Sunday, March 15, 2009

EtsyConnection March 13, 2009

March 13, 2009 EtsyConnection
Editor's thank you

Thanks to all of you who have given such encouraging and positive feedback with regard to this newsletter. It's a lot of fun to publish, especially searching Etsy for artists to feature. I see so much that I really if I would only win the lottery!

The best thing we can all do is pass the newsletter on and keep Etsy's reach stretching farther and farther.

I'm always looking for artists to feature; if you or someone you know is interested shoot me an email. Make sure to include the URL to your Etsy shop.
Can your craft business support a family? Part 1

Today, as people face job losses, salary cuts, or other economic woes, it's worth examining whether or not you can do something extraordinary: make a living and support your family solely by the efforts of your home craft business. It sounds like a fantasy-but can it become a reality? Yes and no. There is something like 115,000 craftspeople in the United States (numbers vary from 106,000 to 126,000), and 22 percent of them are entirely supported by their craft business. Yes, that fantasy can become a reality. The benefits of supporting your family from a home craft business are enormous. No commute. Flexible hours. Creative freedom. No bosses. No office politics. More time with family. The list goes on and on. "Successful" for the purposes of this article means that a business is capable of generating the primary income for a family. I am going to set an arbitrary income of $2,000 per month (after business expenses) as the definition of "successful," knowing full well that most folks need a higher income than that to get by.
Patent protection for your craft

For many people in the crafts industry, patent protection can provide a viable means of protecting the rights to designs and methods of making craft. In many respects, copyright registration is the ideal means of protecting your designs from being "knocked off." Unfortunately, this is not available for many kinds of craft because copyright protection does not extend to functional features of crafts or the methods of making them. Thus if your crafts are primarily utilitarian objects, or if you want to protect a particular method of making an object, you will most likely have to obtain a patent to protect against copying. Is your craft eligible?

A fun assortment of handbags, aprons, and jewelry KarenShaw
Stargazer Studios combines the talents of Marcia Shaw and her daughter Karen Shaw Suriner. Inspired by a mix of bohemian creativity and old-fashioned practicality, together they proudly continue a family tradition of fibercraft.

Marcia got her start over forty years ago, when American crafts were gaining strength and direction from a growing cultural inclination toward the handmade and organic. Her work in the 60s and 70s with weaving/natural dye pioneer Susan Neal inspired a lifetime of sewing and design, specializing in handcrafted fabrics like handwoven chenille and handpainted silk. Marcia is also skilled in quilting, embroidery, knitting, crochet, dyeing, and spinning.

Karen's maternal grandmother taught her to weave during a high school summer vacation, and she's been doing it for the fifteen years since. She refined her weaving skills as an apprentice to master handweaver Cynthia Krause, and currently weaves for Camille Benjamin Designs in addition to her work for Stargazer Studios. Inheriting a small collection of vintage beads as a child ignited in Karen a lifelong passion for beadwork and beads both old and new. She also writes Web articles about crafts, style, and running a home-based business.

The first Stargazer Studios handbags were inspired by a desire to use small pieces of high-end fabrics in a way that was affordable and could be enjoyed on a daily basis. They were so well received (and fun to make) that the Stargazer team continued refining the design into the classically pleasing shape you see today. That same form-meets-function philosophy also inspired their line of handcrafted aprons, and a line of tote/shopping bags to be debuted soon.

Marcia and Karen Shaw - Cotton and Bamboo Handbag

Marcia and Karen Shaw - Gingham Apron with Cherries

Marcia and Karen Shaw - Champagne and Gold Tapestry Handbag

Marcia and Karen Shaw - Houndstooth Wool Handbag

Marcia and Karen Shaw - Champagne Pearl and Black Bead Earring and Necklace Set

Greener, cheaper: 'Make your own' movement rising

Maybe it's the economy. Or the fact that fewer can afford a brand-new Prius. The trend, in any case, is upon us: do-it-yourself green living. Soap, candles, purses, T-shirts: each week, the green-minded gather at the Road Less Traveled store in Santa Ana, Calif., for classes on fashioning a variety of common household products from environmentally friendly materials - items that might otherwise require a hunting expedition through the aisles of Wal-Mart. "Part of the green movement is making things yourself," says Delilah Snell, the store's owner. "Repurposed used items, collages, pillow cases, aprons, transformed tees. We teach people how to make their own fashions." And while the trend has been growing for the past few years, Snell said the recent economic downturn, which also is keeping people at home, might be fueling greater interest. "Craft mafias" and online sites like Etsy, a forum for buying and selling handmade items, have caught fire in recent years, says Victor Domine, spokesman for the Craft and Hobby Association - so much so that the group hosted a green-themed trade show in Anaheim, Calif., in January.
How to make a duct tape corsage and flowers

I didn't want to buy in to the wasteful "buy, wear for a few hours, throw away" corsage culture, so I decided to make a more economical, longer lasting, and greener alternative. This instructable will teach you how to make duct tape flowers and then use those flowers to make a corsage. The flowers and corsage will last forever and are waterproof, recyclable, hypo-allergenic, and just plain cool! They are also cheaper than a normal corsage and don't require a trip to the florist.

Funky recycled jewelry JacobFaussetBioPic
I was raised by a construction family, building new homes. Each year the homes were bigger, fancier, and further out in the country. I saw urban sprawl at it's best or worst. As a child I wondered what keeps this going, where do the people come from to buy these big homes? And where is their old house? Where does all the money come from? Now we all know as the economy spirals into a receding hole.

With most new construction at a stand still, presently, I own and operate a business that manages bank owned or foreclosed properties. That involves re-keying houses, re-glazing broken windows or fixing kicked in doors, all things that a vacant property needs. At times though a total clean out is called for. In a given month I can accumulate over 5,000 pounds of garbage needing to be hauled to a landfill. (And I am a very small operation). Every ounce of metal I separate to be recycled. All electronics, like computers, faxes, etc., are taken apart and recycled if not in useable shape. It is very surprising what people will work so hard to attain, only to abuse and leave for someone else to clean up. I try my best to lessen the impact on our world and our community.

As for my creations and art: I have always been fascinated by the Earth's environmental harmony, being able to recycle all it's own wastes. As humans we have a harder time. So I use found or discarded items to create art. From a painting made from linen a friend gave me and paint from a foreclosed home, to jewelry made from used electronics or found x-rays. I hope you enjoy what I'm able to use and create.

Jacob Fausset - Orbital Upcycled Copper Computer Board Necklace

Jacob Fausset - Twisted Upcycled Copper Computer Board Earrings

Jacob Fausset - Gossip Girl Cell Phone Copper Earrings

JacobFaussetGossip Girl Cell Phone Copper Earrings
Jacob Fausset - Remote Control Copper Circuit Board Earrings

Jacob Fausset - X Ray Earrings

Etsy tests PayPal billing

Etsy is beta testing functionality that allows sellers to pay their Etsy bills via PayPal. As a recent survey revealed, international sellers overwhelmingly prefer PayPal as a method of payment. In addition, the Etsy marketplace for handmade and vintage goods said its branding has been incorporated into the PayPal checkout pages linked from Etsy: "Now, when a buyer is sent to PayPal from Etsy during the Etsy checkout process, the Etsy logo will be visible at the top of the pages where the payment is made. We think this will help lessen the confusion experienced by some new buyers on Etsy, as we've seen in user testing, research, survey results and feedback from the community."
Five companies that are re-inventing media

Have you noticed all the amazing great fantastic things that are happening in the media business? Seriously. There's a spirit of reinvention and change that has some of the best media start-ups energized and optimistic about the future. In order to find the optimism, think broadly about what media is becoming, not what it was, or even what it is today. In fact - a quick look at the six companies I'm going to share with you in this post suggests that we're moving toward an era of unprecedented opportunity and growth for media. I'd propose that the five phenomenon to watch as truly new media evolves are:

Inventive, creative centerpieces RachelSchroederBioPic
I am a stay-at-home mom of two small children. I love doing crafts because it allows me to be creative. I also love all handmade items because they have such a personal touch to them. I started making paper cakes when I was asked to be in charge of the party favors and centerpieces for my father-in-law's surprise birthday party. It just really blossomed from there; after the party I was getting calls asking for cakes. I really enjoy making them because there are so many possibilities!

Managing my Etsy shop and my website is a dream come true! I enjoy it so much! I would like to expand the products in my shop once my children are of school age. Currently my working hours are after my children are asleep. I am hopeful to have many creative and productive years ahead. :)

Rachel Schroeder - Princess Birthday Party Centerpiece

Rachel Schroeder - White and Pink Wedding Cake Centerpiece

Rachel Schroeder - Bridal Shower Centerpiece

Rachel Schroeder - Baby Shower Centerpiece

Rachel Schroeder - Centerpiece Drizzle


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Sunday, March 8, 2009

The EtsyConnection weekly newsletter, issue 2

March 6, 2009 EtsyConnection

Etsy is an international word-of-mouth phenomenon

Wouldn't you love to have people in every corner of the globe talking about your website face to face and on their blogs? That's the enviable position that online crafts marketplace Etsy finds itself in according to survey results the company published today. Word of mouth and personal blogs are the primary way people around the world are finding out about the site and there's an active community of craft sellers on Etsy from every continent but Antarctica. At a time when marketers are obsessed with getting traction on Facebook and are just beginning to take users outside the US seriously, Etsy's survey of its international members is fascinating - as is the company itself.
Clive Thompson on the revolution in micromanufacturing

Last summer I spent weeks shopping for an anniversary present for my wife. I searched all my usual retail sources but couldn't find anything that hit just the right note. Then I went to Etsy-an ecommerce site where artisans sell unique handmade goods-and found the microstore of ClockworkZero, a woman who turns old electronics gear into steampunk accessories. Presto: ClockworkZero's stuff was both gorgeous and geeky, precisely the vibe I craved. I came away with a necklace made from a vintage vacuum tube. It turns out that I'm not alone in my search for that perfect one-off treasure. Judging from the explosive growth of Etsy and other online boutiques, the Web is spawning a curious new trend: micro-manufacturing.

A range of glasswork from heartfelt to humorous MarkKemp
I've always made things. I remember making wooden chairs when I was five, and showing them to my grandparents. (Each time they had me sit in one, it collapsed and I tried again.)

When I got older I started writing fiction, which I did for quite a few years. But I finally realized that I really wanted to do visual art. After a major change in my life, I started exploring all sorts of art, settling on stained glass for a few years. This morphed into kiln-worked glass, which occupied me for many years. While still doing a lot of glass, I am moving in many new directions, often combining glass with other materials.

I try as much as possible to put spirit and personal meaning into my creations. Making memorial pendants for people and pets is one way this manifests. Nature and animals are major themes in my life, and thus also in my creations.

I have sold my work at markets and festivals for sixteen years. A year and a half ago the woman who has become my life partner introduced me to Etsy. It has been one of the best on-line selling venues for art and craft. It has retained its heart and soul as it has grown, which suits me perfectly.

Mark Kemp - Rainbow Glass Windchimes

Mark Kemp - Pet Memorial Pendants

Mark Kemp - Blue Glass Bear

Mark Kemp - Happy Liver

Mark Kemp - Eggs and Bacon Wind Chime

Website of the week: Etsy

What is it? A huge online marketplace stuffed with handmade, one-of-a-kind products. Set up in 2005 by Rob Kalin, Etsy now features 100,000 creators and designers worldwide selling everything from jewellery to jumpers through the site. Who is it for? If you want unique goods from independent artisans Etsy is perfect. The prices are low and you can choose UK sellers to avoid shipping costs. We love the Alchemy page where you post a commission and sellers bid to create it for you. Why should I try it?
Retailers find silver lining in e-commerce

Growth of 7% to 8% in Internet sales this year looks astronomical compared with an expected drop of at least 1% in total retail sales. Even during an abysmal holiday season last year, many retailers saw significant sales growth in their online channels while sales in their bricks-and-mortar locations plummeted. Growth in online sales won't accelerate until 2010, when an economic recovery is in full swing. And this year's gains will still be a far cry from the double-digit gains in online sales for the past few years. Internet retailers are benefiting from the weak economy. For cost conscious shoppers, the Web is well suited to researching purchases and comparing costs.

A wide collection of hand-knit hats, scarves, and other lovely original designs CathyCosta2
Born into a creative family, it was inevitable that I'd grow up crafty and independent ~

My professional involvement in the knitting & crochet industry started around 1983 selling knitting machines, growing and operating a cottage industry of 17 knitters while raising three little ones. That venture disbanded when my youngest went to kindergarten and I was inspired to complete my biology degree.

I maintained a connection to the knitting andcrocheting trades through designing and writing for Knitting Machine News and Views, and Machine Knitters Source. I went on to have a book of machine knitting designs published by Down East Books: Puffins and Pine Trees, 1991. Recently, I've sold designs to Crochet! Magazine, Hooked on Crochet, and had designs that were included in hardcover books: Easy as 1,2,3 Crochet, and Quick Stitch Crochet published by DRG publications.

My interests as a biologist, registered Maine Guide, and master gardener provide inspiration for my designs and themes, many obtained from of Maine's natural treasures. My tools to create my fiber designs are the traditional 2 needles, knitting machines, and crochet hooks, depending on the project and the result I'm trying to achieve.

Over the years intermittent selling through craft shows, home knitting parties (modeled after Tupperware parties), and other types of venues were satisfying but discovering Etsy has been super thrilling! My first Etsy sale was international to Portugal. I'm coming up on my first Etsy-versary and every day it is a joy to be part of the Etsy Community.

Cathy Costa - Crabby Beanie Cap

Cathy Costa - Pink Lemonade Scarf

Cathy Costa - Field of Daisy Flowers Hat

Cathy Costa - Sunshine and Rainbows Cardigan

Cathy Costa - Skunk Helmet Hat

10 best hamburger fantasies become a reality

Sushi is so 2006 and bacon is totally 2008, but what random food fad is on the cool horizon this year? Burgers. Why burgers? They're as all-American as you can get -even more American than apple pie and baseball, which are really just variations of German and British inventions respectively. Plus, they're a great compliment for 2008's just passing trend, bacon. In honor of this great American feat of food engineering, I am proud to bring you the must-have burger gizmos of the upcoming year.
The craft show secret that defies logic

Here you are at another craft fair, watching people walk by, sometimes several times, sometimes more. Occasionally, someone stops at your booth to look. Most of the people who stop pause only a few moments and continue their journey. Sometimes, someone picks something up, looks at it, and sets it down again. Every now and then, someone asks a question. You cheerfully answer the questions and get the opportunity to try to make a sale. A few times, someone buys something. You may or may not make a profit when the weekend is over. Sound a little familiar? If so, I'd like to help you look at craft fairs a different way. What if you got a second chance with all those people who stopped and looked for a minute? What if you got three, four, or more chances? What if you got a chance to sell them something every month instead of that one time when they paused in front of your booth? Think your sells would go up? You bet they would. The secret to craft shows is to stop using them as mobile stores. Think of them as opportunities to meet new people and build relationships.

Fun handmade eco-friendly cards and unique gifts GiuliaMauri
Hi, my name is Giulia (pronounced Julia), I'm an Italian artist-designer. I studied Visual Arts at the University of Venice and now I live and work in the UK.

The Card Tree is my online "cottage industry" that combines both my passion for art and nature. I make and sell Eco Friendly stationary such as cards and writing sets and I craft unique handmade gifts like "Message in a Bottle", Original Framed Paintings, and Organic Cotton bags.

At The Card Tree all the paper goods are made with 100% post recycled paper; materials are bought locally to minimize the carbon emission of the shop. Orders are nicely wrapped up with natural raffia or with biodegradable corn starch sleeves and shipped within 24 hours from purchase. The unique handmade items and personal service makes the Card Tree a lovely place to shop when looking for gifts and stationary supplies. You can see all the latest news about The Card Tree in my blog:

Giulia Mauri - Message in the Bottle

Giulia Mauri - Message in the Jar Notecards

Giulia Mauri - Simplicity Writing Set, Recycled

Giulia Mauri - Bottle in the Sea, Original Painting

Giulia Mauri - Narwhal Handpainted Box

From the editor...

Enjoyment...that is what this newsletter is all about. I hope you find the articles interesting. I KNOW you are enjoying the artists. Feel free to forward this newsletter on to whomever you think would enjoy it. They will be able to subscribe from the link below.

To Etsy artists: If you would like to be featured in an upcoming issue, drop me an email. I'd love to hear from you. -Karen

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Just a regular person needing a place to vent and process.