Fun at the Etsy Success Symposium

Photos from the top: The gift pouch and my notes, Nickey at the mike, 
peeps in the Labs, and standing room only. 

From the subway I found the Etsy Labs building, took the elevator to the 7th floor and grabbed a metal folding chair in a room of nearly 100 other mostly female etsy sellers. Tara from Toronto sitting next to me makes cozies for Starbuck-style coffee cups. After introductions she flashed me a photo on her iphone. 

"Is this the Brooklyn Bridge?" asked the owner of SewTara (546 sales). "I promised my son I'd send him a picture." 

"Did you take that right outside?" She nodded. "No, that's the Manhattan Bridge. You're in DUMBO: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass." I sketched her a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge on the back of my packet of materials.

Nickey Skarstad was about to begin the second annual Etsy Success Symposium: A full day of information on how to promote an etsy shop, tactics and strategies to help "get found," and tips on managing a creative, independent business. There was also the opportunity to meet others in the etsy community, like the gal sitting on the other side of me from ittybittybag (776 sales), who took a car service in from Connecticut. Clearly, people really wanted to be here. 

Here and there you could chat up some etsy administrative people who to me, at least, are like goddesses who hold the keys to the magical etsy kingdom. I had attended a one night presentation by Danielle Maveal and I'm not sure if it was her advice (show your packaging in your photos) or that she waved a magic wand over me when I wasn't looking, but I did what she taught us and BOOM! an order for 18 necklaces came in.

"The admins" as they are called (sounds like a girl group, no?) were knowledgeable, approachable, organized and helpful. I got to say hello to the famous Kimm Alfonso, which is kind of like meeting {NewNew} royalty, and tell her I was the person who came to her aid a few months ago by mailing her a Square reader. Kimm was a founding director of The {NewNew} team. (I was hoping just standing close to her would increase my shop's sales.)

The lovely Nickey Skarstad could seriously have her own television show she was such a smooth emcee, and adorable in what looked like an outfit culled from vintage etsy shops. I was coveting her sneakers when it occurred to me that if there was a runway and some Lady Gaga, the admins could have strutted in an ad hoc etsy fashion show. (If you don't believe me check out the recent etsy blog, How Sweet It Is: Spring Fashion with StyleCaster.)

The audience was a good cross section of sellers who made art, photography, clothing, jewelry, edibles, bath and beauty products, or collected vintage. I have to say, it hadn't occurred to me that this would be an opportunity to meet other etsy sellers, although wouldn't you like to know who is behind plaidcupcakedesigns, or tinygiraffeshop? I just thought that if $50 could help me cut through the clutter of the 45,000 pages that come up when a person searches necklaces like the ones I make, it would be well worth it to attend. How long could I hold my head high with only 8 sales in a year and a half? It's now actually 22 sales, even though it says 8. (Etsy counts multiple orders of one style as one sale.)

When we started our etsy shop it was basically an online press kit for handmade shows. Then the company changed the way shoppers searched and all of a sudden, we started to sell things. But not a lot of things, so we made it a 2012 resolution to put more effort into the etsy shop. This said, I have to admit that I've always thought succeeding with an etsy shop was just like getting into law school. I took the LSATs and I got into law school and I didn't think the other people who got in were all geniuses; they just knew how to think like lawyers. Could it be that people with successful etsy shops knew something the rest of us just don't know? If so, I was determined to find out what it is. 

The symposium offered top notch speakers on topics that mattered to the audience. In break-out rooms there were one-on-one consulting sessions with small business experts on branding, becoming an author, and product development, although the sign up sheet for all three consultants filled up fast. 

The workshops ran consecutively in the main room at the Labs, which was great since you didn't have to choose between Grabbing the Eye of a Curator and Romancing Magazine Editors. Everyone got the chance to learn how to grab and romance. And the panels often had one etsy seller who was successful in the topic of the workshop, which helped make the advice very pragmatic. All workshops are available for viewing, in their entirety, on the Etsy Online Labs and if you are serious, I would recommend viewing them. 

At midday, we moved offsite and attendees grabbed a box lunch and listened to engineers talk about new tools and functionality that help sellers gain exposure and traffic. Here the gloves came off and many offered tips on what would really help them deal with shop operations. To their credit, the engineers noted all the suggestions.

So if you don't have 9 hours to listen to all the workshops, here are some highlights:

1) When coming up with keywords for your etsy tags, think like a shopper. In other words, if you were searching Google for items like the ones you make, what would you be typing into the search bar? Put those words into an etsy search, and see what comes up. Does your product come up?

2) Michelle Spaulding of etsy counsels it is a "fatal mistake" (yes, she used those exact words) to use the same tags for every piece in your shop. "You'll get found in a lot more searches if the tags are varied," she offers. 

3) Try to create a unified look in your shop. If someone saw one of your photos could they say "I know who that is!" This is something the Treasury people have an eye out for.

4) Story guru Michael Margolis said that your art is probably a response to some humble beginnings or difficult circumstances you had to overcome.  He calls your response to these situations your "super powers." What is the origin of your powers? That's your story, and you should use it to illustrate what you sell. 

5) {NewNew} member Virginia Kraljevic counsels not to "cheap out" on the look of your space at a craft fair. Instead, look at everything from your banner to your display pieces as investments because they are a reflection of you and your work. Virginia herself erects what amounts to a small city when she does a craft show, and the results are amazing.

6) Refinery 29 web editor Connie Wang reported she gets "1,000 emails a day," so just sending an unsolicited email is not the best way to contact her. Instead, follow her on Pinterest and Twitter and see what she's interested in, then offer something that will engage her.  She added that some editors have Facebook pages on which you can make contact. 

Each attendee received a beautiful hand sewn envelope made of fabric sporting the symposium's logo (see photo above). Inside was: a tube of bubbles from Outright, the online bookkeeping and accounting site which also had an info table; a swatch booklet and details on printing your own fabric from Spoonflower; a signed print suitable for framing of a snow globe marked "Brooklyn" with the etsy headquarters in the BK skyline; a temporary tattoo from Kabbage, the company that provides cash to small online businesses to help them grow; a funky red key ring/bottle opener from Yelp reading "Local Buzz without the hangover;" an invitation from Behance Prosite with a code to publish a personal portfolio and an invitation to their upcoming portfolio review event (May 14-21); info sheets from, a community marketplace to learn anything from anyone, and Squam, a company offering crafting retreats from New Hampshire to Italy, plus an etsy decal and buttons. 

In the end, I'd say it was definitely worth $50, although I vote for sitting on something other than a metal folding chair for nine hours. Was it true that there are some people who can think like etsy winners and they are a breed unlike the rest of us? No, not exactly. But etsy is a little bit of a science, and you can learn some of the things that work. The rest is testing one hypothesis after another. It wasn't a coincidence that Danielle's most common answer to questions in her workshop was "try it, and see." The same things are not going to work for everyone. My plan is to to search shops with over 500 sales and study what they are doing. Then copy the heck out of them.

In the end, I decided, you've got to love etsy. What other company with sales of $525.6 million (2011) would print in an event program helpful information on writing your own story that included: "Few of us consciously think we volunteered for the shit we go through, yet it's your job to look back and figure out how it all makes sense." What other company follows up with a survey asking if you'd recommend the symposium to a friend, offering options like ( ) No way, Jose! ( ) Unlikely ( ) Meh ( ) Very likely, or ( ) Of course! 

Posted by WinkandFlip

Is it really the end of December already?

8x10 print by MyZoetrope

Wow - what a year it has been! I can honestly say that 2011 has been one of the most exhausting, and rewarding years of my life. Even though it was 11 months ago, it seems like just yesterday that I joined
this lovely group of crafters, artists and designers I now call my NewNew family! In this short time I have met some of the most talented people in all of New York! Each one of you has taught me something great, and for that I am so very thankful!

Here's a recap of what I've been up to over the year (not including any of my day job festivities).

February - Joined the {NewNew}. I am forever changed.

April - Sold at my first ever street fair, and I was hooked. I quickly booked up my weekends, effectively writing off my favorite weekend pastime of lazy Sunday brunches.

May - Joined the {NewNew} board of directors as a Co-Director of Marketing alongside the talented Jason from Merrimack and Monitor.

June - Quickly learned how dependent the Williamsburg Flea is on the L train running. Goodness I hate weekend subway construction!

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Unedited photo, by me

July - Headed to Colorado for a wedding and fell in love with the beautiful scenery!

September - Sent to France on a street style fashion photo project for Samsung Camera. You can check it out here. I even get my own feature!

October/November/December - Opened up An Etsy Artist Assembly at the Dekalb Market with nine other talented NewNew team members and sold at a market every available weekend I had. Needless to say, I AM EXHAUSTED!

With 2011 being such a big and demanding year for me, I'm hoping 2012 brings a little relaxation (well, at least in January!) and a lot of fun.

Small grey hand crocheted bow-tie by D.S.Lookkin

I'm sure all of you have had equally as busy years so, go ahead, put on your best heels or bow-tie and celebrate what's to come in 2012! Happy New Year to you all!


Explore the Wonder of {NewNew} Treasuries

After what seems an infinite blanket of snow that we've been nestled under these winter months here in New York, springtime is just around the corner. But we have to face the fact that February still brings a chill in the air and snow at our feet.

All is not cold and icy since we do have a special day to celebrate that can warm our hearts. And of course The {NewNew} can help you shake off those winter blues too!

Shop for all of your favorite {NewNew} artists by searching us in Etsy Treasuries!

'dreaming of a {NewNew} spring' by sansmap

Annie Collection - ...

Tea Party Shower In...

Sterling and Fiber ...

Pink Spinel Gold Fi...

Paper Bowl - Pink P...

Resin Jewelry - Sma...

Moonglow Alpha Plat...

Shabby chic white w...

Perpetual Change. 8...

Ride the sky, decor...

In Love with Love -...

Cephalopod Sconce, ...

Pink Heart Small Di...

Butterfly Dreams-11...

Crinkle ring in ste...

bloom. handspun sin...

Treasury tool is sponsored by A/B image testing.

Happy shopping with The {NewNew}!!

Top Five List for Recycling

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

We hear those words evermore these days, not just for the sake of the environment, but also for the sake of our wallets.

I absolutely try to reuse anything and everything that is meant to be disposable.

And so here is my top five list for recycling items that you normally might just throw away: (In no particular order)

1. Empty cereal boxes, the kind that have an inner liner where the food is held. This is one of my favorites! What I like to do is carefully dis-assemble the box and re-assemble it inside out so that I have a box that I can either use for gift giving, shipping items in, or even just storage for small items. If you choose to use it as a shipment box, make sure you put a label over any writing that might be inside the box, otherwise that box is ready to be labeled and shipped.

2. If you don't already save them, the plastic container that your wonton soup arrived in would make an excellent storage container, and not just for food. They're great because they are see through and easily stacked.

3. Page-a-day desk calendars, the kind you rip off the comic or other with the day and probably crumple and toss. Not so fast! Collect those and use the non-printed side for scratch paper for your grocery list or other musing.

4. Lonesome sock, you know the kind, the one the dryer left lonely without a mate. Good news, our single sock now has a new life, as a dustrag, a puppet or sock monkey.

5. That pesky junk mail. Especially the kind with the envelopes for you to mail back applications and such. I use those envelopes to store receipts in, for different categories and write exactly what's in them.

What are some things that YOU give a second life to? Please share!

by Lorina Pellach-Ladrillono of and

Get Ready for a {NewNew} Spring!

Back by popular demand, The {NewNew} will be hosting the Spring Handmade Cavalcade at The Bell House on May 9 and 10.

RSVP here to receive a limited edition screen-printed tote, perfect for all your local shopping trips!*
And don't forget to pass this onto your friends! They'll want to do some fun shopping as well!

*RSVP entitles registrant to one free, limited edition screen-printed tote bag. Offer available to the first 200 people to RSVP.

Where to find the {NewNew} on Feb 21 + 22

The {NewNew} will be back in Dumbo this weekend. On Saturday, silkscreened accessories by redbridge, monsters by karensmonsters, and jewelry by joyella. On Sunday, organic knits by wrenstore, jewelry by yaniamor as well as jewelry & cards by prismpop // pcharming. Stained glass pendants & jewelry by Citybiz will also be present on both days. [MAP]

Wai Sze

Mondat Giveawy

It's MONDAY! Which means its time for our brand new Monday Giveaway. Each and Every Monday Stop by to enter to win something fabulous from members of The {NewNew} York Etsy team. This Monday we are giving away a Frosty Bell Cluster necklace from Jantar.

This necklace is made of 8mm red sponge coral beads and little frosted finish lucite flower bells, vintage brass bail and delicate, antique
brass finish chain, which measures 20in.

Jantar, is run by Mirela, a Long Island based jewelry designer. Her love for creating jewelry started when she was 10 years old and watched her dad transform chunks of silver and amber in most amazing pieces of jewelry. She loved helping him by doing simple soldering, polishing or prep work. After years of not having anything to do with jewelry making, she dusted
off her interest in designing 2 years ago. She's having the time of her life and loves every piece of jewelry she creates and hopes that you will like it too

How to Enter:

1. To enter to win, tell the world why you want this cluster necklace.
Post about your love of this product and your love of Jantar on Myspace, Facebook, livejournal, wordpress, blogger, or your own personal blog or website.

2. Post a LINK back to your personal post right here in the comments section.

3. Entries can be submitted through 10pm Saturday, December 13, 2008.

4. Winners will be selected randomly and will be announced the following Monday with the New contest item.

The Winner of last weeks giveaway is Turtle Congrats to the Winner!
Can't wait to see your posts! And stay tuned for next week's giveaway.

~jen pepper