Friday, September 28, 2012

Personalized Christmas Ornaments for 2012

Well, Christmas is less than 3 months away now...can you believe it?  I unveiled my 2012 ornaments last month and of course, forgot to post them here. 0_o  So, in addition to the ones I offered last year, there are a few new designs as well.  Let's check them out!!

First up is the standard personalized Christmas ornament, featuring your choice of a snowflake, fir tree, or snowman symbol this year!

The 1" rounded square ornament is back this year with variations in symbols and colors!  Here's a peak at a few, including the popular pet ornament.

You can view my entire Christmas section here.  Order early because I've had to stop these around December 1st the last two years due to overwhelming demand.  This year, I'll have a little more help, but don't take any chances -- especially if you're an international buyer.  My cut off for international Christmas orders is typically mid-November.  On all designs, save a little money and buy some in bulk!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recent Handmade Purchase - Spoon Rests from JulesCeramics

Wow, it's been over a year since I've done a post about what I've been buying on Etsy.  That's probably because I ended up moving and all I was buying was boxes and tape, lol.  I have a brand new and functional kitchen now and one thing that I've always wanted were some really pretty spoon rests!  I know, the things that make me happy... go figure.  Anyhoo, my new kitchen is a tableau of browns, blacks, creams, and grays and these two spoon rests from JulesCeramics look freaking AWESOME on my stove! 

First up, I wanted a big one and I have a serious infatuation with leaves, so I bought this one:

Then I wanted one that had a little more brown/cream in it, so I bought this one, too!

I really encourage you to check out her shop because she's a great seller and has some really cool and affordable pieces -- not just spoon rests!  I mean, check it out people... she even sells shoes amongst many other prettiful things!

Enjoy... and feel free to see what else I buy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tangible vs. Intangible Value (i.e. It's not your pricing...)

When you’re not selling on Etsy - whether it’s for a day or a week or waiting for that first sale - there’s often an inclination to assume that your prices are the ‘problem.’  Sometimes you feel like if you lower them, you’ll pull in that elusive buyer, and to make matters more confusing, you might (once in awhile), but before you lower your prices, consider the following:

1. Are you prices in line with your competition and are you comparing apples to apples?  Say for example that you sell lip balm, and you look around at other successful sellers and price your lip balm accordingly.  Have you also looked at what products your competitor is actually selling vs. offering?  Maybe they have a large varied inventory and price their lip balm lower to keep it moving because they sell more lotion/soap/perfume than lip balm. Or maybe lip balm is a gateway product into their store and those folks tend to return and buy other products so they’re willing to take a hit on that item because it pays off in the long run.  Or maybe they price a single lip balm a bit higher because it steers buyers to buy a pack of 3 where the buyer gets a better deal and they make more profit.

2. Once you decide on the right price for your product which allows you a decent profit, are you doing justice to that listing by taking a compelling picture, writing a compelling description and showcasing the type of seller and shop you represent?  

3.  Are you ‘adding value’ to your product?  Added value can be tangible or intangible.
Tangible:  An offer within the listing for free shipping, a free sample sent with each order, or an absolute no fuss returns policy.
Intangible:  Do you model your gloves on a pretty girl standing in the cold and benefiting from their warmth?  Has your scarf been featured in a popular magazine?  Has your art decorated the walls of a television show?  Is a particular item a best seller in your shop?  Is it part of a new line you’re debuting?  Are your items collectable and have you linked to the other pieces in the collection?  

If you can master the art of intangible value, you’ll hit the ground running and be able to price your work to sustain your business.

Not quite sure why I woke up with this on my mind today, but now it's out and on the page so it's back to the bench. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Big Brother 14 - Ian Terry Changes the Game

Big Brother 14 concluded last night with a winner America was cheering for:  21 year old engineering student Ian Terry of Tulane University.  I've been watching BB hard core for the last four years, and it's become a great mental summer vacation.  Yes, while others are heading to the beach, I coop up in my my very air-conditioned house and tune in to the Live Feeds.  It's my World Series, I guess.  BB airs 3 times a week from July thru September and chronicles anywhere from 12-16 people stuck in a house and battling it out physically, mentally, and socially for a half million dollars while someone is evicted every week.  Although there are twists every season that tweak the game, the basic structure of Head of Household, Nominations for Eviction, Power of Veto Competitions and the dreaded Have Nots (food restriction) doesn't really change, so if you don't have a good group of people who love to compete, fight, scheme, and even fall in love once awhile it can get predictable.

Not anymore.  I think this season will change everything.

Ian Terry entered the BB house struggling to find people to relate to and to find any physical comfort.  He seemed to have several 'ticks' including needing to rock or stay in motion all the time, making random facial expressions and sounds and talking to himself.  People found him to be a nice guy, but very hard to relate to and very hard to read which, initially, made him hard to trust, but as the summer went on, Ian did something brave.  Either because he made a choice or because he couldn't help himself, he let his peculiar behaviors come through.  He didn't try to stifle them and pleasantly explained them when asked why he needed to rock vigorously on the hammock for hours each day.  (He says he has ADHD and a bit of OCD and is unmedicated.)  As someone who shares the rocking tick and spent her childhood being told to stop because I was embarrassing my family and wrecking furniture, I find real inspiration in Ian's success.  I know what it feels like to have that weird energy inside yourself and to be in desperate need of space and privacy to get it out.  In past seasons, I don't think house guests would've gone two minutes without mocking someone like Ian, making his life even more difficult, or just evicting him for being strange.

But this season, no one did, and I don't mean to suggest that Ian got special treatment.  Not at all.  I think our society has changed in the last five years or so.  People who battle autism, ADHD, OCD and other related conditions, have found a voice through activist parents, social media, and television programs like Obsessed on A&E.  Anti-bullying sentiment is at an all time high as LGBT teens struggle with suicidal thoughts, and being a geek has finally become officially cool.  And into this new world, Ian Terry who proudly wears a t-shirt stating 'THERMODYNAMICS GET ME HOT' was able to play Big Brother just like everyone else.  And he won.  Half a million dollars.  And it was well deserved.

Ian went in with a strategy based on, "Statistics, probability, and a little heart."  Once inside, he figured out where he fell in the initial pecking order (not a great spot) and found/formed (oh, the arguments over this will go on forever) a new alliance that worked in his favor.  He called it the 'Quack Pack.'  He made it to the end to beat one of Big Brother's best players of all time, Dan Gheesling, in a 6-1 jury vote.

But why does this change Big Brother forever?  Well, Ian started reading at age 2 and has been watching Big Brother since he was 10 years old.  He applied to play as soon as he was 21.  Because of Ian, a whole new type of person will be applying to play Big Brother and the seasons where we have the obvious 1 or 2 'odd' house guests alongside the requisite jocks, hot girls, middle-age and token LGBT players will morph into a new mix of truly interesting people who have a real passion for the game.  Ian now has a legion of young fans whom he inspires, older fans who appreciate his strategy and sportsmanship, and fans that fall all over the autistic/OCD spectrum who see a bit of themselves in him.  They love him for his honesty, his compassion, his sense of humor, his brains and his humility.  And whether or not he won the game never mattered.

But, holy crap.  He DID.  Congratulations, Ian! Well played. Quack!