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Friday, January 30, 2009

Treasure #1

My treasury made it onto the Etsy front page. So happy for all the wonderful sellers that got featured!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Featured in the Storque!

I am so happy today because I have been featured in the Etsy blog "The Storque" in the Studio Tour series. This is a HUGE honor and I was so excited when FrucciDesign asked me if I would like to be interviewed by her. It has been a nail biting couple of weeks while I waited for it to be published. You can read the whole interview with me and see some photos of my studio by clicking here.

Pianist Bear

If you read my blog regularly then you will remember the custom Pianist Mouse with Grand Piano than I made back in December. The lady that bought it showed it to a friend of hers who asked if I could make a Pianist Bear for him. I love to make other animals so I jumped at the chance. I made him today and he turned out so cute and I completely fell in love with him. I am temped to start making more bears now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bibelot Forest

These weird and wonderful creatures live in Bibelot forest. Check out the background in these photos, everything made of felt! So creative!

Filbert the Sheep

Pumpernickel the Sleeping Squirrel

Rusty the Fox

I have been a fan of this seller since before I ever discovered Etsy. I first discovered these cute little plushrooms on her Deviant Art page. I hope you enjoy these little cuties as much as I do.

Got an idea for a seller I should feature?
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Etsy Sellers tip #3 - Tagging

Tags are the way your buyers find you, they are the words buyers put into the search bar on Etsy to find specific listings, so getting these right is essential.

A quick explanation on how tags work: Each individual word in a tag is searchable. If you have a tag that says "sterling silver" then your listing will be found just with a search for the word "silver". You do not have to search for all the words in a single tag for it to show up.
For example: Listing is tagged "sterling silver" and "wire wrapped"
Then the listing would be found in a search for "silver wire"

Let me take a moment to talk about the "rules" of tagging on Etsy. There is a never ending debate about this in the forms because the Etsy DOs and DONTs state very clearly that using more than one word in a tag is against the rules, but that using words that obviously go together like "sterling silver" or "navy blue" are allowed.

However, the problem comes in when you attend an Etsy Virtual labs shop critique run by an Etsy admin. Because in this situation and on more than one occasion I have heard admin say that you can put more than one color word into the same tag: like "black white red" and that you can also put words with similar meaning in the same tag: like "mouse mice rat"

I have read more than one rant about "tag abuse"* - sellers putting more than one word in a tag - in the forums, and I feel for those who stick diligently to the rules as stated in the Dos and Don'ts and watch other sellers apparently getting away with "tag abuse"*

I decided from a business perspective to tag more than one word in a tag - just so long as the words are related - as it gives me more signposts to my creations, more chances for buyers to find me. I have done this for over 6 months and Etsy has never written to me about it. If they do then I will of course change my tags, but I believe that as long as your tags are RELEVANT and SPECIFIC to the item listed then it is not tag abuse.

Things to consider when tagging:
  • Make sure you are in the right section, this is the first tag you choose. If your product is not handmade then it either belongs in "supplies" or "vintage".
  • If you are not sure what section you should be in then search for similar listings to yours on etsy and take a look at what their first tag is. If you are still not sure then go ask in the forums, you'll get a pretty quick response.
  • Once you have your first tag, Etsy will suggest others. Take a look through them and choose any ones that are RELEVANT to your listing.
  • Think about the style of what you are making, is it classic, romantic, funny, humorous, cute, steampunk, country?
  • Who is your product for? women, men, baby, children, boy, girl, adult, pets, dog, cat? Any of these words can be tags.
  • Tag for colors. If you have lots of colors in one listing then try to narrow it down to the main 2 or 3 colors of the listing or you will use up too many tags.
  • Where will your item be used? Is it designed for the kitchen, living room or bedroom? These tags only apply to some listings.
  • Use synonyms - words that mean the same thing. Like infant for young babies or purse for handbag. Just make sure the synonym is still relevant to your listing. I find using the thesaurus in Microsoft word very helpful for this.
  • Choose words that describe your item, try to think about what words someone might search for to find your work.
  • If you are in an Etsy street team that regularly makes treasuries then remember to include your team tag so they can easily find you.
  • Some sellers tag for their shop names or locations, this is allowed. However I would only do it if I had a spare tag available.
You will probably find after going thorough all this that you have waaaay too many tags, so it is time to think about narrowing them down. Choose tags that are the most likely to be used in a search. If you are not sure then experiment with changing the tags to see what gets you the most views and hearts. If you have more than one of a certain item them why not try listing them both with different sets of tags and seeing what effect that has on their views.

* IMO tag abuse is when a listing is tagged with popular search words that have nothing to do with the product.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Featured by BeJeweledByCandi

Dreams in Turquoise and Jade

Many thanks to Candi for featuring my store in her blog. Candi sells beautiful jewelery in her store BeJeweledByCandi Check out her blog for the whole interview with me.


Welcome to the wonderful world of JooJoo land! I had to share with you the teeny tiny cuteness I found there.

Valentine snails

Winking crab

Sweet cupcakes

Got an idea for a seller I should feature?
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Barack Obamouse

Little Barack Obamouse comes in a navy blue suit with a white shirt and red tie. In his paws he holds a sheet of paper that says "yes we can!" What better way to celebrate the new hope this new president brings than with your very own Barack Obamouse?!

Check out my store for more information!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Etsy Sellers Tip #2 Avatars

Your avatar is like a little advertisement of your shop. If you post in the Etsy forums it is a great way to show off your creations, which is why so many people have one of their listings as their avatar. You can use the same avatar in any of the many social networks where you can advertise your store; Twitter, MySpace, DeviantArt, Flickr, facebook, your blog etc. Every time you update your avatar every one of your posts will change to the new image, imagine all those places a little photo of your work will be showing to the world, and it's free too!

Things to consider when making an avatar
  • Chose a photo that is clear and bright, make sure that it is still easy to make out even at the small avatar size.
  • Crop it so that no space is wasted in the background.
  • Always make sure the photo is something you have available to sell, there is nothing more frustrating that seeing an item you like in an avatar only to find it sold months ago. If the listing sells, replace it with a new one to keep your avatar fresh. I know I have sold more than one listing because someone fell in love with my avatar.
  • the avatar doesn't have to be the entire object, you can focus on an attractive detail of you like, or create some curiosity by cropping it in an artistic way so buyers click to find out more.
Some people choose to use their logo as their avatar, which is a great way to brand a store, others put a photo of themselves in there. Both of these ways are equally good, but they don't spark the kind of targeted interest in what store lies beyond the avatars link. If you can get a photo of yourself with one of your items into an avatar then this makes for a very clickable combination!

Things to avoid putting into an avatar
  • Dark or badly lit images. Get those photos looking bright and colorful first. Check out this Etsy tutorial for more info on how to do this.
  • Political images - unless you sell political themed products you should separate your political views from your store advertising, they don't belong here.
  • Your pets - yes, they are cute but it is to personal for a professional looking store. Of course if you sell pet accessories or products then making your pet your avatar would be a good idea.
  • Random photos that have nothing to do with you, your store or your product. Why waste this free advertising space?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Finding some balance - an update

A couple of weeks ago I wrote in this post that I needed to find some balance between my business and home life. I am happy to say things are going quite well so far. I invested in a new iPhone which I now keep my entire schedule on, it even beeps at me when I need to do something - so no more wasting too much time on the computer! It also has all my various lists on it , so no more lost scraps of paper with important details on them.

I figured out a schedule and am to stick to it, which is having some great results! The house is much tidier, I am cooking healthy meals now, I haven't seen the inside of my microwave for weeks! I am also finding extra time for things I was too busy for before.

This year is getting off to a very good start, I have had several requests for blog interviews and even an article in a Dutch crafting magazine (I'll let you know when they are published) I have so many custom orders that I am selling faster than I can make them at the moment. It seems the House of Mouse is now unstoppable! I can't wait to see what happens next.

Over 5000 hearts

I have been watching my Etsy store hearts steadily make their way to 5000 for the last week or so. When I went to bed last night they were somewhere near the 4970 mark so I didn't think I would get there very soon.

Then last night I made it into a front page treasury and my store hearts jumped up to 5021! I don't know who's treasury it was because it had expired by the time I looked for it, but whoever you are thank you so much! It made my day to wake up well over my target number of hearts for this month.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Yesterday I got a wonderful surprise, a lady who ordered a pair of custom wedding mice from me sent me a photo from her wedding to say thank you. Two little wedding mice sat atop a huge "cheese-wedding cake"! How wonderful, and what a beautiful photo too. Thank you to Jennifer for allowing me to use it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sold a painting!

As some of you know, I have an exhibition of my paintings on at the moment. I wrote about it in this post and you might remember I said that I didn't think I would sell anything, after all it's not in a gallery but in a Peugeot Car Showroom!

Well, I was wrong :) My painting "Blue Sensations" just sold to one of the guys that works at Peugeot! It goes to show, taking the opportunities the universe throws at you - no matter how
strange - can have surprising results!

"Blue Sensations"

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Creative Overload

A few years ago I had creative block. On the rare occasion I had an idea I was too scared to make it happen. Then something changed, I can't quite put my finger on what did it but I started making my mice, and a stream of new ideas hit me constantly. I have a list so long of characters I want to make, but I also want to learn how to make other things too, and I have a house to keep clean and friends to stay in contact with.

Now I find myself with a whole new problem, quite the opposite from creative block, this is Creative Overload. I don't have enough hours in the day just for The House of Mouse business and home life, but I don't want to reject the new creative needs and ideas in my mind either.

How do you find the balance and time for everything you want to make and do, whilst still maintaining a business that is going well?

I suspect time management is important, but would love to hear any other tips you might have.

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