Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Future of Trading... Looking Ahead!

i just want to thank everyone who has helped me keep the membership thread alive over at etsy... and to everyone who responded to our "cleaning house" email! Ak and i are in the process of reviewing all the info we got back and will post the membership list here ASAP!

i've also done some research into how we can be more active, have more fun (as if that would be possible, LOL!) and promote ourselves, both individually and as a team. our trade and replace events have been so fabulously successful that i think that it would be easy for us to be even more successful if we got creative!

so here is a list of some of the "events" that i thought that our team can put on in the upcoming year... read this over (sorry it's so long), and feel free to post your comments, thoughts, & creative ramblings. we want to hear what you want to do!!!! (please note that some of these ideas are quoted from my research "sources" because they've explained it so perfectly already!)

1. Card/Promo Swap (from the Storque) - Card swapping is a low-cost, easy way to get your shop's name out. By swapping cards with members of your Team, you can promote each other's shops by word of mouth and give potential customers something to remember to check it out. Team members personally recommending a shop means the buyer is more likely visit, mark as a favorite, recommend to a friend, or even buy something for themselves. Most Etsy Team members who are sellers have business cards with their Etsy shop addresses on them. There are countless ways to make these cards to promote your shop, including inexpensive ways to make cards yourself, using stamps or having them printed in bulk.
To begin the swap, post publicly however your Team communicates (through email, a Flickr or Google group, etc.) announcing a call for participants in the swap. Card swaps are most effective when the swapping occurs between shops with complementary styles. Consider your target demographic and the demographic of the other shops you are swapping with.
One person should be in charge of collecting all the mailing addresses via email from participants. Set a deadline for sending in addresses (there should be an end date to the swap).
Once the emails are collected, compile a list or spreadsheet with all of the addresses. If there are fewer than 12-15 participants, send the whole spreadsheet to everyone on the list. If there are more than 15-20 participants, break the list into smaller, more manageable lists, and send each list to the members of that list.
Each participant sends a small stack of their business cards to each address on the list.
Once the cards are received, each participant includes cards from other members in packages they mail out from sales in their shop, or distributes the cards in person to potential buyers or at craft shows or markets.
Your Team can organize card swaps as often as you see fit, and organizers can take turns putting the swaps together. Enjoy! And get creative about what types of promo items and cards you swap, and how you distribute the cards you receive from the swap!

2. Studio Tour - i know that we had been kicking the idea of doing a virtual studio "tour" via simultaneous features on the team blog and individual shop blogs. i also just realized that etsy has been doing the same via the Storque - talk about reinventing the wheel!!!! LOL! the initial conversations around this idea involved featuring 2 team members every week or so - what we would need is a brief write up about your studio space, as well as any photos you might want to share with the world! at the same time, you would post about your studio space on your blog - this way, we can generate traffic to members' individual blogs too! i know that we all feel like we already know each other, but this will put a more "human" face onto who you are!

3. Online Sale Event - easy peasy, right? we all agree on a sale event that we will all run simultaneously. we can also start a shop "ring" associated with the sale where you promote another shop (or shops) in your shop announcement (which would totally rock now that etsy has enabled links to other etsy shops in the announcement section!!!)

4. Scavenger Hunt - now this would need a little more creative padding because this has the possibility of becoming quite involved. i remember entering a scavenger hunt held by a team who were all from the same city who chose a location in that city that you had to find. you had to go through the shops involved, read the profiles to find clues, and then post on their blog what you thought the answer was. (does that even make sense? geez, i need more sleep) anyway, at the end, the winners got to pick from prizes that had been donated from the team members. anyway, in a nutshell, it was quite fun. the storque featured the scramble hunt organized last year by the Plush Team - read about it here:

5. Collaborating on a Piece of Art/Grab Bag - little missindie had a great idea that she posted on our thread - she explains it pretty well here:
"we should do a giant art piece that gets sent to each member of the group that wants to participate. and the rules could be that when you get the piece in the mail you have to add something to it [something that corresponds with your shop] like add a crochet piece if you crochet or add beads if you make jewelry. then you send it to the next person on the list so that they can add their piece and so on and so forth. we could sell it and then split the cost between everyone that participated. Or donate the money to a cause."

along the same lines, the TransCanada team has formed a little collective where they collaborate on goodie bags/grab bags. their shop is here: and check out their profile as to how they make it work.

6. Weekly Team Thread - okay, i have to admit that i LOVE LOVE LOVE checking in on you guys every day since we have started the membership thread. and i find that i end up missing everyone once our trade and replaces are over... so if we had a weekly thread that started every Monday, it would be like our own virtual coffeehouse!!!! we would catch up on everyone's new items, share stories and problem solve etsy issues, and just hang out!!! (of course, if i'm the only one feeling this way, then just smack me, please!)

7. LAST BUT NOT LEAST... the all famous TRADE AND REPLACE! - yes, i admit it. i'm a junkie. and this WILL be our next team event, hopefully to run at the end of September after we compile the members' list and everyone gets back to school/work/whatever. i'd like for us to feature all new members, or members who haven't participated in a TnR before, so i will be convoing you newbies to ask if you want to participate this time around! and of course, our "old-timers" will be around to bump you off the list!!! let's show our members some LOOOVVVEEEE!!!

anyway, that's what i've come up with so far. i am dying to hear your thoughts!!!!!!!!!!!

xoxoxoox muffin

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cleaning House! Active Memberships!

as everyone knows, Ak and i have been planning to clean house for some time. Our team has grown exponentially in the past few months, and we're so happy to have such great etsians as part of our community!

however, it's become quite obvious that not everyone who signs up for the team becomes an active member. and because our team is all about trading and teamwork, we'd like our members to participate in our events, and not necessarily just be a part of the team in name only.

as teams go, we're pretty low-key and low-pressure! and i'd like to think that we have fun!!!!! this is in NO way a put down on the shops that haven't participated - we do know that life gets in the way sometimes!

so, the instructions are simple. please send me a convo if you'd like to remain on the traders' team active members' list. and please participate as much as you can if you DO decide to remain on the list!

we will be planning another trade and replace event - and the studio tour - ASAP, so get cracking!!!

love you guys,
xoxoxoxo muffin

Saturday, August 2, 2008

We LOVE Trading!!!!! Plus, the "Studio Tour" and Cleaning House!

Okay, i've finally recovered from the Trade And Replace!!!! and what a fantastic time we all had! the trading was fast and furious, the goods were fabulous, and the conversations, as always, were fantastic!

i personally had about 10 trades as a result... how many did YOU do! i love everything that i've gotten so far - you gals are sooo talented!!!!!

here are some of the highlights:

"trade ho"!!!! (take a look at threeofwands' trade ho bracelet in the picture above!)

all of our wonderful new newbies!!!!!! YAY!!!

brownies, marshmallows and fudge

the trading buzz

not sleeping because of the trade addiction

there are actually too many good memories to post here.... :)

thanks again to everyone who participated - and i can't WAIT for the next one!

as most of you know, Ak and i will be "cleaning house" this month in regards to whittling down our membership list. we have quite a few people who aren't very active with the team, so we'd like to take a roll call of people who would like to remain members... but you have to promise to be active in our events! LOL! seriously though, how can you help but trade? LOLLLLLLL!!!

we also talked about doing a "studio tour" of members' workspaces here on the blog, so stay tuned for details! i think that we'll feature two members' spaces here on the team blog, each week or two, so get thinking about what you'd like to say and take some pictures of your space! (even if it's just a TV tray in front of the couch!) you can also feature your space simultaneously on your own blog!

anyway, now i'm babbling... thanks again everyone for EVERYTHING! see you all soon!

xoxoxoox muffin