Welcome to "chuff to bits"! My blog about food, crafting, and other wonderful things! Stay tuned to find out what!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Behind the Orange Brick Wall - Part 3 Jmaeson

***The missing post from yesterday****

In this, the third installment of my Behind The Orange Brick Wall series on shops that have never been featured on the front page (but should be!) I'm introducing you to Janie from the shop Jmaeson. Jmaeson has beautiful sewn and crocheted items that are just to die for. Stay tuned after the interview where I'll be revealing the winner of this weeks Super Awesome Fantastic Giveaway!

Me: Jmaeson, let's start with your unique shop name. Whenever I see it, I always pronounce it "Jah-mason". Is it a combination of letters of your real name? Does it stand for anything? And, do you also run the shop "jmaeson1"?

jmaeson is a comination of my whole name and is pronounced jay-mae-son. Yes I do run jmaeson1

Me: Lovely! Your "jmaeson1" shop focuses mostly on holiday items, while your jmaeson shop is full of beautiful textile items. The colours of your items are eye-catching. What inspires your bold (for Etsy) colour choices?

Jmaeson: My favorite color is orange, I've always had a penchant for bright bold colors...eye-catching is a perfect description of what they do to me.

jmaeson1 was made because of my love for the Christmas holiday...the feel of it is truly magical.

I love Christmas too, it's pretty awesome. What do you have in the works right now? What surprises do you have in store for your customers in the future?

Jmaeson: In my Christmas shop I'll be adding some stockings and in this shop I'll be adding some more clutches with my crocheted butterflies and flowers.

Me: Those will be adorable! What's YOUR favorite item in your shop?

Jmaeson: www.etsy.com/listing/65701997/pin-cushion-grandmas-orange-patchwork

This is my absolute favorite...the patchwork material was left over from my moms stash when she passed away so that's very special and of course again orange is my favorite color...I have to argue with myself every week not to pull this and keep it for my self :)

(see picture # 2 of this post)

Me: That's super cute, and the orange colour just POPS. Last question, (and it's a tricky one), what's your opinion on Etsy's front page?

Jmaeson: Well, we would all love to be on the front page. I am 100% happy for those who do make it to the front page. It is what it is and I'm just a small spoke in this humongous wheel ;)

Me: Beautifully said!

Well, I'd just like to thank Janie again for the wonderful interview! She was just a delight to interview and I will cross my fingers for her that she makes it to the front page. You should definitely head on over to her shop and take a look around.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Super Awesome Fantastic Giveaway Winner!

Sorry for the delay everyone! I'm posting from my phone as blogger has crashed and has taken my whole computer with it. :( That does mean that you won't get to read my interview with the wonderful Jmaeson, so you'll just have to head on over to her shop and check it out yourself in the meantime.

So, without further ado........

The one you've been waiting for..............

The blog winner is.........(the anticipation! I can't stand it!).............


Congratulations Loretta! Make sure you contact me by email or convo me on etsy so I know where to send your prize package. Thanks to all the awesome entrants! I wish I could give you ALL prize packs, but don't be discouraged, the next giveaway will be even MORE SUPER AWESOME FANTASTIC! Can you believe it? Wait until you SEE it! I'd tell you but then it wouldn't be a secret! Thanks again everyone!

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Super Awesome Fantastic Blog Giveaway!!!!!

You knew it was coming! Here it is!!!!

I've been gearing up for this for awhile and have amassed a whole pile of goodies for this, the FIRST EVER (but not last), Chuff To Bits blog giveaway.


Oh ya! Sweet isn't it? There's a little for everyone in this one. Here's the breakdown:

-Hello Kitty shower cap (weird, but awesome)
-Hello Kitty coin purse
-Anime genie with flying squirrel phone charm (it's the front centre)
-Strawberry Shortcake hair ties
-Hello Kitty hair clips
-Jumbo pen
-Sesame Street notepad
-Peanuts comic strip stickers
-Hello Kitty pen
-Minna No Tabo pen
-Superman mechanical pencil
-2 plush bendy flower pens (1 red, 1 pink)
-Pack of Merry Christmas postcards
-Minnie The Mouse journal
-Parisian stationary set (it's under the Minnie journal)
-Nightmare Before Christmas jewelry box (up right)
-Winnie The Pooh photo frame
-Winne The Pooh baby cuddle blanket
-Surprise Bandai anime figure (the box up left)

Phew! Wow!

Now, how do you enter? Just do any of the following things then return here and leave a comment telling me what you did. Things you've done PRIOR to this post don't count, it has to be new! Each separate comment counts as an entry. The winner will be chosen at random next Saturday, May 28th.

Here are your entry options:

1. Follow this blog!
2. "Heart" my Etsy shop www.penguincraft.etsy.com
3. "Heart" any one item in my shop
4. "Like" me on facebook www.facebook.com/penguincraft
5. Follow me on Twitter @penguincraft

That's it! Don't forget to leave your comments, and don't forget to come back on Saturday when I announce the winner!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Behind the Orange Brick Wall - Part 2 Texarrakis

This is Part 2 of my new series featuring wonderful shops that have never been selected for Etsy's coveted FRONT PAGE (click here to go see Etsy's front page right now). Check out Part 1 to read my thoughts on why people are (or aren't) chosen for the Front Page. Etsy's Front Page images of 20 different items, rotates about every 20 minutes and are chosen by Etsy staff using their own secret criteria.

The first feature will be curiously wonderful shop Texarrakis Obscurities. Texarrakis Obscurities has been open since March 19, 2010 and in that time has never been featured on their front page. Here's my delightful interview with Texarrakis:

Texarrakis, you have a lovely collection of vintage items in your shop. How do you select which items appear in your shop? Do you hunt them, or do they find you?

Texarrakis: Oh I like to think I am the hunter, but I believe, in reality, I might actually be the hunted. I scour thrift stores, flea-markets, yard sales, weird old antique malls for items. Sometimes I will spend an hour or two somewhere and not leave with a single item, or I'll spend fifteen minutes in a place and leave with ten amazing items.. I never know how it's going to work. The main criteria my item has to pass is whether I want it for myself or not. That is how everything has ended up in my shop, I think everything is amazing and I secretly want all of my items all to myself, that fit my bizarre aesthetic.

But now I have an overpowering amount of items (over 100 that haven't been listed yet), that seem to need constant attention and care, so I don't know, perhaps I have been manipulated somehow into acquiring them all...

Me:So your fans can look forward to 100 new items in the future? What sort of new items do you have in store for us?

Oh well they can probably look forward to more then 100. I've quit my day job, and am moving from the city to the desert and mountains of far West Texas to attempt doing my Etsy store full time, which is why I've been in super awesome item hoarding mode for the last month, collecting all of these items. I have maybe 120 items all lined up, ready to photo and list. A lot of random goodies, twelve vintage cameras, goblets, more color slides from the late 1960s, and a whole lot of amazing books, including many Star Trek novels, Dune novels, and Choose Your Own Adventure books, which are my personal favorite of the store.

I LOVE Dune! I'm a book hoarder myself, so I can definitely see the attraction. So what brought you to Etsy?

Texarrakis: Oh yes, Dune was the inspiration for my shop title; Texas + Arrakis = TEXARRAKIS. The name wasn't created FOR the shop, it's for the project that brought me to Texas originally. When I was 19 I bought five acres of land out in West Texas, about 80 miles from where I'm moving to. Last year me and some friends moved out to that property to start Fort Awesome, and we called the whole project Texarrakis, since we were trying to make something out of living in the desert. One of our plans was to start an Etsy store out there, but let me tell you, that is more difficult to accomplish in the middle of the desert completely off grid and out of tents then we imagined. For some reason. The whole project crumbled when we ran out of money.

But then in January, my girlfriend helped me get my Etsy store off the ground, and pushed me in the right directions to make it as awesome as I possibly could. And it has blossomed into something amazing! I love Etsy and the entire community here -- wonder people and shops all around.

Texas + Arrakis! That's deliciously geeky! I love it! It sounds like Etsy is a big part of your life, do you also have a "day job"?

I just quit my day job as an office manager to pursue Etsy full time. I'm not at a place with it where I'm making quite enough to support myself yet, but I was able to save up enough money to pay for rent ahead of time for three months, allowing me to give it a shot. My store is growing rapidly, and I make enough on Etsy to cover all of rent and some expenses, so my hope is that by the end of the three months I won't have to return to the workforce, or at least maybe just extremely part time.

Out of all the items in your shop right now, which is your favourite?

Out of all the items in my shop, this is my favorite right now I think: www.etsy.com/listing/70449923/choose-your-own-adventure-you-are-a Not because it's like a top item I'm going to make money off of, but I truly love this book, it sparked years of imaginative fun for me. I still, to this day, find myself sitting around thinking about this book. I've noticed a lot of books being sold on Etsy basically as like home decor, but I really like having my shop full of books I actually think people will enjoy reading.

I do have one more question, last one, I swear. What's your opinion on Etsy's Front Page?

Texarrakis: I like it ok. It's hard for me to gauge though, I try and remember back to when I barely knew what Etsy was . . . I feel like the front page is good for people who already know what Etsy is, but to new people who aren't logged in, it should read, in huge bold letters, "THE WORLD'S LARGEST MARKETPLACE OF HANDMADE AND VINTAGE GOODS", flashing across the screen. Or something. I don't know. The front page right now is very classy, I like that, but for new people maybe there should be a bit more fanfare.

This last photo is my own favourite item from Texarrakis' shop. It's on my wish list. Now that you've read this awesome interview, go check out Texarrakis Obscurities and support artists and vintage collectors who don't fit the "aesthetic". After all, that's what art is about isn't it?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Behind The Etsy Orange Brick Wall - Part 1

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

For the hardworking folks with Etsy shops, perhaps the hardest and most frustrating thing is the struggle to be noticed. With the hundreds of thousands of shops on Etsy, and the millions of individual items, it's hard to be a shop that stands out. Arguably the best way to drive business to an Etsy shop is to have one of your items appear on their home page (or "front page").

Now, Etsy is a business, just like all of the businesses housed within it. To drive people to a business they have to have a demographic and a marketing plan. They need to target a certain set of people (whoever they think is most likely to purchase) and pull them into their site. Etsy has to have an image, one that "sells" a specific lifestyle to it's clients. "Come in and buy X and become Y!"

Being on the outside of the Etsy inner sanctum as I am, I can only speculate on their specific marketing tactics. However, if you observe the Front Page you'll see a distinct trend. Airy, pastel, light, white, washed out, trendy items. It's what sells them, it's what drives the traffic in. It's working.

Etsy is changing, for better or worse they're planning changes to the way that the Front Page works, who's featured, and how. Will they feature shops that fall outside their current aesthetic? Who knows, but if they do, will it cause traffic to decline? Ultimately, will the one thing people are looking for, to have business increase, be the one thing that causes business to fall?

Either way, Etsy is missing out, and so are it's customers. There are loads of beautiful shops on Etsy with gorgeous items that just don't "fit" the Etsy aesthetic. Shops that you have never seen on Etsy's front page. Shops that have never been featured in their e-mails.

I'm going to take you to visit some of these shops. In this series, starting with my next post, once a week I'll feature a shop that has never been on the front page, that doesn't fit the aesthetic. Shops that nonetheless offer beautiful homemade and vintage items, but that maybe aren't pastel coloured.

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