Saturday, October 29, 2011

Youtube, maybe?

I've been watching a whole bunch of YouTube vids lately, and I've noticed a lot that are useful and helpful, but also promo.

It's making me wonder if maybe I shouldn't try YouTube as a possible means of promotion?

I'd have to do a lot, like clean so i have an area to do vids in, and learn how to edit videos that come off of my easyshare, learn how to do anything with youtube, etc.

I'll look into it some more, as long as they are useful vids, i should at least get eyeballs on my URL!!

can't hurt

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crochet and Design Bliss

Sometimes I get so caught up in learning the marketing end of having an online business that I forget to talk about the main reason that I do it which is that I just love to crochet. I can't imagine not doing it every day or what it would be like not to be able to dream up designs and turn them into reality. I love talking with plus size women about the styles that they love and wish that they could find and about what flatters different body types. I've realized that I design for pear shapes because that's what I was and what comes naturally to me but I'm leaving out a lot of people with apple figures. In honor of that realization I'm making a modified babydoll style sweater with a fuller front than usual in these gorgeous designer yarns. It should be at least a 2X and maybe even a 3X. I'm in heaven just getting to feel the softness and feast on my favorite colors of purple and turquoise.

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Branding My Business - Help!

I've started to look into branding and I sure have a lot to learn. Having a good and consistent logo, banner, avatar and business card design are only part of it but they're essential parts.

Since I have no artistic ability beyond crocheting and designing gardens I'm working with a professional on Etsy to get it all done. She's been great at pulling ideas out of my head but now we're up to the tag line and I have to write that myself. It can't be so wordy that it won't fit on a business card and I've been staring at a list of words for 3 days now but they won't form into anything good in my mind. Somehow I want to convey luxurious designer sweaters and accessories that are mostly in plus sizes. I do have a few sweaters in the shop that are small or medium sizes so I don't want to call myself an exclusively plus size shop. The hats and bags can all fit under the word "accessories" and the blankets are too out in left field to fit into a short line so I'm just going to leave them out.

There are so many euphemisms for plus size but I'm not sure that everyone would recognize them. "Womanly" can mean anything, "real curves" is a bit much and I'm just stuck. I think that I spent way too many years writing tech documentation and grant proposals and I can't write pretty things anymore without it feeling like torture.

"Luxurious Designer Sweaters and Accessories" doesn't indicate plus sizes and I really need to get that in there because eventually that will be the only kind I make. You're great at writing, Stephanie - do you have any ideas? Somehow I have to fit luxury, sweaters and plus sizes (but not to the exclusion of all else) into a short phrase.

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

Monday, October 17, 2011

How To Feel Miserable As An Artist

We artisans have a tendancy to let depression get to us (I know I do!!)

Here are a few things I've found to be very, very bad to do:

Undervaluing your expertise.

Setting overwhelming goals that have to be accomplished by, um, now.

Constantly comparing yourself to others.

Letting money dictate what you do.

Expecting your family to be super, uber supportive (that doesn't always happen).

In the family thread, making only what your family would love 

Basing the success of your entire career on one project.

Sticking only with what you know.

Bowing to societal pressures.

Not knowing your limitations (but do try to push them, you never know what you are capable of)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Finally - a Super-Plus Size Sweater

I've been wanting to get a sweater into my shop that's at least a 4X/5X for ages now but I keep ending up with only enough yarn to get to 2X/3X. I finally broke down and bought 3 big cones of fine cotton chenille so that I could triple-strand it for bulk and warmth and make it a full knee-length tunic. I can even make it somewhat affordable because I got a great deal on the yarn and it worked up very quickly. Bulky sweaters without detailed colorwork always go quickly. Of course it's 3 sizes too large for my mannequin so the pictures aren't great but I can't wait for google to crawl it and start getting hits for those sizes too.

Here it is:
Size 4X 5X Sweater from MirabilisFashions

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

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Experience With Etsy Search Ads

Ok, so I did those search ads, just to try them.

spent $4, got 26 views, and 1 favorite

In my supply shop,, I spent $2, got 5 views, and one of those views led to a sale for $5. though the buyer looked through my shop a little bit before buying, so it doesn't come up in my stats. 

While not a complete waste of time and money (of which I don't really have, so I'm wondering why I did it in the first place!!), I notice several issues that need to be addressed.

The main one is the keyword choices. While they are based off of a person's keywords, The keywords you get are often a part of a perfectly Etsy-legal keyword phrase.

It would be nice to choose your own keywords, even if they aren't on the list of keyword choices. Maybe automatically value anything that's not on the list at $1 per 1,000? then modify the list as time goes on.

And the ads themselves could be more smart. if your item is a baby boy's blanket in blue, and someone searches for a men's tie in blue, your baby blanket will come up if you used the keyword blue. Now those are not your target customers. Therefore, the impression is totally wasted.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Yay! I sold a ready to ship sweater this morning to a returning customer. It wasn't one of the more expensive ones but it was one of the smaller sizes so that works great for me in terms of my goal of focusing on plus sizes. I'm so happy. It's amazing how a few sales can make me feel optimistic again. Sort of :)

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

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Etsy Search Ads

Well, I tried my experiment for a week and I have to say that the results were less than impressive. I had pretty decent keywords and I was able to whittle it down to a list that made sense and didn't bring up a bunch of nonsensical stuff that's completely irrelevant to what I sell. I got some views out of it but in every single case I got more views on those same generic short tail keywords through regular search and google than I did from the ads. In my opinion the most useful thing about them was getting to see the stats that they generated for each of those words because it prompted me to add some tags that I had previously thought would be so broad as to be useless. All in all I'm still pretty convinced that people are only browsing when they search by something as general as "plus" to see every plus size that Etsy has to offer. I'd much rather target my ad for "plus size sweater" but that isn't an option. I won't be using them again unless they allow us to choose our own longer keyword strings.

Stephanie, what was your experience with them?

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

Monday, October 3, 2011

Things You Should Avoid When Chosing A Craft Show

So I did another show Saturday, it sucked big time!!

This turns out to have been another learning experience (and boy I cannot afford learning experiences!!).

So what have I learned this time??

#1: Never go to a show that is more than 50% resellers.

2# Never set up next to costume jewelry and "1200 thread count sheets" that aren't

#3 bring more than preemie sized hats.

#4 Never depend on my mother for anything!! (If it weren't for my neighbors having brought an extra table, I would have been without one).

#5 This town really and truly does suck, and it seems that none of my target market lives anywhere near. Which completely rules out all local prospects for my business :(