Thursday, May 20, 2010

How "Mature" is Etsy?

What kind of site is Etsy? What kind of site does it want to be?

It was built by artists, artisans, crafters, creatives, innovators, entrepreneurs, oddballs, and every loose end of society.

When Etsy was small, the melting pot of weird was run with a free but friendly hand. Some people complained the Admins were unprofessional and didn't do enough. Some thought the Admins were drunk with power, closing shops without cause and taking sellers' money.

Etsy got big. That's the point, right? Grow the business, find more customers, up! up! up!
They brought in business people and started running Etsy as a business because, after all, it is a business. Things grew and things changed. You may love your two bedroom apartment in the city and hate everything suburbia stands for, but once you start having kids, a second bathroom and a yard may be worth losing the produce market on the corner.

The United States was built by religious extremists who left England because they wanted to practice a stricter form of Christianity, creatives, innovators, entrepreneurs, oddballs, and every loose end of the rest of the world (plus the bit of humanity native to the continent that managed to survive all of that "creative innovation" and "entrepreneurship"). Hundreds of years later, we still see the ties to our puritanical roots. I don't know if the United States will ever shake that fundamental fundamentalist core. Is that a good thing? Bad thing? I don't like it, but it's hard to pass judgment.

Etsy used to allow "artistic nudes" to go without the mature tag. It stood by the stance that uncovered body parts legitimately can be used in art. Copyright law used to be a very touchy subject, too. Etsy was a place for free expression and avoided concrete rules limiting freedom.

Having a mature tag at all concedes that there are people who shouldn't or don't want to see certain images and that their needs are not only valid but outweigh the importance of a censorship-free environment.

Changing the entire site so that you have to "opt-in" to see "mature" tagged images says that acceptance and growth into fundamentalist America is more important than Etsy's fundamental foundation.

Admin Michelle (HeyMichelle) really hits on it in one of her forum posts.
what if I was looking at the site with my mother or grandmother or 11 year old niece? What if I were someone who avoids racy material and finds it inappropriate (a good number of buyers). Would I want to click on a link on the site and suddenly see a bunch of adult material and have to scramble around for a button? If it's a new user- might they leave and never come back?

But it's a choice between them and Etsy's pilgrims.
Reaching out to a wider audience can alienate your base. I hope the admins calculate carefully. I don't sell anything "mature," but I like Etsy as a niche market and I hope it knows how to stay that way, no matter how much it grows.

Useful Info for International Mail

My very United States self has to shop out a package to the United Kingdom. Normally I have the luxury of the flat-rate priority box's online label and postage system, but not today. These are salt and pepper shakers and it would be a crime to double the shipping cost just so I don't have to wait in the three person line at my post office.


How the hell do I format the address label?

I like official answers from official sources, so I went to (UK mail service) which brought me to and the exact information I needed.
Here's the direct link and here's what it said:

When sending mail to someone in the UK, you should write the address as follows:

  • Line 1: name of the person you’re sending the item to
  • Line 2: house number and street name
  • Line 3: locality name, if required
  • Line 4: post town, printed in capitals
  • Line 5: full postcode, printed in capitals on a separate line
Addressing international mail

Addressing formats vary by country, but ideally you should include:

  • Line 1: name of the person you’re sending the item to
  • Line 2: building number and street name
  • Line 3: name of the city or town
  • Line 4: name of the province, state or department and postal code
  • Line 5: name of the country, in capitals

When addressing international mail:

  • write the country name last and in capitals
  • write your address on the back of the envelope so it’s easy to return your item if there’s a problem delivering it
  • start each line on the left (do not centre the lines)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Craftopolis: A Treasure Unto Itself

If you use Etsy and don't already know about it,
It tracks views, hearts, (my favorite) if and where you appear in treasuries, and when the time-dependent treasuries will "open" for new creations.
Some of us remember scrolling through each page of the treasury list, just hoping to see a star. Treasury creators weren't allowed to convo treasury includees to let them know they'd been featured. The forums were filled with debates on whether or not it should be considered spam and people posting "Have you seen me??? My item suddenly has a ton of views! Was it on the Front Page or in a blog or something?"
You know, waaaay back in 2008, when Bush was still president and you actually knew what that thing was at the back of your freezer.Well, now I pop into Craftopolis and check the treasure hunt with my shop names and voila! Treasuries featuring me, not hunting required!The original treasuries had a finite list to check, but Treasury East can go on forever and there's no easy way to see if you're featured unless the creator tells you. For the new Treasury East searching feature on Craftopolis, you have to have Google Analytics installed and at least one person has to have clicked on your item in the treasury, but hey, it's better than nothing. (Full disclosure: I'm a Treasury East fiend. Love it. Very useful as wish/idea/giftlist, and without the time pressure and gambling I can do way more creatively.)
So here's some of my current stardom. What's yours?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Most Amazing Thing Ever: Oscar Diaz Ink Calendar

I read about this in Modern Magazine (yay free copy from Merchandise Mart):

Ink Calendar by Oscar Diaz

Every month starts out as an all-white paper conjoinment of numbers. Place the end in its ink bottle (different colors for different months based on color and perceived climate temperatures) and the paper absorbs the ink so that every day, the new date fills with color.

Wow. Consider my mind blown.

Check out Oscar Diaz's website, including the Ink Calendar (under "Projects").

Good (Price) Point

How often do I give kudos to someone else's philosophy on pricing?

Go mark your calendar (and I'm following this with a post of the greatest calendar ever invented), because The Crafts Report has good advice.
Four Reasons to Increase the Price Points of Your Craft

Monday, May 10, 2010

Etsy Suggested Shops: Stats 101, not Abnormal Psychology

Ohmigawd the new Etsy "Suggested Shops" feature is going to punch puppies and lock your grandmother in a cage! All the "Suggested Shops" on my list have tons of sales! Etsy is trying to widen the classist divide between the haves (sales) and the have nots!


When other sites' algorithms suggest books and movies, the more popular movies will show up more often on more people's lists, because by their very nature of being more popular, more people have read/seen them and liked them so they have more crossover with other books/movies that more people have seen, etc. etc. etc.

Go look through your own favorite shops. Odds are (and I really mean ODDS are, as in statistically more likely) the majority those shops have way more sales than 1) the average Etsy shop 2) you.
It's not because you value sales when choosing a shop to like, it's because shops that have made it across your screen and into your hearts are making it across other people's screens and into their mailboxes.

It's not evil or suspicious, it's human nature and Stats 101.

Go send promo packages to the big-name bloggers and get yourself more hearts.

Statistical Baby Burp Cloths by NausicaaDistribution

Addendum: Perfect explanation by Etsy Admin stefankarpinski (thank you Ookami Snow)!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Guilt-Free Shout-Out to Mom

Happy Mothers Day!

My mother writes books and articles on motherhood. In honor of Mothers Day, I'm giving her a bit of a publicity bump.
Debra Gilbert Rosenberg

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Story of the Mengel Cabinet Knobs

The electricity and water were shut off ages ago and they'd been draining the hot water heater for a good 30 minutes, so everyone was a little surprised when the overhead pipes poured down the last of the house's reserves.
"Hey, you wanna take a shower?"
I was the only female and glad I hadn't ditched my sweatshirt around the third time they made the joke.
The knobs came off the Mengel cabinet quite quickly, but for whatever reason I decided I wanted the hinges, too. Five screws per hinge, four hinges, and no real hurry unless the water never stopped, in which case the puddle might make it to my part of the floor.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Park Ridge Demolition Shower

One demolition sale, two estate sales, two garage sales, an antiques show, and a stop at one of my favorite antiques/salvage places in Chicago. Not bad for a 2-day weekend.