Monday, 22 August 2016

How to get the marble background look for your products without the marble prices!

I remember a while back, I shot a lot of my products on bare wood. After that, they were re-shot on that same wood, but it was now painted white. Then I half transitioned into just plain old white canvas with a few random props but these days, everyone's shooting on marble. How cool is that!

I'm absolutely loving this new trend and am trying to use it here and there, if you saw my OMG pink pasta post recently then you may have noticed I used some marble texture in that. And I've also got a print or two in the shop along the marble theme.

So here's my easy fix for getting that marble effect background or flat lay base. You don't have to go out and buy a slab or even search for the sticky back plastic option. You can just print it right at home and get started within minutes.
I was out and about recently and in a restaurant who had marble finish tables so guess what, I humiliated myself for a few minutes, standing taking photos over them! Definitely worth it though as I finally got the marble backdrop I wanted.
Here's my cute little 'You're nice' cat card just to illustrate.

To get your free marble background download (yes free, I embarrassed myself just for your pleasure) just click on the image below to get to the full size file.
Please note, you can use the image in your designs, for your own product backdrops, on your blog or website etc. but do not give it away for free on your own site claiming as your own (sorry, I've been burned before).

free marble backgrounds


Friday, 19 August 2016

My top 10 shipping tips for Etsy sellers

There's been a few times where my shipping 'routine' has been pretty close to the wire. A few times when I've thought about cancelling orders, and a few times that been overwhelmed and under prepared.

A product based business relies on being able to get purchases out to customers in time as advertised and in a fit state too.
Now, I've been pretty lucky (not sure if that's the right word) in my Etsy shop in being able to meet all expectations my customers hold when purchasing my products.

My own expectations however are always shot to shit.

Well, why is that?
At the end of Father's Day this year I had a sit down and a gave myself and my small business a good grilling and figured out why I always feel like I'm running around like a headless chicken. It's because I won't let myself believe my products are capable as selling as much as I'd hope at the key gifting periods. This means I just sort of roll with it, when it gets super busy I always find myself thinking 'oh it'll go dead tomorrow' or 'oh, I probably won't need to restock'.
So I made some rules & plans for myself and also have allowed myself to recognise that yeah, I'm going to be busy so plan for it and bloodywell own it!

As it's Christmas coming up I though I'd share some of my top tips with you so you don't make the same mistakes I've made in the past. First off, here's what I've found to be the key times to get in your stock and supplies for each gifting period.

  • Christmas ~ September/October
  • Valentines Day ~ mid December
  • Mother's Day ~ February
  • Father's Day ~ May

bubble wrap, fragile tape and packing supplies

1) Check your stats from previous years and see if you can find any patterns as to when roughly you will start to pick up.

2) Order double your packing supplies a month ahead of time. If you can't afford to layout a big chunk then start hoarding as early possible. It's better to have a pile of packing bags shoved under your bed for a few months than to run out when you really need them.

3) Double check with your suppliers as to their shipping and cutoff times (especially around Christmas) just in case. This is also a great way to develop a better relationship, give plenty of time though, I wouldn't recommend emailing them in December.

4) Know your local Post Offices and post boxes and their pickup times. What if your PO is getting a refit and is closed for a week? Do you know where the next one is and their times? Same goes for Post Boxes, what if a car crashes into your normal one and it's out of service, make sure you know where the next one is.

5) If you're working a dayjob too, try and use a couple of days holiday in the run up to your busiest time. Not always convenient but it saves a lot of stress and means you're able to focus on both.

6) Don't forget your printer(s). You'll be printing a much higher volume with invoices and shipping labels so don't forget to keep some extra ink and your paper stocked up.
If possible, have a backup printer or at least know where to get one at short notice. We have a 24 hour Tesco nearby and they have printers starting at £20.

7) Have an area solely for packing. I have a fold out table which pretty much stays folded out throughout my busier times.
Have everything to hand and create a system that works best for you. Even if it means taking over your dining table, that's the way it is.

Here's some of my 'dream office' pins from Pinterest. It's good to have something to aim for, right?

top 10 tips for Etsy sellers

8) Have a water tight system for knowing where you're up to with each order. Whether that means marking as shipped as soon as you print the invoice or sending the shipping notification once everything is packed up. Find one option that works best for you and stick to it.
Most online platforms have a 'notes' option for you when the order comes through, I find this is a great place to add any correspondence you've had with the customer, change of address for example.

9) Keep up! When you're super busy, it's best to look at it as a 24 hour operation. I tend to pack the bulk of my orders before I go to bed at night. That way I'm not going to bed worrying about the mammoth task that awaits in the morning. All I have to do when I get up is pack up any overnight additions and then do the first post run.

10) Remember you're not a robot! You may feel like it after you've been packing up Valentine's cards since before Christmas, but make sure you enjoy this time in your business. Do something small for yourself each day as a treat, even if that's blasting out your fave tunes while you're getting those orders out and don't forget to feel good about the fact you're creating products that people love!

Well there we go. I hope you've found my shipping tips for Etsy sellers useful. I'd love to know if you have any additional advice to help us all out too. If so, leave a message in the comments.

If you're looking for a treat for all your hard work then I have the perfect thing for you. This super cute 'world's best shipper' coffee mug.
So whenever you feel you're heading into nervous breakdown territory, simply make yourself a brew in this cutey and you'll start to feel all your worries fall away.
Who am I kidding, you won't feel that, but it'll sure make you feel just a touch more in control.

£8.50 + shipping
cute mugs for Etsy sellers, shipping lessons

Above all else, enjoy it! You're busy.

You go Glen Coco

Thursday, 18 August 2016

OMG I discovered pink pasta, here's how to make it.

I'm on a sort of semi healthy eating, lose weight, get baby ready type of kick at the minute and also whilst I'm working from home, I'm getting quite into playing housewife and having the tea ready for my lovely fiance when he gets in from work.
So as it's super hot at the moment we've been having salads for the last few nights with cold pasta (I could eat this every day!) and I found some beetroot in the cupboard. When I was placing it on the plate, oh so decoratively, might I add and getting my fingers all purple, I had the random idea of putting a few drops of the juice into the pasta and seeing if it would dye that too.
Low and behold, my obsession with pink pasta was born. I later Googled it and this is a big thing.
So all you need is just your pasta (cook it first, like) and some pickled beetroot and you're good to go.
Once the pasta is cooked and cooled just add a couple of tablespoons of the juice from the jar and add to produce your desired effect. I like it when a bit of the pasta is still the original colour so I just add such a small amount and then swirl it round, but this is up to you. I've seen pictures of full on bright neon looking pasta out there.
Now it's time to eat!
I adore onions and we have a batch of red onions in at the moment so I threw almost a full one in, added a tiny bit of chilli salad dressing and some black pepper.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

When you get ripped off

A few years ago I had an idea bouncing around my head. The kind of idea you have that makes you laugh, but it's such an in-joke that you think no-one else will ever get it.
And so it floated.

Finally, I needed to update my Etsy shop with some Valentine's lines and I thought I'd bring this idea to life.
Naughty Valentine card, love quotes, I hold your hand while you're asleep, funny valentines card for boyfriend, valentines quote greetings.

This card has been to date the most popular card and item in my repertoire. A little insight into how my mind works, has actually struck a chord with thousands of people worldwide.
It's a super simple statement, in plain black and white, the font is now out of date and actually makes me a little uncomfortable but it's a product directly from my heart.

What happens when something is popular.......

Well, for the original creator there is a surge of happiness, validation, pride even. People get it! Woop woop, I am marginally funny in real life. 
I am so, SO fond of this card it is as if I carried it for nine months and gave birth to it, I let it out into the world and now it's the king of the world whom everyone adores.

But when something works, people want a part of it.

So yeah, it's been copied at least twice that I know of. Two gals on Etsy have ripped it off (you can search 'I hold your hand' and we're all clumped together!) one has even used the same font :(
BUT, there's absolutely zilch I can do about it other than to take comfort in knowing that's my baby and others want to adopt it! Another big comfort is that the reach on this badboy astounds me. BuzzFeed have featured it a couple of times and it's been on a fair few other sites around the internet too (yeah, smug-mode).
I did a quick stats check across the board earlier and as of today 64,375 sets of eyes have been laid on this simple greetings card. I'm pretty confident that the majority of these viewers have had a cheeky giggle to themselves. Wow, just imagine if they'd all purchased!

funny valentine's day card
So I guess my message to any other card designers, print sellers, or artists in general is a simple one. Just concentrate on your own ideas, because your original ideas are better than a variation on someone else's hard work.
I myself rely on this card to bring in a big chunk of my revenue at the beginning of the year which I can then invest back on equipment, pay some bills, heck, even treat myself to something nice as a reward. When you flat out copy someone's work, you're potentially skimming money off their business.
And it hurts, every time a new copy pops up, I feel like I've lost something. So, yeah.

You do you!

And I'll do me, as they say. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A gift for the cactus lady

Well, today I've got some juicy treats for you in the form of a free screensaver for your phone, a discounted print for your potting shed (or kitchen, whatever) and news of a fancy new mug that you may well like too!

Free phone screensavers
Now, don't go mad but I took the initiative and assumed that you've become enamoured with succulents, cacti and the like and have a small but growing collection.
I'll take this opportunity to elicit your pity and let you know that sadly, we are unable to have any form of plants or flowers here as Geoff the cat loves to eat things like that. I do however show my appreciation in the form of creating cactus themed prints and mugs and also follow a few accounts on Instagram to get my fix.
To get your free cactus themed screensaver, simply click on the image above to get to the Google Drive and download it. Sound complicated? It's not.

This print is exclusive to my list and blog readers and is not available in any of my other usual haunts. You can own this badboy for the not so prickly sum of just £2 then print it out straight away and adorn your wall with yet more of these little green beauties. Just click on the buy now button below to get to the checkout screen (PayPal & all the usual).

personalised cactus mug

And here's my last cactus plants themed item, a cheeky little personalised crazy cactus lady mug. This would make a great gift for Mum for her birthday, perhaps your wife for an 'I'm sorry gift' or even just your bezzie mate because you know she's down with all this cactus and succulent lovin'.
Click on the image to get a closer look.

 We Love Cacticool cacto photos

Finally, here's a couple of those Instagram accounts I love, featuring cactus and succulent plants. They have some crackin' pictures between them so do give them a follow.


Monday, 8 August 2016

Working from home distractions plus free weekly planner

Aghhh, it's Monday again which as you know I luuuurve. But guess what, all my good intentions for the week have been shot to shit and it's almost dinner time already.

Last night I decided I'd spend today working on my website improving my SEO and just generally tinkering around with backend stuff. I found this great training site from Google called the Digital Garage and I've been working through that so it's spurred me on quite a lot.

things that distract you when you work from home

Now, when you work from home on your own business you get to pick your own hours and make your own schedule. Isn't that cool? Yeah, it's pretty liberating but on the flipside, you can get easily distracted by your household chores, your pets, YouTube, the internet in general, even your bed or your lovely fiance ringing to tell you he loves you.

top things that stop you working from home

My trouble is that it's not just the immediate and obvious distractions that pull me away from my goals, I have a tendency to only work on the things which are top of mind at the time. If I have an idea or am inspired by something then I'll drop what I was doing and work on that. Which pretty much means I never really finish (or start) what I had intended for the day. I produce a lot of 'stuff' but it's all a tad random.

This blog post for instance! 

I was deep into keyword research when I decided to put my fave gamer, Rad Brad on for a bit of background ambiance, I also decided to make a brew and noticed the washing up in the sink (I don't wash up on the weekend). Because I'd gone into the kitchen, the cats automatically assumed they were getting fed and whipped themselves into a frenzy, so I had a bit of a play with them.
It was then I thought, oh, I should write a blog post bout this, and yep, my lovely boy rang. After that I spent a while taking photo's and screenshots and messing around with them.

The light bulb moment 

While I was kicking myself about going off in another direction, it dawned on me that I need to write a schedule, actually write one. Not have a rough idea in my head, but a hard copy. Then it's gotta be done right? Plus it will stop my mind wandering with ideas and things I want to try.
So here we go. Geoff wanted me to show you this picture of him modelling it.
There's Monday to Friday tabs with Sat/Sun together, a little 'get shit done' quote to get you motivated and a 'top tasks' section too so you really know what you're concentrating on for the week.

free printable planner

There's two sizes to choose from, A4 or A3. Just click on the size you need below to get to the download page and get planning, yo!

free weekly plannersfree weekly planner poster


 Cute coffee mugs

Sunday, 7 August 2016

How to take a compliment

Isn't it funny how we struggle to accept a compliment these days? If someone tells us we look nice, pretty much as soon as the words have left their well meaning lips we see to have a habit of knocking that badboy right away.

'Oh thanks, but I feel like a man in a dress' 'Thanks, but I wish my ass wasn't so fat' 'Thanks, but you don't have to say that'.

It's nice to give compliments, right? And we always mean it when we say it. So let's start believing them when they come our way, flip damn it!

how to take a compliment

Anyhow, I've started on a new range that will ease you into that acceptance mode. If you can accept a compliment on a daily basis from one (or more) of these prints strategically placed around your home, then yes, you will become more akin to accepting them from your friends, family and even that stranger in the Post Office queue (they're just being nice, they don't want to kill you!).

How to accept a compliment
I also have a personalised option, so you can get used to your name being in the mix.

makeup art print

So there you go! Look out for more to come over the next few weeks and next time someone gives you a compliment, just bloodywell take it!