Monday, March 24, 2014

Discovering Cloth Diapers

This Saturday was a total blast!  I went up to Ann Arbor, Michigan with a new cloth diaper convert friend to visit my also-pregnant cousin (she is 15 weeks behind me, due at the end of July) and we shopped two rummage sales (aptly named Moms 2 Moms), a local natural baby store called The Little Seedling where we all received a wonderful education on cloth diapering & baby wearing; and stopped at both Cherry Republic & Trader Joe's before calling it a Very Productive day.  :]

Cloth diapering has been a long-time research "project" for me and after many years I feel like I can finally say with some confidence that "I think I get it!" after having visited and talked with the ladies at The Little Seedling.  For the longest time I couldn't tell the real difference between All-in-Ones and Hybrids and Pockets and Fitteds and then I recently discovered "Flats" which are considered another version(?) of Prefolds.  Too many different styles and terms, I'm sure you're thinking.  Anyway, the exciting part is now that I feel confident to cloth diaper my little babe when he or she finally arrives in the next 2 or 3 weeks, I'll be plenty confident to make and use my own longies on my little one come this Autumn which means more adorable baby models for the Etsy shop! :)  yay :)

And I can't wait to tell you my even MORE exciting news (that has to do with my Etsy shop and all things knitted baby) once I have confirmation that it is all a go.  Stay tuned! :)

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Finds


Whoops!  Looks like I almost forgot about my pledge to post once a week!  Luckily I already had this one started so I could add some lovely finds that I thought you might enjoy as well.

I came across a lot of green living, bicycle transportation, and living intentionally small this week.  I posted a lot of my favorites on twitter.

On top of that, I finally responded to an email from Bicycle City which was in response to my request for more info.  First time I actually heard from someone (I've been following them since 2007) and I was tickled to death!!

My husband taught me how to use Pocket to save articles for later reading instead of leaving 15 tabs open on my browser (and thus slowing my browsing to a CRAWL....).

After "meeting" Sarah through Liesl's 3 Question interview series, I proceeded to pin about a dozen recipes from her blog: The Vanilla Bean Blog.  One of which I have already tried my hand at.

This board has some great eye candy for contemplating yarn storage as we continue to plan our addition (and my little etsy corner).

This might be a great way to use up my wool scraps & also allow us to stop buying dryer sheets.

And I've been doing a lot of swagbucks these last two weeks to reach my daily goal for the whole month to get a bonus 300 points.  Does anyone else use swagbucks?  Once I got the hang of it, it has been a great background addition to my daily computer use to earn a few giftcards toward fun things :)  We are currently saving for Home Depot giftcards for home improvement projects.

What did you find worthwhile this week?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Apps I Use for Selling on Etsy

Along the same lines as Blogging Tools, I found myself getting into tools/sites that I use for sales so I broke that off into this post:


Etsy

Even as I am starting to branch out into physical booth for sales (and possibly consignment??) I still like to have Etsy as a landing page & sample of work available by me.

Pinterest

Along the same lines, I like to keep a dedicated Pinterest board to my previous work, especially when it comes to one-of-a-kind pieces to be referenced by customers or used as inspiration for future work.  This has also been handy in knowing what needs to be duplicated for popularity's sake.  I also use Pinterest to brainstorm my craft show set up, new patterns to try, and any marketing or advice I might come across that I find worth referencing.

Square Up

Square has been a great tool for accepting credit payments in person plus generating a neat, digital sales receipt for anyone requesting one.  So far the only draw back has been that my particular smartphone (LG Spectrum 1st gen.) is not fully supported so I always have to type in the card numbers which results in a higher fee.   I still did fairly well at the Make It Indie fair in November but it sure has me thinking about that next phone upgrade this spring....
*Edit: Now that I have a Samsung Galaxy S5, the Square card reader works like a charm!*

Facebook

To promote art/craft shows I am participating in, to send customers for product + experience feedback as well as interaction, share new items listed in the shop, latest blog post link, and anything I find interesting that I think my followers may also enjoy.  I like to keep my Facebook light-hearted but centered around the knitting/crocheting/crafting theme.

Maybe not so surprisingly, I have noticed that some have even used my Facebook page as a way to contact me via message instead of my email.  This is how I was invited to join the Merchant's Landing Arts & Craft Show!

Free "scrap" bracelets

Freebies

Speaking of physical shows, I've also found that a little freebie is a great draw to your table.  I like to crochet long leftover scraps of cotton yarn into bracelets which I offer for free to whomever.  I find it is a great way to strike up a conversation with anyone "brave enough" to pick out a free bracelet.  :)

PDF Compressor

Once I started selling PDF patterns, I needed a compressor for the large image-heavy files that are my pattern's signature.  And not only do I want to make friends wait hours to download a large file, but Etsy does not allow pattern files greater than 20mb.  So needing a solution, I found Chrome's free PDF compressor + was instantly impressed with not only it's ability to crunch the size of my recent pattern from 38mb to 1.35!  But it even preserved the quality of the crisp images!  Sold!

Wholesale

So far I haven't branched out into wholesaling (purchasing or selling) but it has crossed my mind several times.  Does anyone have any wholesale experience?

Spread the Word

And as always, word of mouth through supportive friends and family members has helped generate a fair handful of sales this past holiday season.  Plus a few times when asked what do I do for a living (a question that always makes me cringe), I mention that I am a knit/crochet instructor as well as an Etsy shop owner.  I like to show pictures of what I make via my smartphone (images taken directly with my phone as well as pulling up my Etsy shop on my phone) and hand them a business card, encouraging them to explore my shop more when they are home.  I don't know how well it works, but I figure it can't hurt, right?


I'd love to hear what tools you use for "pedaling your wares" :)  If you already have a post about it, would you mind pasting a link to it in the comments section?  I'd love to read it!

Referral + Affiliate links help me bring you valuable content without ads.  I recommend products + services that I use myself or that come highly recommended by peers.  
Any sponsorships that you see in my sidebar are handpicked by me because I believe in their products + services and think they could benefit you.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Merchants Landing Arts & Craft Show

I'm so excited that I have another show on the calendar!


These ladies participated with me at the Make It Indie fair back in November and reached out to me to join them in their first annual show this April.  I have to say I was definitely honored that they reached out to me and were patient as I searched my mind for an answer.  Of course I wanted to scream yes right away, but knowing that the show weekend (April 12 & 13) is the weekend after my due date, I had to consider newborn care first.  After talking with my midwife, husband (who was supportively pushing me in this direction), and a few other friends with kids, I decided to go with the "ambitious" decision to commit.  And now I'm so excited & ecstatic that I did!

So if everyone will just send positive, slightly early-labor thoughts my way, I'd really appreciate it! hehe.  :)