#happyhandmade week ninety-three

Hello & welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective of handmade products from various artists, shops & platforms - all brought together to aid in product discovery and help connect artisans with new audiences and other makers! 


This collective usually generates over 2,500 click-throughs to participants shops every month, but 
last week alone generated over 800 product views for participating shops! That is record views/click throughs for #happyhandmade and resulted in several sales! So not only is a great way to drive new traffic to your shop, it also helps put your products in front of new people each week! 



Oh, and each week there is SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 



This week's Most Viewed:


Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 


#happyhandmade week ninety-two

Hello & welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective of handmade products from various artists, shops & platforms - all brought together to aid in product discovery and help connect artisans with new audiences and other makers! This week is full of colorful selections to help make your holidays merry & bright! 

This collective generates over 2,500 click-throughs to participants shops every month! Not only is a great way to drive new traffic to your shop, it also helps put your products in front of new people each week! 

Oh, and each week there is SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 



This week's Most Viewed:
Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 

What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 


9 ways to run a more eco indie business - and save money!

It's very important to me to operate Lu & Ed with as little impact on the Earth as possible. I compiled some of my basic practices in hopes these ideas help other artists make the switch to more economical and environmentally friendly practices because while there are many ways indie makes can reduce waste and have a positive impact on the planet, it definitely requires a 'thinking out side of the (big) box' mentality by searching for eco-friendly sources of materials, alternative shipping options, and scrutinizing production/waste management. However, despite what many think, switching to more environmentally friendly habits also saves you money! Here are a few ideas that have worked for me to help turn crafting businesses into a more green operation:



Consider new shipping methods. Flat rate UPS shipping is SO convenient and fast - but it can lead to putting small things in big boxes, and paying more for shipping. Instead, recycle packaging from another source, use a box that fits your product as snugly as possible with proper padding (junk mail works great for this!) and while you're at it, try out first class - typically, packages arrive within 3 days, at the most, 5 days, and it is on average half or less the cost of shipping priority mail. Lowering shipping expenses, which always makes everyone happy. I turn food boxes inside-out and use those for shipping Mon-stors.


Tap new venues. Thrift and antique stores are great places to get supplies to make on of a kind pieces of art. For the jewelers out there, think of all the lovely strands of beads hanging around in thrift stores. Clasps can be taken off of bracelets there and reused, along with the jewelry wire. For the artists, thrift stores, flea markets and antique stores offer a plethora of beautiful frames for art - a little sanding and spray paint, and you have a custom frame to put your art in. Plus you can paint over generic, store bought canvases that people have dumped there with some primer and have a blank canvas for a fraction of the cost of buying one at a craft store. For the seamstresses, fabric options are absolutely endless! Curtains, sheets, blankets, comforters, raw yardage, dresses, robes, clothing, pillows. Not to mention the hidden gems you wander upon, jewelry tools, knitting needles and crochet hooks, raw canvases, sewing machines, shears, bags of beads, buttons and thread spools. Don't get discouraged if your first few trips to thrift stores disappoint - remember, they have a rotating inventory, so check back often. And don't limit yourself - I have 4 thrift stores I frequent often in search of new fabrics!

Photo by Honey & The Hive
Don't toss what you won't use. Just because you won't use that half full tube of glitter or those little scraps of yarn doesn't mean someone else can't. Donate scraps of unneeded craft supplies to churches, schools, art studios that host workshops, or nursing homes. They will appreciate your donations! If you want to donate craft supplies to the children's ward of hospitals, please check ahead with the hospital staff to find what craft supplies they deem acceptable.

Stop ordering online. If you can, buy it at the store in person, and save the shipping costs, the packaging and the fuel used to mail, distribute and deliver your packages from online stores. By removing the cost of shipping supplies you purchase, you're lowering your overhead costs. Plus this gives you an opportunity to distribute business cards and make connections - you never know who you will meet that will be interested in your art!

Watch what you spend. Do you really need to buy more fabric/ribbons/beads/paint/etc? Or do you just want to? Think about your purchases, think about what you already have at home, and consider if this is something you actually need - eliminating unnecessary spending reduces consumption from big box stores, which reduces the energy, fuel and packaging that is used to stock stores. Eliminating unnecessary spending also lowers your overhead costs, again saving you money, and you don't have an excess of supplies just sitting around, which means less clutter, which means less stress. Instead, shop smart for projects that you have in mind, or buy only things that inspire you that you will use in a timely manner. If you can't think of an immediate use for it, don't buy it.

Give it the birds. This is probably only effective if you sew or do fiber arts, but you can take your
scraps of fiber, yarn, fabric, thread scraps, hemp or string and fill a hanging basket or potato sack in your yard for birds to gather nesting materials. You can do this year round, and also add dryer lint. They use it to insulate their nests.

Make your own.  Make your own business cards, thank you cards, coupon cards, and other promotional materials. Double points if you reuse paper materials to make them. To make your own promo items, get blank card stock or reuse paper board from your recycling bin, paper cutter, a personalized stamp with your business info (love these custom stamps by AngeliqueInk) and some good jams to zone out to while you work. The paperboard inserts in fat quarters are excellent to use as little thank you postcards! Use a thank you stamp to make a statement then hand write a note of gratitude - or a special coupon code for their next order!

Paper, plastic, or fabric? If you frequent craft shows, consider investing in or making some fabric shopping bags to offer as an option to purchase, to give as free gifts, or use as a buying incentive - free reusable bag with every $15 purchase? This makes you appeal to environmentally aware consumers, and reduces paper/plastic consumption by offering a long lasting alternative to using paper/plastic bags. Also, if you sew, you can make yourself some pretty rad reusable bags to use in all these thrift stores you will be frequenting, and when people ask where you got such an awesome tote, whip out a business card. ;) Here is a tutorial to turn tee shirts into tote bags. Hit up the $0.25 sales at Goodwill and grab a bunch of shirts and turn them into totes!


Supplement.  If you often use polyfil to stuff pillows, creatures, or other things, fluff that stuff up. Instead of tossing your fabric scraps, dice it up and blend it into the polyfil! It beefs up the stuffing and reduces landfill waste!

I hope that you found some of these tips useful, and if you have any other ideas or tips, or if you just liked what you read, feel free to leave me a comment here! :)

#happyhandmade week ninety-one

Hello & welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective of handmade products from various artists, shops & platforms - all brought together to aid in product discovery and help connect artisans with new audiences and other makers! This week is full of colorful selections to help make your holidays merry & bright! 

This collective generates over 2,500 click-throughs to participants shops every month! Not only is a great way to drive new traffic to your shop, it also helps put your products in front of new people each week! 

Each week there is SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 



This week's Most Viewed:
Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 


What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 


How to Use Negative Space in Product Photos

This post is brought to you from Melanie of Violet's Buds. Melanie has Bachelors of Science in Photography and provides product photography advice and services to entrepreneurs.

The primary subject of your photo is known as positive space. Everything else is called negative space. While your product is the most important part of the image, negative space can be just as crucial to creating a striking image & really showcasing the use of your products!

Watch negative space for distractions to the positive space
 

In the first photo, the tree branches near the models head are distracting and draw the eye away. The second image is cleaner and bring the focus back to the model.

Negative space can give balance & set the mood

The negative space in this image is the table & bowl, which doesn't distract from the image but helps set the mood the seller is going for & attract their target buyers while complimenting their product with similar tones & textures. 

Polder's Old World Market

Negative space helps to tell the story of the positive space.

Negative space doesn't mean empty - you can fill it with prop items that compliment your product, but they should never pull the eyes away from the product or main focus of the image.

Mohu
 
Carefully chosen negative space can improve the positive space by making it more noticeable & drawing attention to curves, design features, or details of the product. 
 
BlueCheak

Experiment with negative space - the space around your focal point, in this case, your model/product. Does it alter the feel of your photos? Create more visual interest? Draw your eye to your product's features?

How to Make a Light Box

This post is brought to you from Melanie of Violet's Buds. Melanie has Bachelors of Science in Photography and provides product photography advice and services to entrepreneurs.

A light box is a handy tool for photographing small to medium sized products. The translucent material creates a soft, flattering light & allows for more flexibility on when you can photograph your stuff, rather than waiting on just the right light for a photo shoot. Light boxes can be intimidating because they are expensive & not everyone can afford to purchase a light box, but luckily its easy to make your own & then you can be on your way to wonderful product photos in no time!
 
Get a box large enough to fit your products. Don't have a box? You can do what we did and use 5 panels to make your own box. We used corrugated plastic signs that were being discarded for our panels, but you could use cardboard, plastic board, or foam core, for example. 
 

Cut off the top of the box completely. Then cut large rectangles in 3 of the side panels of your box, 1" shy of the edges.

Now, cover these 3 windows with gift wrap tissue paper, taping it down to the edges of the box. If necessary, piece your tissue paper together with clear packing tape so it will fit the openings.

Cut a piece of poster board the width of your box, and place it in the box so that it curves inside the box. This creates the seamless effect for photos. 

Now, place your box in as much light as possible. It works in sunlight or bright indoor lights, but you may have to adjust the white balance on your camera if you photograph with indoor lights. If shooting inside, use daylight bulbs & position lamps around the sides/top of the box for even lighting. Be sure to adjust your settings so the background is white or true to color - it's easier to use the correct settings than to try to correct the color later in a photo editing program!  

Do you use a light box for photos? Will you be building one to experiment with? 

#happyhandmade week NINETY!

Hello & welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective of handmade products from various artists, shops & platforms - all brought together to aid in product discovery and help connect artisans with new audiences and other makers! Can you believe it has been NINETY WEEKS since I first launched #happyhandmade?! So crazy! 

This collective generates over 2,500 click-throughs to participants shops every month! 

Each week there is SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 


This week's Most Viewed:

Rules:
Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 
  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!
  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!
What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 


What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 

Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 


#happyhandmade week eighty-nine

Hello & welcome to #happyhandmade, the original social sharing collective of handmade products from various artists, shops & platforms - all brought together to aid in product discovery and help connect artisans with new audiences and other makers! 


This collective generates over 2,500 click-throughs to participants shops every month! 

Each week there is SIX chances to be featured, either as staff pick or most viewed - so be sure to  share #happyhandmade with your friends, family, Etsy teams, in forums and Facebook groups you are a part of - the more people seeing this link up, the more people shopping & seeing your goods and the bigger our #happyhandmade community grows! YOU radical makers are what makes this event so awesome, and I appreciate you all so much for helping me spread the word about this great handmade collective! 




This week's Most Viewed: 

Rules:


Link up to three {3} handmade products from your shops below! 


  • Share at least three {3} items from this collection (not yours) via social media
(Do not Pin items to Pinterest without express permission from the creator)
  • Spread the word! the more people who hear about it, the more exposure everyone gets!

  • Please show your support of handmade and leave a comment listing your favorite three products from the link up that you shared!

What can you link up? Handmade products, art prints, and any designs you personally have created and had printed in small batches on clothing, fabric, notecards, etc. So long as you made it, you can share it! 




What you can't link up: blog posts, Facebook pages, giveaways, tutorials, items that are factory produced, supplies & vintage items. This collective is to connect handmade shop owners with one another and promote one another's products, so all links you share should be to an individual product in your shop. 


Click "add your link" - this opens a new window. In the first box put the URL to your INDIVIDUAL product listing, not your shop home page. In the second box, put a description of your product. In the third, your email address. Then below that, chose a product image for the thumbnail. Easy peasy! 


Cute & affordable handmade stocking stuffers!

Today's guest post is brought to you by Chelsea of Crafteroni & Cheese!

There's 44 days left until Christmas and if you're anything like me, you're no where near being ready! Luckily, there's over 50 stores to stalk until the Storenvy Cyber Monday Flash Sale on December 1st! 
 
I've compiled a few lists of awesome handmade products from the participating #StorenvyFlash30 stores that will hopefully help out your holiday shopping dilemma! Up first in this Gift Guide series is a compilation of tiny, cute, and affordable handmade products that will fit perfectly in those stockings you'll be stuffing!

 
1. Sweet Candy ReWallet via ReWallet.
How cute is this wallet? Not only is this wallet 100% one-of-a-kind, but it's also made from recycled materials! This waterproof wallet would make the perfect gift for that person in your life that loves all things cute and eco-friendly!

 
2. Amigurumi Octopus via The Wandering Deer.
This little crochet octopus is sure to put a smile on anyone's face. This octopus can be made into a charm or a keychain, so it's perfect for any Kawaii lover in your life!


3. Gadget Mon-stor via Lu & Ed.
Nowadays, everyone has some sort of gadget they lug around with them on a day to day basis. Gadget Mon-stors are not only the cutest thing since baby pandas, but they're also functional eco-friendly! These little Mon-stors are perfect for anyone with a gadget!


4. Bookworm Post Earrings via Scrawny Girl.
Aren't these earrings perfect? Surprise the book lover in your life with these adorably Kawaii earrings! They're perfect to wear while you snuggle up with a hot cup of cocoa and a good book!
 

5. Initial Necklace via Mystigail Hand-Stamped Jewelry.
Customize a necklace for that special person in your life! Whether you're getting kids' initials, parents' initials, or something else entirely, these amazingly epic hand-stamped necklaces are sure to brighten anyone's holiday! Pulling something as special as this out of your stocking is sure to be a joyful experience!


6. Dapper Stag Necklace via Evangelina's Closet.
Isn't this necklace tremendous? It's tiny and cute, humorous and perfect for anyone that can appreciate adorable, handmade geekery!


7.  Gourmet Salted Caramels via Tinker Toffee.
Yummy treats and the holidays go hand in hand! Who wouldn't love to open their stocking to find some delicious caramels? And if caramel's not your thing, there's so many other treats available! This gourmet candy is the tastiest stocking stuffer you'll give!


8. Little Elf Rosette Holiday Hair Clip via Violet's Buds.
Isn't this hair clip just adorable? Imagine stuffing in your little girls stocking so she can wear it to the holiday festivities! My daughter has some hair clips from Violet's Buds; they are super durable hair clips! They'll last for years to come and will make the perfect addition to any sweet girls holiday wardrobe!


9. Snowman Soap via Sudzy Bums.
Snowman. Soap. Have you ever heard of a better combination? I haven't and I think this little bar of snowman soap would be not only useful, but adorable! What's a better way to spread the holiday cheer than with snowman soap?


10. Christmas Town Hot Cocoa Lip Balm via Nerdtastic.
During the winter months, it's easy to get chapped lips. Make sure your loved ones' lips stay nice and soft (not to mention they'll smell like hot cocoa!) by stuffing this handmade limited edition lip balm in their stockings!
 

11. Gingerbread Man Christmas Loom Keyring via Angelcrafts.
This little gingerbread man keyring would be the cutest gift to give your friends for the holiday season! Made entirely from rubber bands, it's not only a sure way to put a smile on your face, but 50% of the profit is donated to orphans.


12. Vinyl Record Style Coasters via The Dizzy Windmill.
Perfect for the music lover in your life, these hand-knitted vinyl record style coasters would look awesome on the table under the mugs during the holiday festivities. The center colours are completely customizable and due to the felt backing, they're extra durable!


13. Team Caffeine 1.25" magnet via Little House of Crafting.
The holidays can be a hectic time and if you're anything like me, caffeine is one of the only reason I can make it through the season. Help the caffeine lover in your life express their love for caffeine with this magnet! You could even have it turned into a button!

 
14. Christmas Ball via Happy Sack.
Sometimes during the holidays, traveling is a must. When you've got little people that might get bored on the longer trips, a ball like this would be perfect for their stockings! Not only is it soft and squishy, but it's a fun and safe way to entertain your little elves!

So, there ya have it! Super cute and affordable gifts to stuff in stockings this year! There's a little bit of something for every person in your life and I hope this list makes your holiday shopping a little easier! And remember! The Storenvy Cyber Monday Flash Sale is on December 1st from 12:00am to 11:59pm and you can get 30% off everything in the participating stores for ONE DAY ONLY! 
 
Which of these handmade stocking stuffers is your favorite? 

Using the Etsy Promo Forums to Your Advantage

Hi, I'm Tessa & I make eco-conscious graphic tees at Krmbal. When I started Krmbal, I opened up on Storenvy because I work with a printer to make sure my tees are printed responsibly and the chemicals to make the screens and the ink are properly handled and disposed of (screen printing ink is actually considered hazardous waste until it's fully cured and I didn't want to be dumping any of that down a drain!). When Etsy decided to start allowing manufacturing partners and a friend sent me some free listings, I decided to try it out. The review process actually went very slowly for me, but eventually I was approved and could start selling.

I made a single sale in the first week I was on Etsy, but after that I had a long stretch of several months where I had no sales. I was really struggling to make the Etsy marketplace work for me and I thought that I might give up after my free listings were gone. I wasn't promoting Etsy on my social media because Storenvy doesn't take a percentage of my sales, so it just makes more financial sense to push all of my outside promotion to my custom Storenvy shop. I wanted to try to take advantage of the Etsy marketplace though because it is one of the really great features of Etsy.

I was averaging about 30-40 views a week on Etsy and 15-25 favorites a month. Those are pretty dismal stats. I tried changing up my search terms, even tried some outside promo just to see if boosting views would help me in the Etsy marketplace. Nothing really made a dramatic difference.

Then, my friend Danielle from Squshies mentioned that the Etsy Promo forums were open again and that she really enjoyed them last year as a way to promote and to find new things. I hadn't ever used the Etsy forums before, so I asked her a few questions and then I dove in.  You can find the Forums link at the bottom of the page from anywhere on Etsy. The Promo forums are the last topic on the page in the forums section.

Basically how it works is someone posts a thread topic like Blue Items or Halloween and in the first post may include rules to post in that topic. Sometimes the rules are that you can only post 1 item from your shop, sometimes it's to post an item and favorite a certain number of items from other people and sometimes there are games where you post something that matches a color in the last item posted or is the next letter of the alphabet. As long as you follow the rules of the post, you shouldn't have any problems.

I use HabitRPG to help me keep track of my To Do list, things I do often and daily tasks. I decided to make it a daily task to spend a short amount of time each morning posting to the Promo forums. I don't spend more than 10-15 minutes each day and my views and favorites went right up.

Then something awesome happened. I was found by an Etsy team that devotes 2 days a week to finding a group of shops with low sales and "attacking" them with favorites and/or sales. I made 1 sale that day and got over 100 favorites. The next day, I got another sale.  That boost really helped Krmbal get some traction on Etsy and I think they found my shop because I posted in the forums on a topic for shops with low sales.

The Sneak Attacks team definitely gave me a boost, but I've kept that momentum going for about a month now and I think that's all due to the Promo forums. I've more than doubled my monthly views and my favorites have gone from 15-25 a month to over 100. In fact, this week alone I had 2 days where I got as many favorites in one day as I used to get in a month. I've also been averaging a sale a week since the boost from the Sneak Attacks team. That's not amazing, but it's much better than I had been doing!

I still don't promote Etsy outside of the promo forums any more than I used to, so the increase in traffic is all from the forums and getting better reach thanks to those favorites. I think favorites are pretty key on Etsy, they seem to be what really help expand your reach. It's especially true now with the new home page featuring the recent favorites of your friends and other people you follow.

If you're struggling on Etsy, I'd give the Promo Forums a try. If you've never tried Etsy, but want to give it a shot, ask any of your Etsy seller friends to send you a link for 40 free listings (they'll get free listings too) or feel free to use mine.

Do you use the Etsy promo forums or others venues to promote your Etsy shop? What have you found to be most effective in marketing your Etsy shop?