How to etsy 4: Holy moly I made a sale!

My last how to etsy for beginners. I hope this helps someone out there ❤ it would have helped me a year ago!

Ok. So you have stuff to sell and a place to sell it but to make a sale you need to attract customers. It’s a catch 22 but you’re more likely to be found on etsy if you already have a few sales and positive reviews. So how do you get started?

My first sale was by one of my best friends, and so was the second, and the third. I owe them so much because they helped to kickstart my job and allowed others to find me. I wouldn’t have had the courage to even post things if they hadn’t told me they loved them.

I use instagram and facebook to let people know what I’m up to and get asked to make certain things available in the shop which is great. Also this blog! I’m still finding out how to make myself more ‘discoverable’.

Anyway! So you made a sale and the app makes a really satisfying “ka-ching!” noise. How are you going to pack it? I started off making my own cardboard and parcel paper packages but now I have boxes of tubes and reinforced envelopes ready for orders to be slipped in. I pop in a postcard with my details and a personal thank you message. Some sellers make beautiful packages and I’m working on how to make my items arrive at their new homes in style. Like making hand stamped gift tags!

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months watching videos and reading blog posts to improve my etsy shop. The best source is Etsy itself which has forums between sellers as well as free email courses to help you out and a blog full of inspiring stories. Sites like Skillshare and Makelight also have courses, some of which are free.

Also there are plenty of makers who share their experience on Youtube. One Youtuber said something which really made me smile; “There’s room for everyone.” So whatever it is you do just go for it. You don’t know until you’ve tried

Painting Hedgehogs

Eeeeh! I got to paint a bunch of hedgehogs last week!

web-5-hedgehogs

Usually I sketch out very basic shapes lightly with a soft pencil which I rub out later but this time I used WATERCOLOUR PENCILS!!! How didn’t I do this earlier? The marks disappear as I paint so I can be super messy 🙂

I filled in my hedgehog shape with water and splooshed in  some sepia, yellow ochre and cerulean blue. Apart from the black ink and white highlights I only used these three colours. Oh and a sprinkle of salt to see what it would do.

These hedgehogs are going to the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to help explain how to help these critters. Find out more about their excellent work here.

I ordered new hedgehog stickers and this time my sticker sheets will have teeny snails and cute leaves on to. I can’t wait for them to arrive 🙂

flat-hedgehog

 

How to Etsy 2: Photography

My etsy shop is called Look into nature. Please come in!

Carrying on with my round up of what I learnt being on Etsy for a year. This is a tricky one for me though but by writing down here I can come and re-jig my memory and hopefully take my own advice!

Photography

Dammit Jim I’m a painter not a photographer!

Taking good photographs is my biggest weakness but I think they are are also the key for online success.  When a customer searches for something they are usually presented with hundreds of thumbnails fighting for that precious click so I’ve been swotting up using sites like Skillshare and Makelight for tips.

A phone is fine! You don’t need the most expensive tech to make interesting photographs. The most vital step is taking a photo at all. The photo below I took just after opening my first box of stickers and just grabbed my phone.

Nothing beats natural light. Most light bulbs shine a warm yellow light which completely changes the look of a painting. I’ve bought white lightbulbs and camping led lights and nothing works like natural light. As long as it’s not direct! It’s good but too much light will bleach it! Below is a painting I finished late at night but I really should have waited until the next day.

Grab all the things. Dressing a photograph is a skill I’m only really starting to get to grips with. Putting items around a painting adds to its story. I started by adding the brushes and paints I used and now I’m adding natural items to portray my interests and my shops ethos. I want to start thinking about how, why and where I see my things ending up.

I have a lot of work to do to get my photos to a good standard. If you have any tips please let me know.

I will be putting up my next etsy blog next week. Take care xx

 

Garden birds

5-birds-web

Birds! Now in colour.

Birds coming to the garden sparked my love for wildlife. My grandparents would throw a crust of bread out of the window and we would guess which bird would be the first one there.

As you watch them you get a bit of drama between the species. Greenfinches seem to claim feeders and bully others off, but the tiny blue tit is feisty and darts in for seeds anyway. A group of chaffinches calmly circle underneath, hoovering up dropped food while the robin seems alert, dashing in for a morsel. Sparrows appear on mass, hiding the bird bath in mass of feathers.

I’ve just posted prints on etsy

The RSPB hold the Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of this month. Make yourself a cup of tea and just jot down how many birds you see in one hour. Easy. Over the years the results have shown rises and falls in what we see. Tiny birds suffer in colder winters and a disease can cut the number of greenfinches. You can get a free pack here.

Thank you for reading! I wish you a wonderful, colourful and feathery new year.

 

Ceri

H is for Hoatzin

I’m trying something new today with this abc stuff. My goal is to communicate through images and my last entries are so wordy! I’m going to work out a style to present these amazing facts in a more fun way. More like how I would have taken notes in University lectures (those were the days…)

So here is H… fo Hoatzinhoatzin-facts

I always had hoatzin pegged for H since I found out about the wing claws! It’s like seeing a dinosaur! And I know birds are descendants… but this is stuff that I thought as lost in the sands/fossil beds of time.

If you know of any good H animals that can compete with the hoatzin then comment below 🙂

F is for Frigate bird

f web

Frigate birds are quite slender streamlined birds, like a giant swallow with a forked tail and pointy wings. In fact the wings are so long (up to 2.3 meters) they have the largest wing area to body weight ratio of any bird.

When the males are attracting females to their nests in breeding season however they transform into red balloons. They have one of the most dazzling courtship of the seabirds. The males inflate a throat pouch and call up to the females flying above. The red seems to glow surrounded by the glossy black feathers.

Other Fantastic Fs:

  • Fennec fox
  • Flying squirrels

Frigate birds on things can be found on redbubble.

If you would like prints made available on etsy please comment below 🙂

E is for Electric eel

eel webElectric eels. Not technically an eel (this guy is a knifefish) but definitely electric. It’s so unusual that it has been reclassified several times.

Growing up to 2 meters long, four-fifths of its body are electricity producing organs capable of producing a short burst at  860 volts! Not enough to kill an adult human but useful in zapping small fish, mammals, but mostly crabs and other invertebrates.

I really enjoy finding interesting colours in animals which look dull and brown at first but electric eels have that lovely orangey-red chin. Being a murky brown makes sense in the dingy swamps and rivers of South America they live in where they  can disappear and sneak up on their prey. The colourful chin is darker on mature males and may be a signal to potential mates.

 

Other contenders for E:

  • Echidna
  • Emperor Penguin

Want electric eels laptop covers and things? Look here