It’s that time of year again where we are all in search of that perfect gift. We shop and shop for weeks trying to find special things for all of the people on our lists. Well, maybe I can help you during these last few days of the holiday season. There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute, but that’s where I come in. For these next 12 days I will take 15 % OFF ALL of my online store inventory! Not only that, I will post brand NEW listings every day until Christmas!
As shown above, in order to get 15% off you have to put in the COUPON CODE: 12Days during the checkout process of making a purchase. I know what you’re probably thinking, “Why didn’t you do 12% off since it’s the 12 Days of Christmas and today was 12/12/12?!” Well, the answer to that is I thought the extra 3% would sorta be like my gift to you guys. I’m trying to get rid of as much inventory before 2013 as I can to make room for new stuff! I have so many ideas and projects on my to-do list, but for now I will just show you some recent additions to the shop, some sneak peeks, PLUS a brand new listing to kick off this countdown to Christmas!
Horror & Occult Vintage Books
I have a massive collection of horror, scifi, occult paranormal books that I couldn’t wait to share. I’ve been adding a few vintage finds every week, but at the rate they’re going I probably need to post some every day. Check ‘em out now!
Girl Power, My Pastel Jewelry Collection
Ok, I’ll admit it, these new additions aren’t in my online shop yet, but shhhh! That doesn’t mean that they won’t be soon! *hint hint!* I am usually more into raw black and white, dark colors but for some reason I recently had a girly streak of creativity. I’m calling these necklaces my “Girl Power Collection” because they’re all feminine and so radically 90s!
12 Zodiac Sign Gold Necklaces
Also not currently listed in my online shop, BUT stay tuned! I’ve actually been working on these babies for months. I finally have them finished and ready to post for all of you astrology freaks out there! Can’t lie I’m totally into the zodiac too.
Horror Movie Themed Liquor Flasks
I’m a HUGE fan of scary movies as well. So I decided to use my back-issues of Fangoria for a little DIY project, and these little gems were the finished product. Perfect for the horror enthusiast in your fam! If I drank liquor I’d be sporting these every weekend. Seriously, keep checking my store until Christmas Day! And finally, the first post during my “12 Days of Sales” . . .
More Vintage Threads
*Click on the photo above to go directly to the post for this vest! More to come!* One last note, if you’d like any of my items rush delivered for the holidays please don’t hesitate to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org*
In Celebration of Thanksgiving! 10 Must-See Turkey Day Movies.
Last year I attempted to run a blog specifically about all holiday movies as they are my two favorite things in this world combined. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep up with the daily posts and abandoned the project, but since the media and retail corporations feel the need to “forget” about or skip Thanksgiving I thought I’d pay tribute with a new movie list!
1. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
Directed by the legendary John Hughes, this holiday comedy classic is not to be left out or forgotten from the late Hughes’ repertoire. RIP buddy because this is one movie that may not be as known as The Breakfast Club or Home Alone, but will be celebrated for years to come regardless. The cast includes Steve Martin and John Candy which make for an unbeatable duo. The movie is about a pair of complete strangers who keep crossing paths as they make their way home for Thanksgiving. Martin & Candy, both comedic geniuses, play these absurd characters in a way that will make you want to watch this movie over and over again.
2. Pieces of April
Also not a well-known flick, this one starring Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, and Patricia Clarkson is about the relationship between a rebellious, wayward girl and her judgmental, sickly mother. The mother and family are traveling to a bad part of New York to April’s (Holmes) cramped, inner city apartment to have Thanksgiving dinner. The tension between mother and daughter and how they interact reminds me of my own relationship with my mom making this film hit home. Although it’s a mellow drama, it also brings to light that thankful feeling we get during the holidays when nothing matters but family and friends.
3. Home for the Holidays
The cool part about this movie is that my mom was the one who introduced me to it! Being the biggest fan of holiday movies ever, I had never seen this one until a few years ago and needless to say it’s now one of my faves. I have a feeling it’ll be one of yours too after you see Holly Hunter play an eccentric mom alongside another excellent “dysfunctional family” cast. I think what I love so much about it is the fact that everyone can relate to this family. There’s a silly gay brother, an uptight snobby sister, and a senile flatulent aunt that drive Claudia (Hunter) absolutely bonkers. Not to mention, this random 90s film was directed by none other than Jodie Foster. That alone makes it deserve a spot on this list!
4. Son in Law
I’m sorry, but if you dislike Pauly Shore there might be something wrong with you, buuuuddy. Despite the fact that Shore seems to be the same character in the majority of his movies, this one is on this list because he’s absolutely adorable as the fake fiance Crawl. The story is about perfect daughter, Rebecca (Carla Gugino) bringing home her crazy BFF for Thanksgiving where he clearly is out of place on the family farm. The storyline itself might not be as brilliant as some of the others on this list, but Son in Law is definitely good for a few laughs.
5. Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
I don’t know about you, but I have a collection of Charlie Brown movies for every holiday. Yes, they even made one for New Year’s and Valentine’s Day too! Is there one for St. Patrick’s Day? Anywho, I love watching Charlie Brown Thanksgiving with my 4-year-old. It’s become a tradition to watch Charlie Brown movies together for all of the holidays now and I highly recommend giving it a go even if you don’t have a kiddo.
With a line like, “Gobble Gobble Motherfucker!” how can you not want to watch this festive B horror flick! Ok, I’ll admit the story, the acting, and even the gore are a little lame, but Thankskilling is worth watching at least once. I’m not even going to go into what this movie is about because I’m sure you can probably guess just from the ridiculous title. The perfect time to watch this would be after drinking & playing football all day with your siblings or cousins. It’s definitely silly and obscene just like holidays with the fam usually are! They’ll either get a kick out of it or wonder if you’ve lost your mind ha!
7. House of Yes
Going along with the weird & obscene, this movie starring Parker Posey and Freddie Prinze Jr. is about a brother (Prinze Jr.) and his new fiance coming home for Thanksgiving (as usual) and his sister (Posey) is not too thrilled with the couple. I recently just found out that this was also a stage play which makes sense. The movie is kinda choppy and awkward, but it’s still a good watch for the holiday especially if your family is as out there as this one.
It’s been a few years since I’ve seen this movie, but from what I remember it has some very funny lines coming from none other than Married with Children icon Ed O’Neill. It’s about a a dad picking up his daughter’s boyfriend (Ethan Embry) at school and getting to know him on a more personal level via road trip only to find out he’s not the coolest kid on the block. Although, who doesn’t like watching 90s geeky heart throb Ethan Embry? I’d recommend this flick for that reason alone, and of course to see O’Neill be his dry self.
The last two movies are on this list as “Honorable Mentions” because, I’m not going to lie, I haven’t watched them yet. That being said, every year I try to watch a new Thanksgiving movie or two and these are both in my Netflix queue. So if any of you watch them first, lemme know what you think!
So this past weekend I had a Halloween party that was primarily for my daughter, her friends, & family. Normally I find that every time I host a Halloween party it turns into a bunch of my adult friends & I dressing up in crazy outfits, watching horror flicks, and enjoying a few adult beverages. This year however, I had to plan out an entire menu, create games for kids 2 – 12 year-olds, and decorate the house on a very strict budget. With the economy the way it is and only working a part time job, I researched how to make this happen on a dime. These 8 projects and recipes helped save me a ton of money & I decided to share my victory with you guys plus give you some inspiration on how to throw your own low-budget Halloween bash!
1. Graveyard Tombstones
Even though it seems like picking up a few of those $10-$15 a piece Styrofoam tombstones would be easier, but honestly they’re a waste of money. Most of the time the “stones” aren’t very durable especially during bad weather so why not make some out of the next best thing? I ended up snatching ply wood from the scraps of wood in the dumpster by my brother’s new house, used a jigsaw to cut out the shapes, and spray painted them! Voila! Instant graveyard!
2. Creepy Glowing Eyes
This was the easiest project of all of them & ended up looking even better than we thought it would! All you have to do is save as many toilet paper rolls as you need, buy a few 3-4 inch glow sticks at the dollar store, and cut out different eye shapes. Place sticks in rolls and hide in the bushes outside (I’d reinforce the glow sticks with duct tape so they’re clearly visible through the cut-outs.) Sure to scare the wee ones on All Hallows Eve!
3. Mystery Box Game
I must say, I had a blast making this one! I just found a few good-sized cardboard boxes (meaning big enough to fit things under or in), cut a hand-shaped hole on the top, and decorated them accordingly. The best part was coming up with items that “resembled” creepy things! I actually used grapes for eyeballs, pipe cleaners for spiders, and spaghetti for worms. Some of the kids were almost too grossed out to try, but once they did they giggled and laughed trying to figure out what was really underneath the boxes!
4. Harry Potter Wands
Last year, we had a party with mainly adults and I made these as an extra dessert. Much to my surprise they were almost instantly devoured! These wands are basically pretzel rods dipped in frosting and then covered in sprinkles. So festive! This year however, I ran out of time before the party & ended up making it another game for the kids. They LOVED it just as much as the adults if not more so!
5.Monster FingersTombstone Cookies
Funny story… My first attempt at making these last year wasn’t the greatest. While the cookies looked like wicked fingers apparently they weren’t so tasty either. This year, I decided to buy store-bought sugar cookie dough and sculpt the gnarly limbs that way. STRIKE TWO! Even though the cookies tasted great, the dough baked out flat making oblong shapes instead of thin, crispy monster claws. So, to improvise I cut the shapes in half, my mom whipped up some homemade gray icing, and we made little tombstones. Tragedy averted! One of these days I still want to try this recipe again. I’ll let you guys know if I succeed next year!
6. Spooky Ghost “Nutter Butters”
I’m not sure why “Nutter Butter” cookies aren’t covered in chocolate anyway, but that’s pretty much all this recipe calls for. Melt white chocolate chips, dip cookie in pan, set on wax paper, and use mini chocolate chips for eyes. With so few steps and minimal ingredients, it’s so simple even my toddler can do it!
7. Jalapeno Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp
This is one of my favorite appetizers to make because it’s so easy! You can also do many variations of this or substitute turkey bacon to make it more healthy. The original recipe has you making the shrimp barbecue flavored, but I decided to stuff fresh jalapeno peppers from my garden in with the shrimp instead. It was a definite crowd-pleaser! (Here’s the link to the recipe… http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bacon-wrapped-barbeque-shrimp-2)
8. Buffalo Chicken Dip
*Honorable Mention* Although I personally did not make this recipe for my party, my neighbor did and holy moly, I am addicted! Therefore it HAD to be mentioned! This not-too-spicy dip is also super easy & super cheap with quick ingredients that you’d probably have around your house anyway. Follow this link and check out the pics! (Click… http://addapinch.com/cooking/2011/12/28/buffalo-chicken-dip-recipe/)
Also, I just wanted to announce that I’m having a Fall Halloween 20% OFF Sale!!! Click on the ad below!
Autumn is in the air! 4 Fall Things That Can Help Boost Creativity.
I know I’ve slacked on the posts lately, but hopefully that will change now that autumn is quickly approaching! Some people are inspired by the freshness of spring flowers or motivated by endless summer sunsets, but not this girl! Fall is my favorite time of the year, specifically between the months of September through to the beginning of December. The air becomes chill and carries that sweet scent of fallen leaves & pumpkin patches. Planning for upcoming holidays & harvest festivals become priorities of the season. There’s so much to look forward to, how could one NOT be excited?!
We talked about motivation in my last blog post, and one of the ways I suggested to keep motivated during slow times was to get rid of all distractions. Well, this distraction is one that I believe will be beneficial in the sense that there’s so much going on & so much to look forward to! Fall festivals always have a plethora of artists and crafters who set up booths for everyone to buy their creations. This is also where you can gain inspiration, by seeing others’ work & seeing them be successful selling it. (TIP: Shop local this holiday season! Support your local businesses & artists.)
On a personal level, here are a few autumnal delicacies that REALLY boost my creativity . . .
1. FOOD! Titillate your taste buds with fall foods like pumpkin pie, chicken & dumplings, cornbread stuffing, turkey legs, and steamy chili! MMM! Why not tickle all of your senses with Thanksgiving & Christmas foods?! Just the smell of honey-baked ham cooking in the oven & the sweetness of vanilla frosting on sugar cookies is sure to bring a smile to your face! Nostalgic foods tend to make most people happy. Use this tummy-filling happiness on new recipes or craft projects.
2. Halloween: This fall holiday ALONE has the most creative potential. From spooky costumes to scary decorations, the possibilities for DIY fun is endless! On All Hallows Eve, use your imagination & you can be almost anyone or anything you want to be. I, myself, get into decorating, making my house a haunted dungeon of the dead. Nowadays, you can find all sorts of tutorials on how to make your own decor (TIP: see Pinterest.)
3. Seasonal Movies: The perfect way to get inspired to create is by watching things that move you on an emotional, psychological, or even a spiritual level. Movies, especially holiday movies, are great for this as they are one of the more well-known art forms. And by holiday, I don’t mean just Christmas flicks. Horror movies are awesome to watch to get you into a Halloween mood as well as push your imagination to the darker side. And although Thanksgiving isn’t as popular a holiday in Hollywood as the other two, there are even a handful of thought-provoking films based around Turkey Day. Whichever is your favorite, there are sure to be movies that tug on your heart strings as well as your artistic nature. (TIP: check out my Facebook for movie lists!)
4. The Scenery: When the chilly wind approaches allowing you to wear your fave scarf & sweater, there’s no better time than the fall to be outside. With the orange & yellow leaves bustling about your feet and the smell of apples & hayrides wafting in the air, it’s enough to get anyone’s creative juices flowing. Nature in itself is beautiful. All the inspiration you need to begin or end your projects can be found in the great outdoors. Take a look!
6 Ways to Help You Stay Motivated & Maintain Your Creative Energy.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m the world’s worst about getting myself burnt out on my creative projects. Once I dive head first into something, I have this tendency to work on it until I my eyes bleed or I pass out from exhaustion. Suddenly, I don’t want to work on that particular project again or any other endeavor I had my sight set on. Let’s face it, time management isn’t my strong suit. On top of that, I sit and wonder why I just busted my ass making stuff yet see very little financial profit in return. That kind of a thing will kill any artist’s motivation to continue on. We’ve all been there, where channel surfing seems like a better option then being creative. So I’ve put together this list of tips to help you stay motivated no matter how many hours you’ve already put into your work or how little you have to show for your efforts. Don’t lose that momentum just yet!
1. Get rid of all other distractions- Yes, you must do this in order to maintain your creativity. The internet, movies, & TV are the biggest distractions for us. Artists genuinely enjoy admiring other works of art, but we’re like that dog in the Disney movie “Up” when we see something that entertains or amuses us we are drawn to it like moths to a flame. “SQUIRREL!” It’s almost as if every artist has some form of ADHD/ADD because as soon as something grabs our attention, we instantly lose interest in what we were doing. Therefore, turn off the TV and disconnect your internet. You won’t regret it, I promise. Also…
2. Don’t abuse supposedly energy/creativity enhancing substances- These drinks/drugs may work for some people, but I honestly can say that the majority of the time you’re motivation does not stem from the fact that you just chugged two Redbulls in 20 seconds. Doing this only prolongs the inevitable of the dreadful crash that will take you down 10 minutes after the high wears off. Same thing goes for drugs, once you’re dependent upon a substance to induce creativity it will be hard to break that habit. You’ll always need it to work which isn’t really productive in the long run. I have no problems with drinking coffee or soda to start off your day though. Sometimes a morning burst of caffeine can help as long as it’s used in moderation of course. Although, there are other things that you can do to get yourself pumped up…
2. Exercise- Get your blood flowing & the adrenaline pumping! Sometimes sitting down in one position for too long staring at the blank Word document or the mess of beads & glue in front of you can make you just want to slam your head against your desk. By standing up and just stretching alone, you can gain that extra energy you need to keep going. If you need more than that, go take a walk. Nature is a wonderful tool to help inspire creativity. Admire your surroundings while on a jog. By the time you get back your head will be clear and you’ll be ready to work again. On the flip side, if physical activity isn’t your thing…
4. Create a music playlist- The internet & TV may distract you visually, but listening to music is like audio inspiration! I have a specific playlist for everything I do from writing to making jewelry to designing my website. Make a soundtrack to your creative experience, fill it with songs that get you excited or make your heart melt. The more emotions a song can produce, the better it will be to use to enhance your artistic adventure. Then, share it with others . . .
5. Collaborate- When you just can’t get going on something due to a lack of vision, ask a friend for help. There are plenty of times when we get burnt out because our brains are on overload making everything seem fuzzy & dull. Nothing looks right or sounds good no matter how long we’ve been planning out the details. Maybe a fellow artist can help you to achieve what you couldn’t on your own. Doesn’t hurt to ask! They could even bring something new to the table that maybe you had not thought of before. If it weren’t for my two best friends, I wouldn’t have been motivated to work on half of the stuff I’ve created. But if all else fails…
6. Move onto a different project- Sometimes there’s nothing you can do with your current project. You’re at a complete standstill with no where to go and no end in sight. Even your favorite music can’t break your hiatus-impending funk, but don’t give up now! If one project isn’t working for you, switch to something else. Maybe even switch to a completely different medium altogether. Changing gears will cause you to get excited about a new project or an existing project that you haven’t worked on for a while. Personally, I have about 5 or 6 random things going on at once. Sure it takes me longer to complete these projects, but I end up working harder & longer than I would have if I had stuck to one thing.
Wow, it’s been a little bit too long hasn’t it? Well, no more breaks! I’m going to start posting creativity/motivation-boosting entries for the rest of this week! Starting with some awesome music that personally helps to inspire creativity while I’m working on my various projects. Enjoy!
~ Renee P.
Gotye – “Easy Way Out” (Making Mirrors 2012)
Lights – “Banner” (Siberia 2011)
Icona Pop – “Nights Like This” (Nights Like This EP 2011)
Passion Pit – “Sleepyhead” (Chuck of Change 2009)
Empire of the Sun – “Walking on a Dream” (Walking on a Dream 2008)
Crystal Castles – “Celestica” (Crystal Castles II 2010)
I Blame Coco – “Caesar” ft. Robyn (The Constant 2010)
M83 – “We Own The Sky” (Saturday=Youth 2008)
Wanna hear this playlist in your iTunes? I got it “.zipped” here for ya
After writing the previous entry, I figured it’d be nice to share a list of websites that are helpful in marketing your online business (Etsy) or website (blog). Obviously, Facebook, Twitter, & Linkedin
1. Pinterest – a newly addictive social network, this website allows you to post pics/links of your merchandise onto a “pinboard” for your followers to see. Your “pins” can also be viewed (& repinned) by others who do not follow you. PLUS, Etsy recently added a “pin” button to product posts! So, there’s really no excuse not to use it.
2. Tumblr – one of the most popular social blogging sites, all you have to do is upload pics of your products and make sure you add very specific tags to the posts for people to be able to find your stuff easily by searching. According to the twins, who sell one or more items in their Etsy shop a day, Tumblr has been VERY beneficial. *TIP* The more people you follow, the more followers you will get to view your posts!
3. StumbleUpon – such a hypnotic website! You basically revise your website search to get specific blogs/articles that YOU want to read based upon categories or “channels”. There is also a way to submit your website so that it comes up on StumbleUpon and readers will be able to review you it by giving a thumbs up or down. I’ve literally sat in front of my computer “stumbling” for hours at a time because it’s so entertaining!
4. Google + – although not as popular as I wish it was, I have to give Google kudos for trying to become the next Facebook (as I despise FB most of the time). Google + is basically Facebook in that you can share photos and links with the world. It seems to be picking up too so hopefully, one of these days, it’ll become more widely used. Still, it’s a good resource and shouldn’t be ignored.
5. delicious – a place to help you find cool stuff & share it, including your Etsy shop or website. I’ve seen this as a sharing option on many blogs as well so I know people are definitely using it! I use it to create lists of helpful links.
6. Digg – also a place for people to discover and share content found on the web. I’ve seen this pop up on numerous “share” links on blogs. The more you share your content, the more people will see it! Why not? Can’t hurt to try it out!
7. Livejournal – yes, it still exists & it’s more social than ever! Although this is set up in journal/blog format for users to write entries, that doesn’t mean you have to start a blog. I actually use this for the “communities” option. There are several Etsy communities where you can promote your shop & I’m willing to bet there are blog & website marketing communities as well. I love the people on LJ too. Everyone seems to be super friendly. *HIGHLY RECOMMEND!*
8. Etsy on reddit – seems to have a pretty large community of other Etsy shop owners. The group actually talks about everything from how to sell, what to sell, search inquiries, awesome treasuries, etc. This would definitely be a place to meet & network with other like-minded artists.
9. Etsy Lush – all you have to do on this site is submit items from your shop to pretty much get free exposure to the masses. They also have a “paid” option where if you pay for the space they will feature you on the front page for a month. Haven’t had time to play with this site too much, but it’s definitely on my to-do list!
10. Etsy Stalk – “when online stalking is a good!” is their motto & I LOVE it! Very well-put together blog site where they feature an individual’s work. You do have to apply for this, but I believe it’s well worth it! I’ve only followed their galleries & it seems that the artists the do feature get more views instantly. Can’t wait to try it out actually!
What does it take to “put yourself out there”? How can an online business owner market themselves? What kind of promotion is needed to gain more blog/site traffic? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself over the last week. I’m sure if you write for a blog or have your own blog, you’ve probably thought the same thing. Also if you, like so many others on the internet, have an online shop you probably know how to at least attract customers to your product. Well, if you’re kind of fuzzy on marketing your blog or your business via the world wide web then all I can say is “welcome to the club!”
Excluding my personal online journals, this is my first REAL blog and even though PrettyZombieGirl isn’t my first attempt at selling things in an online environment, it is my first serious business effort. Therefore, I want both of these endeavors to be successful. Lemme tell ya though, this is a lot more difficult than I originally expected, but I will not accept defeat of any kind. So, I’m writing this in hopes of reaching out to my fellow bloggers for advice.
How do I promote myself or my business?
First thing I did after setting up my Etsy shop was create a Facebook page for it with my logo as the profile pic & an eye-catching cover photo. I then wrote a readable description and added my contact info up-to-date. I had all of my friends & family “like” my page which kick-started my online marketing journey. As much as I despise Facebook on a personal level, I would have to say that in this day & age it is absolutely necessary for your business to have it’s own page. I’ve noticed that people will look at businesses, products, or even blog Facebook pages before looking at the actual websites! It seems the more you “like” and “share” things, the more people will pay attention to your page. Also, connecting every other social account to & from your Facebook is another way for people to spread the word, but there has to be more to it than that. What do you do on Facebook to get people to not only look at your page but “like” it and go on to visit your actual website/shop?
A couple of days later things slowed down. Good thing I already had a Twitter account set up because Facebook hasn’t really given me as much traffic as I hoped for. Twitter, on the other hand, has definitely helped me gain new followers. I’ve been cross-posting my shop listings via both networking sites, but with Twitter it’s helped the most when I’ve used “#tags”. This allows people to search for specific words within a tweet and it leads them here or to my Etsy shop. I also interact with other shop owners & bloggers by replying to their tweets & retweeting things that are related to my own interests. Over the past week, I’ve gained almost 20-30 followers from just making new friends and talking to them. I know this will eventually help out my blog views & my shop right? Fingers crossed! What else are you guys doing to promote your product using Twitter?
Finally, I decided to try a more formal networking site, specifically geared towards business/client relationships, called LinkedIn. I just now updated all of my info, making everything appear more like a resume rather than a sales pitch. I added everyone I knew on there & then figured out that you can promote yourself in discussion groups. There were several for Etsy shop owners & bloggers. By getting to know the folks in those groups, I not only received more “likes” on Facebook, more followers on Twitter, but I also noticed that more people “favorited” my items in my shop or added me to their “circle” on Etsy! That was a major boost, but it’s still not enough.
How does one maintain a steady flow of traffic, increase page likes, & in turn get the world to notice your online business??? . . .
Please, feel free to discuss marketing via these networking websites as well as others, start a chat, or talk to me! I’d love to hear what you guys have to say!
When I first began this handmade DIY adventure, I did it purely for fun and as a learning experience. I sold some of my pieces in my friends shop (The Dandy Lion), but the whole online store thing intimidated me. And for good reason! The twin BFFs who own the shop also have some of their stuff listed on a very popular site called, Etsy.com. If you’re reading this, you’re probably already familiar with it, but if not, it’s a place for crafters, jewelrymakers, and artists to sell their work. Personally, I’ve always been a buyer on Etsy, kinda steering clear of the whole selling thing. Although I didn’t have my own online Etsy shop & had previously had one on Ebay years ago, I was still fascinated by the idea. I was also inspired by all of the talented artists who put some much time into making their shops look amazing which was something people didn’t do on Ebay. So one day I decided to observe how the twins posted items for sale on Etsy. IT WAS OVERWHELMING all of the effort they put into the online shop! They made it look so easy too, but I knew it couldn’t be could it? Due to my annoying fear of failure, I put off listing my own pieces for more than a year because of questions like these…
- How am I going to come up with a clever name/slogan for the store?
- What are my store policies?
- How much should I price this item for? How much $ did it take me to make it to begin with?
- I’m definitely not a photographer… what would I use to take the best pics?
- Is this too much for shipping & handling or too little? What if someone from another country I’ve never heard of buys something and the price of shipping is more than the item itself?!
- What if I don’t have enough handmade stuff to list?
- What if no one buys anything?! *GASP!*
Eventually though ya just have to take some risks in life! About a month ago, I opened up my online store (http://etsy.com/shop/prettyzombiegirl). I tried to prepare myself before actually diving into this endeavor by searching for the answers to the aforementioned questions. Hopefully, if you’re thinking about opening up an Etsy store yourself, I can ease your fears a little.
In my shop, PrettyZombieGirl, I knew that I wanted to have both vintage pieces & handmade items. How I came up with the name of my store can be found here, but that was honestly the easiest part of this process. That may not be the case for everyone though.
TIP: Figure out who you are as an artist and use the theme/style of your pieces to help you come up with a creative name & a clever slogan.
Once set up with a registered name and banner graphic, the next step was deciding on what my store policies would be. This can be somewhat difficult and confusing as there’s a lot to think about- refunds, taxes, tracking numbers, unsatisfied customers, etc. Loopholes in store policies could lead to discrepancies at a later time and no one wants that.
TIP: Go to your favorite Etsy stores and read their shop policies. Read as many of them as you can from reliable sellers with positive feedback. Then take what they wrote, rewrite it in your own words, and apply it to your shop.
Ah, the most intimidating part of this, the money factor. How much you price your items and how much to charge for shipping is what scared me the most because I didn’t want to price anything too low or too high. I didn’t want to lose $, but I also didn’t want to be one of those shops where everything was outrageously expensive. Depending upon what is being sold and how much time/effort it took me to make certain things is how I decided on the final prices.
TIP: Look up other people who are selling similar things & see what their prices are. Save ALL receipts for any materials used to create your pieces so you know exactly how much $ went into it. Finally, go to USPS.com to check out shipping costs. The only way to learn, in my opinion, is to research.
Those who know me, know I absolutely SUCK at photography. I just don’t have the “eye” for it, but luckily with today’s technology pretty much ANYONE can be a photographer. My iPhone 3G takes better pics than my digital camera which is a good thing because I’m a mom on a budget. There’s no time to hire a photographer or buy a new cam with badass special effects. But, on the other hand, I’ve noticed that the majority of the listings on Etsy from the most popular sellers have GORGEOUS photos of their merchandise. Broke like me but wanna make your pics look good too?
TIP: If you have a smart phone, there are dozens of amazing photo apps out there that make your pics look professional even if you’re not good at photography. If you don’t have a smart phone but you do have a digital camera, I would suggest using Photoshop to spice up your photos or download a free photo-editor here: http://gimp.org.
As for the last few nerve-racking questions… I was also terrified of not having enough product to make my shop look bigger to attract customers. There were a few sleepless nights where I worried that no one would buy anything after I spent days preparing and creating this brand new shop. My fears were quickly put to rest because believing in myself, trusting in my merchandise, and really working hard to make this the best that it could be paid off. People started buying things the moment I opened PrettyZombieGirl.
TIP: Take your time with this and get it perfect so you can be proud of your store. Another helpful hint, use any and all social media to promote the crap out of it! That’s what they’re out there for!
This thing on? *Ahem!* LOL! So this will be my intro post of sorts. I’m not good at these kinds of things but here we go . . .
Most of you who will probably be reading this know me as Renee, but to the cyber world I’ve always gone by the catchy moniker, prettyzombiegirl. I appropriately nicknamed myself prettyzombiegirl because of my love for cheesy undead horror flicks. Everyone knows me as the girl who loves zombies, it’s just who I am and what I love. I even have the gory walking creatures tattooed all over my left arm. It’s a handle that I am proud of needless to say. Hey, don’t look at me like that you know zombies are awesome! With the uprising of new zombie movies & TV shows, how can one not eh?
Now here we are, many years later, and I’ve decided to name my handmade & vintage collection after the same thing. Oh, and also blog about it. My creativity and motivation to craft unique items has soared over the last 2 years & I owe it all to my twin BFFs. In 2010, they opened up a vintage/handmade boutique called The Dandy Lion, some of you local readers may know of it. Because of them I became completely inspired to do something similar, just on a smaller scale. I liked what they were doing & felt the need to ride out this artsy-fartsy phase of my life mainly because writing wasn’t enough.
Already having a small vintage collection from a previous business co-ran with one of the twins back in 2005ish, That Vintage Green (which wasn’t a huge success but it was original for our town at the time & it jump-started our vintage craze), helped me to figure out a starting point. I bought craft supplies, broken accessories, & a few other tools to begin making my own designs as well as restore vintage jewelry. The goal wasn’t to make $ or become popular, but to have another outlet for my artistic endeavors. I worked for months on different things, experimented with ideas, and helped out at the shop for extra inspiration until I finally found my own niche in the ever-growing DIY universe.
It’s been a long and arduous journey trying to find my aesthetic qualities through fashion, film, & culture. And then to figure out how to showcase them through crafting/jewelry-making is still something that I’m constantly working on. Fortunately, it’s well worth the effort as it stimulates my imagination and also gives me a hobby to concentrate on when I get a break in between mommy duties. Now it’s become even more than that, it’s just on the verge of becoming a young business that has spread onto the internet via a popular website called, Etsy. This blog is going to document my trials & tribulations, talk about current & upcoming projects, discuss issues we artists face in this fast-paced world, and just be an outlet for whatever else that comes out of this scattered cell I call a brain ha! So, without further adieu, I present to you PrettyZombieGirl!
PZG is a conglomeration of everything weird, eccentric, mystical, paranormal, horror, gothic, vintage, gory, odd, creative, & insane. It is a brand, a collection, & an inspiration. This is where all of these things collide in my brain and are spewed out into cyberspace. Feel free to talk, share, discuss, & follow.