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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Zur Designs Pre-Holiday News

So it's been a busy time at Zur Designs...getting ready for the holidays, doing up some custom orders, and slowly but surely doing an overhaul to my Etsy shop. As you might have noticed, I have a new banner on this blog with a matching avatar thanks to a very talented handmade artisan friend of mine Nicola Viau otherwise known as Ambient Girl Designs. I haven't completed my shop makeover yet but you have to check out the new's so pretty! I have begun to make a rather lengthy list of how many places my avatar needs to be changed!! Phew!!

So I am part of the wonderful group of Etsy artisans that have come together to offer incredible savings during American Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend! Some hardworking Etsians have put together an incredible blog that is categorized and alphabetized to make shopping a breeze and Indie Smiles has pitched in by offering all participants directory listings. Then there is a dedicated Facebook page for this event!

Come join us as we celebrate the handmade movement by offering you quality hand-crafted items perfect for the holiday season!!

Oh and as for my sale? I am offering the following specials:

  • FREE SHIPPING worldwide for the duration of the sale
  • 10% off any of my sterling silver chain necklaces for the duration of the sale
  • FOR CYBER MONDAY ONLY: BOGO--buy one coil bracelet and get the second coil bracelet for half price
For the necklaces, I was going to do the refund through PayPal but since it's for the duration of the sale, I think I will adjust the prices to make it more convenient. The coil bracelets for Monday I'll refund the difference through Etsy because that's kind of a random choice for buyers. The shipping will be all set to FREE.

This Saturday, November 28th, I am going to be part of the Everlastings 13th Annual Holiday Open House and Sale in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Everlastings is a handmade business started by two of my sisters Jude and Cath that features one-of-a-kind silk and dried flower arrangements and other home decor and gift items such as candles, handmade pot potpourri and much, much more. My sister Cath passed away in 1998 but Jude carries on with Everlastings and each year this holiday sale is held in honor of our beloved sister. My sister Pat will be selling her original photographs of New England and the Berkshires as well as photo cards, bookmarks, and other affordable art products. I will be presenting my handmade jewelry. Afterward we will be celebrating a landmark birthday for my sister Jude...I can't tell you how old she'll be because she would be very mad at me!!!

Original Photography by Patricia Hall Pellegrino
Floral Wreath by Judith Hall Votolato

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Secret Garden Necklace

When I was a little girl we had this wonderful backyard that overlooked a pond and had lots of trees to climb, a large vegetable garden, lots of flowers, and a stone fireplace where the family had cookouts all summer long. My dad put in a swimming pool so he could keep track of all of us and so we had a tall fence all away around the perimeter of the yard.

I thought of it as a wonderland and called it my secret garden. I would open the gate and it just seemed magical inside; like there was a whole new world beyond that fence!

This is what I was thinking of when I created this 25" long necklace. I love the pretty pendant of flowers in pink and black, and I added sterling silver chain, swarovski pearls, and charms containing small pearls, crystals and beads of Czech glass...and I couldn't forget the key to open the gate and enjoy the magic within!

The Secret Garden Necklace is for sale in my Etsy Shop! I am offering FREE SHIPPING on all items in my shop!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Let's Talk About Facebook

According to recent statistics, there are more than 200 million active users on Facebook, half of which log on to Facebook every day. An average user has approximately 120 friends and more than 4 million users become fans of pages every day! Rather staggering numbers! I know what you are saying...I said the same thing a few years does knowing that my friend Jason has joined the group "I Love Bacon" help me market my indie handmade business? The answer of course is setting up a Facebook Fan Page and then utilizing that page in conjunction with your personal Facebook page to connect with your customers, and form a solid community with other handmade artisans.

I decided to use Facebook for my business to accomplish the following goals:

1. Gain exposure to people who are searching for my products
2. Connect and engage with current and potential customers
3. Create a community around my business
4. Ultimately be able to promote other content that I create whether it be my blog, tutorials, webinars, etc

Some of the great features built in to Facebook are you can use third party applications to launch your Etsy mini or Artfire Kiosk on your fan page for instance. You can post all the links where fans can find you on Twitter, your personal blog, and at your Etsy shop. You can post topics to your own personal Discussion Board that will help link users together. Topics can include: share your Etsy Shop link, do you have a Twitter channel, do you have a blog...this can generate a value to your fan page for the readers within the handmade community and help them further their efforts to receive more traffic to their online selling site.

First things first...they way Facebook is set up, everything evolves around an individual Facebook profile. The profile represents the individual and is held under your individual name. Around this profile, you can create a Facebook Fan Page to represent your business. Here are some resources that help you set up your Facebook Profile:

Some resources to help you set up your Facebook Fan Page:
Okay, your profile and fan page is all set what? Well, for your personal profile...go out and get some friends! Here's a few tips on how to go about it:
  • Start with your center of influence--your friends, family, colleagues
  • Join some groups on Facebook and make friend requests of members who share same interests--Etsy groups for instance are a great way to connect with fellow artisans and buyers too!
  • Once you begin to get friend confirmations Facebook with send you an email that the person has confirmed you as a friend and will give a list of some of the friends they have that you might be interested in. That has a snowballing affect and you end up with a nice group of targeted friends within your interest group.
Now you need to get followers for your fan page! A nifty way to start is to invite all of your friends and family to become a fan. There is a quick and easy way to make this request right on the fan page on the far left; there's a link that's called "Suggest to Friends" that will pull up a list of all your profile friends and send invitations to become a fan of your fan page. This is a wonderful way to start getting fans to your page. Other ways include:
  • Join a thread (or start one) in Etsy forums requesting Facebook Fans
  • Join one of the groups within Facebook such as "Etsy" and post to the Discussion Page all topics concerning Facebook Fan Pages
  • Tweet about your Fan Page on Twitter
  • Post it on you blog--encourage people to join using a giveaway or some special incentive for Facebook Fans
  • Put a Facebook Fan Page Badge on your blog--readers can quickly get to your fan page and become a fan in a few easy steps
Once you have established your fan page, you owe it to yourself to begin using the wonderful analytics option that you can access right from your page called Insights. As we all know, a key component to any marketing activity is measuring and analyzing the results of your efforts. Utilizing Facebook Insights as well as Google Analytics for measurements outside your page, here are a few metrics to consider:
  • Reach--total number of fans, group members, or friends
  • Engagement--the level of engagement and number of conversations with potential and current customers and fans. Insights, lets you track valuable metrics such as page views, wall posts, discussion threads, and photo views.
  • Impact on Sales Funnel--the number of visitors from Facebook to your website that convert into customers and sales. Use a marketing analytics program such as Google Analytics to track the impact on your sales directly related to your Facebook Fan Page.
You can also use Facebook Insights to monitor the demographics of your fans and use this to tailor both your fan page content and your business products themselves to suit your target market.

Facebook is a tool for connecting people with those around them. And, as with any social media tool, handmade indie business owners have an opportunity to use Facebook to expand their online footprint and engage with customers directly. The end result is increased traffic to their online selling venue and ultimately increased sales. More than that, it can promote the feeling of collaboration and community which is such a vital part of the handmade industry itself!

So my Facebook Fan Page is about yours? Post yours in the comments following this entry and I'll be sure to become your next fan!

Monday, November 02, 2009

And The Winner of Lunarbelle's Giveaway Is...

Steffi Snape! Congratulations Steffie! You should check out her blog called Mizz Snape Lives For A Day! It's really a great one with giveaways and some wonderful insights into this young writer's world!

I would like to thank Lunarbelle for participating as this week's Feature Etsy Artisan and thanks to all that took a peek and participated! Hope you enjoyed the feature!

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    About Me

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    I am an MBA Jewelry Artisan and owner of Zur Designs.  I create handcrafted jewelry using only the highest quality materials such as sterling silver,semi-precious gemstones, swarovski crystals, and pearls.

    My designs are inspired by life, love, and the beauty that surrounds me from the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts to the wonderful beaches in Rhode Island...both I consider my home.