Thursday, December 17, 2009

Twitter Basics ~ Tweet Your Heart Out!

The social networking world can be confusing, even overwhelming to many who have not used social networking sites before. With so many choices, it is hard to decide which one to use to make connections and talk about your craft. Twitter is a great place to start!

What is Twitter anyway?

Twitter is a fast paced networking tool that can really spread the word about you, your love of your craft, and what's new in your Etsy shop simply by answering the question "What's happening?".  Twitter offers the opportunity for "micro-blogging" with a short status update of what is going on at the present moment.  Each user gets a profile, where all your tweets are shown. You follow other tweeters to see their tweets and vice versa.

Some Basics:

  • Answer "What's happening?" as often as you like. However, you only have 140 characters to do it! There are several ways around this limit by using common abbreviations and shortening long urls. (Several sites that can help you shorten long urls are and

  • If you see a tweeter asking a question or want to comment on a tweet, click the reply button below their tweet. This will automatically put the user name in your status bar (@userwhomever). Whatever you write in your status will be then posted to your profile for all to see as well as the intended user.

  • Wondering if anyone answered the question you just tweeted? Look to the right column. There you will find your username just under "home". By clicking your user name you will see all who replied to or mentioned you in their tweets. It is always nice thank some one for retweeting something and even better to return the favor and spread some love!

Direct Message (DM)
  • If you want to respond to a tweeter without it being posted to your profile, you can direct message a user. Think of this as a mini email- your followers will not be able to see this message. DMs are also limited to 140 characters so keep it brief!

Retweets (RT)
  • Want to share another tweeters tweets with your own followers? Just click the retweet button below their tweet to retweet their message.  This will automatically mention the user and post it your profile.

  • Following a user means you will see their status updates on your "home" page each time they update and those who choose to follow you will also be able to see your updates. There are many ways to find people of interest to follow. You can use the search bar in the right column for keywords and/or hashtags. Hashtags (#) make it easy to search twitter for specific topics and to tag your own tweets so they appear in searches. For instance, if you found a handmade item that you love on etsy (a common occurence!) then you might tweet- "Just found an awesome #handmade felt dog on #Etsy!" The next time some one searches "handmade" or "Etsy", your tweet will appear in that search.

  • You may also use a third party application or other websites to find tweeters to follow. There are many out there and more being added quite frequently. Some sites also allow you to bulk follow and unfollow. Just be careful as twitter sets limits for you on how many people you my follow. Once you follow 2,000 tweeters you need to have at least 2,000 followers in order to follow more.
Try these sites for starters:

If you have reached your limit you can choose to use a site like to bulk unfollow. This site allows you to bulk unfollow those who are bots (not real people!), spammy, haven't used their accounts in a while or are not following you back. Sounds a little childish, not following those who don't follow back, but in the twitter world there is not much loyalty in that sense. Don't take it personally! You are not obligated to follow all you follow you. Find people of similar interests and who you will enjoying chatting and making friends with!

Using Twitter:

I have made sales on twitter, and love to share what is going on in my shop. However, there is a line between posting links to your shop occassionally and being spammy. Twitter is fast paced, but only posting links to new items every few seconds won't be helpful to you or your shop. I have made some wonderful friends and connections there and enjoy promoting other shops, retweeting items that I like myself, offering inspirational quotes or silly things that happened during the day. To me twitter is about making friends and showing people what I am up to. If you use twitter only to promote your shop, you may find yourself being unfollowed for it. Keep it real and you will find yourself making some really great friends! :)

And if you want to tweet along with me join me @Saraswatijewels. Happy tweeting!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Forum Decorum, Or How To Get the Most from the Etsy Community by Laura of MAB Jewelry

The Etsy Forums can be found under the community tab on the main etsy menu. They offer a fantastic place to mingle and interact with other etsians, ask questions, get tips from pros, promote your shop, and just hang out and socialize. I’ve learned so much while grazing the Forums, and had a great deal of fun along the way. However, etsy does have a set of rules concerning posting in the Forums. Many of them are common sense, but a few can be a bit tricky when you’re new.

The Forums are divided into eleven sections:

  • Announcements, usually from Etsy admin on updates or problems with the site
  • Site help, a great place for advice on any questions you have about setting up shop, listing and selling
  • Business topics, discussion about running your small business, ideas, tips, etc.
  • CPSIA, discussion on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act
  • Critiques, giving and receiving criticism and praise about yours and others’ shops
  • Techniques & Materials, talk about your art and what you use to make your art
  • Teams & Events, sections for etsy street teams and events
  • Ideas, have an idea that might improve etsy? Bring it up here!
  • Bugs, report a strange occurrence or error, and see if others are experiencing the same problem
  • Promotion, a great place to promote your shop, sales, listings or find something you’re looking for
  • Etc., the water cooler of etsy where you can socialize with a wonderful mix of people

As for the Dos and Don’ts:

  • Common sense: Etsy is basically your workplace. Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say out loud in front of people in a work environment. There is no room for meanness, insults, harassment or general nastiness. These are real people you’re talking with. There’s no reason to intentionally say something hurtful. You have a bit more leeway in the Etc. section, and can play and debate a little more. But always remember that buyers can also access the Forums. Nothing you say is invisible. Everything you say becomes permanent record.
  • Calling out: Never reference or name a specific shop, listing or transaction. This includes sales, purchases, feedback and convos. If you have a problem with a listing or shop, flag it for etsy administration. If you have a problem with a buyer or seller, including feedback, convos or emails, contact or Imagine if someone had a problem with you or your shop and started a thread discussing it for all to see?
  • You have to be eighteen to use Etsy’s Forums.
  • You cannot ask for charitable donations or link to a commercial website off of etsy, including auctions or other online sales sites.
  • Don’t create a fake or sock puppet account just to say something in the Forums. If you don’t want the comment attached to your name, then you probably shouldn’t say it.
  • Don’t promote a listing for your shop in a Forum thread that has nothing to do with promoting. Nothing turns people off faster than uncalled for spam, and a lot of sellers in those threads are also potential buyers.
  • If you start a thread, try and put it in the right section.

Now, go forth and communicate with this great bunch of people. There’s a lot of knowledge and fun to be had!
Click here for etsy’s official site dos and don’ts.


This post was by Laura from MAB Jewelry. She really hit all the essentials when it comes to the forums! Thanks Laura for your awesome input! You can check out Laura's lovely shop here:

And please don't forget to search the forums for any topic before you post! More often that not some one has had a similar question! You might even find the answer right away without needing to post your own! :)


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tag You're It! - Maximize Your Tag Potential

I have been seeing a lot of tag related questions lately and thought this would be a great topic to address, especially during the busy holiday season! Because we want our shops exactly that, busy!

Tagging does seem to be an elusive art but with a little thought and creativity it can be one of the most useful tools for driving traffic to your shop! I have compiled a few tips that you may find helpful when you are tagging your items on Etsy.

After you have tagged your items appropriately in the main categories and subcategories, you can move on to the more descriptive tagging. Some tips to consider.....

  • Be Honest- (Not only important in life but essential in tagging too!) Tag your items as relevantly as you can. Customers are looking for an item specific to their search and can be easily frustrated with mistagged items. If they are looking for a sweater and find your jewelry tagged as such, they are no more inclined to look at your shop. This is also against Etsy policy. :(   Not clear on etsy policy? Check in here under "tagging".
  • Make sure to use ALL the 14 tags! - Each tag is a little path to your shop so don't waste them! The more tags, the greater the chance people will see your shop and the items you offer. 


  • Get creative! - Etsy has some awesome suggestions on tagging. Read that here to get the juices flowing. Go ahead and use the thesaurus if you run out of ideas, just don't leave a tag blank!
  • How would you search?- Think about how you would search for an item like yours. What keywords would you use to locate an item?  
To start try:

Using Descriptive Colors - bright red, aqua, beige, mauve, maroon, chartreuse, forest green, brown

Using Temperature- hot, cool, fiery, warm, frosty, cold

Using Texture- velvety, soft, feathery, rough, silky, luminous, cloudy, clear

Using Moods- dreary, lonely, happy, fierce, bold, dark, humorous

Using Styles- bohemian, goth, edwardian, mod, hipster, elegant, chic, etc.......!

You can even use your shop name in there or special promotion you might be having (BOGO, Free gift, etc.) The choices are limitless!

  • Still need more ideas?- Check out Craftweasel's Tagfinder a great tool to help you tag your items, generate graphs of popular tags, item views and more!

 The added perk of descriptive tags is that is greatly enhances your chance of landing treasuries too! Sellers often search for a cohesive style, color, or mood for treasuries. So tag, your it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to handle a non-paying Paypal buyer by Laura of MAB Jewelry

Sooner or later, when selling on etsy, you’re probably going to encounter a Paypal buyer who does not pay. There are several reasons for this:

  • They may be new to the etsy site, and not understand the Paypal paying procedure. 
  • They may have committed to buy without knowing that they have purchased something and are required to pay for it. 
  • They may have changed their mind after committing to buy. 
  • They may even just forget to complete the transaction. 

It’s best to have a statement in your shop policies clearly stating how long you will wait for payment. Mine says three days, but I usually give them a week. Here is one way to handle this situation.

After something in your shop sells, always check the etsy invoice to make sure your item was paid for. If the box says, Pay now with Paypal, the buyer has not paid. Also, check your Paypal account. Occasionally, etsy has had glitches where the customer has paid, but the payment hasn’t registered in the etsy system, so it’s best to double check. Never ship an item until it has been paid for.

If your Paypal account shows no payment for the sale, convo the buyer. Say something like, “Thanks for ordering the widget from my etsy shop. I will ship this item as soon as your Paypal payment posts. It hasn’t posted yet. You can pay now by clicking the ‘Pay now with Paypal’ button on your receipt. Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of any help. I appreciate your business.” Include a link to the etsy receipt for them.

Wait a day or so, and send another e-mail to their direct e-mail account. Their e-mail address is on your etsy receipt that you receive as an e-mail. Sometimes, buyers don’t check their etsy account convos, and they may not know there’s a problem until they receive a direct e-mail from you. You can use wording similar to the convo above. You can also send a Paypal invoice to them through Paypal.

If you still don’t hear back from your customer, wait another day or so, and send a final e-mail and convo, stating that you will have to cancel the sale if you don’t receive their payment by a specific date.

If you don’t receive payment by that date and the customer doesn’t answer your requests, you’ll have to cancel the sale. Relist the item, and leave feedback if you’d like to. I don’t leave negative feedback for non-paying buyers if I don’t hear back from them. I figure that they’ve either changed their minds or are new to etsy and haven’t figured out the process yet, and give them the benefit of the doubt. Many sellers choose to leave negative or neutral feedback for non-paying buyers. Feedback is entirely up to you. Then, choose the “Cancel a sale” option under items on the Your etsy screen and follow the directions there for a non-payment transaction. Your fees will be refunded for the listing and the sale.

Unfortunately, this is a lot of work for a non-sale, but buyers occasionally make mistakes, too. Etsy can be a confusing place when you’re new, and people sometimes have legitimate reasons for not paying. It’s always better to approach any customer politely and patiently. They will remember any positive experience, and will be more likely to shop etsy in the future if even a non-paying experience is a relatively good one. Plus, it happens to most of us eventually. Yes, it can be frustrating, but try your best to use tact and kindness. We have all made mistakes. Take care of the situation, and keep on keeping on!

About Laura:
I've only been selling my jewelry on etsy for six months, but I've tried to research the most pleasant and efficient way to do things. It has certainly been a wonderful learning experience, and etsians are always quick to help out whenever you encounter something puzzling. I've met a lot of wonderful people here, sellers and buyers.

Here's my shop link:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Your Tax and Business Questions Answered! Tax Time with Valorie

Hi there!  It's coming up soon: tax time!  Some look forward to it, some dread it.  I thought it would be a good time to mention something to make you think.

We all know that owning a business puts a stress on us at tax time.  We search and scrounge for deductions because every little bit helps us, right?  The more deductions we have, the better!  For most of us, this is absolutely true! What I want to address is a common deduction that you may want to reconsider:  the Business Use of Home Deduction.

* Business Use of Home:  This deduction is calculated on the square footage of your home versus the square footage of your office.  A percentage is used to decide which part of your mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc are a business expense.  The office space is also depreciated.  For most people, this results in a nice tax deduction. Deducting the cost of a home office is a great way to reduce your income and resulting tax liability but you may want to consider this:  Once you claim your home office or studio as a business deduction, it in effect becomes business property.

It means nothing much for now in that it's just a room in your home that you use as an office or studio.  However, if say, 5, 10, even 20 years from now, you decide to sell your home, that room comes into play.  For one thing, when you claim it as a deduction on your taxes, your basis in the home is reduced by the amount you depreciated. Please keep in mind that once you claim the space as business space,  it doesn't matter if you refuse to depreciate it.  IRS codes provide that you use allowed or allowable depreciation to determine basis.  Basically this means that if it was allowed to be depreciated but wasn't, you still deduct the amount you would have taken.  This adds to the profit by the sale of your home.  Normally this wouldn't matter much because the IRS lets you exclude most or all of your profit from sale of the home on your taxes.

However, part of the home is business property.  Even if you haven't had business in ages, that small part of your home is still considered business property.  This means you get to fill out the lovely form 4797, Sale of Business Property and a percentage of your selling price is not excludable income.  You are in effect incurring a business gain.  Ouch, right?  It's not something you think about at tax time but you really should.  This same problem occurs when claiming auto expense deductions and you depreciate your vehicle. You can talk to your tax advisor before making any decisions or refer to the IRS website,  for more information or IRS Publication 587, Business Use of your Home.   Here are some links :

Info on Business Use of Home deduction:

Pub 544, Sales and other Dispositions of Assets:

Please keep in mind that this blog is just to advise you that you should think about it before you act.  Your best course of action is always to consult your tax advisor or accountant.  I really hope this helps!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pimp Your Facebook Page! Your Guide To Customizing and Applications

So now that you have finally created that Facebook account....what next? How do you make your page stand out as your own?

Many of your questions have inspired this little guide to some of the most used applications and ways to customize your Facebook page. Here are few which allow you to promote your shop on your business page and/or personal page with shop widgets, pictures, links and more!

Promoting Your Shop:

  • My Etsy - A great way to promote your shop. When you use this application you can create another tab in your profile just for your Etsy shop. When a fan clicks the tab, your shop is there with your Etsy banner, a wonderful gallery view and direct links to your shop. There is even a "share" button beneath each item in case they are inspired to share it on their own pages!

  • My Stuff - A neat application that allows you to post html codes (like your etsy mini), video, music players, images and more to your profile page. 
  • Etsy Shop - This application is very much like an Etsy mini or widget that you can add to your personal page and/or your fanpage. It shows up on your profile page in the column to the left. You can set it up to display your shop items randomly or by the most recent addition. When someone clicks on an item it takes them directly to the item in your shop.

*To install applications you need to click "go to application" and click "allow." Very often you need to revisit the specific application page and click "add to page" for it to show up.

Linking Your Blog To Facebook:

  • Have a blog and want it to automatically post to your facebook wall? Try importing your blog through networked blogs. After installing this application your blog posts will automatically feed to your profile page of your choice. People can follow you, comment, and you don't need to take an extra step to link to your blog posts!

Linking Your Facebook to Twitter:

  • If you love social networking and also have a twitter account, linking your facebook to twitter is a great option to share all your Facebook posts with your twitter fans. Each time you publish anything to your wall, a photo album update, a link, or a new status, it will automatically feed to your twitter. If your post is too long for twitter it will abbreviate it and add a link!
These are just a few of the useful applications you can find for your facebook page. So explore, promote and have fun!

How To Create A Facebook Fanpage For Your Etsy Shop

Putting off making a facebok fanpage? Or just finding facebook hard to navigate and can't figure out how to get your fanpage started?

Here is a quick tutorial to get you on your way!

The main confusion on facebook has been the business page vs. personal page. A fanpage for your business is completely separate from your personal page, although you can access both from one account.

Let's start at the very beginning.

  • Don't have a facebook account yet? Go to and click "sign up" to create one. Follow directions from there to create your personal account, then check back here and follow the rest of this list.
  • If you already have a personal facebook page go to without signing in. On the main page you will see "create a page for your band or business." Click! 

  • Enter how you wish your shop to be categorized and make sure your page name is your Etsy shop name. Click "create page" and get going! 
  • Now you can to fill in all of your info about your shop, your website links, upload photos of your items and much more!
  • Once your page is set up you will want to get yourself some fans by clicking on the "suggest to friends" link to your left under your avatar photo. (See below)

There you go! Good luck with your new page!

One more quick tip. Once you navigate away from your fanpage it can be hard to find again! Just look to the very bottom left of your personal page and click on the little blue icon to the right of "applications" (pages tab). There it is!

Join me for future posts about facebook and Etsy applications, importing your blog and linking your facebook page to twitter! Make sure to write me on facebook so I can fan your page!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Treasury 101! Snatch your own!

Are you finding the treasury to be an elusive torment? New to Etsy and not even sure what a treasury is? You are in the right place!

What is a treasury?

A treasury is a temporary gallery of items curated by Etsy sellers. Items are often chosen with a theme, color, or emotion in mind. You can enter the treasury section through Etsy's front page under "explore."

How do I get one?

Here is treasury 101 for those who want to snatch a treasury for themselves. You are going to love the rush when you get one!

1. Go to and click on the "treasury clock." This is an awesome site where you can see how much time is left before a treasury opens. After a treasury is created, it expires in 2 days. To land a treasury yourself, you need to wait until the number of treasuries is below 333.

2. You might see that a treasury won't open for  hours, or a even day on the treasury clock. So check back near the time the next opening is scheduled.

3. In the meantime, have fun preparing your item gallery on Poster Sketch, a useful tool that allows you to enter items just like the treasury! (Just bookmark the link and all your items are automatically saved when you come back to it.)

4. Come up with an interesting theme, favorite color, food, song, anything! Then search on Etsy to find items that compliment it. Once you find an item you like, find the listing number of the item (under stats) and copy and paste it into poster sketch. Rinse, repeat!

5. When you near the time the next treasury is to open, head back to Craftopolis and check the clock. (Have your poster sketch ready in another window.) Once the needle is in the red zone it is time to click on it. This takes you directly to the treasury list.

6. Now here is the important part.....don't refresh the page! Can you see when the lists expire? It will most likely be a matter of minutes. Your page automatically refreshes and you can loose your chance when you refresh. So hang out and wait patiently, it is worth it! Scroll down to the bottom of the page where is says "the treasury is full."

This is where the magic happens when the treasury opens so keep your eyes on it. As soon as a treasury has opened, it will prompt you for your title. I like to have my treasury title copied already so when it opens up I can just paste it in and go! Copy and paste your poster sketch listings in the treasury and there you have it!

Good luck and have fun. A word of warning- treasury highs can be addicting!

Now it is time to show it off in the forums once it is done. Do a forum search for "treasury" and share yours with others. And don't forget to take some time out to comment and look at other treasuries!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Your Tax and Business Questions Answered! Q&A with Valorie

I am so excited to have Valorie Clifton as guest blogger today! She will be answering your tax and business questions on occasional posts in this blog. The first question today is.......

Q.  What is a tax ID?

A.  A state tax ID number is issued by your state's Department of Revenue when you register for sales tax and use returns.  You should check with your state for specific rules since each state has their own requirements.   This tax ID number identifies you to your state as a business.  Registration is simple and free and can be done online.  Your Department of State website will have their state specific rules concerning sales tax returns.  Most small businesses online will use a quarterly format.  This tax ID number comes on a certificate (my state has orange certificates) and you can photocopy them for use!!   Keep the original in a safe place at home.

Let me explain:  if you go to a retailer --let's say... Hobby Lobby for jewelers--  and present this signed tax certificate copy to their customer service desk, they register you in their little tax free book as a business.  Sometimes they give you a little card with numbers on it.   Now, each time you purchase a component- an item that is used in your jewelry such as beads, clasps, wire, etc- you can purchase them sales tax free.  You can purchase supplies that are made for resale tax free because the state figures they will recoup the tax on your finished product.  Consumables are not eligible for the tax free treatment. (ie flux for welders or consumable supplies that aren't in the finished product.).  Neither are office supplies.  Don't abuse the system or they will fine you!  This means you can't use the certificate for personal use items.  If buying beads for yourself do not use it or you will have to repay the State.  You do not have to tell the state on your return which items were purchased tax free as long as it is used for business purposes.  Keep a record for yourself because if you convert your business use items to personal use and you bought them tax free, you will have to pay a use tax on them later.  We may delve into use taxes in another blog.  Stay tuned! :)

About Valorie: 
My name is Valorie Clifton and I own Valorie Clifton's Artisan Originals, and I make jewelry and sell photographic prints in my Etsy shop.  I also have an Artfire shop and my own website which needs updating.  I work for a major national tax preparation company as a bookkeeper and as a tax preparer.  I perform corporate, business, and personal tax services.  I'm doing this blog independent of my employer.  

My websites are:  

Want to ask Valorie a question? Post it here!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Part 3 - Crop til' You Drop - Better Photos, Better Sales

Welcome to part 3!

Now that we have the general technical stuff out of the way, let's talk composition. Although this part can be very subjective, here are a few things to think about when setting up your photos.

Props and Background:

  • If you do choose to use props go for something relevant, simple and not distracting. Your beautiful work should be the focus of the photo, not a noisy pattern or detailed environment.
  • You want the colors of your background to compliment the colors of your item. It was once suggested to me to consult the color wheel. If my item was one color, I was to find a color on the opposite end of the spectrum to contrast it. Honestly, after great trial and error, I have found solid white, black, or neutral colors work best for me! My motto: keep it simple!
Other random bits:
When photographing dark items I tend to put them on a white background and vice versa for light items. For jewelry, I like to put gold on a white background with a little higher EV setting and silver on black or gray background with a slightly lower EV setting.


  • This is the part where you need to get creative! Get as close to your item as you can and experiment with how many different ways you can take your photo. 
  • Etsy allows you to upload 5 photos. Use them! All the photos need to be different and show your product from various sides. Show the back, front, top, bottom and inside if there is one. If you use a prop, have one with a prop and one on its own. Remember, customers cannot touch and feel your item. They will need to do this with their eyes and it is up to you to give them some eye candy (and a true representation of your product)!

Ok it is time to use your photo editing software!


  • One of my secret weapons for great composition? Crop close. Really close. Yep that's it! It works very well for photos of small items. If you used your macro setting, there should be wonderful crisp detail, so the closer you crop the closer you "zoom" into it.
  • Just like you need to experiment with angles, experiment with your cropping. If you have a photo of your item in full, try cropping part of the item to create interest and show detail- similar what I have done with my Halo bracelet below.


Adjusting Your Photos Further (a few more tips!):

  • If you feel your photo is a little dark, go ahead and lighten it up bit with the "fill light/exposure" and "highlight" option. You can also add shadow to overexposed photos and play with the contrast to find the right balance. Just don't go too far or your photo will look unnatural! Once again, if you need to adjust the photo too much, it is better to take it again.
  • I always like to bring up the highlights for a brighter sheen. I would rather increase the highlights on a photo that is slightly underexposed than begin with an overexposed photo. Sometimes neither works and I am back to the drawing board! 
  • To perfect your photos further, find the "sharpness" option in your software. I always sharpen just a little bit to get crisper edges to my photos. 
  • Very often on Etsy the photos tend to look washed out when you upload them. Want those colors to really pop? After you adjust your photo and like what you see, head over to "saturation". Increase the saturation a little more than you think matches the true color. When you upload it to Etsy you will find that eye popping color you were looking for! 

Taking product photos is an ongoing process for all of us, including myself! I am still constantly experimenting to find new ways to take my photos. However, I do hope this helps you help you understand the basic ways you can improve your photos. There will definitely be more on this topic in the future!

If you have questions you would like to be addressed in the blog feel free to comment and let me know. Thanks so much to all who have given me so much feedback already. Keep it coming!

And stick around for our next posts on promoting your items, landing a a treasury, and tax info from a special guest blogger!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Part 2 - Crop til' You Drop - Better Photos, Better Sales

Part 2- Your Camera

Ah, if only it were that easy to just point and click!

This might be obvious to some, but checking out that nifty little book that comes with your camera can be a great resource to the settings and functions your camera has!  :) Because I want to keep these tips simple, I will address the two functions that I feel are most important when I take my photos.


  • For those taking photos of jewelry or other small items with detail, macro mode is essential! Macro mode allows you to take photos very close to the item and with extreme detail instead of just zooming in. I always use macro when I photograph my jewelry in order to capture tiny components and subtle textures that would otherwise be blurry in the normal setting.
  • To find macro mode on your camera go to the "menu" of your camera. (Consult nifty book.) Macro mode is generally easy to find and most often depicted by a flower symbol.
  • Macro mode replaces the need to zoom in. Zooming in addition to macro can make your photo too blurry. Remember, macro already allows you to get very very close to your object. Try photos at various distances to see what works for you. (It is ok if you are a little farther away but getting a nice photo. We can crop it closer later! )


  • EV or "exposure value" has to do with how much light goes into the camera lens. With this setting you can adjust the exposure before you take your photo.
  • You will see the letters EV or a -/+ symbol for this function on your camera. Before you shoot, you may notice that your object is brighter than you would like it. Adjust the EV lower (minus sign) to darken the photo. If you find you are taking pictures on a rainy day and the object seems too dark, adjust it upwards (plus sign) to allow more light.
  • This is definitely a function you will need to experiment with, but you will begin to see how much you need to adjust in certain situations. Remember it is digital so feel free take numerous photos!

One more tip before you shoot! When you turn your camera on do you see a little square in the middle of your screen? Gently hold down the shutter button halfway and note the color of the square now. If you press the button half way before you shoot, you give the camera time to adjust and the light will turn green. Press down fully to take your photo. If you are not in an optimal setting, the little square will be red to warn you. Lift your finger, adjust your distance or settings and try again. Isn't technology great?!

Join me in my next post where we get into the juicy details of cropping, aesthetics and how to edit your photos to get those colors to pop!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Crop til' You Drop - Better Photos, Better Sales - Part 1

I am sure you have heard this one before- Improve your photos and improve your sales! 

As many of us are not photographers, we can often struggle with the best way to take product photos. Do I need expensive equipment? A light box? A tripod? How can I take photos that are crisper? Brighter? Should I adjust my photos? With what program?

I would like to share with you what works for me. My suggestions may not work for everyone, but I have been successful with these methods and I hope it will renew confidence to those working toward better photos. I am not a photographer and it took me some time to figure out what works best. Keep experimenting and don't give up!

So let's start from the very beginning. What you need and don't need!


  • No you do not need an expensive digital camera! I have seen many fabulous photos taken on inexpensive cameras. It is possible! I use a Casio Exilim and it works well for me. I experimented a lot with lighting and different settings to find the best combination for the photos I wanted.
  • Tripods can be useful but not essential. I have a table tripod that I use for some, not all photos. Remember, the steadier your camera is, the crisper the photo. I bought a little tripod for 9.99 online! 
  • Props and elaborate setups can often be distracting in a photo. Keep the focus on your product and keep the background simple. One prop or a solid color paper that compliments your item tends to work best.  Try buying a few large (neutral or white) colored papers to photograph your item on.


  • Many sellers like to use a lightbox. I believe it is especially convenient if you are in an area where you do not get a lot of natural light or cannot take your photos during the day. However, I love use natural light for my photography. 
  • I like to take photos indoors next to a bright window before noon or in the afternoon. (You can take photos in the direct sunlight, however, they can often be harsh and over exposed.) I avoid the direct sunlight on the object by closing the shade a bit. Some of my brightest and crispest photos were taken in a "shady" setting then brightened a bit in photo editing software. 

Photo editing software:

  • There are a bunch out there! Once again, you do not need to buy expensive software like photoshop to edit your photography. Most computers have their own software, and there are many you can download online like Picnik, Gimp, Picasa. I use Picasa as I find it simple and fun to use.
  • Just remember not to adjust your photos too much. If the photo needs a lot of adjustment, I recommend trying to photograph the item again. 
We will get into the nitty gritty specifics on how to use your camera settings, adjust your photos, and use your editing software to make your photos pop all in my next post! So stay tuned!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Social networking......get fearless!

I know many have fears, even aversions to social networking sites but they are wonderful tools to get your shop noticed, make some friends and spread the word about what you do! And the best part, it is free!!
If you are completely new to this, fear not. I will have a mini tutorial of facebook, twitter and blogging basics in the next few posts.

Let's start with a few sites....

Facebook: A social networking site that (to me) is terribly voyeuristic and fun to use! Post photos, update your status, let everyone see your every move! However, make sure to set up a business fanpage for your shop. This will be completely separate from your personal account and, for obvious reasons, is a good idea.

Twitter: Another great site for making friends and spreading the word! Short status updates on twitter are a form of micro-blogging. Let people know what your working on, post links to your items and chat it up with other artists and creators.

Blogging: Fun, therapeutic and a wonderful way to promote your work and keep people involved in your daily craft routine, your etsy adventures and present projects. Blog giveaways are great and one of my favorite things to do!

Social networking does take time and some initial effort to set up, but many will agree that it can really boost your presence and help get your shop known to people on an off Etsy. If you are overwhelmed at which one to choose, go for one that you feel comfortable with! There is no rule requiring you to join several sites (or even any at all!). Experiment with one you feel fits your style and put a little time into it each day.

Have limited time? Like it short and to the point? Tweet!

Really into posting pictures, your shop info, commenting on others work? Set up a facebook page.

Love to write? Have items that take you a long time to make and like to talk about the process? Blog about it! Feature some Etsy shops and spread the love!

I hope this gets you inspired to take the plunge. Stay tuned for future posts on setting yourself up on these sites and how to create a positive presence!

Welcome to The Pursuit Of Etsyness!

Welcome dear Etsians to The Pursuit Of Etsyness!

As a constantly developing artist and etsian, I thought it would be a great idea to gather all that I have learned in my short time on Etsy on a blog filled with thoughts, tips, tutorials and features. So many wonderful Etsy artists have helped me along the way, and I hope to be able to do the same by posting my adventures as I navigate the world of Etsy!

Future post topics to include:
-How to set up your social networks for more exposure
-Facebook, twitter tutorials
-How to take eye catching photos
-Blog success
-Finding your niche

I hope you will join me and take the time to post your own tips and comments! Guest bloggers are most surely welcome! If you might have an interesting tutorial, suggestions on how to improve shop traffic, or other Etsy related advice please contact me at I would love to hear from you!