Friday, October 7, 2016

The End of the Treasury

The End of the Treasury

And in the End – My Final Treasury.

On September 21, Etsy Admin sent out this Memo
We wanted to let you know that as of October 5, members will no longer be able to create new Treasuries or edit existing ones.

Throughout the years, our community has curated Treasuries that have showcased the diversity of the Etsy marketplace while encouraging and collaborating with other sellers. However, our data shows that few buyers view Treasuries, and even fewer purchase from them. Based, in part, on this information, we are removing this feature. Read more about this in the Site Update.”

I do think Etsy should have done some research with Etsy Seller’s as to their view of doing Treasury’s. They mention they based their decision on the fact that “few Buyer’s” were not interested in viewing Treasury’s; yet I found in one of the discussions a Buyer who mentioned they made many purchases from items they found while going through various Treasury’s. 

Goodbye Baby and Amen!  Treasury

As I was looking through the Forums to see other Seller’s reactions to Etsy’s comment that as of October 5 – there will be not more Treasury’s; I came across this comment from Irina, whose Shop is:
“Many will miss treasuries and I am one of them. Treasuries were the way to find original true handmade artists, which were not on the first pages in search. Today if I want to buy something that is handmade, I have to go through pages and pages of manufactured/mass produced things and just give up.”

Since I started on Etsy in 2007, Treasury’s were such an important part of promoting!  I don’t know how many you remember when there were only 333 Treasury spots.  One would have to wait for an existing Treasury to expire, and a space would open.  I can’t tell you how many nights I was up to 1 – 2 am waiting for that one spot as Etsy would give a count down by hours and minutes of when a spot may open.  Unfortunately, half of the other Sellers’ on Etsy were sitting there also waiting for that spot. So even if you may have missed getting that one Spot, it brought on so much anticipation and excitement as to what was to come.
Looking back in my Treasury Archives – I came across one of my first Treasury’s:

We Are All Artists – 5.18.08

Since that time, of the many Treasury’s I have done, I have not only come across so many new Shops I might not have seen before, but have made many friends through posting their items on one of my Treasury’s, or being featured in one of theirs. 
So now that we have come to the end of an “Etsy Era”; we are left to the option of Promoting ourselves, and Team Members.  I am one who “never says never” – I hope to start doing my own version of Treasury’s on my Blog promoting not only Team Member’s, but bringing to light many other “handmade only” Sellers to your attention!
See you all then!!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

 "Improve your Shop on Etsy"

The Importance of Taking Great Pictures

One of the first things I learned when I joined Etsy, was the importance of how people view your Shop. I am not talking about how many "views" a certain item receives. I know many people value those "views"; but it is how you present your items that can make a big difference regarding the views and sales within your Shop. I took this picture of Roses from Easter, this is an example of when adjusting lighting and cropping your picture makes a big difference in your shot. Hopefully by the time you read this article, you will be very knowledgeable in working with your camera!


Of course we all learn from experience, or from "a little help from our friends". When I think back about my early days on Etsy, and how I had set up my Shop, and my early Shop photos; I don’t think I would even recognize what I call "my first phase" of life on Etsy. One of the first and most important thing I learned, was the importance of photographing my jewelry.

Through this article I hope to be able to offer some helpful suggestions, as well as sharing a few of my experiences along the way. Learning to take great photos is one of the most important thing you can do to improve your Etsy Shop. Unlike someone walking into a store and seeing a certain item; being able to pick it up, try it on, etc., this is an option not available to an Etsy Seller. A great photo the first thing a person will see when browsing through your Shop. So how we communicate to potential customers is through our photos. Through a great photo, one will be able to see an item’s beauty and importance qualities that you wish to portray.

As I mentioned previously, it was through a little "help from my friends", I will share my own experience as a "newbie" to photographing my work. Since I primarily use Swarovski Crystals in my work, I thought of how a good jeweler shows a certain item; placing it on a piece of black velvet. To me it always seemed to enhance the brilliance of the stones or crystals. So yes, all my work was photographed on black velvet. Thankfully, a Shop owner that I became friendly with early on, who not only has the most beautiful jewelry, but are true "artisans" as they make their own metals for their work. Ev, Ilan and Odad,, told me that using a white background would truly enhance the colors and brilliance of my jewelry. They even re-photographed a few pieces for me, which they used in their Worldwide Catalogue. I was truly amazed at the difference of how my work seemed to "pop" off the page, to capture the eye of someone viewing my Shop. I have never forgotten their reaching out with their suggestions to inspire me to in turn always help others on Etsy in any way I can. As you can see from these few photos, my original shots, compared to my photo’s now using a white background, really help to enhance their beauty.

Necklace using a White Background

Picture of Necklace on a Black Background


Regarding background, try to keep it as simple as possible. Don’t let it distract from what you are selling. Often I see an item getting lost on a too busy background. I realize using a white background does not work in some cases. For example if you are photographing a pair of White Pearls, a darker background would be necessary. Many craft stores now have great "scrapbooking" paper which can enhance a certain item. If you are photographing an antique piece of Jewelry or Vintage item, using a Vintage looking paper, would be a good asset to your item. I think you get the idea! Keep things as simple as possible. This beautiful Pearl Bracelet from the Shop of GemsandPearlsKC is an example of using White on White. Using the cream colored background helps to enhance the "white" of the Pearls.   this is also example of when using the EV feature on your camera. I adjusted the brightness and contrast features in Photoshop, and cropped the card, which brings it more to the front, and would be more attractive to the viewer.

PrinceDesignsuk - Ceramic Angel Ornaments - perfect example of White on Darker Background
example of  too light background for clear earrings.- SevenGypsiesJewelry

                                                                      GemsandPearlsKC White Pearl Bracelet

Now you are almost ready to take that important shot. Lighting is the main key to your perfect picture. When possible, take your photos using natural light. This means taking your pictures outside. Since we live in various places around the World, the timing of our "great shot" depends on the position of the Sun, this is important, so as not to get shadows in your photo. For myself, I know my time span is between 2 – 3pm, as I get full sun in the afternoon at that time. I am sure you are probably thinking that you can get the same effect by using the flash on your camera. Using a flash, will wash out the exact effect you may be trying to capture in your photo. If taking outside pictures is definitely not an option for you, try using a "Light Box". You can "google" many ways to make a light box. Two perfect examples of great lighting, background, and cropping is this Flourite Pendant/Necklace from the Shop of  RivendellRockJewelry; and this Amethyst Quilting Tool from the Shop of TJBDesigns, both Member of our STATTeam.
RivendellRockJewelry.  Flouroite Pendant w Gemstones Necklace

TJBDesigns  Amethyst Quilting Tool

Since we unfortunately do not have Aston Kutcher to run around taking our photos, get to know your camera and its many features. For a clear, concise close-up shot, use your "macro" setting, this feature helps define the fine features of your item. Also learn to use the EV balance on your camera, which will enhance the lighting effect for your photo. After many years I am still continuing testing various shots changing the EV levels on various shots. I usually take at least 10 shots per item. Something I truly recommend. You may think that now you have the perfect light, background, EV levels set, only to find when uploading your photos to your computer, that one or two may be out of focus, the lighting (although looking perfect when shooting) may be a little off. So delete those photos of your item that you feel do not do your piece justice. Then save the photos you think look best.

Done??? Not quite yet! Your next step is "cropping". Using the editing features on your computer, once you feel you have your lighting perfect, you next need to CROP your photo. To me is one of the most important features in your key to helping your product stand out. When editing your photos, crop them the way you want them to appear in a square; this is how they will appear in your shop Crop your imagine by directly focusing on the image with as little background as possible, which is also distracting to someone viewing an item in your Shop. Cropping detailed shots of your images is an effective way to show off your product. You are now ready to move your "perfect" photo to your Shop!

                                      SomsStudio Tanzanite Earrings (before/after Cropping)

                       GemsandPearlsKC. Crystal Angel Earrings (before /after cropping_


                          RealmStone: Amethyst Pendant Necklace  (before/after cropping)
**I have used a few examples of items from various Shops within our "STATTeam".
  I am not going to mention which shop I choose to use as examples, but will contact the Shop owner individually, and show them the difference of how important it is to get a perfect "shot" of your work. Some had very dark (poor lighting) so I tried to lighten the background as best as possible using the lighting balance offered in whichever Photo program your pictures upload to on your particular computer. I also cropped the item within the photo to enhance the detail of your product. As you can see from the few examples I have chosen, your item is now ready to "pop" off the page in your Etsy Shop and capture that Seller’s eye!



*I will be more than happy to work with anyone of you, guiding you as you update your Shop with the "perfect photo"!

Stay tuned for more helpful features which will help to enhance your Etsy Shop and Sales.