Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Support is Key

We had to take a step back for most of July through September this year due to family emergencies. My mother-in-law went from being self sufficient and still working at the age of 76 to being in need of assistance. Through trial and error we found out that she suffered a mini-stroke and that she'd been having them for years. Just when we thought we had it figured out, she had another set back and had to be placed in a nursing home. We're now dealing with mid-level dementia. So the Etsy shop, our consignment shops, and even our brick and mortar store had to take a back seat.

Natural Lavender Exfoliating Soap
by Crimson Hill Soaps and Scents 
We've been struggling just to get things done. So much so that we have cancelled out of all but one craft show this year; and that one is the one that we help set up, promote and run. I don't know about my husband but I'm really missing the circuit. We always make new friends and catch up with old ones. Not to mention that it was time we got to spend together.

Washer Key Chain or Pet Id Tag
by Curiously Sappy
The game plan has had to change for the last three months of this year. We are concentrating on restocking our inventory, developing new items, revamping old, organizing the gift fair, and getting back into the swing of running the online shop. I'm reconnecting with the teams that I had to put on hold. In the previous two posts I've introduced you to the Etsy D Listers Team and the Promotional Frenzy Team. The next team that has helped keep us running is the Kansas Etsy Team.

Flower Elastic Headband
by Leah's Little Bowtique
The Kansas Etsy Team is a group of artists, crafters and vintage collectors that live in Kansas. Members of this team help promote and just give good advice that is relevant to the area and it's markets. In prior years members were able to meet the other members in person at the area craft shows. This year members have had the opportunity to meet up at several meet and greets, a trunk show and a craft show. The trunk show and craft show featured artists from Kansas Etsy Team and other local Etsy Teams from the area. To drive creativity we also have a bi-monthly challenge to create an item that fits a theme that is chosen by the winner of the previous challenge.

Ceramic Large Sunflower Vase
by GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts

Etsy is such a large market place that I'm glad it has encouraged the development of teams along the way. Each of the teams that I have featured in this and the previous two posts provide us with something different that we need to keep going. The Etsy D Listers gave me the support I needed when I was clutching at straws and ready to throw in the towel. It continues to give me a sense of community and a way to help others that are in the same position that I was in. The Promotional Frenzy Team gave the knowledge and support I needed to find different ways to get my products out there. I can't wait to get everything settled so I can help mentor new members. And finally, the Kansas Etsy team gives me a sense of home, local and regional connections. I can't wait to see what we can put together for next year, because I want to participate a whole lot more.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Patience and Diligence (Part II)

If you read my last post, you know that 2010 ended a little flat for GrapeVine Ceramics & Gifts on Etsy. It was time to create a new plan and follow through. 

Inspirational Keepsake Box
available at GrapeVineCeramicsGft

That's when I joined another Etsy Team -  the Promotional Frenzy Team, this team is all about promotion. You get what you give with this team. Participation is key! I was introduced to the team by Mandy from Inspired Designs aka Heartstrings by Janice, through of all things a team BNR (Buy and Replace). I was listed in this BNR for less than 30 minutes and sold an item that I didn't even have a formal listing of in my shop. I decided that I needed to check this out.

Heart Charm Necklace
by HeartstringsByJanice
While Mandy is no longer with the team, I decided to stay and have tried to be an active participant. I've had the opportunity to promote myself as well as cross-promote others. Since joining the team, I've been pushed to create a blog, list an item a week, promote myself and treasuries. There have been workshops on improving photography and  shop critques. I've met great people, who as in the Etsy D Listers Team are just trying to find their way and succeed.

I dug in really hard and added the Promotional Frenzy Team strategies to what my existing plan. By the end of May, I had met my goals for the year. I had sold 25 items and have been able to maintain at least 50 items in the shop.

Tulips - Blank Floral Fine Art Card
by Painted Memories by Ros
She purchased the first item I ever sold in a BNR

What I really like about the Promotional Frenzy Team is they are always evolving. Promotion is the name of the game and when the field changes so do they.