Ruby Canoe Cake Topper in Top Australian Cake Decorating Book!

Well, it would seem that is been a while since I posted anything.  Truth is I just didn’t get around to posting anything.  I felt like I didn’t really have much to say actually.  But looking back now I did have a few things to say and share and show.

Late last year I was contacted by a very busy stylist from Sydney, Olivia Blackmore, who was very interested in a Happy Birthday cake topper I had made.  She bought. I sent. All good.  The End…Well no it wasn’t, cause a few days after she received her order I received a request for more.  So I busily thought of some new designs, cut them, glued them packaged them, and away they went.  They were for the possible inclusion in an International cake decoration book.  Well can you imagine how excited I was? Really, can you?  I was super excited! 

People that do this for a living probably don’t get excited about working on magazines or books, they probably get used to it. Or at the very least learn to hide the little girl giggles when they see their hard work published. Bit of a shame really, how wonderful would it be if you walked into a news agency and some man is jumping up and down on the spot with excitement yelling “Look, look, I did this! I picked this font! Woohoo, isn’t this a great font?”  Kids do this, they don’t know how good they’ve got it, do they?  Or maybe you go to Maccas (Australian for McDonalds) sit down to have your bacon and egg McMuffin and who is sitting next to you? The 17 year old girl that started at 5 am and made YOU a bacon and egg McMuffin. She suddenly becomes your Mother…watching the first bite you take…you chew…”do you like it?” Isn’t it great?” “I made that you know!” She said through her very (in my experience) expensive braces.  Well, anyway, do you get my point? I was excited that one, or more, of my cake toppers might be in a book. One thing I didn’t know about books. It takes a really long time to complete.  But I totally understand why they take a really long time to complete. Lots of magic goes on between the covers of a book. 

Olivia contacted me recently to let me know that the book has been published and that she was sending me a copy. Which was very nice of her. I received my copy soon after and the quality was amazing. I was hoping it was one of those fancy cookbooks where the cover has a beautiful texture and looks as though it is meant to be handed down through generations, and it was exactly what I was hoping for.  I am very proud to have something to give to my children to keep in their kitchens and maybe show my future far far far away grandchildren. It’s just beautiful.  Amazing Decorated Cakes. 

  
Recently my Mum came to visit, all the way from Bagdad…not that one…the lesser known one in Tasmania (I still think they moved there because Mum and Dad love telling people where they live), any way, Mum was visiting, I gave my much treasured copy to my Mum. It’s still nice to see pride in your parents eyes, doesn’t matter how old you are. A few days after Mum had returned to Bagdad (not that one) I got a call from my Dad telling me how wonderful my cake topper was. Yes, you and I both know he couldn’t give a rats hoot about cake toppers it only mattered that his girl had something in a book…totally worth it 🙂

  

Arranger of Pretties (Stylist):  Olivia Blackmore

Clicker Extraordinare (Photographer):  James Moffatt

Iconic Australian Publisher:  Australian Woman’s Weekly

I don’t know who picked the font but let’s give a thought to the great font choice.  Great job!

Available at rubycanoedesign.etsy.com

And don’t forget about my other Etsy store bigbluecanoe.etsy.com (vintage prints, blueprints, patent prints and much more). 

More posts soon, hopefully. 

Like or comment any old time. 

Did you make it all the way to the bottom? Really? How nice are you? Oh and that lipstick totally suits you. xxx. 

Plans for the Tardis

Tardis sepia framed, bigbluecanoe.etsy.com

These Tardis blueprints or plans make excellent gifts for the little Whovian in your life!  I have sold quite a number of these beautiful prints lately and shipped them all around the world too.  The A4 and A3 sizes are printed on watercolor paper which give it an excellent vintage feel with the benefit of thick (200gsm) long-lasting and acid free paper.  3 different colored backgrounds available. bigbluecanoe.etsy.com

Tardis, bigbluecanoe.etsy.com

The Tardis, bigbluecanoe.etsy.com

Who Doesn’t Love a Bug?

Cut away of a 1963 VW

I grew up in the 1970’s in Australia and I was convinced that everyone’s parents had owned a VW beetle or bug at some stage in their lives. I remember being a little confused about getting the groceries out of the front of the car instead of the boot, such a novelty!  We had (I think) a light green one, and my Mum taped a note to the dashboard to remind her that the blinker was on the opposite side to normal Australian cars.  (Yes not only do we drive on the other side of the road we also have everything else on the other side of the car too).  I loved the sound of that car too, who can mistake the sound of an old VW coming down the road, not that you see or hear them as much as we used to, which is a bit sad, but that is life I suppose.

So I guess that explains my love for VW artworks.  I found this little gem in an original owner’s manual, I’ve cleaned it up a little and added a few things and moved a few other things to create this beautiful print.  I can’t tell you how much I love this print and all the beautiful retro colours.  Makes my little heart leap with joy!  I have this available in my Etsy store along with a heap of other Volkswagen prints.  Previously I have only had blueprints for sale on Etsy but after finding these beautiful little beetles and buses I just had to add them too.

So why not pop over to bigbluecanoe.etsy.com and see what I have been up to lately.  And don’t forget about little old rubycanoedesign.etsy.com  and there is a third store in the works at the moment, which is a combined effort with my son, stay tuned!  😀

VW 1963 cutaway red

10 Tips to help your New Etsy Store grow.

10 tips to help your new Etsy store grow.

10 TIPS TO HELP YOUR NEW ETSY STORE GROW!

 

I have been selling on Etsy now for 2 years.  For the first 8 months I wasn’t really serious about it and was trying to find my place, my customer and my product.  The one thing I do remember about the first few months was that it took me hours to do a listing.  So if it’s taking you an hour or more to do a listing, you aren’t alone.  Actually any problem you are having most of us other Etsy sellers have experience that same problem.  I have Googled the weirdest things to get answers about my Etsy listings.

I’ve learnt a few things in the last 2 years, but this certainly doesn’t make me an expert.  I have a lot of improvement to make as well.  But Etsy is a never-ending lesson in adjustments.  So here are a few tips to get your shop moving.

tip 1

 

 

Fill out the store policies.  Shipping, refunds, FAQ’s, and payments.  Have a real think about your policies.  Have a look at other stores, I usually go to stores that have lots of sales, as they have lots of experience with sales and customers, but please NOTE,  when looking at stores make sure you check their reviews as well.  Any stores with regular bad reviews should really be given a wide berth.  When you find a store that looks good and feels good, have a look at their policies; which you can find when clicking on any listing and then clicking on the shipping and policies button.

Shipping and policies

When you have got a good feel of other stores policies you can form your own to suit your Etsy store.  Try not to just cut and paste all your information, put your own spin on it and make it your own.

 

tip2

 

 

Oh my…I cried at the post office one day.  Yep.  I surely did.  I had sold a small item, which I was very excited about, made the product, packaged it up beautifully, drove to the post office and was very happy to send it.  I am in Australia and this package was being posted to New York state.  It was a small package of cup cake toppers, made with paper and toothpicks, and I was charged $14.20 to send this parcel to America.  I charged my customer $2.75 for the postage 😦 and the value of the goods was a whole $8, so when I had to pay $14.20 I felt like my business was no longer viable and shed a tear as I was paying.

The problem was that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and sometimes the people at the post office don’t know what they are doing either.  I found out later I could have sent it as a letter if I hadn’t wrapped it in brown paper, then tied twine around the order and then added a cute little button…which all added to the weight of the order.

So some of the things you will need is:

  • Postage app for your region, I have the Australia Post app and love it! And it’s free! and essential!
  • Digital scales; you can get digital scales for around $15-$20
  • Source a good supplier of envelopes or other packaging you need.  When buying envelopes ect have a think about how you want your shop to look when the customer receives your item.  I have recently switched to Kraft brown envelopes to fit in with the style of my shop.  Previously I used whatever I had on hand, which was not always ideal.  You can get really nice envelopes from Kmart and Target now, great prices too!
  • Packing tape, just plain old packing tape and a packing tape dispenser which is around $10-$15
  • Label maker (a great investment I have just made and should have done long ago!) retails around $90.  I was actually hand writing the addresses on the envelopes and boxes, which again was not ideal and I can’t believe how good the new labels are.

Try to set up a small area for all your postage and packing, if you don’t have room just made do with what you have and hit Pinterest for a few ideas on how to set up your work space effectively.

Packaging should, again, reflect your store.  I package each order like it was bought in an actual store front instead of online.  I am also trying to make my packages a little different.  I really wish I had done all this at the very beginning but I have learnt a lot in the last 2 years.

Ruby Canoe Design Etsy Packaging

tip3

 

 

Just because you know how to do lots of things doesn’t mean you should make them all available.  This is something I have to take note of myself, it’s so easy to get carried away.  And when you’ve got confidence with your first shop you can always open another one.  All you need is a different email account and a new shop title and away you go.  I have plans to open my third Etsy shop which will be digital downloads only.

When you do have your store stocked make regular checks of your products and any products that aren’t getting any views or aren’t getting favourited (not sure it that is officially a word?), just deactivate them or try to revamp them a little to make your product more appealing.  See Tip 4 Tags, Titles and Photos

 

tip4

 

 

If you read any tips about Etsy you will always read that your PHOTOS are very important. For good reason too.  Shoot your photos in natural light.  I got myself a big sheet of white poster board for backing and I take it outside (Caution: this poster board acts as a sail on windy days!) put my product on a table that is waist or chest height and take photos.  I am currently in the process of retaking all of my photos because I just didn’t take this advice.

TAGS TAGS TAGS, use all 13 tags available.  And make sure you don’t overlook the obvious tags, for example, I have a line of paper butterflies and I neglected to add the word BUTTERFLIES OR BUTTERFLY to my tag list!  It took me months to even notice!  That was a big derr moment for me!  You can also take a look at similar products in other stores, go to the bottom of their page and you will see all the tags they have used.  Have a look at the image below, this is the bottom of my Lego Blueprint (Big Blue Canoe) which appears on the first or second page of a search for blueprints.

When you have listed and published your item, search for your own item and see what page it comes up on…if you are on page 10 or more try changing some tags until you can get a lower page number.

tags

Don’t use fancy TITLES.  Use titles to tell it like it is!  Again with my paper butterflies…I have named my range of paper butterflies “SCATTERFLIES”  I love the name but I wouldn’t use it in the title as no one will search specifically for Scatterflies.  If you have a colour specific item, mention the colour and add the colour to the tags also.  Again, look at someone elses store, take information you learn from them and change it to make it your own.

 

tip5

 

 

You set what kind of payments you accept.  I strongly advise you accept all types of payments.  My sales increased after I accepted all payments.  Previously I only accepted PayPal, now I can take your money any which way! And up go my sales!

 

tip6

 

 

When listing your product you can list variations.  For example I sell paper hearts for weddings, the variations I offer are different pack sizes and different colours.  When my customer chooses to buy the heart pack, they pick the pack size and they are then charged accordingly.  Below is the Extra Large Paper Heart listing showing what the variations look like.

variations

 

Not every listing requires a variation, but if customers are messaging you asking how much it will be if they purchase 50 of such and such thing, maybe you do need to add a variation.  Listen to your customer, they always tell you what they want.

 

tip7

 

 

The first thing I do in the morning is check my stats.  As I’m in Australia I get most of my views when I am asleep.  80% of my buyers live in the United States, so I usually wake up to a sale or two or a conversation (message) from a customer asking a question.  You’ll get to know the average views you get in a day.  If you’re not getting enough views or sales there may be many factors that can come into place.  believe it or not the weather plays a part, when the US are experiencing massive winter storms my sales dip a little, when it is a bit warmer more weddings take place, therefore my sales rise.  When your store has been open for a few months you can go back a few months and look at your stats and see a pattern forming.  This is also good to set realistic goals too.

 

tip8

 

 

Search for items that you personally love.  Like items, favourite shops and some people will favourite your shop and like your items in return.  So when you add a new item to your shop, that item will appear on their news feed = instant prospective views!  The more people who favourite your shop the more people might just see your items.

bbcfav

 

 

tip9

 

 

Plan your day:  At the beginning of each day (10am most days, sometimes earlier) I write a list of things I want to do and things I need to do.  Then work through them.  I know it sounds simple but it really works for me.  If this isn’t you, do something you know works for you.

Plan your year:  Yes plan your year.  I have a list of each month and I have written what section of my shop I need to work on.  I know I will be busy making Teacher Thank You gifts in October and November and December so I make sure in September I work on these products and have them all ready for my customers to buy.

Customers don’t want to struggle to buy stuff from you, so be prepared for whatever busy season suits your product.

 

tip10

 

 

Making money takes time, a whole lotta time.  Promoting yourself takes time.  Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter ect ect takes time.  Unless you put in the time you won’t magically earn a $1000 a week on Etsy but you will learn as you go so don’t get disheartened and just work on your business.  Your business isn’t just craft, it is so many other things too, and you control it all.

So that’s it, 10 tips to help you and your shop along a little bit.  If you get stuck, and it’s really easy to get stuck on Etsy, just google it, that’s what I did and that’s still what I do.

If this post has inspired you to open an Etsy shop click HERE and use the link then you and I both get 40 free listings.  That’s enough to have a nicely stocked Etsy shop!!

Good luck and feel free to comment with the name of your Etsy shop and/or a link! And don’t forget to check out my Etsy Shops:

RUBY CANOE DESIGN

BIG BLUE CANOE

 

 

Thanks and goodluck! xx Ruby