Wednesday, March 25, 2009

We are moving...Yay!

I MADE THAT admin is taking the next two days off to move! We are checking in on emails and comments so keep them coming for the contest. We will be back in full force in the next couple of days featuring fantastic new artists we are working with!

Thanks for all you support and patience!

Jessie

P.S. We will post some fun moving photos as well! hehe

Sunday, March 22, 2009

CONTEST - Win a FREE Golden Green Quartz Gemstone


The "I MADE THAT!" blog is run by the owners of Not Bees..BEADS! and we are asking for your help!

We have racked our brains trying to come up with a tagline for our gemstone/bead/jewelry supply shop and we thought, why not host a contest and hear some ideas from our wonderful readers?!

So here is the deal, if you can think of a catchy tagline post it here in the comments section (along with your email address) and we will add your name into the draw to win one stunningly large, faceted Golden Green Quartz Gemstone!

These gemstones are our newest addition to our website (http://notbees.com/) and we are giving one away absolutely FREE!


Enter as many times as you like to increase your chances but you have to have a new tagline for each entry.

An example of a tagline: Your #1 jewelry supply store.


We are looking for something clever and catchy. Using the bee theme from out store would be a great idea.

The retail price of the Golden Green Quartz is $10.


Thanks to all that enter! We can't wait to see your idea's :)


Jessie

I MADE THAT Admin.



*Enteries accepted until April 30 2009, Draw will be held May 1st* Winner will be posted on our blog*

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Featured Seller - Fashion Touch

What part of the world are you in?

I live in The Rose-City of Welland which is exactly in the centre of beautiful Regional Municipality of Niagara. The region of Niagara is a peninsula located between Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and The Niagara River. This region offers year around fun including visits to Niagara Falls and trips to award winning wineries.


What does customer service mean to you?

I truly believe that great customer service is what creates success and keeps happy satisfied customers coming back. For the last for 4 years I have worked in the customer service where I learned many aspects of maintaining good customer satisfaction. My main focus is customer satisfaction and I am doing my best to keep my Customer happy. Everyone loves to open a nice package of the personalized product they originally fell in love with. It is the little things that go long way. I thankfully was blessed with several long-term customers.


What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

Each and every one of them is memorable. It is like event in your life, like memories you keep. Everyone one of my customers brings me the joy of understanding that I can make their day better, that someone will appreciate my work. This makes me happy.


What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?

I came from a different country and I would even say from a different world, where design of things is different and even stitches that I use are different. I also had a chance to travel a lot, so my supplies are purchased from different countries around the world. And for the rest I let my imagination go and enjoy the process.


How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

My education is far away from e-commerce and design, so I have to learn everything from the beginning. Thankfully there is lot of useful info online available now. The biggest help was forums on Etsy and I am very thankful to everyone who shared their best practices (CricketsCreations, TimothyAdamDesigns, etc). Mostly however my skills were aquirred at an early age in school and with learned matrons for example my grandmother and mother.
Do you have any formal training in your craft?

I grew up in Russia, where creative stitching is a mandatory credit in the elementary school where we have learned the stitches, that’s pretty much it.
What is your goal for the next year? To keep enjoying my experience. I would like to develop my market and to attract more customers as well as attract some wholesellers and boutique owners.


What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

Winston Churchill once said: Never, never, never give up. I think this is the most wise advise we’ve ever got.


What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?

My main focus is to create new items so my clients would have options to choose from. Thankfully I have friends who put my link on their website. I do have some followers on Twitter, so if someone would like to follow my updates please feel welcome to do so at http://www.twitter.com/fashiontouch


If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

Research. Research what exactly you want to offer, research how to make great pictures, research how to promote your website and be patient and enjoy your craft.

That quote from Winston Churchill is very good advice. We believe in perseverance, dedication and enjoying the whole creative process. Elenas store, FashionTouch, ranges from beautiful scarves (as pictured above) to jewelry to cuffs and each piece glows with originality and beauty. We love your style Elena, it definitely has a warm European feel. Please check out Elenas online store, FashionTouch, located at http://fashiontouch.etsy.com.

Featured Seller- Michigan Hemp

What part of the world are you in?

I live in Cheboygan, MI. A tiny town with a population of about 5,000 which is locatedabout 15 miles southeast of the Mackinaw Bridge.

What does customer service mean to you?

To me, customer service means ensuring that each and every customer is treated as if theyare the only customer you have ever had. A seller's reputation is one of the mostimportant parts of running a business. If a business owner wants repeat customers, they need to be sure to address every concern or question that each customer may have. Being a caring, concerned seller leads to positivefeedback, and word of mouth is the best advertisement.

What is your most memorable experience with a customer?
Unfortunately, I have yet to experience a sale, but I am positive that my first sale will be a very memorable experience!

What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
My hemp jewelry is absolutely one of a kind. I have never seen items that compare to mine anywhere before,and I try to make items that will appeal to all different kinds of people. I believe that every hemp lover in theworld deserves to own that one piece that calls out to them, so I'm trying to keep my prices low enough to eliminatethe regret that some people may experience.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?
All of my skills were self taught. I experiment with different braiding techniques and bead combinationsall the time in search of a new design. Basically, I get an idea and then I play around with my supplies untilI can make the idea become reality. As far as my people skills go, I have always been a very caring person that tries to help others. I believe strongly in the idea that what you give is what you get.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?
No. All of my skills are self taught. Each piece of jewelry that I make is an experiment and I am always trying new ideas to keep my items interesting and fresh.

What is your goal for the next year?
By the end of the year, I would like to reach at least ten sales per week from my Etsy shop, and have a desinated area in my house for my crafting. At the moment, all of my creating is done in the living room. :)

What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?
My husband. He is the man of my dreams and my hero. Every time that I get frustrated or depressed, he is there to remind me that the day will come where my jewelry will sell and that all I need to do is be patient. He constantly tells me that my items are a higher quality at lower prices, and that there will come a day when my items will start "flying off the shelves".

What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?
Since I just recently started trying to sell online, I haven't had the opportunity for re-occurring business, but I have been trying to get the word out about my new shop. I have joined several social networking sites in order to spread the word, including Byhand.me, Indiepublic, and Twitter, to name a few. I also sell myitems on four different venue sites. Spending time in the Etsy forums also seems to get people looking at myshop. Hopefully, this will be a winning combination.

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?
Research, research, research. I didn't do enough of it before I dove head first into the online marketplace.Since then, I have found many new resources that would've helped me make better decisions about selling, networking,and advertising. Most all of the venues for selling handmade wares are great, but reading up on them a bit canhelp find the perfect fit for a new seller.
Thanks Theresa! We are so happy you have found a wonderful, supportive mate that helps you along your journey! It's nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and have a shoulder to cry on when times are tough. I fully understand and appreciate that as I myself have an amazing man in my life who inspires me everyday. We enjoy your hemp jewelry as it is not something we come across everyday. Variety is the spice of life and we wish you much success in 2009!
You can check out Michigan Hemp at their online store located at http://michiganhemp.etsy.com or at any one of their additional sites:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Featured Seller - Seeds And Beads

What part of the world are you in?

The United States


What does customer service mean to you?


Customer service, to me, means selling a quality product,
and adjusting that product to the customer's desires, whether that be size, color,ect..


What is your most memorable experience with a customer?


A customer bought a pair of earrings from me for her daughters birthday.
She asked me to address the package to her daughter because she loved getting mail, and she would be so excited to get a package addressed to her. I was happy to be apart of that surprise.

What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?


I think what sets me apart from other sellers are the techniques i use.
My Floating Crystal Bracelet technique and my Russian Spiral Bracelet technique are seldom seen in the beading world. I believe a seller, especially in a popular field such as jewelry, needs something DIFFERENT, a spark that pulls a customer into your shop. Another thing that i think sets me apart are my photos. Crisp clear, detailed photos are important in being noticed in my field. The photo sells the product.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?


I owe everything i know to the fabulous teachers at my local beading shop,
and the many many beading books i have recieved over the years.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?


I took a metal design class in high school. I have
always been intrigued by glass jewelry, but when i discovered the potential of copper, silver and nickel, it expanded my interest in jewelry design. I have also taken numerous jewelry design classes at my local beading shop. I am always looking for more ways to be a student.

What is your goal for the next year?

My goal for the next year has nothing to do with an amount of money. I want people to see my jewelry, and see the beauty that i see in my craft. I want to get my name out there, and let people know that jewelry makers are truly dedicated artists.

What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?


I am constantly keeping myself motivated. If sales are slow, then its time to start making
items again! Of course i want to glue myself to my computer screen and watch for sales, but i pry myself away and remember why i am doing this, because of the craft, not the business aspect of it.

What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?


I make sure to include everyone in my sales. If i don't have a country listed, i ask them to email me! If someone
needs a specific size, i make sure to offer that service. I'm also CONSTANTLY listing new items. The more i list, the more i get my name out there. Who would want to check back into a store that has the same items from a month ago? I try to make it exciting and new.

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening
their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

Take clear photos. Pick an interesting, clean background that will be consistent throughout your store, and stick with it.
If you can imagine your items on the front page of a website, then you're doing something right.


Kait, owner of Seeds and Beads, is just the sweetest lady you will ever do business with. We loved her designs when we first saw them being posting in the etsy chat, but when we started gabbing back and forth, we really got a sense of her lovely personality. Her 100% positive customer feedback is no shocker and shes always going above and beyond for her customers.

Please check out her darling webshop located at
http://seedsandbeads.etsy.com/

for more beautiful jewelry pieces like the one shown above.

SPECIAL PROMO FOR "I MADE THAT" Bloggers! Seeds And Beads is offering shipping for only $1 in her "Deals" section. All regular priced items (usally ship for $6) are now shipping for only $1.50!


Spring Is Here! Let's Celebrate!


The MADE THAT blog admin lives in beautiful Ontario, Canada and we've been having such beautiful spring weather recently that we just had to celebrate! The sunshine and warm weather is resulting in little flowers starting to sprout and when we stumbled upon this beautiful Spring Blooms Necklace-- Wild Daisies on etsy by seller Sihaya Designs, we were inspired!

It's time to put away our boots and winter coats and come out of hibernation!
This beautiful little bobble would be a perfect accent to your spring wardrobe and at only $24, it is quite a steal!

Check out
Sihaya Designs for more spring themed jewelry that will break you out of your winter blues and get you ready for the lovely weather that is upon us!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Featured Seller- Lee Ohio Designs

What part of the world are you in?

Recently, my family and I relocated to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. It is a beautiful area, though I never did get to see it before Hurricane Katrina. I've spent the past seven or eight years in Savannah, Georgia. Though I'm from Maine originally, I'm really a Southern girl at heart.

What does customer service mean to you?

Customer service to me means being a friend, I guess. I treat everyone I meet in person or connect with online as a friend. I'm kind and accommodating. I realize that many of my pieces are out of the price range of a lot of people out there - but that doesn't matter. It isn't all about making sales, it is about making connections with people. It is about sharing my art. Maybe because I am coming from the background as a fine artist, I treat the sales aspect of business a little differently than most. Although it isn't "all about sales," sales are a part of it. But what good is a sale to an unhappy customer who won't return? I'd rather build friendships with people.

What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

That is a really hard question. I've met some really fantastic people out there - many whom I'd like to consider good friends now, even if we've never actually met in person. Each one of them has lent a hand to my success, and I'm so grateful to each of them. It would be hard just to choose one.

What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?

I'd like to think that what sets me apart is that is made by me, if that makes any sense? There are a lot of sellers out there that sell gemstone jewelry - and I always joke that "there are only so many ways to string a bead." Many of my fellow designers on Etsy have become really good friends and we rally in our similarities. We celebrate our original ideas and independent inventions. We share a lot and are happy for each other's success. Many out there aren't as nice about it as I am, but I'm confident in my work and my designs.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

I've always been an artist. I think jewelry was a natural extension for me from being a painter.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?

Yes and no. I went to school for fine art where I learned color theory and design. I studied for a number of years painting, art history and design. I also worked for another designer at one point where I learned the basics of jewelry - but I've really gone to another level with it. It was all just experimentation and drive - and investment of time and a lot of money.

What is your goal for the next year?

My goal for the next year is to keep working and growing. I have one wholesale client who said to me that every time she sees me, my work has grown and gotten even better. I'd like that to keep happening. I always want to feel as if I'm maturing as a designer and honing my craft. I'd also like to get better at updating my blog, Trunkt and .com sites. It is just so time consuming!
*admin comment* Oh we know! We dedicate a lot of time to our .coms, blogs, twitter, etc. It's quite enjoyable though when we get to meet and feature great inspiring artists :)

What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

I just keep working. Sometimes it is actually easier to create the really large, lavish pieces when sales are slow. I'm not distracted by the minutia of actually running a business such as packaging, mailing and answering emails. Though it can be scary, I actually like the nervousness and tension between sales - as long as they don't last too long! I think I'm more creative then.

What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?

I'd like to think again that it has to do with my customer service. I take care of my clients. For new business, at the moment I am relying a lot on "word of mouth" sales or friend-to-friend. I've had a number of clients purchase from me because someone they knew had bought from me and they liked my work. I'm primarily a wholesale business, so much of my advertising is done by my clients.

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

Having a supportive family and network of friends is really important. Being flexible, as well. I had no idea how to start a business when I began in 2007. I had no clue about sales projections and the legalities of running a business. I had to own up to needing help, and that can sometimes be hard. So, above all, be flexible and ready to learn.


Awesome advice Jennifer and we couldn't agree more. We found your interview very inspiring and we appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. If you haven't had the pleasure of browsing through Lee Ohio Designs enchanting jewelry box, you really should spoil yourself and take a peak. Exquisite pieces dripping in jewels, fit for the princess in you. Brides to be, you have to check out Lee Ohio Designs for your bridal pieces if you want one of a kind jewelry that will add that glamous touch a class and sophistication to your special day.
http://leeohiodesigns.com/ http://jleeohiodesigns.etsy.com/

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gem of the week - Tourmaline

This week we are focusing on the lovely gemstone, Tourmaline.

Tourmaline is found in many locations across the globe including: Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Brazil, USA, Pakistan and Mozambique to name a few.



It is said to symbolize wealth, friendship and love and has healing properties including regulating blood pressure, strengthening the heart muscle and nervous system. Also it is said to stimulate the digestive system and immune system.



Tourmaline is linked to a number of star signs based on colour. Blue Tourmaline is linked to Libra, green to Capricorn and pink/ red to Scorpio.



Application and care of Tourmaline is as follows: should be discharged once a month under running water and recharged by placing it in direct sunlight for a few hours, except for pink Tourmaline which should not be charged in sunlight but rather in an amethyst geode.




*Information cited from: Healing Crystals and Gemstones by Dr. Flora Peschek-Bohmer and Gisela Schreiber

Monday, March 16, 2009

$5 Deal Of The Week - EaT mE-OOEY GOOEY Cookie Dough!

Who doesn't LOVE cookies?!

We certainly do! And sometimes I want them right now but I am a busy gal and don't always have the time to go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients but I want that delicious homemade cookie.

You know the kind, fresh out of the oven, all ooey gooey soft and chewy. Well our good friends at My Decrepit Valentine have made it simple...and delicious!

For only $5 bucks you can order "EaT Me-OOEY GOOEY CoOkiE DOUGH" made with milk and white chocolate chips! There are no eggs in this cookie dough so if your diet restricts you from eating eggs, you can still enjoy these!

Just spoon them out onto a greased cookie sheet (or if you are lazy like us, just toss them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper that way there is virtually no clean up!) Ladies, we all know the way to a mans heart is through his stomach so bake these for your hubby or boyfriend and take the credit for these yummy cookies. It's out little secret that you arn't a domestic goddess and what he doesn't know wont hurt him :)

Pop on over to My Decrepit Valentine's online store,
http://mydecrepitvalentine.etsy.com, and have a peak at their scrumptious treats, but remember it's not our fault if you drool on (thus ruining) your keyboard.


Featured Seller - b u d

What part of the world are you in?

Greenville, SC

What does cust
omer service mean to you?

Everything. I want the entire experience of shopping at b u d to be joyful. I'm thankful that of all the shops they could order from, they choose mine, and I try to extend that gratitude in any way I can. If they have a question, I'm eager to answer it. If they'd like a custom piece, I'm happy to offer it. If they need something altered--if it's possible--I'll gladly do it. They are the only way my shop can succeed and I want them to know just how important they are to me. I don't just want them to be satisfied. That's not good enough. I want my customers to be happy.


What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

Since I'm so new to this, most of my customers have been loved ones offering support, but I got my first order from a total stranger while I was out of town one weekend. I felt horrible, because I had failed to put up a notice before I left stating that I'd be away. To be honest, I thought the chances of me getting an order would be slim to none, so I figured I'd just put up a quick notice when we got to our destination--just in case. You can imagine my surprise when I signed in and saw the order! I emailed her right away (well, actually, I probably high-fived my husband first, but that's here nor there...) to let her know of the situation and to apologize for my error, then I quickly put up the announcement. She was very gracious about it and told me she was in no hurry. Her order was my top priority when I got back, of course. I had so much fun wrapping up her package and sending it on its way!

What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?

Color. I'm pretty quiet in nature, but when it comes to design and self-expression, I'm loud. I just let color speak for me. Bold colors and interesting combinations are my way of injecting some happiness into life. When I'm creating a piece of jewelry, I'm truly content. My heart is smiling while I'm making it and I like to imagine that people smile when they see what I've made. :D

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

Experimentation and a willingness to figure out how to make things work.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?

No. "Formal" would not be on a list of words that best describe me. ;)

What is your goal for the next year?

I'd like to see my shop grow, of course. I am very much happy with the pieces I make now, but I'm always looking to improve upon my skills and would be so pleased to look back, a year from now, and see even a small difference in the way I execute and display my pieces. I am contemplating adding art for the home to my shop since my first love is drawing and I always have ideas running through this scattered brain of mine.

What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

I don't let anything get me down. If sales are slow--which they are right now--I use the time to create new items to list and freshen up the pictures of items already listed. I get so excited looking at my little corner of Etsy and seeing when people have looked at an item or marked it as a favorite that I will always be motivated. It also helps to have support from my husband and the cheers of my biggest fans, my mom and dad.

What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?

I make sure my store looks cheerful and inviting. I try to always have a Treasury up. I enjoy featuring the other talented artists with whom I share space and it's a fun way to get to know them. That's about all the self-promotion I do at this point. I encourage recurring business by first making a quality product and then including some sort of discount coupon they can use on a future purchase.
If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be? Stay positive. If you feel you have a truly great product to offer and you've taken the time to make your shop look appealing, someone is bound to notice.


--EXCLUSIVE DEAL ONLY FOR "I MADE THAT" BLOG READERS!--
Special Promotion for "I MADE THAT!" readers: From now through April 1, 2009, enjoy FREE SHIPPING on all orders to anywhere in the world. Just mention NOTBEES in the Notes to Seller section at checkout and I'll refund the shipping charges right away. Thank you for shopping at b u d! :D
We LOVE b u d! Her designs are so unique and bursting with colour! Shes a wonderful, positive spirit truly dedicated to her customers and we know her shop will take off and sell out. Check out b u d designs online at
www.budpnq.etsy.com

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Featured Seller- Demonsterative

What part of the world are you in?
I live in Douglas County Oregon. Roseburg to be precise.

If you have never seen this area of the Country you should try to make a trip of it. Oregon is a Beautiful diverse environment. Oregon has everything from Desert to snow Cover Mountains of course there are our wildly popular Ocean beaches.

I've heard Roseburg called the place of a hundred Valleys. We have a Happy valley, that I think would be the greatest place to live. I live in Garden Valley. During the growing season I enjoy the many farmers markets, the local Fruit and Vegetable Stand with my favorite Cherry rhubarb pie available most of the year and a Local you pick Farm.

Anyone else need 10 pounds of Basil and 50 pound of Beets ??? Because I do LOL… My freezer is full of homemade Pesto and my family really likes pickled beets :D


What does customer service mean to you?

Customer Service to me is what I get when I patron these small family run Farm stands. Happy owners that enjoy the regular attendance of myself and the groups of my children and their friends. These owners know I could go to a large Store for my purchases but appreciate the values that I feel are important to impress upon the next generation. I like to know where my money is going. I feel good knowing that my money is appreciated and allows them to live the lifestyle that they have chosen. This feeling of community and friendship is what I try to offer to my Customers too.

What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

I have many happy memories over the years with my customers. Many friendships have grown from a simple purchase. The most memorable in general is the childish delight of opening one of my guys packages...I imagine… since most of my sales are on line… that thought brings me great joy :D


What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?

This is a very hard question for me. Since I put so much of myself into my designs… I am not a self involved person and can’t really say well I’m better because. I appreciate a lot of the work of other Amigurumi and Teddy Bear Designers, and there are many traits I wish I could do as well as them. How some are so tidy with their work spaces, or so good at rambling on in an interesting way about there work in their blogs. How some can make 24 of the same items and not only make them look exactly the same but actually complete 24 of anything!
I am unique…uniquely me!

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

My grandmother taught me when I was about 5. I was a VERY busy child to say it nicely and for her sanity :D she taught me to knit crochet and needle point. When in high school and college, lectures bored me and to keep myself from running out of English lit screaming….. I kept my hands busy…. I could have drawn but then I would have never listened LOL…. After 3 years of College and finding myself in nothing but sculpting, painting, and Clay classes. I decided I could be a starving artist without forking out more money towards the degree :D


Do you have any formal training in your craft?

I did work for 5 years in a yarn shop designing and teaching many different forms of Fiber arts. I also worked as a Designer and Furrier for 2 years for a Teddy bear company. Most of even that training was…. Ohh… yeah I can do that.


What is your goal for the next year?

My goals are hard to define for me. I WILL have a study built… right now I work out of a closet in my bedroom. Many of my Amis gets finished sitting cross legged on my bed.
I would like to have more Kits available. I want to be consistent with my Bears of the months. I really enjoy doing these bigger bears with so many different elements to them.

What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

Obsession :D I am truly an addict. Just one more round. I go to sleep thinking of different designs. I wakeup in the middle of the night and have to crochet. Sales are a bonus :D


What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?
I try and make the wow factor in packaging… nice boxes Ribbons… Most of all I let the item speak for its self. I do plan on trying some free shipping offers for return customers. For new Clients I do have a small advertising budget, but really haven't tried many venues yet.

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening
their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

Make what is in you heart do what makes you happy and the sales and customers will come….


Cynthia, we love your bubbly personality and positive outlook, in fact it's infectious! It's also extremely good for business and we know you spoil and treasure each and everyone of you customers. Thank you for sharing with our blog, we wish you the best of luck in life and business in 2009! Please visit Cynthia's online store, Demonsterative, located at demonsterative.etsy.com

Friday, March 13, 2009

Featured Seller - Celeste Lauren Designs

What part of the world are you in?
I live in Fort Mill, SC right outside of Charlotte, NC.


What does customer service mean to you?

I believe the thing that attracts customers to you initially is the great quality of work shown in your product. However, in order to retain these customers and gain new ones depends a great deal on customer service. This involves how responsive you are to requests, fast shipping, communication, and doing whatever it takes to make the customer happy. If I don’t offer something in my shop, I will always go above and beyond to get the materials I need to make exactly what the customer wants and I think people really appreciate that enough to make them come back.


What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

Wow, I’ve had so many and met so many great people via Etsy. They are all memorable
in some aspect but the most encouraging is when customers message me praising my designs and quality of work enough to want to carry it in their boutiques. Also, I get so excited every time I have a sale, not because its a sale and I get money, but because it feels so awesome and rewarding that someone else appreciates something that I’ve made with my own hands.

What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?

I think more than any other type of artist on Etsy, there are more jewelry designers
and very talented ones at that, so its really competitive. I think that my designs are all such a variety of styles and full of color which attracts all types of people to them. I also try to take good pictures of my jewelry to make it standout. I love what I do and I think that shows in my work thus attracting people to my jewelry.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

I’ve always been a creative, artsy person but choose to veer away from this in college
and major in business thinking I would one day make more money and be happier. Of course I was completely wrong, and found myself longing to draw, paint and create again. So last year I decided I wanted to make a necklace for myself and I did. I enjoyed making it so much that I quickly became fascinated by beads and gemstones and I ended up teaching myself how to make earrings with a lot of trial and error. I’m self-taught and I am always learning as I go along. I can hardly picture what my life was like before I discovered my passion for jewelry making.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?

No, I’m self taught through lots of trial and error.


What is your goal for the next year?

My goal is to attract new customers, retain old customers and figure out the best way to do that. I’d also like to put even more time into my jewelry business. I have a day job and a puppy so balancing all 3 can be challenging at times but also very rewarding. I’ve realized that making jewelry is my true passion so I will take it one day at a time and remain positive for what the future holds.


What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

I just keep designing new jewelry which is doing what I love. This keeps my mind off of other things. I try to stay positive because sales will come in time.


What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?
Most of my customers have heard of my jewelry through friends. I’ve also some done advertising on Facebook and Google. I recently donated some of my jewelry for a big charity fundraiser auction in Charlotte which likely helped get my name out there. If you love what you do, offer a great product, fast shipping and excellent customer service most people will return to your shop again.

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening t
heir own store of handmade items, what would it be?
Don't try to do everything at once because you can easily get overwhelmed. There is
so much you will want to do but it will take time. Patience is key. Also, take great pictures of your product. I heard this when I first started and it really is true. My pictures weren’t that great in the beginning so I made sure to try to improve them and noticed a big increase in the views of items and sales once I did.


Celeste Lauren Designs, we fell in love with your store the moment we stumbled across it. We love the mix of colour and shapes of the gemstones used in her exquisite pieces. Luxurious and feminine, her pieces will have you dripping in sparkle and colour!
Our fav is posted above, the
Lemon Quartz and Minty Green Chrysoprase Briolette Earrings.
Visit her online store and treat yourself to these celebrity style handmade masterpieces!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Featured Seller - Silver River Jewelry

What part of the world are you in?

I am in the Ohio, in the United States.

What does customer service mean to you?

I think that along with a really good product, customer service is what will make or break your business and can make the difference between being really successful or not. This means keeping in contact with your customer throughout the process from confirming receipt of the order, when it will ship all the way through to your packaging etc.



What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

I have been blessed in that all of my customers have been wonderful! For me when a customer becomes a friend through the communication about an order, that is just so cool and I have met so many nice people because of this.
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items? That's a tough one, there are so many talented people out there. My items are all well made, and I do stand behind my jewelry, I love what I do and I hope that I am developing a style that people will recognize as my own.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

Most of it is self taught, with lots of trial and error (sometimes the best way to learn is to make mistakes, it makes you really think about how something is put together), a great deal of good advice and hands on learning from the wonderfully skilled people at the Summit County Lapidary club (they taught me and are still teaching me, the skills necessary to cut my own cabs) and one metal smithing class taught by an extremely talented lady named Rita. I also have been fortunate to be a member of several online selling venues where the other sellers have been more than generous with their knowledge.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?

No

What is your goal for the next year?

To build my skills and really stretch my imagination with the metal smithing. Also to build my business and really start to focus on how to reach my target market.
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow? I love what I do. I am going to make it anyway, I can't NOT make things. So when I sales are slow I just keep doing what I love and building inventory lol!

What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?

To attract new business, I do some advertising campaigns on project wonderful and I also do some give aways and spend some time networking with several different groups. I also promote and do give aways for other artists. This might sound counter productive but it does bring lots of visitors to my blog and besides I like helping other artists out and its fun. Recurring business I hope is based on good customer service and an awesome product.

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

Make sure your photo's are good. Make them stand out so that people really want to take another look. Also be prepared to work really hard for a fairly long time before you are even close to successful. Building a business means not just being able to make beautiful things, it means learning how to be a photographer, a web designer, an accountant, a tax preparer, learning to design business card, logo's, online ads, networking with other people, etc. Its a huge amount of work but in the end there is a great deal of satisfaction knowing that this is YOUR business and you did it yourself.

Check out the lovely collection available by Silver River Jewelry online at silverriverjewelry.com. We had a hard time choosing our favorite piece to feature! Lovely work Sonja and best of luck to you in 2009!

Featured Seller - Carollai

What part of the world are you in?

i live in new york city.

What does customer service mean to you?

it means treating the customer as i would wish to be treated myself.

What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

post purchase, a customer said she had been 'stalking' my item which was why the 'times viewed' number was so high. sounds silly but i just thought that was so sweet because she loved the item that much. after purchasing the particular item, she asked me to make a matching pendant. i happily did! i like that i can create additional pieces for someone that truly loves my handmade designs
.
What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?


well, we all passionately make handcrafted items and love our craft... so, i'd have to say that we're just all really different, even in the similar types of things we sell on etsy. each person has their own taste, style and way of doing something and the entire shop face and product line represents that. for example, i love using swarovski crystals and semiprecious stones to create classic, elegant and at times, playful pieces. someone else's interpretation of classic, elegant and playful would likely be represented very differently.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

my "life" skills have been grown and strengthened through life experiences, both good and bad. my jewelry making skills have been honed by practice, patience, continued research and trial and error.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?

nope! but i'm learning more and more each day through experimentation and once in awhile, online tutorials.

What is your goal for the next year?

to keep enjoying what i'm doing. enjoy the creative process. enjoy making jewelry that i absolutely love. perhaps branch out to note cards and greeting cards, as my undergraduate studies were in graphic design. it would be absolutely awesome if during all that, i also continue making sales and building a stable business with steady income.

What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

my husband and sister who support me and remind me that there will be good times and tough times. i also try to get back to the process of creating as that brings me joy and reminds me that first and foremost, i do what i do because of the fulfillment in the process. usually when i get back to the basics, my heart doesn't fret so much over the sales. of course i still wish i could get numerous sales in a week and a client base that loves my work and tells all their friends to buy from me!

What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?

i've sent emails out to my friends asking them to pass along my shop info to their friends. i've also opened up a blog,
http://mustardseedbycarollai.blogspot.com, where i share more of who i am as well as provided a giveaway. still figuring out how to 1. keep my clients and 2. get new ones. any suggestions? :D

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

be passionate about what you choose to do and don't get discouraged! it can be hard to get started and build up clientele (i'm still working on that too) but if you're doing something that you love, then there is still joy in the process of creating.

We just fell in love with carollai's stunning jewelry the moment we saw it! Our fav earrings are pictured at the top of this article, we encourage you to check out her shop featuring gorgeous gemstones, beautiful colour combinations and oodles of creativity! Thanks so much carollai for allowing us to feature your pieces. We know you will do awesome in 2009!
Visit carollai's shop located at
http://carollai.etsy.com

Monday, March 9, 2009

Featured Seller - 3Sister

What part of the world are you in?
In the good ol’ state of Utah. Born & raised.


What does customer service mean to you?

I stand by Nordstrom’s rule of thumb, that the customer is always right. And I believe that you should treat others the way you would want to be treated. I most definitely wouldn’t want to go into a store and be completely ignored!



What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

Our shop is still fairly new, so we haven’t had much experience yet. I think getting our first sale will be forever remembered in our hearts. Ha, that was a good day.


What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?
Each piece in our shop is unique and not one is the same. We like to add our own twist to our accessories and I think it shows.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

My mom is an extremely crafty person. She’s really taught me everything I know. She just might be the next Martha Stewart, except with out going to jail of course.


Do you have any formal training in your craft?

Just years and years of crafting beside my wonderful mother.


What is your goal for the next year?

To try new things and not be afraid to do so.


What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

I just stay positive and keep trying to get the word out. I also brainstorm new ideas that would hopefully appeal to customers.


What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?
Keeping things up to date and having a few deals every now and then is something that would perhaps encourage new clients as well as keeping the past ones. I am also so happy whenever someone purchases something and I try to express my gratitude to each who buys from our shop!

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening
their own store of handmade items, what would it be?
Be patient, get the word out, and just keep doing what you love!



Thanks so much 3Sister for sharing your wonderful pieces with us in the "MADE THAT" community. We understand the sisterly bond, it's a very precious and special relationship. How wonderful that you three get to work together to do create beautiful pieces you love and thank you for wanting to share them with us. Good luck in 2009!
Check out 3Sister's online store located at
http://3sister.etsy.com

Sunday, March 8, 2009

YOUR STORE Featured on "I MADETHAT!"

The application process to be featured on our blog are as follows and are completely FREE!




Featured Seller – To be a Featured Seller we require you to:


1. Send an email to imadethat@hotmail.com with the subject "Featured Seller" and we will forward you the Featured Seller Questionnaire – a simple interview that we will post on the blog, along with one (1) photo of an item you would like accompanying your interview. We ask that the photo be clear, bright, and interesting to look at.


2. Send back the interview in the original .txt format and please include your: first name, store name and website address in the .txt file.

3. Try to have something extra and exciting to offer our readers! Maybe a contest or perhaps a special discount with promotion code? Give us all the necessary details so we can include it in your Featured Seller post.



Product Reviews - For a product review, we require you to:


1. Contact us at imadethat@hotmail.com with the subject “Product Review”


2. Include your name, store name, website address, as well as a link to the product you’d like us to review.


3. Upon approval (we have allergies to certain products) you can send us the item and we will test it for one week, then we review it and send you our review BEFORE it is posted on the blog.


4. If you like our review and would like it posted just simply reply stating you’d like to go forward with the product review.

5. We will then require you to supply us with one (1) photo of the item being reviewed that you would like to have accompany our Product Review.

**Please note, any and all products sent to us for review will NOT be returned.



Shop Advertisement – In order to approve your ad, it must include:


1. 150x150 pixel wide photograph of your shop logo or a picture of a handmade item you sell


2. Your store name or URL

3. Email all of the above information to imadethat@hotmail.com with the subject “Shop Advertisement”



$5 Deal of the Week – Promote a item you sell that is $5!


1. Your item must be $5.00 (no more, no less) however if it’s multiple items for $5, that’s okay too. (i.e. 2 lip balms for $5.00)


2. You must provide us with your store name, website address, name of the product, a photo and the url for the $5 item.


3. Email the above information to imadethat@hotmail.com with the subject, “$5 Deal of the Week”


**Please note, our wait times vary but on average it takes about a week from the date of your submission to see your items on our website.



Are you a Not Bees…BEADS Customer? – We let our customers SHINE!
If you’ve bought jewelry making supplies from our online store http://notbeesbeads.com/ and you’ve created a handmade piece, please send us! We will post it immediately!

A photo of the item
The name of the piece
The URL
Supplies you purchased from
Not Bees...BEADS, that you used to create your piece We will have it up on our site within 2 business days!!!! We LOVE cross promoting our supplies with your beautiful creations and it is the fastest and most freqway to be featured on our blog!

Featured Seller - Caffeinated Frenzy


What part of the world are you in?

Cleveland, Ohio


What does customer service mean to you?

Customer service is all about making people happy.


What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

I had a customer order a number of items, and insist on paying more than my set price. I was touched someone felt they were worth more.


What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?

Easy, I try not to sell similar items. Design, texture, and color can all make something stand apart from a crowd.


How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

I'm self-taught. It's all trial and error for me.


Do you have any formal training in your craft?

Nope.


What is your goal for the next year?

To expand CaffeinatedFrenzy into more selling venues. I am in the process of consigning with a boutique in Alabama, and I hope more of that work is in the future!


What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

Pretty colors, design ideas, I'm less motivated with sales than I am with the idea of playing with yarn. :)


What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?

I make sure to follow through with an order. I let them know when it's shipped, include a handwritten note, making it personal really makes a difference.

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

Just go for it! Promote any way you can think of, internet ads, blogs, forums. Networking sites such as facebook are excellent ways to promote.


Awesome shop Caffeinated Frenzy! We love your beautiful knitted wears and we know our readers will too! Check out Caffeinated Frenzy online store located at http://caffeinatedfrenzy.etsy.com

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Featured Seller - Chickscratch

What part of the world are you in?

Sunny San Diego, California! I moved here from New York State about five years ago and I don't think I'm ever going to leave.

What does customer service mean to you?

Listening to and anticipating your customer's needs, and finding a way to fulfill those needs, even if it means some creative thinking. Although most of my business is conducted online, I'm very aware that my customers are people, with real lives, problems and emotions. A little communication goes a long way.

What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

A customer was unsure of which scent she wanted, so I asked what perfumes she liked, and what her favorite foods were. I suggested a few scents, and wrote new, detailed descriptions for her. She bought a sample size of something I thought she'd like, even though she was unsure. After she received the candle, she raved about how amazing it was and ordered two full-sized ones.

What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?

I communicate with each one of my customers, and make sure they know I am very approachable if they have questions. I disclose all of my ingredients & make substitutions if a customer is allergic.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

I worked for several years in retail sales. A lot of my marketing skills I learned on the sales floor. But part of it is thanks to my mom - treat others well, do your best, don't be afraid to admit mistakes, and - most important - nothing is impossible if you try.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?

No, I'm all self-taught. I've always loved making things, and after I became vegetarian I became more conscious of the ingredients in commercial bath & body products. It seemed sensible to see what I could make for myself. I gave my products as gifts, and soon my friends demanded I start selling them. I did some testing, refined my recipes, and set up shop on Etsy.

What is your goal for the next year?

To actually make a clear profit. Everything I earn right now is going back into supplies; I'd like to start pocketing some cash!

What keeps you motivated when sales are slow?

New scents, new ideas - I live very close to a large park, and things are always in bloom here. I take a walk, clear my head & breathe in all the wonderful smells: eucalyptus, plumeria, jasmine. It's hard not to get inspired.

What do you do to attract new clients and encourage re-occurring business?


I list new scents & products to reflect the seasons or holidays. Gingersnap candles sell better in the winter, and lavender better in the spring.

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

Do your research. I plunged in headfirst, and had no idea what I was getting into. I should have taken more time to get organized & stock my inventory. It worked out, but it could have been so much smoother.


We came across chickenscratch's shop and just fell in love with their products. We wanted to share these all vegan and paraben-free products with you. The candles that double as massage oil are a brilliantly romantic idea. The packaging is beautiful and they offer a range of delicious scents! We also hear that chickscratche's customer service is top notch, so check them out at their etsy store,
http://chickscratch.etsy.com

Featured Seller - Primitive Junkie

What part of the world are you in?

Portland, Tennessee

What does customer service mean to you?

Customer service is what is going above and beyond what is expected. With so many shops out there customer service is what keeps people coming back to you. Good customer service is what will get them to recommend you to their friends as well. A lot of business is by word of mouth. I remember once hearing a satisfied customer will tell 10 people about their experience, but an unsatisfied customer will tell 100.

What is your most memorable experience with a customer?

The most memorable is getting feedback from the first jar of White Hot Chocolate I sold. It is one of my favorite things in my shop and it felt so good to get that first comment saying "this isn't your normal Hot Chocolate, you need a warning label for how addicting it is" Still puts a smile on my face when i see it.

What sets you apart from other sellers who are selling similar items?

I think the variety of items I offer, from simple crochet scarfs, to the small sewn business card holders, to my White Hot Chocolate mix. There is something for just about everyone and I keep striving to create more variety for my customers.

How did you learn the skills that make you successful today?

From my mom. She taught me to sew and taught me how to crochet my first chain. She gave me the skills to look at a pattern and teach myself how to put it together. I still call her with questions to this day. I am constantly learning from her.

Do you have any formal training in your craft?

No my mom taught me the basics and I have taught myself a lot of it along the way. I am currently taking a quilting class though so hopefully will see more of that show up in my shop later this year.

What is your goal for the next year?

To advance my crochet skills and provide more variety of products in my store.
What keeps you motivated when sales are slow? The knowledge that it will pick up again. Sales are up and down like a roller coaster. Slow inclines of a lot of views but no sales and fast, exhilarating decents where you have sales everytime you turn around.


What do you do to attract new clients and encourage repeat business?

I have some items that can be custom made to the clients wishes and am always open to suggestiongs. For example I had someone contact me that they had a pattern for a hat they wanted made, but didn't know how to crochet. They sent me the pattern and commissioned me to make it...I loved it, not only did I satisfy a customer, but I learned a new pattern as well!

If you could share one piece of advice with someone who is considering opening their own store of handmade items, what would it be?

patient and persistent. Success doesn't happen overnight...or even within a month. And get your shop and name out there anyway you can, in the forums, on blogs, twitter, flickr, any way you can. The more people see your name the better.

Thanks Miranda for the wonderful interview! That Hot Chocolate looks delicious!
Check out Mirandas Etsy Shop Primitive Junkie located at
http://primitivejunkie.etsy.com