Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Photo Project Woes and Tips

This past weekend I started a project to redo some of the awful photos in my shop. As with many people photos are a constant struggle with me. First they are too dark, and then they are too bright. Even after adjusting the settings on my camera and creating a light box, I still have to open them in Photoshop to adjust the brightness and contrast. It is a never ending, vicious cycle! Although I’m still not 100% happy with my final product I thought it would be helpful to pass along some tips that I’ve learned since starting. Please take them with a grain of salt as I am by no means a pro!

  • Create a light box (or use natural light) – my apt doesn’t get too much natural light so I created a light box. Do not be lazy like me and put off creating a light box. It was the best thing I have done and it only took about 20 minutes!
  • Learn about the manual settings on your camera – after I learned what the exposure and white balance were, my pictures naturally came out nicer.
  • Use a tripod with a timer – if you have problems with blurry photos I recommend a tripod. I got one for less than $20 at Target. Even when using the tripod, use your camera’s timer. Even on a tripod, snapping a photo can make the camera wiggle. Using a timer prevents camera shaking resulting in crisp, clear photos.
  • Position your items in a fun, eye-catching way – I found that this can be difficult when using a tripod. Luckily my camera has image stabilization so can get by without always using my tripod.
  • Use a photo editing software – even after I adjust my camera settings I always need to edit my photos. I typically crop, adjust brightness and contrast, and resize my images.

Customizable Hand Stamped Silver Charm Bracelet

Wire Wrapped Beaded Heart Pendant Necklace

Monday, January 25, 2010

Joy reigns in Packerland. Brett Favre has struck out.

I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t thrilled that the Vikings lost yesterday. I’d also be lying if I told you I wasn’t happy that it happened typical Brett Favre style. The Vikings-Saints game yesterday probably couldn’t have been anymore exciting than it was, capping off with a Brett Favre interception that ultimately lost the game for Minnesota. As a Packer fan, this is something I’ve grown accustomed to, and it was really fun seeing the same thing happen in purple and white!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thinking like a Business, Not a Hobby – Part 2

Generating Shop Views

In order to achieve my goal of turning my hobby into a business I have to generate more traffic to my shop. I have read so many forum posts about how to increase views. One of the suggestions that is always mentioned is Twitter. Now, I definitely don’t consider myself a technology literate person, but I never understood the point of Twitter. Why do I care that my friend just saw someone trip over on the sidewalk? I didn’t see it, it wasn’t funny to me!

But none the less, there is a lot of talk about Twitter on Etsy. After hearing how it drives so much traffic to shops, I bit the bullet and set up an account. I’m not sure whether I’m using it correctly or not, but I’ve noticed an increase in views immediately after I tweet about an item. I often wonder if these are legitimate views. I can go from having 0 views to 15 views in a second. I’ve never gotten a heart from the views and I’m not even sure they register on Google Analytics. Needless to say, I’m still confused.

I will try using it for a few months and see what happens. After my trial I can evaluate if this should be part of my Thinking like a Business, Not a Hobby strategy. Has anyone had serious success with Twitter? I’m interested to hear your Twitter stories.

If you would like to follow me, my address is I always follow people back. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Early Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and I’ve been frantically trying to think of something I can create to sell in my shop. I had an idea to make a heart charm out of wire. While I was playing with the idea, attempting to form this charm, I ended up creating something that I wasn’t expecting. This is the final product. I actually love them! I love how simple and elegant they are with just a small pop of pink. Since they don’t scream Valentine’s Day, they can be worn throughout the entire year! Check them out here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

WTF Packers!?

I’m still not sure what to make of the awful Green Bay Packer game yesterday. We would have had the game in the bag if the defense decided to come out and play. It is so disappointing to see the team’s season end as it did yesterday. It just shows that the quote “Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships” is very much true. Both offenses were on fire and it would have been a fun game to be at, but go figure the only decent defensive play won the game for Arizona. I guess I should be happy the Packers made it to the playoffs. There is always next year to look forward to, and of course, a Viking loss on Sunday!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Series: Thinking like a Business, Not a Hobby

One of my many goals of 2010 is to start treating my Etsy shop like a true business. I thought it would be fun to start a series of posts about how I am doing this. I’ve read much on and off Etsy about how to increase sales and how to move from hobby to business, but I haven’t done anything with it, until now!

I will post as regularly as I can about the different techniques I’m trying and whether or not they are successful. I hope you find it interesting and helpful!

Part 1 - Tracking Expenses:

Last July I started my shop not having any idea what I was doing. I liked making jewelry and I thought it would be nice to earn a little extra money doing it. There was one problem with this. I would go about my day, having fun creating, promoting and adding items to my shop without taking into consideration how much money I was spending. I never saved receipts or calculated how much I spent on supplies. One day I finally bit the bullet and recorded everything. I looked through a year’s worth of old bank and credit card statements and created a simple list in Excel.

This was the big shock that I needed to start learning how to turn my “hobby” around. Between July 2009 and December 2009 on average I spent $6.80 on supplies for every $1.00 I made. In October I spent $29.00 for every $1.00 I earned! That was a bad month, needless to say! Here is what my pathetic graph looks like:

I have now started to diligently track my spending. I am also trying to use a lot of the supplies that I have on hand instead of buying new every time I have an idea. This will obviously reduce my monthly expenses and I can then look at my previous spending as investments rather than losses.

It was definitely worth taking the time to go through my old statements to figure out exactly how much I was spending on my hobby. It was a great eye opener for me and I recommend doing it to anyone who, like me, wants to begin earning money doing what they love!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Etsy Blog Master List

Hello everyone! Welcome to a world of Etsy bloggers! I love following and reading the random thoughts and great posts that people come up with, so I thought it would be a great idea to complile a list of everyone's blogs.

The list will be updated often, so if you would like to be added, please leave a comment or send me a message on twitter (@fashionablychc) or a conversation on Etsy (FashionablyChic).


*Let me know if your link isn't working and I will update it.

Shop Name & Blog

  1. 3littlebirdsboutique -
  2. Absolutelysmall -
  3. Akrose -
  4. Alamodestuff -
  5. Alilhorseplay - http://calicofiasco/
  6. Allisajacobs -
  7. AncaNY -
  8. Anoriginaljewelry -
  9. Apaperbuffet -
  10. Aromaticbodyoils -
  11. ArrivingAngels -
  12. Artisticle -
  13. Artsyclay -
  14. Audzipan -
  15. BizzieLizzie -
  16. Blablover5 -
  17. Busterandboo -
  18. CampbellJane - and
  19. Castaliandesigns -
  20. Charmiesonline -
  21. Chocolatedogstudio -
  22. CinnamonBreeze -
  23. ConsidertheLillies -
  24. Crescentmoonpapers -
  25. Crochetgal -
  26. DarlingNikkiVintage -
  27. Del Frittitta -
  28. Digtheearth - and
  29. DingsInsainity -
  30. Discerningchichi -
  31. Dishyvintage -
  32. DistinctlyIvy -
  33. Divine3Designs -
  34. DutchTouchBeads -
  35. DycheDesigns -
  36. Dzfantacy -
  37. EderaJewelry -
  38. Emmybo -
  39. Esshaych -
  40. EviesToolEmporium -
  41. Eyeful - and
  42. EyeShutterToThink -
  43. FairRosamund -
  44. Fashionably Chic -
  45. Fillingham -
  46. FreakyKeen -
  47. Gilliauna -
  48. GoTo -
  49. Indipin -
  50. Happyhound -
  51. Haveanicedaynow -
  52. HeavenBakedSweets -
  53. HoneyTree -
  54. HowToUseArt -
  55. HurricanePottery -
  56. Janiexy -
  57. Jcassdesigns -
  58. JennaBelleDesigns -
  59. JewelrybyTara -
  60. Jill2day -
  61. Jstinson -
  62. Katofmanycolors -
  63. KendraJKantor -
  64. Kittredgemercantile -
  65. Kristimcmurry -
  66. LaurenAlexander -
  67. Lilystreasures -
  68. Littletesoro -
  69. Lulubugjewelry -
  70. MagnoliaSuprise -
  71. Marlan -
  72. Melsdolls -
  73. Michon -
  74. MirthMarket -
  75. MisChevious -
  76. Missasequinedesign -
  77. Mizdarlin -
  78. Movetheneedle -
  79. Moonandsundries -
  80. Mrsbaubles -
  81. Myhobbyshop -
  82. Nevita -
  83. NikkiCandles -
  84. Noadi - and
  85. Nomadcraftsetc -
  86. NonpareilSoleil -
  87. ParamiPanda -
  88. Paintingpam -
  89. Plenox -
  90. PrettyParis -
  91. PruittDesigns -
  92. Raj -
  93. Raspberrykidz -
  94. RedRedCompletelyRed -
  95. Rtisan -
  96. SafiyaAlyse -
  97. SecretCake -
  98. SewGracious -
  99. Skaior -
  100. SoapDeli - and
  101. SoManyMemories -
  102. Sosorosey -
  103. Splashin -
  104. Springblossomdesign -
  105. Springtreeroad -
  106. StaceyWinters -
  107. StrawberryLane -
  108. Straycatfarm -
  109. SuzsCountryPrims -
  110. SweetBriers -
  111. Theeye -
  112. Thefrogbag -
  113. Thelittlefox -
  114. TheLoneBeader -
  115. TheMayFlower -
  116. ThePaperMoonStudio -
  117. ToBoldlyFold -
  118. Ttcrafts -
  119. Vintagesnapsandscraps -
  120. Weddingskulls - and
  121. Woolybumblebee -
  122. Zeba -
  123. Zionshore -

My New Daisy Pendant and Chain

One of my January goals is to create new listings for my Etsy shop, Fashionably Chic, with the mountain of beads I have at home, instead of always going to purchase new supplies. My first creation is this daisy pendant. I used 6 mm Czech glass crystals to create the daisy. The spiral in the middle is created from 20 gauge craft wire. I didn’t want to attach this to any ol’ chain, so I created my own by crocheting 26 gauge sterling silver wire into a unique chain.

I’m pleased with the way it turned out. It may not be the most difficult or intricate piece, but it’s my first original creation. I hope you enjoy it too! Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

10 Reasons Why You Should be a Green Bay Packer Fan!

1. Kicking Brett Favre’s butt in the playoffs (or at least I’m hoping!)
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Cheeseheads
4. Lambeau Leap – Robert Brooks Jump in the Stands anyone?
5. 12 league championships, the most of any team in the NFL
6. The fans own the team!
7. Only 80,000 people on the season ticket waiting list
8. Historic Lambeau Field
9. The Ice Bowl – its not cold in Green Bay
10. Green and yellow go with just about anything

Sunday, 4:30 EST on FOX

Monday, January 4, 2010

I need a vacation!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Are you in the mood to get out and explore the world?! I know I am! After taking a ridiculous amount of small weekend trips in 2009, I’m in desperate need of an actual vacation. The trips I took last year:
· Three trips home (NYC – Green Bay, WI)
· Mardi Gras in New Orleans (pic below)
· Miami
· Philadelphia
· Vermont
· Minneapolis twice

All of these were 3 – 4 day weekend trips where you get hardly any time to see the sites and relax. In 2010 I’m taking a real vacation! I’m talking at least 10 days of relaxing, eating, and adventuring somewhere other than the US!

Not sure where I should go. I’ve done the whole Europe thing. I actually taught English in Spain for a school year in 2006-2007 which was amazing! I lived in a little city called Huelva in AndalucĂ­a close to Portugal. The below pic is of the 2006 - 2007 CB Huelva Basketball team. Basically my obsession when I was there.

I was in Ecuador in 2008 and although it was fun, I must admit I don’t have a huge desire to go back to South America anytime soon. So maybe an Asian or African vacation should be in the works?

I found this great website with 50 most inspiring travel quotes of all times. Check it out and you might get in the mood to explore!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My love affair with Etsy

I started my Etsy shop, Fashionably Chic, in July 2009 and really had no idea what I was doing. All I knew is that I liked to make jewelry and had a stockpile of it in my apartment. Randomly while being bored at work and surfing the net I came across Etsy. And that is how the love affair started.

Etsy is such a wonderful venue. There are so many incredible artists in the world. I love the idea of being able to purchase handmade from all corners of the world without leaving my home. Starting a shop was great. I’ve definitely learned a lot and I continue to learn. Here are just a few tips that I wanted to share:

Five things I’ve learned (and continue to learn!) since opening my Etsy shop

  1. Photos are really difficult to take!
    1. I have taken so many photos of my jewelry it makes me sick thinking about it! The number one advice I can give you is to learn about the settings on your camera. When I started taking photos I had no idea my camera had a macro setting. I had no idea how to change the white balance or shutter speed on my camera. After learning about these settings my photos are much, much better. Not perfect, but better! Check out the before and after on my Amber Ice Cube earrings:
  2. Promote constantly.
    1. I’ve learned that hanging out in the forums is a great way to promote as well as discover new shops. I’ve had a more than a few sales from shops that have seen me in the forums so I recommend posting at least a few times a day.
  3. Write thorough item descriptions.
    1. This is something that makes sense, yet it was difficult for me to do. Now I try to give measurements of all major beads or components, lengths of anything, as well as saying exactly what types of wire, chain, or beads I use. The more detailed, the better. Remember, people can’t touch or hold your items so more description leads to more potential sales.
  4. Create a catchy banner and avatar.
    1. Create a banner and avatar that is in line with your product and brand. Banners are one of the first things a potential customer sees when they enter your shop. Make it memorable! Avatars are especially important in the forums. You need a creative avatar that will stand out amongst hundreds of others. If it isn’t clickable no one will find your shop. This is a struggle for me so I’m making it a major goal for 2010.
  5. Write thorough shop policies.
    1. Shop policies are there to cover you if a customer doesn’t like something about their order. Make them as detailed as possible. Try to think of every scenario possible and put it in the policies. The topics I think are the important are returns/refunds, exchanges, losses, damages and shipping (where and how much). The more you cover yourself, the better off you will be!