Monday, January 31, 2011

Children with four Legs

All three of my children have four legs. This is not to say I didn't bare one with two legs, I did and she is grown. However, today I have three "kids" that are treated better than most people treat their "real" kids.

We have two cats and one dog. I have never been a cat person, always thought they were simply too independent, not at all lap cats (versus dogs), and they have a tendency to eat small rodents. I was converted one day when a small, nearly dead & emaciated cat entered my yard and looked at me with pleading eyes. I was so stunned by her sad look that I gave her a bowl of milk. I could see all her ribs, her hips and her eyes bordered on bulging from malnutrition.

After two days of feeding this small cat she brought three kittens to my door almost as a gift. Geesh, now I was the caregiver of 4 cats! I never liked cats, never wanted a cat and now there were four. We found homes for three of the kittens, and kept one because the little guy looked like a skunk in his coloring.

Today the small, skunk looking kitten has grown into a huge, stunningly beautiful long haired black cat. And did I mention that the mother is a tiny gray tabby? If I hadn't see it myself I would not have believed this big black cat and the small tabby are related!

Having always been a dog person, I had no idea how to treat or interact with a cat ~ so I treated them like dogs. Today my two cats will fetch, roll over, sit in my lap, come when called and a plethora of things typically reserved for dogs. They are named Miss Kitty and Krazy Kat respectively. Krazy is and always has been MY cat as he doesn't warm to men very well. He completely intimidates my husband because Krazy is not above biting when displeased ~ he wouldn't dare bite me as I am the Alpha Female and he knows it! Miss Kitty on the other hand is anyone's cat ~ all she cares about is the food bowl (she knows what hunger feels like and isn't about to go there again).

They say or I've read that cats are nocturnal animals. I simply refuse to believe it. Our two cats always find a place on our bed to sleep at night ~ all night, and there are mornings I have a very difficult time extricating myself out of bed so as not to disturb three animals!

Our dog Louise is a 10 pound Peek-a-poo that everyone mistakes as a Shitzu. We call her the Velcro dog because she is the antithesis of a lap dog! Louise is a lover, and a licker. I swear her tongue is the size of a great dane's and it's hard to imagine it actually fits into her mouth.

We are trained by our three animals. Each has a distinct  personality and their needs are communicated differently. We've tried to find someone to house/pet sit so we can vacation together but have failed on all accounts. So we've resigned ourselves to separate vacations. Some would say this is going too far but we maintain that we took these animals to care for, and that we do.

I want to come back in another life as a pet in my house!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I hate the Grocery Store!

Think about it, almost everyone shopping in the Grocery store drove there! We are in the United States, we drive on the right side of the street - always!

I am a literal person, OCD in fact. When I am forced to shop I maneuver my cart on the right side of the isle and walk  to the left if there is something I need. Not so with my fellow shoppers. Am I the only lucky person to be put in the position of barking "excuse me" just to remove myself from the grocery traffic jam?

My husband loves to shop, and he really loves when I accompany him ~ so I can witness his coupon and price match prowess. Needless to say his favorite shopping venue is a Walmart Super Center! This is utter agony for me as Walmart shoppers are the worst. We're talking NASCar shopping. The carts are huge for a family of 14 to fill with groceries and sundry. I once went to a Walmart Super Center alone and the stress built to the extent that I left a half-full cart in the store and drove home!

I hate to seem like a curmudgeon, and I do understand that leaving kids locked in a car isn't a good thing, but they intimidate the hell out of me in the grocery store! They whine and cry, they hang off the sides of carts, they push carts and I'm always lucky to get hit in by one.

I'd also like to address the shoppers who are talking on their cell phones and completely oblivious to anyone. Who I ask, who is so important that they can't grocery shop without a phone? I remember the days when our telephone hung on the wall in the kitchen!

As Kid Rock says, "we were doing crazy things, smoking funny things" is how I feel after a grocery outing. The address of my favorite store is dot com.

Crafters don't put your eggs in One Basket!

As a selling crafter/artist, over the years I've become acutely aware that putting all my eggs in one basket is a recipe for disaster!  I sold my wares on Ebay for years with a modicum of success.  I spent bunches of money in listing fees, photograph fees, and FV addition to my PayPal fees.  When Ebay made big changes in their fee structure I simply left with hat in hand.

Today I sell handmade mosaic tiles on Etsy and most recently I've added an ArtFire store to my basket  I'm relatively new to Etsy as a seller but was an on again off again buyer.  I've been on Etsy as a seller for less than six months and have not been able to stock my store inventory commensurate with making loads of sales....but that's all changing in 2011! However I was pleased with my sales on Etsy given my inventory to sales ratio.

My goal is to have 100 items in my Etsy store and 100 items in my ArtFire store.  2010 personally was a very bad year for me yet I have started 2011 with optimism and verve!  I will shameless promote my stores, market my butt off, and promote in every area that is relevant to what I do.

The bottom line for fellow crafters/artisans who want to sell online is the following: Targe and focus your promotions where they will do you the most good. I for one hate Twitter and FB as my experience has led me to believe they are a waste of time given what I sell.  Blogging, owning a website and constantly keeping it fresh will increase your SEO efforts. Open another store so as not to have all your eggs in one basket (be it a BM or Internet). And most importantly...don't forget to keep on keeping on where you craft is concerned.  Don't lose site of what it is that makes you money ~ keep your creative juices going, don't let all the online forum negative crap creep into your mind and enjoy what you are doing!

Today I will ignore the nay-sayers, turn on the tunes and break some plates! Ciao for today.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Morning Gripe!

I'm a seller on Etsy and relatively new at that. In less than six months the handmade touting site has had numerous changes and loads of drama as a result. I was a buyer long before I was a seller and did not make the decision to become a seller on this venue lightly. FYI, I was a seller on Ebay for a very long time so I'm not a newbie at the online selling game.

As a seller my needs are very simple and I've expressed them in the Forums, Ideas, Site Help, etc. Currently Etsy is making changes to the venue that most don't want and won't use. Not the least of which is the dismantling of the Forum as it is today; and now the implementation of opt in/out to import email contacts. The administration has written new privacy policy for this function ~ but what is to keep them from changing that policy on a whim at a later date? They would love to have my contact list ~ I have over 3000 email contacts. And not one on my contact list has the least bit of interest in my mosaic tile sales! Etsy "says" they will not be storing my/our contacts. I have actually used a similar function on other sites such as Linkedin with much success. However, Etsy has demonstrated that as a company they cannot be trusted and I'm not about to drop my pants.

Etsy doesn't seem to understand that sellers are customers. As a business person, if I pissed off all or most of my customers the way Etsy has done these past few months, I would have no revenue at all. It is the sellers/customers who pay the bills. Etsy has forgotten or is ignoring who their customer is ~ and it's not the investors.

Instead of going down the "hide it" route and the social direction, if Etsy would implement some very smart and relatively easy to code tools, we could actually make money and be happy little selling campers.

1. Batch listing ~ I could go on for pages about how much time this would save sellers. It has been suggested that there is an Etsy hack that will allow this function. While I'm not completely sure what this means, I suspect it's a 3rd party site that opens me up to potential listing problems, potential virus, trojans and the like. And frankly, if I'm going to pay Etsy, I want this tool on Etsy!

2. Easier editing when listing. If you find an area that you need to edit during the listing process, the hoops are endless AND you have to re-enter certain pieces of information TWICE just to make one small edit.

3. Search - there is currently no viable search engine on Etsy. As a small business, how the hell are we supposed to do business when customers can't adequately search?

4. Promotions ~ this has been a total waste of money for me. It's like pissing in the wind ~ so the alternative is to renew your listing just to find a place in the first 10 pages!

5. Teams ~ So OK, they're hiding us into little rooms so our comments won't be seen by the masses. Sounds like they are readying themselves for an IPO ~ but whatever. My gripe is that whatever team I belong will automatically appear in my Shop Profile. Think about this...if Etsy doesn't want their dirty laundry in public view, would I want my customers to see my comments within a team? I don't want my customers to be able to follow me around Etsy to see where and how I find information to better run my business! I want my customers in my store buying things! Seems like a blatant violation of MY privacy.

6. Circles ~ What a waste of bandwidth! Enough said.

7. Treasuries ~ I'm beginning to see the benefit of Treasuries but Gawd, why is it so difficult to develop one. Opening two browsers to create a treasury, clicking back and fourth seems to be a stone age work around. I truly admire those who spend the time and effort to make Treasuries ~ but for me, creating, listing, selling, shipping, etc. leave little time for me to do flips making a Treasury.

I'm sure I can think of more issues but I haven't had enough coffee yet and don't want to ruin my day with more ranting. More to come!

Check out my store (who's days may be numbered)