Friday, July 24, 2009

How many pictures until I find "the one"?

Today I had an idea for a new item: a bridal shower favor in black and white. It looks very elegant to me, a little "on the edge". I made a set, with the hair clips and absolutely loved the result. Then it was time to take the pictures.

I took exactly 223 pictures of the same 3 cards and 2 hair clips over and over again. It took me at least 3 hours to pick a good background, take the pictures, go through each picture and select a few good ones. Then the listing ordeal: uploading the same 5 pictures about 15 times takes a long, long time. The most important part of the listing is that first picture that looks attractive enough to make a potential buyer want to view the item. It took me forever to decide which of the pictures is good enough to be that first picture. Is any picture good enough?

This is just a snap shot of the listing process. Work and questions, trial and error. Until we find - or don't find "the one". I want to laugh at myself thinking how much would I have to list each item for, if I added 3 hours of extra work to the price.

And finally, here is that first picture. What do you think?

Mara ~ Pretty Hair Clippies

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Note Cards

After finishing a scrapbooking project I usually pick up all the tiny scraps of paper and make a "Thank you" card to include with the orders I receive. They turn out lovely, I'm having fun putting the small pieces of card stock together, and I feel good that nothing gets thrown away.
Last night I had enough scraps and enough time to make a couple of sets of cards for my Etsy shop. They carry the advice "Recycle" on the front.

This is how these cards follow the three rules: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Reduce: They are small and cute, and virtually weightless. They take a small amount of material to make, therefore reducing waste when they do get trown away.
Reuse: They can be reused virtually countless times. Use them as "Thank you" or "Get well" cards, or simply to give your phone number to someone. Just don't write your message inside the actual card. Use a sheet of your personalized stationary and tuck it inside the card. The person who receives it can give it to someone else in the same manner.
Recycle: This card is made of 100% recycled materials and by the nature of if - being versatile and reusable - it brings any waste to a minimum.

I am starting to use these cards myself and to tell you the truth, I am proud to be a supporter of regifting.

Mara ~ Pretty Hair Clippies

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Win a Step2 Sand & Water Transportation Station!

This looks like such an awesome toy! Go to The Shopping Mama's blog and follow the steps for a chance to Win a Step2 Sand & Water Transportation Station:

Good luck! And Good luck to me, too! :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Christmas in every package

Today I received a small order from someone who lives very close to my home. Maybe 10 minutes away? As soon as I realized that, I sent her an email asking if she wanted to come and pick up her order today, on Sunday, so she dind't have to wait until the package got delivered by mail, and also I would be refunding all her shipping fees. I was a little surprised at her reply to my message!

She cordially thanked me for the offer, but she said she was leaving town for a few days and wanted to have a surprise waiting for her when she got back. Even though, she mentioned in the message, it wouldn't be a total surprise since she knows what the package will contain.

This made me realize how much everyone enjoys a surprise. We like to pretend it's Christmas every now and then, and enjoy a moment of thrill, joy, and relaxation when opening a gift, no matter how small. Even a gift from ourselves still has a small hint of Christmas that we like to experience sometimes.

As far as I am concerned, her answer reminded me that a small, unexpected gift included with an order will make someone's day. And I don't know anyone who doesn't feel good making someone else's day.

Mara ~ Pretty Hair Clippies

Friday, July 10, 2009

Custom order for baby

I was shopping around Etsy and came across Ava Loo's shop with lovely children's hats. Fall is still a few monts away, but my baby is growing fast and is increasingly aware of her looks. In a few months she'll be a year and a few months old and by that time she will love looking in the mirror to see herself and what she is wearing. I got so excited at the thought of her getting excited about what she is wearing. So I put in an order.

My order was listed today. I'm even more happy about it then I was the day I placed the order! Imagine my daughter looking in the mirror, seeing the lovely bunny ears on her head. I'm laughting alone with joy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Selling to real people

I was very excited to see that "Etsy Transactions" email in my inbox today, yet my heart jumped a bit when I recognized the user name: this is someone that I know and knows me.

Online shopping in general is impersonal. Someone places an order, leaves a message to seller (or doesn't), I ship the order and about 50% of the time I get a 6 word feedback review. Even though hard at first, we get used to "the system" and become more comfortable with being impersonal. But here was an order from someone who would more than likely talk about it to other people that we both know. What will she say about her experience with my shop? Were my customer service skills good enough? Was my product exactly what she were hoping for? Did she perceive my "Thank you for our order" email as spam? Will she recommend my shop and my product? Will she want to return for another order?

All of a sudden, my desire to know the answer to these questions increased. My work wasn't about to get analyzed by "someone in California", but by all our friends, who we hang out with during the weekends. I must have checked the items three times before I placed them in the envelope to be shipped.
I concluded that I have the best chance of making a truly great impression when I start out each order by pretending to personally know every single one of my customers.

Mara ~ Pretty Hair Clippies

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Me time with a luxurious bath - and a marketing lesson

Today I went to a local farmer's market and browsing around I found the soap booth of Indigo Bath and Body. Oh, all the types of soap and all the wonderful smells drew me in. Jennifer, the creator and maker of all the soaps start telling me about the ingredients she uses (and doesn't use) and the local source for all her ingredients. Thing is, I was so busy looking at all the variety of soaps offered and smelling them, that I did not listen to anything she was saying. I picked off the table the most luxurious rose smelling bar of soap and asked to purchase it.

I wonder how many customers act like I did today. The marketing pitch flew past my ears once I fell in love with the merchandise. I didn't even care how much the soap cost. It wasn't the professional explanations, or the philosophy of the manufacturer that sold the product. It was the feel of the shop, the luxury of the items, the look, the smells. That bar of soap sold itself!

I'll try to remember that my customers don't actually have the chance to "meet" my items in person before purchasing. The pictures, item descriptions, my philosophy and sales pitch are the only means the potential customer has to get familiar with the item. I would say that purchasing online is like a date through a dating website - and it's my job, as the seller, to make that profile page the most appealing is can possibly be.

Back to that luxurious bath - find these wonderful soaps (that sell themselves) at Passion is to die for:

Mara ~ Pretty Hair Clippies

Monday, July 6, 2009

Christmas in July?

I've been looking around Etsy and I noticed that many sellers have a Christmas in July sale going on right now. Initially, I thought this was just a sale event, but it turns out most of these items are actually Chrismas items! To be sincere, this surprised me and turned me off a little bit. I can't explain the feeling, but it's the same as when I see decorated Christmas trees in Macy's in September.

Don't get me wrong, I love sales. I am a sales and a deal addict and I always ask for a deal when ready to purchase something and I love it when my customers ask for a deal from me. So I decided to make my own (Christmas in July) sale. Only that I am selling warm colored, summery hair bows! Sure, they could be hidden in the tree for childen to find, they could be used as stocking stuffers - but they could also be used right now, as pony tail toppers, children's birthday party favors, and to put up those bangs.

So check out my free shipping Christmas in July sale items in my shop. And don't be shy to ask for a discount on your purchase!

Mara ~ Pretty Hair Clippies

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I've been trying to figure out how to market my hair clips for adults. Of course, everyone thinks of getting hair clips for babies (with no hair), toddlers and even pre-teens. But no mother will consider for even one second putting a pretty clip in her hair. I don't know why that is and don't understand it. I'm about to attempt to change that, though. :)

So I came up with the idea of putting clips on coordinating greeting cards, for convenient gift giving. For the past few days I've been working on a couple of cards: a "Thank you", a "Happy Birthday", and a couple of blank cards. I already have the clips made, and I absolutely love coming up with the designs for the cards!

Give me more ideas for the messages on the cards! What occasions would you see these appropriate for?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blogger on a mission

I've been working on my shop, Pretty Hair Clippies, for a few months now. I get ideas every day (every night, to be more specific) and I wish I had enough time to do everything. Actually, I wish that everything was done the moment I thought about it, for me to see if it looks good and is a keeper or if something should be changed.

I'll dedicate this blog to Pretty Hair Clippies, items that I make and the ideas that I have. Also to the ideas that you, my readers have, and want to see done. So please post your comments, thoughts, encouragements or critiques. I know we can make some really awesome girly stuff together.

Mara ~ Pretty Hair Clippies