Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CLOSED - MFJoE Giveaway from Allart Shop! Handmade Miniature Milk and Cherry Jam Cookies Ring


Comment # 106 is the winner! 
Congratulations Jasmine1485!

Chiara from Allart Shop on Etsy will be giving away a miniature milk and cherry jam cookies ring handmade by her and valued at $22!  This little ring is so cute you can wear it on a girl's night out (to make your friends jealous!) or to a Saturday swap meet!

The giveaway prize! Too cute!

But after looking at her Etsy store, I must ask how anyone could not fall in love everything???? Chiara's attention to detail and just total cuteness and adorableness is amazing!  She also does custom orders so if you would like anything made especially for you, feel free to get in touch!

I just adore her product photography!

Here's a lovely message from Chiara of Allart Shop!

Hi everybody, my name is Chiara and I'm from Italy. I love cooking and I especially love pastries: in Italy we have a great tradition of good food and eating well. Unfortunately, I also like to eat… I invite my friends for large dinners to try my new recipes, or share traditional dishes from my region. I’m constantly battling with the scale ... 

I love to work with my hands, and in this I am really versatile, I think I have done pretty much everything: my home is the site of my experiments and is in constant revolution, like me! It's totally colorful, full of plants so it looks like a jungle and full of work in progress in every corner of the house ..  I have thousands of projects constantly dancing in my head, well ... I could not survive without creating! So, I decided to become a part of this community to share all this with you. 

Every one of my pieces represent a little part of the day, the impression of a moment, warm, sweet and comforting to carry around everywhere. Or a sweet that delights the soul and palate. A great deal of passion and attention to every single detail is in each creation. I hope you have fun here with me!



To enter the giveaway see the rules below and note that you must do #1 as your first entry.  The other rules are optional.  Also, please leave a separate comment for each entry.  This contest is open to anyone around the world and has free shipping!  Deadline is midnight Pacific time Tuesday, January 25, 2011. Please use an email that you will check regularly.  Winner will be chosen at random using an online random number generator.  If the winner does not respond to the notification email within 72 hours, another winner will be randomly chosen.  Thanks, good luck, and have fun!!!

1.) Your first entry is mandatory.  Visit Allart Shop's Etsy Store and leave a comment on this blog with your favorite item.  Feel free to choose more than one and visit Allart Shop's sold items too.

2.) Leave a separate comment suggesting something or many things that would make a cute piece of miniature food jewelry for one additional entry!  The sky's the limit and you can leave as many suggestions as you like.  Note that there is only one entry even if you list multiple ideas.

3.) Join the MFJoE blog via Google Friend Connect (see right-hand column in this blog and click “Follow”) and leave your username in a separate comment for one additional entry.  If you’re already a friend and follow us, just type in your Google Friend Connect username.

4) Follow MFJoE on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway with the following tweet:  @foodjewelryteam  Handmade Milk & Cherry Jam Cookies Ring Giveaway!  When done, come back and leave a separate comment with a link to the tweet and your Twitter username for an additional entry.

5.) Become a fan of MFJoE on Facebook.  Leave a separate comment with your Facebook username for one additional entry.

6) Are you already a member of MFJoE team?  Put your Etsy username in a separate comment for one additional entry!  Note, put the Etsy username associated with the team and also note you must be an Active Member of the team and have applied and been accepted into the team.  Not sure if you're an active member? Check the Active Members page.  Interested in joining the team?  Love making miniature food jewelry?  Have an Etsy store and a significant portion of your items are miniature food jewelry?  Read more about our team, our team requirements, and apply here!

7.) Lastly, make a purchase from Allart Shop's Etsy store and earn five (5) additional entries for EACH item purchased!  Come back here when done and leave five additional comments for each item purchased.  Be sure to include your Etsy username and item(s) purchased in the comment and the invoice number for the purchase.

Until Later!  ®oscata

Member Spotlight - All For Jasmine

This member spotlight is very special and MFJoE is interviewing Elisa of All for Jasmine, a 12-year old polymer clay artisan that has a true passion for tiny food jewelry and her Boston terrier, Jasmine.

Let’s start by telling everyone a little bit about yourself
I'm 12 years old and I live with my mom, my dogs Jasmine and Zorro, my cat Dreamer, and my chinchilla Santana in the San Francisco Bay area.

How did you start into/begin crafting miniature food jewelry?
I've been working with polymer clay since I was about four.  I'd gotten some air dry clay for my birthday but got frustrated with it because it dried SO fast.  So my mom got me some polymer clay and I was hooked!  I started out making little animals...bunnies and things and gave most of them away to my mom and my family.  I started making miniature food about a year and a half ago then started making them into jewelry items.

Describe your Etsy shop?  How did you come up with the name?
My dog, Jasmine, is the reason I started my Etsy shop.  Jasmine is a Boston Terrier and I've had her since I was three (she was six weeks old).  She's been my best friend ever since.

About 3 years ago, Jasmine started having eye problems and eventually had to have her left eye removed.  She has a prosthetic one now but she has to be on eye drops for the rest of her life.  She also has really bad allergies and has to get shots once a week..also for the rest of her life. 

I know that her meds are really expensive and I wanted to help out with paying for them.  That's when my mom helped me to open my shop!  All the money goes towards Jasmine's medicine and vet bills.  Of all the things I have ever made, the things I make to help Jasmine give me the most joy to create. :)

Do you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I guess you could say I'm partly self taught.  I've always loved art.  I also love drawing and cooking/baking.  My mom has always been really supportive and bought me every book imaginable.  I really love Maureen Carlson's style and I learned all of the basics from her books and videos but I always love picking up new things.  My mom often reminds me that no one knows absolutely everything...there's always something new to learn!

What's the ONE thing that as an artisan, you couldn't live without?
I'd be lost without my clay's really just a little paring knife but I use it SO much!  I cut clay with it, use the back to decorate, etc.

How has being a part of Etsy helped you in your craft and/or in your business?
Being a part of Etsy has helped me a lot!  I'm more of a perfectionist now when it comes to my creations.  I was never messy or anything like that.  My mom taught me to "work clean" but the pieces I make for the shop are so important so I like to make sure they're as close to perfect as I can get.

What do you like about the MFJoE Team?
I love being a part of the MFJoE team!  It's so cool to see all the great work that other artists doing.

Please take a look around Elisa's shop and see her amazing creations!  We can't wait to see what you'll make next!!

Until Later!  ®oscata

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting A Jump Start on 2011- Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business Part 3

(Continued from Part 2)

(Click here to read Part 1)

Welcome back to the continuing series on creative ways to market your online boutiques in 2011! I have been working this week on my shop samples that I will be giving away this year and have created a TON of mini sushi magnets with my biz card & coupons! I am very excited on how they turned out and will be sampling them all year- including this blog. So far we have only just scratched the surface on how we can inexpensively promote our small businesses. We all have unique and personal shops, our best strengths are in our abilities to connect with our customers. So with that thought here are a few more ideas for you!

16. For your very best customers who give you the most repeat business send them something out of the blue
I have been blessed with connecting to several really great customers during 2010. I was so thrilled when I would see them in my PayPal inbox more than once. These people are your core business. They represent who your key market really is for your product. From mini cakes to in my case mini sushi- every shop should be looking at these people carefully. Where do they live? How old are they?  What feedback have you gotten from them? Are they men or women? Are they telling you it is for a gift? This is VITAL information for you to use when designing, pricing, packaging and writing your descriptions. Imagine your customers are around 50-60. You certainly would not use trendy language or slang or funky photos, you would probably use simpler clear photography that is more tasteful and refined, perhaps shorter product descriptions and specifics on details such as size and colors. This information you can only get from your customers. Reward your best ones with a surprise gift basket, t-shirt or small gift and give them several business cards to pass out to friends. Can't afford to do that? Then just send a thank you note to them with a coupon and some biz cards. Referrals and word of mouth from these people are GOLD! Treat them like the special people they are.

17. Do public demonstration of your products and the creative process
I LOVE this idea- just get out there and be seen in your community! Many communities have festivals all though the year. Buy a small booth and sell your products in a new way. If you sell food items, give out samples. If you sculpt- bring some clay and small tools and give demonstrations on how you make a simple item that you like to make. People will find you so interesting and what to take home a piece to remind them of the fun they had. It doesn't have to be a craft fair- in fact be different. Where I live we have a scarecrow fest in the fall- many shops have sidewalk sales, people rent tents and there are rides. Look to you community to see what is going on in your area during 2011 and make an effort to be a part of it. You may gain customers, exposure and press- along with meeting some fun new people in your area!

18.  Create sell sheets
The sell sheet is all about your products and services. The sell sheet typically describes one product or service or a series of familiar ones. Here you want to take your best photography you can and list all the benefits, it's description and all other improtant information about the product. Be sure to include you company contact info and the price or sale price. Designing doesn't have to be a chore, try Microsoft publisher or other inexpensive design software. I like to create sheets for the items I have multiples of. I find having a few fun items I can produce many of has really helped my small business. If I have a customer buy a similar item I will print and include a sell sheet in their package before I ship it out. I also ALWAYS include a packing slip and a busines card along with a small sample or thank you gift. This has gotten me some of my return customers as well! If you can, you may also what to consider creating a brochure to add as well. This may require some more time to design so make sure you include products that reflect the core of your business and that you can make more of- OR - try making a special brochure just of your OOKS! Anything extra you can stick in your shipping box to keep the customer looking at your items, thinking about your shop or remind them of it at a later time is in your favor. Don't forget that!

Well today we have covered a lot dealing manly with our lovely customers! I have met some really awesome people last year and I am just so excited to have people live with the creations and art I make. What we do is special, it comes from our heart and has a story. Part of your job as an artist and business owner is to share that with your customers! Well I hope everyone has a great week and I will be back soon with more tips to help you market your small business this year!

Posted by Susan of the Alla Prima Art Mall. Owner of Jade Dumpling on Etsy, The Garden District on Etsy, and Global Jewelry Bazaar on Etsy.  Susan has an MBA and is an instructor in both art and business where she teaches marketing, SEO & SEM, and other small business classes. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting A Jump Start on 2011- Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

After an entire week since the 2010 holiday rush, I am beginning to miss the hustle and bustle. Most of all I am missing the sales that seemed to greet me in the morning that were more then I have seen all year. Now is the time to begin to think about your 2011 market plans. If you are stumped for ideas on how to get customers to you with little cash to spend- read on!

11. Create free items or samples
Creating free items or samples for your websites and shops are a great inexpensive way to allow new customers to get to know your products or services. It doesn't have to really be just a product, but also could be a free service or a free trial. For every customer that makes a purchase, I do include a cute little sample that includes a cello sealed bag that includes my business card, some stickers from Japan (so cute) and one of the following a free pendant, sushi magnet or a bracelet. These work for my Jade Dumpling shop on Etsy, but it is really easy to come up with an inexpensive themed give-a-way. Most of the feedback I have gotten in 2010 was about the free stuff and how much they enjoyed. It had even gotten me a few really good repeat customers!

12. Send out your products for review
Similar to sending out free samples of your work only this is a slightly different tack. Here once you have developed a new product line, try sending it out to a few of your best customers, bloggers, and people you know as a sample. The trick for this is to send along with the sample a short questionnaire for them to fill out to give you more feedback than is normally given during a purchase. This allows you to work out any bugs, adjust pricing and other critical things before listing on your Etsy shop or websites. This works best for those who have incorporated production work into their studio time. Etsean's that sell one of a kind (OOAK) items might not want to try this one!

13. Get decals printed and place them on cars and other noticeable places
Now you can go online to many print companies and even on Etsy and find decals, bumper stickers and other fun items. People love to decorate their cars- and then they turn into moving bill boards for you. Since they are cheap to have done there is little investment needed. They even have special sticker paper packs you can buy at most office supply shops to print the bumper stickers and decals on your home printer! This is a great thing to include in your box as you ship out items to your customers.

14. Send Promotional Items with orders
Again, here the idea is much like the pens or stickers - keep your mind open to new and fun ways to get you logo and name and brand with the customer. You can find magnets, pinback buttons, pocket mirrors, stuffed animals, wine glasses, seeds, stress balls. Definitely check Etsy because many sellers will make custom promotional items specifically for your shop!  Whatever you can dream of- trust me someone is selling it and can put your logo on it. When sending out promotional items I suggest you tie it into a sale or promotion that you have running. For example- since we just ended the holiday season let's imagine that you had a Christmas sale and everything was 20% off- put that info on your shop, website, blog and then also say that each order will get a free ornament. The ornament can just have something like Happy Holidays from the Jade Dumpling and on the bottom 2010. If it is cute, they will hang it on their tree and pack it up with the rest of their ornaments and next year... when they unpack-- well they are reminded of the gift, their purchase and how much their friends liked the gifts they bought from you! (and order again!)

15. Press Releases
All towns and cities are different. What is news in my town may never get any coverage in yours. Contact your local newspapers, go through them for several weeks reading cover to cover and find out what is news to them. Most newspapers are more than happy to get story ideas from local business men and women. Be sure to ask the editors how they want the information sent to them. Some of the easiest ways to get a news story written about you is to participate in your community. Do something to help others, donate part of your proceeds to a local charity, teach art classes at the local high school or go in and talk about running a business or being an artist. It doesn't matter if you have 100 employees or one or it is just you- it is the job of the business to go out and seek publicity. I suggest searching online for press release template forms. I have found many over the years for free!

These five marketing tips are still just the start! We have many more to go through before the end of January! Try to brainstorm now on your own for half an hour. What ideas can you think of to let your customers know you are out there? Have fun and look for the next post in a few short days!

To read Part 3 of this post, click here.

Posted by Susan of the Alla Prima Art Mall. Owner of Jade Dumpling on Etsy, The Garden District on Etsy, and Global Jewelry Bazaar on Etsy.  Susan has an MBA and is an instructor in both art and business where she teaches marketing, SEO & SEM, and other small business classes. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 2011 Monthly Theme Challenge

Note that this post has changed.  I'm getting used to the new year so the tag for this challenge is MFJoEJan2011 and NOT MFJoEJan2010.  Thanks for bearing with my blondeness everyone! Healthy Foods!

Photo of Tomato Earrings courtesy of Team Member mmagda

After a few months of yummy comfort foods, it's the perfect time to make a resolution so this theme is naturally (get it??!) going to be a bit healthier.  This month please either tag your entries for this month's challenge in Etsy with MFJoEJan2011.  If you have the picture on Flickr, please use the same tag.  If your item does sell, leave a comment on this post with a link to the sold item so it's not left out when I post the results.  If it's not too much trouble, please limit yourself to one entry per member.  No complaints and I'm so happy for everyone participating, but with more and more members being added each week, there are more and more entries. 

Entries need to be tagged or comments left by January 30 (midnight Pacific time) and the blog post with the results will be posted on January 31.

Until Later!  ®oscata

MFJOE December 2010 Theme Challenge "Holiday Foods" Results

Hi everyone!!!  Check out the entries to the Holiday Foods December 2010 Monthly Theme Challenge!
Peppermint Lollipop Earrings by Mouse Market
Peppermint and Cupcakes Black Filigree Headband by Roscata
 Until Later!  ®oscata