Friday, September 30, 2011

Facebook, Procrastinating and My Birthday

OK, so I haven't really looked at Facebook ads yet because I got kind of sidetracked by the rollout of Etsy ads. I'll have more to say about those when I have some more data at the end of the week but so far it's an interesting experiment.

I've already had one big result from setting myself up on Facebook. A neighbor mentioned a little local group to me comprised of other mountain residents and within an hour of joining someone followed my profile to my shop and I was asked to set up a booth at one of the most upscale events around. It's a very fancy equestrian show and vendors are individually invited so I'm pretty excited. I sure hope that it doesn't rain because I can't take my sweaters out unless it's a nice day.

Yesterday was my birthday and my husband gave me two yarn bowls that I love. He bought them from a great Etsy shop called redhotpottery and she has all sorts of great items. Aren't these beautiful?

Yarn Bowl from Redhotpottery

Yarn Bowl from Redhotpottery

I ate so much dark chocolate ganache cake that I made myself sick and have a sugar hangover today but chances are that I'll do the same with the leftovers today and then starve until Thanksgiving.

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

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How do Facebook Ads Work?

I'm going to start looking into those next week but if you have any words of wisdom is the meantime, Stephanie, please let me know what you think about them.

Stephanie adds Never done 'em. Never tried a single form of advertising i paid for (until this search ad thing)

If your market could be on facebook, it's worth a shot

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

Etsy Search Ads

The etsy forums are on fire again, this time over Etsy's new ads. There's seems to be several misconceptions. So I'll try to clear up as many as possible right now.

People are NOT going to be buried again.
These ads only take up 4 spaces on the search, the same 4 spaces where the 4 most recently listed items are now. everything else on the page stays the same. This is how it will look:  Search ad pic

This is NOT something you have to do to be seen on etsy 

People who spend more will be able to be seen more, your paying for impressions, if someone else is paying for 20,000 impressions, and you pay for 5,000, yes, they are going to be seen more. All advertising works like this.

Who is seen will be random, if a lot of people choose the same keywords for advertising, then they will be rotated.

Each keyword costs different amounts per thousand. Here's the full list :  search ad keyword cost list

Yes, it has some bugs, like lack of flexibility in keyword choices, but etsy is not "diabolical," "evil," etc. Repeat after me kiddies: "Etsy is a for profit company."

And for the record, I'm sticking a couple of bucks into it. someone has to be the guinea pig.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Creating a Facebook Fan Page - What's Next?

Well, I finally figured it out and got my page set up. I'm pretty sure that I didn't get there by the shortest path but it worked. First I started to register using "Mirabilis" as my first name and "Fashions" as my last. I guess it's smart enough to recognize certain words so I got a message that it appeared that I was trying to set up a business page and sent me there. That was pretty self-explanatory and I ended up with a fan page. Then I found out that there were some things that it seemed like I couldn't do such as add friends so I went and set up a personal page under my real name. Then I decided that I didn't want to have to maintain 2 pages and set the personal one to private. I may find out that it wasn't a good idea but I can always make it public again once I figure out why I would want to. I have my Etsy tab set up as my landing page.

Now I'm just lost. I know how to find individuals and I can see that I can advertise but I have no idea of how to find groups, games, etc. Stephanie, what do people do out there and where do I find things other than personal pages?

Can you tell me if the link takes you to the Etsy tab and not the wall? That's how I think that I set it up. If you go like my page I'll go like yours :)

Stephanie Says: friends, games, and groups are for personal pages only. But you can be found by liking other pages and posting comments on their posts as your fan page. People get curious, and they look!

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Facebook for The Anti Social "I- Don't- Want- My- Name- Out -There" People

I am an anti- social person, and I can't stand twitter, facebook, and the like. But I use them, because they could be a useful tool.

The facebook fan page is one of the best long term ways to keep in contact with your customers.

You have to have a personal page (under your name) to create a fan page (under your business name), but nothing says you have to use said personal page (I do, I play those facebook game to get "friends" to spam every now and then, plus it's useful when entering a contest!)

Facebook TOU specifically prohibit use of your personal profile strictly for business. 

Your fan page is separate from your personal profile, set up your setting to where you always post on your fan page as the page, and no one will ever be able to find your personal, and very private page!!

When setting up your page, use your business name, and as soon as you get to the required 25 followers, you can change your facebook URL to your business name.

Be careful when getting your facebook URL. I accidentally set Stephaniemakesall on my personal page, had to change that, then COULD NOT GET THE NAME ON MY FAN PAGE so now it's . so be careful with that!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Facebook for Dummies

I should have titled this "Facebook for antisocial older people who really don't want to do this" but it was too long. Stephanie, I really need help here.

OK, keep in mind that none of my friends or family use Facebook for anything so the only people that I know there are a few Etsy sellers. I don't understand what name(s) I should use to register with when I sign up. I know that I want to end up with a fan page that uses my shop name even if I have to break it in half to look like a first and last name. Is the first and last name that I use to register with going to end up as the title of my fan page or are they separate? I don't want my real name out there unless I absolutely have to in order to get it all to work right. I'm not worried about figuring out which buttons to press once I finally register but I can't do that until I understand what name(s) I should use to link my fan page to my home page with my business name. Can you explain this to me? Thanks.

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

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's OK to be a Hobbyist

I sure have been getting myself all turned around lately and feeling a lot of pressure to get it together by the holidays but the reality is that I'm exactly where I should be according to the business plan that I put together when I decided to make sweaters. Thanks to a very big local order I'll end the year with the same amount of money that I started with and a few thousand dollars in inventory as well and that's better than I ever thought I would do. There is no way that I can get up to two pages quickly unless I compromise and make smaller, simple things that are no challenge for me and that I won't enjoy making. That's a job, not a hobby, and if I want a job I'll go get one in my field that guarantees that I'll get a regular paycheck that I can count on.

After a lot of soul searching over the past few days I've come to the conclusion that I'm not doing this retirement thing right. I never wanted a job and as much as it's nice to have more money we don't really need another income. We'll never be rich but we're comfortable and I have a great life. When I start to think like a business person all of my old professional standards kick in and failure is no longer an option and nothing but perfection will do. The whole point of having a hobby is to entertain yourself and stressing myself out over it is not entertaining me in the least. So, in the spirit of doing only what I want to and only making what I enjoy I spent all day yesterday ripping out a poncho that I don't think is good enough even though it wasted a week of my time. Retired people have all the time we need...

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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Never giving up

So today if exactly one year since I joined Etsy, I've had 91 sales, and did a whole other slew of things :)

Karen's last post reminded me of when I first started. I had 2 sales in 2 months, and was pretty sure I was stupid for trying this thing.

I don't have any stores locally that will carry my work, I don't have transportation to go to any more than 2 craft fairs annually, I don't have a day job to look forward to quitting. All I have is my Etsy shops, and a teeny tiny bit of income from writing. And none of that helps my lifelong battle with depression any.

So the vast majority of people's ideas for making handmade a full time business won't work for me.

So why do I continue to work so hard for very little money? 

1) I have no choice, there is no other money to be had. 

 2) I have my daughter to think of. Maybe one day this will be big enough that I'm able to support my family again.

3) I keep remembering how fer this little business has come in the last year, and also remember that I love my stuff, and there has to be another out there who appreciates it too.

And that's how I keep my depression at bay!
Never give up, believe in yourself, you can do it!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Moments of Doubt

I'm going through another one of those phases when I really question whether or not this is a good idea. I get so many views but my sweaters are so expensive that I don't have much confidence that I can make the switch from brick and mortar sales into online ones. Things sit in my shop for months and months that would have sold in a week or 2 in a store. It's so hard not to give up on filling the shop and start taking things out to sell. Unfortunately that also means having no outlet at all in a few years because everyone retires eventually. I hate admitting defeat and giving up.

I think that it's the pre-holiday excitement over on Etsy that's getting to me. My plan all along was to forget about this holiday season and aim for 2012 when I have a respectable number of items but when everyone is making special marketing plans I start to feel like a slacker and under pressure to do what all of the bigger shops do. I know that it makes no sense for me to spend money on ads when my shop is so small but now I'm bouncing back and forth making and unmaking decisions all day long. Maybe I just need to stay away from the forums and all of the preparations for the big influx of customers that everyone else seems to expect and tune it all out for a while so that I stop feeling so pessimistic. Maybe all new business have these kinds of days and just have to push through it and see if it gets better.

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

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How I Do Blog Ads

Yesterday, Karen asked me to tell how I do blog ads. So I figured I'd do a post on it.

First of all, the way I find blogs is probably not the way it should be done, but I'm a very, very poor woman, so I can only do free stuff, which generally isn't quite as effective as a well placed paid ad.

If you can do picture ads, do them! the best text ad will never be as good as a bad picture ad, in my opinion-I know I don't notice them!

Step 1: know the size of your ad. I use Project Wonderful for all of my blog ads. They have a few preset sizes, so this makes it a lot easier to design ads. You will need a good photo editing software for this (I use GIMP, which is, yep, you guessed it, free!)

Step 2: have a nice bright picture that showcases what you make. crop said picture to size (in Project Wonderful, if I'm off a little bit, it'll re-size it for me), then add text

You want your text to be large enough to see, covering a little part of the object you have photographed if you have to. Text should be a color that doesn't clash too much with the rest of the photo, but still stands out. You are also going for branding here.

Have an action word, like click, or buy now. This part's all about psychology.

On Project Wonderful, there is also hover text, text that pops up when you hover over the ad. This is also important. Even though the text itself is nothing special, the wording can make a difference.

Step 3: Choosing your blog. If your going through the blog itself, then you've already done this, but if your going through PW or something similar, you will need to choose which blog(s) you want your ad to run on. This depends on many factors, budget, size of the ad, and most importantly, your target market.

When I advertise my goth stuff, I advertise on blogs targeted to goths, when I advertise my soap savers, I pick a soap maker's blog.

Only doing the free ads, I can't afford to be picky, I do them all.

Step 4:  how long you want to run your ad-depends on your budget really. doing the free ads, I'm only allowed 2 days at a time, so have to constantly re-do ads. Generally, a person needs to see an ad several times before it clicks for them.

Here's the picture from one of my ads. I'm thinking about changing the font to something more frilly

Friday, September 9, 2011

Advertising on Blogs

I promised myself that I would learn about and start one new marketing task every month but I haven't started one for September yet. SEO will be an ongoing task but it doesn't take up enough time any more to give me an excuse to skip a month.

I'm still feeling very resistant to setting myself up on Facebook and twitter. Doing an unscientific poll of all of my friends and family that are over 40 and finding out that not one of them had ever even bothered to look at facebook was not encouraging at all and the last thing that I need is a new time sink on the internet.

Now I'm considering paying for an ad on a well-known plus size fashion blog but I have to learn all about it first. I get confused when I see a rate sheet that refers to text links but then can't find anything that looks like a simple text ad on their site and all I see are banner ads with pictures. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing yet.

Stephanie, can you tell us how you go about designing your ads and anything else that you know about how it all works?

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

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm Starting to Not Hate Google

Stephanie's prayer to the gods of google might just work because now that my pages are slowly but surely getting crawled I'm getting some very good placement in my most targeted google search. Thanks to Oprah plus size sweater coats are popular this Fall and I get more hits on that keyword phrase than anything else. If I run a search today on "plus size sweater coat" I have one item on page one and another on page 2. I have a pretty good idea now of why the third one is buried. If I do the search on the plural "plus size sweater coats" I get one on page one and one on page 3 but unfortunately they're the same coat but one is on Zibbet and the other on Etsy. Still - I BEAT Lane Bryant and Roamans!

Oh yeah - I listed a new item this week. I love this one because it's casual and warm.

Plus Size Crop Sweater 2X

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

Friday, September 2, 2011

Finding advertising that works....

While Karen's been looking into SEO, I've been on my continuous hunt for advertising.

I'm keeping them for now, but the usual route of advertising for a small business (and even for a lot of larger businesses), Twitter and Facebook, are not working for me. But I think it's partially because I do not go around following everybody and anybody, which I refuse to do.

So I've been doing small, inexpensive targeted ads. Things like advertising goth stuff on goth sites, soap savers on soap makers blogs, etc. So far, I'm not even getting many clicks.

I'm thinking maybe the targeted advertising isn't working because my ads are not so good. A high possibility, as I'm not a marketer by any means.

Experiment #1: Make new, brighter ads with words on them instead of just words that pop up when you run your mouse across them. Run on the same blogs as before to gauge the effectiveness of new, brighter ads.

Wish me luck!