Monday, August 22, 2011

No Bead Store?

My husband and I took a much needed trip to the mountains this past weekend. We stayed in the lovely little town of Highlands, NC at the cozy Mitchell Lodge. I love the slower pace and the cooler temperatures in the mountains, it’s so relaxing.

Wherever we travel, I always visit the local bead store to pick up some treasures that might not be available in Atlanta. To my surprise I found no bead store in Highlands. The community seems to be the perfect place for a bead ‘lounge’. A place to not only purchase beads and findings, but a place to sit and work on projects with friends, host a girl’s night out, or take a basic beading class. A place that serves beverages and has all the tools needed to complete a project.

I love this sign in front of a favorite bead shop in Virginia.

Highlands is a small town (3000 permanent residents) that swells to 25,000 to 30,000 seasonal residents during the spring to fall months. I call it the “reverse snowbird” flock. The town is at a very high elevation and is in one of only two temperate rain-forests in the continental US. The weather is mild in the summer months and the landscape is lush and green. The wonderful weather attracts retirees from Florida who want to escape the heat and hurricane threats of the summer months. Generally the retirees are well off, interested in the arts, and have a lot of free time. It is also a place for Atlanta folks to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a weekend. And two Universities have extension programs in Highlands so younger creative folks also live in town. I believe this would be a good demographic for a budding creative bead business.

I love this logo from a favorite bead shop in San Francisco that closed in 2009 

SO, why hasn’t someone jumped on this yet? Why isn’t there a cool bead “lounge” in Highlands? I don’t have the answer yet, but I’m starting my research this week. I’d love to be the bead shop owner is this lovely place. Take a peek at my previous blog post about Highlands, NC by clicking here. Cheers!

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Do You Know Your Top Keywords?

  I just wanted to share a few things I learned from a fellow blogger…

I wanted to get my items closer to the first page of results when an Etsy buyer does a search on a specific word. My category is really saturated (bead jewelry), hopefully some small changes to the title and tags will at least help my items’ position in the search results.
First, I took a look at my Top Keywords in “Shop Stats” on my Etsy account page.
- I selected “All Time” from the drop down box and took a look at my top keywords. These are the words I should be using in my titles and tags. (For example, mine are lampwork earrings, ceiling fan pull chain, and lampwork beads.)

 Items in my Etsy shop that fit the Top Keyword categories.

Second, I've started editing my listings using the Top Keywords in my Titles.
- When appropriate I placed the Keywords at the beginning or as close to the beginning of my titles as possible.

Third, I also used the Top Keywords from my Titles in my Tags.
- Having matching keywords in my titles and tags gives me a double dip in the search!

Fourth, I put my Top Keywords in my item description.
- Search Engines such as Google draw from descriptions, I’m trying to put the Keywords as close to the beginning as possible. 

Fifth, I’ve started to pay attention to the Google Search preview when listing an item.
- The Google Search preview shows what will be displayed when the item comes up in a Google search. Top Keywords should be visible in the preview.

Google Search Example:
Handmade Lampwork Bead Earrings Cinnamon Spice by LorisGlassworks
This chic set of earrings features handmade glass lampwork beads using an earth tone color scheme, matching solid cinnamon color beads, copper beads and copper....

Old Title: Cinnamon Spice Earrings

Improved Title: Handmade Lampwork Bead Earrings: Cinnamon Spice

Tags from the Title: Lampwork, Handmade, Cinnamon
Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

The rest of the Tags: Copper, Brown, Caramel, Chocolate, Cabin, Fall, Autumn, Rust, Terra Cotta

I hope this information is helpful and your items hit the first page when a word search is entered. 
Good Luck and Cheers!

There are lots of great articles in the Etsy Blog! But this one is especially relevant.’s-most-relevant-search/
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ever have one of THOSE days?

What a Day I had yesterday! And THOSE days seem to be increasing; recently I’ve heard from friends and family who are also having challenges in their lives on a more regular basis.  The question is: What should I do? Quit my own job? Move to Belize? Turn off all the electronics and hibernate? While those options do look great on paper, they're not realistic for me at this time.

Today I’m starting a detailed personal calendar to help me stay on task when I’m feeling flustered or unfocused.  Knowing what I need to do hour to hour should help me move in the right direction more quickly.  Ann Parri, Esty shop owner from Wales has just what I need:

Do you have an accountability partner? What about a good venting source? The right support system can make a huge difference for anyone, no matter what you do or where you work. Some days, when I feel like I just can't do this one more minute, a call a trusted friend or my husband to help  jolt me back into my happy place.

My emergency crew when I need some TLC.....Deb, Richard, Brenda, and Belinda.

When all else fails, I keep in mind that I can always walk away for a bit. Take a walk around the block in the historic neighborhood where I live, sit on the terrace with a good book, make a short trip to the mall or bead shop, or even a nap. When I find that my brain just isn't working with me and I’m at wits' end, I give myself the opportunity to take a break. 

One of my favorite places to relax, walk, and window shop.......
Hoping that today will be a great day!  Hope your day is excellent too.
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Something to work toward....

Just like every other serious Etsy seller I have dreams of becoming one of the Etsy “power sellers”.  A shop that has thousands of purchases and is continually listed at the top of the leader boards.  To me there is nothing more thrilling than seeing my sales number increase when I login to my shop. I’ve spent hours reading information on how to optimize sales and market my shop.  But alas, sales are slow at the moment and I have to remind myself that slowdowns are normal.  Even though I’m feeling a little deflated at the moment, the sky is not falling!

So in the mean time, before I become an overnight sensation (just kidding, I’ve got a long way to go to achieve Etsy stardom), I’ve decided to work on a mailing list.  Every time a customer makes a purchase, I have an opportunity to build a valuable mailing list. I’ve been wasting a prime opportunity to stay in touch with my customers and possibly earn more sales from quite possibly the easiest people to sell to.

When sending the initial email, I will let them know about my latest designs, make my message short and sweet, and let my customers know that I won’t be sending them further email without their permission. Hopefully this will remind them that I’m still here, give them a reason to browse my shop again and offered them the chance to opt-in to receive future offers.
All in all, there are plenty of ways to deal with a sales slump on Etsy, this is just one way to turn the trend around. What have you done to help your business during slow sales times? Let me know in the comments below.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Take a Peek....

New earring designs in my Etsy shop

Since moving I have not had time to setup my lampwork studio space. So, toady I went through my stash of odds and ends and found several matching pairs of lampwork beads that I could use for earrings. I'm trying to get my shop stocked now for the approaching holiday season. Have you started your holiday planning yet?

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Join the Party....

The Semi Annual Bead Soup Party is Finally Here!

For those who aren't familiar:
This is the third Bead Soup Blog Hop in two years, and Kalmbach books has picked it up for publication in October 2012.

Registration begins on today. Basically, you get a partner, exchange a set of beads, send a focal and a toggle (you don't have to make them) along with coordinating beads. The idea is to expand your horizons, try something new with beads picked for you by another designer. 

 An example of a Bead Soup package:

The cool thing is, people get discovered during the blog hop, which will take place on Septembe17th. Blog numbers and followers increase, designers that make beads and components experience increased sales and some bloggers have even been  approached by magazines. So you never know who will be watching.

If you are interested, sign ups are August 1-3 at and are open internationally. There were over 200 participants last year.
I hope to see some of you at the party!

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