Setting up shop again

#tags #branding #props #paperKrafts #store #etsystore #etsyshop #mybrand #bygothamchick

Resurrecting the shop seems to be taking a little more effort than I had expected.  Once upon a time I had opened PaperKrafts which, as the name implies, was all about papercrafted items.b in the short run that the shop was active, I think it did pretty week with the 8 sales I managed, and then it faded into oblivion.

I’ve been making cards for friends and have developed a new line of paper embellishments and have found myself with a bunch of untouched artisan handcrafted paper.  Add to that a newfound love for using pressed rose paper petals as elements for floral collage.. My crafty side kicked in and I decided I would give the shop another try.  

I have the first dozen cards ready to post, and I’ve been refining my write up template. I have also had to rewrite my shop policies and other shop sections, and that has taken a while to whip into shape. I want everything to be ironed out before I post anything, rather than post my items for sale and then backpedal to fix the parts of the shop that need fixing.

People may think running an online shop is done with just a click of a button and then a few keystrokes here and there, but a lot of thought and planning, usually by one person (me), goes into each and every listing. For now, my biggest hurdle are the photographs which I’m trying to produce, and which aren’t quite as simple as just taking a regular photo. You think of components to make up the entire presentation beyond just putting the card against a plain background or what not. So what to do?  Everyone is harping on natural lighting.. And that is what I am working with.

There’s also the hurdle of figuring out the correct shipping charges. While Etsy now offers calculated shipping, there is the problem of figuring out the initial package weight to start with.  This may seem such a small facet of the listing but I had to learn how important it was the hard way.  A recent sale in my other shop resulted in my absorbing a shipping cost way more than I had allocated as part of the shipping and handling fee.  When that happens, I have no choice but to cough up the difference as part of good customer service.  

While postage is non-negotiable, I am trying to keep the cost down by being creative with the shipping packaging.  The card itself is professionally packaged in a cello bag, but my cardboard backing going into the envelope is recycled Manila folder or other chip cardboard.  The envelope, I have announced, will be handmade packaging made out of colorful newspapers or magazines or Kraft paper and packaging inserts.  I just love how major retailers are now shifting from plastic bubble wrap to ecoFriendly paper stuffing.  

It’s not really a matter of creating everything from scratch.  Like I told my good friend, EhawkinsIllustration, there is a lot to be learned from others already selling on the site.  I encouraged her to view other listings and look at “Terms of Use” documents to be able to define her own.  And her shop is up and running.  Of course we all want to add a personal touch that is truly our own into our shops — and we all do that, but it is never a bad thing to learn from others.

I like browsing other shops, not just to look at what other sellers are doing, but also to find out what other have created and are offering for sale.  I am not just an etsy seller — I am also an etsy shopper.  We have a not so small community of small businesses that share a passion for the crafts that we pursue, as well as the entrepreneurial vibe that inspires us to try and make a dent in this world of thousands of like minded business men and women.

I often feel envious of those entrepreneurs who have quit their day job and are able to sustain themselves through their Etsy stores.  But I am also well aware that that jump requires a huge effort to make the running of an Etsy Shop seamless from posting to shipping, and of having a consistent presence online not only on Etsy but in the other channels of social media as well.

As far as that last bit, I’m trying.  I’ve learned that the “social” in “social media” actually means real-time socializing.  You cannot just sit on your account and expect others to follow you or bump into you through your hashtags and awe-inspiring tweets or photos on Instagram or Pinterest.  So I ventured out and found others, and while I haven’t quite topped even a 1000 followers in either forum, I’m learning that follow for follow actually works, and helps you to grow your network faster.  It takes effort and time, but it does produce results.

I’m working on it.. and I’m hoping to post soon..rebuilding the shop one brick at a time.

Midnight thoughts

Its past midnight and this is one Friday I am particularly exhausted but feeling fabulously good.  I had awoken from a semi-sleep remembering I still had my make up on. I was so deep into slumber that it took me a good half hour to finally open my eyes and get moving on the freshening-up-before-bed routine.  

Finally done.

Yet again, I am so deeply disappointed that my space here has lain dormant.  And every time I find the time to stop by here and write, I make another promise to rouse this corner of the web from its deep slumber.  Still trying.

Perhaps this time will be different. 

I just came back from a two-week trip to Manila, and although I purposely took it easy and tried my darnedest not to stress out about “seeing the sights,” I think I managed to make productive use of my time.  I had come armed with an arsenal of my own creations to give away as gifts.  My only regret is that I didn’t get to take pictures of all the pieces I created before they found a new home.

Like before, I wore my own creations and was flattered pink by the comments that were thrown my way.  It only convinced me all the more that I should continue to create and hopefully start selling again.  Well, that’s the plan.

In love with Blue Agate

Blue agate shoulder dusters I just love wearing.. Total drop approximately 3".. Flat faceted teardrop and rounded square beads.  Soon at the shop: Http://gothamchick.etsy.com #handmade #blueagate #blue #shoulderdusters #dropearrings #etsy #gothamchick #goI’ve been on a creative streak the last couple of weeks and have moved from crochetting undrilled gemstone nuggets to reviving my rosary bracelets to wiring agate slices.

Along the way, I’ve fished out some long-ago stashed away supplies and stumbled upon some new ones which continue to get me on road of experimentation that has produced quite a few creations I am very proud of.

Some are still “in development” which is that phase of production where even when you have a finished piece, you “test drive” the product by wearing it.  I do this for my more unusual pieces to what comments I get and if the integrity of the piece will hold together.

For the “conventional” designs, it goes straight from the production to photography to posting.

Pardon the grainy photo but there wasn’t enough light when I took it, I guess.  There are times when my iPhone cam is all I need to come up with a spectacular showcase, but other times, I’m reminded it IS just a phone cam.

I’ve been so enamored by these blue agate beads which I have found in various shapes and sizes in flat faceted form — and I have been wearing the above pair for a while now simply because I love it.  A real shoulder duster pair, the agates are very airy and light because although there are three major chunks of agate in this piece, they are held together rosary style by gold findings which makes them sway with you as you move about while wearing them.  They have a very regal shade of blue that makes you look and look a second time.  I don’t even have to add any other major embellishments and voila — such a statement piece.  Coming soon to the Etsy Shop, I have several configurations I’m putting together and hope to post this week..

The Store is slowly getting back on its feet again which is good.  It has taken me long enough to get back to tending it and growing the inventory again.  Traffic is picking up as well, which is good.  Now, if I can only make things pick up in this corner… (First, I have to keep posting, I know.)

Thanks for stopping by…

Things I have been up to

The previous week(s) have been rather busy but I’ve been trying to get things done on the creative front.  The will is there, but there are days when I am too exhausted or just need to skip the creative time altogether.  I know I must find the time, even just a few minutes each day, but not everything I want to do can be done with the snap of a finger.

But the point is, I’m trying.  It has given me a sense of accomplishment somehow.  It’s a concrete sign of being able to move forward, no matter how slow it may be.

The good news is that I  have been successful in keeping my art journal up to date, and as I’m writing this and trying to make some chicken salad of some leftover KFC, I am also working on some backgrounds that need “gesso”-ing. But more importantly, I’ve managed to scribble something rather regularly even if not literally every day.

My gesso is a little old so I’m thinning it with water. The idea is to cover the back of the layouts below because the black ink of the text and the color shadings had seeped into the back of the next page. I was initially thinking of covering it with chalkboard black paint, but I nixed that for gesso first. I still might do the background in all black — but I’m having second thoughts right now.

My first attempts at using gesso were rather a disappointment, and I realize now that it’s probably because I used too much of the gesso.  I like it when it’s applied a little thinner btu still enough to be opaque.

I’ve also been trying to create accessories again, this time trying my hand at wire-wrapping. I’ve found a lot of inspiration online and am trying to learn from the various tutorials available on YouTube, while trying to create my own way of getting things done. My first attempt after several yards of wasted wire is below. It’s a work in progress literally but I like the way this came about. I need to watch more videos.

The shop is beginning to get populated again little by little.  Slow traffic but I know I have to keep posting to bring the people in.  Even this little corner of mine isn’t exactly bustling with reader traffic but I’m telling myself it’ll come if I finally come around to devoting enough time to it.  Then I quickly remind myself that I have to accept that there is only so much that I can do.  A day at a time…

Getting “Etsy-organized”

It has been slower than I had hoped it to be but I’m trying to get the store up and running. I have been gathering pieces whose listings have expired and renewing them with a few tweaks. As time goes by, I’ve noticed how Etsy itself has changed a lot since I was last active two years ago. (Yes, it’s been that long.)

For one, the listing numbers seem to have disappeared altogether which is probably the reason why a lot of sellers now have reference codes in the listing title. With the restocking of the store, that isn’t a problem for me since I can easily edit the listing as I publish them again. It also helps me to organize my goods in a fashion that makes sense to me. I’ve had it happen twice that I couldn’t ship out immediately because I ended up misplacing the piece I sold. Hopefully, that will be prevented by a simple alpha-numeric reference coding system I’m going to be using.

So six listings are up and I hope to add another three later today. If I can sustain this, I should have a not-so-sparse inventory by the time Mother’s Day comes around this May. Please visit the store !

GothamChick is now on WordPress

Moving my domain to a wordpress blog has taken me forever and a day to decide because I’ve had one on another blog server.

From the very start, I had hoped to devote this blog to the “crafty” side of me, showing the crafts I have been working on and hoping to make personal notes about my crafty exploits.  I also wanted to be able to provide tutorials, mainly to demonstrate that there is much one can do “the ordinary way”, even if you consider yourself artistically challenge.  As a crafter, I take pride in being able to produce work using the simplest materials.

I haven’t had much luck maintaining consistency in posting in my original Gotham Chick blog mostly because I try to do my posts with accompanying photographs.  I am even thinking of doing video eventually as well, but I’m trying to start fresh here.

So instead of migrating the old blog, I’m starting fresh.

This is a crafter’s blog. While there are times when I get lucky and what I eventually produce can be likened to art, I am by no means pretending to be an artist.  I have an array of artists that I am a fan of, and I take much inspiration from their works, even if I can only hope to do anything close to what they create.

Creating is a good means of expression and something I encourage in my friends.  I hope this blog helps other fellow crafters as similar blogs have helped me in my own craft journey.  Many of the things I have created are the result of hours and hours of internet research and countless experiments.  One of my personal mantras is “I learn something new everyday.”  Opening ourselves to “new things” helps us grow, no matter how young or old we may be.  I’d like to think that it helps us go through the challenges of daily life and become better persons.

I blog here, and I sell on Etsy.  My etsy shop, Gotham Chick — what else? — has been in existence for three years now.  A lot had happened in 2012 that had forced me to put the shop in the backburner or in semi-hibernation, but I’ve put the shop back online and I’m repopulating the shop with existing stock.  I am also starting to experiment and create again, and hopefully, these new ventures will find their way into the shop soon.  The first three years have seen some sales, but they can be better.  And I know I can do better if only I can focus more on the “creating” part.  This is my challenge for 2013.

So welcome to the new home of GothamChick on the web.  Join me on this never-ending crafter’s journey.