Category Archives: Business Tips

Become New Mexico True

This past month Annie of ASpinnerWeaver completed a live training session for the team on how to become New Mexico True. If you missed it that’s ok we have brought the training to you.

The New Mexico True Certified program is part of the New Mexico Department of Tourism.

It brings national attention to the quality, care and craftsmanship behind products that are uniquely New Mexican, while providing opportunity for small and large businesses to integrate the New Mexico True Certified mark on their packaging, fulfillment, and marketing materials.

The program is free.

Products can be in one of the following 3 categories:

  1. Made in New Mexico- products made in NM (does not require that all ingredients or components are made in NM).
  2. Born & Raised in New Mexico- Animals and livestock which produce food and fiber products. Dairy products, meat and wool.
  3. Grown in New Mexico- Plants and agricultural products, food products.

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Company must be located in NM
  • Products must fit into one of the categories above
  • Must have a business name
  • New Mexico Tax ID #
  • Website where your product can be purchased. (either your own website, a platform like Etsy or from a retail outlet with a virtual store like Amazon).

BENEFITS:

  • Permission to integrate “New Mexico True Certified” mark on packaging and marketing materials
  • Business or product listing on NewMexico.org (Under the tab “Things to Do” and “True Certified Shopping”)
  • Consideration for inclusion in an upcoming issue of New Mexico Magazine and/or future episodes of New Mexico True Television
  • Retail opportunity through designated New Mexico True Certified e-commerce site
  • Referral to consumer retail merchandising consultant
  • Advertising, social media, and public relations support for the New Mexico True Certified program through the New Mexico Tourism Department
  • Listing in online “Gift Guides”
  • Additional promotional opportunities as they arise

 

wgs-etsy-shop-banner

TO PREPARE FOR APPLYING:

Know which specific products you’d like to have certified New Mexico True.

Be able to present ideas on how you would use the New Mexico True Certified mark if approved (e.g., packaging, website, marketing materials, merchandising, point of sale, signage, press release or other public relations outreach/materials, trade show display, storefront, etc.). You will be required to provide mockups of how you will use the logo. For example, I printed the logo and made tags for my straps, attached them and photographed. I also did a screenshot of my website and Etsy shop banner, overlaid the logo on them and saved these as jpg. Files.

If you are applying for “Made in New Mexico” certification: Photos or other evidence/documentation (such as lease or contract manufacturer agreement) of New Mexico-based facilities for the production of your product(s). Acceptable formats for upload include .jpg, .png, and .pdf. Since I work from home and have no such written documents, they asked for a photo of my production area.

website-w-nm-true-logo

If you are applying for “Born & Raised in New Mexico” or “Grown in New Mexico” certification: Source-verified third-party documentation from NMDA or qualified company such as Where Food Comes From, Inc. Must be in .pdf format for upload.

Have all of these things ready to go before you start the online application as you will not be able to save it and go back to it. It must be completed in one session.  I recommend pulling up the online application (or printing it even) answering all of the questions on paper and then returning to the online version to complete and submit.

NEXT STEPS:

Your application will be reviewed and you will be notified by email

If accepted, you will have to:

Create your listing on the NewMexico.com website

Print a simple affidavit form certifying that your product is made in NM, get it notarized and return it

Fill out a licensing agreement detailing the specific ways in which you will use the logo/brand and submit visual examples (mockups)

001

To apply: www.newmexico.org/industry/work-together/true-certified/

Behind the scenes: how I take my photos

With so many new members (welcome!), I thought this would be a good time to share tips and some behind the scenes information with each other. The idea is to let others know how you do what you do, and promote your art at the same time. I will start with something everyone can do — photos — but it would be cool to get other artists to write something on the special techniques you use or specific, unique methods to your art. Email me at bluequailcrafts@gmail.com if you have something you want to share!

People often ask me about the photos I take for my jewelry website on Etsy. Some friends who want to have Etsy shops worry that the photos are too much work. While pretty pics can be a bit tricky, I don’t think they take up too much time or are too difficult, once you find what works. I don’t think mine are the best out there by any means, but I am happy with them and I feel like they show off my work in a good way. Here’s an example of one I like. It’s simple, straight forward and didn’t take long.

The main thing people want to know is about my photo studio. I don’t have one.

Here’s a photo of where I shoot most of my pics.

Yes, that’s a table outside and a bunch of pots. Of course I crop out the pots and everything but the earrings.

I shoot almost all my earrings hanging from one of the pots you see. After experimenting by hanging the earrings from different things, photographing them on the ground, etc, I found I like the pots best. They are easy to place the earrings on and the light is usually good enough on all sides. In a perfect world, I’d toss in some lighting or at least a light reflector card to even it out a little more. To get the most even light, I only take the photos in the afternoon when the sun isn’t directly over head, which eliminates harsh shadows. Again, they aren’t perfect, but they get the job done.

I also experiment with different backgrounds. Almost all my backgrounds look like this:

Today I decided to try this. It’s a plastic bowl. When cropped in close, you can’t tell it’s a bowl. I’m not sure if I like the bowl yet, but I needed something to make the browns in this pair pop out. I might try something else later.

I have also tried close ups with the earrings laying flat. I do this mostly to avoid problems focusing, because when it’s windy out, the earrings don’t hold still. I don’t like it as much as the hanging earrings, however.
Here is an example:

The other day I also tried this:


I wasn’t too happy with it, but I thought it might have potential for another pair.

The other thing I tell people is to not be afraid to experiment.
I needed a good photo of this bracelet I made. Hanging it didn’t work, so I took the saucer from underneath my pot, turned it over, and rethought what I wanted to do.

A shot from above wasn’t going to work. So I changed angles and took this close up, which I like better than any overall shot.

I don’t use a fancy camera, just an old Canon G-9, a point and shoot that has a macro function. The macro makes all the difference. I use an aperture with a large depth of field, like f 2.8. That gives the photos the ability to have one earring in the foreground in sharp focus while the background blurs out, like this:

That’s it for today. I look forward to learning about other behind the scenes techniques you are using.

Kate
Blue Quail Crafts

The Engineering behind Selling Online

This post was published on Handmadeology on May 20th, enjoy!

The engineer in me makes me analyze everything I do, it is undoubtedly my biggest pitfall. You are a craftsperson and an entrepreneur, but did you realize you are an engineer too?

All artists are secretly engineers.

You use an engineering process daily that takes your product from idea to selling in your Etsy shop. It is known as a spiral process and it frequently used in the engineering world for rapid application development. Let’s take a look shall we:

Clockwise from top left:Make a Wish by TidbitsPhotography;Colored Pencils by petekdesign;Steampunk Necklace by CompassRoseDesign;“Dogwood” Folding Screen by MHDdesigns

There you are taking your morning shower (that is where everyone has their best ideas, right?) and then you have it, your next idea that is definitely going to be the next Etsy Front Page product. Of course, you dash out of the shower, forget about the morning coffee and get straight to creating this ingenious product. Once your product is made you then go through the process of determining the value of your product and take photographs until you capture that perfect angle. Lastly, you put it all together and you go ahead and list your item on Etsy, knowing it won’t be long before it makes it to the Front Page. (We can all dream a bit, right?)

The process is evolutionary, there is no need to be perfect from the start.

Of course you don’t sit around and wait, you do it all over again the for the next product, or even reinvent the old products in your shop. If you are thinking about selling on Etsy, stop thinking about it and just get started, your products will evolve as your learn.

Keep it crafty! ❤ CNJ

Optimize Tag and Titles

Do you remember that brainstorm we had last week? Now its time to dig it out and attempt to use it. I have created yet another worksheet for this activity, so feel free to print it out.

Now onward:

    1. Go to Google Keywords.
    2. From your worksheet select the one word that you feel most represents your shop. I first selected Ceramics and worked from there, with combinations of words from my worksheet.

We are looking for Competition less than 50% and the higher the search number the better.

  1. Write down everything you are learning from your keyword search. Here is mine:
  2. Now take note of your top 5 (or fewer) phrases. These are the phrases with the highest number of searches and lowest competition. Here are mine:
  • Contemporary Ceramics
  • Ceramics at Home

Next week, we will implement the aforementioned phrases.  Keep it crafty ❤ CNJ!

Biz Tips: What does Your Shop Say?

The past couple of Mondays, I have been talking about SEO and today is no exception. Today I have an exercise that will make you more aware of what your shop says. You probably think you know, but you might be surprised to find out that it doesn’t say what you want it too.

    1. Go to Create on Wordle.net
    2. In the url box type in your Etsy Shop url.

Etsy Shop RSS Feed Tag Cloud

  1. Hit Submit and you get your tag cloud:

Now look at your cloud. What does it say about your shop? Does it represent your product? Does it represent you? If you aren’t satisfied with your cloud move on to the next exercise, which is brainstorming.

    1. Download this brainstorming worksheet. Of course you can just write it down too, but I like colorful.

colorful brainstorming worksheet

  1. Next in the center of each of the five starburst, but one of your 5 major keywords.
  2. On each of those rays, write a synonym. Who thought that a thesaurus would become so handy? Here is mine:

Good, now keep this handy for next week! Keep it crafty! ❤ CNJ

Goal Setting for the 21st Century

Do you overlook goals that you intended to keep? I know I do! What if goal writing was more fun, then would you do it? I stumbled upon this beauty from Buttoned Up:
Ever heard of the phrase, “If you’re bored, you’re boring”? Avoid the doldrums by keeping track of your “to-do’s” – you’ll have access to your goal list wherever you have internet access!

Keep it Crafty! ❤ CNJ

Biz Tips: Tutorial on how to Improve your Shop’s SEO

You can increase the search engine optimization (SEO, for those tech-savvy folks) in your Etsy shop with one easy step.

[Editor’s note: HUH? What’s “search engine optimization”??? Wikipedia says it is “the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engines via the natural, unpaid search results.” In other words, it makes it easier for people to find you on Google – which is where I found this snappy definition of SEO.]

It’s simple! Just add a backlink to your shop homepage and make sure to use the long link. This may seem daunting, but using Craftopolis Edit Express will make it easy. Here’s how:

    1. Go to Craftopolis Edit Express
    2. Type in your shop name:

3. Allow the application access to your Etsy account.

4. Select the conditions to which you want your changes to apply:

5. Review your changes for confirmation:

6. Select Save Changes.

7. Wait for the happy face to appear next to the listing to confirm changes have been made.

Wasn’t that simple? Now start modifying.
Keep it Crafty! ❤ CNJ