The Illustration and Digital course started today. My students are drawing on the theme 'a new king' (the dutch queen will hand over the scepter to her son this year). The end product will be a print/pattern.
Every time a new course season starts I'm curious about who will attend my lessons. Every time I'm so happy with all the nice people who join. It makes me love my work even more...
Next week, my other illustration courses start. There are still a few spots left!
I've started this week at a new workspace... I'm slowly moving my desk, books and equipment to my boyfriend's house. Yesterday we cleared out the room and sanded down the floor. Today I decorated the room with the most needed things to start working. The room is light and warm and has a view over fields and the neighbor's chickens (they're quite funny, with white cotton-ball-like hairdos), I really like this new space. The big move will happen next weekend!
It's my birthday! M decorated the livingroom this morning and welcomed me with a yummy breakfast and lovely pressies (the screenprinted animal cards are one of them). I'm spending the day with family, tonight dinner with my love M and tomorrow a lunch with friends... When getting older the only thing a girl can do is celebrate it to the fullest!
Want to learn all about illustration? For those of you living nearby... the illustration courses I teach at the Utrecht Center for the Arts are starting again in the first week of february and there are a few spots left! For more information see here and here.
Not living in the neighborhood? I also teach an online course at Camp Pikaland.
bag and photo by Judith Brandts
Today the second edition of the Etsy questions (by Judith)!
How does my shop get found by buyers?
Apart from the tricks I mentioned last week (listing at a certain time and spreading listing over a few days, tagging right) there a a few more tips.
Especially in the beginning it's fun and wise to participate in the Etsy community. Join teams, circles, favorite and admire, make treasuries and comment on blogposts and forums. Ask questions on the forums, how do people look at my shop, what do you think of my products, photo's etc.? Make contact!
Another good way is to use social media. For me blogging works very good but twitter or facebook can work well too. You could do a give away ('share this give away thought posts-message-tweets and tell where you've shared to join the give away') or something like first-5-buyers-discount, it'll help to get people curious about your shop.
Then you could try to get your online friends to promote you. Maybe send some interesting bloggers a sample or small gift. They might post it on their blog (but never ask them to do so, this is way to 'advertisment-cheap'!!).
If you're up and running, you could participate in a market. Check if when there are craft markets you like close to where you live. This is a good way to meet your buyers in real life and for them to see your items in real life. Make sure you bring business cards, people might not buy something on the spot but may come back to your online store (and tell their friend what a nice person you are!).
It helps big time when your item is something new, something people haven't seen before. If you make a product that's made by others as well (like bags or wallets), be original in your pictures, colours, product name, communication, extra features, you name it! Maybe add a attachable bicycle light to the bag or a magnet in a wallet (so the coins stay put). Anything that makes you stand out!
Is the dutch Etsy the same as the worldwide Etsy?
Yes, it's the dutch (and Belgian) department of Etsy! You can find the dutch Etsy blog here.
There are also similar dutch marketplaces to Etsy like metdehand.nl or dawanda.nl but there's only one Etsy!
Good luck with your own Etsy shop!
photo and model by Bas Verweij
There've been some big changes the last few weeks here. Last year me and Ellen have been working hard to start up Urlaub, a concept store in Utrecht. In this same year my work got a big boost and many great projects and commissions found their way to me. This all happened so smoothly that before I knew it, I had too much work to handle. Time to sit down and make choices. Finally I made a hard decision... Because of the big amounts of work and time coming with it, I decided to leave Urlaub in Ellen's capable hands.
Because Urlaub was besides a concept store also a workspace for the creative, there're still two office spaces (desks) for rent! It will be an open space with lots of light, creativity and design. There is also a space where you can work on screenprinting, paintings, and other exciting projects that come with 'wet or seriously DIY material'. There's parking space too. It's situated just outside the center of Utrecht, in a new developed 'creative hatchery' (called: The Trip) that includes (among others) a lunch and dinner spot 'Little Berlin' and office space for creative entrepreneurs. All together an inspiring work environment with inspiring people. What does this all cost? Aprox 200,- euro excl TAX.
Great value don't you think!? For more information, get in touch with Ellen Vesters by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to share this post and information!
photo and products by Judith Brandts
One of my students, Judith, asked me about opening an Etsy shop the other day. I thought it would be nice to share the information here, for those of you who've been wondering about the same. She had more then one question and I'll try to answer them today and next friday.
What is important when I open an Etsy shop?
It all starts with good products. You'll need at least 10 items to list that form a nice collection in your style. Make good photo's! They need to be bright, crisp and clear, and must highlight your product at its best. Light backgrounds work best and also make sure you show your product in different angles and maybe on a model.
You also need a shop name and clear style for the appearance of your shop. This means a banner, logo but also business cards and maybe note cards (or combine those two) to add to your sold orders. Think about how you would like to receive a package: with a handwritten note from the seller, with a little extra something, how is it wrapped?
Think your shop name through! Is their another shop that has an almost simular name (you don;'t want that!). Make sure it's easily reminded and also pronounceable in english. You own name can work too, especially if you have a website with your name in the url too.
Set good shop policies. Who's responsible when shipping goes wrong? Can people return their purchase? Do you offer an extra gift wrap service? Look at other shops what their therms are (see mine here).
When all the above is set, you can start listing your items. Create a clear title and description and tag well. This is very important as people need to be able to find your product! The right key words will make this much easier and generate more visiters to your listings and shop. For more detailed information on this see here.
I'll tell you more about how to get more people to visite you shop next friday.
Think about what you would want to know about the product if you were the buyer. Include size, material, colour, details (a close up photo!) and maybe even the story behind it.
Now you can set your shipping rates. It's easy to make a shipping profile that you can use for multiple items (so you don't have to fill it in with every new item you list). For a how-to, see here.
Think about if you want to ship insured, with track&trance (more expensive rates) or just a basic. Inform your costumers about what is and isn's included in shipping and how long it takes for you to ship the item.
When you list your first items, make sure you have at least 10 items in your shop to start with. An almost empty shop doesn't look too good, as if you're not serious about what your doing. You can list the first items all at once. When you start listing more, it's wise to spread the listings over a few days. This way it's more likely people wil notice you shop (etsy shows recently listed items on the bottom of their home page). I listed my items in the beginning at the end of the day (in the Netherlands around 18.00-20.00 o'clock) cause then most costumers around the world are awake too (America, Canada, etc.) and more people are likely to see my new listings.
Ok, that's it for this week. I'll tell you more next friday!
We came back from a trip to Andalusia this weekend, today is the first official work day... I'm having a hard time adjusting to the workflow...
ps. The pink flamingo was my man's idea, as a travel companion... He took it everywhere to take pictures, along with his yoga mat ;-)
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