Friday, April 27, 2012

Mother's Day Shopping Guide :: Blue

Nepalese Lapis Lazuli Necklace
by Escape Jewellery 
Midi pincushion in teal blue with Liberty fabric
by Plushka's Craft 
Morroco Lavender and Wheat Heat Pack
by Milly Molly Mandy

Mum Quote Blue Acrylic Mini Canvas Painting and Easel
by Studio Astratta 
Navy Blue and White Ruffled Polka Dot Handbag
By Joyfoolery 


All of these items are from sellers. 
Check out their storefronts for more mother's day gift.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Expert Tip: How to successfully promote your products

One of the biggest challenges that small, primarily online, businesses face is getting their business noticed.  One only has to have a look at Etsy to see just how many competing businesses there are.

With my label, Sheeps Clothing, have taken a three pronged approach to promotion of our product range:
  • Have the label promoted in the media. Most magazines have an audience far in excess of what a small business can generate by itself.  Tap into it!

Before you can start to promote your label / products, I suggest you work out your brand’s identity:
  • What does it stand for? Is it funky / classic / edgy / fashionable / utilitarian / eco friendly, etc?
  • Who are you selling to? Children / their parents / hipsters / crafters. Who your primary audience is will shape where and how you advertise / promote.
  • Is it seasonal? Do you sell more of any particular item pre Christmas / winter / mothers day, etc?
Now that we’ve got an idea of what your brand is about and who your customer is, let’s have a look at the different avenues for promotion.
  • Magazines / blogs. Find out what your target customer is reading (ie. if your target customer is the parents of young children, you are spoiled for choice in terms of parenting / children’s fashion / magazines and blogs).

    The key to having your product featured in magazines and online is to make it as easy as possible for the editorial team at the magazine.   Have good quality (professional if possible), high resolution photos ready to send to them at a moment’s notice.  If you can supply images a white background as well as in a more “editorial” setting (i.e. on a person, in use, etc.) even better. Make sure you provide all details, i.e. where to buy, rrp, sizing, colours, etc.  Don’t make the magazine follow up for required details. They may not have the time and just move on to the next, easy to deal with label. Be prepared to lend product for photography and also be prepared not to receive it back in the condition it was sent!

  • Social Media. What did we do before blogs, Facebook and Twitter?  These platforms were made for small businesses like ours.  Use the full functionality of Facebook, fill in all available fields, ie. about, website details, etc. Again, killer photos are key!  Remember social media is a two way street.  Invite your likers / followers to interact. Update regularly and be interesting – add interesting content from other sites, perhaps a “behind the scenes” post every now and again.  Constant product pushing is not interesting! Be chatty, informal yet stick to your business’s “voice”.
  • Blog. If writing is your forte, try submitting a guest posting on a relevant blog.  Anyone who has written a blog knows that sometimes content can be hard to come by, so a guest post can be a win / win situation for blog owner and contributor.
  • Advertising. Advertising in the print media can be extremely expensive for the small business. With the plethora of online options, I suggest taking a little time to have a look at the most suitable outlet(s) for your hard earned advertising dollar. Again, have a look at what your target audience is reading.  Try Googling different terms, ie. if you sell children’s clothing you might like to try “children’s clothing”, “girl’s clothing”, “handmade kids’ clothes”, “independent children’s fashion”, etc. Once you’ve identified where you will advertise, have a look at the feel and design of the website and keep this in mind when you are designing your ad.  Once the ad is up and running you’ll want to analyse your hits and (hopefully!) your increase in sales.  I like to have ads running concurrently on a number of different websites so that I can measure like for like and determine which one is giving me the best return. Keep in mind an ad that costs twice as much as another should be delivering at least twice as many clicks / sales. 

In summary, there are a few key points to consider when promoting your small and / or online business:
  • Be easy to deal with! Respond to requests for content / enquiries from media / promotion outlets promptly and efficiently.
  • Have the best photos you can afford. Multiple product shots in different formats, ie. high res, low res, landscape, portrait, white background, on a model, etc. are a must.
  • Invest a little time in (but don’t get hung up on) what your competitors are doing and where they are doing it.
  • Social media. Be interesting, relevant and frequent. Invite two way discussions.
  • If you pay for advertising, make sure it works for you.  Tailor make your ad for each specific advertising outlet and monitor the results closely.

Good luck!

Sheep Clothing

Stacey is the creative hands behind accessories brand Sheeps Clothing, she has a passion for vintage buttons and when she ins't busy being a mum of two active boys she teaches knitting at Melbourne’s Holmesglen College of TAFE.  Stacey makes high quality, stylish knitwear. Initially a children’s range, they have now expanded to include adult hats, scarves and scarflettes and there always popular mug cozies.  Vist Stacey at or follow her on Facebook.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mothers Day Shopping Guide :: Yellow

Yellow wasp messenger bag
by Missy Mao Mao 

Lemon, Honey & Thyme White Chocolate Hearts
by Cricklewood Chocolate 
Fly Away Home Necklace
by Two Cheeky Monkys

Lavender Honey Lip Balm
 by Inner Earth 
CINDERELLA Gold SLIPPER with Beaded Heel Handmade
by Enchanted Quilling 

All of these items were sourced from the
Shopping Guide on the DUST website 
(the Down.Under.Street.Team a collection of Aussie sellers on Etsy)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why Feedback feeds the soul

Blossom Dress
by 1 Puddle Lane

I saw this post by Ann Martin of 1 Puddle Lane and I wanted to share it with you as its the perfect example of how important feedback is for all of us in the handmade industry.

Great feedback makes the heart sing, it validates your decision to do your own thing, it invigorates the creative in  you and above all it makes you smile.

So remember, when you buy something that is handmade remember to leave feedback.


Monday, April 16, 2012

The little things count

Do the little things count in the handmade industry?  I think they do.  Personally I think it's one of the attractions of buying from a small handmade business. I think it is what sets our industry apart from the impersonal nature of large corporations.

Living in regional NSW I tend purchase my items locally or online from small businesses and handmade businesses.  I know my parcel post delivery guy quite well and its always fun to open packages because there is usually something little that makes this purchase stand out.

For example:
  • I received some hand spun wool the other week from a new supplier.  The product is excellent (yeah!) and I loved the fact that the supplier had sprayed the wrapping paper in with lavender oil which meant the wool smelt nice with the added bonus of keeping the bugs away.
  • I always look forward to getting parcels from Crochet Australia.  The owner Vicki offers great customer service and I must admit I do look forward to the Freddo Frog that always comes with the order.  I also enjoy receiving Vickie's latest printed newsletter which is devoted to yarn crafts especially crochet. I've found it to be very informative and I've even kept some of them so I can refer back to them at a later date.
  • In February I won some fabric covered cards made by Here we go loopy lou.  I was very excited about winning these cards but to be honest my win was oh so much better when I open the envelope to see the gorgeous packaging - I even took a photo of it!

When I package up my craftumi orders  I usually add a little something. When I send my handmade beanies I take time to to professionally package them and I include some extra details about how to wash and care for the beanie.

None of these are extravagant or costly but they do add to the pleasure of buying over the internet and one of the Pros for buying handmade because you get that personal touch.

What extra little thing do you do for your buyers?  Tell us below.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Sponsor Spot :: Billymac Clothing

Not just for kids ... big kids wear billy mac clothing too

billy mac clothing has printed their most popular boy’s design in men’s sizes. Choose your design, colour and size and a 100% cotton t-shirt can be custom printed for Dad also. Not to be outdone, the Mother Heart Tattoo t-shirts are available in Mum’s size especially for Mother’s Day. Order direct from the website



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guest Post: Make your Pinterest boards pretty

Hi I’m Vicki from dover & madden and I’m addicted to Pinterest.

Did you know you can now choose which photo you want as your main photo on all of your Pinterest boards?   Previously the last photo that you pinned was always the main photo, but that has all changed and now you control how you want your boards to look all with the click of a button …..or two!

Firstly here is a sample of some of my boards as they were.
Nothing wrong with them really, but sometimes based on your last pin you posted, your pictures could look mismatched or weren’t that suited side by side.  Yes you can move your boards around but I didn’t really want to as I like the order that they were in.

Here’s how you can change the look of your page in a few minutes ... that will depend on how many boards you do have!!

Step 1.  Go to your first board and wave your mouse over the main photo until the prompt “Edit Board Cover” comes up.
Step 2. Once you click on “Edit Board Cover”, you get a second little box jump up on your page like this.

Step 3. by clicking the left and right arrows you can scroll through all the pictures on your board and select the one you want for your main shot, once you’ve selected it, use your mouse to move the photo to the position you want it.  Then Just press the “Set Cover” button….and you’re done.

If you would like to see all your pins on your board at once before choosing your main photo, just click on the photo slightly above the words “Edit Board Cover” and it will bring up all your pins and then just use Step 1 again to select your main photo for your board.

As my boards are an extension of me and my business just like my blog, I like them to be in some sort of order.  I’ve done a bit of playing around and sorting and I’ve given my boards a peachy hue.  I’ve also made sure there are different variants of light and dark in the main pictures I’ve picked so I’ve used the palette of peach, orange, apricot, golds, browns with just little hints of colours peeking through …. They now look like this.

But by next week they could look like this….you are only limited by your imagination.


dover & madden

Follow Victoria on Pinterest (

I’m the owner, knitter and designer of dover & madden, little knits for little people.  dover & madden came about after a request for cute headwear when my niece Ava was born nearly 7 years ago.  I made one hat and haven’t really stopped knitting since.  When I’m not knitting I love, AFL football, photography, reading cookbooks, crochet, soy lattes, internet shopping, baking and holidays. 

Check out Victoria's products in her Etsy shop or follow her on Facebook.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Effective Branding

Image used with permission by Soleful Steps

Check out this great way Soleful Steps is branding their gorgeous handmade shoes.  These are iron vinyl labels printed by CC Design Management which means that these labels avoids any bumps or stitching under the owners foot.

Thank you Soleful Steps for allowing us to use your image

How do you brand your products?  Leve a link below so we can check you out.