Friday, February 26, 2010

Backgrounds for Photos

Hhhhmmmm...Still working on those photos! Now we've come to the subject of backgrounds. White? Black? Color? It's so difficult! Many people on Etsy like the white backgrounds, and some have suggested that it may help our items "pop" more. Others say they prefer the black backgrounds, as it seems to make the crystals show better. So we're stuck - and still trying any and every option just to see what will come out clean, clear and crisp.
Another thing - photo editing. I still can't get the hang of it. Lighting is a big issue with lots of our shots (especially the ones with white backgrounds), and if I could just brighten them, it would make life easier.
Aaaahhh...so we'll keep trying, keep working, and keep "tweaking" those pictures! Hopefully, some of them will turn out all right.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Virtual Lab

Forum Day was excellent yesterday...Found some GREAT shops, got some great advice...and even made some new "friends!" I made today the Virtual Lab Day, with my first visit there.
Before I start telling about today's adventure with the lab.........
Ashley's now a follower! Welcome Ashley. I hope that (in time) my blog will grow, so that I can start featuring my favorite shops...Yours will be one of them. Ashleyjdesigns posted on my thread mentioned on my blog from yesterday. She gave some outstanding advice, and I truly thank her for being so helpful. I browsed her shop as well, and there I found many pretty things...Giving me ideas for future birthday gifts that are coming up this spring.

SO...Today I made my first visit to Etsy's Virtual Lab. Interesting. First I stopped in to see what the Newbie Chat is all about. It was fun. You can ask a question and gets lots of answers right away. The chat is facilitated by an Etsy admin person (daniellexo) who gives great advice and also is author to many great articles for Etsy beginning sellers. It was worth the visit.
My second visit to the Virtual Lab was for the Shop Critique. There were way more people at that lab! It was hard to keep up with the conversations...So I actually left the lab early. There were so many people in there that I knew none of my questions were going to be addressed anyway.
At the Newbie Chat, I did get a chance to ask a couple of questions. I inquired about creating a facebook or twitter account...I keep getting different answers. Lots of people say that it helps bring traffic to their sites. Others say that it's not really worth it. So I guess we'll still debate the issue, and in the meantime, we'll just stick to our small blog first. My main concern is that all the social networking will be too time consuming.

Our main focus is to first get our shop looking the way we want it to look. We want our photos to be better. We want to get any and all feedback so that we know it's presentable. Then, I think we'll be ready to promote more and possibly start a facebook or twitter page. We have so many items to post (complete new sections and really fun stuff), but we're just kind of taking our time - which I don't mind. =)

So again, it was a busy day online with forums (I continued the shop critiques from yesterday's thread posting) and virtual labs - but it was worth it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Today - Forum Day

I made today my Forum Day. I posted a thread - Show me YOUR Shop, where I asked for feedback and offered mine. Lots of interesting shops left me their URLs, and I hope I visited all of them. I tried my very best. All of the shops had great items, and many of them gave me their opinions and some really good advice. It was a good visit to the forums, once again.

My friend at DreamyVintage has become a follower! She mentioned to me that it might be helpful to visit the Virtual Labs in the Etsy Community. The admin Etsians do Shop Critiques and Newbie Chats. Both of these events are scheduled for tomorrow, and I'm going to try my best to stop by and take advantage of the opportunity. Thanks again, DreamyVintage - you are so great!

For the rest of the week, we're going to be diligently working on our photos. =) I'm going to be making note of all the wonderful suggestions that people gave, and we'll start trying out different things, in hopes of bettering our shop. We have many new items to list, but we really want the photos to show the best images possible, so we're taking our time, trying to make it look the way we want it to look.

With all the shops that I've visited today, I'm wondering if we're going to be making any profit with our shop at all, because I think we're going to be customers at lots of the places I've found through my posted thread! Handmade stuff is just so great!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Items Coming Soon...

So we've been working on new items, but we need WAY BETTER pictures before we list them on the site! I've been visiting the forums and trying to get some feedback.
One of the things people have said: Work on the pictures.
Another thing: Change my avatar to an item to showcase it.
One more: Possible banner change to show my items?

Well, we're still working on the pictures. I signed up for a free photo editing site too, but it takes sooooo long! It's my computer, maybe. I don't know. But it takes forever. :( Patience, patience...so I tell myself.

I did change my avatar in Etsy, so now it shows one of our suncatchers. I don't know if it makes any difference, though.

And I think I like the banner the way it is, at least for now.

Another helpful bit of advice was to add more items to the shop. We do have more jewelry to add, but the pictures that we have of those items aren't good enough to post! So we're working on it. Wish us luck. We should have the new items up by this weekend.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another NEW Section

Last night I added another NEW section to our shop. We named it the "justBdazzled" section - a section for our crystal suncatchers.

When I was younger, my mom had a gift shop/candy shop (and I often worked many hours in it - but it was sooooo much fun!). She used to put together many different items using the Swarovski crystals for the gift shop. One of those items was the suncatcher. I was the lucky one to get all the crystals that were, in her words, "non-sellable" - the crystals that were broken or chipped and could not be sold to retail customers. I had quite the collection over the years! My bedroom window was FULL of beautiful crystals AND stunning rainbows (when it was sunny outside). The rainbows would brighten my days, especially on bad days when I needed a smile. So, it's with my pleasure to open the new section of our shop - and hopefully, others can be dazzled by a bright rainbow on a day when they need a smile!

First Visit to the Etsy Forums

On Thursday, Feb. 11th, I made my first visit to the Etsy Forums and participated in a few discussions. I found a request, "send me your blog," posted by neki. Neki Naturals was looking for blogs to follow, and followers for their blog as well. Since I wasn't following any blogs yet, and I had no followers either, I started following Neki! I also followed as many as I could that left their URLs in that thread. What a great way to "meet" new people and find new Etsy shops to check out (Uh Oh...I think I might want to spend money...)! Plus, now I have a few followers (this is cool). They may not ever read any of my blog posts, but that's OK with me.

After taking peeks at many of their blogs...I felt like mine is pretty plain. I learned a couple of things:
1. I've still got a long way to go as far as the social networking thing goes. Everybody has facebook and twitter, and all I've done so far is my blog that isn't visited very often.
2. I need to learn more about widgets to add to my blog (Neki helped me out and showed me how to put a free hit counter on mine! I thought that was cool - Thanks again, Neki!!!) and make it a little more fun.
3. I still need to work on my photography skills (and I have a feeling that's going to be an ongoing process, no matter what), and I might want to add more pictures to the blog.

Overall, my first visit to the forums was pretty interesting. People are so friendly and helpful; I'm glad I made the visit. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

NEW SECTION IN OUR SHOP!

Thanks to my daughter, we've got some better pictures to work with!!!

We just added a BRAND NEW SECTION to our Etsy shop! This section is going to be my FAVORITE of all time, because I truly believe in giving back and helping causes that I care about, and I always encourage others to do the same. I've been a fundraiser for many different causes for a loooooooong time, and I know how hard it is to get that much-needed money raised. In creating our Etsy shop, I knew that I wanted to do something where I could help some of our favorite charities reach their fundraising goals. So we came up with our "justB for a cause" section, where we can list specific items for specific causes that we choose. I LOVE IT!!!

Oh, and I'm trying to get my daughter to be our official picture-taker from now on....The girl's got skills!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Photo Appreciation

I have a new appreciation for photography! Sure, I've taken pictures of the kids and stuff, but I've never taken pictures of items for a specific purpose...pictures using lighting and angles and props and stuff. It's a lot harder than I thought. I've never tried to take pictures of things - using the different camera settings, like macro. I've always just taken pictures of the family and events (on the auto setting, I might add) - for my scrapbooks.

Well, the reason we only have a couple of items listed on our web shop for right now is because I know that pictures are important, and I want to have better pictures showcasing what we're going to have on our site. So...I built a homemade lightbox! Hhhhmmmm...Now I need to practice, practice, practice and play around with the lighting, the angles, and all that good stuff. Wish me luck. As soon as I get some better pictures, I'll be posting a few more items!

Gosh, I think of all the pictures that I've seen and admired. Now that I'm trying to take close-ups and shots of items and not people, I have much more appreciation for that beautiful photography.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

First Day

My name is Kim, and I'm going to be the blogger for our web shop called just B you.

Our web shop just opened up on Etsy.com. Visit us at justByou.etsy.com!


I changed our blog's name to make it a little easier to remember. All this stuff can be so confusing when you're just starting out! But hopefully the final outcome is good. :)

For an introduction, I decided to try a shop on Etsy because we've sold some of our creations (mostly Car Charms) and had recently started getting a lot more interested buyers. After hearing about Etsy and checking it out, I thought it was GREAT. So, we're really new to it all, but we're learning as we go.


We are a family of five, with three great kids - a girl and two boys. The kids help me in the creative process with ALL of our creations. My family works together as a team to do what we do, and we love it.
I'm new to blogging, but I thought it would be a great way to start a little journal of our small business venture. So here we are.

We just put up our banner for our web shop, so we're excited about that! We posted our first listings the day we signed up as sellers on Etsy - Jan. 29, 2010. I joined Etsy on Jan. 25th as a buyer.

I made my first purchase (found a really cool vintage-inspired locket at dreamyvintage.etsy.com), not only out of curiosity as to how transactions are handled on the site, but also because the locket IS soooo dreamy (and so much better than tiny little things that you can't really find a picture to fit in)! After seeing how the transactions work (so smoothly and can totally be a personal shopping experience on the web - wow), I was impressed with the whole Etsy community. So, I decided to go for it and open up shop.

We've made our first two sales! That's exciting! Wish us luck, as we continue starting our small business and learn as we go. It's FUN, and we're doing it together. That's what matters most. =)