Monday, March 30, 2015

Did I Really Just Quit My Job

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

A quote from Henry David Thoreau in answer to questions about why he decided to live in the woods for 2 years (which several years later, in 1854, he wrote about in the book Walden).

In a strange way I feel little bit of Thoreau in my blood. I’m now 8 months into my journey of leaving the “real world” and I've learned quite a bit more about life and myself.

Since my last post in November, I've made enough progress to keep the dream alive, yet by no means am I out of the woods – haha I had to throw that line in there!!

I finished 2014 with a strong showing at the St. Greg’s and Heim crafts shows and kept the momentum going as I headed into the new year. The hymnbook holder project I spoke of previously, turned out great and it looks like it may lead to more business this year.

On-line sales improved through December, but I realized that if I want to make a big difference I need to really upgrade my game in that area. With that in mind I sought the insight of EurekaGuides, an ETSY store, specializing in very thorough and direct critiques of Etsy stores.

I highly recommend this service to anyone who is looking for more insight than is possible, or sometimes helpful, through the forums or teams. I learned quite a bit from this critique.
Every single facet of the store is analyzed. 

The cost ($75) was well worth it to me and the increase in traffic was immediate after I started implementing some of the suggestions.

My retail molding endeavor, located on my DIY pictureframing website, went live a couple of weeks ago and I had my first sale after only 6 days! I’m hoping to turn that into a consistent revenue stream.

I’m still edgy about money, I still don’t have health insurance, and I've cut back on quite a few things. I wouldn't quite compare it to Thoreau's living off the land, but it's certainly a lot different than I was used to.

Luckily for me, my family and my girlfriend are very supportive and understanding.

I see progress though and can actually feel momentum building. Each day I wake up with a feeling of anticipation. Wondering what new opportunity will present itself. Spring always brings hope and re-birth and I'm sure that is some of what I'm feeling now, but not all of it. 

So, I’ll just keep planting the seeds of hard work, faith and a positive attitude and see what grows from that. 

If its not enough to live on, I can always come out the woods….

Until next time, stay positive and good luck to all!!

Buffalo Loves Vintage

Buffalo Loves Vintage curated by Buffalove on Etsy

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Treat Yourself : Luxury Items

We deserve to treat ourselves once and awhile. Maybe one of these items will catch your eye!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why I started my Etsy shop: Stories from the Buffalo Etsy Team

More than ever Etsy is connecting with individuals who want to sell their handmade and vintage items.  The Buffalo Etsy Team has seen a growth in members and with that a lot of new sellers want to know - how did you get started and why? So we asked some team members and here are their stories.

Jessie of Pigknit sells illustrated prints, clip art and other printables, and she's been selling on Etsy since 2012.

"I sell illustrated prints on Etsy. Years ago I opened an Etsy shop and listed a few items. I didn't know what I was doing, my listings were terrible, and after the unsold items expired I let my shop sit empty for years. It wasn't until a friend expressed interest in a series of alphabet prints I had designed that I decided to try listing them on my old shop. This time, with experience working in branding and marketing from my day job, I took Etsy more seriously and it paid off. I made my first sale within 2 days, and Etsy has since become a much bigger part of my life than I had ever anticipated."

Erica of PECollectibles and a team leader is a collector who sells vintage pieces ranging from jewelry to historic photos to books. She's been selling on Etsy since 2011.

"I am a vintage seller and have always had a passion for preserving history especially in Buffalo. This passion probably comes from my family who taught me about antiques and history beginning as a child. After having little financial success at flea markets and other selling venues, a friend suggested I sell on Etsy. Once I made my first sale I knew I could grow this into a nice part time business and it has been very enjoyable for me."

KitchStudios began in 2010.  Erin is a designer and screen printer who sells kitchen and home accessories including tea towels, table runners and other retro and vintage themed decor.

"My husband and I got started screen printing when we were both in touring bands and wanted to make our own merchandise. When I had my daughter, I let my recording contract run out and became a stay at home mom, while my husband ran our shop out of the Larkin building downtown.  When I found Etsy, I fell head over heels in love with their mission about hand made goods and decided to give it a go as a work from home mom. I started small with two tea towel designs and have grown every year since!"

Karin of KarinLorenc makes stoneware pottery coffee mugs, bowls, and serving pieces in bright modern colors.  She's been selling her pieces on Etsy since 2008.

"I've always loved working with clay. I started making pottery in my home after finding a rustic old kick wheel at a garage sale. I'm a minimalist so I couldn't keep everything for myself. I found Etsy almost 9 years ago, and I've been selling my mugs and bowls here ever since."

Jessica makes women's accessories including unique silk flower hair clips, bobby pins, earrings and necklaces. She opened her shop, Fast|crawl, in 2011.

"Mine is a story akin to the chicken and the egg; which came first? I don't remember if I had the idea for flower hair clips first or the materials, but at some point in 2011, I found myself in possession of two 100 gallon totes full of silk flowers, and Fast|crawl was born. I had found Etsy in 2008 through...StumbleUpon? Word of mouth? Sheer happenstance? and was hooked - I knew I had a ready made market, but didn't know where to begin. Four years later I'm still finding things to tweak, though my focus has shifted and I'm finding more business success. There would be no Fast|crawl if it weren't for the platform Etsy has provided."

Dan sells a wide range of handmade pieces including Concrete Decor, Original Art, Limited Edition Art & Photography Prints, Art Cards Editions and Originals (ACEOs), Jewelry and more.  He began his shop, DanDoroArtAndDesign, in 2009.

"I opened my Etsy Shop so that I could share my creative work online with a diverse array of people. My hope was to have others send feedback via conversations, favorites and purchases to learn what products of mine proved to have value in the eyes of others. Those hopes have been realized many times over and I am so grateful for having Etsy as a creative outlet. Much of my work includes rustic handcrafted concrete decor, paintings and illustrations."

Nicole of mealymonster makes creepy, strange, weird, and odd art dolls and creatures (as she describes them) using polymer clay and acrylic paint.  She started her Etsy shop in 2008.

"I put my artistic side on hold for a very long time in order to start a family. I found eEtsy back in 2008. I was looking for a place to reconnect with my artistic side and a creative community to share this journey with. Etsy fit the bill. Etsy inspired me to make art again and also offered a place to share and sell the art I was making."

Mary is a Buffalo Etsy Team leader who has been selling handmade wine charms in her shop, CharmedByWine, since 2011.

"I found Etsy in 2010 when I started planning my 2012 wedding. We didn't really have a wedding theme other than our black/ivory/burgundy colors, and that my family is Italian and naturally goes overboard with food and wine -- so we did end up incorporating some wine/vineyard aspects into our day. I found a really neat wine crate on Etsy to use as a card box, and I wanted to do wine charms as our favors -- but I hated all the designs I was finding! The charms themselves were made from weaker wire that bends out of shape easily, and a lot of the designs made it possible for beads to fall off the charm. To make it worse, nothing really reflected US as a couple. So, I designed and made my own!

1000+ wine charms and 3 months later, my fingers hurt and I had watched the entire Harry Potter series twice. I had leftover materials, and just started messing around with different designs other than the 6 I kept repeating for our guests. My "Vibrant Vino" wine charms were the first set I made for Charmed By Wine (which is why it is my profile photo!). Scared that wine charms would slowly take over my house, I officially opened my shop in November 2012. I love finding interesting beads and coming up with new designs, but my favorite part is helping people create something fun and unique for a gift or special event."

If you're new or want to start an Etsy shop, let us know. Looking for more work from Buffalo Etsy Team members? Visit the team's Buffalove Etsy page and the team's Facebook page.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pastels: Colors of Spring

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Fever in Buffalo!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

SALE!!! Buffalo Etsy Team is Spring Cleaning

Check out the items below that are on sale in Buffalo Etsy Team Member's shops!