Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Black Friday Blah, Cyber Monday Celebrates

It shouldn't be a surprise that only about 50 percent of people surveyed will be physically shopping this Black Friday. According to, that figure is down 2 percent. In contrast, 60 percent of Cyber Monday shoppers will take a bite out of physical shopping figures this year, a rise of 5 percent over last year.

This is, of course, good news for online handmades sellers. The more shoppers, the merrier! Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 05, 2015

Shop Filled With Stolen Digitals Taken Down At Bonanza

Digital owned by Kika Esteves

The Giftgenie shop at Bonanza was taken down, as of this morning, by admin or closed by the owner, who was stealing the work of graphic designers. Some of the work stolen and listed included digital papers and images by Kika Esteves, Maishop and Pop Stock Images. All of the images in this blog post are stolen files images which I've taken from the Kaleidoguide shop overview at Bonanza: The Giftgenie shop is gone, but the Kaleidoguide review remains. I am glad so that I can show you some of what was stolen.
Digital owned by Maishop (the digital that I bought from Giftgenie)
There were oodles and oodles more graphics, digitals and clipart files at this shop, in fact, over 3,000 product listings! I believe most were probably stolen, because many had brand names and logos on the banners. I bought the ribbon banners file, which had no brand. I now know that they belong to Maishop, because I just saw them at her Meylah shop.

Digital owned by Pop Stock Images
I had mentioned via email to the shop owner, when I was browsing, that "I see you are selling Kika Esteves papers." She/he replied, "Yes, with permission of course." This was a bold-faced lie of which I was unaware, but something about the shop kept nagging at me. Something was not right. I really thought that the store was some type of graphic clearing house. I did not ask, but the owner did not explain to me how she/he was being allowed to sell the work of others. I kept wondering how, and thinking that maybe I could do this for more exposure. Interestingly, there had been a problem with the shop that frustrated my ordering. When I complained to the seller, she said that she had someone listing products for her. Apparently she had someone scraping the Net to steal digitals and list them in this shop. The listings were incomplete or flawed in some way, and the seller had to go behind the person and correct the issues.
Digital owned by Kika Esteves

I recognized Maishop and Kika papers from Meylah, where I have a shop. I'd never seen Pop Stock Images, but since the logo was so distinctive, I decided to Google it. When I was able to make time, I contacted each designer, telling them my story. I explained how it had been bothering me, and asked if they had given permission for this person to sell their graphics.

Digital owned by Maishop
Though I had wondered, I was stunned when each designer said no permission was given. I had learned years ago that this type of theft was happening regularly. I've seen websites established to post theft alerts. I've also seen creatives image theft complaint posts in various venue forums. I was still shocked and dismayed that I'd run across an actual thief. I sent the three designers links to some of their products at this shop, after which they contacted the shop owner and Bonanza.

I am glad to know that this thief seller and the thieving shop are gone. We know that they are throughout the Internet. Like resellers of cheap, knockoff merchandise, who keep popping up at handmade venues, they migrate, rename themselves and offend repeatedly. We won't stop exposing them though. We won't be forced off of the Web because of security concerns, but we'll continue to enjoy the eCommerce that we work so hard to develop.

You can use Copyscape to help protect your online content. The site shares this about their service: "Copyscape provides a free plagiarism checker for finding copies of your web pages online, as well as two more powerful professional solutions for preventing content theft and content fraud." I have been planning to use it to regularly check my own content, but haven't worked the habit into my schedule yet. It is an important part of online selling.

Protected by Copyscape

Protected by Copyscape

Protected by Copyscape

Protected by Copyscape

Protected by Copyscape

Please visit the shops of these designers whose work was saved from being pilfered one more time:

Kika Esteves Digital CutiesMeyla    Etsy

Maishop Digital ArtMeyla    Etsy

Pop Stock ImagesWebsite    Etsy

Also visit my shops EmbellishMartMeyla   Bonanza

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Making Sales Happen: More Crucial Than Ever

Sales seem to be down at all listing venues.

I just left MadeItMyself's community, where there is a continually-growing thread asking does anyone ever sell anything on here? While it's a valid question for a listing venue with rare sales, an aged interface and little if any marketing presence, I've been hearing this gripe for at least a year now at other venues that usually do better. Except for the ebb and flow of sales around holidays and events, will sales ever pick up again to the levels that were enjoyed years ago?

I for one am not sure that this is likely.

 One reason is that the surge of makers entering the marketplace increases monthly, as more strive to supplement their income by plying their wares. As I have observed this trend over the past few years, it has somewhat alarmed me, but not enough to deter me from ecommerce, or any other type of commerce. I am a designer, maker and seller, for the long haul. It's who I am, not what I do, so there's no jumping ship for me when it comes to marketing my handmades, graphics, artwork, retro/vintage, supplies and creative services. Instead, there is only the motivation to make things happen, or sales that is.

Except for Etsy and eBay, and maybe a couple more venues, the seller has to work hard to drive customers to the listing site.

Many sellers don't want to do this, or don't know how. Sellers who have experience at the top 2-3 sites with automatic traffic don't want to work to generate sales at other venues. But even Etsy, with its massive traffic, is not a success for many people. More so now, the competition is crushing, where it was just overwhelming before.  Without a unique product and attention to marketing and promotion, It's easy to get lost among the sea of other sellers.

It doesn't matter if what I share next is true or not, because I am going to make a universal point.

I read that it is required (or at one time was) for sellers to participate in the selling teams at Etsy. While this is certainly a useful and desirable method of marketing, it is useless for those who need to adopt other promotion methods. If committing to a selling team does not resonate with a member, sales will still suffer. I am not picking on Etsy, but referring to any site where the crafter may be required to participate in promotion that may be successful for some, but that is not compatible for all. Time and effort is wasted and the sales are still not generated for those who are struggling at a site that may be top notch for successful listing.

It's becoming more obvious as the months wear on that no matter where we list, to realize sales we will have to find our own ways to make things happen. 

While some creatives can list on highly successful venues, sit back and do nothing except create and order pull, that is not the reality for the majority of online handmades sellers. In addition to creating products, we have to find ways to and become adept at creating sales, not wait for them and gripe.

Image from Pixabay Free Images.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

MANAGEMENT: What's Keeping You From Being Rich?

Forget being rich. These 20 fears, shared by MSN Personal Finance, can keep you from simply reaching your potential. Start reaching it and you just may wake up one day in a higher income bracket. 20 Fears That Are Keeping You From Being Rich.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

CRAFTING: How To Use A Digital/Digi Stamp

I was looking around at Meylah this morning, after listing my latest product, and I ran across a digital stamp listing. I had always wondered if there is a significant difference between digi stamps and clip art, because this product looked like a black and white, downloadable clip art file. Deciding to educate myself once and for all, I found in my searches that there is one main difference between the two.

Digital stamp files are usually designed for stampers and others who embellish images for use in creative projects. They are generally unfinished, black and white line drawings, sketches or stamped images made into downloadable files. Clip art is often finished images that need no further embellishment in order to be printed and used.  

If you've ever wondered, below is a tutorial on how to access and use a digi stamp.


Monday, April 27, 2015

CRAFTING: The Crafts Report Magazine Renamed

The Crafts Report now Handmade Business
The all new Handmade Business Magazine
 The Crafts Report, published by Jones Publishing, is now Handmade Business. Download your free copy here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

SELF-MARKETING: Say The Opposite Of These Things

Learn from successful people.
 6 Things Successful Women Never Say, at Marie Claire Mag online. I like number three about how not to say yes to everything. It's not only women, but successful men don't say these things either.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

MARKETING On The Internet:What's Your Problem?

What will it take for your Internet marketing program to pay off?

Been struggling with your Internet marketing process? Confused about all of the options, resources, business social sites and SEO advisers that are available? Maybe it would be helpful for you to back up and seriously evaluate your feelings about utilizing the Internet to generate income and extend your reach. Read what Quora members have to share about What is the biggest problem that small businesses are facing regarding marketing on the Internet? 

There are so many sage comments at this Quora page that can help give you insight into the possible sources of your problems with savvy Internet marketing. Here are a few:  

"4. They have not clearly identified what makes their small business truly unique from the goliaths or local competition that offer similar products/services. This lack of differentiation decreases the effectiveness and power of their marketing communications, because they look like everybody else."

"So the important question to ask is What specific objective does the small business owner have in mind as he or she envisions an Internet solution? Many are convinced that Internet marketing (or social media) can make a big difference in their business, but they're just not sure how. "
"4) Understanding that just because the tools are (usually) free, and (usually) easy to use, that using them *effectively* isn't as easy.  A hammer is cheap and easy to swing, but it's not for screwing in screws is it?"