Selling on Etsy

Life as an Etsy seller, plus: tips for keeping organised in your busy Etsy shop over the festive period of 2018 (and beyond)

The time of year is upon us when the best Etsy shops get ultra busy as buyers search for supplies to get creatively involved in a range of Christmas crafts, for beautifully handcrafted gifts for friends and family and anything which might make them feel a little bit more organised as we head towards 2019.

For my customers, the search might be for beautiful handmade paper goodies to change up their planner and get it looking festive, the ultimate little stocking fillers for planner girls and trinket lovers (or as a little reward to oneself for being good at this stressful and busy time of year!).

Or, maybe their super-organised, planner girl thoughts have already turned to 2019, in which case, they’ve begun eyeing up new planner systems which, let’s face it, wouldn’t be complete without some pretty handmade accessories such as cute nature inspired dividers, page markers or useful dashboards (for all of your sticky notes and stuff!).

LJDesigns_Christmas
A few of my current shop items

Wherever a buyer’s head is at right now, there are several types of customer who are browsing your virtual shelves. Those well prepared goddesses of organisation who, by the end of September, have already made all of their Christmassy purchases (lucky them!) and there are others who leave it until the last minute and want their goodies and gifts popping through the letterbox, like now, stalking the ‘postie’ and sighing with sadness when their front door is bypassed in favour of next door or a neighbour across the street (no, it’s not just you!). Or, those who fall somewhere in between (that’s me by the way and I like it like that!).

That’s one of the things about online shopping – it’s easy and you can view so many things in such a short amount of time, all without getting pushed and shoved, having to pay gigantic parking fees or having to visit rammed coffee shops and cafes for lunch / a lie down / some respite / feet relaxing purposes
or all of the above!
– but, and it’s only a little one: You need to find a little bit of patience (if anyone finds a dose that’s ready to ship today, can they please share the online link in the comments!?!).
For me, at least, shopping from home has so many benefits that I absolutely love it – as long as the items are accurately described, beautifully photographed and make me want them in my life or to give to my loved ones as a lovely surprising and thoughtful gift (but that’s another post entirely and one which I may do in 2019, watch this space).

Whichever type of shopper your shop attracts most (and let’s face it, they come in all different shapes and sizes!), this is the time of year when everyone is stressed and busy (and often feeling under the weather with various ‘lurgies’ doing the rounds). We all want to feel super organised and show the world how well prepared we are and how we haven’t left anything to the last minute (even if we have!). So, you want shoppers to trust that your little shop is THE place to visit, surpassing all others (now wouldn’t that be nice I hear you cry – Yup! The Very Best!).

One step to achieving customer confidence in you and your Etsy business, is to keep yourself organised, calm and ready for action (don’t you just love it when you radiate all of these things?). It also helps you avoid mistakes – yes, we all make them I hear you cry, but, it’s vital that they are kept to a minimum if you want to retain customers and get good reviews!

With popular sayings such as ‘two heads are better than one’ (originally stated by John Heywood back in 1546 don’t you know!) and ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much’ (wise words from Helen Keller, a famous American author), at the forefront of my mind, I turned to the Etsy forums to ask seasoned sellers for tips (I checked their sales data and they had thousands of, often extremely happy, customers!).
Here’s a summary of the best (in my humble opinion) of what I learned:

1. Print the packing slips for all orders and use them to your advantage.
You might not want to include them in the parcels but they can be a very useful organisational tool. Highlight them or tick off as you make each item (if you make to order), or simply tick off parts of the order as you get them together to package, wrap them up and place in the packet or parcel. Use different colours for each step of the process e.g. red for making, orange for getting ready to package, green for all packaged up (more colours if you have more steps, get the idea?). Or, if highlighters aren’t your thing (WHAT????? lol!) other stationery items work just as well e.g. pencils to scribble notes, circle, draw arrows, underline important bits etc, sticky notes or flags.

Also, if someone convo’s you with a change to, for example, shipping address you can amend it there and then. Anything which helps you avoid issues further down the line is good here.

If you want to save on paper and personalise the process, you can even make your own packing slip template that’s small and neat and fill it in with your own handwriting and pop in the package – I’m all for the personal touch and so are many customers who shop handmade.

2. Talking of supplies…. have lots!
As well as stationery goodies (in pretty colours if you’re an obsessive like me), make sure you have plenty of them for packing too (who needs last minute dashes to the shops for overpriced packaging?) – different sized envelopes / boxes, grip seal bags, tissue paper, (*insert your preferred packing supplies here*).
Also, have them in a dedicated area and neatly organised (a topic for expansion another time maybe?) so you can select from all which is available with ease (we all like quick and easy, right!?!).

You can never have too much packaging!
3. Take it one order at a time
It might sound counterproductive in terms of working efficiently, but working carefully and doing just one order at a time until it is completed sounds like the best way to go to avoid mistakes. If you only have the packing materials for one order on your desk, you unlikely to pack the wrong items (unless you accidently wrap up your highlighter pens!). Also, if you combine this with a colour coded system you can be even more organised (go you!).

4. Orders in progress
Another tip I received, which I think is a mighty good one, is to print orders off as soon as they come in and use Etsy’s feature to mark them as ‘in progress’. That way you can see at a glance which orders are already in your head and which need your attention.

5. Check, check and triple check
You want to avoid mistakes don’t you? Checking takes time but it’s worth the effort I think and I’m sure you’ll agree. Did the customer want one of the item or more than one? (don’t just rely on the primary image photo on the order form here as the text next to it is key here) What colour / size / pattern (etc) did they select? (Use your preferred checking method here – see ideas above!)

6. Turn off your phone
Yes, you might wanna hear more cha-chings, who doesn’t, but you don’t want to be distracted, right? Distraction = mistakes and you know it!

Well, I think that’s enough to be going on with for now, I don’t want you feeling overwhelmed (sorry if you are already – deep breaths now!) I’m sure there are hundreds more ideas out there but, ultimately, it’s about what works for you and your own shop – and you know your small business (or whatever you call it) better than anyone! As a fellow Etsy seller said to me this week:

Create a system and rhythm to your orders and you should work like clockwork!

(The lovely Janice at JJJewellerysupplies on Etsy)

and who doesn’t want a shop that runs like that?

I’m super excited to hear more top tips from my lovely readers (that’s you by the way!) so don’t forget to share in the comments below. I know we’re all super busy but you took the time to (skim) read these nuggets of information, and you might just revolutionize a fellow online seller’s methods (doesn’t that give you a warm Christmassy glow inside!).

I hope these ideas helped, even if it’s just in some small way. Thank to all those sellers on the Etsy forum who contributed and to you for reading. I wish you lots of sales over the Christmas period and beyond! Also, if you can find time in your busy schedule, let me know in the comments how your shop is doing right now (or during the post Christmas slump whilst you sup a glass of chilled rose wine and celebrate your huge successes is absolutely fine)!

Celebrate Shop Success

Bye for now,

Laura x
(Shop now at: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LJDesignsNE)

Planning and journaling, Uncategorized

A little update from me…

Hi all, I know, it’s been ages since I did a new blog post but what can I say, I’ve been super busy with my growing Etsy Shop. I’ve been getting creative (mainly with my shop photos) and I’m still very much a bujo and creative journaling addict but, I’ve let my blogging slide. What can I say, something had to give and unfortunately, this was it… sorry!

But, I’m back and I would so love to hear from each and every one of you with a mini update of your creative / plannery life and what your priorities are right now.

new supplies for November
Treat to myself for being a good girl (you can still be a girl when you’re in your 40s right?)

So, here’s some of my (best) reasons for being AWOL, AKA what I have been dedicating my precious time to:

  • Planning and having a creative Monday – two or 3 hours, most Mondays when I shift focus from my shop to getting messy. I’m talking brush lettering (I’m a leftie so I always get covered in ink!), colouring in, drawing (I’m getting better, slowly), painting, cutting and sticking (AKA collage) and anything else which takes my fancy and can be crammed in to my time.
  • Making daily plans. I’ve discovered I work best if I sit and create a daily timetable each and every day. This is drawn up in my bujo during my quiet, focused time that I dedicate to planning and preparation before I start work on my Etsy shop.
  • Putting into place ideas from my two favourite (and newly discovered) books on productivity. (see below – one is on my Kindle so I’m making notes in my bulging bujo as I like to record most of my learning so I don’t forget!)
  • Reaching out to other planning and journaling addicts both IRL (Bev, that’s you my lovely!) and virtually (UKPA you are an amazing, wonderous group – where would I be without you!).

That’s it for now, but I (pinkie) promise, I will be back with another post very shortly (you can berate me in the comments if I don’t!).

Much love and best wishes to you and your loved ones for the Christmassy period.

xx

Uncategorized

Bullet Journal Beginner (How I’m setting up my new planner system)

Bullet Journal Beginner

As many of you who follow me on social media know, I got a gorgeous Webster’s Pages TN in fuchsia for my last birthday and have been using my handmade inserts to design my own planner layouts. I also add my habit trackers, shopping lists and meal plans in there as well as a notes section at the back. As I hand stitch my notebooks, and use premium paper, I was finding that the maximum thickness I could make, without the booklet looking too bulky, was about 24 pages. So, as I needed a WO4P (week on four pages) I was getting through a lot (and I mean a lot!!!) of notebooks throughout the months and kept having to transfer key information from one to another. I also had about 5 other notebooks on the go all at the same time and, unsurprisingly, I was becoming a bit overwhelmed by my system. Don’t get me wrong – I love notebooks, the prettier the better, but I was craving a set up where everything was all in one place.

So, fast forward a few months, to when I ordered a gorgeous Scribbles That Matter notebook from Amazon and became obsessed with watching YouTube videos and their related blogs on BuJo systems. I also started searching out creative bullet journal peeps on Instagram to follow for inspiration (there are so many amazing set ups out there). My favourite and most informative YouTube channel and blog has to be Kara’s at Boho Berry and you’ll see why when you check it out.

My A5 Scribbles notebook is amazing. Here’s a list of its main features:

  • A bullet grid for all of your amazing layouts
  • A page to write your key, including any colour coding you might have decided to use.
  • 3 index pages
  • Page numbers so, with the index, you can find all of your collections easily
  • A space at the back for testing all of your pens (well, maybe not all of them, but the ones you intend to use!)
  • A fantastic pocket at the back for keeping stickers, receipts or whatever you want to keep with your planner / journal.
  • Two ribbon bookmarks (I’ve got mine marking my index and what will be my weekly page when May comes)

For my first bujo, I decided to keep it simple with some highlighting (using my fab new Mildliners – also from Amazon), some brush lettering (using my Tombow Fudenosuke hard for smaller text and Tombow Dual Tips for larger titles) and a few stickers (from Pebbles). I might also add some washi as the months go on (after all, I have plenty of it in my stash!).

Here’s my set up for May. It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

BujoKey
My key makes use of the original rapid logging bullets and signifiers invented by Ryder Carroll click here for more info. I’ve also added a little one of my own at the very end.

I started colour coding in my Traveler’s Notebook system a few months ago and loved how effective it was and how colourful it made my planner. I’ve stuck with the same 5 colours and I’m continuing to combine personal and business goals and tasks. As well as running my Etsy Shop I also volunteer for the RSPB once a fortnight by going into schools to deliver sessions to primary aged children with a focus on giving nature a home in the school grounds. I get bookings and have to keep in touch with my line manager regularly so I gave my tasks their own colour.

BuJoIndexPage
My index entries so far. Who knows how many pages May is going to take up, I’m on page 10 already!

I hand wrote my calendars for my future log but I messed up with the numbering (and I didn’t use a Frixion pen!) so I had to create little stickers to cover up my mistake. For this, I worked on Microsoft Publisher, creating tables for each month for the rest of the year.

BuJoFutureLog
I used my Mildliners to add a pop of colour. I got my inspiration for this layout from a wonderful blog by Christina over at Christina77star

I deviated from the original Bullet Journal monthly set up, preferring to use a grid format:

BujoMayMonthly
A simple set up using my Tombow Dual Tips and a few accent stickers.
BujoMayHabits.jpg
Personal and business habits for May
BujoMayGoals&Meals.jpg
Goals for the month and a meal plan for the first week of May.

And finally, my first weekly plan, which is now on just two pages. I’m hoping the rapid logging system means that I need much less space for each day but I can always change my layout if it doesn’t work. I have, however, swapped over to a 0.7 pen so my writing might not be small enough. If anyone knows of a decent fine pen which you can use Tombows or Mildliners over the top of, let me know in the comments!

BujoMayWeekly1

If you’re new to bullet journaling and have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. And, if you have a must see blog, YouTube channel or Insta account which you want to share, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Much love,

Laura xx

p.s. If you are worried that my gorgeous Webster’s Pages TN is going to sit unloved on a shelf collecting dust, don’t be – it’s now full of my creative journals!

 

Uncategorized

Brushing up on my hand lettering

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

IMG_20180416_105944
Daily brush lettering practise.

 

Hi all,

I’m excited to see that Spring has finally arrived in Sunderland now – the sky is blue (today anyway), the Sun keeps popping its head out and the daffodils in my garden are starting to open up. I even have washing on the line which is actually getting a little drier than when it went out. Yes, the clocks went forward a few weeks ago, but the weather certainly wasn’t matching with my expectations and I found the dull, cloudy, dark and dismal days providing me with little motivation to do anything!

But, hopefully now, with a little sunshine and a lot more light, we can all feel happier, more awake and ready to meet our goals and challenges each day. We can also spend some much needed time outside, perhaps getting some gardening done or going for breezy walks in local parks and countryside without the need to thermals and a woollen hat and scarf.

One of my goals for 2018 is to work on my brush lettering and get to the stage where I can form all letters and their swirly bits from memory without having to copy from the various alphabets I have pinned up in my craft room and get my script flowing and looking neat and generally impressive. Over the past few months, I’ve been practising almost every day using the tutorials and worksheets from Destination Decoration, click here to find out more. After a while, I felt confident enough to try out some words and have been adding bits of brush lettering in my planner and my journals. Then I decided it was time to try out doing longer pieces of writing in the form of motivational quotes. And, as luck would have it, on this very day, my friend Michelle Webb posted a link to some fantastic worksheets on her Facebook wall. They’re by Dawn Nicole Designs and are absolutely free to download. You can find a wealth of her awesome hand lettering stuff here.

The worksheets are printed on my old Epson deskjet which I’ve had for years but is still going strong. I used lovely thick paper Navigator 120gsm which I seem to recall I picked up from Wilkinsons. It’s really smooth and there’s no bleed through with my Tombow Fudenosuke hard tip pen.

 

20180416_113937
Watercolour background, plus my very first attempts by tracing and then on my own!

 

I also decided to make a simple background using my cheap watercolours which I picked up a few months ago from Tiger. The paper wasn’t particularly wonderful for this and I found that if I worked it with the brush too much it kind of developed bobbles on the surface (I’m sure there’s a more technical term for this – please enlighten me if you know!).

 

20180416_1141201
Cheap watercolours from Tiger and some random brush marks in sunny, bright colours.

 

I used some crinkle cut scissors to add a bit more interest and double sided tape to stick the quote down. I’m quite pleased with my first attempts but there’s definitely plenty of room for improvement. I have lots more quotes left to do – I think there’s about 11 pages worth in total.

 

20180416_114638-e1523879095597
Second attempt! Skinny washi by MT.

 

What do you think? Are you currently working on your hand lettering and what have you found to be the most useful resources for learning?

Uncategorized

Hello creative, planning and journaling addicts and welcome…

I’m glad you’ve found me! Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I love planning (and decorating those plans with washi, stickers, clips, charms and anything else pretty), organising, writing lists, journaling and sharing my crafty makes. I also love writing down my thoughts, plus taking and sharing photographs (particularly of nature). So, I thought, why not share my passions with others in the form of a blog which I can add to every few weeks and maybe give a few tips on living a creative and crafty life whilst I do?

Only problem was, I knew practically nothing about the process of creating a blog. So I made a to do list (on pretty paper of course) and popped it in my planner (which is currently a gorgeous 40th birthday present from my parents – a Webster’s TN in Fuchsia which I absolutely love!) As you can imagine, my list was a long one and being the impatient person I am, I didn’t get much crossed off before diving straight in and getting typing.

So, here I am taking inspiration from the following quote:

Believe you can and you’re halfway there. Theodore Roosevelt.

 

JournalSpringPage
A couple of pages documenting first signs of Spring in my garden. Selphy photos of a dunnock on the fence and some buds and tulips. A range of bits from my journaling supplies.