Saturday, September 29, 2012


In the world around us today there is so much confusion. We live among so much noise and heartache. At times it is hard to feel a connection to God, our Father in Heaven. I am so thankful that God has provided us a means of communication so we can stay close to Him. As His sons and daughters, every person on this earth can receive revelation for his or herself through prayer.

Prayer has been around since the beginning of time. Moses 5:4 says,

“And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them”

The beauty of it all is that God still cares. The Heavens are still open. He wants to hear us and He wants to answer us. Matthew 7: 7-14 reads,

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

I love those verses. God is our loving Father. He knows what is best for us. He hears our prayers and he answers them. Sometimes the answer isn’t what we want, but it always brings a feeling of peace and comfort. Galations 5:22-23 reads:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

When we receive revelation it helps us feel peaceful and comforted, not scared or worried.

In the video at the beginning of the post, President Monson said:
“My beloved brothers and sisters, communication with our Father in Heaven—including our prayers to Him and His inspiration to us—is necessary in order for us to weather the storms and trials of life... The Lord invites us, 'Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me.' As we do so, we will feel His Spirit in our lives.”

Those words are so true. I know that when we make prayer a priority in our lives, God will open the windows of heaven out to us and help us. He has a plan for us, and as we counsel with Him, He will guide us safely back to Him. He loves us and wants to help us. We just have to ask and then let Him.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Take Interest in Pinterest

For those of you who have not yet joined Pinterest, here are three reasons to have an interest in Pinterest.
  1. You can create leads back to your store by posting pictures of your items in your store.  You can upload every photo by the web address where it resides, and when people click on it, they are led to that site. If you have a blog, you can lead them there as well. 
  2. You can connect with other like-minded people and invite them to like the items in your store. The more visible you become on the web, the greater your chances of being successful in your business.
  3. You are able to create files from the photos of others and thereby be inspired by their creations.
The one drawback is that to join you need an invitation from someone who is a member. If you need an invite, just convo me your email address and I'd be happy to send you one. In my humble opinion, it is worth it!
Happy marketing, everyone!
Linda from
Note from Francesca: Include in your shop policies whether or not it is okay for others to pin (post) your photos to Pinterest and if they need your permission first. Do not pin other sellers' items without asking; some people are not okay with it. Be very careful what you put on Pinterest because you take all responsibility for copyright issues. For more information, read this article.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

In the world we live in today it is so easy to focus on what we don't have instead of what we do. Our society puts so much emphasis on having the right clothes, the newest electronics, and the coolest gadgets. At times it can seem like we are at the bottom of the totem pole. In reality, we truly have so much to be grateful for.

I love this quote from Elder Bednar's talk in the October 2008 General Conference.

"As we strive to make our prayers more meaningful, we should remember that “in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59:21). Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts."
When I am good about frequently offering prayers of only heartfelt gratitude I am happier and feel more joy.
"Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings. This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.
We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
When I went to Time Out for Women a couple of years ago, one of the speakers had us do an activity that I found quite profound. First, she had us write down five things that we were grateful for. Then, she put a twist on it-- she had us write down who we could thank for those blessings. Doing this helped me cultivate an attitude of gratitude toward those around me. If you've never done an activity like that before, I challenge you to do so. Writing down my blessings and whom to thank for them helps me realize how much we truly do have.
We are so blessed to have a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are so blessed to know that we are sons and daughters of God and that He has a plan for us. I hope that we will all take more time each day to remember our many blessings. I know when we do, we will truly feel more joy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Etsy Talk: Choosing Shipping Services

Knowing which shipping service to use is vital in saving money, both for you and your customers. Here are tips I've learned:

Measure your packages
  • Envelopes thicker than 1/4 inch or uneven in thickness by more than 1/4 inch are considered packages instead of letters.
  • Small bubble envelopes, if flat and light, can usually be sent as letters in the U.S. (only once has one of my customers had to pay extra postage, which I reimbursed), but are always packages for international shipping (I've lost money twice because I forgot this!).
  • Large envelopes that are flexible (for example, holding a paperback children's book) can be mailed at a large envelope price instead of a package.
  • Boxes longer than 12 inches on any side cost more to ship regardless of low weight.
Weigh your packages
  • The biggest mistake sellers make is sending everything Priority Mail. Packages lighter than 13 ounces qualify for First Class parcel, which is just as fast as and sometimes faster than Priority Mail but considerably cheaper. 
  • Heavier packages are mailed Parcel Post, which takes about a week. If the price difference between Parcel Post and Priority Mail is minimal, go with Priority Mail to ensure faster delivery.
  • UPS and FedEx are best reserved for extremely large, heavy, valuable, or fragile items.
Read more about saving on shipping and packaging.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Featured Seller: Brittney from Felt for Less

This week's featured seller is Brittney and her family from Felt for Less. Here's her touching story behind the shop:

Felt for Less started because my husband and I wanted to find a way for our five children to help pay for their missions. Good jobs with a positive work environment are hard to find here. So we started to think outside of the box.

My daughter and I love felt. It's colorful, versatile, forgiving, and soft. We've been selling felt hair flowers at local craft fairs for three years, but we decided to think bigger. I've been an Etsy shopper for many years, so I was already an Etsy fan.

We used the money that we had in the college savings fund to order a bunch of felt from China. This felt is made by the kindest, sweetest, most humble people. They live near where my parents are serving their mission right now in Hong Kong. Their felt is super soft, thick, and high quality. I've never seen a polyester felt like this before. It's lovely. Plus, it's made from recycled plastic bottles. We love that.

Now our basement has been converted into a fabric shop. :) My kids help me take and fill orders. My boys do the heavy lifting. My girls make the color charts that go out with each order. It's much busier and much more work than we expected, but it's also much more fun.

Some days I think we're crazy, but then I see the kids get excited about each sale, and I see how proud they are to watch our little savings account grow. I hope it's teaching them to save money, work together, and prepare for the future.

Check out Felt for Less for a variety of beautiful colors of felt!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why Choose Etsy?

Some time back I went to our Facebook page and read someone's entry that they were thinking about joining another crafting site. I checked out the site and wasn't too impressed, and since then I have been thinking about the benefits of joining and selling on other sites that are similar to Etsy. Here are three reasons why you might want to choose to stay connected with Etsy.

First thing I did to find out how well Etsy is established on the search engines was google the phrase, "Best sites to sell your crafts on." The first thing that popped up was a direct link to Etsy.
The second was a Yahoo article talking about the 3 top sites and the third link listed 29 craft sites, both putting Etsy in the #1 spot. What that means for your business is when people search for a particular item on any search engine, the first place the search engines will look is Etsy.

The second thing to consider is if you choose to open a shop on other sites, include a link back to your Etsy store [Note: Make sure it is allowed on those sites. Etsy does not allow you to put links to your other off-site stores.] The fact is the more places you are located on the web, the bigger your personal web presence becomes, which enables you to attract more customers and be noticed by the masses and search engines. Just remember to keep your style and brand the same because others will recognize it and come to rely on it.

The third point is that there are over a million people who are connected on Etsy: you can never run out of leads for potential customers. Learn how to engage with other shops so they come to value you and know you as a friend they may eventually buy from or refer their friends to, even if you sell similar items. I realized this when I asked one shop owner if she could help me with some illustrations and she said she was too busy, but referred me to another shop who did similar stuff.

Hope this helps clear things up for some of you who may have questioned the value of joining another craft selling site.

Happy marketing, everyone!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Jesus: An Example of Balance in Life

I was listening to a church lesson on Wednesday and loved how the teacher explained a scripture. It left such an impression on me that I would like to share it with you.

"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." -Luke 2:52

This is one of the only scriptures we have mentioning the Savior's childhood years. I love that it mentions that he had to increase and grow too, just like all of us. What surprised me is when the teacher drew on the white board a diagram similar to the one below:

He then went on to explain that, as the scripture says, Jesus developed and grew in four areas:
1. Wisdom
2. Stature
3. Favor with God
4. Favor with man
We too must strive to grow in all of these areas. It is really easy to get fixated on one, however. For example, some people spend too much time in the "stature" area and focus mainly on their appearance or physical fitness. Some people spend too much time in the "favor with man" category focusing mainly on social outings, conversations, and text messages. Some people spend too much time seeking wisdom and don't interact with others as much as they should. I suppose you could even spend too much time in the "favor with God" category if you never helped or interacted with other people. The list of possible imbalances goes on and on.
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, was the perfect example of true balance in life. He served others, sought wisdom, kept his body healthy, and had a close relationship with God. I know that as we strive to keep our lives in balance, we will be blessed.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Doing Good While Doing Marketing

Teaming up with a non-profit organization is one way to attract the attention of potential customers, but is often not considered something small businesses do. Many of us are barely selling 10 items a month; however, with a little word of mouth, that can definitely change by deciding to bless a non-profit with a percentage of your net income.

One idea is that you could do a benefit by yourself, or join up with some of our team members and blast the word on all the social media sites, as well as in your community. A lot of papers, such as the Penny Saver will advertise for free, if you are doing a benefit. The way I saw one person do it is he said he was trying to raise money to buy computers for a children's school in Ecuador by selling hard copies of his book. People had the option to download the book for free, as well as choose to donate money to the non-profit without buying anything. I think he raised close to $100,000 for the non-profit and made close to a million on his hard copies of the book in over a period of 12 weeks.

Many of us are not equipped to make something that big go forward; however, that doesn't matter because just being able to bring attention to a chosen organization as your goal to support them will start the ball rolling to increase your business because most of us want to do good when we spend money for the things we like.

A few weeks ago I called a person about advertising in her magazine and as we got to talking she brought up an auction she was part of for a non-profit and asked me to put together a course for them to auction off. She said that she would love to share what my business was about and that she felt my course would be something of value to benefit not only the organization, but also the people who heard about it. I never thought about providing a specific item for donation for the benefit of an auction, but I share it with you so that maybe you too can find ways to do the same.

These are just some ideas to consider as you seek to bring income into your home from your Etsy store.

Happy marketing, everyone!
Linda from

Monday, September 10, 2012

Etsy Talk: Save on Shipping & Packaging

The hardest part of starting an Etsy shop for me was figuring out shipping, both prices and packaging. I did a lot of research before opening my shop and still made many mistakes. I would like to pass on what I learned so you don't have to make the same mistakes and lose money!

Buy a Scale
The best thing you can do to ensure accurate shipping prices is buy a postal scale, the weight capacity depending on what you sell. Buying from is cheapest.

Calculate Shipping Online
With your scale, you can accurately calculate shipping costs on the USPS site, including international rates. Play around with package weight to estimate secondary shipping costs (how much it costs to ship something with another item).

Print Labels from Paypal
Print shipping labels from your paypal account and receive a significant discount on postage for packages (for any domestic service, but only Priority or Express for international). If the person paid through paypal, you can go to your account overview and click "print shipping label" next to the transaction. The address information will automatically load. Just input the package weight (rounded up to the nearest whole number) and service type (First Class, Priority, etc.). If the person didn't pay through paypal, you can still print the label by adding the address on Print the label on fast draft to save ink.

With ready-to-ship packages, no need to wait in line at the post office! Just drop off or request pick-up online if at least one of your packages is Priority Mail.

Be Creative with Packaging
Some shops only charge postage price, while others include packaging costs. Either way, be creative to save on packaging expenses and lower your shipping prices.
  • Reuse boxes if you can. All previous postage must be removed or covered. You can cover non-postal boxes with brown kraft paper.
  • Don't send free gifts. Most of the time, they're cheap things the buyer doesn't want or need but are still included in the shipping and packaging costs (or if not, they come out of your pocket). Most people would rather not get a random free item and pay lower shipping!
  • Only use necessary, protective wrapping; no need to be super fancy unless you sell expensive jewelry or the like. 
  • Make your own thank-you notes or write on the back of your business card.
Remember,  packaging ends up in the trash, so be wise where you spend your money and what you charge people for. I would rather get a less fancy (but still professional) package if it means I pay less shipping. However, you can include a note in your listings and policies about requesting free gift wrapping.

Add Shipping Information to Your Shop
Include shipping and packaging information in your policies, and your listings if you sell various items that require different packaging and shipping methods. Buyers like to know what they are paying for and when they can expect to get their items.

What shipping and packaging tips do you have?

Read about choosing shipping services.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bloom Where You're Planted

Photo (C) Sally Hipwell
May be copied for personal/church use.

I took the picture in this post while I was visiting Minnesota. I was walking through a park and as I went over a bridge I noticed a tiny plant beginning to grow between the boards of the walkway. It was small and vulnerable, yet sure and strong. It was blooming where it was planted, even though it wasn't necessarily the best place for a a seedling to take root.

I love the quote by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin in his talk during the October 2008 General Conference.
"Come What May and Love it."

Notice, he didn't just say come what may and endure it, or come what may and somehow survive. He said come what may and love it. The phrase bloom where you're planted takes on a whole new meaning for me after pondering this quote.  The plant wasn't just surviving in between the two boards or barely hanging on. It was thriving, growing, and developing even when it wasn't in ideal circumstances.

Now, I don't know about you, but I don't love adversity. Sometimes, I even cringe at the sound of the word. I find these words from Elder Worthlin very encouraging.

"I do believe that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life. If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times
of greatest happiness. . . .
"Adversity, if handled correctly, can be a blessing in our lives.
We can learn to love it."

I hope that with the help of our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, we can find the strength to not just endure, but to love whatever comes our way. God has a plan for us. He is mindful of us and He will bless us.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Featured Seller: Alyssa from Katydid Designs

This week's featured seller is Alyssa from the adorable shop Katydid Designs.

My mother tried teaching me to sew when I was younger and I just didn't care for it. I didn't have the patience. However, as a mom, I found myself needing things (mainly burp cloths) that I knew I could make on my own. So I just started! Once I realized I could sew straight lines and make something useable, I started branching out and teaching myself more techniques. I still have plenty to learn, though!

With my second child, my sister-in-law made me a gorgeous carseat cover. And, seriously, everywhere I went, people were asking me where I got it. I love my cover; however, there were a few things on it that I wanted to change. With my sister-in-law's blessing, I made my own pattern and started my shop. My sister helps with the shop as well, and it's fun working with her.

How does the gospel influence my work? I'd say being able to be a stay-at-home mommy but still contribute something to our financial bottom line and working on self-improvement. I've grown a lot in the year and a half that my shop has been thriving. I also think honesty and integrity play a big role in my shop. I know that I could make a lot of money on items using copyrighted fabrics, like many shops already do. However, I just can't bring myself to do it, knowing that those fabrics are not to be used for personal monetary gain. I just have to trust that my little shop is being blessed in other ways for my decisions! :)

Way to go, Alyssa, for choosing the right! Check out Katydid Designs for more of her cute creations.

Monday, September 3, 2012

How to Use Your Personal Facebook Profile for Business

Because much of Facebook is used to connect with family and friends, many of us don't know how to approach them to buy our products. Here are a few tips to help you move forward in sharing what you do with those close to you:
  • Share the personal story behind your creation or vintage item.
  • List the ways it will help accomplish some goal for others.
  • Explain what your goals are in selling items in your store, such as saving for college or a mission. [Avoid sob stories or mentioning charities, as those may make some people believe you are a scammer. -Francesca]
  • Share when you get a heart or someone features your item in their treasury list.
  • When items have been in your shop for a while, ask for opinions of the photos or advice on how to market the product better.
  • Always remember to keep things light and friendly so that others will enjoy talking to you and you will be a welcomed contact. 
  • Never be afraid to share; get rid of the fear that others will steal your ideas and customers. Who knows--maybe sharing your talents with others will cause someone to gain the courage to share their talents as well.
  • If your items are pricey, go into detail on the time it takes to create an item as well as the quality of the materials used. Once people understand what it takes to create your items, they will understand and value them.
  • Offer to give your contacts a break in the prices, but make sure you include directions on contacting you first so that you can create a special listing for them with your new price that is just for them.
  • Offer to put their name in a drawing for free products if they share your store on their wall. Have them contact you back with the listing once they have done so.
These are just a few ideas I have found to work well in sharing with my contacts on Facebook. Happy sharing everyone!

Note: Many of these tips work well for business Facebook pages too.