Sunday, January 16, 2011

EtsyMom Team Newsletter: Issue 4 - January

Happy new year, fabulous EtsyMoms, and a very happy Martin Luther King Day to you all! I hope the new year is shining down on you with nothing but smiles. With a new year comes new changes within the team. We've had to say goodbye to two of our moderators, who are focusing on their shops and families, but you'll still see them around the team. Currently, we're not looking for any new moderators, but you will be the first to know if that changes. That being said, we've shifted some duties around. Below is the new line-up of committee leaders:

Team Co-Leaders: Kimberly (cinnamonspice) and Missie (sykin)
Welcome Committee: Alice (lilprincessbow), Alicia (butterflygem), and Heather (allyouneeddesigns)
Newsletter Committee: Missie (sykin) and Heather (allyouneeddesigns)
Special Events Committee: Kimberly (cinnamonspice) and Meagan (babyswank)
EMCA/Gift Guide Committee: Jennifer (lavenderave) and Anastasia (laccentnou)
Social Networking Committee: Missie (sykin)

We are in need of some team volunteers! We currently need about three cheerleaders to help with the Social Networking Committee—posting to twitter, etsy forums, and so on (contact Missie). We also need two people to help with the EMCA/Gift Guide Committee (contact Jennifer). And finally, we're in need of some committed members to assist with the Special Events committee (contact Kimberly). If you are interested in helping or have questions about what duties will be required of these volunteers, please let one of us know!

Have you heard the great news? We now have posts on the Etsy Forums! There are currently two threads to post to. In the EtsyMom Team January Chat Thread ( team members can post random chat. Come tell us about your day! Tell us what excited you, what made you mad, what your son scored on the SATs. Anything and everything—it's a free-for-all chat thread! If you'd rather promote other EtsyMom shops, check out the EtsyMom Team 1/17–1/23 Promotion Thread ( Each week, we will have a new themed promotional thread to post to. This week's theme is promoting 3 items from a random etsymom team member shop. If at any time you lose sight of the thread, bump it back up! We'd love to hear from you. You can search the Etsy Forums for our threads here:

It seems after the holiday rush, many shops are thankful to have a bit of a break to collect their thoughts and get back in gear for a new year of selling fantastic items. Not only are shops gearing up, but we're gaining new members each and every day. Have you said "hello" to the following new members? They joined between December 17th and January 16th. Well? What are you waiting for?

TrinketsfromtheHart * RedWindmillDesigns * msmagpiegirl * cmcdesigns * buggysbeanies * darina23 * StudioConestoga * WickedBigBibs * isamocrochet * viveradesign * petitepaintbrush * AsiaBataev * CraftyStitches * ShopTickledPink * kathycherrydesigns * FunnyFarmCreations * MoxieAndMischief * fioreblu * chabukigear * alittleknotty * bettyoctopus * BeachCottageStudio * EmmyandGabbie * MargrietKraan * Moddiapercakes * ginaorr79 * erinkmiddleton * BeachsideTreasures * AdrianasCloset * ScrapHappyMe * iamagoddess

Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear EtsyMoms. Happy birthday to you! Come celebrate with us this month. The following members have birthdays between January 17th and February 16th. Happy birthday from all of us!

January 17th - 31st


February 1st - 16th


Special Events
By Kimberly (cinnamonspice)

The Special Events Committee has a new co-lead! Please join me in welcoming the dynamic Meagan (BabySwank). She has already jumped right in with great ideas for this year's events. The Special Events (SE) committee is currently planning to run one event per quarter, so check back on the forums for a look-ahead at upcoming events.

During the month of February, we will host a team Treasure Hunt. Additionally, for the first time, we will host a mini blog series on "Getting the Most Mileage out of Social Media." We've invited four guest bloggers--all moms and successful entrepreneurs--to cover everything from the ins and outs of tweeting to how to deal with social networking "overload." If you want to learn how community building through social networking can benefit your business, you won't want to miss what Meg (VintageScraps), Melissa (WhimsyPics), Chris (Platipuses), and Tara Gentile (ScoutieGirl) have to share!

Promote the upcoming Treasure Hunt on your facebook, blog, or website with one of these two banners made by Meagan (babyswank)! ( or (

EtsyMom Curator Award

By Jennifer (lavenderave)

Congratulations to Katrina of The Bitsy Beau, who made 11 lovely treasuries.

A very close second goes to Terra of Terra's Treasures! She made 9 lovely treasuries.

All together, 32 treasuries were made. Great job, ladies!

Please remember that for a treasury to be considered as an entry in the EMCAs, 100% of the items featured in your treasury must be Etsy Mom team members. If you're new to the team or just need a refresher on the rules, please read the October 2010 issue of the team newsletter, which includes detailed guidelines for participation in the EMCAs. Let's keep the contest fair for all members! :)

A big thank you to everyone who participated last month! We look forward to seeing even more treasuries in February!

Etsy Tips
Etsy On Sale—Changes for 2011
By Heather (AllYouNeedDesigns)

If you're like me, you took advantage of the wonderful “Etsy on Sale” app tutorial in the November newsletter. With the help of that tutorial, I used Etsy on Sale to prepare my shop for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. What a wonderful tool! Since the app’s October 2010 launch, over 1.3 million items have been placed on sale by 8,000+ sellers through EtsyOn Sale! And the sales seem to be working, since sellers have earned over $575,000 from the items placed on sale!

Recently an email was sent by the Etsy on Sale team to alert users to some changes occurring with the app for 2011. In short, they need to start charging a nominal fee to use the service. These fees are being put in place to assist with the costs of operating Etsy On Sale in terms of server expenses,their time and effort managing/supporting the site, and so on. They have made a point to keep prices reasonable so everyone can continue to enjoy the benefits of the service. A credit system will allow you to purchase and spend credits on the EOS tools across all of your Etsy shops. If you have sales currently running or already scheduled, they will proceed as planned, free of charge. As a way to show appreciation to sellers who have been early supporters and have used the service in the past, they have applied 5 free credits to your account. Additionally, those who purchase credits before January 31st will also receive 10 free bonus credits.

We thought it would be a good idea to bring these changes to your attention, in case you plan to use the app again. If you have questions for the EOS team, you can email them or visit the Discussion forums for more information.

This month, we bring you a fantastic and easy craft to do with your kids on a rainy (or snowy) day. Post pictures of your creations! And don't forget to check out Joel's shop, blog, and website.

Joel Henriques is an artist and toy designer who lives with his wife and three-year-old twins in Portland, Oregon. He is author of the blog Made by Joel and is currently writing a modern toy/craft book that will be published in Autumn 2011 by Trumpeter Books. Joel's paintings can be seen on his personal site.

Fabric Nesting Dolls

I love nesting dolls and always thought it would be fun take the element of hidden surprise and use it in a toy more suitable for the 0-3 age group. A friend of mine, who is a nesting doll aficionado, came up with the great idea that I should make some out of fabric. They're very easy to make and fun for older kids, too. You can stand them up or even use them as hand puppets. My kids had a great time acting out scenes with the dolls and also tucking them inside one another.

Below are some simple directions if you want to try them out. They could also be a fun gift idea for the holidays.

You'll Need:

Fabric (I used a natural denim for the front and fleece for the back.)
Scissors and/or rotary cutter
Sewing machine (or hand sew)
Fabric pen (I use Painters Opaque Paint Markers by Elmer's. They're non-toxic and great for fabric.)


1. Cut two rectangles of fabric for each doll. Round the tops if you'd like. (From largest to smallest, my rectangle measurements were about 9.5" x 6", 8.5" x 5", 7.5" x 4.5", 6.5" x 3.75". For the denim leave an extra 1/4" at the bottom for step two.)

2. On the denim pieces, fold a 1/4" at the bottom and sew across. This will keep the bottom edge from fraying.

3. Stack the two fabric pieces for each doll, right sides together, and sew around the edges of the sides and top, leaving the bottom edge open.

4. Turn the dolls right side out.

5. Using a fabric pen, draw a figure on each doll. (Your child may draw the figures if he or she is old enough, or you can even use previous drawings as a template and draw it yourself. You may also use the figures in my paper city for design ideas, which is what I did for these.)

6. Using a hot hair dryer, blow the pen ink dry. It will then be permanent and even withstand washing.

7. Start nesting!

Thanks, Joel! Visit Made by Joel for more enticing projects for kids.

Ask Me Anything
By Cara (lettermethis)

Question: I consign at a shop and have a contract agreement with them regarding my fees, displays, payment schedule, and inventory schedule.The problem is, the last few months they haven't been paying me on time and I haven't been getting my inventory lists from them.I started the agreement with them over 6 months ago and I've had to ask for my payment and inventory list every single month.They are currently 3 months behind on sending my inventory list and 1 month behind on payment.The problem I face is, I sell more in the store than I do on etsy.I really want to continue to sell there, but I don't know what to do!I feel like I shouldn't have to come to them every single month and ask them for my money and inventory list.

Cara says: The biggest problem with consignment is that it's your money tied up, not theirs. They have less incentive to hold up their end of the agreement.They have already collected the money, so they may have a different idea on timelines than you.

In reviewing your contract, one important thing I noticed that wasn’t addressed is who is responsible for your goods. Some shops only want to pay you for what they have sold. Sounds reasonable, but who pays for what is stolen or given away by clerks to their friends?
You need to be clear in your contract that if it's gone—whether it was sold, stolen, destroyed in a fire on site, or given away, the shop owes you money.

These circumstances should be included in your written agreement. If the owner will make a phone call to their insurance agent, you can be named as an "also insured." It doesn't cost the shop any additional money, it just adds you to the list of people for the insurance company to pay, up to the maximum of the value of your goods.

It might be better for your business—and your sanity—if this shop is located nearby, to allow you to physically inventory your items on a regular basis. Hopefully you'll have sales each week and can go to the shop once a week to receive the money they owe you and bring them new items. You can also swap out items that don't sell.

Have an accurate inventory at all times. And keep good records.

Some shop owners will try and bulldoze you. Don't let them do this. If you are not comfortable with them or the situation, just move on.

Since you want to stay in this location, it sounds like the people you are working with are just not organized. And unfortunately, they will probably never become organized. It is in your best interest, then, to stay on top of things yourself, which you are having to do anyway.As such, I highly suggest you change your agreement a bit. Inform the shop that since they aren't providing you with the inventory and payment per your agreement, you will handle your inventory but you expect payment on time and would like less of a percentage taken out for your extra trouble. This should either cause them to step up or save you on your fees.

Question: How do you balance home life with building your etsy business?

Cara says: I think this is the age-old question, just substitute any other career or interest in place of an etsy business. How do you balance home life with…I think moms and wives have asked this question since they started working. I have NO idea why fathers never seem to ask, or are asked that question. :)

Personally, I work like a fiend while my son naps and then also end up staying up way too late and losing sleep trying to get things done. My husband has had to do more lately to help me keep up. Thankfully, my son is pretty self-sufficient for a three year old. (Shhh…he washes his own apples in the bathroom sink for a snack.) Or he grabs something out of the pantry. He plays more wii and watches more TV than other kids might. But the boy is happy, the husband is happy, and I am happy and more fulfilled than when I wasn’t doing this. I live with less-than-stellar cleanliness at times. I have less down time. Watch less TV. Drink more coffee. Have less sleep. Order fewer magazines. But I have also found I read more books. Somehow, having Letter Me This has made me make more “me” time even though there seems to be less time. I have even lost some weight since I adopted a “Craft don’t snack” for my New Year’s resolution last year and opened Letter Me This. And I plan to continue that this year.

I do think finding a complete balance is an ideal,and it’s not the same for every family.Find what works for you, and what you can live without.Brew a cup of coffee, throw stuff in the crockpot, and start another busy day. Good luck! :)

Please email Cara at to submit a question on life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

EtsyMom Featured Seller:
Little Prettlings

This month’s featured Etsy seller is Janet Hu, the creative genius behind Little Prettlings ( She came up with the word “prettlings” by combining “Pretty Little Things,” because she believes that life is full of pretty little things.

- Tell us about yourself
I’m a happy-go-lucky girl who lives in sunny island, Singapore. I love babies and toddlers and enjoy scrapping, sewing, photography, and sketching. I am never a fan of cigarettes, do not fancy heavy metal music, and have a fear of tree frogs.

- What do you create/offer in your Etsy shop?
Currently, Little Prettlings offers purses and pouches exquisitely handmade by myself.

- How did you get started in your line of business?
I started creating my work after I came across Etsy on some scrappers' personal blogs while blog-hopping. My interest grew after several visits, and Etsy is where I get my ideas and inspiration.

- Where do you find your inspiration?
My ideas actually come to me quite randomly. I tend to observe things around me and it is usually my imagination that inspires me.

- What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment?
It is hard to determine which is my favorite piece of work. I love all my items as they are my creations out of hard work. If I had to make a choice, it would be my Emerald Green Sling Purse. I love the teardrop shape and how the fabric design matches the feel of the sling purse.

- How do you promote your work?
I promote on Facebook, Twitter, my own blog, and the Etsy forums. Updating my new products in the various mediums and actively participating in the Etsy forums increases traffic to my Etsy shop and blog. I also help others promote their products in my blog weekly. This, in turn, gives my blog more traffic and helps my shop gain more exposure.

- What is one of your most important lessons you've learned since starting your business?
Patience is necessary. Hard work is required.

- What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Plan. Evaluate. Execute. Never be afraid to try.

- What are your other sites (facebook, twitter, blog, etc.)?

Do you want help getting your shop in tip-top shape? Well this blog series: ReVAMPing Your Etsy Shop – 2011 is for you! Why, you say? Sometimes it’s overwhelming to focus on all the aspects of setting up a shop at once. Join me and 16 other small business owners as we cover some of the most important topics on setting up and optimizing your shop so it can reach its max potential. You don’t want to miss this! One topic will be posted weekly, so you’ve got plenty of time to read the post, evaluate your shop, and get to work tweeking it. So there’s no time like the present! Get on over to Baby Swank and sign up for the newsletter so you are in-the-loop when new topics are posted, and make 2011 an AWESOME year for your small business!

Another month has come and gone in the blink of an eye. We look forward to spending time with you and getting to know everyone even better. Have a great month, EtsyMoms!

If you'd like to contribute to the newsletter, please send an email to Missie and Heather (,

Missie, Heather, and the entire Newsletter Committee