Thursday, August 30, 2012

Homeschool Paint Activity

I got this neat and fun idea from the Little Hands to Heaven book. It's a simple, fun way to teach the Creation story to young children. You probably already have the supplies!

White paper
White crayons
Black paint (watercolor works best, but poster paint can be watered down)
Paint brushes
Posterboard (or something to protect the painting surface)
Aprons or smocks (which you notice my kids aren't wearing- learn from my mistake)
Container of water for rinsing brushes
Paper towels or cloths to blot brushes and clean messes.


Let your kids draw on the paper. I let mine write/draw whatever they wanted, and I made a drawing that corresponded with the lesson (sky, trees, land, people, ocean animals). If your little ones get frustrated because they can't see their drawing, reassure them that it's all part of a special surprise.

Have them paint over their illustrations with black paint (the thinner, the better). As the images they drew emerge from the black paint, you can explain to them how the earth came forth out of the darkness.

One fun variation is for you to write words or draw pictures on the paper and have your kids paint over it to reveal your secret message. They can use other paint colors (though yellow probably wouldn't contrast enough).

Have fun exploring different variations!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Packaging Your Etsy Items to Increase Customer Loyalty

People shop on Etsy because they value unique, handmade items. Most likely your customer could have bought a similar version of your item for cheaper at Walmart. Remind your customers why they chose your shop and show them that you care about their business by putting some personal touches into your packaging. Just a little extra time and money can really show your customer how much you appreciate them.

First, make sure your item is properly packaged so your item will arrive without damage. Second, make your packaging beautiful. I use tissue paper and ribbon, and include a hand-written Thank You note. It's not complicated or expensive, but it reminds the shopper that their item was handmade with care. It gives your customer the personalized experience they expect when they buy handmade.

I use special wrapping for holidays: cellophane wrap with hearts for Valentine's Day, and wrapping paper for Christmas and birthdays. I also include cards for the holidays. The pennies these extra supplies cost can go a long way toward increasing customer loyalty.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Etsy Sellers: Don't Overlook Your Most Valuable Marketing Tool!

I'm talking about your kids! If you are a seller of kids clothing, your kids can be a great marketing asset! Dress your kids in your shop's clothing line every time you go out in public, and make sure you have business cards on hand. You just might earn some new customers while doing your regular errands.

I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but if you're like me, you are so busy filling orders that you don't make anything for your own kids. Carve out time to make outfits for your own kids well in advance of any holidays.

You can also get your friends and family in on the action! Give them garments from your clothing line for birthday and Christmas presents. You don't have to be the pushy salesperson everybody hates to be around, but if somebody asks if you sell the clothing you make, it's not rude to give them your business card.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Creative (and Free!) Marketing Ideas

I've already talked about one free way to promote your business. If you are a small business with a tight budget, bartering (especially with other small businesses) is an excellent way to gain exposure.

You can barter items for professional photography. Professional photos of your clothing with models of different ages can help sell your items. The photographer gets free items for her kids and exposure for her business, and you get beautiful, professional pictures of her items.

If you sell accessories that would make good photography props (tutus, diaper covers, baby hats or cocoons), make a deal with photographers. You can supply them with some photo props in exchange for professional photos of your items. You would also be promoting their photography business when you put their pics in your listings, and they can keep a stack of your business cards on hand in case any of their clients want to purchase your cute accessories.

Business card/Promotional Materials Swap- You can swap promotional materials with other businesses who sell different items to your desired market to include in customer packaging. For example, if you sell children's clothing, you could swap with somebody who sells children's shoes, decor or toys.

Blogging- If you have a blog, you can swap blog features with another shop. There are lots of bloggers who are looking for people/shops to write about.

Giveaways- I don't recommend participating in online giveaways, but sponsoring giveaways at fundraisers or events is a great way to gain exposure. Just make sure the event will be attended by people in your target market.

Teams- Etsy has teams that work together to promote each other. I've posted before about EtsyKids. You can see more Etsy Teams here.

I hope these are helpful! Let me know if you have any other free marketing ideas!

Friday, August 10, 2012

No, I'm Not 14 Months Pregnant

I'm sure you all know that I had my baby. I've been so busy taking care of all his needs, plus my other two kids, the house, my shop and EtsyKids that I haven't been able to blog. It would be weird though to come back after 4.5 months of blog silence and not give the details though, so here it is.

Jacob August was born on March 24, 2012 (my 31st Birthday) at 9:21 A.M. He weighed 10 pounds and was 21.75 inches long. His birth didn't go exactly as planned, but I'm happy with it. You'd think by baby #3 I'd have a good idea of how progressed my labor was, but when I felt like I had a few more hours to go, I was actually 20 minutes away from having a baby in my bathroom. Oops!

He is now 4.5 months old and is finally letting me put him down, so I hope to be able to spend more time sewing and blogging. I actually have plans to launch a new product soon!