Thoughts On Etsy "Shop Updates" Feature

I understand Etsy continues to work on new ways sellers can market and promote their Etsy shops, their latest attempt is releasing the new Shop Updates feature which you can only do from the "Sell On Etsy" app. "This is stupid!!!!" I bitched in a Facebook group right after this was announced.  A few of us were confused as to how this was supposed to work.

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I don't need another app on my phone to promote my listings, I already do that either automatically via IFTTT or I just go through Instagram and Twitter, why should I go through Etsy? I only use the app when I have a transaction, I don't shop with Etsy app. What the whaaaa? I'm so confused.  And then I took a step back and did some testing.

You can tag your image with one (only one) item from your Etsy shop.  This seems pointless to use on something like Instagram because Instagram does not allow linking in their description, meh.   And sharing an update on Twitter only links back to the update itself, not the item listing, it doesn't even share the image: 

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Why would I want someone to click one extra link to view my listing?  This is not for your typical shop update sharing.  I don't think I will be doing that either.   I prefer the setup I have with Instagram that has the image show in my tweet if I want to share a photo of a shop update.

What I do find pretty cool is in your Etsy shop, there is now a "Shop Updates" link in the sidebar: 

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You don't have to share your image on any of your social accounts, you can just keep it in your Etsy shop and it appears on your "Shop update" page.  This is a good place to show, in your shop, things you are working on, inspirational images, "behind the scenes" fun stuff. 

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In addition to the "About" page, this is another way shop owners can share more about themselves and their process of producing their items, which is pretty neat. I will try this out and see if it makes a difference.  

Have you checked out the Shop Updates feature yet? What do you think?


Life Lately: Feeling Reinvigorated

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In my latest newsletter, I shared that the end of Summer/start of Fall feels like a time of renewal for me.  Traditionally it's January 1st or the start of Spring but I'm backwards.  

I've been adding more items to the shop and applying to holiday craft fairs. The fourth quarter of the year tends to get pretty busy and I think entering my favorite season inspires me and motivates me to get to work. 

Also, I had an epiphany recently. Yes. An epiphany.  Last week I was reading over the e-book I've been working on - which I happen to take an unexpected long break from.  I started thinking about how much has already changed since I started writing it.  For example, PERISCOPE! I don't think Periscope was even a thing when I started writing and now it's here and it's a hit.  Pinterest has added more features to make sharing pins and pulling images easier too. 

I am going too damn slow and not keeping up with these constant changes!  So instead of publishing an e-book one time which could have out of date info in the next 9 months, I am going to convert it into a blog series instead now. Hooray! 

I know, another Social Media blog series?? Yep! The introduction will be posted next week with more detail on what this new series will be about.  It is a topic I enjoy reading and learning more about. I also like working with it and figuring out different ways to use Social Media for my business - some turn out great, others are bust and I plan to dish it all.

What else is going on? I'm going to see RANCID on Thursday! I haven't seen them in 14 years!  No matter how old I get, the band will still be older than me. ;) One of my absolute favorite punk bands who just got better as they got older.  No pit action for me though. I don't want sweaty bodies touching me lol!


Block Party Recap

What a fun Saturday, and a relaxing Sunday. Saturday was a long day as I worked earlier in the day and then headed up to Kingston for the Chronogram Block Party. It was hot, setup was a little chaotic, and I was fighting with my tent, but we got it set up!

Block Party Recap

Being that this was an "Etsy Market", they wanted to have some sort of cohesiveness with all the vendors, so they made a sign for everyone which was pretty cool. You can't miss the orange and white.

Block Party Recap

People started showing up for the block party at 4:00 pm and started walking through the market even though technically, the market didn't start until 5:00 pm so we had to hustle getting set up.  I anticipated this as this block party has become an annual event everyone looks forward to.  

Block Party Recap

Block Party Recap

To be a vendor for this market was FREE!  So whatever sales I had was all gravy. You can't beat that!  Etsy did a great job with having lots of staff available to make sure everyone was happy and not having any issues, especially with their card reader.  

I got to stuff my face with some yummy food from the food trucks and BBQ tents.  I was not expecting to eat as much as I did. Plus all the vendors got One Free Drink tickets from the Beer and Wine garden so once we closed up shop, we got on our drink on!

Block Party Recap

I don't normally drink, but I wanted one by the end of the evening and I got to hang out with my friends and Hudson Valley Etsy teammates.  It was such a blast, and I got to enjoy listening to the last performance of the day, Woodstock native Simi Stone.

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I didn't get much swag but since Beyond The Picket Fence was two spots down, I got to stock up on more of her beer soap!  I also grabbed the latest issue of Chronogram and the premier issue of Upstater

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And last, I wanted to leave you with these cute flower arrangements the Etsy staff had for everyone.  Every had a nice batch of flowers on their tables, so sweet!  And the colors worked so well with my setup. :) 

It was a fun time but I am not sure if I would do it again.  Not because I didn't have a good day but I really enjoy the block party itself and I feel like I didn't get a chance to really do that this year.  I didn't even get to check out the other Etsy sellers! I do hope they do this again next year as I think the market was very well curated and added so much more to an already fun event.

Now I don't have to worry about doing this again at least until November. :)


It's My Etsy Anniversary Too

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It's a big year for Etsy as they celebrate 10 years being in business. I opened my shop a year after they launched on June 29, 2006 and had my first sale a couple of weeks later. 

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 9.31.20 AMIt wasn't even jewelry! It was a small notepad where I changed the cover using some funky stock paper.  I didn't stick to stationery. I tried a couple of things before the jewelry took off.  I've come a long way!

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 9.37.01 AMIf you've been reading this blog for a while then you know there were times where I was ready to throw in the towel.  Many frustrations, changes on Etsy's site, people bitching about those changes (myself included) but I'm still here.  

A lot of great things happened thanks to Etsy including making new friends, finding a local community to be a part of, blogging friends, and has helped ME become a better business person.  I never thought I would have my own business and see my items sold in stores. 

My first craft fair ever was with the Etsy NY team and I remember how excited I was when I sold my first item.  I've already sold stuff online but never in person before.  It was a pair of big red, plastic hoop earrings for $8.00.  I was so stoked that someone wanted to give me cash for something I made!

So I'm still here, chugging along treating my Etsy shop as my main shop.  I still have Storenvy and Aftcra but who am I kidding, Etsy is the bread winner for me. 


Now Available At Newburgh Mercantile

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I am so excited to announce that I now have jewelry for sale at Newburgh Mercantile in Newburgh, NY.   Newburgh is just across the river from Beacon and very easy to get to.  Newburgh Mercantile is a pop-up boutique within a framing shop specializing in local, unique, handmade gifts and decor ideas. 

Newburgh has been going through a lot of changes for the better in the last couple of years and new businesses are coming to the area, Newburgh Mercantile being one of them. I am happy to play just a teeny weeny small part in that.  

Newburgh Mercantile is located at 75 Broadway, Newburgh, NY in Orange County.  You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.   They are also one of the organizers of Newburgh Illuminated which is going on this weekend celebrating Newburgh's 150th Birthday.

I also wanted to share that this was my first Etsy Wholesale transaction which is exciting! I was really worried about losing two stores earlier this year but it just goes to show that when one door closes, another one opens and I have to say, I have been happy with how things are going in the Etsy shop the last couple of months.  

I really feel like the extra work I've been putting in scheduling my tweets is paying off.  When you work on gaining more views, I think the sales will soon follow, it just requires patience and continue doing the work.

Have a great weekend!


Buffer Helped Increase My Etsy Views

Whoa! Okay, that title is quite a statement and giving Buffer some props but stay with me.  In addition to reworking the SEO for my Etsy listings, I've stepped up promoting my listing on Twitter. 

BufferThe mistake I made in the past was not sharing the same tweets enough. Maybe a couple of tweets throughout the same day the item was posted and that's it.  I thought anything more would be spammy. That was foolish.  

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I wasn't adding enough of my personality in my item tweets,  just "NEW! Beaded Red Jade Earrings in the shop! http://blahblahblah" - that's kind of lame.

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It is fun trying to come up with new wording to make my items more interesting. When I do, I got to make sure people actually see it.  My tweet activity is maybe 50 views on average, which is not much.

Buffer is my new favorite tool for scheduling my Etsy/Storenvy shop item tweets.  I can still do this on Hootsuite but I visually like how Buffer lays out up to 10 tweets (I always include an image), or you can "Upgrade To Awesome" - which I'm considering, and add up to 100 posts and tweets and add more accounts including Pinterest.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.34.36 AMEtsy sellers (myself included) complained about the drop in shop views.  Retagging items and rewording titles and description helped, but I really saw a jump when I began scheduling tweets on Buffer between midnight and 6:00 am as well as throughout the day.  Comparing Etsy views from January through April 2014 to this year, my views have doubled!  

Twitter is still my favorite Social Media platform and I'm seeing "buff.ly" referrals surpassing Pinterest as my top referrer for 2015.  That's the other thing, "Twitter" does not show up in Etsy stats as a referrer.  The links you share on Twitter show up as Direct Traffic so you don't know for sure if people are clicking those links.  At least with Buffer, you get a better idea.  

You can schedule your tweets manually or add them to a queue with designated times you set up so your updates go out around the same time.  

Have I mentioned the Analytics feature? While I'm not as concerned about "Follower" numbers, I do like looking at performance statistics for different things. For someone who hates math, I have a thing for numbers!

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 9.52.22 AMThe Analytics tab in Buffer shows the recent updates that went out and how much interaction it had.  It gives you a better idea of what's working and what doesn't.   IFTTT, Hootsuite, and now Buffer are all included in my toolbox of time-management greatness.  What do you like to use? 


Jewelry Design Gone Wrong

I am just taking my sweet-ass time with the jewelry shop updates aren't I? Here's the thing, I had an idea for earrings. Now that I've made those earrings, I'm not 100% feeling it. I hate when that happens! I don't even want to post a picture of them.

Instead I have this pretty, pretty, pretty necklace I added which I love!  It is also available in the Storenvy shop if that tickles your fancy.  

GreenkeySo these earrings are sitting at my table and I don't know what to do with them. It makes me think of what Tim Gunn said to a contestant on Project Runway a few years ago, "Do you want THIS to represent what you're capable of?" And the answer for me is no, I guess I better start over.

I mentioned that I love this necklace.  This is how I want to feel about everything I create. I don't want it be "Eh, it's good enough." I want to be proud of what I make and show off. 

Did you ever have an idea for a product or design that you thought would be awesome only to be disappointed with the turnout? What do you do?


Hootsuite: I'm Doing It Wrong!

I've been using HootSuite for a couple of years and it's been a life saver when it comes to scheduling my tweets.  However as I follow more people on Twitter and put more lists together, my Twitter was getting a little out of control.  That is until I read this super informative post from The Loudmouth Lifestyle about blogging time savers and Hootsuite was the main focus.

Hootsuite

To the untrained eye, this may still appear a little overwhelming. I was not taking full advantage of the amount of tabs and streams I could set up.  In addition to my own Twitter account, I also help manage the Twitter account for Hudson Valley Etsy.  Instead of switching between accounts, I just click over a tab. 

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1) My Pulp Sushi Twitter gets it's own tab and there are four columns set up. Each column is it's own "stream".  First is my regular Twitter feed which I would see if I sign in to Twitter on my computer and phone.  The second column is my @mention columns so I don't miss anything.  The third column shows the tweets I sent out, and the fourth are tweets I have scheduled which is my tool for scheduling tweets that promote my shop and blog.  I get to see it all in one screen. 

2) You can follow Hudson Valley Etsy @hvnyteam.  I have same set up for this account as my own account, boom!

3) I have a tab for some of my lists. I have 19 lists, there is no way I am going to have 19 columns on one screen because that's even too much for me.  So I have my four favorite lists set up, it seems like my brain can only handle up to four columns going at once.

4) I only participate in two Twitter chats a week: #ellechat and #blisschat.  They're pretty busy chats and it's hard to keep up so I have a column set up for each hashtag and again for @ mentions because people get chatty and I don't want to accidentally ignore anyone.

5) Facebook is straight forward. It includes my personal feed - which I find is more accurate and true to time than your feed at Facebook.com.  It keeps updates in order.  I also include my Facebook Page feed here too so again, no need to switch around too much.

6) Do you know Pocket?  I have a habit of favoriting tweets that link an article I want to read but then I forget about it.  With Pocket, I can favorite the tweet and it will automatically save the article link in Pocket so I can read the article here. 

7) "Hashtags" is pretty self explanatory.   Whether it's watching #TheWalkingDead or watching Monday Night #RAW, I need a separate tab just to follow hashtags, this changes frequently.

Since I made these changes, I've been spending a lot more time on HootSuite.   Do you use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck for your account management? Isn't is the best? 


Working From Home - One Year Later

Working From Home

NOTE: I have a new layout!  If you're viewing this in a reader, visit www.pulpsushi.com to see the new look!

It was a year ago this month that I said goodbye to my long, grueling commute and quit my full-time job. The year went by fast! I can't say the transition has been easy but I welcome not having to commute anymore, especially after the winter we've had with this much snow.  

The downside has been that I'm making way less money and I've had moments where I've wondered if I made the right decision.  I was hoping Pulp Sushi would bring in just a little bit more money since I had more time now to promote it.  Pulp Sushi profited for the first time in 2014 but I don't have anything to show for it yet and am hardly in a position to say Pulp Sushi is supporting me enough to make up for the pay difference.  I had many depressing bouts and questioned just what the hell I was doing.  I'm lucky to have Mike supporting me and continues to be very encouraging. While those doubts still pop-up, I'm glad I made the decision I did.

I still "get dressed" every day. Even if it's not business casual clothes, I still need to get out of my pajamas or else I'll feel like a bum.  I keep my routine of eating my meals at regular schedules and not get thrown off.  Some days the TV doesn't even go on until after 1:00 pm because I don't want to get distracted. I don't check my iPhone until after I've at least eaten breakfast.  I am most productive and motivated in the morning and start to slow things down in the early afternoon.  I've been exercising more too which is something I really needed to do.

Another thing that helped me get out of my funk was listening to podcasts while exercising and working. It's been a great help. I listen to a mix of wrestling podcasts and business-related podcasts. Some of my favorite business podcasts to listen to are: 

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I love being home, but sometimes miss going outside. I try to go out at least once a day but you know how that goes, some days you're just not feeling it.  We're limited to one car and while I have a drivers license, I have some serious anxiety about driving I need to get over.  I can walk down to Starbucks or Panera Bread and work from there for an hour or two. I really need to do that more just so I can be outside and around people even if I'm not socializing. 

It would be nice to have company once a month, whether it's just one other person or ten, doesn't matter. Just something to look forward to where I can meet with other people in person and just talk about what we're working on, struggling with in our business, etc.  Connecting with people on the internet isn't an issue, I've joined a few groups on Facebook which have been pretty cool.  I also joined One Woman Show this month so this year looks to be about reaching out and networking. I can only do SO much promoting and hustling on my own and what I'm starting to learn is that I just can't do alone, I don't think anyone can.

Are you still juggling more than one job while pursing your ideal career? Do you work from home too? How do you feel when you're not socializing as much as you used to?


Sign Up For My Love List, Enter To Win Raffle!

I know! I know! It was just over a year ago I "retired" my email newsletter because I stopped caring. The thought of putting a newsletter together every month with not much to say made me cringe, so I dumped it.

I had a change of heart after reading Maker's Dozen: 12 Alternatives To Selling Handmade Goods Online and I dusted off the old Mailchimp account. Here's why: 

- Facebook kind of sucks for business pages unless you want to pay for advertising.  

- As much as I love Twitter, have you ever checked your tweet activity? I'm lucky if my total impressions break 100. Tweets get buried very quickly.

I learned out about Mailchimp Snap.  With Snap I can set up a quick email and attach an image from my phone or Instagram, then send it out to my list quick and easy! So I'm giving this a shot again.  

What's this about a Raffle?

Raffle

As an extra incentive, when you sign up now through March, you are automatically entered to win this gift set from me which includes a set of three flower hair pins and my Tree of Life heart charm necklace.   Already sign up? No worries, you're already entered! The winner will be announced and contacted in early April. 

I realize that people who go out of their way to sign up to get an email from you are super awesome and those folks need to be treated extra special *smooch!*  I also hope to have more raffle giveaways for sign-ups in the future.  It's me trying out different ways to get the word out on my business.

So if you're game, sign up by clicking the image or link below, thanks!

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Here's the link to the sign-up form.