Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My New Free Store on ShopIt

I just love economical ways to market my jewelry and supplies, so when I heard about the FREE ShopIt shopping cart I just had to check it out. ShopIt offers a fairly clean looking storefront with lots of backend features. And did I mention it is FREE?

I fought with this application, but finally managed to get my new ShopIt store looking somewhat presentable and the ShopIt widget is now installed on my FaceBook profile and my MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/gahooletree

The coolest thing about the ShopIt venue is the ability to literally illuminate your profiles on Facebook and MySpace with your product gallery by installing the ShopIt widget in those places.
So now contacts who look me up will literally be bombarded with pics and info about my jewelry! This is quite exciting because my former colleagues searching me out online have no idea that I create jewelry now.

At first I couldn't customize the ShopIt widget (which wouldn't even show up in my browser). But because this darn ShopIt application is still in beta mode I thought it was just a small bug until I finally figured out that I needed to update to Explorer 7 or Firefox. Voila! things are working fine now...

Of course you can always add an item manually - that's fairly straight forward and easy to do with ShopIt. But I wanted to figure out the batch uploads. It took me about an hour to develop a system for a mass product upload to ShopIt. There are likely many faster and more efficient methods but here's what I did.

Using the free google base formatter on http://www.letsets.com I did a batch download for my SassyDLite shop. Copy and paste that into excel. Create the mandatory headers (outlined in the ShopIt guide to batch uploads) and delete the pics. Fill in missing fields (quantity = 1 and Condition = N for new). Then i stole the pic urls from my etsy shop and pasted those urls into the spreadsheet in the ImageURL column. The pics are housed on one of etsy's many servers. Save this spreadsheet as a CSV file (comma saved value) and you're ready to upload.

Another reasonable storefront alternative is Artfire. I'll be joining that new community soon too. And the rates if you join right now are only $7/month for life with no listing fees, no transaction fees, no commissions, no other costs. Just $7 per month and this facility offers lots of features that sellers (like my team mates at eSMArts) will adore like unlimited product categories.

More on Artfire next time...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

New ShopIt Widget

I'm trying this new free shopping cart software from www.ShopIt.com that allows you to post a widget to social marketing venues like FaceBook and MySpace. Will let you know how it goes.

To get my etsy content added to this new venue I've experimented with using the www.Letsets.com GoogleBase formatter bulk download and converting it to a CSV file for bulk upload to ShopIt. This system takes some time to implement. It might be just as fast to input each item manually to ShopIt.

But this type of advertising on social marketing venues might just make sense because my widget on FaceBook is already receiving traffic. Check it out!

Till next time,
~Anna Lee

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little Christmas Bazaar

Here I am setting up with kate in the background

We'll be doing lots of jewelry showings in 2009 and hopefully I'll be able to keep everyone informed of these events well in advance. But here's a few tidbits about the little Christmas Bazaar that was held November 29th at Thorntonview Residence here in Oshawa.

My jewelry table was located beside the Tea Room in the Corbett wing where Kate lives. Although totally isolated from the other vendors, this location did prove to be advantageous. The atmosphere was more quiet, tranquil and intimate in this area, where coffee, tea and christmas cakes were being served.

I'm glad we attended this venue which served as a good trial run and gave me a chance to see how my new display items will work.

In early 2008 I bought countertop displays, a sample case and other display items from Rio Grande but I hadn't had a chance to use them. In the top photo black vinyl stackable trays from my rolling sample case (Rio Grande no. 400-468 $18) are used as countertop containers. I lined my sample trays with black velvet easel back display pads that are a breeze to set up and dismantle. If there were more room, more easel back displays could be stood up freeing up the trays to hold keychains, bookmarks, zipper pulls etc.

For earrings we used a rotating hanging card display on the left and a clear plexiglass lockable countertop display case on the right. I'm currently using generic plastic earring cards (Rio Grande 405-557/14) that I personalize using a label maker. Fall/Winter 2008 Brochure Oracle Gem Designs

This setup is by no means artistic, but it's functional and easy to transport. The rotating displays get moved in unfinished wooden crates from Michael's. Two crates will hold the halogen desk lamp, both display stands, table cloth, and all non displayed inventory, tools, promotional items etc.

As y'all know, I love visuals and here's the Fall/Winter 2008 Brochure personalized for this particular event. I print one on matte photo stock and copy what I need. In this case I only took about 30 of these. David handed them out in the 'real' bazaar area. If it was a bigger event, I would take this to Staples for copying.

We displayed a variety of items at varying price points - from five dollar earrings & SassyDLite casual items to formal luxe gemstone items from Gahooletree. I was surprised that none of the newly created items sold. Go figure! At Staples we couldn't find the little coloured dot stickers to colour code items by price, but we made due as best we could.

A big hit was actually a last minute addition. Practically on the way out the door I grabbed a handful of 925 Italian sterling silver snake chain necklaces with sterling silver gemstone pendants attached (from Mexico) that sold out. Obviously these aren't truly handmade by my definition but they looked impressive once I finally polished them up and spread them around the table.

We donated a door prize/raffle item that I forgot to photograph :) It was a gift wrapped gemstone treasures necklace. I included a formal typed item description with overview of my jewelry and mini bio - a promotional flyer specific to that one donated piece as info for the winning recipient.

We picked up a few custom orders and overall it was a great day as I got to sit and sip coffee with Kate (who had a blast interacting with the customers). I'm pleased with this venue and we'll likely be there again next year. In fact I just met with my publicist on Monday to begin setting up our 2009 events calendar. Until next time...

~Anna Lee