Thursday, June 19, 2014

Video series on starting an Etsy shop - I'd love to hear your input!

Ever since I started making Etsy-related videos on my youtube channel, my subscribers have been asking me to make a video on how to start an Etsy shop. I've been thinking about the best way to do this for a while now, since it's not only a very complicated and involved question, but specific details of creating a shop may change over time as Etsy updates and improves their site (for example, the process of signing up for an Etsy shop has completely changed since I created my shop, FairweatherFriends, in 2010).

I would love to do a series of videos on different topics related to starting an Etsy shop, but I'm interested to know what you guys would be most interested to hear about. Here are the basic topics I've created, and I hope to answer your questions related to each one in a video.

  1. Planning your Etsy shop. 
  2. Making products for your Etsy shop. 
  3. Etsy shop setup and branding. 
  4. Writing your Etsy listings. 
  5. Running your Etsy shop. 

Also, to make sure that I cover any important things that I leave out (because it's probably pretty impossible to talk about everything), I'll be accepting more questions in the comments once I finish and post the videos and have a more general Etsy Shop Q&A video when the whole series is online.

Do you have any questions that fall under these general categories that you'd like me to answer in a future video? What about other general categories that you think I'm missing? I may end up expanding some of these topics into more than one video if I need to.

I'm hoping to not only create these videos for aspiring Etsy shop owners, but also for existing shop owners who are interested in improving their shops or simply hearing about another shop owner's process. And while I know that Etsy has many great resources for shop owners, I personally love to learn about other shop owners' experiences and their advice provides a lot of value to me as well. I want to provide new information that adds to existing knowledge bases rather than attempt to replace them.

I'm looking forward to reading your comments below! Thank you for your input and I hope that you enjoy the videos once they're ready.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Snowy Owls in Progress

After taking a little bit of time off from making plushies to recover from Christmas season, I'm back to making as many as I can every week. Last week, I dedicated my time to restocking the tiny and large versions of my Hedwig snowy owl design. Both of these guys had sold out during the holiday shopping season back in December and a bunch of people were asking when I would have more of them ready for purchase at my etsy shop.

I started off with the larger snowy owl plushies. The most difficult step when making these guys is the sheer number of pieces I have to cut out before I can even start working on them. Each large owl needs two black eye pieces, two tiny white eye highlight pieces, an envelope pattern, a heart piece to seal the envelope, two wing pieces, and a heart-shaped face - the signature mark of my plushie designs. Since I made these in a batch of ten, that ends up being quite a lot of pieces that I cut out myself by hand.

Maybe eventually, I'll be able to invest in one of the new Brother Scan N Cut machines so I can spend less time cutting out pieces and more time sewing and designing characters. 

When I'm making the large Hedwig plushies, I make these cute little envelopes for them to carry. Each felt love letter takes a few steps, which you can see in the photo below. First, I fold up the bottom and sew it in place. Then, I fold down the triangle shape at the top and stitch that down to the rest of the envelope. Lastly, I whipstitch on a tiny red heart to seal it shut. 

I liked the idea of having my more detailed owls deliver letters like in the Harry Potter books. It just seemed fitting that these characters would be sent to their new homes with a love letter tucked under their wings, so the idea stuck!

Next, I worked on a big batch of tiny snowy owl plushies, which are among my most requested designs. I really enjoy making this particular plush toy. Their little hand-embroidered faces and detailed wings are so cute! And since I freehand them, that makes them all look just a little bit different.

I really love the satisfaction I get when I've finished making a batch of plushies this large. They each take so much individual time and care to create, so seeing them all in a pile like this makes me super happy. If there are any left over from sales at my etsy shop, these guys will be coming with me to Kansas on March 8th where I'll be selling them at the Hallows and Horcruxes Ball - a wizard rock show at Kansas State University. If you live nearby or want to join me in making a trip, click here for more information

Often, when I start making a whole lot of plushies all at once, I end up being surprised when I run out of materials half way through. This time, I was left with one sad little owl plushie when I ran out of polyester fiberfill to stuff her with. I think she kind of looks like a melted snowman.

I recently sold out of snake and squirrel plushies, so I'm hoping to make some more of those next. I need to schedule a trip to the craft store in order to get some more stuffing, but they'll hopefully be ready in a week or two. Also, I've been working on a ton of new designs for 2014 and I can't wait to get started on making those! I'm so excited to show you all of the animals that I'll soon be offering over at Fairweather Friends.

Thanks for catching up with me and I'll have another new blog post for you soon!

Monday, December 16, 2013

YouTube Videos About Branding

Lately, I've been really excited to share some of the things I've learned while running my own etsy shop through the medium of online video. I've had my own YouTube channel for almost eight years now and I've used the channel for all sorts of creative endeavors, including the occasional crafting video. In case any of you guys have not yet subscribed (click here to change that!), here are two recent videos I've released about the branding in my etsy shop!

This first video is about how I make the little fabric tags with my logo on them that I sew into every plushie I make! I wrote a blog post about this a long time ago, but people kept asking how I make them. Since it's one of my most asked questions, I figured that it was worth making a video about as well!

The second video shows you guys how I wrap my online etsy orders. This video features my new custom logo labels that I use to seal the tissue paper I wrap my products in! I just got them in the mail and I'm really excited to start using them on all of my orders. I'd been meaning to have these made since I started my etsy shop.

Thank you so much for watching! If you have any more suggestions for crafty videos or behind the scenes things you'd like to see regarding my products and etsy shop, leave them in the comments!

Also, I'd like to remind you guys that the Christmas shipping deadline for my etsy shop, Fairweather Friends, is coming up! If you live in the United States, be sure to place your order by noon EST on Thursday, December 19th. After that, I will be away for the holidays so any orders placed past the deadline will not ship until Monday, January 6th when I get back.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Friday, November 29, 2013

One Day Sale on Etsy!

Today is the day of my one day sale on etsy! All day today, you can use the coupon code "hotcocoa" at checkout for 10% off your order at I only give out one coupon code a year, and this one expires tomorrow (November 30) so make sure that you don't miss it if you've been waiting for a sale! 

I'm doing my best to keep up with demand, but if you have your heart set on a certain item, you may want to get one sooner than later because it's very likely that I'll sell out. I put a lot of love and time into each piece, so they'll make excellent, heartfelt gifts! 

For the past few months, I've been working really hard making lots of plush toys for my etsy shop. I've released a lot of new plushie characters including sloths, otters, polar bears, skunks, and deer! I also brought back the chipmunk and tiny snowy owl plushies with new and improved designs. 

I'll be selling whatever inventory I have left at a few events this holiday season! I'll also be playing my original wizard rock music at the two Yule Ball events. 

December 14 - Torrington Makers Market in Connecticut
December 21 - Harry and the Potters' Yule Ball in Brooklyn, NY
December 22 - Harry and the Potters' Yule Ball in Cambridge, MA

I hope to see some of you guys there! Happy holidays!