Sunday, December 15, 2013

Selling on Amazon Update

So I have been selling on for about 3 months now. Wow I am now kicking myself for not doing it sooner! But the learning curve to sell on Amazon is huge. Way bigger than Ebay. (I always consider Etsy the easiest)

I finally decided to put the shipping in my prices and do free shipping. Its really the only way to get shipping to come out correctly on Amazon. I will say I have never seen such a confusing way to do shipping as it is on Amazon. They really need to look at updating their shipping calculations.

The biggest thing I have found out is that you do not need to match any ones low price to sell there. I was really worried in the beginning because I would list something and see the lowest price (Amazon always shows you your competitors lowest price when you list) which is always ridiculously low. I thought no one would pay my price and I refused to lower them. I am in this to make a profit not give stuff away!

Well I am happy to report that I do sell there at good prices. Like Ebay, feedback is everything on Amazon. Once I started getting really good feedback people happily bought from me and paid the higher price. Looking at the low price competitors most have mediocre feedback.

And I am so happy to report that I started selling our mini parachute cord jig kits on there and yesterday the kit made it to number 34 in arts, crafts, jewelry making kits!!! I was ecstatic and doing a happy dance. But I will say we are exhausted. We have had to have our adult kids come help make jigs to keep up with demand. We have sold 110 jigs/jig kits in 6 days!

Our top selling parachute cord jig kit on Amazon
For now we are only doing domestic shipping as I haven't had time to figure out international shipping on Amazon yet. That is my New Years goal! Like I said figuring out shipping is not easy on Amazon but I will conquer it.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ebay Purging Top Rated Sellers

Yeah I am back! Had an issue with someone trying to hack my accounts so all my Google accounts (including this blog) were shut down. Dang hackers.

This has been a tough week on Ebay. I am shocked at how many Top Rated Sellers were purged this week. Really scarey reading the power sellers board. Unfortunately one of them was Charlie who is well know on Ebay for being a mentor to other sellers. He has been selling on Ebay for 10 years, is a gold powerseller/top rated seller, shooting star etc and has great feedback. In fact Ebay has flown him to California to get his opinion on Ebay (a long with other sellers) So what went wrong? None of us may ever know for sure. He did have some VERO claims that he did not reply to so I suspect that may be why he is suspended. He worked the VERO claims out over the phone with the people that filed them so thought he didn't have to respond to the claims on Ebay. Big mistake.

But there are other examples of TRS's that had no VERO claims, great feedback etc that were also purged this week. My heart breaks for those sellers being purged right before Christmas.

Anyone who sells on Ebay knows about the increase in cases opened ever since Ebay changed things last Spring. Buyers now think they have to open a "case" just to ask a question. Ebay has always said these don't count against sellers unless the case is closed AGAINST the seller. But this must not be true? I suspect all cases count no matter how they are resolved. Which is scarey for me as I have a lot of cases (always closed in my favor) I have a bunch opened just asking questions about crochet hooks, yarn, shipping weights.

Which brings me back to what I have always said from day one. Never get too comfortable on one selling avenue. Always spread out to other ones. And always promote your own website!! Doesn't matter if its Etsy, Ebay or Amazon. Your store can be gone in a blink of an eye. Remember all of these sites have clauses that they can deny a person the opportunity to sell on their avenue with or without cause.

Once the Holidays are over I will be back to heavily promoting my own .com's. Wishing you all a great Thanksgiving and great sales for the holidays!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Free Crochet Pattern to Make a Toddler Polar Bear Beanie

I made this beanie for a baby named Katelyn that is fighting a rare form of cancer. I wanted her to have a super soft hat since her head is very sensitive (since losing her hair) I made this hat from James C Brett Flutterby yarn. This is the SOFTEST feeling yarn I have ever worked with. And no I am not just saying that because I sell the yarn. You have to feel this yarn to believe it. It is a pricier yarn but a little bit goes a long way. The skeins are pretty big so you could make a ton of hats from one skein. I have also made baby blankets with it and my customers cannot believe the feel of this yarn.

Anyway here we go! Heres a not great picture. Its hard to photograph white ughh. I used a J crochet hook

Row 1: With white CH 3 and join to first chain. Chain 1. 9 HDC in ring. (crochet over tail and then pull tail to tighten after this round)

Row 2: Work 2 HDC into each st around, join, chain 1 (18 HDC)

Row 3: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next, Repeat around, join, CH 1 (27 HDC)

Row 4: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next 2, Repeat around, join, CH 1 (36 HDC)

Row 5: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next 3, Repeat around, join, CH 1 (45 HDC)

Row 6: 2 HDC in first stitch, HDC in next 8, Repeat around, join, CH 1 (50 HDC)

Row 7 -11 or until length desired: HDC in each stitch around, join, CH 1 (50 HDC)

Row 12: SC in each stitch around. Join Do not cut continue on to first ear flap

Ear Flap 1

Chain 1. Make 8 HDC for a total of 9
Chain 1 HDC2tog in first 2 stitches: HDC next 5, HDC2tog for last 2 stitches
Chain 1 HDC2tog in first 2 stitches: HDC next 3, HDC2tog last two stitches
Chain 1 HDC2tog, HDC, HDC2tog. Cut string

Ear Flap 2

Fold hat in half to find the spot on the opposite side for 2nd ear flap

Repeat Ear Flap one

With Pink make one SC in each stitch around

Bear Ears

With pink chain 3 and join to make a circle. Chain one
6 SC in circle, do not join. Pull white thru last two loops of last SC to change color. Attach a stitch marker to first stitch and continue crocheting in a spiral
2 SC in each stitch
Sc in each stitch. Join with slip stitch, knot and cut. Be sure to leave a long string when you cut to attach ears to hat.

Sew ears to hat. I put mine on the 4th row down.

Attach 12" strings of white and pink and braid. Cut ends to even them up. I used 4 white strings and 2 pink.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Selling on Part Two

So I have been selling on for a couple weeks now. It is going better! But I did have to take off all of my bernat baby blanket yarn listings. For some reason they kept going to "match lowest price" even though I had taken it off. Be sure when you make a new listing you do NOT CHECK MATCH LOWEST PRICE!

I have had really good success listing hubbys parachute cord kits. They are selling very well on there. Since these are something only we make, I don't have to worry about any match lowest price. I did have to buy UPC codes to list these. I bought mine off Ebay. Super easy and in expensive. Well worth doing!

Our biggest sellers are hubbys new Parachute Cord Mini Travel Jig

And the mini travel jig kit with parachute cord, buckles and a book

It does take a lot of work and research trying to figure out how to sell on but so far its been worth it. They only pay out 2 times per month but for me thats not a huge deal. However I am still trying to figure out how to put your own shipping charges on there. I have a professional account so I am supposed to be able to set my own shipping but so far I haven't figured it out. I will let you all know when I do

Another New Crochet Bernat Baby Blanket Pattern! The Kamden Ripple Blanket

I do love Bernat Baby blanket yarn! I just finished yet another crochet pattern using some of the new Bernat Baby Blanket colors. I named it after my grandson Kamden. I used the Little Sand Castle colors for the boy version and Little Petunias for the girl version. You could also use Little Cosmos or Little Royales etc. I made this one in one weekend. This is a super easy ripple pattern that is a lot of fun to crochet

The Little Petunias Version

I also have this in a crochet kit that includes the pattern, hook and yarn!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Selling on the River aka

Okay so I finally did it. I listed items for sale on the River aka Wow what an eye opener. Amazon is not like any other selling site that is for sure.

And I lost money on my first sale there. I had no idea that I accidentally checked "match lowest price" Still have no idea how I did that. Apparently on Amazon other sellers can lower their price for a bit to get your price to lower. Then they raise theirs back up. And you are basically screwed. So my first order I sold two skeins of yarn for .76 cents each. Omg so not good. Thankfully the buyer only ordered two skeins. This yarn retails at 4.00 per skein.

I hate that you have to list under other peoples listings. Some of them have the worst pictures I have ever seen. And don't get me started about horrible listing titles and descriptions. Many sellers on Amazon apparently do not know about using SEO on listings. Ughh. Unfortunately there is not much you can do about it. You can try filing a report with Amazon but from what I have read it rarely works so is a huge waste of time.

I am hoping to add more inventory to this weekend. I will keep blogging about this and let you all know how it goes. I had always read that selling on Amazon is way more cut throat than even Ebay but I had no idea!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Chad Dickerson Town Hall Announcements on the Future of Etsy

This is a hard post to write. Yesterday was such a sad day for so many Etsy sellers. We all knew it was coming but to actually hear it said out loud, made it so final and bleak. And for the Town Hall panel (and Chad) to be so condescending to their customers/sellers questions makes it a thousand times worse.

In my opinion this is what happens when you put a tech man in charge of a handmade site. Chad Dickerson is so out of the loop when it comes to handmade and what makes it special. I feel sure when he worked at Yahoo this worked well for him. But Etsy is a different animal. This was so evident when Chad made his Etsy treasury that was full of mass produced items. Remember that one? And even when people pointed out that much of his treasury was resellers, he never took it down. That spoke (and still speaks) volumes. Or the whole bali wood fiasco. That too spoke volumes about where the future of Etsy was headed.

My guess is Chad Dickerson has never made something by hand that came from his own imagination that doesn't include code. How can a person that has never been a part of the arts & crafts movement direct an artisan site? Exactly the way Chad is doing it. With no thought to what goes into making a truly handmade item and what it means to make and sell handmade. What he can understand is mass production, profits and investors. 

This quote is pulled from an interview Chad did on Pandodaily. "Dickerson said his first 18 months as a CTO of the company felt like each day the company might die. It’s been kept alive — externally, at least — by the passion of the seller community." What Chad needs to understand is "the passion of the seller community" can be re directed to another site/sites. Etsy was always driven to success by the sellers (that are also buyers). Not code, not mass produced junk, by the sellers that made each item from their own hands.

This is what Rob Kalin had to say in an interview for before he was ousted. "I speak to people in the business world and the technology world, but I don't admire them," he says, pointing an 8-inch combat knife at me for emphasis. "I admire the makers of the world." This is not empty rhetoric: Kalin makes his own furniture and his own underwear. He also thinks that trying to maximize shareholder value is "ridiculous," adding, "I couldn't run a company where you had to use that as an excuse for why it was doing things."

I feel sure Etsy will continue on and become a huge site for all things mass produced. Because once you open the gate; the flood will come. It will overwhelm all the beautiful things that are truly handmade.
Chad may think he can re define "handmade", but he cannot. Just like he thinks he can use a different Etsy definition for "drop shipping" Thats laughable. We all know what the real meaning of handmade is and we all know what what mass produced is.

The one thing I disagree with that has been posted over and over on the Etsy forums is that handmade is now dead. Handmade may be dead (or dying) on Etsy, but it will never be gone. I have been in the arts and crafts industry in one form or another for about 30 years. During that time (even before Etsy) people would predict the death of handmade. Thankfully it never happens. At the end of the day there will always be people that must make handmade things because they are driven to do so. And there will always be people that want to buy handmade because they know the value of something that is truly handmade from the heart; one stitch, one brushstroke, one pencil mark at a time. 

I leave you all with this picture of a baby blanket proudly handmade by me one stitch at a time.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Update to my Google Hummingbird Post

Well yesterdays post sure got some people going judging by my emails. (I always wonder why they don't just comment here?)

Again I am not trying to make light of peoples concerns. But the Google Hummingbird update has nothing to do with your views and sales. Like most Google updates this one is to exclude Black Hat SEO, junk/spam websites and to enable Google to give people searching the best results especially when they type in a question. I am usually always in a hurry when I post so if I come off as cold, that is not my intent. I am just rushing as usual.

I found this article on Forbes that says the same thing I have been saying. If you always use good SEO and have good content; you are fine! And Google is now fessing up that this update was done several months ago not just one month ago. Remember they only ANNOUNCED it yesterday. Its been going for months.

Like I said in the comments, any time Etsy or Ebay make major site changes views and sales drop for about a week. I suspect that when they make major site changes; search engines have to re index them. But I am just guessing.

Aug 2013 was my biggest month EVER on Etsy. Sept has been slower. I suspect and hope for another big month in October. Now before someone says "she only sells supplies" thats not true. I sell handmade on all of my Etsy shops. Now for the figures above I am only using my Kay's Crochet shop for an example. And yes I sell handmade on that one. But I will say I sold out of most of my handmade at a craft show this month.

I am worried about the government shut down. This will for sure slow sales as it scares people and they stop spending money. If you have friends or family that work for the government you know what a big deal this is. 

To stay relevant you do need to be listing new items on Etsy or Ebay. It works way better than re newing. So if you see a slow down on views, think about making some new listings to get things going again.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Google Hummingbird Update What Does it Mean For Etsy and Ebay?

People are on the Etsy forums are looking for something to blame for their low views and sales. Some found the Google Hummingbird update so automatically assume that is the issue. I am not trying to downplay peoples fears but the Hummingbird update is not effecting views and sales. The Hummingbird update was for Google search to be able to answer complex questions typed in search. Think Siri or Ask Jeeves. It really is not going to impact shopping sites in a negative way.

Its easy for people to put the blame on Google, Etsy the economy etc. What is not easy is to put the work in to making your shop/website/ebay store the best it can be. Many just don't want to put the work in. Its easier to complain than re take pictures or put in better SEO.

Competition increases online every single day. Doesn't matter if its Ebay, Etsy or your own website. You must put the time into making your shop the best. I still go back and tweak old listings or rewrite newer ones that are not getting views. Every single week. Is it fun? No. Does it work? Yes.

This morning I looked at a couple of the shops yelling the loudest. And I found their SEO was really poor, some had horrible pictures and others had terrible titles and descriptions. I did take the time to try to help them but I can tell that most won't take the advice.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

My Newest Bernat Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern The Evelyn Baby Blanket!

Yeah! Its back from the crochet testers and they all loved it! My new Bernat Baby Blanket yarn pattern is called the Evelyn Baby Blanket named for my soon to be great niece.

This one is so fun to crochet and super easy. It is a bit of a yarn eater but that is what makes it so fluffy and 3 dimensional.

I made this crochet pattern with Bernat Little Cosmos and Little Pentunias but of course you can use any color you like!

I also have this for sale as a crochet kit that includes the pattern, yarn and the N crochet hook.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Google Changes and What It Means to Your Etsy/Ebay Shop

I see so many people getting upset on the Etsy and Ebay forums about Google changes. There really is no need for this as most will not be effected by the changes.

The 2013 Google Panda updates were mostly aimed at Black Hat SEO. I have written about this before on this blog. Never never use Black Hat SEO!! Its never worth it. Black hat is SEO that misleads people into clicking links that really have nothing to do with that website. For example have you ever Searched in Google and clicked on a link for lets say a pink dress and it takes you to a spam website? Thats Black Hat SEO. Or paying for back links. Huge no no. DO NOT pay for back links! I don't care what the person promises you it won't be worth it.

The newest update is that Google is not going to always share keywords used to get to a website. Again this will not effect most of us. Its a very small percentage that will be hidden. The bigger picture is at some point Google is going to make money off those reports instead of letting us all have them for free. But for now I would not waste one minute worrying about it.

Another important change in my opinion is Google is going to start using its "Google Local Business" listings in a much bigger way. They are going to start using that to put weight for relevancy etc on websites and searches etc. So be sure you have your business listed in Google Local Business. And make sure your listing is up to date. Yesterday I went and tweaked my listing and added hubby's business. Click the link above to add yours or update it.

As I posted on the Etsy forum; you are much better off to tweak your listings and descriptions, get better pictures etc than you are worrying about Google changes right now. I am always tweaking something on my Etsy/Ebay shop. Today I tweaked my shop announcement as I didn't realize that some of it no longer fit. Remember that shop announcement is hugely important for your SEO and getting found in Google!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Best Selling Crafts Scarves Scarves Scarves

Scarves seem to be the new must have accessory which is great for crafters. My crochet scarves are now outselling my blankets. I love them as they take less time to make and you can get so creative with them. And it doesn't matter whether you knit, crochet, sew etc.

Another great thing about crafting scarves is they apply to almost all ages. From little girls to teens to adult women everyone is wearing scarves all year round.

Like any handcrafted item color plays a huge part. Black and white are always popular as are fall colors. For teens neon is huge. You also have to know your customer. Adult women tend to like chunky bulky scarves, teens and little girls like a more fine less bulky scarf.

If I had more time I would open an Etsy shop just for scarves. This way you could tailor your SEO to just scarves.

Heres one of my newest scarves I am making for Thornville Backwoods Fest (which is next week omg I will never be ready lol) I love this scarf as you can wear it so many different ways

 This cowl is made from reflective yarn so it lights up when hit by light or a flash

So theres my top selling craft tip for the day. Get busy and make something beautiful!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Kay's Crochet Is Now a Bernat Yarn Distributor! Little Cosmos, Little Sand Castle, Little Petunias

Woohoo I am so excited. Most of my crochet friends know that I am a huge fan of Bernat Baby Blanket yarn. I have designed many crochet patterns using this yarn as it is my favorite for making baby blankets. Unfortunately it can be very hard to find and purchase. Especially the new colors.

So I called Bernat and asked if I could buy direct from them. And they said yes! I ordered 1200 skeins of Bernat Baby blanket yarn and they just arrived yesterday. The poor UPS guy was exhausted when he got done unloading 25 boxes of yarn. I was jumping up and down like a little kid.

I now have Little Petunias, Little Sand Castle, Sand Baby, Baby Rose and Little Cosmos all in stock and ready to ship. And I am working on 2 new crochet patterns for this yarn. I will be adding many more colors in the coming weeks but I wanted to start with the hardest ones to find. If you are looking for a certain color just email me.

If you would like to order a large quantity email me for discounted shipping prices to ship in bulk.

 Bernat Sand Baby

 Bernat Baby Rose

Optimizing your Etsy/Ebay LIstings for Mobile Phones/Devices

Personally I cannot stand to shop via Iphone or Ipad but I guess most of the world does. According to Ebay and Etsy mobile device sales are going to keep increasing at a huge rate. I am trying now to get all of my sales listing up to snuff to look good on cell phones and ipads before the holiday rush.

Etsy Listings

For Etsy be sure you do not have a book long description for your items. First of all no one reads those anyway and secondly they look terrible on a mobile device. Make sure that your best keywords are in that first sentence of your listing description. This is what most mobile device users are going to actually read (and what gets you found in search) Anything after that is fluff.

Now I list a lot of yarn so I do have to put the details as this is important to knitters and crocheters. But most items just need to say what they are with your top keywords.

Adding a link to another item in your Etsy shop is good but don't get carried away. I have seen some that list 10 or more links to other items in their Etsy shop. That is overkill and it will hurt you in Google and makes it hard to read on a mobile device. Remember many times less is more especially for mobile device users.

For both Ebay and Etsy listings be sure your pictures are tight. That means no huge white/empty space around your pictures. Take a good up close picture of your item and make sure it adheres to the Etsy or Ebay picture requirements. On a cell phone pictures that are surrounded by a lot of empty space are very hard to see. Or pictures surrounded by a busy background. I know we all hate boring white but it really is the best background.

Ebay Listings

In my opinion Buy It Now is much better for people purchasing from a mobile device as they don't have to jump all over the place from screen to screen.

Get rid of the fancy backgrounds. Ebay is also telling people to stop using them. This will really hurt your listings on Ebay mobile.

Get rid of javascripts. I still have an old javascript program on some of my old listings. I am working now to remove all of them.

If you have an Ebay Store do put one link it to your storefront or to a companion item. I am also working on getting these in. When I first got my Ebay store I didn't know you could use the insert tool to put in links. This makes it easier for all customers (but especially mobile customers) to look at different items you sell.

Do use item specifics! Even if you are selling handmade be sure to fill in as much of them as possible. This is getting more and more important to search on Ebay

Use a 12 pt font or bigger (but not huge) I use 14 pt and I center all of my descriptions and put them in bold black. This looks really good on a cell phone.

For both Ebay and Etsy DO NOT put your policies in your descriptions! Just stop doing that! It really hurts your listings in search and this will become more and more evident as time goes by. Both Etsy and Ebay have specific areas to put your policies (shipping, guarantee, etc) Use only those areas. Your listing description should be just that - a product description!

Wishing you all great sales this holiday season!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Taking Pictures for Ebay and Etsy

I guess I should have titled this taking pictures to sell your crafts online. Anyway, I see a lot of really bad pictures out there. And people say they can't afford to get a great camera or a light box etc etc.

While my pictures are far from perfect they are pretty decent. And luckily I have a daughter that is amazing with photoshop. But I only send them to her to get the yellow off the background. Truly all I do is take a picture on a white piece of posterboard. For taller items I use those poster board display things made by Elmer glue that you get at Walmart for like 5.00 And then I have an all white background for under 10.00!!

I have a iphone 5 that has a better camera than my digital camera so that is what I have been using the last few weeks.

So here is picture number one before I sent it to my daughter. Not bad but I hate that yellow tinge in the background.

Here is the same picture after Katy took out that yellow tinge and brightened up the color. I washed the color out when I tried to take out the yellow in the background. See what a huge difference it makes!

Here is a scarf picture I took with the poster board for taller items

Another scarf picture. It has a little yellow but still not bad.

Selling Handmade/Crafts on Ebay Part Two

Just an fyi that my Ebay tips really work no matter what you sell on Ebay.

Ebay has made a ton of changes in the last 8 months and I think they are all for the better! Many people have not sold on Ebay in years so they don't realize how much has changed.

Do try to make Top Rated Seller. Its fairly easy to do as long as you upload tracking within 24 hours (and ship) and offer a refund policy. This TRS is invaluable. Not only do you get a 20 percent discount on your Ebay bill, you get higher placement in search, discounted shipping labels and the TRS logo on your Ebay name. I will tell you that others sell some of my same supplies/handmade lower than I do; but because I have the TRS logo many still prefer to buy from me. Its a big deal! And now they are doing a grace period for TRS's. If you have a bad week where you don't get all your tracking uploaded you get a grace period before they take away your TRS status.

Ebay now offers the 50 free listings every month. This is great for people that want to try it out. But I do believe having a basic store is the best way to go. Basic stores are around 12.00 per month and you get 150 free listings. And many months we get bonus free listings (this month it was 500 more) The bonus of a basic store is you get categories to divide up your inventory so you get a ton more SEO. Well worth the 12.00 in my opinion. Do check out the Ebay calculator that tells you if a basic store is right for you.

Also Ebay is now testing new store layouts that I have to say look just like Etsy. They are really nice looking so I hope they become available to all of us soon. 

Just like Etsy pictures are a huge deal on Ebay. And they are getting more picky about it by the day. Make sure you have excellent pictures. I hate taking pictures but its a necessary evil. Heres one I just took yesterday of our new parachute cord bracelet making jig. Took me about 50 pictures to get 2 good ones.

I never never sell handmade at auction price. I only sell it Buy it now. I never want anyone to think that my items are anything but high quality handmade items that deserve the price I list them at. Now if you have something you want to close out etc you can try auction listings. But I prefer buy it now. Also be sure to check the little box on your listing that says "require immediate payment" this will greatly reduce the amount of non paying buyers.

Do offer "free shipping" as these get higher placement in search. Just add the price into your  item (that is what everyone does) and check free shipping. Now this isn't always possible on heavy items but anywhere you can offer free shipping do it. It also gets you an automatic 5 stars on shipping.

So in a nutshell these items all get you higher placement in search

Top Rated Seller
Free Shipping
Basic Store

Be sure you put your items in the correct category! I see a lot of handmade that gets listed in the wrong category so pay attention to that too!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Gourd Painting Patterns Now Available as Instant Download

I am getting lots of requests for my gourd tole/decorative painting patterns so I finally got them listed on my Etsy store!

So far I have the ghost gourd for Halloween and the Snowwoman Gourd listed. I am hoping to get a few more done in the next few weeks.

Selling Handmade on Ebay

Okay so everyone says handmade doesn't sell on Ebay. The secret it is does sell on Ebay. Ebay is so similar to selling on Etsy but I do admit the learning curve is bigger.

So just like Etsy (and probably even more important) is you have to have great SEO on your titles and descriptions. Just do the same as I have written here for Etsy listings. Ebay just updated its search (Cassini) and is going to keep updating all through the next year. So watch for updates but until then here are some tips.

Use every part of the information part of the listing that you can. These are so important on Ebay. This is the part that asks color, size, material, brand, country etc. Fill out as much as you possibly can. I have found that most handmade people completely skip that. Don't skip it!! Ebay search puts heavy weight on those lines of text.

Do not have spelling errors, text speak etc. Ebay will bury your listings if it knows you have numerous errors in your listing. My daughter in law is really bad about this. But she still manages to sell a ton of baby blankets on there.

If at all possible use the 1 business day to ship and upload tracking. With custom orders you cannot do this but this is a great way to get your listings to the top of search and to get top rated seller status. Always check the 100 percent guarantee. Don't be scared of that!! in almost 2 years I have only had it come into play twice. But it makes customers feel better and again it gets your listings higher in search. If you can click same day shipping and use Fast and Free becasuse again Ebay gives those listings preference.

Group things together. Lets say you sell soap. Make all different listings with different groups. Lets say one listing of 3 soaps, one listing of 6 soaps, one listing of a dozen. By the way this also works great on Etsy. People love to buy a group of items.

Okay this part is not meant to offend anyone but if you are a US seller put it in the listings!! Be proud. There are buyers on there that specifically look for Handmade in the USA. I often put it in the title and the description. Remember Ebay is a little less stuffy than Etsy so you can have some fun with your listings.

Ship internationally!! This opens a huge market for your items. Always check "ships worldwide" This is so easy on Ebay since they have a shipping calculator. Just put the weight in and let Ebay figure it out for you. However do NOT use Global Shipping. Buyers hate it! It charges buyers big fees so they tend to get pissed once they purchase and see the big shipping fees. Just ship yourself. I have sold way more international handmade on Ebay than Etsy. I do believe this is due to their shipping calculator. On Etsy I have to guess and guess high and I think that is a turn off to international buyers.

This is getting really long so I will do a part two in a couple days

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Stay in the Positive! Etsy Feedback Changes

I have been on a much needed vacation and just returned yesterday. Took a look at the Etsy forums and what a meltdown over the new feedback.

All I can think reading all these posts is what a huge waste of time. People are being muted, banned, losing sleep and spending all of their time posting on the Etsy forums.

I know I keep saying this but its worth repeating. You will never be able to control what Etsy does. You can only control your reaction to what Etsy does. Instead of demanding Etsy change feedback to the old system (which is never going to happen) spend your time tweaking your Etsy shop or promoting your Etsy shop.

Negativity is like a cancer that just spreads and spreads and damages everything in its path. Do not let yourself get sucked in.

Spend your valuable time promoting your shop, stocking up on shipping supplies for holiday sales and creating new beautiful things to sell.

Etsy feedback is not going to make the huge difference people are predicting. I have always said no feedback is the best feedback and that is on Ebay or Etsy. I see people posting in the Etsy forum that they are sending letters with each package begging for feedback or telling buyers how to leave feedback. I for one hate when I make a purchase and get a letter begging for feedback. Don't do it! When you send letters like this you are actually making it easier for them to leave negative feedback. Because now you have forced them to really think about their feedback and what they are going to put. You have put the negativity in their head even though you didn't mean too. I got one of these letters with my last Ebay purchase. Because it begged so much I had to think it meant they must have a lot of poor feedback. So curiousity got the best of me and I went and looked. Yep they had some not so great feedback. Now if I had not got the begging feedback letter I would have never thought twice about it and never checked their feedback. 

Time is too precious to waste being negative. Stay in the positive and get back to work!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More Etsy Changes for Feedback and Payment Methods

Etsy has made some major changes once again all at once. I always wonder why they do all of these major changes at once? The biggest error was obviously the test that excluded Paypal as a payment method. Thankfully they stopped that little experiment. However I do think eventually Etsy will drop Paypal as a payment method. But before they do I think they will have to actually get a working phone number.

The next change is the feedback system. I guess I must be in the minority that actually likes the new feedback. Months ago I stopped wasting my time giving buyer feedback. It was a huge time suck. I kept thinking to myself why am I spending time on this when buyer feedback can't be seen and doesn't even matter? So now I don't have to feel guilty for not doing it. The only worrisome thing to em about the new feedback is that shops that had medicore or poor feedback just got a bunch of it wiped clean. Since they only take the last 12 months this means some bad shops will actually get a boost in the ratings.

I think most don't like it because its stars and it reminds them of Ebay. Maybe Etsy should have used hearts? I will never understand the hatred of Ebay from Etsy sellers. Like I always say use both to your advantage. With the exception of the star symbol this feedback system is nothing like Ebays. Its much simpler and much better for sellers.

One thing we all know is that Etsy will constantly change things. We can't control Etsy, only our reactions. Take the changes in stride and find a way to use them to your own advantage!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Selling E Books or E Patterns on Fall Clean Up!

So you all know I am constantly advising you to publish your craft patterns on If you haven't done it yet, you should!! Remember the market that buys patterns is totally different from the market that buys finished craft items. The smart thing is to sell to both markets!

I have been selling my self published ebooks on Amazon for a couple years now. So today I was getting ready to publish two new crochet patterns and I took a good look at my ebooks that are currently for sale.

What I noticed is I have some clean up work to do. When I first published on Amazon Kindle, the cover requirements were very different than they are now. So looking at my author page I realized all of my covers are different sizes. Not good. The older ones are way too small.

Then I took a look at my e book descriptions and noticed there could be a lot of improvement. So I will spend the weekend tweaking all of my e book covers and descriptions before the busy fall season. I am also going to tweak my Amazon author page.

My newest Bernat Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern that I will be publishing this weekend!

Monday, August 12, 2013

The New Etsy Listing Format Ugh

So Etsy has released the new listing format and can I just say it sucks? Seriously how do they manage to make such big mistakes?

My main issue is that the shipping cost no longer shows when they view an item. Now the customer has to click on the shipping tab to see what shipping cost. Huge mistake. HUGE. My fear is most will not click on the shipping tab and will assume that is the total price.

The only real way around it is to put the shipping fee in your price and put free or 0 shipping. But that won't work for international sales.

Why Etsy would require more clicks to see a price is beyond me. I don't have a tech degree but common sense and experience selling online shows customers don't like to click more tabs. They are usually in a hurry and want their information quickly.

Since customers won't see the total with shipping until they check out, I suspect there will be way more abadoned shopping carts. Which is always a bad thing.

And as usual (whenever Etsy makes major site changes) views are way down on all of my shops. Thanks a lot Etsy!

Just another reason to sell more on Ebay. My Ebay sales are kicking butt right now! About triple what my Etsy sales are.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Our New Craft Business! Parachute Cord Supply

So I knew in advance that the hotter summer months would be slow for knit and crochet supplies and finished items.

I was brainstorming trying to figure out another niche craft business and viola - we settled on Parachute Cord Crafts. Hubby already had an interest in making parachute cord survival bracelets so we made and plan and went for it. We also loved that the parachute cord is 100 percent made in the USA!

He opened Parachute Cord Supply in late April and I can happily say business is great! Just like Kays Crochet we sell parachute cord supplies and finished items. This way we cater to both sides of the market.

As I suspected the parachute cord supplies have been a boon to get us through the hot summer months. The only issue we have had so far is that these supplies are so popular that it can be difficult to keep many of them in stock. Hubbys Army Wife bracelet with charm.

If you need any supplies or need a custom bracelet made check it out!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Converting Crochet/Craft Patterns to E-Books to Sell on

It occurred to me that I have not written much lately on selling your own self published e-books. I now have many of my crochet patterns now selling on and Barnes and Noble as e-book patterns. Best thing I ever did!! And its fairly simple.

I cannot believe how many crochet designers (and craft pattern makers in general) are afraid to tackle e-books. I call e-books my residual income. Make it once and it pays you over and over and over. Once you upload an e-book you really never have to think about it again except to check your earnings.

I sell way more crochet patterns on Amazon and B&N than I could ever sell on Craftsy, Ravelry or Etsy.

Because most crochet/craft patterns are only a few digital pages they are much easier to format than say a book. Even I can format my own crochet patterns. As I have said before BE SURE you type them in Word 2007. This will make you life much easier!! Then just upload the file to Amazon, fill in your price points, upload your cover and you are done. Be sure to open the preview and make sure it formats correctly. If your pattern has a ton of pictures this may be harder. In that case I pay someone to format mine for me.

The great thing is once you get selling and adding more patterns; Amazon will bring your pattern up as "recently bought" which is a huge bonus!! I have even had Amazon put my patterns in several of their emails. I have to tell you I love love my monthly checks from and B&N.

As usualy SEO is going to play a big part in how many crochet/craft pattern e-books you sell. Make sure your title is full of your best keywords!!! This is how people will find your pattern.

A good cover is a must too! Be sure you make the cover the size Amazon recommends.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kabbage Cash Review

There have been a lot of bad things written about Kabbage Cash. I for one love it! Is the interest rate high? Yes especially if you don't pay it off early. But for me it was the answer to getting a bunch of inventory at a special rate.

Their ads say it takes about 7 minutes to apply and get approved. For me it was about 3 minutes. You plug in all of your selling accounts (Ebay, Etsy, Paypal etc) and it decides if it will approve you for cash. Once approved you can immediately deposit the cash into your Paypal account. For me it was a lifesaver as I really wanted to take advantage of a special deal on some fall inventory. But because this is the slower season for knit/crochet I didn't have the available cash.

Once you establish a record of on time payments your cash is increased. Like any loans always be careful and only borrow what you need and can pay back. And if you can pay it back early even better!

Many of you know hubby and I were victims of the economy collapse of late. Due to that we no longer have the stellar credit history that we used to have. There is no way I could get a bank loan for my business. But since Kabbage Cash mostly only looks at your online sales, it didn't matter.

If you have a great credit history then yes borrow from a bank. If you don't and you need some cash to build your business then use Kabbage Cash. Do note that if you do not make your payment on the day it is due Kabbage Cash will automatically withdraw it from your Paypal account. If there is not enough money in there they will keep withdrawing every time you get money in your Paypal until the payment is paid.

If you would like to give it a try please use my referral link

Bernat Baby Blanket Yarn Little Cosmos

Arriving in stock today is Bernat Baby Blanket yarn Little Cosmos! I love this color and have been trying to get it in stock for months. And today it will finally be here. This color a long with the Little Petunias color is very hard to get as its always sold out.

I am keeping a few skeins for myself to make some baby blankets for the Thornville Backwoods Fest. Please be sure to order enough to finish your project as I never know when I can get this again! Also check out my special for 2 Quick and Easy crochet baby blanket patterns using Bernat Baby Blanket yarn!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lumio Reflective Tracer Yarn Now In Stock! Yarn that Lights Up!

I found this super cool Lumio Reflective yarn at the TNNA convention. This yarn is made with reflective tracers so that it lights up when light hits it in the dark or when taking a picture with flash. This is a number 6 Bulky weight yarn so you can knit or crochet a hat in minutes!

Click this link to purchase this reflective yarn on my Etsy shop. I have a bunch of colors including neon! 

Great safety yarn for those who jog or walk at night. Or for people who ski. Another lady says she makes dog sweaters out of it. One skein will make a large hat with pompom and some left over.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Are You Waiting For Sales in Your Etsy Store? Stop Waiting!

Sometimes the Etsy forums make me crazy. Today I was reading a post about how long did it take for your business to boom. Most posters replied they are still "waiting" Waiting for what? Waiting for sales to just drop in your lap? Waiting for the money fairy to show up? Stop waiting!!!

If you have an Etsy shop and you have only made lets say 30 sales in a year; something is wrong!! To be blunt you are wasting your time and money. If I only had 30 sales in a year I would definitely be changing things and finding out why my items were not selling.

Now if you just have an Etsy shop for fun I am not addressing you. But if you have an Etsy shop to earn income please wake up! That old saying "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" is so true. Obviously if you are not getting sales on Etsy you need to immediately change something or maybe many things.

To make money on Etsy here are the basics that you must have

  • Great pictures
  • Good prices and good shipping prices
  • Items that people want to buy 
  • SEO on each and every listing
Do not try to make your profit on shipping. Buyers are too savvy for this. I see many put a low price and then slap the difference on shipping. That will always keep people from buying from you.

I have found that many people just do not want to put in the time it takes to get sales on Etsy, Ebay etc. They don't want to research what their best keywords are or take the time to re take pictures. Yes I hate taking pictures too but I know if I don't have good pictures items won't sell. 

Many like to make excuses. Oh its summer so sales are slow. Oh its a holiday week so sales are slow. Hmmm I just sold about 700.00 from the 4th of July to Sunday. So obviously people still buy during the summer and during holiday weekends. Stop waiting and stop making excuses!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

SEO on Etsy Really Does Make the Difference

So people are always asking me how I got so many sales on Etsy in such a short time. And I keep replying most of it is due to SEO. This is not what people want to hear. I keep giving people the magic bullet but they ignore it. Many say its because I sell supplies. Keep in mind I sell a lot of handmade on my Etsy shop with my supplies. Doesn't matter what you are selling on Etsy; if you have great SEO you will get views and sales. Now I am assuming you have great products and photos.

Case in point. Hubby and I just opened a new Etsy shop in April. Its called Parachute Cord Supply. Hubby sells paracord survival bracelets already made and sells supplies for people to make their own. Now there are a ton of parachute cord supply shops already on Etsy. So once again people told me we were nuts and would not be successful. Fast forward a couple months and lets look at how hubbys shop is doing. Opened April 30th. Today is July 3rd. So basically he has been open 2 months. He has 48 sales! In my humble opinion that is outstanding for a brand new Etsy shop. Especially when it was opened during the slower retail months.

I also helped my daughter in law open her own Etsy shop. She opened the end of March and has 65 sales. Many people wrongly tell people on the Etsy forums that new shops take forever to get sales. Not true. If you have good photos, good product and great SEO; a new shop should be getting orders within days of opening.

If you read back to my older blog posts on how to use SEO on Etsy you will find all this info for free. If you would rather just get the instant download ebook click here to buy it off my Etsy store
Its also available on and Barnes and Noble.

One thing I know for sure is there is room for everyone that is passionate to be successful on Etsy!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reflective Tracer Yarn Coming Soon to Kay's Crochet!

One of the absolute best new fibers we found at the TNNA convention was this reflective tracer yarn! So much fun. This is great for making items for joggers, walkers, bikers, dogs etc. The yarn has tracers in it that reflect when light hits it. So if you take a picture the yarn lights up! Or if you are walking or jogging at night and a car approaches; it lights up. My daughter Katy wearing one of the demo hats at convention

Heres a before and after of the tracer yarn in skeins

Super cool huh? We love it! Its a bulky weight 6 yarn so you can makes hats, scarves & gloves in minutes. We should have this in stock in all colors this week. Be sure to get yours as I have a feeling its going to sell quickly.

We also found a new supplier for neon colored yarn that has been so hard to get. This one has a splash of neon mixed with grey. I have this coming in 3 different colors.

And then we have solid neon colors also coming in stock this week. We fell in love with Our Mountain yarns and will be getting much more in the next couple months.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back from the 2013 TNNA Convention in Columbus Ohio

Just attended my very first TNNA convention in Columbus Ohio with my daughter Katy. We had a great time! But there were some not so great things too.

We found some great new yarns for our store but also unfortunately found a lot of bias against us for being an "online" shop. I was really dismayed that our name tags (that you have to wear to get in the convention) said "online/mail order store" Ughh. I have no idea why TNNA and some vendors do not like online stores! In the past I have had a couple vendors refuse to sell to us. Thats okay we are doing great without those vendors! Their loss.

We were really excited about attending the runway show on Friday only to find there were not near enough seats. There were close to 100 of us having to stand to watch the show. Unfortunately I was standing behind some very drunk rude people ughh. There was plenty of room to have more seating so to me this was a huge error on the part of the TNNA planners.

Saturday was the first day to see the sales floor so naturally everyone was excited to get in at 10 am. We walked in and as we went to the first booth (it was about 5 minutes till 10) the vendor yelled at us to get out of her booth as the show doesn't open till 10. Wow what a great way to welcome a buyer to your booth! Seriously if you don't have your booth ready at 5 minutes till opening; well you have bigger issues than us. Its a shame as it was a booth we were looking forward to, but once that happened we skipped it and put it on our "do not buy from" list.

We did end up meeting many fabulous vendors and had a great time despite the nasty ones. I will do a new post on the new yarns and products we have coming.

I will say though that this bad attitude to "online stores" is really short sighted on the part of TNNA and some vendors. I really feel that brick and mortar specialty crochet/knit shops will become a thing of the past. Sad? Yes! But in this economy I cannot see how they can continue to make a profit with the overhead of a brick and mortar store. More and more people are wanting to shop online.

New Bernat Baby Blanket Yarn in Stock! Little Petunias

Just got some Bernat Baby Blanket yarn back in stock called Little Petunias. I love this color!! But it is very hard to get as Bernat has not been able to keep up with demand. If you are purchasing this color please be sure to order enough for your project as I never know when I can get it in stock again. I am thinking about whipping up a new baby blanket design with this color.

Then again my daughter in law Ruby is begging me to make her an adult blanket with it.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Highest Selling Crafts Part Two

So I was reading back on my blog and read my old post on highest selling crafts being niche food. Which is still true. But as my life evolved I gave up the food and went to crochet items, supplies and patterns.

Honestly what sells the best is what you are passionate about. I was successful selling hand painted items, jam and now crochet items.

One field I would not go in unless I had something really unique is jewelry. This is a flooded market. Normally I don't pay attention to that as many feel crochet is flooded too and I do quite well. But hand made jewelry truly is bursting at the seams. But again if you have something super unique and you are passionate you may still do well.

A little nice field that I think will always sell well is accessories. Scarves, gloves, hats etc. They can be sewn, knitted, crocheted etc. As long as you stay up on trends and colors you can always do well with accessories.

Baby items will always do well because people are always going to have babies. Personalized baby items sell even better. I know in crochet I get asked a lot for handmade baby sweaters. I don't make those but they do sell very very well. Baby booties are another big seller. I know when I have baby hats in my Etsy shop they sell like crazy. And of course I make and sell a ton of baby blankets. Other big sellers are car seat covers, baby room decor, and hand made baby clothes.

Another craft market I see exploding right now is hand made birthday party favors. This is for people that want that handmade decoration look without all the work. People spend huge amounts on their kids birthday parties. And birthday parties happen all year long. If you like cutting and gluing paper this is for you.

The New Etsy Forums

So Etsy has recently revamped their forum structure. They said it was to get more people to come and participate in the forums. Major fail in my opinion.

Why they shoved all the text to the left with all that white space on the right is beyond me. And it gets my OCD going as I prefer things to be lined up and centered. Its a very strange layout for a discussion forum.

I have to say the software they use for their forums is so out of date its not even funny. With all the techs working there you would think they could write a better program.

Anyway, they narrowed it down to generic discussions, questions and bugs. Normally its a good idea to keep forum sections to just a few but it doesn't seem to be working well on Etsy. But part of that is they are now much looser about what you can post. So what used to be business discussions is now just discussions. So I guess you can post about your cat, your un supportive spouse, your milestones etc. 

I think the theory was if they were looser about what you could post they would get more people posting. But I do think its backfiring. I think most are like me in that we enjoy connecting to like minded people and learning from others. But I don't really want to read about spouses, cats, milestones etc.

And now the forums are being over run by spammers. It amazes me that Etsy cannot control forum spam. Heck when I owned my Shetland pony forum I paid extra to have spam control that worked like a charm. So all those techies that Mark talks about cannot write a bot/spam control program? Crazy. Or they could just hire some Etsy shops that are there all the time (and I do mean all the time) to delete spam on weekends and nights. Its really not rocket science. I used to have volunteers help me.

I do think if they don't get the spam under control and get some interesting discussions going the percentage of users using the forums is going to go even lower

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Selling Crafts at Craft Shows & Fairs

I am working like crazy to get ready for our big yearly craft show called Backwoods Fest. Woohoo I can't wait! This craft show is known across the United States. For those that have heard of it; yes it is worth paying the high booth fees!

I have been in the crafts industry going on 30 years and I will say this is the biggest and best most profitable craft show I have ever participated in.

Here are just a few quick thoughts on how to sell at a Craft Show

Have a good mix of price points. You should have things to sell in all ranges. Mine go kinda like this

$5.00 to $10.00  For me this is a lot of small baby hats and hair bows/accessories

$10.00 to $25.00 This is for sure the top selling price point. I would venture a guess to say that 90 percent of the sales will be in this range.

$25.00 to $50.00 This is the upper range and I sold out of this range last year as I underestimated. For me this is handmade crochet baby blankets that are very high quality. For sure I will take a lot more in this range this year! My Baby Mason blanket sold for 50.00 at this show and I sold out

$50.00 to $100.00 Last year I did not take anything in this range which was a mistake. I will rectify that this year and report back.

I also got a ton of request for fingerless gloves last year so I am crocheting those like crazy for this year.

My biggest mistake with this show last year was not having holiday themed items (Halloween, Christmas) So I am also making a bunch of those items. Last year we got a booth at the last minute when another person backed out so I really was not prepared. And I way underestimated the crowd this show gets. Its just crazy!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How To Get Started Selling Craft Supplies on Ebay or Etsy

So I have some extra time today so thought I would blog about selling craft supplies as I get asked about this a lot.

Craft supplies sell! Unique craft supplies sell even better. However, I do believe the key is selling what you are passionate about and educating yourself on what you sell. You have to become an expert in whatever you are selling.

I first started on Etsy with skip stitch blades and my self published crochet patterns. Because the blades are so unique they immediately drew traffic. So I thought to myself, "what other supplies do I use that are hard to get?" And I found more such as the Sharp Crochet hook. And I wrote patterns using these tools. Because these are so unique there are very few instructions/patterns.

I went after all the supplies that you could not get at the big box craft stores. Eventually I spread out to knitting supplies even though I don't knit. But it goes hand in hand with the other things I sell. So I had to research (and still do) and educate myself on knitting supplies.

I now offer some things that can be bought in a big box store; but only ones that are hard to get or go with another item. I in no way want to compete with Hobby Lobby or Micheals. I am going after the niche market.

So think about the tools you use or come up with a unique tool yourself. If there is something you use that you can't live without; and isn't easily found, chances are it will sell well on Etsy and Ebay.

A few months ago I needed some neon yarn. Hobby Lobby was the only store selling it and they ran out and had a bad shipment so they advised everyone nationwide it would be months before they got more in. So I hunted and hunted and found another supplier of neon yarn. Put it in my Etsy shop and it sold like hotcakes. Still does. In fact I am out of it right now.

Always be on the lookout and observe what is going on in your own industry!

Fear of Failure Holding You Back?

I have been thinking about this a lot. I do believe in my life the "fear of failure" as held me back many times. I think it can easily become a self fulfilling prophecy. Ever since my home business started going well, I kept having those negative thoughts in my head. "What if it all stops?" "Maybe I will never get another order" What if what if what if.

Instead of enjoying success I was courting failure. I do believe in the law of attraction. Like attracts like. So if you are constantly worried about failure you will attract failure to yourself.

Don't get me wrong I am a very positive person and I think that comes across in my blog. But everyone has those doubts and negative thoughts that start to seep in. I think it can be especially hard for creative people. When we create something we worry that no one will like "our baby". Whether its a painting, a crochet blanket, handmade jewelry or a book its all our creation. So it is very personal to us.

Now when I catch myself thinking those negative thoughts I replace them immediately with positive thoughts. I will be successful, I will get more orders, I will create new things etc. The great thing is it just makes you feel better. Negative thoughts equal negative emotions. So if you brush those away and replace them with positive thoughts you will just feel better all day long.

I was honestly shocked about how many negative thoughts I had in a given day. Not good!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Newest Bernat Baby Blanket Crochet Pattern Its Not Just for Babies!

Ever since I started making baby blankets with Bernat Baby Blanket yarn my adult children (and friends) have been begging me for a full size afghan. I kept telling them an adult sized afghan with this yarn would weight about 100 pounds. But they kept begging. So for my adult nieces birthday I whipped up this afghan using Bernat Baby Blanket yarn.

I posted a picture of it on my Facebook page and one of my fans commented that it looked like a field of pansies. So I named it the Pansy Blanket. This is another quick and easy crochet pattern that can be made in a weekend. I started it on a Friday evening and finished it Sunday morning. Easy peasy. Unfortunately I cannot find this green color anymore that I made the edge in so that will have to substituted unless you can find it.

Its still a heavy blanket but not as heavy as it would have been with a solid pattern.

Here is a close up picture of the pattern

This pattern is available as an instant download on my new website or my Etsy store!

Back Again with the Summer Craft Slowdown

Yes I know its been forever again since I posted on my blog. I guess I am perplexed as this blog started out as an avenue to help my friends make money from home and not get scammed. And then as my life evolved so did this blog. It went from free lance writing jobs to crafts to crochet, with some SEO Etsy tips thrown in for good measure.

I keep wondering if I should just keep this blog exclusive to how to make money in crafts (Etsy, Ebay etc) or if its okay to mix all of what I do which is crochet patterns, free lance writing etc.

For now I am just going to keep it a mix of both because I just don't have time to make a new blog to move the crochet stuff too.

If any of you has questions please feel free to ask! That may give me a better idea of what to blog about.

Right now things have slowed down which is typical of summer months. I will say I had a banner month in April with sales of 8000.00 across all venues. I was pretty excited as that beat my Dec/Jan sales! Now that things are slow I am tweaking everything and I mean everything! I am looking at old Etsy listings and changing up some pictures and tags. I am pretty much doing the same thing on my website and my Ebay store. And I am planning what I will buy for fall inventory. You have to make good use of the slow June/July months so you can get prepared for fall holiday sales.

Speaking of Ebay...I read a thread on the Etsy forums this morning about how handmade doesn't sell on Ebay. And that Ebay customers just want cheap. I actually laughed out loud. My Ebay sales of handmade scarves and baby blankets are about quadruple what they are on Etsy right now. But shhhh don't tell anyone. Its better for me if everyone believes that myth and stays away from Ebay!

I also want to point out that Ebay has revamped their fee structure. Right now the best avenue is to open a basic store and get all the free listings. My only issue with the change in the structure is that things 50.00 and over actually cost a higher rate to sell. Yuck. But if you get your Top Rated Seller discount it still comes out to about 8 percent in fees.

One of my top selling scarves on Ebay.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Etsy's New Trending Page

Much like the Etsy Browse pages the Etsy trending page has people upset. And just like the browse page I am going to say don't worry about it! Would it be nice to be on the trending page? Sure it would. But its not the end of the world if you are not on it. And frankly most of us will never get an item on the trending page.

The only thing that upsets me about the trending page is Etsy saying it is NOT curated and that is is picked by a computer. This simply cannot be true or else you would see a much different trending page. For example craft supplies are the single biggest selling item on Etsy. Yet there are no supplies on the trending page. Etsy says the computer program picks items based on favorites, sells, likes and treasuries. Well I have many supply items that have way more of all that then what is currently on the trending page. They have also said the program does not exclude one of a kind, supplies or vintage. Yet you won't see any of those on the trending page.

The other drawback to the trending page is it automatically makes whatever is trending; trend more. Hope that makes sense. This is why you see the same things on there day after day. But again none of us can control Etsy; we can only control our reactions. Just like I said that the browse page would not make a difference for the majority of us; neither will the trending page. Just keep listing, tweaking and applying SEO. That will get you way further than worrying about the trending page.

Here is my newest redneck baby camouflage blanket. I decided to put hunter orange fur on it for the redneck baby girls :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lion Brand Zpagetti T-Shirt Yarn Now in Stock!

Woohoo! I just got my order of Lion Brand Zpagetti T-shirt yarn in and listed on my Etsy store. I have to say I love the colors! Now I have to think of something to crochet with them. I am thinking either a purse or a rug. Hmmm.

Heres a picture of the yellow t-shirt yarn

This Zpagetti yarn is classified as a bulky number 6 yarn. I am thinking of using a P or Q hook.

And heres a cute little black shrug I made for Ruby. I still need to tweak this as it was my first time making a shrug.

Hope everyone is seeing lots of sales. February has been better than I thought it would be on Etsy. Remember the more you list the more you get seen!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Neon is in for 2013!!

Okay not to blow my own horn but I did predict on the Etsy forums last year that Neon was going to be big in 2013. And I was right! I went shopping the other day to just see what was going on for spring clothes and wow everything was neon. From American Eagle to JcPenny they are all showcasing neon clothes, accessories etc. I know most go by the Patone colors of the year but don't discount neon.

Having been a girl of the 80's I happen to love Neon.

I did find out the hard way that Hobby Lobby is out of all of their I Love This Yarn in Neon lights. Boy was I upset as one of my best selling redneck baby blankets uses neon orange (I call it hunter orange)

So I did some research and luckily for me Lion Brands Deborah Norville line of yarn has just come out with a whole line of worsted weight neon yarn. Woohoo! I will have this for sale in my Etsy shop as soon as it gets here (approx 02-15-13)

Red Heart is also coming out with a neon line yarn in March but it is bulky weight. I will also have this in my Etsy shop when it becomes available in March 2013.

For any of my blog readers that use yarn; if you preorder with me I give a discount! I can get just about any brand and color of yarn you may need.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Selling Crafts on Ebay

So I have blogged a ton about selling crafts on Etsy, but what about the other big E website? I see so many people post in the Etsy forums that crafts don't sell on Ebay. Or all the buyers on Ebay want cheap items. Blatantly untrue! Today I sold 2 crocheted cowls and 1 crocheted baby blanket on Ebay. And yes I also sold some crochet/knitting supplies. I sell my handmade items on Ebay for the same (or higher) price that I sell them on Etsy.

This is one of the cowls I sold today my favorite one "pretty in pink"

All the same SEO things that I have blogged about here also apply to selling on Ebay. Write your titles with great keywords, good descriptions with SEO & keywords and the battle is halfway won. And for sure great pictures.

Others say the fees are too high. Ebay will give you 50 free auction listings per month and sometimes more. The only thing you pay on those is the final value fee and that is only if it sells. And you can put in the buy it now price which is invaluable. I always listed mine only a couple dollars apart. And 9 times out of 10 people choose the buy it now price. If they do a bid instead, many times it ended up selling for more than I sell it on Etsy. Win win situation. So for example if I have an item that I want 16.00 for I list it as an auction starting at 14.00 with a buy it now price of 16.00.

In Jan I opened an Ebay store since I have so many fixed price listings. With a store you only pay .20 cents to list a fixed price item for 30 days. Having a store gets you higher in Ebay search rankings. It has been well worth it to me! And I am now very close to making top rated seller status so then I will get 20 percent off my final value fees. I only did the basic store which is 15.95 per month.

In any given month my Ebay sales are at least as much or more than my Etsy sales. I will say it takes a bit of time to get going on Ebay. You do have to get some good feedback going (feedback is a much bigger deal on Ebay) and put in a bit of time. If you really think about it Ebay dominates Google search. How many times have you searched for something and you get a ton of results for Ebay? Plenty. Etsy is gaining on this but Ebay is still winning so far.

I love that Ebay (unlike Etsy) has a shipping calculator! All I do is put in the weight of each item and I no longer have to worry about guessing how much shipping will cost. I also love that I can list an item and give a percentage to my favorite charity and its all taken care of by Ebay/Missionfish. I do a lot of listings for the Susan G Komen Foundation as its a charity close to my heart. But they have tons of charities on there you can pick from and you decide the percentage. Love that!

The one drawback about selling on both is it can get very hectic especially when you get messages from Ebay customers and convos from Etsy customers in the same day. I have even had a customer buy one item from my Etsy store and another item from my Ebay store. Too funny!

Give it a try! If you use the 50 free listings you got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Like more customers and more sales!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

2013 In Review Crafts Do Sell!

Once again I have neglected my blog. But its for a good reason. I have been so slammed with orders that I just haven't had time to get back here. I hope you all are also having great sales whether you write, craft or whatever you are doing.

Many people have asked me how I got so successful on Etsy in such a short time. For people that followed my blog from the beginning; you probably already saw it evolve. For ones that didn't here we go.

I started out selling homemade jam on Etsy. It was very successful but a ton of work for a low profit margin. I started crocheting again after taking a hiatus for many years. Its like riding a bike, you never forget how. I posted a couple of blankets I made for my grandsons and charities on Facebook and people wanted to either buy the blanket or buy the pattern. So I jumped on it. I typed up my patterns and started selling them. I shut down the jam shop and opened "Kay's Crochet Patterns" on Etsy. At this point in the story I want to point out that I was pretty much broke. Which is a huge motivator. The plus side is it costs nothing but my time to sell crochet patterns.

My newest Crochet Pattern the Sherbet Scarf pattern

The patterns sold well and so did the blankets but it wasn't nearly enough to write home about. Then people started asking me where I got the odd supplies I used. So I thought "well maybe I should sell those on my Etsy store?" So I started small because I had very little money to invest. I think I actually started with 100.00. Sales started rolling in. I had to take half the money I made and re invest it back into buying more crochet supplies and used half to pay my bills. For sure this was the slower way to do it but it worked. I cannot tell you how many times I said to myself "if I just had an extra 500.00 to invest this would be so much easier!" Buy hey nothing worth having is easy right? Again the crochet patterns played a huge part in this because they are 100 percent profit. So I also kept adding new patterns.

I will add here that another part of my success was knowing how to use SEO to my advantage on Etsy. You guys know I wrote about this all the time here on this blog last year. You can go back and read those old posts because I guarantee you I would have never been this successful if I had not known how to use SEO on Etsy.

All through the fall I kept adding new supplies, pattern, blankets and branched out to knitting supplies. Every single month I reinvested in my business.

And now I will do something that almost NO ONE does. I am going to tell you my sales figure. For the month of December 2012 I sold 5500.00 between Etsy, Ebay and my own website. For the month of Jan 2013 I had 5200.00 in sales. So no Dec was not just a fluke due to Christmas :) Why I am saying the actual amounts? To give people hope that it can be done. I never dreamed this would be this successful when I started in April 2012.

I will also point out that I work way more hours on my business than I ever worked outside of the home. But to me its all worth it! If I want to take a couple hours off and play with my grandsons I can. And that is priceless!

Best wishes to everyone for a profitable 2013!

Kay's Crochet Mystery Boxes/Bags Update

We have been getting a lot of questions on our Mystery boxes so here you go! First some have asked why we are now shipping in bags. USPS...