Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Updated Zetsy Coming Soon : With Tag Update!

There has not been much time for the blog.  We;'ve been really busy with making and getting all the Christmas items ready for shipping plus our own holiday decorations.   It didn't help that the entire family had a nasty stomach flu virus.  My husband has managed to continue to write some code and updated the program to the latest Etsy library from tools4Etsy.  This library along with new things at Etsy will allow things like updating tags.   Speaking of tags, the next release of Zetsy will allow one to quickly and easily update your shop's tags.   We're hoping to ge this out this Sunday - but we will see.  Hubby is still testing the functions and trying to make it as intuitive as possible.  Since our program also allows a backup of the tags, the old tags will also still be around (assuming you saved them of course!).    The one downside to the update is that it breaks the previous versions database.  The program is still young enough these things unfortunately happen.   Without going inot the details the structure changes are necessary for all of these improvements.  There are several other improvements as well which we touch upon later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Zetsy Plans and the next release

The current initial beta of Zetsy has a non-operational transaction tab.   Etsy decided to launch the application area sooner than we expected and before we had the transaction area ready for release.  The next version of Zetsy will  have this available.   We're hoping for the end of the weekend, but sometimes life has a way of interfering with these plans.  The real goal down the line for Zetsy  is to be able to change multiple listings at once and upload them back to your Etsy shop.   The groundwork for this has been laid in the current program and we want to get at least some parts of this operational as soon as possible.  We're interested in hearing from the community if you find this program useful and if not, what could we do to make it useful.   Being an Etsy shop owner we know of the limitations and hope to improve upon them.    

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ZETSY is NOW Available for Download

Lots of activity, just not much on this blog! I have been busy creating all kinds of Christmas items which I hope to share soon. On the programming side my husband just uploaded the links to Zetsy, our windows application program which allows the seller to download product information, including images, to a local file. One of us will be going through the various features of the program. The program is beta so we welcome any comments and suggestions. We don't like to hear about bugs, but we need to know about them too. At this time just leave comments here until we get something more formally set-up. The eventual goal of the program is also to allow uploading of changed items, including images. My husband is working on documentation as well. Unfortunately I've had him busy mailing out packages here recently! A big thanks to Tools4Etsy which has made available the .NET engine behind this program.
The first thing one should do when loading Zetsy is to look at the program options. Currently one can save 4 different shop name defaults. These defaults will appear on the opening page drop-down box. The location of the image files are also listed. Generally the default location should be used, but other locations are possible.
The main feature of Zetsy is the ability to download all the product information from a shop, including expired and inactive listings. To get at inactive and expired listings one has to give the Zetsy application permission to obtain these. This is accomplished by using the Oauth process which also can be found in the Program Options menu. We'll go through that in a posting within the next week.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Really LARGE Bag

I tried my hand at a very large bag, the largest I've ever made.   It has lots of pockets and storage.   As with all of my new design I tinker.  I'm still tinkering with this one - it may be a while before this one gets to Etsy.  I'm still in the R&D stage of this purse.   The Etsy application is still coming along, but not a lot was accomplished on this in the last few days.   My husband had to many other chores to do around the house.
We should have more about it in the next few days.  Stay Tuned - I think it will be worth it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ladybugs (Again)

In case you haven't noticed I have a "thing" about Ladybugs.  I've included a couple of pics of my newest creation.  I had a request for a "big bag" and I've been working most of the night in trying to create one.  We will see how this turns out!   All I can say is it will be the biggest bag I've ever made.   I get excited about making new stuff.

My husband has been working on the Zetsy program and continues to make progress.  Some new insights came tday about Oauth.   If you don't what that is or what it means to you check out the Etsy site today as it will tell you what this means for you.

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Tree Skirts and Screen Shots of Zetsy


Two post in 48 hours. That equals the entire summer output.

The very crude opening screen is shown to the left. Not very pretty is it? It is functional however. At the moment one can pull down all of a public shops items including the pictures associated with the item. I have a screen shot example of that output. It is essentially a grid of information. My husband is now working on a method of "saving" heart information and tracking that over time. Another possibility is to be able to upload changes across a description or tag. I don't know how many times I've had to manually change tags. It is possible this could work with this program. This program is a bit different approach from most of the applications which are out there which are web based. There are pro's and con's for this type of approach. Still a whole lot of work to go before this could be released. In the meantime it might up help us get organized ??!!






Enough of the boring programming work of my husbands.  I spent way too much time at the fabric stores today.  I have been working on all kinds of new stuff. My latest is working on Christmas tree skirts. I have some examples posted here. Despite the very warm temps it is time for me to try to get a jump on Christmas items. Not sure when I will get these up on Etsy


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Its September ! A new Etsy utility in the planning stage

Its been since June since I've posted to the blog.  It certainly does not seem that long.   It has been a very busy summer.  My husband has been working on looking at the new API for Etsy.  What does this do and what can it do for you?   There are many tools out there that we've summarized in the past.  Most, if not all, are based on the v1 Etsy API.   This will be going away soon and replaced with the next version.   There are many new features with the new version.  My husband has been working on understanding this.  His first goal is to construct a program which will allow you to download and store all of the Etsy information in an ACCESS database.   I intend to show some screen shots and give updates on how this program is progressing.  By having this information downloaded it will be easier to post this information in other places or to print it out.   Long term changes could be quickly uploaded to your site.   The intention will be to release this sometime in the future.  He has prior experience in scientific programming but this is major upgrade in his experience.   The progress of this is a true unknown.   He was pretty frustrated a couple of weeks ago trying to figure out json strings (??? - whatever that is) but he now is able to download our sites information and store it.   The next step is to create nice-looking grids to display all of this information.  One of the first things that could be accomplished is a quick graph of views over time for a given item.  Lots of ideas.  With both of ujs having full time plus jobs all of this takes time.  We do need some time off!   My husband spent the afternoon watching the Notre Dame game.   There is hope for decent season.
      I do have some new bags and I'll be posting these soon too.   My next posting will be sooner than 2 months

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Its June already ?

I've been taking a bit of a breather.  Too much yard work, to many plants to get into the ground, too many weeds to pull, and too much time finding new fabric and coming up with new designs.   I also had some out of town trips to make to check on a family member.  That took a couple of weekends a way.   I have been really busy and soon you will see the fruits of my work.  I have several new styles and fabrics and they should be loaded onto my websites soon.   The blog has been kind of quiet in this time as I have not really had much to say.   I hope you like my new styles.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Catch-up and an Entirely New Handbag

Its been a while since I've written anything. It is spring and between cleaning up the yard, the day job (the one that pays the college bills!), buying fabric, creating a display, and having a show, I've been pretty busy! I've been busy lately creating a new style. I've seen this concept in several places so I thought I would take a stab at it. Its a purse which can have different style outside flaps to it. This gives both me the designer, and you the customer, a lot of options and flexibility. You can see the basic bag's picture here.  It has two side pockets, either one large enough for a cell phone.  I still have not made the cover flap for it.   More to come soon.
I spent a lot of time for my second show in late April. It was $45 for the booth - not cheap! I made a whole display and racks to hold my handbags. I took a day off from work to get it all done. Unfortunately, the traffic at the show was very poor and I only made a couple of small sales. Certainly not enough to cover my investment. Oh well, the next show will be a lot easier since I now have all the stuff I need. I did gat a few more names for my newsletter. The first one has still yet to go out. My day job keeps interfering with my creative job. Until I sell A LOT MORE, I think I better keep being the accountant. Creativity in that job though can get me in big trouble!
I've been buying too much fabric lately. I have more ideas and creativity than the time to get it done. I need to somehow secure more help from the family on some of this. I don't have a lot of luck with that one sometimes.
On the internet side things remain extremely slow. My husband created an ArtFire site a few weeks ago. So far it has not been worth the $12 / month fee to keep. I don't think my husband nor I anticipated how difficult getting noticed by search engines would be. You can not sell anything if no one knows you exist! We'll keep working on it.   I'm going to try to do a bit better on the social media side of this business.  We'll see if that really happens.   I'm always glad to hear comments - they help keep me motivated!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog Silence = Many new bags for Spring

My blog writing has frankly been pathetic. Sorry for my few faithfull readers.   My Etsy sales for the year also remain a pathetic zero.  I guess the good news is I've had a lot more blog entries this year than sales.  If I quit this though I'm going to go out in a blaze of glory.  I' ve made a couple of new styles and I really like my bags for Spring.   I've I have over 60 bags now on Etsy and my own web site.  Our own web site is up and running and we've loaded lots of bags into Google Merchant.   There has been alot of discussion on the forums about searches.  Some say that the searches are no longer linking well with Etsy.  I don't know what to think.  My husband who understand this stuff more than I do, doesn't really know.  He has tried keying on the word handmade fabric handbags and has linked this many times over.  If you type this into Google however you will never find us.  If one cannot find your handbags one will never even have an opportunity to but one.
     My first craft show a few weeks ago was a good learning experience but was not a good venue.   It was more of a school bazaar.  Perhaps a good thing came from it, I did get invited to one coming up here in two weeks.  My husband also had the idea of a newletter.  He now has a sign-up working here.    We're going to add coupons for those newsletters when he figures that part of Zen Cart out.  You can be one of the first to sign-up!     
   The upcoming show has me going full time at night trying to get more bags done.   I'm also in the midst of creating a display for it.  I've got the wood, now I need the time.   My husband has been collecting a list of handbag web sites to compare and learn.   Some are VERY good.  An idea born from this is "handbag" parties.  I  have been to jewelry parties, candle parties, basket partied, but never a handbag party.  It is something I am toying with.
    Our first tax filing as a LLC is done and our personal returns are completed.   A pleasant surprise was a nice refund based on all of our college tuition payments we made last year.   I'm not telling the kids though because I'm sure we would hear about how much money they "saved" us and how much of that refund should go to them!  The reality is the refund is being put back into savings for the next years tuition payments.  August is coming up real soon and I'm sure the tuition payments will be going up as well.
     

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quiet does NOT mean no activity

I admit it.  The blog has been pretty silent lately.  This does NOT mean that no activity is going on.  If anything the activity has been going up.  Due to this activity the blog has been somewhat silent.  One of the first things you might notice is our new store outside of Etsy.  This was built by my husband using the free Zen cart template and lots of additional addons.  Checkout the link at MiladyCreations.  I also have this on the upper right of my blog.  Let me know what you think.  This is a real departure from using Etsy and it s been a lot of work.   A part of this addition includes a new Pet Lovers Line of custom totes which you can order direct online..  We've tested it pretty thoroughly and we think it everything works.   It may end up being easier with the web site as we can load everything up in an ACCESS database and then upload all at once onto our site.   I'm sure my husband will write more about that later.  All of the information he is learning will eventually end-up on our website.  A lot of the Etsy stuff was included under Etsy tools there.  Check on this often as we increase the stuff there.
    On yet another note, if you follow this blog AND would like a FREE ad on my new website, give me a comment or note and I'll get back with you on what we would need to do that.   It should be a graphic image and the link to your Etsy store or anywhere else you wish.  My husband has already done one for us.  Its best if you have the image no greater than about 125x 125 otherwise he will shrink it down.  
       I've also signed up for my first craft show which is to take place next weekend.  My stock has been low and I needed additional styles.  Thus I have been busy sewing sewing and sewing.  I've included a few pictures here but the rest are either on Etsy or our new store.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Its past Valentines already ???

Hope your valentines was a good one !   My husband didn't forget (he knows better!) but my kids did - or so they said.   Despite the inactivity HERE, both my husband and I have been very busy.   The sales on the Etsy shop have went no where along with the views.  Views only come when I have a flurry of new items, and then only seem to hold for a few days.  I know, we should blog more often, but who has the time for all of that?  Excuses, Excuses !!   Perhaps its because the ground has been white for the last couple of months and spring fever is beginning to be though of.  My youngest son's school has Spring Break next week - that tells me its coming right?
      So I eluded to activity.  Yes, I have been making all kinds of bags to put up locally.    I've included a couple of pictures here.  My husband has been working to improve the pictures.   He has also been working on an inventory database with pictures.  The idea of this database is not only for our own inventory control but also to upload these to our Zen Cart store/ catalog.   The idea is to upload these into the Google marketplace.   All of our previous sales appeared to come from outside of Etsy when we were getting uploaded to the Google marketplace.   We also found another item which is very usefull  http://www.google.com/webmasters/   and to a lesser extent this site http://www.google.com/addurl/  .  This is not relly Etsy related but is good if your thinking about exposure with your own web site.  We will add these to our list here
        The fact that Etsy is not uploading our shop to the search engine is disappointing.  Thus the activity to take this into our own hands.  We cannot upload the Etsy items per Google rules but we can if we run our own shop.   My husband has slowly gotten this up and running, but there is little there.   It's a real pain to get inventory up there by hand, hence the inventory database to get the stuff transferred into Zen cart.   If we get this running correctly we'll post more about it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A web page list for Etsy Tools, Widgets, and Helpers

A quick post to let you know what my husband has completed today.  All of the links and etsy helpers in our blog have been uploaded to a web site page,   The tools can found at miladycreations/etsytools and general site information at miladycreations/sitetools.   A few new ones have been found and they are listed there.  Perhaps the most interesting is an Etsy toolbar which can be found here.   Thanks to Kim at SewKim for featuring this in her blog.  My husband thought these kind of things get "lost" fairly easily and what better way than to post a piece of this on our web site.   Our current web site is mainly just a "redirector" to Etsy, so this gives a real purpose!   Post a comment or email to me if you know of other tools and sites you think belong in this list.
     Around Thanksgiving my husband activated through external sources the merchant upload into Google.  Due to changes by Google this was deactivated the first of the year and this upload was supposed to be taken over by Etsy.  You can check your syndication status here: http://www.etsy.com/syndication.php .Active means you are syndicated.
Pending means you are still waiting to be added.  If you are not added (like me) this means that your items are not easily found by google searches.  Not particularly good.   My own sales did much better when I activated the Google merchant upload and fell off when I was deactivated.   I'm doing some more research into this now and I'll blog about it when I find out more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Updated : Etsy-related Infomration and Tools

I have compiled here some interesting Etsy-related sites in one location.  This is not meant to have every site or combination, but some of the better ones that I've come across.

Information & Stats

Probably the most cited on, which can give you information on hearts and item views

http://www.craftcult.com/heartomatic.php
A similar site to this which is well done is at  http://statsy.org/vutrac.php The latter site has very nifty view tracker which I use.  You can also find your biggest fan!

An interesting Etsy craft site where you can look-up the top sites and sales for various categories.  It is always good to check out the competition and learn from these really successful shops.

http://www.craftcount.com/index.php

 A shop stat and tag finder can be found at this site. http://www.craftweasel.com/
 A list of the current give aways going on at Etsy .http://twitter.com/etsygiveaways
 Find out what treasuries you are in:  http://www.craftopolis.com/
 A site where you register and put your shop in a revolving list.   This is sort of free advertising

http://top100etsyshops

Tools:

Etsy keeps a list of many tools which can be found at  http://developer.etsy.com/applications/
A group of useful tools can also be found at   EasyEtsy.com  The ones I like and have found to be the most useful are the following::
http://www.etsyhacks.com/  The swiss army knife for Etsy!Yaami.com puts out a nice revolving display widget of your items on the Etsy site.
 www.cr8tivity.com has several tools and statistic widgets which you can use to show your sales and items for sale.  I use these on my own blog.  Both of the gadgets are easy to add to a blog.
http://www.esellerads.com/index.php  Another revolving display for you blog and web site
 Etsy Fee calculator : http://www.rolbe.com/etsy.htm

Misc.

Not related directly to Etsy, but interesting if you have a web site (first site) or a blog (second site)
http://websitegrader.com/
http://blog.grader.com/ 

This has all been added to our online web site for easy referral.  See
miladybags.com/etsytools for etsy tools and sitetools for the list.  Leave a comment if we are missing a useful resource.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Busy Tax Time, New Followers, and Funny Pictures

The title says it all - a blog for just about anyone.  I've been busy getting things ready for tax time.   I feel like I've been at my "real" job loading up all kinds of things in Quick Books.   I'm not sure calling it a real job is correct, how about the job that pays me!   I would rather be creating new stuff, not doing books; and the owner of this company doesn't pay me anything for doing them.   Since I spent a good chunk of the weekend doing accounting and went out with friends Friday night, no blogging occurred.   In the time I didn't blog I picked up a bunch of new followers.  Welcome!   Now I feel REALLY guilty not writing about anything.   All these new followers and then I go "dark".  I do want to have a special thanks to AlmostPrecious for NOT allowing that lucky number 13 to exist too long.
I'm sure no one wants to hear all the details about what accounting I did other than I caught up and I was seriously far behind.    I also didn't quite realize I have a lot of fabric just screaming to be "upgraded" into some type of bag.
    I do get a lot of funny emails, and since I don't have a lot of creative things tonight, we'll go more silly.   I thought it best to avoid political silliness, so I went with a couple that everyone should like.  Check out the Tiger Woods Family photo.  I really love this one.  Then another one that just gets you going Uh? is the elephant picture to the left.   It makes you wonder what someone was thinking when they did that one.  I wonder if the kids realize what they are sliding out from?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Day In Paradise

I'm not sure that 18 degrees and blowing snow counts for paradise, but when you live in northern Indiana its what you have to put up with.
I was on the forums tonight and looking at a bunch of
nice blogs.   My husband was snapping pictures the other night so I thought I would post a few.   Besides the more pictures the less text I have to write :)   I am trying hard to keep up with the writing. 
     I am working on one of my bags for a local customer  which you might be able to figure out from the pictures.   You can also tell that the theme of ladybugs is something I just can't get away from. 
I also ordered some fabric I saw on the internet last weekend.   It may never end up in a bag for sale but it definitely well end up in a bag for me!   My husband continues in his quest for a better picture.  He now has submitted two pictures to crafthawkers, and both have been turned down.   This is a site which will take various craft picture submissions and post them.  Some really good ideas can be found there.   I'm not surprised at the first one, but the last one I thought was pretty good.  I'm not "modeling" the bags and I don't think the two boys will!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


OK, I know I have not blogged in a few days. I also know from reading every Etsy forum how important it is too blog and talk and blog. I'm part of the Etsy bloggers too now, so I have no excuse for being lazy (the fact that I do the company accounting and this is tax season and I still have W2's to get out - yeah maybe I do?) I need inspiration to blog and I get tired about talking about my stuff. My husband has not had any good inspirations either. He is still trying to figure out why some bags photograph well and others don't. Oh well. Instead of working I was checking out some of the other Etsy blogs. Check out the post at Sew Kim.
I could relate to many portions of it and I'm sure a lot of others can too. Even better, if you read the previous post you'll find she is giving away (free!!) a pincushion to answer a simple question. I would check it out.
Inspiration is such a fleeting thing and can be sidetracked by so many things. I had so many plans this weekend and then I just had to buy some stuff at JoAnn's because they had some good sales on what I needed. Of course the one close to me (3 miles) didn't have what I needed, so I had to go to the next one ( 15 miles). More time. Then a friend called and twisted arm Sunday to go shopping. I found so many neat things. My crafty nature came out in new stuff for the bedroom.  
    Well I have been bust at night this week.   The Cheetah fabric really did well as Christmas stockings so I wondered about a fabric handbag.   I posted a picture here for you to see, 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another "Green" Bag


Hi!   I just put up on Etsy the latest in the "green" bag line.   My husband keeps experimenting with the photographs.   He submitted one on craftgawkers last night.  We have heard that can be difficult to get accepted.   Not sure what to expect.  So many of the photographs are so good!   I think handbags are somewhat difficult to photograph.   It seems the "simple" ones are the ones that Craftgawkers like for handbags.  He tried a more "simple" photograph with the new "green" bag.   We're not sure that cropping and cutting the images are the best thing to do.   We have tried various place in the house along with our handmade light box.   No one size fits all approach appears to work.  It appears like the material and color of the handbag influence what comes out best. 
     It is really hard to figure things out.  We put three bags up on Etsy last night.  One has 20 views and another only 3 view.   Not sure why.   Our last sale was way back in mid-December.  We didn't push much over the holidays but we have been trying to ramp up some.   Happy Sewing !

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Line: "GREEN" MiladyBags


In my last post I hinted of a new line.  My husband uploaded three of the new bags tonight.  Milady Creations  is going eco-friendly in their new line of handbags and totes. We have acquired several pieces of home d├ęcor, upholstery and seating fabrics at little to no cost allowing us to create a unique, one of a kind custom handbag or tote at a reasonable price. These handbags will be of lower cost than our original line.  Quite simply because I'm getting the fabric at very low cost and require no quilting I can pass the savings on.  Although these are "upcycled" fabrics, these are not inexpensive fabrics.  These would end up being expensive bags if I would have had to pay "original" cost for these fabrics.
     The first “Milady GREEN Bags” are based on the “Nikki”, our most popular quilted handbag style. I absolutely love this handbag and have several of them for my own personal use. It is so easy to use and carry. It features two separate outer pockets in place of the usual inside pockets making them easily accessible. I no longer have to desperately search for my cell phone when it rings!
      The first bag to the left that you are currently looking at is made from left over remnants from a furniture store that went out of business. It is made with a tan, black and dark red upholstery fabric. The pattern and

texture in the designs make for an elegant yet simple look. The edge of this remnant indicated the fabric had been treated with a fabric protector. Because it’s an upholstery fabric, it should remain durable and wear well for quite some time. There will be one or possibly two more handbags made from this remnant and that will be it. This bag has a black cotton lining and black zipper. The zipper is recessed down about 1” from the top of the bag. When unzipped, each side pops up against the side of the handbag greatly minimizing the user’s chance of getting scratched or snagged when reaching in. I have never had a problem with either.   The next bag is made from left over remnants from the automotive or RV seating industry.  The fabric is a blue, black and grey velour.  The edge of the remnant is stamped with a copyright date of 1988/1989.  This remnant was stored well and doesn’t show any signs of wear or fading.   Because it’s an upholstery seating fabric, it should remain durable and wear well for quite some time.  There will be one more handbag made from this remnant and that will be it.
The outer fabric on all our bags labeled “Milady GREEN Bag” will be made from left over remnants and scraps such as this one. The linings will be made from recycled fabric or scraps whenever possible.  The "GREEN" bag line will allow me to offer lower cost items and use some of the nice fabrics I was coming across that needed rescue.  Our original quilted styles will continue along with several new items that will be introduced shortly.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New "Green" Bag Line

I've been thinking about something new in my handbag line.   I hand-quilt most of my fabrics which can take a fair amount of time.   It gives you great choices, but I like to think I can make more than 0.10 / hour  (I sometimes question whether I'm much above that!).   I've been trying to figure out how to lower the cost of my handbag  and keep quality high.   Then opportunity knocked.  A friend of a friend had some left-over seating and upholstry fabric.  This is usually quite expensive. It was nice fabric, but something I had not worked with before. Thus I rescued some fabric which was on its way to the local landfill!    This type of bag is a diversion from my other bags, so I wanted to call them something else.   Then the "green" bag hit me.   I've seen "green" be used in quite a few places on Etsy.   It really made sense to call this line of bags green.   There are a fair number of RV manufacturers around here, and their left-over fabrics could become someone else's bag.   These are generally limited fabrics, so when they are gone they really are gone.   I have not put this in the shop yet because I'm trying this demo model out first.   I want to make sure the strap is strong and durable.  So far so good, but I may make a few modifications.   The pictures I've posted show the zipper, the fabric, and my new"green" tag.   I think this will work out, at least it is worth a shot.   It has been strange in that the local sales have been good and very quilted handbag-centric.   The Etsy sales have had far fewer bags and more in the lower-cost items  I've tried producing.   I think part of this is due to the relativity low number of on-line sales.   I think that is enough for tonight.  Until the next blog ....  Happy Sewing!   

Monday, January 11, 2010

My First Etsy Blogger Featured Blogger of the Month: Nico Designs.




The Etsy Blogger January featured seller is Erika of Nico Designs.  First up, I was curious where Nico came from.  I looked around and sure enough in her profile she tells us.   The name of her shop comes from her Dad who calls me "NICO" for my middle name.   At Nico Designs you will find handbags, accessories and an assortment of handcrafted gifts.   Nico is a stay at home mother with two small babies, ages two and one.  My kids are much older but we do have one thing we have in common : we sew to maintain sanity in our worlds!  Nico strives to create handbags that are eco-friendly by utilizing a combination of new, repurposed, recycled or upcycled materials.   You can visit her Etsy shop here and her blog here.  Her blog has some tutorials describing how she is making some of her items.  This is really a nice touch.  She also has a web site and a Facebook account.


She has several adorable handbags, accessories, and other gift items. My most favorite (if you know me you could have guessed) was the ladybug pin cushion!    Do you think you could have guessed that one?   She has a really nice diaper bag collection which I also show here as well.

Congrats to Erica for being the January Etsy Blogger of the Month!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Item for Valentines Day



I have a new item which I just posted on Etsy.  These are 4.5 by 5 inch goodie or gift bags.   I wanted something less expensive and for the next holiday on the list for gift giving: Valentine's day.  I have several patterns and colors which could be available.  Maybe my husband will buy one for me and put something in it?   I can hope for something sparkly for it, but most likely it will be candy.  My oldest son's books were $400 for the upcoming semester which I paid off today.  I think that is why the bag will be borrowed and filled with candy!

    This is yet a slightly different direction for me as I have never made machine embroidered lace before.   When it works it works well.  I did have a few issues getting everything to work out well though.   Not sure if its the machine, the lace, or bad karma for the day when it fails on me.  We did pretty well with the Christmas stockings so I'm hoping that another small item will get traffic flowing to the shop again.   Since mid-December nothing has been happening on the Etsy-side of things.   Local custom orders, however, are keeping me busy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Etsy Carnival Post

As I mentioned a few post ago, I joined the Etsy bloggers team. I have a couple of the widgets from them to the right. One of the items to do is to participate in the blog carnival. I've checked out a few so lets hope I'm doing it right. I have two topics to choose from for this carnival:

1) Now that 2009 has come to a close, what will you remember most about last year?

2) Now that 2010 is here, what do you have planned/look forward to/hope to accomplish this year?

Definitely one of the things most to remember last year was the whole craft store idea. I have always done all kinds of craft projects and my house is full of stuff related to it. I started making a few handbags fro myself. I had a lot of comments about them. I started to think about what about selling them? My husband has done a lot of research on this part of it himself. We had no idea what we were doing, but we started on this adventure. I sold a few to friends of friends first. Then we stumbled on Etsy. One thing led to another and we opened our first shop. We started this blog shortl thereafter. We never sold anything from that shop and a month later we found out that something close to our name had been trademarked by someone else. We were told to stop and we did. We did. Then we had to restart everything. New banners, new names, etc., etc. Some of this is documented in the blog here. Nearly another month went by before we had our first sale. In the meantime between my husband and myself we self-Incorporated as a LLC (lawyer skills!), started a web site (computer skills), started to learn Dreamweaver( web site skills), learned photo skills and software, and a multitude of other things. Most of our evenings seem devoted to this! So here we are in 2010. So what is our hope for 2010? Have a 1000 sales and sell out to a big corporation and make lots of money and retire. Ha! I don't think that is going to happen.  One of the big things coming up is figuring out the taxes for an LLC,   I KNOW we lost money last year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Other Selling Venues - Part II

My wife is busy working on her new creation tonight so I'll be following up on my R&D work tonight.  I went through the excellent list of scarlettcat's from A to F two nights ago.  Tonight I go through G to N.  Most of the links tonight were not that impressive (my opinion only!).  One begins to understand why I've heard of only a few of the sites listed so far. 
     In tonight's group, the site Lovli appeared most like Etsy in the listing group today, but with a considerably reduced ranking (compare US rank of 319,000 to Etsy rank of 108;  these are also considerably below that of Artfire and ShopHandMade).  When you get to an individual item the layout looks something like Etsy but with more social links.  Lunacraft was something really different.  It appears to be a free directory service for craft related businesses, blogs, and web sites.   Its ranking is well below that of Lov.li at 890,000.   It is something I will be checking out latter only because it is a neat concept and the price is right (free).   Even at 890,000 I'm sure that ranks way ahead of this blog :)


Cost

Variety

Comment /Rank


http://www.gozabo.com/

Dead Link

http://handmadecatalog.com/ $5-13 / mo
Handmade only


http://handmadefusion.com/

Opening under new Management

http://hyenacart.com/ $10 setup + $5/mo
"Earth" Friendly shops


http://www.icraft.ca $25 setup + $5- $15 /mo
Handmade only


http://www.kinfolkcrafts.com/ $100 setup + $20 /mo
Handmade Crafts
More like a web hosting service

http://www.lollishops.com/ ?
Cottage-style look
Applicate only; niche market

http://lov.li/ 3.5% (no listing
Handmade
items may not be for sale (US rank 319K)

http://lunacraft.com/ Free
Craft "information center
a directory of craft sites (US rank 890K)
*
http://www.madeit.com.au/ Australia ONLY site
Handmade crafts


http://www.mintd.com/ CLOSED

ending operations

http://www.myartplot.com/ ?
appears mainly art although handcrafts mentioned
Musat register to find out more info

http://www.mystore.com/ $7.50 / mo
general merchandise
Free is for only 4 items and 1 picture

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/ application only
"unique" items; weddings appear big
UK

 














Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year and a New Creation

  

OK, its been about two weeks since I posted something new.   Tonight I post a new bag.  I spent way too much time on this one, probably over 5 hours but this bag has become one of my favorites.   I hope I can part with it (although I can always make one for myself!).  My husband doesn't like me taking "freebies" for me though.   I tell him that I need to do some quality control and personal advertising when I take one of my own.  I did start my new project tonight, but this may take a while since it is something I have not done before.
    I continue to be impressed with this sewing machine and what it can do.  I have long way to go before I recoup the money that I have in it.   My husband is continuing his research on other venues for us.  The pictures he took tonight was with the new tripod I got him for Christmas.  I'm so thoughtful for getting a gift that he can use to take better pictures for me.  It does make it easier to take sharper pictures, something he had trouble doing before.
     The house is so much better organized now that we bought several large plastic containers to hold all of my fabrics.  We need to inventory this so that I know what we have.


     Today was the first day of work back for both myself and husband.  I put my youngest to work as well at my office.  He doesn't go back to school until Wed.   The snow just coming down today.  We had a lot more snow than what we supposed to get at the beginning of the day. 
    Enough of the blog tonight.  I did get a nice email from one of my Etsy customers who really liked my Christmas stockings.   It is always nice to get that positive feedback and I really appreciate it. 
    We continue to be stuck at nine sales, but then its been since the middle of last month that I've added or renewed

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First post for 2010: Etsy Comparisons

I'v been busy the last week or so with everything BUT sewing.   I do have a new design that I'm working on.  I hope to have that up soon.  My husband has been doing a little research.  He came across an Etsy forum thread on all the different selling venues by scarlettcat.  We both wish to thank her for finding these sites.  We thought it would be interesting to go through these and determine how they stack-up against Etsy.  The original post did not give any additional info like cost, locations, web traffic, or a review.
     While we have saved a few dollars by not relisting the last few weeks the time is coming where we need to start again.  These cost can really start to add up.  Is there something better out there?  It is hard to beat Etsy we think for the vibrant community and forums.,  To date we have not found anything similar.  We did open another shop at http://www.shophandmade.com/Store/Miladycreations in mid December.  Only a few items are there compared to our Etsy store.  The cost of listing is free and we thought perhaps a smaller venue might be interesting.  We have not sold anything there as of yet.
   Below is the beginning list of by scarlettcat up to the F's My husband plans on continuing this, but we decided to get at least this partial list out.   It would be interesting to find out if anyone else finds this helpful.  I think he plans to get this up on our website at sometime in the future.  Most of the sites we looked at appeared small with quite a few in Beta's.   The cost generally appeared to be higher than Etsy.   Two sites appeared somewhat interesting to us: the first is Artfire which is pretty well known in Etsy circles.  The second which we never heard of is ecrater.   This one is free (we think).   In some cases it is difficult to completely assess the cost.  Ecrater is not focused on handmade ( a negative) but does allow the uploading of 10 pictures.  The US traffic rank was 986.  This can be compared to Etsy which has a rank of 103.  Artfire, the only one we flagged below has a rank of 2976.  Thus Ecrater has a much higher volume of traffic than Artfire, but considerably lower than Etsy.   Craftmall, one of the ones we were not impressed with had a ranking of 410,000.   Shophandmade, where we put our second shop had a ranking of 51,000.  All of this is making Ecrater looking OK.   You can find the web traffic reports at www.alexa.com/siteinfo



Cost

Variety

Comment


http://www.1000markets.com/
5.5% + 0.50

Wide Variety iincluding food including

Amazon pay


http://www.artfire.com/
0 to $12/month

Etsy-similar


*

http://www.artflock.com/
5%

Artwork Only



https://www.artfulhome.com/
$35 appply+ $25 /month

Art, Home, Jewelry



http://www.artbyus.com/

Artwork only



http://www.artsefest.com/home.php
$14-$18 /mo

Etsy-similar



http://www.blujay.com/
Free

Ebay -type



http://www.bouf.com/
5 to 20#/mo

Designer-goods

UK-based


http://bigcartel.com/
Free to $20 /month




http://www.buyitsellit.com/
$20 / month

General (Ebay)



http://www.craftmall.com/
$15 / month & up

General (Ebay)

Few items


http://en.dawanda.com/

Handmade and hard to find

European


http://www.ecrater.com/
Free

General (Ebay)


*



http://www.elsewares.com/commerce/index.php
Closed, item submission

Independent design shop



http://www.erayo.com/
0.35 /item

Wholesale only of designer goods



http://funkyfinds.us/theshops/
$2 to $8 /mo

Etsy-similar



http://www.folksy.com/
20p & 5%


UK-based