Sunday, 31 January 2010

Valentine Meerkat Giveaway!

The meerkat world tour is set to continue for quite some time yet (they're having way too much fun!) so I thought I should do a *half-time* giveaway. We'll still have the fabulous giveaways on the ETTEAM blog for the two world travellers and their wonderful collection of souvenirs, but right now it's your chance to win another little meerkat, this one with a posy of button flowers to show he loves you!

(Incidentally, all "simple" meerkats from Etsy or Folksy come with flowers, right up until Valentines Day)

"So what do I have to do?", I hear you cry!

Simples! All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter *click here*

Everyone who signs up before Tuesday at 6pm (UK time) will be put in a virtual hat, and I will draw the winner. I can't post the winner on here, because of course I will be keeping your emails confidential - but I will ask the winner to come and leave a "woohoo" comment!

Giveaway now closed, winner to be posted shortly. Many thanks everyone!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Arosha's ring has been named!

Voting is now over, thank to our lovely finalists and to the amazing two hundred and seventy five voters! There are extra bonuses in store, so read to the end!

In keeping with tradition, I shall announce the results in reverse order:

In third place, Moon Pebbles by Angie Larson with 33 votes,

In second place, Silver Waves by @FleurDemar with 67 votes,

And in first place, with an amazing 101 votes is VickiDiane with MoonaLuna.

Well done Vicki, a magnificent result! Arosha will be in touch to check your size so that he can make you the very first ring to bear the MoonaLuna name!

For everyone else Arosha has a real treat: there's a 15% discount on this ring for anyone mentioning "moonaluna" at check-out, and 10% discount on the whole shop right up until Feb 6 (so just in time for Valentines Day) Don’t forget – you need to mention "MoonaLuna" at check-out to get your discount.

Thanks for stopping by, I don’t think my blog has ever been so busy!
The next giveaway starts in Sunday's blog (31st) for a Valentine Meerkat, so please stop by tomorrow.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

VOTE VOTE VOTE for Arosha's ring!

I'm proud to hand my blog over for the next few days to Arosha, silversmith extraordinaire, who is offering you the chance to name this gorgeous
sterling silver ring:

Arosha says:
"I asked you to send suggestions (via twitter and FaceBook) for a new name for this sterling silver ring:

There have been so many creative and inspiring answers that I couldn't make up my mind on just one - such a hard choice!

So please help me determine which is the best name for it by choosing your preferred one, remember that the person who suggested the name that receives most votes will win the ring - custom made to her size!

Arosha has narrowed the choice down to his top eight favorites. Which is your favorite? Remember, you can choose only one name - and the creator of that name will win the ring.

Voting will CLOSE at 8pm UK time (3pm Etsy time I think) Saturday and the winner will be announced here, but you can keep checking back to see how the votes are going. See Voter on the right>>>

Have you signed to Arosha's mailing list yet?

Please leave a comment to let us know you've voted - Arosha might want to say thank you xx
**************VOTING CLOSED************

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

More about Waggling :-)

Following on from yesterday's post: I am learning to find my red spoon!

(Apparently in American ice-cream parlours, customers are offered tastes of available flavours using tiny little red spoons. The ice-cream vendor isn't saying "buy this flavour", they are giving away a taste, showing the taster how lovely it is - and then they buy!)

Try to identify *your* red spoon - instead of going straight for the sale, what can you give your potential customer for free, to show them how wonderful your work is?

For some online sellers this will be easier than others, I think. Tiny samples of new soap or candle scents, a sample of beads or ribbons, - I'm still pondering this one. What can I offer as a sample? (All suggestions gratefully received!)

No one night stands!

By this rather startling phrase we're reminded that the seller/buyer relationship is most fruitful to us (as sellers) if it's ongoing. Follow up your sales - has the package arrived safely? Create an expectation of a continuing relationship by offering a discount next time, or asking the buyer to sign up for your newsletter.

If you've chosen blogging to be one of your three focuses, remember to make blogging interactive.
  • Run a poll - you are an expert at what you do. If it's fashion, then run a poll about the new colours.
  • Visit other blogs and leave a comment...not just once, often!
  • Follow up comments left on your own blog.
  • Share your information, share your networks.
  • If you're now looking at your blog in a whole new way, are there some earlier posts you can rejig and repost - now that more people than just your mum and best friend are reading your words of wisdom?

If it matters - measure it!

Have you heard yourself saying "oh but I haven't got time to do that..." or "I'm too busy..." ?

Nobody has more (or fewer) hours in the day than I do. I know there is no point spending every waking hour knitting meerkats if I don't make them available for people to buy. Equally, there is no point me polishing my photos and descriptions unless I also knit some stock!

Measure and record how you're spending your time. If you've been on facebook for an hour - fine. It's your choice. How did you spend that hour? Were you networking, building relationships, playing games? Did you suddenly notice it was lunchtime?

You may well find (and we ALL know I'm talking to myself here, don't we?) that your time could be better spent. Remember the advice yesterday - choose THREE. How will you know which three? Check your records. In my own case, twitter has become a great source of contacts, friends, ideas and support. Twitter friend @KToogie gave me the caption for this Emo card when I was stumped!

My final nugget of gold from the FREE Waggleforce seminar was to spend time with my email inbox and go back through past mail. Are there some enquiries that I never got around to dealing with because I was "too busy"? (yes!)
Are there people I could be reminding of my existence by wishing them a Happy New Year? *NB be aware that unsolicited emails on Etsy are spam, and not allowed.*

So - a whole lot of new and not-so-new ideas to consider. I strongly recommend listening to the whole session, and having a wander around the site. There is a section of resources for entrepreneurs which is worth checking out - and above all, do not be afraid that you are missing out if you decide twitter (or whatever) is not for you. Whatever you choose to focus on, do it well and have fun! Life is too short to waste :-)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Please sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know about new Meerkats and special offers ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Check back tomorrow for a VERY exciting competition!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Macro or Micro? FOCUS!

I had a shock this week. I listened to an American Motivational speaker...and not only did I understand what she was saying, but I decided to put some of it into practice!

I heard about waggleforce on an Etsy thread started by my friend Waterrose

The Waggleforce site links to an hour-long mp3 which is FREE. I like free. My notes here are just the parts I feel I can use, for my online shops in the UK. I strongly recommend you listen to all of it, your needs may be quite different to mine.

So - what have I learnt?

Firstly - it is no good starting up an online shop (mine are Niftyknits.etsy and Niftyknits.folksy) and sitting back and waiting for the buyers to flood in.

The number 1 obstacle, according to the Waggleforce speaker, is growing beyond your own "inner circle" of friends and family.

The traditional approach is to try to get your name *out there*, in the outer space inhabited by complete strangers, bypassing all those inner rings of friends and friends of friends. buying an advertising space and sitting back? No - it is up to *ME* to find those buyers, and the easiest and most effective way is to work outwards from the core.

Don't advertise to your poor friends and family directly, don't spam adverts to every social network contact. We've all seen them on twitter.

tweet #1 "I'm making a gorgeous wotsit"
tweet #2 "I've just listed my gorgeous wotsit"
tweet #3 "Why isn't anyone buying my gorgeous wotsit?"

Nurture your current buyers, your friends.

If someone emails you to say how much they love their purchase - ask them if they have a friend who might also like to find out about it.

*NiftyKnits action point* I've just created a new discount card to give to buyers to give to their friend

Encourage your current buyers to come back for more - we already know they love your shop

*NiftyKnits action point* I've just created a new discount card to give to buyers for their next purchase

Become a "local hero" - by this, the speaker meant for you to become known locally for something other than selling, then when it comes to making a purchase, you're already known and approachable.

*NiftyKnits action point* The Etteam Meerkat World Tour has been in my local paper several times now, sharing the fun!

For online sellers, I think this translates to being active in the forums, not just popping by on a "hit and run" mission to tell us what you've just listed, but by helping people out by explaining how to get noticed or how to use twitter

*NiftyKnits action point* I run regular interviews with other sellers on my blog - in fact, I need some fresh victims right now. You only have to ask!

It's quite hard to let go of the idea that I *must* get my name *out there*, so consider this: Would you pay someone to stand on a street corner shouting out your store url? Of course not. So why do it on twitter?

Would you, though, wear the gorgeous wotsit you made earlier? And when someone compliments it, would you then tell them about your shop and slip them a business card (or better yet, a discount voucher)? I hope so!

Great, you're thinking, how many social networks are there? How many shall I sign up for?

It's tempting to try to be seen everywhere (goodness only knows how many networks I'm registered with!)

But that just leads up back to the "hit and run" posts I mentioned earlier.

The Waggleforce recommendation is to pick THREE and only three. Don't spread yourself thinly like too little butter on too large a slice of toast. Go deep, be generous, do it properly!

If you've chosen twitter, fill out your profile, add a good avatar picture, be committed to posting often, build relationships.

*NiftyKnits action point* I change my avatar regularly, always a meerkat but not always the same one. I am very aware that the advice is often to use a portrait photo of yourself - but frankly, my buyers don't care what I look like, they know the meerkats are way more attractive than me! And my avatar is an indirect invitation to check out my shop.

More tomorrow!! In the meantime - why not sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know about new Meerkats and special offers

Monday, 25 January 2010

this is ... Kat


Favourite colour?

Duck egg – when I bought my house I had to be prevented from painting everything one colour. It’s gorgeous.

Favourite sound?

Any moment in a film when Tom Waits comes on the soundtrack and I wasn’t expecting it.

Confession time - Niftyknits had never heard of Mr Waits, and wants to send him some throat sweets ;-)

Favourite way to spend your time?

Messing about with my horse, Meg. She’s so funny, she makes the most pecualir noises, it’s like she’s desperately trying to talk to you.

Favourite item in your shop of all time?

Aargh – too difficult! I’m very fickle and it changes all the time, but I think at the moment it’s the Antoinette necklace

It was such a challenge – I had the brooch it’s made from for ages but couldn’t work out what to do with it, and then all of a sudden one evening inspiration hit. It came out even better than I iimagined.

Favourite shop that isn’t yours?

Bookity –


The things she makes are so quirky and beautiful. I’m a real bookworm anyway (when I was little I would fall down the stairs because I had my nose in a book all the time) and I love her literary quote badges and her Shakespeare garlands.

book clock by bookity

What has been the most useful lesson you’ve learned that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Don’t think it’s going to come easily – you need people to be able to find your shop and that means getting your head around social networking, business cards and shameless self promotion. Being shy and retiring won’t get you anywhere!

Oh so very true! Here are Kat's all-important links:

Folksy shop:


Kat's website:

twitter: @made_with_love

Friday, 22 January 2010

Meerkat World Tour Map

I am geographically challenged, so what a thrill to be sent a map from Tracy at tyarkoni.etsy

(Click on the map to enlarge)

Thursday, 21 January 2010

This is ... Susie

of Lynwood Jewellery

Favourite colour?

Bluey Green, maybe, but I also like purple and white

Favourite smell?

A summers day, ahh... a distant memory now

Favourite place?

My bed when it's warm and snuggly and I have no worries

Favourite sound?

My dog snoring or my grandson snoring (similar)

Favourite way to spend your time?

Making jewellery (of course!)

Favourite item in your shop of all time?

A piece I made which was composed of lots of silver discs joined together to form the focal piece of a necklace. Took me ages to do, I made loads of mistakes during the process, but it looked really good on when it was finally done. When I sold it I felt quite sad, silly really.


I liked the way it hung mainly. However, I'm working on some new pieces based on mythology and ancient peoples and one of them called 'Homage to the un God' which is nearly complete, will become my new favourite.

Favourite shop that isn’t yours? (Apart from Niftyknits, obviously!)

MrsGKnits - I'm her biggest fan and of course Nifty Knits can't be beaten when it comes to making the cutest of cutsie pies ever!


Nuno Felt Scarf by MrsGKnits

MrsG makes the most beautiful scarves and woolies, she uses Alpaca and mohair and other good stuff and they feel so soft. And Nifty Knits - well I think I said it already.

What has been the most useful lesson you’ve learnt so far that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Persevere and market yourself by any means possible as it's a busy market place out there -especially jewellery and it is easy to become invisible amonst all the other shops. Also understand tagging and the types of words your audience will use when looking for your type of work.

Niftyleaps in with a handy link here: this blog article from Etsy Treasury team has many tagging tips that will apply just as well to folksy

Find Suzie here:
Lynwood Jewellery
Twitter: @suzesjewels

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

I love my virtual friends!

I was wandering around facebook recently when I came across Ingleside Farm. Turned out I'd popped by just at the right moment: Nancy was having a giveaway! I answered her question, and almost at the same moment, so did another Heather! Of course Nancy's next post was "Well done Heather!"... and she sent both of us a bar of her most unusual soap, made with sheep milk from her very own flock of Icelandic sheep.

I love to find out more about my virtual friends, so I went to check out Nancy's shop where I discovered this fabulous felted necklace - to me, it looks the next best thing to wearing a box of chocolates, delicious!

This was not the only "random act of kindness" that was to come my way though. The postman delivered a gift from one of my buyers!

She'd spotted this little plush meerkat (seen here with my Valentine's Day posy-bringer) and decided I hadn't got enough meerkats in my house!

Big thank you to Nancy and Rebekah - may your kindness be repaid many times over!

Monday, 18 January 2010 you remember your first time?

I do! I actually made a deal with a boy at my boarding school, so we sent each other a secret (!) card.

I've been with my husband 30 years now, so no surprise cards for me!

Instead I've been using those romantic urges to make cards for YOU
(find them on Etsy)

And in another mad romantic moment, I've decided that each "au naturel" meerkat purchased up until Valentines Day will bring a posy of button flowers.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

This is…Nelli D

Favourite colour?

I love I can't pick a favourite..sorry

Favourite smell?

Channel Chance, and fresh bread

Favourite place?


Favourite sound?

Babies laughing

Favourite way to spend your time?

Having a picnic or dinner with my other half..talking about our days.

Favourite item in your shop of all time?

hmmm toughy...well I think it would have to be this item


which is what sparked nelli D off in the first place...I loved the ones in the shops but was always annoyed when one of the beads fell and took the others with I thought I'd make my own! As time has progressed I have learnt new techniques, such as using clip frames and inserting zippered pockets...and you will see lots more like this in 2010...


I love sparkle colour and extravagance.

Favourite shop that isn’t yours? (Apart from Niftyknits, obviously!)



well I used to be an art teacher and I would have loved to have used items such as these in my lessons..they are soooo intriguing I just love them!

Mini-Museum-Glass-Box-Assemblage from ComeDayGoDay

What has been the most useful lesson you’ve learnt so far that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Do not expect buyers to find need to find them...PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE!

this is my favourite inspirational quote:

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass,. It's about dancing in the rain."

Some useful links (a new one I am building myself)

and of course Twitter

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Yarn Forward magazine

have featured the meerkats!

Many thanks to @KnitCave1 who alerted me to this, aren't virtual friends great? Please follow her, she's clearly a woman of discernment!

Friday, 15 January 2010

This is...haptree!

Favourite colour?

I like all sorts of colours but green is an essential colour for me to see - a bit like seasonal adjustment disorder, without seeing trees, leaves or at least some lawn I feel very low.

Favourite smell?

gin and tonic with a slice of lime or coriander freshly cut for a curry

Favourite place?

My family home in North Wales where I grew up and still visit as often as possible

Favourite sound?

My children giggling

Favourite way to spend your time?

with family, friends and wine

Favourite item in your shop of all time?

ummmm.... I like all my stuff, I can't choose one!


Because I spent ages choosing the fabrics and honing the designs until they were precisely what I wanted - they look simple but a lot of thought and effort has gone into them all.

Favourite shop that isn't yours? (Apart from Niftyknits, obviously!)

Hide n Seek by Hidden Eloise


Beautiful imagery that makes you feel 15 and a bit tingly and emotional!

What has been the most useful lesson you've learnt so far that you'd like to pass on to our readers?

Branding makes a big difference as it helps to make you appear more professional. Online you need people to remember you and your style so that they come back and want to make repeat purchases, especially if your items look like a collection. It's not about being someone other than yourself just concentrating who you are into an intense liquor so that people will remember you.

Niftyknits bought some purses from Haptree for Christmas stockings, and I totally back what she says about branding. The purses cam wrapped in tissue paper wand with a sweet little branded band around them:

The all-important links:

Haptree at Folksy

haptree on Twitter

craftbloguk on Twitter

Haptree at Etsy brand new website!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

This is…Chicita (aka Amanda Robins)

...of Gimme that Thing

Favourite colour?


Favourite smell?

Chanel Coco

Favourite place?

A quiet and pebbly Greek beach

Favourite sound?

The waves at night

Favourite way to spend your time?

Knitting with cotton and silk yarns

Favourite item in your shop of all time? Big-ceramic-buttons
...of Gimme that Thing


They express my personality - noisy, full of energy and slightly vintage looking!

Favourite shop that isn’t yours?

(Apart from Niftyknits, obviously!) Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics


Her designs are uncomplicated and effective. As a ceramicist myself, I know how easy it is to take a design that little bit too far, and how difficult it is to know when to stop.

Charlotte's Colourful glass-base ceramic dish

What has been the most useful lesson you’ve learnt so far that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Network and be noticed, otherwise you just sink to the bottom of the heap.

Couldn't agree more, so here are the links:

Gimme that Thing (Folksy shop)

FB fan page

blog about crafting, my animals and weird life stuff

Amanda's other shop:

Monday, 11 January 2010

Meerkats on the radio!

Last week I visited the Old Loom Mill in Hailsham to meet Felix, ace reporter for The Hub in Oxford

I took along a little meerkat who is going to be the mascot for the radio show this year - what an honour!

Eagle-eyed Folksy sellers will spot a Folksy Festive Sampler on the table with us!

(Click on the player to hear the interview)

Follow the hub on facebook

Felix's meerkat blog posts playing in the snow and interview with NiftyKnits

Meet Felix on twitter

Join the meerkat fangroup!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Meerkat World Tour Update!

Right now in the UK we have more snow than I can remember - and I've seen a few winters!

How wonderfully appropriate that our local paper (Kentish Express) chose this week to feature the Meerkat World Tour update from Sandie in California!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Essential Journey

So it's snowed.

We're not too good with snow in the "soft south" of the UK.

Everything grinds to a halt.

But I love it - sooo pretty!

Today I had an essential journey.

A parcel needed collecting from the sorting office.

And this is what was in it!

A BIG BIG bagfull of mohair from who was having a destash - thank you!