Monday, June 29, 2009

Inspirational Mondays - Stoopher and Boots

This Monday we have Stephanie of Stoopher and Boots; a successful wearable shop that has cute Ts for babies, children, adult and doggies, inspiring us. To date Stoopher and Boots has successfully accumulated 244 sales since opening in Nov 2007. Here's how the ups and downs of the business is joy to Stephanie.

RRoF - Tell us something about your shop, how you got started and why you wanted to start an online business?

S&B - My name is Stephanie, proud owner of Stoopher & Boots. I live in NYC and am blessed with a loving family that is supportive of my artistic pursuits. So much so that I named my company after my Father's nickname for me (Stephanie/Stoopher) and my sister (Betsy/Boots.)

I started by looking for a creative gift idea for my sister's second set of twins (yes, second). I decided to try out designing shirts and got such wonderful feedback I thought I would continue. I took pictures of what I'd made, posted them to etsy and things took off from there. Now I've expanded into adult and dog tees too.

RRoF - Is your Etsy Business your full time job? Or what or who does your Etsy shop shares your time with?

S&B - I have a corporate job that takes up quite a few hours of my day (and night). This business has really allowed me to have a creative outlet which utilizing the business skills I've gained in the corporate world.

RRoF - When you started listing your first few items, was the response what you expected?

S&B - Response was slow at first, but I didn't expect fireworks - there are a lot of great sellers on etsy. It took time and dedication to get myself noticed.

RRoF - Looking back, what are some of the mistakes you think you've made when you just got started, and how you overcome them.

S&B - Passivity can be a mistake. You have to work hard to make etsy work for you.

RRoF - Have you ever felt like giving up? What made you stay?

S&B - I've never felt like giving up. I'm really inspired by what I do and the responses I've gotten have been very motivating.

RRoF - How do you promote? And in your opinion, which works best for you?

S&B - Other than etsy (, I'm on Twitter (stoopherboots) and have a facebook group ( I also participate in craft fairs and try to talk about my shop and goals with as many people as I can. It was through an aquiantance at the dog park that I made a connection which let to my first NYC boutique customer.

RRoF - If you knew then (when you started) what you know now, what would you have done differently?

S&B - I wish I'd started sooner. This brings me so much joy that I'm only sorry it took me so long to find that.

RRoF - Any other thing, thoughts, advice, links,... etc you would like to share with the Newbies?

S&B - Someone once told me, do what you love, and if it doesn't make you money, then find a job that allows you to have time for that which you love doing. I think it is so important to find time in your life for your creative outlets.

Thank you Stephanie for you time with the interview. Wishing every success!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Feature Me Friday - The House of Mouse

The House of Mouse is a shop that sells cute handmade felt mice in a range of characters.

Shown Above (clockwise from top right) - Yoda Mouse, Gossamer Moondancer the Fairy Mouse, Frida Kahlo Mouse and The Beatles Mice

Price Range - $2.00 to $130.00

4 Most Popular Items - The Beatles Mice, Robbie the Mouse Burglar, Jimmy the Guitarist Mouse and Hannibal Lecter Mouse

This shop has a monthly competition where you could win a mouse of your choice simply by commenting on and at least one new mouse will be listed weekly!

** Currently the shop on Etsy is on vacation, please visit the blog!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Inspirational Mondays - Beadup

Today we will be inspired by a lovely shop Beadup and it's owner Christyn. Opened in Aug 2008, Bead up has made 60 sales so far. Besides this Esty business, Christyn is employed fulltime at an LA Studio. For all of you who are questioning your abilities as you need to divide time and attention between yout Etsy shop and a full time job, read on!

RROF - Firstly tell us something about your shop, how you got started and why you wanted to start an online business?

Beadup - It all started with my own wedding, actually (a year ago this Sunday!). I will admit, I am a little OCD, and couldn’t find any jewelry that I thought best suited my dress and that of my bridesmaids. I found myself investigating a piece of jewelry posted online that was wicked expensive and thought to myself “Dude. I could make that.” I went to Chinatown in San Francisco, bought a bunch of pearls, crystals, and findings, and got to work. Not only was I thrilled with how it all turned out, but my bridesmaids and attendants were grateful for the homemade effect of their jewelry. “Why aren’t you selling this stuff, Christyn?” I did a double take and realized, “Yeah, why AREN’T I selling it?” I knew that I didn’t want to make things merely to sell them, but rather to share the joy of affordable, homemade, unique jewelry creations. I chose Etsy as a venue because it’s very user friendly and is such a gift to all artisans out there. I am honored to be considered part of the Etsy family.

RRoF - Is your Etsy Business your full time job? Or what or who does your Etsy shop shares your time with?

Beadup - Etsy is my full time passion, though not my full time job. I actually work a 9-6 job at a movie studio in Los Angeles. I get a lot of my inspiration from the fashion I see walking around the lot!

RRoF - When you started listing your first few items, was the response what you expected?

Beadup - When I posted my first (and for awhile only) item, I sat back thinking “Ok, everyone, come and get it!” And no one did. I think I checked the “item views” at least a dozen times in the first hour. Nothing. I was totally bummed, and thought that perhaps I wasn’t cut out for this whole Etsy thing or that my item was not Etsy-worthy. Come to think of it, that one item has NEVER sold! Maybe it’s been in the cards all along!

RRoF - Looking back, what are some of the mistakes you think you've made when you just got started, and how you overcome them.

Beadup - I think I expected to a.) get featured on the front page right away, because I had seen some sellers get their start there, and b.) get all sorts of people to “heart” my shop immediately. When neither happened, these two disappointments and my self-expectation of initial interest and success really got in the way of allowing myself to slowly launch and bloom in due time. I still get hard on myself sometimes when I don’t make a sale for awhile, but take delight in the sales and feedback I have received thus far and allow that to motivate me to create more.

RRoF - Have you ever felt like giving up? What made you stay?

Beadup - So many times I just stare at my work space blankly and think “What have I gotten myself into?” Sometimes I get in a creative black hole and for the life of me can’t produce a new item, or have no energy to take the picture of or post an item I may not be 100% proud of. Comparing myself to other Etsy sellers who do this full time and thus have thousands of sales doesn't help either. In these times one of two things works - either to avoid Etsy for a few days and allow my creativity to come back naturally, or to explore some of the amazing things other sellers have created and find your inspiration in them. In all honesty, I keep creating because I find real joy in the creative process, not because I make any profit (in fact, I am still in the stages of only making back fractions of what I have spent at large - it may be awhile until I start profiting off of my sales in total). Besides, if I ever did want to give up, my husband would remind me that I have invested way too much money in this and that failure is not an option!

RRoF - Share with us some of the things you do daily, weekly and monthly, with regards to your Etsy business.

Rather than paying for promotional ads in print, I instead have taken full advantage of all that the internet offers for free :) I never really considered myself a bloggin’ kind of girl, but I have really found tangible success in tapping into the blogging and social networking world. I first created a Facebook fan page for my Etsy site and sent an invitation to all my female (and some male!) Facebook friends. Within a week I had almost 100 “fans” and several sales! I also post photo albums of pictures of my recent work and status updates of my Etsy progress on the fan page, which comes up in people’s news feeds and reminds them of what my Etsy shop is up to. After much hesitation, I finally started a Twitter account for my site. Though I am not sure if I have made any sales directly from Twitter, it has been a great way to network with fellow Etsy sellers and at least get my name out there. Finally, and most successfully, I started a blog about my “journey of homemade jewelry.” Here I have posted photos of inspiration, steps behind certain pieces of jewelry, pictures of people wearing my jewelry, and even a giveaway or two! After announcing my blog on Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter, I have at current about 70 blog followers. To further promote my blog, I make sure I visit whatever other Etsy or interesting blogs I can find and comment on posts there, which includes a link to my shop. I track all my site visits with a widget and thus can see that many of my blog visitors have come from other blogs and websites! It’s been like a domino effect and has been unexpectedly fun and rewarding.

RRoF - What is your largest hurdle with your shop?

Beadup - Finding my “voice” has been a challenge. A co-worker asked me recently, “What is your trademark?” I was embarrassingly left speechless. So many things inspire my work - art, photos, fashion, nature, culture, etc. But let’s be honest - I am limited by what kinds of supplies I can find and how much money I am willing to invest. Thus I sometimes make things that surprise even me, and wonder if they indeed have a place in my shop and fit into the sense of coherency I am trying to achieve. Maybe I will soon just allow eclecticism be my trademark and call it a day!

RRoF - How do you promote? And in your opinion, which works best for you?

Beadup - One of the best kept secrets I have discovered in terms of promotion is
When I “launched” my site in April (i.e. when I started confidently telling others about my site!), I sent out 100 postcards to my family and friends with the announcement and shop address. I got them for free at Vistaprint and only paid for shipping! Vistaprint also offers whole design lines, which I have taken advantage of in order to creative a cohesive look to my Etsy mailing and promotional products. I have mailing labels, business cards, return address labels, stationary, and even cards with the same logo and design (and, again, I only paid for shipping! Vistaprint offers sales daily and mad discounts for their returning customers!). That way when people get my products in the mail they know it’s from me and where they can find my site again. I also include a hand written thank you note in every package I send and have had so many compliments on this simple gesture of gratitude.

RRoF - If you knew then (when you started) what you know now, what would you have done differently?

Beadup - I would have given myself more grace to let things happen in due time. If I allowed money and dollar signs to dictate my creative process and shop, I never would have made a sale. Instead, my attitude of creating for the sake of creating has allowed all subsequent sales be the icing on the cake.

RRoF - Any other thing, thoughts, advice, links,... etc you would like to share with the Newbies?

Beadup - If you don’t love what you are doing, don’t do it. To me, Etsy is the celebration of creativity, not of profit. When it feels like a chore rather than a pleasure, step back and reevaluate why you are selling in the first place. If you love what you are doing, you will never work a day in your life! :)

Thank you Christyn! Wishing you every success!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Recent Custom Customers

Here are some of the banners I made the last few weeks. Click on the banner and it will take you to the shop. Please do visit them!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Feature Me Friday - Beadiful Baubles

Beadiful Baubles is a shop with one of a kind beaded jewelry, hair accessories, and beaded homewares (pitcher covers) from fun and funky to elegant and sophisticated.

Shown Above (clockwise from top right) -Venetian Sunset - Necklace (Set Available), Ocean Glimmer - Necklace, Moonstone Beach - Earrings and Bulb Garden - Post Earrings

Price Range - $7.50 to $75.00

4 Most Popular Items -Antique Elegance -Necklace, Smoldering Embers - Necklace, Gem - Haircomb and Midnight Shimmer- Earrings (currently all at 25% sale)

Currently this shop is having a Yart Sale with 10% - 25% discounts on all sale items.

In the near future there will be more lampwork pendant necklaces, continuation with the 'Simplicity Series' with some necklaces shortly, and some more fun and beautiful pieces!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Price I Pay...

I am dissapointed with some 'unfriendly' Etsy sellers

I recently posted a forum post on Etsy with regards to using Flickr and Picnik as like my Tuesday post. My main intention was to inform people who are not aware of Picnik to give it a try as it does help improve photos.

I made a mistake and used the word 'Promote' as you are not allowed to promote your shop on Flickr. Suddenly I was attacked by some Etsy sellers who I think has reported my account and got it deleted!

How do I know that it was because of my forum post? I know because I had my Flickr account there for over 2 years, unknowingly before this said more about my Etsy shop than it supposed to over the last 2 days.

I have good intentions, I want to help! I am a strong believer in Karma and definately the saying 'what goes around comes around' and therefore I will not stop helping!

On the bright side it has made me many good friends!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sad News This Morning

I received a text message from my mother who is in my home country, informing me that my dog Cheena had died and was buried at 6pm last night, after being sick the last few days.

She has been a good dog and friend to our other dog Sim.

This makes me sad :(

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tutorial Tuesdays - Using Flickr to Edit Your Photos

I would like to share with you something interesting about Flickr. Do you have a Flickr account yet? Have you tried out their free photo editing software called Picnik? It is quite a simple to use editing software that allows you to do some common editing to your images.

Here is an example of what I achieved with Picnik.

On the left is the original picture of this cute fondant man my colleague made for another colleague's farewell. On the right is the finished image edited with Picnik on Flickr.

The main functions I used in editing this image is Sharpen - to give the image a sharper and clearer look and Exposure - to brighten the picture a little. The user interface is simple with a slider for you to adjust the amount of editing to the picture. Below is an example.
There are also other advaced tools which you might have to pay a yearly fee for, which is inexpansive. However if you are just using some basic editting tools, don't worry just yet!

I also used some effects like, Vignetting - which give the picture a little darker edges, Boost - which like it's name gives the picture a little boost (allows you to control the highlights and shadows seperately) and adding some text. Here is a screen shot.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Inspirational Mondays - Penelope And Anastasia

Sharing with us this Monday is Penelope And Anastasia, an Etsy shop with many beautiful pieces of jewelry. This shop started end 2007 and currently has over 65 sales. Shop owner Pamela, was so kind to give us an insight and advice on how she accomplished this.

Here's the interview -

RROF - Is your Etsy shop your main source of income? If not what is your regular job?

P&A - Yes, Penelope & Anastasia is my business and therefore my main source of income, though my regular job is Mom to our 2 year old daughter Marcella! I make Jewelry with her playing all around me in the Jewelry Room! She plays with beads, Jewelry, and her current favorite right now...a tin of buttons!

RROF - What made you want to open a shop on Etsy?

P&A - I began my business in 2004 and started tinkering with a website when I was referred to Etsy by my Sister-in-Law. I found it much easier to open up shop on Etsy than maintain and be responsible for my own website. It has been a wonderful (and affordable) online spot for my local clients to see my current stock as well.

RROF - When you started listing your first few items, was the response what you expected?

P&A - Well, I was so excited to open an Etsy shop...expecting the same response I have when selling to my local clients, but that didn't happen. I made the mistake ~ in my excitement ~ of listing everything at once instead of spreading out my listings. As I know now, listing regularly keeps you in the top of the search. It took almost a month for me to get a sale and I was thrilled! I'm still thrilled now when I get a sale!

RROF - Have you ever felt like giving up? What made you stay?

P&A - I never felt like quitting Etsy...discouraged yes, quitting no! There will be slow times, but in the distance...a sale lurks. And when you notice your number of items in shop lowered by a number or two - rejoice - and all is right with the world!

RROF - Share with us some of the things you do on a regular basis, with regards to your Etsy business.

P&A - I'm a big online networker...Facebook, Twitter ~ always promoting my Etsy shop. Views equal sales and these social networking sites are take advantage of them. I do try to list a new piece regularly, thought I haven't found that renewing items has helped with sales. I also am addicted to Google Analytics; the wonderful site to track all stats regarding your Etsy shop, and this helps me narrow down which areas I need to work on more.

RROF - How do you promote? And in your opinion, which works best for you?

P&A - As stated above, Facebook and Twitter are my friends. These two have given me amazing sales and leads to new ventures of blog features, wholesale opportunities etc...I enjoy Etsy's forums, but I can't say they've helped me with sales.

RROF - What are your aspirations for the future of your Etsy business?

P&A - I'm really trying to garner more traffic to my shop by taking advantage of blog features/interviews (thank you!) as I do find that it drives many people to take a peek. I enjoy what I do and as long as I keep moving along, improving a bit every year, I consider that my success.

RROF - If you knew then (when you started) what you know now, what would you have done differently?

P&A - Probably wouldn't have spent so much time in the Etsy forums expecting sales from it. And also wouldn't have wasted money on renewing random items when I was feeling down...instead of listing new pieces.

RROF - Any other thing, thoughts, advice, links,... etc you would like to share with the Newbies?

P&A - The forums can be extremely helpful to an Etsy Newbie. There are countless people/shops who invite you in with open arms and wouldn't blink an eye to help you with a question or problem. Also, find local Etsy sellers around you - you could "meet" some great new friends/support right around the corner!

Thank you for sharing and for your time Pamela! Wishing you all the best with your shop and may your wonderful help here will return to you in hundred folds!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Latest - Earthy Banners

Here's my latest banner designs. Earthy tones and environment/floral motifs. Hope you like them!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

VIVID Sydney

Over the weekend I had a friend who visited me from my home country and I was busy taking her around to visit the city. Coincidentally the Vivid Sydney festival of music and lights were on and there were so many activities around. Amongst them was the Lighting the Sails event as part of the Luminous program, where the 'sails' of the Sydney Opera House was litted up with projections of artwork by Brian Eno, who was also the curator of the festival.

It was wonderful!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tutorial Tuesdays - Making an Etsy Banner with Excel and Paint

I've recently learned a simple way to make a banner with Microsoft Excel and Paint. Most people have these software, and I thought it would be a good idea to share this with everyone.

I hope this would give newbies some customizing capabilities and confidence with launching their shops.

Here it is in the most simple step-by-step (I am using Microsoft 2007)-
1) Open your Excel.
2) Draw a text box anywhere on the page, don't worry about the size just yet.
3) Type in your shop name and other detail you would like it to say.
4) Customize the fonts, and fill however you wish.
5) Re-size to 7.6" x 1". Don't worry about this, it is just ratio so that it would fit the 760 x 100 pixel requirement for your Etsy shop.
6) Selected the text box and right click choose copy (ctrl+ c). Now the text box is on your clipboard. If you used more than one text box, make sure you select all before you click copy
7) Open Paint. Right click choose paste (ctrl + v), you will see the banner. Move it around so that the top left corner fits to the top left of the page.
8) Adjust the image to fit, then save-as .jpg.

Ta-dah! You got your banner. I will continue to research this to come up with easy ways to add pictures and all. So stay tuned!

Here is one I made -
I plan to have Tutorial Tuesdays running weekly, if you like to share something please convo me on Etsy or leave a comment here with an address where I could contact you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The 3 Last Movies I Watched

So let's deviate a little from work! It's my Monday here and after spending the whole weekend working on my June promos, I deserve a break.

Let's talk movies! Here are the 3 last movies I watched and what I think about them -

This weekend - The Last King of Scotland
This movie is 'suppose' to be a great show. It won 34 awards and received another 21 nominations. But I guess I watched it at the wrong time. Firstly I do not like movies that begins with a sense of hopelessness. 10 minutes into the movie and the main actor makes blunders to get himself into such a mess that the rest of the movie is about him getting out of it. Oh well he survives in the end!

Last Sunday - The Children of the Silk Road (The Children of Huang Shi)
This is a contrast to the movie above. Yes I contradict myself as this movie also starts with a sense of hopelessness, however the mood of the movie rises as the British journalist stays to help a group of children orphaned by the war. Maybe I just like movies that has kid actors! It's a true story too!

Last Saturday - X-Men Origins - Wolverine
I went to the cinema for this one. It was great! I'm sorry that I just love Hugh Jackman and am starting to feel like all his movies are just the best! However I am disappointing with the lack of budget spent on the effects. I think it went to actors and blowing things up. Still love it!

This week I will be watching Black Ice and Step Brother... maybe a few more too!