11:16 AM

More Moo discount codes

If you've never bought anything from Moo.com in the past, use this 'referral' code: HF5HFK and get a 20% discount off any 1 MOO product (the 20% off item is the cheapest item in your basket). The code expires on 29th May 2009.

9:43 AM

New at Shiroiko

I've got some brand new items on my Etsy store this week, several of which represent experimenting with new materials and/or techniques.

First, I've had several people ask if I would ever be expanding into hair accessories. I've been experimenting a lot with the idea and am happy to show the first, of what I hope will be many hair accessories in the future: The Blossom Hair Pin. I currently have it posted in Bluebell with a silver-plated clip, but this pin is available in any of the Blossom colors found in my store, and can also be made with a gold-plated clip instead of silver. The Blossom Hair Pin is a fun and girly accessory that looks great matched with my other Blossom pieces or or it's own.

Also new is the Bella Necklace. This necklace combines feminine curves with a sophisticated color palate. The main necklace motifs are composed of smoky clear glass tube beads surrounded by intense metallic brown seed beads and soft, chocolate brown teardrop beads. The necklace is finished off with handmade sterling silver hook and eye clasp.


The Bella Necklace also has matching earrings available as well. These earrings showcase the same smoky glass and chocolate brown accents, and include softly curved sterling silver ear wires. Both the ear wires in this piece and the clasp in the matching necklace were handmade by me and represent my moving towards incorporating more sterling silver findings in my work.


Finally, I've added another pair of Spring-themed piece to the store: Buttercup Earrings. These earrings, with a mix of lemon yellow blossoms, white freshwater pearls, and green iridescent leaves, were made to compliment the Buttercup Lariat necklace already in the store. They're delightfully fresh and would look lovely with any Spring or Summer outfit.

6:31 PM

Reminder - Etsy Trunk Show tonight

The Etsy trunk show I'm involved in starts in a half hour (7:00pm)! Come visit us, talk to us about our Etsy stores, and take advantage of great "tonight only" deals.

http://www.etsy.com/virtual_labs.php

10:09 AM

Virtual Trunk Show tonight!

My Etsy Street Team, T.Dot and Friends, is having a Trunk Show in the Etsy Virtual Labs tonight (Monday, May 11th) at 7:00pm EST.

This is an opportunity to meet with the artists involved in the team, including me, as well as take advantage of special discounts available just for Trunk show attendees.

You'll have to be a registered member of Etsy to attend, but joining is very easy and very free as well.

Here's the direct link to the Virtual Labs:
http://www.etsy.com/virtual_labs.php

Can't wait to see you there!

12:50 PM

Moo.com discount code

Moo.com just launched their USA-based production site. To celebrate, they've sent out the following sale code: Spend $20 or more and get free standard global shipping by using the code CYN4HU on the payment page!

Hurry though, as this offer expires on 6th May 2009!

3:55 PM

Moo Cards - How do I love thee? Let me count the Moos.

Moo.com: for quite awhile I've been a fan of this business card/sticker/postcard creation site. Last year I tried out making stickers (all featuring my cat Spike... yes, I'm a complete dork for making stickers of my cat, but we knew that already) and was delighted at the results.

I had been meaning to get business cards for my Etsy store, and decided to go with my gut and try out Moo's Mini Moo cards. They're a bit more expensive than other business cards, but they've got a heaping pile of benefits anyone in a creative industry can appreciate.

First, the card designing is all done via their website. So fussing with creating the actual card layout yourself in, say, Photoshop, is unnecessary. You crop your photos to the business card (or sticker, or postcard) size directly on the website, and then design the back of the card using templates. Yup, they're two-sided cards: one side has your pictures, the other has your traditional business card text.

And your photos... you can upload them to the site OR you can link directly to your Etsy, Flickr, or Facebook account to use the photos you've already uploaded in the past to those accounts. It's freakishly easy.

The other thing that's great about Moo.com's products, and this might be my favorite part, is the fact that each business card can have a completely different graphic on the front. If you order 50 business cards, the cards can utilize 50 different graphics. Feel like only using 10 different images? Then you get 10 of each. How's that for helping you to promote a variety of your items?!

So how did my cards turn out? See for yourself:

Here is the front and back of the cards. I directly linked my Etsy account to Moo.com to use the photos I was already utilizing from my store. In designing the text side of my card I was happy to discover that Moo.com has a mini Etsy banner that you can use on your cards.




Here you can see some of the different images I used for my cards. The Mini Moo cards come in batches of 100. I used 30 different photos, giving me about 3 of each card.




I also ordered a case for my cards. They're only $4.99 USD each and come in 4 different colors. I've got mine hanging from my purse so that I've got business cards in an instant. As you can see, I pimped mine out a bit with a sticker.



...SPEAKING of stickers, I ordered another set of stickers as well. I'm planning to add them to my packaging when I mail out jewelry purchases. I know it's a silly thing, but I love that Moo.com gives you a couple of color options for the cover of your sticker book. It's a little detail, but it's the little details that make Moo.com special.


Here are the stickers themselves. They're small (around the size of a postage stamp), so make sure you pick out simpler images for your stickers as tiny details will get lost when the image is shrunk down to sticker size.





My first batch of Mini Moo cards and stickers weren't perfect, but that was my fault, not Moo.com's. I learned quite a bit about which of my photos make the most impact on the skinny little Mini Moo cards and which maybe just don't work quite right. Regardless of this, I'm overall deleriously happy with my purchase and I can't recommend the site enough. It's definitely worth the extra cost.

Thinking of getting your OWN Mini Moo cards? Use the following discount codes:

15% off your first order
2RB2CK

20% off 1 package of MiniCards
YRY7H6

2:56 PM

Etsy Worthy Photo Contest


Here's a contest you may be interested in: Handmadeology is sponsoring a "best item photo" contest for the next two weeks. You can enter by posting your best item photo in the blog. The photo with the most votes at the end of the two weeks wins $60 worth of advertising on the site.

Here's the contest link.

Check it out and, while you're there, consider voting for my photo: my Sienna Bamboo Blossom necklace.

9:09 AM

CRAFT SHOW: Toronto Bead Society Spring Bead Fair

For any of you who are Toronto-area beaders, this may be of interest to you.

The Toronto Bead Society is having their Spring sale on Saturday, May 2nd. The sale is located at the Metro Toronto YMCA at 20 Grosvenor Street and will be taking place from 10:00am-5:00pm. There is a $5 entry fee, but you can click here for a $2-off coupon, bringing it down to just $3.

I've never been to this sale before, but with 50 different vendors it might just be worth a try.

Click here for more info.

11:14 AM

Etsy Sellers Who Blog
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6:42 PM

Etsy Store feature - Felt The Love

I'm adding a feature to this blog to talk about some of my favorite Etsy sellers. First up is Felt The Love.

I was recently looking for a case for my iPod Touch. The cases in stores bored me completely, so I decided to see what Etsy had to offer. There's lots of great cases to be found on Etsy, but my favorites were sold in the Felt The Love store.

Felt The Love currently has iPod, iPhone, and Blackberry cases composed of felt with exciting and fun details like buttons, contrasting thread, feathers, and felt cut-outs. They also sell adorible felt rings as well. The items are fun, creative, and VERY reasonably priced.

I intended to order a specific case, but unfortunately it was sold before I was able to purchase it. As it turns out, this wasn't a problem. I contacted the shop and they were happy to make me a copy of the case I had wanted. This shop was quick to get back to me with answers to my questions, perfectly willing to do a custom order, and sent out my case quickly.

Plus, my case came stuffed with Sweet Tarts, which was a fantastic bonus for a sugar fiend like myself.

Felt The Love is a great option for people looking for an iPod case with a bit of personality... and candy... I can't say enough about the candy.


*Here's the case I picked up. Isn't it fun?

10:04 AM

New jewelry

I've just posted three new items in my store.




Salma Earrings: Chandelier earrings composed entirely of pink freshwater pearls.







Bluebird Lariat Necklace: Blue glass bugle beads with freshwater pearl and sliver-colored bird silhouette accents.










Lorelai Earrings: Daffodil blossoms made of white lucite and yellow glass beads accented with topaz-colored Swarovski crystals.

9:33 AM

My earrings are in an Etsy Treasury

My Plumeria earrings have just been featured in an Etsy Treasury themed around the color crimson and Spring.

Click here to see my earrings and the other items featured with them. The treasury is only up until Friday, April 17th at 5:38am, so check it out while you still can.

9:28 AM

Updating your home decor with paint

It's not related to Etsy or jewelry, but I liked this article so much I thought I'd share it here anyway. It's about easy paint makeovers for your home. There's some really obvious suggestions at first, but also some unexpected ones as well. The best part is the article ALSO explains all the technique and materials needed to do each paint makeover, including how to prime different types of surfaces to take paint properly.

I love customizing and tweaking things to make them my own, so this article was one that completely clicked for me.

Click here to check it out and enjoy.

6:14 PM

More new Spring-themed earrings

I've got more of the new Primavera line up on my Etsy shop.

First, Natasha Earrings; a colorful concoction of lemon and butter yellow, pink, and lilac.

Next, June earrings; they're like dangling a bouquet of freshly picked flowers from your ears.

Finally Blythe Earrings; shimmering blossoms in cool colors.

Enjoy!

6:40 PM

New items (and improved photos!)

I've been spending the last week working towards better photographs of my items. I think I'm finally on the right track with the photos of these new items:

Primavera Earrings - Lily

Primavera Lariat Necklace - Buttercup

Primavera Earrings - Ava

1:07 PM

Tutorial - Saving money on your Etsy item supplies

To try and keep my prices competitive, yet still allow me to earn a decent amount of profit on each item, I try and save money on my materials. In particular, I try as often as possible to buy my materials on sale.

Note that I didn't say that I buy the cheapest supplies possible. Doing this can lead to jewelry (or any Etsy item, for that matter) that looks cheap and/or doesn't last. You don't want to be sacrificing quality to save on cost.

So how do I go about finding materials when I need them on sale?

The easiest way I've been able to do this is to sign up online for e-newsletters from my favorite jewelry supply stores. Larger chains, like Michaels, do this, but these days smaller stores (and likely even some Etsy stores) often send out e-newsletters as well.

These e-newsletters are great because you'll be the first to know about sales, new products, and general news from the store. For larger companies you may also get a copy of the weekly flier as well.

The other perk of e-newsletters, and this is the BIG one, is many stores offer perks, discounts, and sales ONLY to their e-newsletter subscribers. I haven't paid full price for anything at Michaels in months, as ever since I signed up for their e-newsletter I've gotten coupons for 40% off pretty much every other week. These coupons are great as they're good for a week, you can print as many as you want, and you can use one coupon a day. If you hold off on larger purchases and then buy one expensive thing you needed each day of the week you receive your coupons, you'll save a ton of money. These savings can be passed on to the customer.

Part of the trick to this is being able to stock up when you see things you know you'll need when you see them on sale. The other trick is to be able to put off picking up new supplies until a sale and/or coupon hits. If you can plan ahead though, you'll be able to reduce your supplies bill by quite a bit.


If you like saving money this way, you can use this technique to save in other areas of your life as well. In the past few months I've saved on shoes from Fluevog and Aerosoles, business cards from Moo.com, and my yearly calendar from Despair Inc, all because of exclusive sale offers that were sent to me through signing up for e-newsletters.

9:21 PM

Toronto Etsy Street Team

FYI for Toronto-area Etsy sellers: T.Dot and Friends is your local Etsy street team.

This group started last year, but is really getting into gear for spring. We're coming up with blog postings, events, trunk sales, sharing craft sale info, and other great resources for Etsy sellers and customers alike.

The T.Dot and Friends blog is available here.

If you're a Toronto-area Etsy seller looking to join the group, click here to send a convo to LittleRaven to sign up.

9:21 PM

Spotlight on Found-Handmade website

There's currently a Spotlight with my jewelry in it on the Found-Handmade website.

Check it out by clicking here.

In other news, I'm currently working on experimenting with natural light for photographing my jewelry. I haven't quite got the setup right yet, but from my test shots I think I'm heading in the right direction.

12:25 PM

Sale alert - Moo.com

Moo.com creates fabulous business cards and stickers using your photos (I love their stickers myself). The best part is you don't even need to upload your own photos... they can use the photos you've already uploaded to your Etsy or Flickr account, which makes making photo-based business cards a complete breeze.

Currently Moo.com is offering a deal: use the code W4X4HK when you place your next order, and you'll get free shipping. The offer expires on 19th March 2009 so get in quick!

I also heard on the Etsy forums that you can use the code K7ZA25 for 15% off, not including shipping. This code expires on 19th March as well. I haven't tried this one out myself yet, but I figure it's worth sharing.

12:21 PM

Sale alert - BeadFX

FYI to Toronto-area beaders and anyone else who likes ordering their beads online.

BeadFX is holding their March Madness sale from now until Sunday, March 22nd. Nearly everything in their online store and brick and mortar store is 20% off. They have a great selection and also offer free shipping if you order $100 or more in merchandise, so now's a good time to stock up on supplies.

6:30 PM

New variants for March

Today was a big day for adding new items to my Etsy store.

I now present to you:

- Palmera Earrings - Tortoiseshell
- Palmera Earrings - Fuego
- Palmera Necklace - Fuego
- Plumeria Earrings - Nightshade
- Blossom Earrings - Violet

Enjoy!

2:10 AM

Hmmm...

I found this page on mocking an Alexander McQueen show. As much as the mocking was fun, am I complete lunatic for actually liking the clothes too?

Take a look, then you tell me.


10:03 PM

First real post here on Blogger - Blossom Earrings

Hmm... well, so far I like it on here. It's already more visually appealing than LiveJournal, and I suppose that's what really matters.

In new jewelry news, I've finally launched Blossom earrings that directly match the Blossom necklaces. They're currently available in Periwinkle, Olive, and Medium Blue (and more colors will be coming next week).

They're simple, which makes them extremely versatile. They'll go with jeans and a t-shirt for hanging out with friends or a little black dress for a date.

4:41 PM

LJ Post- Mar 11, 2009

I've got another article that I wrote posted on Etsy Marketing.

This one is based on my recent posting here on that fun alternative merchandise packaging: wedding favor boxes.

Here's to hoping it helps some people out AND gets more people checking out the Etsy store and this blog.

4:40 PM

Tutorial - Gift Box Suggestions for Etsy Merchandise

This is a continuation of my tutorial from last week. I've decided to add tutorials as a feature on the blog whenever I think of something new to share. I figure I used (and CONTINUE to use) other people's tutorials, so I may as well contribute too.

That said... let the tutorial begin!

How you package the items you sell on Etsy can do a lot to help brand your store, as well as make your items seem even more luxurious. No customer wants to receive their beautiful jewelry, one-of-a-kind art piece, or delicate hand-made soap just shoved into a bubble mailer without a care.

So how to address creating a stunning way to package your merchandise without it adding a significant amount to your costs?

You may have seen Etsy sellers who order traditional jewelry-type boxes, and that's always an option, especially if you're selling a lot and can buy in bulk. However, I'm going to put out a suggestion for those of you that have smaller items that I haven't seen a lot of people using right now.

Pre-made wedding favor boxes.

That's right. The same boxes people put those scary Jordan almonds in as wedding favors. As it turns out, they're reasonably priced, easy to buy large amounts of, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They're also a lot nicer looking than they used to be as well. As much as I'm generally irritated by Martha Stewart, I have to admit that her line of wedding favor boxes are absolutely lovely and sophisticated, as are many other lines now

Wedding favor boxes are pretty easy to customize as well. Many of these pre-made boxes come in materials that are stampable and all can be stickered (make stickers of your logo and/or merchandise with Moo.com for added branding value!) . You can also personalize them with ribbons and tags as well.

Another nice thing about wedding favor boxes is their availability. With many people doing a lot for their wedding themselves, favor boxes are everywhere. You can pick them up everywhere from party supply stores, to craft stores, to Walmart.

*Money Saving Tip*
I've subscribed to my local craft store's e-newsletter. Most weeks they send me coupons for 40% off. That makes favor boxes even more affordable. I'm actually currently using pillow boxes for my jewelry that I picked up from said craft store and I was happy with the price and the boxes.

So overall, I think you'll find wedding favor boxes at least one more possibility for how to package your merchandise in an appealing way, if not the complete answer to your packaging problems.

4:39 PM

LJ Post- Mar 9, 2009

New jewelry is up again. I'm increasing the Palmera line with Ice - a clear glass variant that uses silver-colored wire instead of copper. Just changing up the wire really alters the look of the motif. The dagger beads in the Blush variant are only a slightly different color than the Ice, but the copper wire I used with them ends up making them look significantly more pink than they would otherwise in comparison to the Ice beads.

The Palmera might be my favorite variant right now, so I'm going to be on the lookout for more dagger beads to add to the line.

A new earring design will be up this week, as will more Blossom necklace variants as well as earrings in the Nippon line.

4:38 PM

LJ Post- Mar 8, 2009

My Plumeria - Ruby necklace has just been featured in an Etsy Treasury by ArtandAngelsbyRose.

Check it out here.

You've got until Tuesday, March 10th at 3:55am to view this particular Treasury before it expires.

This is the first time (that I know of) that one of my items has been featured in a Treasury, so I'm pretty excited overall. The Treasury itself is quite lovely as well... it's got this great vintage European feel to it, so as far as I'm concerned it's a real complement to be included with all the other items in the Treasury.

I'm thinking I'd like to put together a Treasury myself eventually. It's just so difficult to get one these days. I suppose constant vigilance will pay off eventually though.

4:33 PM

Etsy Bag Photography Tutorial

(A portion of this tutorial was featured on EtsyMarketing.org)

I don’t make purses and bags, but I do like them an awful lot. I’ve seen a lot of lovely bags on Etsy hampered by minor issues that could easily be corrected.

First, invest in a light box! All the Photoshoping in the world can’t make your photos as good as a great light box setup. Believe me, I learned this the hard way with my own shop.

Don’t think you can’t have a lightbox unless you’re willing to buy an expensive professional one? You actually don’t even need to invest much money. There are tons of tutorials online for how to make one for cheap (or nothing) available online. My current light box cost me a whopping ZERO dollars to make using this tutorial and items I had already. It took maybe a half hour tops to put together and has made my photos noticeably better.

Second, a bag is a 3-D object and customers will want to investigate how it looks from many angles before they decide to buy it. I’ve seen too many Etsy bag stores who just show their bags from the front and top and then call it a day. Show us the back… show us the side… show us important detailing! Make your poses exciting using props and angled poses. Treat your bag like a supermodel!

Need some help thinking about good poses for your bags? Look to expensive bag advertisements for inspiration. They’ll give you ideas for ways to stage your photographs and angles to try out. Also check out online stores that specialize in bag sales. They’ll give you examples of the types of views online customers want to see before they purchase a bag online.

Third, make sure your bag looks crisp and sturdy in your photos. It makes me sad when I see bags that are made in beautiful fabrics with excellent construction, but look sloppy, slouchy, and wrinkled in photos. There’s a reason when you buy a bag in a department store it often is stuffed with tissue paper: this helps it keep its shape, which makes it more appealing and makes it look more expensive. So when you’re getting ready to photograph your bag, give it some internal structure by stuffing it. Also remember to press it so it has no wrinkles and even consider a light starching so it behaves the way your want it to. In particular, make sure the opening of your bag looks crisp and sturdy in your photos. For some reason this one really sticks out for me. I love seeing that shot of the inside of the bag, but sometimes it can be the shot that makes the bag look the worst.

In order to make your bag look as luscious and desirable as possible, I recommend trying to get the opening to look as much like an elongated oval as possible; you want the opening to look symmetrical along the middle and have no ends flopping this way and that. Bag pictures where the mouth of the bag is asymmetrical or wrinkled never look as inviting to me as symmetrical ones… in fact, I’d go so far as to say they make your bags look cheap; and your bags are NOT cheap! Try this out; I think you’ll be happy with the results, even if it means having to fuss with the mouth of the bag a bit.

I hope I’ve helped you think about what tweaks you can do to market your bags better by making your pictures make Etsy shoppers covet wildly!

4:33 PM

LJ Post- Mar 1, 2009

Etsy Marketing, a tips resource website for Etsy sellers, posted on the Forums this week that they were looking for selling tips to put on their website. I had just recently given out a bunch of advice on the forums on photographing bags/purses, so I figured why not summarize that info into a mini article and submit it to them to see what happened. Why did I have so much advice to give about purse photography when I don't sell purses myself? I have absolutely no idea. I'm just a maven at heart I guess.

Regardless, the important part is that apparently they liked my article so much that they posted nearly the entire thing on their website today! It's pretty exciting, especially since I don't particularliy see myself as "a writer".

Check out the article here!

4:32 PM

LJ Post- Feb 25, 2009

The transparent pink Palmera earrings and necklace are now on the shop, as promised.

In addition, I've also added another one of our new designs: Double Happiness. The Double Happiness line will be characterized by simple and elegant earrings composed of two identical components.

The first Double Happiness product is our Ivory Pearl earrings. The main design element of these earrings are two pure white round pearls. Each earring is accented with a gold-tint bead at the top and bottom, as well as gold-plated lever-back earring hooks.

We've been a little necklace-heavy, so the next few new pieces will definitely be earrings.

4:32 PM

LJ Post- Feb 24, 2009

The new motif that I talked about, Palmera, is finally up on our store. It's a motif composed of dagger beads (which are possibly my favorite bead shape right now), large seed beads, and finished off with bright and shiny copper wire.

Right now it's available in two formats: earrings and necklaces.

We've got it in Ruby right now, but more colors will be following soon (light pink will be available later this week).

4:31 PM

LJ Post- Feb 23, 2009

Thanks to some help from the Etsy forums and this really fabulous webpage outlining how to make a light box for next to nothing (or just nothing in my case) I now have some decent photos on my Etsy store finally. The original photos were completely stressing me out. It's hard to convince people that your jewelry is well-made when the photos aren't.

So the light box... I made it out of a box I got my last Amazon shipment in, some masking tape, and some old interfacing I had lying around. Total cost: zilch. Total time investment: a half hour tops. Total payoff: WAY better photos!

I was able to upload the new photos of my already-listed items today. I've also got the photos for about another dozen items waiting to be listed. I figure I'll be listing them a few at a time over the next few days. Some of my favorite of the new items are based around a new motif I came up with whilst trying to make something palm frondy using dagger beads. My original idea didn't work, but I'm happy with the design that accidentally came out of it.

Hooray for fortuitous accidents.

4:30 PM

LJ Posting - February 20th, 2009

Yes, I've joined the Twitter bandwagon.

Check out or feed at https://twitter.com/Shiroiko

4:27 PM

LJ Post- Feb 11, 2009

We've got two new necklaces on the store today: another Sunburst necklace, this one in teal and silver, and a new motif, Nippon.

Nippon is characterized by a stunning opalescent rectangular glass bead. It is finished at the bottom with french coil loops (in this case, silver-plated ones). The entire motif is 1.5in (3cm) long.

This variant, called Pearl, is accented by pearlized white and matte gold seed beads and three sizes of white freshwater pearls.

We've also swapped out some of the worst item images for clearer ones. We'll be continuing to do this until all the images are as clear and true-to-life as possible.

The top banner of the store has been polished a bit too. It's still just our placeholder banner until we put together something a bit more exciting, but we think you'll agree it's looking a bit spiffier today than it was at launch.

4:25 PM

Moving from LiveJournal to Blogger

I adore LJ for my personal blog, but Blogger is just more conducive to a store blog, what with the ability to post pics and such on my sidebar.

So, over the next few days I'll be moving my blog postings from the Shiroiko LiveJournal to here, and all my future postings will be on Blogger.

1:42 PM

Trying out the new blog.

This is my first time ever using a Blogger blog, so I'm just testing it out to see if it might be a good place to move my current LiveJournal blog.