to really develop it? So while my workroom for Destination Handmade is really not inhabitable (still a little left to do there) I am going to work every day on my vintage shop. I decided to make this an open forum, I'm going to try anything and everything to boost it and maybe come up with some best practices. And when I say open forum, I mean it, I leave the comments open for critique, suggestions, questions etc.

In preparation for my start next week my blog is a little under you may see some things coming and going here.....until Monday, when the Diary of an Etsy Vintage Seller starts!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

testing, testing, testing.......

Well it is that time of year, my kids just finished the TAKS, and the Practice TAKS.....UGH.
For those of you not from Texas it is the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. This is a yearly process the kids go through, learning the skills to take the test, practicing the test and then actually taking the test. It is divided up by grade and subject and takes entirely toooo much time and focus in the school. Well, I mean, that is how the teachers get paid so what do you think happens?

When I was in school here in Texas we didn't even have our own test, I remember taking the CATS (California Achievement Test) test a couple of times, but it was nothing we actually prepared for. It tested us over what we should have already learned.

I remember in high school taking some kind of army sponsored aptitude test. The high point of the test was when the administrator of the test, a coach/vocational teacher called us all jackasses for misbehaving and well being jackasses during the test.

My evaluation came back that I should be an engineer. Since my name is ambiguous the army was sending personal recruiting letters to Mr. Jamie Loftis for the next two years.

Well I think that the teachers should teach, those who want to learn will learn, those who want to be jackasses will be well, jackasses. Teaching our kids how to pass a test, well, I think that is being, well, you know.......

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


OKAY! Drumroll needed here, I have posted above the garage before and after pics, so just a few words on Wordless Wednesday......

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fresh Start.....

Since the fire life has been a little unsettled. Well the garage is finished now, new carpet in our house, electrical done.... we thought maybe it was time for a little vacation. So the two younger kids, my husband and I went to Playa Escondida in Sayulita, Mexico. It was a tech free vacation, no phones, no cell service, very spotty internet, and no television. The surroundings were beautiful, the food delicious, alcohol plentiful and the sea breeze intoxicating. The kids (including my husband) played in the surf while I relaxed and unwound. I had my first ever hot stone massage and it was well worth it.......

I also splurged and read a book. I used to read a lot, now I'm a movie fanatic, takes less time but has somewhat the same payoff. But in tech free Playa Escondida there were numerous books left by others and no televisions so I read Stephanie Meyer's New Moon. I reviewed the movie Twilight and became a fan. The book New Moon did not disappoint. Still a total feminine, romantic fantasy...... Where else can you get someone who is gorgeous, loves your flawed self, saves you at every turn, is wealthy, etc etc.....It is what every girl dreams of unconditional acceptance and protection. And so I'm back at home now, All that is left is to clean up my poor neglected work room, I will admit though I went on amazon and ordered the third Twilight installment tonight, Eclipse. I'll let you know.....