Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How Great Could Our Nation Be?

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated"

- Mahatma Gandhi

Chocolate Sky- A Blue and Brown Treasury

For more unique goods from vegan and vegetarian artisans, shop our teams's Crafty Veggie Marketplace!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Veggie-nomics: Etsy Tagging 101

A series of articles devoted to the promotion and marketing of the EtsyVeg independent artist and business owner community.

Presented by Gwen of gwenmade

There are many ways to market your shop and items effectively on Etsy. Most of these tools are already available in the "Add New Item" listing process. Today, I will dissect the valuable opportunity of tagging.

Etsy gives us 14 huge opportunities to tag. Most people who run successful shops always suggest using all 14. These are the 14 possible words that can lead a buyer to your shop or item. The first thing you need to do is describe your item. Make sure your tags answer the following questions - What is it? What category is it in? What is it made out of? Does it portray characteristics of a certain era or trend? Is there an image or design that stands out? What color is it? Who is it for? For more questions, see this excellent Etsy Storque article for additional tagging tips.

This fills up about 7-8 tags. Now you have at least 5-7 more that you don't know what to do with. One tip is to look up keywords using the Google Keyword tool . This tool is helpful in giving you ideas on words that people may use to search for an item on the web. Another way is to think about what a buyer may type in the search box when shopping for an item. Sometimes I like to look for "chunky" or "funky", sometimes "earthy" jewelry. These are some words that you may want to add if it fits your description. If you are a member of the EtsyVeg team, don't forget to add "EtsyVeg team" (our official team tag) so that shoppers, members, and Etsy Teams can find you. This will also help you get on the team treasury and featured on the team blog.

Remember, incorrect tagging can hurt you more than it can help. First off, it is against the rules. Second, it takes away from helpful words that can help your item be seen by those looking for a certain tag. Third, it will show up in places where people aren't looking for your item and therefore will probably just be ignored.

So this lesson's main tips are:

1. Use all 14 tags.

2. Use great tools to help you decide which keywords to use.

3. Tag only with relevant keywords as incorrect tagging is more hurtful than helpful.

Announcing a Brand New Regular Column!

EtsyVeg is very excited to announce a regular biz/marketing column by new member, Gwen of gwenmade, dedicated to helping EtsyVeg and other artists market and promote their sites. Future posts will include how to make an effective, efficient business card; how to consign your items into local boutiques; how to approach a website to feature your creations; free advertising techniques; and more!

Welcome to the blog staff, Gwen! You will add something special and needed to our EtsyVeg family! :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bird's Eye Review

Fellow teamie, Lynn of Aguavino, creator of photography, art, and handmade goods from recycled materials, was kind enough to share this review from her blog of items purchased from fellow EtsyVeg members.

I don't know if it's the weather, or what, but this winter I have been spending money like it's going out of style (and maybe it IS going out of style, but I'm definitely doing my part to stimulate the economy!) It's ok though, since our trip to Mexico didn't happen this year, I've been doing nothing but work, work, work. So with my extra little stash o' cash, I have made some great Etsy purchases- no buyer's remorse on these delightful handmade items:

Martin's Chair Collection
Limited Edition Print by ZukZuk
"This is a picture of Martin the rooster's beloved chair collection. He's the kind of guy who can't drive past a chair on the side of the road without taking it home and fixing it up; well, sometimes fixing it up, a lot of the time they just get added to the ever growing brokeny tree forest in the garage. Miriam the hen finds this all very vexing."

I fell in love with this drawing the moment I saw it! It was the perfect X-mas gift for the BF because 1) We have chickens, and 2) He is always complaining that I bring too many chairs into the house! Plus I found a perfectly fitting frame for it at the thrift store, complete with matting.

Vivid colors and whimsical characters with endearing stories are a constant theme in ZukZuk's work of digitally colored pen and ink drawings. She currently lives in Canada, but her upbringing in New Zealand is a definite influence in her work, especially with the types of birds she features. My second favorite piece is "Birdland". Having visited the famous jazz club in NYC last fall, it was a close second choice... maybe a future purchase... I highly recommend ZukZuk's shop- not only is she a very talented artist, she is also super friendly and a proud member of Etsy Veg. Unfortunately (for buyers) she is on vacation right now, so she is not taking any orders. But you can check out her work in the "sold" section, and please bookmark her shop for the future!

Swallow in Flight Necklace
by SilentLotus Creations

"A beautifully-detailed brass swallow in flight is suspended from elegant brass chain interspersed with smooth and faceted aqua-green Amazonite. All pieces have a vintaged, honey-toned patina for an aged look. The brass has been purchased from wonderful Etsy sellers and is solid, unplated, and nickel-free. Necklace clasps with a handfabricated hook clasp "

I'm not a huge jewelry wearer or purchaser, but decided it was time to accessorize when I saw how beautiful and well-crafted this necklace is! Kylie, the gal behind SilentLotus, has a wonderfully artistic eye for combining naturally beautiful gems and minerals with sterling silver and pure brass to create a unique selection of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings. If you're looking for a little pizazz for yourself, or for a gift, I'm sure you'll find something you love from SilentLotus. But wait... that's not all!! She is also a talented painter, and offers several of her Chinese Brush Paintings in her shop as well. Kylie is also super friendly, and a member/team leader of EtsyVeg (I'm starting to see a pattern here), so please check out her shop!

The Hungry Vegetarian

Chicken-less Pot Pie

This is a winner, even with non-vegetarians who "don't get it." Don't tell them it's seitan until they tell you how much they like it.

1 small onion, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced into rounds
2-3 red potatoes or 1 large baking potato
1 package chicken-style seitan, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
¼ cup milk or soy milk
1 or 2 large frozen pie crusts (check to ensure they contain no lard)

Chop raw potato(es) into bite-sized chunks and just cover with water. Microwave for 5 minutes or until potato chunks are cooked through. Meanwhile, saute the onions and carrots until onions are translucent.

In a large bowl, combine seitan, mushroom soup, and milk. Add the potatoes, onions and carrots when they’re cooked. Stir gently so that the liquid coats all the ingredients. Pour the mixture into one frozen pie crust and squish it down into the shell.

If desired, invert a second frozen pie crust over the top. Allow the heated ingredients to soften it slightly, then use a fork to join the two crusts. Poke a couple of holes in the top to vent.

Cook at 375* for about an hour.

Recipe by FriendlyTaco of Chiyogami Creations.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Interview with KrugsEcoLogic

Part of an ongoing interview series profiling EtsyVeg members.
Interview presentation by Kylie of

Meet Erin of Etsy's KrugsEcoLogic

Erin creates lusciously nurturing, skin-nourishing, body-loving bath and body products that could easily create an addiction! And part of their immense appeal is that each product is crafted using vegan, natural, pure, and earth-friendly ingredients and processes that result in luxurious soaps, creams, scrubs, butters, balms, fizzes, and other skin delights that are almost good enough to eat!

Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?

First and foremost, I make sure my ingredient choices are ecologically appropriate. I use only high quality natural butters, oils and essential oils. I take great care in making my business as waste-free and eco-friendly as possible.

Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

Soap, body butter, lotions, balms, bath salts, facial masks... spa items :)

Q. What are your creative inspirations?

Wow... that's a great question. I have never ever thought of myself as creative at all. I'm more of a geek/science nerd so I stick with what I know ;) The Bath and Body biz requires a unique blend of science and art, so I just rely on what I like and what appeals to me. If others dig it, then AWESOME!

Q. How did you get started creating?

I began starting to 'green' my home (no more toxic cleaners, soaps, etc.), and I needed to find something to help both of my children with their super-sensitive skin. I majored in biology (and only one class shy of a chem major) and taught science for years before staying at home with the kids - so this is already a comfortable niche for me. The business just seemed to fall into place.

Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?

Oh my gosh... nothing. My brain is not at all geared towards art. I have never 'understood' art, and I don't think ever will :)

Q. What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?

I would like to do some eye serums, facial serums, and some massage oils. Just don't have the time at the moment. Perhaps as my daughter becomes less... umm... 'interested' in items in cabinets and drawers I'll be able to expand my product line. I would love to do candles ... but I'm a bit of a pyro-phobe, so it may take some time before I feel comfortable with that.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?

RUNNING!! I've competed in distance races (in college and afterwards). My favorite run of all time is when our coach drove us in a van 20+ miles away from campus, opened the doors and said "see you at dinner", and drove away! That's my passion! Though, now that I'm deeply involved in this business and my two small children, my 'distance' runs are few and far between. But I'm slowly adding more distance as the weeks go on. I have to make time for Mommy!

Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)

I've been on etsy for about 8 months now. It'd be EASY to become an etsy addict... but I try to refrain. It helps that my 'office area' is not in the 'common area' of the house - if it was more easily accessible with two children to care for, I'm sure I'd be 'checking in' more often!

Q. Is etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?

I would say etsy is actually the smaller part of my business. I sell a lot locally, I have a few wholesale/consignment accounts, and friends and family are ALWAYS huge supporters!

Q. What are your future plans for your shop/business?

Just to continue adding whole sale accounts, and hopefully grow the business so it's full time when my daughter is in school full time (in about 4 years).

Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?

Oh my... I can't even remember - perhaps a year or two?

Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?

I seem to go in spurts with something I like until I get sick of it. Right now I'm eating TONS of lettuce/cheese and asiago/garlic dressing...mmmmmm.... with whole wheat homemade bread. I feel like I eat that 90% of the time, lately!

Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?

In a small town, we have NO vegan/veggie anything. This entire area is based on farms (dairy, meat, etc..). The Pennsylvania Dutch area is not well known for it's veganism. ;) I just try to order the veggie choices when we go out to eat - though it ends up being the same one or two dishes often, it seems - not too many options.

Snazzy Team Treasuries on Etsy

Thanks to Etsy treasury grabbers, KellesKitchen and Aktie9, for keeping the team in the promotion scene with these treasuries of EtsyVeg member creations: