Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why I Think Giving a Free Gift is Important to Include In Your Etsy Order Packages

An example of a free gift sample of a homemade macaroon cookie with attached business card from Storybook Artifact

I think the extra special touches that Etsy sellers put into their packages reminds the buyer that they are not ordering from a company that makes mass-produced and soulless gadgets and gizmos, they are instead ordering from individuals, mom and pop virtual brick and mortar storefronts, and home-based little cottage industries. Etsy is a place where sellers sell handmade one-of-a-kind treasures...not something that was made in a child labor sweatshop! I highly value the works of art found on Etsy; as well as the vintage lovelies that recycle the things that are saved from being forgotten from our past and are given a new life. I know, I am going a bit off topic here, my point is, I think receiving a free gift in an Etsy order is a very special touch (just like the handwritten note, pretty packaging, or handwritten address) that reminds the customer that they are buying from an individual who actually put thought and care into wrapping their package!

I think this is even more expressed if you give a free gift that is relevant or related to the item that they have purchased; I think this is a very good idea for several reasons. The item demonstrates the other like-items in your shop reminding the buyer that you have more to offer and hopefully inspiring them to return and make another purchase. Since it is something similar to what they purchased, they are also more likely to use or appreciate the free gift. For example, we sell a lot of vintage magazine prints, so I will include a smaller half-page magazine advertisement from the same era that advertises a similar item (like a liquor ad, women's lingerie ad, etc.). We do this in our sister shop "Eco-Friendly Freckles" as well and have received wonderful reviews thanking us for the free thoughtful gifts. We have also included vintage decorative shoe inserts in some of our vintage shoe packages...and we included coupon codes with all orders. I also love the idea of including a recipe if you are a vintage seller; for instance, a purchase of barware glasses gets a cocktail recipe, a cookbook gets a recipe card.
An example of a free half-page magazine advertisement gift from "sister shops" LaOohLaLa Boutique and Eco-Friendly Freckles

Also, we do not do this, but I think it is a good idea, if you make art prints, illustrations, or oil paintings, have a print made of your art piece and have it made into bookmarks, buttons, keychains, magnets, postcards, greeting cards, custom pencils, pens, or other "functional" freebie items and in small print have your shop URL printed on it somewhere so the buyer can enjoy the free gift, it advertises your work of art, and they have easy access to your shop link anytime they want to return to your shop! The guests in their home will also see it! Also, getting a professionally made customized rubber stamp or stickers with your shop URL is great to use on the outside of your packaging; as your package travels through the mail, all the people who come into contact with the package will see your shop link and possibly be intrigued to check it out. As the envelope or box sits in the customer's house it may get reused. Your logo is like a little mini billboard for your shop. :-)

I always appreciate a free gift; I have been buying and selling on Etsy for years; I have received beautifully wrapped items that look like a special present has arrived in the won't get this from other websites like Ebay or Amazon! I order make-up on Etsy, I get showered with free makeup samples which inspire me to try out new things! I love free soap samples too! The ACEOs, handmade gift tags, and artist postcards I have received over the years I absolutely treasure and I either keep them or give them as a gift to a friend.

The one thing that I would not suggest, is to give out freebies that are actually mass-produced, soulless, and irrelevant to your shop items; for instance if you make and sell homemade cookies and candies, I would LOVE to receive one of your free tasty creations, but PLEASE do not toss store-bought Halloween candy into my package! Unless, I suppose it was a luxury candy and you had professional wrappers made to advertise your shop...Also, if you send candy, it needs to be able to withstand the ever-changing temperatures during transit. Best of luck Etsy sellers, keep being thoughtful, creative, personable, and dressing up your packages! ;-)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Vintage Inspired Wedding Lovelies From My Beloved "Sister Shops"!

It's that time of year again, love is in bloom and it's the wedding season! Nostalgically romantic and sentimental brides-to-be carry on their family traditions while expressing their unique sense of style as well as the individual personalities of the bride and groom throughout their blessed wedding day. Vintage inspired weddings are very popular this wedding season, and here I would love to share my favorite vintage bridal lovelies reminiscent and discovered from yesteryear!

In the vintage wedding dress listing presented above from my sister Andrea's Etsy shop "Storybook Artifact", Andrea is modeling a lovely bronze "il pleut" umbrella blue and turquoise Swarovski crystal jewelry set handmade by our dear friend Stephany. The necklace can be admired here in her new Etsy shop Zou Bisou Bijoux, by clicking the necklace image above. Paired up with the matching bronze "il pleut" umbrella earrings pictured below, this stunning jewelry set is a perfect "wedding shower" (thinking of the umbrella) bridal gift and with the blue and turquoise crystals, it makes a special traditional "something blue" gift for a bride-to-be!

Many brides carry on the tradition of this old English rhyme...
Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, something blue,
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.
Vintage inspired bridal pieces capture the "something old", and if borrowed from a loved one, they are "something borrowed" as well! These four objects a bride adds to her wedding ensemble or carries them with her on her big day...and tradition says they are good luck charms! Here is another stunning vintage wedding dress found in my sister's Storybook Artifact Etsy shop, modeled by me!

Shower the beautiful, beloved bride with a handmade one-of-a-kind keepsake gift created by my darling Aunt Mary Lynn found in our Etsy sister shop "LaOohLaLa Boutique". The bride will always hold this thoughtful gift, a "something blue" Victorian lady pillow, dear to her heart; it depicts a gleefully glowing engaged bride-to-be holding her blue and white flower bouquet...and can be viewed by clicking on the image below. This could also possibly be a ring bearer's pillow for carrying down the aisle with it pocket for holding the wedding ring bands on the back of the pillow!

...and some more vintage inspired wedding lovelies from our sister shops!
1953 Gibson Wedding Card Advertisement from LaOohLaLa Boutique...nostalgic bridal shower wall art!
1953 Warners Merry Widow Lingerie Ad from LaOohLaLa Boutique...more wedding shower wall art!
1950s Warners Bridal Merry Widow (from LaOohLaLa Boutique)...Marilyn Monroe had one just like it!!!
1940s Alice Blue Nylon Bed Jacket from LaOohLaLa Boutique..."Something Blue" for the Honeymoon!

...AND drum roll please...Coming soon to Storybook Artifact, handmade decoupage sheet music wedding party favor cups! They are made from 100% recycled materials; yogurt cups and beautifully aged vintage sepia colored sheet music from the 1800s!!! They are absolutely lovely, and I can't wait to make up enough for a typical wedding party guest amount for an Etsy listing! :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Post-Surgery Kitty Cat

Nozomi sitting pretty with her favorite hand-crocheted afghan made by my mother-in-law Beverly's (owner of Maddie's Trinkets and Bobbles) darling late mother and a handmade pin up pillow made by my Aunt Mary Lynn...More of her original pin up pillows can be viewed in her Etsy shop LaOohLaLa Boutique.

Our sweet kitty Nozomi had surgery yesterday to remove a large stone from her bladder; she is back home today and appears to be doing well...much better than I expected! We have created a cozy home for her in a nice, big private crate (thanks to my sweet mother-in-law Beverly of Maddie's Trinkets and Bobbles for lending it to us). Nozomi loves boxes so we put one inside so she has a bed along with cushy towels, her litter box, food and water, and a sprinkle of catnip. We are giving her pain medicine as directed by the vet, and she is resting well which I think will hasten her recovery. Surprisingly, she has her usual sweet-as-can-be mood and has been dealing with this unpleasant situation so very well! If you live in the Tulsa area of Oklahoma, I highly recommend Hunters Glen Veterinary Hospital; they have been so very helpful for Nozomi's care!

I would like to take a moment and share the story behind Nozomi's unique name. One day my twin sister Andrea (owner of Storybook Artifact), Nana Sharee (co-owner of LaOohLaLa Boutique), and I were all at a local garage sale one day and our Nana noticed a sign that showed a picture of this beautiful Flame Point Himalayan cat that said "Free to Good Home". She instantly knew that both Andrea and I would want her. The house had several dogs that were not friendly to the kitty, so she quickly needed a good home. Her owner said her name was "Angel" (last name "Sunday"), which my husband Joe and I still call her "Angel" as a nickname because it doesn't only suit her angelic looks, but more her sweet personality! Anyway, Andrea first had the kitty, and she named her "Marshamella" because she thought that she looked like a toasted marshmallow! Haha! She wasn't able to keep the kitty; so I was thrilled to have her! I immediately knew the name that I wanted to give her. Being similar to an oriental Siamese cat with her markings (but I love that she has a strawberry blonde tint like my hair) and having fuzzy white angora like fur, I named her after my favorite character in a retro Japanese Dreamcast video game called Shenmue! Yes, a very unique name indeed! The young Japanese lady "Nozomi" has a very sweet personality, helps her grandmother run a flower shop, and is always seen wearing a fuzzy white turtleneck sweater. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Transform Old Calenders and Containers into Repurposed Decoupage Gift Boxes!

Yes, these delightfully adorable homemade gifts cost only pennies to make! I upcycled an old cocoa tin and a plastic eclair container and transformed them into repurposed decoupage gift boxes ready for an endless variety of little treasures to place inside...For these Mother's Day gifts, I am going for chocolates for my favorite seasoned motherly matron and baby girl clothes for my dearest friend and new mother to a precious baby girl...I'm not naming names, but you know who you are! All I did was use my favorite trusty decoupage craft medium "Mod Podge" and I cut out some beautiful images from a darling old calender with artwork from Barbara Ann Kenney that I received from my sweet and thoughtful mother-in-law Beverly (Etsy shop owner of Maddie's Trinkets and Bobbles). The completed products remind me of cottage chic lovelies that I would expect to find in a quaint little local mom & pop brick and mortar boutique filled with feminine frills and delicious sweets!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

ZzzonkOwl Etsy Shop Giveaway!
Etsy shop ZzzonkOwl is hosting a giveaway of one of their fabulously fun Etsy shop items..a cute set of owl magnets for your refrigerator, locker, or maybe a filing cabinet a work! These owl magnets are a HOOT and so CUTE! They would look so adorable on my refrigerator holding up all of my favorite pictures of my baby niece and nephew! ZzzonkOwl is only accepting entries from the United States and First Class shipping costs are covered...the prize also includes the delightful little gift tin! Click the image above to enter into ZzzonkOwl's Giveaway
My favorite item in ZzzonkOwl's Etsy shop is definitely the handmade retro pin up girl necklace; once I saw it, I just had to pin it on Pinterest! It reminds me of my darling aunt's handmade pin up girl pillows which she also sells on Etsy in her shop LaOohLaLa Boutique. This pin up girl necklace is totally flaunting some rockabilly femininity which is what my love for vintage women's fashion is ALL ABOUT!