Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Sell or Not to Sell...

I learned to crochet as a child way back in the dark ages so I've been doing it for about 45 years now. (Yep, I'm that old.) I started up with making simple basic things followed by afghans, blankets and then many years of making lace. I eventually found that what I enjoyed most was to design and make sweaters using wonderful natural fibers. It never occurred to me to sell any of it until I took off on Grateful Dead tour after college and found that I could easily make a happy hippy kid living by selling the sorts of tapestry crochet tams and pouches that you can still see in my shop. I never really tried to sell the sweaters but I worked on them in public and in coffee shops and someone always talked me out of keeping whatever it was that I was making and selling it to them instead either for their own use or to put in their boutiques.

After I retired an old friend with a tiedye business asked if I would make a few of the sorts of tams that I used to sell at shows so that he could put them out with his own work at craft fairs. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I quickly realized that I was getting bored with the repetition of it all even if the money was good. I had a few left and since I had heard of Etsy from a friend I decided to try to get rid of the last ones there and before I knew it I had an online business. Well, I had some bad pictures on a website anyway. Of course no one knew that my shop even existed, my items were buried on page gazillion in the Recency search and I was off making the sweaters and occasional blanket that I really loved to make as a hobby and selling off enough of them to keep paying what was becoming an astronomical yarn bill. Yes, I'm one of those dreaded 'hobbyists" that you hear so much about - we don't want to get rich, we're too old to have day jobs to quit and we just want an excuse to make things that we love but don't need any more of.

Lesson Number 2 Learned the Hard Way:
Tossing a few items that you don't want to make any more of onto a page and then ignoring them for months is not a good business strategy, at least not if you ever plan to sell something. Allowing your hobby to eat up most of your pension check isn't such a brilliant idea either.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coming up with a shop name...

As Karen said earlier, your Etsy username is your shop name and cannot be changed (at least not yet), but unlike her, I wanted a more ambiguous name, as I have only a bazillion hobbies that can be turned into sell-able stuff. :)

 I had a coworker at my last "day job" who I over heard telling another person that "Stephanie makes all sorts of things"

It's a bit long, so I shortened it, and Stephaniemakesall was born. I've had a few people, admin included tell me I needed to change it before I got established, but I'm stubborn as a bull.

But they are right, you should give your business name some thought. Leaping's good, but maybe it's also a good idea to look before you leap!

I want One of Those!

In the spirit of airing our dirty laundry in public and admitting when we don't know what we're doing I'm not going to send Stephanie a private message asking her how to get that cool Etsy mini thing on here. I want one too. I went to the design tab and I see her shop and if I look at it I can see the HTML but I don't know where to put it. When I click on add a gadget I just get a list to pick from and none of them appear to have anything to do with Etsy. How did you do that?

This is also a test to see if we remember to answer each other :)

ETA: Never mind - I figured it out. You go to the Promotions section in your Etsy Account and you can copy the HTML code into the gadget here.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Hi From Me Too

Hi - I'm Karen from Mirabilis Crochet Designs (MirabilisColors)* and I'm glad that you found your way here to our new blog. I'm new to having an online business on Etsy and I often feel like I'm wandering around in the dark trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. I hope that you can have some fun wandering around with us as we learn what works to get sales, what doesn't seem to work, what makes us laugh and what drives us nuts. If you're looking for advice from seasoned experts, well, umm, we aren't quite there yet but learning is half of the fun. At least I keep telling myself that.

* Lesson number one learned the hard way:

Your account name and your shop name are going to be the same thing on Etsy so it helps to have picked a name that you want to live with before you register. Mine is not a very good one because I could be selling virtually anything with a name like that. Then again, if I ever learn to do anything besides crochet I won't have to change it.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hello There!

This is Stephanie from Stephaniemakesall, and I would like to welcome you to our new blog, co-writing this blog with me is Karen, owner of MirabilisColors.

 This blog will chronicle our mishaps and triumphs in building our respective businesses.

Maybe you, our valued reader, can learn from our mistakes!