Thursday, February 18, 2016

Coastal Crochet Crafts on Etsy


My Etsy Shop is Called Coastal Crochet Crafts!


It First Began as Mountainside Crochet
 
Mountainside Crochet became my online presence eight years ago when I first opened my Etsy Shop. I chose the name for my shop using two criteria - my specialty and my location. I am a crochet crafter and the shop would feature my crocheted creations, so I needed to use 'crochet' as part of my shop name. There are numerous shops on Etsy in this fiber craft, so I wanted to add something to the word 'crochet' to distinguish myself from the others. I decided to pick my location. Since we are limited to 20 characters in the name, it had to be something that fit. At the time, I was living on the 'side' of Stumphouse Mountain on the edge of the Blue Ridge mountains in western South Carolina, thereby "creating crafts while living in the mountains." Well, MountainsideCrochet was 19 characters, so that fit exactly in the length criteria, and also would tell everyone Who and What my Etsy shop was about.
Recently I moved to the Georgia Coast outside Savannah and living near the beach the name with 'Mountainside' in it was no longer apropos. Therefore, I have just changed my Etsy Shop name to Coastal Crochet Crafts. Welcome!


Look, Before you Leap!

 

Pixabay
It's Best to Learn What You're Doing First!

It is wise, before beginning a new venture, particularly one that involves doing something you've never done before, to do your research and know something about what you are about to do. Well, not only did I not know anything about opening a craft shop on Etsy - or doing anything harder than sending emails on the computer - I did NOT do any real research. Oh, I read the how-to on Etsy about setting up your shop. That seemed enough, so I began. Boy, did I have a lot to learn, and learn I did, the Hard Way!

Trials and Tribulations of a Non-Technical Person!


First, I'd never used a digital camera before, and my photography over the years had left a lot to be desired (I tended to cut off people's heads all the time). I read the instructions for the camera and took several pictures and even figured out how to transfer them to my computer. OK, so far!

Source: Pixabay
After creating my shop account on Etsy, I started out to list my first item. There were 5 pages to complete, including title and description, category and tag words, price and shipping information. (Now it's a simplified form all on one page) When I came to Step 4: Upload photos. I clicked on the browse button, found my first photo on my computer, and clicked the upload button. At the time I was using 'dial-up', so expected this to take awhile, but I waited.... and waited... and nothing happened. Being unsure what I was doing, I figured I'd done something wrong, so started all over. More waiting..... nothing happened except a blank screen! After 5 or 6 attempts, I emailed Etsy Admin and asked why it wasn't working. They replied with 'what size did you resize your photos to, because if the picture is too big, it won't upload'. Resize? I have to resize?  

My next step was to learn to resize each picture in the program that came with my digital camera. Once that was accomplished, the pictures uploaded just fine! Duh!


A Guide to Selling on Etsy is Very Helpful

 

An Etsy Guide
It would have been most helpful if ~ before I began setting up my Etsy Shop ~ I had read a guide to the basics.  A list of hints on how to set up an Etsy shop, including writing item descriptions, taking photographs of my work, and understanding the 'ins' and 'outs' of fees, shipping, packaging, etc. would have saved me much frustration as I learned to be an Etsy seller.  This book on "Starting an Etsy Business (for Dummies)" (and 'newbies' like me) would have been the perfect guide at the start.


Plush Baby Bear in Green

 

Plush Baby Bear
Plush Baby Bear with Bib

Very First Shop Listing

My very first listing in my new Etsy Shop was a cute little baby teddy bear.  The fun part of crocheting stuffed animals is you can make them in any color you want. Sometimes I use a traditional color, like brown for a bear, but other times the more colorful the better. Babies, especially, like bright colors.

Over the years I've made over two dozen of these baby teddy bears for family and friends. It's a fun pattern I found in the May/June 1989 issue of Crochet World. The pattern was titled simply "Baby Bear" and was written by Sheila Leslie.

The latest 'Baby Bear with Bib' I made now lives with a friend's cute granddaughter in Florida. Another one can be requested in any color you want. Just contact me at my Etsy Shop

Meanwhile, many other teddy bears and other kinds of plush bears are currently living in my Etsy Shop.


My First Sale

 

Holly Hippo Ballerina

Two weeks after opening my Etsy Shop, I received an email stating I had SOLD an item. I could barely contain my excitement! The email from Etsy also stated that the customer had paid by PayPal and, according to the directions, I should now have a 2nd email confirming the PayPal payment. I waited a couple hours, but no second email arrived. Naturally I thought I had done something wrong with setting up the PayPal account, so I contacted PayPal. They researched my account, told me it was correctly set up, but that no payment had arrived. Well, I didn't know what to do next.

In the email from Etsy, we are given a mailing address for shipping the sold item, plus the customer's email for contact. I sent the customer an email about how I would ship the item as soon as I received payment and to confirm that she paid with PayPal. Nothing. No reply. The order had come in late Friday and now it was the weekend. The customer appeared to have an email address that seemed to reflect a business, so I did an online search and found her business in Colorado. This made me think that perhaps she had ordered from work and wouldn't get my follow up email until she returned to work on Monday. So I made myself relax and wait out the weekend.

It turned out the customer was new to online shopping, and didn't know how to complete a PayPal transaction. New shopkeeper + new online customer = "the blind leading the blind!" We got it all worked out and she was delighted with her hippo, as that is what she collects in all shapes and forms! The next sale went much more smoothly.


Where the Designs & Patterns Come From...

 

A Penguin Colony in Colorful Plush Crochet

For my Crocheted 'Critters'
 


I have been creating crocheted 'critters' for more than 40 years, so many of the patterns I use are now considered 'vintage'. Some came from crochet magazines I subscribed to many years ago; others from even older issues accumulated from friends and thrift stores over time. 

Today, many free crochet patterns can be found online at various crochet-related websites and blogs.



My Crochet Creating is Expanding...

 

I Discovered the Amigurumi Style!
 
The Amigurumi Style of crochet (and knitting) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. After about a year of crocheting my standard plush animals, I began seeing many creations on Etsy called Amigurumi. At first I thought they looked 'silly' - big heads.... small bodies.... skinny arms & legs. THEN, I tried one... this little Amigurumi Bunny... and 'fell in love'. It turned out so cute! Since then I have used the basic design to create my own Amigurumi designs.


Amigurumi Animal Patterns
If you are a crochet crafter like me, you might like to try this Amigurumi-Style of crochet. My favorite Amigurumi is in the form of cute little animals and this book, Animal Amigurumi to Crochet is a fun way to begin. The book includes patterns to crochet eight animals ( a bear, bunny, cat, dog, elephant, giraffe, hippo, and a monkey). There are also instructions on how to assemble the animals and tips on crochet and Amigurumi techniques. The finished dolls range in size from 12 to 18 inches tall.


Feedback is Fun!

 

I love getting emails and feedback from my customers. I find it so delightful to learn why they selected my item. The stories are so interesting and have made me realize that the item I chose to create was exactly what someone was looking for. I do not usually follow a trend and only occasionally crochet something 'holiday-related'. Most of the time I make what appeals to me and when I discover why something appeals to a customer, I work around that idea to come up with more items in that theme. But most of my themes come first from my interests. 

We will expand on those interests and themes, such as the seashore, nature, and farm & zoo animals in future crochet stories. 


Many of my Crocheted Critters Have New Homes...


A Happy Customer
In the 8 years I have had my crochet shop on Etsy, my 'crocheted critters' have found new homes in a wide variety of different states.

They now reside in locations from California to New York and Wisconsin to Florida. It's such fun 'tracking' my sales! I have a map of the United States posted on my bulletin board and put colored stickers on the locations where my little creations now live.

My very first international sale was a Red Letter day, and a new learning experience filling out the international customs form! A little green baby octopus now lives in Switzerland! Then a plush tiger traveled to Canada. And this picture shows a happy little girl in Scotland with her new plush penguin. But the longest journey any of my 'critters' has made happened in August 2012, when two plush animals went to Australia!

My Crocheted Creations and I Thank You for Visiting Us


A Collection of Crocheted Octopi

Thank you for visiting the story of my crochet shop, Coastal Crochet Crafts. Come visit anytime in my land of crochet where my cute critters romp & play.  Our doors are always open.








(c) Wednesday Elf.  Article written on 2/18/2015. updated 2/18/2017.

8 comments:

  1. I love your Etsy store! I am sure I have heard bits and pieces of your story and how you started selling on Etsy, but I really enjoyed reading about it all in this one article. Selling online (in my case, I have an Ebay store) definitely requires a lot more than one would think. Having a helping guide to walk you through the set up and the first few listings would definitely be very beneficial. It actually takes a few years to start feeling like you understand what is happening :)

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    1. I'm STILL learning, Mouse. There are new things to figure out all the time. When I first opened my Etsy shop, viewing web pages on a mobile didn't exist. Now you have to display your wares to their best advantage for everyone using any device to shop. And, yes, it did take me 'years' to really understand all it all works. :)

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  2. Must be wonderful to know your work is being enjoyed by so many, love your crocheted items, so cute!

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    1. Thanks, Barbara. It does my heart good when people enjoy my handmade products. Even after eight years on Etsy, I still get excited over a sale and love it when buyers tell me why they chose a particular item.

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  3. What adorable creations! I'm an octopus fan... I've never tried an Etsy store.

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    1. You should check out Etsy for your crafts, Linda Jo. Thanks for visiting my collection of octopi.

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  4. Etsy is my #1 favorite place to shop now! I love so many of the items available there, but most especially your mouse potholders/trivets. I just adore them and so does my family. They remind me of you every time I pull one out to use and that is always a lovely reminder.

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    1. Thanks, Mouse. I think of YOU every time I crochet another mouse potholder. LOL. Thanks for visiting my Etsy Shop!

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