Friday, October 30, 2009

Jack's Pick: Buenahelena's Cloth Ouija Board

Each Friday I select an item created by a member of the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team (RNEST). What criteria do I use? I look for great looking items that I think are well made offered for a great price!

This week's pick if from the shop of Buenahelena, and just in time for Halloween... a portable cloth ouija board!

Confession time...I have never used a ouija board. I'm scared. There, I admitted it. I am the kind of person who like to remain skeptical, but still deep down is afraid that he will discover that his skeptical thoughts are false, and there are magical and mystical things that haunt a different dimension.

That said, this kind of item wants me to forget about all that, and buy it so I can have a portable way to talk to the dead wherever I am! Sort of like a cell phone to the beyond! Not only is it handmade, and well made at that, it is also dirt cheap and currently on sale! I think Carol of Buenahelena uses a ouija board to talk to spirits to get ideas about her items, because man, they are from another world.

So do yourself a favor, buy this item, and give yourself a little scare. No better way to learn what it means to live when you come close to death! muuuhh hhahhahahahaaaa.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday Wellspring: Happy Olive Designs

The well overflowed and flooded RNEST with talent yesterday, so today I bring you a special day-late Thursday edition of the Wednesday Wellspring. I’m taking this awesome opportunity to introduce you to one of our newest members and the hostess of this week’s giveaway: Happy Olive Designs. Sarah created Happy Olive Designs after hearing the constant question, "Is your jewelry available online?" Since she’d loved Etsy for years, she decided to make a home for herself within this great artist's community.

Happy Olive Designs is an eclectic mix of jewelry featuring gorgeous pendants, cute little felt character pin or magnet sets, and cool glass and paper magnet sets. Her current favorite item – and many of yours based on the comments – is the Red Delicious necklace. My personal favorites are her felt creations – in fact, Sarah fed my insatiable love of carrots by creating a felt carrot family just for me. I’m sure, if you ask, she’ll make one for you, too!

Though new on Etsy, Sarah’s learned quickly how important marketing is and how critical it is to have good pictures of your items. Even if you’re not a pro photogapher yourself, try to tap the skills of your friends and loved ones – a talent and skills exchange is perfectly aligned with the handmade mission! She’s also very glad to have found a great Etsy Street Team in RNEST. Getting support and inspiration from a group of like-minded artists has been divine – I second that emotion!

Make sure to check out Happy Olive Designs, especially right now - all items are 20% off - jump on it while the sale is hot! You can learn more about Sarah and see designs not yet listed on Etsy at Happy Olive Designs’ Facebook fan page. By becoming a fan, you’ll be the first to know when Sarah is having special sales and promotions, too! And make sure to enter this week’s giveaway for a Happy Olive Designs' magnet set!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Make-it Mondays: Guerilla Marketing

From: Buenahelena!

Let's face it, most of us artsy types are poor. We get low end pay for high end work. The material costs and labor intensiveness of art making leaves little time and money for promoting ourselves. Using guerilla marketing strategies to advertise your work and your Etsy store is creative, exciting and ...ahhh...practically free. Try some of these tactics:

  1. Blog and guest blog on Etsy Team pages or other blogs you enjoy.
  2. Leave your business card with your waiter's tip at a restaurant.
  3. Better yet, sneak your card between the sugar packets at several tables.
  4. Go to your local library, internet cafe or computer room and set your website as the default browser homepage on all the computers.
  5. Stamp your site address onto dollar bills with a fun quote. God knows those travel.
  6. Post fliers about your products in the teacher's lounge, staff room, lobby etc...of your place of employment...preferably while no one is looking
  7. Out of town for a summer vacation? Write your etsy/blog address in the sand on a popular beach.
  8. OK, so maybe the beach idea sucks when you live in Rochester NY, so why not write your site address onto snowy windshields at your local mall this holiday season. (Make sure to add "shop local" underneath.)
  9. Tuck your business cards into books at book stores and libraries that relate to your product or into magazines in waiting rooms.
  10. Print small round stickers with your Etsy site address and a small picture of one of your items and stick them onto produce at your local grocery store.
Now go out and do a couple things off the list! It gives me a smile thinking about whoever discovers my guerilla ads. *(Images do not promote mine or any other Etsy stores, but do give you the gist of what can be done with these tips.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Let the Mother of All Giveaways Begin!

Hello everyone!

As promised, today starts week one of our amazing 7 week long giveaway contest. Starting off the Mother of All Giveaways is "Where the Wild Thing Are" magnet set from my shop Happy Olive Designs. To celebrate this mother-load of a giveaway, everything in my Etsy shop is marked down by 15%!
Below are the rules of the contest that specifically apply to my giveaway. You get one entry for doing each of the following things -- and for each task, leave a separate comment letting us know you did it.

Here is a list of ways you can win:

  1. Go to Etsy and heart Happy Olive Designs (Of course if it's already a favorite, just leave us a comment letting us know.)

  2. Look around the my shop and let us know what your favorite item is.

  3. Become a follower of this blog.

  4. Blog or tweet about each giveaway – leave the link in your comment and please make sure it’s a blog post, not a link on your sidebar.

  5. Become a fan of RNEST on Facebook.

  6. Become a fan of Happy Olive Designs on Facebook.

So there you have it--you have six different ways to enter to win you own set of magnets to satisfy your inner monster! We'll announce the winner on Halloween--good luck!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jack's Pick: Justice Jewelry's "Desert Rose"

Each Friday I select an item created by a member of the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team (RNEST). What criteria do I use? I look for great looking items that I think are well made offered for a great price!

This week I selected Justice Jewelry's wonderful "Desert Rose" necklace!

Justice Jewelry had done an amazing job taking pottery shards and turning them into pendants. I think makes for a unique look.

What I love about this pendant in particular is the subject on the pottery, and how the colors in it are echoed in the beads on the chain. The pink blossom could be a cactus blossom, and not a rose, but to me, it reminds me of the every present lotus blossom found in Asian influenced art. Whatever botanical treasure it is, it WORKS!

Great job! Now go check it out and the rest of Justice Jewelry's work.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday Wellspring: The Mother of all Giveaways

Note: To enter, leave your comments on each giveaway post - not on this post!

Like a geyser of good fortune, the well is shooting forth with the mother of all giveaways. The amazing artisans of RNEST are gearing up for the RNEST Fest – a sale we’ve organized here in Rochester for December 13th (we’ll let you know more about that over the next few weeks). We decided what better way to get ready for the mother of all sales then with the mother of all giveaways! Over the next seven weeks – that’s right SEVEN weeks – we’ll be giving away one prize from six separate artists and a seventh grand prize with a fabulous something from each of us!

The first giveaway starts this Sunday, October 25th, but I’m giving you a special heads up so you are primed and ready! Each giveaway starts on a Sunday and you have until the following Friday at midnight to enter. The winner will be selected by the random number generator on Saturday. . . and then we’ll start again . . .and again – times SEVEN!

Note: To enter, leave your comments on each giveaway post - not on this post!

Here’s how you can enter:

You get one entry for doing each of the following things – and for each task, leave a separate comment letting us know you did it:

  1. Go to Etsy and heart the shop of the week (Of course if the shop of the week is already a favorite, just leave us a comment letting us know.)
  2. Look around the featured shop and let us know what your favorite item is.
  3. Become a follower of this blog.
  4. If the shop/artist of the week has a blog, become a follower of that blog – we’ll let you know week by week who has a blog and who doesn’t.
  5. Blog or tweet about each giveaway – leave the link in your comment and please make sure it’s a blog post, not a link on your sidebar.
  6. Follow the featured artist on Twitter - we’ll let you know week by week who tweets and who doesn’t.
  7. Become a fan of RNEST on Facebook.

So, you have 7 chances to enter and 7 weeks to play. Oh, boy, this is going to be fun! By the way, Buenahelena might sell Ouija boards, but none of us is psychic, so don’t forget to leave your email address in your comment so we know how to reach you if you win!

Now, for a preview of the shops that are participating:
October 25-31: Happy Olive Designs
November 1-7: The Quilted House
November 8-14: Jackbear Stamps
November 15-21: Just Ice Jewelry
November 22-28: Buenahelena
November 29-December 5: Lauren’s Lovelies
December 6-12: The Mother of all Grand Prizes!

Alright, don’t forget to come back on Sunday to learn all about the fabulous prize Happy Olive Designs has made just for you. And, in case you didn’t memorize these rules, there will be a link just under our blog banner so you can review this post whenever you need to. Good luck!

Note: To enter, leave your comments on each giveaway post - not on this post!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Make-it Mondays: International Shipping Tips

From: Buenahelena!

At our most recent Rochester NY Etsy Street Team meeting the problem of international shipping costs was brought up. Between the Etsy newsletters, forums and personal research here are the tips I have uncovered. Many team members were unsure of how to weigh and price items, so I have included info below. Please feel free to add more tips in the comments!!!

Beginner's Guide:

The Storque, Etsy's Handmade Blog, offers a great article on shipping for beginners, called Shipping How-to: the Final Frontier.

Here is a rough breakdown for non-Canada international shipments:

4oz: $4
5oz: $5
6oz: $6
7oz: $6
8oz: $7
9-12oz: $9
1 lb: $10

After a pound, if you can fit the item in a flat rate envelope you're much better off. Flat rate boxes are very expensive internationally, so if you can't fit it in the envelope, continue to use First Class until you hit 4 lbs, then you are required to ship Priority class.

Rough Canada Breakdown:

4oz: $2
5oz: $2
6oz: $2.50
7oz: $2.50
8oz: $3
9-12oz: $4
1 lb: $5

To Flat Rate or Not to Flat Rate:

For Canada, flat rate becomes economical when you hit around 2 lbs, but First Class to Canada is SLOW. Customers, overall, seem to appreciate Priority shipping, and when a buyer wants something and you are a unique seller they will bite the bullet for your rare talents.

Check out the United States Postal Service Flat Rate prices

A Question of Customs:

Customs are tricky for Etsy sellers to keep track of, but on the plus side they really shouldn't be the sellers problem. If you decide to accept sales dealing with customs, mark your items as “other” on the customs form and include the price of the goods sold, minus shipping cost. Make sure you have CLEARLY indicated in your Shop Policies that the buyer is responsible for any Customs fees. These will be charged to the buyer depending on the value of the contents. Canada starts at approximately $20 and the US is around $200 to some places!


Invest in a small shipping scale to calculate accurate shipping estimates. JustIceJewelry, suggests using this tool to help you print your own shipping labels through Paypal. If you are off slighty the price will not be printed for the buyer to see as on USPS labels. Lastly, because I encourage reuse, keep old envelopes from your purchases and spruce them up with stickers and stamps to resend. Many sellers appreciate some care for the planet and it will save you and them on shipping costs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jack's Pick: Happy Olive Designs' "Wild Things"

Each Friday I select an item created by a member of the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team (RNEST). What criteria do I use? I look for great looking items that I think are well made offered for a great price!

This week my pick is "Where the Wild Things Are" magnets made by Happy Olive Designs!

I got to say, everywhere I turn right now I am seeing monsters, plushies, softies, ugly dolls of all sorts, and I have to say...they are so darn cute! I think it is kind of ironic that the hot thing right now is something "ugly". But they really aren't ugly are they, these cuddly monsters are bright colored and humorous.

These gems of a magnet are just right for a fridge, a child's room, the office, or where ever. I like Happy Olive's idea of on a file cabinet (those things always look so boring, and you know monster do live inside them).

With the new movie based on the book "Where the Wild Things Are" these are timely, and a great bargain!

Thank you to the newest member of the RNEST team, Happy Olive Designs!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Wellspring: Lauren's Lovelies

With a wave of eco-friendly creativity, Lauren’s Lovelies shot forth from the well this week. Lauren, the artist behind these amazing upcycled creations, opened her Etsy shop after encouragement from Linda of Just Ice Jewelry. Lauren had recently lost her job, so it was the perfect time to try something new.

Working with alcohol inks and rubber stamps, Lauren creates the most amazing one-of-a-kind necklaces and key chains out of dominos – that’s right, you heard me: dominos! Lauren is also a graphic designer and helps people brand their businesses. She offers a business package, which includes two avatars, an Etsy banner, a business card design, and 1000 high-gloss, full color, and double-sided business cards. This package is a great way to start or revitalize your business.

Another way Lauren advises other sellers to promote themselves is by doing giveaways. You can make a lot of contacts – friends and buyers – through a giveaway. (Hey, I’ll let you in on a secret: We’ll be hosting the Mother of all giveaways right here starting October 26th, but you didn’t hear it from me!)

Make sure you check out Lauren’s shop. She’s sweetening the deal with a free clippie with every necklace purchase from now until Christmas – can you say “two presents for the price of one!” You can also find Lauren on twitter.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jack's Pick: LaurensLovelies's Glass Flower Charms

Each Friday I select an item created by a member of the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team (RNEST). What criteria do I use? I look for great looking items that I think are well made offered for a great price!

This week LaurensLovelies's Glass Flower Charms caught my eye, made from Czech Republic Glass!

I love bling for my wine glass, and these are adorable! I like the bright colors, I like the quality materials, and I like the idea of not drinking out of someone else's wine glass because I know which one is mine...HA!

I also like that Lauren offers other suggestions on how to use these that I never would have thought of, like on a tea cup or coffee mug. What a great idea.

Great job LaurensLovelies!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Wellspring: Jackbear Stamps

The well is overflowing with creativity this week with Jackbear Stamps. John, the master carver behind Jackbear Stamps, started carving to serve his geocaching and letterboxing habits. He, like many others, wanted a "signature" stamp to use in the hobby. When he couldn’t find just the right one, he made one for himself! After years of working on his craft and improving through practice and advice from other carvers, someone saw his work, offered to pay him to create a custom stamp, and a light bulb went off in John’s head: there is a market out there for custom, hand-carved stamps! Jackbear Stamps was born and found a home on Etsy.

John’s stamps are carved in rubber and mounted on thick foam for better handling and stamping. This artisan enjoys the challenge of creating custom stamps. He is ready and waiting to create the stamp of your dreams, so hurry up and contact him through Etsy!

Though custom stamp creation is a great love for him, his current favorite stamp is Evolve. As an environmental science major in college, this stamp was inspired by his favorite school t-shirt which pronounced “Evolve or Die.” My favorite item, on the other hand, is his Snail Mail stamp because I love sending and receiving letters (hmmm, I wonder what I could trade him for that one?).

I asked this successful Etsy seller for a piece of advice to pass on to you. He suggests that sellers post new items frequently. We often don't do this enough, but need to constantly remind ourselves to keep our shops fresh. Also, nothing sells your item better than your photo, so make sure your photography is sharp!
Everything about John’s shop is worth seeing, so make sure to check it out today. To sweeten the deal, JackBear Stamps is having a free postage week! From now until next Wednesday, he'll ship your stamp first class for free if you live anywhere in the US! Just leave him a "message to the seller" that you read this post on the RNEST blog, and he'll refund your shipping fee.

Learn more about John by visiting his blog and Jackbear Stamps’ Facebook fan page and make sure to check out his shop to see his amazing hand-carved creations.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Make-it Mondays: DIY Envelopes and Advice

From: Buenahelena!

A few days ago the Etsy newsletter featured fun ways for sellers to package and ship their goods. (Check out the Storque article connected to the newsletter.) I loved the idea of reusing old paper, gift wrap, newspaper create envelopes and mailers and have shown you how I did a couple below. There are many tutorials out there with templates, but I found it was simple enough to deconstruct an existing envelope to create my own pattern. Enjoy!

I collected some illustrated pages from discarded library books, found 2 different sized envelopes for templates, an acid-free, strong bonding glue stick, and pencils and sharpies for tracing.

Next I used a letter opener to take apart both envelopes. Laying them flat over the vintage illustrations, I traced the outline of the envelopes then cut them out.

I used a ruler along the fold lines of the new templates to create sharp creases, folded them and glued them together as the original envelopes had been.

And there you have it, fun handmade envelopes! Consider adding your own mailing labels featuring your Etsy address along with the return address (not shown here for privacy). I also added a stamp featuring the words: "Handmade, because you're worth it." We should always let our customers know that they are indeed. Smaller envelopes can hold your card or street team members for promotions within a larger package. It's always fun to get a package and feel like it's your birthday and customers will remeber that in the future.

Start collecting things around you for packaging, like tray liners from diners, old magazines, or the cute, printed paper wrapped around cuts of vinyl. Be creative with what you've got!

On another note, I want to recommend a book. I recently picked up Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art, by Rice Freeman-Zachery. It never feels like there is enough time to make art, especially when it's not my primary source of income. Rice has compiled rut killers, time makers and the studio profiles of several working artists, to ease that "never-enough-time" anxiety and get you working. Pick it up whether you're a full time artist (lucky ones you are!) or an artist with a day job.