Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Givin' Myself a Raise






It’s Shameless Commerce Tuesday (and the LAST day of Tax Season!!).  Today I’m officially announcing two price increases for my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations:

1.       I have revised my Etsy shop policies to include a 25% SURCHARGE for custom orders.
2.       I will be raising prices on oven mitt listings in my shop between now and May 1, 2014.

Custom Orders

Custom orders are both a blessing and a curse – and they are always a challenge!  I had considered eliminating custom orders altogether, but some of my best sellers were initially inspired by custom orders, so-o-o-o I devised a Plan B

I have found that custom orders require WAY more time and energy to complete than “regular” orders.  They often require shopping for special fabrics and supplies (rarely on sale), photographing fabric options, and then special ordering fabrics.  Some also require new design elements or construction techniques, and drafting new patterns which may only be used once.

I am hoping the 25% surcharge will reduce my number of custom orders, while not discouraging customers who realize that one of a kind (OOAK) or special designs are worth more than something off the cyber shelf.  The surcharge will provide at least SOME additional compensation for the extra time, energy, and out-of-pocket costs required to complete custom orders.

Product Price Increases

The increase in oven mitt prices is mostly due to an increase in the cost of high quality cotton fabrics coupled with an increase in postal rates.  It’s been a double whammy!  High postage rates mean I need to spend even more to get those higher cost fabrics shipped to me.    Also, some of my best sellers use fabrics that are now out of print or in very limited supply – again increasing my costs to keep them in stock. 

AND my boss (that would be ME) decided that her employee (that would also be ME), a hard worker who has honed her skills making 800+ oven mitts over the past three years, and who consistently receives positive customer feedback, deserves to be paid more than a sweatshop worker.


Bottom Line:  I’m givin’ myself a raise!

TTFN
LeAnn

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Treasury Thanks

This week I want to extend a big 

THANK YOU

to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, in treasuries during the past week.  Mother's Day is less than a month away, and many of this week's treasuries centered around a Mother's Day theme.  Sit back and enjoy some eye candy!

Alisa Design featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Home Is Where Your Mom Is . . ..   I just love this Monaco blue hand knit sweater from Alisa's shop!  Pair that with some white capris and fun sandals or flats, and you'll be ready for a fun Spring outing.


Ece from QueensAccessories featured my roses on light blue floral oven mitts in her treasury, Pink Roses for Your Mother.  I love the little pink roses on this hand knit baby sweater from Ece's shop. 


Bob Mathieson, Jane Rothmund, Robert Belz, Janis Uvanile of Stoneworks Jewellery featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in their treasury, Little Luxuries for Mother's Day!   This gorgeous wire wrapped sea jasper pendant would be a wonderful little luxury for a special mom.



Kathy from Tapestry316 featured my purple and gold fleur de lis baby bib (Geaux LSU Tigers!) in her treasury, Spring Lavender.   I always loved Springtime on the farm, with all the baby animals --- lambs, calves, piglets, and baby chicks.  This wonderful art print featuring a mustang quarterhorse hiding her baby reminds me of those happy Spring days of my childhood.


Hamutal Benjo of hamutalbenjoceramics featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Not All Who Wander Are Lost.  Hamutal makes unique ceramic home accessories.  I love this spaghetti bowl -- perfect as a stand alone art piece, centerpiece, or perhaps a yarn bowl for knitters.


Alessandra of AlexandraFamer from Milan, Italy, also featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Dear Mom!  Our neighborhood Farmer's Market just opened for the season.  This beautiful handmade tote bag would be perfect for Farmer's Market or craft fair shopping.



Natashalh of StalkingTheWildSnark featured my multicolored chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Spring Frolic.   This wonderful come away with me bangle bracelet would be a fun accessory for a Spring frolic.


Ramune of RPlinen featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Mother's Day Gift.  These beautiful handmade white linen napkins would be perfect for a family Easter feast or a formal dinner, and they are available in a variety of sizes.


Abigail Jayne of AbigailJayneArt featured my pink chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Easter Pink.  I'm thinking this pretty cuff in satin and purple would make a lovely fashion statement at a prom.


Jennifer Ingala of BeautyByIngala also featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Mother's Day Treasures.  I love this hauntingly beautiful original oil painting, Her Solo Journey.  It's one of the wonderful fine art pieces in Jennifer's shop.


Mimiyu86 of HoneyRing featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, White.    This 925 silver ring is one of my favorite jewelry items from HoneyRing.



Hamutal Benjo of hamutalbenjoceramics featured my green and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, It's Springtime!  The treasury is beautifully curated in a monochromatic color scheme in lovely shades of green.
This unique ceramic silverware holder would be perfect for a breakfast nook -- and it would be heavy enough to anchor windblown table coverings at a picnic.




Georgia Renne of FunkyKnitsByGeorgia featured my green chevron oven mitt in her wish list treasury, I loves them.  This bright and cheery hand knit baby bib in orange, pink and green is a refreshingly modern baby bib in nontraditional colors.


And last, but certainly not least, Sarah Leonard from ACatLikeCuriosity featured my hearts baby bib in her treasury, Heart-ful,  I heard it was Siblings Day earlier this week, so this Sisters Warm the Heart Downloadable Art Print  caught my eye while browsing through Sarah's shop.


Wishing all my Etsy "sisters" a great week and a Happy Easter / Passover.

TTFN

LeAnn

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

CraftIsArt - Branching Out



It’s Shameless Commerce Tuesday and today I’m announcing the opening of my branch online shop at http://www.craftisart.com/pasqueflower.

On a sleepless night near the end of tax season (was it a full moon, I wonder?), I decided to expand my online presence by opening a shop on CraftIsArt.com – an alternative online marketplace for handmade items, fine art, vintage and supplies. 

At first glance it appears to be a smaller, cheap imitation of Etsy that could use a little window dressing.
Then what, you may ask, attracted me to CraftIsArt? 

Simply put, I weighed the pros and cons, and decided to give it a try.

PROS

Fewer fees.  Sometimes I feel I'm being nickeled and dimed to death on Etsy, although the per item cost of listing, renewal, and selling fees is still less than the cost of a craft fair booth rental divided by number of items sold.

A premium CraftIsArt membership is $7.99 per month (or $79.99 per year), but there are --

-          No listing fees
-          No sales fees
-          No renewal fees
-          Unlimited 90-day listings
-          Instant payments

Low risk.  Since my Etsy fees run WAY over $7.99 per month, I figured I had nothing (but $7.99 per month) to lose.

And it is another way to be found by search engines.  SEO! 

Less likely to be lost in the crowd.  Etsy's new rule changes, allowing an influx of manufactured items "designed" by an artist or craftsperson to glut the formerly handmade/vintage marketplace, coupled with an amazing rate of annual growth in the number of sellers and products on Etsy, make it harder to stand out in a growing crowd.

I was also able to import my Etsy shop listings as a CVS batch upload.  (This sounds great in theory, but it took over four hours to complete all the uploading, editing and tweaking – and even then I lost Category designations I had manually entered and re-entered.)

CONS

Lower traffic. The site does not generate nearly as much traffic as Etsy.

It will be more difficult tracking inventory in the two shops.

I’ve noticed some serious search glitches.  (For example I clicked on “Fiber Art” and landed on paper scrapbook printables – not my definition of fiber art!)

CraftIsArt accepts PayPal, but it only accepts credit card payments through ProPay ($39.95 annual fee) or Authorize.net.  I’m still in the process of setting up the ProPay account – definitely not a seamless process.

I have limited ability to rearrange my shop – and “featured” items are just a random scrolling of listed items.

I still haven’t successfully uploaded a new banner, even though I special ordered a cheap one that was supposed to be the required minimum 728 px. I ended up going to a totally different vendor - Plan B. I hope to get a new banner installed within a day or two.  Setting up an Etsy shop was easier.

Shipping options are not seller-friendly, and they subtly push sellers toward Free Shipping.  (There's a separate Free Shipping box to check - or not - when listing each item.) I ignored that nudge.  Been there.  Done that.  Will only do it again for special seasonal promos.

SO -----

Despite the Cons, I decided there was little financial risk, and a potential for increased online exposure for my products.  

On Etsy, my store is a little urban boutique among other boutiques.  On CraftIsArt, my shop will be a little small town virtual craft fair booth among other virtual craft fair booths.  Etsy and CraftIsArt are different venues with (presumably) different shoppers.

It’s too early to tell whether I’ll get any substantial sales on CraftIsArt.  The jury may be out for a few more months.  

If I don’t get at least 50 sales by the holidays, I may opt to use the CraftIsArt shop as a Bargain Basement --I'd remove slow-moving or aging items from my Etsy shop and list them on CraftIsArt.  That would help keep my Etsy shop fresh, and limit the potential problems of having the same inventory listed on both sites. 

Have you tried other online marketplaces?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

TTFN
LeAnn




Sunday, April 6, 2014

Treasury Thanks

This week I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Aunt Pheba's Vintage and Pasque Flower Creations, in their treasuries during the past week.  A longing for Spring was evident in many of this week's treasuries, and I can truly relate. I have a bad case of Spring Fever.

Sharla of BeadedTail featured my tangerine and green floral oven mitts in her treasury, Spring Is Filled with Green, Flowers, and a Kitty or Two.   This cat lover's journal in sunny yellow from Sharla's shop would brighten up a cold, gray day.


Lauren Maddaford (buyer only) featured my green chevron oven mitt in her beautiful treasury, Green.  Thank you, Lauren!

Judy of MisterPenQuin featured my roses on light blue oven mitts in her treasury, Spring Around the Corner. Spring may be just around the corner -- the forecast calls for temperatures above 60 by the end of the week.
This pretty shabby pink posy mini book from Judy's shop reminds me of apple blossoms, which I hope to see and smell in a few weeks.


ARTGIFTBOX from Latvia featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Spring Freshness.  I just love this beautiful fiber brooch in lilac and white.


Diana Mallea of KitchenWitch1 featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Green Goes with Everything...PTP Team Fresh Finals.  Here is a rose bath and body gift set from Diana's shop.


Renee Lavocat of SomethingHeliotrope featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her Mother's Day themed treasury, Fo Da Mama.  This living locket in black with bird and birthstones would make a wonderful Mother's Day gift.


Ayla of Eyelah featured my girls prairie sunbonnet in pink in her treasury, Pretty in Pink.  This beautiful lace zipper pouch is pretty and pink.


Ilona of Nonoluna featured my tiny cars baby boy bib in her beautiful treasury in aqua and yellow, Monday Express.  I love this rose garden five strand beaded stretch bracelet - so fresh and Spring-y!



Lolo Sinclair of lolos featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Aqua.   Lolo is having a super sale with big discounts on clutches.  This lovely pink pleated clutch caught my eye.


Nantia of prettyobject featured my black and tan chevron oven mitt in her treasury, April.  This beautiful lavender scarf would be perfect for those chilly Spring evenings.


Margaret of SplendidLittleStars featured my flowers on yellow baby bib in her treasury, Spring Has Begun.  This beautiful hand dyed silk scarf is a perfect Spring accessory.



Nantia of prettyobject featured my brown and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Happy Tuesday.  This beautiful Hope coin purse would be a lovely gift.


Jamie Birkholz of jaysworld featured my green chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Say Green.  Jamie's shop is full of vintage books.  I love this vintage pink book set

.
Nantia of prettyobject was BUSY making treasuries this week!!  She featured my red chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Good Evening!  This black coin purse with flower is SO pretty!!


Cindy Tousignant of Cervelle Doiseau featured my black and white chevron oven mitt in her stunning treasury, Black and White Classic,  I think my daughter would love these geometrical feathered earrings from Cindy's shop.



And there you have it!  Another week of inspiring treasuries.  Thanks, again, curators!

TTFN
LeAnn


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hippity Hoppity Easter's On Its Way

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I'm featuring an adorable little bunnies figurine from my vintage shop, Aunt Pheba's Vintage:


The little glass eyes are so lifelike!



And one bunny seems to be cuddling his friend, as if to say, "Some bunny loves you."

Yes, Easter is only three weeks away!

TTFN
LeAnn