Monday, September 14, 2009

Test Run!

Alright folks.. completed monster photo shoot around 9:00.. downloaded all the pics onto my computer, officially listed 8 items for sale on Etsy.. made a whimsical bio, stretched the banner photo.. and here is the finished product - well.. finished for tonight that is;)



carter gillies said...

There are many good things about your start so far! Great clever shop name, the banner came out real well, the images are well composed and interesting, good choice of background to set the creatures against, and a fun attitude in everything you say. Things I think you need to work on are 1) a little more detail in your shop statement, 2) a shop policy that reassures the customer that it is ok to buy from you, 3) item descriptions that help sell the creatures. Also, I noticed that you are not stating a shipping fee except for $2 outside the US. If you want this to be free in the US you can make that a selling point. If not, make sure that the cost you charge is around what it will take you to ship them out. What does it cost to ship a small box that weighs only so much to a place as far away as Seattle? Make sure it includes any expense that has to come out of your pocket such as boxes and packing material (even if you are reusing old boxes it is legitimate to cover the cost of replacing it. If you want to keep the cost low you can also make a point that you are reusing materials to keep things affordable. Say everything you can to make a favorable impression!). You should also state a return policy up front, and let folks know that they can "convo" you with any questions. The biggest thing I think needs to be some fun "facts" about the creatures themselves. They have so much personality that you are in a great position to write creative things that will help sell them. The first thing I thought was that you could name each individual and tell small stories about them or the group as a whole----"Jimmy(on the left) has a terrible temper when he doesn't get pickled toes for breakfast, but Gonzo (the middle one) can usually talk him out of chasing down the nearest cat by offering up his own liver instead. Greta and Sylvie look on in mild disgust as they spend the morning dancing on the carcass of a dead dog. They would all really be much happier if they could spend their time with you, making things spooky and whimsically scary." You get the idea. I know you will do a much better job than I just did.

carter gillies said...

I forgot to ask if you are going to trickle more items into the shop. By now your stuff is already 60 pages deep in the front page search of ceramic items. How are you planning on driving people to your shop? The facebook entry is good, but how else?

juana said...

carter, you should find a side job as a monster character developer. great, funny names and descriptions of the creatures!

sarah, did you list the size and weight of monsters? maybe you can add a group photo next to a common object, say, a box of matches, or something with more of a halloween theme) to show the scale of the monsters.

you may want to consider offering a 2-for-a-lower-price option. i would add in the description that they like to live in packs of 2 or more. in reality, they look great in groups!

i love the banner, and the background. good luck! i hope you sell them all!!

ps. how do you pronounce pico, as in your turtle?

sealeymorris said...

i love your shop, the banner is fun and inviting. The green background totally works for your monsters! Ok, this is what i would improve: up your Tags- you only have 4 and you get like what, 14? use them! think about how people will search for something like this. Oh and your shipping estimate is LOW. I just sent a very single small juice cup to Olympia, WA and paid 9 bucks! i charge 5 bucks for a mug and just figure in the rest in the product cost- so i'm not sure if you may be doing that? I would now trickle in more items like Carter was saying- being that these listings get lost quick. GOOD START- and i just love your monsters- maybe you'd be down w/ a trade? ;)

sarahv said...

Thanks for all your helpful advice everyone. I was so tired last night I just wanted to get my 'rough draft' out there! Carter I really like your ideas, esp. about the description. I was totally thinking about writing something like that last night but after taking 50+ monster pics- getting them successfully posted became the goal of the night! I tried to place a spool of thread or a tea bag in each one of the 'series' pictures to give a reference point in size. I guess I could also take precise measurements as well, but I don't have a scale to weigh them..

Juana, I did take pictures of them in sets of 3 and 4 and priced them that way. I decided for online selling it just made way more sense to sell them that way. I've labeled all of them so now I have my monster 'packs'!

Carrie thank you so much for the tags tip and the shipping cost. I had no idea what to write for shipping. I read that some etsy sellers were covering the shipping cost in the US and I didn't know what cost was too high or low -- so thanks for that tip. I will go crazy with tagging as well.

Alright.. well hopefully soon I'll be able to tweak what I have up there so far and add more pictures of non-monster creations!

Oh yeah, and this is kind of a funny photography note -- but I've found that the lighting above my stovetop works the best in my house for taking pictures! The green background is actually a green file folder positioned on a cutting board, and pushed up against the wall on my stovetop.
I was thinking about getting multiple colored file folders, and using that 'style' to photograph my work. So everything will have this vibrant backdrop? Just another idea..

juana said...

sorry, sarah. i did not realize you were already selling them in groups!

i really love your background choice and i think your other pots will probably look great next to solid, bright colors too! i really like that idea! i am a color nut like you, and the few times i have been browsing on etsy, i find myself only clicking on a thumbnail if i like the colors and the composition on that little square. i don't care what they are selling. i just care about a good looking square. but then again i am usually not looking to buy, only looking for prettiness to look at and think about.

anyway, i wanted to suggest two things for future pictures:

1. maybe instead of file folders, try a rolls of colorful paper (or try rolling the file folders) so that the vertical plane of the background and the horizontal plane blend and become one continuous plane, a continuous backdrop instead of having a sharp line that divides the two planes. (i know that has a name, i just do not know what it is :) )

2. you may want to try using your camera's timer and a tripod (or setting your camera on a stable base, such a pile of books) to take your photos. that will ensure that your camera does not move, making your pictures a little out of focus.

it looks great anyway!

you guys are making me want to get started!

carter gillies said...

Juana, get started! I think your suggestions for Sarah are on the mark. Having a distinctive background is vital, but it needs to be something that doesn't distract from the work itself. Solid colors yes, but not every combination of background and colorful art will be as effective. That is one reason so many folks choose a neutral background.

The camera's timer is a must for me. Even if you don't want to invest in a tripod you can rig something up to get your camera to the correct height. The reason the tripod is preferable is that it is so easy to change the angle and height of the view. Once you get in a rhythm the time between shots is very little.

CAMERA FOCUS TIP: if you are having trouble getting your camera to focus on a particular shot try changing the magnification. But don't waste too much time fiddling with that. If it doesn't work after a few settings what you can do is put a small piece of white masking tape on the front edge of the pot, usually the rim for me, and click the shot with the timer on, and then remove the tape before the shot goes off. THIS WORKS!

sarahv said...

I spent some more time last night detailing the description and tweaking the shop appearance a bit. I still do not know what to put for my bio.. so for now its blank, with a picture of my cat! haha..

Carter I went a little crazy with my monster world descriptions.. but I think you'll like it.

Oh yeah and I have another name for someone else to use : Psycho Ceramics - the study of cracked pots

or we could have a show and call it that.. it just sounds so catchy to me.

carter gillies said...

Oh my gawd! Those descriptions are hilarious! Well done on that important detail! Now we just need to get folks to see your shop. I would do a little advertising on facebook with those descriptions. Maybe post one group a day and invite folks to check out your shop. Maybe also ask folks to spread the word to homes that would appreciate them.

I love the "psycho ceramics" name! Just the kind of humor that appeals to me! Keep up the good work!

Theresa said...


How big are they? If I didn't know, I would be confused. Did I miss it? You know how much I love mine, and I am going to get some more for my selfish self and not my grandchildren. But I know their size....

Theresa said...

I'm sorry. I didn't read all these wonderful comments before I posted my comment about their size. Obviously, you have had plenty of advice, so all I can say again is how much I adore mine. Four are sitting on the table before I wrap and ship them, but if they stay much longer, they may be permanent.

sarahv said...

yep Theresa you missed it, I now have their height listed in inches with the descriptions, and I have some pictured next to a spool of thread or a tea bag.

I'm so excited about the page! I have a photo shoot planned for my plates later this afternoon.

Theresa said...

Sarah, I bought three more monsters. I left them out on a table, and Rob was sweet enough to put them on my shelf. IOU next time I see you or before? If before, email me your adress, and I'll shoot a check to you. I wish I were a stranger buying on ETSY!

sarahv said...

yeah thanks Theresa! I'm just going to have to keep figuring out how to break in to this Etsy buyer's market!