Saturday, August 31, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters, Theft and Vandalism REVISITED

I really hate that I have to write this! A couple weeks back I wrote about theft and vandalism at shows, you can read the post HERE.

While I still stand by much of what I wrote, and I don't want to give the impression that art shows are, indeed, hot beds of criminal activity, I would be remiss if I did not write about what recently happened at an otherwise wonderful show.

Here's what happened:

• At least 6 cell phones were stolen
• Higher end jewelry was taken right off of displays
• A back-up crate of photographs was stolen from behind a booth
• Small, table-top items were shop-lifted from displays
• And more. The list of offenses grows every time I talk to a fellow exhibitor

Additionally, a cash box was recently stolen out of booth at a different local artisans market.


So -- as exhibitors -- what can we do to do prevent this?

Sadly, some of the little shoplifting incidents are hard to prevent. I had a $10 mini frame taken from my booth and will write it off to the cost of doing business; the cost of hiring assistants to monitor stock far surpasses that kind of theft. But the higher end jewelry? The back-up stock? The cell phones and cash?!

Here are a few things that we, as exhibitors, can do:

keep your cash and cell phones ON your body or WITHIN VIEW at all times! At least one of the cell phone thefts occurred when an exhibitor turned her back on her phone to wrap an order.

• use an anchoring device for necklaces, rings, etc., rather than laying them loose in a display case

• keep crates of back up work well organized, stacked and covered with tarps or cloths. Use them as desks or resting places for food, drink, or whatever. In other words, make them look more like a part of your display rather than extra stock.

DO NOT lend your cell phone to strangers! 

Until next time, be safe, be alert, and keep creating!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Photo tips is taking a break!

Not that kind of break!

Photo tips is taking a short hiatus and will return Tuesday, Sept. 10, with new posts.

Until then, gentle readers, do you have any questions relating to photography and design? What kind of photography topics would you like read about in this space? Ask away!

Thanks and happy Etsy-ing!

Jocelyn |

Saturday, August 24, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters

Many of our team members are exhibiting this weekend. Come out and say hello!

At Elmwood:
Nicole Johnson Space# 88
Sarah Trumpp Space# 140
Ericc Jude Mott Space# 170
Anne Bliss Space# 22
Alison E. Kurek Space# 160

Inside at Unitarian Church:
Sara Goldhawk

Inside at Thin Ice:
Amanda Valentine

Due to illness, Shaun Silverwood will not be showing at the Unitarian Church this weekend. Let's wish her a big 
Buffalo Etsy Team GET WELL SOON!! 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I've been featured?!

Today we pause in the photo tips blogging to bring you some current affairs.

As some of you may have noticed, an item from my shop was chosen for the semi-permanent, rotating category features on the Etsy front page (the mint green wood box):

Holy crap, that's me!
Carla716 asked me if I would write a bit about my experience with it, so here you go!

No effort was made on my part to get that spot. It was simply luck. No one from Etsy contacted me prior to the feature, though I did have a sale in June to someone who had the item shipped to Etsy HQ. Maybe they noticed me, maybe they didn't. I did see that Etsy started using a featured spot for "Jewelry: Storage & Organization", and secretly hoped I would be picked, but I never actually thought I would be!

I'm a bit flabbergasted, but thrilled, thankful and overwhelmed with orders at the moment. In the week that I was featured, I sold 12 mint green boxes and 84 (eek!) other items. (More stats below.) I was out of town for four days, and the orders piled up.

Let me tell you, this is why I don't really believe in vacation mode! What a missed opportunity that would have been. I left a note on the shop announcement, in the Note to Buyer, and adjusted the shipping time on the mint green box to 5 days. I also left my shop open when I was out of the country for 10 days in March, and I had a decent amount of sales and zero customer complaints.

One of the things I did to capitalize on the attention was to quickly put together a "blank" listing for jewelry boxes. I have dozens of colors of paint, but I haven't had enough stock to make all the colors to photograph for listings - I mostly stick to remaking colors that have sold and introducing a few new colors here and there. So I staged a bunch of the blank boxes, and listed it with every color I had as a variation.
Add caption

This listing was a pretty big hit - I've sold 12 in all different colors since I put it up on Aug. 9.

I also added links to my jewelry storage section and a search for "mint green" in my shop. The only links that are clickable within your Etsy listing are links. You can "disguise" links as if you have a (free) account. Make a shortcut, and then rewrite it as, and it will become clickable in your listing.

Now let's do some stat geeking!

Typically I get 250-300 total views a day (shop and listing). If I'm in a front page treasury, which happens a few times a month, it can be more than 1,000. Since late March, I've been averaging 1-3 sales a day. Keep in mind that jewelry is the #1 seller on Etsy and my items are inexpensive — most are $15 or less, and all are under $25. It's easier for people to click "buy" on something that's $7 vs. $75.

A comparison of stats for the featured item:

Something may have happened in the middle of that graph ...
Out of curiosity, I looked at some stats from last year. In August 2012, I averaged 23 views per day and sold two items. September 2012, 36 views per day, sold 13 items. October 2012, 56 views per day, sold 12 items.

So, I hope that answered some questions you might have about my experience being featured! Ask further queries in comments! :)

Jocelyn | paragraphloop

Saturday, August 17, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters, Vol. 21 Theft and Vandalism

***Please read this note too: REVISION ***

One of our team members had some questions about security at the upcoming Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Here's some of the info I shared with him and more......

I don't know if I've addressed this topic in the past. If I have not it's because, at least for me, it's never been much of an issue. But, as with all things in life, art and craft shows are not immune to criminal activity, so I guess it's worth a few words.

Over many years of participating in shows, I've had only one major theft from my booth. I was set up at the Allentown Art Festival and had a line of people waiting to cash out when I noticed a young woman trying to catch my attention -- or so I thought. She darted in and out of my booth several times and I told her I'd be with her in a few minutes. When my line of paying customers had left I noticed that she was gone too, along with 3 of my small framed works!

Well -- that stunk! But it was an isolated incident more than 10 years ago. Since then I may have had some small thefts. Small items that could easily go into a pocket, like note cards or magnets, may have been taken. But if they have I have not noticed.

Here are a few of the other issues friends and neighbors have had:

• unattended cash box stolen from booth

• $1000 ring a neighbor "claimed" was stolen from under her nose. The exhibitor planned on filing an
   insurance claim and the whole thing seemed a bit shady to me.

• tent walls slashed overnight at an otherwise sleepy suburban show

• morning finds that indicate a booth was used for an overnight party -- like unzipped tents, empty
  beer and liquor bottles, and ugh, urine puddles/odor.

So yes -- crime does happen at shows -- but, from my experience,  it's not a regular thing.

Here are a few safety tips:

DO NOT leave money or cell phones unattended in your booth!

• show days are LONG days and you WILL need to walk away from your booth from time to time. If you're doing a show alone it's a good idea to get to know your neighbors. Ask them to watch your booth while you make a quick run and do the same for them in return.

• if you have a product that can easily be turned into cash by a would-be thief (e.g. gold and precious gem stone jewelry) DO NOT leave your product in your booth overnight! Invest in a locking display case and have someone work the show with you if at all possible.

• like anywhere -- always be aware of your surroundings. If you are in an area where you do not feel good about leaving your stock overnight then don't do it! Taking the extra time to load your work back into your vehicle at the end of the night is well worth it!

• if you DO leave your work in your booth over night (I often do -- and many exhibitors ALWAYS do) make sure that you seal your tent up well. Use electrical zip ties to close up your tent zippers. Tarp up your work, do anything that will make a would-be thief think twice about breaking into your booth. Most thieves are opportunists and will move on if you don't make yourself an easy target!

• Use common sense and trust your gut!

• ask your show neighbors about the show's reputation. The cash box theft and overnight party issues that I mentioned both happened at the same show, a Rochester show that has a reputation for being a big street party. It's located right in the middle of college rentals, frat houses, etc. and exhibitors often complain about blasting music and drunken party goers.

DON'T PANIC! Most thieves steal items that can be turned into quick cash. Let's face it! MOST of our work does not fall under that category. And we're not selling Van Gogh or Picasso level work -- at least not yet :-)

Be safe, have fun, make money!

Until next time - keep creating!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Photo tips 6: Image size

Let's talk about the types of images that Etsy shops use, and how to use them to your advantage!
  • Banners: 760 x 100 pixels
  • Gallery view: 170 x 135 pixels (1.26:1 ratio)
  • Main image: 570 x 425 pixels (1.34:1 ratio)
  • Profile: 75 x 75 pixels

Etsy's format works best with horizontal photos. Don't worry about cropping your pictures exactly to the gallery ratio, because you can adjust the zoom of your preview image right in Etsy's listing page (the second part):
And of course, once your buyers are on your listing page, photos are not cropped at all.
Etsy listings photos will "set" the size based on the first image. To wit:

Gah! So, make sure your biggest image is your first image!

Also, once you start cropping your images, try to stay the same. You can see in the above collage that the first picture fills out the frame, yet the next two have gray bars above and below the photos like letterboxing of widescreen movies. Most image programs will have the ability to set crop width and height, and you can draw a perfectly proportioned box every time.
If you want to get close to the correct ratio, cropping/resizing to 850x675 or 1020x810 is your best bet.
There are a few approaches you can take with your thumbnails. You can show a good overview, an interesting closeup or a nice staged photo. It all depends on how symmetrical (or not) you want your shop to look. What entices buyers into your store and listings is different for every person, so offering multiple views is good to catch every customer.

The most important part, in my opinion, is to have a cohesive look to your shop and your photos. Pick a look and stay within the general theme of it. It makes your shop look professional and instills confidence in customers to click "buy"!

— Jocelyn | paragraphloop

Saturday, August 10, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters

Long days at Art Festivals and Blogging don't mix well :-)

Coming Next week:

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters, Vol. 21 Theft and Vandalism shows generally are NOT a hot bed of criminal activity, but there are some precautions you should take at shows...

In the meantime -- enjoy the summer -- and come to the Lewiston Art Festival on Sunday, August 8th, 10am-6pm!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Everything Old is New Again in.....Terms about Vintage

  If you are new to buying, selling or collecting vintage items you may notice that lots of different terms get thrown around when describing an object.  Below, I'd thought I would share some basic definitions of these terms.  If you missed my post about the definition of vintage you can check it out here-

Retro:  Styles or fashions of the past that are culturally outdated.  Revived styles of fashions.  

Antique: An old collectible item at least 100 years old.  It is desirable because of it's age, rarity, condition and/or beauty.  

Heirloom: An item passed down through successive generations of special value. 

Artifact:  An object made by humans from a particular period of historical or cultural interest. 

Collectible:  Objects that gain value because of associations.  Objects that are mass produced with no artistic merit or artistic/historic objects that are less than 100 years old. 

Memorabilia:  Items collected for their association with a particular field, interest or person. 

Pop Culture:  "Popular" or mainstream that define a society-language, fashion, music, literature, entertainment. 

New Old Stock:  Items from the past that have original tags and were never used. 

Hallmark:  An official mark or symbol stamped on items such as precious metals or pottery for authentication. 

Appraiser:  An expert who assesses the value, worth, quality and authenticity of items or assets.  

Any questions about vintage terms, post below.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Photo tips 5: Editing programs

Very few images are ready to use right out of the camera, and will require editing (also called post-production). There is a wide range of programs out there for even the most beginner 

Paid programs


$699 from, $19.99 to $29.99 monthly cloud subscription

Difficulty: Expert

The big daddy of all photo editing programs. You can do EVERYTHING in Photoshop — provided you have the hours to learn it all. I have been using Photoshop professionally for more than 10 years, and I still haven't needed 1/10th of its power!

If you have Photoshop available to you already in some manner, great! Otherwise, I would not buy it only for Etsy. Adobe recently introduced a cloud-based subscription service for its programs. It sounds great, but designers are wary and it may actually cost you more over the life of the program. I am a bit iffy regarding cloud technology, but that's another topic for another blog!

Photoshop Elements

Difficulty: Advanced

$69.99 from$19.99 to $29.99 monthly cloud subscription

A more affordable, less powerful version of Photoshop. I have an older version of this that came with my DSLR camera, and it's a great program for editing. It has pretty much every tool you would need for Etsy purposes of basic photo editing. Two big things it does not support is CMYK functionality (important if you're producing images for print) and layered images (for more advanced image work).

Paint Shop Pro

Difficulty: Advanced Beginner

$49 from

A strong competitor to Photoshop Elements. PSP supports layers, but its color adjustment tools aren't as versatile as Photoshop. It is less of a memory hog, so it works better on older computers. I also find the tools much more user-friendly. Photoshop Elements still retains the language of Photoshop, which can be confusing to people who don't know printing or editing terminology.

Free programs

I'm going to have to bow out here — I have never used free editing programs because, as a graphic designer, I have Photoshop available to me both at home and at work.

Here's a great article from TechCrunch about free editing programs.

Two programs that I've heard a lot about are Picasa and GIMP.

Picasa: download from
GIMP: download from

If any readers have tried either of these programs (or any free editing programs), please weigh in!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Interview with Wolf and Rabbit!

this week we have Ericc Jude Mott from Wolfe & Rabbit with us!

Wood eye glasses Wood and Brass frames Rx/Sunglasses VinhaticoPlease tell us a bit about yourself?
I am Ericc Jude Mott owner and craftsman behind Wolfe & Rabbit heirloom accessories and home decor. I moved to Buffalo in spring of 2008 to finish my art education degree. I realized after a while that teaching wasn't for me but cursing out loud working crazy hours and surrounding myself with dirty old men was for me and that's not a lemon party reference. So I became a welder.

Wood Eye Glasses Frames Cat  Eyes Maple Prescription or SunglassesWhat do you create? How long have you been working on your craft/art?
I've been working since 2010 mostly on my wood eye wear. Custom wood eye wear made entirely by man. No CNC routers or laser cutter. Since 2012 i added wood inlay post back buttons, hand cut cameo pendants, wood journals, the occasional leather goods, custom dog kennels fashioned after old style bird cages or Victorian housing, and furniture. I feel, like many makers, we learn from our parents or grandparents and so did i. my father was a wood worker and owned a furniture refinishing business when i was younger. I picked up a few more skills when i owned some rental property in Binghamton but my interested in wood and furniture hadn't fully developed until i randomly ended up in a few wood/design courses. i loved it! It was almost competitive to me. But the program suffered effects from premature birth and wasn't fully developed. So i left in frustration and became a welder to afford my expensive hobby.

How did you come up with your store name?
When i was enrolled in the academic arena i was excited to be around so many motivated and enthused individuals. After many conversation and the sharing of interests a small group of us proposed the idea of starting a haberdashery. A bit of a European style and Anglo Norman, notions such as thread, buttons, linens etc and small wears. So when we were all in the studio we would shoot names out. Since the shop was to focus on men's and women's wear i played with ideas trying to encapsulate both. Thus Wolfe & Rabbit was born. As for the haberdashery... no one wanted to work, take the risk, invest or do anything other than day dream. So i fled that establishment to embrace the endless vacancy of the east side.

Dog Kennel Dog Bed Pet Accessory

What inspires you?
Seeing the results of theory, determination, and practice only to be completely destroyed and to continue with the grand lesson of "never do that again". Anyone who has pushed their abilities, skills, fought with rational criticism and has produce work that will survive them self with the endless existence of their struggle going unnoticed.

What is the best thing about having a etsy shop?
Its a window to other makers i would otherwise never know of their existence, their work and accept the seriousness of my products niche. If i am going to succeed i will need to make obvious separation in my niche and produce a substantially unique item. Because all the favorites in the world are not going to make my hobby a full time job.
End Table Coffee Table Peruvian WalnutStool End Table Primitive Rustic
How do you promote your work to the world?
Sadly I have limited exposure. Beside etsy and a few makers markets I've been to and the up coming Elmwood arts festival, I plan to set up a blog soon and within the next two years a web site.

What is the hardest part about selling online?
You lose the tactile experience. You're stripped of your ability to truly experience an item. For instance, my wood eye wear are not an investment you would carelessly execute. The eye wear is a sensitive item you want to feel comfortable in as well as confident. I do offer a guarantee fit online. Whatever i need to do to adjust the fit i will. I want my frames to be out mingling with the public. My wood frames become rich with age but in order for the wood to mature it needs you, your oils and constant wear.

 Wood Eye Glasses Eye Wear Sunglasses RX With Leather case
Where can your work be found locally?
I will be at the Elmwood festival come Aug 24 and 25. Or you can work directly with me to build your custom frames.

Thanks for sharing your amazing work with us Ericc!  If you live in Buffalo and would like to be featured on the blog please contact me for more information!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters, Vol. 20 The Hazards of Living in a Groupon Economy

I've written about this in the past, but I'm curious to find out if other people are experiencing it too. I've noticed a definite uptick in bargain-seeking and price haggling at shows this year.

Not that it's anything new. I clearly remember one of the first times it happened to me. I was set up at the Colden Art Festival, a late-September, one-day show in "downtown" Colden at that time. It was a stormy day and my make-shift display was not holding up to the wind, so I had work spread out on the ground. A guy picked up one of my Polaroid transfers, which were quite popular at the time, and asked about the process. I explained how it was made and he replied: "I don't care about the image, but I'm interested in the process, will you take $5 for it?" I was mortified and said "NO!"

20 years later, in a much better tent, with a completely different body of work, I'm hearing echos of that sentiment. "I LOVE this little ($68) painting! It would be PERFECT for my boat! Will you take $50 for it?" 


Now don't get me wrong. I'm not completely opposed to offering discounts. I have a bit of a cushion built into the prices of my higher end work just for that reason. But I'm not going to drop the price of a smaller piece by 30 to 40 percent just to make a sale!

Is the Groupon Economy destroying us?

Is the constant influx of "Save over 60%", "50% OFF!", "Never Pay Retail Again" offers undermining pricing strategy as we know it?

Please share your thoughts and experiences.

Until next time - keep creating!