Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What makes my products different?

That is the big question. What makes this product different than that one? Which one is better? How do I know which to buy? These are all questions we ask ourselves when were buying something, especially when we buy online. Do we really know which one to buy or which one is better? Most of the time, we don't. We are guessing, wouldn't it be so much easier if product descriptions would just tell us why they are better or different than the competitor?

Well here is your chance! I'm going to tell you why my sandwich and snack bags are different that the others out there, and you can make up your mind about who's better and which to buy! I encourage everyone to leave a comment stating what makes your product that step above the rest, and of course don't forget a link to your shop!

What makes my reusable bags different? 
I try to point out the visible differences in my product descriptions, but there is "behind the scene" difference as well. For starters, anyone who looks at my product can notice there is no Velcro line on the outside of any of my bags. This is because I take a little extra time to sew it in before the bag is put together, preventing those lines, and in my opinion making a better looking bag. Now the "behind the scene" differences can't really be noticed, but I will still share them with you all. Every stitch is re-enforced (double stitched). This ensures stability in my product, as well as durability through daily use.  The last feature, what some people believe to be decoration, is the side stitches. These stitches have a purpose, because of these stitches my bags have no raw edges, no places for crumbs to get stuck in! These stitches also give an extra layer of durability to the product, ensuring that after a wash the bag is in that same shape that it was before it went in the washer.

So tell me, what makes your product different, what make it stand out from the crowd! Let us know!

Friday, August 3, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week- Giveaway!

I was approached a few weeks ago by the owner of Monkey Mama Necklaces, she asked if I would be willing to participate in a giveaway. This giveaway was something much different than most, it has a cause, and a very good one at that. This giveaway is to support breastfeeding. You see this week, August 1st -7th, is World Breastfeeding week. This even was created to raise awareness of breastfeed and to showcase the benefits as well as start to bring a sense of normalcy to the topic. I am a strong believer in breastfeed, so I was more than willing to help support the cause!

Monkey Mama Necklaces, my self, and many other Etsy shops have banned together to create a uniquely supportive giveaway. Entry is super easy, and most prizes have multiple additional entries. The giveaway is open for entries August 1st - 4th! Over 30 possible prizes for you to win, feel free to enter in all of them! Below I have included some photos of a few of the multiple prizes. And even better, most of the giveaways are open to entries worldwide!

I myself, am offering one lucky winner, a reusable snack bag in their choice of fabric! Other prizes include breastfeeding necklaces, baby toys, jewelry for mommy, baby clothing, skin care products and much more!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Etsy Feature: Dream Paper Cut

I know it has been quite a while since I have featured an Etsy shop! Well I'm going to start doing this again, and I have a wonderful shop to start with! Remember if you would like to get a feature, just leave a comment on this feature or send me a convo!

Our names are Dmytro and Luliia, we reside in the Ukraine. We love creativity and handmade items, when you look at them you can feel the inspiration and love of the person who has created them. This is what encouraged us to share our own handmade items with others. Our craft is creating hand-cute paper silhouettes, all from a single sheet of paper where every piece is interconnected.

Tree Branches Handmade Original Papercut Gift: Hand-Cut Paper Art SilhouetteWe took interest in paper silhouettes about a year ago, after which we decided to create our shop on Etsy to share our art with others. But our story begins much before that. As children we visited creative classes such as painting, drawing and paper craft. Growing up and studying at University we didn't pay proper attention to creativity, but it was always in our hearts. One time we created a greeting card with hand-cut elements for our friend's birthday. It was then that we first realized how much creativity was a part of our lives. After that, we took a strong interest in paper cutting and began creating silhouettes.

When we began creating our Etsy shop we wanted a name that was simple and memorable, but at the same time describes the items we are making. This is how we chose the name DreamPapercut. "Dream" because we  were dreaming to do what we loved, and "Papercut" because that is what we like to do. All of our works are made with love and soul. Each piece is inspired by nature, life or people who like our works. Our inspiration often comes when we go for walks in parks or the forests just to enjoy the nature surrounding us. Often we meet with our fiends to help us relax and get new energy to create new original works.
In love Zebras Handmade Original Papercut First Anniversary Paper Gift: Hand-Cut Paper Art Silhouette
Paper cutting is a very amazing process, when you start with just a piece of paper and finish with a beautiful work of art. This process can take several hours or even several days to completely finish. To us these silhouettes are not just sheets of paper, but something we have put our love, care and happiness into. We truly believe people can feel the same emotions when looking at our works.

Other Places you can find DreamPapercut:
Zibbet, Shoply, CraftisArtDawanda, and Facebook.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Story behind The Shop

When I think of school lunches my mind automatically thinks of brown paper bags and school lunch lines. Who likes having to cram a drink, a sandwich and a snack into a brown paper bag before running out to catch the bus. If you were lucky you could get a sandwich, a drink and a bag of chips, but knowing most of the time the chips would get put back for the skinnier, and much easier to fit, granola bar. Or even better, forgetting your lunch at home and having to buy a school lunch. Your standing in line trying to figure out what they are about to plop on a tray, hoping it would be something edible like pizza or tacos.

Its these very thoughts that led me to start creating reusable lunch bags. I can't help it if brown bags will never go away, but I can at least try to make them exciting. I know I would have never thought my Etsy shop would be as successful as it has been. When I opened my Etsy shop in my Senior year of high school (2009), reusable bags were just coming out. Most people had no idea what I was talking about or why they should spend money on it when they can get so many more Ziploc's for the same price. 

People just weren't getting it. I had to pretty much close my shop for a couple years, I only kept 2 or 3 items in my shop. I think I did this more because I just wasn't ready to give up on it. I didn't actually want to close my shop and admit defeat.
In the summer of 2011 I had realized more and more people were talking about ways to go green. That's when I realized it was time to get cracking and get my shop up and running again. The Green Haven got a total make over. I got new graphics for my shop, new business cards, address labels, stamps, everything and it all matched! I was ready to go. I spent most of the summer making items in as many different fabrics and styles as I could. Then slowly but surly I started to fill my shop up.

I waited, and waited, and waited. I kept making new things and listing them. I was getting discouraged, that's when I found Heartsy. It was a great way to get my shop out there and have people see it. Plus it would allow me to build up my feedback. It worked just how I had hoped, except my shop was once again empty! But now, I had steady traffic into my shop. It was all I could ask for.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Cleaning!

It feels like Spring is finally here! Even in my little town, way up in the mountains, our days have finally gotten warm! While my little sister keeps insisting that 50 degrees is in fact not warm, to us its wonderful!

 My "Spring Cleaning" isn't exactly Cleaning, while I do plan on cleaning my Sewing Room I'm doing some "cleaning" on my Etsy Shop! I've got tons of new items to I'm going to list, just as soon as I take pictures and edit them! As far as the cleaning part, I'm planning to put a few items on clearance to "clean" out my shop! But then I'll have to fill it up again, so that is where all the new items come into play. I'm really excited about these new items! I'm going to have new fabric prints, and lots of new choices for everyone! I even have some things made that haven't been in my shop in a while, things like: Boo Boo Bags, Mug Cozies, and Plastic Bag Holders!

I hope everyone can take a few peeks into my shop over the next month or so and take a look at all the new items! Feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think! Have suggestions or fabric ideas? Let me know!

*I plan on doing some item and shop reviews, starting this Friday. Let me know if you would be interested in joining!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Filling Out Etsy Policies- A helpful Outline

Creating your own policies can seem like a daunting task. What most people don't realize is that you already have policies that you follow! You just have to convert them to your Etsy page! For example- Shipping. We all do it, but is there certain days that you ship? This is your shipping policy! Below is a basic outline I have created stating what should go here. If you have any question, as always, please feel free to ask! The outline is in the order the policies appear on your Etsy shop!

Your Shop Policies

  1. Welcome
    • Here simply state a brief welcoming statement
    • A short blip about your shop and what you do is appropriate
  2. Payment
    • What types of payment methods do you accept? State them here
    • Are there certain payment options that should be discussed before using them?
      • Example: I have the "other" option available on my shop, but in my policies section it states that this option is only to be used for Heartsy Orders.
    • Also include how long a person has to pay and what actions will be taken if it is not paid for.
      • Example: If you say a person has 2 days to pay for their item, what actions will you take if payment is not received. For me I send out at least 2 Etsy convo's (a few days apart) and a final Email message. If I don't receive an answer in a day or two I cancel the transaction and leave appropriate feedback. I will only leave negative feedback if the person failed to respond to any of my messages.
  3. Shipping
    • Who do you ship your packages through? (USPS, FedEx, etc.)
    • What days can you ship? No need to explain, just state what days you ship.
    • Do you include insurance or delivery confirmation? If not can it be added?
      • Is insurance automatically added to certain orders?
    • Do you refund shipping overages? 
      • For this you may have a limit. For example I only refund shipping overages if the overage is over $1
    • How long (on average) does it take before you mail a package?
      • Do custom orders normally take longer to ship?
  4. Refunds and Exchanges ***VERY IMPORTANT***
    • Do you accept exchanges?
      • When?  (Goes along with last bullet)
    • Will you refund?
      • When? (Goes along with last bullet)
    • In what situations do you refund instead of exchange?
    • Are there certain criteria that has to be met in order to qualify for a refund or exchange?
  5. Additional Policies and FAQs
    • Do you accept custom orders?
    • Is there a certain process for custom orders?
    • Links to any relevant pages
      • Here I link to my fabric gallery in which customers can choose fabrics for their items
      • I also link to a frequently asked questions blog post.
This is my little policy outline! I hope it helps every fill out their policies and makes things a little easier! See something I forgot? Let me know, I'd be happy to add it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Heartsy Gone, Top Hatter Opened

Well I had every intention of creating a post with my experience and thoughts about Heartsy. But now, I guess it doesn't really matter! As of March 30th Heartsy will be no more! So instead, I'm going to give you a little briefing about their new site!

Tophatter Auctioneer 
With Heartsy closing an new site has emerged. TopHatter is to "take the place" of Heartsy, but in its own unique style. TH is a live auction site, sort of like Ebay, But instead of bid and watching for days, each item takes a few second to a couple minutes. Everything is much like it would be in an actual auction house.

A "lot" goes up to bid. Anyone interested may click the bid button. The bidding continues until it comes to a slow. The auctioneer (seen at left) will give the lot two chances before he closes the lot. (ie. going once... going twice... sold to -----) Most auctions also have a fair you can TRY to join. Once the regularly scheduled items start to finish the fair spots open. With sometimes 200+ people at an auction its hard to get a spot. You have to be quick! (Oh but you can pay the 50 cents to get a guaranteed spot in the fair... a rip off in my opinion.) TH invoices you for 10% (min. $1) of each thing you sell, so you better cross your fingers it sells for more than a buck! (You can't list your item with out first checking the I agree box)

Oh and you have to try and schedule your spot. And if there isn't any open in the next week it won't let you schedule it. Don't get me wrong I love the idea, and its quite fun. But there are certainly a few things that need to be worked out first! Feel free to check it out for yourselves and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions and Tips

This post is dedicated to answering frequently asked questions, as well as providing a few tips for using reusable bags.

**Please feel free to post questions in the comment section, along with your email. I will answer your question through comment, and send you an email as well.**

~Frequently Asked Questions~

1) What are your reusable bags made with?
A~ My bags are made with 100% cotton exteriors and nylon interiors.

 2) Why are the interiors nylon?
A~ The interiors of my bags are made with nylon for a few reasons. Not only is nylon food safe it is also water and stain resistant. Nylon is also very easy to clean, it can be wiped with a damp rag or added to your normal wash. Most importantly nylon contains no harsh chemicals, such as PVC, Phthalate, BPA, or Lead. Making my bags user friendly and completely safe.

3) What is the easiest way to clean your bags?
A~ For everyday messes I recommend simply flipping your bag inside out and wiping it with a damp cloth or paper towel. For sticker messes (like PB&J) simply add to the wash with like colors. If adding to the wash, I would recommend not using fabric softener. As it has such a strong smell the food can pick up the sent.

4) Your bags are made with Velcro closures, what is the best way to keep the Velcro crumb free?
A~ The answer is very simple, a toothbrush. Using either a new tooth brush, or an old clean toothbrush, simply brush the crumbs from the Velcro. Because there are so many little bristles on a toothbrush it is very good at getting into the groves of the Velcro strips.

5) Would you recommend your bags to your own family members?
A~ Most Certainly! Not only do I have my own set of reusable bags, my mother uses one of my sandwich bags, and my litter sister uses a lunch buddie!

6) What makes your bags different from all the other available?
A~ The biggest difference is the Velcro. In my personal opinion, the stitches from sewing on the Velcro should not be seen. The Velcro is mean to be functional, and should be just that. I sew my Velcro on so that there is no stitching on the exterior of the bag to take away from the overall appeal. Also, each of my bags is made very carefully and to be the best quality. I have critiqued, and changed, and edited my design until I came up with the design I currently used now. I know that it is the best that it can be, and I am always double checking my bags during the entire creation process, to make sure the bags will hold up to anything that you can throw at it!


*These tips work for most reusable bags, not just the ones made by me!*

~ If you are having trouble with your bread drying out try one of these simple tips: Try a different bread, some breads are softer and hold moister better than others. Or, wrap your sandwich in paper towel before placing it in your reusable bag.

~ Wash your bags weekly. This will make sure that your bags are clean, and ready to be used!

~ For small stains or spots on the cotton exterior of the bag, place a small amount of dish soap on the spot. Scrub the spot with a toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry.

~ Are your bags wrinkly when the come out of the wash? Bags with a Nylon interior can be ironed. Simply warm your iron to a low or nylon setting and iron the bags. I recommend keeping the bag closed and ironing the front then the back.

~ Don't use a dryer! While the bags can be placed in the dryer (on a low heat cycle) I recommend hanging them to dry. Nylon is sensitive to heat, and should not be exposed to heat for long periods of time. 

~A great way to hang these bags for easy drying, without the need of a close line, is your shower curtain! Simply open the bag, and using a clothes pin, attach one side of the bag to either side of your shower curtain. Your shower will catch any access water, and there is no need for extra room just to dry your bags!

**Once again, Feel free to share any tips or questions in the comments! I would love to hear your tips, and I'm happy to answer any questions!**

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Peek into the Studio

First off Happy New Year everyone! My new year has started out great! So far, and only 2 days into the year, I have found myself featured in 3 treasuries, and made 4 sales! Which may not seem like much to some, but for this college girl its great!

Since its the start of a new year I wanted to start fresh, so I cleaned my "Studio" or my sewing room as I call it! Lets just say that normally its not any where near as nice and clean as it is now! While everything always has its place, and most of those place are labeled, things don't always make it to their spots!

Lets start with an over view. Here is a look at my whole (tiny) sewing room! Its perfect for me, although I wish I could figure out how to stick another table in here!

Now I'll go into each section. The hardest thing, by far, for me to keep organized is my desk! Its where I create everything, and often things get left on it, pushed aside, and piled up. When I get sewing I'm more worried about what I'm making than not making a mess! But some times the mess is just too much! I'm hoping now that the whole room is clean I can keep it that way, at least for a little while! (My favorite BNR is even up on my computer screen! Yay BNR BABES!)

Next up is ALLLL my fabric! Let me tell you, there is a bunch! I had to come up with a clever idea to organize it, something that wouldn't take up too much space but where I could still easily access all my fabrics. Then I get a genus idea, to use a book shelf! It works great and i can always see my whole assortment of fabrics!

Lets see, next is the not so exciting but all important ironing board and iron. Notice the polka dot ironing board cover and the bright pink iron! Two of my very favorite things (polka dots and pink that is!). And of course notice my brand spanking new AccuQuilt Go! Let me tell you I LOVE this thing, it has to be one of the best inventions ever made! What is an AccuQuilt Go! you ask? Its a machine to cute out cute little fabric shape, you can see examples in my shop such as the butterfly and dragonfly applique bags currently listed!

Then comes my photo center! Simply put its where I take all my pictures, next to my white background is a bin with all my props. Under the desk is my little storage area. It has all of my pre-cut fabric, ribbon, appliques, shipping materials, and holiday fabrics.

Last but certainly not least, the most important thing, my inventory. Which may I add has a label on each drawer so everything is easily accessible. May not look like a lot of space, but you would be surprised what fits into these drawers! Oh and notice all the thread? It from my grandma! And of course the AccuQuilt Go! dies are in the photo too!

Well there is the quick version into my Studio! Hope you enjoyed, I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories about your own studio or crafting room!