Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day/Weekend! The Big Guy and I spent a laid back weekend “doing nothing special.” We’ve been together long enough that “just hangin’ out” without anything scheduled feels good. Years from now, we will look back and laugh at this as the year we had “breakfast for dinner” as our romantic meal. Let’s just say, we didn’t plan well. Oh, and the apple juice really did look like wine. (If only I’d thought to use the wine glasses!)
After a fairly non-productive week, I need to buckle down and work this week. Under the guise of doing some “online promotional efforts” I ended up doing more web browsing than promotions and I didn’t produce a heck of a lot of new merchandise either. I did get some items made up to fill a few orders and renewed a few items in my shop at http://www.splashin.etsy.com/.
Please check them out now that they’ve moved back to the top of the list
Some of my computer time over the last two weeks was actually business related. I got involved in two new craft business sites. Both are very promising and growing quickly.
Recently, T. Adam Kendall, also known on etsy and artfire as infivision, decided he wanted a better social community to promote handmade. While ning offers this to some extent, he felt it was too generic and has a poor user interface. In a quest for something better he developed http://www.byhand.me/. Designed and created in under a week, ByHand serves as a free social network for those who make handmade and those who buy handmade. Adam is assisted by his wife, Rebecca, known to many of you as "Soapdeli", the lady behind Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen products. Here's a run down of what you can currently expect from the site: (new features seem to be added daily)
Rebecca put together this great description of these features. The best way to get to know each aspect, however, is to stop by the site and check it out for yourself.
The Artisan Directory is for artists and crafters with a business. Artisans can add their business along with where they sell online, social network profiles, and more. Members can rate and review these shops which helps shops further build their reputation online.
The Forums are where users can chat about handmade, ask for advice, promote shops, or just kick it! Have a question about a new technique you heard about? Are you a buyer looking for a handmade craft? This is the place!
All members also receive their own blog. Member Blog entries are placed in the Community Blog for crafters and buyers alike to read and enjoy. Buyers can review products or make recommendations on their blogs or share artist interviews, while artists can promote their craft, selling tips, tutorials, run contests, and more. Members can also choose to have their blog entries posted to the front page of ByHand. Everyone can help promote handmade by taking part in this vital section of the community.
The social networking features of this site allow you to connect with other members of ByHand through all the various sections of the site. Any time you see a profile that you would like to connect with, just click on them. Members choose the type of connection they want to make, whether they be a customer, a favorite artisan, or a favorite supplier. Members can even make notes on connections to help remind them that they want to shop with artisan A for a gift for dad or reconnect with artisan B later for future, joint promotion!
Chat allows members to communicate in real time with other members of the ByHand community.The private messaging function allows members to send messages back and forth to other community members. Safer than giving out an email address for making those first time connectionsThis is great for buyers and sellers to connect on custom projects and more.
Additionally, RSS feeds can be added to all member profiles. Add up to five feeds. Include the feed for personal or favorite blogs or an online shop! For example, sellers can add their Etsy shop feed to the RSS feeds in their profiles and other users will see their latest product photos and content just by mousing over the feed!
All members also receive their very own memorable URL. This URL can be viewed from the profile page. Sellers can utilize this URL to promote their businesses! A byhand.me URL is much more professional than a simple blogspot.com or ning.com address, giving users who aren't technically savy a great way to direct folks to ALL their online selling venues without having to buy their own domain.
Interested? Just go to http://byhand.me/ to register today. It's free!
I’ve spent a number of hours checking this site out for myself and am slowly getting involved in as many aspects as work for my particular business. I hope to tell you more about each area as I settle in.
In the next few days, I’ll also tell you about another relatively new site run by Timothy Adam known to many craft folk from his many helpful tutorials and other informative posts, http://www.handmadeology.com/.
So, let's all go out there and get creative this week!