Friday, December 29, 2017

MARKETING: Easy Promoting In Etsy Promo Thread

Posted my first listing in the Etsy promo forum today. No special characters or coding needed for image to show. Just post the http:// link to the listing page and the pic shows with the title, price, shop name and this is great, the favorite button!

It's in the Wall Hanging Gifts thread, "I May Stumble I May Even Fall But I Always Get Up" Small Motivational Wall Art, Handmade Beaded Hanging Decor.

At some venues it's time-consuming to promote like this, because of the steps it takes to have an image show. I don't think that promo posts without an image get much play. Many visitors are pressed for time and want to see the product in the thread before they decide to visit the link.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

MARKETING: Saving Time In Repeat Marketing

In Small Business Trends' article, How to Automate Your Small Business Marketing with These 4 Approaches, they discuss automatic email marketing "to begin a campaign or follow up on the actions of prospects and customers". As they note about this affordable way to market products and services, if it is done incorrectly they are rarely read.

I think that the best email marketing tool is a newsletter. Potential customers and others can sign up for it, i.e., it's voluntary, versus sending out marketing emails to every email address that you've ever run across. The latter can be annoying and perceived as spamming. Ultimately, it is useless, a waste of time and effort.

Source: Small Business Trends

Thursday, December 14, 2017

BUSINESS: New Etsy Shop Positive Words Artwork

Positive Words Artwork shop at Etsy

I recently opened at Etsy after sitting on my membership for years. I don't have any illusions about getting-rich-quick there. Been monitoring the changes and problems for years. Just something I decided to do to challenge myself, because the increasing problems there always repelled me when I considered opening.

Have A Nice Day Mixed Media Wall Art from Positive Words Artwork
My shop is PositiveWordsArtwork. It is a place where all things are motivational, inspirational, uplifting, encouraging and self-esteem building. It is a happy place, no matter what challenges may be happening in our lives, or out in the world.

Happy Pillow Boxes Set From Positive Words Artwork
I create my products in my pet-free/smoke-free home studio, and shipment is in 2-3 days.

A look at a corner of the workshop of Artsy Craftery Studio

Papercrafting in progress using reused book text

Paper Quilting and Vintage Papercrafts books and supplies in workshop of Artsy Craftery Studio

Eyeglass chain beaded craft project in progress at Artsy Craftery Studio

Craft supplies at Artsy Craftery Studio

Papercraft project at Artsy Craftery Studio

I do love the Lord, so some products feature scriptures and other Christian sentiments, but not all. If you are not a person who lives by faith, I still have many products that you would like.

Faith Fish Design Keychain at Positive Words Artwork

Proverbs Christian Scripture reference on mixed media artwork at Positive Words Artwork
So much has changed at Etsy with the algorithms for search, which have made being found so difficult now for true handmades sellers. The sellers who are allowed to consistently use additional makers for their shops are such an unfair challenge for single-maker, handmades shops.

Positive Thinker Tiny Words Motivator pocket card ornament from Positive Words Artwork
Positive Thinker Tiny Words Motivator pocket card ornament from Positive Words Artwork
I read at eCommerceBytes today that Etsy's CEO, "Silverman said Etsy does boost new shops and new listings in relevant search for a very brief time to give them a chance to be seen." This was in response to sellers' questions about giving new shops an unfair advantage.

He stated that after the initial boost, the new shops' listings fall back into rank with established sellers. Maybe I've gotten a little newbie boost to help POSITIVE WORDS ARTWORK become more visible. I'll take what I can get and be grateful for it!

I Don't Look Backwards handmade bookmark with bird design at Positive Words Artwork

I Don't Look Backwards handmade bookmark with bird design at Positive Words Artwork

I Don't Look Backwards handmade bookmark with bird design at Positive Words Artwork

What helped me to decide to take this plunge is that I finally developed a brand that I feel is specific enough to hold its own among all of the competition there, but which is flexible enough for me to add a wide variety of new products. This is important because I am a prolific creator who uses a myriad of media and techniques to create crafted items, artwork, digital and graphics, published products, and creative services.

To be successful at Etsy today, I believe you have to focus on creating for a niche market by developing a specialized brand, but one that is also expandable. Being able to diversify is crucial to obtaining an edge anywhere in the increasingly, fiercely competitive handmades market.

Have A Nice Day small mixed media hanging artwork at Positive Words Artwork
I want you to be happy with your experience at POSITIVE WORDS ARTWORK, so satisfaction is guaranteed. Support handmades sellers like me. BUY HANDMADE first, before you buy anything else. The creation and making of my products reflects the right of every capable, skilled, independent creative to generate income. We do this by creating products that are decorative and/or useful, and that make people happy.
Stop Smell The Flowers mixed media wall art at Positive Words Artwork

PWA is closed New Years’ Eve & Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Eve & Day and Christmas Eve & Day. Orders will be processed the next open day. 

Men Have Feelings Too mixed media wall art at Positive Words Artwork

For taking the time to read my GRAND OPENING POST please accept this special coupon code for 25% off of 28 select products in my new shop, or whichever of them are still available when you order.

This introductory coupon is good until 12/13/18, next year, and there is no minimum or maximum.

It is only for you and not transferable, so thank you for not sharing it.

Use this link: , or the exact code GO1217INTRO when ordering.   

Write me a note when you order, in the msg to the seller space,
that you found me at The Creative Seller.

Thank you for visiting POSITIVE WORDS ARTWORK. Please come again and STAY POSITIVE! A good life depends on it!

Artsy Craftery Studio

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

BUSINESS: More Buy Now Paypal Buttons & Business Accts

Additional Buy Now Paypal buttons a great asset.

Visited Paypal Buy Now buttons creation page, after a long absence, and was surprised to find buttons that I don't remember. Now available are:
  • Add To Cart (may have been available before)- to sell multiple items with one payment button
  • Subscribe- to set up same-amount recurring charges for goods/services
  • Installment Plan- where customers can make payments for up to a year
  • Automatic Billing- to bill customers monthly for goods and services that change in price
I am so excited to be a long-standing member at Paypal. They regularly develop new products to help merchants, they are easy to work with and always have our best interests at heart.

I know that some sellers despise Paypal, maybe because they have had bad experiences with the payment processor company. I am grateful to say that I've never had a problem, from the day that I opened my account. Whenever I have moved, they have strived to verify my identity in order to keep my account secure. While it may have taken a little extra time to do this, I have always been thankful that they have worked so hard to protect me.

In case you don't know, I just found out too that the Premier acct, that I've had for years, no longer exists. It was merged into the Personal acct. Seems like this was done as early as 2014. Nothing has changed for me, but if I want my business name to be seen, rather than my personal name, I need to upgrade to a Business acct. I've read that a phone# has to be provided for customers, and that the company name has to match the bank account name. Supposedly, you can sign up or convert to the Business acct as an individual by completing the info for the individual route to the Business acct. I'm still on the fence as to whether I need to apply the upgrade.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

BOOKS: Bracelets, Paper Quilting & Papercrafting

Three books have been added to the books referral page, Artful Handmade Wrap Bracelets, Paper Quilting and Papercrafts and Origami. Read short overviews and click to see where each can be purchased.

Friday, December 8, 2017

MARKETING: VistaPrint More Than Business Cards

I was surprised to find that VistaPrint is now offering a website builder, social media marketing, business listings on Google and 100+ search engines and email marketing, all for various affordable monthly fees. They currently are running free trials and introductory sale prices on all. The downside is that to cancel any of these services before your 1-month trial period ends, you have to call their toll-free 1-866-811-1674 #. I like to be able to go online, cancel services and be done with it.

VistaPrint is well-known for business cards. They currently are offering 100 single-sided business cards, in 42 designs, for $1.99, a special they are calling VPDeals. They offer upgraded stock, but basic glossy or matte is included. They show the regular price to be $8.00. Economy, 8-day shipping is $4.99.

Wow, VistaPrint has come a long way in offering business services!

Friday, December 1, 2017

MARKETING: Making Social Media Time Pay Off

I like these suggestions from the Etsy Seller Handbook about making your social media time and effort pay off:

"• Think conversation, not advertising. Create and share a variety of content that reflects your brand and that people are likely to interact with.
Promote your items thoughtfully. When you do share a product, include a story, interesting details, or other engaging information, like how it was created or what makes it special."

It adds more interest when a seller shares more than listings links. It's like engaging and interacting with the readers, which can leave a memorable impression. It's the same with including interesting tidbits when posting product links. It can help cement your brand into the minds of potential customers.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

JOBS: 50+ At Etsy

I counted 69 jobs available at Etsy this morning. Of course they're mostly tech positions. Locations are domestic and international, and some remote. Analytics, brand design, member operations, product design, human resources, and the usual internships.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

MARKETING: How Many Emails Are Too Many?

As soon as I signed up for the Sew Daily newsletter, I became overwhelmed with daily emails. I really think that I heard from or through them twice on some days. After waiting a few weeks, the proliferation of emails did not let up, so I unsubscribed. I was sent to a page to manage subscriptions, where I saw 3 columns of subjects about which to receive communications. I decided to give the site another chance and unclicked everything, except for 1 subject.

Now more than a month later, though the emails have been reduced quite a bit, I still get a few too many for my taste. I am unsubscribing completely. Maybe my initial experience made such a bad impression that I am loathe to see anything in my inbox from Sew Daily. It is a good possibility that that is the reason I am still unhappy with their communication. It's a great site with a wealth of info and resources, but first impressions linger. While setting my subscription preferences was my responsibility, their default subscription settings should not have flooded me with emails upon my joining the site. Unfortunately, many websites and sellers practice this annoying behavior.

So let that be a lesson to all of us when it comes to email and social media marketing. Flooding visitors with posts and shares and emails has the opposite effect. It not only can drive away any potential sales, but it can drive away potential customers' desires to have anything to do with the offenders. It makes you appear to always be self-serving, thoughtless and inconsiderate. I felt like I was drowning in Sew Daily emails and could not catch my breath!

So how many marketing emails, social media posts and shares, on a given day or in a given week, are too many? Well, while there is no perfect, hard and fast rule, judge by your own feelings. Are you an active seller with a strong online presence? Is checking your email and social media accounts 1-3 times daily part of your standard routine? On the other hand, do you allow your email to back up, checking your inbox every other day, or longer? Do you multi-task and wear all of the hats in your business or enterprise? You are then a very, very busy person.

How many communications from the same entity would be annoying and unnecessarily time-consuming for you? What would make you feel that the seller or company was overdoing their marketing and being self-centered and insensitive to you? Let that be your guide and tread carefully as you promote and share.

News: New Face & More At Scott's Marketplace

Scott's Marketplace has new look and more.

Scott's Marketplace, the selling venue with a local focus, has a slick new design, slick new language and slick new subscriptions. I like the new design, because it's crisp and modern. Made It Myself and eCrater should really take notes. I've listed at the former, and am still at the latter. The new language is just ok, that flippant and in-your-face style geared towards an irreverent, youthful audience, maybe 35-. Confident, but somewhat cheeky.  Complete thumbs down on the new subscription tiers though.

As of 7/9/2018, the date of this update, Scott's no longer offers a free membership. They have relegated low-volume handmades sellers and others to The Hobbyist free membership. "Thinking about turning your passion into a career? Try our risk-free plan," they state. Well, there is not a lot of help here with charging sellers, who may need free listings as they build their business, a 10% FVF and only allowing them to list 10 products. The career help is very constricted. As Zibbet admin stated about restructuring their subscription levels, their new free shops 10-product 1-image limit was not made for sellers to stay there, but to try and buy a subscription (paraphrased). When I remember that, I can see why there is very little wiggle room in these types of free shops.   

Anyway, I'm happy for Scott's that they are moving forward, though not in a way that I embrace. It is their site and what they decide will be profitable is boss. Resellers, dropshippers and brand knock-off sellers, if you sell over $1,000 a month, you can join them and subscribe to their highest tier (my tongue in cheek statement, not Scott's). My mouth fell open when I saw the $100 a month fee.  They call it The Boss. Of course, some handmades sellers have boss sales every month that would warrant this type of subscription too! Congrats to them!

On a side note, many Scott's sellers still don't believe in showcasing shop banners? I wrote about that many months ago at my archived blog, Living To Create, No Shop Headers At Scott's Marketplace? :(. I complained how sellers were not given shop headers, but ugly, tiny avatars only. That was when I was considering joining. Very few sellers bothered to even upload an avatar to promote their brand. I found it depressing as I surfed around the site. Well, Michelle T at Scott's responded to my post (you can see in the comments), saying As far as that ugly avatar, that's standard for all the new stores, but will be customized soon! They looked the same to me as I surfed around the new site tonight, 1 1/2 yrs later. I visited 5-8 random sellers I picked from the homepage marketplace, and not one of them had customized avatars. I couldn't even tell if Scott's is offering shop banners now, because the ugly little avatar was smack center at the top of each shop, a tiny circle with a tiny little grayed-out, single-gabled hut inside.

Congrats anyway, Scott's, on your attractive new site! It's really pretty!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Holiday Free Shipping And Design Services

Free Black Friday * Small Business Saturday * Cyber Monday shipping at Positive Words Artwork!

 * Black Friday * Small Business Saturday * Cyber Monday *
 11/24-25, 11/27

on all orders at my new shop,

Positive Words Artwork.

All shipping charges will be refunded after ordering.

Thanks for visiting!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!

Banner Design Services
If you are a handmades seller and would like a Christmas or other banner like this, featuring your shop header, contact me at
Put "Sale Banner", without the quotation marks, in the subject line.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MARKETING: Free Online Promotion Ideas

At the American Express Open Forum website, Kim Bhasin shares 7 Ways To Promote Your Business Online For Free. The article seems to be geared towards brick-and-mortar shops establishing an online presence, but the tips are certainly useful to handmades sellers and other creatives with online shops.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

BUSINESS: eCommerceBytes Info On USPS 2018 Increase

Ina Steiner, at eCommerceBytes, talks about Tips on Dealing with the 2018 Postal Rate Increase. Flat rate costs going up. Also, various service providers rates to be raised at different times, making it extra-challenging for sellers to spreadsheet it all.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Poetry Writing: Explaining The Free Verse Nature Poem "Be Renewed"

Be Renewed

Look upon nature and receive hope,
For she reminds us
Of the chance for new growth,
Where before
There was nothing.
Look. Drink in.
Be refreshed. Be renewed,
And grow.

You can write a free verse poem by simply writing out a thought, as I did here. It doesn't have to be any certain length. It's not long, or short. It's just a thought in time. Arrange the words in the sentences just as you thought of them. Make the length of each sentence like we all think. We usually think in short, disjointed, choppy sentences. We don't think in perfect English, even if we know it.

You should, however, always check your poems for basic spelling errors, or have someone do it for you. You can also paste your poem into a free online grammar checker or writing enhancer, like, which will identify your spelling errors.

Photography: ©Artsy Craftery Studio
Poem "Be Renewed" ©SJHolland

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

BUSINESS: Did You Write That? Well Who Did?

Often as I read around the Internet, I have to ask if the OP wrote what I am reading. This is when there is not a byline, and no sources, references or other info on the origin of the material. I think some wonder why I am asking and does it matter, so this is why I ask Did You Write That?
  • When we publish something, it is assumed that the person who created the post also wrote it, but without a byline, by so-in-so, there is no proof.
  • I love to meet fellow authors and poets, and I might want to talk shop with you sometimes.
  • If I really enjoyed what you posted I want to congratulate you and maybe discuss your motivation behind and plans regarding further publication on the subject.
  • If it was written by someone else I may want to locate and read more of that person's writings.
When we run across content, books, poetry and other writings that we enjoy, we love to share it to benefit others. To lead others to think that you wrote it by either intentionally or unintentially leaving out from where it came or who wrote it is a form of intellectual property theft, especially when money is made through it. In the academic world it is called plagiarism, and it is a serious offense.

There is nothing wrong with sharing any content that we enjoy, but it is wrong to not share the origin. It doesn't matter from where it came. If you read it on the back of a cereal box, or on the side of a bus, state that. If you don't know who wrote it, you do know where you found it. If you don't remember where you found it or who wrote it, you should state that at the end of it. If it was written by Anonymous or Unknown, state that. All of the info that you can give about the origin should be shared to give credit where credit is due.

Why should you go through this trouble?
  • The owners of intellectual property often have workers scouring the Internet for offenders. The least they will do is contact you and ask you to remove their property and to not do it again. The worse they will due is to sue you. They do watch and many will prosecute. This is especially true in the creative industry.
  • You project a professional image that may serve you well one day.
  • You develop an honest and trustworthy reputation in writing and social circles.
  • You don't have to repetitively answer questions like Did You Write That?
  • You save your readers from having to repetitively ask Did You Write That?
  • If you don't take steps to respect the intellectual property of others, when it matters most to you someone will not respect yours.
As a creative person, I am aware of an increasing amount of intellectual theft that is perpetrated today, especially on the Internet. Sometimes it is just an oversight, because many don't even realize that they are stealing from others when they don't provide credits. Even if you are not making money from what you have shared or used, it is stealing to receive accolades and appreciation from readers who enjoy what they think you wrote or created.

Take a little time to include all that you know about the origin of what you publish, and join the fight against intellectual property theft. It does matter and I don't like to have to ask Did You Write That?

CRAFTING: Handmade Sewing Accessory A Little Too Much

I love handmade pincushions and other sewing accessories. Saw this on Pinterest this morning, and while it is very cute, it's a little bit too much for me. [rolleyes] It looks cluttered, and I'd be afraid that I'd bend over swiftly and poke myself in the face! More frightening is the possibility of an eye injury! I guess I'm just a little bit too careless to use it safely.

Do you like it and would it be super-useful to you?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

NEWS: Fervous Handmades Marketplace, a handmade marketplace that has been around for a few years is now defunct. See what the owner says here. The Facebook page is still up as of this post.

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