Home Decorating with Handmade Originals

Luxury, handmade, decorative pillows and throws with designer, fabrics for home decorating. Eco chic, modern, retro, traditional, geek, novelty, silk, velvet, you name it, I've got it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Funky Monkey Giveaway

To enter into the Funky Monkey Giveaway do two things for me

1) Leave a comment in this post telling which is your favourite pillow.
2) Click on the Follow Me Buttonon the lower left side of this page

$25 gift certificate is DOUBLED if you are the winning person that has done both of the above things! Good Luck!

Bootcamp Day 6 (No 4 &5 on Sat & Sun)

1)Follow 20 new people on Twitter.

2)Send at least 3 Tweets today.

3)List one new item on icraft.

4)Put your shop on 3 new directories
--- http://www.dmoz.org/
--- http://www.loadedweb.com/

5)OPTIONAL… Let’s do some research on key words. Click on the links below and do some keyword searches appropriate for your shop.
Google Keyword Tool
Webmaster Favorite - Enter website name or keywords for list of related searches. Statistics show search count and advertiser competition. For help see Keyword Tool Tips. Use Google Keyword Video Training for methods to evaluate and create keywords for ads or web pages. See also: Search based Keyword Tool (beta).

Bootcamp Day 3

1)List 1 item.

2)Go to this site and create an appealing background for your twitter page. It’s quick and easy and you can change it as often as you want. In your profile information make sure you list your website. In your bio, list the things that interest you and make them searchable words not flowery speech. Sound / look interesting 

3)Go to the Business and Marketing forum, to gallerialinda’s post … Places For Business and Products to be Featured or Listed and pick any small task on her suggested list. http://icraft.ca/forum/viewtopic.php?t=857

4) OPTIONAL ACTIVITY Get some good reading material and a cold drink and lay around on the patio this weekend. Your good reading material is this… Download this ebook … secrets of savvy sellers http://onthedotcreations.typepad.com/onthedotcreations/secrets-of-savvy-etsy-sellers.html it’s a fun easy read.

Bootcamp abbreviated.

Seller's Bootcamp Day 2

1) Craigslist – Post at least one free ad .

2)Create a new listing in your store.

3)After you have created your “new listing” Tweet about it.

4) Add 50 names of people you want to “follow”.

5) Get your business cards out and explain to your family that you need their help getting your cards out there. For those of you that don’t have business cards yet you may want to talk to PolkaDotPixels.com.

6) Post everything that you get done and any comments in the Bootcamp What Happened thread right after this one… bragging is allowed.

This is an abbreviated version of the day's assignment.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 1 Sellers Bootcamp Assignment

1)Make it easy for people to go to your shop. Add your automatic store signature, your twitter address, and your blog address to every email in Outlook or Outlook express. For Outlook go to Tools, Options, then the Mail Format tab and start creating your NEW signature. There is a little link button in the small signature frame to add your shop name as a LIVE LINK in every email. In Outlook Express, go to Tools, Options, Signatures then click on NEW. As far as I know you cannot put a live link in here. If you need to add a second store then create the second link or shop url right below your icraft.ca address. Your signature might look like the example below. I use about 5 different signatures depending on my correspondence but my default one is icraft.ca

Christine Skaley Reid
Luxury Handmade Originals

2) List your store in a free local store/business directory. Bootcamp emphasizes LOCAL PROMOTION as it is the easiest and the quickest way to generate retail icraft.ca sales. Find one… any where where you can park your URL… Here is a suggestion by Galleria Linda http://02d6485.netsolhost.com/default.asp

3) Open a twitter account using your shop name.

4) Get your business cards ready. Order some. Get some. Make some. Do what you have to do to get ready to start getting your cards out. I can recommend PolkadotPixels .com for the design part of it. Emily is very quick, reasonable and most importantly I liked what she created for me. She also did this blog, ads, banner, etc.

5) Bootcamp Goals - Spend some time thinking and writing down answers for the following questions.

How many items can you reasonably produce and list in the next 28 days?
How many sales would you like to make in the next 28 days?
What products would you like to introduce or eliminate from your product line?
To whom will your products appeal to? Describe your buyer (male, female, age, profession, etc)
What areas do you need to tweak in your shop? (pictures, bio, policies, shipping, descriptions, etc)
What networking activities have you been procrastinating but really want to start? (blog, .com,twitter)
Is there a seller/shop out there that you wish you could be like? Or admire? Why?

Share what you are doing here with family, friends and other sellers that you know. encouragement is always a good thing!

See you tomorrow with day 2!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Seller's Bootcamp #2

Welcome to icraft Sellers Bootcamp #2 Are ya ready ???

Wow more than 100 Bootcampers on the list. Many of you are back for round 2 because you miss all the smiling faces and the grueling pace. I want to assure everyone that we are slowing the pace and narrowing the focus.

Objectives in Bootcamp 2 will be building sales and exposure for our shops by:

1)Listing new product daily
2)Tuning up our stores in pictures, descriptions
3)Finding new publicity and advertising venues for local and online communities
4)Building links for our stores, blogs and icraft
5)Building a presence on Twitter and, if we have time, FaceBook too

With serious, concentrated effort the assignments will take around 45 minutes a day. Saturday and Sundays are off. Some activities build on each other so if you miss a day,catch up by skipping the “routine” activities. Bootcamp is a real opportunity for all of us to try new and different marketing ideas. Make notes of what works and what doesn’t… response will vary depending on product and geography.

If you have questions, ask , ask, ask! If you’re stuck, share it, we’ll help you fix it. Don’t quit. Email me at pillowthrowdecor@gmail.com if you need a quick answer, otherwise post on the day’s assignment thread. We have experts to help us. Some of our experienced Bootcampers will “mentor” you through too.
Please share ideas or anything and everything that we can all learn from. Brag when you’ve "done good"!!! We'll all share in your victories!

My goal for Bootcampers is that in the next 28 days you’ll establish a marketing routine that will feel comfortable and fun. For icraft.ca, my goal will be that we attract many, many, new sellers with lots of interesting high quality handmade products. With more “stock on the shelves” the buyers will come.

I am so excited to have found icraft.ca because IT GIVES ME CONTROL OF MY STORE AT A PRICE THAT MAKES MY BOTTOM LINE LOOK GOOD! More importantly, I am building my business for the long term and I absolutely believe this is the venue that will lead the Canadian online market and be a prominent player in international markets. The gates are now open… fly at it!!!

PS… If you are reading this and wishing you could sign up it is not too late... ask me about a referral code for 6 months free!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Accountiblity is Hard for a Home Business

Decorative pillows aren't my only passion. In fact, amongst the heaps of pillow fabric around my workroom are home decorating magazines, training manuals, sticky notes and other "stuff" that help me put together icraft.ca Sellers Bootcamp training assignments every day.
My new best buddy GalleriaLinda, jeweler extraordinaire, is my brilliant right hand!

Seller's Bootcamp isn't just for pillow makers or even just icraft sellers. ANY online seller needs to take some sort of action like this 28 day, kick-butt, get a plan, get it going program. One of the hardest things for most small businesses is accountability. They have no daily to-do-list or anyone to march them through it. There's people like me, who have waaaaaay too many ideas, but not enough and therefore diddle around finishing nothing. I see a few smiles out there... you're probably like me... hey, we are true creative artisans!

So I started a group of like minded artisans at icraft.ca where together, daily, we encourage, mentor, share knowledge and "kick each others butt" and generally keep each other focused on a plan that is proven to work. We do it in the spirit of fun and the desire to make our businesses grow. It's free... it just costs 45 minutes a day.

How do we know it works? We have some great success stories from Bootcamp1 and many of our Bootcampers are back for more because they missed the structure and the discipline that Bootcamp provided. Statistically, we know we improved our views, number of sales and new listings! We increased our online presence with lots of new strategic links for our stores and our blogs... AND icraft.ca is climbing in the site rankings.

The most important statistic of all is this... "80% of success is about showing up". I'm not sure who said that first but it just simply means... doing something positive, even if you don't do it well, increases your chances of success 80% more than doing nothing. That's good news because there are lots of us that are brilliant artisans but we're online newbies. Unless we can get the word out about our work and our store, we're just a well kept secret.

For the next 28 days, I'll post Bootcamp tidbits especially our BEST OF THE BEST OF BOOTCAMP TIPS. So if you're too shy to sign up at icraft.ca Bootcamp 2 you can peak here.. daily. Just FOLLOW ME or jump in and use this referral code and get 6 months free fees. There's just a 25$ one time sign up fee and NEVER any sellers fees. It's the best deal out there.

Well I better get back to my pile of pillows, they are calling my name... oh yes, my pillows have so much character they can talk!

See you tomorrow!