Tag Archive for handmade business tips

Pinterest Tips for Craft Bloggers

Like Flickr, Pinterest has become a creative playground for those seeking DIY inspiration, recipe ideas and images that can help inspire their personal style. If you have a personal Pinterest account, you are probably already aware of this tool and how it can help you grow your handmade business or craft blog.

According to Cision, though Pinterest has only 7% of the users that Twitter has, it produces about the same amount of referral traffic (i.e. visits to your blog or handmade business site from Pinterest). This is huge, especially for crafters who are a key market for this visually inspiring social network!

If you’d like to learn to use Pinterest to help promote your handmade business or creative blog, here are some simple tips gathered from around the Web, as well as some general social media advice you may not have thought of.

Add a Pin It Button to your website and individual posts.

You may have added a Pin It Button to your personal Internet browser, so you can pin content while surfing the Web. The Pin It Button for websites is a little bit different than this. It’s a handy little tool that you can add to your blog’s home page as well as each post. If you use Blogger, check out this handy tutorial from BloggerSentral on how to add the Pin It Button to each of your blog posts automatically. There’s also a counter to show you how many times a reader has pinned your page. WordPress bloggers can download a plug-in to achieve the same result.

Describe your images.

This may seem self explanatory, but the search engines will not automatically see a photo of your quilt and know what it is. So instead of labeling your photo “My first one,” make a practice of using descriptive keywords for each image that you pin from your site. You might say, “Baby booties sewn with felt scraps” or “Cashmere sweater with mohair,” for instance.

Pinterest Tip: If you run an Etsy shop or other online business, it might even help to list the price for the items you pin from your shop, like “Designer fabric fat quarters, $2 each or $10 for six at [Shop Name and URL].”

Pinterest-Tips-Hashtags

Use hashtags.

If you read our Twitter Tips for Crafters, you know that hashtags (#craft, #sewing, #recipes) are keywords that can help others find your posts. In the same way, keywords with hashtags can help Pinterest users to find you. For instance, if you search for the term “cake pops” in Pinterest, you’ll come up with several boards and businesses that sell cake pops. But the easiest way to find cake pop tutorials is to search for #cakepops.

Pinterest Tip: Try a few searches for craft tutorials or handmade products, and see what you find out. If you notice a lot of search results coming up on the top of the page, see what method those crafters use in their descriptions.

Describe yourself and your crafts.

Add descriptions to your About section, and use specific keywords in your Pinterest board names. For instance, a general board like “Crafts” will not be as specific as “Paper Crafts” or “Handmade Wedding Invitations.” Target your keywords to the reader you’d like to find you, and don’t be afraid to create a larger number of more specified boards.

Make friends and interact.

As a craft blogger or handmade business owner, it’s important yet humbling to realize that the whole world does not revolve around you and your pins. There are millions of creative people who have talented content to share (much of it for free!) and if you are genuine and supportive, leaving comments on other people’s pins, people tend to respond by being support of you as well. This is true with any type of social media! If you are only in it to support yourself, it ceases to become “social.”

knit cowl free pattern

Try something new.

Once you’ve established a presence on Pinterest and found a group of other users to interact with, try one or more of these ideas to grow your reach.

– Link your Pinterest profile to a Facebook or Twitter account, for automatic sharing of your pins.

– Start a user-generated pinboard, where others can add pins to projects they’ve made from your tutorials.

– Create a video gallery and promote videos related to your niche, whether that’s jewelry making or DIY desserts.

– Host a Pinterest contest, following these tips from Command Partners.

– Track your traffic generated by Pinterest with these tips from Mashable.

– If you are running Pinterest for your company or organization, create a more personal feel by creating a pinboard for “office life” where you show the events you attend, projects you’re working on, and more. This gives a more personal feel and can help bring more of an actual face to your brand, which is especially important when it comes to handmade businesses.

Play by the rules.

It’s common Pinterest etiquette to always check the source of pins before repinning, which will help you avoid copyright infringement. For instance, if a pin links back to the direct image of an URL (an otherwise blank page), the owner of the photo is not getting credit. Also, if you pin an image from a crafty round-up, the owner of the image is also probably not getting credit. To be on the safe side, always go to the original post on which the image appears before pinning.

Many bloggers will let you know if they are “Pinterest friendly” or if they’d prefer for you not to pin images from their blog. When pinning items from an Etsy shop or online seller, do not pin an item to your board of things you’d like “To Make.” It’s better to pin a free tutorial for a related project than to tell a seller you’d rather make than purchase their handmade items.

Enjoy these Pinterest tips, and please let us know in the comments if you have any questions or tips of your own!

Etsy Tips: Inspiration, Giving Back + Holiday Prep

Ashley Carter is the Etsypreneur behind two shops, a handmade store and a modern fabric shop. She also blogs about the creative life at My Little Sunshine. Let’s learn a little more about Ashley and her handmade business!

Lace Rosette Headband

Ashley, when did you start blogging and selling from your Etsy stores? Did one of these inspire the other?

I started blogging and selling on Etsy around the same time…about 2.5 years ago, however, I kept them very separate from each other for a long time, blogging was kind of my family updated and Etsy was my crafty outlet.  It wasn’t until 6 months ago that I finally let them come together under the same name and root of inspiration, and renamed my shop and blog, My Little Sunshine.

Do you have a particular way to find inspiration for new products handmade store?

I don’t have a system or way of being inspired. It mostly happens organically.  I see something pretty in a shop window or magazine, I see the seasons changing and want to capture it’s beauty, or my eye is drawn to a particular fabric or object and my mind just shoots off with ideas from there!

Windswept Bag in Fields of Green

I read that part of your profits go to a non-profit organization. Can you tell me a little more about this and how you decided to get involved?

Gladly!  15% off the profits from My Little Sunshine goes to a ministry called Heartline in Haiti. This organization does so much to support women and children in Haiti, but the aspect that I am involved with is one that for obvious reasons is near to my heart.  My Little Sunshine supports a program at Heartline that teaches women to sew.  The idea is to teach them a skill and business practices in order to equip them to be able to make a living for themselves and their families.  For many women it is a second chance, a new beginning.

Heartline Haiti collage

Do you have any tips for other Etsy sellers on preparing for the holiday season?

Be uniquely YOU!  Take time to sit and brainstorm fun gift ideas for the holidays, what are things that you would be buying for the holiday season?  Colorways for the holidays? Affordability always goes a long way, especially during this time of year.  Brainstorm ways to offer attractive pricing, but don’t sell yourself and your skills short!

Scalloped Lace Clutch

What do you do when you’re not sewing or blogging?
My husband and I are always on the go, being a military family there is never a dull moment!  I enjoy long walks with my hubby and our pup, Bob.  We do a lot of traveling and exploring of new places and things and like to entertain friends and family-we get lots of visitors!

Ashley Carter, My Little Sunshine

Thanks Ashley! Make sure to check out her blog My Little Sunshine and her shops here and a here.

The Creative Process: Q&A with Stoney Creek + Giveaway

When it comes to everyday life, what does it look like to take that jump from crafter to entrepreneur?

I am so happy to share this Q&A with Beth Shepherd, the creative mind behind Stoney Creek Shops! Besides antiquing and mastering shabby chic decor, Beth also dabbles in handmade rustic wood items like her awesome berry baskets, which are fabric-lined and perfect for storing sewing notions, beauty supplies, and more!

Beth, how did you get the idea for Stoney Creek and what kinds of crafts do you do?

The idea for Stoney Creek Mercantile was pretty simple one. We live in Stoney Creek Township (Indiana) and the Mercantiles of yesteryear sold or bartered for a variety of goods. We thought it had a nice ring to it and having the title of a Mercantile allowed us to not be tied down to one particular product or art form. We make handmade sewn goods, handmade rustic wood items, homemade baked goods, catering and we also collect vintage items and architectural salvage to sell.

Shabby Quilt Berry Baskets

Describe what you do to create and promote your work on a typical day.

The process of creating is definitely what I enjoy the most! I have a routine of finding my favorite spot with a cup of coffee and my sketchbook, when it’s time to start brainstorming a new project. Then once I have settled on an idea I usually run it past my husband and my partner (aka Grandma, aka my mom). My mom is a significant player in the process of establishing our business! The actual development of our handmade products happens in our “shop” which is actually a “shed” behind the house. It’s probably a bigger space than what you’re envisioning right now. Our homemade baked goods are made by my husband in an industrial kitchen in a nearby town.

Storage Solutions - Wooden Key Hook

What is the most time-consuming part of running the business?

Promoting is probably what I enjoy the least, but I don’t mind it as much as I thought I was going to. Promoting is actually what I have spent the most time on. You really have to put a lot of energy into promoting, if you don’t have the funds to pay someone to do it for you. So, I have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a blog and a Flickr account. Then  I plan to spend some time looking for any sites that will allow me to list my business for free or at a relatively low cost. I have also paid to advertise on Facebook. Since our main outlet for our goods is an Etsy shop, at least one item is relisted daily on Etsy.

Upcycled vintage berry basket with vintage quilt liner

What are some of the rewarding and challenging aspects of running a crafts business?

The most rewarding aspect of running your own business for me, is being able to have an outlet for my creativity. Then right under creativity is the spectacular feeling of the possibility of this business being a real success someday! We aren’t there yet though. On average it takes 1 year for an Etsy shop to get established and have return customers. The most challenging aspect is balancing my time between work and family, as I have a little one at home with me through the day. I try to make it a priority to put quality time with her before getting work done and in the evenings when the husband is home, and quality time with him is also very important. Being a stay-at-home mom is no joke! Add trying to get a small business off the ground on top of that and you have quite the challenge in front you.

Giveaway!

Beth is hosting a berry basket giveaway on her blog, and you can enter now through Sunday, July 3. Go here to enter!

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