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11  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Discussion and Questions / Re: Messenger style Art bag question... on: March 28, 2012 04:09:40 AM
As a person with an education in art, I can attest to lugging things around (across campuses as of late) and I know that having a bag similar to what you are describing would have been a dream! Not only do art bags tend to collect things in the bottom of them like pencils, or what have you, which mark up the sides of the inside of the bag. (Things will fall out of their cases from time to time.) But also having compartments to store canvases, paper, or other vertically oriented things and be able to carry them easily is always nice.

The size of the bag may seem big, but for an artist, it really isn't that large. My case is 48" wide x 36" tall. (I am also 6'3" tall)  Smiley While most of my projects don't come close to fitting in that space, I had a few that did which is why I bought that size. Thus, if she needs a 16"x18" bag, go ahead and do it. You may even want to round it up and make it a 20"x 24" so she can grow into it (that is if she is really into art and you think she will stick with it for a long time.)

So, to answer your questions directly:

1: Yes, I think a messenger type bag would work perfectly for a budding artist and of the size you mentioned (maybe even a little larger if you wanted).

2: Instead of using laminated fabrics, I'd use something like canvas or another ultra durable material. It washes easy, lasts for forever and will withstand the wear and tear of the artist's life. (I know my case is made of canvas and I've had it for 10 years. Still working great!) Plus, it is super eco-friendly. The final bonus, it doesn't really snag or tear. The laminated fabric looks good for a while but with sun exposure it becomes brittle over time and seems to break down faster making it crack and thus easy to snag. Then you may just want to chuck it. I'd go with canvas; she'll likely have that bag for the rest of her life.

3: The conundrum of 2" vs. 3" - when in doubt - more room is better than not enough. Plus if you made it with Canvas, it will be soft. So it will expand to its full capacity as she puts things in there.

Good luck with your project, hope this helps.

Best,
Martiel


PS: If you want to make your bag extra durable, you can put leather or vinyl on the bottom of the bag so that when she sets it down at school or other places it doesn't tear up the bottom.
12  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Baby Showers And Gifts For New Babies / Re: Duo Pocket Changing Pad Clutch on: March 27, 2012 05:48:14 AM
Hi there,

These are incredible! I am going to totally piggy-back on the previous replier by saying, that I'm loving the non-baby print fabrics.  (Nice blog by the way).

You should totally shout from the mountain tops about this because these are very cool and from the pictures look very well made. Nice job.  they are really wonderful.

Thanks for sharing.
Martiel
13  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Crafty Business Discussion / Re: Tips for Success? on: March 26, 2012 06:30:48 AM
This is a wonderful thread, great ideas, thanks to all to commented. Double thanks to the initial poster of the comment, this is something I actually had in mind to ask.

Merci!
Martiel
14  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Waterproof/Skidproof Dog shoes - Your thoughts on this listing on: February 25, 2012 06:33:15 PM
Hi All,

My Shop is taking on a different crafty mojo and with that comes my new line of high end waterproof and nonskid dog shoes. I drafted the pattern myself, the testing is complete and finally I have them up on the site and for sale. I'd like to get your opinions since you are all so wonderful at giving feedback. So here are some of the things I'm looking for info on: First, how is the price for these? Too high, too low, just right? Second, is the listing easy to follow and understand? Third, what do you think of these overall?

You can see them at http://www.etsy.com/listing/93639308/non-skid-waterproof-dog-shoes-your

Thanks - Martiel
15  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Selling Crafts on Etsy.com / Re: Selling OOAK clothing on etsy.. What sizes to choose? on: February 20, 2012 12:11:10 PM
I think I have to say dido to jungrrl's post - furthermore, I'm 6'3" and finding something that fits is a challenge both in length and width as I'm also pretty thin. I'd suggest doing some market research and finding out how other shops that sell similar products as you do are offering up options. I'm sure you will find some ideas that way.

Also, I make a lot of custom items. Often what I do is make a set or item and take a really great picture of it. Then I tell people what sizes I can make them in. Check out your local library for creating clothes and other hand-made wearables and how to size them.

I'd also tell you as a consumer of hand-made wearables, people come in a lot of different sizes and it may be worth it to make the same sort of things but tell visitors/customers that there can be slight difference because of colorations, embellishments, etc. Just a thought.

Bon Chance!
Martiel
16  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Selling Crafts on Etsy.com / Re: I need some candid feedback - Please Help. on: February 20, 2012 12:01:10 PM
No kidding. I even contacted Etsy corporate to ask about this and they intentionally block non-etsy page links from being. Ugh! Maybe if enough shop owners comment on this they will change it. In the mean time, I suppose I should put a little blurb or something that indicates this.

I didn't even think about it, but you are probably right, it is confusing that some links are clickable and other aren't.
17  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Selling Crafts on Etsy.com / Re: How do you promote your etsy? on: February 19, 2012 02:50:31 PM
I empathize with your frustrations - it is a hard business and I encourage you not to stop promoting. I tell you, promoting is what gets you noticed. You are right, there are many places out there that do not like it when you mention you sell art - not sure why the 'artist' is still so taboo, but work with the system and beat them at the game.

I've outlined some ideas below. I'm not sure how much time you have to dedicate to this crafty pursuit, but in the beginning plan on dedicating about 80% of your time to PR, Marketing, Promotion, etc. I know it seems counter intuitive - but from my research and peer feedback, this is realistic in order to get something like this launched.

Suggestions for Promoting:

I'd like to know if you have a blog. If not, start one. They are free, easy to use and it is a great way to begin communicating with your audience.

Another way to promote is to hold a couple of giveaways. I'd also promote them on your blog and post them on sites like http://etsygiveaways.blogspot.com

You can checkout your local community for artist/crafter groups - most places have meetup groups (www.meetup.com) and almost always there is something art related on there for what you do. If not, start one, you may find a lot of people to connect with you had not even known before.

I'd also recommend visiting your library. I found a ton of great information about crafting, starting a crafting business, etc. In those books you will find promotion ideas.

The last thing I'd suggest is to guest blog on craft sites. Start with ones that are smaller and are looking for content and bloggers who will write up articles for free. I'd check out the sites Craft Corners and also RecycleART - - both publish your creations and will link to your site.

Hope these help. It's a learning process and one that does not happen overnight. I know because I'm in the throws of it myself, but never give up, you'll get there.

Bon Chance!
Martiel


18  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Selling Crafts on Etsy.com / Re: I need some candid feedback - Please Help. on: February 19, 2012 02:30:15 PM
To the two who have commented on this thread thus far, Thank you! I asked for candid feedback and you gave it. It is not often that people will share things they think outright. Your feedback helps so much and I appreciate you taking the time to write these thoughts down and share them with me.

Lastly, I was looking for some extra eyes to look at this shop because, as you both are probably well aware, when you are close to something all the time, it becomes more and more difficult to look at it objectively. It has all started to seem like the a bit of a blurr on what I have changed, how it sounds, etc. Anyhow, your thoughts are so very much appreciated, thank you again.

Martiel

PS: I'd prefer the links to be clickable too - however on etsy, if they are non etsy pages (go to any other site other than an etsy site or profile page) then they do not become clickable for some reason. It is written in their website design - - a bummer as it is something I'd expect too.

19  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Selling Crafts on Etsy.com / I need some candid feedback - Please Help. on: February 12, 2012 10:48:41 AM
Hello Craftster Community,

I have a shop on etsy and things since the beginning of the year have just tanked. I have gotten wonderful reviews from those who have bought from me. I am also getting a ton of traffic everyday. I have read the books and I'm doing everything I am supposed to be including the "The Heavy Seven"

1. Use a banner
2. Fill out your profile.
3. Have a clear shop policy
4. Use all 5 photos
5. Use all 14 tags
6. Ship internationally
7. Include measurements

So what I'm asking here is not necessarily if I'm going in the right direction as far as getting the shop up and working and having the basic necessities, but I need some eyes to take a look at this shop and tell me if the photos seem off, is the text too wordy, are prices wonky, or is the theme of my shop disjointed. It could be any of these things or it could be any number of other things.

I have asked family and friends to look am my site and of course all they say is, "It looks great, you have wonderful content". They are so supportive, but unfortunately they don't know much in the way of selling handmade wares. The long and the short of it, I need some eyes and minds in the trade who know how the crafting community works to look at my shop and give me some feedback. Or even people who are into buying handmade look at this and tell me your thoughts.

I really need some candid and honest feedback. I really want this to work and I am stuck on what I should do. Please help.

You can get to my site at http://sewmantra.etsy.com

Much Thanks,
Martiel
20  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Discussion and Questions / Re: HELP!! DIY WINE PURSE?? on: January 18, 2012 04:05:39 AM
I'm curious about how much sewing you are looking to do. Somewhat like what member AshtonagoL mentioned about the bottle and then wrapping it, that could be a way to go. But, if you want to be able to wash it out, maybe have it wrap around and secure with Velcro. This way you can take the bottle out and wash it thoroughly.

You could also check out 'trash to treasure' type sites. Often times, you may have everything you need to complete a project right in your home. One last note, there is a wealth of information at your local library. I raid the craft section of mine on a regular basis and find a lot of inspiration and sometimes the answer to a project question. Just a thought. Hope some of this helps.

 Smiley

Good luck on your project!
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