Thursday, April 30, 2009

If You Drove Your Mom So Crazy, She Wanted to Change Her Name...

She might like something like this for Mother's Day...

All artists and items can be found on Etsy or ArtFire. Click the item and off you go!
Did you miss purple, turquoise, pink, yellow, green, or orange?

More spotlights coming soon!

Monday, April 27, 2009

If Your Mother's Favorite Color is...Orange

She might like something like this for Mother's Day...

All artists and items can be found on 1000Markets. Click the item and off you go!
Did you miss purple, turquoise, pink, yellow, or green?

More spotlights coming soon!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Opportunity for Child-Centered Artists/Photographers

Do you want to go places?

I'm working on a comprehensive website focusing on activities for young children (ages 3-5 mostly), and I'm going to need graphics for the site as I build it. Rather than use stock images, I'd really like to use the space to promote indie artists and photographers instead. I want to capture the real essence of childhood, handmade toys, puppets, parent-child interactions, wonder, etc. I'm interested in pulling from--to name a few:

*artwork designed for children

*photographs of children

*photographs of objects, especially toys

*photographs of adults and children interacting

*artwork that features child-like people or characters that isn't necessarily something you'd hang in a child's room, but still gives off a child-like vibe.

*possibly even product photos if they fit what I'm writing about, so if you're a puppet, doll, toymaker, you can sign up as well. I plan to feature handmade toys, etc. as the site expands. (case in point --> the picture that opened this post)

I really want to give indie artisans free exposure by featuring their work on content related pages, so it would similar to being featured on a blog...only better because parents and teachers are the audience for this site, so if that's your target customer, then this could be a good match for you. Ideally, I'd like to have several artists/toy makers who would like to have their work featured on the site so I have a pool of photos/pictures/artists to choose from as I write. You will always be notified if I'm using your photo, get credit for your photo and a link straight to it in your shop in return or if you're work is not for sale, a link to your site.

Comment below if you're interested or email me. If you have any questions, please ask!

Thanks, Lori

Friday, April 24, 2009

If Your Mother's Favorite Color is...Green

She might like something like this for Mother's Day...

All artists and items can be found on ArtFire. Click the item and off you go!

More colors coming soon and themes!

Did you miss purple, turquoise, pink, or yellow?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If Your Mother's Favorite Color is...Yellow

She might like something like this for Mother's Day..

All artists and items can be found on Etsy. Click the item and off you go!

More colors coming soon and themes!

Did you miss purple, turquoise, or pink?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If Your Mother's Favorite Color is...Pink

She might like something like this for Mother's Day..

All artists and items can be found on ArtFire. Click the item and off you go!

More colors coming soon and themes!

Did you miss purple or turquoise?

If Your Mother's Favorite Color is...Turquoise

She might like something like this for Mother's Day...

All artists and items can be found on 1000Markets. Click the item and off you go!

More colors coming soon. They're are soooo many!

Did you miss purple?

Monday, April 20, 2009

If Your Mother's Favorite Color is...Purple

She might like something like this for Mother's Day...

All artists courtesy of Etsy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Night Special-- April 18, 2009

Tonight's Saturday Night Special, good thru midnight, is a FREE pair of earrings with any purchase! Free pair must be $10 or less. Please indicate your choice in notes to seller and I'll include them with your order! Just think, you could get these for free!

How to Find a Great Mother's Day Gift

The handmade revolution is sweeping the globe, isn't it? You can't log on to Twitter without hearing about twenty giveaways that are going on (guilty) or finding out about a special deal on handmade soap, and who doesn't love handmade soap? I love it so much, I've now resorted to naming my showers, "I just took a pomegranate shower, and tomorrow, I'm thinking it might be a blackberry sage morning!" Okay, I'm kidding. I would never open two bars at once.


So how do you navigate the handmade highway and find a great Mother's Day Gift because, let's face it, most mother's are picky--or let's go the peanut butter route, and say 'choosy.' So if you could sit on your mother's shoulder while she went shopping for herself, where would she go? I'll bet you that one of her favorite trips would be here:
The Succulent Wife's Guide to Mother's Day Gift Guide is a collection of hand-picked handmade gifts from every corner of the handmade marketplace. You can rest assured that the sellers in this market have quality and coveted products, top-notch customer service, and a true passion for what they create. I've either worked with and/or purchased from many of them and can vouch for them personally.

The Succulent Wife's Market is part of 1000Markets, a venue that is one of the most inspiring and forward-looking handmade venues on the scene today. It is juried but only to ensure that a seller is indeed ready for the marketplace, not to narrow the variety of products available to the customer. The Succulent Wife's Market is the perfect place to find a gift for Mother's Day as there are more than thirty sellers included in the market. I promise you that were your mother to set her virtual foot into The Succulent Wife's Market, you'd have to hire an extraction team to get her out! Once you do, let her browse The Succulent Wife's blog for details on even more Mother's Day gifts that didn't make it into the Look Book--that way she'll forgive you for calling in the SWAT team. Give The Succulent Wife's Market a look; I promise you, you won't be sorry!


Items pictured in this piece are:
Silk File Organzier by Decorative Instincts
Family Stone Pendant Fine Silver Eco-Friendly by The Pretty Peacock

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tea for 2 and Earrings, too!

Yay! The bunny is coming! This Friday is really Good because from now until Midnight on Easter Monday, you can get a FREE pair of earrings with any purchase at any of my Risky Beads shops! Your free pair must be under $10. Just indicate which pair you'd like in notes to seller, and I'll send it along with your purchase! Shop Risky Beads at:

ArtFire button

ArtFire still has free shipping and Guest Checkout! (i.e.-no account needed!)
Have a great holiday weekend!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Don't Be LEFT Out!


Lefthand Madens Banner


Last Thursday was the unexpected birthday of a new project I'd been pondering, the introduction of a new blog Lefthand Madens!  I started this enterprise to spotlight left-handed crafters and artisans in our community because I know there are a gazillion of us out there and most of us have challenging moments because of our left-handed existence--some of which are so ingrained in us, they're subconsciuos at this point! 

So I started a thread at Etsy and ArtFire to smoke out some Southpaws and I now have about 80 artists to feature on the blog and am hoping to feature about 2 a day along with other nifty left-handed trivia, info, and products. If you're interested in being featured and sell at either Etsy or ArtFire, please comment in either of those threads and I'll 'heart' you as my LHM 'shop.'  If you visit LHM at Etsy or ArtFire, you'll see all the requirements for being featured in the shop announcement for each shop.  It's basically just an interview and then the code for either an Etsy mini or an AF window.  If you sell at another venue, no problem!  Just email me at lefthandmadens [at] gmail [dot] com for the info and I'll feature you, too!

I hope you guys will go to both LHM hubs on Etsy and ArtFire, and make Treasuries and spotlights featuring your fellow southpaws! We're having a lot of fun over there and I've set up a place for you to enter our shop directory and sign up for our mailing list! National Left-Handed Day is August 13th!

Southpaws Unite! --Lori (aka Risky Beads)

LHM icon

Sunday, April 5, 2009

So which venue is for you?

Well, if you've been selling your handmade wares for a while, I'm sure you've had to wrestle with the question I pose above more than once. Most of us go the route of wondering whether our products are good enough to sell (because creativity doesn't always come with a side of ego-mania, lol), and then we venture out to one site to get our feet wet and soon find out that there are a ton of sites out there that we could be selling on and end up with our head in our hands trying to decide which one is right for us or which two or three or eight? It's maddening regardless of where you are in your handmade success story. If you're not having any luck, you wonder if you just need more exposure. If you're selling like hotcakes, you wonder if taking on another venue is the answer to your bank account's prayers or just a fast track to an early death doing what you love. So instead of looking at the seller's point of view, I'm going to give you my perspective on the 4 venues where I sell in the hope that maybe you'll find your fit. And if other folks sell at other places besides these four and would like to comment, please do. The more info the merrier.

I currently sell at Etsy, ArtFire, 1000Markets, and Zibbet. For me, Etsy leads in sales, but I've been there much longer. Last month, ArtFire really started to pick up for me. I've had 1 sale on Zibbet and none on 1000Markets yet, but that's okay because there's something to be said for having an internet presence in more than one place. You never know who is looking. So, looking at the venues overall and assuming that you're new to the handmade carousel...

Etsy: (free to set up shop; $.20 to list an item; 3.5% commision on each item sold)

Optimally speaking, you should set up shop at Etsy if you have a defined brand, an identifiable niche and marketing strategy for your shop and product. Etsy is huge and when it grows, it's like rabbits having rabbits. If you know what you're doing and how you're going to do it, then GO! Etsy doesn't jury, so anyone can sign up. Hooray, right?'s the thing. Sure, anyone can sign up, but if you're not ready for handmade prime time and you're not aware of that and/or the reason why, it's going to take you about six months of relisting and promoting in the forums, etc., to realize that you've hit the handmade ceiling at Etsy--and it's pretty low, and Etsy's ceiling has layers; there's the front page and it's curated cousins, the featured sellers and those that fit that mode and style, the folks that have already clawed their way to the top before Etsy became humongous, those who list, promote, and make treasuries like crazy 24/7, and tons of suppliers whose listings you'll also be competing with. If you don't have a shop or product that hits it out of the park, you're going to find that you don't have seats in the press box either.

If you're wondering whether you fit Etsy's mold, go to the front page, click on the gift guides, look at the featured seller choice and then go down the list and look at previous featured sellers. These are great shops with great products, and if you look closely, you'll see Etsy's vibe as well. Etsy leans towards the minimalistic crafter, designer, and artist. If you want to claw your way to the top of the heap at Etsy, I have two words for you: WHITE SPACE. Just know what you're competing against--be it other sellers or Etsy's idea of trendy. Both can be daunting.

ArtFire: (free to set up shop w/ max of 10 items, free to sell; verified membership for $12 mo. flat fee, offer good for a limited time. Verified membership gets you extra bells & whistles like no competition on your product pages, etc.)

If you're just starting out and trying to get your ducks in a row, then ArtFire is a good option for you. ArtFire is a great place to set up shop, list up to 10 items for free, and then delve into the forums and get to know some people. Doing that will give you invaluable feedback on your listings, whether or not to improve your pictures and how, and answers to other questions you may have, and you won't pay anything to do that. Now, you may say, "Well, I can just as easily set up shop at Etsy, list ten items for a measly $2.00 and dive into the forums." Yes, you can, but be warned: once you become part of Etsy, you will start relisting because you'll want views and that's the way you're going to get them. Your $2.00 won't be $2.00 after the first day. (My actual average listing fee for each piece that I sell on Etsy is $.60. On a slow month, my Etsy bill is about $70; on a good month, it's $120. Convert that business model into ArtFire and BAM! $100 saved.) At ArtFire, you don't even have the relisting option so you have to learn other ways to promote and improve your shop. You can't rest on your relisting laurels because you'll end up on your butt. Now, you can also start out at just $12/mo. and take advantage of the extra features ArtFire offers like Rapid Cart which allows you to embed code right onto your blog and sell your products without anyone going into your ArtFire shop. One of the other really nice things about ArtFire is that they now offer No Account/Guest Checkout which means that your customer doesn't have to join ArtFire to buy from you. That's a nice bonus! ArtFire also has a 1 page listing process and gives you room for 10 photos of your product. (Somebody is hearing our prayers!)

If you're still banging out your brand and trying to iron out your niche, ArtFire is a good place for you to start. If you're dying to set up shop at Etsy as well, but you don't quite feel ready, set up a buyers account there under a different name than your shop name and get comfortable in the surroundings. You'll be amazed at how fast the learning curve is and how much more confident you'll feel after you've listed items for awhile and gotten a few views, hopefully a couple sales, and some feedback!

Zibbet: (no cost to list, 7.5% commission on final sale)

Zibbet is a fairly new site, is still in beta and has a strong art focus, but it has a nice clean, sleek design and should appeal to those who find Etsy's framework appealing. There is a 2 page listing process compared to Etsy's 4 and it only allows you 4 photos instead of 5, but since the site is still in beta, Zibbet, like ArtFire, welcomes suggestions from the community as it finalizes it's design. Several artists on Etsy are frustrated with what they feel is a weak committment to the promotion of fine art on Etsy's part--both from a lack of active promotion from Etsy in a consistent top-down way and because a lot of faux art seems to flood Etsy's listings on the weekends. Zibbet is trying to learn from this now and remains aware and committed to promoting and showcasing fine art alongside quality handmade items. I like the atmosphere at Zibbet. It's warm and welcoming, but also thoughtful and gives real consideration to the fact that each shop is both someone's passion and most likely their livelihood. I find this kind of respect refreshing. Perhaps Zibbet's view is a bit different because they're not American, lol. (That's a slam on my country, not theirs). Zibbet's founders harken from Australia so perhaps that's where the more laid back attitude comes from. They're less consumed with defining what art should be for everyone else and more concerned about giving each artist access to showcase their talent to the world.

1000Markets: (juried process, shop is approved before it can go 'live,' no cost to list, 5.5% commission on sales)
Lastly, there's 1000Markets. I haven't necessarily saved the best for last, but definitely the most intriguing for last. I encourage you to visit that link about several different times because each time you do, you're going to see something different, and that for me is the genius of 1000Markets. I would spend time on that site even if I didn't have a shop there because it's gorgeous, and the fact that it's randomly gorgeous and not lockdown gorgeous is a tribute to the work Matt and the other admin have put into it. 1000Markets isn't a hard-core juried site, but there are rules; you do have to have a good product, take good pictures, and have solid and comprehensive store policies. You feel like you're amongst real crafters and artists there, and that you're really browsing in an open air market when you're shopping, and that makes all the difference to the buyer. I participate in 4 markets on the site even though I only sell jewelry. All of my pieces aren't represented in each market, though, because they might not fit each market and that's fine because the markets are designed around the buyer's experience. If the buyers wants to wander into a retro-themed market, then those are the items they'll see. Maybe I'll have pieces in that market or maybe not. There are seasonal markets created as well; many of my pieces were part of a Valentine's Day market there.

But the actual genius behind 1000Markets was in the foresight. Because they approve each shop in the first place, every merchant operates on an equal playing field from the start and that makes the depth of site and the buyer's experience truly dynamic because no merchant or product is ever discouraged or excluded from prime placement on the site. Everyone's exposure is equally random, and in this hand-over-handmade world, 'equally random' and 'free to list' are two of the most beautiful phrases I've ever heard!

If you sell at any of the other handmade venues such as DaWanda, Trunkt, Big Cartel or one of the many others, please feel free to add to this post. The more information the better!

Take care, Lori

There's still time to enter our April ArtFire Giveaway! (thru 4/7/09)

Pieces featured in this article are (in order):
Some Days are Harder Than Others by The Midnight Orange, $18 at Etsy
Bunnies Print at The Secret Nest, $15 at Etsy
Home for Bunnies Print by NoosedKitty, $18 at Etsy
Let's Not Blend In by Colorfly Studios, $6 at ArtFire
Just a Dream Within A Dream by aMelancholyDwelling, $15 at Zibbet
Inspire Me-Spool Sentiment by goshery, $6 at 1000Markets

Aren't we cute?

I found this picture of my sister, Monica, and I today. It's from the summer of 1978 when we were at my grandmother's house in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. Monica is on the left, and I'm on the right. Those are my grandmother's kick ass tomato plants in the background!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April 2009 ArtFire Giveaway!--CLOSED FOR NEW ENTRIES!!

It's time for the April ArtFire Giveaway!! It's your chance to win a bunch of eco-friendly girly goodness from a bunch of awesome ArtFire sellers! This giveaway will run from today, Wed. April 1st - Tues., April 7th at midnight. There are 11 sellers participating in this giveaway, so please read the entry rules them carefully! Our theme this month is Eco-friendly/Earth Day products, so on to the loot!

This month's prize consists of a Love Your Mama tote bag by NotMoira, an Antique Doll Part by CobWebPalace, a Vegan Trio of Unscented, Lavender, and Oatmeal Guest Soaps from Green Hill Soap Co., Brennan the Friendly Bath Monster by the Shine Your Hiney Soap Co., Scrubbies by leahMarie, Unscented Body Yogurt with Goats Milk from MeaCulpaBodyandBath, Pom-Great-Nate 90z Palm Wax Candle from Jennuine Candles, Earth Day Glow-in-the-Dark Ornament from BAKidagain, Handpainted Key Hanger from ChelseaLynnDesigns, an Earth Day Upcycled Scrabble Tile Pendant from NinjaJenn, and an Upcycled Pendant 'Peaceful Times' from Campgirldesigns. These products retail for $91.00!

But, wait, it gets better!!

Each owner of these shops has volunteered one of their products because they want to promote their shops but also ArtFire as a venue so we are all offering 10% off in our shops during this giveaway! Use this code when purchasing: RBAPRAF10P** ArtFire is a relatively new site in the grand scheme of the online handmade market scene, but we like it because it's very open and has a fee structure that allows us to put our money into our product. If you've been considering giving ArtFire a try, I encourage you to do so as the shops offered at the discounted rate are going fast!

The winner of the contest will be chosen by the random number generator at, so each comment is one entry unless it's incomplete, in which case it will be skipped. To enter the contest, you must visit at least 6 of our 11 shops listed above, come back, and leave 1 comment that mentions your favorite item from all 6 shops, not 6 separate comments. After completing your main entry, you can earn extra entries by doing any or all of the following, putting each one in a separate comment:

--visit the other 5 shops you didn't visit in your first comment and mention your favorite item in one comment for all 5 shops

--blog about the giveaway and link back in your comment

--tweet about the giveaway and link back in your comment

Want automatic entries in this giveaway? Well, then all you have to do is:

--purchase from any Artfire shop from April 1-April 7 and link back with your order #. Your seller will give it to you or ask for it.

--purchase from any of our 11 shops and receive 2 extra entries per shop and link back with your order #. Your seller will give it to you or ask for it.

Please remember to leave your contact information in your comment. We can't contact you if we can't find you!!! Anonymous entries with no email address will be deleted.


P.S. If you'd like to read the interviews I've been doing with these sellers in preparation for the giveaway, here they are: Chelsea Lynn Designs, Jennuine Candles, Campgirldesigns, CobWebPalace, MeaCulpaBodyandBath, Green Hill Soap Co, Ninja Jenn, BAKidagain, and NotMoira

P.P.S. If you see deleted comments in the thread, it's because an entry wasn't filled out correctly, and I deleted it to keep the count correct for the drawing.