December 04, 2006

etsy update

The crafting is over- for a bit, anyway- all the free sample/giveaway items are on their way to Steamboat Springs, CO, to be divvied up amongst the swap participants. This is for what Etsy calls a "Street Team" which is a grass-roots way to "get the word out" about Etsy in general, and these shops in particular. So, my samples will be divided up and sent to other members of my Street Team, to be handed out as advertising for my shop, and I will do the same for them. We'll see if it works!

This team is called "Old World Shoppes" and was formed as a group of crafters to "promote traditional values and standards in their craftwork. Let us take you back to simpler times with our Etsy shops that honor the past- an old-fashioned marketplace with sundries and goods ranging from needlework to vintage keepsakes to decor items for today's homemaker. Find self-representing artisans that use traditional methods alongside clever crafters that capture nostalgia and deliver quality! We come together for you in the Old World Shoppes. " There are people who do woodworking, quilting, needlework, knitting... more traditional types of crafts; I don't fit exactly into that, but I definitely go in for the nostalgia and hand-crafted aspect of things...

Etsy has thousands of members, both sellers and buyers, but it's still not very well known... plus, it doesn't have near the advertising budget that Ebay or do. So, the challenge is, how to get people to it, and to a particular shop?? Street Teams are one way, so people can promote the site, themselves, and each other. There are teams based on geographic location, craft/art form (jewelry, for example), and genre (such as Goth/Dark Arts-type stuff- skulls & crossbones, lots of black, etc). Etsy also has some pretty cool search features based on materials used and tags- these things get loaded in when you add an item for sale. A shopper can search on a word like "glitter" or "red" and it will find all the items that the sellers have tagged with those particular categories. You can also shop by geographic location, colors, etc. (I'm sure there are more ways to search, I just don't look at the site like a buyer would very often). The site is getting a few mentions in newspapers, radio, and on-line, also- it's a much more "independent" type of shopping experience than a local store or mall, as everything is either handcrafted, vintage, or art/craft supplies, and you're buying directly from the maker, as opposed to buying something in a chain store at the mall.

There are sellers who craft/make art for a living, all the way to people like me, who craft as a hobby after their "real" job... and, you can find pretty much anything you can think of: re-purposed clothing (jeans made into a shoulder bag, or felted wool items made from a Goodwill sweater), hand-dyed yarn, handmade knitting needles, handcrafted furniture, all sorts of jewelry, fine art (huge paintings, both in dimensions and in price), handprinted books and "zines" (independently produced magazines), and all different kinds of gifty-type things and home decor items, just to name a few.

It's a pretty neat site, and I can spend lots of time there, just browsing and clicking thru from one page to the next- hopefully lots of other people do, too, and hopefully I can continue to work on putting together an "image" for my shop and its contents that will catch their eye, and their buying power!

For now, though, I think I need to focus on making our Christmas cards and the swap ATCs for December. (then, get back to crafting, and hopefully some sales from my shop!) The November cards I received back are all gorgeous works of art!! It's amazing what people manage to do with them, even though the size is only 2.5 x 3.5 inches! I'll post pics of them after I get them scanned...

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