Monday, April 25, 2011

An Interview with... ThreadThisFabric!

When did you start selling?

Thread This Fabric launched in September 2010. It started out as a dream between two friends. Brittany has an Etsy shop and we would drool over all the pretty fabrics she used. As a joke we said, “Oh, we should open our own fabric shop and stop giving all our money to Joann's!” Then, when we actually started thinking about it we decided, "Why not?" We researched how to become a fabric retailer then opened our first account with Riley Blake and started listing! The rest is history!

 What's your life outside of Etsy like?

We are two stay-at-home moms. I, Amanda, have 2 kids, Fallon(2) and Ethan(1 mo). I used to be a pharmacy technician but decided to stay home when I got pregnant with my son. Brittany has 2 kids also, Kendra(4) and Lucas(2). Brittany is a seamstress and runs another Etsy shop, HandmadeByBritt, which sells crayon rolls, aprons, backpacks, lunch bags, and purses. She sews beautiful things for both of our children and ALL of our friends!
What are your plans for your shop for 2011?

We are planning to add some new accounts. We are currently working towards Michael Miller. We also want to expand our appliqué section and add new designs and fabric choices. Also, Brittany is working on some PDF patterns for us to sell. We are excited about the new products we will soon have to offer our customers!

Do you sell in other venues outside of Etsy?

No, not at this time. Our big dream is to one day open a store in an actual building!

Favorite season? Favorite beverage? Favorite dessert?

Brittany: Fall, Coke, Cheesecake
Amanda: Winter, Dr. Pepper, Brownies

What’s your superhero power?

 We like to think that our superhero power is the ability to zap color and design into everyday living with our beautiful fabrics that can bring life into clothes, throw pillows, curtains, and whatever else our customers can dream up!

What's your top suggestion to new Etsy shops starting out?

The number one thing that has helped us is advertising. We advertise on craft/sewing blogs. You should match the content of the blog so that you are sure to target your customers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tips and Tricks: Leather supplies

Words of wisdom from EarthlyLeatherDesign

I would never sell someone something I wouldn’t buy myself. I find that honesty builds the best customer relationship. But unfortunately, if you don’t know what you are looking for you may get a hold of a lot of crap (to be honest) It’s happened to me.

Leather is generally measured in ounces or millimeters, I use mostly 3 to 4 ounce suede which is about 1-2 millimeters thick. Pig Skin and Lamb Skin are generally very thin garment leather. If I use it for making bags I will generally double it up with some other type of leather to make it sturdier.

Cow which is suede or garment leather I use most often, suede is generally very reasonable to buy if you are starting out and the hides are on the smaller side. Usually cow garment leather hides are very large and pricey.

Buffalo leather is also very pricey but it is also heavy it usually is around 5-8 ounces but it is sturdy but soft. Heavy like belt leather but soft like garment leather. I think that is the best way to discribe it.

There are also heavier types of cow leathers used for bag making and belt making. Out of a whole hide you are lucky to get a dozen useable belts. It is cheaper to go this way, but if you are just starting out. I would suggest buying belt blanks from a supplier to get started.

EarthlyLeatherDesign is available to awnser your leather questions! Message her here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

An Interview with... EarthlyLeatherDesign

When did you start selling?

I decided to start selling towards the end of last year. I had so many friends requesting items from me; that I thought why not see if anyone else would be interested in what I am doing.
Since I am doing so well now, I thought selling supplies would be the next great step in my business. When I began I was looking around for supplies, but most places want you to buy in bulk. So now I buy in bulk and offer people what I couldn’t find before, a reasonably amount of goods at a reasonable price. I hope that it takes off, so I may eventually have to open a second store just for supplies.

Any new product lines coming out?

I really plan on working on my supply line this summer. I always have extra leather lying around; if I am not using it then I would like to see someone else give it a go at making something out of it.
I plan on offering a larger variety of leather, buttons, and hopefully even some tools. I want to offer leather lace, closures, and rivets. It’s a work in progress and I will get there and hopefully beyond.
What is great is anyone can use leather scraps for just about anything. I have a couple customers buying scraps for accents on there bags or to make strap closures for purses.
Leather has endless possibilites.

What are your plans for (your shop) for 2011?

I plan on to just keep on working at it. The shop is really starting to take off, and it’s great to see all of my hard work and hard earned money well spent. My life is always an adventure I can’t wait to see what is around the next turn.

Were you creative growing up?

I’ve always been creative, whether I have been crafting with leather or making my own reenactment clothing. I have always had some sort of crafting project in my life. I’ve tried painting/drawing, knitting, quilting (thought I didn’t get very far with that project), wood burning, let’s just say if it’s a craft I have probably tried it.
But I love leather the most. It comes so natural to me, like second nature.

Favorite season? Favorite beverage? Favorite dessert?

I love Spring! Different kinds of Juices. I would kill someone for a Hot Fudge Spilt with Banana Ice Cream.

What's your superhero power?

I can see the future. It’s nice to know what your customers are going to buy so you can make it for them.

Any type of craft you would love to try?

I have always wanted to try pottery. It fascinates me; I really envy people that have that kind of talent.

What's your top suggestion to new Etsy shops starting out?

If your not doing something original at least try to make it your own. I’ve looked around and there are a lot of leather crafters out there. I have yet to find someone that does work similar to mine.
Don’t give up; you have to do the work to see the results. If you’re not out there promoting yourself people won’t find you. I probably spend just as much time promoting myself as I do working on items. It’s all about balance and finding what works for you. Most people like to be organized, but I find a nice dose of Chaos makes my world go round much easier. I always try to do things outside the box.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tips & Tricks

Tips for using vintage sewing supplies 

Vintage sewing patterns are great value! The garments made from them often have a different (some would say better) construction than modern patterns - the long French darts on many ‘60s dresses, the shaping on sleeves and shoulders, fancy bodice panelling – the list goes on. If you don’t want to dive in, boots and all, with a total vintage look, try using a vintage pattern with a modern fabric, or vice-versa. You’ll get a really individual look to your wardrobe. If you don’t feel confident wearing vintage-inspired clothes yourself, try vintage kids’ clothes (great handmade gifts), vintage dolls clothes, or vintage inspired accessories like curtains, cushions or aprons.

Vintage sewing patterns are sized differently to modern patterns, so choose your size by bust measurement for most patterns like dresses and jackets, and waist/hip measurements for pants and skirts.

Vintage buttons are often little works of art in themselves. I keep my collection of buttons, colour-sorted in old gumball jars. A modern blouse or dress can be given a whole new lease on life by substituting dull, stock-standard buttons for vintage ones. Threaded onto elastic, they make cute bracelets, or you can make a rotating display by pinning them to a corkboard or a framed, fabric-covered piece of thick cardboard.

Vintage fabrics, handkerchiefs and linen can be combined with a selection of modern or reproduction fabrics, to make a gorgeous, one-of a kind patchwork quilt. (Helpful when you can only obtain a tiny piece!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How people find Etsy listings - Rokali post

On Saturday, Rokali posted on the Etsy forums with this information on how users find individual Etsy listings. The information was given as an introduction to changes that will be incorporated into the listing process (and as a consequence, the search and category structure). For now, it's interesting stuff to know:

- Only 22% of people arrive on a listing page through the search feature
- And 4% from a category page
- 60% of people get to a listing from a shop homepage or another listing (it's a 30%-30% split)
- External referrals are 9% (stuff like advertisements, blogs, etc)
- Internal referrals are 5% (other etsy pages... forums, treasury, activity feed, Storque)

What does all of this mean?!

The numbers indicate that browsing categories is not popular... I think we've all seen this. With the amount of items on Etsy, categories are just not an efficient way to find what you're looking for. 

The search feature seems to yield a low percentage of visits, but it's actually the most effective way to get people into your shop (compared to external and internal referrals). The trick is recognizing that the listing that brings people into your store is only a 'gateway'. From there they are very likely to view other listings in your store.

How can I use this to my advantage?

These are all things we've heard before, but now we have the numbers to prove they work! Below is a list of suggestions to maximize traffic into and within your shop:

-Bring them in: Make use of all of your tags, and use them wisely. Research how similar items are tagged. Use your Google Analytics to see which tags are actually working. Swap out the ones that aren't. If you're uncomfortable with GA, you can use Craftopoli's Tag Report, which breaks it down into an easy-to-understand report, sorted by item.

-Keep them there: Use your item description strategically. Provide basic information about your shop and the item, as well as other relevant links within your shop: sections with similar items, specific complementing items, etc.

-Keep them interested: Having a buyer browse from item to item will depend on their confidence in finding something they like in your shop. A cohesive shop feel and style is a big part of that.

Use the comments to submit your own suggestions on how to take advantage of this information!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Interview with... allthepreciousthings

How did allthepreciousthings come to be?

A few years ago I discovered the addictive pursuit of “Op Shopping”. Cruising Sydney’s Op Shops (“charity stores”, as they’re known overseas?) became my favourite way to spend time – sorting through them to find beautiful and quirky vintage gems. I hoarded a whole lot of depression glassware, buttons, linens, patterns, aprons and books, and eventually had to start buying glass display cabinets to house them all. My husband coined the phrase “all the precious things” when referring to my ever growing collections.
I realised that I had far more than I could ever use, at about the same time that I discovered Etsy (as a buyer) – so I decided to open a shop.
 What do you do when you aren't selling supplies?

My part-time (paid) career is as a sonographer in a large diagnostic Breast Clinic – this means I do Ultrasound (sonograms), generally looking for breast cancer.
My full-time (unpaid) career is as a wife and Mum, to my 18 year old son, Mitchell, and my 16 year old daughter, Courtney, who has severe Autism and Epilepsy. When Courtney finishes school at the end of next year, it’s going to be harder for me to go out to work in the city, so my online work will probably have to take over as my main source of income.

What do you like most about selling supplies?

I love having the patterns, buttons and fabrics in my care for a while, so I can admire and enjoy them before passing them on. The graphics on the old sewing patterns are so beautiful – usually hand-drawn and coloured.
Selling vintage means I never know what I’ll discover next.
 What are your goals for your Supply Business for 2011?

I have a pile of really old (1930s and 40s) knitting, sewing and crochet patterns that I want to restore and digitalise. When I have them organised, I’ll be opening my third Etsy store,
And I’d like to start my own website and blog!
 Are you an artist and do you work with the supplies that you sell? What is it that you make with them and do you have any tips for using your supplies?

I’m a lifelong artist. It’s just that the medium I work with keeps changing! I went to Art college for 2 years, and learned everything from drawing, to painting and printmaking. At other times I’ve dabbled in lead-lighting, quilting, photography and ceramics. Mum taught me to sew as a young girl, and that’s been an ongoing, evolving pursuit. I’ve only recently discovered vintage patterns, buttons, fabrics and trim; and it’s changed everything about the way I sew. Rather than buying modern patterns, I prefer vintage styles and always have an eye out for patterns to add to my own collection.
I love vintage fabrics, and have an enormous stash which threatens to take over the house!
My collection of vintage knitting needles, buttons and fabrics is my supply stash for my second Etsy shop, ,where I sell my upcycled knitting needle bracelets and handmade bags and accessories.

Visit allthepreciousthing's main store here: 

Friday, March 11, 2011


New treasury by Fabric Place! Check it out, leave a comment, find the supplies you needed!