Tag Archives: etsy

Happy Veterans Day!

Thank you to all the service men and women who are serving or who have served this great country of ours!
Check out my Free Printables to help celebrate this great day!

As a thank you to all (veteran or not!) I am offering 20% off your purchase in my Etsy Shop for today only! Expires at midnight (central time zone) on 11/11/14. Use code ThankYouVets at checkout to save!

While you’re there, check out some of the new items I listed this week!

This is my favorite – anyone in the military will understand what ‘lima oscar victor echo’ means!


This necklace can be customized with whatever word you’d like (faith, hope, love, or your choice!)DSC_9276




Another one of my favorites! DSC_9362

Huge Etsy Shop Update!

I’ve been working like a busy little bee over the past few weeks and in between getting ready to move and getting all of my existing orders done, I’ve created so many new products!

(Make sure you read through all the way to the end – there might be a little surprise in it for you!)

All items can be found in my Etsy Shop or by clicking on my shop on the sidebar of this page.

I gear many of my items towards people who are looking for long distance relationship gifts, deployment or care package gifts, or just those who want to show support for those in the military, but many of them can be used in so many different ways! I’ve had customers who tell me that they’ve bought my items when they go off to college and are away from friends or family, or to mark a favorite vacation spot, and even someone who wanted to document the special location where she got engaged! There are just so many different possibilities!

On to the items!

First off, I now sell just plain stamped washers – perfect for if you want to hang it on your own chain, on a keychain, or attach it to a shadowbox, scrapbook or other form of memorabilia.  I offer 2 sizes and 2 formats.

1.1DSC_0586 copy


This general “my happy place” can be used in so many different ways! I used it to mark the coordinates of my favorite beach in NJ that I’m missing like crazy, but you could always use it to document where you got married, a favorite vacation location, your hometown, college, etc.



My “one day closer” necklace was so popular, I decided to put it in keychain form too!1DSC_7758


This was a custom request and it was so cute I thought others might like it as well.  “I carry your heart” “I carry it in my heart” is such an adorable quote – especially for those in a military or long distance relationship.1DSC01433


Not just Army Girlfriend, but I can make this in a variety of phrases – air force wife, navy girlfriend, and more!DSC_0505


This is a simple keychain to mark your favorite location – the smaller washer lists the location and the larger washer has the coordinates.



Same idea as my “my happy place” necklace above!DSC_2564


My “one day at a time” collection – bracelet, two necklaces and keychain.DSC_2959





And last, my “faith, trust and pixie dust” bracelet was so popular, I decided to make it into a necklace!1DSC_2574

As a thank you for reading and for checking out my new items, here’s a coupon code for 15% your total purchase (minus shipping) – just enter code HANDMADEISBETTER630 at checkout and the code will be applied!  This is valid through June 30th, 2014 and only in my shop, DanaElyse.

Let me know in the comments – which item is your favorite!  Do you have an idea for something else I should carry- let me know!

5 Tips for Becoming a Successful Seller on Etsy

Holy Cow! Where has the past year gone? I can’t believe today marks the one year anniversary of my Etsy shop.
I had tried selling on Etsy years ago, but didn’t sell a single thing. This time around I had a very successful first month, followed by two or three months of decline, and then in March my sales slowly but steadily rose.
To celebrate my one year anniversary, I’m going to share 5 tips for becoming a successful seller on Etsy, along with a coupon code to use in my shop this week!

Become A Successful Seller On Etsy

Five On Friday- Five Tips On How To Become A Successful Seller On Etsy

1. Be unique! This seems like a no-brainer, but you need to have something that sets your shop apart from the rest.
When I first started selling on Etsy, I sold melted record bowls, pillowcases and tote bags- real original, right? I know… yawn! There’s a reason I sold nothing that first time around- I had nothing unique, nothing that buyers couldn’t find somewhere else or make themselves!
Now, I sell customized metal stamped bracelets. While there is a lot of metal stamped jewelry on Etsy, what sets mine apart from the rest is that I customize it with coordinates- mostly I sell to military families who wear the coordinates of the location of where a loved one is deployed to or to those in a long distance relationship. I have my own niche of fellow military spouses and families and that has kept my following going!

2. Pictures pictures pictures!
Potential buyers can’t pick up and hold your item, so you have to accurately represent what it looks like in pictures. Etsy allows you to post up to 5 pictures- use all 5! Show it from the front, back, side, in use, with something that shows its size, etc. Also, learn how to properly use your camera. I have two posts here and here on how to take better product photos for Etsy or Ebay using just your point and shoot!


3. Good customer service.
I can’t tell you how many times a buyer has thanked me for my quick response to their questions, for the little touches such as the tissue paper and bakers twine I wrap their items in or for getting their item out ahead of schedule. I know when I purchase something I love it when the seller takes the time to carefully wrap it, or to include a little something extra.

Etsy has an app- if you have a smartphone, I highly recommend installing that app so you can get immediate notifications when someone purchases from you or messages you. When I get a purchase, I usually message the buyer to thank them for their purchase and to let them know when it will be mailed out. I also reply to conversations (messages in Etsy-speak) as soon as possible. I know when I buy on Etsy I like to be “kept in the loop”. Unfortunately, I have had far too many sellers never respond to my inquires, and that just means lost sales for them because I’ll move on to someone else!

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 4.29.42 PM

4. Shop Stats
Etsy has an area called “shop stats”. (You can find it by clicking on “Your Shop” in the upper right hand corner of the Etsy site, and then clicking “shop stats” from the drop down menu). Shop stats will turn out to be invaluable to you- it lists how much money you’ve made (and you can pick to show by year, month, week, day, etc), where your traffic is coming from (what websites people were on to bring them to your page) and what search terms people use to find your shop.
The first part is helpful for obvious reasons- you want to see how much money you’re making!
The second part is great to see what sites are trending- are lots of people coming to your site from Pinterest? Make sure to pin everything you post! Are you getting a lot of traffic from Facebook? Make sure to “share” your new items! You get the idea.
The last part is most crucial in my opinion. Here you can see what search terms bring people to your site- on my site (as you can see in the image below) the two most popular search terms that bring people to my shop are “long distance relationship” and “disney”, so I make sure to include those terms in my listings and use those terms in the tags for the listing.
Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 4.28.24 PM

5. SEO
I didn’t learn that Etsy had an SEO until a few months into my selling, but once I discovered it and how to use it, I saw a jump in my sales. Basically, SEO is how search engines find your shop. In order to optimize it, make sure you are using key words in the first sentence or two of your listing description. I made the mistake of writing general things such as “own a customizable, one of a kind metal stamped necklace” in my first sentence, which wasn’t bringing people to my shop. When I changed my first line to “this necklace is perfect for those in a long distance relationship or military families with a loved one who is deployed” it brought in more people because it focused on my top keywords. A snippet of what it looks like is in the below screenshot:

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 4.29.05 PM

There is so much more that goes into becoming a successful seller on Etsy, but those are my top five tips.

If you want to read more, check out a post I did a few months ago on how and why I got started with Etsy. You can find that post here!

Are you on Etsy? Leave me a comment with your shop name and I’ll be sure to stop by and follow you, and I’d appreciate anyone who follows me! As always, you can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. If you post something on Instagram that you’ve made from my tutorials, make sure to tag me so I can see it and use hashtag #handmadeisbetter !

If you read this far, thank you! You deserve a coupon! In honor of my one year of selling on Etsy I am offering you free shipping on any purchase of any size being shipped to a domestic address.
To get the free shipping, purchase anything from my shop between now and November 11, 2013 at 11:59 PST and enter the code 1YEARFREESHIP at checkout. Etsy will take care of the rest and deduct the shipping!

Take Better Product Photos With Your Point and Shoot!

Today I am going to share some tips with you on how you can take better product photos (for your blog, Etsy, etc) with your point and shoot! I have been selling on Etsy for 10 months now and I’ve learned how a great photo of your product can really make or break a sale. Even though I have been selling on there for less than a year, I have been a frequent buyer on both Etsy and Ebay and weather you realize it or not, the photo has more impact on your purchase than you’d think! I know not everyone can afford an SLR, so this will give you some tips to get the most out of your point and shoot camera.


Now, I am no way discounting the SLR camera, if you can afford it, I would definitely recommend investing in one. Point and shoot cameras have come a long way, and can take great photos, but for full control and the best possible photos, I suggest an SLR. (Personally, I use the Nikon D7000 and usually my Tamron AF 60mm)

I am going to cover five basic topics today, lighting, backdrops, clarity, macro, and props. To prove that you really can take appealing photos with your point and shoot I am going to use a new product for my Etsy Shop as a guinea pig for my tutorial, and then I will use these pictures in my shop when I list my item later to show you that you really can take a great picture with a point and shoot! The camera I will be using today is my Pentax Optio WG-3 (You can read how I picked this camera out in my blog post here.)

First things first, and what I consider to be the most important step in any photography, product or not- lighting. If your lighting isn’t good, then the picture will not be good. Find the flash setting on your camera and turn.it.off. The flash can cause blown highlights (areas of pure white) or harsh shadows, and it will definitely make your picture appear flat and lifeless.
Now that your flash is off, you’ll need some natural light, so find a nicely lit room in your house- I prefer setting up my stuff in a room with a north or south facing window. I set up about a foot away from the window for soft, even lighting. If you only have east or west facing windows, either hang a sheer curtain over the window or wait for a cloudy day to soften the lighting.
Here’s a picture where I turned the flash on- see how the flash makes everything look “flat”? Not to mention the harsh shadows in the background.
And here’s a picture with the flash off. See how flattering the light is? The corks have more texture and everything appears more three dimensional.

Have you ever gone on Ebay to buy something and see a picture of it sitting on someone’s kitchen counter? To the left of the object is an open bottle of soda, in the background is a sink of dirty dishes, etc. You get the picture. This doesn’t make for the most appealing photograph- you focus too much on what is going on in the picture rather than the object itself!
I usually set my items up on a folding card table or a chair if I’m in a pinch. I keep a piece of white foam core board (about $3 at a craft or office supply store) handy for a clean, white backdrop. Using a chair really helps to hold up the backdrop for a clutter free background. You could also use fabric or a tablecloth for this, but make sure it is well ironed as any creases or wrinkles will show up! More on backdrops below in the “props” section.

You want your pictures to be sharp, and the best way to do this is to put your camera on a tripod. There are many inexpensive tripods out there, and for this purpose, since the point and shoot isn’t heavy, you won’t need the most expensive one. But, do invest in the best that you can afford, especially if you think you’ll be upgrading to an SLR down the line.
Use the tripod to steady the camera– set it up and move it around until the photo looks good in the viewfinder (or on the screen). To really make the shot steady, find the self timer option on your camera and set it to go off in 10 seconds. By doing this, you give the camera enough time to stop shaking or any movement you may cause by pressing the shutter button (yes, even though it is on a tripod, you do cause some movement just by pressing the shutter button!).
This one is handheld-
This one is on a tripod with the self timer set.

Now, we’ve got our product set up next to a window with soft light coming in, our product is set up in a clutter free area, and the camera is on a tripod ready to go. If you are selling your item on Ebay or Etsy (or even if it is something for a blog post!), your readers will only get a feel for the item through your pictures, so make sure you take photographs from all angles, and include some close ups! To get a great close up, find the macro setting on your camera (it is usually represented by a little tulip-looking flower) and turn it on. Now you can get in real close and show some of those great details of your item! By using the macro setting you will also get that wonderful background blur you see in some of your favorite product photos.

Here it is without macro (the camera could not focus and therefore the photo is blurry)
Now the macro is turned on

This is my favorite part about taking product photos for my blog and Etsy– the props! Take a look around Etsy or Pinterest– what pictures intrigue you? Most likely it is the one with the great props- sometimes it is as simple as a fun napkin in a food shot or an interesting rock to display a pair of earrings on. I always have an eye out when I am in vintage/thrift shops, garage sales, and the clearance racks at Kohls or Target for interesting plates, bowls, decorations, etc. I have a whole shelf in one of our cabinets that is reserved for my photography props- I have plates, bowls, fun fabric napkins (which double as great backgrounds!), shells, rocks, vintage silverware, etc. You don’t have to go out and buy new items either- take a look around your house and challenge yourself to look at the items you already have with new eyes. You never know what you might find!
Some props can make great backgrounds too- for example, my bamboo cutting board looks great behind food pictures, leftover bead board from a project makes a beachy background, my fabric napkins (and even pieces of scrapbook paper) make colorful backgrounds for smaller items. The possibilities are endless!

I ended up using an old map (because my item is a latitude/longitude necklace- I thought the map went with the theme) along with some corks to prop the necklace onto.

Now you’ve got great lighting, a steady camera, appealing macro shots on a clean and creative back drop, now all you have to do is practice, practice, practice! Look around on your favorite websites (I suggest Etsy and Pinterest) and see what pictures catch your eye– what is it in that picture that makes it appealing? I’m not suggesting copying someone’s style, but using it to decide what it is you like and then using it as inspiration for your photographs. On Etsy/Ebay, a photo can really make or break a sale, so it is in your best interest to make it the best photo possible!

*Note* I wanted to show you what your camera can do, so all of these photos are un-edited. Before I list anything to Etsy, I usually slightly edit my photos- usually adjust the contrast/brightness, crop and maybe sharpen. This will be covered in part two of this post.

Bonus tips: Mastered everything above? Stay tuned next week when I share four more tips to really take your product photography to the next level!

Interested in purchasing the necklace I used in the images above? It can be found in my Etsy shop here.

*Most links used in this article are affiliate links. They do not cost anything to you, but if you do purchase something on Amazon, I do receive a small kickback. I thank you in advance for following my links through to Amazon because the money earned is what helps keep this blog going!*

Military Collage

Metal Stamping {Etsy}

If you have never heard of Etsy before, I’ll wait while you click here. Just promise me you won’t get lost in the handmade goodness and you come back and finish reading this!

Etsy is an amazing platform for crafters to sell their wares worldwide. It’s also a great place for people to find unique, handmade, one of a kind gifts, housewares, decorations, party/wedding supplies, etc.

As long as I can remember, I’ve dabbled in selling my crafts, I’ve tried craft shows, word of mouth, etc, but was never too successful. Back in 2007, I was a recent college grad looking for a way to supplement my income while I looked for a ‘big girl’ job and I signed up for Etsy. I listed my items on there for 3 months, with no success, and I pretty much gave up hope for the site.

Recently, the thought of re-opening my Etsy shop crossed my mind as I started to think about what kind of career I could have as a future military wife who will be moving around every few years. I thought about selling military themed metal stamped jewelry, and even went as far as to purchase all the supplies needed to make these items, but never really did anything other than make a few items for myself.

Fast forward to last October. Hurricane Sandy ripped through NJ/NY and more importantly, the Jersey Shore. In the days after Hurricane Sandy as the images of our destroyed beaches and boardwalks started to appear in the media, I went through my archives of pictures and began posting pictures of the now devastated areas to facebook. Friends began asking where they could get copies of my photographs, so Etsy was re-born for me. I listed my photos for $15, with $10 of the sale of each photo going to the American Red Cross, Jersey Shore chapter. I also began making Jersey Shore themed jewelry- bracelets that said “Jersey Strong” or “beach bum” and even “jersey shore” customized with your favorite shore town.

Before I knew it, my little shop, a dream I have had for so long, took off! After the first two months, the Jersey Shore items faded off (I still get an order here and there!), but I finally have added my original ideas– military themed jewelry, and they have proved to be very popular.
Click here to visit my shop. Below is just a sampling of the items for sale. I also have subway art, photographs of the Jersey Shore, and Disney-themed metal stamped jewelry, in addition to more military themed jewelry!
I love Etsy because it allows me to connect with people from all over the country. My most popular items are my latitude/longitude keychain and necklace. I created them because I am in a long distance relationship and it was a way to show my support in a subtle way. I get messages from people all the time telling me how they are in the same situation and we end up having great conversations on what helps us get through the time apart!

A small sampling of what is offered in my “Military Support” section:
Military Collage

And a small sampling of my Jersey Shore themed jewelry (side note: if you have your own particular beach, be it in Jersey or not, I can customize these to say whatever you want!)
Jersey Collage

I do hope you’ll take a moment to check out my Etsy Shop. As a thank you for doing so, here’s a coupon for free shipping to any domestic address: handmadeisbetter613
Enter the above code in the coupon code box at checkout. This code will expire in 2 weeks, on June 14, 2013.

Are you interested in starting to sell on Etsy? It can be overwhelming at first, but I have read many articles on tips for Etsy success, and I believe it has really helped me. Check out (and follow!) my Etsy board on Pinterest to read these articles. There’s so much helpful information out there!

*Please note– This post was not sponsored, I just love Etsy that much!

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