Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Etsy Reboot

Coming back after a near 4 year hiatus is a bitch. No sugar coating on that one. Besides having the few followers left, it is nearly like starting from scratch. I understand people un-following if there haven't been updates in forever - heck I do it too! :)

I have noticed a lot of change in Etsy though. Sellers used to be able to use forums as promotional areas but now it's very strict. It seems like they eliminated 4 boards all together and there's no "general chit chat" space anymore. Not gonna lie, I love BS forums. It's nice having a place to just meet people and talk. I admit the promotions forum was a gong show with people spamming the hell out of it.

The rules are stricter. There's a lot more sellers that look commercial or commercial quality. Competition is fierce! :)

I do really like the upgrades on the listing side though. I love that you can save drafts and publish them later. I love that you can see stats on views in one page rather than clicking through each item to see where it's at. There's even stats on how well you do! For example, they have a customer service rate where it lets you know how you stand (your rate of responding to people, how fast, etc). The selling features are pretty neat.

I just need to relearn how to promote. They do have promotions available where you pay money to get them listed in search engines. I think the base is $7.00 per month for "about 5,600 impressions" whatever that means. I'm reluctant to try it because it I need to have more quality items up in my shop before I do. I don't want to have it actually work and run out of stuff!

I want to do more social media but that is something to maintain! It's all about planning. I want to allot 1-3 hours a week on etsy - making things, listing, relisting, promoting. We will see! :)

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Craft Fair Aftermath

April 13th has come and gone!

Overall, the fair was a success for our group! We all made back our fees by at least doubling our money, and it was just a fun time. Of course it was a little slow being a spring show but I feel that my goal was met. :)

I had an inkling sales wouldn't be close to matching the effort put into it - think like 5+ hours a week for 4 months! Yeah, looking at things that way makes it seem kind of "meh" but I also had a lot more time to focus on the craft fair aesthetics of it all which can also be a ton of fun.

Questions like - what's the best way to display my items? How can we jazz up those hideous tables? How can we maximize wall space? These were all addressed and knocked out of the park! I feel proud of what I did, and what we all accomplished together. Somehow we managed to make cute & cuddly items look at home next to creepers and Mario! :)

I literally sold all my creeper pillows within the first hour of the fair. I should have made 10+ but I ran out of materials to finish up the pillows and got a little lazy. My bad!! For next time, I want to have 10+ done for sure. The faces are easy enough and end up looking pretty good.

It was just so funny. I tend to make things that appeal to me, as a big kid who loves her games and pokemon, so I relate to kids on that level. The kids make their laps because they get dragged to the fairs and get bored, but they always light up when they see Pikachu and the Creepers really made the kids go nuts. By the 7th lap, the kids would bring their parents along and show them, haha. Mostly they asked in private, but that the Christmas one I had kids full on begging at the table and the parents trying to be as polite as possible but basically saying "No way Jose!" haha. Soooo awkward, but in some cases hilarious.

 My friend Katy and I did a facebook PR blitz the night before, posting pictures of our booth set-up. My page ended up getting a ton of views from that! Holy cow, set a new record. :D People took business cards and noticed us! I mostly just wanted to get noticed and get people engaged in geekery.

Anyways, I'm going to post some pictures from the event!

This is from the first night when we set up. We were allowed to set up the night before and that really really helped us. We literally took the whole two hours to put our shit together, lol.

More deets on my half. Katy and her mom shared a table with similar hella cute stuff, and Sylvie and I shared the other table. She came Saturday morning to set up :) 

Closer up! The easels were awesome, and I'm lucky K & D let me borrow their black crate (damn you cheap dollar store version I bought!) and the bookmark holder! Or rather, jewelry stand lol.

There's Sylvie and her awesome goods!

Did I mention Sylvie is in the midst of starting up a quilting fabrics shop? Well she is! The blue table runner in the center (floral deep wonderful blues with gold accents - something by Robert Kaufman, I forget the name sorry!) is one Katy made as demo for her home based shop :) It's wonderful!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Craft Fair Prep and Jitters

Spring is in the air up north here, and so is the start of the spring craft fair circuit! Well, it's not so much of a circuit as a few off shoots, then the most epic farmer's market north of Prince George. Terrace is hailed as the largest market in the northwest and has bragging rights to delicious food, eclectic music, and amazing produce and crafts every Saturday May through October! It's always a lot of fun to attend. :)  

The first fair of the season is in Kitimat this Saturday April 13th. I'm participating with a few other ladies and splitting table fees four ways. The fees are pretty reasonable, but the spring fair is notoriously half as bustling as the winter one - probably due to the lack of huge consumerist holidays *cough*xmas*cough*.

I love doing the Kitimat fairs mostly just because I get to go visit my parents (that's where they live) and hang out with them the night before. It's just a hop, skip, and a jump away (aka 45 minute drive which is piddly after city life) but there's something about road driving that just makes my husband and I lazy about doing it.

I look at craft fairs as a way to improve and grow. You really learn a lot by doing different areas, and it's interesting to see how potential customers react to the items you put out. I found in Kitimat, people went bananas over my felt items...which I had honestly kept in a bin for the 4 year gap there, and put them out just to fill up some space on my part of the table. Prince Rupert it was more about the pokemon, and in Terrace all my geeky bookmarks sold!

Each time I get more and more prepared, and it feels wonderful! This time I had about the same amount of items, just more quality than quantity. I spent a more time and bought even better material to make the pillows and wall hangings and feel real durn guuuud about it!

The only thing I should have done a little bit better was to finish an item before starting a new one! Simple right? haha. I have several almost done bookmarks and cross-stitches that require finishing touches, and the fair is in less than one week! I can get 'em done, or at least have one or two to work on during the event but still.

For all my crafters out there, in what ways do you want to improve as a crafter generally? Do you rock out at markets too? How do you prepare for that to make sure you're not scrambling? Share your wisdom! :)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Welcome to the Peachy Keen Stitches blog!

My name is Emma and I'm the lady behind the blog, etsy shop, etc. If this looks a little familiar, it may be because it is! In 2009, I had started Peachy Keen Felt Pins on etsy (and facebook fan page) and it was a lot of fun.

Between 2009 and 2013, a lot of things happened in my life. I graduated university, moved in with my boyfriend/fiance/husband, upgraded jobs from minimum wage to a professional setting, moved from city to rural again and got married! Phew! I took a long break there, but now I am ready to get back into it and do my thing. 

I've always dabbled in tactile crafts. I'm one of those touchy-feely crafters that walk into the fabric store and walk through the aisles of bolts with arms outstretched to feel the textures. :) I just recently got into quilting, and cross-stitch/embroidery are definitely my main-stays that never really fade out. Quilting may just become one of those "regulars" so look out for escapades in pattern play there!

My previous incarnation of Peachy Keen focused soley on working with felt and embroidering to make pins and buttons, but I felt that in this reboot, the title including "Stitches" covers much more of what I am capable of and interested in creating! Just stitched images and fun things I like to make. Isn't that the bottom line for all craft-based sellers out there?

Well, I look forward to this venture and hope you all do too! Should be a hoot.