Friday, 15 February 2019

Etsy Updates

I have been working very hard on my Etsy shop lately, reading lots of comments about how to get the best out of it as a seller and trying to update my images, update my collections and generally improve it. I don't think anyone realises when starting up one of these online shops, just how much work and effort has to go into it. You think that once an item is listed on there the whole world will be eagerly awaiting it and the orders will start flying in. The problem is, there is more competition online than anywhere else you could be selling your wares and you really have to go the extra mile to be noticed and to entice scrolling potential shoppers to stop scrolling and come on inside your little domain.

Although Etsy is a great place to sell through, there are little things that you can do to be put higher up in results listings; offer free shipping, have a shorter turn-around time for posting, add more keywords to your product titles, put in as many categories, tags, materials used and other little bits of information as you possibly can. I started researching what similar sellers to me have been listing their products under and found that actually trying to search for these sellers was really helpful because then I could use the keywords I was searching through as my tags.

It took pretty much all of last week to fully update every product in my shop (there are nearly 100 listed!) from embroidered pebbles to mounted prints and, of course, my embroidery kits. It does appear to be working slightly better for me which is great!
I have listed loads more stitchscape pebble designs in both sizes after a little photoshoot where these guys were working it! I have a pop up photo booth light box thing which helps to diffuse the light to make my images look more professional (another tip from Etsy). It doesn't feel particularly professional taking the photographs though as I'm normally stretched out on the floor in a strange position or set up on a small table in the garden in the early morning, wearing crocs and pajamas and shivering in the mist- so un-glamorous.

I have also spent quite a lot of time making up new Stitchscape Pebble kit combinations, which have now been photographed and added to Etsy. Generally there are only one or two of each combination so chances that you will get a unique set of fabrics and threads is high! The fabrics are the smaller pieces of strips that aren't big enough to go into a Naked Stitchscape kit. I often tell those attending my workshops and classes that as my pieces of fabrics get smaller, I have to come up with smaller and smaller things to make to suit the size of the fabric bits! It's very handy having this kit with its 10cm pieces because I can use up my offcuts to make really interesting combinations.

I love making up these pebble kits, which include seven pieces of fabric, seven matching or coordinating threads (1.8m of each colour), some felt for the backs of the pebbles, calico and toy stuffing along with the booklet about stitches and combinations of stitches.
It is basically an excuse to play around with different colour combinations and organise them so they look pretty which is super satisfying. Because of this they take more time and effort than the kits where you follow instructions that I have written because those will be the same over and over again so either myself or The Mother can cut out and put them together pretty quickly.

These images, by the way, are all currently available products in Etsy so if you like one you see, do pop over. My favourite combinations are the ones with the sheep in, something I haven't put into a pebble yet but really need to get around to doing- perhaps you could beat me to it?

As well as the pebbles, I have also made up several more combinations of The Naked Stitchscape kit!! Hooray! These are slightly bigger, do-it-yourself versions of the pebbles and in each kit you get five fabrics, five threads (approximately 2 metres of each), a little bag of sequins or beads, a 12cm hoop, calico and a booklet for stitches and ideas. This kit idea was born after I started my #inthehoop range of stitchscapes, each one made and framed in a 12cm hoop. I had a lot of interest in these as some of them were more abstract type landscapes where I just wanted to play with a particular fabric rather than create a scene, and others were more about choosing fabrics specifically for a scene.
At the time, I had already brought out three kits; Summer Sweet, Christmas Hoop Decoration and #inthehoop Spring (also inspired by the range I was doing), but I was hearing a few mutterings at craft shows about how interested parties liked the kits but felt they were too advanced to follow someone else's instructions and didn't want to be told what to do.
I decided that the best thing to do would be to create some completely random kits where the fabrics were all different but colour co-ordinated, and included threads to get you going (advanced stitchers will always have a stash to back them up), a nice piece of ribbon or lace and some beads or sequins to add to the texture. With a hoop in the mix as well, this kit makes a lovely present for a creative person as it encourages them to be original in their work but doesn't make them start completely from scratch as the colour sourcing has been done for you. The booklet has information about stitches and fabric treatments I like to do, but the whole thing is up to you and your experience.

I try to push myself a little bit in terms of colour collections and I don't personally like every combination I put together, but since this kit has been released, it is often the ones I'm not sure about that have proved to be very popular. I also ask The Mother to pick out some fabrics as well as she has slightly different tastes to me- it can be a very interesting exercise!

The biggest of Etsy shop news of course, saving the best until last, is that my Woollydale kit is now available for purchase!! I am so completely and utterly thrilled at the reaction for my newest kit - an amazing amount of these have already been sent over to America actually, in all different states- it makes me very happy to see so many keen and enthusiastic stitchers out there.
Woollydale is embroidered in a 15cm hoop (not provided in the kit) and is the most involved kit I've done as I had to write much longer instructions than I have previously. You use two lovely trimmings, six fabrics and ten colours of embroidery thread! One of the loveliest things is that each kit is completely unique. I have used a gorgeous batik fabric to give the impression of water at the bottom of the piece and where the strips have been cut, some of you will have areas of brown, areas of green, light blue, dark blue or even a greyish tinge. If you are seeing me at a craft show or a group of these kits together, you can have a little look for your favourite colour- I'm afraid on Etsy it's more of a pot luck, but if you do have a preference just leave me a message and I'll do my best.
The sheep are also going to make your piece unique. I have put in a template for the shape I used, but (and I have noted this in several places on the template and in the instructions) you may not want to exactly follow my shape because the placement of your sheep is going to be slightly different and you don't want to decapitate any of the woolly characters! I have allowed an especially generous fabric strip for this layer to give you room to play with the top line of the fabric if you need to.

So, please do pop over to my Etsy shop to have a look. All of my kits are great holiday projects as the largest of them are made in a 15cm hoop which fits perfectly in a small bag, and they also make fantastic presents for all ages and all skill levels. I like to think that my kits are slightly more unique than your average embroidery kit because it isn't all about the stitches- often it is about the fabric choice and placement which you can have real fun with!