Posted on

Pretty gift wrapping shows customers they’re important

When it comes to my customers, I want to make sure everything is perfect for them. Adding gift wrapping to orders can make your customers feel really special. Happy customers make me happy, and perhaps they will return and buy again.

I think my standard packaging is fairly pretty: the item is wrapped in tissue paper, placed in a white organza bag and I add a blank gift card (handmade by me of course!). But when someone asks me to send a gift directly to the recipient I make sure the gift wrapping is extra special!

I’ve now updated most of my Etsy listings to have a variation giving the following options:

Is this a gift?

  1. No
  2. Yes, deliver to me
  3. Yes, deliver directly

For options 1 and 2, I deliver to the buyer and include my standard packaging. These options are effectively the same, but it is really great for me to know when something is a gift – it helps me know how to market my items effectively.

Option 3 is where I step the packaging up and make it look extra nice with gift wrapping. I also message the buyer to see if they would like a message to be included in the gift card, which I get my husband to hand-write (his writing is beautiful. Mine is not). Here is a picture of a gift order I sent out today:

Example photo of gift wrapping for an eldrisCREATIONS shop order
Free gift wrapping example

My customer picked the card colour and the message to go inside, then I picked some lovely paper and ribbon to go with it. I have to make sure that even with the gift wrapping, the order will still fit in it’s postage class. For this, it usually goes as a Royal Mail Large Letter, so the package needed to fit through a 2.5cm gap! Luckily it did without any need for adjustments, phew!

Don’t over do it

Don’t over do your gift wrapping. While some people will appreciate it, others will think it is a waste. Include only what is necessary to help protect the item and make it look nice. Being wrapped in tissue paper or pretty paper with a bow can work well. However, things like free gifts or excess business cards can turn customers off.

Why? Because it seems wasteful. I’ve seen many sellers talk about packaging on Etsy social media groups. The consensus is almost always that customers want their item to arrive safely in nice packaging, but that over the top gift wrapping can make them feel like they were over charged or that the seller is wasteful.

What about including one business card?

I’m sure that some customers do keep business cards, so it could be worth including them. However, I choose not to include a business card. I’m a frequent buyer on Etsy and have only once kept a business card, because the item happened to have a pocket – I thought I could help the seller out by carrying the business card. I shared the business card when I had a chance, but it was handed back to me. I eventually threw it out. It’s not the customer’s job to help you advertise.

What about repeat business without a business card?

Your customers don’t need your business card to find you. If they want to order again they will look up their order either in their email or on Etsy. I think business cards are best for selling in person or to give out to those interested in your wares.

Posted on

“The point”

I don’t write anymore. I mean really write, not just the occasional blog post. I can’t even remember when I stopped. There was a time when you would struggle to get me to stop writing, because I loved to just write. I even started 2 books, 35,000 words in each, but my passion for them faded into nothingness. I’d spend time just trying to come up with a more elegant way to phrase something, or to find a word that sounded so much classier.

I suppose hitting 18 and finding the real world knocking at my door had something to do with it. Real life isn’t fun; there’s responsibility and all of that. You go from one minute (if you’re lucky like me) having everything you need provided for you, to having to figure out finances, housework and what the hell you want to do with your life.

Most people have some kind of idea what they want to do when they’re a kid. I didn’t. I was happy to go through life naïvely doing what made me happy in that moment. And I think I’m glad I did. At least I was happy then. I enjoyed most of my childhood. I drew, I wrote, I improvised on the piano. My creativity was completely unbound by things we adults worry about.

So what do adults worry about? Making fools of ourselves for starters. Or that no one will be interested. At least, that’s how I’ve become. Nothing is done without motivation, without reason. Unless I can see “the point” to something, I don’t do it.

“The point” seems to vary with mood. On my darkest days, I don’t see the point in going on living. I consider it a good day if the only things I don’t see the point in doing are creative things.

December 2014, for some reason I saw the point in learning to needle felt. The point was that it looked fun. I was really in to it for several months. My only goal was to create whatever popped in to my head. But then my mind started to need a better reason to go on with it. I decided to add my needle felted items to my Etsy shop. Why not, I thought, they’re cute, surely they will sell!

But then they didn’t sell. At least, not as well as I had dreamt. Doubts started to creep in. Whenever I think of something I might like to make, all I can think is it won’t be good enough, it won’t sell, so what is the point.

I haven’t needle felted anything since April. I haven’t drawn in so long I can’t remember. I haven’t found the cable for our digital piano since we moved in October, I’ve not even looked. Because, what’s the point?

I want to overcome this. I want to do things for the joy of it again. But how?

I’ve decided that, despite the stigma that mental health issues have, despite the fact if ever I feel ok to work again this may be found by a potential employer and count against me, despite all of that I need to post this, for me. To hold myself to account.

I know what the problem is. I just need to work out how to fix it. And there is a point in that. The point is, that I want to.

Posted on

Canva is a must for Etsy sellers

I was introduced to Canva.com late last year by some other Etsy sellers. I was impressed right away! I wanted to give it some time before shouting out about it though, in case something negative cropped up. I’d hate to send anyone to a tool with unexpected charges or bugs.

In the ~6 months I’ve used Canva I haven’t found a single bug, let alone anything functionality breaking. Mark me impressed, because normally I manage to find something wrong with a website! A few areas could be improved, such as the loading of more graphic items can be a little laggy. Overall, I find it remarkably smooth and easy to use.

I’ll admit, I’ve not tried any of the paid features, so I don’t know how payment for non-free graphical elements works. Also, I do run Adblock Plus, so I’m not sure if their ads break anything!

All in all though it’s so incredibly useful. I can now make things I would have avoided even trying, because I’m no good with vector graphics. It’s so easy to move things around. Little guidelines pop up if the borders of what you’re dragging are in line with another border or the centre of another object. So useful!

The free graphics objects and fonts are really beautiful too, hence I’ve not yet needed to pay for any elements. One of the paid features is to be able to upload your own font to use, so I can imagine that would be really good for people who paid for a font for their old-style Etsy banner.

I love Canva! I am dying to come up with things that I need to make for an excuse to use it more.

 

Things I made using Canva

A few of the things I’ve made for my Etsy shop using this amazing (free!) tool are below. Please feel free to share your makes in the comments!

Posted on

Needle felted whale

Hi everyone! Here is the latest addition to my shop, an adorable needle felted whale. He is available in the shop now along with my other needle felted animals! Details are below the images.

I really loved making this little guy. I didn’t have a plan in mind, I just started making! Somewhere in the back of my mind was a note reminding me that I wanted to try needle felting a whale at some point, and so I guess that’s why he emerged!

I really love this colour wool too. It’s actually described as “Peacock Green” by the seller, but it looks so blue to me :D I used it for 2 of the stars I made in a commission for my friend. I mean, I really love blue, but this shade is just sooo nice!

I hope you all like the whale. I should probably give him a name! How about Beamer, because he’s really beaming at everyone with happiness.

 

Needle felted whale details

Needle felted whale collectible, made from 100% wool in the UK.

He is, of course, a blue whale and I find him so cute (I may be biased though!). This needle felted whale has large eyes in a cartoony style, a large smile and is even blushing in his happiness. He is a firm needle felt, but his texture is soft. Turn him over and you’ll see he has a typical white belly!

Any home would look great with the addition of a needle felted whale, so why not this guy? :D Great as a gift for a friend too!

DETAILS
Measurements :
Length : 9cm / 3.5 inches
Width: 6.6cm / 2.6 inches
Height: 2.5cm / 1 inch

Materials:
• Dyed New Zealand wools
• Black Shetland wool tops
• Ile de France wool

Not intended for children or pets.

Posted on

Twitter link preview has old Etsy product images fixed

Hi guys! I ran into a problem on Twitter today. I updated most of my product images yesterday, but the Twitter link preview card that appears when you post on Twitter was still showing my old one. Frustrating!

However, as with the Facebook Etsy shop announcement cache issue, there is a simply solution. And this one is even quicker than the solution for the Facebook issue.

Literally all you have to do is go to the Twitter Card validator, input your listing’s web address and click the “Preview Card” button. Voila! Problem solved :D Go back to your tweet that was showing the old photo and press Ctrl+F5 (this reloads the page and gets new copies of everything from that page in case your computer had stored a cached copy). You should now see the new photo!

 

Screenshot of a refreshed Twitter link preview using the Twitter Card Validator tool
Screenshot of a refreshed link preview using the Twitter Card Validator tool

 

Why does the Twitter link preview not show new content?

When sites like Facebook and Twitter show these previews of the linked page, they aren’t just linking to the image from the site, e.g. the image on Etsy’s servers. They actually store a copy of the preview image and text on their own servers, so that they can rely on the speed of their own servers to load them up to viewers, who are essentially their customers.

These stored copies are known as a cache and will have a set time in which they expire. Until that expiry date/time is hit, they will not even look at the page for fresh content. This is a very standard practice in the computing world, since it uses a lot of valuable server resource to go and fetch these images and text extracts every time someone links to something.

The problem is that although these caches do expire, in some cases they do not expire at a time convenient to us and our new content. In all honesty I’m surprised and impressed that Facebook and Etsy have a way to override this cache, since it could be used maliciously to overload servers (though I assume at some point it will complain at you for using the tool too often).

I hope that other Etsy sellers see this post and my previous post and that it has helped someone! I have a degree in Computer Science and these sorts of issues still frustrate me. Even more so, finding the right page to overcome this caching issue was only possible for me because I knew the technical jargon to use in my search.

If this has helped you, please leave a comment below so that I know! ♥

Posted on

Fix Facebook link preview showing old Etsy shop announcement

Hi guys! I quite often see people on Facebook wondering why, when they make a post, it shows an old version of their Etsy shop announcement in the link previews. I always knew why this happened – Facebook saves (caches) a version of the text so they don’t have to go and look it up every time, which saves them precious server resources. However, I never knew how to fix the problem. Until now!

I have discovered a great tool provided by Facebook themselves, the Facebook Debugger Tool. Here are the simple steps for clearing out the old version of your Etsy shop announcement and getting the new version cached.
 

Instructions

  1. Go to the tool and enter your Etsy shop address in the text box and click “Debug“. You need to be logged in to Facebook.
  2. Scroll down until you see the “og:description” row. This is your shop announcement. Check if the text is correct. If it is, you’re all good! If it’s an old version of your Etsy shop announcement, follow the next step.
  3. Scroll back up to the box where you entered your shop address. You will see a new button “Fetch new scrape information“. Click this and Facebook will go off and re-read your Etsy shop page, including your announcement. Re-check the announcement text via Step 2, it should now be correct!

Et voila! The next time you post your Etsy shop to Facebook the link preview will show the correct shop announcement. If you follow these steps each time you change your Etsy shop announcement and the Facebook link preview will always be correct. :)
 

Can I help?

If you have any other technology / internet related problems please get in touch, I may be able to help you. Please leave a comment below of email me at gaby [at @] eldriscreations.com

Posted on

How to pronounce eldris

A few weeks ago it struck me that “eldrisCREATIONS” may not be obvious on how to pronounce it. CREATIONS is of course creations :D But what about “eldris”? I’ll start by explaining where the name eldris came from.

The history

Back when I was a teenager (gosh, around 10 years ago now!) I loved Lord of the Rings. It was the time when the films were new, but I also read and loved the books. I joined a forum called The Barrow Downs. My username was Elentari Greenleaf. From this, I ended up running another forum called Imladris. Long story short, my username ever since has been eldris, a portmanteau of the two names.

The pronunciation

But how to pronounce it? Hopefully now that you know it comes from the words “Elentari” and “Imladris” you’ll have a good idea. But let’s split it into parts just to be 100% sure!

El – as in elf, without the f
Dris – sounds like Chris

I double checked a text-to-speech site and fortunately it agrees with my on the pronunciation! Huzzah!

Posted on

What are digital prints anyway?

Hi guys ♥

I’ve recently branched out and added so-called “digital prints” to my Etsy shop. I thought I would post and explain a bit about the ins and outs of digital prints.

What is a digital print?

A digital print is essentially an image file you can download and print at home or send to a printer. I include a license for unlimited personal printing with my listings, so you can be safe in the knowledge that no one can ever tell you that you don’t have the rights to print it. I provide high-resolution JPG files of 300 DPI or higher so you know your prints will come out looking fantastic!

What is the benefit of buying a digital print?

With physical prints the shipping costs can become incredibly large, especially when shipping internationally. This can often put the price up too high for buyers. With digital prints, you pay a small fee to be able to download the high quality print image. You can then get this printed in whichever format suits you best, giving you much more freedom with the style of print you prefer. For example, I personally prefer a matte finish on prints, but many people only sell high gloss prints. With a digital print you can choose your own finish, without the preference of the seller getting in your way.

What can I use a digital print for?

Anything printed! Digital prints can be used to print on paper, card, totebags, postcard to send to your friends, coasters, mousemats. Anything you can think of that is printed, you can use a digital print for. These are all included in the license I provide. Some sellers even let you use their digital prints as screensavers or desktop wallpapers.

Do I have to print a digital print at home?

It depends on the license you get from the seller. For all of my digital prints you are free to get them printed by a professional, so the quality is even better. You can, of course, print the picture at home if you wish to. It’s up to you!

What are the limits on digital prints?

Again, it depends on the seller’s terms. All I ask is that you only use the image for personal printing. This means you shouldn’t post the image online anywhere or share it with anyone, sell it, etc. Also you shouldn’t sell the printed items you make, as the license I provide doesn’t give you the rights for this and would unfortunately be illegal.

Some of my digital prints for sale

Here are some of the digital prints I have available. Enjoy! ♥

Just Blooming, digital photograph. Digital prints.
Digital photograph of a Dandelion. Available to buy as a digital download
Phoenix rising, digital painting. Digital prints.
Digital artwork available to buy as a digital download
The Hedgehog's Nose, digital photograph. Digital prints.
Digital photograph of a hedgehog. Available to buy as a digital download
Posted on

Bead supplies Facebook group – UK Bead Exchange

Screenshot of the UK Bead Exchange Facebook group's cover photo
UK Bead Exchange cover image

Hi everyone! A few days ago I was invited to join a Facebook group called UK Bead Exchange. It’s making good use of Facebook’s new feature allowing you to sell items in posts in Facebook groups. It is very active with new “for sale” posts every few hours and the users are all very nice.

I’d certainly recommend you request an invite directly on the group’s page if you are looking for bead supplies. So far I’ve seen a great variety in colours, quantities and types of beads all at reasonable prices.

It’s a closed group so I will respect the posters privacy and not put any details of the supplies here, but I will tell you had I not already spent a small fortune on beads and not yet sold any pieces I would be buying things posted in the group. It’s very hard to resist all all of these fantastic bead supplies!

I love groups like this because you can talk directly to your supplier, make requests and even barter on the price if you’re brave enough! The group also asks people to be upfront about the postage prices so you really know what you’re getting. It’s very well managed. Recently the founder wanted to clear out the sold items but was kind enough to ask if everyone was ok with that before they went ahead.

If anyone else had good sources of bead supplies or other jewellery supplies or you are a supplier yourself please feel free to leave a comment! Are there any other jewellery making communities you enjoy?