Friday, December 19, 2008
Look chic for work, shopping, entertaining, a night out, or hanging out with friends. Wear jewelry by Liz Soll (The Beading Nutritionist, booth #116/117) and hats, bags and other accessories by Jean Wolter (Knits and Glitz, booth #?). Jean makes elegant and sophisticated felted wool hats, superb for looking stylish and keeping warm in the fall and winter. She also creates beautiful felted bags, including stadium bags perfect for caring essentials to the big game. At Jean¡¯s booth you will also find knitted scarves, belts and bookmarks. Much of Jean¡¯s work is adorned with antique buttons and/or beads making her pieces extra special. And, speaking of beads, Liz creates sterling silver beaded jewelry. She makes rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and charms. Liz uses unique combinations of colors and types of beads including porcelain, Swarovski crystal, metal, freshwater pearls, mother of pearl, Czech glass, stones (including semi-precious), and shell. Much of her work involves wire-wrapping and dangles of crystal. Liz makes matching sets as well as separates and all pieces are sold individually. Stop by the Sunday ARTsan Market and visit Liz and Jean, you will very pleased with what you see.
Liz¡¯s web store: http://beadingnutritionist.etsy.com
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Set a spectacular table and impress your guests with these colorful treasures, found at the Sunday Artisan Market.
(please click on photos for a closer look)
Glass Platters by Dawn Foerg of Foerg Glassworks, Stall #94, FoergGlassworks.com
Place Mats and Table Runners by Ann Sheppard of Such Pretty Colors, Stall #118-119, SuchPrettyColors.com
Gourds by Tammy Braunscheidel of BET Baskets, Stall varies each week, email: email@example.com
What will *you* find this week?
Monday, November 3, 2008
Now let's explore some free or inexpensive Websites we can use.
First, of course...Etsy.
Why have an Etsy shop?-First, for your Artisan market customers. Many customers ask if I have a website so they can look at my products later. But I usually take the initiative. When someone looks at my items but doesn't buy, I finish up my 'sales pitch' by saying, "And, you can look at them from home, here's my business card with my website". When someone buys something, the last thing I say is, "I put my card with my website in the bag" or, if I know it's a gift, I say, "I put two cards with my info and website in the bag, you can give one with the gift and keep one for yourself".
-Your Etsy shop will help your business come up in a Google search.
-People might buy things from your Etsy shop. ;) [But, if they don't, don't be discouraged. It usually takes more effort than just listing your items, to get sales. We'll keep talking about that in the future.)
-Loading an Etsy shop is MUCH easier than creating your own website if you aren't experienced, and much cheaper than hiring someone to build a website for you. AND you can also buy a .com and simply have it FORWARDED to your Etsy shop. You can just put the .com on your business card. That's what we do with our Saturday market collective shop. I bought http://www.saamaa.com/ and had it forwarded to http://saamaa.etsy.com/, so I don't even have to tell people the etsy address, just the www.saamaa.com. That way, later on you can build your own awesome website, ditch Etsy, but your old business cards will still take people to your new site.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Etsy is like Ebay in one way - it's a "venue" site. That means you list your own items and you deal with the customer directly. It's different from Ebay in a couple of important ways - on Ebay, anything goes, but Etsy only allows Handmade [by you], Vintage, or Commercial Supplies. And, instead of auctions that last only a few days, your Etsy listing lasts for 4 months [or until the item sells].
You choose a username, register as a seller, and then you can start adding items, and fill in your store front with a banner, avatar, Shop Announcement, Profile and Policies. The shop front is free, and each item costs 20 cents for 4 months. You get to list 5 pictures for each item.
I'm going to go into detail about the Username because you can't change it later. Everything else, you can work on as you go, change and improve.
Choose your username carefully. *You can't change it later.* [you can start all over with another one if you use another email address]. It will be your Etsy shop's web address. So it's important. I also recommend buying the .com for your Etsy username. For that matter, use the same username everywhere on the web - then customers can find you everywhere, and you'll be subtly promoting your business everywhere you go. Mine is Such Pretty Colors, so my Etsy shop address is http://suchprettycolors.etsy.com. Yours will be http://whatever-name-you-choose.etsy.com.
Points to think about:
-Does the name reflect positively on what you do?
-Does it leave room for change if you branch out, change or add mediums?
-Can the spelling be confused by customers? Sometimes clever names can backfire. If I picked "SewPretty", I'd have to spell my website every time I tell someone about it.
-Use something easy for a customer to remember - just a memorable phrase, not Jenny8764.
-Avoid possible apostrophes - "Ann's Quilts" - you'll always be saying "no apostrophe in the web address".
-Pick something which has an available .com. Avoid a situation where you'll be stuck with a .net or .us because another business already has your .com, it's just one more little confusion for customers, and it's hard enough for them to remember how to find us already. You can buy the .com affordably at GoDaddy.com.
-Think about registering the name with Washtenaw County. That helps avoid a name that's already in use, and helps prevent a new person taking the same name in the future. You can do it at the County building at the Registrar of Deeds, I believe it's $10. Beware - the county sells your name to every junk mail sender on earth. :(
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This is the Etsy Wiki.http://www.etsywiki.com/index.php?title=Main_PageIt is chock full of page upon page of help and advice for selling on Etsy.Some of the links go to another page full of links, so there is really a ton here. It's worth really getting into and exploring, if you want to make a go of it on Etsy.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------When you get your shop running, or if you already have a shop, put your Etsy web address in the comments here on the blog. Then we can all network with each other.
by Ann Sheppard
Monday, October 13, 2008
Hi all! It has a busy season at the Market. On Oct. 5th we hosted 27 local Etsy sellers for a special Super Market Sunday. And this Friday, Oct. 17th, we are taking part in the Ann Arbor Art Walk. There will be over 50 of our Sunday vendors hanging out at the Market from 5-10 p.m. to show off their wares and talk Art. Several of our vendors will be giving demonstrations. There will be light refreshments and music performed by one of our vendors. We are all really excited about our first time participating in the Art Walk. Hope to see you there.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Sometimes Self-Promotion can be hard for us. We are taught not to 'brag'. But you can positively and enthusiastically promote yourself without bragging.
This column will give a tip each week, just little ways you can promote your business in your daily life.
Tip #2 - Things to do with your business cards
1. Put one in every customer's bag. Say, "My business card is in the bag in case you need me again."
2. Give one to every customer you talk to, even if they don't buy something. Say, "Would you like my card in case you decide you'd like to get one [of my items] in the future?"
3. Keep a few in your bag or pocket, ready to give out in unexpected situations. :)
4. Put them on the bulletin board at cafes, coney islands, Whole Foods, the Co-op, etc. Restock them as needed.
5. Give a stack to your mom. When she is bragging about you to the lady behind her in line at Meijer's, she can give her your card. Give some to your best friend and your spouse, too.
6. Make them into bookmarks and give those to your customers. Then they will keep them around and see them often.
7. Put a magnet on the back so your customers can put them on the fridge.
8. If a repeat customer tells you that her friends constantly ask where she got the item she bought from you, ask her if she'd like a stack of your cards.
9. Ask your suppliers if they keep business cards on hand. For instance, the JoAnn fabric on Ann Arbor Saline Rd. used to keep business cards in the drawer under the register, in case their customers inquired about seamstresses for hire. Ask the local beadshop or scrapbook store, or whatever is appropriate to your craft, if they keep cards on hand for this reason.
10. Trade a stack with a fellow crafter. Put his on your table, and ask him to put yours on his table.
11. What NOT to do: Litter. Some people suggest you stick your cards in random library books or put them on counters and shelves in stores and other public places. This is just littering and won't get you a good return. Think about the planet and skip this one.
Go give 'em! Next time, let's stick our toes into the internet. :)
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Shameless Self-Promotion by Ann Sheppard of Such Pretty Colors [in spots #118/119]
Sometimes Self-Promotion can be hard for us. We are taught not to 'brag'. But you can positively and enthusiastically promote yourself without bragging.This column will give a tip each week, just little ways you can promote your business in your daily life.
Make sure you have a good, professional looking business card. Your business card represents you, and it's a little piece of you that people keep around to remind them of you. You want it to look good. It's part of your 'brand', so try to keep it in line with the aesthetic and level of your work. :)
Things to include:
- Business name
- Your name
- What you do - my card says 'Patchwork and Other Goodies'
- Phone number [although some people might not want to share this with strangers]
- Email address
- Where you can be found - for instance I put 'Sat Sun & Wed at A2 Farmer's Market April-Xmas' right on my card
- Any other info you want to give customers - my cards say "custom work available"
Go in and talk you your local neighborhood printer. Supporting local is great, and remember, you will save shipping. Ask to see examples of finished work to make sure it looks good.
http://www.copymax.com - I couldn't get onto this site because I have a Mac. :( But, I believe you can get a basic business card from Copy Max [in Office Max] at a great low price.
http://www.VistaPrint.com - be careful with these guys. You get 250 free business cards and only pay $5.65 shipping and handling. They offer GREAT prices, but they do it by trying to trick you into accidentally signing up for 'FREE' offers that charge you $20 or $30 per month on your credit card. DO NOT accept any free offers [other than their product] or check any boxes. You can order 1 of each free product on each order [sometimes magnets, sticky notes, pens, etc]. 250 color business cards costs $5.65 total. You can also upload your own graphic for an extra charge, $4.99 I believe.
http://www.overnightprints.com - people who want to stay away from VistaPrints shady practices often like Overnightprints. :) I've heard some minor complaints about the colors being off, but have heard other folks say they are perfect.
http://www.moo.com/ - these are the Cadillac of business cards. Moo cards have your photos on the front and your info on the back. You can use a different photo on each card, or any mixture you choose. You can upload the images directly from your computer or from a variety of image-hosting sites like Flickr or even Etsy. [Flickr and Etsy will get their own columns later!]. They are narrower [and more exciting] than regular business cards.
If none of these are right for you, you can always Google for other online printers...Go get 'em! Next time, we can talk about what to do with them once you have them.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Last summer Rose asked her fellow vendors at the Ann Arbor Sunday Artisan Market to help her create a quilt that would be donated to a wounded soldier. The quilt would be about our wishes for that soldier's healing and our thanks for his or her service and sacrifice. Many of us created the squares that Rose then sewed together. Each square was a wish or a hope or a thank you. It gave each of us a chance to connect, to do something tangible to help one of someone who had put their life on the line. It seemed a very small thing compared to what our soldiers were doing.
Rose pulled all the pieces together. Each artisan had created something unique. Rose pulled those pieces together to create a really lovely quilt. There was a problem, however. The organization that had originally recruited the quilts, for some reason, no longer wanted this one. It became an orphan of sorts. The quilt was filled with love and care and hopeful thoughts and wishes, but there was no one to offer those sentiments to.
Rose knew better. She knew she only had to wait and the right use for the quilt would come forward. Her son, who had already served in Iraq, told her it was lovely. He told her it needed to be used. Rose waited. She didn't say if she waited patiently or not, only that she knew the right use for the quilt would happen. And, she was right.
She learned of a soldier serving in Iraq, in Sadr City. She learned, from his mother, that the soldiers there did not go out during the day. They rarely saw blue sky. Not only were they in danger from those who saw them as the enemy, but they also lived a life that was demoralizing and discouraging. These soldiers could use all the cheer and good wishes they could get. Rose handed the quilt over, knowing it was going where it had found its purpose. The Sunday Artisan Market Quilt was going where it would do the most good. It was going to Iraq, to Sadr City. Most importantly, it was going to give some guys a badly needed morale boost. It was going to say 'thank you' directly to the people who deserved and needed that 'thank you.'
I made one of those small squares that Rose stitched together. At the time I did it because it seemed a small thing to do. After listening to Rose tell me the quilt's story and where it had ended up I was very glad that I had taken the time to decorate a square. Such a small thing. Only a few minutes of time. If it would help someone help great. Now, however, I feel as though I have been given the opportunity to really touch some lives. Hopefully, in a small way, to make those lives a little bit better. In a war that is, in so many ways, so far away and so incomprehensible, there is a human connection. I am grateful to Rose for that opportunity. It is a very special thing to make even such a small connection.
As for Rose, well, she cares deeply about many things. What I know of Rose is that she cares. She cares about her family. She is proud of her family's military heritage and she is oh, so proud of her children and their willingness to serve in the armed forces of the United States. When she puts her mind to something she wants to do it right. She cares that something is the way it is suppose to be. She cares about her baskets and her quilts. And, right now, she cares deeply that the quilt she envisioned and brought to fruition is serving those who deserve to be served. Thanks Rose, for letting the rest of us be a small part of your caring and vision. Thanks for letting us touch someone else's life, to make that life, maybe, just a little better.