Thursday, June 9, 2011

Midwest Craft Caucus in Review

I had a blast at the Midwest Craft Caucus last weekend. I learned SO much!

The three hour drive back home allowed me to brainstorm in complete silence about several different things. I thought about how much I want to start an alternative craft fair here in Huntington, West Virginia. I've already come up with two possible names, a tagline, where and when I want to have it... just have to put the rest in motion. If anyone in the tri-state area is interested in helping out, please email me or leave a comment!

Next thing I thought about is how I want to start a webpage that has all my info in one place. I know I should have done this *last year* but it seems I never even get a moment to breathe. I could design the site myself, I have those skills, but I don't have the time! Anyone out there that would be willing to render their services?

I also need to send out my newsletter. I sent it out once (last year) and have yet to send out another one. I also need to bring back the newsletter sign up book that I had at every show. Yes, I must get on this!

The list could go on and on...

I did meet several inspiring women there! Amy Turn Sharp from Little Alouette, Suzy Ultman, AmyD from Made By AmyD, Megan Green from Stinky Bomb Soap, and Grade Dobush the author of Crafty Superstar.

I would love for there to be another craft caucus in the future!
Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sew Mama Sew GIveaway Winners!

The lucky winner of the pouch is:

The winner of the trims is:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! ***GIVEAWAY CLOSED***

I decided to participate in Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! I actually have two things to giveaway and I will ship internationally!

The first is a cosmetic bag. I sewed the zipper in a little weird at the end so I don't feel comfortable listing it in my shop but it is perfectly usable! It is made in a gorgeous Tina Givens fabric!

The second thing I'm giving away is an assortment of new and vintage trims, ties and straps. I have been collecting them but don't see myself using them in the near future so they will be going out to one of you lucky SMS readers!

Mandatory to Enter:
1. Comment on my blog on which giveaway you'd like to win (please include your email!) and what you would use the winning item(s) for.

Up To Five Additional Entries (and leave separate comments for each):
1. Follow my blog via google friends connect or reader.
2. "Like" my Facebook page and leave me your name
3. Follow me on twitter and leave your twitter name
4. Heart my sewing shop nitelily designs and leave me your etsy name
5. Heart my jewelry shop nitelily glamour and leave me your etsy name

Giveaway will be open until May 25th and winners will be chosen via

**Make sure you leave your email address so I can contact you! If you do not leave an email address, your post(s) will be deleted!**
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quite Unique, My Experience

After being featured on Heartsy I felt that I could handle being featured on another site and receive an influx of order. I contacted Quite Unique and they said they would like to feature me in a Pop Up Shop rather than their daily feature.

The difference between a Pop Up Show and their Daily Feature? Pop Up Shops are for those who have one of a kind or limited supply items are are featured for ~5 days. Because I use vintage components in my jewelry I was not able to mass produce any one of my items. Daily Features are better suited for those who can make multiples of one item, i.e. soap, earrings, art prints etc. and are only featured for one day.

After Chris (the buyer) approved what I wanted to feature he asked for a description of each item, the retail price and how much shipping would cost. For Pop Up Shops you do not send in any of your merchandise; rather you act like a drop ship service. Quite Unique takes the orders, makes the invoices and then sends you all the information. I then would pack everything up, print my labels and then send them back the tracking numbers.

After each day (once the tracking numbers were generated & emailed back to them) I would receive payment via PayPal. I would receive all the money plus shipping costs minus 30% commission that they took. Payment was extremely prompt, within hours of sending the tracking info back.

It did not generate as many sales as Heartsy did, but at the same time I only had 6 different items to choose from. Also, they do not link to your shop so you will not get traffic that way. Hopefully now that everyone has received their items they will come back to my shop (I included business cards with each order) and shop for more stuff!

I would definitely recommend Quite Unique, especially for those who have not done Heartsy yet. It's a lot smoother process and you will only be bombarded with as many orders as the number of items you decide to sell!
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes

Yes, I really mean rainbow cupcakes! A couple of days ago I found this post on rainbow cupcakes and had to take a stab at it!

Her cupcakes were photographed way better than mine, but I took my pictures at like 10pm before packing them up in plastic containers so they wouldn't go stale. Anyway, she suggested to only use white liners but since I didn't have any white I opted for my less than $1 after Halloween Hobby Lobby clearance liners!

After they finished baking I thought they looked pretty awesome with each skull showing the colors through but the black masking the rest. I totally lucked out!
While The Dainty Squid didn't give a frosting recipe, I will! I made an impromptu butter cream frosting that uses regular sugar rather than powdered because I was out.

1 stick of room temp unsalted butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. whipping cream*
1/4 c. water*
1/4 - 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Add the sugar, whipping cream and water together in your mixer and turn on high until all the crystals dissolve. Add the stick of butter and cream until all the bumps have blended. Add the vanilla extract and blend. Finally, add the flour little by little to your liking.

*you can substitute 1/2 c. of milk for the cream and water but the frosting may not be as fluffy.

Note: I added flour to take a little bit of the sweetness away and add a little more volume because of the lack of *powdered* sugar. Also, cake mixes are way too sweet IMO so I wanted the frosting just to be not as sweet.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heartsy, Revisited.

So, I did end up having my jewelry featured on Heartsy on April 6th. I wanted to write one last blog post about it comparing it to my first experience. Sorry about the long delay but right after my feature I got sick (for about 2.5 weeks!) and then was featured on Quite Unique (it's a cool site like heartsy except you don't discount your stuff, but they take 30% commission.)

Anyway, back to my jewelry heartsy deal. It was $19 for $40, so a lower percentage than my sewing stuff. I ended up selling 43 vouchers (compared to 25 with my sewing). Most people ended up buying over the voucher amount and in the end I made *slightly* less than if I sold my items for retail!

Shop stats for April 6th only (my feature date, though I did have increased stats the day after as well):
Shop hearts: 18
Item hearts: (will post later, craftcult is down)
Visits: 1,437
Pageviews: 9,851
Pages/visit: 6.86
Bounce rate: 26.10%
Avg. time on site: 00:03:26

For me, my stats were awesome. Though I have to say that heartsy fudged up again by telling me I would be featured on March 30th, then they changed it to April 4th and then finally April 6th. I have also heard others complain about having their feature dates shifting. Hopefully they aren't doing this anymore, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

As of today, April 27th I have had 22/25 sewing vouchers (from my March 11th feature) redeemed and 35/43 jewelry vouchers (from the April 6th feature) redeemed.

By the time I was featured for the second time they added one other person to their team (from two to three) and recently I found out they have a 4th team member. Hopefully this is keeping them more on track.

I can say though, the Heartsy team *is* looking to improve themselves. After my feature they asked me if I had any questions/comments/suggestions. Hopefully the suggestions I gave them will be implemented soon.

If you have any other questions or comments that you think I could answer for you, feel free to contact me via my comments or email (on my profile).
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sneak Peek

Well, it's been about a month since I submitted my 2nd shop (jewelry) to be featured on heartsy. I know I didn't have that much success with my sewn goods, but I'm hoping to rock this one to make up for the bags!

Just wanted to give a sneak peek of my deal that will be featured tomorrow, April 5th!
Go browse my SHOP and make a wish list for tomorrow :)

P.S. I'll also be running a special if you purchase over $60 before shipping, you will receive a free pair of earrings of your choice!
Thursday, March 31, 2011

Craft Shows - How to get your competition to be an asset

Now that craft show season will be upon us shortly, I thought this would be a good time to write about this. Most people, when doing craft shows, stake out the competition and want to one-up them. I have found that getting your competition to work with you actually becomes an asset!

A friend and I started doing the same shows but had separate booths even though we made similar items. Most of the time, we were right across from each other. Sometimes people would swarm her booth, other times mine. But one thing was for sure was that if they went to one booth, they would pass by the other. Even going to the bathroom or getting food was tough because one person had to watch their booth while keeping an eye on the other. One day we just decided to work the same booth.

Surprisingly this worked awesome. We always had another person to help set up, another person to split booth costs with, and another person to split gas costs with! We found that although we both made jewelry (mine being simple and feminine and hers intricate and androgynous.) Sometimes one of my pieces would draw someone in, sometimes hers. The same person would buy some from her and some from me in the same transaction, where if we were apart, this was not happening.

We also had a lot less stress about our inventory. We no longer had to make 600 pieces each, we could make 300 each and have 600 total to fit our booth. When one person was taking care of a customer, the other was keeping an eye on what was going on in the booth (no matter what you think, you WILL have items stolen, unfortunately.)

You may want to go to your competition as talk to them. Ask them how they are doing?... if they have difficulty taking care of everything on their own?... who watches their booth if they need to eat or use the restroom? Get them thinking about these things and suggest trying to do a show together. You'll be able to eliminate your competition and benefit from them at the same time!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Entire Heartsy Experience, Part 3

Read part 1 here
Read part 2 + download the free organizer here

Would I do it again?
With my bags and sewn items, I doubt that I would do it again. I barely made 50%, which for wholesale is fine, but not handmade wholesale (IMO.) Sewn goods take SO much time to make plus the cost of materials and electricity for my sewing machine and iron. I have a low profit margin on my bags and that could be because people don't want to pay a lot for bags and/or my bags are priced low. I can't say which it is as we all struggle with pricing.

Now, with my jewelry shop, I have a different opinion. I know Heartsy would be worth it for the sheer fact that my profit margin is much higher. Plus, it takes a fraction of the time to make an average piece of jewelry than it does to make even a small bag.

Money aside, though, I'm glad I did it for exposure of my shop alone. I have yet to see a bag shop be featured (I have seen some sewn accessories, but not bags and purses.) I had tons of views and 25 people buy my certificate. Even if someone did not buy a certificate because they could not afford it at the time, maybe they hearted my shop (I had 15 new shop hearts) and will be back in the future. Only time will tell I guess.

Think you might want to apply?
In my opinion, the best items to be featured are those that have a higher profit margin and those that are light to ship. Some things that I think would work best are jewelry, art prints, accessories, needlepoint (art?), spices/teas, patterns, paper goods, and maybe some vintage.

Items that would be good for advertisement but not really profits would be heavier items or those that are very time consuming. It would be rough for pottery, bath and body, candles, books, clothing, bags, and baked goods/food.

Now, if you've decided that you want to apply, I do have some advice for pricing. Heartsy requires a minimum of 50% off. Now, they will accept you with that but they might not pick you for their Daily Deal, rather their Featured Deals at the bottom of the page.

Okay, for pricing. Say the average cost of one of your items is $15 plus $3 shipping, you would not want to do something like $19 for $40. You would not want to do this because people would end up buying just two of your items (plus shipping) which would total $36. To them it would be worth it to pay the $19 to get $36 worth of merchandise for free rather than going over that amount or coming back to redeem their $4.

Instead, you may want to do $5 for $12 so they HAVE to pay some money (it would help with shipping a LOT) or something like $24 for $50 to get them to spend over the amount. They may even want to get gifts for someone and something for themselves, therefore spending more than the certificate.

My Purchasing Stats
I've purchased 4 heartsy certificates so far, 1 of which I have not used. Out of the three I have used, only one was under the amount ($50) certificate simply because I could not find anything else that I wanted. The other two certificates I did go over the amount, by just a little bit though. It was not on purpose, it was just because that *happened* to be what exactly what I wanted. I would assume this would be similar for sales in any shop.

If I left anything out or if you have any other questions, feel free to ask! I will try to get back to you asap!
Monday, March 28, 2011

My Entire Heartsy Experience, Part 2 + Free Organization Spreadsheet

Part 2, if you'd like to read part 1, click here.

My deal started around 11am EST and ran for approximately 12 hours. Now I see that they've upped the time a bit and start way earlier. Soon after my shop was featured I started to get sales. You have to choose 'other' in your shipping options to be able to accept the Heartsy certificates. The customers should put the certificate # as well as the amount. If the customer went over their certificate amount ($50 in my case) I invoiced them via PayPal using the email address in their Etsy account. Most people should pay you immediately; I think only one person took a few days to get payment to me.

After your deal is completely over, Heartsy will send the entire amount of money for the number of certificates you sold to your PayPal account. *Remember, you will incur fees here too!*

I actually used a spreadsheet to help me organize everything. I kept track of what each person bought, certificate #, fees paid, how much was due, etc. ((If you'd like to download the spreadsheet, click here)) It helped me see how much I was dishing out as well as what came in. Also, it was much easier to see who owed me money (after the certificate cost) so I could invoice them and I eventually could extrapolate the data to break down into statistics.

MY Statistics (via Google Analytics):
852 total visits
783 unique visits
5148 page views
6.04 avg. page views
3:15 avg. time on site
23.83% bounce rate
15.96% new visits

MY Monetary Statistics:
The Good:
Average amount OVER certificate amount: $6.31 (not really that good imo)
Certificates sold: 25(x$20) = $500 immediately sent to my PayPal account

The Bad:
Etsy Fees: -$41
PayPal Fees: -$23
Shipping: -$69 (and most of my items are quite light! If your items are heavier, this will be much higher!)
Total Costs: -$132

Edit: Now I didn't put up the value of all my items, what I would have gotten if I sold them retail, etc. I do not calculate the per item costs of each of the items I make because it's just too difficult to calculate each piece of fabric, interfacing, zippers, snaps, etc. that I use per bag. I can, however, tell you that the retail value of the items that sold (with shipping) totaled $1100, so the percentage really ended being closer to 50% than the 60% off certificate (for the 21 out of 25 certificates that have been redeemed.)

I don't know how many potential customers I may get in the future because of their purchases via Heartsy or even Recently Sold Items on Time Machine 2.

Part 3 - My personal thoughts on Heartsy, who I think would do best and how to price your deal.
Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Entire Heartsy Experience, Part 1

I wasn't one of the earliest features on Heartsy, but I guess it was rather early. I was featured on Friday, March 11.

The process starts with you submitting your shop to be voted on. You put your proposed deal, a blurb about your shop and photos of 5 of your items. As soon as you submit your shop, it goes into the voting stage. While Heartsy takes a lot of things into consideration, remember that your photos ARE important. They do not want to have blurry, dark or poor quality photos on their front page!

In order for Heartsy to even take a look at your shop, you need a minimum of 30 votes. If you receive your votes, they will review the submission by hand. But you have to remember that as a business, Heartsy must take into consideration the demographics of the voters because they want the maximum amount of certificates to sell.

They check the votes for "definitely yes" by past buyers of certificates, non-buyers (or who have yet to purchase), everyone, and if applicable, people who buy your specific type of item (i.e. if you sell bags, they would see how many people who have purchased bag certificates in the past voted for you).

After passing this point, it says it may take anywhere from 3-14 days to be contacted to see whether you were selected or not. They send you an email either way. If you are selected, the website says that it will take another 1-2 days for them to work with you to decide on the deal and the date. This was NOT the case for me.

Negotiations for me started March 4th. I did request to put an expiration date on my certificates but they told me I could do that. They also tried to get me to do free shipping on top of my already low deal, I HAD to say no to that!

Negotiations continued through March 7 and I was told I would be featured on March 12th. On March 9th I got an email saying that I would be featured the next day. Early that morning it changed again and finally I was told I would be featured on the 11th, and I was.

Now, that was my experience with scheduling. Maybe it was a fluke and just happened to me? I have not heard it happening to other sellers, though I did not talk to ALL of them.

Part 2
: Dealing with customers, getting paid, shipping, and fees
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I would take one of each of these...really!

'Lace' by nitelilyglamour

Old, new, vintage, fabric, metal.... oh, lace.

Lingerie Ring 002

Lace sweater - roma...

xandra lace earring...

Queen Anne's La...

Faded Dreams Vinta...

Vintage Lace Handma...

Petit Lace Fans - E...

Romantic Necklace v...

hand dyed vintage l...

Long White Circular...

Rustic Linen and La...

Antique Bottle Asse...

Spring Lace Crochet...

That Vintage Lace -...


Lace Bird Clock- 6 ...

Treasury tool is sponsored by A/B image testing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Valentine's Day 10 Day Handmade Giveaway!

Vixen's Natural Jewelry is hosting a 10 Day Handmade Valentine's Day Giveaway on her Facebook page. She will be featuring one artist a day. To win, you must comment on Vixen's Natural Jewelry's Facebook fan page AND the featured artist’s Facebook fan page. You MUST comment on both pages to be eligible to win. will be used to select a number, and the comment corresponding to that number on Vixen's Natural Jewelry's page will be the winner!
For my giveaway you will be able to choose from this makeup bag OR from a Lavender Head Wrap!

All of the participants are already shipping the winner's item for free, so if the winner has their eye on anything else in that particular shop, let the shop owner know, and they will receive free shipping on their purchase as well. No purchase is required for the winner, all the shop owners would just like to extend the free shipping as a courtesy.

Here are the dates for the giveaways:

Anne from Lillian George

Jenny from Geneva Diva

Terra From Maybe Kinda Crafty

Andrea from Lindsays Whimsies Tutu


Donna from DH Elegance

Jenny from JGuildDesigns

Meghan from nitelily designs

Lisa from Creations by Lisa & Co.

More to be announced soon, visit Vixen's Natural Jewelry's Facebook page for more info, and the complete list of giveaways!
Monday, January 10, 2011

Not your grandmother's cross stitch!

My new obsession:

  1. Squirrel Cross Stitch Pattern - Sewing Seed - $3
  2. Babushka toadstool Cross Stitch Pattern - Cupcake Cutie 1 - $8.95
  3. Fawn and Doe Cross Stitch - Slipcover your Life - $5
  4. Key Cross Stitch Pattern - And Wabisabi - $3.50


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