April Showers Shopping Festival (hosted by Simple Trading Team)

April Showers Shopping Festival

One of the benefits of having an Etsy shop is the community within the platform. Merchants are able to (and encouraged) to share their experiences and to help and encourage others to succeed. One of the ways sellers help sellers is by joining teams. Teams are essentially semi-private forums where sellers (and sometimes buyers) can, among other things, cross-promote merchandise with other sellers.

I am a member of several teams and the captain on one of my teams (Simple Trading Team), a seemingly tireless leader who sells lovely handmade journals in a shop called Indian Journals has organized a Spring Shopping Festival for the team’s benefit.

What’s a “shopping festival”?
Basically, this festival is something like a big, big sale in a co-op marketplace. Members of the team have agreed to post a shop-wide savings coupon for a designated set of days and cross-promote other teamies participating in the event. Of course, I’m participating by joining in with other sellers in offering 20% discount on every item in my shop April 11th through the 15th.

This sale is going to be pretty huge with some sellers offering free worldwide shipping and others offering up to 40% (maybe even 50%?) off every item listed in their shop. The Festival begins in less than 24 hours, so I hope you will come back and get the codes for the discounts and see some of the goodies that we’ll be offering.

Note for STT members participating in the event:
For sellers looking for images to post in your shop banner during the festival, I have these images available. One with a transparent background as well as one on black and one on white. Click through the link to the image you would like to use, then right-click on the image and select “copy image.” Once you have it copied, you can paste it on top of your shop banner in an image editor. Position the umbrella where you want it, then save and upload the banner through your shop controls. Alternatively, you can select to “save image” rather than copy if you don’t have your shop banner open in an editor yet.

You are also welcome to use the promotional banner at the top of this post if you want one that large (it’s actually about 33% bigger than it appears here. If you want to use a smaller promo banner, try this one:

festival promo 400px wide.

festival banner

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Champion Your Charity

FREE JEWELRY!!!! Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. ~Dr. Seuss

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There’s an interesting discussion taking place in the prototype forums in the Etsy community. The group having the discussion is one focused on exploring a new marketplace feature which will assist sellers in donating portions of their sales to non-profit organizations. The discussion is focused on openly “advertising” charitable contributions spurred by sales of merchandise. Apparently, the topic had come up on another board and it had been stated that some buyers are actually turned off by donation disclosure because it is seen as a marketing ploy rather than true charity. Another perspective expressed in the prototype discussion that not disclosing support of a non-profit forfeits buyers’ right to opt-out of contributing to a cause they don’t support or may even oppose. A third position states that giving shouldn’t be a public act directly tied to sales and that a truly charitable buyer will give to the cause he or she deems worthy independent of the choice to purchase any item sold anywhere.

Of course there is concern about the integrity of sellers who might claim to support this or that organization or cause for the sake of marketing and increased sales but never fulfill their public pledge. There’s also criticism, although not very articulate, for campaigns like the General Mills’ Pink Lids campaigns, stating that contributing to such campaigns should be possible without the necessity of a purchase. For what it’s worth, General Mills does have several options from which would-be contributors may choose that don’t require the purchase of General Mills products. Hopefully, anyone who hopes to get the warm-fuzzies because they’ve saved and redeemed yogurt lids will research the facts of the campaign and understand that General Mills’ pledge to donate 10 cents for each lid redeemed is capped at $1.5M.

This discussion is very interesting to me, but honestly, I don’t think that it’s relevant to my little shop. Maybe someday, but not today. I’m not quite ready to select an organization to which I am willing to tie my business publicly. The notion of charitable giving through my business, however, is appealing to me… But not through proceeds from sales of my merchandise. The better option for my shop’s philanthropic efforts is the donation of actual merchandise to fundraising events like silent (or not-so-silent) auctions, raffles and awards/prizes. The obstacle I’m facing in regards to this kind of charitable donation, because I haven’t selected a single, specific non-profit or cause, is knowing to whom I should make the donation.

So, at this point, I am researching auctioneers who specialize in services for non-profits and looking into what charity events may be up-coming in my community. Although I am interested in supporting a cause or organization that shares my values and conducts its business in a manner I find ethical and constructive, I believe that true giving comes from the heart, so I also hope to give support where I find an emotional bond. Finding that emotional bond may be something that I find directly, but maybe the most meaningful bond I find will come from your experience with an organization committed to service, education, welfare, research or civil rights (man or beast). I hope that if your life has been positively affected by an organization dedicated to helping others you will share your story with me. I promise that your story will remain confidential unless you give me permission to share it. If the group you nominate is one that is compatible to my goals, my first donation to that group will be made in your name, or in the name of the person you choose (unless you wish to remain anonymous).

If you don’t wish to share your story or nomination in the comments, please, use the form below.

Thanks in advance for helping with this important decision.

Peek Reviews (pt 1)

There’s been a fair bit of chatter in the Etsy forums about Peek Reviews from User Testing. Sellers have been registering to receive free screencast reviews of their Etsy shops from randomly selected users assigned by the User Testing service and sharing opinions about the service in the community discussions.

repurposedKATE is going through some major remodeling on Etsy, so I jumped on the chance to have a totally fresh pair of eyes on the shop before I had a chance to go too far into the project to easily redirect. I signed up to receive a review two days ago and the completed evaluation was delivered to my inbox within about two hours… I had expected to wait several days for the review to show up, but I didn’t wait to watch it when it got here.

I got a lot out of the review and thought you might like to see how it went, too, so I posted it on YouTube and embedded it here for you to check out.

(Turn annotations on to read my comments during the playback.)

All-in-all, a pretty good review. The reviewer even actually talked about my merchandise more than I expected.

What do you think about the review? Was it an on-target evaluation with helpful commentary? Can I use this video to improve my shop? Or does the analysis focus too much on the Etsy framework and too little on rK to have any real value to me/my shop? Do me a HUGE favor and let me know in the comments.

If you know someone with an Etsy shop, or any kind of website, please consider sharing this post with them so that they can check out what Peek Reviews are all about. Maybe someone you know is only a single Peek Review from taking their online presence to the next level and sharing this with them will be all the boost up they need.

******EDIT*******

I forgot to include a link to the registration form.

Here it is: http://peek.usertesting.com/

This One I’ll Keep

I’ve been busy lately. I’ve made over 2 dozen new pieces of jewelry for my etsy shop and I have listed over half of it already with the rest to be added shortly.

I always have to keep in mind when I am designing a piece of jewelry to sell that the item will belong to someone else and not let myself become attached to the item. Although, everything I make is made to my personal taste, I have been able to stay emotionally unattached to my creations. Well, I have been able to compartmentalize how I feel about what I make with every piece I’ve made…  Until now.

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