Live your beauty

by on January 2, 2016

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Create a work space you love! It can be super organized, or it can be delightful chaos…whatever satisfies your soul! One of the great artists of modern times, Alexander Calder, created his masterpiece mobiles in an amazingly rich and cluttered workshop (see a photo of Calder’s studio at the Smithsonian Magazine’s blog).

April Starr uses a vintage napkin – silverware caddy for storing her shipping supplies.

Your own workspace might be set up in a separate room, even that ultimate dream, a separate studio! Or might simply be a dedicated area of your home where you keep the tools you need to make and sell your work. Fill your space with inspiration, pictures, quotations and memorabilia. This is where you live.  Where you love. Plan it with the same care as you’ve planned the work of your dreams.

One of my favorite Etsy sellers, April Starr, incorporates her own love of antiques into her creative space.  “I love using this vintage napkin/silverware caddy for shipping supplies.”

It’s that attention to quality that informs all of April’s work.  Your own enjoyment of your workspace will spill out into every part of your life, and into everything you make, and sell on Etsy, and ship to your new friends!


Illustration from April Starr. Visit her Etsy Shop at


The proper shipping settings for having a life

by on April 24, 2015

Your shipping policies and options clearly let customers know what to expect after they purchase one of your amazing items.  Setting your shipping policies on Etsy is done in Dashboard / Shop Settings / Info & Appearance / Shop Policies.

As an American watercolor artist selling flat paper paintings and prints, I mainly ship with the US Post Office. I like the Post Office.  Friendly folks, good service, reasonable prices.  If you ship Priority, you can get free envelopes and boxes in all sorts of sizes.  My paintings and prints get mailed flat, in a sturdy box (sometimes double boxed for extra protection) with a foamboard backing so they don’t get bent.

Insurance is a big part of shipping calculations.  If anything is damaged or lost, you will of course send a complete refund to the customer.  USPS now has a default insurance on many Priority shipments, but for your more valuable products, you may need to purchase additional insurance coverage.  The cost of all this needs to be factored into your shipping calculations.

You’ll need shipping policies for international customers too. Etsy is a worldwide marketplace. Different nations have different policies. For example, you can’t mail jewelry made with polished, whitened, artificial, or imitation pearls to Abu Dhabi.  Or anything made with the feathers of wild birds to Canada. Or honey to South Africa. Insurance differs from country to country.  You need the proper customs form for each package.

Wood sign from AppalachianPrimitive

On Etsy, you can either set different shipping profiles, or set up the Calculared Shipping module based on the weight and size of each item.  Explore both options in Etsy’s Shipping Profiles section.

I decided that I am NOT going to offer expedited shipping – next day delivery and all that. Sure, people like it.  They’re shopping at midnight for a birthday happening tomorrow, hoping they can purchase the perfect, thoughtful gift and get it there in the morning.  They’re happy to pay for FedEx… But the other part of this agreement is that I have to be available first thing in the morning to pack their order and ship it out.  What if I have other plans?  What if I’m off on a river trip, sitting in the shade of a willow, painting a beautiful waterfall?  It’s not like I have a shipping staff dedicated to making this all happen.

So, no expedited shipping.  I may lose an order here and there, but I will have a life.


Illustration courtesy and © Candace at Appalachian Primitive on Etsy



David shares what it means to be Etsy-esque

January 10, 2015
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I was hired by our county arts council to put together a series of classes on the theme “The Business of Art.”  Along with workshops in digital photography, website design, marketing yourself and organizing your time, I included a workshop on Etsy and arranged for my friend David Joaquin to teach the class. The “How to […]

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Increase your Etsy sales: Why you must have a logo or improve your current one

October 25, 2014
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A guest post by Cristina, Sombras Blancas Art & Design! _____ First impression. That’s the main reason a business needs a professional logo design and the other branding elements that come with it. I’m sure you have heard this many times before. It is one of the most important reasons but there are some others […]

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Naming Your Etsy Shop: What’s a blue otter got to do with it?

September 26, 2014
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Back in 2011 as I contemplated getting started on Etsy, I found myself visiting frequently, clicking the front page images and getting familiar with the Etsy system.  Finally it was time to sign up with my own Etsy profile. Setting up your Etsy profile is easy.  Everyone on Etsy takes this step, whether they are a […]

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Setting Your Prices

June 14, 2014
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Pricing your work is an important part of your success on Etsy.   If prices are too high, sales will drop…or simply not even begin.  If prices are too low, you’ll find yourself unable to continue making new items.  The sweet spot between these extremes, the price that is just right for your wonderful products, is […]

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Share your story

February 12, 2014

This morning there was an email from Etsy inviting sellers to “Tell Us Your Story.”  The request was from Etsy’s Seller Handbook team.  A handy online form is linked so Etsy sellers can pitch the story they wish to share – either to write it themselves or to be interviewed by a regular editor.  In […]

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Vintage Hats and Business Plans

October 31, 2013
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Who are your customers?  What do they need?  How are you giving them what they want? “Market Need” is a key element in a good business plan.  Many new business owners put off writing their business plan for months – years even.  They imagine it’s only needed for getting a bank loan or formally presenting […]

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People do judge a book by its cover

September 21, 2013
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Create unique packaging for your Etsy orders! Wrap and ship your items so your new customer feels like it’s Christmas Day when their package arrives! I recently read the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson (it’s a great book, by the way). Jobs, who invented Apple computers, was a design fanatic. “The aesthetic, the quality […]

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Peach is the Color of the Month!

July 17, 2013
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Color plays a huge part in people’s buying decisions, especially for arts and artisan handcrafts.  Customers choose items with colors that fit their personality and match their existing decor.  Certain colors are popular during different seasons.  The Etsy Trend Watch blog posts (at predict colors, items and styles that will be popular in an […]

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