Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Etsy Meetup and Goals for 2012

Since a few days before Christmas, things have been crazy busy. I sent out my last holiday mailing and headed to NJ to spend time with my family the day before Christmas Eve, then came back to Rhode Island the day after Christmas. Almost right away, I turned around and drove half an hour to Providence for an Etsy Home for the Holidays meetup with Vanessa and Sean, two awesome Etsy staffers. A bunch of other Etsy sellers were there, and they were all super nice.

Photos belong to Vanessa of Etsy Labs

This was my first Etsy meetup and I had a great time! Everything was pretty relaxed. I got there early so they still had awesome Etsy swag for us (I got a tote bag filled with stickers, buttons, and some paper goods). Vanessa introduced herself and gave me a nametag for me to add my shop name to, and the next two hours were spent chatting with other sellers. Especially since I'm relatively new to the site, coming up on my one-year anniversary in March, it was a lot of fun hearing about what other sellers do and getting advice from those who have been selling on Etsy longer. I also brought one of my Buxton Bear plushies and a bunch of people seemed to like him.

Photos belong to Vanessa of Etsy Labs.

I talked to Sean Flannagan from Etsy for a little while about the new social networking integration on the site, which he helped to develop. I was already posting on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube whenever I posted new items, but being able to do that automatically from Etsy and also have really easy ways for people to follow and like me directly from my shop have been so helpful. We also briefly discussed the PayPal issues and he seemed to be hoping for an alternate on the site in the future as well. It's good to know that the whole Regretsy fiasco has sparked this gradual movement towards other payment options for independent sellers online, even if it may take a little while for something else to acquire the international reach PayPal has.

The location alone would've been worth the trip. This meetup took place at Craftland, a boutique and gallery full of handmade crafts from around the world, most of which are also sold on Etsy. They even had a pretty large section of unique, handmade plush toys similar to mine. The cashier even moved to charge me for Buxton because he fit in so well with their products... which is good to know because I would love to apply to sell my plushies there someday. All in all, the night really was like visiting a real-life version of the site I spend so much of my time and money on. I picked up a few items for gifts and myself, traded business cards with the other sellers, and called it a night.

Pretty much every night since then has contained a long visit with family or friends for the holidays, and our good friends Mike and Nina (of sweatingit.net) came to stay with us for the new year celebration this weekend. During the craziness and the short break from working for long stretches of time, I spent my free minutes thinking about where to go next. I've never really been one for serious new year's resolutions, so these are a few specific crafty goals that I'm hoping to work towards over the course of the year:

  1. Design and make more plushies for Fairweather Friends. I want people who find my shop to have more things to look at and choose from, and if I have more items listed, there's a better chance that someone who stumbles in may find something they want to own. 
  2. Spend as much time as I can keeping those plushies in stock. Ever since I started this shop, I haven't had enough time to make as many of each plush toy as I've wanted to. While this is far from a bad thing, it's difficult to promote to new potential customers when the shop could easily empty overnight. 
  3. Learn to read knitting patterns and knit in more than just a straight line. My mom bought me a beautiful set of Harmony knitting needles for Christmas and I want to learn to use them. I learned to knit back when I was in high school, but never learned to read a pattern or move beyond just basic, straight knit-stitch scarves. I would love to be able to make hats, mittens, socks, and other small projects this year. Maybe I'll even start knit tagging / yarn bombing. 
  4. Redesign LaurenFairweather.com. I've kind of already been doing this, but I want to finish it and get it up and running with help from the awesome Kyle Barr who isn't quite as baffled by coding websites as I am. I count this as a crafty goal because the design is more illustration-based than websites I've done in the past. It is super cute and I'm excited for you guys to see it.
  5. Decorate and clean up my craft room. It's a great working space right now, but I'd love to get some color up on the walls and neaten it up a bit. I have a bunch of crafty magazines I've worked my way through and I think I'd like to put pictures from those up as inspiration. I also have a bunch of pretty, antique-looking keys left over from our wedding favors that I'm hoping to tie into a pretty garland to hang up. 
  6. Make more crafty YouTube videos. I've already done time lapse videos and just straight video blogs about my crafts, so I'm hoping to come up with more creative ideas. I've really been liking voiceover-type videos lately, so maybe I'll write something pretty to read over clips of me accomplishing the above goals. I'm definitely up for suggestions or requests if you have any. 
  7. Work on improving my product photography. While I think the plain white background is fine, I really need to take photos of myself holding each plushie so it's easier for potential customers to tell how big it is. This has been difficult in the past because I can't really take pictures of myself with my fancy camera so I need to bother Matt to get them done. 
I hope you're all having a lovely 2012 so far! Hopefully I'll have some new plushies to show you very soon. 


  1. Meet ups with people who have similar interests to you are always the most fun. Your plushies are absolutely gorgeous and your goals seem reachable - good luck for 2012.

  2. These are awesome goals! good luck on accomplishing them and hurry up with those new plushies!! LoL

  3. Lauren, it was so nice to meet you and make the acquaintance of your bear, who is very cute.

    Thanks for the awesome write-up! I'll share it with Sean and our other coworkers!

  4. @Vanessa Bertozzi Aw, thank you for hosting such an awesome event! I'm so glad to be getting more involved in the Etsy community. It was lovely to meet you too! :)

  5. Your goals sound reasonable and attainable! Especially #3!!! I have a set of Harmony needles that I got in 2007, when I was first starting to knit a lot. They have lasted me this long and I still use them for everything that isn't sock knitting.
    I can't wait to see how your knitting progresses! I'm here to help, and there's always Ravelry, and knittinghelp.com. Having excellent needles can only help. :)
    Also, I saw this article this morning and thought of you! I don't know how many scraps you have from plushies, but I think this is a cool idea.