Handmade Ohio Spotlight Series – Crafting in Style

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I believe that it’s important to support local artists and craftspeople. That’s why I created a team on Etsy to bring together Ohio makers of handmade items. This week, I am featuring one of our team members, Cyndi B.,  to showcase who she is and the wonderful work that she does.

Cyndi, a single mother of 2, makes French memory boards, pinback buttons, and key fobs/zipper pulls, which she sells in her Etsy shop, CraftingMemoriesOhio. She got her start on Etsy around 2007, but didn’t start seriously promoting her business until recently in 2014. Cyndi has a disability, which makes it difficult for her to walk and get around, but she doesn’t let that slow her down when it comes to creating new products for her Etsy store.

An important part of Cyndi’s process is researching current trends in the market. “[I] look and see what is trending-Nautical and owls are popular, so I try to make sure I have items with that theme at all times.” she says.

Her favorite part of running her business is connecting with her customers. “I love when a person zooms in on a board at a craft show and exclaims, “this is exactly what I was looking for” or “this would go perfectly in my child’s room” , etc…”

Her advice to newbies to the handmade business is for them to be actively involved in promoting their businesses. She says, “…you get what you put into it. Sitting and grumbling about not  getting any sales and not actively promoting your business is not getting you any where. It takes work to reap the rewards.”

Look for more local Ohio artists to be featured soon…

Why I Choose to Buy Organic and NonGMO Products

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The reasons I choose to buy organic and nonGMO products whenever possible are:

1. They are produced using sustainable farming and manufacturing methods.

2. They are produced without pesticides that can harm pollinators, like bees and butterflies.

3. They don’t contain harmful additives and preservatives.

4. They taste better and retain more nutrients than foods that are highly processed.

5. They put money into the pockets of ethical corporations, and therefore, keep it out of the pockets of big corporations (like Monsanto) that prioritize profits over the health of people.

The downfall of organic and nonGMO products are that:

1. They often cost more than products that are not organic and that contain GMOs.

Having young kids and a tight family budget can sometimes get in the way of being able to purchase sustainably made food all the time. Sometimes my kids will refuse to eat anything, but Kraft Mac and Cheese (The Ninja Turtle version). Already, their food choices are being influenced by big corporations that license cartoon characters to sell more products. Despite these challenges, I know that each time I make a conscious and informed choice to purchase products that are organic and nonGMO, I am helping to improve the quality of the life and health of my children, and also the quality of life and health of the planet.

Coming up next…

Buying Local with Handmade Ohio

How to take great product photography using an iPhone

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It’s not difficult to take great pictures of your products, even if you have limited resources. I do the majority of the product photography for my Etsy shop on my iPhone. The key is having a good setup. See my setup below.

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All you need is a well lit area (I use a corner between two windows), a large sheet of heavy weight paper (I use bristol series paper), and an iPhone.

This setup helps create a nice, clean, and simple look for all of your product photography.

Happy Crafting!

Etsy Announces Removal of Handpicked Items from the Front Page

Ironically, just after I posted tips for creating front page treasuries, Etsy announced that it is doing away with treasuries on the front page. This has left many Etsy sellers in shock and dismay. They do not like the layout that is replacing the old front page layout because it is too cluttered, messy, and not aesthetically appealing. They also don’t like that it doesn’t feature treasuries (a core staple and trademark of Etsy) enough. Below, I am posting two mock up suggestion layouts for a new front page and a new handpicked items page that I think may help resolve both issues.

Front Page Suggested Layout:

                                                  Etsy

Handpicked Items Page Suggested Layout  (accessed via a link from the front page):

Handpicked

Tips for Making Front Page Treasuries on Etsy

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Above is one of my treasuries that made it to Etsy’s front page recently. The front page of Etsy is a coveted spot that many seasoned Etsyians hope to get. How the front pages are chosen, and who chooses them is still very much a mystery. All we really know is that one or more Etsy admins select the treasuries that will make it to the front page. They look for treasuries that include a diverse blend of products and shops, as well as those that reflect current trends. Here are a few of my tips for increasing your chances of having one of your treasuries make it to the front page of Etsy:

1. Select your items carefully, especially the items in the first row because these are the first items that will be seen, making them the most important items in your treasury. These items should entice viewers to click on your treasury to see more. 

2. Choose a clever or trendy theme. Think about what type of products are trending. Think about the season/time of year. Consider popular colors and color combinations. You may want to use your theme to help you select a title for your treasury. 

3. Make treasuries during “non-peak” times, such as early in the morning, late in the evening, or on weekends. These are the times when Etsy is “not as busy,” meaning the sellers and shop owners are not making as many treasuries. You have a higher chance of your treasury being seen and chosen during these times. Etsy selects a new treasury for each hour of the day (24 treasuries a day). 

4. Follow people who are favoriting items that you like and items that are trending. You want to try to include trending items in your treasury because it will help increase your chances of your treasury being chosen. 

5. Study the front page to see what types of treasuries are being chosen. Use these treasuries as inspiration for your own treasuries. 

6. Be creative and have fun! This is the most important part. If you don’t enjoy it, then it’s not worth doing. Don’t stress yourself out trying to make it to the front page. Making treasuries that you like is what matters most. Those who see it, and share your same taste, will get enjoyment from it. 

7. Good luck!

 

To visit my shop on Etsy and view my other treasuries: www.etsy.com/shop/sordidillusion

 

 

 

Gourmet Dark Chocolate and Salted Carmel S’mores with Toasted Pecans

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Do you wanna take a little trip to heaven? Then, try these delectable gourmet s’mores. Here’s the recipe: 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon crushed pecans

1 pinch of sea salt

9 small marshmallows

1 large marshmallow

1 square of dark caramel ghirardelli chocolate

1 soft caramel candy

1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream

1 graham cracker broken in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Lay crushed pecans on one area of the cookie sheet. On one half of the graham cracker place the chocolate square and large marshmallow. On the other graham cracker half, place the 9 small marshmallows. Bake for 2 minutes. 

In a microwavable container, melt the caramel candy with the whipping cream and stir. 

Place the graham cracker with the small marshmallows on top of the other graham cracker, and add the toasted pecans on top. Drizzle with the caramel topping and sprinkle with sea salt. 

Enjoy!