Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The BIG craft show wrap-up.

First off, BIG THANK YOU to the EtsyRain team, specifically the organizers, for making this event possible.  It was my very first two-day show and it was exciting and challenging all at the same time. The show was a huge success for our street team and customers alike. You may be able to see in my first picture the line of people waiting outside of the venue for the doors to open Saturday morning.  It was cold. They were brave. And they wanted those awesome EtsyRain swag bags!

Secondly, thank you to everyone who has followed me here on my blog and on my Twitter as I frantically prepared for this show. Thank you for the tips and tricks I learned by reading all of your blogs and Twitters and Etsy forum posts. Thank you for your words of support and encouragement.

The show was a lot of fun. Stressful, but fun.  I got to meet some really wonderful people, both crafters and customers.  I got to buy some really cool things.  And I sold a little bit too.

This was a big risk for me - sticking my neck out into the "indie" community and trying to sell my Catholic goodies among all the fine and funky jewelry, knitted comfy things, hand-sewn clothing, soaps, and other goods made by our crafty community.  My products really speak to a small market of people - I know this and I embrace this.  So this was a real test to see if I could hold my own among them. 

How did I do? I know you only want to hear about the money.  lol  Well, I made back my booth fee.  That's about it.  But I did not walk away totally discouraged.  I was paid in compliments, smiles, and kind words. I got some great ideas on how I can branch out my offerings for future shows.  I made some friends and I got my name and my business out there.  Lots of business cards were taken. Some custom orders may be on the horizon. 

I have two more shows coming up this season.  Both will be a little more focused on my target audience (at a Catholic school and at my church).  And I hope to announce some exciting additions to my Etsy shop in the new year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blog Feature and Giveaway!


CherryBlossomsDesign was kind enough to feature me on her blog
and together we are offering one of my favorite rosaries in a giveaway!

Please visit her blog to enter in the contest. 
This Giveaway ends November 23, 2009 at 12 PM EST.

Good luck!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Buy Handmade! Buy Seattle-Made!

Buy handmade this holiday season - buy Seattle-made from the EtsyRAIN team! 70 talented local artisans will be selling unique, handmade delights ready for gift-giving.

The EtsyRAIN Holiday Art &Craft Show will be held in the lobby of Intiman Theatre (201 Mercer Street) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, November 21-22. Two full days!

The first 50 people in line each day will receive a swag bag filled with awesome stuff from our EtsyRAIN members.

The featured charity for this year’s holiday event is Treehouse, an organization for kids in foster care, providing services that no other agency addresses.

Admission to the event will be a suggested donation of $1 that will go directly to Treehouse or an article of warm clothing for a foster child in need. There will also be a raffle for a gift basket filled with amazing products from the EtsyRain team.

Facebook event link -

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Win this Rosary! Twitter contest!


To celebrate Advent (a little early) it would be my pleasure to give this rosary a loving home. I will ship it to you for free if you win. Details about the contest are below, but first, here's a little more about the rosary you can win:

This is a beautiful, handmade rosary is made with Czech glass 6mm beads in a bright cherry red and clear crystal accents beads. Silvertone centerpiece of the Virgin Mary and Child and beautiful crucifix of our Lord. Aprox 17 inches in length when laid out end to end. Retail value $20 in my Etsy shop. Actual value, priceless!

Great care and thoughtful prayer is put in to all rosaries I make. Each bead is pinned and linked to the next with strong materials to last years of use. Please note this rosaries is intended to help facilitate prayer and are is meant to be worn as jewelry.

An organza pouch will be included for the rosary as well as a wallet-sized card with instructions on how to pray the rosary.

Contest rules:

1. Follow @prayers4theresa on Twitter

2. RT the following message no more than once per hour to qualify.

Win this #handmade #Catholic #Rosary for Advent! Follow @prayers4theresa 301st RT will #win! 1 RT/hr.

3. 301st person to RT this message will win. I will DM the winner with notification.

4. If there is no 301st RT, if the contest stops rolling, the giveaway will close with no winner and the rosary will go back up for sale in my Etsy shop.
Good Luck!

Monday, November 16, 2009


I've resisted this long enough, I guess.  I finally set up a Facebook Fan Page for my shop.

I don't use Facebook on a regular basis.  I find the website extremely difficult to navigate and irksome.  having people from my past pop up and find me kinda of freaks me out too.  But all the cool kids are creating Fan Pages so I should too, right?  I don't even know if I did it correctly (again, the site is a chore to make sense of!) but my items show up under the "My Stuff" tab so that's as good as it is going to get.  I don't know if I'll add any more pics or deal with it really.  My true loves are this blog, Twitter, and the handmade forums I read.  I don't really want to add another project to my plate, but I figured I'd at least create the Facebook page and get it over with.

LOL - can you tell how excited I am about this? 

So "Fan" me or "Friend" me or whatever on Facebook if you want to.  Just know I am not going to be very active over there. 

Friday, November 13, 2009


I'm thrilled that I have TWO items in this Treasury!  My bone hairsticks and my mini-holy medal pin.  All the items selected are a lovely reminder of Our Lady.

Yes, that is my hair, by the way.  LOL!

Update to previous post

I just wanted to add a little extra to my post from yesterday about "Why I'll never be an Etsy Featured Seller." I hope I didn't ruffle any feathers about the One-of-a-Kind vs. Sell/Relisted comparison I was making.

It was not my intent to insult anyone who is lucky enough to have a craft that allows them to sell multiple quantities of the same item. I am honestly a tad jealous of you who do because it means less time taking photographs and editing them, less time writing and re-writing Etsy listings, and probably a larger profit because you buy supplies in bulk and at wholesale prices.

And I am not saying that my items, primarily being OOAK, are any better than yours for the simple fact that they can't be duplicated. I know that each and every person who creates something handmade works very hard to do so. I do not doubt that you work equally as hard as I do, if not more because you sell more and list more than I do. One of my idols in the handmade crafting world recently shared with me that she got an order for over 600 handmade silver rings which she wholesales to a jewelry mail-order catalog. She is a much busier and harder working woman than myself with my weird little beads in mismatched sets. I admire her and envy her all at the same time.

So again, I apologize if anyone felt I was boasting about my OOAK items. The post was meant to illustrate how I could never be an Etsy Featured Seller and that my OOAK items are a major hindrance to that goal. I did not intend to insult anyone.

Peace be with you all,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'll never be an Etsy Featured Seller

It's been long aparant to me that I will never be an Etsy Featured Seller.  Even if suddenly there was a run on rosaries and religous gifts (possibly the panic of 2012? LOL!) I'm pretty darn sure I still would not be a contensant in the running to be an Etsy Featured Seller.  There's one major thing holding me back from this Featured Seller dream - I don't make mass produced items. I can't twitter the phrase "sold and relisted" very often. 

I will admit I get jealous of those who can sell and relist their most popular items.  These are also the people with the numbers of sales that I can only dream of.  But I also hold a great deal of pride that I offer items that can't be found anywhere else.  I don't make normal "jewelry".   I make items to inspire prayer - and invigorate Faith.  I don't see how making cookie cutter duplicates would possibly be appropriate since Prayer and Faith are such uniquely personal things.

Out of the 11 different items I make, there are exactly two things which can be reproduced fairly easily as long as I can continue to get the parts needed - and those would be my Mini Medal Brooches and my Holy Medal Cell Charms/Zipper Pulls.  Everything else is One of a Kind (OOAK).

I love being able to offer my customers OOAK items.  No two rosaries will be alike.  No two bracelets will be alike.  No two beaded fobs will be alike.  I can try to make "matching" pieces if someone wants more than one item but they will probably only be similar in color.  Where's the fun and art in makng duplicates?

I have one customer who has purchased at least 10 fobs from me this year (and she has already told me she is ordering 12 more this Christmas) and each and every one of her items is truely unique and different from the rest.  She gives some as gifts but, funny enough, she keeps most of them for herself to adorn her own collection of purses - so no matter what bag she has with her that day she has her Holy Medal charms jingling merrily with her.  So while a lot of them are in various tones of blue they are each still individual and special.  And she knows that no other customer of mine will have another one just like it.

My beads are as unique as my customers.  My customers are not carbon copies of each other so why should their products be?  I specifically buy most of my beads from other Etsy sellers "destash".  They don't want or need the beads anymore so they sell them.  While it may not be wholesale pricing when you're just scooping up 10-20 random beads, having a good selection of beads means more to me than saving a penny or two.  I make up those pennies when I buy my findings in bulk. 

I enjoy the creativity of making items using random assortments of mismatched beads.  It keeps my crafting fresh and new to me.  I don't get bored of making the same thing over and over again. 

So I'm gad I'll never be an Etsy Featured Seller.  I'll take quality over quantity any day.  I'll take imperfect and different over carbon copies.  I'll take unique and made with love over mass produced. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Craft show banner

Since I've booked these upcoming craft shows I have been looking for a banner for my table.  I am not crafty in the sewing arts so I didn't feel abitious enough to make something from fabric.  But I am crafty at hunting down a good deal - I found that deal at Vistaprint!

Vistaprint has recently started making large vinyl banners and the price can't be beat!  And the fact that YOU customize your banner to look exactly the way you want it to is fantastic.  I got myself a "small" 3'x1.6' banner with my own photography and hanger-tabs for less than $15 - including shipping!!  I think it turned out fantastic (if I can brag...)

Looks even better in person (if I may continue to brag...)  It was printed and delivered to my door in about 10 days.  I absolutely love it.  I can't wait to see it proudly displayed on my craft show booth.  But for now it is proudly photographed on my living room floor.  LOL

There are different schools of thought about Vistaprint.  Some people (like me) love them and some people don't.  I've been ordering business cards from them for many, many years and have never been disapointed.  They do have a tendancy to go overboard on the emails - spamming me at least once a day about a sale.  Every day is a sale at Vistaprint so I just ignore the emails and order when I need to order.  I love that I have a fantastic craft show banner, glossy postcards, and business cards all with the same brand recognizability.  My rosary. My photograph. And now my banner, postcards, and more. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Promo bags and postcards

2 more weeks until my BIG craft show!  You know I have been prepping like crazy!  Last night I completely finished the shopping bags I have for my customers.  (I apologize for the dark picture - darn cameraphone.)

I started with a couple boxes of business cards and stuck labels on the back of each card with a promo code for shopping at my Etsy shop.  Using the promo code in the "Message to Seller" part of checkout process the customer will get 10% off the order and free shipping.  Not a bad deal, I'd say! 

These business cards are attatched to the 100 swag buttons that will be given away for the first 50 people who come to the show each day.  The business cards sitting out on my table will also have the promo stickers.  And each shopping bag for a customer who purchases from me will get a card with promo sticker already stuffed inside the bag.  So potentially, early customers who get a swag bag, grab a card off my table, and buy something from me will walk away with 3 of my business cards.  Maybe that's overkill, but I don't think it hurts.  LOL

The little paper bags I got for the shoppers was easily printed on using my inkjet printer at home.  I ran each one through and printed my shop information on them including website.  Brand recognition is everything, right?  I was originally thinking of getting a custom-stamp made but pricing it out I realized it would cost just as much to replace my ink cartridge as it would to get a big stamp made for me.  I think they turned out really well.   

Last, but not least, I added a little slip of paper into each of the bags letting customers know that I have two more local craft shows coming up and where to find me.  I included the dates, addresses, and times of the events.  On the paper I noted that if they come visit me at these other shows I'll give them a free gift!

Having the pre-stuffed shopping bags is going to be very helpful.  Hopefully all the promo inside and on the bags themselves will lead to a few online sales and maybe a visit or two at my next shows for some last-minute purchases. 

In addition to the promo shopping bags I will also have a small stack of promo postcards I had specially made.  These full-color postcards contain images of my own items and all my contact information.  Email, website, Twitter, and Blog.  I am not going to hand these out to the public willy nilly, but there have been times in the past when someone shows particular interest saying things like "These would be perfect at our church bookstore!" I'll whip out one of these impressive cards just for them (and maybe give them a "sample" rosary) in the hopes that they will contact me after the show for future business.  The post cards are so large and colorful they will be less likely to lose than a little business card in the bottom of a purse or stuffed in a wallet. 

With the exception of buying a second table cloth (or bedsheet!), I am just about done with all my craft show prep.  Most items are made and price tagged.  I've done a test display.  I may do a second test display this weekend.  I really feel well prepared.  Hopefully that sense of preparadness doesn't go flying out the window on the big day.  Trying not to jinx myself by being too optimistic!  LOL

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All Saints Treasury

Inspired by All Saints and All Souls days this week, I found a beautiful litany of Saints right on Etsy and made a Treasury.  Would greatly appreciate your clicks and comments on the Treasury page:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Go International

I'm taking the plunge to ship Internationally again.  I stopped shipping outside of the U.S. earlier in the year for two main reasons - 1) I was worried about not being able to track packages/having lost items and 2) I'm too lazy to go to the post office multiple times a week when I can click and ship Domestic orders through PayPal.

The worry about the lost packages isn't really gone, but I have been lucky enough not to have it happen yet.  I've shipped to the UK, Australia, and even Singapore before without trouble.  Why worry about something that may never occur?  I'll cross that bridge when, and if, I come to it.

And thanks to a fantastic post in the Etsy Forums, I have learned I can now click and print authorized Customs labels for International shipments and not have to go to the post office! 

Using the USPS Shipping Assistant I can print those pesky Customs forms and just adhear the correct amount in postage to the package (to be clear, we're talking stamps, not PayPal labels).  Anything under 13oz. can be dropped in a blue Mailbox or given to your Mail Carrier without needing to go to the post office.  I already have a postage scale so I can accurately price my shipments using the Postage Calculator.  The only reason I'll need to go to the post office is to buy some assorted stamps (75¢, 41¢, 26¢, 4¢, 3¢, 2¢ and 1¢). 

I've revised my listings with what I think are appropriate International shipping costs for the weight and materials needed to ship my items.  I'll post again in December or January and let you know how this new shipping method is working for me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Craft Show Dress Rehersal - Display practice.

I've been neglecting the blog (sorry!) but that doesn't mean I've been sitting around on my duff. Ok, maybe a little of duff-sitting...but I've actually been pretty darn busy with the craftyness!  Been making lots and lots of inventory and finally got a table for my booth. 

Browsing through the Flickr Groups Show Me Your Booths and Arts & Craft Fairs I realized I need to figure out how I am going to display all this inventory!  So yesterday I moved some stuff around in my living room, put out my tables, and did a craft show dress rehersal!

Over the last month I have been picking up some display pieces here and there but hadn't decided how to arrange everything on my tables.  This was a great opportunity to see what worked for my needs and what didn't work. 

I don't have any pictures of yeserday's display practice for you but I can give you some hints on where I got some GREAT display pieces and fantastic prices.

My first stop was a great Etsy seller NotableNotions!  Top quality display supplies and excellent customer service.  She had just what I needed for prices that are an absolute steal!  These upright stands are my best investment! I'll be using them to showcase my rosaries by draping them over the top using the scalloped edge and letting them dangle down.  They also have earring holes if you are an earring seller.  I also coudn't do without these wire bars. They are the perfect size for my bracelets, cellphone charms, and anything else that dangles.  I can't say enough good stuff about NotableNotions and highly recommend them for your professional display needs!

I'm luck enough to have a Diaso Japan store in a local mall near my home.  It's kind of like a Japanese Dollar Store, except most items are $1.50.  I got some of these wire blocks which link together and some small hooks to hang items from - the oens I have are actually tall rectangles.  This allows items to up off the table and easy to see.  Especially helpful for my car mirror rosaries.  Daiso also had some great little clear acrylic boxes to use as small risers.  If I had a local Dollar Store I certainly would have gone there too because there is bound to be some fantastic (and cheap!) stuff a crafty person could use for their display tables. 

After my little practice session I now know what works and what doesn't work.  I know I'm going to feel a lot more relaxed having taken the time to do this dress rehersal in advance instead of wait until the morning of the event in a state of panic.  I also now have a couple weeks to pick up the last little touches and keep making inventory.  

I may actually do another dress rehersal at home again just to get everything finalized.  I'll most certainly post pictures of the final set-up.