Fall in Love with something!

I just created a quick list of my favorite items and shops on Etsy.com

Hopefully I will be able to have each creator and artist of those shops come here and share some of their experience as a small business owner and Etsy seller! They are AMAZING and their items truly inspirational!

Fall in LOVE with SOMETHING

 

Create a Buzz

I learned a long time ago that a great product or a great service is not what makes the most sales… it is everything else, everything that goes on around it.

Could you imagine if we opened a college with the best professors in the world yet we didn’t tell anyone about it… Their knowledge and expertise would be wasted and the college would close up shop before it even opened. Yet the college down the street with the worst professors with a “multi-spending” marketing campaign are doing great…

The same goes for every business we enter into, no matter the size or what we are trying to sale. You could have the greatest cookies, facial products, software out there but if you don’t let people know about it through the proper channels you are not getting anywhere. Network at all times, but don’t be a pain in the behind! Don’t be the typical “sales person” – instead try to identify a problem that you can help solve. Mouth-to-mouth is by far the best advertising you can get, and it is free, however you cannot pay for it so try to figure out how to get there and you probably have solved your biggest problem. You want to create a buzz about what you offer.

If you are starting out, try to give free samples, offer free consultations, or have a testing group for both feedback and to spread the word. Listen more than you talk no matter how hard it is. And then make sure the customers knows how to find you!

What are your suggestions to create a Buzz?

Make it Visual

How many times have we heard that we need to be as visual as possible. Pictures say more then a thousand words! And the more savvy our customers becomes… we have to match them and become better at showing our customers EXACTLY what thy are getting.

I just realized that I have listings for 5×7 prints for all my animals and have it written in the text that you can order all of them as a 8×10 also you just have to contact me first… BUT I don’t have a listing for it (to make it easier on the customer) and I don’t have a picture that demonstrate the difference. Yes – most people would know how big a 5×7 vs. a 8×10 is… but doesn’t this say more???

Inspiration

When someone asks me where I get my inspiration from I normally don’t really have a good answer because to me it feels like it just jumps on me. But the truth is that I get my inspiration from things that goes on in my life. Friends having kids and friends getting married is pretty much my driver at the moment.

One of my closest friend is getting married on September 15th and I was jumping of joy when she asked me to be in her wedding a few months ago. Since then I have been focusing on wedding related items, such as save the date announcement, thank you cards, and invitations. I don’t think I would have thought about it if it wasn’t for her getting married!

Dress I will be wearing for my friends wedding as a Brides maid! 🙂

I started with my animal prints and then moved over to do some adult prints (which seems to be working) and now I am stepping into the ‘card’ game. I can’t wait to see what the future is going to bring me but I am pretty sure it is not going to stay with just prints and cards even though you can do a lot with that alone. I am incredibly interested in natural health and well-being so it feels like a new venture might be opening up here in the future. Maybe something like ‘Candie of the Earth’ beauty products or similar…. who knows 😉

On top of the world

During one of my business trips for my “9-5 job” the weather would not allow us to work one of the days, so me and a few of my colleagues went to the Sequoia National Park in California and had a blast. I liked the pictures so much that I decided to use them as my Blog header… What do you think??

Favorite Item

What is your most favorited item by others in your Shop?
Up until today the most “hearted” item in my Candie Ink store on Etsy is one of  my two Chocolate Addiction Print:

Why do you think this print is the most liked?
It speaks to a lot of the people that are active on Etsy.com. Etsy buyers and users are mostly women and we all know that (many) women have a thing for chocolate. Since I am from Sweden my love for chocolate will never go away, but I am incredibly picky when it comes to what chocolate I will actually eat and I think we all should be picky about our chocolate – only the best to the beautiful women on our planet!

This print is easy to like, even if you are not interested in actually buying it – the quote with the secret message (I am a chocolate addict) is pretty clever if I may say so myself. It is a statement that is cute and embarrassingly true! Hahaha..

This print is currently a 8×10 print and also available in 5×7 if requested. Could you see any other use for this?
Yes, absolutely. I have a thing for squares so I might make this into an 8×8 as well. But that is probably not what you meant. I can totally see this being made into a greeting card. That will for sure make someone smile. We don’t get greeting cards too often these days and this could be something you would want to save because of the actual print and also for (I am sure) the cute message someone took the time to write and mail you…

What got Candie Ink started?

I don’t think I can say WHAT it was that got me started. I have always been a girl with an imagination and love for creating, ever since I was very young. Colors have always been my thing. My eyes are just drawn to it.

When I graduated from High School in 1999 I signed up for a one year, full time, fashion design and sewing program. I learned everything about pattern making, fabric care, and different techniques of sewing and knitting. It was an incredible year and after that I was creating and selling a lot of custom made dance costumes that were worn by many of the Swedish National dance team dancers at multiple World and European championships as well as National competitions. It became a great source of income as I was going through college. Even back then I called my brand Candie Ink, named after my first dog.

The prints and cards idea didn’t come until a lot later. It was actually in 2007, a week before Thanksgiving that the idea of doing animal prints for kids fell on top of me as I was taking a power nap. The same afternoon I bought a scanner/printer and stayed up all night drawing on paper, scanning my images, and finally worked on coloring them in photoshop. I could not stop thinking about it. It took me about a week to get my six first prints to where I wanted them. I printed them and brought them along with me for my one week trip to the US to visit my boyfriend at the time. That week, I sold my prints to a local baby store and my boyfriend asked me to marry him! It was a crazy week but getting everything ready to get married and moving to a new country kind of left my project on hold. I didn’t follow up with the local baby store to see if they wanted more and my prints were buried in a box for a few years.

In late 2009 I decided to dig up the box again and open up shop on Etsy. My idea from the beginning was always to get my prints on canvas and never on paper. But I couldn’t afford to buy a high duty Epson printer that can handle canvas so I tried to print my images on regular cotton fabric instead. It turned out ok – but the colors were not as bright as on regular paper, so I vetoed that idea pretty fast. Then I decided to transfer my prints to stencils to screen print them on canvas. That didn’t work at all LOL!!! I did however make some screen printed t-shirts and onesies with some modifications of my prints and that WORKED pretty good! But the idea on having my animals as wall art was kind of disappearing in my mind (since I didn’t see any other way beyond having them on canvas). So instead of focusing on my prints, I started sewing again. I started making little kids clothes but realized that it took too long and I didn’t even know if they were going to be sold. The reproduction was very labor intensive and got boring. I liked the custom made dance costume scenario so much better!

At this point in my life I was also going through a very hard time with my health. So I didn’t care about creating anymore. I didn’t even have energy to create. So my shop was left in the dark and I even forgot my password to it…

In September last year (2011) my husband and I bought our first home which meant that I got my very own arts and craft room! So it was time… Candie Ink needed to be woken up and I haven’t looked back since. Now it is clear to me that whomever you are; you have to start with what you got. Paper is the thing now and maybe one day in the future I can move on to canvas, who knows, and at this point who cares – let’s worry about now for the moment.

So, I still do not know what got me started but I can say that I only have gotten started and my imagination will for sure lead me to new creations and adventures… Hopefully you will be with me!