#happyhandmade week eighty-six

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! 

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! 

Speak plainly, so that many will listen - and please, ditch the lingo & abbreviations!

"RTS sale on OOAK clippies on FOE headbands. All prices are PPD & paid through PP."

What the literal beep does that even mean? (I actually had to ask for translation on this, it was an advertisement apparently, for ready to ship sale on one of a kind hair clips on fold over elastic headbands. Price includes postage for domestic orders and you will be PayPal invoiced for payment).

Ultimately, I ended up not purchasing from this maker, mostly because I couldn't understand half of her listings. I ended up buying a half dozen other hair accessories for my niece from another maker who had better verbiage in her listings instead. I shouldn't have to ask for a translation before making a purchase, and neither should anyone else.


You are the maker, it's your job to know the lingo - but it's not your potential buyers or your social media followings job to find a translator for your listings, social media posts or sale terms. Speak plainly, in all your communications, as if you were talking to someone who has NO idea what you make and sell - because in order to grow your community of potential buyers you have to reach people who have no idea who you are yet, what you offer, or how you do it! Demonstrate your products by showcasing your work with beautiful, high resolution images of your products that demonstrate the purpose of your products, and use very plain verbiage that even a child could read & interpret as exactly what your product does, what the sale entails, or what you are trying to convey. Avoid using anagrams, shorthand or "lingo".

You need your community to talk about you, your brand & your products in order to drive new interest. If your community has no clue what you are talking about or the people they share with don't understand what you are trying to say, how do you expect them to spread the word about your business, products, sales and opportunities?

Instead, the seller above could have tried:

"Hey guys, isn't this headband & hair accessory cute? I'm having a sale on this style this weekend - plus free shipping! Tell all your mommy friends - they won't want to miss out!" (and for an added dose of professionalism and to make it easier on your community to share, include a link to the collection in your store, already discounted, as this tends to generate more shares through your community and more sales).

Resonating with your audience is all about the verbiage you use and creating content that is easy to understand & share! So ditch the lingo and shorthand and work on creating well-worded descriptions of your products for listings and carefully craft your social media posts to sound inviting & friendly, so they are more likely to entice customers to click through to your shop!

Which do you think would result in more sales? All the lingo & abbreviations, or the well worded  sales pitch?

Handmade Goodies for Every Walking Dead or Zombie Fan

The Walking Dead is kinda a big deal. I'm still about 3 seasons behind, but since it's premier I've been seeing tons of zombie goodies & wanted to share some of my favorites with you! 

Wee Amigurumi Zombie by Crafteroni & Cheese - who knew zombies could be so cute!

Baby Zombie Sock Monkey by Stacey Jean 

Zombie linen sachet by Winter Solstice Dreams - bet these smell better than real zombies!
Undead Bread by Saint Angel Productions - bread that bites, look out! 

Zombie T-rex shirt by Krmbal - now THAT is a zombie to be afraid of! 


Are you a Walking Dead fan? If so, who is your favorite character? 

#happyhandmade week eighty-five

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! 


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! 

It's not Storenvy vs Etsy

There seems to be some line drawn where handmade people think you have to either sell on Storenvy OR Etsy.

Total myth.

You can sell on both. They work well together. And it's easy. Storenvy never set out to compete with Etsy. They just wanted to create a place where indie artists and creative entrepreneurs could open a free online store and enjoy the benefits of being part of a marketplace full of other creatives!

Here is some blunt perspective on this non-existent Etsy vs Storenvy war and how they can actually work hand in hand:

Say you are already selling on Etsy and you want to expand to reach a new market and build your own branding identity by having a fully customized shop, but you're all like "Ugh, I have eleventy billion items listed on Etsy, it's just not worth it to me to spend time setting up on another site" you can start jumping for joy right now because Tonka Park has built an Etsy to Storenvy importer that quickly and easily copies over listings, product photos, descriptions, tags and prices. Pretty awesome, right?

And if you are worried about selling an item on Storenvy that you have listed on Etsy and then that same item selling on Etsy and you're all like "Oh noooooooo, what do I do if I double sell?!" stop worrying and set up an account with Stitch Labs to easily, seamlessly manage inventory on both platforms. When you sell an item from Storenvy, the identical item will be automatically removed from your Etsy shop. Boom. It's that simple. Check out their Storenvy and Etsy integration to learn more.

Then there's the people who think Storenvy doesn't have a place for handmade shops - not true, they have an entire marketplace set up just for handmade shops which makes up a huge chunk of their total number of shops. And I have heard "But I see resellers" - well, yeah. I see resellers on Etsy too, but if you're already selling there, I don't quite understand that concern regarding Storenvy's handmade market, you know? I think as artists all we can do is create beautiful, quality wares - because realistically, true artists are not competing with resellers. But that's a whole different topic altogether. 

And of course there's the concern you can't print shipping labels straight from Storenvy like you can from Etsy. Not directly from Storenvy, but they integrated with Shipstation so their users can print shipping labels for Storenvy orders quickly and easily!

So what have we learned?

It's easy to have both Etsy and Storenvy shops. There's not battle between the two sites. Etsy provides you with a great audience and buyer visibility whereas Storenvy provides you with the ability to create a brand for yourself by allowing total shop customization and the ability to domain host (so you can be yourshop . com). Storenvy is also backed by a powerful search engine within it's marketplace that ranks products in real time popularity base on recency of listing, Envies, and purchases so you also reap the benefit of your products reaching a new audience in a much less saturated market, allowing your products to really stand out and evolve.

There's one thing I want to say though - I've helped a lot of people set up a second shop on Storenvy.com and usually, three months later they say it's not working for them. Why? You have to promote it as much as you promote your Etsy shop. You can't just open shop, import products and leave it - you have to market it, talk about, drive your clients to or else how can you expect it to be a success?

What do you think? Will you be taking Storenvy for a test drive?

Meet the Maker - Alison of Petit Cadaeu

I'm Alison Butler, a part-time maker/creative from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada (basically I live on a island jutting out into the middle of the North Atlantic) - it's rugged and beautiful and I would never choose to live anywhere else. I'm a mom to my three and a half year old daughter (the best job in the world!) and I work full time for a local non-profit for the past nine and a half years. I'm really passionate about my day job, BUT I also LOVE being creative, and can't imagine a life without it, so I started my blog, and my shop!


I started The Petit Cadeau blog about 3 years ago while I was on maternity leave with my daughter. I wanted to write about pretty packages tied up with string and other creative projects for thoughtful gifting. From there, my shop seemed like a natural next step, making products that fit with my ideas about thoughtful celebrations and thoughtful gifts. In 2014 I launched Petit Mail because I LOVE snail mail, and I wanted to share that love of something fun in the mailbox with children like my daughter. This Fall, I'm starting to sell at local markets and am really looking forward to the experience of interacting with customers face to face!


My business name has a fairly simple story. Petit Cadeau is French for small gift, and it seemed to fit the idea of small, thoughtful gestures that I wanted to convey. While I'm not fluent in French, in Canada we study French as a second language throughout school & so the name came to me very naturally.


Selling products hasn't been easy - when you are really passionate about your product, it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that "everyone is going to buy this!". It takes time and ongoing energy to put yourself out there. I've had other bloggers tell me "no" to featuring my products (rejection stings a little no matter where you are in your business journey) but I keep going based on the positive feedback from my customers and keep growing the business one day at a time!


My biggest achievement to date has been really investing in my business (branding, photography) for a professional look. It was a scary risk to make up front, but I really believe that it set me up on the right path for my business, and I was able to identify and work with some other amazing creatives to bring my professional look together. I've been featured by several other bloggers this year as well, including Let's Lasso The Moon, Linkouture and Oh My Handmade and I am beyond grateful for the exposure that these interviews bring to my business!


Currently I'm planning to take my business to the next level with some wholesale orders (Oh My Handmade Maker Mail, and at least 1 local bricks & mortar shop). I would love to see Petit Mail really take off - I believe so strongly in this product, I know I can take it far as long as I keep putting myself out there and believe that the right opportunities will come along at the right time!

Words of advice to fellow makers just starting out: Be patient. Make connections with other creatives. Find a community of support that makes you feel good about the work that you are doing. Ask questions & don't be afraid to BE YOURSELF!

How to create a photo shoot survival kit

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.

Preparing for a photo shoot? Can't find your lint roller? Getting annoyed that the light isn't just right?

Gather supplies into a box, bag or even just a remote location so they will always be at hand when it's time to photograph products! Here are a few essential items you may want to consider adding to your photo shoot survival kit. Many of these are items you may have around the house & already use, but by creating a photo shoot survival kit, gathering them all up makes photo shoots run smoother!

Most importantly, you should have a reflector or two (read here for more info on reflectors). Bring along some clips- binder or strong chip clips- to help you position the reflectors. Alternatively, spring clamps are a big help. You can purchase them at most hardware stores.
A photo shoot survival kit should have one or more of the following items that can help with pesky fibers, stray hairs, smudges, etc. 
  • Wet wipes and facial tissue
  • Towel/cloth
  • Lint roller
  • Small scissors
  • Safety pins 
If you are photographing models, you can also include these in your kit:
  • Comb
  • Hairspray
  • Bobby pins
  • Bottled water
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
 Other items you may want to have handy are a tripod, and books, blocks or canisters for various height placements & objects to be used for positioning your products.

Spending time putting together a photo shoot survival kit will eliminate any undue stress during a product photography session & help it run without a hitch, meaning fewer reshoots & better quality photos! 


What must-have items do you need in your photo shoot survival kit?

#happyhandmade week eighty-four

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 2,000 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! 


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 the rating feature on Storenvy

Did you know Storenvy.com has a rating system? Yup, Storenvy automatically sends out an email two weeks after people make a purchase, asking them to rate your store, but ratings for purchases can also be given through Storenvy if the buyer was logged in as a member when they made their purchase!

Here's how to leave a rating:

Go to Storenvy.com and log in. In the right hand corner, hover over your profile picture and chose "orders".

Once you are on your orders page, simply click Rate This Store.


Once there, you can rate a shop on it's on-time shipping, product quality and customer service, and also write a review.


Then press submit! Super quick and easy.

At this time, ratings are not able to be veiwed by the public. However, shops that consistently receive excellent feedback will earn a badge for their shop that will be displayed in the Storenvy marketplace, giving them at a glance recognition for offering superb products and excellent customer service. I think that's pretty spiffy! 

To view your ratings, just hover over your shop panel in the top right & click "ratings".



You will be able to see all of your ratings in detail on this page, as well as comments people included with their ratings! 


For more information on the rating system, visit Storenvy's blog for all the deets!  

Feel free to share this post with your fans via social media to help walk them through the process so you can begin collecting ratings for your store! 

Simple Tips for Shooting Product Photos with Kid Models

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.

What maker doesn't love an adorable photograph of a kid posing with their product? If you are braving the challenging task of photographing children, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Watch for runny noses, dirty faces & hands
Nothing ruins a cute photo faster than a glob of something gross! Bring wet wipes and facial tissues. Wiping noses before photos will help reduce the need to edit the dirt later.

Make it fast
Shoot quickly, and take lots of photos. Kids move fast and you will need to keep up. 


Have fun!
Let the kids be silly between poses. Tell them to get the wiggles out by dancing, or see how loud they can shout "hooray!"  Keep shooting while they are being silly, you never know when you'll get that genuine smile.
 
 
Making funny faces is another way to get the kids to loosen up, relax, and have a good time, and sometimes make for the perfect candid shot!

Be prepared to bribe the kids
Keep snacks, candy, or small toys on hand (with parental permission) to entice the kids to cooperate - but be very clear about how they earn the treat! "Five more photos and you get a sucker! Stand really still!" 

Bring an assistant! 
An assistant can make all the difference when photographing kids. An assistant can help with posing, watch for dirty faces or messy hair, or hold the reflector. Even more important, an assistant can make the kids laugh, blow bubbles to get their attention, or corral kids from running off. 

Most of all, go with the flow. 
The photo session may not go as planned, but have a good time and keep shooting! Remember that it can take dozens of photos to get one brilliant product shot when using children models. If you feel like you aren't capturing exactly what you want to after a few shoots, rather than get frustrated, don't be afraid to admit you may need help. Contact some local photographers & see if they work with makers to shoot product photos in exchange for goods or discounted prices on goods. 


Do you have any tips for working with children models? Any funny experiences to share? Post them in the comments!