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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
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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

Letter from Amy Butler to decor8 readers…

Dear Decor8 Friends,

Hello!

I just wanted to say how BLOWN AWAY I am by your mood boards! They are all so beautiful and inspired. The passion, thought and energy you put into them is incredible. I’ve spent a lot of time with all of the boards and each one is a fully imagined experience…… really works of art. I’m so jazzed to look at them, they are dreamy studies with luscious detail, you all have such lovely design eyes! I wish I could meet you and talk to you in person and learn more about what you love and what inspires you. I imagine all of you were as excited as me to see everyone’s vision. This kind of design experience really feeds my soul!

I love to make mood boards myself, I create several color stories before I sit down to create my artwork for my fabric lines. I’m getting ready to start a new collection and I’m so inspired by your creative fire!

Thank you all for participating in our contest. I appreciate all of the effort you put into this project. It’s a personal thrill for me to be able to connect with all of you. I love working with Holly too and I hope we’ll have more opportunities in the future to do more projects together.

Hats off to all of you! Thank you for sharing your love of design!

XO,
Amy Butler

Amy Butler at work in her design studio.
Posted in contests, inspiration, small business on June 27, 2007

Amy Butler Contest Winners (and a little surprise for everyone else!)

Last minute change of plans! I have to run out for the afternoon on a project, so I won’t be near a computer at 4pm to post the results – so here are the winners of the decor8/Amy Butler Mood Board Contest for all the early birds tuning in. Drum roll please…

1st place: Studio Space by Starlee Matz (47.8% response)


2nd place: Tea at Tiffany’s by Katherine Black (31.1% response)


3rd place: Grey + Brown Living Room by Paula Gibbs (28.2% response)


4th place: Ladies Only Tea Room by Jeska Pettitt (22% response)


If you’re one of the winners, your 5 Amy Butler patterns will ship on Monday, June 25th. Please email me with your complete name and address so I can get them out to you promptly.

I’d like to thank Amy Butler for sponsoring this contest, and for all of the wonderful entries, it was inspiring for me to see all the designs of so many talented readers of this blog. :)

And since we all love surprises… I have a few extra patterns that I’d like to give away. I’ll randomly select a few winners based on your replies to this post. Here’s the topic: “What makes a house a home”. You can go as deep as you’d like on this one. I really want to hear some unique perspectives on this, so if you’d like to take part, please comment below. This contest will only run for today ONLY. Since I’ll be away from my desk until tonight, none of the responses will be shown below until after 6pm EST. I think this keeps it fair, as no one can peek at the comments of others for “help” on this. :) Your comment below will be approved and posted on the blog after 6pm. I’ll reveal the winners in the comments section tomorrow, Saturday, June 23rd. Have fun.

What makes a house a home to you?

Posted in contests, inspiration, small business on June 22, 2007

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