Sep 30, 2010

Treasury Challenge: Blue Tile Magnets

For You and Your Home

The votes are in, and the winner of the “Red Quilt” treasury challenge is For You and Your Home! Congratulations to the curator, Simple Sundries, and thank you very much to all of our participants and voters!

And now it’s time for a brand new challenge. This fun activity is designed to bring new exposure to great Etsy shops, as well as bring us all together in the spirit of beautiful treasuries!

The contest is open to anyone, and we invite all Etsy members to participate, even if you’re not an Oh Canada Team member or a shop owner!

The winner will receive the opportunity to select the theme for our next challenge. It could be an idea, a color, or even an item from their shop, or a favorite shop, to be featured in our next Treasury Challenge. All you have to do is make a treasury using the current theme.

The Rules

1. Your treasury must incorporate the challenge’s theme, and include at least 8 Oh Canada Team members. Check out our team roster for members, or search for the tag OhCanadaTeam when choosing your featured listings.

2. You must include the words “OCT Challenge” somewhere in your treasury’s title.

3. You must tag your treasury with “ohcanadateam” and “OCT challenge”

4. In your treasury’s description, let viewers know that it is an entry in an Oh Canada Team challenge, invite them to join, and provide a link to our main blog, or this post.

5. If an item in your treasury sells or is removed, please replace it with another item from the same shop. Screenshots of each entry will be available in our Flickr challenge album for your reference before judging begins.

6. Please do not use your own shop(s) in your entry, including alternate shops.

How to Enter

To enter your treasury, add a link to it in the comments section of this post.

Only treasuries that are submitted on the blog before the deadline will be included in the judging round.

The deadline for entering the “Blue Magnets” challenge is Tuesday, October 5th. Our judges will select 6 finalists, and voting will begin on Thursday, October 7th.

Voting for this challenge will close the following Tuesday, and the winner will be announced along with our new challenge theme on Thursday, October 14th.

Everyone is welcome to play - including Etsy shoppers and non-team members. If you’ve never made a treasury on Etsy before, you can get some handy tips in this tutorial: How to Make Etsy Treasuries.

Electric Blue Glass Tile Magnets by Simple Sundries

The Theme

Our previous challenge winner, Simple Sundries, has chosen a pretty set of glass tile magnets to be the focus of this challenge round. You can create using any theme that you desire, but you must include this listing in your treasury: Electric Blue Glass Tile Magnet Set.

Challenge Judges

Not ready to make a treasury yet? We will also be looking for guest judges to help narrow down the finalists. If you would like to participate, let us know in the comments section of this post, along with a link to your shop. The first three volunteers will be contacted by our Treasury Challenge admins with more details about the judging process.

Please feel free to contact our team admins if you have any questions.

Good luck!

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada and Simple Sundries


Sep 28, 2010

Etsy Help: Working the Geolocator

Globe

When starting a new Etsy shop, before even a single listing is created, it’s important to make sure that every field in your shop’s basic structure is filled in. Each of the sections that Etsy provides for you to create your shop identity is essential in some way to having a great overall shop, and a successful business.

One of the most important sections to fill in is your Location. This information is used not only by your own visitors, but also by searchers all over the site, and even by the curators of high profile features like the Etsy Finds newsletter.

There are three steps to take when marking your shop’s location. The first is to select your country from the drop-down menu - this will show up along with your shipping prices in every listing. It helps let customers know how long a package might take to arrive.

Then you can manually type in your location. The standard format is City, Province, Country, like:

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada or
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, or
San Francisco, California, United States.

Filling in Your Public Profile

What you type in here will appear as a tiny bit of text beneath your avatar on every page in your shop. Although it’s small, this tiny bit of information is more valuable than you might think. Whatever you put into the location field of your Public Profile works almost exactly like the tags in your listings. Not only can searchers use the Shop Local feature to find sellers from certain places, but the text also becomes a link to all other shops using the exact same location.

So, if you live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, but have something in your location bar like “#17 Cherry Tree Lane”, your customers might think it’s cute, but you’ll be all alone when it comes to finding shops by area. If someone clicks on that link, they’ll find only you. If someone clicks on a link from another shop in Winnipeg, they won’t see you at all. But they will find plenty of other shops in your area, some of which might have similar products as you.

Etsy Shops Located in Heaven on Earth

It Must Be a Pretty Lonely Place

Filling in your location with the standard format is essential. Although it may seem like following along with the crowd, it helps keep your shop sorted and easy to find. Plus customers like to have a better idea of where you’re from.

If your location is simply listed as something like Squamish, you’re fortunate to be among the few sellers who’s location is totally unique. But most city names have been used more than once around the world. If you’re not listing your whole location, shoppers don’t have any way to find you in the haystack of other shops.

For instance, if you type London into the Shop Local tool, you will see a variety of recently updated shops from Canada, and the UK. If you want to narrow that down to only shops in Canada, you could type in London, Canada. Then only shops that have both of those words in their location field will show up. Any shops that just have “London” for their location will not be found in that search.

Search for Etsy Shops in London

One Keyword, Two Totally Different Countries



Many sellers list multiple locations for their shops. Some go crazy with lists like “New York, London, Paris, Milan” which is a lot like tag stuffing and lacks the community spirit that we hope for in an Etsy shop.

Other shops will list some of the familiar cities in their area, like “Blackfalds, near Red Deer and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada”. While this will get your shop into more search results, it defeats the purpose of the City, Province, Country format, and creates a stand alone tag that only points to you.

If you live in a very small community, and would prefer to get a better traffic stream from a larger population, you can list the nearest city as your location instead. Technically, listing your location at all is totally optional on Etsy, so as long as you’re not outright lying about what country you’re making your goods in, it’s okay to fudge it a little bit. If you go this route, it’s a good idea to include a little more detail about your location in your profile, if you‘re comfortable doing so.

Can Shoppers Actually Tell Where You're Located?

Can Visitors Actually Tell Where Your Shop is Located?



The third step to setting your shop location is to mark yourself with a pin on the Google world map. This will create a tab for you in Geolocator 3, which is what visitors will see when they click on any location link.

You don’t have to zoom right in and put a pin over your actual house. And if you’re really uncomfortable with the idea, you could put your pin on your area’s capital city, or the nearest large city center. This will ensure that you are still showing up in the correct area, but not letting just anyone know where you live.

Map Pins for Shops Located in Vancouver

No Wonder People Think All Canadians Know Eachother

If you don’t use the map pin as accurately as possible, you risk missing the mark when it comes to location searches. Instead of being in the lineup when someone is looking for products and sellers from your area, your shop’s pin will be way off in the distance somewhere, looking like a weird wallflower. If you were shopping online for something you needed, would you want to pick the person who couldn’t read a map?

Shoppers can also use Geolocator 3 to search listing tags, and see the results by location. So the closer your pin is to your actual base of operations, the easier it will be for people to find you and your products.

Like all aspects of an Etsy shop, the location field should be used with accuracy, and honesty. The more information you can provide to shoppers and searchers, the more potential you have for sales, and loyal customers.

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team


Sep 27, 2010

Stone of the Month: Sapphire

Genuine Sapphire Earrings by Vitrine

Sapphire Earrings

by Vitrine

The traditional birthstone for the month of September is the beautiful blue sapphire. This gemstone is made up of an aluminum oxide known as corundum. What’s interesting about these stones is that they are directly related to rubies - the color is the only main difference between the two. In fact, most deposits of rubies or sapphires also contain a bit of the sister stone.

The word sapphire comes from the Greek sapphiros, which roughly translates to “precious to Saturn” - the term was generally used to describe any blue gemstone. The sapphires that we value today were not distinguished as a unique mineral until Roman times.

Sapphires can range in color from black to pale gray-blue, and are also found in shades of yellow, green and a pink stone referred to as padparadscha. The most common sapphire colors are all reminiscent of the sky, which is one of the qualities that makes them so popular for jewelry designers and collectors.

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team and Vitrine


Sep 26, 2010

Behind the Lens: Jinx Murphy Designs

Aubergine Bird Trivets by Jinx Murphy Designs

Having near-perfect product photographs for your Etsy shop is a goal that most sellers have. Images that stand out in a list of search results are essential for grabbing a shopper’s attention and bringing them into our shops.

Every seller has their own special tricks and techniques for making their own products shine through photographs. With Behind the Lens, we invite you to meet some of our talented Oh Canada Team members, and learn how they create great shop photos.

Jinx Murphy Designs has been open since December 2008. Shop owner, Vanessa, takes product photographs will real Front Page appeal. Here’s how she does it:

Oh Canada: What type of camera do you use?

Vanessa: A Nikon D40. My little sister sold cameras for a while and it’s probably more camera than I need, but I like that I can take pictures in automatic and manual modes. It has a dial of different shooting modes on top of the camera that makes it easy to get the right picture. I always turn off the flash to take my product pictures so the dial usually stays at "no flash" but for smaller items or close ups there is also a macro setting.

Chickadee Silhouette Wall Hanging by Jinx Murphy Designs

Oh Canada: How do you light your images?

Vanessa: I try to take my pictures on sunny days to make use of the natural daylight. I open the blinds in my front window and let it all in.

Oh Canada: Do you ever use a light box?

Vanessa: I was given a light box for Christmas and it works fairly well although I would like to replace the lights that came with the kit. I find the light too blue and a little dull. I use the light box more when I need to take catalogue type pictures with consistent backgrounds. I prefer more relaxed shots for my Etsy listings.

Oh Canada: What materials do you like to use for backgrounds?

Vanessa: I take the majority of my pictures with my items resting on a sheet of plywood I've painted in a neutral colour. It helps to keep some unity in my shop but I do switch up the shades to work better behind light pieces vs. darker pieces.

The Jinx Murphy Designs' Photography Area

Work that photographs better hung on a wall I photograph in my living room or another wall that happens to be the right colour (and already has a nail for hanging artwork). Neutral or pale works best because it allows my work to stand out and doesn't distract the buyer.

Oh Canada: Do you ever use models or props for staging your photos?

Vanessa: I stage my trivet listings in at least one photo with a tabletop shot complete with cups and teapot etc. to give an impression of what the purpose is. I try to explain in words but a picture is a sure fire way to get the point across.

Oh Canada: What’s your best tip for staging product shots?

Vanessa: Make sure that your work is still the main focus of the picture. Don't stage in a way that confuses the buyer about what is actually for sale or included in the listing.

Bird Silhouette Trivet by Jinx Murphy Designs

Oh Canada: What’s the minimum number of photos you take per item?

Vanessa: I usually take as many pictures from as many angles as a piece has and then a few shots for interest and fun. Front, back, side, bottom if it has one and then some close ups of detail.

Oh Canada: Do you edit your photos before using them?

Vanessa: I do only the basics to any of my photos. I adjust colour and light levels if they need it and I crop the images to look neat and proportionate. I use a basic version of Photoshop.

Oh Canada: In your opinion, what makes a great “first photo” on Etsy?

Vanessa: First photos need to catch attention and make the browser click. It should be well lit, clear and interesting. That might mean its taken from an unexpected angle or that it only shows a detailed section of the whole item.

Custom Address Plaque by Jinx Murphy Designs

Oh Canada: When making treasuries, what do you look for in a first photo?

Vanessa: Clear, well lit, makes me want to have it or at least read the listing to find out more.

Oh Canada: Can you share one more Etsy photo tip?

Vanessa: Take photos on days that you feel good. Be your own photographer, play with the angles, if a shot doesn't work take another and use only the best.

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada and Jinx Murphy Designs


Sep 24, 2010

Friday Finds: Yellow Tulip Vase

Light Yellow Tulip Vase



If you're lucky enough to have any surviving flowers in your garden, now might be a good time to bring them in for a few more days of summer color. Early frost has already come and gone in some provinces, letting us all know that winter is closer than we think.

This adorable handmade tulip vase is perfect for holding your favorite blooms. And while you're waiting for next seasons flowers to show their faces, it's still pretty enough to showcase year-round. To see a delightful selection of handmade vases, mugs and more, visit Janson Pottery.

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team and Janson Pottery


Sep 23, 2010

Red Quilt Treasury Challenge Finalists

It’s time again to vote for your most favorite treasury! We have had some very beautiful collections this round, featuring a lovely red upcycled quilt by Mini Made. Have a look at these treasuries, and vote for your favorite in the poll to the right. The winner will select the theme for our next Treasury Challenge round!

Winter Survival Kit Pink and ...

Winter Survival Kit and Pink And...

I'm Seeing Red Simple Serene

I'm Seeing Red and Simply Serene

For You and Your Home

For You and Your Home

Voting will close on September 28th. We will announce the winner, along with our next theme on Thursday, September 30th. Good luck!

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada and Etsy.com


Sep 22, 2010

Tag Workshop: October Sign Up

H is for Home's tag cloud

Do you ever get to the tagging stage of the Etsy listing process and draw a total blank? Does thinking of keywords get you down? Join in the Oh Canada Team Tag Workshop exercise!

Every Tuesday, we showcase one Etsy listing here on the Oh Canada blog. Our volunteers suggest unique tag lists for the listing, which we examine and compare. Through this exercise, we can learn about what types of search terms customers are using, and which keywords stand out the most.

All Etsy sellers are welcome to join in our Tag Workshops! You don't have to be a member of our team, or a Canadian seller. Just leave comment on this post with a link to the Etsy listing that you would like tag suggestions for, and you'll be entered into the draw.

Four sellers will be chosen at random for the October series of workshops.

Each volunteer selected will be asked to suggest tags for three listings.

In exchange for your tagging ideas, your item will be showcased here on our blog, and your shop will be linked to in four separate posts throughout the month. Plus, you’ll get insights from three other sellers about which keywords shoppers might use to find your item.

All types of shops are welcome to participate - handmade, vintage or supplies.

Taggers will be chosen from the comments Tuesday, September 28th.

To learn more, check out previous posts in our Tag Workshop series!


Copyright 2010 Oh Canada


Sep 21, 2010

Tag Workshop: Red Haired Art Doll

Every Etsy listing can be broken down into sections, with each component serving a different purpose. The most important aspect of any listing is the photographs, which can invite searchers to click, encourage them to stay and look around, and convince them to make a purchase. But without really effective tags, even the best photos can get lost in the crowd.

Choosing keywords for an Etsy listing can be the toughest part of the job. Even when we know our own creations inside and out, we have to put ourselves in a shopper’s frame of mind to decide which terms will bring the most valuable search results. Every week, the Oh Canada Team shares some examples of which search terms shoppers and sellers use to locate different types of products.

Red Hair Doll by Dolls and Company

Red Hair Doll
by Dolls and Company



This week, our Tag Workshop will focus on an adorable fabric doll by Dolls and Company. The description reads:

This doll pattern was created by Janet Clark; It is one of the nicest I have even seen. What a pleasure I had constructing this doll. She is magnificent. Her body is made of girdle fabric and is stuffed of polyester. Her hair is made from faux fur and her clothes from cotton. Her fingers are articulated. She is really beautiful and measure around 19 inch. (49 cm).

Favor My Party suggests these tags:

dolls and miniatures, red hair, ogre, forest fairy, young woman,
little girl, soft doll, large, life like, rag doll, cotton dress,
handmade, collectible

Joyous Treasures recommends:

dolls and miniatures, soft sculpture, red hair, brown skin,
large, handmade, girdle fabric, collectors, big foot,
faux fur, cotton, cute, ooak, one of a kind

Oh Canada suggests:

dolls and miniatures, art doll, fantasy, elf,
elven, sprite, crimson red, polyester fill, girdle fabric,
faux fur, floral dress, articulated, poseable, smile,

And the actual tags are:

dolls and miniatures, soft sculpture, human figure doll,
primitive, art doll, big foot, rag doll, special face, collector item,
brown skin doll, articulated finger, beautiful, magnificent, collection

Each list has many unique keywords that describe the look and style of the listing. Most of your basic tags can be found within the title and description of your listing. Once you have covered things like purpose, color, materials and size, you can fill in remaining tag spaces with synonyms for the keywords you already have.

To learn more about Etsy tagging, visit:

Tag-O-Rama with Descriptive Keywords
Tagging for Maximum Exposure
Guidelines and Tips for Tagging
Etsy DOs and DON’Ts

Stay tuned to Oh Canada for more tagging help every Tuesday!


Sep 17, 2010

Friday Finds: Doctor Horrible

Have you decided on your Hallowe’en costume yet? If you’re thinking of going handmade, now is the time to shop and plan the perfect get-up! There are so many unique possibilities for dress-up on Etsy - from handmade costumes to unique vintage pieces. And while you’re browsing, you never know what imaginative things you’ll find.

Dr. Horrible as a Yermit

Dr. Horrible Yermit Doll



This horribly adorable character is part of the Yermit family of fabric dolls, handcrafted in Guelph, Ontario. His shiny goggles make the terrible effects of his freeze ray even more intimidating! To see more wonderful characters and creations like this guy, visit the Yermits shop!

Whatever’s on your fall shopping list, chances are the Oh Canada Team has something for you! Include the phrase "OhCanadaTeam" in your searches on Etsy.com to see what our talented artists are making.

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada and Yermits


Sep 16, 2010

Treasury Challenge: Upcycled Red Quilt

A TaLL Order

The polls have closed in the “Yellow Silk Ring” treasury challenge, and the winner is A TaLL (Tangerine and Lemon Lime) Order! Congratulations to the curator, Mini Made, and thank you so much to all of our participants and voters.

Our next challenge will now commence! This fun activity is designed to bring new exposure to great Etsy shops, as well as bring us all together in the spirit of beautiful treasuries.

The contest is open to anyone, and we invite all Etsy members to participate, even if you’re not an Oh Canada Team member. Members with buyer accounts are also welcome to play - if you can make a treasury, you can join in!

The winner will receive the opportunity to select the theme for our next challenge. It could be an idea, a color, or even an item from their shop, or a favorite shop, to be featured in our next Treasury Challenge.

The Rules

1. Your treasury must incorporate the challenge’s theme, and include at least 8 Oh Canada Team members.

Check out our team roster for members, or search for the tag OhCanadaTeam when choosing your featured listings.

3. You must include the words “OCT Challenge” in your treasury’s title.

4. You must tag your treasury with “ohcanadateam” and “OCT challenge”

5. In your treasury’s description, let viewers know that it is an entry in an Oh Canada Team challenge, invite them to join, and provide a link to our main blog, or this post.

6. If an item in your treasury sells or is removed, please replace it with another item from the same shop.

Screenshots of each entry will be available in our Flickr challenge album for your reference before judging begins.

7. Please do not use your own shop(s) in your entry, including alternate shops.

How to Enter

To enter your treasury, add a link to it in the comments section of this post.

Only treasuries that are submitted on the blog before the deadline will be included in the judging round.

The deadline for the “Red Quilt” challenge is Tuesday, September 21st. Our judges will select 6 finalists, and voting will begin on Thursday, September 23rd.

Voting for this challenge will close the following Tuesday, and the winner will be announced along with our new challenge theme on Thursday, September 30th.

Everyone is welcome to play - including Etsy shoppers and non-team members. If you’ve never made a treasury on Etsy before, you can get some handy tips in this tutorial: How to Make Etsy Treasuries.

Upcycled Vintage Quilt by Mini Made

The Theme

Our previous challenge winner, Mini Made, has chosen a lovely upcycled red quilt to be the focus of this challenge round. You can create using any theme that you desire, but you must include this listing in your treasury: Upcycled Red Vintage Quilt.

Challenge Judges

Not ready to make a treasury yet? We will also be looking for guest judges to help narrow down the finalists. If you would like to participate, let us know in the comments section of this post, along with a link to your shop. The first three volunteers will be contacted by our Treasury Challenge admins with more details.

Please feel free to contact our team admins if you have any questions.

Good luck!

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team and Mini Made


Sep 15, 2010

Shop Spotlight: The Backyard Bear

Chipmunk Cedar Box by The Backyard Bear

Nature is a common inspiration for all kinds of artists. There are so many wonderful shapes and colors found in the outdoors that speak to us, drawing on our ancestral roots and affectionate connection to the Earth. And nobody captures nature in art quite like Mary Ann of The Backyard Bear.

This shop features a variety of delightfully rustic objects, lovingly hand painted with images from the natural world. Oh Canada has put The Backyard Bear in the spotlight.

Oh Canada: Of all the things that you sell, which item or style is your favorite?

Mary Ann: It is hard to pick just one item as I put love into all of them but if I narrow it down it would have to be the chipmunk cedar box.

That poor little box was sitting in a 2nd hand store all water stained and musty smelling but it was still sturdy and had potential. I took it home, sanded it down inside and out, re-oiled the inside to give it back its original aroma and then painted a chipmunk on it.

Upcycled Maple Leaf Mittens by The Backyard Bear

Chipmunks love to stash things away and this little box which was once trash can now be used to stash items once again. Chipmunks and moose were the hardest creatures for me to paint but for some reason this little guy was just waiting to be brought to life. I’m really proud of that box and I’ll be sad when it sells but happy that the new owner will enjoy it.

Oh Canada: Where did you learn your skills?

Mary Ann: I’m self taught, although I have to add that my whole family is creative in some shape or form. My father was a builder, my mother could knit and crochet anything, my five brothers and sister have built, sketched and painted a few things in their life.

I think being the youngest and just too young to hang with my siblings and no one to play with, I took it to a whole new level to keep myself amused. I was a wildlife lover and when I wasn’t trying to find animal tracks and mold them with Plaster of Paris I was sketching birds and animals in the woods. I remember asking for a “John Naggy Learn to Draw” set for Christmas. It came with pencils, pastels, charcoal, sketching pad and a How To Draw book. I carried that set everywhere.

My mother would only use our old Singer sewing machine to mend, but once I was old enough she taught me how to use it and I started to make stuffed animals and Barbie doll clothes.

My father being a carpenter and me tagging along on his jobs taught me how to build a thing or two, and I would make bird houses and feeders in our boathouse out of scrap wood. I have the scars on my thumb to prove it!

My mother, to keep me busy, would give me old Sears or Eaton’s catalogues, egg cartons, jars and tins, worn clothing, anything she could find. She was from the old school where you didn’t go out to buy crafting materials, you made due with what you had. I tore apart many old dresses and jeans just to remake them into something else. I remember when I was 10, making a pair of bibbed hot pants out an old pair of pink pants when they were a craze in the 60’s. Therefore upcycling was normal in my family.

The Backyard Bear's Howling Wolf on the Front Page of Etsy

My wildlife painting started when my oldest brother bought me an oil paint-by-number set when I was around 7. It was a picture of two horses, and not having any patience I leaned that first painting over the hot air register to dry fast. When I came back to check on it my horse painting was abstract. After that episode I turned to watercolour.

I left all of my sketching and painting behind once I hit my teen years. I married young and raised two children with no time for hobbies. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago I started painting using acrylics. My boyfriend is an airbrush artist and watching him build and paint life like fishing lures took me back to when I would sketch and paint wildlife and I had the desire to paint again. My first painting was of my cat Marabou using driftwood as my canvas. I was quite pleased as it turned out better than I thought it would. After that painting I started painting fish on driftwood and then found other mediums to paint on, wood or metal boxes, jars, music sheets, etc. If it’s paintable I’ll paint on it.

Oh Canada: Everyone has different motivations for making their unique wares. What drives you to create?

Mary Ann: I’ve been creating art and upcycling since I can remember. Some people like to sit and read for hours, some people enjoy a cup of tea on the deck. Me… I enjoy painting and creating.

I get up in the morning and for an hour I paint something… a solar lantern, a magnet, fish on driftwood. I go to work and all day I’m thinking of what I want to make that night. It’s a great feeling to see an item that was someone’s trash made useful again and have another person purchase it from you because they love it.

We live in a throw-away society which is sad because it affects the environment, it affects our future. Our ancestors never threw away anything because everything old had a new use. Whether it be clothes turned into rugs, calendars into pictures, there was always something useful in an item. I try to be that person my ancestor was and I try to pass this on to my children as well.

Hand Painted Bee Drawer Pulls by The Backyard Bear

Oh Canada: If you could learn to use any new technique or material, what would it be?

Mary Ann: I’m pretty content with what I’m doing now. I’m so busy upcycling items that I’ve purchased at yard sales that I don’t think I’d have time to learn a new technique…although I wouldn’t rule it out. I’m willing to teach myself if something catches my interest.

Oh Canada: Any plans to incorporate a new product into your shop this year?

Mary Ann: I’m hoping to get my birdhouses and birdfeeders in the shop. I’ve made a few out of old silver tea pots, garden tools etc. They take a little longer to make and the ones I have made have sold quick so they don’t get on Etsy.

Oh Canada: What is your favorite thing about selling on Etsy?

Mary Ann: I started selling on Etsy this year on Jan 2nd. I wish I had joined earlier, before Christmas as I missed out on those sales.

I originally started selling on Etsy to sell off items which didn’t sell at the couple of craft shows I did last year. Now I’m glad I did even if it’s only for the social aspect of the forums. I’ve met a lot of wonderful Canadians (even those that live a short distance from me) that have great talent and are in the same boat as I am. We work full time, craft at the kitchen table, we do it cause we love it and can’t get enough.

We motivate each other when sales are down and we critique each others wares and shops because we want to help. I’ve been on other forums where people can be nasty because they sit behind a computer, but the Oh Canada Team threads are purely inspirational.

Halloween Hand Painted Solar Light by The Backyard Bear

On the sales side I love the extra money I can make for doing something I love. I use that extra cash as my Christmas money and this year I’ll be purchasing a lot of my gifts off of Etsy.

Oh Canada: Do you have a number one tip for new sellers?

Mary Ann: I have a few tips: Ask questions, chat on the forums and get your name out there. Make use of the Daily or Weekly challenge forum. The daily challenge alone has brought in more sales and hits on my shop. Have a theme to your shop to give it consistency.

Make sure to sell cheaper items in your shop to bring the customers in. I’m frugal myself and so I check the bargain rack and if I like what I see I’ll step to the back of the store and find the more expensive items. I think if you have more of a variety of prices and items in your shop you’ll get people like me who will go past that first page.

Don’t get discouraged if you’re not selling right away. There are people out there that don’t like what you have for sale, it’s not their thing, on the flip-side you’ll find buyers who just love it. It’s all personal.

Oh Canada: What is your favorite thing to buy on Etsy?

Mary Ann: For my vegan daughter’s birthday I purchased vegan soaps and even vegan deodorant. It was great that I was able to purchase these items off of Etsy, and I didn’t have to drive around or phone around looking to see who sells vegan soaps in my small town. I bought Canadian as well which is what I try to do. I actually bought from a couple of shops. Not only did I get her bath soaps but I bought pet shampoo and laundry soap - all vegan!

Lady Bugs and Bees Tic Tac Toe Set by The Backyard Bear

Oh Canada: What is the number one best item in your shop right now?

Mary Ann: Other than my upcycled chipmunk box I really like this Tic Tac Toe game – Lady Bugs and Bees.

I’ve also made checkerboard games with moose/bears and one with ducks on it. I see them being played on a porch at a cottage on a rainy afternoon.

You can catch up with Mary Ann and her latest inspirations on her blog The Backyard Bear Arts and Crafts Studio. To see more wonderful wildlife inspired designs, visit The Backyard Bear shop on Etsy.

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada and The Backyard Bear


Sep 14, 2010

Tag Workshop: Ladybug Party Favor

Every Etsy listing can be broken down into sections, with each component serving a different purpose. The most important aspect of any listing is the photographs, which can invite searchers to click, encourage them to stay and look around, and convince them to make a purchase. But without really effective tags, even the best photos can get lost in the crowd.

Choosing keywords for an Etsy listing can be the toughest part of the job. Even when we know our own creations inside and out, we have to put ourselves in a shopper’s frame of mind to decide which terms will bring the most valuable search results. Every week, the Oh Canada Team shares some examples of which search terms shoppers and sellers use to locate different types of products.

Ladybug Hair Bow and Card by Favor My Party

Ladybug Party Favor and Card
by Favor My Party



This week, our Tag Workshop will focus on a cute customizable hair bow and thank you card set by Favor My Party. The description reads:

Cute as a ladybug. Your guests will love receiving these party favors, either on their own, or inside a goody bag! A two inch white and red hair bow is set on a thank you card with happy ladybugs. The message can be personalized with your child's name and age.

Joyous Treasures suggests these tags:

children, party favor, hair bow, thank you card,
red, white, ladybugs, girls, handmade, cute,
holidays, personalized, customized, kids

Dolls and Company recommends:

holidays
, bow, ribbon,
white, red, personalized message,
children, beautiful

Oh Canada Team suggests:

children, accessories, hair clip,
party favors, ladybugs, lady bugs, white, red,
bow, thank you card, girls, cute,
custom, made to order

And the actual tags are:

children, kids, 1st first birthday, party favors,
thank you card, red, white, ladybugs,
hair bow, personalized, unique, cheap, coccinella

Each lists includes many of the same search terms, with variations on Etsy’s subcategories. When you select your main category, you can also select appropriate sub-categories for your item to display in, suggested by Etsy based on your first choice. As with all tags, it is important to only choose those headings that apply to the actual item you are selling.

The order of your tags can also effect how shoppers find you, because the first 5 keywords are considered the most important for SEO. When creating a listing, you can type in the 4 most important descriptive tags first, and then go back and choose the correct subcategories to maximize your exposure around Etsy.

For more help with tagging, check out:

Tag Wars
Tag Finder
Guidelines and Tips for Tagging
Etsy DOs and DON’Ts

Stay tuned for more tagging ideas on Oh Canada every Tuesday!

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team and Favor My Party


Sep 10, 2010

Friday Finds: Krisuvik Iceland Rug

Krisuvik, Iceland   - 2009



Like a sad song, even the coldest and windiest of winter days can be beautiful. This scene, depicted on a hand-hooked rug, is sure to inspire thoughts of warm cocoa and spiced wine, cuddly blankets and a roaring fire.

The lonely little church and rugged landscape of Iceland come to life with a variety of different fibers, including Icelandic and repurposed wool. To learn more about this wonderful creation, and to see more expertly crafted rugs, visit Marzipan Road.

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada and Marzipan Road


Sep 9, 2010

Yellow Silk Ring Challenge Finalists

It's time to vote for your favorite entry in the Yellow Ruffled Silk Ring Treasury Challenge! Our judges have selected six fabulous collections from the wonderful entries, and now we need your help deciding which is the best of the best! The winner will choose the theme or focus for our next challenge.

Have a look at each of the treasuries below, then cast your vote on the right!

First Light of Dawn Bursts of Sunshine

First Light of Dawn and Bursts of Sunshine

A TaLL Order Tickled Pink Lemonade

A TaLL Order and Tickled Pink Lemonade

Tangy Tableau Yellow + Red = Orange

Tangy Tableau and Yellow + Red = Orange

Voting is open until midnight on Tuesday, September 14th. We will announce the winner, along with our next challenge theme on Thursday the 16th. Thank you so much to all of our fabulous participants, and good luck to the finalists!

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team and Etsy.com


Sep 7, 2010

Tag Workshop: Crocheted Magnolia Bookmark

Every Etsy listing can be broken down into sections, with each component serving a different purpose. The most important aspect of any listing is the photographs, which can invite searchers to click, encourage them to stay and look around, and convince them to make a purchase. But without really effective tags, even the best photos can get lost in the crowd.

Choosing keywords for an Etsy listing can be the toughest part of the job. Even when we know our own creations inside and out, we have to put ourselves in a shopper’s frame of mind to decide which terms will bring the most valuable search results. Every week, the Oh Canada Team shares some examples of which search terms shoppers and sellers use to locate different types of products.

Magnolia Flower Crocheted Bookmark by Joyous Treasures

White Magnolia Flower Crocheted Bookmark
by Joyous Treasures



This week, our Tag Workshop will focus on a pretty crocheted bookmark by Joyous Treasures. The description reads:

The flower measures about 2 1/4 inches across (5.7 cm), and has a raised yellow center for a 3D effect. Features a dark green stem with 2 narrow leaves.

When I looked at photos of magnolia flowers, I noticed that the petals are usually very irregular, each of the petals are a slightly different shape and size, nor where they perfectly arranged around the center. So I tried to create that effect with my crocheted magnolia as much as possible, so it would look like the real thing!

Did you know the magnolia is the Mississippi and the Louisiana State flower?


Favor My Party suggests these tags:

crochet, bookmark, page marker, sign,
state flower, magnolia, white, yellow,
delicate, silky, handmade

Dolls and Company recommends:

crochet, book, green, gorgeous, petals,
Mississippi, Louisiana, state flower, cotton thread,
high quality, 3D effect, reader, marker.

Oh Canada suggests:

books and zines, bookmark, magnolia flower, opaque white,
dark green, crochet, cotton, lifelike, state flower,
yellow, page marker, delicate, pretty, nature

And the actual tags are:

crochet, bookmark, flower, magnolia, white,
yellow, Louisiana, Mississippi, state,
handmade, green, beautiful, feminine,

Each list shows great examples of alternate terms that shoppers of different demographics might use to search for the same thing. When you’re absolutely stuck for those last few tags, try adding terms from the Thesaurus, or different languages to reach out for a new audience. Remember to only use tags that describe what you item actually is, and to place each individual search term on a separate line.

For more help choosing Etsy tags, visit:

Tag Wars
Tagging for Maximum Exposure
Guidelines for Tagging on Etsy
Etsy DOs and DON’Ts

Stay tuned to Oh Canada for more tagging suggestions every Tuesday!

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team and Joyous Treasures


Sep 6, 2010

Scavenger Hunt: Juicy Apples

Everyone loves a scavenger hunt. There’s something very exciting about seeking out treasures based on a theme, or coming up with unique examples of objects from a single idea. In September, themes of back to school and the coming fall harvest are everywhere, so the Oh Canada Team has been seeking out some beautiful and delicious examples of apples around the web.

Stuff by Steph discovered a whole orchard of apples, and recommends visiting the Applewood Farm Winery the next time you’re in the Southern Ontario area. Picking your own fresh apples is a great way to spend the day with the family, and get some wholesome treats at the same time!

Applewood Farm Winery, Ontario

Apple Picking at Applewood Farm Winery



Steph also recommends some cute apple quilting patterns that are great for all kinds of crafts: Applique Apples and Apple Petroglyph.

Dark Ride searched high and low and curated a wonderful collection of apple goodies called Apple in My Eye, with a great combination of reds and golden browns.

Apple in My Eye Treasury

The Apple in My Eye by Dark Ride



Joanniel discovered a fantastic craft tutorial, that shows you how to create an adorable apple decoration from a used paperback book. This is a great example of how beautiful upcycled art can be, and you don’t have to be a mixed media expert to try it out!

Apple Cut Out Tutorial on Cheeky Magpie

Apple Shape Book Tutorial from Cheeky Magpie



Little Bear’s Mom shares a charming collection of apple inspired knits to please kids of all ages!

An Ode to Apples Treasury

An Ode to Apples by Little Bear's Mom



Apples always make great subjects for painting and photography. They have a lovely shape that catches the light, and the colors are always bright and beautiful. bstudio discovered this unique art photograph of cleverly stacked apple slices. All it needs is a bit of caramel sauce!

A New Variety of Apple by peachesandolivia

A New Variety of Apple by peachesandolivia



I Feel Like an Apple Today is a marvelous collection by Jen’s Dream Décor, featuring some apple inspired creations by the Oh Canada team, and friends.

I Feel Like an Apple Today

I Feel Like an Apple Today by Jen's Dream Decor



And of course, no collection of apples would be complete without some yummy baked treats! A.M.E. Creations found this super easy recipe for an Upside-Down Apple Tart, which uses jelly powder to get that perfect apple pie texture.

Upside-Down Apple Tart Recipe

Upside-Down Apple Tart from the Kraft Kitchens



These very pretty iced apple cookies were discovered by Blue Jeans Jewelry. Don't they look amazing? They're almost too perfect to eat!

An Apple a Day Sugar Cookies by Sugar and Flour

An Apple a Day Sugar Cookies by Sugar and Flour



Here are a few more Applicious picks from our own Oh Canada Team members:

Gala Apple Card by Brazen Design Studio

Okanagan Original Gala Apple Card by Brazen Design Studio

Scented Apple Wreath Project from Patterns and Such

Vintage Scented Apple Wreath Tutorial from Patterns and Such

Apple's Time Lap Quilt by La Chiffonniere

Apple’s Time Lap Quilt by La Chiffonniere

Apple Microwave Mitts by MiniMade

Just a Pinch Microwave Mitts by MiniMade



Do you know of a fantastic apple recipe, craft or other fall treat? Share a link with us in the comments!

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team


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