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Shop Talk: What Can Etsy Do For Me?

I’m been thinking about a new topic to continue our earlier discussions relating to small business, from shop owners to the independent artists trying to promote their work in stores and on the web. (If you’d like to read some of our past discussions on small business topics, click here.) I decided that today, I’d like to talk about Etsy.

Daniel Sroka recently caught my eye by a comment he’d left here on decor8, and I’ve been following his blog ever since. He wrote in with some excellent questions in regards to Etsy, and with so many of you being experienced shop owners there, I hope you’ll chime in to not only help Daniel, but also to assist all the others out there that may have similar questions. Here’s his letter below:

“I am an artist, a photographer, and have been evaluating the different markets for selling art, and how to approach them. On one end of the spectrum you have the traditional gallery-oriented market: art selling for high prices, in small editions, to small groups of people. Because of the price, this is art that needs to be *sold*,
usually in person. On the other end you have sites like Etsy, selling art at prices that are low enough to encourage people to take a chance at buying art online, but high enough that it still has the feel of quality. I don’t think it is a good idea to rely on only one market for your income, so it seems that the best place to be is somewhere in the middle: selling some exclusive work for higher prices, but complementing that with smaller, more inexpensive pieces on Etsy. But I’m curious if anyone has had success selling their work in both of these markets. Do you find that there is a relationship, either good or bad, between them? For example, do your sales on Etsy help market your more expensive work? Or conversely, have you found that being on Etsy makes potential galleries/collectors discount your more expensive work? If you are selling work on both, what percentage of your sales comes from each market?” – Daniel Sroka.

Since this isn’t an area that I have experience in (selling on Etsy), I’m handing this topic over to readers to assist you. Thanks Daniel for writing in!

(screenshot of etsy homepage from 6/29)

Posted in etsy, small business on June 29, 2007

New Look for Summer

With each season, the decor8 header changes, so it was only fitting to add a new look for summer. I recently asked the amazing Tara Hogan to design my latest business cards, so graphic designer Brent (my close friend in Minneapolis), spotted my new cards and decided to give the header a similar look for the season. (He’s also the man behind my last 2 blog headers here and here.)


Some of you wrote in recently concerned that changing my header damages my brand, and I know that you mean well, so thank you so much for your concerns. I realize that changing headers with the seasons may not be so great for “branding” but I’m not worried. Dooce swaps out her blog header monthly, along with Delicious Days, and I think they’re both pretty awesome blogs because they allow themselves some flexibility with their design and that, unlike large corporations, they do it because they can. I want to keep things fresh and inspiring here too, and because I came from corporate, I think I’m intentionally rebelling against anything that fences me in — right down to creating a set brand for myself. If anything, people know this blog by its contents and my voice, that’s “brand” enough for me. But thank you all for the nice comments you’ve sent in, and the words of advice, I really do appreciate that you’re looking out for my blog. :)

So with all that being said, I hope you like the new banner! I really love pods for their organic shapes and thought capping them in yellow would be nice. And of course, birds are always in style, so why not? Of course, in October this will all change when a Fall header is introduced, but for now, birds and pods work for me.

Posted in blogs, small business on June 29, 2007

Just Add Orange!

Flickr user Robertspeg sent me a lovely little note a few days ago that I’d like to share with you since it gave me a few thoughts on orange that I’ll mention below. She begins, “I loved your orange post today. Orange is a color I never thought I would use in decorating. Then a couple of years ago, I found I really loved it with pink. Now I use it all the time.”


Peggy is right, orange doesn’t always “click” with everyone at first, at least until they spot it mingled with colors they do love. Eureka! A feeling of surprise sets in, orange suddenly becomes your new best friend. Peggy adds that for her, there was a certain something that she had to do to make orange click in her apartment, “I painted the walls white and now I find I use orange, blue and pink constantly. I never thought I would use such a strange color combination.” And it works, as you can clearly see from Peggy’s photos above.

Orange looks great with pink, also with blue (remember this mood board from Starlee Matz?), and of course, green and cocoa brown, too. They all work nicely together in nature, which is where a lot of designers draw their inspiration, so of course they’ll work indoors, too.

Consider the colors of the desert, the coast, a sunset, or those in your flower garden. When I see color combinations in nature that interest me, I photograph it and save for future reference, as these often inspire my own work. Even if you don’t consider yourself a shutterbug, purchase a digital camera and carry it with you at all times. Just the other day, I saw the most beautiful whitetail and I asked my husband to photograph it (I wasn’t patient enough to chase it as he was!) because it was so pretty – the gorgeous blue body combined with silvery gray wings with cocoa accents. It made me think of a room where the key color is blue, accented with gray and of course, some cocoa and silver.

Artists have looked to nature for inspiration over the centuries, so when decorating your home, look to color combinations outdoors as your guide and let them ignite your creative spark. With every photo I take, I’m stopping to “smell the roses” and it feels so good. Not only am I looking for terrific color combinations, but in the process I discover beautiful little creatures, flowers, plants, all that I may have missed otherwise.

Maybe this weekend, you can carry your camera with you and snap some photos of terrific color combinations in nature? It’s a fun study and will most definitely fire up your imagination. You’ll be surprised to see what you find. :)

(images from robertspeg)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, Color Inspiration, inspiration, walls on June 29, 2007

Orange Cottage by Civility Design

Once upon a time, there was a little cottage… with funky chandeliers and the brightest orange walls you’ve ever seen in your life! Seriously, these rooms blow “cottage charm” out of the window, there isn’t a single cabbage rose pattern to be found! How did I come across this place? I didn’t. These images arrived via email and my immediate reaction was a jaw-dropping “Wow!”. When I pulled together my most recent trend piece for HGTV on Cane, Don and Jaymes at Civility Design supplied the quotes needed for that article and we’ve been in touch ever since, they’re based in Chicago and have a glorious online portfolio if you’re like to check it out. From what Don tells me, after reading all the recent color posts about orange here on decor8, he was inspired to share with decor8 readers a glimpse into a vintage cottage designed using orange and kelly green as the dominant colors. Ready?

Here’s what Don has to say about the project, “We incorporated a great deal of custom pieces from tile, to fabric, to chairs to even cruelty-free, resin-antler chandeliers we custom made in ‘Hermes’ Orange!”

“The chandeliers we made for the kitchen, even in their Orange Color, read as ‘red’…to the point where we have received requests for them from all over the world because people have thought they were large pieces of coral, made into chandeliers.” – Don Raney
“All photos are from the same remodel/project we designed; a vintage cottage reinterpreted with period-appropriate materials but with a modern twist. Fun Fun Fun – and beautiful, all at the same time.” – Don Raney


What do you think about that cottage space? I love all the bold accents and how these designers didn’t let the word cottage deter their vision at all. Great job!

Related posts: 6/14 Cane

(images from civility design)

Posted in bathroom, Color Inspiration, designers, kitchen on June 29, 2007

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