Monday, December 28, 2009

Newbie Member of Etsy Bloggers

I am now one of the newest members of the Etsy Blogger team.  You'll notice a few new links in the right column.   I'm still finding my way around in the forums.  All of the Christmas stockings are gone now, most were sold locally.   Christmas is now over and a New Year looms.  We're supposed to have a New Year's party assuming I can get everything done in time.  That may be a big assumption.   I have not had a lot of time.  The weekend was a massive undertaking moving things around in the house.   I had sooo many fabrics everywhere and the dining room was completely taken over with my stuff.   Through a lot of house cleaning and a bunch of extra stuff to Goodwill, I have now taken over the guest bedroom.   I have a small table in there and a work surface.  Any guest will just have to accept all this stuff.  We'll take some pictures and post them soon.  The sad thing is that it has been over a week now since any new creations have been made.   A new business plan for the new year needs to be in the mix!   Enough for now - hope everyone had a great Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas is Coming


Christmas is Coming!  I'm still rushing to get the final bag out for local sales.  I've posted it here for you to see.  Yet another one you probably will not see on my Etsy site.  This pushed my embroidering to the maximum as it took over two hours to do.  I went with the whole Scottish terrier theme.  I also have been trying to get some time upgrading my Facebook account with enough fans that I would qualify to grab the Milady Creations name.  I'm happy to report thank to many wonderful people on a couple of Etsy forums I was able to do it.   All this and I still had to "work" at my real job.
    My husband was off this week and so I loaded him down with chores.  One of the chores was getting the Christmas cards out.   Its done with a whole day to spare!   My husband has been busy trying upgrade the website.  He now has a twitter link on miladybags.com   I can now tweet.   We keep hearing about how important twitter is to our growth and success.   I'm not sure I can tweet enough interesting stuff that everyone will follow me.
   Another thing that he did was to get a shop on shophandmade  .   It's a beta site which is trying to compete with Etsy.  So far the traffic appears to be very poor and I don't think it has been worth the time setting it up.  We will see.  I came across another shopping site today that I had never heard of before.  The name of this one is bonanzle.  Something to check out after the holidays.   We have not been rebewing items on Etsy and we have been stuck on 9 sales since.   At this time I need a few days to catch-up.   My husband has been after me to make something for valentine's day.  What, I'm not sure.   Add to that it appears that I will be having a New Year's party.  Perhaps I should twitter all night about that!   I think I rest more at work than I do at home.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Etsy Gadget Upgrades



The geek support squad is here tonight as my wife works diligently at getting product out of the door.  She has encouraged me to blog every now and then about the "technical" and "research" side of things.  We had a few sales last night getting the number upto 9.  She also some local orders that has to get done by Christmas.   Thus the opportunity for me.
     I'm finding all kinds of widgets and gadgets for Etsy that are out there.  You can see a few of them that I've added tonight to the right.  The first from Yaami.com which puts out a nice revolving display of your items on the Etsy site.  The second is from www.cr8tivity.com which you can use to show your sales and items for sale.  Both of the gadgets are easy to add to the blog.   I have not tried facebook as of yet.   As it turns out there is quite a few programs that are out there.  Some of these can be found on Etsy itself.  Another site EasyEtsy.com   One of the best that I've seen so far is at Etsyhacks.com.    I've also been busy taking pictures today.  One of her newest creations is shown here.   This one is already sold.   It may eventually be recreated and put on Etsy, but not right now.
    Now that we are selling we are looking to automate things a bit more.  Going to the post office (especially this time of year) is not the most fun trip.   Luckily paypal and the post office have teamed up to have a pretty good application to allow you to print the postage from home and just let them pick it up.   I'm sure this tells that I'm a newbie and not really knowing this, but I think it will save time down the road.
      I'm probably too old to understand Twitter, but I know from all of the forums that Twitter is used a lot of the time on Etsy.  Therefore I hijacked my wife's Twitter account with all of 2 Tweets in the past year and converted to MiladyCreations.   Thus MiladyCreations is now on Twitter  (www.Twitter.com/MiladyCreations).   I announced this to the world of Twitter by doubling the number of her tweets.  I think I have an account somewhere too which I used once.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More research : Cost per hour of goods


A busy week trying to get everything out. Everything is out.  ALL of the stockings are sold.  I had a large sell-out of those locally.   Currently I'm making 4 bags that I need to get completed by Christmas to local customers.  One of these is a new one which I'll post probably tomorrow. 
    At the moment I'm taking a break from active promotion of the etsy shop until I catch up.  My husband did some research on the forums and put together the hourly cost from one of the forum post (see here).  The average was a little over $ 15 an hour with a range from 9 to 40.  Some did reply thay made 0$ / hour because of lack of sales!   I started out at hoping for $10 an hour but know I'm no where close to that at the moment.   If I get pass the design and learning stages I think it can go above that.  We'll see.  Above is a graph he did showing the number of repsonses at a given dollar amount.    He also came across an interesting site in this forum that could be used to set prices (http://www.home-jewelry-business-success-tips.com/jewelry-pricing-formula.html).  Another item he came across was a site which he you could use to track a name across several of the social networking sites.  This is  http://www.whostalkin.com.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

New Sellers Unite!

Wow,  There were 50 post to my forum question last night on Etsy,  A lot more than I ever dreamed.  I also had more "production" to do tonight of some handbags.   I was in a serious time crunch.  As I've mentioned before by husband is the keeper of most things computer related.  He is the science nerd of the family.  He saved my hide this weekend when the computer where I keep most of the business stuff crashed.  I couldn't even go into "SAFE" mode.   Luckily he set up a home server which does routine backups.  I was up and running again that night.

    Thus what I had in mind was a perfect project for him.  I told him I had all of these post and needed someway of doing "something" with them.  He created the table below with all of the links to the various shops that responded last night.   It sure made my job easier!   There is so much creativity in these shops and I confess I didn't spend near as much time as would like with them.   It was also interesting the diversity in all of these shops.  Jewelry was the biggest category but all kinds of things are found here. I think Gothic-related items are also well-represented here.  Interestingly we were the only one I think doing quilted handbags.  I think we ended up with the most items for sale, but well below in sales to PoisonApplePotions with over 140 sales now.  Wow, I don't know how you keep up with that!  Second in the list is TcaponePhoto with over 80!   I think one of the most unique items I saw and liked was the macrame dragonfly of KnottyThoughts.  One of my favorite items I've shown here is from LauraBijoux.  She is still looking for her first sale. 

   The table my husband put together is below of the 28 new shops struggling to get started.   The talent is there, but as new shops the sales have a way to go.  All I can say is that it can be a real struggle sometime and a real labor of love.  I wish all of us newbies success in the future.   I think I was the only shop who had to restart.   I hope no one here has to do that!

Shop

Opened
Sales
Favorite
Items


Sept(*)
7
52



Late Oct
8
80’s dress
44



 Oct. 19

12
Chalkboard
51



 Sept. 15

0


10



Sept
 25
34


 Nov. 18

2
Ink Painting
32



Late Oct
139
40



Nov 8 (2)
 1

18


 Nov 5

1
9



1

0


 Sept 05

 82

81


Nov
12

26


Dec
0

7


 Oct. 18

4
15



2

19


Dec
0

28


Oct
0

7


Nov
1

20


 Oct
0
16


Dec
3(*)

31


Nov
0
15


Sept
4

20


 Nov
 0
16


 Oct
6
Shoes
47



7


9


 Nov
 3

6


Nov
0
22


April
 8

8
  

Well I hope you have found this as intersting as I have.   I hope to come back to some of these sites and look around some more.  If my husband as messed up one of the links or numbers let us know.   Thanks to all who responded to my post last night.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sale #5 Cheetah (Again)


My fifth sale occurred tonight.  At least sales are going the right direction..I had four animal stockings that I was selling.  For some strange reason the cheetah is the only which has sold.  I include a picture of that one for you to see.  I'm not sure there is any deep meaning behind this.  
I'm anxiously awaiting feedback from my items sold.  Right now my shop has NO feedback and I know that has to be important.  
Now its time fro some random thoughts in no particular order.  Not sure where I'm taking this blog.   I keep thinking of different things.  Anyway my husband was in a silly mood taking pictures.  Here is my youngest so supposedly studying for his final exams.  Umm, looks more like a World of Warcraft forum.  He said he needed a little break.  Fair enough, I hope it was a

little break!   I was at OfficeMax tonight looking at shipping supplies.   Everything is 50% off.   That should help.   I'm trying to keep my shipping cost at a minimum.   I know when I buy something I hate shipping cost!   Right now I'm just trying to break even or lose just a little bit.    I hoping my great service will get me good feedback.  OK, a little self promotion doesn't hurt.    It is really cold here now,a whopping 11!   This is the time of year I'm really jealous of people living in warm climates.   At least we missed the snow -this time at least.   Well, I better get going, I have some shipping to do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sale #3 and #4: Red & Black Christmas Stockings


My third and fourth sales on single day.   It took a long time to get to the first one, but this is exciting.  I wrote a few words of encouragement to a discouraged women tonight.   I think I can write about discouragement!
I was reading the Etsy forums tonight and came across a few about trying to start-out.  I think we had worse luck than many in the beginning.   I've had two shops, the only thing the first shop attracted was telling me the name I had chosen was trademarked.  Bad luck!  (You can read about some of this in the blog here.)  I think we were somewhat ill-prepared for the amount of work involved.   Your more centered around the design and creating and less on the mechanics of selling.  I'll bet my husband and myself so far are making about 5 cents / hour so far!   It has been an adventure though.  In the few months with the shop my husband and I have learned trademarks (how to find them, search them, etc), photography (my husband is actually going beyond the auto button on the camera!), websites (loading them, designing them), blogs (i.e. right here), facebook (fairly new and I haven't done much there yet), Dreamweaver (creating the web site - my husbands work), Photoshop , consignment, google analytics (keep driving the visits upward), google marketplace, relisting,  etc. etc..   That is all since late September.  Its one of the things I write here about.   The more we learn the more we understand what we don't know.  I've been positing on forums and building connections.   It took over 3 weeks to get the first sale on the SECOND shop (never had a sale on the first one), 3 days for the second, and only a single day for the third.    Maybe the connections are starting, but I know we have a lot more work ahead of us.
   Now that I have customers we need to work on the next phase, making sure we give an experience that makes someone to come back and tell their friends.   A whole new phase of learning ahead of us.   I need to relax with a drink in front of the Christmas tree ...after I get these sale packaged ...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Second Etsy Sale!

I was wondering how long it would take to get our second Etsy sale.   Not long as it turns out.   Another item sold today and it was one of my large embroidered totes.  The Christmas stockings were small "extra" things I was doing for the holiday with the hope I could get some traffic to my store.   This item was the "real" deal.   This was exciting and um worrisome.   I've had two fears with this : not selling anything and selling too much.  Both my husband and I work full time plus!   This stuff comes from the "extra" time in the evening,  LOL   I don't think I have anything to worry about yet.
   Speaking of stockings ...  I cam across on the forums a wonderful blog which is looking for traditional Christmas themed items.  http://gifteddesigns.blogspot.com   I think some of our stockings fall under that category.   I did a post with links to the stockings.  We'll see if anyone agrees. 
      There are well-done blogs that have all kinds of links.  It's something I would like to do eventually.  Well its only 11PM and I still have some crafting to do.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Fabrics due to Christmas Party


We had to drive down to Indianapolis yesterday (about 3 hours from Northern Indiana) to go to my companies Christmas Party.  This was after I mailed my first sale at the post office that morning.  I know, its a long way to go for a Christmas party, but my company has two locations and the larger city "won".   Since I was really close to going past some fabric stores, guess what I did.  I stopped.   I don't think my husband was thrilled, but he is use to it.   He showed a comic strip today about how a women can stop time by taking the husband to a fabric store.  What is minutes for her is a week for him.   I'd post it, but I probably would have lawyer after me for it. 
      He took some pictures of the new fabrics for me.  He is thinking of some kind of inventory system for all the fabrics I have strewn around the house.  I'm posting a couple of them here for you to see,  Don't know what they will eventually become, but I thought they had some real possibilities.   The one has ladybugs on it, which (in case you can't see) I'm crazy about.   I have a ladybug theme in lots of places in the house.
    Another work week is almost upon us.   I did get a new tote design out this week.  I hand-quilted John Deer fabric into one of my "standard" totes.  It is in my Etsy store if you would like to take a look.
     You might also be able to tell my husband was sprucing up the site just a bit.  The Etsy mini is now on the right side along with my picture.   I knew he was up to something when he was asking for my facebook picture.  

Friday, December 4, 2009

First Etsy Sale

It was both an exciting and sad moment when I packed my first etsy sale up tonight. Goodbye Cheetah stocking. It was great knowing you but I'm sure you will be going to a great home. I just hope you arrive safely. I think I'm being over-protective of a Christmas stocking. How stupid is that? OK now that I have one Etsy sale how long will it take to get to 10 ? I hope it doesn't take as long for the next sale as it did this one.
I have been busy creating again. I made a new Elvis bag which appears to be a hit since I have two local sales already. Elvis doesn't seem to be as popular on Etsy, but he is popular here. I also am working on a John Deer Tote. I'll post that here soon. I didn't get as much done tonight as I wanted to as I was helping my oldest son on a English paper. Better that than balancing oxidation reduction reactions which my husband was doing last night with our youngest. I don't even know what that is and I don't want to know.
I did read on the Etsy forums tonight about someone complaining their blog was more popular than their shop. They did have a really nice creative blog. This one still needs some work. Tomorrow I mail off my first sale ...

Monday, November 30, 2009

CyberMonday Tales


OK, I was on the Etsy forums last night trying not to get to depressed because nothing has sold. SewnGreen boosted my spirits by liking my animal stockings. As it turns out she has a really neat shop selling Christmas ornaments which would go well with my Christmas stockings. Hint Hint for others out there. I thought I would post a picture here of the ornaments. I would also check out her blog. She is checking out other finds on Etsy. I may do a few of those too at some point, but right now I don't have the energy. I would like this blog to go in some direction besides talking about what I'm doing. That can get boring quick. I have an idea and I have hubby looking into it. After all I am president of this company!
Where has my energy been going to? I'm going to try something slightly different, but something that would go well with my handbags. I love to knit when I'm watching a movie at home. I can't have my hands idle at such times. I will be posting a few of these on my Etsy store soon. That's my husband's job! I know he was having trouble getting some good pictures. We'll see how he does.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday Weekend Bust

I have not posted in a few days. Too busy! I spent a lot of time trying new Christmas stocking ideas. I really liked them. Took a few days to visit family in Ohio and put up Christmas decorations. My husband spent time on Thanksgiving at his parents marking tags, proces, and descriptions for the Etsy sale. That didn't go over too well. No sales. I did see a spike in traffic yesterday according to Analytics, but alas no sales. I was up to 2AM last night with my newest bag, a hobo bag. I think it came out really well. I have quite a few hours into it. It was not a cheap bag to make. Ny husband did put up a new facebook page yesterday. I need fans so if you read this blog please do me a favor and fan me please ?
In reading the Etsy forums tonight I came across someone who was writing a nice blog about what they are finding on Etsy. I'll give you that info in my next post. I also have some new stuff I'm trying. In the meantime, I'm tired and I need a break. It will be along day at work tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday Stockings


I'm in the Christmas spirit! Check out a couple of my newest creations. I've loaded these and one other onto my Etsy store. I took off a half day at work and between last night and tonight have been working furiously on my new holiday stockings. I'm still in the process of creating them but I have a lot of ideas. I was working on a new bag and then I got side tracked on the stocking idea. Let us just hope they sell. If they don't I'm going to have a lot of stockings in the house. Maybe if I hang a lot of them Santa will fill them up.
The whole Etsy experience (MiladyCreations) has been a large time sink. Not on my part - I've been too busy creating and making. My marketing VP has been grumbling a bit about it. It didn't help much when we had to recreate the store. Hopefully that part is behind us now. I see some shops selling like crazy and others (like me) sitting in the shadows. My high paid marketing VP ( e.g. husband) is still working on our ZenCart store. You can see bits and pieces of it on the website. I've kept him pretty busy at night loading items and taking photographs. He is getting better at photoshop. You can see he added the Milady name to some of the photos. It is a real trick to take some of these items in their "best light". The white stocking in particular look much better in reality than they do in a photograph.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rise from the Ashes II



Here is the inspiration for the dog bag I talked about yesterday. Looks just like the picture doesn't it?
It is always interesting to look at the views on Etsy. Bags I like don't always get a lot of looks. Sometimes it works in reverse. The bag that I've sold the most, an Elvis tote, has surprised me. The Elvis tote has been all local sales - but when people see them they've wanted them. I'm too young maybe to be a big Elvis plan.
I'm still thinking about what I can make for Christmas. The other thing I'm trying to figure out is how to "tag" my bags. Milady Creations is just way too big on a tag. I have one idea about a symbol that I'm wondering about.
I've included a picture of my next creation in the making. Doesn't look like much at this stage does it?
Next week will be tougher than normal to get things done since Thanksgiving will be here. I can't believe the holidays are here! The weather here is supposed to degrade next week. My husband needs to get the leaves done. He also needs to load up more stuff and get all of our inventory up on the site. He also needs to finish our own web site. I better watch it - he reads this blog and looks to see if anything he says ends up here. In terms of being the marketing VP for this company I think he should be fired. The internet sales just are not there. I look at some of these Etsy shops with anticipation when I see how many sales they have had. I have a long way to go.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Going to the dogs

Today this blog goes to the dogs. This is for dog lovers. I'm finding out that I can do all kinds of dog breeds. This is just one of them. I usually make the first bags for myself for "testing" purposes and R&D. You can guess why I picked a papillion. She is (usually) a sweetie. She is stubborn though and likes her own way. I've been thinking about trying a special order line like these. I'm sure there is a lot of dog lovers out there that would love to have their dog and the dog's name on their bag. I think its something any pet lover (I include myself in that category) would like. I'll probably test the waters with this one and see what happens. Not much going on
today. I'm still thinking about something for special for Christmas. Ornaments, stockings, - just not sure. I'm not in a very creative mood tonight.
I'll have to take some food to my hubby now in order to make sure that he uploads some stuff to the store tonight. We still have along way to go just to get back to where we were. I still miss Ladybags. Maybe I can call these doggie bags! Better check the trademark first...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rise from the Ashes


Monday! Monday's are always busy at work. Then I had some errands to run tonight and bought materials for a new creative Christmas item - completely non-bag related! I uploaded here a new bag I made and uploaded onto the Etsy store as well. This makes a total of 6 items up at the Etsy location with more to come. I just realized I haven't uploaded my favorite pet totes. I have a couple of embroidered totes with a cat on one and a dog on another. The fact they just happen to look like my cat and dog is purely coincidental. Maybe I'll try to get that up tomorrow here or at the Etsy site or both. I thought it would be neat to do custom orders on this. Put your dog or cat's name on it. With the dogs I can even do an embroidered breed. I really like it.
My husband has the web site up - sort of. It's at miladybags.com - pretty similar to myladybags but for Milady. It even has an access portal into the Zencart store. Right now he is operating this as a catalog showroom. He had the paypal figured out with the old location. We're keeping the name at the web site as Milady Creations, which of course sells bags and accessories. Perhaps we should secure that internt name as well.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The official death of myLadybags


OK,
The wedding was fun. It was good to get away for a little while. The weather was just perfect yesterday. I also did manage yesterday to get a lot of new patterns at Joanns for $1. With any luck, modifications of these may make it here. I have so many ideas and so little time.
The weather today is not like yesterday. It is really ugly with drizzle today. I guess it's a perfect day for trying to get new web site stuff up. I'm still mourning the lost of Ladybags. Instead of vacation mode I delisted the entire shop and now it is just a blank shell. The inactive listings are there though. What I didn't realize is how much work it would be to switch. A new Etsy shop is sort-of alive. What a pain. The name of the new shop is Milady Creations. Yes I have checked the trademark considerations. I still can't believe my rotten luck in getting stuck with coming up a name that was trademarked.
I should have mentioned that I'm NOT the one doing all of the transferring, but my wonderful husband is doing it. I have to say wonderful otherwise he wouldn't be doing it. I guess that is his payback - his only payback. As of the writing of this blog I have a total of one handbag transferred to the new Etsy site. I have so much more. I have a new Christmas bag that I just made. I've posted it here for all to see. Who know when I get a chance to get it up on the web site. While the Internet stuff has not went well, the local stuff is doing OK. I just but the bags in at Granger Florist and gifts. If your from around the South Bend / Elkhart / Goshen area you might want to stop there and take a look at what I have. I have some of my bags posted here on the blog. I can put things up faster up on the blog than anywhere else.
I have to figure out how to make my husband work faster and get this web stuff going. I know he is buried in a photoshop manual now. I've been unhappy with the new banners and images and have so many creative ideas. I just know I will not being doing it photoshop. He has put just a little more "stuff" for me on this blog. It looks better than it did. I now have some more ideas ...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Store Bust IV



Another new creation. No store to sell it at though! The thought of reloading everything into Etsy is not appealing. Still thinking about store names. Thinking about different combination's. Thinking about what is easy to put on a bag. I think I'm still in mourning over the old store name! In any event, I don't think much is going to get done today. I have a wedding to go to this afternoon and evening.
My husband said he did figure out out to transfer the new unseen ZenCart store to another domain. I don't know if we're ready for that or not. It is getting close to more tuition time though. Lots more money going out the door.
We should be close to doing something ...
That is it for today. I need to fix-up this blog some more. It is so bland and uninviting. Some really neat stuff is out there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Store Bust III


OK, I'm keeping really busy at night. Check out another one of my new creations. This one is just in time for Christmas. The web site is not going well. Hubby was working way too long last night and having difficulty. Too many things linked into the myladybags name. He had difficulty making the banner. First he ried working with the old web site. Then he worked on the "new one" which is a ZenCart-based web site. I didn't know what a Zencart was but I guess its a *FREE* commerce store. Right now he had as a showcase. Of course there are links to the old Etsy store that have to be redone. Then when I came on this morning I noticed that the facebook stuff was still up. Now that has to come down. Not sure what we doing with Etsy and names are still floating around. All I know is I don't wnat to have to do this again. Unfortunately its a minimum $275 for a trademark. Ouch!. Probably had that in time cost thought with everything linked to this name.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Store Bust II


OK, somehow this will rise from the ashes again. It has not been a good month. I am still working at night on new purses. I've included one here. Hubby has been working on a new banner and website. He does not know Photoshop very well and is running into all kinds of issues. Of course I've been a pain in the *** asking for "more complicated" things. Of course new business cards have to be made, etc, etc. This is a big pain. The only good news is that this blog remains the same. It was not tied into the myladybag theme. In hindsight having more independent components might be a good thing. The bags I've made were not really tagged in anyway - another good thing. I had been working on that concept but didn't really finish it. Now I have the golden opportunity to make a new tag! Its early in the morning and a long day of work is ahead of us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Store Bust

I think this blog should be about the trials and tribulations of a small tiny start-up company. Dreams, but not much else. Anyway as both my husband and me were working last night he noticed an email had come over from the web site. Very few emails from the web site have come over - this was very exciting - until you read the subject line. We were being told to immediately stop selling myLadybags because of trade mark infringement against the name Ladybag. We had actually looked some of this up and thought we were free to use it since myLadybags did not come up in our searchs at the USPTO web site. This is where to go for looking at trademarks. After reading some more it may have caused expensive lawyers to find out. Thus the store came down and the web site came down. Now we ponder what is next. It seems really difficult to insure that somewhere you don't possibly infringe on someone. Oh well, now for the hard part. What is next ?