Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Team Member Spotlight"

Melissa from MiaDesignz

Beaded Choker - Polymer Clay Daisies - Turquoise   Dinosaur Christmas Ornaments - Polymer Clay Long Necks - Set of 2   Earrings - Sterling Silver Wire Wrapped - Swarovski - Fun

Recently, we sent out invitations to a few different shops to run a beta test on a new blog feature that once a week will highlight one of our amazing members, their story, and their shop. We will be opening up to more shops soon, but for now please enjoy the first of our beta testers, Melissa from MiaDesignz.

So tell us a little about yourself…

"They say when one door closes another opens. Very true. I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia in 2006. I had arthritis for 20+ years, but as it runs in my family, I just did the best I could. By 2006 I was sick all the time and always exhausted. My husband would drive me to work and I would just survive the day. My life was pain, Dr. visits and exhaustion. By 2010 I was out on disability. I had been with my company for 17 years and was laid off. I have to say I felt really lost. No direction. A little depressed.... My mom was helping me out as I could not even cook a meal. One day she made a pair of earrings and as I watched I was amazed. I started buying beads and before long I was making jewelry as gifts."

Earrings - Wire Wrapped -  Pink Copper - Swarovski crystals

Earrings - Wire Wrapped - Pink Copper - Swarovski crystals

I cannot imagine what your journey has been like. To have gone through all of that, you are a truly strong person to keep going and eventually find something that makes you so happy! I know I have always found crafting to be a wonderful way for me to work through my stress and emotions, and I am sure many of our team members feel the same way. So how did you reach the decision to open a shop?

"My daughter in law mentioned I should open a shop on Etsy.  I read about it and saw all the wonderful creative people, everyone is so talented. I got together with my daughter Wendy, who has always been artistic. She fell in love with the clay. We named our shop after Wendy's daughter and my granddaughter Mia."

Penguin Necklace with Santa Hat - Made to Order - Personalized

Penguin Necklace with Santa Hat

I am so glad you found such a welcoming community on Etsy and that you decided to stay and open up shop. It must be so much fun to work with your daughter and have your shop somewhat dedicated to your granddaughter that, I am sure, will be a huge honor to her as she grows. What drives your creative and business processes?

"This little shop turned my life around. I work on items when feeling good and rest when not. Working with my daughter is such a joy. It's like we share a creative brain. She will have an idea and then I will say, “What about adding this or making that?” Before you know it, our brainstorming has generated really awesome designs."

What is your most favorite item that you have ever made? And is it still available for purchase from your shop?

"My favorite item is the pink copper and pearl necklace. I was babysitting for my daughter and it was 2 in the AM. I awoke from a sound sleep with this great idea! I got up and wanted to write it down, but all I could find was construction paper and crayons. So that was my first sketch."

Wire Wrapped Pendant Necklace - Pink and Silver - Swarovski Crystals - Copper

Wire Wrapped Pendant Necklace

Wow, I am not sure I can look at my son’s crayons as just his toys anymore; perhaps they can help me create something as beautiful as your necklace! I love all of the hand wrapped circles and the rose color of the wire you used. Buyer’s should also note your orders come ready for gift giving and that you will even include a gift note which makes shopping for a loved one so much easier! Do you have any advice for other members of our team?

"This is a blast, the joy of creating has made a huge difference in my life. I am doing much better and I know it is from having a creative outlet and direction. Do not be afraid to take that step to starting your own shop. I cannot tell you how helpful everyone is at Etsy. It is amazing to me that other store owners would want to help, but they do. In my old sales world we all competed and knowledge was not always shared. Etsy is different, the folks really like giving a helping hand, whether it is photographing or listing items or just a shop critique. They will answer your questions."

Thank you so very much Melissa! Your story was a joy to share and I hope that everyone who reads it can draw as much inspiration from it as I have. Teamwork team members, visitors and followers, please check out MiaDesignz for beautiful handcrafted jewelry, figurines, and ornaments. Their jewelry selection provides pieces suitable to many different styles, using materials ranging from feathers and beads to hand wrapped wire and hand sculpted figures. Those hand sculpted figures also make charming appearances as ornaments and knickknacks with personalization available in many cases. So please take a look around our first beta tester shop MiaDesignz


P.S. Melissa donated this item to our giveaway! Make sure to check our “Giveaway” Tab to learn how to win! 

Christmas Earrings - Sterling Silver - Swarovski Crystal - Jasper  -Simply Elegant

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"Let Me Describe the Ways"

An informational "How To" on Listing Descriptions.

A few days ago, Katie from Katie's Creative Corner and I were discussing our shops and what we were working on, and she paid me a very nice complement about my descriptions. I thanked her and offered to show her the canon I used to create them that I had devised from studying every single blog post in the Seller’s Handbook Blog about descriptions and talking to other Sellers. She then asked me if I would be willing to share it on the Teamwork Blog and I said “Sure!” as long as everyone understands everything I learned was from the amazing Seller’s Handbook and from talking to other Sellers. I highly recommend that every seller read as much of it as possible and create a network of other Sellers who can help you! 

Now on to my description canon; I recommend that you copy and paste this to your word processor then you can use it over and over again for your listings only changing the specific details to each. If you do this and you have 20 listings for scarves that are all the same pattern just different colors you don’t have to start from scratch each time, just make sure that each listing is somewhat different so each item stands on its own. 
Please make sure to make it your own because most people buy handmade to support small business and real people they connect with so show your personality and style! Remember this is just a guide and your products may need more/less info. 
(The asterisks denote one paragraph’s / section’s descriptions) 

*Descriptive title, include pertinent info but try to have it make sense, some buyers don’t like titles that are just a string of tags and it makes it harder for them to know what you are selling. Make sure to have the title listed again at the beginning of your description, this is a good place to include a second spelling of a word in your title if you are afraid buyers may spell it different ways.*

*Start the main paragraph by telling the buyer a story, either about the design or the supplies - how you came up with them, where you found them, how it always reminds you of … This is a great way to show your personality and amazingness to the buyer.
If there are really important instructions for the buyer list them quickly here, make it short but clear, you can go more in depth later.

Now talk about exactly what you do to make your awesome product – don’t use too many industry terms as the buyer may not understand think of describing what you did to someone who has never crafted in their life. Do you do something special that makes your products extra special, say so here! Make your products stand out from the pack but be honest!
Anything else you need to tell them? Can they add on to this product? Do you have a similar product they may like if this isn’t quite right? Tell them here. *

*Write one or two sentences that describe the feel of this product or how you envision it to be used, here is your chance to say “This is perfect for you!” *

*The Details Spelled Out Clearly 
What is it? (In the most basic terms “This is a Men’s Large Hand Knitted Sweater (US Size)”)

What size is it? (List size of every single item they will get, try to list sizes in all forms possible to help you be marketable to international buyers)

What Colors is it? (Feel free to list shop specific colors but make them easy to understand – some people may not make the connection between Merlot and Maroon, but you can list both! If they have a choice make it clear what will stay the same and what they can change.)

Anything special about the price? (Are they getting a discount for buying in bulk, would it be helpful to list the cost per item as in party supplies?)

List any important Info. (Care instructions, age requirements, allergen info, anything you are required to tell a customer or that you want them to know)
How long will it take to make/ ship? (Is it made to order? Is it ready to ship? How long until you can get it into the mail? Can they have it rushed? And if they can how do they do it?)

Shipping info. (Do you use only recycled materials? Will it come loving wrapped and ready for gift giving? Do you offer confirmation?)

Special Instructions. (If this is custom what do they need to do? Is their work done?)*

*List any important shop policies you want to be sure your buyer see here. Don’t list all of them but don’t just post a link to your shop policies either (although that is a good idea,) find a happy medium.* 

*Finally list any links you think might be helpful. (Back to your main shop, special section, or related listings.)*

So there you have it, my canon for creating a description for handmade items. It may not work perfectly for your items but you can change a few things and make it exactly what you need. Sorry to the vintage and supply sellers, but if you have something you use or any great tips, please let us know by commenting! 


Blue Hearts Striped with Turquoise and Lime Green Note Cards / Everyday Stationery Perfect Gift for A Tom Boy Set of 8 - Ready To ShipSet of 8 Hot Pink and Blue Winter Holidays/ Christmas Cards with Button Embellishments and Blue and Purple Snowflake Borders - Ready To ShipTop Hats Off to You Congratulations Cards / Stationery with Top Hat Embellishment Set of 8 - Ready To ShipChristmas Tree with Buttons Red Winter Holidays/ Christmas Cards Set of 20 - Ready To Ship

Information for this post was found on:


Etsy Seller's Handbook --->

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Top Picks

Top Picks are shops that I feel are fantastic.  I will be posting my top picks periodically and I will split them into two groups; Teamwork Team Members and Other Shops on Etsy.

Teamwork Team Members:
90 Bazzil Autumn Maple Leaf Punches. Premium Textured Die Cuts in Fall Colours. Confetti Albums Scrapbook Card Making.Handmade Paper "Summer Sky" Pale Blue. Sapphire Glitter. Eco-friendly. Recycled.50 Large Purple Butterfly Punches. Amethyst and Lavender. Scrapbook Embellishments.

Bright Flower 3/4 inch Polymer Clay on Pair of Metal Bobby PinsNecklace, Carved Wood Look with Shell Discs and Glass BeadsHand Knit 7 Foot Long Fun Fur Skinny Scarf Grey, Black, Silver, White OR ANY COLOR

Other Shops On Etsy:

Lorna's Laces Solemate with Outlast Temperature Control Sock Yarn - 910 Unicorn ParadeWilmington Nightmare Manor Halloween Cat Bat Teal Fabric YardVictorian Magnifying Glass Necklace Chatelaine - Ornate

Travel Nature Photography Butterfly, 8X8Peru Travel Nature Photography, 8X10Solitude, Costa Rica- boat- travel photography, 8X10

Shop with the most votes will receive a ticket for the giveaway! 
Who is Your Top Pick?
  • ShoestringCottage
  • URDelights
  • AliceInStitchesArt
  • KLHoey

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Fellowship of Slow Sales

If you frequent the forums on as much as I do, you begin to notice there are generally two types of sale related posts. First, there are the "I made my first sale!"/"So many sales I am doing my happy dance 24/7" type posts.These are always great morale boosters and a joy to read and respond too. There is really nothing like sharing in their happiness and optimism. 

Next, there are these posts,“No sales in 3 months”/“Why is no one buying from my shop?” Sometimes these posts can turn people off in the way they are worded, but at the root of their message is a feeling of hopelessness. If you, like me, belong to this second group, you often feel all if no one else is having problems or spending their nights staring at the screen praying for a sale to make ends meat. But how can this be true if there are enough posts about these issues to warrant my own category for them? There has to be at least some people going through what we are. 

And what if you have done everything anyone and everyone has suggested to improve your shop, from pictures to descriptions to SEO? You work at it every day, pouring your heart and soul into improving and updating your shop.  Yet you are still sitting there waiting and hoping to get a view from that one person who will actually click “Add to Cart?” How do you make it through?

Well I want to stand up right here and now, and say BE POSITIVE! There is a group of us who are working and waiting, and we’re all in this together. I am also willing to bet that all of those shops/business that we look to for inspiration spent a good bit of time as a part of this group too. So let’s all join together and be positive, as we spend countless hours working on our shops and products, improving every single aspect we can think of. Let’s be positive as we ask for and receive critiques, do research in the seller’s handbook and forums, and find ways to promote our shops. And when you’re sitting with your cup of hot cocoa in your slippers late at night, staring at the screen and hoping for a better day tomorrow, know that there are others joining you in that waiting game. Know that one day we will all be joining the first group in their happy dances! 


Jenn Fisher of Loves You Stationery Co

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

For the love of ....ETSY

Before I found etsy, I was an artist with no place to go.  I live in a small town and didn't have a lot of options for finding homes for my pieces. Oh, sure I would give them to family and friends, but really, you can only give your family and friends so many handmade items before they start to cringe when Christmas comes around.  Don't get me wrong, I am sure that they love my fabulous items, but I don't know that they need 30 different necklaces, 20 paintings, and 100 note cards.

Finding etsy changed my life. Not in one of those huge, "I have found redemption and am going to change the world" kind of ways, but in small yet still significant ways.

I now wake up in the morning and I am excited to see if I got a sale, if my new found friends have sent me a message and to see who has fav'd (etsy lingo) my items.  It feels great to know that someone else really appreciates your craft.  It is a confidence booster to say the least.

I decided to start the TEAMWORK Team in the beginning of this year and I have come across some of the most amazing and talented people.  Two of those people are my fellow team leaders.  Amber from Cosmic Cauldron  and Robin from LeNidDuMerleHandKnit.

Amber has been with the team pretty much since the beginning and has been a great asset.  Robin is new to the position of leader and has a cheerful and helpful attitude that I think will also be a great asset to this team.

I have found great friends and support in others as well.  When I decided to do this article, I sent messages to a few of those people asking them to answer two questions. First, what is your favorite aspect of etsy?  I asked this because I would like others to understand what it is that makes etsy unique.  Second I asked, what is the best part of being on the Teamwork team, or teams in general?  I know there are many shops on etsy that are not part of a team or are not active in the teams they do belong to, and I also know that the more active you are in the teams, the more positive your etsy experience can be. Ours is a great one by the way. =) Feel free to join us!

The answers I received back are heartfelt and genuine and I would like to share them with you.

Jenn from LovesYouStationeryCo. explains "I love the opportunity Etsy has given me, to be able do something that I love and be able to be a stay at home mom.  There is really nothing like the connections I have made on etsy with other sellers and my customers!"

She goes on to explain her involvement in the teams, "Well, I am brand new to the Teamwork team, but I love the way that teams provide a support system for their members.  You can find a team for almost anything. I think this team will be a great way for me to find new ways to promote my shop and find new friends to help me get through the ups and downs of being a seller."

This is so true, just like any job there are good days and bad and that is where being part of a team is helpful.  We do our best to support each other in any way we can.

Courtney from Wicked Karma Jewelry adds, "There are so many ways to help out your favorite shops by promoting the items that you like and admire, while at the same time bringing good karma to your shop.  It's all about Teamwork (and yes, I meant that as a cheesy! I love all of the charity stuff I see on Etsy.  This is something that you don't generally see in online shopping.  People who care, that is something I am proud to be a part of."

That is it, she hit the nail on the head.  People. That. Care.  I don't think I have ever been involved in a group before this which works so hard to help others.  You may think I just  lead a sheltered life but I would say that you need to be a part of this community to understand it fully.

"We are not normally good with social networking but love  the sportsmanship of the team and how everyone promotes each other. It's a very positive atmosphere and all of the creative minds make us want to improve. Fuel for the Soul." This statement from Melissa and Wendy of MiaDesignz, shows that even if you are uncertain about your ability to network, teams can be just the support system that you need to get on your feet and run a successful shop on Etsy.

Bobbie from SophiasRose adds emphasis to how supportive the teams can be with her answer to the second question, "I like the sense of community that the Teamwork Team and teams in general provide.  Also, the helping hands that are always there to aid in questions and problems."

This is one of my favorite aspects of Etsy also. I have yet to meet someone who wasn't willing to answer questions gladly and with a bright =).

Personally I don't feel that there are any major stigmas in the etsy community, whether you are new to etsy or have been there for awhile. Everyone is just so helpful and friendly.

Lauren from Whimsy Woodcrafts says,"My favorite thing about Etsy is the genuine camaraderie amongst shop owners and the great virtual friendships I have made.  I like being a part of a team because other shop owners look out for  you and they want to help promote your shop as much as they want to promote their own."

I once read a post about whether or not people promote shops that they would be in competition with (i.e. Faving for a shop that sells cards when you also sell cards).  At the time I was rather new to Etsy and I had to think about it for a bit.  My answer to that now is HECK YES I would!  I promote for as many people as I can because I feel that what goes around, comes around and so far it has proven to be true.

"I think the reason that I stay with Etsy after almost four years, is that it is a huge creative stimulus, a window into the craft and art world, along with the fact that I meet so many lovely people!" says Linda from PruittDesign. She goes on to say, " I also love the interaction with team members.  Anyone can join a team and promote, but I like to get to know some of the team members, share tips, disappointments, advice, and basically encourage one another. A good team keeps me/us going strong."

Well said!

More fabulous quotes from Teamwork Team members:

"The Camaraderie, and the happy friendly people on the Teamwork Team, are what I like best." Kristy from FarrOutJewelryDesign 

"Etsy is like a family and very easy to use if you are computer savvy." Cindy from CKDesignsUS

"My favorite thing is flexible time while still owning a store.  My next favorite thing is having like minded people on the same team as well as the like minded customers." From Heather of HeatherHolidays

"I love the community here at Etsy, not only for support but for inspiration, and marketing ideas. Its a really good resource even if your main selling venue isn't Etsy. I also love how the site is set up easily navigable, and it has a very eclectic yet authentic feeling to it that is comforting to me." From Ashley of MindofAsh

Also from Ashley, "Teams are again a great way to meet people and keep the lines of communication going to help each other meet goals of creativity and support one another. Its a great resource tool and builds a web of trust among familiar shop owners which is always a plus."

"My favorite thing about etsy is how you can find anything and everything that you never knew you wanted!" says Erin from TheGivingButterfly. She adds, "Every single person I've encountered on the teamwork team has been so supportive and friendly - it makes etsy seem not so big and intimidating! I truly appreciate that!"

"My favorite thing about Etsy is that I'm in the company of many wonderful, talented and creative artists who like me, want to express their artistic talents and expose them to the world and why not? To all of those who would love to have their items! I love that I can sell, share, buy and commune under an awesome creative company and actually drive a business with simplicity!!Besides exposing my items in the different teams and collaborating with other teammates, I love that I can also see everyone's items, meet people, know that if I need help with something, there is someone always there ready to help and that I'm not alone in the boat running a business." From Michelle of ShineHeartbyDesign

I hope this post helps you better understand why we love Etsy and the Teamwork team.  Thank you for taking the time to read and we hope to see you around! =)


Feel free to leave a comment about your favorite aspect of Etsy or the teams!

Monday, September 3, 2012

FYI- Fun and Games

Once this blog acquires 20 followers I will be doing a giveaway/drawing. I haven't decided if it will be a raffle like drawing or if I will do a game (like a scavenger hunt) but our followers will get some sort of advantage. =)  Don't miss out...start following us today!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

What is a real job? (My little Rant)

I am just wondering, what are the parameters for a real job? Is having a shop on Etsy a real job?  How about being a stay at home mom?

I was recently talking to my husband and I mentioned "There really isn't that much traffic on Etsy today."  Thinking to myself, that it is of course a holiday weekend and people are probably busy.

His response, "That is probably because they are all working at their real jobs."

You see, he wants me to get a "real job".  Believe me, I want that too, because getting up every 5 seconds to attend to my child's needs and picking up the house a thousand times a day is just too much work.  All day I hear, "Can I have some water mom, Look at this mom, can you read me a book mom" and I do these things because I  love my child and want him to be happy.  I also spend hours a day making items for my Etsy shop, doing listings, working on things for the team, and now working on the blog.  Not to mention the work that has to be done in my home.  I am starting to think that getting a "real job" may be just the break I need.

So, what exactly are the guidelines for a real job?

  • 40 hours a week?  I put in way more hours than that right now.
  • What should the pay be?  As a stay at home mom, I save us well over $1000 dollars a month. (We live in small town Minnesota, good paying jobs are scarce. So my income potential out of home would probably be $1200-$2000 a month)
  • Where does the job have to be, to be a real job?  Does working from home count?
I understand that having a second income would be beneficial to our family, and then my husband wouldn't feel like he is supporting us without any help from me, but I look at the numbers and they don't really add up right now.

The last time I had a "real job", full time/paying that is, I spent more in gas and benefits than I made from working.  That doesn't seem like the best plan...Hmmm 

Let me know what you think!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Top Picks

Top Picks are shops that I feel are fantastic.  I will be posting my top picks periodically and I will split them into two groups; Teamwork Team Members and Other Shops on Etsy.

Teamwork Team Members:

Scarf Handknit Christmas Green and Silver offered by catsarelove for Lady Sophia's TreasuresFashion Earrings Vintage black and gold offered by catsarelove for Lady Sophia's TreasuresRed Agate, 8x10mm Faceted Oval bead destash

LOVE CATS - OOAK Charity charm bracelet - 7 inch - silver, pink, turquoise, magenta - long-haired catsVintage Belt Dog Collar - Candy Stripe - fully adjustableMoon and Star Necklace - midnight blue/charcoal and silver - 18 inch - unisex styling

Beautiful Red and Black Diamond Glass Pearl & Rondelle EarringsOvarian Cancer Awareness Bracelet -- FUNDRAISINGBeautiful Cherry Quartz Pendant Necklace - 24 inches

Other Shops On Etsy:

Glass Pearl 6mm - greyShell Leaves  Pink RosettePENDANT-lion

Sky Blue Topaz Cabochon 10mm Rose Cut Round - 1 cabDeep Purple Amethyst Rose Cut Cabochon 6mm Round  - 1 cabPeacock freshwater pearls half drilled button 8-8.5mm - 20 pieces

Lobster crab sea star 54" Christmas tree skirt coastal beach ocean starfish seashell shelling Blue Crab lobstah Atlantic gulfMr. and Mrs. Christmas stocking 24" pair couples husband wife set of two wedding bridal marriage typography engagement firstfridayartwalkLumbar Blue Crab pillow indoor outdoor 14"x20" coastal ocean SCUBA crabbing fishing beach gulf east coast seafood sailing crustacean

Please take the time to vote on your Top Pick!  The winner will get two free raffle tickets for the monthly Teamwork BNR raffle!

What is Your Top Pick?
  • Catsarelove
  • FishCreek
  • TheBlueEyedBeader
  • UrbanTrades
  • JoopyGems
  • CrabbyChris