Monday, July 6, 2009

Featured teammate WhiMSy love

Nikki's shop has been getting a lot of notice lately, so I thought it was about time I did a feature post on her and her shop. I started by reading her blog. It left me wishing I had more time to spend there reading, pouring over every tutorial, and crafting all Summer with my kids. We will definately be making some shrinky dinks. Now that my daughter has seen Nikki's blog, I am in real trouble - in a good way!

Here is Nikki on -Getting Started
My mom & I used to have a little space in an antique mall where we sold vintage items PLUS handmade. I discovered I rather preferred doing the whole handmade thing specifically, so I browsed the internet one night looking for a way to set up a website or SOME WAY to sell my handmade goodies online, & then I found Etsy. It was perfect timing really, because I set up my Etsy shop &, shortly after, the antique mall went out of business. I still do adore vintage items so I keep a little spot at WhiMSy love for them. (thermos available at WhiMSylove) The first item I sold on Etsy was one of my fork easels. The fork easels happen to be my best seller to date.

You don't need to do live shows to be visible.
Part of the reason I don’t do a lot of shows is because I'm a busy mom & I don't have a lot of time to be creating tons of merch & putting in all the time it takes to prepare for a show. Other online shops sell some of my items. Because of Etsy, I have been presented with a few really cool opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been given to me had I not set up my online shop:


-My Vintage Buttons Rings were recently mentioned in the June 2009 issue of GLAMOUR Magazine, Greek edition because someone saw the rings in my shop.
-My Writing on the Wall Book Art is being sold at the Bellevue Art Museum because someone saw them in my shop.

-Even the online shops that sell my stuff found me through Etsy.I have yet to try & sell my items in boutiques or local shops. That day will come though!

Be yourself.
My favorite part of WhiMSy love is actually something I struggled to appreciate early on: the diversity & randomness of the things I make. I used to be so jealous (Ok, I admit I sometimes still am) of the shops I see that all have this cohesive & beautiful flow. I felt like mine didn't at all. It still doesn't, but I'm OK with that now. I make the things I like & my personality is reflected in the pieces in this way: sometimes I am a giant goofball & yet sometimes I want to be super girly & feminine. And you can totally pick out the pieces in my shop that might fall in either of these "categories". Maybe someday my items will become more streamlined, but for now, this is who I am & this is what I love to make. Bottle cap badge.

I asked Nikki for her best advice in these specific areas:
Product Quality
When I'm making something I always think in terms of: "Would I give it to my mom?", or even: "Would I want to keep it myself?" If the answer is "Yes!" then I know I have made a product of good quality--to the best of MY ability.
Photography
You hear it all the time in Etsy-world: photos can make all the difference. And it is SOOOOOO true!! You might make the most amazing piece of artwork or craft up an awesome little ditty, but if your pictures are horrible then most of the time people will pass it up without looking at any finer details. Ask your Etsy friends or your EWAET members for their opinions on your photos, be prepared to receive the criticism & be ready to make some changes. I LOVE taking pictures! I just use a point-n-shoot, I’m no expert, but I’ve found this advice to be true: the more pictures you take, the more comfortable you’ll get with how your camera works & the better you’ll get at taking more quality photos.
Networking
I use sites like FLICKR ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/whimsy_girl ), TWITTER (http://twitter.com/whimsylove ) & my blog ( http://whimsy-girl.blogspot.com/ ) to network.
Marketing
I haven't done a whole lot of marketing. I'm actually in the process of coming up with a brand or a logo for my shop. Since I don’t like to stick with one style of crafting/art I am finding that it’s challenging deciding on a specific logo or design to represent ‘WhiMSy love’. Once I DO finalize the brand, I’m excited to confidently start marketing!
Managing a business and a family
Lists help me! Lists before I go to bed of what needs done for the next day. Lists on my dry-erase board of orders that need filled, or supplies that I need to purchase. Lists of new ideas. Lists of family menu planning. Lists of fun things to do with my girls. Lists of errands that need to be attended to. I have tons of notebooks floating around my wee house with lists scribbled in each one. In my crafty world I have found that the combination of business + family DOES = a messy house!(Much to the dismay of Mr. WhiMSy love!) I haven’t found a perfect routine that works for me on a consistent basis. (The lists DO help.) Every day is different. I’m faced with different challenges & scenarios. But, if I ever feel that my kids or family are lacking, I take a step back from Etsy & take care of what is most important to me. Though I’d like my business to be super successful, I just can’t put all of myself into it like I’d need to in order for the success I dream of. I know this is not true for every crafty business mom of wee ones, but it is true for me. At least for right now anyway. Someday I’ll be able to sew all day & craft all night. But for now I get to create in-between folding loads of laundry & making sticky jelly sandwiches.

Finally, I asked Nikki how she feels about the team.
I feel grateful for EWAET because being a part of this team really keeps me in the loop of things going on locally. I also know I have a place to go with questions & help, & it feels good to have a more intimate neighborhood withing the growing community of Etsy. The way we promote & help each other is also really neato.

4 comments:

Sunfire said...

Great feature! Nikki really does have a funky style!

nikki/WhiMSy love said...

Thanks for the feature!

That70sShoppe said...

Really nice post about Nikki.

Jacqui said...

What a great feature!