Bye Bye Etsy.

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Blue Hydrangea watercolor by Laurie Rohner

A new year has arrived. Changes are upon me.

The first change of the year is my decision phasing out my Etsy Shop. So when you go to my Etsy shop Between The Weeds you will read this:

My Etsy Shop is phasing out. I hope my wonderful clients will visit my websites below. You can find everything from art, painted furniture, prints and printed decor through my web sites at the best prices I can offer.

You can buy original art and custom painted furniture through my websites and link directly to my prints and printed home decor.
Laurie Rohner Studio – http://laurierohner.com
Between The Weeds – http://betweentheweeds.com
Whitfield Studio – http://whitefieldstudio.com

Prints of garden flowers landscapes and original nature art available in many sizes at affordable prices. Find custom printed throw pillows, tapestries and fun catch-alls and totes here too. Hand Painted Furniture with nature botanical garden flower illustrations on farmhouse style custom made by Between The Weeds.

Join my newsletter at http://eepurl.com/wrPsX

Thank you for visiting today! It is a pleasure to share my work with you.
Do contact me if you have any questions!

The sales from my Etsy shop are few and spending more time and energy does not make sense. Etsy has changed. They are not that magical place where people could find quality handmade custom work. It is filled with prints knock offs from China and substandard products. There is still the most wonderful original work found but most serious artists have moved on with their own web sites.

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Prints, Art, Canvas Floor Cloths, Murals,

Since I work with FineArtAmerica and Society6 where you can buy any size print, on anything wood, paper, canvas, acrylic or metal, frame it, or buy from the large selection of home decor and accessories with a hassle free return policy at an amazing price why Etsy? Etsy charges for everything and I had to add the additional charges to the final price I charged at Etsy. This really bothered me. I felt like I was cheating my customer, though I was upfront with my policy at Etsy. Etsy customer (I have a record of you) get 10% off on select products.

I have gone back and forth with this for a year. I gave Etsy till the end of the year to prove their value. Sadly the stats proved me right. Etsy has changed. My web sites get an average of 1500 hits a day where Etsy could not break the 50 mark. At one time I had an average of 500 to 700 a day at Etsy. Etsy has stopped listing with Google. Their home page is confusing. Most of the products cater to one demographic, not mine. My clientele tends to be older, affluent and searching for custom one of a kind art and work.

I hope my clients at Etsy read this and understand. Please come and join me at Laurie Rohner Studio or Between The Weeds Marketplace for my original art and furniture and visit Whitefield Studio the gateway to my prints and printed decor.

Interior design with nature from Between The Weeds.

Interior Design by Between The Weeds
Interior Design by Between The Weeds

Amazed how sometimes an answer is right under your nose but for some obscure reason you just do not see it. I struggled this past year with my business. Reading what I could about improving x,y and z only to find it not quite working out right, at least the way I thought. It was a very innocent statement made by another that got the wheels rolling and I discovered there it was that beautiful little answer to the huge (though not really) question I had about Between The Weeds. If I put it all together what would I have? A cottage style design shop for people who like farmhouse cottage antique refurbished and refinished style of decor but connects to nature. What is funny I started out in college as an interior design major but liked getting my hands into the mix with my creative juices so design had fallen to the wayside and studio art came to the front. Throughout my career as an artist most jobs were design jobs, floral and furniture. I never looked at what I did with those eyes.

Everyone is writing about what do you have planned for the year 2014? I will be expanding my work to interior design work. My Etsy shop and my web site store Between The Weeds is getting filled with everything you need to decorate your home with wonderful cottage things. I hope you will stop in from time to time inspired and maybe find something you just must have.

Enjoy the welcoming of a brand new year…2014.

Each morning you get another chance to create something fabulous.

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

Watercolor on Paper  Laurie Rohner
Watercolor on Paper
Laurie Rohner

This quote hit a home run this week. After the turmoil of cleaning up after the storm and then looking at the computer seeing no action for my Etsy Shop I decided it was time to take advantage of a new morning. I started with taking a quick course on landing pages for maximum SEO exposures. I looked at my Etsy shop which is withering away and I have not a clue about why. I have not changed anything so they must have changed something for me to have an average of views between 300 to 500 dropping down to a dismal 20 to 80 hits. Pondering this I looked at my website and thought now is the time to ramp it up. I do not have time to keep figuring out why Etsy does what it does and other things I can do to market and promote my creative business. Many people are looking for new ways to do this. Here are a few I think worthy of checking out.

  • Create a website (I use weebly) Check out free site and figure it out so you can always promote your work, not the masses work.
  • Sign up for HubSpot newsletter great for web and small business info.
  • Check out Meylah for an alternative to Etsy. Be sure to check out My store .  It is free to list your items and you pay a small percentage when you sell. Also your store is set up with your products listing like a post and has great links, more links than on Etsy and these links work. You can add links in the listing description to other sites too without the wrath of the Etsy gods swooping in and suspending you store. Another huge plus Meylah tweets your tweets. Nice.
  • I am also checking into IndieMade which is comparable to both online venues but they have a set subscription low monthly fee. I am still checking this one out.
  • I implemented drastic changes to my web site with many more coming at Laurie Rohner Studio and will bring my other web site Painted Furniture Studio up to speed now too.

I rely on my business as many artists do because not all artist are starving and some of us believe our work has value. I am happy to promote another artist’s work and spread the joy of anyone’s creation. I believe we all have a place to do what we love to do, mine is creating art on painted furniture on paper and canvas and sometimes on this computer. It is in the attitude you take when you view you and your work. Are you serious about it? Is it a business? Is it in your blood so that when you stop you start to wither away? Do you believe you can? Better yet do you believe you must and you deserve the successful outcome you envision for you? So why are you not working hard and if it is not working figure out what needs to go so you can work even harder at making it happen.

This is why I am thinking Etsy has run its course for most artists who create one of a kind work. One example is original artwork is being replaced with mass produced prints that are printed off an ink jet printer. Or mass produced off site then shipped to unknowing art lovers. Etsy is being swamped with retailers that have retail shops. Great because it is a cheap way for a retailer to advertise but for the handmade person it is impossible to compete. This is against the rules yet as long as you pull in the dollars for Etsy it is OK. I personally think most of Etsy rules are ridiculous. Things change and that is good but you then have to change to meet the new challenge. Not a bad challenge because life is about changing. The artist needs it to keep their muses and creative energy flowing.

You have to think how is this helping my business? Each morning when you get up remember it is a new day and today you can change everything or nothing. It is your choice. You will never know what one little tweak here or there will do unless you are open to the possibilities of what if. Today does matter not tomorrow and certainly not yesterday. I think back to last Saturday and there was no power, no computer and I see what each morning has given me. Now what about you?

Keywords for Etsy Shops.

 

I just discovered something that is hidden and I am sure not many Etsy Shop owners are aware of, your shop sections determine the keywords for your shop. Did you know that small obscure fact? I have used etsy.com for years and never knew and if not for setting up my weebly.com website I may never found out. Etsy has definitely changed and not for the better. So please take a look at what you are selling on etsy and see if you can pump up your section titles to match the prominent words you tag your items with. Here is another tid bit put commas in so it defines more words. If you want to see your keywords right-click on your shop page click on view page info and scroll down to keywords. Best of luck and happy changes.

 

 

Also I have been busy as you may have guessed designing a web site for my fairy houses, painted cottage furniture, and garden wildflower landscapes. I discovered weebly.com through another etsy shop owner. She too felt that if she was doing all this work promoting and marketing her work why was she handing over a nice percentage to etsy.com? They weren’t marketing her shop and since the changes made in SEO by the big boys, etsy once again has left us out in the internet ether’s. At weebly.com I even have a nice shop broken down to the different areas I sell in. Woodland fairy houses, painted furniture, and oil and watercolor paintings all set up with PayPal or you can use Google Checkout. Get this it is FREE. I think the internet fairies are behind this one. Seriously, even me the terminator of computers crashing, set it up and even took my domain name at GoDaddy to point to my new site.

 

 

Pricing painted hand crafted wood boxes and painted furniture.

I have thought about pricing and how I come to the way I price my work. Today I am writing about only my painted furniture and boxes. I use an equation for my painted furniture and decor and it is simple to figure. I add the cost of materials, the hours spent in producing the work and times it by my hourly wage. Some of the work does not take too much time and then there are pieces that are timely to make. An average painted box takes between 4 – 5 hours to complete and the materials cost about $14. I have not even added in the outside costs of paying charge to online credit card company, shop charge, insurance, shipping materials, space for studio or wood shop, electricity, computer time, marketing, health insurance and energy costs. I try to keep pricing fair for all involved but it is difficult to keep down, sometimes. Back to pricing a box, for the sake of making my point let me say this box took 5 hours to complete and the materials are $15. I charge $90 for the finished box. If you subtract 15 from 90 you are left with 75. Take the 75 and divide it by 5 for the hours it spent to create you come to the total of 15. This is my hourly wage. Oh but what about all the outside expenses I have to pay. Oops, I just fell under the minimum wage.

Do I feel I charge a fair price for my quality hand crafted one of a kind hand painted original painted boxes? Yes. The only reason I am writing this is to make buyers aware of how much goes into a handmade piece whether you buy it from me or any other quality artist. Do you not think we are worth being paid a minimum wage? Just a little food for thought for sellers and buyers everywhere.

Having your designs or paintings printed onto fabric.

Fabrics intrigue me and I have in the past painted on fabrics. Recently I discovered a wonderful site online called Spoonflower. This online printing service offers designers and artists to print anything on material at a nominal fee. Also you can set up a fabric studio where others can shop your designs and buy if they like. You then receive a small percentage of the purchase. You can use their site strictly for printing your designs and having your fabrics not for sale if you choose.

Yesterday I received my order for two of my designs. The turn around was fast and the fabrics are beautiful. I am using them for pillow covers and will have them available in my Etsy Shop at BetweenTheWeeds soon. The one design is of my watercolor natural history illustration Leaves and Berries printed as a half fat. It is a large print with a mirror image.

For under $20 you have a print on fabric of  one of your paintings and if you can sew, just think of the possibilities ahead. As an artist you work hard on the original painting so why not benefit from your work in another way. Giclee prints are nice but give you the same function as the original painting, hanging it on a wall. But now expand your painting into a whole new field with fabrics.

So somebody is using your design style and what are you going to do?

On Etsy front page there is a seller who is making out quite well and that is fabulous. The problem is she has copied my design style.  At first outraged and extremely upset with Etsy for promoting her work. She is young and living in Brooklyn (which is where etsy.com is located). Her style was abstract. Now it is grass and flowers with my line work. She states that she draws each one by hand and her designs are not reproduced but her photos tell a different story. I have created my designs for decades now and I can honestly say I have never repeated a design exactly as the one earlier and never will. I take pride being the original designer of wildflowers and grass painted on wood walls and the occasional ceramic pottery. What made my work stand out was adding line work. For the most part all my designs are painted on pieces I have produced creating exceptional unique pieces of functional art.

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Painted Keepsake Furniture with Flowers and Bees

Now I am sure we have all discovered people mimicking your style and like myself found themselves getting quite outraged. First calm yourself down and think about what has happened. I discovered instead of thinking she is stealing my style I flipped it around and said she is a success using my style so what I am doing must be good and well liked. Then I thought about what I was saying to the world with my thoughts and discovered I was limiting myself believing she was better than me or there wasn’t enough to go around for the two of us. And last I looked at what I could learn from her, how did she market ? were her pics better? her price point?

Everything in our lives happens good or bad (which is only your perception) for us to grow experience and learn. I am grateful for finding this artist. She is very talented and I really like her work which she does on ceramic. She has shown me to appreciate my style even more and to remember there is plenty for us all to prosper. At a time when I was doubting my style and ability in what I was doing I discovered her success and in turn found I still had value. So thank you my little etsy seller who lives in Brooklyn and paints her ceramics with grass and flowers. I wish you all the success you can paint.