Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Hermit is coming out of her shell.

Today I'm going to meet other Etsy folk and do some crafty stuff. This is organized by the peeps of EtsyRain - the Seattle Etsy team.  The event is called "Crafterhours" and is held after regular business hours at  a store called Venue in Ballard. They open their shop and craft space to our group once a month for gathering and crafting.  I'm looking forward to it!  However...

I'm getting nervous just thinking about it. I feel like I'm going on a blind date. LOL!  This is actually a big deal for me. It's not easy for me to meet new people.  Except for going to work and church I am quite a hermit.  I have two close friends and I rarely go outside of my comfort zone and meet new people. 

Being a seller on the Internet is comfortable because of the relaxed interaction with people via email, blogging, Twitter and such.  Online social networking comes easy to me.  Meeting people in person...err, not so much.  My nerves get the better of me, I don't talk a lot, so I tend to avoid most social situations or become a wallflower.  Typing this out I see I'm coming off really awkward - LOL - but it's true.  I'm a little awkward.

Last week I decided I'm going to just go for it so I RSVPed for the meetup and it's happening tonight. These are people I might be selling with at future craft shows. It would be smart of me to network with them a little, right? Right. I need to be more active in this local group because it will be good for business and maybe I'll (gasp!) make a few friends. I'm sure it will be a good time and I hope to make it a monthly thing and perhaps be bold enough to go to some of the other meets when they happen.

Anyone else awkward in social settings or are you all enthusiastic go-getters?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cleaning my virtual crafthouse

Today I spent a lot of time cleaning up my virtual craftshouse.  I reorganize my actual craft supplies regularly at home (and I even have some things stashed at work!)  to keep inventory up to date and items their proper places.  I rarely think about cleaning up my virtual world.  But since my business is online it is very necessary to dedicate some time every now and then to making sure all my ducks are in a row and my shop is up to date.  Since I just got back from a nice vacation now was a good time to reorganize and get ready for the busy months ahead. 

First I started by removing some items from my Etsy shop that just aren't selling - I am going to take some new photos and relist those another time.  Gotta work on the descriptions and think about why they have so many views but those views are not translating into sales. 

I also removed a couple items that I want to keep available for my upcoming craft shows because they are real stunners in person and I want them on my table purely for visual purposes.  If someone wants to buy them - great! After the craft shows are over for the season I will relist any items which are still available.

Next I went through my Flickr site.  I use my Flickr for personal/vacation photos as well as my crafty photos.  (I need to consider opening a second Flickr account for my crafts only but that decision will come at a later time.) 

I have all my craft photos in different "Sets" - One for Listed Items, one for Not Listed items, and one for misc things like promo pictures, craft event pictures, and everything else having to do with my little business.  I specifically needed to clean up the Listed and Not Listed folders.  I started off moving items from one category to another.  I don't always remember to get things in the Listed folder after I list it.  Next I started deleting old pictures of items that have already sold.  I did keep some of the old pictures for promo or jury photo needs.  Deleting duplicates and blurry pictures was also necessary.  Some pics will just never get better with editing and you just have to start from scratch. 

I also finished editing/cropping some pics of items waiting to be listed.  Flickr is finally clean and all up to date.  After that was said and done I took a few items in the Not Listed folder and put them in my shop.  Those are the photos you see throughout this post.

I updated Twitter a few times, showcasing the new items I've listed and caught up on some Tweets from my favorite folks.  Tried not to spend too much time (or money!) browsing all their goodies. 

Before starting this blog post I went through and caught up on my blog reading.  Again, tried not to spend too much time and money browsing and buying everything I saw.  Made a few comments here and there.  

I also went through all my blog posts and LABELED all of them!  This is something I frequently forget to do.  I love it when I read someone's blog and want to see more posts on the same topic and they have their little handy label cloud/list for clicking.  This is such a handy tool.  If only I remember to label!!

And now this!  This is my last task on my Virtual Cleanup.  Blog about cleaning.  LOL!

What am I going to do now that my Virtual Cleanup is complete?  Probably make more crafty messes with beads and trinkets.  Thinking about making more car mirror rosaries today and taking more pictures tomorrow.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wishing and Hoping!

Back from vacation!  Reopened Etsy shop and ready for business - sorta.  It's always hard getting back into the swing of things after a relaxing vacation.  I need to renew a couple items today and resume editing/croping pictures of product waiting to be listed.

I'm hoping in the next 4 days I will have the decisions on the two big craft shows I applied to.  One said they will contact the vendors on October 1st and the other said the announcements will be made "late September". 

I'm feeling very hopeful about one of them (Big Show #1) because they extended the application deadline, which leads me to think they didn't get as many applicants as expected so perhaps there was room for more. 

I'm half-way hoping I don't get accepted to the other Big Show (#2) because the booth fee is a little intimidating. More than double the cost of the fee at Big Show #1. Given the fact that I've never sold at such large events before I have no idea if I will make enough to cover costs.  However, gotta stay hopeful.  Even if I don't make a profit I would still come out ahead in the marketing department since this is a heavily sponsored and advertised event.  Getting the word out there about my little shop and my little trinkets would be a wonderful thing and worth the price of admission.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Vacation - Viva Las Vegas!

Etsy shop it set to Vacation mode for a week.  I'm going to be in vacation mode myself on Wednesday but wanted to close up shop a little early so I didn't get any surprise orders I needed to rush out.  I'll reopen the shop on Monday 9/28.

Where am I going?

Just a quick get-away to Vegas for some R&R.  Going solo but will be meeting up with some people there for fun and frolic - within reason, of course.  I'm not a party girl.  I'm mostly just looking forward to relaxing in my hotel room, maybe at the pool, and simply NOT being at work. 

Yay for vacations!  Viva Las Vegas!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Make Your Own Rosary Kits!

Premiering on Etsy today - I have listed my Make Your Own Rosary Kits!  I've been very excited putting these together and getting them ready to go.  It's been something I've wanted to do for a long time. 

Everyone will recieve enough beads, spacers, string and other parts needed to make one full 5-decade rosary.  Complete instructions and a pamphlet on how to pray the rosary will also be included.  No tools are needed to make the rosary.  If you can string a bead and tie a knot, you can make one!

These are especially fun for children (under adult supervision, of course!), parents who homeschool or anyone who needs a rainy day project.  I would have loved to do something like this when I was in RCIA!

I've priced them very inexpensively, at $3 each.  With materials, free shipping & shipping envelopes, etc. this is zero profit for me.  I am offering them at such a low price because I want them to be affordable for those who want learn more about their faith and the use of sacramentals in prayer.

I have lots of these little kits available.  If you want more than one just send me a Convo through my Etsy shop and I can create a custom listing for you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blak/White Rosary Treasury

A lovely Etsy user, BeadedTreasuresEtc, created an all-Rosary Treasury featuring black and white rosaries.  My Black/Silver-capped rosary was selected to be featured among the other beautiful beads fro my fellow Rosary makers.  How nice!

Shepherd's Hook Bookmarks

Today I am making a whole bunch of bookmarks.  Some may go in my shop and some may just wait in my inventory for the Holiday craft shows.  I have enough bookmarks and enough holy medals to make 16 different pieces.

I love the way these bookmarks hook over the side of my books letting the beads & medals dangle down.  I love the pretty jingle noise they make when the beads and the medals clink together.  And the idea of them being a "Shepherd's Hook" is beautiful imagery in just the words themselves. 

I really like making these pieces and they have proved very popular in sales.  I have had several custom orders for multiple bookmarks with specific Saints.  I can't always find all the Holy Medals requested but I do try. 

Visit the Bookmarks/Magnets section of my shop to see the other bookmarks I have to offer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

St. Anne's parish - Seattle

Sunday I went to a different church. I went to St Anne's parish, aptly located on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. It's a whole world of different than going to the large Cathedral I normally go to. Much more intimate with only 200+/- people in attendance whereas I'm used to standing-room-only 1000+ people in the big Cathedral.

Something weird happened before Mass started. A guy was at the podium greeting everyone and making a couple announcements. Then he asked for any new people or visitors to raise their hand. The people sitting next to me raised their hand so I did too. Then the guy asked us to stand up and introduce ourselves.

WHAT? Why is he look straight at me? Oh crap - stage fright!

So I stood up and a couple other folks did too. I was the first one to speak and I just said my name, said I lived in Seattle and regularly go to the Cathedral - just visiting this parish for the first time. Everyone else who stood up was out of state visitors. Made me feel like a dork for being the only local newbie.

Then the guy at the podium told everyone that we'd start mass soon and while we wait we should greet our visiting newbies. People are shaking my hand and all that kind of stuff.

I was a pretty freaked out by that whole greet the newbies thing. I had flashbacks to when I would go to a Morman church service with a friend of mine. Whenever I came with her I was vultured over by dozens of people who wanted to know all about me like they'd get Amway points or free Tupperware for converting the new girl.

I hated being swarmed like that and this thing at the Catholic church made me feel a little like that. Other than a handshake and a hello and a nod and a peace sign people left me alone. The lady next to me did hold my hand during the Lord's Prayer but I like that so it was cool. I've never expereienced that newbie greeting thing at any of the other parishes I've been to so it was odd. But once mass started it was business as usual and I could chill out.

Other thoughts about the parish. It is a very modern building with some very modern artwork. I liked it. Put some pictures below. The priest was cool and funny - although there were times I think I was the only one giggling. Not inappropriately, but I guess he said things that only tickled me during the homily. When mass was finished, before the blessing, he cracked a joke about how someone's cellphone went off during the Eucharist. He didn't want to stop and ask who it was...but now he wanted to know "So, who was it?" I don't think anyone admited to it but everyone got a good chuckle.

I am thinking about going back there next weekend. They are having a big to-do because they are getting a new crucifix for the space above the baptismal font. It's going to be a life-sized corpus of Christ and they will have it down at the altar for people to venerate before they hang it up on the big wall. I'd like to see that. But this time I'm not going to stand up as a newbie...cause I'm not new anymore.

St. Anne parishSt. Anne parish

St. Anne Parish

St. Anne Parish

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time to Destash

Went through some crafting stash and found some things I no longer need or use.  My Destash could be your Treasure!  Check out my Destash Sale  Free shipping on most items.  Help me clean house!

Memory wire, seed and bugle beads, glass marbles and more!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sales and inventory

According to Etsy, I am 10 sales away from 100 sales.  I know I have sold many more than 100 items, most of my custom orders are multiple items inside of one listing, but this is a little milestone to look forward to. 

Thinking of inventory, I'm trying to figure out if I should put my shop on Vacation mode if I get accepted to these big craft shows.  I'll find out if I make it to one or both of them in the next 3 weeks.  So for three weeks it will be Etsy business as usual.  But if I get accepted to the shows, I may have to close shop for a while to  conserve inventory. 

My concern is if I get accepted to both big shows that will be 4 days I will need to stay stocked.  Since I have never done shows of this scale before I can't predict in advance what will sell and what won't.  I want to have a good-sized inventory.  I have 61 things listed online right now.  I have another 40+/- things not yet listed.  I'll be making a few more items out of supplies I already have. But I don't want to spend a lot of money on materials to bulk up inventory because that essentially eats up any profits I haven't even made yet!  Heck, I don't even know if any of my products will sell!  I could come out at a loss just paying the booth fees! 

However...I don't want to have my shop closed for over a month and shut out my dear online customers.  Especially it being so close to the gift-giving season and all. There's got to be a happy medium.

How do you crafty folk do it?  How do you balance your shop and your craft show inventory?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crossing fingers...again

So, I pretty much went crazy and applied for a SECOND big craft show.  Am I insane??  LOL!

I've been wanting to be a part of an Urban Craft Uprising show ever since I started my Etsy shop.  They do two HUGE shows a year - Summer and Winter - and I always enjoy going to the shows but have been too sacred to apply.  They have huge exposure in the Seattle community with sponsors and advertising all over the place, including Craft: magazine.  People line up over an hour before the doors open to get a Swag bag (I know I did!).  Last Winter alone they had over 8000 buyers in the door over the course of the 2 day event.  This is a HUGE deal.

Since I already got the nerve to apply for the other Big Show, I figured I might as well throw my hat in the ring for Big Show #2.  This one would come 2 weeks after the first.

Either I get in to one, or I get into the other, or I get in to both, or I get in to neither of them.  There's a 25% chance for anything.  Might as well, go for it, right?  Right!

I'm trying very hard to be confident but I am honestly very, very nervous!

LOLCats are LOLove!

I saw this today on ICanHasCheezburger and had to share it.

I LOL-LOVE that website!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The wait begins...

I went ahead and applied to that big craft show I was warbling about a couple days ago. I won't know until Ocotber 1st if I am accepted or not. The wait begins...

Even though I don't know how the coin will turn on that decision yet, I am still going forward and ramping up production on a few items and buying supplies to have me prepared for the coming months. I have already received advanced notice from a couple repeat-customers of things they are intending to request from me for the Christmas season. And I will also, of course, be selling at my church's Advent Bazaar.

I need to start thinking about craft show display ideas. I wasn't that pleased with the way my table looked the last time I was a vendor. I went to several craft shows this Summer as a buyer and saw how beautiful some of the displays. I need to work on making my display more inviting.

I also want to look into the Propay thing for accepting credit cards if I am going to be vending more. A local credit union that I belong to also offers a small merchant package so I need to check out rates on that too.

I really hope I will be accepted to that big show. It's exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time.

Happy Birthday to my friend Mary

Today, September 8th, the Catholic church celebrates the birth of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos (God bearer).

Without getting too preachy and scare people away (lol!), I just want to say that Mary has played a huge role in my life long before I became a Catholic. She holds a dear place in my heart.

Today I will be making more rosaries in her honor, as always, and will be saying a few extra prayers of thanks for everything she has done for me.

Thy birth, O Virgin Mother of God,
heralded joy to all the world.
For from thou hast risen the Sun of justice,
Christ our God.

Destroying the curse, He gave blessing;
and damning death, He bestowed on us
life everlasting.

Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
For from thou hast risen of Sun of justice,
Christ our God.

­ from The Divine Office - Matins (Morning Prayer)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lavender Treasury

My purple crackle-glass rosary was selected for a Lovely Lavender Treasury! Clicks and Comments are love!


Sleepless, crafty night...

Last night/This morning I had to work Graveyard shift. It was a long night, but I got a lot of crafting done. Working alone at night is kind of fun when you have beads and baubles to play with to keep you awake. And I could bring the stinky glue to make some more glass magnets without annoying my coworkers. Here's a couple examples of the new magnets:

Unfortunately I don't have the names of most of these Saints. Some of them I recognize but some of them I don't I got a sheet of holy card prints last year some time but just now got around to using them. For the ones I can't identify I'll probably keep in storage for my next vending show instead of putting them in my Etsy shop. I like to put stories and information about the Saints I feature and having "random, unknown Saint magnets" just doesn't seem professional. LOL

I also made a few more Car Mirror rosaries which will get posted soon. Here's a sneak peek:

Today will be spent editing photos and packaging up a couple orders. I really should get to some laundry but that will have to wait for tomorrow. I'm just too tired for manual labor chores today.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Applying to my first big show...

My local Etsy Group - EtsyRain - has put together a BIG, two-day show for November and are now accepting applications. I have never applied to a show this size before and I've never been able to show at any of the smaller events the group have previously puton due to "day job" obligations getting in the way. So this is a huge step for me if I get accepted.

I AM SO NERVOUS and I haven't even sent the application in yet!

I'm nervous because this is so much bigger than selling at my church and it's been several years since a friend and I used to sell at the Fremont Market. This is BIG TIME!

I am also nervous because I have never had to APPLY to a craft show before and submit pictures to a jury. We are only allowed to send 3 pictures with the application. THREE! How can three little pictures accurately showcase my product line?

I've been pouring over pictures all morning - items currently in my shop, items that have sold from my shop, items that I haven't listed yet. I think I've narrowed down that I want to submit one picture of a rosary, one picture of a bookmark, and one picture of a purse fob/zipper pull. Those are my best selling items and now I just have to find the perfect example of each one.

My eyes are going to be crossed permanently from scrutinizing my pictures. LOL!

I know I'm not the first to freak out about these little worries, and I won't be the last, but I'm especially nervous because this will be first time putting myself on the line to be judged by my peers. I just need to remember to breathe and throw in a prayer or two that my products are worthy to be a part of this show.

I'd love to read your blog posts about your first juried craft show application so please link me to them so I can get empathy and inspiration. I'd also love to hear any tips of tricks you have when it comes to applying for a show - especially the difficult task of choosing the right photographs.



Saturday, September 5, 2009

Better late than never!

9 months after opening this blog I finally get around to updating this "baby"!

A fellow EtsyRain member, Designs by Victoria, posted how she is doing a "30 Days Has September" challenge for herself to update her blog every day this month with new items. Inspired by that I hope to be a better blogger myself. I don't know that I have the fortitude to challenge myself to a full 30 days right now, so I am going to set myself a goal of at least two posts every week.

I'm actually quite embarrassed it has taken me this long to get started. I blame Twitter! LOL! I have been having so much fun on Twitter meeting new people who are so talented and wonderful in so many different ways. I want this blog to continue to reach out and meet more people and share my love of God and Handmade crafts with the world.

So for now I ask of you, my new readers, please follow this blog and please follow Prayers4Theresa on Twitter. I'd love to learn all the tips and tricks you know on how to be a better blogger. With your help I hope to make this a great meeting place for all who come here.

Peace be with you all,