Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pre-Renegade MOCFA Etsy Panel & Meet Up

Etsy Panel included from left to right: Julie Schneider (Etsy Admin), Lisa Congdon (artist & co-owner of Rare Device), Jen Johnson (from Mama's Magic Studio), Yueh-Wen from (Sora Designs) and Danielle Maveal (Etsy Admin).

One of the greatest things about belonging to a crafting community is the support that you get from your fellow crafters. Whether or not your just starting out or you're an Etsy administrator, chances are you have something different ti bring to the table. That's what made our Pre-Renegade MOCFA Etsy Panel & Meet Up such a wonderful success.

With over 200 RSVP'd guests, the store manager for the Museum of Craft & Folk Art, Kpoene' Kofi-Bruce, and her staff were gearing up to have a grand ol' time with Etsians from all over the Bay Area (and nation!) meet up on Renegade Eve.

But before we got the party started, our very own Jen Johnson from Mama's Magic Studio got to help out in the Virtual Labs! The chat featured Jen, Julie and Wen on Friday, 31 July, 2010, answering questions about anything from branding to blogging.

Backstage with the Virtual Labs at the MOCFA - Jen (left), Julie & Wen share some sage knowledge with Etsy chatters.

Wen from Sora Designs had just reached her 2700th sale mark, so there were tons of questions about how she'd achieved so much success. Her tips and tricks to her success: try everything! She started from a researcher background and only recently made the shift to designing jewelry full-time. In order to gain a following, she tried advertising in almost every venue possible: from the $7 showcase to a $200 campaign on a online magazine!

Through Google Analytics, she tracked which adverts converted the most customers and learned through trial & error what worked for her brand. She started targeting wedding sites & fashion forward blogs in order capture the attention of her niche. Wen recommends to know when to give up on a certain avenue of advertisement:
"If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. Learn from the experience and try something else. You never know unless you try it!"

Jen Johnson gives information about the benefits about being on an Etsy Team.

Jen is the newest Team Leader for the SF Etsy Team and also belongs to the CCCOE Team on Etsy. Though she's only been the Team Leader since January 2010, she was able to share some great best practices. Being able to have an open forum for your Etsy Team to communicate with one another helps the team build strong bonds. This helped out when SF Etsy was promoting their recent Trunk Show Sampler and even for the Holiday Season last year. It makes sense that Etsians would want to buy handmade, but there are even better benefits to being on a team. Says Jen of SF Etsy:
" I know that we've done a lot of promotion for the team and if I'm ever looking for a gift, I search SF Etsy Team tags to find it. Not only are your team members supporting one another, but they're buying from each other as well."

Crafters UNITE: The Etsians & crafting crowd sit patiently, awaiting the panel members to take their seats. The session is just about to begin.
The air was buzzing with anticipation as the Etsy Panel was gearin' up. SF Etsy members were able to meet-up in groups out front from as early as 6 PM in order to ensure a seat. By the end of the wait, the museum was packed!

And what a great thing that it was! There was a wealth of information given by the Panel & the audience alike. Some of the highlights included:

In smart black glasses, Lisa Congdon (middle left) was able to talk about how to approach boutiques & blogs for a feature.
Lisa Congdon of Rare Device was able to give a few insights as to how she likes being approached for a feature by sellers. Being a store owner, blogger & an artist, she possesses a bit of perspective on what it takes to get noticed.

  • A Few Tips on Getting Featured by a Boutique or Blog
  1. Do your homework - Not all blogs/boutiques are created equal! Be thoughtful in your selection of which blog/boutique you'd like to be featured. If you look around and think that your items would be a great fit, by all means - approach! If you're not sure, maybe consider making a list of places that will work with your brand and then rank them.
  2. A Friendly E-mail - "Nothing gets my attention better than someone starting their email addressed to me personally. Dear Lisa will usually get you to the top of my list of people to get back to." Things to include in this email: greeting, what you like about their brand, why you think your products would be a good fit, a willingness to do work with the hosts and...
  3. High-Quality Pictures - You're probably sick of hearing it, but it's the truth: good pics might get you some views but GREAT high-quality pictures will get you sales! Lisa looks for shops with eye-catching photos and overall great presentation to draw her in.
  4. Negotiation - Whether it's a willingness to do consignment or trade a feature for a giveaway, your flexibility is paramount! Based on your homework, you will know whether or not you feel it's worth it.
  5. Don't Be Disheartened - Even if you don't get an email back in a week, don't be take it too personally. Lisa used to be appalled when she learned that her business partner wasn't able to respond to every email personally, but quickly learned that when you get over 100 submissions a week, it's not always realistic or humanly possible. The good thing is that there are lots of places to feature you work, so keep working at it.

Danielle Maveal (aka daniellexo) talks about what you can do to get noticed on Etsy

Danielle Maveal first started selling etched sterling silver jewelry back in the early days of Etsy, but now that she's an Etsy Admin, she shares the one tip that she can (other than fantastic pictures!) to help you get featured:
  • Use All 14 Tags
  1. Textures - What do your items feel like? Soft, fuzzy, chunky, heavy?
  2. Colours - Now that Treasury East has taken over, it's extremely important to try to describe your colours as accurately was possible. An example would be if your freshwater pearls are green, you might want to add if they lean more toward hunter or chartreuse.
  3. Styles - Are you doing steam-punk jewelry or are you featuring kawaii amigurumi? Are you vintage finds more mid-century chic or hip, minimalist modern in aesthetic? Chances are customers (and Admin!) on Etsy are looking in these categories.
  4. Be Specific - If anything, you'll want to be specific with your tags in order to capture every possibility out there. A good practice is to look at the "From The Merchandising Desk" blog posts in the Storque every month for ideas on what the Admin are looking for.

Since the SF Etsy Team planned ahead, we were able to take a group picture of the members at the Meet-Up! It was a very rich & informational experience largely due to the excellent amount of audience of participation. Thank you!

There were a few more comments about:
  • Making time for the business vs. making time for the art (tip: hire someone do the business while you do the creating if you can afford to)
  • How do you fit all the business into 24 hours? (tip: Something that Lisa has recently stumbled upon is creating some Office Hours for herself, which she can update her QuickBooks, filing and book-keeping)
  • Finances for your Business (tip: is an awesome free resource for filing quarterly tax payments, uploading PayPal statements and keeping on top of your expenses)
  • Copyrights: What do you do when you've got a copy-cat? (tip: Check out for low-budget to no-budget info on how to protect your images & patterns. For copyrights that cover damages, you'll have to pay for the rights at

The Panel Members & MOCFA Staff take a group picture after a successful discussion. Top - from left to right: Julie Schneider (aka julieincharge), Amelia Strader (from the Virtual Labs & Craft Bars at the MOCFA), Kpoene' Kpfi-Bruce (Store Manager & Buyer for MOCFA), Danielle Maveal (aka daniellexo). Front - from left to right: Lisa Congdon (Etsy artist & co-owner of Rare Device), Jen Johnson (SF Etsy Team Leader & owner of Mama's Magic Studio), Yueh-Wen (of Sora Designs).

The after-party was also pretty awesome, including lots of wine, treats and business card trading while checking out the MOCFA's beautiful store & gallery. All in all, any time the Etsy community gathers, it's not an event to be missed. Not only for the information being shared (as you can always count on your Roving Reporter for that), but for the amazing connections to be made.

Steph Cort├ęs from nerd JERK is the Roving Reporter, one of the newest members of the SF Etsy Blog Team. She enjoys going out to new crafting events and supporting the handmade movement. Look forward to more reports on her artsy shenanigans in weeks to come. Feel free to email her comments & tips on shows anytime.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Riley Noehren said...

What an excellent recap of the event, Steph. I was one of the latecomers and was therefore standing in the back unable to take notes. Thank goodness you did! I had already forgotten some of the best tips from the night, but now I have them listed for me here (with hyperlinks)!

I had to rush home afterwards to prep for Renegade the next day; now I'm sad I missed most of the meet & greet portion. I still have my cool NerdJerk button, though.

nerd JERK said...

Hyperlink should be my middle name! :D And a little trivia: I used to be a professional note-taker for $20/hr. Those were the days!

Thanks for utilizing my notes, Riley! It was great meeting you. I hope to send you the picks I got of you at Renegade soon. :)

El at Tantalizing Stitches said...

thanks so much for writing this. i couldn't make it so its nice to hear about what was talked about.

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

What a wonderful recap! And love the pics -- I was so busy participating, that I didn't snap a single one myself. Thanks so much for posting this for the benefit of the entire SF Etsy community (and beyond) -- we are very lucky to have our Roving Reporter in our midst!

Anna said...

Great post with very helpful links! Thank you so much for sharing.

Lucie Taylor said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to put all your notes together into such a comprehensive article. Great job! :-)

Hello Cupcake said...

Great write up and recap! Thanks for putting this together!

Sora Designs said...

Step: thanks so much for taking photos and writing up this great summary. you are the best! After I got home I felt that I had a lot that I forgot to mention. It seemed like I have spent on advertising a lot. But it's not. You need to set up budget for each month. So right now, I only have 2 paid ads on 2 different blogs.

Eko said...

Thank you very much for your excellent work. It’s very helpful for everybody.

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